Limericks – More!

The limericks are coming along, and it’s time to take a breath or two. I hit the magic number of 144 last night, so now have the ‘Gross of Limericks’ I had targeted for the little book collection. Actually, that sounds horrible, ‘a gross’ of anything. Maybe a ‘dozen dozen’ would be better!

gross picture
Taking a quick look back at the earlier ones, I can see there is much work to be done to them before they see the light of day. Also, some of them are simply a little too rude to publish unless I make it an adult book, and I don’t want it to be that. So the bottom line is that there are still more to write to make up for those that will feel the pain of my red pen!

I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, but I began to wonder about including some themed limericks, ones which run on from one to the next. Actually I did write a set of four about a witch who had used up all of her spells, and it seemed to work quite well.

A witch from the city of Wells
One day found she had run out of spells
Feeling down in the doldrums
She checked all her cauldrons
And one had the evilest of smells…

I won’t share the next three ‘verses’ otherwise it’ll spoil the surprise. Maybe I’ll try a couple more themed sets and see what comes out!

So, what next? First create an index of professions, names and places used for the limericks to check there are as few repeats as possible. It should be possible to make some simple changes to remedy that. Then check that each one rhymes and scans well. This is probably more important for a limerick than for a ‘normal’ poem, where inconsistent rhythm can more easily be tolerated. At the same time I can throw out the ones too ‘near the mark’, and any that don’t quite hit the spot. A limerick doesn’t necessarily have to be funny, of course, but it surely has to amuse. Finally I will need to write a few more to make the number back up to 144.

And in the meantime, what about the book cover? Oh well, can’t do everything at once!
Want one final taster?
OK!

A conjuror from Devon named Rick
Had a brilliant idea for a trick
He would take a cream tea
Wave his wand and count three
And turn the scone into a chick.

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Limericks!

I had never taken limericks particularly seriously, and apart from the old school-time favourites (There once was a man from Kent… etc), cannot recall any of note.
But then I wrote a limerick to include on a Christmas card to an ex-work colleague, and the next time we caught up he went into raptures about it. However, I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I personalised his card, or the virtues or otherwise of the limerick itself.
No matter, it got me thinking. A limerick is a short story. Generally it opens with defining a character, then the second line sets the scene. In the third and fourth lines something usually happens, and the closing line offers a dénouement of sorts. They don’t all work like that, of course, but by and large they do contain all the components needed to tell a tale.

Next project then: A book of limericks !

There once was a gardener from Leeds
Spent all of the Spring setting seeds
He forgot fertiliser
And was none the wiser
’til all he got back were some weeds.

There must have been zillions of limericks written over the years, and it will be interesting to see if any of mine are a repeat of ones that already exist. How? I’m not sure, but running them all through one of the on-line plagiarism sites would be a start. I did that with all my OU assignments before submitting them, just in case!

An artist who painted in Louth
Held his brushes secure in his mouth
He fell on his face
Brushes vanished sans trace
Until one of them came out down south.

Well, that’s two of them drafted, and I’m reckoning on a gross, so 142 limericks to go !

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Thinking in the Cloud Poetry Book

thinking in the cloud covers 3 front

I hope you like the collection of my poetry I’ve chosen for this new book. Most of them are freshly written and cover a wide range of subjects which are close to my heart. Some follow a strict poetic form, but I get a warm naughty feeling when I break the rules so there is plenty of that. Also tucked inside the collection of thirty nine poems is some free verse, comic rhymes, and a rap and of course the title poem – Thinking in the Cloud. Click on the Cade Books tab above to see how you can get a copy!

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What is Poetry?

