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

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Ken and Janice meanwhile had underestimated the popularity of the event and arrived too late at the Town Hall to get into the general auditorium which, in the continuing absence of the chairs, was packed with people standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the stage, and stretching back to the big double doors at the other end.

 

Faced with that crush Ken steered Janice to another entrance where B.B.C. men were streaming in and out.

‘Dressing rooms?’ he asked the flunkey on the gate.

The man only needed one look at Janice to see how photogenic she was. ‘First right and up the stairs’ he said, and they were through.

.

The double bill attraction of Neville Thwaite and Wally Wittgenstein, in that order of preference, was proving such an enormous draw that even the eternally depressed Mr Weaver had to concede to Smoggin and Cook, there by claiming to be mayoral attendants, that taken by and large, all in all, what with one thing and another, and touching wood, everything so far was going reasonably well. With the quite definite exception of the missing chairs that is. Even that could be to his advantage of course. It might be enough to convince Alderman Rushton he had done his best to sabotage the evening, without upsetting the present mayor too much.

 

The huge audience now assembled within the hall divided itself up into roughly two sections. At the front were all the youngsters who actually enjoyed the mind shattering sound produced by Wally’s very expensive electronic amplification equipment, while at the back were gathered the older and wiser heads who dreaded all that noise and were only there to catch a glimpse of the anguished Mayor, rather like spectators at a road crash. Which was unfortunate for them really as Gervaise, acting on Merton’s instructions to get the cameras better sight lines, was busy making   Wally’s road crew switch the loudspeakers from the front to the back of the room.

 

Amongst those nearest the stage were Tommo and the rest of his gang. Howard and Evelyn had seen them and positioned themselves at a safe distance, as Howard knew Tommo and trouble were never far apart. But they were not as well placed as they hoped. Forcing their way up behind them were the ‘Devil’s Disciples’ contingent, so they finished up in ‘no man’s land’ between the two groups. The Disciples still bore the marks of Tommo’s & Co’s retaliation for catching them unawares earlier in the day, and were in turn seeking re-retaliation at the next opportunity to present itself.

 

Gordon Hargraves hoped to have shaken off Barbara Wolstenholme by now, but she was still ostentatiously clinging on to him. He was concerned at being picked out by the cameras taking crowd shots. If his wife was watching at home and saw Barbara all over him he might not be in any state to attend the Chief Education Officer interview due in only 36 hours time. Sam Brophy was in there somewhere too. He couldn’t resist a free anything, but was having difficulty making himself heard above the general din. On either side of him Mrs Davis and Miss Davis, both wearing ‘Kiss Me Slow’ hats, didn’t mind what he was saying to them. He was an unattached male, which was good enough for both of them, so they edged close enough towards him, to give Mrs Brophy, who was watching at home, a strong case for extracting appropriate retribution herself in due course.

 

 

 

The ‘Merton St de Vere Comedy Hour’, as the Higher Being began ominously referring to it to his deputy, the D.A.DT.T.A.A.C (T.V), was due to go out live at 6.30pm straight after the News.

The programme format provided for there to be a brief introductory speech by the Mayor, to which Wally would reply, equally briefly, and then step forward to throw the switch which would bring all the illuminated displays to life. This would be the signal for Merton to cut to his outside cameras stationed strategically along Marine Parade to show the lights bursting into glorious technicolour display as they came on section by section. Merton would then cross cut between lights pictures and Wally as he started his act and went on to entertain the Town Hall audience and the watching viewers with a medley of his past hits.

These would be heard ‘voice over pictures’ as Merton’s cameras showed the more spectacular of the set pieces such as the illuminated tramcar, made up of no less than 9,742 coloured bulbs, and the illuminated horse drawn Milk Float which was to display the charms of the local beauty queen. She was dressed in not very much white, to symbolise Purity, and was a certain lady called Miss Concepta  Immaculata O’Shaughnessy, professionally known as Big Julie.

It could be a tricky operation technically, and much depended on the professional skills and expertise of the programme’s director, hence the A.DT.T.A.A.C (T.V)’s concern.

 

As the moment of transmission time approached Merton went into his normal pre-programme count down routine. Gervaise, the continuity girl, and the vision mixer were expecting it and gained reassurance themselves from its familiar ritual enactment. First Merton thoroughly picked his nose. Then he produced cotton buds and excavated both ears. These jobs completed to his satisfaction, he did the nervous cough bit, hawking and retching until there could not possibly be another hawk or retch left in him to disturb the smooth running of the programme once it started. After that he took out the two stainless steel balls he carried with him at all times and began grinding them together as he had once seen Humphrey Bogart do to good effect in the film ‘The Caine Mutiny’.

