Book Jacket

 

rank 928
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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tags

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

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The next Saturday morning I was up bright and early, had breakfast, fed the cat, and settled myself down at my desk all set up and ready to take on Frank O’Malley’s challenge.

Just what was the funniest scene I could think of?

Nothing came. Two hours later, still nothing. ‘Some people actually do this for a living’ was one thought that did come. ‘God help them’ was another.

 

Eventually my mind turned to sex, as it usually does when left to its own devices for any length of time, but that did at least start me thinking about the comic possibilities of this activity, and suddenly I started to write:

 

The attraction one human being has for another is something that has kept poets in poverty for centuries. At its extremes it can encourage paedophilia at one end of the spectrum, necrophilia at the other. Between those poles of affection for the very young and the very dead, all manner of persons love all other manner of persons in such a bewildering way as to defy any sensible attempt at rationalisation.

There just is no accounting for taste in these matters, as a glance round any group of paired people will rapidly confirm. The most unlikely and outwardly unsuitable couplings have, do, and will continue to happen, ad hoc, ad nauseas, ad infinitum.

 

The meeting that morning of the Major, proprietor of a small seaside hotel and Eunice, who was one of his weekend guests, was just such an archetypal case of empathy at first sight. They shared just about a hundred years between them, her forty to his sixty, and the vibrations from their pair of experienced psyches pulsated and not pusillanimously. It was Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Popeye and Olive Oyl, Suddenly there was no tomorrow, only now. The Major felt this woman standing before him was the one he had always dreamed about in his wettest dreams, and that all his long years of marital infidelity had been but a preparation for this moment.

 

Eunice felt exactly the same way about him. It was the devastating combination of his black eye patch and toothbrush moustache that turned her on. He came across harbouring a delicious touch of menace, a combination of Blackbeard and Hercule Poirot. That carefully cultivated, precisely pruned and pomaded moustache, with its tiny optimistic up-twirl at each end, gave such a promise of neatness and exactitude in all things it made it almost impossible for her to bear to bring herself to think about its full sexual connotations for fear of rushing uncontrollably across to him immediately, and enveloping its two small waxed points in her large fleshy waning ones. These mutual attractions thus set in motion a double reciprocal action of the kind favoured by the first stationary steam engine engineers, and it was of about equal developmental force.

 

The Major’s amatory imagination favoured the Rubinesque, and Eunice’s qualifications on that score were nothing if not exemplary. The visible quivers of her delightful curves made his moustache ends bristle in exactly the way she found attractive, so each turned each other on and on and on and on. The establishment of this immediate need for each other was so strong it was obvious neither of them would survive a wait for the night hours to satisfy their passions so within moments they had arranged a tryst for that very afternoon, which was the earliest time the Major could get away for a couple of hours.

 

It would be natural to suppose when those other great lovers, Anthony and Napoleon, went on their first dates with Cleopatra and Josephine, they both made some special effort with the arrangements. The Major, though lacking any Empires to offer his swainette  nevertheless did what he could with what resources he had, and he even went overboard, nautically speaking, with his preparations.  The better to escape the all- seeing eyes of his family and employees, he hired a small fishing boat. Even going so far as to do it by telephone and incognito, thus not taking advantage of the 90% local  rate  reduction he would have been given if he had revealed who he really was.

 

Greater lust hath no man.

 

That deal successfully concluded, and aware from the total rapport he had already established with Eunice that she was certain to refuse him nothing, the Major soared to new heights of passion as he realised this was his chance to put into practice his most secret sexual desires. To this end he decided to take with him on board the boat some stores not usually found in an orthodox ship’s chandlery.

 

Immediately after lunch the two of them slipped away separately from Sea View and rendezvoused as arranged at the boatyard to collect their vessel, the good ship ’Tydos’.

The Major knew its proprietor Tom Thornton would still be incapable in some pub at that time, so there was no risk of him being spotted. All went exactly according to plan and he made immediate haste to put sufficient sea between himself and the shore as possible.

 

The early part of the voyage went particularly well. The sun was shining brightly giving an unseasonal warmth to the afternoon as they chugged out to sea together.

They were both very excited, their imaginations running riot at the prospect of what lay before them. He knew exactly what he was going to do, when and how. She didn’t, though from one or two hints the Major had dropped she gathered something rather special was in the offing and, not knowing the prime reason they were afloat was the better to keep prying eyes at bay, she decided he was on some nautical kick, so her thoughts turned naturally in that direction.

