Book Jacket

 

rank 926
word count 109027
date submitted 15.07.2009
date updated 20.07.2012
genres: Fiction, Popular Culture, Comedy, E...
classification: moderate
complete

Degree of Exposure

Eric Newman

Professionally reviewed as 'Witty novel ,superbly written, reminiscent of Tom Sharpe.'

Brings new hope for the dead. Even they could enjoy it.

Very sexy too.

 

On impulse Jack joins a creative writing class for something to do.

He is a bit flippant with the tutor, and is told to write 'something funny' for his first homework. The class like it, and as he adds other ideas during the course, he gradually finds it turning into a comic novel.

He fancies Janice, a beautiful classmate, and seeking to ingratiate himself with her he makes her the book's heroine.
Janice is the girl friend of the class tutor, so things get a touch tricky.

Jack's book becomes a savagely satirical and sexy piece of work, peopled with a host of comic characters behaving in an all too human way.....despicably.

It all builds up to a tremendous climax when the whole of Blackpool Illuminations (Northpool in the novel) is laid to waste by a series of clangers that drag the hero into deeper and deeper waters, from which there is seemingly no escape.

Then, with one mighty bound........ well, maybe......maybe not.

**********

.....



 
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, diabolical, disturbing, earthy, explicit, laugh out loud funny, lewd, masochistic, poignant, rumbustious, sardonic, satirical saucy, sexy

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Tenth class

 

I hadn’t bothered to attend Frank’s class while Janice was away, preferring instead to get my head down and really crack on with my writing. This marathon stint over, I was keenly looking forward to seeing her again, doubtless beautifully tanned from her Spanish trip.

She was indeed.

‘Breathless’ was about the best word I could come up with for the effect she had on me when she walked in, looking simply stunning in a clingy multi coloured cotton dress that was something yet nothing at the same time.

‘Hi,’ she said, slipping into the seat next to me, well aware of the impression  she was having not just on me, but everybody else as well, particularly  Frank. Even Damien registered some interest. ‘Get any work done while I was away?’

I fought down my instinct to ravish her there and then and happily serve any lengthy custodial sentence that might follow. ‘Yes, and you?’

‘None,’ she said, ‘too busy enjoying myself.’

That didn’t sound good at all.

 

Frank gave her extra attention, as I would have done in his position, and keen to get him to focus his interest elsewhere I raised the question of what we were going to do to mark the half way point in our course. This would be at our next class, the one immediately before we broke up for Christmas. ‘What about us all relaxing and having a bit of a party? I said.

‘Great idea,’ said Janice.

The others were keen too, and several of the ladies offered to bake mince pies.

‘I’ll bring crisps,’ said Damien, taking us all by surprise.

Frank wasn’t sure the college officials would allow us to do that.

‘Nonsense,’ said Janice. ‘They won’t know about it until it happens, will they?’

‘I’ll bring some wine,’ I said.

‘Me too,’ said Janice, and that settled it.

 

I hadn’t finished with Frank yet. ’As a festive treat,’ I said ‘How about you reading one of your stories to us for a change?’ It was time I found out if he was any good or not.

He was even less sure about that idea. ‘I don’t know…….’ he began, but Janice was quick to back me up.

‘Brilliant idea Jack,’ she said, ‘you will do it won’t you Frank?’

Which question left him nothing else to do but nod his grudging assent.

 

The rest of the evening passed in a bit of a blur for me, and far too slowly.  I couldn’t wait to get her down the pub to find out just what had gone on while she was displaying most of her charms to a director and complete film crew for the best part of a fortnight.

Once safely settled in there in my favourite corner  seat, and with our drinks in front of us I enjoyed getting envious looks again from every other bloke in the room, and Janice was amused by the green glares all their womenfolk were giving her.

‘How was it then?’ I asked her.

‘Fantastic weather,’ she said, teasingly.

‘I should hope it was, with you having to take your kit off every day’

‘It was all very up market actually. We were shooting inside the Museum mostly. Our director turned out to be a man with real taste.’

‘Did he indeed.’

She grinned. ‘Remember you said I might meet somebody in the business and suddenly get swept off my feet?’

My heart sank. ‘Of course,’ I said. Visions of some movie mogul creep with oodles of money to spend on her floated into my mind.

‘Well the producer did make a pretty strong pass at me while I was out there.

Wining, dining, flowers, music, moonlight walks on the beach, the lot. He’s seriously rich with it too. Owns an advertising agency and collects paintings himself.’

‘I know the type’ I said ‘Old Masters on the walls, Young Mistresses on the carpets’.

‘So you’re not going to congratulate me?’

‘On doing what, exactly?’

‘Resisting temptation and telling him thanks, but no thanks.’

Relief swept over me. ‘Congratulations are very much in order in that case. Heartfelt ones if you must know’.

She grinned. ‘Actually he had no chance. He was a bit too old for me.’ I winced.

‘Have you got your revealing sex scene for me to read yet?’

‘Nope’ I said. ‘Nothing to report yet on that front.’

‘Pity. I was looking forward to reading that.’

‘How about you?

‘Like I said, no writing done out there, but I have got some photographs for that bedroom of yours.’ and she fished in her handbag and produced a large envelope stuffed with them.

‘I suggest you look at them when you get home.’

 

 

If I needed any motivation for writing my next scene, these shots of her more than provided it.

Like she said they were very tasteful, but if anything that made them even more erotic.

 

For the first time in a long time Janice found she was dining alone, and as the soup course went by and there was still no sign of Ken she wondered where he could be. His absence, and Janice’s reaction to it, had also not escaped the attention of the other diners.

As happens by this time in such proceedings, new social groupings were already forming, reinforced by their participation in the study groups they had been working in all morning.

These groups had their leaders and led, there were ‘in’ people and there were ‘out’ people. Janice, without the need for any words to be spoken on either side, was clearly in the process of being labelled an ‘out’, someone who didn’t share the values and practices of the rest of them. By these standards even Sam Brophy, with all his faults, was perfectly acceptable to the others, while the more they saw of Janice the further beyond the network they placed her. They sensed what they considered most important, loyalty to the system, was not sufficiently high on her agenda.

They also knew Ken was not of their kind either, but as academics he and Zimmerman moved in such different circles they could not be measured and found wanting in anything like the same way.

 

Part of the antipathy towards Janice was based on jealousy, of course, both because of her appearance and the realisation she would probably be able to succeed in other fields not open to them. The Media for instance, maybe reading the weather forecast on T.V. or, heaven forbid, the evening news. They were right, Anna Ford, another teacher, was to do it soon enough.

They were all enjoying her being stood up by Ken and the main topic of conversation at the other tables was the reason for it. But the vacant chair opposite her didn’t stay empty for long. When the Professor strode in for his lunch and saw how the land lay he moved in immediately to see if there was now any chance Janice could be laid as well.

‘May I join you?  he said, sitting down anyway. ‘

‘No,’ she said, but with a smile. She couldn’t help liking him for his total disregard of any rule or regulation not working for his own benefit.

‘Where’s Arnstruther?’ he asked, helping himself to all the bread rolls as Smoggin went past too slowly with the basket.

‘I have no idea. I thought he might be with you.’

No. Haven’t seen him for hours, he’s nowhere in the hotel that’s for sure. I’ve been looking for him myself.’

‘You don’t think something could have happened to him do you?’

Zimmerman noticed everything, including the anxiety in her voice.

‘Getting keen on him are you?’ It was more a statement than a question.

‘Yes,’ said Janice, surprised at the frankness of her response.

Further discussion of this, or any other topic, was then cut short by Smoggin who, on a signal from his employer, gave the dinner gong an unexpected clout.

 

 

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” said the Major as soon as the reverberations had stopped jiggling every set of loose dentures in the room. ‘I have an important announcement to make.’ And here he paused pompously so as to give his words maximum impact.

‘We have here in our town an annual historic event we celebrate, and which most of you will already be aware of.

But for those who are not, may I be permitted a few moments of your time to tell you about it. I refer, of course, to the switching on of our internationally famous Northpool lights.’

He was on safe ground using the word ‘international’ here, Gangs of Welsh and Scots and Irishmen regularly turned the occasion into a bloodbath.

‘It is my singular honour to be Mayor of Northpool this year,’ he said, beaming with self satisfaction and waiting for a ripple of applause or at least some sign of appreciation from his audience. But none was forthcoming, so he had to plough resolutely on. ‘And in that capacity I wish to extend to you all, as a small gesture of our town’s goodwill, an invitation to share this year’s ceremony with us. This will take place in tomorrow night in our Town Hall, where a very well known television and stage musical personality will be throwing the switch, then performing a live concert on stage for us afterwards.

For the very first time the whole thing is to be televised, so we are all looking forward to a very exciting evening indeed.  My staff will now distribute complimentary tickets for the best seats in the auditorium to you, and I hope you will round off your weekend stay in  Northpool by staying on after your course ends to join with us in our festivities.’

 

The Major’s speech, touched off an excited hum of conversation amongst everybody in the room, as he had expected it would. He had carefully timed it for when attachments between them had formed so as to make it that bit more likely some of them would use it as a convenient excuse to extend their illicit pairings for a few extra hours before having to return home to the dullness of normal family life again.

 

On the face of it the Major’s generosity in offering them these free tickets might seem out of character, but there was a good reason for his actions.

It was fear.

 

This annual ceremony, though nowhere near as famous as the one at Blackpool, was of significant benefit to the little seaside community in bringing in additional spending to the town, and a very great deal of municipal effort was put into it each season to try to make it as big a success as possible. Faced with declining attendances in recent times as its ageing devotees died off, the  Northpool   Illuminations sub committee had this year taken the local equivalent of Mao Tse Tung’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ by breaking with the tradition that the ‘switching on’ ceremony be performed by the wife of the chairman of that sub committee.

