Sunday, 30 December 2012
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
A recent review on Amazon.com:
"I've recently finished "Holmes And Watson: End Peace" by David Ruffle. I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on this very innovatively written little masterpiece. So here goes... End Peace is filled with nothing but my favorite part of any Sherlock Holmes pastiche, dialogue. This fascinating book is literally 100% dialogue, it reads like an actual transcript of one long conversation and is completely delightful to digest.
The book takes place at the very end of Holmes and Watson's years together. What we have here is a retrospective look at their career and adventures together from the vantage point of a "final' conversation between our two beloved characters. However while that premise may seem pretty straightforward, Ruffle manages to throw in some VERY original and captivating twists and turns that keep you absolutely rapt. I do not exaggerate in the least when I say this.
Aside from the oh so curious way in which this conversation takes place and the mystery that encapsulates it, we have even more to be excited about. Answers to many questions and light shed on many stories from the canon! Who doesn't love that idea? During this retrospective conversation the duo go about discussing the fate of many characters from the original Conan Doyle stories as well as some of those cases that Watson often mentioned yet never chronicled. For example we learn what became of Detective Inspector Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, Mary Morstan and many more characters that impacted the lives of Holmes and Watson. Call it literary closure if you will and masterfully done if I may say so myself.
Holmes and Watson also take the time to finally say things to each other they've always wanted and/or needed to, yet never have due to pride, respect or perhaps both. They are very candid with each other and "let some things out" that have been building up all these years. They also finally express some sentiments that will leave any Sherlockian/Holmesian, touched. Don't worry, David does this perfectly and their "honest moments" are done with elegance and tact. You'll have to read for yourself to see exactly what I mean.
David Ruffle is no stranger to writing brilliant books and this one follows suit. Given the majority of the subject matter in this book there is not much else I can say about the content without the risk of spoiling it for those of you who have yet to read it. On that note I will leave you with this: If you love Sherlock Holmes, buy this today. If you love good books, buy this today. If you ever wondered what happened to any of your favorite characters, buy this today. If you would be interested in listening in on a "final" retrospective conversation between Holmes and Watson, then seriously, buy this today.
This book is well worth its weight in gold. It is fun, mysterious, emotionally captivating, full of twists and did I mention it's 100% dialogue! No filler, no fluff, just the words of our beloved Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. Well done Mr. Ruffle, well done... "
Get it for your Kindle here: Amazon USA and Amazon UK.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
All of which leads me to think I must have done something right along the way!! Thanks, all!
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Cassie Parkes is seventeen, likes Victorian things. Yes, you did read that correctly. They are slightly more common than you might think! She is a poet and has published a volume of Holmesian poetry straight to Kindle and also contributed to Tales From The Stranger's Room Vol. 2 (published by MX Publishing)
You are a young writer, where do you see your future writing career taking you?
You have an affinty for all things Victorian. Where did this come from? I think my love of the Victorian era stems from the literature I enjoy: I've been a lifelong fan of Wilde and Conan Doyle, and their wonderful work encouraged a deep passion for the time in which they were writing. Sometimes I think I'd love to have lived in the 1800's, but I must sadly admit that I think I'd miss my phone too much! ("Timetravel? Nah, I'd rather play Angry Birds, thanks!")
Do you feel, then, out of time somehow? Or even out of step with modern life? Oh definitely, sometimes. I'm awful with modern music, especially. My iPod is full of 80's music, haha! Like I mentioned before though, I am desperately grateful to live in the Internet age. Researching my work is made very simple, and video clips/music from different time periods often prove to be very powerful/inspiring, so I'm extremely grateful for the fact that I can access them easily. There is on occasion a gay theme in your writing, is that a subject close to your heart? This is something a lot of people ask me about, and I'm never quite sure how to answer it. The decision to make a character (or characters!) gay is not usually a conscious one, rather my characters often pop into my head fully-formed, and their being gay is simply a part of who they are. Very rarely do I set out to write something thinking: "Right, this character will be gay and (s)he will show the struggles of non-heterosexual relationships." However, I do always strive to portray any gay characters in a positive light. It's often remarked that we live in a very liberal and open-minded society, yet homophobia is definitely still present. So when I do write a gay character, I like to think I'm fighting back at idiots like Nick Griffin, even if it's only in some small manner. (How that fool is still allowed an opinion, let alone a public one, I'll never know.) Placing gay characters in a time where homosexuality was still illegal also adds a great sense of danger to my texts, but I make sure not to simply have them be gay to "spice it up a little". Like I say, their being gay is simply a part of their character.
