I am THRILLED to announce that I now have a new literary agent – Davinia Andrew-Lynch of all-new agency Andlyn. Davinia’s enthusiasm, savvy, ambition and imagination all impress me mightily (and the fact that we’re both big fans of the film The Dark Crystal is a definite plus factor too ;D). Here’s to a highly promising partnership.

HURRAH for the wondrous Katie WebSphinx who, between running her own brilliant business and raising three young Sphinxlings, somehow found the time this month to update my websites.

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Broken links have been zapped and spammers foiled. In addition, though we’ve sadly had to say goodbye to my sites’ defunct Guestbooks, anyone who wants to reach me can now do so directly via this email address: sam at samenthoven dot com. That’s if you wouldn’t prefer FacebookTwitterLastFMLibraryThing or Wattpad – links to my profiles on which can all be found at my squeaky clean and fully firing homepage.

Katie has been kindly and patiently helping and guiding me with her web-fu and wisdom for nearly ten years now.

Thank you, Katie. You are AWESOME. :D

This is from a fascinating and inspiring book called The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I feel it always, and this week especially.

When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.

There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.

Mine snapped a while back. It’s held together with tape and hope. But it’s still there.

An ecstatically cackling THANK YOU to staff and students at The Ravensbourne School in Bromley for the warm welcome they gave me yesterday.

In two sessions I spoke to the whole of Years 8 and 9 – about five hundred students in all, full of excellent questions about books, writing and life.

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Giving readings in Ravensbourne’s gorgeous school hall was a particular thrill. The opening scene of Crawlers – and the scream of the Queen’s first victim – produced an intensely satisfying echo. I hope it inspired some students to read on as Crawlers continues on Wattpad. It certainly made some of them flinch. :D

Putting out my short stories on Wattpad has been a lot of fun so far. I’ve decided to take things a step further…

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From today on Wattpad I’m going to serialize the whole of my book Crawlers for anyone to read on their desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or other internet-access device of choice, for free.

I plan to put it out in episodes three times a week for the next ten weeks. Sign up to Wattpad to receive alerts whenever a new episode is posted or to leave comments and messages there for me if you like – but if you want to read there without signing up, that’s fine too.

As I was writing the book I imagined what it would be like to read it in serial form on one’s phone. The idea drove me to make Crawlers as fast, tense and relentlessly thrilling as I could. Putting the book to this test for real at last is very exciting for me. I hope readers get a kick out of it too. :D

Click through to the Crawlers page on Wattpad here.

This below is from Agota Kristof, author of my favourite thing I read in 2014, The Notebook. It’s from another and almost equally astonishing book of Kristof’s, called The Illiterate:

How do you become a writer? First of all, naturally, you must write. Then, you must continue to write. Even when it doesn’t interest anyone. Even when you feel that it will never interest anyone. Even when the manuscripts pile up in the drawers and you forget them, while writing new ones.

…Here is the answer to the question: you become a writer by writing with patience and obstinacy, without ever losing faith in what you write.

That’s the mission. Now to get back to it.

The conclusion of The Last Duel is now live and free on my Wattpad page. Here – at the slight risk of giving away how the story ends, if you don’t know yet! – is a collage I made of the rest of Phil Harvey‘s stunning sketches.

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Happy holidays to all readers, and power to your tentacles for the New Year.

My sinister masterplan continues. May yours do likewise. :D

Sam

Part Two of The Last Duel is now live and free on my Wattpad page. To go with it, here’s a collage I made of some of the gorgeous sketches that were created for the story by ace artist and illustrator Phil Harvey.

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More next week with Part Three. :D

In the spirit of the season here’s a gift that I hope you’ll like – a short story of mine called The Last Duel.

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I’m putting it out on Wattpad for free in three parts, one a week for the next three weeks. On my profile there you’ll find four more free stories of mine that have already appeared elsewhere on the internet. The Last Duel, however, has never seen daylight before.

If you like action, romance or both I hope you’ll find it worth your wallop. And see the sketch above, that I’m using for a cover? It’s by a fabulous artist called Phil Harvey. There’s more of his work to show you next week, with part two. :D

Yesterday’s Book Doctor sessions for my first engagement as Patron of Reading for Alexandra Park School were a blast. I saw fifteen students, spending fifteen minutes with each talking about what kinds of stories they liked before making a reading recommendation that I hoped that person would enjoy.

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These above are the books I chose. See that piece of paper on the right? That form was created by APS’ awesome librarian Ms Constantinou so that I, as Book Doctor, could prescribe my recommendations! Each student could then choose to get their prescription filled either by borrowing their recommended book from the school’s excellent library or buying it from superb local indie booksellers The Big Green Bookshop, who offered my ‘patients‘ a generous 15% discount.

Here’s the full list of what I recommended:

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

I Am Jackie Chan – My Life in Action by Jackie Chan

Persuader by Lee Child

Blade by Tim Bowler (though it’s Bloodchild in the pic; that’s terrific too!)

Wolf by Tommy Donbavand

Sawbones by Catherine Johnson

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Terror Kid by Benjamin Zephaniah

Replica by Jack Heath

Web of Darkness by Bali Rai

Going Solo by Roald Dahl

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Parasyte by Hitoshi Awaki

Claymore by Norihiro Yagi

Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu

-and-

Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Every student I spoke to had strong opinions about what would appeal to them and what wouldn’t, and expressed them with clarity and passion. It was inspiring.

Then, in the evening, I took myself off to The Big Green Bookshop to catch SF grandmaster Brian Aldiss launching a new collection of his short stories and looking back at his amazing writing life.

Now, that was a good day. :D

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