Then he held hands with Gervaise until the pulsing red light above his monitor screen warned him that the six o clock news was about to end and his programme begin. ’Off you go poppet,’ he said to his devoted floor manager, giving him passionate kiss. ‘Be ever so very good tonight.’

‘As always sugarkins,’ said Gervaise, as he left to take up his appointed place on the stage where the main action was to take place.

‘What the hell was all that about?’ asked the Higher Being of his deputy, who had also heard, but not seen, this pre programme routine. But before he could reply the news ended, the red light in the control room steadied to a permanent glare, and the continuity girl next to Merton started counting off the last few seconds left for him.

‘Five… Four…Three….Two…One….’

Luckily for him and everybody else’s peace of mind, none of them were aware that the star of their show was less than fully ready for the call he was about to get to go on stage. There were several problems besetting Wally, quite apart from being well tanked up by now. For a start Duggie was still missing at this vital time. He was hiding in a basket of dirty linen in Bath’s & Washhouses and had no intention of risking coming out. Short of someone sprinkling soap powder on him and tipping him into a vat of boiling water he was there to stay until he was certain the coast had cleared.

The fact he was not available to play guitar in the wings for Wally to mime to was of little concern to him just then. It concerned Wally though. He had the tape recording Duggie made as an emergency back up right enough but, as he explained to the Professor, the trouble with this ‘fail safe system’ was that it had been tried and failed before.

It was prone to glitches in mid-performance that did nothing to add to his public image as a world- class musician up there with Jimmy Hendrix and Django Reinhart.

 

Another problem was he now didn’t have time to get his cosmetic manhood back into position down his trousers either. That would have meant completely undressing and starting all over wriggling into everything again. Something had to be done as Wally’s fans did tend to focus quite a lot of their attention down there. Zimmerman solved that one to some extent by grabbing some of the Borough Treasurer’s papers, marked ‘strictly private and confidential’, moulding them into balls and stuffing them down Wally’s front instead. The result was lumpy but passable, and managed to survive his staggering progress to the edge of the stage where he was now required to be by an agitated Gervaise.

 

But this ‘cock up’ so to speak over the missing codpiece, was as nothing compared Zimmerman’s problem with the miming tape. Offering to operate a simple cassette recorder for Wally was one thing, but when it forms part of a pop star’s elaborate sound and lighting kit it is quite another kettle of fish altogether. Suddenly he was faced with a set of controls like Concorde’s cockpit. For once even the Professor’s iron self assurance quailed, and spotting Ken standing nearby with Janice he thankfully enlisted his aid in trying to work the equipment. Ken was no electronics man either, but his knowledge of gadgetry was much superior to Zimmerman’s and he was eventually able to get the tape into the right slot.

 

By this time Merton, sitting in his control room, was already transmitting. ‘Fade in one,’ he said quietly. Then as a panoramic view of Northpool filled the screen, shot from an extending ladder on one of the town’s fire engines he had commandeered, he murmured even quieter, ‘Roll captions.’

 

This gentleness of manner during broadcasting is instilled in all television directors during their training, when they are taught, like fledgling police constables, that a paramount need is to stay calm and orderly at all times, both as a means of self discipline and also as a way of setting a proper example to those over whom they have authority.

‘Get the Mayor on his mark now,’ he cooed to Gervaise who was lying face down on the stage to keep out of shot.

The stage manager beckoned across to Mr Thwaite who then appeared from the wings in all his finery, to tumultuous and ribald applause from the audience.

‘Quieten them down please Gervaise,’ said Merton, and on an appropriate signal from him the crowd did settle down to some extent, sufficient for the proceedings to start.

This was all very splendid and Merton gave a hum of satisfaction.

 

 

 

Gervaise went quite damp at the buzz a mere production assistant gets wielding this sort of power over people. What a wonderful world he lived in, he thought, surrounded by people of his own kind, one of whom loved him, and he was even getting paid for it all. Being gay did have its compensations whatever the Pope might say.

‘Infallibility my arse’, he thought, he never had the love of a man like Merton behind him, so to speak.