 

 

It was because of the need to attract a new generation of visitors to the show and generate more publicity for the town, they had engaged, at vast expense, the chart topping pop idol of the nation’s teenagers, Wally Wittgenstein, to do it instead. The credit for this innovatory move to get more youngsters involved, ‘the mums and dads of nine months hence’ as he forcefully put it, was claimed by Mayor Thwaite himself. But if truth were told, the idea actually came from his daughter.

 

Angela was one of Wittgenstein’s most ardent admirers. From the first time she first almost heard him perform, his voice completely drowned out by the screams of his teeny-bopper audience, she became his devoted fan. No one had wetter knickers when he sang, or threw them at him with more accuracy in their dampened state than her. As the self elected President and practically only member of his local fan club it had been her brainwave to write and tell him she might be able to use her family connection with the Mayor to get him invited to perform the ceremony this year. It was really just an excuse to get in touch with him, and she wasn’t expecting any response, let alone a favourable one, but the suggestion came at just the right time for Wally.

The life of a pop star is but a brief and passing thing, and already he was in danger of being supplanted by other rockers even less able to produce a tuneful note than he was. His manager appreciated this new publicity angle offered by Angela, and accepted on Wally’s behalf immediately. The Illuminations’ sub committee then found themselves with the added bonus that the local T.V. station would now cover the proceedings, something that would not have been the case had Alderman Rushton’s wife Doreen been doing it.

 

With the event only 24 hours away the Major was getting slightly cold feet in case it all went as pear shaped as that Chinese Great Leap Forward did. It was the high spot of any Mayor’s year of office, and there had been quite a lot of opposition to the idea, particularly from Alderman and Mrs Doreen Rushton, who were not without influence in local circles. They and some other councillors thought bringing someone like Wally in would simply alienate the regular attenders  and replace them with just a few kids, with disastrous effects on the town’s beer takings. Not to mention encouraging any manner of extra un-pleasantries.

.By giving out these free tickets to prime seats at the ceremony the Major hoped to cover himself to some extent, and ensure there were at least some suitable people in the front rows for the TV cameras to focus on.

 

‘Sounds an interesting idea,’ said Janice ‘I’ve never been to anything like that.’

Zimmerman snorted. ’Boring rubbish, not even worth thinking about. Give me your hand.’

‘What for?’  She was understandably suspicious of his motives.

‘I will tell you your future.’

Janice   laughed, ‘I would have thought a professor was above fortune telling.’

He smiled. ‘Some universities have a department for it. They call it parapsychology.’

‘I call it ‘hocus pocus’ myself.’

‘But I tell very good hocus pocuses,’ said Zimmerman.

 

’Most of my staff consult me, discreetly of course.  Here, let me show you.’  Not to be denied he took her hand and held it lightly but firmly in his grasp so she could do nothing about it.

‘Well?’ she said finally, as he tantalisingly stared long and hard at it.

‘Arnstruther will be good for you,’ he said.

‘Thanks,’ she said mockingly. ‘He’s my tall dark stranger is he?’

‘I see something else as well,’ said Zimmerman. ’An older man, there was something wrong with his leg, no, his foot, but it is fine now. He tells you to always wear the chain he gave you.’

Janice stiffened and her other hand went up involuntarily to the gold necklace she had round her neck. ‘He says if I say ‘Bohunk’, you will know what I mean.

Janice took her hand away from his. There were tears I her eyes.

‘Someone you know?’

‘My father. He died last year.’

‘I am sorry. I did not mean to upset you. These things happen sometimes.’

‘Bohunk was the name of a puppy he gave me when I was a child. I haven’t thought of it in years.’

 

Before they could pursue the matter any further Ken made his entrance and came across to join them. ‘Sorry I’m late,’ he said,’ I had to pop into town for a few things.’

Smoggin slid by. ‘Lunch is finished,’ he said.

‘Don’t worry about that,’ said Zimmerman, rising to go. He could see he had upset Janice. ‘I will be able to fix you up with something later.’

 

‘Everything alright?’  Ken asked as soon as he was gone, and noticing her manner. ‘Was he propositioning you again?’

‘No, nothing like that. It was just something he said. It unsettled me. It wasn’t his fault.’

‘I bet it was. I’ll tell him to keep well away from you in future if he doesn’t want a punch on his fat nose.’

‘You’ll do no such thing. He was trying to do me a favour in his way. It was a bit weird that’s all. Anyway, what kept you? You’ve had all morning to do your shopping.’

‘Yes I know, things got a bit involved. By the way I borrowed your car to get down there. I hope that was O.K.?’

‘Did you indeed,’ she said. ‘I don’t remember giving you any keys.’

‘Where there’s a will there’s a way as they say. I hot wired it.’

‘Charming.’

‘Bit of a monster for you to be driving isn’t it?’

‘It’s my brother’s. He’s lent it to me while he fixes mine. It is still in one piece I hope?’

‘Yes,’ said Ken. ’Can’t quite say the same thing for myself. Has he got some sort of ‘death wish?’

She laughed. ‘Always been a bit of a ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ fan has Neil.’

 

 

Smoggin made another appearance, smiling toothlessly again at Janice before giving her one of the Major’s invitation cards, and ignoring Ken.

‘What’s all that about?’ asked Ken’.

As she examined it, Janice told him.

‘Are you thinking of going?’

‘Why not?   I’ve never been to a pop concert, it might be fun.’

‘Right,’ said Ken, ‘ I’ll join you if that’s alright.’

‘Fine,’ she said, and when Smoggin wandered within range again Ken made sure he got a ticket too.

 

Elsewhere, Zimmerman sought refuge in the toilet, a place where he usually came up with his best ideas.

Sitting himself down and leaning his head back against the pipes he took stock of his situation. His immediate need was to find some way of filling the afternoon lecturing session without too much energy being expended on his part, and he cursed again the sudden disappearance of his colleagues for leaving him in the lurch like this. There was also the little matter of the future of his Department and his own career prospects to sort out.

Not a man for half measures, the Professor decided to make things trickier for himself by trying to come up with a solution for both difficulties at the same time. It was a technique he had used successfully before. The very act of considering the seemingly impossible forced him into thinking laterally, and that was something he really was good at.

 

Whiling away the time until a suitable inspiration struck, he picked up a leaflet left on the floor by a previous occupant of the cubicle. It was for the Major’s ‘lights’ ceremony and it detailed the history of the event and its continuing popularity, attracting as it did people from all over the North West year after year. The most striking thing about it though, was that it featured a large photograph of Wally Wittgenstein, the star of the forthcoming show, and despite Wally’s blue rinsed Afro hair style, glitter encrusted ears, false eyelashes and red clown spots on each cheek, there was absolutely no doubt in Zimmerman’s mind about the identity of the man he was looking at.

It was not simply your average moronic, pot smoking, musically illiterate, gravel throated, iron lunged pop singer.

It was also Dr Wallace Trescothic  Martindale D.Phil. M.A. (Econ) M.Sc., one of his pair of missing colleagues.

 

Zimmerman’s first reaction was wondering what on earth a middle-aged university senior lecturer was doing dressed up like that. His second was it had to be for money. Success in Show Biz does tend to generate serious pay packets after all. This led on to the realisation Wallace must have been doing this sort of thing behind his back for some time to achieve the sort of stardom sufficient for him to be asked to turn on these lights.

Academics do get a lot of free time for research, and all that ‘study leave’ Dr Martindale had been claiming without producing any results useful to the department made sense now, as did his sudden absence from this Sea View training course. He couldn’t be in two places at once and whatever the Town Hall people were paying had to be more than Arnstruther was offering.

 

The shock of discovering Wally’s duplicity was pretty profound really, and if anything could trigger off a quick burst of the lateral thinking this would have to be it. And so it did.

 

Why couldn’t this whole ‘lights’ shenanigan serve as a pilot study for funding from the Stallybrass Foundation? Knowledge is power, and what better way to spend Sir Cecil’s cash than finding out more about why his workers enjoyed this particular this leisure activity year after year. Maybe there were things to be learned which could be used to transform them into just the sort of docile super productive employees the old boy would have liked. Northport would be full of them the following day, providing perfect fodder for the Professor’s purpose.

 

The trick then would be to pad the proposal out with the statistical gobbledegook of bar charts, graphs, histograms, regression analysis and such like, and provide plenty of appendices. That always impressed Trustees. It suggested the applicant had already done plenty of work and the Trustees had no qualms in not bothering to read them themselves. Dr Wallace Martindale was a past master at this sort of thing and he could give him the choice of doing it, or being fired for unauthorised ‘moonlighting’, when he caught up with him at the Town Hall the following day.

 

It is an essential requirement of such a proposal though, that it is based on a properly conducted survey, by means of a questionnaire aimed at a representative sample of the people in question. What the Professor now realised was that the people gathering in the basement formed another ideal group. One he could use to go out and do this work for him. Even if the survey just finished up proving the blindingly obvious, it wouldn’t matter. It would just give every non-sociologist the immense satisfaction of being able to say ‘I told you so’.

Zimmerman knew it was in the warm glow of that feeling that the most munificent grant cheques are signed.

 

Devising a questionnaire for the people on the course to take out with them tomorrow could also be the afternoon’s job for them, so saving him doing any lecturing over the weekend whatsoever. He might even get a book out of it, and a title for this putative masterpiece sprang easily into his mind as:

’A study of the Behavioural Characteristics of British Workers and their Nuclear Families as a First Step Towards Positively Re-Orientating the Organisational Modes of such Labour Inputs into the Late 20th Century Patterns of Productivity Achieved by Asiatic Work Forces.’

Couldn’t be snappier, or more succinct he thought, and he scribbled it down quickly on a sheet of toilet paper before he forgot it.

 

The really good news, though he didn’t know it yet, was this idea would be falling on more receptive ground than he realised. Sir Cecil’s relatives were still smarting at not inheriting any of the old skinflint’s loot and continually looked for ways of contesting his Trust deed. They had been expensively advised that a prolonged lack of any distributions by the Trustees might show it could be construed as ‘impossible of fulfilment’, which could lead to it being declared legally invalid. The normal rules of inheritance would then apply to their benefit, and all the Trustees would lose their well paid jobs.

