If you go down to the woods today – #Bluebells #poetry #video pic.twitter.com/kq9vFPaOJP

Oh to be in England
Now that April’s there…..

So begins the famous poem Home Thoughts, From Abroad  by Robert Browning, written in 1845 when he was feeling homesick in Italy. It is a lovely poem and I have always taken pleasure from poems of Nature. One of the few “arty” things I learned at school was the poem “Daffodils” by William WordsworthIn later life as a wannabee poet I discovered the words of John Clare and wept with frustration at my dullness. These days what poetry I have I secrete in my novels like a pinch of mono-sodium glutamate among the stir fried bean sprouts of new love. (Guess what I’ve been cooking for dinner?)

It was a release to get away from the office and go to the Bluebell woods at Mottisfont in Hampshire. I took my camera and tried to capture the crushing fragility of such beauty. All I could think of was the poem by Oscar Sparrow entitled simply “Bluebells”So much of our longing as humans comes down to a need to hold on and endure. Humble flowers with their immense beauty and perfume fade before our eyes and we cannot hold them any more than we can hold ourselves on the shingle shores of Time. And yet in poetry we can pass on a few moments that in the act itself of sharing, flower over and over as seeds, roll over and over as waves, kiss over and over as innocent lovers: as if no bloom before had offered such beauty or no lips before had ever known the joy of the kiss.

These were my feelings when I first read Oscar Sparrow’s poem. Putting away all the bawdy splash and dash of selling the stuff and beating the drum which is a novelist’s/publisher’s life, I was in those woods – trying to hold back Time, trying to breathe in the blue. 

Emma thinx: Memory is your portrait. Select your poses to paint you

Chinese Lantern

And here I am in France. The great cycle race ended in Paris on Sunday and like so many cycling fans and half the population of France a void has opened before me.  

This year has been one of the most remarkable ever. The two main favourites crashed out in the early stages. The eventual winner was Vincenzo Nibali, a somewhat enigmatic Italian. His top position on the Parisian podium was completely eclipsed by the greater victories of two French riders in second and third places. A French commentator interviewing the champion asked: “Well done for your win of course, but you have to concede you had the strongest team. I imagine you are very proud to have ridden with so many fabulous French riders…”

The diplomatic champion acknowledged their triumph. The studio anchor man told the Nation “We are not chauvinists! We are patriots!”

Chinese Lantern Ji Cheng

For now French cycling is on a high. I’m hoping more young folk will be pulling on their Lycra, shaving their legs and turning away from the cigarettes. Also, Chapeau to the guys who won second and third places -Jean Christophe Peraud and Thibault Pinot. To me they all are heroes and champions particularly the Chinese rider Ji Cheng who was the last guy home. Although technically the red lantern at the back of the field, he was a visible player, often in breakaways. He was a marvel and a credit to China. From my pinnacle of fame as a romantic novelist clinging on in invisibility at the back of the book-bashing peleton, I salute you. 

In my day job as an audio editor and producer I have also been immersed in the Tour de France. I have just completed an audiobook narrated by Oscar Sparrow entitled The Tour de France – The Inside Story. Written by Les Woodland, a consummate writer of the polished professional journalistic school, it reflects his own passion for cycling and shares the inside track on those great men who gave birth to the Tour and those who then sustained its legend. It is a fascinating nine-hour account filled with human flavour, foibles and falibility. We did a video clip to show our own way of working on such a project. It’s a great read and an even better listen.

If you want to get a free download of this insight into cycling (worth $19.95/£14.95), whether you’re a fan or not, in exchange for an honest review, leave a message below and I’ll send you your own code for Audible…

Emma Thinx: The French do have a a word for chauvinism

Shelter. A Poem By Oscar Sparrow


A ledge A gap A hole
A chance A crack A slot

A have or not 

A home.

A nest A den A box
A street A cell A plot

A have or not

A home.