‘Stand by to cue Mayor, the object of his affections breathed, ever so softly. ‘Right. Cue now and cut to camera three.’ This time he permitted himself the small extravagance of snapping his fingers on the word ’three’,  in case anyone was watching him. Nobody was.

 

On receiving the floor manager’s signal, a blow on his ankle, the Major launched into the opening remarks which he had spent most of the day memorising. His nervousness nearly did for him, but recovering himself just in time, he got off to a good start. ‘Fellow citizens and welcome visitors,’ he said. Then his mind went blank and he stopped.

If the ensuing pause seemed long to him and his wife it seemed longer still to Merton.

‘Why doesn’t he use the autocue Gervaise?’ He asked, his voice just a shade louder than recommended in the Training Manual.

His assistant, unable to speak for fear of his voice being picked up by the sound boom dangling over his head, endeavoured to convey by gesticulating into camera two that the Mayor couldn’t read without his glasses and, vain to the last, had refused to be seen on television wearing them.

This is a complicated message to get across by semaphore from a prone position, and Merton lost patience trying to understand it. In his anxiety to replace the sight of the dumbstruck Major with something better, he made things worse. ’Cut to ‘four,’ he shouted. But that training manual was not written for fun. The unaccustomed loudness of his voice made his vision mixer jump and she cut to ‘three’ instead, replacing the mayor with a shot of Gervaise still going through his sign language routine.

 

‘Jesus wept’, said the A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P.(TV) back in London, and then started to do the same thing himself.

‘I said ‘FOUR’,’ screamed Merton, leaving the good book well behind. This time the girl gave him ‘two’ which its operator, in an idle moment, had trained on Tommo to see what he was flashing at Sandra, the fat girl sitting next to him, who showed signs of being well impressed.

 

‘Oh  No !!! Not on a Sunday for God’s sake,’ said the A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV).But several thousand eagle eyed elderly ladies phoned in immediately, to confirm that flashing was exactly the right word to use for what Tommo was doing.

 

The vision mixer was so far gone now that Merton had no option but to lean across and punch the buttons himself .

’I said ‘four’ you stupid bitch,’ he yelled, the training manual completely forsaken, and by doing his own pressing found himself back on ‘three’,  where the Mayor was still suffering from television fright and was being implored by Gervaise,  biting his ankles, to say anything….anything at all. At last the adrenalin the floor manager was transfusing, vampire like, into Thwaite’s veins took some effect, and he spluttered into speech again.

‘It…. er ….gives me…. er…. great…pleasure….’ he stammered, as a much relieved Gervaise took his teeth out of his leg, but prematurely as it turned out. The Mayor’s tired mind sought refuge from the muddle it found itself in by reverting to parts of a speech he had made many times before from this very platform.’……as Returning Officer for this constituency, to declare Mr er Wally er Stitch in Time, your duly elected Member for this Borough…’

Here Gervaise bit him again, right to the bone this time, and it did serve to get him back on some sort of track. ‘and… er ….to invite him to switch on this year’s Northpool Illuminations display.’

 

 

It was at this point the Heavy Gang finally arrived in the hall with the chairs. A ‘delivery note’ meant exactly what it said as far as Harry, their foreman, was concerned. He hadn’t got to where he was today by ignoring them and had no intention of starting to do so now. 742 chairs, to be set out in rows, 64 each side of the main aisle, Mr Weaver had said. What’s more it had the letters A.S.A.P. stamped on it, that he reckoned was probably Latin for ’As Soon As Possible’, seeing as Mr Weaver was an educated man, which meant the job had to be carried out now, whatever the 742 people already in the hall might feel about that.

 

They didn’t think too much of the idea as it happened, and soon fell to resisting Harry and his gang’s attempts to get ‘bums on seats’ as they say in show business. Tommo and his lads, and the ‘Devils Disciples,’ put aside their differences and immediately gravitated towards where the action was and were quite careless of the route they took to get there, travelling over the feet, abdomens or anything else of anyone who got in their way.

To Harry and his heavies, ex Desert rats to a man, the sight of all these German helmeted, swastika bedecked youths coming towards them brought back glorious memories of their own finest hours at El Alamein. The days when men were men, sheep were women, and Arab boys did whatever was required of them.

Used to taking on genuine Storm Troopers, Harry and Co had no trouble whatsoever in quelling these little Hitlers. Skilled as they were in unarmed combat, guerrilla warfare, and a variety of unorthodox survival techniques, they made sure the ‘S.S.’ insignia the bikers sported on their shoulders came to stand not for ‘Schultz Staffel’, but for ‘short and sweet’ instead.

