Archive | December 2012

Meet Kevin Machin – The Next Big Thing

Kevin_Machin_SI’d like to introduce you to Kevin Machin, alias Captain Black, a talented writer whose favourite genres are science fiction and crime/thrillers. Just click on the link to browse Kevin’s blog, which is entitled ‘Cloud Base’.

Kevin doesn’t restrict himself to reading sci-fi and crime/thrillers, though – far from it. He reads pretty much anything, though he does profess to having a few “rules”. He says he tends to avoid literary fiction in favour of direct story-telling and, despite having a Y chromosome, he also read romances, although he does prefer them to have a strong comedy element.

Kevin has always dabbled with writing, but in 2007 he took it up seriously. Well, more seriously anyway. Since then he has written over half a million words, including: two trilogies, three novels, three novellas, two serials and over twenty short stories. He also co-wrote another novel with a friend.

A couple of years ago Kevin radically rethought his strategy for getting published. He came to realise that he didn’t respond well to the kind of frantic pressure that some writers put themselves under. In any case, the publishing world is in a rapid state of flux at present. Kevin relaxes comfortably in his chair as he says:

“Now I’m happy, for the time being, to sit back in the sidelines and work on my “hobby”, racking up material for when I decide to find an agent and/or publisher. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, there won’t be tha pressure to produce the dreaded second book, since I’ll already have many in the bag.

So, I’m probably not “the next big thing”, but more like “the next big thing after that”.

In the meantime I shall keep my day job as a freelance/consultant software developer.”

On Tuesday, 18th December Kevin will be joining me for breakfast, when I am proud to be interviewing him as my very first guest blogger on The Write Eye  Don’t miss it – you will guaranteed to learn a few interesting facts about Kevin and his writing, and there may even be bacon butties and fresh orange juice to spare!

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Seasons Garden Centre

If there’s one thing that presses all the right buttons for Kettering folk it’s a family-run business, and Seasons Garden Centre in Burton Latimer is a great place to go and meet cheerful (local) staff who are always ready to have a laugh and a joke with their customers.

It’s a place my daughter, daughters-in-law-to-be and grandchildren go on a Sunday. They have some lovely gifts at reasonable prices, a cute pet section with two resident parrots (or ‘carrots’ as Sophie used to call them) gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, birds and fish, and some resident Chipmunks in a cage behind a hand-written notice telling people not to stick their fingers through the bars. They are also a garden centre with an impressive stock of plants at very reasonable prices. At Christmastime, Santa pays a visit and stays a while, chatting to children and their mums while gathering information on who has been good and who hasn’t been good, and what people want for Christmas. He also hands out some impressive-quality gifts to the children for only £3 a visit, and the kids get to choose what they want, too!

Their pots of tea for one are big enough for two cups, their toasted teacakes are yummy and they do a great lunch for kiddies with toys in the boxes. Last week Sophie got a pen that lit up, blew bubbles and stamped little flowers all over her hands and arms, a ham sandwich with proper ham, a kit-kat, a carton of apple juice, and a packet of quavers, while Tyler had the most enormous piece of chocolate cake I had ever seen.

For a book lover though, the best part is the book section. If you believe the best things come in small packages, then you need to pay a visit to Seasons’ little book section. They sell books by local authors, children’s books, unusual books, hobby and gardening books, stationery boxes, audio books, dvds, a small selection of paperback novels and jigsaws.

Last week, with my heart pounding, I plucked up the courage to ring the manager and ask if they would be interested in stocking my novel, to nestle in with other local authors’ books. Without any hesitation at all the manager said, ‘yes, of course we will. We are proud to support our local authors at Seasons.’

I haven’t been in yet, to take a photograph of The White Cuckoo, but I’ll post on my Facebook page when I can get over to Burton Latimer.  I’d like to say a big thank you to the manager and staff for supporting me and wish them every success for the future.