A Boat For My Potplants

My nautical project took me to glorious places, metaphorically speaking. There were parties on board. There was The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station. Of course there were plants. And one day even a gorilla.
The boat also became my 'Writer's Retreat'. I decided to become an author, writing my debut novel aboard the boat. The book, called MUDDY WATER, was naturally set in Wivenhoe. Amazingly, several local people paid good money to have their names appearing in the book, and a lot of cash was raised for worthy charities - the RNLI, MIND, The Samaritans, and The Royal British Legion.
Now, my next multi-singular selling novel, FLORIDA KEY, is in 'production', due for publication in October 2017.
I'm sure to be visiting writers' block along the way, as well as euphoria, self-doubt and inspiration.
See how my book goes through all the stages - from initial concept to final print. I'll take you with me on my personal journey as I work on the words, on the cover, on the marketing, and on the publishing.
Maybe it will inspire you too to have a go at bringing out THE BOOK IN YOU. Everyone has a story in them, just waiting to be told, and after all, if I can do it, anyone can.
(Click on the tabs below to see more about the Writer's Retreat In France, the old Boat For My Potplants, Tallulah the Motorhome, Alfonso the Car, and Jane the Woman. And to find out more about MUDDY WATER the novel, click the cover to be transported to its Facebook page)

Sunday, 2 October 2016


Phew! Depression was beckoning and knocking at the door. My door. "Surely this can't be happening - to me", I thought. "I must rise above this."

I touched the plastic crystal that is supposed to bring me luck, and I thought positive thoughts.

It worked!

My brain began to engage with my fingers, and thoughts turned into words, via my low-tech keyboard. When the words stopped, I wanted them to continue. That was the emotion I had been looking for...the desire to continue.

And then, when I awoke prematurely at 3am, instead of wanting to return to the Land of Slumber, my mind was buzzing to pick up from where I left off, and get at least a few more words out.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

At Last

At last, finally, thank goodness.

After days, weeks and months of deliberating, agonising and pontificating, I'm so very relieved to say that whatever was holding me back, has thankfully now gone.

You see, I had been trying to continue the theme of my previous book, Muddy Water, in which all of the chapters are written in the first person, from the characters' viewpoints.

A mistake.

I wasn't feeling inspired. I had been trying to replicate, but I was bored.

Nothing flowed.

I chatted with David, my publisher. He suggested I write the story in the third person.

It was like being given the kiss of life. It was as if I was being given permission to do something different.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Crowd Funding

Florida Key, the novel, is inspired by a true story of the discovery of a key, and will be published Autumn next year.

Yushi Yakamoto, as American as the next guy, was cycling across his own country 35 years ago when he is wrongly accused of killing the woman who seduced him on her water bed. Sounds improbable? 

The murder weapon was on his bike.

Writing in earnest begins soon. 

I think it's called crowd funding - people pay to become a character in the book. The funding enables me to take the time out from my 'normal' job in order to write.

It's a good plan - if it works.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Old '57 Chevy

Come with me on my journey to find the words that will go into Florida Key.

Where do the words come from?
What is the inspiration?

Well, here is one such inspiration - a beautiful '57 Chevy owned by Joe from Denver. I met him on a mountain pass in Colorado - not Florida, back when I was 21.

His car HAS TO find a place within the pages. I wonder if it's still going, 35 years later.

I bet it is.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Mojo's Return

It's always good to set goals. Deadlines.

They must be achievable though, otherwise they are self-defeating.

My goal is to write Florida Key in time for publication in October 2017.

My bigger goal is to create a situation that affords me the time.

'Crowd-Funding' is what it's called, I think.

And now that my writing Mojo has returned, I can't wait to get started.

Where will this journey take me, I wonder.

Yushi Yakamoto was an American citizen, born in the country to Japanese parents... 
He leant his bike up against the hardware store that doubled as a coffee shop.

We're OFF!!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Florida Key

It's been a while since I felt inspired to get the old blog up and running again.

I've been waiting until I had something to write.

My Boat For My Potplants is no longer mine, so I can't really write about that.

My Muddy Water book was printed and published, so I can't really write about that either.

But I could write about how Florida Key develops.

It all began in 1981...

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Florida Key

It's been so long since I wrote a post on my blog, and it's about jolly time to get back to it.

Especially as people are queuing up to buy their characters in Florida Key, which starts production soon.

Back On Board

It's great to be back on board the old BoatNotForMyPotplantsAnymore. The sun's shining on it, as usual.