screenshot.1035

Inspiration has flown out of the window this past week or two. The river of ideas which was flowing into my new poetry collection has suffered days of drought and all I see is crazed terracotta. The occasional light shower creates a few shoots from seeds blown in on life’s breeze, but they shrivel into twisted black threads.
Advice at this point usually boils down to ‘Write, just write.’ That’s all very well, but what’s the point of spewing out poppycock? I believe the thinking behind the advice is that the random assortment of words spread over the page will somehow get rearranged into an attractive collection of stimulating sonnets and thought-provoking villanelles. A bit like a potter turns a blob of clay into a beautiful vase, or a painter creates a fabulous picture from worms of coloured oil on his palette. It doesn’t work like that with me. I end up with lines that rhyme, with mathematically correct metre, and stressed syllables creating accurate iambs. That’s poetry, isn’t it, you may ask. Not for me it isn’t.
Rhymes come two a penny. Look at the zillions of greetings cards on the market. The rhymes can make you giggle, make you sigh, make you hoot, sometimes make you cry. But they get thrown away with the cards. Do you remember them? Do they change your life? Do you feel what was in the mind of the creator when the rhymes were written?
Poetry surely is more than rhythm and style. Doesn’t it have to be sensual? Make your heart miss a beat? Take you to a beautiful place and leave you there even after you have stopped reading? Nod your head as you empathise with the writer’s emotions? OK, this is getting a bit yawn-provoking, but you know what I mean: There is surely a difference between rhymes and poetry. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it is restrained. But a difference there is.
So, is my new collection anything more than an assortment of lines where the end words rhyme? I just had a look at those written so far. Yes, some are a bit clinical, especially the couple of pantoums where it seems more work went into the structure than it did the turn of phrase. Some are a bit mathematical, like the chocolate cupcake one shaped like a… cupcake. And some are amusing with no purpose other than to raise a titter or two. As for the others, I read them again and they evoked a range of sentiments inside me. But of course that isn’t the point. I know full well what I meant when I wrote them, what I was feeling, the symbolism, the background. The point is, will the words mean anything to the reader?
I’m not going to find out just yet though, because I want forty poems for the collection and still have five to go. And inspiration has flown out of the window.
Which is where I was when I started writing this blog entry!

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Three Courses – Short Story Fiction and Google Book Search

The new book of short stories is now up on Amazon in both Kindle download and print editions. Initial feedback from readers has been good, and although not all of the stories are to everyone’s taste, there seems to be something for everyone to enjoy. If you have bought a copy, thank you very much. Please let me know what you think either by leaving a review on Amazon or getting in touch with me direct.

three cOUrses back and front

Details about the book and how to buy a copy can be found under the Cade Books tab on my WordPress blog, or go direct by clicking here.

Well, that’s one Local History, one ‘How To’ and one short story fiction book finished. Now it’s on to poetry. Some will have noticed from my lack of Facebook and Twitter presence that I have had my head down for the last few weeks. The reason is that I’ve been writing new poems to add to the small collection created over the years. I want the book to be fresh and current, so although I will include some of the old ones, most will be newly written. Watch this space for progress!

I have been wondering about Google Book Search recently. If you submit a book you have published, they include the text in their searchable database and highlight the match if anyone Googles for a particular term that’s mentioned in your work. On the face of it, this sounds like a neat idea, but I’m a bit put off that Google can display 20% (more if you specify it) of your book. On the other hand, if someone is checking out your book in a library they get to see it all for free! For me, I’m happy to share my writing because I do it for fun. However, I can see that an author who is trying to carve out a living might not want to share such a big chunk of work. Sixty pages from a three hundred page novel is quite a read for free! The bottom line is that I have released my Probate book to Google Book Search. It will be interesting to see how it affects sales!

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Whomerley Wood Moat Stevenage – Review from HALH

The other morning, a complimentary copy of Herts Past and Present dropped on the doormat, and inside I was delighted to find a review of my book by one of the editors, Ruth Jeavons from the Hertfordshire Association for Local History.

moat review HALH 1

Kind words, indeed!
The book is available from me (signed copy with free UK p&p), Amazon, eBay, Lulu and is for sale in Stevenage Museum. Check out the details here!

cover 1d

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Three Courses – Short Stories from Creative Writing Modules

Thank you to my Facebook and WordPress friends who encouraged me to press ahead with publishing my anthology of creative writing!

three cOUrses front

I found this book much harder to put out there than Whomerley Wood Moat and Probate, probably because with my engineering background I am more comfortable with factual writing. Fiction is different. The reader gets to know how you think. They judge your ability to please them. Will they be bored? Will they smile or laugh out loud? Will they believe in wherever you take them? Will they keep turning the pages?
Now is the time to find out the answers!
Details about the book and how to buy a copy can be found under the Cade Books tab on my WordPress blog, or go direct by clicking here.

It’s available direct from me (signed copies, free UK p&p), from eBay (signed copies, free UK p&p), and from Lulu Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu. .

Amazon have it on Kindle download here, and should have the print book in stock within a week or two.

If you decide to buy a copy, thank you. I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I loved writing them.

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