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Archive for the ‘Marc Nobbs’ Category

It must be a sign of the interesting times in which we live, but the BBC have moved their ‘flagship’ political debate programme, Question Time, from it’s regular Thursday night 10:30pm (after the news) slot to a prime time, before the news, 9pm slot. I don’t know if this is a permanent change or not – I suspect not – but it does tell you just how troubled our democracy is in here in Blighty.

The scandal of PM’s expenses which has gripped the nation for almost two weeks now and has led to the effective sacking of the third most powerful person in the country, is the primary reason for tonight’s move. The last time that I can recall the BBC moving Question Time, was during the last election, when the Prime Minister faced questions from the public (as did the other two leaders, but in a change from the usual format they appeared on the platform individually rather than together. TB wasn’t keen on the idea of an actual ‘debate’ with his opponents).

Last week’s Question Time was the most compelling sixty minutes of television in a very long time. Three unfortunate MPs were offered up for public sacrifice by their parties and were joined on the panel by one of the deputy editors of The Daily Telegraph, the newspaper that broke this story, and the head of McDonalds in the UK. Now, it’s been said many times over the last week by many people, but when the head of MaccyD’s is able to take the moral high ground over the MPs, you know we’re in the crapper.

Margaret Beckett for Labour, Menzies Campbell for the Lib Dems and Theresa May for the Tories, had all obviously done something to upset someone in their parties to be put forward for the show – although I think the Lib Dems thought Menzies might keel over with heart failure and attract some sympathy for their side.

The usually sedate, polite, very ‘English”’ audience were actually heckling the panel, booing and one man got so angry he looked as if a blood vessel in his forehead might explode. I have truly never seen anything like it.

It was such a spectacle that it even made the news programmes on other channels the next day. If the MPs hadn’t already judged the mood of the electorate, then certainly got the message during that fascinating hour. The week since then has continued to see revelations about the expense claims of MPs on all sides – today we learned about the MP who claimed a floating duck house for his garden pond on expenses – and has seen some major political casualties as a result – the biggest so far being the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, who was forced to announce his retirement from the position he’s held since 2000 after suffering a cringe-making verbal assault by MPs in the chamber on Tuesday.

I am being very careful here not to let this post spill over into my opinion of this whole scandal and the MPs who appear to have been milking the system for all its worth. If I start, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Instead, I’ll guide my international audience – who may not know what the hell I’m on about – to the BBC’s coverage.

What I will say is that I’ believe we are watching the collapse of a democracy here. The trust that the British people have had for the institution of Parliament (not the MPs within it – I don’t think we’ve ever fully trusted them. I’m talking about the institution itself) is evaporating before out eyes. The ‘Mother of Parliaments’ is on its knees.

I have never known (and I admit, at 35 I wasn’t around during the day old days of the 70s) the mood of the country to be so angry – not just with the government, but with all of them. I only hope that the party leaders who are currently in the spotlight can show some genuine leadership and restore the trust in the oldest parliament in the world.

ps, what’s with the “#bbcqt” in the blog title? Well, it’s to do with “Twitter”. Hastags are used on Twitter to help people find tweets on particular topics. #bbcqt is the tag for anything to do with the Question Time programme, and is becoming synonymous with tweets regarding UK politics in general. ‘Live Tweeting” of QT, where folks at home make comments on the show as it’s shown, has been going on since around February. It’s enhanced my enjoyment of the show no end. Last week, for the first time, the hashtag was ‘trending’. There were so many people commenting on the show and using the tag that it showed up as a worldwide ‘hot topic’. We had people from America asking what it was all about. One even commented “Oh dear, the Brits are trending again”. So, look out for the tag tonight on the search.twitter.com website. 9pm – 10pm BST. It should be interesting to say the least.

pps – this is an article written for my regular blog, posted here as I thought you’d find it interesting.

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Okay, you need to go and read this article from Friday’s The Sun newspaper in the the UK then come back here and read what I have to say.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2233878.ece

Right, read it? And you came back. Good. I’m going to try and not over react to this but I’ll say from the outset that it will be hard. It’s difficult not to form very instant, very strong opinions about something like this. It’s also very difficult not to stereotype, so forgive me if I do. There are so many things about this story that are disturbing that I really don’t know where to being.

There are, hidden in the text of the article, some very interesting titbits of the family environment that these two children (and that’s what they are – they may be parents now, but they are still children) have grown up in. First, let’s take a look at Chantelle’s family.