It was time to have another 'Book Club' meeting with David, my esteemed publisher and all-round good chap. We met to discuss my next book Florida Key, in between a few glasses of Merlot. 

And thanks to the real life Miss Baudet, she gave her permission to use her boat, now called MISS BAUDET. I must admit, it's looking a whole lot prettier than when I had her (the boat, that is), but SHOCK-HORROR - the HiFi and record player have been de-commissioned. What's Goin' On?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Going International

After a whirlwind few tough days with mates in France (doing exhaustive research into the wine of the region while planning the International Launch of Muddy Water​), it's back to normal for me.

Except that I can't remember what 'normal' is anymore, what with being a busy author an' all.

This Sunday on BBC Radio Essex, BBC Suffolk and BBC Cambridgeshire I'll be on the Sue Marchant Show sometime around 9pm.

And before I'm on, you can hear Joanna Eden​, singing LIVE.

 Ooh, it's all so exciting, I need another cheeky glass of wine, and QUICK!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Struggling Author Prepares for the Radio

I love the radio.

Colne Radio.

Pirate Radio.

The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station.

I'm preparing for my first experience of being interviewed on BBC radio - tomorrow.

I'm quietly confident, but nervous as well.

I must keep cool. Keep calm.

Play some Nilsson and think of the swan-swan-goose of Wivenhoe.

And not to be shy of plugging Muddy Water at every opportunity.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Day In The Life...Day 7

Day Seven of being a struggling author...

What's on the close horizon?

Tuesday the East Anglian Daily Times comes out.

Also on Tuesday I'll be on BBC Radio Essex on the Tony Fisher show in the afternoon.

Then on Friday, I'll be having a chat with Joanna Eden about some ideas I have for...
Muddy Water - The Album. 

But back to the here and now... I was so pleased to hear from two readers (Kerry and Katie), who said that they had been enjoying the Muddy Water reading experience.

As a writer, I think that's all a writer can wish for - that someone enjoys your work.

It certainly ain't the notoriety or the money that may or may not be further down the line on long-distance horizons.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Taking it to the Press

I'm sorry I didn't actually begin my diary the other evening as planned - in fact I was busy being interviewed by the East Anglian Daily Times.

That's part of my strategy - to try to gain some publicity. After all, I can't expect anyone to buy Muddy Water if they don't know about it.

I decided to enjoy the moment, so I sat back in my chair with a nice glass of wine while the reporter, the lovely Nicola, asked away.

Where is the story set? Who's in it? How did it come about?

And the most important question that I made sure she got the answer to - where can the book be bought? - Amazon! 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Day in the Life of a Struggling Author

My personal diary of my progress through the muddy waters of becoming a writer begins HERE.

Will I ever make it in this HUGELY competitive world?

I'll try anything to succeed.

I will tell you, dear blog readers, EXCLUSIVELY what happens.

But how does one MEASURE success?

Follow my diary of events on THIS blog ONLY.

Follow my story here, starting TOMORROW!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Harry Who?

Harry​ Who?
Many of those who know me also know that I'm a Harry​ Nilsson obsessive - a huge fan of his music ever since I was 13, when my mum first played his LP Nilsson Schmilsson to me.

He's possibly best known for his two massive hits, Without You and Everybody's Talkin', although these songs are just a small tip of his extensive catalogue.

What's he got to do with Muddy Water​? Well, as it's MY book, I figured I had carte blanche to include several private Harry​ nods within the pages, including the illustrations drawn by Laura​ of the central character, Leslie Markland. Not a lot of people will know it but Mr. Markland bares an uncanny resemblance to the man himself. And in the story the dog's called Harry too. Oh it's such fun being an author - anything can happen, and it quite often does.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Countdown to MY Ecstasy on Top Gear

What is a blog?

It's a diary on the internet - I think.

So I may as well use my blog as a diary of my feelings as I move towards my book launch. My very own book launch. My very own personal feelings.

Most people won't give a flying f about what I feel, and I can quite appreciate that, but I thought it may be mildly interesting to a few, including me when I look back in years to come. So here goes...

It's Monday, and the book launch of Muddy Water is next Sunday.

It's far enough away that I don't yet have to unduly worry,

But it's close enough that I can't ignore it.

So I trepidatiously send a text to Jo, on the hope that she's still up for performing the song that she's written specially, on the day. She says she's looking forward to it too, so I feel I can relax a little - by listening to some Steely Dan and then sitting back to watch an old episode of Top Gear.

Monday, 19 October 2015

How To Make A Book Cover

It's easy!