The whole thing fitted together so perfectly it was uncanny. Pleased at his creative burst he squeezed out a satisfying ‘big jobbie’, wiped his bottom on the leaflet, completed his ablutions, and set off for the conference room.

 

By the time he got there he had all the finer details of his plan sorted out, so when he actually strode on to the platform to address them it was with the assurance of a man who had devoted half a lifetime considering what he was about to say rather than the few minutes Zimmerman had just spent on the loo.

 

‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he said. ‘This morning I was able, at least with some of the more advanced groups, to outline some of the scope and meaning of my subject and suggest ways in which it might usefully be applied to work in your own field of expertise.’  What work they actually did escaped him for the moment, as did whatever it was he’d said to them as he wandered round earlier commending them on their efforts. He hadn’t said anything of that sort to any of them, but as not a man or woman there would admit to not being in one of the ‘advanced groups’ he was on safe enough ground. His next bit of gamesmanship was an equally certain winner.

‘What particularly impressed me was the high quality of all your discussions. Some of your comments showed real sociological insight, percipience even.’

Sam Brophy, who had made more comments than anyone, felt particularly proud, and thought the Professor should really have singled him out for a special commendation. Zimmerman continued ‘I have therefore decided to  give you all an opportunity, if you are so willing, to assist me with a Research Project of mine that is as yet embryonic, but may well develop into a significant expansion of the frontiers of knowledge.’

 

The effect of these words on that audience can only be described as spellbinding. After just hearing his earlier praise they would have been prepared to do almost anything he asked, but actually to be allowed to assist in professorial level research was almost too much for them. Even Janice found herself swept along by the general air of euphoria and leaned forward excitedly to hear what it was Zimmerman was going to be so generous as to allow them to do for him. ‘Before I go into details, which will of course be strictly classified as highly confidential’, he said, playing on their nerve strings like the experienced fiddler he was. ‘Have I the assurance of your co-operation?’

Their communal response left him in no doubt of that and brought Ken, who had been avoiding the lecture in case he got involved in it again, rushing into the room thinking a revolt had broken out down there .’If there is anyone here who does not wish to take part then I would be glad if he or she left the room now,’ said Zimmerman, enjoying his total ascendancy over them all.

 

Ken made the mistake of trying to ask the man nearest to him what was going on. The ‘shssssssss’ he got left him no wiser, and as the excited atmosphere crackled through the room like static electricity he only gradually learned with all the others, the full extent of the Professor’s masterly plan.

Zimmerman gave them just sufficient details for them to grasp their first part in the exercise. This was to help him by preparing the vital questionnaire which was to establish, on a sound scientific basis, proof of the habitual nature of blue collar workers’ activities.

This task was to occupy them for the afternoon session. They would then be allowed the privilege of going out themselves the following morning and afternoon to conduct interviews with the day- trippers, who would by then be flooding into Northpool for the illuminations and the Town Hall pop concert. The Professor’s final bright idea was to suggest they conduct the survey in pairs, one person to ask the questions, the other to record the answers.

The choice of partners Zimmerman left to them, as a further sociological insight into ‘the formation of leaderless groupings’ as he put it, but really because he couldn’t be bothered doing it himself.

 

The results were predictable. Gordon Hargraves sought to keep his end up, so to speak, with Mrs Wolstenholme, and Ken, not risking relinquishing what he hoped was becoming his accepted place by Janice’s side, volunteered to join in the exercise and go out and about with her. Sam Brophy was a problem of course, but he was finally paired with Eunice Bracegirdle by default, as she was unaccountably found to be absent from the session and was so was not able to raise any objections. Her absence also left Howard Willshaw at a loose end but he was soon snapped up by Miss Ogle, who found she quite liked the idea of not being a virgin anymore and was eager to see if, as in flower arranging, one improved with practice.

 

The mastermind of the plan decided, as masterminds do, that he would remain behind in the hotel on Sunday to

co ordinate the efforts of everyone else.

 

Once left as a committee to decide the actual questions to be asked they soon found they couldn’t agree amongst themselves on any two words in the wording. Sam Brophy elected himself as chairman to help sort things out. His idea of using the formal rules of procedure to govern their deliberations rapidly broke down in a spate of un-seconded proposals, amendments to amendments, points of order, censure motions and then inevitably into a vote of ‘No Confidence in the Chair.’

All this took some time and might have gone on even longer but Zimmerman, having completed his nap, rejoined the session and simply wrote on a wall the questions he had already decided he wanted to use. The Professor then ended the session on a high note by thanking them in advance for their services in getting the forms completed the following day, and hinting that those proving most helpful to the project would receive printed credit for their contribution when the results of these important labours were publicised

The thought of being able to claim some element of joint authorship or joint anything else with a Professor of a leading British University was enough to quicken the professional pulse of practically everyone there, and as they streamed out of the room the excited chatter was all about this fascinating exercise that now lay enticingly before them.

 

 

 

 

The day’s formal proceedings now being over, Janice went off to get herself ready for her date with Ken, leaving him to take stock of the very different way his weekend course was developing.

 

The conference content had changed out of all recognition from what it was supposed to be, and now bore no relation whatsoever to the detailed programme set out in his brochure. Equally obviously there was nothing he could do about it. With Zimmerman determined not to do any lecturing and everyone else clearly preferring him doing what he was doing, it didn’t seem to matter a damn anyway. They were enjoying this weekend course as they had never enjoyed any other, the whole thing was going like a bomb, and here he was already past the halfway point in the proceedings, with money in his pocket and an evening out on the town with Janice in prospect before him.

 

Once back home this lot would tell all their colleagues about what had happened which, with any luck, would in turn put ‘Arnstruther Enterprises’ well and truly on the educational map. Really, at that moment, there seemed to Ken to be no end to the possibilities opening up to him. From this modest beginning he could go National, European, world wide even. Maybe franchise the whole thing, and just sit back and let other people do the work while he creamed off a slice of their profits.

As a first step he decided he could lay on the next one in Majorca. He could take a similar small hotel there, probably at a cheaper rate that the Major was charging him, fly everyone out on a cut price jet deal and maybe get a rake off on the duty free stuff flogged to them as well.

It seemed he might have stumbled on an even better business idea than Billy Butlin’s first Hoopla stall, or Charlie Forte’s original ice cream parlour.

 

These delightful thoughts were then interrupted by the star of his show coming across to have a word with him. ‘Can you spare me a moment?’

‘Of course,’ said Ken.

‘It’s about tomorrow,’ said Zimmerman as soon as they found themselves a quiet corner. ‘This is quite an important project I am setting up here and I need your professional help Dr Arnstruther.’

‘Oh?’ said Ken, warily aware he hadn’t got any professional help to give.

‘The data from these questionnaires will need considerable in depth evaluation to help to remove biases caused by the use of perhaps too small a sample, and the lack of a control group,’ said Zimmerman. ‘As a social scientist you will be familiar with the seminal work of Richards and Mercer on whole population sampling techniques, and Piggott and Wragg’s book on non randomised numbers?’

‘Of course,’ said Ken. As lies went it was one of the smallest he’d told for some time.

‘Good, that’s what I thought you would say,’ said Zimmerman. ‘All the gentlemen I have just named are jockeys.

There are no such books of course.’

 

 

 

There was an awkward pause. Ken realised this was something he wouldn’t be able to talk his way out of so didn’t try. ‘Now you mention it,’ he said ‘I’ve lost a few quid on all of them in my time.’

Zimmerman laughed. ‘I was looking up some notes of mine this lunch time in case I had to give some sort of a lecture, and I came across material I used in a book of mine I wrote many years ago. It was the book you were quoting from so freely in our debate last night young man.’

‘Right,’ said Ken ‘and I must say I thought you put up two very good cases.’

Zimmerman beamed at the praise, then a thought struck him. ‘You don’t happen to recall just what form my refutation took, do you?’

‘No,’ said Ken ‘It was all too much for me to keep up with.’

‘Pity,’ said the Professor. ‘My short term memory for trivia is getting terrible. If I could remember enough of what I said, I would maybe be able to use it on a television programme I have to do next week.’

‘So what happens now?’ said Ken

‘About what?’ said Zimmerman, still busy trying to think what it was he’d said the previous evening.

‘About my not knowing the first thing about sociology and me supposed to have a degree in it.’

‘Oh that,’ said the Professor carelessly. ‘As long as I get paid why should I be bothered? Live and let lie is my motto. I am going to get all three fees I take it?’

‘Oh yes,’ said Ken mightily relieved at not having to face being exposed. ‘You most certainly are.

‘With perhaps just a small bonus for my becoming your accomplice, eh?’

‘No problem,’ said Ken.

Zimmerman smiled. ‘Good. Actually I wouldn’t even have mentioned it but I do need a small favour of you myself. Would you mind helping me out?’

This was a ‘Godfather’ style invitation. Either accept it or it he could get the academic equivalent of a horse’s head in his bed.

‘Well as long as it isn’t too illegal.’

‘Slightly perhaps, but not anything that should cause you any alarm. All I want you to do is allow me to put you down as the author of the report on this survey the others are doing tomorrow, using your title of doctor of course.’

‘But I haven’t actually got a title. It’s only one of those joke American things.

‘Maybe, but apparently they are quite legal.’

What about yours. Are they legit? Or have you bought yours as well?’

Zimmerman laughed. ‘No. Mine are quite genuine I can assure you. But using them to substantiate my own case?  What I need is an independent verification of my findings.’

Ken knew he really had no choice, and had to admire the way Zimmerman avoided any appearance of forcing him into agreeing to the proposition, whilst at the same time making sure he would.

’O.K,’ he said. ‘I’d be glad to.’

