Pages

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The Woodsman and good friends

 So, it's been an interesting couple of weeks.

 

Football wise, the founders of the ESL have realised what a fuck up they made of the announcement and how much they massively underestimated the feelings of the fans in England. While it may seem like a brilliant idea, having the likes of Man U, Liverpool, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan etc playing each other on a regular basis, it takes away from the domestic competitions and at the end of the day, football is always classified as your "working man’s sport". It’s the part of the community and the foreign owners who are businessmen at heart, failed to recognise that. 

So its all gone away again... for now. They have been talking about this for many years, possibly over 20 years, so expect it to raise its head again in the future. It is up to the domestic FA's and UEFA to figure out a way to stop it.

From my own team's front, WE IN THE FA CUP FINAL IN 2 WEEKS!!!!! May 15th. Wembley Stadium. Against Chelsea.

I hate Chelsea, I really do! From how they cheated us out of a semi-final when we had the wonderful Martin O'Neal as manager, to more recent events, they seem to be the team, next to Man City, who block our way. But this is a final and anything can happen. We have already beaten them this season, and with players coming back to form, i think that this year could be the first in our history to deliver that prize. The FA Cup is regarded across the world as the best domestic club cup competition and I'm desperate for our club to add their name to the list of winners.

League wise, we have had a couple of up and downers, but as I type, we are 5 points clear of 5th place West Ham with 4 games left. We play Newcastle on Friday and a win would just about nudge us over the line for Champions League qualification next year. That would allow us to not only keep hold of our best players, but also look at a better quality of new player. Rumour ran amok and the names now being linked with us look really, really good.

Moving on from football, one of my favourite shows drew to a conclusion on Sunday night as Line of Duty finally revealed the identity of "H" or "The Fourth Man." It has been a fantastic season, and i am not going to go the line of most, which has similar echoes to the end of Game of Thrones. Yes, the character revealed as "H" was a very underwhelming ending, until I started looking back at how long the character had been in the show. So, looking at it all in context, while it wasn’t the person I was expecting, it still wasn’t a bad choice.

I do feel that they have left a lot of things open. This was supposed to be the end. I don't think so. Various things are leading to another season, and I would not be surprised if the "H" revelation is false.

Writing wise - things are running away with me now! Zack Jacobs was the original working title, although I've just changed it now to "The Woodsman". Had a really good week and am now nearing the end of chapter 4. 7700 words, Things progressing nicely.

I had my first two beta reader feedbacks and they both like it a lot, although complaints of too many characters introduced. I'll need to look at that but as it is jumping between 2000 and 2021, there will be two different sets of characters so I don’t see any way out of it.

Other than that!!! I am now washing and ironing my holiday clothes. I'm off to Rhyl in North Wales next Monday for a well-deserved break. Fear not, my laptop will be with me, but will be in total writing mode!

Enjoy your week everyone!


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Dreams being built and torn down

 Well what a week it has been for my beloved Leicester City.

On Sunday, the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium, with 4000 so called neutral fans (although I did see a few blue shirts in there!), the mighty Foxes took on a good Southampton team in our first FA Cup semi-final since 1982. Unfortunately I am old enough to remember us losing that one to Spurs at Villa Park!!

King Kelechi once again came up with the goods in a tense and close affair, keeping his fantastic scoring run on the go with the only goal of the game. Jamie Vardy, in the midst of a goal drought, provided another assist, proving to the world that his overall game isn't just about running past the last defender and smashing the ball home. That is now 8 assists for him.

What it means is that for the first time in 52 years, Leicester have made the FA Cup final. Five years ago, we achieved an impossible dream by winning the Premier League, something that no Fox would have thought possible, so for years, our eyes have been fixed of the FA Cup as our prize. That hasn't changed. It is now the one domestic trophy that we have not won and it would be so special to achieve this dream.

However, as dreams are being made possible, they are also potentially being taken away from clubs like ours.

