Friday, July 31, 2015

Best things in life are free

Often I will cook things for myself and enough for my daughter, which I would put on a covered plate for later, sometimes she would come home at the same time, hot, bothered, and starving. She would chow down, clean her plate, and leave the table without a word.  My missus waits for her to come home asks her what she wants and gets grief - I don’t know - she screams. The missus ends up faffing about and now the sprogs got an attitude - this way doesn't work turning the home into a café complete with menu choices. When I was a youth you ate what your father was having or what you was given and sometimes 'ifits' - if it's there you will eat it.

I hardly speak to the teenager until she engages me first and I never try to talk to her in the mornings. If I really need something from her or to convey important information, I email her or text. I don’t know what it is with teenagers. I can't remember being that moody and none communicative and then, now and again, she would be normal - she actually spoke to me the other day, but instead of grabbing the opportunity I wasted it with an uningratiating response.

Songs and films have a way of making us feel older, even more so when your daughter hears you singing a song and stares at you flabbergasted, "how do you know the words to that song? It only came out at the weekend."
I shrugged my shoulders as if to say - I'm hip get used to it. Avoiding explaining that was a song from the eighties and again in the nineties. My home town here on the Costa Blanca - La Nucia - will play host to a unique concert on the 18th of September at 21.30 pm in the Municipal Pavilion Camilo Cano. A blast from the past - featuring The Waterboys and The Animals - a concert I will definitely be attending.

They say you're as old as you feel and I'm not going there with the old joke about younger partners - too late. As I sip my café con leche on a honeysuckle and pine-scented terrace, it strikes me how tranquil this place is. The panoramic view a sun-splashed jumble of pine trees and red pan-tiled villas racking back down towards the Mediterranean Sea, where there are languorous stretches of white sandy coastline.

Yet, my self-talk is full of moans about my age and the sweltering heat; looking at the road, three sexagenarians jog past and up the hill with bulking back packs. Why do older people's feet always look massive in white training shoes? - anyway - shame on me for not getting out there and enjoying the many things the Costa Blanca has to offer, the best of which are totally free.

The village alone is a beautiful place to explore on foot, especially around the old town with its whitewashed houses, saintly wall shrines and balconies hung with geraniums, and unfortunately, the odd pair of Y fronts. There is always an undercurrent of weird or at least strange to be found.

The last time I went walkabout in the village, I came across a street where a large group of people had blocked the road off at each end to stop traffic. They had set out tables with tablecloths, wheeled out a couple of barbeques and a double fridge stacked with wine and beer. The central table was decorated with flowers, which had a huge five tiered cake perched precariously on it and there were hundreds of fireworks exploding on the floor shrouding the tableau in smoke. One fella, who had whipped off his jacket and shirt, stood there on the pavement in a white vest burning the hairs off a dead pig with a blow torch - ready for the spit. This was a wedding reception - why bother hiring at a pretentious hotel banqueting suit when you can block off your own street with a couple of wheelie-bins and police-don’t-cross tape you've purloined from your new brother-in-law the cop.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

Spoils of the Moon


Spoils of the Moon 

1967, St Ann's Nottingham, a typical late Victorian, working class, neighbourhood in acute decline, alarming poverty, a slum. Three hundred of Nottingham's dirtiest acres.

This is the time and place Brendan and Pauline's son was born, emigration the only option. They were called Ten pound pommes.
The journey on the ship, SS Canberra, was as frightening and exhilarating as the first year shacked up in the Nissan hut at the hostel, Adelaide, Southern Australia.
Years before, Brendan's parents and sister, Beanie, had moved there after buying a farm in the outback.

Brendan and Pauline settled into a new home in the satellite town of Elizabeth. Brendan only had one question on signing at the labour exchange: does the section about National Service apply to him? -- he was soon to find out.

Pauline suffered bouts of homesickness, fuelled by Brendan's prolonged absences of long working hours. A new mother, she soon became depressed. It wasn't long before Brendan was called up for National Service.

The year is 1969, a global celebration of the moon landings. President Nixon, in commemoration bestowed a hundred and thirty-five gifts of lunar rocks to friendly foreign governments. In 1970, Adelaide museum was proud to display a plaque containing two lunar rocks.

Nobody thought they would be worth stealing, until Brendan, Beanie's boyfriend, Troy, and his mate, Brian, on finishing basic training did just that, with the military precision they had recently learned.

Brendan hides the rocks and is forced to ask his sister, Beanie, to collect them. They end up in the police cells after a drunken brawl, hours after the hoist. The judge orders no custodial sentences because he was told, unbeknown to these men, that effective immediately they will be impressed into overseas service.

Brendan is killed saving some villagers in Vietnam. Troy and Brian disappear - things happen when you steal lunar rocks from the government and embarrass them. The Americans want them back.

The news of her husband's death sends Pauline into a mental institute, leaving Beanie with her son. Beanie recently gave birth also to a son. She takes both of the boys back to the UK.

This is the story of those two boys, Jordi and Greg - now men.