Ask your beautiful daughter to pose for the camera.
Hold up a light to shine on her hair.
Add some words.
That's it!

Monday, 12 October 2015

My Baby

Oh crumbs! 
My baby's born. 
I got the first copy of Muddy Water today, and I touched it and discovered that it's really real. 
It's a real thing, and it has 47 real chapters, 384 real pages, and 127,705 real words sandwiched between 2 real covers. 
There's no turning back now. 
Oh crumbs. 
What have I done? 
Now I know what it feels like giving birth.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

How To Write A Song

I asked the hugely talented Joanna Eden to come up with a song for Muddy Water, so that

a) it could be used to play on Facebook and on my blog here - as soon as it's recorded
b) she can perform it live at the book launch on November 1st
c) for the fun of it
d) for the ego of it

I previously sent Jo the plot line of the story, and she effortlessly came up with the tune, and then some initial words.

Yesterday I went over to her house to co-write with her and do some 'fine-tuning'. No, that's not strictly accurate. The ratio of co-writing, as predicted, was 99% Jo and 1% me.

There was she pouring out melodies and lyrics as easily as I pour out my Cheerios, and I struggled to even come up with a word that rhymes with 'tide'. (masterfully, Jo came up with 'denied').

Thursday, 8 October 2015

How To Write A Book

Harry The Dog
It's easy to write a book...All you need are four essential ingredients, and one extra magic one

Part One:
Have an idea for a plot (fortunately I have no
Miss Baudet
shortage of 'em).
Have enthusiasm (also fortunately I have lots).
Have stamina (that's my shortfall, but I'm working at it).
Have a supporting missus (I am very lucky - 'Erindoors is a wonder).
Part Two:
Have a boat - preferably A Boat for My Potplants, upon which to have writing sessions. (although I no longer have Los Amigos, renamed Miss Baudet, the boat was indeed instrumental in the creative process.
Part Three:
Have a very talented daughter who illustrates the characters, including Harry The Dog. Oh, she's good!
Part Four:
Find someone who will mentor you, help you, work with you, edit you, publish you, eat with you, drink with you, laugh with you. Laughing is the most important element in this 'How To' section.
In my case, this is David Roberts, author of Rock Atlas, who shares with me a love of great music.
Part magic:
Be inspired. Who could fail at this, living in Wivenhoe?

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Muddy Water Book Launch

The book's been writ.
The venue's been booked.
The wine's been bought.

Muddy Water, the novel, is coming out on November 1st.

Inspired by a true story, and set muchly in Wivenhoe

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A New Beginning

Right! Too long has gone by since my last post on my blog. That was back when my Boat For My Potplants got sold to the lovely Lesley.

I'd concluded that it was time to move on. Time to embark on new adventures - like writing a novel.

Many of us have a story inside of us, just bursting to come out. Muddy Water is my story bursting to come out, and out it will be out on 1st November - and much of it was written aboard the boat.

So, I'm now picking up my blog from where I left off - and where better than with Miss Baudet - the new name for the old boat.

The new owner - Lesley - is featured in my book as Alberta Louise Baudet. And last weekend I met her on her boat in order to remind her how the motor works.

While I was there my breath was taken away by the incredible job she has done, along with her husband Graham, in improving the interior even better than I could ever do.

Just look! It's incredible. And to think that six years ago it was ready to be towed away for scrap.

I take my hat off to Miss Baudet.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Boat Moves Into Muddy Water

So my old boat will live on, with new careful owners. It's been saved from the scrapheap - I would say forever - and mighty glad I am too.

It's been the source of enormous fun and countless good times, but it's only right and proper that someone else now gets to take over at the helm.

Lesley, the new owner, has also paid me to be included as one of the characters in Muddy Water, which - surprise surprise - is set in Wivenhoe. In the story she (aka Miss Baudet) comes down from Leeds, sees the boat with me working on it and decides to buy it. She changes its name to 'Miss Baudet', and lives happily ever after. Or does she?

And thanks to her and a number of other good folks, a total of £1,500 has been pledged. At the book launch in October this will be equally divided and donated to three charities - MIND, The RNLI and the Wivenhoe Royal British Legion.

There's still much work to be done on the book, so I'd better get cracking.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

What The Heck's Going On?

Saved from the boatyard in the sky

The next book
What the heck IS going on, you may well ask.

The astroturf has gone. The planters have been removed. The geraniums have been tossed in the river. "It actually looks like a proper boat now", someone recently remarked. The cheek! How very dare they?