 

For starters she noticed there was no mast she could be lashed to and whipped, which was unfortunate, as she would have quite liked that. The two large bags he’d stowed looked promising though. They could contain rubber masks and tubes with ping- pong balls so they could have it off naked underwater. She rather liked that idea as well.  He could be King Neptune doing delightful things with his trident, and she could be a Sea Goddess granting his every wish.

 

At last, feeling they’d sailed far enough out of sight of land, and with not another craft anywhere within miles of them, Major Neville Ingleton Thwaite, to give him his full name, throttled down the engine to a gentle hum, wedged the tiller to keep them heading away from the coast, and began the final preparations for their mutual seduction of each other.

 

The care with which he had prepared for this moment was revealed when, in the twinkling of his visible eye, he opened one of the bags he had brought on board and produced a lilo mattress which, inflated, transformed the bottom of their craft into a perfectly usable imitation of a water bed. Entering into the spirit of things Eunice in turn transformed herself into the nearest approximation of a mermaid she could manage. That’s to say she took off all her clothes, and unpinned her hair to let it hang down provocatively to its full length, half way down her ears.

 

But this was as nothing to the transformation of the Major. All his clothes came off too, and after pausing to pack hers and his neatly into one of the bags so they wouldn’t get wet, he turned his back on her and donned the contents of his second bit of luggage.

 

When he faced her again the effect on Eunice was almost beyond belief. There before her, attired in just white gloves, leather apron, bowler hat and highly polished black shoes, stood not just plain old Neville Ingleton Thwaite, but instead the full blown Worshipful Grandmaster of Northpool’s Masonic Lodge.

 

This really would be bringing his year of office to a fitting climax.

The significance of this betrayal of the most sacred oaths of Masonry was not lost on her, nor was the bulge in the lower third of his apron.

 

Her delight knew no bounds. To be taken in broad daylight, out of doors, on the high seas, and by such a personage in full regalia, with a patch over his eye, who was a Grand Master, a Mayor, a Major, and who had a moustache, would have been almost too much for any woman to bear.

 

Not wishing to be outdone, in a manner of speaking, and aware of the inadequacy of the embellishment she was bringing to their union – a mere Teacher’s Certificate - she could only stammer out that she had once been Head Girl at her Grammar School and wish desperately she’d brought her sash with her to wear at this glorious moment, but it was still on her bedroom wall at home.

These thoughts were anyway soon swept aside though  in a wave of sensual delight at the first touch of his erect salty sausage on her hysterectomy scar.

 

The Major had done his fair share of fornicating over the years, ranging from quick blow jobs in the hotel cellar, to night long nookie with sex crazed shop assistants. All this experience he now intended bringing to bear on the bare Miss Bracegirdle by way of achieving a perfect coupling between them.

 

By word and deed she was to be stimulated to a height of passion above and beyond anything she had ever encountered 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.

Surveying her panting form before him he had to make his first mind blowing decision.

Where to Begin? And he came to the same conclusion as the equally inspired Michelangelo, starting out on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the top left hand corner.

 

In Eunice’s case this was her shoulder, but passion got the better of him and aiming slightly lower he stooped slowly over her, the better to heighten her mood, and went to brush her naked  breasts with just the tips of his moustache.

It was indeed the touch of a master, and when he went on to kiss her moist and parted lips with his own slavering wet ones it gave her such paroxysms of delight she went into multiple orgasm immediately. Then in the effort to save some of her climaxes to coincide with at least one of his, she relaxed her body as much as she could.

 

Her idea was to become completely compliant to his inordinate demands, and the more inordinate they were the better. In this relaxed mode she opened her legs deliciously wide, and waved them about in gay abandon at the thought of what was about to befall her. Too gay an abandonment as it turned out, as in her ecstasy she kicked the bag containing all their clothes clean over the side.

 

In his instinctive dive to try to retrieve it before it sank, the Major stumbled on the uncertain footing provided by the lilo and tripped over Eunice’s leg, causing him to land on top of the outboard motor with enough force to send several important bits of it to join the bag on its way to the bottom of the bay.

 

It didn’t take long for the implications of Eunice’s actions to sink in. From a safe tryst with hours of pleasure before them, they now found themselves marooned out at sea, virtually naked, and completely at the mercy of the brisk North East wind that now sprang up around them.

 

Frankly, as captain, the Major should have set a better example to his crew by behaving better than he did, but he didn’t.

‘What have you done you stupid cow?’ He bawled at her.

‘It wasn’t my fault,’ she screamed back, fear supplanting passion now. ‘Coming out here on this contraption was your idea.’

