The Ultimate Back to School Blockbusters List, Chosen and Reviewed by our Members

(Review Number 5 by myself, Ron Moger)

That’s it, the end of summer. Kids are back at school and the long, sunny(ish) days drawn in. In honour of the back to school blues, we are taking a look back over the best school-themed blockbuste…

Source: The Ultimate Back to School Blockbusters List, Chosen and Reviewed by our Members

Notes from a London Gentleman – A Short Story

I invite you, Dear Reader, into my home.
It is a dark, simple, three room affair consisting of a washroom, kitchen, and then a living room which also serves as a sleeping area. The walls and windows are tall with little light entering through the curtains from the street outside. There is a table covered with various documents and a pair of leather armchairs, worn with age but quite comfortable. The fire is burning with a comfortable glow and, on the well worn rug in front of the hearth, lies the sprawled corpse of a man named Daniels; a cut runs across his throat to tell of his last experiences. I stare at him as his eyes roll back to a stop within his skull, and I go to the kitchen to make some fresh tea, my previous cup is now cold and
quite unpotable.

Earlier in the evening I had been enjoying the artwork of Delacroix at the city’s national gallery. I find his work to be a little base, almost vulgar in it’s presentation of drama and movement but there are certain elements that catch my eye and were distracting enough to keep me in those rooms for a number of hours. Before I finaly left, I took a few moments to sit and view the centrepiece of the exhibition, “Liberty Leading the People”. It is an obvious and almost jingoistic piece full of flag waving and simplistic revolutionary fervour, but also has some wonderful burning buildings and the corpses are almost
to touch.

As I rose to exit the building, I noticed I had somehow caught the attention of a man who was now (badly I might add) attempting to follow me out of the gallery and, as I turned into Chandos Street, he did likewise. I stopped, turned, and asked if we had somehow previously made acquaintance of one another. In the street light I made out he was a little embarressed, hesitant even. He explained that he had seen me enjoying the pieces and was wondering if there might be an opportunity to discuss the works somewhere
more informal.

I asked him his name, and took the opportunity to invite him back to my rooms where I had some papers on the subject he was more than welcome to browse through and perhaps take a drink while doing so. He agreed, we hailed a taxi, and within a few minutes of him entering my room I had pierced and then cut his throat with a letter opener and was now searching for the Earl Grey. I presumed that Mr Daniels would not be needing
one for himself.

The inhabited streets of London are quite empty between the hours of three and five in the morning and I find this is a very convenient time at which to dispose of guests who have outstayed their welcome. This also fits in quite nicely with the lifestyle in which
I find myself.

My life is as follows: I arise around five o’clock in the early evening and enjoy a light snack, some toast and perhaps a little fruit. Ensuring I am dressed in a manner fit for the evenings endeavours, I make my way into the city at around seven. This is the best time, I find, as the employed masses are invariably moving in the opposite direction of myself, and those living in the centre have not quite ventured to the restaurants in the swarming numbers of the later hours.

The city offers a wealth of entertainment on various levels. The operas might not show as wide a variety as much as one might prefer but the theatres reliably rotate play after play after musical to ensure that a year in London is certainly not a boring one.

Dinner, later on, I prefer to take at a small out of the way place called Malroy’s on Litchfield Street, they keep a late menu. It is near enough to the hustle of the city for later opportunities but off the track enough to keep away the unwanted tourists and ruffians that might otherwise stay my appetite and disturb my meal.

After wandering the streets for a short while to take in the city air, I then consider my short journey home which is best taken past the now closing pubs and bars of the Soho area as one can often find a lone person, somewhat worse for wear, attempting to stagger home alone via the backstreets. Mr Daniels was a deviation from my usual evening’s direction as I prefer to be somewhat opportunistic in my endeavours.

Dear Reader, I must advise: It really does one no good at all to draw attention to oneself with careless fingerprints or mislaid handkerchiefs and the disposal of corpses which one might find thrilling at the onset, I assure you, very quickly become a tiresome bore. It is impractical and ungentlemanly to wander the less walked streets of the city attempting to discover a stretch of unwatched canal or an overgrown parkland where one might then have to drag a wieghty corpse.

It takes time, it increases the opportunity of discovery, and it creases ones clothes terribly. In a brief moment of madness it occurred to me to keep less refined clothes for such a purpose but this soon passed.

I have tripped people at the tops of stairs, flipped some into walls by way of a walking stick to a drunken foot, and kicked some into the path of oncoming traffic while standing, myself, between parked vehicles. The newspapers have yet to inform me of these “hideously unfortunate accidents” being investigated by the authorities as anything exactly that, and some cases are not reported upon at all.

After concluding my evening’s activities, I return to my rooms to read for a short while before turning myself in for a well deserved rest.

My life is calm, I have no companions of which to speak and a career of any description has long not been required. Dear Reader, I am currently quite satisfied.

London truly does bring wonderful opportunities for the modern Gentleman.