She and her five (yes, five) brothers live in a local council-owned house with their parents – both of whom are out of work. This, of course, means that the family lives on benefit. Okay, so I could go off on one about ‘why are we paying for them to breed…” etc but I’m not going to. Look, my wife and I chose to wait until we could afford to bring up a child before having one. That was our choice. We’ve always know that some people choose not to wait and then feel it’s society’s responsibility to look after them. That is the nature of the society we live in.

What worries me is that these six children have grown up in an environment where NOT working for a living is the norm, so how can we really expect that they will go out and do just that in the future? We can’t. Despite what many ‘do-gooders’ will tell us, we still learn our ways from our parents and if parents don’t work, chances are that the children won’t either. And it’s been borne out to some extent by the fact that the 15 year old daughter is now expecting the state to pay to bring up her son. Because she certainly doesn’t have the money to.

And there’s a worrying quote from the mother/grandmother.

“She’s my daughter. I love her and she will want for nothing.”

And how, exactly, does she expect her to “want for nothing” when the family’s only income is from the state? My wife and I both have quite well paid jobs and I’d never say my son will want for nothing, because I know there will be times when he will go without because I won’t be able to afford it. He’ll have all I can give him, but it won’t be everything he wants, that’s for sure. But then, I’m not able to go cap in hand to the local benefits office if I need a new bed/sofa/TV etc. am I?

Then we look at young Alfie’s family. He lives with his mother “on an estate across town”. Now, just a small point, but if they live so far apart – how did they meet and become boyfriend/girlfriend in the first place? I digress. Aflie’s parents are “separated” which since the word “divorce” wasn’t used I take to mean they weren’t ever married. And his father is a dad to NINE (yes, 9) children.

Now, hang on a sec, but if daddy has trouble keeping it in his pants, is it any wonder that the son can’t control himself either? So, cynical question, how many children do with think Alfie will end up producing? And by how many different women? I mean, it’s not likely (and I don’t know for sure as it’s not mentioned in the article) that Alfie’s dad’s nine kids are all by the same woman, is it? After all, there’s no mention of Alfie’s loving brothers and sisters living with him and his mom.

So, these two kids don’t have what I’d describe as an ‘ideal’ home life. Their parents seem to be, and forgive my stereotyping here, “breeders”. They are reproducing themselves and evidently reproducing their own problems and inadequacies. And this can’t be good for our society. It’s already evident (and you don’t have to look hard to see it) that there is an ‘underclass’ in Britain. An group of people who live outside the normal rules that the rest of us live by. A group who are supported by the rest of the taxpayers and cause a lot of trouble that results in those taxpayers having to pay even more.

And this underclass is getting bigger. I mean, my wife was one of a group of several women of a similar age at her place of work who all chose to have children around the same time. We’re talking late-twenties/early-thirties. And that group will probably have one or maybe two children each. They are all, as are their husbands, well paid, intelligent middle class, aspirational, professional people.

And yet the two families that prompted this entry have more children than all the professionals that my wife works with will ever have altogether. In other words, if they are part of the under class, the under class is getting bigger, while the aspirational class might well end up getting smaller.

And so we come to the other villains of this piece – the newspaper. One has to ask how much The Sun has paid these people for this “exclusive”. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s the right of the free press to pay for stories such as this – it’s long been a part of how the press in the UK works. But doesn’t it show just how much trouble that press is in when they feel they have to resort to this sort of sensational story to sell copies?

For those of you who don’t know, The Sun is a part of Rupert Murdoch’s News International group. It is aimed squarely at working class in this country and it’s said that it’s Sun readers who ultimately decide general elections in this country. Back in ‘92, the paper famously claimed “It’s the Sun what won it” after John Major’s government was returned to power in a surprise victory. On the morning of the election The Sun ran a front page with the opposition leader’s head in a light bulb and the headline “If Labour Wins can the last one to leave Britain please turn off the light”.

They are the home of the world famous “Page 3 Girls” and will happily have a woman showing her nips on page three and then complain about the over sexualisation of the country on page four. And remember, this is the same global media group who will kick people off its MySpace website for showing a nipple or two in their uploaded photos.

The press in Britain is in real trouble. Sales and ad revenue are both falling as people increasingly turn to the internet for their daily news. I haven’t personally bought a newspaper of any kind for five or six years. And I know lots of other people of my generation are the same. Why waste money on something you’ll only throw away at the end of the day?