‘What’s that you British say about a volunteer being worth ten pressed men?’ said the Professor, smiling and reading his thoughts as they shook hands on their newly formed alliance. ‘By the way, not a word about this to anyone, even the delightful Miss Lindstrom right?’

‘Right,’ said Ken.  Janice was the last one he would have told about anything at this stage anyway. Some time he was going to have to explain he’d spent the entire weekend pretending to be what he wasn’t, and that was a speech he’d have to prepare very carefully if it wasn’t to shatter the fast maturing plans he had to stay with her as long as possible.

‘Good,’ said the Professor. ‘See you later then.’

 

 

It was at about this time that Angela noticed her father was missing when it was time for drinks to be served, an unheard of occurrence. But before either she or Letitia could take any action to find him, Doris, the town ‘know all’ and Letitia’s best friend, rang her to ask if she’d heard about some disaster at sea where they’d had to call the lifeboat out.

‘What disaster?’ said Letitia

‘Not much of a one really, some couple were out in the bay having it off on one of Tom Thornton’s death traps and it sank. Harold Chesters went out with them so it’ll all be in tonight’s ‘Bugle.’

 

‘Might get us some publicity for the Lights ceremony,’ said Letitia, ‘especially if the Manchester Evening News does something on it.’

‘No chance,’ said Angela. ‘It’s probably just a couple of teenagers. Nobody interesting is going to be hiring one of Tom’s boats are they?’

 

 

 

Chapters

14

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Cly wrote 1356 days ago

Hi Eric,
As I've stated in previous comments, I think you're an absolutely brilliant writer! This book is hilarious, when I wasn't laughing out loud, I was at least smirking to myself. I was drawn into your story, both of them, not only by the vivid descriptions, but by the ease with which you tell the story, not to mention the surprise developments, one after another, each more bizarre than the last. I have not been this excited about a book in very long time. As far as comedy, it may very well be the best I ever read. Thank you for a most enjoyable read!
Kind Regards
Cly

Jared wrote 1599 days ago

Eric, this is a wonderful premise and how well you carry it off. I knew from reading your bio page, which is simply brilliant, that I'd love this book. You have an instinct for comedy, whether it be broad or subtle, and the skill to express yourself to maximum effect. I've read all you've posted, enjoyed it all hugely, and placed an order with Amazon for the completed book. You'll have probably guessed by now that I've loved your book.
I found nothing that warranted bringing to your attention; this is writing of professional quality, honed to perfection and an object lesson to many of the members of this site, myself most definitely included, in how to present a piece of work that requires no further editorial attention. I was also pleased to see you had included "rumbustious" as one of your tags. A splendid description of many aspects of your work. As a counterpoint, I'd also add "sensitivity."
Backed with enthusiasm.
Jared.

sodyt wrote 1608 days ago

I'm up to chapter 9 and I can barely wait to continue. This is a masterful story-within-a-story. And did I say my face hurts? From laughing? I'm driving my family nuts -- "Come here, you've gotta read this" or "Listen to this paragraph or this line."
And it's not that you've created outlandish characters or situations (not much anyway) - it's grounded and real and that makes it even funnier.

Backed with wild enthusiasm - checkbook in hand waiting for the first copy to hit Borders.

Diane
The Guardian Chronicles: Seduction


Hi Diane.
Thanks for backing D of E.. and for the heartwarming, rib tickling, ego massaging comments. You have made an old man quite pleased !!!
Assuming you are not pulling my leg, Degree of Exposure is available on Amazon Books. (Borders is apparently now going bust) Actually several kind Authonomists have already bought copies for Xmas for family and friends.
Have WLd your opus and will be back to you witjh comments shortly. Eric

Maria Luisa Lang wrote 1697 days ago

Dear Eric, I’m having a wonderful time with this highly entertaining book: I enjoy how you interweave Jack’s novel into yours, using the evolution of the latter as a parallel to Jack’s involvement with Janice and Frank. Indeed, along with two stories containing hilarious characters and their antics, you also manage to include a very accurate demonstration of how fiction is written.

Your own writing would impress even Frank: the narrative is vivid, quick, and filled with telling images and phrases; the dialogue is replete with realistically superficial exchanges that pass for communication, but become painfully funny when caught in print.

Characters that look and sound as funny as yours are truly rare: it can’t simply be that you meet particularly peculiar people, so I must attribute to you a knack for identifying human peculiarities generally. I also see a fertile, deviously comic imagination at work here: you brilliantly select and exaggerate to achieve the fullest effect, and, as with all masters of comedy, your timing is perfect.

An extremely high degree of pleasure. On my shelf. Maria, The Pharaoh’s Cat

Mandy Lee wrote 33 days ago

Dear Sodyt,
Very funny first chapter. You seem to have left this website alone for a bit. You shouldn't. I'll read more. I like being entertained by funny, intelligent blokes!
Mandy
Stupid Cupid

sodyt wrote 204 days ago



Hi Sam Thanks for your kind and helpful comments on Degree of Exposure. I have WLd your book and will comment on it very shortly. Cheers mate. Eric

This is an extremly funny book. Very sardonic, even satricial. Keenly observed observations about the human world. I'm sure i said something about liking the cover and Blackpooltower/Northpool too...which I have visited a few times myself like many others. I love the whole novel within a novel idea explored via creative writing classes.

The opening chapters are extremly well polished. There were just a few very minor nits along the way:

Chapter 10 after the 3rd paragraph the break is longer than the others to the 4th.
Comma after 'in the pub'? Same sentence has 'all' close together. Maybe delete or re-phrase one of them?
Comma after 'to the stage' at the end?

Chapter 9 Should it be 'intending to use...'?

Chapter7 'Like Hitler invading Russia...' indent needs to come in a few space to the margin i think.

As I say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first ten chapters today. This has the potnetial to me a comical masterpiece. High stars. I'd love it if you could offer your thoughts on 'Dax' but only if you have the time. i know everyone is mad busy these days.

All the best, Sam Barclay ('Dax')

Sam Barclay wrote 205 days ago

Hi Eric...I'll try again...the first time I sent this the computer froze. It was more detailed originally but here goes:

This is an extremly funny book. Very sardonic, even satricial. Keenly observed observations about the human world. I'm sure i said something about liking the cover and Blackpooltower/Northpool too...which I have visited a few times myself like many others. I love the whole novel within a novel idea explored via creative writing classes.

The opening chapters are extremly well polished. There were just a few very minor nits along the way:

Chapter 10 after the 3rd paragraph the break is longer than the others to the 4th.
Comma after 'in the pub'? Same sentence has 'all' close together. Maybe delete or re-phrase one of them?
Comma after 'to the stage' at the end?

Chapter 9 Should it be 'intending to use...'?

Chapter7 'Like Hitler invading Russia...' indent needs to come in a few space to the margin i think.

As I say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first ten chapters today. This has the potnetial to me a comical masterpiece. High stars. I'd love it if you could offer your thoughts on 'Dax' but only if you have the time. i know everyone is mad busy these days.

All the best, Sam Barclay ('Dax')

sodyt wrote 238 days ago
sodyt wrote 238 days ago
sodyt wrote 238 days ago

Hi Maeve.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to give me such a very useful crit of my book. I really am most grateful.

The fact that you have already hit the Ed'sdesk with one book and are about to do it again shows that comedy writing can make it, tho seemingly I can't !

I have self published this book and had a few sales in paperback and on Kindle. It has now to been
taken up by an american publisher and will come out here at the end of the year, but I really don't fancy its chances. More British north country style really than any Yankee flavour.

Look forward to your comedy listing. Could do with a few laughs myself !