On Monday, the so-called Big Six of the Premier League, along with six other clubs from Spain and Italy, announced that they were breaking away from UEFA to form their own European Super League. As you can imagine, this has caused fury and anger across Europe as it would basically exclude most clubs from competing for the European honour, as it would be virtually a closed shop competition. All 12 founders would be guaranteed to compete each year, with a massive amount of money being invested by JP Morgan Investment banks as incentives.

As fans of the so-called lesser clubs, we see it as a cynical ploy to regain their grip on the top of the Leagues as clubs like Leicester have been closing the gap on them, and threatening their "privilege" of qualifying for the cash rich Champions League and Europa League spots.

There is already a nice compliment to my team going around twitter that ESL (as it is being monikered) actually stands for Ever Since Leicester, referring to the upset apple cart that the Foxes achieved by daring to win the Premier League with a team worth £35 million, as opposed to the hundreds of millions that the likes of Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool spend.

It will be an interesting few days as the Premier League, UEFA, FIFA and the other European Leagues sit down to discuss what action they will take against these clubs, and the players who represent them. Talk of international bans for the players, along with domestic bans for the clubs are being mooted.

Let's Keep the Faith that common sense prevails and the whole idea is scrapped.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Getting Motivated

 So I was having a think about the catch up posts and have decided that it is taking too long and distracting from current updates.

So in summary, Leicester had a couple of dodgy mid table finishes, before qualifying for the Europa League by finishing 5th last season. This season looks promising but we need to get a couple of wins under our belt. We are also in the FA Cup semifinal for the first time since 1982. I remember that semifinal (showing my age) and hopefully we can reach our first final since 1969. Leicester have never won the FA Cup so here's hoping.

Writing wise, I have now published all of my Alex Hayden Chronicles and my latest book is out with my editor. It's a behind the scenes book of how I wrote Alex and will be published once Bex has sorted out all of my deliberate errors.

The books are all listed on the "book page" so please go and have a look.

Before Christmas, I also joined a medium circle. Recently we have been doing motivational speeches so here is mine!

Motivation by Michael Andrews

 

People speak about self-motivation as though it is a thing that you automatically know about, or believe in.

Yet most people don’t know what it is.

A lot people think that self-motivation is getting off the couch to do their slob to 5k run. Or to write their book that they think is going to be a best seller. Or become the CEO of their company.

Self-motivation is a lot more than that. It’s a religion. It’s a belief. It’s something that makes you sit up and take action, whatever action that may be. But it can be hard to motivate yourself.

 


 The apocalypse has happened, but not to the extent where we go around killing each other, or that zombies roam around looking to eat our brains! These last twelve months will have tested even the most ardent disciple in self-motivation to the point where another catchphrase needs to be introduced. It’s no good telling people to self-motivate any more. It simply can’t help everyone. It needs people to go a step further than simply getting off the couch.

That catchphrase I am talking about is self-belief.

You have to believe in yourself to achieve your targets, even if that target is simply to survive yet another day, trapped in lockdown.

For me, there are two types of people with self-belief, and those people can choose to help others, or not.

The first category of person might seem like they are helping you, but they are not. They are better described as: -

Self entitled lying freak, bringing everyone’s lives into endless futility.

They look like they are helping but, in reality, they want to keep you down and get ahead of you. They can be difficult to spot but will soon expose themselves in their true colours. Here is one example of someone who looks like he is helping, but let’s face it, we can see past that lie.

 


Then there is the second type of person. The right type of person. They can be described as: -

Superbly energetic life force, bringing enjoyable light into everyone forever.


Be that second person. Be the one who helps others, but you do need to help yourself first.

Life at the moment looks difficult. Well, to be honest, it’s been a bit shit hasn’t it. But the way we cope, apart from with silly little memes, is to set yourself targets. They don’t need to be lifelong ambitions. They don’t need to be 5 year plans. They can be as simple as, get up – make the bed – tidy up a bit – make dinner. Yes, you can have loftier targets… go to work, complete that project/assignment, write that bestseller, renovate that old dollhouse, design that new tattoo, but what you need to remember is little steps are easier to climb than large ones, but you get to the end all the same. Another phrase rather than the “baby steps” is this.