It really was no contest. The Heavy Gang, using just their bare hands and the occasional leg from a chair broken over a youthful head, simply and bloodily annihilated them.

 

Mercifully Gervaise kept his head while a lot of people in the hall were nearly losing theirs. He had the sense to cue Wally on stage to start his reply to the Mayor’s remarks, so Merton would have something relevant happening to point his cameras at. ‘Bless you darling,’ said his director, cutting successfully at last to Wally who, as a pop star, was used to appearing before crowds of people kicking and punching the hell out each other. But Wally was drunk. Make no mistake about that. Carried away by the fighting going on before him into thinking he was at one of his outdoor festivals he forgot himself and launched into what he was supposed to say at the volume he would use on those occasions.

The engineer’s sound level needles went off scale and all those wearing earphones went deaf as doorposts instantly. This included Merton and Gervaise. The effect was also felt to a lesser, though still significant, degree by the A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV), the D.A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV), and several million viewers. One of these wrote in later to thank him for restoring her hearing, lost during the war when the American Air Force, in a daringly conceived, but badly executed low level daylight bombing raid, mistook her cottage in Suffolk for the Chancellery Building in Berlin, and missed hitting it by only a quarter of a mile.

 

Merton had at least something to be thankful for. He was actually transmitting a transmittable picture and at the conclusion of Wally’s shouted remarks was sufficiently in command of the situation to cut correctly to his outside cameras when Wally threw the switch. The lights then blazed out, on cue, to flood the town with their delightful brilliance. There were even gasps of appreciation and applause within the Town Hall as the array of bulbs behind the platform came on to pick out in several colours a very good likeness of Queen Victoria. Ideally it should have been the reigning monarch, but ‘Victoria’ was the only queen the designer could do. It was the same in summer. One either got his sand sculpture of a camel and three palm trees or nothing.

 

‘Cut to Travelling Eye,’ said Merton. No one could hear him of course as they were all still deaf, but it was obvious what he wanted so they did it anyway. He was delighted now things were working properly again, and they really were. As the Travelling Eye team sped down the centre of the promenade in their high tech van, they fed into his control room shot after marvellous coloured shot of the lights coming on section by section. The illuminated tram was there, with Big Julie’s milk float, and lots of other tradesmen’s’ vehicles resplendent in their share of lights and streamers. Shining out in the darkness beamed the roadside tableaux of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Yogi Bear, a Salute to the Heroes of Stalingrad, then Snow White and about four and a half of her dwarves……..Well nothing can be absolutely perfect.

‘Lovely darlings, lovely,’   Merton crooned to his camera crews, ‘particularly you Gervaise. Get the man ready to sing now, there’s a pet.’

Gervaise dimpled with delight at this praise. Perhaps the surprise little ‘tete a tete’ supper party he’d laid on at the Hotel Metropole, just for the two of them, would go even better than he hoped.

To convey this latest instruction to Wally, he lay on his back tugged the star’s leg, and pointed his finger into his open mouth. Once he had understood that Gervaise wasn’t just trying to make himself sick, Wally nodded and swung his guitar into position ready for the signal to start his first song.

 

‘Cue ‘Stitch in Time,’ said Merton wittily, almost light headed now with the improvement in the programme.

Gervaise did, and Wally nodded to Ken, who was standing by just off stage, to start the tape recorder, which he then managed to do.

 

 

 

Striking his trademark pose, Wally carefully strummed his fingers well clear of the strings of his instrument and opened his mouth to let fly. But instead of the expected deafening cacophony of spine numbing, blood curdling, mind bending, pantie girdle knotting, trouser tearing explosion of sound,  designed to blast all five senses of the audience out into where they’d only be able to use their sixth, nothing could be heard, even by the floor manager lying flat at his feet.

 

Merton’s normal hearing had by now been partially restored. ’Needs to be louder Gervaise, ’ he said superfluously. Gervaise knew that, as did Wally, as did Ken who was frantically trying to trace what was wrong with the amplification equipment. Suddenly every circuit on the panel seemed dead and Wally’s own lads were indicating they hadn’t got a clue what was going on either. The fault was Zimmerman’s. He was standing on a mains plug that he’d dragged out of its socket by catching his foot in some of the trailing wires. With a sigh of relief Ken spotted what he had done, shoved the Professor aside and rammed it back in again. Once there it started to do the job it was supposed to. It fed the current from the Town Hall’s power circuit through to Wally’s advanced and highly sophisticated electronic equipment, pre set to deliver its optimum output immediately.

