Three Things About Rats

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I’m trying to write … so I’m getting distracted – here are the results of my latest distraction.

  • They laugh when they are tickled.
  • Group theory research shows that rats perform better, measured by running faster,  when they are watched by others – humans or rats.
  • Rats will help their other cage-mates if they are trapped even when there is no reward for doing so. ( http://www.livescience.com/17378-rats-show-empathy.html)

trapped-lab-rats

 

Is Anyone on Twitter Actually Reading a Book?

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Is Anyone on Twitter Actually Reading a Book?

I ask this because, obviously, I’m not but I‘m also wondering who is going to have the time to read any books , and more importantly,  my book as everyone seems to be writing one.

Perhaps twitter isn’t the place for readers – only writers. It’s an active not a passive medium.

I will explore this later.

In the meantime would somebody actually stop writing about their writing and how hard their writing is and how much time theu spend on their writing. How they lack inspiration for their writing,  blah, blah. They could then get out there and recommend my book as a compulsory component of the English Language curriculum for all English, or potential English language students in the world. If someone would do please hurry up and do that  I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks. Not too much to ask is it?

The aforementioned book ‘It’s About A Murder, Cariad’ is available here.

‘Farewell, My Lovely’ or ‘Laters, Love’

itsaboutamurderInterviewer – The title of your new, best-selling, critically-acclaimed, life-affirming, randomly-hyphenated novel is called ‘It’s About a Murder, Cariad?’ How did you arrive at that title?

Me – I’m glad you asked me that. The idea for the title came principally from a saying my nanna (grandmother, granny, grandma) used to say. Well, not exactly that sentence – more along the lines of –

‘ take your coat off when you come in or you won’t feel the benefit, cariad.’ or

‘…tamping I was, cariad.’ (very angry) or

‘I’ll see you now after, cariad.’ (sometime in the future).

The idea also came from another quarter. It is a mix of a favourite Raymond Chandler book -‘Farewell, My Lovely’ and a book from the top taff noir writer Malcolm Pryce – “Abertstwyth Mon Amour”.

Pretend interviewer – Thank you for that.  The title is a rare thing indeed. It is one of the few book to have two languages in the title. Or is it?

Me – Interesting question. I have investigated this fully for a year and a half and I did find a few. I warn you now – some are very tenuous –

‘Déjà vu, again?’ – Deborah Jones.

‘Ciao Bella: Sex, Dante and how to find your father in Italy’ – Helena Frith Powell.

‘Belle Du Jour’s Guide to Men’ – Belle Du Jour.

‘Spaghetti with the Yeti’- Charlotte Gullain and Adam Gullain.

‘Fahrenheit 451’ – Ray Bradbury.

‘The Last Samurai’ – Helen Dewitt.

‘This House is Haunted – The True Story of the Enfield Poltergeist’ – Guy Lyon Playfair.

‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ – Haruki Murakami.

‘When giants walked the earth – A History of Led Zeppelin’ – Mick Wall.

 ‘The Last Tycoon’ – F Scott Fitzgerald.

 Sorry. But I did warn you.

Incidentally if ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ were to be translated into Welsh it could become ‘Hwyl, Cariad’.  It could then be retranslated as ‘Laters Love’.

The aforementioned book ‘It’s About A Murder, Cariad’ is available here.

“So, Tell Me. Your New Book. What’s It About?”

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Perhaps the most ridiculous question anyone can ever ask a writer who has just finished writing a book is – “What’s it about?”

“Let me see. I’ve just spent three years of my life trying to getting all my thoughts, inner hopes, fears and aspirations onto the page and you would like me to describe it in a sentence? ….’

There have been some interesting responses from writers to the laziest of lazy questions, ‘What’s it about?’

(These are all true responses)

“I’m writing a novel. It’s 27 volumes long. It’s about this little girl who finds a little kitten.”

“I’m not going to tell you what it’s about.”

“I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this question.”

‘That’s a big question. I don’t think I have a simple answer’.

I don’t think you should ask Mark Haddon what ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ is about

nor the writer of the film  -‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’

nor Dava Sobel – ‘Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time’

and definitely not the author of the book  entitled  – “A Handbook on Hanging, Being a short introduction to the fine art of Execution, and containing much useful information on Neck-breaking, Throttling, Strangling, Asphyxiation, Decapitation and Electrocution; as well as Data and Wrinkles for Hangmen, an account of the late Mr. Berry’s method of Killing and his working list of Drops; to which is added a Hangman’s Ready Reckoner and certain other items of interest, by Charles Duff, New edition enlarged diligently compared and revised in accordance with the most recent Developments. All Very Proper to be read and Kept in Every Family.”

I have just published my book. Please don’t ask me what it’s about.

‘It’s about A Murder, Cariad  is finally available now from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/About-Murder-Cariad-Byron-Kalies/dp/1514144999/ref=sr_1_2_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1440349420&sr=8-2&keywords=its+about+a+murder

Learn Welsh With Byron – Lesson 2

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Lesson 2 – Understanding swearing in Welsh

It’s not as straightforward as it seems. Some of the phrases are odd. Some are perplexing. A few are just downright weird.

