Three of my books have been reduced to just 99p on Kindle for the time being. Click on the book covers or names for more info
The new header image of this website (above – although if you’re reading this (as is likely) more than a few weeks after the beginning of May 2015, it may not be above, because it will have been replaced by something else – therefore it’s also below:)
Anyway – the new header image (new as of May 3rd 2015) above is a photo of one of a series of acrylic abstracts painted about 4 years ago at the end of a pretty rubbish couple of years when the shop I was involved in got crushed by the after-effects of the global financial meltdown that first sneaked up on us in mid 2008.
I displayed the paintings on the blank walls of the almost empty shop in the absence of proper stock to flog. A few paintings did sell but to my shame I can’t remember which ones. Part of the reason for this is that a couple of tumultuous years and house moves later we took up residency in a small terrace where there was no room for all the paintings I’d accumulated – (even more sadly there was also no room to paint), so I left them out in the back yard under sheets of tarpaulin – there were over a hundred, some quite large, like the one above which was 800 mm x 1000 mm or 32in x 40in.
A year later we had to move house again and when I examined the stored paintings I found (not surprisingly) that most of them had been damaged by damp and mould. We were moving to an even smaller place, so what to do?
Reluctantly I decided there was no choice other than to grit my teeth and dispose of them, in an environmentally-friendly way if possible. I took the paintings to the new place, which luckily had enough space behind the railings at the front of the house to store them while we completed the move.
When the time came a couple of days later, I cut out all the canvases from their wooden stretchers and rolled them up. I broke up the wood and piled it up along with the rolled-up canvases in the back of our small hatchback. I can’t remember how many trips it took but I drove the loads to the nearest council waste and recycling centre and tossed the constituent bits of the irreplaceable art into their respective skips.
Afterwards I felt relieved but sad. Each one of those one hundred or so paintings was unique and impossible to recreate. Maybe that’s what art is?
Anyway, they were just paintings.
Click here for a link to a previous piece about some of the artwork written at the time of the exhibition in the shop.
PS: We’ve just moved again to a nicer place, maybe the lost art will return . . .
IT DOESN’T MATTER
A ONE ACT PLAY
ADAM: A MAN
BEN: A MAN
CARRIE: A WOMAN
THE THREE CHARACTERS ARE OF WORKING AGE AND ARE IN THE SAME AGE RANGE.
SCENE: TYPICAL OPEN PLAN LOUNGE/KITCHEN 2015
ADAM IS HOVERING NEAR THE KITCHEN AREA. BEN IS AT THE KITCHEN COUNTER.
ADAM: What are you doing?
BEN: What do you mean what am I doing?
ADAM: I mean what are you doing?
BEN: Talking to you – obviously.
ADAM: Before that what were you doing?
BEN: What do you mean what was I doing?
ADAM: I mean what were you doing before I asked you what are you doing?
BEN: Ah then. Nothing. I wasn’t doing anything.
ADAM: Yes you were. I saw you doing something. Continue reading
My new novel ‘Bums’ is now complete – just about!
I’ve put it aside for a couple of weeks while I make a start on the next one. I don’t have a title for the next book yet but it will be the second of the ‘Frank Lee’ stories. Frank is a Detective Inspector who operates in the post-industrial areas of South Wales between the sea, the valleys and the hills.
Frank is an ex punk new-age traveller and remains fiercely independent despite the job he does. He figures his role is to catch the real bad guys so he tends to turn a blind eye to activities that his colleagues would regard as criminal such as personal drug use and squatting. He is an anti-establishment member of the establishment – a dichotomy that even some members of his family have difficulty understanding.
‘Bums’ follows Frank’s investigations into the discovery of a naked dead body found in a dingy back lane in a run down part of Elchurch by two down-and-outs and is set on the grim edges of a society that values material gain and worldly gratification more than care and compassion.
The next story involving Detective Inspector Frank Lee hasn’t got a title yet but I have today written the first draft of the first page. I don’t even know what the story is yet but I’m sure it will involve Frank, his ex partner Flora, his daughter Beth, his colleagues Shaz and Ianto, and no doubt a whole bunch of criminals and victims. I’m also sure the story will unfold for me the same time as it will for Frank.
