Nicely’s Appeal Explained

You can’t beat a good Venn diagram can you? Still love a good Venn diagram – and it’s the perfect method for explaining the appeal of ‘Detective Strongoak’ to readers of fantasy, comedy and detective fiction. So here we go:

The Appeal Of Detective Nicely Strongoak to Different Fiction Readers.
The Appeal Of Detective Nicely Strongoak to Different Fiction Readers.

So there we are! Very informative, I’m sure you’ll agree and clearly illustrating the target audience! Just about everybody who likes a good book! Continue reading Nicely’s Appeal Explained

Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

The Dragonette ’57 convertible steamwagon was not facing any competition:

Keen Steamliner - cool!
Keen Steamliner – cool!

“I collected my wagon early the next day. It’s a racing-green Dragonette ’57 convertible; the last model with the little wings and the air-trimmed front end. Daddy’s pride and joy, with marble interior finish and leather ragtop. It did my heart good just to touch her. Sceech the grease goblin had done a good job on the shoes, and I took off in a reasonable frame of mind. I had slept pretty well and though I didn’t feel like a million crowns, well at least I didn’t look like buried treasure.”

Continue reading Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

Did I blink and miss them?

One thing I didn’t quite get about ‘The Shanara Chronicles’ – as clearly stated in the opening credits:

Shanara opening creditsA distinct lack of ‘Dwarf’ . That’s the sort of thing that annoys a certain dwarf Master Detective. Are the elves to blame?

Continue reading Did I blink and miss them?

Excellent Empire Magazine June ‘Ghostbuster’s’ Cover

Yes, the subscription cover offers loads of uses for blatant self-publicity! Such as:

Slimer on Nicely

Well, you have to do it, don’t you?

Continue reading Excellent Empire Magazine June ‘Ghostbuster’s’ Cover

Mad March Madness!

Yes, Mad March err Madness! Lucky USA! ‘Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf’ (former Kindle Epic Fantasy #1) is on esale for $1.99 until March 14th and this time B&N too and some more sellers … I think.Detective Strongoak book cover with banner

Continue reading Mad March Madness!

Why surfing Elves?

I’ve always had a thing about surfing – as long as I can remember anyway. The trouble is I’m not very good at it. I’ve never lived very close to the sea (well not the sort of sea that actually has proper waves) and to be honest I’m not a great swimmer. This was really irritating when I was younger and good at other sports. Just how the bones get put together I guess.

Surfing in the Med with a short board
Surfing in the Med with a short board

However, it didn’t matter because I knew what surfing was really about – and I had a Silver Surfer T-shirt too. Surfing was about freedom. It was about magic. It was about being transported to a different world.

Which is why elves would go surfing of course. They’d be good at it too – curse them. They’d leave the rest of us standing, probably on the beach. They’d have the best boards too and they’d be cool without ever trying to be. If you have to try to be you’re not.

I also knew they’d be surfing elves in ‘Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf’, and I don’t even remember how they got there. Years before Legolas tried any fancy footwork on a shield certainly.

It doesn’t mean I’ve got surfing out of my system. There’s a whole one-man show ready to go – or maybe it’s an epic poem. It’s called ‘Mickey Dora Lived for Me’ and apart from surfing it gets to deal with ‘The Beach Boys’ too.

Continue reading Why surfing Elves?

And a Happy New Year too!

‘You don’t need to touch that Blossom, I can see just fine thanks; certainly fine enough to give you a new parting with one bullet from the desk shooter. Hands up, please, let’s be traditional.’

nicely with gun close up

Continue reading And a Happy New Year too!

Confessions of a FantasyCon Virgin (Nicely’s going home, he’s going home)

Nicely at Fantasycon2015

Detective Nicely Strongoak has just returned to his spiritual home, as an excited me went back to the University of Nottingham for Fantasycon 2015. Yes, it was here on the Nottingham campus where, after work as an ultrastructural morphologist, I first put down my ideas for the dwarf detective in a modern(ish) fantasy world, on a Apple computer so old it was actually a Pip. And I was now here talking about him.

Officially I was there discussing comedy and fantasy on an excellent panel, with top writers Donna Scott, Frances Hardinge, Steve Jordan, Heather Lindsley and Craig Saunders, and doing a little bit of reading from A DEAD ELF. Unofficially I was getting my first introduction into the current state of fantasy writing in the UK, and very healthy it appears to be.

Continue reading Confessions of a FantasyCon Virgin (Nicely’s going home, he’s going home)

World-building, word building and mac’n’cheese

The second time it happened I was in the bath. The first time I had happily been watching TV. Then up pops some commercial (it was Channel 4, not ITV, I should clarify) for Sainsbury’s and they mentioned a recipe for mac’n’cheese.

WTF?

I was informed it was an Americanism for macaroni cheese, a dish that we have a perfectly good name for, recognisable by generations of UK school children, so they’d immediately know to avoid it on school dinner menus.

Then this morning, in the bath, I was reading the otherwise excellent Jay Rayner restaurant review in the Observer and there it was again: mac’n’cheese! Mac’n’fn’cheese!

mac and cheese
The only Mac and cheese I’ll ever need!

We don’t need your mac’n’cheese, thank you. It’s unnecessary and irritating and just smacks of desperate ‘trendy’ promotion.

I should add at this point that I do not have a general problem with Americanisms. In fact, truth be told, this was part of the joy of first discovering the writing of Raymond Chandler. I loved his 1950s American world full of Chesterfields and Davenports, sharpies and shamuses (shami?), ‘dropping my nickel’ and ‘clam juice’ and if I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, it didn’t matter! It was all part of the joy, the magic of his world, the poetry of the street. And you could work out what was going on even if the exact provenance of a word or expression wasn’t immediately clear.

It was almost inevitable that when I started writing I shouldn’t just get into world building but word building too. The Citadel is a different kind of place and my dwarf detective Nicely Strongoak, does things differently too. So it’s not surprising, with a different history too, that they have different words and expressions too. It’s all part of creating a wonderful space for other people to come visit and it’s great fun too.

So, here are a few choice terms from my work in progress that I’m particularly pleased about: ‘filth-fellowship’, pop-the-pea’, ‘going bite-size’, ‘ground-hugger’, ‘thumb font’ and ‘bleach’. If you don’t understand them now, you’ll soon pick them up, and I hope you’ll enjoy them too, as much as I did the Chesterfields and Davenports and sharpies. Continue reading World-building, word building and mac’n’cheese