 

But unfortunately, it was all just too much for the ancient wiring to take.

 

Like some malevolent genie foolishly uncorked form a long buried bottle, the resultant power surge first melted the offending little green wire, then alternated down the red and blue ones to Wally. It reached him at full speed, throwing him three feet in the air and producing from him an unearthly yell that put that old lady in Suffolk’s hearing at risk again. Returning to earth,  Wally clutched at the microphone for support and then, as the party most concerned, he really got a glow on, as in creating this new relay he fed all this rampant power out into the Illuminations electricity  system which had been linked up to the Town Hall so it could all be switched on from there.

 

The 9,742 bulbs on the illuminated tram were the first 9,742 to go. They didn’t go quietly either and their consecutive 9,742 bangs disconcerted the horse drawing the Brewer’s Dray behind it. This was battery powered so would not have otherwise been affected, but the horse could not be expected to know that, and therefore was not to blame for deciding to take matters into its own hooves and head straight back to its stables.

This route led directly into Big Julie’s Milk Float, an action which led to Julie ending up naked on the back of the horse in a passable imitation of Lady Godiva. Her wig fell off too, reducing the length of her hair to just stubble.

The four and a half dwarves went next, though Snow White hung on until the Heroes of Stalingrad weren’t being saluted any more.

Not a single illumination escaped. Right down the length of the promenade, including the strands strung round kiddies paddling pools, the Japanese gardens, and the shortened version of the Hampton Court Maze, every single bulb went out.

 

Merton, Gervaise, the Vision Mixer, the A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV), and the D.A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV), couldn’t believe their luck. They became ecstatic. Their day had just been well and truly made. ‘Shadenfreud’ the German’s call it, well they would wouldn’t they?

 

The media always prefers bad news to good. Filming the Hindenburg coming in to land, or either Kennedy getting assassinated was better by far, even than a Royal Wedding. This was television history in the making, and they all rejoiced at their good fortune in being part of it. The Travelling Eye camera was getting everything outside, and the ones inside the town hall were recording Wally’s gyrations too for good measure. ‘Keep them rolling everybody,’ yelled Merton. ‘This could run all night.’

 

For once the A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV) agreed with him, and he was busy issuing instructions to cancel the choir singing from Westminster Abbey which was due on next, and all subsequent programmes. The D.A.D.T.T.A.C.O.P. (TV) had also been told to seek the permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury to scrub The Epilogue at the end of the day’s transmissions if that also proved necessary. There is an award for Best Television Director of the Year, the highest accolade in the trade, and Merton was well on the way to making the short list, when Gervaise blew it for him.

 

With a totally misplaced humanitarianism he found difficult to explain satisfactorily afterwards, he tried to help Wally by pulling him clear from that live microphone. Granted the man was in danger of being electrocuted to death, but where television is concerned everyone in the business is expected to sacrifice personal convenience from time to time .

What Gervaise’s action did was simply to switch the current from Wally into himself as well. This still would not have been too disastrous from Merton’s point of view, floor manager’s are not irreplaceable after all, except that Gervaise was linked through his headphones to his director’s control panel. This offered no resistance at all to the voltage now shooting down this new channel opened up to it, and the whole desk promptly melted into a cascade of hot plastic sticky gunge  that poured over Merton’s poncho and on to his now not so natty nether regions.

 

 

By some unexplainable electronic quirk, ten million viewers, including even those watching in black and white, got a sudden colour picture of Merton sitting at what was left of his controls and heard the equally colourful language he used to his floor manager as the hot plastic went through his trousers and came into contact with what lay beneath. Then all became darkness as the whole technical wizardry with which Merton was surrounded popped, banged, crackled, sizzled, glowed, shattered, twisted and then collapsed about him as the raging current ricocheted round the room and finally back down the cables to reduce all his brand new cameras, inside and out, to lumps of smoking rubbish.

 

 

Inconsequential thoughts often intrude at moments like these, and the one that occurred to Merton as he sat listening to the screams of his vision mixer, whose knickers had also been badly charred, was whether his outstanding claims for travelling expenses would still be met, but, a professional to the last, he roused himself to give his final television command,

‘Cut,’ he said to his staff, and then went in search of an open razor with which to do likewise to his throat.

