Blind Date

Radio_NorwichTurkey StreetYesterday was my date with Stephen Bumfrey on BBC Radio Norfolk. I was a tad nervous. I needn’t have worried. Stephen has a natural charm which immediately put me at my ease and the conversation turned effortlessly. We talked about my memories of a tropical childhood, the curse of the whinging emigrey, my hopeless language skills, the challenges of a Mediterranean winter and, of course, my book, Turkey Street. It was like catching up with an old friend over a sherry or three. What fun I had. Thank you, Stephen for letting me shamelessly plug my book.

If you didn’t listen live, you can catch the podcast here. It’s available for the next 29 days only. My gig starts at 2:37 into the show.

I’m Nearly Famous

I’m Nearly Famous

BBC Radio Norfolk

Turkey StreetI’ve been invited onto the Stephen Bumfrey Entertainment Show on BBC Radio Norfolk to have a natter about my book, Turkey Street.  According to the BBC radio website, the marvellous Stephen ‘mingles with the stars of stage and screen on his afternoon show.’ The only time I’ve ever treaded the boards was as Snug the Joiner cum Lion in a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I roared a lot and fluffed my lines. And as for my screen career, well, we’d best draw a veil over the sex tape. So I feel a bit of a fraud. Help!

Listen to me fluff my lines all over again this Tuesday (21st) at 2:30 on 95.1 FM, 104.4 FM, DAB and over the web.

Game of Chance

Game of Chance

Roving JayThe magnificent Jay Artale of Roving Jay fame is offering a free copy of Turkey Street in a sweepstake hosted on her Bodrum Peninsula Travel Guide site. This involved no prompting from me so, Jay, thank you, you made my day!

Click on the book image for more information and to enter.

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Turkey Street is Open for Business

Turkey StTurkey Street is an ancient road ‘… just wide enough for two emaciated camels to pass each other unhindered’. Now you can take a stroll along its winding path following in the strappy sandals of Alexander the Great as he tried (and nearly failed) to ‘…wrest old Halicarnassus from the doughty Persians’. But be wary of the ‘…motorcades of Nissan tanks flanked by Vespas on amphetamines’, something Alexander never had to contend with. Turkey Street is now open for business. Relax, open a bottle, kick off your heels and maybe grab the Kleenex.

The real strength of Turkey Street though is that at its heart is a genuinely touching love story.

 Amazon Review

Five Star Review

Greetings from a wet, blowy Norwich. Oh, to be in Bodrum once again. Nevertheless, Liam and I will be popping open the bubbly later to celebrate. This one’s been a bit of a labour of love. Thank you so much for all the pre-orders and messages of support. I’m chuffed.

Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum is officially published today.

Order the paperback on Amazon | Buy the Kindle on Amazon | Other buying options

 With thanks to Annie from Back to Bodrum for the photo.

Top of the Travel Pops

Three days before the official publication of Turkey Street, the pre-released Kindle edition hit the top spot on Amazon in Middle Eastern Travel (as well as No 2 in LGBT Bios and No 5 in Turkey Travel Books – above more illustrious titles from Eye Witness, Rough Guide and even Orhan Pamuk). And that’s not all, the book’s already received two totally un-staged five star reviews. Blimey!

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Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss DaisyApart from a half-hearted attempt at learning to drive in my twenties (booked some lessons, took a test, nearly killed someone, didn’t bother with a replay), I’ve never seen much point in getting behind a wheel. After all, the Tube has always been the best way to get around the Smoke; only plummy-voiced wankers in Chelsea tractors and micro-dicked Russian oligarchs in Jags drive through Central London. And let’s face it, I’ve always been partial to sipping the sauce, so a night bus was always the obvious choice as I tottered off home in the wee small hours with a drunken Yank in tow. I do admit though that I’ve always taken the precaution of stepping out with a bone fide driver;  a chauffeur comes in very handy for those out-of-town errands.

Liam was driving a company VW when we first met. I can’t deny it was convenient and the cross-Channel lunch in Le Touquet via Le Shuttle was a fun date. My pert booty slipped quite nicely into the front passenger seat and the sound system was loud and fabulous. When we took the momentous decision to jump ship and paddle ashore to Asia Minor, the Golf went back to the dealer and we didn’t buy a car in Turkey. Why would we? We were neither mad nor suicidal. Four years later, with family duties to perform in London, we pitched our tent in Norwich and parked a sexy-arsed Renault Megane outside it. And now, with a new flat and different duties, va va voom has been handed down to my sister and we’re car-less once more. They’ll be no more driving Miss Daisy here. And anyway, Sainsbury’s deliver the Pinot Grigio free of charge.

Can’t Wait to Read the Sequel

I can’t remember the last time I published a review of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey on this blog. Generally, I try to keep my book business and random ramblings quite separate (until the sequel, Turkey Street, comes out, that is). But when I was sent an out-of-the blue critique from a total stranger in a distant land, unconnected to me or Turkey, I was rather taken aback and felt compelled to share it. Not as a boast, you understand, but as a humble thank you.

Perking the Pansies2 (464 x 700)“I would like to buy Jack a drink or five. He and Liam present as the kind of people I would like to know. “Perking the Pansies” conveys personality right from the start. I was instantly interested in knowing and understanding the characters.

Jack doesn’t spare the truth. His descriptions of characters strip away all the pretentions and leave them exposed for who they really are instead of who they pretend to be. That is an uncomfortable feeling and yet I did not get the impression that he was being cruel or hateful. It is uncomfortable because the truth often is.

It is also funny as hell. The use of figurative language is superb. I had to stop and write down quite a few memorable lines just to make sure I don’t forget them. The line “…his distracting buns quivering like two piglets in a sack,” comes to mind. Then his little aside about trying to find “… something funny to say about faulty alarm cocks,” is another good example. I can imagine the frustration of writers block when such a marvelous circumstance presents itself. It was funny and it created a connection to the author.

The book’s greatest strength is the connection to the author. Reading it gives such an intimate look at the life and thoughts of the writer that you come out of it feeling like you know him. He becomes a real person. Obviously the book is written much like a journal, relaying a first person account of everything, but that is not the true source of the realism. It is honesty. The little details like Jack standing in the mirror making a face lift with his fingers are so true to life that you have to believe it. It doesn’t matter if everything written is literally true or not, the effect creates truth.

I found myself rooting for Jack and Liam not to give up. I wanted them to stay in Turkey and make a happy life. Sometimes their naïveté scared me. When Liam says that “We’re infidels and Hell-bound anyway so it hardly matters what we get up to,” I was afraid for them. Religious fundamentalists are not known for rational thinking. So many things could go wrong. When Uzgun was killed it highlighted the potential danger. I was vicariously proud of the courage and fortitude Jack and Liam showed by staying in Turkey.  The message is a good one. Things will only change if everyday people are brave enough to live everyday lives.

It was great. I can’t wait to read the sequel.”

Destin

Helpfully, Destin also posted a cut-down version of the review on Amazon.com. Good reviews do sell books and every little helps as they say at Tesco’s. This diminutive, myopic, ex-pretty boy with his best years behind him is chuffed to bits and eternally grateful to all you kind reviewers. Thank you.

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