Cheers

Eric

 
Eric,
I read the whole book as you posted it and enjoyed it thoroughly. 
I must say that this is one of the most consistently funny and witty books that I have read on Authonomy, and has inspired me to put together a list of the funniest books that I have read on he site, which this book will definitely be on. 
Comedy is a funny thing, and it is easy to find people  to disagree on what qualifies as funny. But this is very cleverly written, and so I think it that will be enjoyed by many with different tastes. 
I especially enjoyed your story within a story mechanism. It gives both stories a slightly whimsical tone which I found highly enjoyable. It also allowed you to bring in completely different styles. I particularly liked the fairy tale you have Frank write, a fun story in its own right. 
Hook and plot- I was not so certain about the beginning of this book. The classified add was a bit of a suspect start, and the mise en scene did not really promise too exciting a read. The real hook came in chapter two, with the very funny and well told (but non sequitur)  story about the Major and his indiscretion. This story showcases your wit and comedic timing wonderfully, and was perfectly delightful. 
This having been said, by the end of these two chapters I was not sure what to expect. On the one hand, this could have been a collection of short stories. On the other,  the story itself could have been completely incidental to the main plot, which could have been the love triangle with Jack, Frank and Janice. This is to say that, while in the whole I find your book delightful, I think the beginning is a bit  unassuming. It is like one of those restaurants they have in the Mediterranean, with dingy entrances leading to magnificent courtyards. 
I am not sure what I would suggest to make the start a bit more gripping. I find I don't like Frank as he is presented at the outset, and so the idea of a rivalry between him and Jack for Janice's affections did not seem very appetising as a subject, so one suggestion might be considering not focusing on either Frank or Janice in the first chapter, but devote it to a shorter, more general description of circumstances, and jump to chapter 2 faster. However, this removes the first chapter hook altogether, which I am not sure is what you want, so perhaps there is nothing for it.
After we pass chapter two, the development of the story within the story goes extremely well.  I love the inevitability of it, how you become compelled to give the Major a background, so you do so in chapter 3, and the need for a sympathetic lead bringing about the creation of Ken, in 4. From then on, the plot of the inner book hooks extremely well, with Ken early on getting himself into such a fantastic mess that we cannot help to read on to find out how he will extricate himself. 
In the real world the story is, of course, driven by the romance. I have to say that to a great degree I found myself reading through these sections to get back to his story. This is not a huge deal, and you probably don't want the two stories vying for attention too much, but I did sometimes feel that the Janice/Frank story could be a bit more nuanced. A bit more double entendre might make these sections more fun, and I really wanted the whole thing to have turned out to be a mistake- that he was in fact Janice's brother-in-law or something. That's just a thought which you should feel free to toss in the bin. 
By contrast, I really liked the side story about the computer programmer gone rogue.  It was great to see this socially inapt and somewhat daft character taking the system for a ride. Part of me felt disappointed that this subplot was not extended further.
Of the story within the story, I have very few criticisms plot-wise. I thought that  it was well paced and entertaining.  My only objection was to the ending, which was a little bit too neat for my taste. I think that the etiquette of romance writing requires the fictional Janice to get angry at Ken before the end of the book. She seems to take the revelation that he has been lying to her all along quite in stride. A bit of wrath would not have gone amiss. I was also surprised that she did not find out that he had hot-wired her car and taken it for a joy ride. The would have been a good opportunity to have her lose her temper.
Character development - I think that part of what makes the story so funny for me is that the characters are so very vibrant. Your two main characters, one in the real and the other in the fictional world, are two faces of the same individual. This allows us to meet him in more contexts that would normally be available. Minor and supporting characters are deliciously described for the most part.  Dr Zimmerman is such a well-rounded and well described character that I could probably read a whole book about him. The landlady and her daughter are almost classic literary characters, described easily in broad strokes. The Major is a fabulous comic character, with clear, though simple, motivations. Angela, again, is a great character in her own right, as are the inn staff, Sam, Wally, the coppers,  and the plethora supporting characters. 
Frankly, the two characters that I had the least feeling for were Frank and real world Janice. I think this is largely because the separation of the fictional and the real universes keep you from expounding too much on these two real world characters, so they pale in comparison to the fictional ones. However, I think that you limit your character development of these two characters a bit by the fact that  you want to keep their relationship a mystery for the sake o some romantic tension. Again, I think I would rather Frank to be perfectly adorable and for Jack to doubt his chances, only to find hat he had nothing to worry about. That would permit us getting more CD of this pivotal character. Just a thought.
Mechanics and style -  In general, this is very well written and I had no objections at all with your style. It is full of subtle and witty twists which fit in very well with the plot, and I found that it was very pleasant to read on the whole.
On mechanics,  something strange happens in chapter six and a couple of other places, where the beginning of the chapter gets repeated. 
I was not reading for typos, so I found very few. In Chapter 11, you talk about the temperature decreasing when they  turn up the heat. It should be increasing. Also, in chapter 20 you make mention of German Marks, which probably still existed when you wrote the book, but no longer do.
I think this book deserves to be doing much better than it is doing. I give it top stars and will put it on my shelf at the next shuffle.
Best of luck with it, 
Maeve

Maevesleibhin wrote 238 days ago

Degree of Exposure. 
Eric,
I read the whole book as you posted it and enjoyed it thoroughly. 
I must say that this is one of the most consistently funny and witty books that I have read on Authonomy, and has inspired me to put together a list of the funniest books that I have read on he site, which this book will definitely be on. 
Comedy is a funny thing, and it is easy to find people  to disagree on what qualifies as funny. But this is very cleverly written, and so I think it that will be enjoyed by many with different tastes. 
I especially enjoyed your story within a story mechanism. It gives both stories a slightly whimsical tone which I found highly enjoyable. It also allowed you to bring in completely different styles. I particularly liked the fairy tale you have Frank write, a fun story in its own right. 
Hook and plot- I was not so certain about the beginning of this book. The classified add was a bit of a suspect start, and the mise en scene did not really promise too exciting a read. The real hook came in chapter two, with the very funny and well told (but non sequitur)  story about the Major and his indiscretion. This story showcases your wit and comedic timing wonderfully, and was perfectly delightful. 
This having been said, by the end of these two chapters I was not sure what to expect. On the one hand, this could have been a collection of short stories. On the other,  the story itself could have been completely incidental to the main plot, which could have been the love triangle with Jack, Frank and Janice. This is to say that, while in the whole I find your book delightful, I think the beginning is a bit  unassuming. It is like one of those restaurants they have in the Mediterranean, with dingy entrances leading to magnificent courtyards. 
I am not sure what I would suggest to make the start a bit more gripping. I find I don't like Frank as he is presented at the outset, and so the idea of a rivalry between him and Jack for Janice's affections did not seem very appetising as a subject, so one suggestion might be considering not focusing on either Frank or Janice in the first chapter, but devote it to a shorter, more general description of circumstances, and jump to chapter 2 faster. However, this removes the first chapter hook altogether, which I am not sure is what you want, so perhaps there is nothing for it.
After we pass chapter two, the development of the story within the story goes extremely well.  I love the inevitability of it, how you become compelled to give the Major a background, so you do so in chapter 3, and the need for a sympathetic lead bringing about the creation of Ken, in 4. From then on, the plot of the inner book hooks extremely well, with Ken early on getting himself into such a fantastic mess that we cannot help to read on to find out how he will extricate himself. 
In the real world the story is, of course, driven by the romance. I have to say that to a great degree I found myself reading through these sections to get back to his story. This is not a huge deal, and you probably don't want the two stories vying for attention too much, but I did sometimes feel that the Janice/Frank story could be a bit more nuanced. A bit more double entendre might make these sections more fun, and I really wanted the whole thing to have turned out to be a mistake- that he was in fact Janice's brother-in-law or something. That's just a thought which you should feel free to toss in the bin. 
By contrast, I really liked the side story about the computer programmer gone rogue.  It was great to see this socially inapt and somewhat daft character taking the system for a ride. Part of me felt disappointed that this subplot was not extended further.
Of the story within the story, I have very few criticisms plot-wise. I thought that  it was well paced and entertaining.  My only objection was to the ending, which was a little bit too neat for my taste. I think that the etiquette of romance writing requires the fictional Janice to get angry at Ken before the end of the book. She seems to take the revelation that he has been lying to her all along quite in stride. A bit of wrath would not have gone amiss. I was also surprised that she did not find out that he had hot-wired her car and taken it for a joy ride. The would have been a good opportunity to have her lose her temper.
Character development - I think that part of what makes the story so funny for me is that the characters are so very vibrant. Your two main characters, one in the real and the other in the fictional world, are two faces of the same individual. This allows us to meet him in more contexts that would normally be available. Minor and supporting characters are deliciously described for the most part.  Dr Zimmerman is such a well-rounded and well described character that I could probably read a whole book about him. The landlady and her daughter are almost classic literary characters, described easily in broad strokes. The Major is a fabulous comic character, with clear, though simple, motivations. Angela, again, is a great character in her own right, as are the inn staff, Sam, Wally, the coppers,  and the plethora supporting characters. 
Frankly, the two characters that I had the least feeling for were Frank and real world Janice. I think this is largely because the separation of the fictional and the real universes keep you from expounding too much on these two real world characters, so they pale in comparison to the fictional ones. However, I think that you limit your character development of these two characters a bit by the fact that  you want to keep their relationship a mystery for the sake o some romantic tension. Again, I think I would rather Frank to be perfectly adorable and for Jack to doubt his chances, only to find hat he had nothing to worry about. That would permit us getting more CD of this pivotal character. Just a thought.
Mechanics and style -  In general, this is very well written and I had no objections at all with your style. It is full of subtle and witty twists which fit in very well with the plot, and I found that it was very pleasant to read on the whole.
On mechanics,  something strange happens in chapter six and a couple of other places, where the beginning of the chapter gets repeated. 
I was not reading for typos, so I found very few. In Chapter 11, you talk about the temperature decreasing when they  turn up the heat. It should be increasing. Also, in chapter 20 you make mention of German Marks, which probably still existed when you wrote the book, but no longer do.
I think this book deserves to be doing much better than it is doing. I give it top stars and will put it on my shelf at the next shuffle.
Best of luck with it, 
Maeve

LondonFog wrote 344 days ago

Hi Eric,

Only had chance to read the first chapter but i was impressed with your skills. The way you introduce the characters and the playful way you expose soft stereotypes , the tightness of the story is also something to be admired. From what i've read so far i am confident in saying i will be back for more. Definatley on my watch list!

Tom
Paradise, Volume I

Tornbridge wrote 361 days ago

Degree of Exposure
By Eric Newman

This is a funny opening (ooh err missus) and effortless prose. I like the line about not fancying the women on the antiques road show who know all about the toys. I liked the later comparison between life’s problems now in the 70’s with Al Queda vs the TUC.

The comic style to this is obvious and it felt like putting on a pair of lovely comedy slippers. Like Tom Sharpe and even maybe the old TV series’ ever decreasing circles’, there is much wit to be tapped in the everyday life of middle England.

Having read a few chapters, I then read the bio and a couple of things fell into place. Firstly, the depth of experience you bring to the page - let’s face it you’re no spring chicken and likely remember running home up that cobbled hill from the mine with a white loaf under your arm. Secondly, you’re no stranger to writing.

Best of luck with this, Eric. I’ll give you 5 stars just for fighting in the war.

Tornbridge
The Washington Adventure

Iva P. wrote 487 days ago

Dear Eric,

After reading the catchy long pitch, I had a quick look at the first chapter. I found good stuff there and I expect to return after Christmas to read more, but for the moment I have the following suggestion:

“I certainly hadn’t expected meeting up with anyone like her in a place like this.”

The question - what kind of a place is it? - is not answered for the next five or six paragraphs. Don’t assume that the chapter title explains everything. I suggest that instead of hanging the reader in a vacuum, you should replace “place like this” with “creative writing class”. Now you have the reader instantly grounded with three simple words.

Hope this helps,

Iva

Brian G Chambers wrote 489 days ago

Oh Eric what a howler. The second chapter with them in the boat had me in stiches. I have a very visual imagination and could see exactly what you were writing. The line where she loosened her hair and let it flow, to mid ear lenghth was really funny. Then she kicked their clothes overboard. Great great stuff. You'll do well with this. Six stars from me and going on my WL.
Brian.