There had never been a game-plan. I never thought I'd sell it. But dear Miss Baudet came along and made me an offer I couldn't refuse just at the right time.

You see, I want to be an aufer of words, and at the moment I'm concentrating on Muddy Water, what will be out in October. All this writing mullarky takes time, and time costs dosh.

But now, thanks to Miss Baudet's spondoolics I have some freedom to leave my paint brush and ladder in the van, and concentrate on the first draft. And the second, the third, fourth and fifth. In fact as many drafts and re-writes as it needs until it's ready.

The one what I'm doing now
Then when that's been done, a book called A Boat For My Potplants will be next. 'A story of how a gorilla came to sit on a boat in Wivenhoe' just has to be told.

I'm jolly proud to have saved one of these lovely old 1970's Norfolk Broads cruisers from going to that big boat yard in the sky. It will now live on for many more years to come.

I know the new owner is going to love and look after her boat as much as I did since I brought it to Wivenhoe five and a half years ago.

I've had many wonderful adventures with the boat and its flowers along the way - and I daresay Miss Baudet will have many more - even without its garden - or the gorilla.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The New Miss Baudet

Miss Baudet and her beau Graham keep a watchful eye on me as I beaver away aboard their boat

I'm such a soppy old sausage my hanky has hardly dried out from all my tears recently.

I've been away from my blog for a long long time, and there's a mighty good reason for that.

I couldn't think what to write!

No - that's not quite true. I did know what to write, but I couldn't bring myself to write it without feeling overwhelmed with emotion.

You see, dear blog-readers, the boat is no longer a Boat For My Potplants.

And not only that, it's no longer MY Boat For My Potplants either.

WHAT? WHY? - I hear you cry out in shocked horror. Not as loudly as my own cries of disbelief, I can tell you.

But it's true! The real Miss Baudet has bought MISS BAUDET, as it's now called, and I've been busy working to bring her up to scratch, nice and shiny like, just the way she wants her to be. Without the plants. Sob sob.

Stay tuned blog-readers, for tomorrow's thrilling instalment, when I will reveal what the heck's going on

The plantless Miss Baudet with its new paint-job is nice and shiny again

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Magic Carpet Ride

The new carpet, without shag

The old, much more tasteful shag pile 
Muddy Water - my forthcoming best-selling novel will of course one day be available from major retailers around the entire world, translated into many languages, but initially Wivenhoe Book Shop may stock a copy or two, in English.

And of course the story will also be turned into a blockbuster film starring Tom Hanks as central figure Leslie Markland and Sandra Bullock as Silvie the sex-goddess. I've already given Tom Cruise my blessing for him to to play ME, on account of his height, in a cameo role, and Dame Helen Mirren will be playing Miss Baudet.

I nearly had a sheer heart attack
Miss Baudet is a leading character who has bought her way into Muddy Water. In the book and in real life, she comes aboard my Boat For My Potplants, and to my utter shock and horror she doesn't care much for the flowers OR the shag-pile carpet.

I nearly had a sheer heart attack right there on the spot, but Miss Baudet is not a lady to be messed with, and so it was off with the old tasteful rugs of before and down with the new ones sadly having no shag.

Miss Baudet is not a lady to be messed with
And just like shagpile carpets, all great things can come to an end - or at least a change of course set by the compasses of life, and as      life follows fiction, so can fiction  also mirror life.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Merging

It's funny how fiction and reality sometimes merge. Miss Baudet is a fictional character within my Muddy Water book who visits Wivenhoe, falls in love with the Boat For My Potplants and wants it - but without the flowers. Some people are so strange. How could anyone not want the flowers?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Boat Without My Potplants

I invited Paul, The Caravan Man onto the boat this week so that he could fit a new leisure battery for me. I can't complain - I've had the old one for five years now, but it was only managing about 45 minutes of life, even after a full sun-charge from the solar panel. I had my money's worth out of it, especially when I look back at some of the wild parties we've had on board.

Paul previously helped me with bringing Tallulah The Motorhome into the twentyfirst century, so I knew he was a jolly good fellow, and he didn't let me down this week on the Boat Without My Potplants.

Not only has Los Amigos now got a new battery to enable more partying well into the night, but he also fitted a new lamp and strip light.

After he left I continued to give the interior a bit of touching up with some white paint here and there, some wood stain where it needed it, and then a good old clean on the exterior.

And why oh why had it taken me FIVE YEARS to make the gang-plank more easy to walk across without risk of falling in the mud? I suppose it just never occurred to me until now.

My next job: A NEW NAME for the Boat Without My Potplants. What could it possibly be?