Your poetry on the subject of Sherlock Holmes related matters is excellent. Do you see yourself writing a full-blown pastiche? Firstly, thank you! I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed them. The idea of writing a complete pastiche is something I've thought about many times, but the actual task is a very daunting and challenging one. I think I'd ideally like to wait until I'm slightly more experienced with writing before I commit myself to adding my own ideas to such a vast and revered circle of pastiche writers. It's something I would definitely like to do one day, but perhaps not one day too near in the future. I want to make sure I can get Holmes and Watson to sit perfectly within my mind before I start writing for them.
What other projects will be unfolding in the near future? Ooh, now that would be telling! But I'll give you a few hints, so as not to be too cruel. My main piece right now is a novel about a post-WW1 war artist, who has PTSD and is trying to cope with life as best he can. The other piece is about highwaymen...who are also vampires. (Before anyone starts yelling "Twilight!" at me, my vampires are charming and frilly, as all good vampires should be.) I'll be posting updates about all of my writing on my Twitter account (@JamRolls) and on my blog (nineteenthcenturyninny.wordpress.com), so follow either of those if you're interested!
What next? University? Or? I'd quite like to take a Gap Year to get some writing done, but I need to finish sixth form with some good grades first! I'm just going to keep on writing, and hopefully people will keep enjoying my work. After that-who knows? I'm excited though. Bring it on, life!
You can purchase Cassie's collection, 'The Diogenes Dilemma and other Sherlock Holmes Poetry' here: The Diogenes Dilemma
And visit Cassie's web page here: http://nineteenthcenturyninny.wordpress.com/
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
You have lived most of your adult life abroad. How did that come about?
After studying English Lit in a remote home for the bewildered in mid-Wales, I found that I was thoroughly unfit, and completely untrained for any sort of paid work in the UK. On the day Mrs Thatcher invaded Number 10, I flew to Libya to teach English. A couple of years later I took up a university job in Japan, then made birdhouses in the Philippines and finally was academic director of a group of schools in Bangkok. I retired a year ago.
What do you miss about England?
Theatres, pubs; I know I'm supposed to say Marmite or Scotch eggs, but you can get them at my local supermarket, albeit at a terrible price; proper bookshops (long may they last); ploughman's lunches; waitresses saying whatever you want is 'off'; Patrick Moore on the xylophone.
You are a devotee of Ancient Rome. How often do you visit the Eternal City? What is its appeal?
I went to Rome (and Pompeii) for the first time a couple of years ago; it was like coming home. I'd been mad on Rome since I was a kid: I made a Roman centurion with Plasticine from a plaster St George one time and my mum went mental. I admire Roman toughness, self-confidence and religious tolerance (aside from occasional, unseemly bouts of throwing to the lions).
I know you enjoy writing comedy, particularly comic dialogue. Which authors, in that vein, do you enjoy reading the most?
Patrick O'Brian - I suppose he's not best known as a humorous writer, but he is a master and commander of character, and that includes humour because people are funny creatures who say and do silly things. I don't read much in the humour genre, though Bill Bryson can make me laugh out loud. Then there's the Bard, of course: A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite.
What would you say was your biggest challenge in writing your Sherlock Holmes pastiches?
Avoiding cliches, while netting a chuckle or two. My view is that Watson, having lived cheek-by-Persian slipper with Holmes for seven or so years (in 1887, when my first three books are set), might be forgiven a little exasperation with his friend's eccentricities and self-absorption. I wanted to explore the tension that must exist whenever two people of wildly different backgrounds and habits are thrown together for so long. I suppose that means my Holmes is less cuddly than Jeremy Brett, and Watson is less accommodating than Edward Hardwicke, but I hope that they are still likeable. Also ACD lived and wrote his times; he didn't have to explain or show Victorian thought processes and obsessions. Holmes' poor opinion of women is legendary, and very much the norm in Victorian male society; the British male had won the lottery of life, and they tended to look down on lesser mortals such as women, Americans, or, Lord help us, the Irish. I had great fun pitting Holmes (in The Deadwood Stage) and then Watson (The Giant Moles) against proto-feminists, and both against Irish republicans in The Jubilee Plot.
Winston Churchill obviously plays a big part in your Holmes trilogy. Were there any false starts with other historic figures or was it always in your mind to incorporate Churchill?
I read a news report that said a significant number of people believed that Holmes existed in real life, and a ridiculous number thought that Winston Churchill was a fictional character. It occurred to me that an account by Watson of Sherlock meeting Winston and validating his existence as a real person might be fun as a short story. It grew.
And what next for you/ What is in the pipeline?
Another Holmes, I think, as they are great fun to write, but first a book set in Ancient Rome in 475 AD starring Romulus Augustus, soon to be the last emperor of Rome. I've just completed a coming-of-age story set in and around the Old Vic in London in 1963, Penny for the Guy Mr Olivier. I'd like to extend that story either further into the Beatles' era, or perhaps to long-haired, flared university life.
