Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Mike Newman Mystery "Who Else is There?" 

is a finalist in the 

Independent Author Network Awards 2015

Click here for Amazon.com

Click here for Amazon.co.uk

Friday, 24 July 2015

Have you ever walked on broken glass or trodden on hot coals, because I feel that's what I'm doing right now. A couple of weeks ago in another forum, a writer picked up on a comment I made over four months ago and then lambasted me with all sorts of unpleasantness and insults.
Should he see this topic, he might want to bring his sarcasm and innuendoes to this forum.

The reason for this guy's unpleasantness is because he refuses to accept that I not only go it alone in publishing my book, but because I go it alone from the first word right through to publication. Just duck your head in case there is still flak flying around, while I whisper a confession – I edit my own work, and despite the five star reviews my work receives, this guy is not alone in saying it can't be done.

So why do I do it?

I paid a small fortune to have my first book edited and proofread, but when I made changes as suggested by a professional editor, I felt I had lost something. Not in the writing, for the words on the paper were still my words and my voice told the story, but something deep-rooted and personal had been taken away.

I had my first stroke at 30, my second at 42, and both ripped furrows into my brain. The second brought an end to my working life. To fill my time, I studied art at the local college. In order to demonstrate a technique, the tutor took my brush and adjusted the picture on my canvas. This was his way. He would move from student to student, take up the brush or pencil and twiddle with the image, but for me, the painting had become distant, remote and no longer mine. I can only attribute this overwhelming sense of loss to the brain damage caused by the strokes.

It took me a while before I discovered what was missing from my first, professionally edited novel. I had lost the much-needed sense of personal achievement, which until then, had been the driving-force in my post-stroke recovery. Although the editing was excellent in every respect, for me, the book had lost its spirit. The life had gone out of it and it was as limp and useless as my right hand.
Others said the work was brilliant and should win awards, but I grew to despise it for the simple reason that it betrayed not my achievement, but only what I could accomplish with another's input.

I took the decision to withdraw the novel from the market. My first venture into becoming an author was nearly my last, but one characteristic I share with the fictional hero in my books is we do not give up. We never say, “I can’t.”

Just as I did with my painting after my second stroke, after a third stroke came along, I applied myself to studying. I learned editing practices and writing techniques. I focused on developing a system where I could hone my stories through several different stages until it was my best, and not my best enhanced, improved or adjusted by someone else. While I am still determined to achieve against the odds, I am immensely grateful for people who have helped, advised or guided me towards this goal. One such person is the British author and editor, Dorothy Davies. I have never met Dorothy, but her constant encouragement, criticism and advice through our social media connection has inspired me to progress in my ambition, and that is to produce a first class, award-winning novel of my own.

I do not recommend any writer to edit their own work unless of course, like me they only have half a brain and have spent years trying to perfect a system that works, but I have taken on the challenge and enjoyed every step on the way. My books still get amazing reviews and the occasional bad review, but whether it is 5 stars or 1, I feel I have a right to claim every single star as my own.

If you want to see my books, search Amazon for Philip Catshill

My paintings can be viewed at http://www.philipcatshill.com  which also has links to my poetry.

Philip Catshill

Sunday, 28 June 2015

My memory was wiped away by my first stroke at the age of thirty, but over the years, little snippets have emerged from dormant and damaged braincells. I still cannot remember my schooldays or the friends from my youth, but word-by-word, line-by-line I have reconstructed the poem I learned in my teens, or at least, the first half a dozen verses. 

Four years ago, I started to write poetry. I have a favourite, but I couldn't recite it, or any other of my work as they seem to pay but a fleeting visit in my mind, yet that poem, The Highway Man by Alfred Noyes is here to stay. Even two more strokes haven't taken it away!

This poem is called Russet Leaves and is one in my Poetry Compilation available from Amazon.

Russet Leaves 

©2013 Philip Catshill

When that old chestnut shed russet leaves
And the sycamore golden brown,
Though autumn chilled my reddened cheek
And cold my fingers numbed,
I took my Granddad's homemade rake
And set about the chore.
Granddad watched from a rocking chair
And when the job was done,
He said, "Let's not burn them yet a while,
For the critters will make a home."

When that old chestnut shed russet leaves
And the sycamore golden brown
With tears of mourning on his cheek
To his grief succumbed.
My father bought a stiff wire rake.
And set about the chore.
No one watched from the rocking chair
But when the job was done
I said, "Don't bag them up yet a while,
For the critters will need a home."

When that old chestnut shed russet leaves
And the sycamore golden brown
From the havoc beetles reek
They to death succumbed.
The bark began to peel and flake
Tree fellers had the chore.
Alone I watched from rocking chair
And when the trees were gone
I left the leaves to lie a while
For the critters to use as home.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Without ceremony, without ado, I slipped my latest novel onto Amazon as an e-book for Kindle this morning.

The Flower Angel is a disturbing read and centres around a girl named Angela, whose heroin-addicted mother sold her into child prostitution.
A childhood pregnancy results in Angela or Angel being placed in foster-care. Despite medical records showing she underwent an abortion, Angel is convinced her baby survives. Encouraged by her social-worker, Angel returns to her mother's flower shop. Police become interested by an increasing incidence of suicides among men accused of child sex crimes, especially when flowers appear at their funerals.

The Flower Angel (Amazon.co.uk)

The Flower Angel (Amazon.com)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Did you know if someone copies your profile picture, puts it on their own timeline and captions it with a lie or something distasteful, Facebook says
"We reviewed the photo you reported for annoying and distasteful humour and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards."
"We reviewed the photo you reported for harassment and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards."
It has happened to me with an allegation so distasteful, I won't repeat it.
The distress this has caused has made me wonder if posting a real photograph on all these websites is actually a sensible thing to do.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My wife is trying to buy something from a UK bookseller Website: She's having trouble and can't find a place to leave comments or even a help page, but there is a search facility so she types: "How can I contact you" ... the reply: a book entitled: "Learn to use a ouija board."

Monday, 26 January 2015

I'm still working on a few areas of my new book, The Flower Angel. I'm not sure when it will be ready for publishing.
I've had a break from writing for a few days as I've at last found the joy of LEGO. My son and grandsons seem to be addicted, so now it is my turn!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

My Google accounts seem to be all over the place! I set up my blog before I had a gmail address. Now I'd like this blog to "belong" to that address... oh, I'll get it working one day!