It’s bloody hard, especially if you don’t cajole and bribe family and friends to write glowing praise whether they’ve read the book or not.
So, you set up a FREE Kindle book promotion and hope that someone will like it enough to write a nice review on Amazon.
So for the next couple of days my novel Boys From the Backfields is available FREE for the Kindle. Click one of the links below to take advantage of this offer.
Amazon.co.uk Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GFZMNTK
Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GFZMNTK
Who killed Betty Fish?
In 1963 the world is rocking to the Beatles, and being rocked by the Cold War and the assassination of President Kennedy.
There are far more important things on the mind of Mick Matthews, a 13 year old boy growing up on a council estate in Wales, such as the murder of a middle-aged widow in one of the posh houses across the road. Mick and his small gang are out gathering blackberries and scrumping apples when they witness the murder as it happens.
Around the same time as the demise of Betty Fish, Mick falls in love with the enigmatic Angel, a girl of the same age.
Fifty years later, the murder is still unsolved and the shadows it casts over their lives are as dark as ever.
The first draft of my new novel Bums is complete. It is now being edited and will be published in a couple of months.
Bums is a crime story set on the edges of society in the post-industrial town of Elchurch, South Wales. At the heart of the story is Detective Inspector Frank Lee – an ex punk New Age Traveller.
More soon . . .
This is an edited version of the story I read at the Welsh Short Story Network’s event in Chapter Arts, Cardiff, on June 21st. It also features in my collection ‘Dead Flowers and Other Stories” published by Opening Chapter in November 2014.
He was an American, a couple of years older than me. I was sixteen.
In the summer of 1968, I hitched from my dreary Welsh town to see Pink Floyd in Hyde Park. After a long, scary, but interesting journey, involving a lift in an abused Transit with a stoned roadie, I arrived in the park after midnight the night before the concert and leaned against a tree to rest and absorb the vibes. Excited fellow travellers buzzed around me looking for somewhere safe to crash. Despite my exhaustion I felt I was part of something significant, a revolution was taking place and I was at the heart of it.
A pair of London louts tried to sell me a lump of dodgy-looking dope, it was probably chewing tobacco, or henna, or something. They looked shifty and vicious, like sly hyenas. I felt exposed and alone, so I shook my head and turned my back on them. I was skint anyway. The big one pushed me against the tree and pulled a knife. Continue reading
This is one of my favourite paintings.
I have had offers for it in the past and have turned them down but I’m now willing to consider sensible offers. I’m very attached to it so make it worth my while please
Apologies for the low-quality phone photo. It looks even more amazing in real life
This is a poem I wrote about 15 years ago. It is a formal sonnet. As far as I remember I spent a lot of time composing this, unlike most of the poetry I write, where I tend to be a bit sloppy and go with what is virtually the first draft.
Every punctuation mark, every syllable, every word, every sentence, every verse, the relationships between each line with every other line, and with its own beginning and ending, as well as all the bits in between, were crafted meticulously.
It’s about – well, everything really, but if I had to narrow it down, it’s about apples.
Wooden seed contains the tree of life’s
Essential fruit ensuring certain death.
The bite that unsheathed time’s sharp-bladed knife,
Cut off humanity, left us bereft.
To Cox’s, Braeburns, Bramley apple pies,
Genuflecting to scientists’ whims
Alar, phosphates and insect-killing sighs,
Genetic changes, false gods, crazy things.
The end of all we know’s in sight again,
Where, when and then and now and all is past,
When love and death and life come to an end.
There you and I will be as one at last.
– But while we strive to bear the stench of bliss,
– My breath is coruscated by your kiss.
An audio recording made 3 years ago of a poem I wrote 15 years ago, there’s a transcript below the picture that was taken 1 year ago. The picture is of a man-made meadow near Llandaff Fields in Pontcanna and it’s just there because people apparently like pictures to illustrate mere words.
I wrote the poem in the canteen/refectory at Trinity College, Carmarthen after arriving early for a session of the MA Creative Writing course I was studying at the time.