Walk slowly but never walk backwards.

It does not matter how slowly you make progress towards your aims as long as you make progress. I monitor my word count when I am writing. A good day for me is when it has increased. It doesn’t matter if it has increased by only one word. I am one word closer to the end than I was when I started the day.

As long as we make progress, we should be positive that life will be better. After all…


Life is just like a willy. Sometimes it’s up, and sometimes it’s down but one thing I can promise is that it won’t be hard forever. Unless you overdose on Viagra that is!

There is light coming at the end of the tunnel. I truly believe that we are seeing the back end of this lockdown, and that we are coming to terms with the new way of the world. It’s still going to be a tough few months ahead as we ease ourselves out of lockdowns and reopen the world, but again, don’t get overwhelmed. Think about what you need to do today and whatever that is…


Do it with the confidence of a four year old in a batman shirt. Not all superheroes wear capes. This year has proved that. There are superheroes all around us. The keyworkers, frontline staff, retail and delivery drivers, macdonalds servers (and I thank you for my very tasty double sausage and egg mcmuffin on Tuesday).

All you need to do is


Believe in yourself. Look in that mirror and see the inner you. The strong person that has kept going through bad times as well as the good. I thank you for your time this evening and leave you with one last thought. Even the smallest amongst us can go on to become the strongest character.


Monday, 22 March 2021

Champions adventures and where it all went wrong

 Well... what a day it had been. My parents were season ticket holders and got to watch Andrea Boccelli belting out Nessum Dorma at the King Power Stadium as Leicester lifted the trophy. They had no idea who he was, which really wound me up because I love classic music but that was the old season, and the new season came along with UEFA Champions League football.

We made easy work of the group stage, Marc Albrighton gaining a place in Leicester City folklore and history as he became the scorer of the first ever goal in CL for the Foxes.

However, league form was a concern, and a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of the round of 16 away in Seville was too much for the owners. Claudio Ranieri was sacked and the assistant manager, Craig Shakespeare put in charge.

We overcame Seville on a great night to progress to the Quarter finals, actually becoming the sole English team to make it that far. Not bad as people had been saying we would be an utter embarrassment. However, Spanish giants Atheltico Madrid were a step to far for the club and we went out 2-1 on aggregate.

League form picked up and we finished 12th, which wasn’t too bad considering that, at one point, relegation was a serious threat.

 

2016/17 also became a disaster for my writing. I was happily ploughing through the fourth book in the Alex Hayden Chronicles when I discovered that I could not find my USB drive one evening. Having decided not to panic, I waited until the following morning to check my work desk but alas, that is when the panic set it. I had lost it, and it contained all my work that I had written.

Devasted was not the word for it.

Fortunately, I had most of my writers group homework assignments printed out, and several of them had been emailed to beta readers so I recovered all bar one of those. I had my books on email to my editor so again, could recover them, but I had lost the work on Dragonfire (the fourth book), or so I had thought.

After telling Bex, my wonderful editor, about the loss, she sent me the work I had already emailed through to her. I had lost several chapters work but at least, I wasn’t starting from scratch.

I did have several other works in progress that I had not sent to her, as they were not in any fit stage, so those were consigned to history.

Fast forward three months, and a lot of new chapters, and I found out that I was a very slow learner about lessons in life. Plugging my new USB drive into my laptop, it came up with a message that no-one wants to see… drive corrupted!

I was back to square one.

Writing-wise I became depressed. I continued with my homework assignments for the group as we had agreed that once we reached 25, we were going to release an anthology. But my own writing went on hold for months. I tried to restart but whatever I wrote was never as good as I remember having already written and lost.

So, all in all, this was a pretty crappy year! Surely the next year could only get better!