So yes, when a certain type of person finds out that their 15 year old daughter is up the duff by the 13 year old from across town and decides to call in the gutter press for a nice fat fee, you know that the media is, in part, to blame. Not completely, I still lay the blame for this whole sorry affair at the feet of the parents and the poor example they have set, but would they have been so keen for the pregnancy to go ahead if they didn’t see pound signs in their future? And how long will it be before we get the documentary on ITV or the big Sunday supplement on how things are going?

I’d also like you to think about the quote from the anti-abortionist at the end of the article.

“We commend these teenagers for their courage in bringing their child into the world. At the same time this is symptomatic of the over-sexualisation of our youngsters and shows the policy of value-free sex education just isn’t working.”

Just what do you make of that? She’s painting these kids as some kind of heroes and then blaming ‘society’ for the situation they have got themselves into. The fault here is not with the sex-education taught in schools. The fault is with the total lack of control that the parents appear to have over their offspring. I’m sorry, but if this had been my 13 year old son he wouldn’t be appearing in the newspapers and he’d be out finding work in his spare time (and studying bloody hard to make sure he had the qualifications to get a decent job the rest of the time) to help support the baby. (I should point out that my son is only three, so I might have to wait ten years to put this claim into practice, by which time the economy might have recovered and there might actually be some work for him to do)

I know I’m ranting. But this is the sort of story that brings that out of people. The last ‘kid’ to be a young father was twelve and he said all the same things about being a good dad that Aflie is saying. And as the article reminds us, he and the baby’s mother split up after six months.

One final thing, contrast this story with the news earlier this week that a set of parents in Norwich who had their three children taken off them and adopted after, what eventually were proved to be false, accusations of abuse. They have been told by the court that, even though they didn’t abuse their children and were actually good parents, they cannot have their children back now they’ve been adopted.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/7885047.stm

Can I dare to suggest that for her own good, perhaps the same authorities might be thinking that young Maisie would be better off with some loving adoptive parents rather than being brought up in the very same environment that was responsible for her premature conception in the first place.

ps – over the weekend, it emerged that two other boys are claiming paternity over Maisie and now all three will undergo DNA tests to determine who is the father. Strange to think that 10 or 20 years ago anyone accused of fathering a child with a 15 year old would be demanding tests to prove tehy were NOT the father – not that they were the father. Have times really changed so much – or do all three of Maisie’s would-be dads see those pound signs ahead?

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You may (or indeed may not) remember my first post here on the Britwriters blog. It was all about my Allotment and how I was looking forward to the bounty it would bring.

Well, it’s harvest time down at Nobbs’ (mini-)Farm and the wonderfully wet August has meant that while some of my veg has under-performed, I’ve got a bumper crop of that staple of the British diet – Spuds.

Lots and lots of lovely Spuds. I spent most of the weekend digging them up, and I’ve now got four big boxes full of the things stored away in my shed, covered up with newspaper and hopefully set to see me right for the winter.

Which, of course is good, given that the price of everything at Tesco’s has gone through the roof.

Other crops that have done well include my Courgette crop and my French Beans. My tomatoes haven’t done too well though – You need sun for good tomatoes and we haven’t had much of that this year.

Still, we’ve learnt tons this year, and Mrs. Nobbs and I will carry it through to next season – when hopefully, we’ll have an even better haul. Roll on Spring!

ps – I have to show you this photo. I think only the British could do this. On a plot a few down from ours is the best scarecrow in Britain. What do you think of him? Nice Jacket, huh?

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You know, it’s difficult to see myself as a Romance Writer but I guess that’s what I am now. Erotic Romance, admittedly, but Romance nevertheless. Yes, I still write short ‘stroke’ stories such as the Ladz “Local Lovelies” series , and they go down quite well, but there’s no denying that Lost&Found, Charlotte’s Secret and (when it’s finished) Chloe’s Education are anything but romantic in tone.

When I wrote my first sex story back in ’98—a story about a threesome at a housewarming party—I never envisaged being classed as a romance writer. Back then, for me at least, romance novels were still very much the “Mills&Boon” type. You know, heart & flowers, purple prose etc.

But Romance has changed. Readers now want ‘heat’. They want to know just what the heroines are feeling and what’s being done to them to make them feel it (if you know what I mean). Graphic yet sensual descriptions and thorough exploration of sexual needs and desires are the order of the day. And it’s not restricted to heterosexual relationships either – it’s my understanding that gay romances sell as well (if not better) than straight ones. Hell, there are even some BritWriters who write gay romance, isn’t that so?