I had driven through the wonderful Carmarthenshire countryside with its green green grass and rolling hills and become pissed off at how the beautiful and mystical nature of Wales and its inhabitants have come to be defined by stereotypes involving sheep farming, rugby, chapel and industrial abuse.
Where is Your Song?
What is there to sing about
in the dirty valleys of Wales?
The land of my fathers’ follies,
the land of Mam’s poison cake.
Where sheep flood the green hills
like maggots, munching
to certain slaughter,
and pass their moronic character
to the people, through their plates.
The rivers run cold and collect
the toxic discharge that the Lords left.
The stone-walled slate-roofed mausoleums
of mediocrity, house the bigots
and the hypocrites of fear.
Why allow these demons
to inhabit our beautiful land?
Where is the sleeping Prince
who promised to return?
Wales is not a place of blood and tears.
Wales is not a deposit of dirty rain.
The evil of our history has skewered
our hearts to a red jersey,
the only paltry pride we have left.
Oh Wales, where is your song of joy?
I saw him chew a frog with glee
his yellow eyes assessing me
I saw him die, his kidneys gone
An obligate carnivore done.
Until it falls, burnt out and dead,
it must persist to weave its thread
It’s flimsy body seeks the light,
that’s always somewhere in the night
Behind those eyes a simple soul
Obliged to eat and piss and growl
It needed recognition too
To leave its mark on every shoe.
UPDATE ** February 8, 2015
Well – things have changed again and this is now my main website – I’ll be transferring stuff back from the other one and posting updates here from now on. What it was, was a bit of an identity crisis – ah!!!!!!!!!!!
This could be the last time I post on this site. This is because I am making a fresh start on a new site using a slightly different name. The name I will be using is my proper given name – the name that appears on my birth certificate Derek Wynford Jones.
Anyway click on my new/old name above to go the the new site.
“Made in Roath festival brings artists and the local community in which they live together in a wide array of exciting and thought-provoking ways.”
That’s what they say on the Made in Roath website.
There’s also a significant literary element to the festival organised by the creative and talented writer Christina Thatcher.
As part of the literary bit I will be holding a workshop on Self-Publishing at Cathays Library from 2:30pm to 4:30pm on Saturday, October 18th.
This a FREE event.
More details soon in the Made in Roath brochure and on their website.
I have been self-publishing for a decade in one way or another and have set up my own publishing company, Opening Chapter, to publish my own work along with selected work from other authors.
I’ll be basing the workshop on my very current experience publishing my latest book For the Time Being on Createspace, and possibly Kindle, if time allows.
more soon . . . .
It’s going to end up as a 200 page paperback book and will be published in late October or early November 2014.
For the Time Being is a bringing together of short stories, plays, poems, snippets and other fragments of my writing. Some of it is brand new, other pieces have been lurking in drawers for decades. Some of the work has been exhaustively edited while some is still red raw. Some of the work has already been published on this blog in one form or another, some of it emerged as I was putting the book together.
I don’t know if the book has any commercial viability – probably not, but I don’t really care – it’s primary purpose is as a distraction for me and something for me to read in my dotage – the pure essence of self-publishing if you like.
There will be more information about the book on Opening Chapter’s website when it’s available.
A Ble Woman with Yellow Flowers is a painting. The pictures show how it developed over a few days. To be honest I’m not sure if it’s finished or whether it ever will be. It will probably end up in a corner of the shed and get chucked during one of my periodic clearing-outs at some point.
It’s painted in acrylics on a home made canvas. Dimensions 65cm x 55cm – about 26″ x 22″
“What it is is a work of art, in the fullest sense.” This is a quote from the late great American poet JT Ahearn after he read The Three Bears, a novel I wrote. It was published in 2006, and again in a slightly revised edition in 2008. It is without doubt, the best thing I have ever written and probably the best thing I will ever write. When I say ‘best’ I don’t mean it’s the best plot. the best story, the best characterisation or even the best writing, I mean it is a true work of art, it’s completely unique and wonderful in entirely its own way. By any measure it’s a long way from perfect and if I’d thought about it rationally I probably wouldn’t have published it, but I’m glad I did. Continue reading