Some, you can have a stab at  – so to speak. For example a vagina is known in Welsh  as a ‘llawes goch’  literally a ‘red sleeve’. I can see some sort of logic behind that one. Some are a little stranger. For instance if you were terrified of something, perhaps a red sleeve, then, in Welsh you could be said to be ‘cachu planciau’ – literally  translated as ‘shitting planks’. Why planks? Who knows.

If something was deigned to be worthless it would be designated  ‘dim gwerth rhech dafad’  – translated into English as something  ‘not  worth a sheep’s fart’.

The Welsh equivalent of ‘go forth and multiply ‘ or ‘F… off’ is ‘dos I chwarae efo dy nain ‘ – ‘go play with your granny’.

If you wanted to express to someone that they should, hurry up or do something quickly then there are number of options;

Option 1 ‘mewn dau gachiad’ –  translation – ‘in 2 shits’;

Option2 – ‘mewn cachiad chwanan’ – translation – ‘in a fleas’s shit’;

Or my favourite – Option 3 – ‘mewn cachiad nico’ – ‘in a goldfinches’ shit’ ! ? Don’t ask. I have no idea either.

A weak cup of tea can taste like, ‘piso dryw’ –  ‘wren’s piss’, and finally the female genitalia, or red sleeve, can alternatively be called a ‘pwdin blew’ – ‘a hairy pudding’.

Next time – Mutations ( You’ll enjoy that ).

(kindly provided by clwb malu cachu (www.clwbmalucachu.co.uk ) )

Blog For My New Book – Discussion With My Agent

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My agent asked me to describe my writing-

  • I said it consisted of a number of themes and genres.
  • Go on he said.
  • Its about crime, humour and mystery I said.
  • Good he said.
  • Golf, and elements of the supernatural – angels.
  • OK.
  • Massive themes encompassing God, fallen angels and mortality.
  • Very good.
  • The action is set in Wales.
  • Ah.
  • In the 1930s ish.
  • I see.
  • Other real characters that appear are Bobby Jones…
  • The golfer?
  • Walter Hagen…
  • The golfer?
  • And Amy Johnson.
  • ?
  • The airline pilot woman, (pause) and golfer.
  • I see.
  • (pause)
  • Other writers have a mix of genres I said.
  • They do.
  • Shakespeare wrote plays, sonnets, historical dramas, comedies, tragedies, regicide.
  • He did.
  • With books set in Italy, England, Turkey, the Czech Republic.
  • Correct.
  • With themes of madness, love, feminism, murder, the supernatural.
  • All true. He said. He didn’t put all of them in one book though did he?
  • Maybe not.
  • Are you deliberately trying to hurt me?
  • ?
  • How would I pitch this book? – a Welsh, crime, fantasy, sporting, mystery thriller, set in the era of hard boiled private eyes, concerning religion and humour.
  • Above all humour.
  • Above all humour. Can you see my problems?
  • ? I said.
  • Where would customers find it on the shelf of a bookshop For instance? Welsh writing? Humour? Crime? Fantasy? Sport?
  • Good point. They would find it next to Malcolm Pryce. I said. Ask his agent.
  • It’s hard. So hard.
  • Why are you crying?
  • Byron Kalies – ‘It’s About a Murder, Cariad.’ out soon (Fiction – general)

Literary Agent – Worst Job in the World?

worst-jobs

Worst Job than a Literary Agent?

I wouldn’t be a literary agent if my life depended on it. Could you image a more unpleasant job? Well, maybe a few (like the illustration above), but really. It must be like being a parent to a needy, whinny child who needs constant reassurance, love and patting on the head – without any of the good bits. Even before that stage you would have to wade through a torrent of needy, whinny or arrogant, presumptuous pitches. It’s this that must make it so, so, so bad. If you ever had any modicum of compassion to begin with you couldn’t possibly have any left at the end. Could you?  How can you retain any sense of humour? Any degree of patience? Any respect for humanity? You can’t. The evidence is below in a list of the ‘best’ elements of pitches kept by my friend and Welsh literary agent, Chrissy Bach  – enjoy.

(with massive acknowledgements to ‘Slushpile hell’).

‘This sublime submission will leave you in an uncontrolled and irreversible state of ‘wow’’.

‘My attached 2000 word novel will make you laugh, make you cry, make you stand up and cheer. It will help raise the bar in human literary prose.’

‘I happen to have pen-ed a witty, hilarious book.’

‘Attached is, quite possibly, the funniest book known to humanity. After reading it I am convinced you will call me up and offer me a contract. I await your call.’

‘I want you as my agent. The book is ready. The writing is final. I do not want a word changed. It is a very good, well-written book.’

‘I guess my love of writing started in the second grade when Miss Harris gave me a large red tick on my composition on ‘What I did in the holidays’. I can still remember that composition. I wrote about the two weeks I spent in Porthcawl…’

‘You’re my last hope. I have sent this to many, many other agents without a positive reply. I’m counting on you.’

‘A quick question before I send my pitch. How many words are there in a novel?’  

‘My 432,000 word novel may seem to start a little slowly, but after the first nine of so chapters the pace changes dramatically.’

‘My dream agent Andrew Wylie, is not taking on ‘new’ writers, so I’m querying you.’

‘Attached is my synopsis and first four chapters. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day I will give you a call. I have your home number.’