Visit Mike's web site: http://www.mikehoganbooks.co.uk/
Sherlock Holmes and Young Winston: The Deadwood Stage is available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA and all book-selling websites and bookstores everywhere.
Thursday, 29 November 2012
We were very lucky to be asked to preview and give our opinions on a new book written by author David Ruffle. The book called Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman is a lovely story about a little girl Henrietta who loses her snowman and asks Sherlock Holmes to help her find out where he has gone.
Most of the children enjoyed the story and thought the illustrations were very interesting too.
Crawford said, “It was fantastic!"
Leah at 'The Well-Read Sherlockian' let her children loose on our 'missing friend'. The result is here:
'Having been blessed with three little people myself, I thought I’d give The Missing Snowman a field test. My kids are 10, 9, and 7–the first two a little older than Ruffle’s target audience, but since they still enjoy being read to, I figured they’d do in a pinch, so we snuggled up on the couch before bedtime. Here are their reactions:':
Daughter, 10: “Sherlock Holmes is like a mysterious character. He likes kids and talks to them so they can understand things.”
Son, 9: “It was great!”
Son, 7: “It was awesome!”
Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5 “This is a wonderful book that gets it right.”
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
You have worked with many comedy greats over the years; Have you a particular comedy hero?
Leonard Rossiter, who was inspired both physically and verbally, hardly ever put a foot wrong, and combined subtlety and speed in a way that seemed barely possible, but only by a short head from Les Dawson, whose love of words, talent for physical comedy, and willingness to face challenges set him apart from any of the other comedians with whom I worked.
In a similar vein; Which actors do you feel have come closest to portraying your characters as you saw them?
All the regulars in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and A Bit Of A Do. Nothing else came near, and it’s no wonder they were my most successful series.
Which of your novels are you the most proud of?
|Funniest book I have ever read!|
Some of the episodes I have most enjoyed in your work has been some non-comic moments such as the death of Ponsonby, Percy Spraggs and the returning ghost of Neville Badger. These are handled so well, did you enjoy writing these episodes as much as the comic ones?
Yes, on the whole I did. Sometimes I think I am just a bit too anxious to make people laugh, and it’s just as important to make them feel. In fact, if they don’t feel for a character they can only laugh at them, not with them.
It seems to me there has been a change from the earlier comic novels to novels with a comic content. Do you see it the same way or do you not care for such labels?
I don’t like the label ‘comic novels’. I prefer the label ‘humorous novels’. I write novels that have a lot of comedy in them, but they have serious elements too. I think perhaps I have deepened the serious content, but I wouldn’t ever contemplate a novel with no humour, though I would rather like to try one, just once, that is utterly comic. I suppose the book where I got the mixture absolutely right was the first Reggie Perrin book. A deeply serious theme exploration of a man in crisis, but told just about entirely through comedy.
A new novel is on the way; Can you tell us a little about it?
I don’t think I can answer this question as the book is now out and you have reviewed it. (See post below for my review. DR)
And what of the future? What plans have you?
At the moment, and partly due to the difficulty of getting things accepted on television and even on radio, my mind is much taken up with my next book. There are two possible subjects. I will explore them in the next month and make my decision between them after Christmas. All I am prepared to say at this stage is that that one is a portrait of people in a small town and the other is written in the first person as a woman in her early forties.
Sunday, 25 November 2012
Friday, 23 November 2012
"His 'Watson,' Jeff Cody is not only his best friend, but also his brother-in-law and the public relations director for the college where Mac teachers. These multiple relationships carry multiple tensions, which I hope is a source of humor. These books are supposed to be fun and funny. Judging by reviewers, they seem to hit that mark for most readers."
DR. DAN’S TOP 10s
TOP 10 ORIGINAL SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES
"The Hound of the Baskervilles"
“His Last Bow”
“The Adventure of the Red-Headed League”
“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”
“The Adventure of Charles August Milverton”
"The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
“The Final Problem”
“The Adventure of the Empty House”
“A Scandal in Bohemia”
"The Valley of Fear"
TOP 10 PASTICHES
"The Final Solution" – Michael Chabron
“The Adventure of the Unique ‘Hamlet’” – Vincent Starrett
“The Adventure of the Unique Dickensians” – August Derleth
The West End Horror" – Nicholas Meyer
Sherlock Homes vs. Dracula: The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count – Loren D. Estleman
Dust and Shadow – Lindsay Faye
Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes – Ann Margaret Lewis
Goodnight, Mr. Holmes – Carol Nelson Douglas
Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Boer Wagon – Kieran McMullen
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror – David Ruffle
(I won’t mention “The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden”)
TOP 10 PLACES
221B Baker Street
The Diogenes Club
Thursday, 22 November 2012
What follows is a story of duplicity, murder, vampires and greed for vast estates in Bulgaria and Hungary, with the fate of millions in Sherlock Holmes's hands.