But Erotic Romance still has its ‘rules’. Rules updated from ‘old style’ Romance. There must be a hero and a heroine (for straight romances at least – I’ll let more knowledgeable people talk about GLBT romances). The heroine should be a strong modern woman, but at the same time vulnerable. And the heroes need to be strong alpha-males. That’s what the girls want (or so I’m told) – the alpha-male. And since women are the predominant readers of Erotic Romance – alpha-males is pretty much what they get. And since it’s mostly women who write Erotic Romance, they are happy to serve up them up.

But I think I’m a little different from most of the erotic romance authors out there. For one, I’m a bloke – so hopefully I offer something a little different to your average female author. A different perspective, if you like. A male perspective.

And, possibly, a British perspective too. Does being British matter? Of course it does. Look at Hugh Grant – he’s made a career out of playing decidedly British men in romantic comedies. The likes of Colin Firth and Alan Rickman haven’t done bad out of being very, very British either. And let’s face it, could any other nation on earth have spawned probably the greatest romantic hero ever, Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Darcy?

I suppose at this point I really should make clear what I see as an Alpha-male in romantic writing. Well, Wikipedia (my usual Internet standby) just comes up with a definition in terms of wolves and chimps so that’s not much use. The closest I got was this

Alpha Male: a term used to describe a macho male character within a romance.

from fiction forum.

Not the best definition in the world, but when you look deeper it seems that everyone likes to argue argue about it. Look here, for example, where it seems that Alphas are both good things and bad, depending on who’s answering. Still, it’s suits my argument to use the definition above. So let’s stick with that. Are my male leads alpha-males? Or are they bumbling upper-middle-class Hugh Grant’s or stiff-upper-lipped, oh-so-proper Mr Darcy’s?

Actually, they’re neither. My male leads aren’t alpha-males, mainly because I’m not what you’d call an alpha-male. And hey, I’m a working class boy from the Black Country – I couldn’t sound like Hugh Grant even if I did have a plum in my mouth (I’d sound like Ozzy Osbourne on a bad day – “Sharrooonnn!”)

No, I was the nerdy, booky type at school, the one who was bullied for wearing glasses, the one everyone came to so they could copy their homework instead of doing it themselves. And I think that reflects in my male leads. They, like me, are modern (some even say, slightly cool) young Britons. Typically they are intelligent, in well-paid professional jobs. They are stronger than I ever was – they’re not going to be bullied and they will stand up for the woman they love, but they are ‘new men’ (if that term is still used – personally, I hate it). They are sensitive, they get hurt. They have their flaws. Hell, you could even go as far as to say that, at times, they wear their heart on their sleeves.

In fact, I don’t really like referring to my male leads as “heroes”. I prefer to call them (like I just did) Male Leads or the Central Male Character. I guess I’m just more comfortable with that.

Let me try and show you what I mean by reference to the Central Male Character in Charlotte’s Secret.

David is, in some respects, the antithesis of an alpha-male. He’s an accountant—intelligent and respected in the local business community and far from what most people would think of as an alpha. He’s also trapped in a loveless marriage. Why? Because he did what he thought was right and married a woman he didn’t love just because she was carrying his baby (at least, he thought she was). Now, you know and I know that in modern Britain, marrying someone just because you’ve knocked them up isn’t the done thing anymore – but David is different. He’s from a broken home. He knows what it’s like growing up without a dad – and he’s going to make damn sure he doesn’t inflict that on any child of his.

And it’s David’s relationship with the little boy he believes to be his son that is central to this whole story. It’s that relationship that makes David behave the way he does.

Does that sound like an alpha to you?

In my e-books, far from painting my Male Leads as alpha-males, actually, it’s my antagonists (or villains if you prefer) who are the “traditional” alpha-males.

So, let’s focus on my two Phaze releases, Charlotte’s Secret and Lost & Found.

There is, unquestionably, a character fitting the description above in Charlotte’s Secret. His name is Mike Liggins and he is David’s wife’s bit on the side. He’s not the sharpest tool in the box – in stark contrast to David who is so smart it’s scary – but he is built like the proverbial brick-shit-house and has an unfathomable attraction to the ladies. As Charlotte thinks to herself when she’s hidden in the bushes watching Susie give Mike a blow-job

…he might be rough and ready, and not that bright, but he did have one thing going for him…

Later in the story, even Charlotte succumbs to Mike’s animal magnetism when she finds herself day-dreaming about him.

