Just How Famous Am I?

When you’re a self-proclaimed literary genius, international author, and master chef, it’s monumentally important to discover just how famous you are. Or in the case of me – how famous I am. To this end I ‘Googled’ Tooty Nolan. Of course, strictly speaking, I should have punched in my parentally-given name. But, heck, I’m Tooty Nolan: I’ll do as I damned well please. But, anyway, I was reasonably pleased to discover that I’m averagely omnipresent. More importantly, so are my books. And even more importantly, it proves one of my assertions: I AM an international author. Look, the people of France can buy my books…

Not to mention India and Brazil…

Of course I’m well catered for in my homeland too…

And not just on Amazon either. Why, even Polish book retailers carry my titles…

Now, tell me, did you notice something peculiar about these screen-shots? Yes, none of them feature any Tooty Nolan books. Instead they display my best work. My ‘Silent’ Books – which is probably as it should be – because they really are rather good – in an old fashioned, very English sort of way. Well I think so anyway. Look, they even prefer them in Norway…

In most cases this pair of books sell through Barnes and Noble. So it came as a pleasant surprise that even that respectable retailer is willing to stretch it’s street cred by including Earplug Adventures…

And why not: wonderful prose and stunning photography rolled into one genre. It’s a no-brainer. Talking of no brains: oh dear – look at this…

Oh no – even Walmartians can read my books. The operative word being ‘can’. Maybe they have that right: unfortunately they don’t choose to exercise it. So far Walmart have sold exactly none of my books. Why aren’t I upset? 

So there you have it: clearly I am famous. Just not famous enough to keep the Bank Manager happy.

P.S This is how my daughter sees her famous Dad. Er…not exactly flattering, is it!

Book of the Month?

I was surprised, when I checked out one of my books at Barnes & Noble, to discover that these books…

…bore a temporary label that read Book of the Month. Naturally I was pleased, and duly read the sample pages of the latter book. Here is a snippet from those pages…

When next I awoke I knew for certain that the world around me was real and tangible. There was a smell of straw and ancient timbers permeating the air. Once again I lay upon my back, but now the azure sky had been replaced by the sight of the cobweb-strewn rafters of an old wooden barn.

Sitting upright I discovered that I was alone – save only for the company of a wood mouse that searched amongst the detritus upon the floor close to the large double doors. It skittered away as I gained my feet. As it did so I discovered that I wore the combat fatigues from the vision of the past presented to me by Tasman. The strange, unrecognisable hand gun hung from an iron hook that had been driven into one of the oak uprights.

I felt a pain in my head. My hand discovered that someone had inexpertly wrapped my head in a bandage. I was relieved when it came away unbloodied, and the pain subsided.

Feeling better I decided to take stock of the situation in which I found myself. Firstly I knew that my name was Felicity Goldsmith.

‘A good place to start.’

I appeared to be some form of soldier. Or was I a paint-baller? The thought appalled me. No, I was certain that I’d never been a paint-baller.

‘What else?’

I knew a boy who has eyes like a goat. It was odd that I didn’t think of his eyes as particularly unusual.

‘Again what else?’

I came up empty. Try as I may, I could find nothing more leaking out from my closed-off memory. I knew that I should have felt fear – or at least an appropriate portion of apprehension – with the situation. It was quite possible that I was brain damaged, or I’d simply lost my mind. But Tasman’s calm demeanour, and his gentle delivery had staved off the panic for another time.

‘Or preferably never.’

With nothing better to do I climbed to my feet. I felt stiff, and wondered if that was what octogenarians felt like all the time. I then placed the weapons belt around my waist; and made for the large rickety double doors.

Upon emerging from the ancient barn, I wasn’t surprised to find myself standing in an old flint and brick walled farm yard. Beside the barn there stood several lichen-coated brick buildings originating in several eras. They all showed the evidence of a great passing of time, and it occurred to me that the farm might not be a working farm, but was instead a farm museum. The area was littered by the detritus of years. Old farm equipment lay about that looked not only decades out of date, but possibly centuries. Masonry crumbled here and there, and the roof of one particularly old outbuilding had been stoved in. Patches of briar were encroaching, and weeds abounded everywhere except the areas that were either paved with concrete, or cobbled. I could see young animals corralled at several points within the farmstead. From my position I could make out small numbers of sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats. Through a gap in some mature trees I discerned a pond upon which ducks sailed less than majestically. From a rickety edifice beside the charming flint farmhouse emerged the sounds of chickens clucking contentedly.

I was still studying the inexpertly erected chicken coop when a boy of roughly ten years emerged from the farmhouse. He held an empty wicker basket in each hand. Without noticing me standing there in my incongruous ‘uniform’ he let himself into the coop through a shaky wire door.

“Hello…” I called in what I hoped was a friendly inquiring tone.

The boy looked up. His recognition of me was instantaneous, and he smiled broadly, before dropping his baskets; letting himself back out of the coop; and dashing back inside the farmhouse.

“Tasman,” I heard him calling as his booted feet thundered up the stair to the upper floor, “Felicity’s up and about!”

I smiled as those same two feet then raced back down the stair; carried their owner across the yard at break neck speed; and then stopped dead in front of me. I then received a hug that almost crushed the wind out of me.

“Oh Fel,” he breathed, “I never thought you’d ever open your eyes again.”

I had no idea who the urchin was, or why he was so glad to see me, but it was nice to be wanted.

“Thank you.” I replied. “It’s nice to be back: Where have I been?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

These books are also available at Amazon, Lulu, Apple iBooks, and various others. And very nice they are too – if rather violent at times. Well they do feature genocide, so a little violence is to be expected.

