Squatters in Manila - next to High Rise Condos
In a couple of weeks I will re launch my thriller novel – Deadly Election. It is set in the Philippines. I thought I would devote a blog post to some interesting things about these unique Islands – and why I set my first novel there.
I love the islands, and the people – but I hate the few, richer and more powerful people whose actions and policies keep the people poor and subservient, and seek to impoverish any foreigner, especially those foolish enough to try to do business there. Those who resist extortion and bribery are often forced to flee or, if they are not quick enough, may be killed. The police are so corrupt and badly equipped there is little chance that any killer will be brought to justice. Until recently, if you became a police officer in Manila you had to buy your own gun, I am not sure if that is still the case.
Many International institutions generally recognise that the rule of Law is almost non-existent, with many cases lasting ten or twenty years, and usually being decided in favour of whoever can offer the highest bribe to the judge.
They have a crazy legal concept of ‘reconsideration’. If you disagree with a civil court judgement – instead of appealing to a higher court, you can ask the SAME court to RECONSIDER the matter – and see if they got it right the first time! How ridiculous. It is, of course, just an exercise to allow either side to ‘persuade’ the judge to change his/her mind with financial inducements.
Politics is equally shambolic. It is a democracy – everyone is free to vote – and everyone is free to sell their vote! When I last lived in the Province the cost of a vote was 1,000 – 1,500 pesos - $24 - $36, and that meant a lot to poor families. That was five years ago, but if things have changed it seems to me it is only for the worse.
Philippine politicians do not have policies. Elections are run on personalities only – and the result will not even depend on having a pleasing personality – it will depend on who your family is. Political Dynasties abound more in the Philippines than anywhere else.
The previous President languishes in jail after a botched attempt to leave the country. She is charged among other things with corruption, the same as several of her predecessors. But, I do not think she should worry. Immediately after a previous President was found guilty of corruption she pardoned him - he is the Mayor of Manila now. – who said crime does not pay!
If you have had a bad experience in the Philippines – please do get in touch with me – I intend to publish an anthology of ‘horror’ stories.
Ok, back to the lighter side. The cats have been missing for a couple of weeks – there have been complaints! – here are a few funnies to lighten the mood. Please do subscibe for my newsletter – the box is on the right. I will be offering subscribers freebies, goodies and offers over the next few weeks. Don’t miss out on the blog or the free stuff!
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Happy reading and writing. See you next week.
Do you read Dan Brown? I am not embarrassed to say that I read his books and enjoy them very much. I came across an article in the upmarket Daily Telegraph in the U.K. last week which has prompted me to write this post. The article is very funny and worth a read, but it made me think (a not too frequent occurrence).
Every one of his books has been panned by the critics, yet he is now maybe the most commercially successful writers still working (ok, sorry J.K.R, maybe the second most successful one).
The critics have said his work is clumsy, ungrammatical, and repetitive. They say it is full of unnecessary tautology. They ridiculed his use of mixed metaphors and said his imagery is nonsensical.
Many of the same criticisms – and many more - have, rightly, been made of my early work. There have been many times I have been disheartened, and have doubted my own ability to write decent books. Much more qualified and experienced academic writers have pointed out the deficiencies in my work – and they are right. But then, I will get an email or a tweet from someone saying how much they have enjoyed my book, and when will I write another one, or that it would make a good film.
I would not consider myself to be a brilliant writer, but I am well educated, and thoughtful in my work. I do my readers the courtesy of having my books professionally edited and thoroughly checked before I publish – they are discerning customers and this is the very least that any serious writer should do.
I have a law degree, and my writing is, I believe, generally acceptable and readable – I have no illusions – I will never win a literary prize. If I can write books that people enjoy that will be more than enough for me.
If I have to choose between impressing a few critics and giving millions readers an enjoyable reading experience there is no contest.
I will be relaunching my book, Deadly Election in a couple of weeks – if you would like a free copy please register to receive my blog over on the right of this page. I will keep you updated with progress.
It will help me if you can support me by following me on twitter https://twitter.com/arthurcrandon and liking my fanpage on facebook https://www.facebook.com/ArthurCrandonAuthor?ref=hl – and please do reply to this blog with your own views – I love to read them.
Here is the link the the article about Dan Brown I referred to above;
I hope you enjoy the funny pics. Regular readers will be expecting them, I try to just raise a smile or give you a positive thought – I hope it works. No cats this week - they wanted a rest - back next week. See you soon. Arthur Crandon.
I live in China, so here is a Cute Panda Pic.
I have been on Twitter now for nearly a year, and I have to thank twitter for allowing me to broadcast my insanity to my growing band of mainly loyal, always friendly, and sometimes normal followers – and all for free. We must never forget that twitter is a free service when we criticize them, but, as I see it the ’blue bird of happiness’ does not always deliver.