She was beginning to get cold too, as the sea spray was really getting to them with the boat pitching and rolling all over the place, which didn’t help matters either.  ‘Do something man.’

What for God’s sake?’

“I don’t know. Send a flare up, wave a flag or something. We need to get rescued before we freeze to death.’

She was right. But the Major fully understood just what sending that kind of a signal would mean in terms of the attendant, very unwelcome, publicity.

‘Maybe there are some oars here somewhere so I could row us back in again.’

‘Rubbish” said Eunice. ‘You don’t even know which direction we should be going in.’

This was true. They were completely out of sight of any land. He could easily end up taking them across to Northern Ireland, a place with troubles enough of its own.

 

Luckily, as if to mock their thwarted romanticism, a pale crescent moon then came over the horizon, and in so doing made the tide turn and begin to conduct them back within range of the shore.

 

Neither of them had sufficient seamanship to know what was happening, so Eunice continued panicking by throwing all sorts of bits and pieces over the side in a frantic hunt for anything that might be useful to them. Then in desperation the Major decided that maybe the engine could be kick started into action again, so he kicked it, but in his temper used so much force he dislodged it from its moorings altogether.

 

Luckily Eunice was on hand to grab it and stop it falling into the water.

Unluckily it proved to be heavier than she realised so she dropped it, and it still went into the sea. But instead of going over the side it now went straight through their vessel’s rotten hull, leaving a large hole behind it, in a place large holes are not meant to be.

 

Much more panic ensued, but Eunice recovered her composure first and was quick to make sure her captain was the last to leave the sinking ship by stepping on his face as she gained the safety of the lilo, now  floating fortunately  alongside them.

 

It was at this juncture, from the Major’s point of view, that the worst disaster of the afternoon struck them. Steps to rescue them were put in hand.

A coastguard, with no point in keeping his binoculars trained on the sand dunes now all the courting couples had gone in for tea, pointed them out to sea and spotted the danger Miss Bracegirdle was in of being killed by the Major, still struggling to get on board the lilo himself.

 

The coastguard followed correct procedure. He sounded the lifeboat alarm, to the alarm of the lifeboat men. They only expected to turn out once a year on Armistice day when they sailed as far as the end of the pier, to drop a wreath on the spot where Coxswain Turncastle was supposed to have fallen off and drowned while celebrating the end of the first world war,  with one triple whisky too many.

 

Nevertheless, out of practice though they may have been, the crew of the aptly named ‘Unlucky for Some’ mustered at the boat, de-mustered to shift all the Kosy  Kabins selling ‘Jug’s of Tea for the Sands’ on the boathouse slipway, then re-mustered again to clear sufficient small boys off the lifeboat to be able to see out of the front windows.

 

Then they were off.

 

Their present cox, Arthur Dunks, plucked straight from his day job as brake-man on the scenic railway, took the sudden transition badly, and was sea sick before the lads, at only their third attempt, got the boat into the water. He further disgraced himself when coming alongside the lilo by forgetting he wasn’t on the scenic railway and doing his usual trick of leaving the braking late to give everyone an extra thrill.

 

What worked well scenically did not work nautically.

 

The ‘Unlucky for Some’ ploughed straight into the lilo and punctured it, depositing the Major and Eunice to Port and Starboard respectively.

But not before Harold Chesters, the Northpool Bugle’s Editor, Roving Reporter, and Photographer, had captured those scenes on board the airbed for posterity.

 

And these scenes were well worth recording. The slow speed at which their salvation approached them had given Eunice time to negotiate terms with the Major for allowing him to join her on the lilo.

 

When the lifeboat did finally arrive it was she who was wearing the Masonic apron, leaving him just with his chain of office, white gloves and the black bowler that he used to hide his manhood as much as possible, as the lifeboat came towards them.

The shock of the two boats colliding knocked it out of his hands though, and Harold Chesters’ camera caught to perfection the moment he dropped it.

 

 

 

 

Chapters

2

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Cly wrote 1354 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 1596 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 1606 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 1694 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 30 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 202 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 202 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 236 days ago
sodyt wrote 236 days ago
sodyt wrote 236 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 236 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 341 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 358 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 485 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 487 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 495 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 497 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 501 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 628 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 629 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 629 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 631 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 658 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 701 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 706 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 716 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 721 days ago

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

sodyt wrote 723 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 724 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 727 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 727 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 728 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 730 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 730 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 730 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 730 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 731 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 731 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 731 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 731 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 731 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 731 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 731 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 732 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 732 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 733 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 735 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 735 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 735 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 736 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 736 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 736 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 736 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 736 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