Showing posts from 2014

Mincen Pies

Good evening! Gerald Mincen here. You may have heard of guest posts on blogs, well I'm delighted to be able to join you this evening. Unfortunately Jason is currently indisposed after a stressful few days. Having departed Facebook after finally admitting defeat in the thankless task that was attempting to administer the Bicester Town Centre Chat page, he was last seen seeking solace in the Wimpy nursing a mixed grill. I understand that an incident involving a pantomime dame that left him covered in lipstick didn't help either. In the meantime, it's up to me to fill in the gap. Those of you with long memories will remember me from the halcyon days of the "Campaign To Bring Back Old Flavours Of Crisps". I too disappeared from the social scene for a while in the noughties due to a nervous breakdown brought on by Walkers decision to discontinue Beef & Onion flavour, (not to mention an amorous misadventure in Steeple Claydon) but that's all in the past now.

Things I've learned

I can't believe it's barely 18 months since I published my first book on Amazon. I also can't believe how naive I was back then. In fact I almost cringe at the mistakes I made at rushing out that initial draft. I thought at the time that it was OK to paste together a set of blog entries and various other bits and pieces of writing I had knocking about, shove any old cover on it, don't bother proof-reading it and call it a book. Then try and market and sell it to family and friends without even thinking about the bigger picture. That the book sold at all was a minor miracle, but in fact it was relatively successful. However, the book's shortcomings were soon picked up on. I went back, cleaned it up, put a new cover on it, edited it into some sort of sensible format and put it back out there. That first book, Fortysomething Father has attracted more reviews than any other (well it has been out the longest), and is also the only one that has 1* and 2* reviews.

Bubble Wrap

So, now that Global Cooling is launched, what about the final part of the trilogy? You'll have noticed a fair few teasers and loose ends in the first two books that haven't been tied up yet, as well as a few plot lines that were not expanded on to any great extent. So what is going to happen in the third book? I'm at the outlining stage now, with a plan to start writing in January for an Easter release. I am planning to call it "Bubble Wrap". Here's a provisional blurb... Josh has discovered the secret of how to create his own Time Bubbles and manipulate them, dangerous information if falling into the wrong hands. As Josh joins Peter on his quest to explore the far future, Daniel Fisher is trapped in a mental institution, insisting to his counsellors that he's travelled from twenty years in the past. He's determined to escape and find a way to put right the wrongs of the past. But if he does succeed in changing history, will anybody even no

The Karaoke Night

Hi all, For those of you that haven't had the pleasure yet, I thought today I'd give away a completely free chapter of my new novel, Global Cooling. This is an early chapter, before the main plot really gets going, and a light-hearted one based all around a karaoke night, run by one of the main characters - a female karaoke presenter - don't worry, Helen, she isn't based on you! In this chapter she has to deal with all the usual problems e.g .drunks, being hit on by odious characters and so on. They say you should write about what you know, hence my decision to write about karaoke. Anyone who ever attended any of my famous Sunday nights in the past will I am sure find things here to empathise with. Enjoy - and obviously I hope it inspires you to buy the book. Jason Chapter Five – Thursday 12th April 2029 (8.30pm) Lauren was making the final preparations for the weekly karaoke night at The Red Lion. There wasn’t a great deal that needed to be done, if trut

Wimpy Comes To Bicester

Wimpy, Happy Eater, Berni Inns: Names of Great British eateries from a bygone era guaranteed to stir nostalgia in anyone over a certain age. And all defunct - or so I thought until a couple of months ago. That was when I heard that Wimpy were to open in Bicester. My first thought was do they still exist? My second was yes, get in! I was even more overjoyed when I heard they were to be moving into the old (sadly missed) Maba building. As a resident of Chapel Street and fast food devotee with a school run taking me directly past the building twice a day, they could not have got their marketing any more spot on. Talk about location, location, location! The view from across the street, shortly before opening. I was trying to work out the last time I went in a Wimpy and I have narrowed it down to some time in the Autumn of 1993. I was working at Tesco Head Office in Cheshunt at the time and often used to pop into the nearby Waltham Cross shopping centre at lunchtime. One wet Wedne

The Healthy Eating Con

It must be a good year or so since I last featured my friend, Laura, in my blog, so high time she got into the limelight once again. She always pretends to be embarrassed by it, but I think she secretly loves the fame. Anyway, as on previous occasions, it was a chance comment in a conversation between us that led to the inspiration for this blog entry. It was a fairly ordinary Tuesday morning in the streets of our small market town. I had dropped the kids off at school and gone for my usual early morning preamble around the supermarkets of Bicester. As always, I was in search of bargains, as befits my value-seeking persona in these austerity driven times. Therefore I was delighted to discover on perusing the crisps and snacks fixture (my favourite) in Poundland, that they had got some Marmite crisps back in stock. Here they are! Sainsbury sell these at £1.79 for a six pack. Poundland on the other hand offers an 8 pack. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that they cost

