Eurovision - in 30 minutes
Eurovision delighted us all when it came to Liverpool. Now the circus is heading off to Malmo in Sweden (yes, it should have been Helsinki, but that's Eurovision...)
This ebook contains all you need to know about the contest. How does the voting work? How long has it been running for? How has it changed over the years? Is it really 'all political'? (Answer, no, it's about quality - but politics does play a part, though not in ways that most people think.) Why are Australia and Azerbaijan involved? Is there such a thing as a 'Eurovision' formula? What can we expect from the different participants?
All these questions, and many more, are answered in this simple, clear guide to the World's Greatest Song Contest.
Perfect Written English
I'm not sure I like the publisher's title for this book, as I think perfection is a pointless aim, unless you're Shakespeare. But we can all improve. This book will show you how.
My basic premise is that every word should carry the reader forward in some way. I look at ways that writers fail to do this and start boring the reader immediately - and I show how to avoid these traps and, instead, make your writing energetic and engaging.
I look at the process of creating a piece - how to overcome the tyranny of the blank piece of paper, how to get stuff down, then how to progress to editing and refining.
Basics such as parsing (they don't teach this any longer), punctuation and grammatical mistakes are covered, too.
"A complete joy to read... A must-buy for those that wish to improve written English." Amazon reviewer
"I thoroughly recommend this book. After ploughing through others on the market it was refreshing to find one that didn't confuse me, bore me or otherwise miss the point." Amazon reviewer
Journey to the Middle Kingdom
My first published book was what was then called a 'travel biography'. It describes a journey round China with a backpack in 1986, a time when that country was just opening up to solo Western travellers. It's hard to believe now, but this scary global economic superpower with its high-speed trains and fashionista elite was then a land of slow diesels with mournful sirens (plus the odd steam train) and universally-worn Mao suits.
Other China travel books of the 1980s seem to be weighed down with the pain of that nation's past. I certainly encountered that, but also met young Chinese who had visions of the future and were determined to make them real. How successful that has been is open to question. Economically, yes, China has made it. But politically, it seems more determined than ever to plough an ancient, authoritarian furrow. Still, that was all in the future: the China I found in 1986 was young and had brave and noble dreams.
The book is also a description of an inner journey. It’s what the Germans call a Bildungsroman, a story of someone becoming a better and wiser person, often through chance events and encounters.
"Vivid and lyrical." Robert O’Brien, Hampstead and Highgate Express
"Christopher West’s first book is a gem." Michael Wigan, The Scotsman
"A broad canvas, vividly illustrated by a man who travels with his eyes open and has the talent to put it all down in an absorbing manner."
Grant Dean, Yorkshire Post
I have always liked the novella form, ever since reading Voltaire's Candide at school. I like the concentrated nature: the novella is supposed to be between 17 and 40 thousand words, so tends to stick to one plotline.
The Enlightenment Club
Stella Tranter wants to be an existential heroine, proudly blazing a Nietzschean trail through mid 70s Britain – campus radicalism, punk… The trouble is that she’s also rather shy, given to ironic self-observation and keener on Mozart than Siouxsie and the Banshees.
But is it really enough for her to marry well-meaning Rotarian Bobby and settle down to domestic bliss in Dulwich?
This 40,000 word novella tells her story.
“Clever, intriguing – Stella is a very good voice.”
Dame Beryl Bainbridge
(Yes, THE Dame Beryl...)
“Delicately written, but with big themes boiling away beneath the surface.”
Author of The Prose Factory and Kept
This tale of magick, love potions, vampyrs and public footpaths (and UFOs, too, obviously) is by my alter ego, Lytchett Maltravers.
Ashley Gabriel’s love for Bathsheba Neverdene is as strong as his love for the Dorset countryside. But will it prevail? She is a bit posh, after all, and he isn't. And when the mysterious Dr Aleister Crowley gets involved... Read this 30,000 word novella to find out if true love will triumph!
“Very happy for this book to take its well deserved place in between Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett on the bookshelf where my favourite reads reside.”
Sarah, Amazon Reviewer
Unexpected Alien in Bagging Area
Another one of Lytchett's. Two newlywed supermarket checkout operatives are blissfully happy, deep in Dorset's beautiful, rolling, mystical Vale of Ugh (the locals pronounce it "Yoog"). But far across the universe, two groups of aliens are at war.
And? Well, it wouldn't be much of a story if the aliens beat the s**t out of each other and the newlyweds did what newlyweds do with each other and there was no link, would it?
So there is a link. They are lured into a UFO and given the most delicious ice cream this planet has ever known, little knowing they are being inveigled into a sinister plot to rob earth of all that makes life on it worth living...
"Bloody hilarious!" T Hardy, Bockhampton
"A real turn-on." Reader from Cerne Abbas