 

 

Arse-End of the Week Cooking (With Your Chef, Tooty Nolan)

If you’re anything like me, you hate shopping, so you’ll have bought the majority of your commestibles in one go – and hope that it’ll last you the week. As a result you’re probably left with a bunch of aging, disparate food stuffs with which you have no idea how to make a half decent meal  – and consequently end up stuffing it in the freezer, where it’ll sit until such time that either inspiration strikes or you throw it away. Hence the need for a recipe which uses up week-ending food. Step up your favourite Earplug author…

Note rice cooker and glass jar of ancient risotto rice. When I call this Arse-End of the Week Cooking, I’m including a degree of  Arse-End of Last Year Cooking too. You see I like to have the kitchen pulses on show…

Unfortunately, because they are just sitting there, doing nothing 24/7, I tend not to see them any more. So they seldom get used. Well today that situation is about to be rectified. Take a small, fancy coffee cup and fill it with rice. One per person…

And add to the rice cooker…

Cook rice; clean up the starchy crap that the rice cooker blows out of it’s steam vent; recall that it really only works well with long grain or bismati rice; leave to cool…

Whilst the rice gives up it’s heat to the immediate environment, thus increasing global warming to cataclysmic proportions, take a bag of minced pork – and slam it into a frying pan…

Cook it really quickly in it’s own juices. It doesn’t matter how badly it smells…

…or if it looks totally unappetising: it’s for your dog/cat, so isn’t going into the meal. Then, with that safely tucked away in a container, take a few examples of this sort of thing…

…and chop them into little pieces…

Chuck some chopped regular onion into some hot olive oil…

Then, after a minute or two, add in the other veg – in this case carrot, spring onion, and sweet corn…

…with some vegetable stock dissolved in boiling water. Continue to boil until its stupid..

While the veg ruminates upon the terrible injustices perpitrated against it, take the remains of Monday’s pulled ham roast out of the freezer…

…tear off a few chunks and chop ’em into bits. Then grab yourself a wok or deep frying pan…

…and transfer the cooked veg and ham to it…

Fold in the cool rice, heat for a while until it steams pleasantly – if steaming could ever be described as pleasant…

…add some black pepper…

…and YUMMY it’s ready. Remarkably, this time at least, the result doesn’t look like cat sick…

Tooty Nolan: an international author, literary genius, and master chef – all rolled into one. It’s just a shame about the hair!

 

A Tastier Taster and a Promising Promise

Do you remember these guys?

No? They appeared in an Earplug Wallpaper. Hair vs Hat, I think it was called. Well, they weren’t a one-off. They – Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – are going to (finally, at last) appear in an Earplug Adventure. And in a very important role too. In fact they are going to tell the tale of A Tale of Three Museums – using a very nice little scout ship that enjoys the moniker of the Scroton Five…

…to search for The Porthole of Everywhere…

…which will display The Museum of Future Technology…

…in two timelines and two distant spacial locations – making three museums in total. Gosh! Imagine! How will I ever manage to keep all of these disparate threads coherent within my aging (and not always rational) brain? With difficulty, that’s how.

Well hopefully I’ve whetted the appetites of any Earpluggers reading this. Also hopefully, I’ll get the time and opportunity to shoot the pictures and write the script required to produce the story. At the time of writing this, the vagaries of life are creating barriers to the completion of my literary and photographic plans: but, fear not, I shall persevere. You will see another Earplug Adventure. I just don’t know when.

Tooty.

   

Writing: Continuity is Everything.

I’ve been watching some 1970’s cop shows of late, in which, I’ve noticed, continuity is often a little wanting. Relationships between characters seem to change from episode to episode – depending, it seems, upon the needs and whims of the scriptwriters. In one episode a Sergeant took an exam and was promoted to Lieutenant and, at the show’s denoument, lamented that from now on he would have to call his (former) superior by his first name. The following show saw him once more cast as the brow-beaten sergeant – without so much as an attempt at explanation. Also the central character’s distinctive two-door coupe appeared as a four headlight model in active scenes, but, oddly, resorted to the earlier two headlight model for library-supplied establishing shots. This, as a viewer, annoys me beyond endurance. I’ve bothered to invest my time and cerebral energy to the show: the least the show’s makers should do is not insult me by assuming I wouldn’t notice the glaring errors. And so it is with the Earplug Adventures. Okay, maybe only three or four people read these tales avidly, and might notice; but I try my best to keep accurate continuity for them, their kin, and future generations, who, one day might discover this silicone world of wonder – despite my inability to remember stories I’ve written, or their character’s names. Take this as a case in point. When I decided to start preparing to shoot some scenes for the next photo-book, I had to read back through The Time Tamperer Vols 1&2 to find out what some of the lesser characters looked like; what their names were; what they did; and what they said. In the majority of cases the latter amounted to a single line or two of dialogue. Here’s a shot that features several of them…

No, not that one. That’s disgusting! I mean this one…

Trapped inside a force field, by the look of it. Or maybe this one…

Because it will be necessary for these characters to appear in A Tale of Three Museums, however briefly, I was required to search through the (literally) hundreds of characters that are stowed away in compartmented plastic display boxes in my attic ‘studio’. A long and exhausting task, I can tell you. Well check out the little golden-eyed guy third from the left. His name, I discovered, is Nobby De Aranquez. Why, I have no idea – but it’s a distinctive enough nomenclature, you’d think I would have remembered it. In The Time Tamperer he did sod-all but wander around in the past with all these other characters. He barely said a word. He was, effectively, little more than an extra. But because I believe in continuity, I couldn’t let it rest when (despite an extensive search that resulted in loud and extensive cursing) I failed to find him. I went back the following evening and left no prop, set, or light unturned in my efforts to return him to the fold. The result was this…

Step up Nobby De Aranquez. He who was lost is found! And this time I’m gonna have him say something significant. Heck, he might even try to chat up Hair-Trigger Provost!