Thursday, 4 March 2021

So long to rediscover the blog. Updates starting with 5000/1 and all of that!

 OMG!!!!

I've had a bit of a break... well, maybe a looooooooong break from blogging but rediscovered this in my saved items.

So much has happened since the last post in 2015! I am not going to try to catch up all in one go!


Biggest thing for me was my beloved Leicester City winning the English Premier League for the first time in their history. We became only the 6th team to put our name on the trophy since the leagues were reformed in the early 90's and the first team to win it for the first time since Nottingham Forest back in the late 70's.

I'll admit, the whole season was a roller coaster. We had narrowly avoided relegation the season before and, after a preseason tour of Thailand which ended with the sacking of Nigel Pearson, our manager, we set into the new season hoping and praying that Claudio Ranieri would somehow complete another miracle and keep us up.

And keep us up he did. 3 defeats all season. We proved that a team can overcome a superstar and ended up winning the league by 10 points, surely disproving any "fluke" comment that was thrown our way.



It remains to the day, one of the happiest moments of my life. I've been a Fox since my Dad took me to Filbert Street in the old Double Decker stand to watch us beat a reigning champion Liverpool team 2-0. I was 9 years old. Jimmy Melrose was my hero. And my love of Leicester City began that day.

36 years later, they achieved a feat that no-one thought possible. I will admit that i cried the day that Wes Morgan lifted the trophy. I wasnt lucky enough to get to the ground, but my parents and nephew were there to see Andrea Bocelli perform at the King Power stadium. Being a classical music fan, it was simply another great moment, watching as the world watched. Nessum Dorma is an iconic football song, forever associated with Italia '90 and to hear one of the great tenors in history belt it out was fantastic.

Since then, my club entered the champions league and thats a story for the next post.

From a writing perspective, during this time, I completed the third book in the Alex Hayden Chronicles. "A Cauldron of Fire" was released on the 16th of June 2015 and continues the story of the teenage vampire and his friends as they battle a witch and Lord Clothar. I had fun writing this one, introducing new characters based on friends who were desperate to play a part. Making a dear female friend a witch and getting away with it was brilliant, and even more so that I believe she is a spitting image of Eva Green from Penny Dreadful. Please click on the here to be taken to the Amazon page.





Anyway, that's it for my first catch up. I am going to try to write one a week for the next few weeks to catch back upto date, trying to remember what happened, and my thoughts and feelings.

Once I have, more regular updates will follow.


Peace love and sausage rolls (Ladbaby is the greatest although a little early in the posts!!) 



Monday, 28 September 2015

Introducing Born Zero



“Born Zero” are a new four piece band ready to rip up the rock world and it was my pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with three of them, lead singer Jack, drummer Charlie and lead guitarist Iggy.

Having known each other for eight years, the three were originally in a five piece band before two left to pursue other interests and Frankie came in as the bass player.  So it was no more Voltage and Born Zero was born, which is quite appropriate as with all the lads being born in the 2000, the name was effectively born in more ways than one.  I found out that Charlie originally hated the name but was sold once the logo was designed.

Rehearsing at Charlie’s house, mainly due to that’s where the drum kit is as well as a customed built sound proof studio, every Saturday the guys meet up and thrash out their latest set.  Each of them introduces new material into the bands, with Iggy loving his guitar solos and Charlie always wanting to show off his latest addition to his drum kit.  The band has moved on dramatically from performing covers to writing and now performing their own material.  “Blinded By The Light” debuted on youtube on 21st August and, within the first two weeks, had already climbed to nearly 1400 views.

Taking influences from the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage, Bullet for my Valentine and of course, Metallica, their music steadily got heavier until the new brand of Born Zero was ready for the world to hear.

The biggest challenge of the band has mainly been getting to agree what to do.  The naming caused some issues until it was settled upon and the main challenges are now knowing when to finish the song writing, always wanting to add that little bit extra as well as keeping Charlie from wanting his new bit of kit to play centre stage!