 

So far throughout these momentous events the audience in the Great Hall, unaware of what was happening to the Lights outside, had stayed calm. The only visible manifestation they could see that might have indicated something was wrong was the sight of Wally gyrations, induced by the mike he couldn’t let go of. But this wasn’t much of a clue. The youngsters at the front, used to the antics of Mick Jagger, took it as all part of the act, and the oldsters at the back didn’t know what to expect from a Wittgenstein stage performance.

They wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d levitated himself and flown out backwards through a skylight.

 

What finally caused them to panic was when the paper wedged inside Wally’s trousers became ignited. Smoke soon billowed out of the holes burnt in his rubber suiting as the blaze got a grip on it and his clump of private hair.

Mrs Davis, hawkeyed as ever, was the first to see what was happening.

’Fire!’ she shouted helpfully, and the stampede began.

 

The Heavy Gang, who had by now resumed carrying in the rest of the chairs, may have stopped Panzer Divisions in their time, but they couldn’t stop Mrs Gwladys and Miss Davis. Not with the motivation they had and several hundred like minded people right behind them. They were swept aside like chaff before a whirlwind. Even Smoggin’s attempt to impose a small charge on those seeking to leave by his door came to nothing.

 

On stage Zimmerman rendered the whole exodus unnecessary. He had the fire out almost as soon as it started by simply stamping on the seat of the blaze. This also had the useful by-product of causing Wally finally to let go of the microphone as suddenly, high voltage current or no high voltage current, both his hands were more urgently need elsewhere.

Electricity is a peculiar thing though, and it can seem to have a will of its own. Cut off from its access to the outside world by Zimmerman’s prompt action it got spiteful and expended itself in a big way inside the Town Hall instead. There was plenty of damage to be done there so it got on with it in short order. Within microseconds it had blown every single bit of electrical apparatus in the building. The one single miraculous exception to this general devastation was the large chandelier hanging above the platform in the Great Hall that continued to shine forth regardless, illuminating the awful scene below.

 

 

 

It was not a happy sight. Broken chairs and trampled flowers were strewn all over the auditorium, empty now except for those left on the stage. Happily Wally, because of his rubber outfit, was not badly injured, and neither was Gervaise, thanks to his B.B.C. Issue rubber soled shoes, always worn when broadcasting to keep things as quiet as possible. They were just in shock, as was the rest of the stage party.

 

One man who was not so lucky was Duggie. Safe under the sheets in his laundry basket he had known nothing of Wally’s ordeal, or even of the whole Town Hall being plunged into darkness. But Angela, his pursuer, frightened first by the distant sounds of exploding bulbs and then by all the lights in Baths & Washhouses going out as well, panicked and flung herself into the nearest bolt hole she could find. Which basket, as one would expect, she unexpectedly found to be already occupied.

 

Back at the centre of things events took an even worse turn for the worst.

It is often said there is never a policeman about when you want one. Well on this occasion, for once, there was.

It was Constable Yarrow and, to give credit where credit was due, he had realised from the hundreds of people fleeing fear stricken from the Town Hall, and the whole town being plunged into noisy darkness by the exploding Illuminations that something was probably wrong.

 

The Major and Mayor had now recovered sufficiently to begin to grasp the enormity of what had just happened to the town and town hall, and as the costs of all the damage just done sank into his rate conscious consciousness he sprang into action at the sight of the law’s timely appearance.

‘Arrest him,’ he screamed, pointing at Wally. ’And him, he said, his accusing finger now directed at Zimmerman, ‘and him,’ indicating Ken this time. ‘Particularly him’.

‘Very good Mr Mayor sir,’ said Yarrow, then felt Ken’s collar in the approved manner, though recognising him as a doctor from their encounter earlier in the day, he saluted him first to be on the safe side.

 

The constable didn’t have enough hands to grab hold of all three of them but was saved having to make a choice by the miracle mentioned earlier proving of short duration. The chandelier hanging shining above them suddenly ceased to do both, and with a resounding explosion it crashed down in bits on to the stage, finally plunging the whole place into total darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapters

21

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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 1605 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 235 days ago
sodyt wrote 235 days ago
sodyt wrote 235 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 486 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 494 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 496 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 627 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 630 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 657 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 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

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 729 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 730 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 730 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 730 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