Janet/Helen wrote 497 days ago

Degree of Exposure. chapters 1/3 inc.
Has this book been away for its holidays? What are you Authonomy readers doing for goodness sake? Why is this not on 300 bookshelves? It is superb writing, hilarious, and just makes you laugh from one line to the next. Is it only me who likes to have a really good laugh?
6 stars, on watchlist for a shelfspace at the end of this month. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger In My Life

Kit Fox wrote 499 days ago

Hi Eric,

You have had heaps of great comments on this so hardly need mine. Oh if you insist then. I love your style of writing, it is both witty and sharp. Love the characters and the idea of telling the story within the story, great idea. If I'm being critical, I would like to see more description of place and people to compliment the voices and situations. This should really have hit the Editors desk so I will hold a book shelf eviction ceremony and give you my backing.

I was a soldier once too. Excused boots rather than rifle - probably to stop me running away ;-)

All the best

Kit Fox

Software wrote 504 days ago

Oh, I like this. Its irreverent, pithy and precise with its deconstruction of myths and holy cows. It makes the funny bone ache from the off with a lively creation of instantly recognizable characters and the unforeseen affairs that overtake them. Lot of careful craft has gone into making this contemporary comedy both engaging and a page turner. Recommended and highly starred.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

GOTHIC-PAGE-TURNER wrote 630 days ago

Eric,
The opening had me laughing immediately - own Teeth, haha! The initial dialogue between Janice and Jack is natural/believable.
Love it when the techy says 'My mother says I should get out more.'
I've only read first chapter but will definitely read more. Why? Because this is comical, fresh, witty.
Eric - you're a great writer - I didnt even pick up on any typo's or grammar/pov problems. Fabulous. AJB

sodyt wrote 631 days ago

Your writing is witty, fluid and all around well put together. I appreciate your sense of humor. You've clearly made good use of your decades of practice, and the fact that you've maintained your sharpness is reassuring for those of us trailing behind you. I couldn't find anything to nitpick at all, darn it! Best of luck with this.
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/



Hi Tod. Many thanks for your kind comments on Degree of Exposure. Much appreciated.
I have WLd your book and will get back to you on it soonest. Loved the title which
promises much inventiveness within.. Cheers Eric

Tod Schneider wrote 631 days ago

Your writing is witty, fluid and all around well put together. I appreciate your sense of humor. You've clearly made good use of your decades of practice, and the fact that you've maintained your sharpness is reassuring for those of us trailing behind you. I couldn't find anything to nitpick at all, darn it! Best of luck with this.
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

Odette67 wrote 633 days ago

HI Eric,

i wondered if you fancied swapping books, comments etc. its taken me a while, i think imight nearly have the hang of it now?
I have put your book on my watchlist and have a read in a little while

many thanks

kate

off the rails

back to you

Colin Neville wrote 660 days ago

I like the way that this is a story within a story. The creative writing class gives Jack an opportunity to blend real life with fiction, as fiction and his present life combine in his story.

The novel starts in a subtle way and it soon became clear that the witty personal ads were part of a creative writing class. I enjoyed the writing class scenes very much indeed: inhabited by recognisable students, and certainly a recognisable tutor - both in his personality and the lazy way he ran the class.

I liked the emerging background storylines of Jack and Janice, who felt very real characters to me. The dialogue in both the evening class, and within the inner story work well too, and there were some very funny and recognisable sections - particularly in the Jobcentre and at the university (chapter 6 has been loaded twice).

The writing is assured and confident, although felt that too many exclamation marks was reducing the desired effect.

Books including scenes in creative writing classes are often of interest to readers interested in the creative writing process, so I felt, therefore, that the author could break up the inner stories a little more by describing or reflecting on the process, e.g. telling us how he is going about writing the scene; his feelings at the time etc., then returning to the inner story. I felt this would add a multi-dimensional structure to these sections and would also add additional interest to those readers interested in writing. It could also show us how Jack is relating/linking his current emotions to the inner story.

Engaging work; I particularly liked the two-tier level of writing here - a good idea.

Colin Neville

sandy-1 wrote 704 days ago

DEGREE OF EXPOSURE

I love the sense of humour!
I loved the beginning, it created a great picture in my mind, and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next in the second chapter, it was so funny.
This is a great page-turner, its well written and extremely funny.
Highly starred!
Ruby Middleton
'Will Ryan'

JamesRevoir wrote 709 days ago

Hello Eric:

Although Degree of Exposure is not my normal genre, I have to say that you have been uniquely gifted with a tremendous sense of humor. It is very rare that I encounter a book in which every character is actually likeable, but you have achieved this distinction in this book.

Best of luck and success.

James

Tod Schneider wrote 719 days ago

A well written tale, with snappy dialog and good pacing. The interwoven stories work well.
Best of luck with this!
--Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

patio wrote 723 days ago

this is a excellent piece of narrative. i'm hooked

sodyt wrote 726 days ago

{Degree of Exposure} – Eric Newman
Chapter 1:

I like the idea and the way you open this book, with snappy dialogue that makes the reader jump into the scene. The first person works well, and I like the approach you take. Cleverly done!

Here are just some detailed notes I made, that I hope you will find useful! All humble suggestions, feel free to take or leave anything :)

Para ‘I certainly hadn’t expected meeting up…’ → the second sentence has two ‘was’ in it, and I feel it could be smoother. Perhaps reword these sentences to something like: ‘She was a lot younger than me, probably mid-twenties, looking stunning in her stylish clothes. Out of my league to be honest. Not that I’m getting past it, you understand.’ → Because of the perspective, ‘probably’ implies this is his best guess. Furthermore, I cut off the sentence at ‘out of my league’ because I thought a short phrase mimics thought process more. Put a comma in as well in sentence ‘not that I’m getting past it, you understand’ also to create some more variation in tone and rhythm.

Para ‘So what we were both looking for…’ → sentence feels a little wordy and I don’t feel that ‘along presumably’ works well in that order. How about: ‘So what we were both looking for, presumably along with everyone else in the room, was expert guidance from a published author willing to share his skills.’ → ‘with us’ is implicit, because they are the subject. I also changed around ‘along presumably’ to ‘presumably aong.’

How about just simply; ‘And we got Frank O’Malley.’ → shorter and more impact. Removed ‘was’ as well, which feels passive. I also don’t think that ‘what we got’ makes too much sense, because Frank is a person, so it should be ‘who’, then again that doesn’t fit the sentence…

Maybe some more dialogue modifiers in the section of dialogue beginning ‘No. This is a first for me.’ → Then again your writing is quite clear, and I understand wanting to just have short dialogue statements to keep the pace moving! :) Either way it works

How about; ‘Middle-aged women made up the rest of the class’ → eliminates passive voice ‘was made up’ and makes the women the subject of the sentence. Just a thought

But overall, a balanced beginning that engages the reader. Very well written too, I’m just an extremely fussy person :P so the above suggestions are all incredibly nit-picky! I look forward to reading more of this when I get the chance :)

Cara
The Awakening: Dawn of Destruction



Hi Cara .
Thanks for taking the trouble to give me your detailed comments on Chapter One of my book.

The problem is that I write with a certain style and flow. What you say is perfectly valid, but I run the risk of overwriting if I start to polish it to the extent you suggest.

As you will see from many of the other comments, it is not a problem for most people.

I have Wld your book, and will get back to you on it shortly, tho as you have spotted. fantasy is really not my thing. Regards Eric

Cara Gold wrote 726 days ago

{Degree of Exposure} – Eric Newman
Chapter 1:

I like the idea and the way you open this book, with snappy dialogue that makes the reader jump into the scene. The first person works well, and I like the approach you take. Cleverly done!

Here are just some detailed notes I made, that I hope you will find useful! All humble suggestions, feel free to take or leave anything :)

Para ‘I certainly hadn’t expected meeting up…’ → the second sentence has two ‘was’ in it, and I feel it could be smoother. Perhaps reword these sentences to something like: ‘She was a lot younger than me, probably mid-twenties, looking stunning in her stylish clothes. Out of my league to be honest. Not that I’m getting past it, you understand.’ → Because of the perspective, ‘probably’ implies this is his best guess. Furthermore, I cut off the sentence at ‘out of my league’ because I thought a short phrase mimics thought process more. Put a comma in as well in sentence ‘not that I’m getting past it, you understand’ also to create some more variation in tone and rhythm.

Para ‘So what we were both looking for…’ → sentence feels a little wordy and I don’t feel that ‘along presumably’ works well in that order. How about: ‘So what we were both looking for, presumably along with everyone else in the room, was expert guidance from a published author willing to share his skills.’ → ‘with us’ is implicit, because they are the subject. I also changed around ‘along presumably’ to ‘presumably aong.’

How about just simply; ‘And we got Frank O’Malley.’ → shorter and more impact. Removed ‘was’ as well, which feels passive. I also don’t think that ‘what we got’ makes too much sense, because Frank is a person, so it should be ‘who’, then again that doesn’t fit the sentence…

Maybe some more dialogue modifiers in the section of dialogue beginning ‘No. This is a first for me.’ → Then again your writing is quite clear, and I understand wanting to just have short dialogue statements to keep the pace moving! :) Either way it works

How about; ‘Middle-aged women made up the rest of the class’ → eliminates passive voice ‘was made up’ and makes the women the subject of the sentence. Just a thought

But overall, a balanced beginning that engages the reader. Very well written too, I’m just an extremely fussy person :P so the above suggestions are all incredibly nit-picky! I look forward to reading more of this when I get the chance :)

Cara
The Awakening: Dawn of Destruction

Brigitte_2 wrote 729 days ago

Hi Eric, great idea for an introduction to your story. You nearly lost me with the introduction, which was too much home turf until the story took off and I want to read more.
deserves a good star rating and the rest.
Brigitte
You will dance again!

fictionguy wrote 729 days ago

This is very good and a sense of humor at last on thism site. I took to it more because I taught creative writing in college for a few years and after I retired did some teaching like that person, but I was never a hippie, though I like some of the music. Not all. You're right about couples. If you ever feel down, go toi the local marriage license office and watch the couples coming out. You'll have no idea who these people ever met or got together,
after while, you will be rolling on the floor laughing.
I like the writing style, the insights and of course, the humor. I give it four stars and will probably come back to read the rest when things calm down here.. Let me know when it is published. I will spread the word.