My partner Oscar Sparrow (the poet) no longer blogs or slogs the internet trail. His pencil still has lead and so I’m delighted to air a small poem about the social issue of housing. He just wanted to put the idea of HOME out there. (He didn’t want me to explain that the capital A is used to create the idea roofs or tepees).

Give me shelter and I will be your morning song

The concept of home is so central to our human sense of self and security. Governments mouth empty phrases about young folk, values, the future and self esteem. Yet, a home is beyond most youngsters trying to set out. It is a market where our leaders cannot tread and the haves squeeze rent-juice out of the have-nots so that they can never ever ever have what the landlords (and our millionaire leaders) have…..A home.

What is government for? I’m sure some would say it was to clear the path for the operation of profit making markets and then stand back. Perhaps this is the rule of Nature – the rapacious predators at the top of the food chain pull down and gorge on the flesh of the prey species, inevitably those who are weaker.

 Yet – even indifferent Nature allows a blown seed to find some fissure. Young pigeons cling to a girder above a street near my local bakery. Callous Nature shrugs yet still applauds a homemaker. Maybe Nature is also indifferent to markets…….Maybe there is a bigger home truth and pitiless capitalism is not the ultimate super-symmetry of the sub atomic universe? Could such a heresy be true? Is the stone face of greed not the portrait of perfect beauty?  Do we deny our young people something that is fundamental to our conscious existence? Tell me – who is not worthy of an affordable home? Who? Who?And why? Why?

Emma Thinx: Home is where the start is.  

101 Tips On How To Be A Bouncer.

Today I am handing over the blog to my comrade Oscar Sparrow. These days he describes himself as an ex poet and truck driver. He appears here in his role as an audio narrator for Gallo-Romano Media.


You don’t end up like this by winning fights. I should have read the book!

In my youth (well, perhaps my thirties and forties), I did the poetry reading round. Anyone who has ever done this, will know just how tough it can be. Surely, sitting in a quiet recording studio should be far easier. No drunks, no chanting football fans or passing poet haters. Just me….and that is the problem. Once you’ve read a poem to a crowd (or four acrid smelling people who thought it was ferret club night), the thing is done. You can’t go back to tweak the bleak or lengthen the longing in the tone. It’s done my dear and where’s my beer? (See – once a poet always a poet).

A narrator’s work is never done. The errors will haunt you for ever. For all that it is a wonderful job. A couple of weeks ago I completed a rather unusual project. 101 Tips On How To Be A Bouncer is a unique book. The tag line is “Techniques To Handle Situations Without Violence”. The author, Darren Lee, is an experienced “Crowd Controller” who has also spent many years as a lawyer. The book does exactly what it says on the tin. The only thing is that the tin contains far more than you would think. In fact it is a book about psychology at the cutting edge of real dangerous life. From my own experience of many years as a London street cop, I can tell it was written by a guy who absolutely knows the score. It’s premise is how to be a bouncer and avoid conflict or violence. The essential thing is the management of potentially aggressive ego. At the same time, the “crowd controller” must be in charge and act with INTENTION. This is a balancing act, in front of a dangerous audience who massively outnumber the “controller”.  Never underestimate the courage needed to turn up for work,  knowing that any failure of your personal skills or physical confidence could leave you seriously injured. 

I finished this book with a great admiration for all those guys who do this job. Few folk could not learn something from it. Anyone in security, event organizing, policing roles or the entertainment industry could gain insight from this book. As I read it, I realised that as a parent, this was a book I wish I could have put in the way of my clubbing kids. Youngsters don’t want to be mothered by old hens – after all – what do they know? A book by a “bouncer” has street cred and knowledge. It would help anyone to recognise situations and be able to assess risk. If you are with a group which is beginning to lose the plot – the “crowd controllers” will know the signs and be aware. Knowledge is power and I certainly would have  put it in my kids’ sober hands as a quiet piece of homework. If the only thing they learned was that there are guys out there who’ve got their number and have seen it all before – that’s a major plus believe me. In the ocean of beers, shots and fun, a few will drown. Knowing the score could keep you afloat.