Q&A - Global Cooling

When I launched The Time Bubble, I conducted an interview with myself via this blog to tell you all about the new book. This seemed to be well received, so I've decided to do something similar for my new book, Global Cooling . I thought perhaps it might come across as a little egotistical for me to conduct the interview myself, so I've asked my old friend, Gerald Mincen, to do the honours. Over to you, Gerald. Gerald: Good Morning. So, Global Cooling, what's this one all about, then? Jason: Hi Gerald. It's a story about unexpected climate change, plunging Britain into a devastating winter, and the characters' attempts to survive. Gerald: That's been done before, hasn't it? Like in that movie, The Day After Tomorrow? Jason: This isn't really like the Day After Tomorrow - that was a very sensational movie where things happened almost overnight and there was snow hundreds of feet deep. I like to think my scenario is a lot more realistic, as th

Does what it says on the tin

Ronseal - does what it says on the tin. Fair enough - if they say so. It's unlikely I'll ever have the opportunity to find out. I am ashamed to admit I am absolutely woeful when it comes to any sort of DIY/ gardening/ decorating type work - delete as appropriate. And apparently, this is bad news for a male. Some report I read on the internet the other day - can't remember where exactly, but it was a newspaper report posted to Facebook, suggests that women are more likely to be attracted to a male who is "good with his hands". Some sort of primeval instinct or something, apparently. This may go some way towards explaining a) the disgraceful state my starter home was in when I sold it, eight years after moving in and b) my general lack of success with women during that era of my twenties when I was supposedly in my prime. Fortunately things picked up on the latter front once the new Millennium dawned, as you can see from the picture at the top of the blog, I


I bumped into a blog fan this morning who informed me that she was having withdrawal symptoms waiting for my next blog post - so Miss (Mrs?) H, here's a quickie (of the literary kind) just for you. In case you're wondering about the lack of blog entries it's because I've been full steam ahead on the new book, which is going really well. I've written about two thirds of it so far and am still hopeful to have it launched by my pencilled in date of 28th November - allowing for proofreading etc. Anyway, quickies. It's pretty much quickie everything these days it seems to me. I'm not sure if that's just me or the world at large but as the years pass, the phrase "there's just not enough hours in the day" seems to ring ever more true. God knows how people with a full time job manage. As for quickies, well, I'm not just talking about them in the conventional sense (i.e sex), but I can't imagine many people these days are having long t

Global Cooling

I'm really pleased with the way the sequel to The Time Bubble is coming along, and am delighted to announce that I have scheduled it in for a provisional launch date of Friday 28th November. Amazon are now allowing indie authors to put their books up for pre-order, so it should become visible on the site some time before that date. Watch this space. I have been overwhelmed by the fantastic response I have had to The Time Bubble. At the time of writing I have sold nearly 1,000 copies all over the world via Amazon. Those sales have generated 16 reviews in the UK with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars, and more good reviews in America. It was always my intention to write a sequel as you know. In fact if this goes well, it may even become a trilogy. Because the book is going to be put on pre-order, I need to do things in a slightly different order, so although I'm still writing the story, I've already sorted out the cover and the "blurb". Here is the blurb:

Sneak Preview

I must apologise for the paucity of blog entries this month but I have been dedicating all of my writing time to the sequel to The Time Bubble. And I'm very happy with what I've got down so far, around 12.000 words of it. The Time Bubble itself has had some excellent reviews both in the UK and the US and is continuing to sell well. One of the comments made on several of the reviews was that the ending seemed a little rushed. However, this was always my intention. You see, the original book took place primarily over the course of a week or so in 2018, with the action then jumping rapidly into the future. My intention was to pick up the tale in parallel with events in those later chapters and flesh out the story of what happened in the missing years. The sequel ties up a lot of the references made in the latter stage of the first book. So what is happening in the new one? Well, the bulk of the action takes place approximately ten years after the main events of the first boo

Sequel Suggestions

My sacks are absolutely bulging at the moment. Bulging that is with the hundreds of items of fan mail arriving every day since the release of The Time Bubble. OK, they are not really, however, I have received some interesting suggestions for sequels from some good friends of mine. And here they are: Dear Jason, I very much enjoyed your new book, "The Time Bubble", and it reminded me of an idea I had many years ago for a Time Travel story. I work as a local DJ in Bicester and my idea is about a time travelling disco that actually transports people back in time according to the music I'm playing. So for example, there I am in the White Hart on a Friday night and I put on an old 80s pop classic. Instantly everyone is transported back in time to the era in question, all their clothes change, the boys suddenly have make up on and everyone's hair goes big. As an added bonus, the beer is now only 50p a pint, you can have a fag without having to go outside and there&#

Ollie's 7th Birthday Party

When I asked Ollie what he wanted for his birthday back in July, he had no hesitation in telling me - a party! He also knew exactly what he wanted, having attended a party at the bowling alley for a classmate a few months ago - the exact same thing. I think Bicester Bowl is very underrated. It's great value for money to bowl there compared to the bigger bowling centres you have to travel out of town for. Not only that, you don't get ripped off for food and drink when you are in there. The prices are very reasonable compared to what you would pay in a cinema, for example. So, what about parties for kids? Well, for £8 per child, you get a game of bowling, a meal and an ice cream. Knowing that a lot of people would be on holiday, and wanting a round number of kids (divisible by six), we decided that 12 would be a good number to invite. Why does it have to be divisible by six? Well it doesn't have to be, but it just makes more sense that way as you can have six people on a

My debut in front of camera: The BBQ videos are here!

