view:  full / summary

Join our partnership programme

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on July 24, 2015 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (2110)

That it is a very  grand title  for  quite  a small idea. But Wendy  at the Shekinah Mission on Mutley Plain in Plymouth  and Sue  at the White Lane Art Gallery  on the Barbican in Plymouth have  very kindly allowed Tan Tan Books  to put up a small  display of books and a poster. Thank you all  for that. It is 100 per cent  appreciated. Anyone  else  wanting  to do  the same, please  get in  contact. 

Donkey's End

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on July 24, 2015 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (10)

End of the road for Welsh  Wizards and donkeys . With great  reluctance  but acknowledging the passing of time etc shortly going to  remove  donkey picture from home page.

The Welsh Wizard surrenders

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on December 31, 2014 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (3)

After a  Titantic  struggle involving, among other institutions  Llanelli County Court, the Welsh  Wizard has finally  rolled over and surrendered and returned  the money he  owed. (Over the summer he sent us a  donkey that  was really a  mule and panniers that  were no more than shopping baskets thereby  ruining  our promotional  tour).  Blogs  previous have all the detail. While I have nothing  but admiration  for the Welsh people in general ( I lived  there once) there  are, as my greengrocer  always says, occasional rotten apples in any barrel.  

Mad donkey man

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on October 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

For latecomers to the party an explantion of the picture on the ABOUT US page. Tan Tan Books had planned  a long  walk  with a  donkey  this summer as part of a promotional  tour. But  due to the strange vicissitudes of the Donkey Owner, known as the Welsh Wizard, whose skull  seems  to be as thick as the mule he sent us, it has all had to be postponed. See blogs passim for details.

Congratulations to Richard Flanagan  for his Booker win. But   yet ANOTHER   account of life on the Burma Railway? How many more  do  we need? And has anyone  rerembered that 100,000 Thai people died  as well?

Cautious Scots Say No to Future

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on September 22, 2014 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (4)

Heard an interview  with a Scot on the BBC three  days  before the vote. He  said he was  going to  vote No because, " He didn't think  we  were quite ready yet."

What? After  300 years?

Sometimes  you've just  got to gird your loins, pluck up your courage, take a chance and jump.

Otherwise you risk ending up as David Cameron's lunch.

Good  article on the vote  by Paul Mason.


Prophetic or what?

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on September 13, 2014 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article for the  WriteWords web site writewords.org.uk/forum/48_454224.asp which  read in part:

'There is a scene that must be familiar in a lot of publishers offices. Someone has had the idea to ask a well known media personality, someone who sparkles in the cut and thrust of TV and radio debate, to write a novel. The manuscript is delivered and the editor begins to read. And then as the pages are turned there is the awful realisation that it is a pale imitation of something dated and long gone, perhaps Agatha Christie or Eric Ambler or Tom Sharpe. The characters are wooden, the whole thing is as flat as a pancake.

It as if the famous broadcaster, in searching for a voice and a theme, has returned to his or her parents bookcase in search of a comfort blanket.

I am not sure why this occurs, but the point is it does seem to happen to most writers. You have to push through and come out the other side. For most new writers these drafts are simply discarded. It is a literary growing up process. For the unfortunate celebrity they end up on the shelves of Waterstones.'

A few days later a review  theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/10/head-of-state-andrew-marr-review-novel-politics of a first novel by the TV pundit Andrew Marr said ( as a criticism) that  it read like a Tom Sharpe novel.

The reviewer then added : 'For me, it was neither funny enough nor exciting enough to make me want to turn the page. While it's not meant to be taken seriously, even a satire has to carry the reader along. The characters were too Cluedo-esque to retain my interest.'

Wikipedia and others

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on August 12, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (13)

Wikipedia makes the walls of their castle sufficiently high so that only the brightest and the bravest can scale them. This morning after an hour's work I was knocked back by someone calling him ( or her) self Mean Custard. This confirms a  growing impression  that sites  such as Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon are peopled by precocious 12 year olds. And certainly American. When I posted a short  review for Tombola! by the political magazine Tribune on Amazon it was changed immediately to the Chicago Tribune. The Stars and Stripes  really does  fly  over all our battlements

LIsten to the music in One Million Euro

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on August 1, 2014 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The  idea of adding music to a book is pretty new. In Tombola published in 2007 even if it was possible I dont think anyone considered trying to add the wonderful music of the Touareg that I was trying to describe. Now you just pop in a link. So in One Million Euro the music to which the pilgrims listen as they walk is easily accessible. Just  go to the links page and follow the music section. If Mamani Keita  does not  warm your heart you have  ice in your  veins.

Will the Welsh Wizard pay up?

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on July 29, 2014 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Some movement in the attempt to recoup  the money the Welsh Wizard owes - and admits he owes. The new version of the old Small Claims Court is called Money Claim Online.  Have started the ball rolling with them. A communication back  from them states that  unless the WW puts  in a defense by August 3rd he is toast. A judgement will be issued  against him. Which is then enforceable etc etc.

On the  writing  front Anna Reynolds  from WriteWords  asked me to do a  short piece on the WriteWords  site outlining  what  would make a  good submission for Tan Tan Books. Replied  with the key  words: clarity, originality, narrative. 

I am now starting to promote One Million Euro. There are many guides to the Camino de Santiago and many returning pilgrims  offer their thoughts,  but there are  very  few novels .... and  very  few pilgrim novels that turn on the robbery of a bank...


Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on July 23, 2014 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

How to categorise a book that does not fit into a category? There is no slot into which any of these three books will fit.  Counterpart sits uneasily between memoir and fiction. So  what do  we call that? MemFic? FicMem? One Million Euro and Tombola!  triangulate a position between adventure, humour and polemic. This is a problem when it comes to selecting a category for the Nielsen book catalogue service. Perhaps there should be a final catch all category marked simply:  STORIES/life/odd...