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Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - Summer 2009
writing from across the globe.

July is here: Wimbledon is coming to a close, there has been a heatwave and for once politics hasn't dominated the headlines. There's a relief. We're on a break at Hackwriters to start a new novel so we shall all catch up when I return.
Caught Ice Age 3 last night, hiding out in an air-conditioned movie theatre to escape the heat. Good to know it is still funny, Simon Pegg not content to steal the best lines in Star Trek steals this movie wholesale as the weasel. Great that the squirrel, acorn and new partner get to provide continuous comic refief throughout. The magic of cinema is right there, no dialogue but those squirrels are the most loved creatures in the world I should think and there was more than a smattering of genius in their domestic bliss and love spats among the dinosaurs.

Leave the kids at home in the deep freeze and go see this movie, you need cheering up, especially as headlines now say that by August 100,000's will be going down with Swine Flu a week! I have said before but say again, download my book Another Place to Die if you want to be ready for when the flu pandemic goes critical. Just today they have announced that this variant of Swine Flu is resistant to Tamiflu.

Michael is gone, Farrah is gone - it always comes in threes so no surprise with Karl Malden goes too and throw in Mollie Sugden for good measure. There has been a huge outpouring of grief over Michael's sudden death. 50 isn't a great age but there's someone who lived very brightly from an early age. Hearing ABC again on the news takes me back and I guess that's it. He died relatively young and suddenly, the mourners are not just Mom and Dad but anyone whose first video fave was Thriller or Billie Jean. The conspiracies now begin but everything cast aside we already missed him (and our youth) whilst he was still alive. I hope he finds happiness wherever he has gone.

That said I caught a movie Blood- The Last Vampire. I remain astonished at just how bad a film can be and of course, here it is released in summer when no one is really watching. No really, the American's acting in it is like something of the 1950's or Twilight Zone. You watch because you can't believe all the terrible clichés.

I know that when I return from France dictators will still run Burma, Zimbabwe, Iran, and more, but I am going on vacation and I am not going to check my email or phone or the news. I am going to check the sky each day and decide if it is a beach day or writing day. Of course part of me wishes every day could be a beach day but the weekends in particular are a bit of nightmare on Biarritz beaches. I shall walk the dog, watch the vultures and eagles circle the fields, stare with astonishment at the brilliant stars. (They still have stars in the night sky in France).

I know it’s selfish of me to run away – but I suspect all Dictators (including Gordon) will still be in place come August and although I will feel better there is that sinking feeling that darn, I have to go through it all again.

Starting my 20th year of teaching. I know, I am lucky to have a job and all, but I seem to recall I started doing this for just one term all those years ago until my luck turns. I guess it never really did. I kind of wonder just how many people out there end up in jobs they never planned for, whether because of previous recessions or career blips. Is there even one artist or writer out there who hasn’t had a career blip? But not all end up as teachers. Must be some definite psychological flaw I think that kept me in the classroom or lack of courage. The trouble is once you have been a starving artist, it’s not so easy to return to it once fed.

It’s been an odd year. Lots of disputes with fellow staff. But keen and talented students to keep one busy and I wish the departing grads the best of luck. No use in reminding them that nearly 500,000 grads come onto the market at the same time or that for three years I have been saying – get work placements, do work experience, make employers aware of you now. I know no one ever listens but sometime in the next few weeks they are going to wish they had.

When I return we shall make a plan as to how it continues and in what form. Clearly writers still want to submit, there have been bumper last two issues – see for yourself. But I am strongly mindful that almost everyone has a blog or twitters all day long and I am thinking we are past our sell by date…. I shall think more on this as I walk the beaches. Assuming I don’t go mad as I am on my tod this summer and not used to that at all.
Luckily there is the dog to talk to.

I am going to be developing a new book with hopes of selling it to my publishers. Can’t believe I still have to wait until Jan 2011 before the first one comes out. Just slightly worried I won’t get to enjoy it long as my Mother's Jehovah carer informs me that the world is going to end with absolute certainty in 2012. (No specific date) and she lists the reasons why quite logically. Iran v Israel and Armageddon. North Korea has the bomb which it wants to attack Japan with for some reason. The Mayan calendar ceases in 2012 (though they may have just run out of paper) and I think there were one or two more problems as well.

We have been there before mind you. The World was supposed to end in ’63. It failed to do so. I rather suspect 2012 will be somewhat anti-climatic save for US elections and we shall still have to figure out how the hell we are going to survive on negligible pensions and sporadic flu pandemics.

I just read 1434 by Gavin Menzies. He contends that Leonardo and the whole Renaissance was triggered by a visit from the Chinese to Venice in 1434. They left world maps (globes), calculating tools, designs for everything, including water pumps, locks, toy helicopters and calculating longtitude and his argument is quite persuasive. You might want to read it and 1421 his first book that shows the Chinese discovering America and Australia. Everything you know about history is incorrect. It might take a while for this correction to take hold but look who is the ascending power right now and remember the victors get to rewrite history or in this case, correct it. Fascinating either way.

On that cheery note, I shall leave you to order my book ‘Another Place to Die – your essential reading before swine flu comes back as a H5N1 hybrid in the autumn and takes a whole of lot of us with it. Nevermind 2012, getting through the rest of 2009 will be hard enough.

Right, I have to prepare for the Winchester Writers Conference. See you there if you are coming.Failing that see you at the Havant Literary Festival in September.
All the very best for the summer and chill…

July 4th 2009 -
Check out the summer edition of Hackwriters now- lots of good features and points of viewIf you want to help Hackwriters keep going, buy my new book Mean Tide. A young adult ghost story set in Greenwhich, London. All profits go into the magazine.
Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic awakening'

Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

Sent to live with his spooky Grandma by the river in Greenwich, Oliver (12) discovers a whole world of disturbed people who are probably even crazier than the ones he left behind. When he finds a dog with its throat cut on the beach, everything changes.
Age range 12-16 and adult

Meanwhile, are you worried about your health? Read my book 'Another Place to Die'' . If you have the slightest worry about how to survive the coming flu pandemic, you need this book and all the proceeds go to keep Hackwriters going. See the review from Calvin Hussey

The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North

ISBN 1-4116-3748-8
$19.98 Retail - 300 pages - Lulu Press USA

'Chocolate will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Barnes and Noble
& Waterstones

Diamonds - The Rush of '72
By Sam North
ISBN: 1-4116-1088-1

Buy now from
'a terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review

Also printed in the UK and available from
& Waterstones

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