As you may recall, last month I did my first ever presenting job alongside BBQ champion Andy Annat. The videos are now available to view, and are well worth watching. What was this all about? Well here's a little taster of a picture to whet your appetite: I think I've come across fairly well - I was worried I might sound like an idiot or look excessively fat, but I don't think I've come off to badly on either front but I'll allow you to be the judge of that. There's are some fantastic barbecuing tips in here - I certainly learned a few new things on the day of the filming. So, settle back with a a glass of red and enjoy watching Bicester Blogger - live on TV! Here are the links: Belly Ribs: Collar Steaks: Loin Steaks: Pork Collar: Pork Tenderloin: Foolproof Ways To Light The Barbecue  htt


So - we are back from our two weeks in Great Yarmouth. How was it? Well, pretty good, all things considered. When I say that I'm referring mostly to things over which we had no control, predominantly the weather. It is a source of great frustration to me that none of my UK holidays in approximately the past 30 years has ever coincided with the few weeks of hot weather we get each year (if we're lucky). Following many weeks of fine and warm weather things turned distinctly chilly during August. In fact things got so cold during the second week of our holiday that we were frequently turning the fire on in our caravan during the evening. Fortunately despite the chill, it didn't rain that much. Not compared to some previous disasters I recall e.g. Lyme Regis 1983 when an entire month's rainfall fell on the day we were attempting to pitch the tent and Pontins 1993, a Monday to Friday job spent almost entirely in the arcade due to the unrelenting rain. Of course, on the


Yes, here we are in Alan Partridge land but haven't managed to find North Norfolk Digital on the radio yet! We are staying at Haven Seashore holiday park in Great Yarmouth and very nice it is too. Despite my many travels I have never had a holiday in this part of the world before. The closest I have been was back in my old Nielsen days when I had two clients I used to visit here, presenting sales data on bog cleaner to Jeyes in Thetford, and several jollies in Bury St Edmunds, home of Greene King brewery. I'd heard good things about this park from friends at school, so rather than our usual trek to the South West, we went east this year. The great thing about this route is that it's A roads all the way - I hate motorways. We made it here in 3 hours, via Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge and Norwich. Very impressed by the park - clean, welcoming and friendly and a spotless caravan. Our first outing on Monday afternoon was to Asda to do a big shop, then we checked out the p

History Hunters

So far this summer, the weather has played pretty fair. If you’re the parents of young children this is good news – there is so much more you can do with your days when you can spend them outside. However, the inevitable happened today as we were greeted by a summer downpour putting an end to outdoor play for the time being. As always, back indoors, one of the first things the kids asked for was to have the TV on. Inwardly groaning at the thought of yet another afternoon in front of CBeebies (there have been many over the past 6+ years) I decided it was time we broadened our horizons. My kids are six and four now which is getting a bit old for the likes of Mr Tumble and his antics, so I suggested we have a look through the Freeview channels to see if there was anything new to watch. The line-up of channels doesn't seem to have changed much in recent years, but I was pleased to discover that there’s a new kid on the block by the name of “Pop”. We caught the last few minutes of

Life after CBeebies

There's often much talk bandied about in the press about television ratings. Such and such a show got 8 million viewers, what the most watched programme was on Christmas Day and such like. 8 million is quite an impressive number when you consider the vast choice of channels on offer these days. However for a few of us - several hundred thousand in fact, there is only one channel of choice. In fact thee isn't even a choice if screaming toddlers are to be avoided. From 6am to 7pm daily, if the television is on, the default and only option is CBeebies. Now don't get me wrong - I think CBeebies do a fantastic job. If the children must watch television at least they can watch one with me safe in the knowledge they won't come to any harm (the infamous "Jimmy Savile" episode of The Tweenies aside). They also aren't being marketed to incessantly with adverts. In fact I wish there had been something like CBeebies when I was a kid - all we had to look forward to

The End Of An Era

Today was Jamie's last day at the Courtyard Preschool, bringing down the curtain on his two years there, and our own four year association with them as a family. It's amazing to think it's nearly four years since a very small Ollie first walked (very reluctantly) through their front door. I am going to hugely miss walking up with one of them every day, chatting to the other mums and dads and of course the staff, at least three of whom, Donna, Tracey and Sarah have been there throughout. I imagine the end of the year must be quite a wrench for them too - saying goodbye to the children for the last time. Jamie seems remarkably unfazed by it all. It was just another day to him. Perhaps children at that age don't measure out the passing of their lives in the way that we do. It certainly made its mark on me - yet another landmark in a life that's pegged out with first days and last days here and there. I've been trying to think back on my own experiences and th