Tuesday, June 23, 2009

While I was away recently, I booked a session with photographer Dave Cable of http://www.arcadiaphotographic.com/ to take some photos that I could use for websites, book covers etc. I'll post a couple of my favourites here:

How important is factual accuracy in fiction?

Someone who’s a police academy graduate, majored in criminology for 2 years, and who is currently a Fire Prevention Officer has slated my novel The Kult on Goodreads.com and given it a one star review: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6393198-the-kult

The reviewer stated that the book was slow and the characters uninteresting, and he read it with a critical eye regards the police aspect, and was disappointed that it contained so many flaws.

Okay, I try not to write anything that reads slow, as I personally don’t like slow books, so I kind of disagree with that one, as for the characters being uninteresting, well I guess that’s down to personal opinion. But I’m more interested in the factual accuracy aspect. When I wrote the novel, I wrote it as a piece of fiction. I did some research, but knowing that I would never be able to get all the facts regarding police procedure correct, I tried to gloss over much of that side of it. A police officer friend of mine told me that if I did write it accurately, it would be boring, as most police work is boring.

So what are other people’s opinions on the importance of factual accuracy in fiction?

And for those who don’t know, there has been an issue with the company that lists the books ISBN, and publisher details, and because of a cock-up, the book was locked out of the system. It is listed on Amazon, but as unavailable. But it is available direct from the publisher at the moment for $8.95. It might also be orderable from bookshops, but I’m not 100% sure on that because of the listing problem, but you could always try. Anyway, here are the details for ordering etc:




Title: The Kult
Author: Shaun Jeffrey
Publisher: Leucrota Press
ISBN-10: 0980033985
ISBN-13: 978-0980033984

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Bucket of Blood

With a name like 'The Bucket of Blood', how could I not want to visit? The pub is in Phillack, Hayle in Cornwall.

Legend has it that many years ago, the landlord went to the on-site well to get a bucket of water, but when he pulled the bucket up, it was found to be full of blood. Upon further investigation, a badly mutilated body was found at the bottom of the well, who turned out to be an excise man (taxman) that had been murdered. The pub now has reports of ghostly figures, strange noises and other strange phenomena.

If not for the story, then it's a nice place to visit for the food.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bodmin Jail

We started our recent holiday with a visit to Bodmin Jail on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Now partially ruined, the ominous, crumbling building looms over the town of Bodmin and within the thick, stone walls, over 50 executions have taken place, for crimes such as rape, murder and stealing. 51 of these executions were open to the public.

The last public hanging took place at Bodmin Jail in 1909, and while supposed to be a deterrent, the executions became popular excursions of the time.

Bodmin was the first jail to feature separate "cells", and a couple of the well-known prisoners included: Anne Jefferies, thought to be a witch, who was starved to death and Selina Wadge, who was publicly executed for the murder of her bastard son. Hardly surprising then that Bodmin Jail has become known as a haunted hotspot.

Over the years, the jail went through a number of changes, including a major extension in 1859 to deal with overcrowding. At one point several prisons were located on the site. These included the Civil Prison for males, The Civil Prison for females, The Debtors prison, the Naval Prison and at one point the prison for Juvenile offenders. The roof has now collapsed, and so have many of the floors underneath.

Inside the building, you enter through the licensed bar and as you descend the steps into the jail, the cold seems to seep through the very brickwork. It’s hard to imagine being cooped up inside one of the gloomy cells for a long duration, where there would have been a lack of light and the smell was probably horrendous at the time when the jail was in use.

Now the visible cells only occupants are the most repellent looking mannequins I have ever seen. They are marginally lit, adding to their creepiness, especially when you turn a corner and run into one, but using the camera brings the flash into play, only highlighting their ugliness.

Accompanying plaques describe the prisoners, and what crime and punishment they suffered, everything from bestiality to murder.

Although we didn’t see anything strange while we roamed through the building, we didn’t linger too long either.