“You want it, then? After all you’ve said about me? What was it you called me? Moron, wasn’t it? I’ll show you who’s a moron.” He slammed into her hard and kept on slamming as Charlotte’s orgasm built again.

“Oh, yes. Harder! Faster! Give it to me, you bastard!” She screamed as her orgasm hit. How long it lasted, she didn’t know. She didn’t even know if Mike came or not.

He’s big, strong and assertive. I imagine him down the pub with his mates bragging about his conquests, going to watch the football, leading the chanting and then getting into some agro with the opposition supporters afterwards. He’s a beat-your-chest, almost stereotype of an alpha-male. And he’s my villain.

Moving on to Lost & Found, we find a different type of alpha-male. Unlike Charlotte’s Secret, which is told mostly from David’s point of view but switches to Charlotte’s for the few scenes where David isn’t around, Lost & Found sticks firmly to my Male Lead’s point of view throughout. Chris is an Economics PhD, and although his job is never specified, Beth does refer to him as a ‘financial whiz’.  But Chris isn’t an alpha-male in the traditional sense. Yes, he’s a bread winner, and yes, he earns a lot of bread but his most significant relationship in recent years has been with a woman on the other side of a computer screen on different continent. Not exactly alpha material.

Whereas Beth’s father, Colonel Robert Burnett, is alpha-male all over. Retired Colonel, he’s used to being in charge, used to having his orders followed. He’s proud his championship winning, quarterback jock son joined the army. You couldn’t get much more ‘alpha’. But here’s were he differs from Mike in Charlotte’s Secret. The most important thing in The Colonel’s life, is his daughter. He just doesn’t express it very well. He expresses it like an ‘alpha’. He tells her what to do, shouts and gets mad and frustrated. But he’ll do what he needs to protect her. Look at the scene on my own blog here.

Can you see the difference between what I consider my two Male Leads in this piece? Yes, The Colonel is as important to this story as Chris is. This is a story about two men vying for the affections of one woman – her father and her lover. Chris stands up to The Colonel, but it shakes him – he’s not used to it. He does it because he loves Beth and wants to protect her. The Colonel wants to protect her too, it’s just a shame he’s too pig headed to see he and Chris want the same thing. The Colonel handles the situation like an alpha, Chris handles it the way I like to think I’d handle it.

I guess that to some extent my Male Leads are an idealised version of me. The way I’d like to see myself almost. Not exactly, just a little bit, because like all characters, as the story develops they take on a life of their own and become personalities in their own right.

So there we have it. My take on the traditional male lead in romantic fiction. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And here’s a challenge to my fellow BritWriters – tell me about your male leads, especially if you write gay romance, it’d be interesting to compare, don’t you think?

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I’ve had this sent to me the other week by e-mail – I’ll let you read it before I comment.

We are hitting £108.9 a litre in some areas now, soon we will be faced with paying £1.10 a ltr. Philip Hollsworth offered this good idea:

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the ‘don’t buy petrol on a certain day campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t
continue to hurt ourselves by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT,whoever
thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work.

Please read it and join in!

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a litre is CHEAP, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the market place not sellers. With the price of petrol going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their Petrol! And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. Here’s the idea:

For the rest of this year DON’T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one), ESSO and BP.

If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact we need to reach literally millions of Esso and BP petrol buyers. It’s really simple to do!!

Now, don’t wimp out at this point…. keep reading and I’ll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

I am sending this note to a lot of people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)… and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) … and so on, by the time the
message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached
over THREE MILLION consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it… ..

THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!

Again, all You have to do is send this to 10 people. That’s all.(and not buy at ESSO/BP) How long would all that take? If each of us sends this email out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8days!!! Acting together we can make a difference . If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.

PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE 69p a LITRE RANGE

It’s easy to make this happen. Just forward this email, and buy your petrol at Shell, Asda,Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons Jet etc. i.e. boycott BP and Esso

Okay, read it? Formed an opinion? Good. Here’s my take on this – WTF??? Okay, I can see why someone might think like this, and in some countries, say America, it might work. I mean, America is damn big and consumes a damn sight more oil than we do here in the UK. Do you really think that losing the British forecourt market would affect BP?

Let’s get a few things straight.

Number one, BP and the other large oil companies do not make huge profits at the petrol pumps. In fact, they make hardly any money there at all. BP and the others make their money from taking the oil out of the ground and processing it. The money they make from that dwarfs the money they take at the pumps. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that for someone like BP, small petrol stations are almost a loss-leader, a way to keep their name in the public consciousness.