Tom Bye wrote 731 days ago

Hello Eric-
book Degree of Exposure-

~~read the first five chapters and then some more at random-
the cover alone is a pull in- that hat on the top of Blackpool tower - like it-

it's a very good book laced as it is with humour- of more interest to those of us, who at any stage
attended a creative writing class-

Liked this one with Frank at the helm as he thinks of the class as two divisions- the writers and the non writers-
It's written in an updated style that moves along at a fast pace-

Really enjoyed what i have read and it did have me smiling to myself-

good luck with this most enjoyable read-

Tom Bye
book- from hugs to kisses-
have a feeling that your might enjoy chapters 36-38-41- please read if you can- thanks

benedict wrote 732 days ago

Hi Eric,

this is for the read swap we agreed to.

This is great fun. I'm really enjoying it. A brilliant, witty opening that made me laugh out loud sets up an extremely funny story.

Having taught and participated in them, I can very much recognise the creative writing class atmosphere and the teacher is quite an intriguing character from the outset. I hope you continue to develop typical Cre Writ class scenarios as the book continues - over precious/sensitive writers, pretentiousness, endless emotional poetry, making people cry (something I've achieved more than once). It is a situation ripe for comedy and I will have to read on to find out.

Here are my close comments on the first two chapters
Fantastic opening
What about - Aspiring Actress seeks Youthful, Passionate, Handsome, Multi- Millionaire OCTOGENERIAN. Recent photo and Certified Accounts required.’

I certainly hadn’t expected TO MEET up
- infinitive after expect

two ladies on the ‘Antiques Road Show’
– second quotation mark

The ice breaking exercise he’d set us to start off with was quite a neat idea THOUGH. IT did serve to get us all chatting – Was a very long sentence – better divided up like this into two?

some of them can be attracted to A ‘bit of rough’ like him.
-also, maybe ‘lecturer’s perks’ doesn’t need the punctuation, it automatically makes people stop and read it ‘ironically’ and you already have another 'one in the same sentence.’ - see what I mean?

‘So what had you got in mind?’ = ‘So what sort of thing did you have in mind?’
- perhaps sounds more natural?

In this chapter I found Frank quite likeable, is that what you intended?

Ch2
,all manner of persons DESIRE all other manner of persons
-you’re not talking about love, your talking about attraction and sex.

continue to happen, ad hoc, ad infinitum, ad NAUSEAM.
-typo? (I think, I don't speak Latin, is this a special conjugation?) but I also moved the ad nauseam to the end as I feel it’s the real cynical punch line
-very funny!

was just such an archetypal case of empathy at first sight. They shared just about a
-two justs

Popeye and Olive Oyl. Suddenly there was no tomorrow, only now.
-full stop in middle

satisfy their passions. WITHIN moments they had arranged a tryst for that very afternoon, which was the earliest time the Major could get AWAY.
-full stop and deleted words at end for punchiness

swainette nevertheless
all-seeing
local rate
-unnecessary spaces in each phrase

Thornton would still be incapable in some pub
– incapacitated maybe? Incapable’s not clear

What are the ping pong balls for? Am I being naive?

Sea Goddess – no capitals also maybe sea nymph would be more fitting –she seems to be submissive in her fantasies

too much for any woman to bear. – to bear would be negative, to resist/handle would work better

All this experience he now intended TO BRING
-infinitive after intend

anything she had ever EXPERIENCED before, and in so doing his own

feelings would be transported to the very highest level the depths his depravities were capable of descending into.
-mixed metaphor intentional? Descending to the highest level...?

Too gay an abandonment IT turned out, as in her ecstasy she kicked the bag (comma) containing all their clothes (comma) clean over the side.
– jarring as you have to read it a couple of times to realise you’re not talking about clean clothes. Maybe add the two commas to slow the sentence down or delete the words between commas.

Really looking forward to reading more, let me know if my comments are helpful - though of course they are just suggestions.

highly starred!

Benedict

EllieMcG wrote 732 days ago

I won't lie. I started reading because I thought you had the funniest profile on authonomy. "Double Incontinence," indeed. With high expectations, I began Degree of Exposure. You didn't disappoint.
Your story-within-a-story in chapter 2 is perfectly ridiculous. "affection for the very young and the very dead." I've never laughed at a joke about paedophilia before, so I'm not sure if I should congratulate you, or despise you for making me feel terrible about myself for laughing aloud. The descriptions are suitably ludicrous, often hilariously revolting.
I'm up to chapter 4. I occasionally have difficulty following the second-story. Though I get the feeling this is purposeful.
Overall, great stuff. Six stars from me.
Elspeth

Margaret0307 wrote 733 days ago

A brilliant idea to weave one story into another and this has been done very skilfully. This book is well-written and very entertaining. It is also clear the author understands human nature! The various characters Frank, Janice, the Major, Ken, Mavis etc are very ‘real’ in many ways. The Major’s sexual fantasies; the rivalry between Frank and Jack regarding Janice – and having to wait several chapters before Jack finally asks Janice out; the perceptive comment about ‘how quickly people can adapt to sudden changes in their circumstances’ with the example of the lottery and Ken’s behaviour and much more besides.

It is also a great idea to then bring Janice into the book thus bringing the two stories together.

Whilst this is not usually the sort of book I would choose to read I can nevertheless still be impressed by the talent of the writer. I have rated it highly and would summarise it as witty, perceptive, entertaining and very well written.

Margaret
How do I know I know God?

scoz512 wrote 733 days ago

Eric, thanks for takig me up on the offer. I gobbled up the first two chapters and then there was an error when I got to chapter 3. I skipped to chapter 4 (stupid-I know) and got a bit lost...duh! so I will have to come back and check in on chapter 3 again some time.

But so far let me just say that your book is very light-hearted and fun. I enjoyed it from the get-go and I'm certain the rest will continue to deliver. Jack's voice is easy and honest, but not overdone in the first person like some new writing tends to be. I like his point of view, the "middle-aged women" in the class described as "groupies" had be cracking up. In short-he's believable and likable which is certainly important in an MC. I also love the writing within a writing. Not that this idea has never been done, but you don't see it very often and you do a fantastic job. I like the way Jack writes as well as thinks.
I would only say that there are a few moments where a comma could come in use (e.g.) very beginning "out of my league, to be honest" and "Not that I'm getting past it, you understand"

Also, I want to know a little more about Jack right off the bat that doesn't have to deal with the class. I'm only saying this after reading a few chapaters and I am most certain that you do more of this later on, I just wanted to point out that I'm alreadt itching for more details. Otherwise, I might get the feeling I'm back in college taking a creative writing class myself. Not so bad-but I want more of Jack's life.

That's all for now. Sorry I didnt 'get further yet, I just got distracted with that error on chapter 3

Sara

sodyt wrote 733 days ago

It was your bio that attracted me to your book. I think mine may need a bit of work. You are a very clever writer with too much wit for one man. This is a keeper, which means it must be bought in hard back and kept on your book shelf to be revisited time and time again. While I wait for it to be published I will give it space on my virtual shelf and continue to read and laugh.
My very best wishes,
Olive.

Hi Olive. Your wait is ov er!!! My book is available at a modest price, second hand, on Amazon books uk, alsoon Kindle. Thanks for the kind review. I have Wld Your book and will be back to you on it shortly. Cheers Eric

sodyt wrote 733 days ago

The structure of this story around the writer attending a writing class really works for me. I'm interesting in the class - having been to a few! - and enjoying the comedy there. It's great then, to see how the story within a story develops in response to his attending the class. Very clever!
I've read to the end of chapter 4 so far and I have lots of favorite bits but the sexual energy created by the Major's mustache will stay with me for some time!
One of the great fun reads on Authonomy, I think.
Best,
Kate
The Licenser

Hi Kate . Thanks for the splendid review. I have a bit of a moustache myself, tho its withering a bit now.... much like the rest of me !!! I have WLd your book and will get back to you on it soon. Cheers Eric

sodyt wrote 733 days ago

I found it hard to read it online - I wanted to read it in paperback - on the beach to get the full impact of the humour, the interwoven story. I hope you do well.
All teh best
Bridget
The Road from Makhonwja



Hi Spice. Assuming you are not pulling my leg, my book is available, at a modest price second hand, on amazon books uk also on Kindle. Have wld your book and will read it soon. Cheers eric

sodyt wrote 733 days ago

Dear Eric,
It is quite obvious from perusing a few of the comments below that you have won over some very fervent fans and there is no wondering why when one reads your book. It is surely one of the cleverest stories I have ever read. To say I am in love with it is an understatement. Awe and adoration get a bit closer.
With that said, I intend to prove my devotion to your work by pointing out a few mistakes that others have probably skipped over in their enthusiasm to read more of your fantastic story. I only point these out as I am sure that you will want to correct them once they come to your attention. They are minor typing errors so fixing them will only add a bit of extra shine to what is already a brilliant work of art. Here goes!
Chapter #3
1.After all her mam kept going on about her eating peanut butter...
I think a comma following ALL will make this sentence easier to read.
1a. After all, her mam kept going on about her eating peanut butter...
2.but all set to fire the first shot in her mother's campaign get Ken firmly...
There obviously needs to be the word TO inserted after CAMPAIGN.
2a. but all set to fire the first shot in her mother's campaign to get Ken firmly...
3.Catching him in still bed for warmth and comfort..
You want to rearrange IN and STILL.
3a. Catching him still in bed for warmth and comfort...
4. ...to surround him with sufficient of her cleavage to make any escape...
You want to insert a word after SUFFICIENT. I'm guessing you wanted to write AMOUNT here.
4a. ...to surround him with sufficient amount of her cleavage to make any escape...