Here are the three things I either do not understand or hate most about the miniscule avian.
Number One. “ Visit this site to buy 10,000 followers for $27” Twitter rules say that this is not allowed – yet my tweet stream is clogged up with hundreds of sexy girls with unpronounceable names offering to do this for me. I am sure Twitter could easily stop this is they wanted to – it must clog up their systems too. For those of you who are not aware, these are fake accounts produced by robot machines. They get shut down after a while as Twitter realizes what they are, but surely it would be far easier to tackle the problem at its root!
Number Two. Every day I follow most of the people who have followed me overnight there are always a few that, when I click ‘follow’ it changes to ‘pending’ and gives me a message that the follower must approve my follow first. Huh? They followed ME First? Can anyone explain this?
Number Three. I am a shy and retiring individual who is easily hurt (?). Sometimes I will try to follow another writer or a service and get a message that I have been Blocked from following them! I go to their profile, they seem like nice people, but I do not know them and have not, to y knowledge upset them – why would they block me? – and before you ask I am NOT one of those people who keep following and unfollowing people. Once I follow you – you are permanently followed
I love Twitter, and despite the above I enjoy the interactions and I am grateful for the friendships i have developed . If anyone knows the answers to any of the questions above, I would be grateful to be enlightened. If you do not want to make a public post, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, for more of my offbeat ramblings please do ‘like’ my facebook page - arthurcrandonauthor (I am not going to criticise FB – they put you in FB jail far too easily!) and follow me on Twitter - @arthurcrandon.
To lighten the load and ease the stress, various furry pics are here again. Enjoy. – Until next time.
There, there... you'll feel better soon.
It has been fourteen days since my last blog. I am so sorry – I have been stricken down by the most horrendous influenza / pneumonia / chronic infection known to man. My girlfriend says it was only a cold, but what does she know.
I have a sick note, please request a copy if you need it.
Anyway, I am back now – and rushing to finish the rewrite of my book. Thank you for those of you who commented on my new cover – everything is ready now – except me. I need maybe another two weeks to finish the re-write and format the book – watch this space.
Ok, it’s time for my weekly rant.
Shock Horror – Amazon stops accepting books with less than 2,500 words! My view may not be popular among some, and I am certainly ‘old-fashioned’ in many ways –but it will be interesting to see if anyone agrees with me.
I am squarely on Amazons side in this. How can anyone call less than 2,500 words a ‘book?’ It might be a pamphlet, a leaflet, a brochure, a flyer – but surely not a book.
With all the books now being offered by Amazon, Smashwords and others – that have not gone through any quality control at all certain standards need to be encouraged.
There is a growing disquiet within the reading and writing community about the quality of books on offer – be they free or paid for. Bad book cover designs, bad formatting, and simple spelling and grammar mistakes. These works are damaging the reputations of competent and professional authors who try hard to do the job properly.
We all complain about the actions of Amazon and other online sellers and their cavalier attitude, but I think we cannot deny that they have in fact done us a great service – I, for one, would not be published without them – Thank you Amazon. Thank you Smashwords.
We cannot expect these commercial organisations to consider the quality of the work before it goes up on their site – this is something that we, as a writing community, have to do. There is plenty of advice and training out there – for free – I strongly encourage any new author to get advice, opinions and help from others, if they wish their book to stand any chance of commercial success or just personal satisfaction.
I do appreciate that there is a trend towards shorter works, flash fiction etc, some of which are well thought out and excellent reading, but I am sure a writer of a 500 word flash fiction piece would not call the result a ‘book.’
I have started a twitter account for readers to follow progress, get updates, exclusive offers – signed paperbacks, competitions etc. (what fun!). Still working on it, but it’s there - Please follow – https://twitter.com/DeadlyElection
Also, if you have not yet done so, please ‘like’ my fb page www.facebook.com/arthurcrandonauthor it is about to undergo a major revamp – again, you will get much inside info, giveaways etc.
Furry animals again litter my work, to lift the spirits and distract your attention from the mediocre writing – until next week - Arthur
Meet the author
Arthur Crandon is a lawyer, the boring office kind, not the exciting (and much better paid) courtroom type. He worked as a solicitor for a while before embarking on an interesting life overseas. He has spent most of his time in recent years in South East Asia, more recently in Hong Kong. Before that, Arthur lived and worked in the Philippine Islands.
He loves to fish, and play the piano – but spends most of his time writing, eating, drinking and sleeping
– usually, but not always, in that order.
His first book, Deadly Election, draws on his strange imagination and his
experiences, together with those of others, in a land that, beneath a veneer of civilisation, operates like the Wild West and is very
dangerous to innocent and gullible foreigners.
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My thriller - Deadly Election - is now on sale at Amazon. Anyone who buys the book and leaves a review will get a signed paperback. Please subscribe to my blog and newsletter here