 

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Apologies for the long gap

Scan 28
All I can say is… Norman is coming!

Watch this space…

Short Story: Anchorage

Anchorage

1211-snow-covered-mountains-by-a-lake-or
Alaskan twin brothers Harry and Irwin were always competitive, if Harry bought a mule then Irwin would have to get a horse and cart, if Irwin had a horse and cart then Harry would ditch his mule and get a carriage with elliptical spring suspension, seating for four with storage for drinks and, as they became older, so it went on.

By the time they had reached their 26th birthdays, the slight differences between them had grown into advantages to be used against each other. Harry was the better looking of the two and so would attract the ladies that Irwin could only dream of. He did, however have one leg shorter than his other, resulting in Harry having to wear specially made (and especially heavy) shoes slowing him down to a level that Irwin was always first on the train for the window seats and first to the bar when getting the drinks.

Despite their differences, the twins eventually moved into a cabin built precariously on the icy slopes of the wrong side of the mountains overlooking Anchorage. From there, they would wander into the forests, hunt moose and bears to sell to furriers in the town before stopping at their bar halfway home. Invariably their arrival home would be accompanied by a slurred argument about half forgotten grievances of the past, but would end, thankfully, with them falling into a drunken stupour and their memories the next morning being wiped clean by the rising sun. And so, their lives carried on predictably the same way for a good many years.

On one particularly normal day, the boys had successfully slaughtered a family of bears, cubs n’all, and were now in their regular drinking hole enjoying their favourite past-times of shooting whiskey, playing billiards, and arguing the toss about any subject that came to mind. Once they were just about to lose their eyesight to the local booze, the door opened and in walked a dark figure covered in fur. The boys and the barman looked on as it dragged itself to the bar and flung off the coat to reveal a buxom yet weathered female (not a lady, even in Alaska…) who was now demanding whiskey based service.

This was a triple wammy, someone new in the bar, someone female and new in the bar, someone female, new and who clearly enjoyed a good drink. While Harry was style spittling down his eyebrows, Irwin was already sliding up to the bar and slurring sweet nothings to the stranger, apparently called Emmy, and was soon joined by his clumping brother now fighting for her attention on her other side.

As one jigged for her amusement, the other would give tales of manliness and daring. Stories of surviving avalanches would be part told before being interrupted by balancing acts with shot glasses piled on noses. It might be known that a great deal of women would find this sort of attention seeking barriage to be an annoyance but Emmy was happy for the entertainment and, besides, she found the two to be appealing in their own ways (an appeal that grew with each drink they bought for her, coincidentally).

Bottles later and the three of them were soon trudging their way through the snow towards the cabin for post-bar merriments.

Unknown to the boys, Emmy was not one for remembering a face and, as Irwin went to write his name in the snow, Harry tried his luck with the lady and on Irwin’s return and Harry’s search in the store room for more drink, Irwin would equally throw his hat in the ring by, as far as Emmy was concerned, the same devilishly handsome man.

Hearing the giggling and sweet nothings from the other room, Harry stormed in with his hunting rifle and loudly voiced his objections to his apparently wayward brother. Now, little known to the boys but as Irwin and Harry were chasing each other around the room shouting perceived injustices and with Emmy laughing loudly between slurps of whiskey, the ice-based cabin was now becoming somewhat unstable and, as Irwin ducked and Harry fired his weapon out the window to the mountain side, the shock was all that was needed to finally dislodge the cabin and send it sliding towards the bay below.

Irwin panicked, Harry checked his image in the mirror lest he leave a badly styled corpse, Emmy drank in between screams and panicked giggles. With a slap and a slide, they hit and flew across the ice below, eventually spinning to an uneasy stop. Silence, then a creack, and then an audible cracking. Even with the high blood alcohol limit, the boys knew that this was not a good place to be in.

First priority to be dealt with: Slowly, Irwin made his way towards the door, carefully slid it open and, beckoning to Harry, gently picked up the whiskey and slid it towards the shore, case by case. Then the next priority: Emmy tiptoed and wobbled toward the door, the cabin creaking with every third step. A final leap for safety and she slapped face down into the ice, the final straw. The ice cracks shot like lightning under the cabin and, as Emmy scrabbled for safety, the cabin cracked and started sliding under the collapsing ice. A last bottle shot out of the cabin door as the air escaped gushing upwards and, as Emmy drank from the welcome gift, she peered down into the water, her whiskey fuelled cheeks making her oblivious to the searing cold. As the cabin sank slowly downwards, Emmy dragged herself off to a soft snow pile and rank herself into a stupour. Irwin scrambled clawing his way up the floor as the cabin rapidly filled with water, with his final exhausted grab he tok hold of the entrance frame and almost tasted freedom until he looked over his shoulder to see Harry, weighed down with his heavy shoes, blubbing and bubbling under the rising waters. A feeling of duty briefly washed over him as icily as the waters he was perhaps going to drown in, he remembered the girls he’d lost, the bike he’d bought, the life he could have had without his brother and, squinting his eyes with curses, made one final pull to jettison himself out of the cabin and towards the surface.

