Egotism, Storytelling Geekery

IWSG: Keeping up Forward Momentum

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 2016

Being a perfectionist, ambitious, and having flickering self-confidence is not a great combination.
At times I feel that I’ve stumbled across a great idea, an idea for a novel or other form of fiction which no-one else is writing, and turning it into a major hit is just a matter of putting it down on paper. Unfortunately, turning a vague idea into a practical reality is a little trickier than that.

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Why is There not More Football Fiction?

What are the best novels written about football? If you’ve got a contender in mind, odds are that it’s either a little-known book from a little-known author, a novel which doesn’t centre on football but only features it, or The Damned United.

Understandably a fair amount of what’s out there is football fiction books for boys – which makes sense given that it can be an all-consuming interest at that age. I read and enjoyed a few of Michael Hardcastle’s novels when I was growing up, lightweight novels centring around junior boys’ teams that I remember enjoying reading, but which left no lasting impact on me.
There also seems to be a market for football hooligan books, but realistically that’s centring around a subculture tangentially related to football rather than the game itself.

The football fiction that break into wider awareness tends to receive more ridicule than praise. For example the football manager Steve Bruce self-published a series of novel starring a football manager (Steve Barnes) who keeps getting dragged into murder investigations. The ridicule they’ve received is is a little unfair. Not because the books are good, which doesn’t seem to be the case, but because they seem to have been written for the fun of writing them, completing a trilogy during 1999.
Bruce isn’t alone as a footballer dipping his toe into the world of fiction. Theo Walcott, Jimmy Greaves and Terry Venables have also written novels about football – the latter being the fantastically titled They Used to Play on Grass.

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Book 04: The Ghost

The Ghost, written by Robert Harris, a one-time friend of Tony Blair, features a former British Prime Minister not named Tony Blair.
The character, Adam Lang, was a charismatic PM (but not named Tony Blair), was accused of lacking depth (but wasn’t named Tony Blair), and got Britain heavily involved in the War on Terror (but remember, he isn’t Tony Blair).

This Robert Harris doesn’t have a very good sense of imagination

I’m not quite sure whether to refer to The Ghost as a thriller or a satire. It definitely progresses as a thriller – the protagonist, a celebrity ghostwriter, is hired at the last minute to make sure Adam Lang’s forthcoming memoirs are completed in time for the deadline. The story follows his progress as he tries to learn more about Lang, to understand the psychology behind the former Prime Minister.

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Book 03: Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear

I’ve set out to read a minimum of 52 books this year, and write a brief review of each. I’ve reached a point that I didn’t think I’d reach this early – I’m justifying my selection by saying that it is technically a book.

Yep, it’s the novelisation of Transformers 2

Although I’m reading from The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Valley of Fear was originally published as a standalone novel. So, I’m going to count it as such, even if it is just over a hundred pages long.


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Book 02: The Afrika Reich

I’ve just finished reading Afrika Reich, which is a very tough book to read at times. The book is set in a parallel universe where Nazi Germany’s victory at Dunkirk forced a ceasefire with Britain. They then defeated Soviet Russia, while pacifist America stayed out of the war. At the Casablanca Conference in 1943, Germany and Britain then carved up Africa between them.
Burton Cole, a retired former soldier and the protagonist, is hired to kill Walter Hochburg, the Governor of German Kongo.

This is all feeling quite dark and serious. Here, have some pictures of lego men evacuating Dunkirk

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