It was an unusual book to narrate. I found my tone in my London roots as a police patrol car driver. Darren is quite right. The “old school” bouncer is as dead as the old rough justice cop. It’s still a tough world out there and always will be. Cheers boys and girls – and have a good night eh!


Thanks Oscar.  I’ve read this book myself. I was dismayed to learn that the last doorman asking for my I.D. was probably just doing a canned flattery routine. Oooh – he was sexy and I still love him for it anyway!

Here is a clip of Oscar explaining how to handle an old Doris like me… 

Emma Thinx: Love on the bounce requires a man with balls.

Escape To Love Book Trailer

I’ve no idea at all what has been happening in the world beyond the screen of my computer. Regulars will know that yesterday I promised a SoundCloud chapter from Escape To Love on today’s blog. As things have worked out, I have actually been able to complete the video book trailer and I’m gonna put that up instead. 

I’ve had Oscar in the bedroom all day doing his male thing. Poor lad is exhausted. You see maidens may exercise power by appearing gentle. Knights have to raise up their swords. Oooh – It’s nice to lie back and be overwhelmed.

 Now – I know what you’re thinking – but I’m talking about the voice-over track. He did the first one in a kinda soft English poet mode. Then he tried all levels of Hollywood dramatosis. In the end we went for poet heavy/Hollywood-lite. If I’m honest I would have liked that 90% dark chocolate guy who always tells you at the cinema that you’re a mug and the best film is next week. They have those scripts that go:  “A man with no nose never knows the purr – fume of a rose ……OR FEAR.  A man where apartment block meets mountain…They call him…. Flat-face”. 

So – it’s up and it’s hanging out. What do you think of my vid?

Emma thinx: No voice is deeper than a mind that truly listens.

Escape To Love On Tour.

You would have thought that by now a media pro like me would have gone on display somewhere. Perhaps a tour with beasts in an old fashioned circus or starring as a fortune teller on the end of a pier somewhere would have been glamorous. As a kid I always longed for such a life – but it was not to be. 

I can now set aside all my previous disappointments. I am going on my first ever blog tour. It was only recently that I really found out what a blog tour is. I guess all of you out there knew already. Since I’m something of a virgin, I’m only doing five stops with the following kind hosts: 

Anneli Purchase on 4th Feb.
Gallo-Romano Media on 6th Feb.
Laurie Jenkins On 10th Feb.
Sheryl Browne on 11th Feb.
Mandy Baggot on 12th Feb.

There will be a chance to win a prize at each stop.

I am hoping not to destroy their readership. Of course, the purpose of the tour is to announce the publication of my latest story “Escape To Love”, which will be out on Monday 4th February. This novelette is a further addition to my urban love series. There will be two more after this which will then form a collection under the banner “Love In A Hopeless Place” – all with full free audio book narrated by me (female roles) or Oscar Sparrow (male roles). 

If you tune in tomorrow there will be a SoundCloud link to the audio of chapter one. Hope to see you there. 

Emma thinx: The rose of love blooms and dies in water – but it thrives in a nice bit of dirt. 

Freedom Of Choice – The Chosen Goes Clix For Nix.

I am not a tidy person. Over Christmas I reached a crisis of confusion in which whatever job I wanted to do, I could not find the kit to do it. When stuff is piled so high you can’t see the hoover, you have an issue. Worst of all was my work space. It had become so cluttered that I could no longer work. I thought of writing a story about a kid who gets lost in his own front room, something like Harry Trotter And the Pig-Sty Of Doom. 

A couple of days ago I attacked at dawn. I got out the garden incinerator and had a bonfire of the insanities. First to go was the accumulated school-work of three kids. It was amazing to learn that 20 years ago they were doing stuff at school that I thought was still in the future. I was delighted to learn from a religious education test that a prophet was an old word for a sharp business man and that a disciple was a man who followed another man in the street. The pupil is at University now, but not doing theology. 