The family business model, started by their mum, Beanie, was to buy handmade crafts from Asia, repair what gets damaged in shipping, and then sell them from their market stall in Camden, London.

Beanie died, leaving them clues to the past and circumstances that cause both men to go to Asia to buy more products for their business before the programmed road works cut their access off and potentially ruins their product-hungry business.

It's not long before one of them is hanging upside down naked in a small Vietnamese village near the Cambodian border, tortured by a man with an American accent. He wants the lunar rocks.

The American, who has been on their trail since London, chose the wrong village and was chased off in a hale of bullets. Ordered by an old villager, one of the men Brendan saved in the war. A translator shows them a picture of two baby boys. She also hands over Brendan's identification documents with the same surname as them and various other personal belongings, along with the story of how he saved some of the villagers.

The clock is ticking now and they are on a collision course with others, tracking down their true family roots and the whereabouts of the lunar rocks - now valued in millions.

In Australia, they encounter Brian and Troy, and are helped by Brian's daughter who is tough, beautiful, and vulnerable to Jordi's charms. But who is whose son? Only Pauline has the answer back at the family farm in the outback -- their final destination. They are not the only ones who turned up looking for answers. The end gives us some shocking surprises and personal growth.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Streaking For Mother

Streaking For Mother is now available on KDP Select

Book Illustration

I have just completed the illustration work for an award winning author Kathleen Boucher and have started the next in the series - the books about empowering tweens, teens, and young adults with positive advice. I read each chapter and then came up with a concept to reflect the core theme. These are modern digital illustrations using a tablet after first sketching and scanning. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Editing - Proofreading - Writing Services

Editing - Proofread - Basic Copy Edit - Line Edit / Heavy Copy Edit - Developmental or Substantive Edit - Writing Services

Holly M. Kothe
The Espresso Editor 


I work with any genre. I have experience with novels, short fiction, non-fiction, scripts, academic writing, articles, and plays. Here is a breakdown of the different levels of editing. I can perform a single service or a combination.
Proofread: The lightest form of editing, typically completed on the proof of the finished product. I read the manuscript and note errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage. This is the final stage of editing to ensure the manuscript is as polished as possible before publication or submission to an agency.
Basic Copy Edit: I thoroughly scour your manuscript for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. I will attend to issues like subject/verb agreement and word usage (that vs. which / horde vs. hoard), clarity, flow, and style consistency (e.g., comma usage throughout). Awkward wording will be noted, and I will also flag style choices that authors may not be aware of, but are important in making your manuscript consistent with publishing standards (titles in italics vs. quotes, capitalization of titles and brand names, numerals vs. spelling out numbers, headings, Latin abbreviations, quotations, dialogue format, etc.). Minimum rewriting is suggested.
Line Edit / Heavy Copy Edit: Encompasses the same tasks as copy editing, but also consists of rewriting/recasting lines that need help. The focus will be on technical grammar and punctuation, as well as a more in-depth edit noting wordiness, repetition, awkward phrasing, convoluted sentence structure, ambiguous descriptions, and overuse of passive voice. Inconsistent plot details or facts will be flagged; are character names spelled correctly throughout? Is your secondary character blond in one chapter, but brunet in another? Line editing deals more with clarity, flow, and style, along with basic copy editing. The two are closely related.
Developmental or Substantive Edit: This is the most in-depth form of editing, and looks at the “big picture”–the overall content, structure, and style of your manuscript. I provide not only a critique of content issues, but guidance and suggestions of how to go about improving the manuscript. This type of assessment deals specifically with the art of storytelling.
Rather than focusing on the technical aspects of the written language, I offer creative suggestions to improve upon the story in any and all areas such as plot, character development, dialogue, description, exposition, point of view, timeline, style, and narrative voice. With this type of edit, I edit in-line and provide numerous margin comments for each chapter, as well as an overall report. How can the voice of a character be made to sound more authentic? How could a scene be made funnier, or more dramatic? How can the author develop a story in the most appealing way and create the biggest impact on the reader? Substantive editing addresses all of these things. A good editor takes into account the genre and style of each unique work, and avoids imposing her own voice on the story.
The Order of Editing
Typically, a developmental edit would be performed in one pass, with rewrites then made by the author, followed by a copy edit, and a final proof read.


I am an experienced writer of both fiction and non-fiction. My writing services include, but are not limited to, articles, blog posts, fiction, ghostwriting, author bios, advertisements, social media promotions, reviews, story blurbs, and synopses.
Writing Samples
A Little Literary (a Lotta Coffee) – My writer’s blog includes writing guidance and reviews, as well as links to publications I have contributed to including Writer’s Digest, Blood Lotus Journal, Blue Cygnus International Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected, Writer’s Beat Quarterly, Trembles Magazine, Lost City Review, and The Write Room Literary Journal.
A Positive Outlook – Print newspaper article
Sweet Violent Femmes - Available on Amazon and in bookstores
Sex and Horror–The Classic Pair - Erzabet’s Enchantments Book Blog

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Original Art For Sale

My original art is now for sale on EBAY including Nudes and Book Cover Artwork Low prices and auctions - posted anywhere in the world.