The edge of the ice hole he dragged himself on to was a sorry sight with a slumped and possibly dead Emmy lying in the snow pile a short distance away, her apaprent corpse comforted by only a whiskey bottle for a friend. He wondered how it might look to the authorities to find him, his cabin, his brother and perhaps this woman now gone. He’d hang for sure. Convincing himself it was for better reasons, Harry turned and, with a scream of “Irwin!” dove into the dark, icy waters, never to reappear.

The local wildlife rejoiced.

Unlike the local distillery…

Regarding Jim.

This morning I awoke to the news that the crime author, James Thompson, had passed away over the weekend.

I had heard of Jim through my writing group here in Helsinki. He had moved here years ago from the US and carved out a successful career writing dark, gritty novels based around the career of an Inspector Vaara. Vaara starts out his career as a potentially good policeman based in the north of the country, eventually moving to Helsinki and finding his life changing over the course of the following novels.

Jim had kindly offered to give a talk to the group about his work and the potential problems involved in getting books published, sticking to story structure and so on. I had been unable to attend the meeting so contacted him directly about possibly discussing my own work which he agreed to and gave me invaluable advise about reaching a wider audience, the voices used in my own work, and how to build a persona as an author i.e. finding a way of expressing yourself through your words and sticking with that where possible.

I met up with Jim on a few more occasions, he always made time where he could, before he eventually moved away last year to Lahti. Unfortunately contact with him was limited during this time and it was with the typical irony that, just as I was kicking myself around to emailing him to see how things were going, I heard of his untimely death.

My own life has experienced a number of let downs and losses in the past few years, and this should be the wake up call I need to value the time I still have to create and to reach out to people as a writer. To hear that someone like Jim, who had his fans and followers, has passed on makes me (in one way) glad that he had managed to achieve a good level of public fame through his work but as always there’s the feeling that each writer always has so much more to say. It’s a rare well that runs completely dry.

If you believe in such things, Jim has gone on to meet with other folk and to have his own adventures there. In the meanwhile the clock ticks and each second that goes by should be a reminder that things need to be done, while they can. Creating is it’s own reward, and to deny yourself of that, only ends up with one victim.

Bless you, Jim, and thanks for all you gave.

thompson-bio


Please Help

I promise to write a proper blog post very, very soon, but in the meanwhile could you wonderful readers please help me? I created a small trailer for one of my books a while back and it’s in competition for the international trailer festival.

I need a good few votes to push it up the rankings:

 

http://bit.ly/19xBVXa

 

I will happily return favours, where possible and legal, to anyone who helps:)

 

Thank you in advance and have a good, safe Christmas!

Mind melt

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to lose my job. I experienced many thoughts and emotions as  reult of this but one of the outstanding ones was “woo-hoo, I can now concentrate on my writing”. This was, predictably, not to be.

Although I managed to get some short stories written and a number of novels started, I didn’t actually complete very much. I can put this down to two core reasons: one would be that I had no real concept of time and therefore had no deadline by which to complete my work, nothing was pressing and so I had no driver.

Secondly, of the short stories I did complete and went on to submit to websites, I had perhaps not the reaction I’d wanted (although I’m not sure exactly what I did actually expect).

There’s the over-optimistic vision of having agents bang down your day on finding your work online, which is not going to happen… there is hope that you will write something submit it, and wake up the next day in a life of brian style scenario where people shout your name and beg you for further words of wisdom. This is equally deluded but still it would be quite nice to find happening. Finally, there’s the long slow potboiler in which you become some sort of Sugarman character where you are actually unaware of your growing popularity and then people hunt you down for a documentary that tries to find out who this dark, shadowy, revolutionary figure is.

None of these things happened. I did, however, foolishly pay an amount of money to a (apparently established and respected) website to get my work published, only for it to be rejected. I should have paid attention to my own advice of never paying reviewers, agents, publishers and so on. Additionally, where I was published, the reviews only seemed to be provided by other authors and therefore seemed to smile through their words with knives behind their backs. A horrid experience.

My Twitter followers have remained quite static in number, and the only extra followers seem to be other authors intent on advertising their latest efforts to me: another author! The point being what exactly? Surely they should be hunting down bookclubs and reading groups? Coca Cola, to my knowledge, don’t go to Pepsico every week and try to get vending machines installed, the same logic can be applied here. Very, very bizarre thinking.

I will continue working on books soon, and I can’t pretend I haven’t learned anything these past months, but my intention was to write something more optimistic and forward thinking rather than the cynical tomes that are currently sitting in my head waiting to see daylight, or moonlight.

The Dead Famous pt 2 seems more likely than ever, but I had hoped to tell my cat story first. Oh, well, c’est la guerre.

Author Ronald Moger: Short stories and tales of publishing woes.

Short stories, the search for success and tales of book promotion attempts :)

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