Number two, all this organised protesting isn’t very British is it? Shouldn’t we all be forming an orderly queue, rolling our eyes and tutting? Okay, so a group of truckers went a bit mad in 2000 and blocked the depots but that’s not the point. We in Britain don’t protest – we make do and get on with it. Leave the protesting to our Gallic and Latin cousins – they’re so much better at it than us. I mean, have you ever seen a French strike? None of that standing around by a steel bin with a fire in it. So sir, they march on the town hall and dump a truck load of cow poo outside it.

Where was i? Oh, yes…

Number three, let’s say we do stop buying petrol at garages with the BP logo above them and instead go to the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s et al. Where do you think the supermarkets get their petrol from? They certainly don’t take it out of the ground themselves. The petrol is brought from the large oil companies – the likes of, yes, you guessed it, BP.

Number four, petrol and diesel are so expensive in the UK for one reason, and one reason only – TAX. We pay twice as much tax on our fuel as they do in Holland. Over half of the £1.20 we’re now paying (yes, it has gone up that fast) per litre is made up of tax. The Americans are hurting because they are paying $5 per gallon. We’re paying the equivalent of over $10 per gallon. Where does all that extra money go? Yep, the Treasury. It’s all tax. Fuel duty and VAT.

The government would like us to believe that petrol is so expensive because the cost of oil is high and would like us to forget that the more oil costs, the more they take in tax. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that this ‘campaign’ e-mail originated in Downing Street.

This government could help out the “hard working families” they claim to represent quite easily – by cutting the tax on fuel. But they won’t. They will claim it will be too expensive, both in financial terms and for the planet. And yet they could afford to give us all an extra £120 in our pay packets by raising the personal allowance and borrowing billions to do so because their own MPs were angry. So, my final word on this – Gordon, Alistair, sort it out and stop trying to blame everyone else.

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My New Novella, Lost & Found, is released by Phaze today. At 26000 words and $4 (around £2), Lost & Found is the story of two men’s love for one woman – but not in the way you think.

Chris has flown across the Atlantic to be with his ‘cyber-lover’ Beth in her hour of need, but Beth’s father, The Colonel, is damned if he’s going to let some guy from across the pond steal away his only daughter just days after he lost his only son.

An emotional rollercoaster that takes you from the sorrow of a military funeral to the highs of winning big in Las Vegas, Lost & Found is a must read.

Buy it today direct from Phaze today, or look out for it on Fictionwise, mobipocket or All Romance eBooks very soon.

To see the stunning cover by Kenrda Egert, click here.

To read an excerpt click here or here.

Still Available – Charlotte’s Secret

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We Brits have a strange relationship with the weather. Some would even call it intimate. We are obsessed by it. It occupies our thoughts daily. The weather forecasts on TV are among the most watched of programmes. When we have nothing to talk about, we talk about the weather. When we do have something to talk about, we still talk about the weather.

I guess that the reason for this national obsession is that the weather here is so interesting. It’s not exactly dangerous – I mean, we don’t get tornadoes or hurricanes or droughts – but it is varied and unpredictable. We can happily complain about the rain or the cold or the heat or the snow, while knowing that actually, it’s never going to be so extreme that we have to worry about it.

Yesterday (Sunday) the weather was glorious – hot and sunny all day. It’s the same again today and the lovely Carol Kirkwood on BBC Breakfast tells me it’s going to be the same again tomorrow. Still, it doesn’t stop some of the older girls in the office complaining that it’s too hot.

See, we Brits complain about the lousy weather, but actually, we quite like it – it gives us something to moan about. But we have a very, very odd relationship with hot weather.

The slightest hint of sun and the barbeques and shorts come out and the shirts and shoes come off. And that’s just the men! I won’t even describe what the women wear – I’d have a heart attack.

Actually, I’m the world’s youngest dirty old man, so I quite enjoy the show that hot weather brings. From my third floor office on the high street in a rural market town, I can look out of my window and see acres of lovely female flesh – I can see quite a lot of not so lovely female flesh, flabby man-boobs and beer bellies too but let’s not talk about that.

So, let’s celebrate these hot, hot days – we may not get that many. Let us rejoice that the sun sees fit to shine on us and do what we Brits do – strip half-naked and eat badly cooked sausages. Long live the Great British Summer.

Oh, and long live Carol Kirkwood too – what a way to wake up in the morning.

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