Although the events in Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Bulgarian Codex are fictional, the principal character Prince Ferdinand is based closely on one of the most compelling personalities in world history, the real Prince Regnant, later Tsar, who ruled Bulgaria from 1887 until his forcible abdication in 1918.
A snippet: The Balkans loom…
CHAPTER I IN WHICH WE DINE AT SIMPSON’S
"SNORTING and champing at the bit like a high-strung warhorse, the Orient Express stayed its departure from the Gare de Strasbourg while Sherlock Holmes and I flung ourselves from a five-glass landau and clambered into the private cars of the Prince Regnant of Bulgaria. Our boxes tumbled in behind us. It was late on a Friday afternoon in April, in the year 1900. With a minatory scream the immense train pulled away on its long journey to Stamboul. Soon Paris was left behind. Without noise or jerk we were going fifty miles per hour without seeming to move. The case of the Bulgarian Codex had commenced."
Amazon UK and kindle reader link at : Kindle
and all bookselling websites worldwide and bookstores.
Sunday, 18 November 2012
Sunday, 11 November 2012
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror: Takes its inspiration from Bram Stoker's Dracula and of course from Lyme Regis. It introduces a love interest for Watson and several characters in the town who take on a life of their own in the two subsequent books. Started as a two page exercise and grew from there. Originally self-published in December 2009 and I was pleased with the response to it. The expanded 2nd edition, published by MX Publishing, features extra content. The extra content: Two 'lengthy short' pieces involving Holmes with the Australian cricket team of 1899 and a re-working of MR James's 'Casting The Runes'. Three Christmas pieces including 'Henrietta's Problem' the begetter of 'Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman'. Two ghost stories and a poem complete the collection.
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Legacy: Faster paced than its predecessor and a tad more violence along the way (all understated). An old adversary is out for revenge and not just on Holmes and Watson. Four violent deaths punctuate the tale before a resolution take place culminating in one more death. Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes put in an appearance as do the Lyme Regis 'regulars'. There is humour too, mostly regarding Watson's various attempts to devour plum puddings. There is humour too in the extra content: Here, Holmes and Watson encounter Laurel and Hardy, visit the land of Oz, star in their own version of Masterchef and stumble into a Dad's Army/Frasier episode!! Humour too in a poem I wrote as an ode to Holmes in the style of William McGonagall. A history of Lyme Regis is included and two poems celebrating life in Lyme.
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trials: Have to say, no great mystery here, but rather, me celebrating Holmes and Watson in Lyme Regis. There is a revenge motif again and chicaneries of the Admiralty play a part too. A lot of the action takes place in the Royal Lion Hotel, a fine place for it! I have tried to make it bright, breezy and fun as befits the end of the series and the characters. Submarines, actresses, madmen, shaggy dog, and a good time had by all. Pinched a paragraph from David Nobbs, one of the UK's leading comic novelists, to finish it all off (with his permission). And that's about it really, apart from the extra content: This time it's just one story, based on an unpublished account mentioned by Watson, 'the Grosvenor Square furniture van'. Imagined here as a story of haunting and possession. Maybe.
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
|Early morning view from the shop.|
An early drawing of Lyme. The shop is bottom-left of the picture with the beautiful curved frontage:
Monday, 22 October 2012
Top Ten Sherlock Holmes pastiche novels
The Woman In Black Susan Hill
Dubliners James Joyce
Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
Reach For The Sky Paul Brickhall
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
Oscar Wilde Complete Short Stories Oscar Wilde
Twopence To Cross The Mersey Helen Forrester
Top Ten Actors or Actresses
Jeremy Brett (My all time favourite actor and not just because of Sherlock Holmes!)
Edward Hardwicke (A great actor, Dr Watson and loved him in Colditz and various other roles)
Richard Burton (Just because he is so handsome in toga!)
Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort!!!)
John Wayne (Greatest cowboy ever!)
Kirk Douglas (I’m Spartacus!)
Lawerence Oliver (The Master!)
Dame Judi Dench (For being so good as M)
'Murder at Lodore Falls' is available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA, and all book-selling websites around the world. Visit Charlotte's web site and read her reviews at My Tin Dispatch Box.
Sunday, 21 October 2012
Holmes and Watson End Peace is available from bookstores including in the USA Barnes and Noble and Amazon, in the UK Waterstones, Amazon and Book Depository (free worldwide delivery).