My Amazon Author Page

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"A Scottish Wind in the Willows on high end skunk."

"I enjoy Kate's stories..."
"A fun and spooky read..."

"The characters are so involving and
loveable that you do want them to really exist. It does read like you've
stumbled across someone's long lost diary from and alternate timeline/universe.
I quickly got into the story and loved every second of reading it...
total gem of a read by an author who deserves a lot more recognition."


Monday, 26 September 2011

The Ladykillers "Such pretty windows."

Mrs Wilberforce aka Katie Johnson, and Alec Guinness resplendent in his wig and teeth. Marvellous.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Byron on Reviews

Anyone worried about reviews out there?
Here's Byron's take on them.
(It just occurs to me how much I hate that expression "take on such and such")
As expressed in a letter he wrote to Shelley in 1821, following the death of Keats (I'm nothing if not hip 'n' happening.). I gather that Shelley must have informed him of the death, and also that it was hastened or caused by distress about bad reviews. Keats died of consumption, so, I suppose state of mind would play some part in one's ability to fight that off.
Bear in mind that Byron had recently described Keats' poems as a kind of "mental masturbation" and a "Bedlam vision brought on by too much raw pork and opium". ( see my post from a day or two back). Personally, I might take that as a compliment. But I'm not Keats, am I?
Just occurs to me - how much raw pork is "too much", exactly? More on that later. After I recover from an experiment with some underdone chops.
He writes to Shelley "I am very sorry to hear what you say of Keats - is it actually true? I did not think criticism had been so killing....I read the review of Endymion in The Quarterly. It was severe, - but surely not so severe as many reviews in that and other journals upon others.
I recollect the effect on me of the Edinburgh on my first poem; it was rage, and resistance, and redress - but not despondency nor despair. I grant that these are not amiable feelings; but in this world of bustle and broil, and especially in the career of writing, a man should calculate upon his powers of resistance before he goes into the arena.
"Expect not life from pain nor danger free,
Nor deem the doom of man reversed for thee."

Hmm... he's got a point - but he's being just a teensy wee tad on the harsh side, I'd say. One of the critics had described Endymion as a work of imperturbable, drivelling idiocy. Someone else who sounded like a towering snob had advised the non-Eton/Harrow educated Keats to abandon poetry and go back to his work as an apothecary.

All very well for his Lordship, swimming up and down the Grand Canal with his club foot and all.

So - if anyone derides my - or your - work as imperturbable, drivelling idiocy, just remember - they were wrong about Keats.

The genius of Colette

My all-time favourite writer is Colette.
I love how she lived her life, and I love that her writing - and she was so prolific - reflects it.
I don't really like the Cherie/Colette Willy stage. I love her later work though, when she'd broken out of that first stifling marriage. I say stifling, but perhaps what came out of those years of writing servitude was the development of her own superb writing discipline.
I have a couple of favourite stories. One is The Kepi. I'm totally fixated on the ageing female at the moment (being one myself) and for me this encapsulates a certain stage in life that cannot be glossed over or denied. The thing I like best about Colette is that she doesn't flinch.
Another favourite is her novella The Cat. Colette writes superbly about cats and they feature in many of her tales. She doesn't anthropomorphise, but they are just as important as characters in her stories as humans. In The Cat, a woman becomes furiously jealous of her lover's cat. And to be honest, you can understand why. Can one be too "fond of animals"? Personally, I think not, but many people would disagree, and in this complex tale there is a distinct whiff of the unsavoury about their relationship. The cat is also a symbol of his lost childhood and independence and his uncertainties as he hovers on the brink of family life. The woman will never possess him until the cat goes. And the cat, Saha, has no intention of letting that happen - not while she knows she is still loved.
Here's a quote. "Alain looked up; nine stories up, in the middle of the almost round moon, the little horned shadow of a cat was leaning forward, waiting."
"A small shadowy blue shape, outlined like a cloud with a hem of silver, sitting on the dizzy edge of the night..."
" the age where he might have coveted a little car, a journey abroad....Alain nevertheless remained the-young-man-who-has-bought-a-little-cat."
"Saha's beautful yellow eyes, in which the great nocturnal pupil was slowly invading the iris, stared into space, picking out moving, floating, invisible points."

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Rick Wakeman - Excerpts From The Six Wives Of Henry VIII

Aaarrgghh! I said I'd post more prog and for me this just screams PRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In a very loud voice.
Actually, it's not that bad when you listen to it (it gets unbearable after 3 mins. though - you have been warned). Well, not quite as bad as you'd reasonably expect given the size of his "equipment", the length and weird silkiness of his hair, and the *gulp* cape. I think Wakers now lives on the Isle of frigging Man and likes a game of golf FFS.
Rock ON!!!!!

Another quote of the day - Byron

Presently re-reading Byron - A Self-Portrait, edited by Peter Quennell.
It's a brilliant read. Really fresh and entertaining. It's a collection of letters and diaries, and is never, ever dull. You get accounts in his own words of the famous drinking out of a skull, the menagerie, the countless love affairs, Shelley's death, the lot.
Here's an interesting excerpt from a letter he wrote to legendary publisher John Murray.
"Mr Keats, whose poetry you enquire after, appears to me what I have already said: such writing is a sort of mental masturbation....neither poetry nor anything else but a Bedlam vision produced by raw pork and opium."
Raw pork??
And "I have been reading Grimm's correspondence. He repeats frequently, in speaking of a poet, or a man of genius in any department.......that he must have une ame qui se tourmante, un esprit violent. How far this may be true I know not; but if it were, I should be a poet "per excellenza"; for I have always had une ame, which not only tormented itself but everybody else in contact with it; and un esprit violent, which has almost left me without any esprit at all.
Great reading.

Quote of the day

"The word is not the thing, but a flash in whose light we perceive the thing." (Diderot)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ramble On - Led Zeppelin

The ultimate autumn song. Leaves are falling all around, etc..
Far, far better band than the Beatles, in every respect.
Compare the present day Robert Plant to McCartney. I think I need say no more.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Friday, 9 September 2011

Shortbread Stories

My flash fiction piece Stupid Stewart is this week's featured story over on Shortbread Stories. I'm very flattered and pleased. Very grateful indeed for all the support from the brilliant folk over there.