Okay, that's enough for now. I haven't read beyond chapter three but I certainly intend to do that in the near future. Eric, I would be deeply honored if you would perchance take a look at my humble offering, What We Live For. It is my first attempt at writing anything akin to a book so don't expect too much. Still, your feedback would be very much appreciated.
Bye for now!
Anthony



Hi Anthony. thanks for your generous comments. Much appreciated. I have Wld your book and will be back to you on it shortly.

I have taken on board that my reviews are a bit ancient and will put up some more recent ones. Happily I have plenty to choose from. Regards Eric

Antonius Metalogos wrote 734 days ago

Dear Eric,
It is quite obvious from perusing a few of the comments below that you have won over some very fervent fans and there is no wondering why when one reads your book. It is surely one of the cleverest stories I have ever read. To say I am in love with it is an understatement. Awe and adoration get a bit closer.
With that said, I intend to prove my devotion to your work by pointing out a few mistakes that others have probably skipped over in their enthusiasm to read more of your fantastic story. I only point these out as I am sure that you will want to correct them once they come to your attention. They are minor typing errors so fixing them will only add a bit of extra shine to what is already a brilliant work of art. Here goes!
Chapter #3
1.After all her mam kept going on about her eating peanut butter...
I think a comma following ALL will make this sentence easier to read.
1a. After all, her mam kept going on about her eating peanut butter...
2.but all set to fire the first shot in her mother's campaign get Ken firmly...
There obviously needs to be the word TO inserted after CAMPAIGN.
2a. but all set to fire the first shot in her mother's campaign to get Ken firmly...
3.Catching him in still bed for warmth and comfort..
You want to rearrange IN and STILL.
3a. Catching him still in bed for warmth and comfort...
4. ...to surround him with sufficient of her cleavage to make any escape...
You want to insert a word after SUFFICIENT. I'm guessing you wanted to write AMOUNT here.
4a. ...to surround him with sufficient amount of her cleavage to make any escape...

Okay, that's enough for now. I haven't read beyond chapter three but I certainly intend to do that in the near future. Eric, I would be deeply honored if you would perchance take a look at my humble offering, What We Live For. It is my first attempt at writing anything akin to a book so don't expect too much. Still, your feedback would be very much appreciated.
Bye for now!
Anthony

SpicePepe wrote 734 days ago

I found it hard to read it online - I wanted to read it in paperback - on the beach to get the full impact of the humour, the interwoven story. I hope you do well.
All teh best
Bridget
The Road from Makhonwja

katemb wrote 734 days ago

The structure of this story around the writer attending a writing class really works for me. I'm interesting in the class - having been to a few! - and enjoying the comedy there. It's great then, to see how the story within a story develops in response to his attending the class. Very clever!
I've read to the end of chapter 4 so far and I have lots of favorite bits but the sexual energy created by the Major's mustache will stay with me for some time!
One of the great fun reads on Authonomy, I think.
Best,
Kate
The Licenser

Olive Field wrote 735 days ago

It was your bio that attracted me to your book. I think mine may need a bit of work. You are a very clever writer with too much wit for one man. This is a keeper, which means it must be bought in hard back and kept on your book shelf to be revisited time and time again. While I wait for it to be published I will give it space on my virtual shelf and continue to read and laugh.
My very best wishes,
Olive.

jlbwye wrote 735 days ago

Degree of Exposure. Love the humour of your pitch, promising a lively and entangled plot.

Ch.1. Oh dear, I've never discovered what GSOH stands for - perhaps you can enlighten an ignorant old lady?
You're a professional. It stands out a mile. And I know I wont find any (unintentional) nits. (parenthesis added with hindsight).
That first scene is spot on.

Ch.2. You've got me giggling like a schoolgirl already, with that 'first attempt' at a story. '... in his wettest dreams...' And the literary inuendos, many of which I'm sure are right over my head. But I, too, was tickled by the Michael Angelo reference.
And I just love Eunice when she says 'You dont even know which direction we should be going in.' And kicking the engine - What fun.

Ch.3. This part is a bit boring, after the excitement of Chapetr 2. There's too much preamble.

Ch.4. Now you're getting down to brass tacks. This story has many levels. Clever. You're getting further and further away from the beginning ... where's the plot? Lost it?
And there's an awful lot of culling which'll need to be done to that story.
Ah - we're at last coming round to the point - but I prefer the 'real' bits in the classroom...

A masterful parody indeed, from which much to learn if one is so inclined.

Thankyou for the entertainment.
It's an honour being on your shelf. Here's a sprinkling of stars as a thankyou for being such a loyal supporter. I'm so grateful, and hope you'll continue to the end, which is now actually in my sights!
Jane.

tojo wrote 736 days ago

I have stopped at chapter 6 just to add my comment, then go back to reading it. If your feeling down and need cheering up, you could drink a bottle of whiskey or read this book. The whiskey will leave you a thumping head ache and empty pocket, this book will only leave you with a delightful ache in your thighs through laughing so much. Crits, sorry too busy laughing to notice any, there probably is, I just don-t give a damn. 6 ******

Portraits Of A Small Peasant.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 738 days ago

DEGREE OF EXPOSURE
I was a creative writing major in college so have set through classes like this where the teacher gave us a writing assignment, then read the morning paper. So identified with Jack from the start. He’s a sympathetic character because he’s trying something new. His first short story is good. I’m wondering, tho, if you want to include the whole story at this point (it really breaks up the flow of the story). Maybe have him struggle to write it and break it into small bits so his relationship with Janice can flourish? Either way, this is a good read. Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

LizX wrote 738 days ago

The first paragraph with the abbreviated descriptions of each character made made me wonder if they were in a writing class or a dating agency. “Hello, I'm Jack Baxter.” would have been a more realistic introduction. Unless it was something Frank had them write down and hand around, it didn't come over as natural speech. Not many people describe themselves in initial abbreviations – it didn't help because I haven't got a clue what G.S.O.H was.

The rest of the chapter was good. Frank looks as though he could well take over prime position. His character and dialogue were excellent.

For some reason, I got the impression Janice was new to the class as well, but as she was familiar with Frank then she obviously wasn't. Wondered why Jack didn't have some internal thought on that.

There was a tiny slip out of pov in the sentence which started “Right,” said Frank. Jack wouldn't have known whether or not Frank thinking his leg had been pulled. As the rest of the chapter was from Jack's pov it jarred.

The comic scene which comprises most of chapter two was well executed. It's sheer graphicness in the description department made sure my feet got wet when they fell off the lilo. Ver funny and with no edit nits to distract from the action.

I was a bit disappointed in chapter three when Jack disappeared to be replaced again by the major and his wife. I wanted more Jack, more Janice and alright, I'll admit it.... much more of Frank.

The start of four re-captivated me once more with the interaction in the writing class...but I wanted more. I wanted to know what went on between Frank and Janice when he was getting a ride home. What she got up to when she wasn't in class and Frank too. They are three really strong characters which seem to have been relegated to back stage when they should be in the limelight.

Am still reading, but work calls... even on a Sunday. So will catch up with you again during the week.

Adeel wrote 738 days ago

An amusing, descriptive and well written book. Your writing style is very impressive, dialogue are realistic with vivid charachters and narrative is at great pace. Highly rated.

Eddie Santos wrote 738 days ago

I've read only two chapters from 'Degree of Exposure', as this is all the time I had left for reading today, but I wished I had more hours in my day to read all the chapters of this book in one go.
It is funny, entertaining, well written. A wonderfull piece of work. It may need a bit of editing, but I can not actually judge editing or punctuation, as English is not my first language. I can only say that this is a great book and I look forward reading some more tomorrow evening, when I may have some more time. I am rating it with 6 stars and adding to my watching list. As soon as it is possible it should be on my shelf for a few days for support, as it deserves, but I am happy to back it at any time when it get closer to the editor's desk.
Eddie

Estelene wrote 738 days ago

I laughed when I read the comment about sexual attraction keeping poets in poverty. I enjoyed reading a few chapters and will read more when I have a chance. Chapter 3 made me laugh, since I recently went to a writing workshop myself.

I will comment that I’m having an easier time hearing these characters than seeing them. Your dialogue sounds natural to my ear as I read, but I think I would enjoy reading you more if you balanced that good dialogue out with some equally good images and description.

Mindy Haig wrote 739 days ago

Hi Eric!
I just dropped in to check out your book! I really like the layout of writing a story within the story. It is very funny, well written, I did not notice any gramatical errors or typos, the only thing I did want to mention is that you have Ken in 1971 and a reference to Bill Clinton that is maybe outside his timeline.
High stars! i look forward to reading more!
Mindy
The Wishing Place

Greenleaf wrote 739 days ago

Interesting premise--a book about a writer and his book within your book. This is hilarious and well-written. I was immediately drawn in. Great job!

Susan/Greenleaf (Chameleon)

sodyt wrote 739 days ago

The first chapter is brilliant. It grabbed me right away with the conversation between the narrator and Janice and kept be interested throughout. Moreover, it's quite funny. The four characters depicted so far are all quirky and identifiable and I look forward to seeing where they go as the novel progresses.

My only quibble (but a big one) is with the punctuation in the dialogue. You need to put commas before the end quotes, not periods. With such an otherwise great piece of writing, I'd hate to see something like this turn off an editor.

As for me, I love it and look forward to reading more. Shelved, watchlisted, high stars.



Hi Daniel. Thanks for the shelving and great review. Your comments on punctuation noted. Should I get anywhere near real publication ( unlikely) I will get on to it.

I am a bit snowed under since becoming no5 on the spotters list. (God knows how I did that !) so can't promise an immediate shelving, but will comment and star appropriately on yours later today. Thanks again for your support. Cheers Eric