I’ve been smokin’ with my pokin’

All of this is nothing to do with anything really. But it’s that time of year when we rip it all down and let in the fresh air. I will confess to some sentimental moments as I fed the flames. After two days I unearthed the hoover and my desk. There’s gonna be no stopping me now!

First up is my free days on Amazon KDP for my short story “The Chosen“.(Separate link for Amazon UK)  It’s a regular tale of two low level semi criminals trying to go straight in a world that’s bent against them. Oscar Sparrow did the audio. My free days on “Knockout” reached about 8,000 readers. Once I have the full analysis I’ll do a scribe-a-thon techno de-brief of follow up sales etc. For now, let’s see if I can get some visibility for this very grungy tale of lust in the dust….please…it’s FREE. Buddy, can you dime a spare?……

Emma Thinx: You burn souvenirs. Memories burn you. 

Freeze Frame – Published.

I’ve been invited to a virtual party. You know, I really should stay in more! Once again I have been helping out in the final thrust of Oscar’s Freeze Frame poetry project. To be honest it is a labour of love – just to see something unique out there. I had forgotten about being a poet – you know that kind of earnest endeavour for that one inspired word. I can’t believe I used to do that stuff. I can still do LOVE but the old wino, the innocent kid,the walk in the country, the big philosophies of time,the intellectual abstracts, the rainy nights in a northern English town, an old couple crossing the road -all that is far from my grasp now. The signals are tiny and the receptors are dull. Far from being disheartened, I am very happy to do full fat big breakfast lust. There is a great happiness in it. 

At last the Freeze Frame collection is out there. It is a wonderful anthology and I’m proud to have been around it. For this last time I am posting Oscar’s blog on here. What do you think of his beard? He’s not getting a mistletoe snog from me with all that lot on there!

Freeze Frame Anthology – Published

Santa maybe

Santa may-be
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am a reasonably serious old bloke who has scribbled poems for about 50 years. Finding myself posing in a Santa hat holding a Kindle Fire device for a picture to be captioned with punny quips made me wonder if I had lost the plot. If I appear disrespectful to poets and poetry I do apologise. O brave new world that has such peep-shows in it. Such is the circus of the modern book world. Apparently some fiction writers are so busy on the road that all their stuff is done by ghost writers. Seemingly it’s the brand that matters. It is incredible to me. Perhaps I won’t beat myself up over the Santa hat. If it makes poetry more accessible and unstuffy then it has to be a Google plus. I defy anyone to ghost write in the style of any of the six Freeze Frame writers.
Far more importantly, the book is out there and up on Amazon. It was delivered without anaesthetic during the night, about 24 hours premature but at a good weight and with powerful voice. This is not the end of course but at least everything is all together and in one place. The stars are the poets who had enough faith in me to join in and risk all to be part of the Freeze Frame project.
Tomorrow evening 1800 hours UK (GMT)  – 12 noon USA EST – there will be a launch party at which all can meet the poets. There will be readings and comments and hopefully a few silly hats.  This takes place on Facebook with a live link to a Google+ ‘Hangout’ – you can watch us all having our virtual champagne and reading a selection of poems from the collection.  Here’s the link:
Ho Ho Ho!
Emma Thinx: Poems live on pages. Poetry lives in hearts.

Guest Blogger Oscar Sparrow

 A glorious blue sky winter Sunday. There is beauty on this Earth and perhaps we are the only entities of the universe to possess the emotional and intellectual pathways to discern it. In the bare trees around me, the merciless crows scrabble for nothing other than survival and dominance. Unlike mankind, they know not cruelty but only indifference. Surely we are both saved and shamed by beauty for what we do is in its presence. Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Gauguin did not know and we are no nearer the answer today. 

The poet Oscar Sparrow loves to quote these lines. He comes to mind because his collection “I Threw A Stone” is free today on Amazon KDP.  I am delighted to use my little blog to display his own take on the matter. Don’t forget there is a full audio track for free with the e-book. Any one who witnessed him revealing his “Erectile Dysfunction” at the Bedford Festival of Romance now has the chance to re-live the moment. 

I threw a stone cover for AmazonA few years ago I went to a public auction with a friend who was looking for some furniture. Whilst we were waiting for his lot to come up, an enormous quantity of cuddly toys came under the hammer. It seemed that it was the entire contents of a bankrupted shop. The price started somewhere at the edge of the cosmos and came down to something I could afford by raking about amongst the fluff covered boiled sweets in the sofa. Within a few seconds I owned several hundred cuddly giraffes, tortoises and some things that looked like socially disadvantaged wildebeest at the end of a hard day in the stampede.  I applied for a pedlar’s certificate and set out on a career as a door to door salesman. The giraffes and tortoises flew out of my sack. I sold only one wildebeest to a guy spaced out on wacky baccy who thought it was an alien.
Plan B in my retail conquest of the planet was a market stall. That weekend I was at the town tat-fest with my trestle table loaded with cuddly alien cattle. I figured that since the goods were not selling I would offer them at 50 pence each. After lunch I reduced the price to zero but still the poor beasts could find no homes. Then, a fellow trader wandered over and looked at the creatures and declared that they were from a top designer label and that by giving them away, people thought they were junk. Accordingly I increased the price to £5 and added a sign saying “Top Designer Brand”. By dusk, the herd of alien wildebeest had gone. I shared the spoils with a guy who had lent me a truck to transport them and the market stall authorities. There was enough left for a good old fish and chip nosh up and a week’s  caravan holiday. (It rained and the kids were sick). So much for my flirtation with Capitalism.
So it is with some worldly experience that my poetry collection “I Threw A Stone”  is offered for free until the close of play on the 18th December. It is of course a top designer brand. So far I have shifted one copy in the UK and have zoomed up 900,000 places in the charts. Sales are probably not helped by the fact that Amazon UK have removed all but one review apparently on the basis that people liked the book. (One could become quite annoyed about all this but poet karma keeps my thoughts on a higher plane).
Here are the links.
There we are then – Roll up! Roll up! There ya go my love, cheap at half the price me old China, perk ya selves up wiv a poem or two. Roll up! Roll up .

Emma thinx: See with your inner eye. Hearing is believing. 

Freeze Frame cover Reveal

I’ve been working. My dear mate Oscar has been editing and compiling a collection of poetry. I’ve actually done some work on the audio – but only because I’m so bloody nosy about how people sound. Recently I went back into poetry myself to do a couple of YouTube videos. You know, poetry is still a really cool medium. I would be the first to admit that the commercial bish bosh bash has weakened my ability to go into full poet mode.

Listening to these guys I kinda zoned out of all the clatter. There’s Paul Tobin, a real deal poet who gets inside the fence and under the radar. He’s  – just so calm and persuasive. Jo Von Bargen – an American poet with a life soaked softness that is – well – beautiful. There’s a guy called Jeff Hansen who comes up with abstract stuff in a direct voice that offers ideas without any messing about. There’s Claude Nougat who speaks quite hauntingly about Rome in a captivating Scandiamerifrancitaliano  accent that must be unique to her and the world. There’s Oscar in his full Thespian/cockney truck driver/British posh. Finally, there’s Candy Bright who digs it out from the woman’s heart and certainly gets hold of mine. 

Today the cover of the collection Freeze Frame is revealed and I am proud of my very small part in this project. The cover was created by a young designer, Will,  who freelances for Gallo-Romano.  They tell me the e-book will be up on 21st December and the paper edition in January. It has its own Facebook page and if you feel so inclined you could follow the link and like it. 

Emma thinx:  Go undercover – hibernate with a book.