Managed by Mick Pritchard, who has some two decades in the industry, there is a great decision making process in place, starting with Iggy and Mick, going to the band before Mick advises them of the best decision to take.

With their debut single now being played to the world, it was interesting to find out that it was Frankie who came in one day with a new riff and showed it off.  Iggy was soon adding to it and before they knew what happened, the song was born.  Mick wrote the original lyrics which Jack added to, especially the lead phrase which became the title.

While each of the four contributes musically, it was great to know that their talents don’t stop there.  Charlie loves his artwork and came up with the logo for the band while Jack isn’t just a good voice.  His online computer skills have gained him the role of Digital Manager for the band and has already uploaded a behind the scenes look.

Having already performed at various venues, their favourite being the Birmingham Town Hall, I couldn’t believe it when they told me that they counted themselves lucky to escape from one venue with their lives and instruments intact!  Apparently a group of fresh faced teens shouldn’t have been performing heavy rock!

However, they received a warmer welcome when performing in their own back yard at Festival on the Green on the 12th September.

After we had finished discussing the origins and the future of the band, I decided to have a bit of fun and get to know the lads a little better.  Unfortunately Frankie was on holiday so he wasn’t around to answer, but Jack, Charlie and Iggy certainly had some interesting answers to the quickfire questions.

Q: Peanut butter or marmite?
Jack: Peanut butter
Iggy: Neither
Charlie: Neither

Q: Morning, Noon or Night?
J: Night (for cuddling)
I: Night
C: Night (for the darkness!)

Q: What was the last film that you watched?
J: Metallica Through the Never
I: Ouija
C: Erm… Barbie’s Xmas Movie (because my younger sister made me!)

Q: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
J: Bacon & Brown sauce sandwich
I: Sausage & Egg sandwich
C: Toast with lemon curd

Q: Ninja or Pirates?
J: Ninja
I: Pirates
C: Ninjas (because I don’t like bangs!)

Q: What’s your favourite clothes shop@
J: River Island
I: Attitude
C: Spiral Direct

Q: Given the chance, where would you like to visit?
J: New York
I: Japan
C: Pakistan (for the photos)

Q: Favourite colour?
J: Rainbows (really??? Asked Michael)
I: Blue
C: Black (obviously)

Q: You are given one superpower.  What is it?
J: The ability not to embarrass myself in public
I: Invisibility
C: Telekinesis

Q: What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
J: I’ve gotta work today!
I: Crap!  Work!
C: Haha, the other two will be at work (as I woke up at 11am!)

Q: Describe 1 important item from your childhood and where is it now?
J: Teddy bear called Snuggly and it’s still on my bed
I: A seahorse soft toy and it’s probably boxed up in the garage


Q: Do you have any scars and how did you get the last one?
J: No scars
I: Not a scar as such but I’ve got a big lump on the back of my head where I got punched in the Mosh pit at Leeds and Reading festival
C: On my knee from playing British Bulldog.  The skin was floppy and hanging off!

Q: Who would be your ideal room-mate?
J: James Hetfield from Metallica
I: Phil Anselmo
C: My friend Leah

Q: Favourite radio station (expecting a clean sweep here!!)
J: Kerrang
I: Kerrang
C: Kerrang!

Q: Excluding music, what is your favourite subject at school?
J: Geography
I: Science
C: English Lit

Q: Do you believe in life on other planets?
J: Yes!
I: Yes
C: Yes

Q:  Do you have any bad habits?
J: Biting my nails, (at which point the others added – eating with his mouth open!)
I: Scratching in a certain place in public
C: Obsession with cleaning

Q: Are you a clean or messy person?
J: Clean
I: Messy
C: Obviously clean!

Q: What was the last household chore that you did and when?
J: Made my bed this morning
I: Loaded the dishwasher this morning
C: Cleaned the house today (obviously)

Q: Name 1 thing that not many people know about you?
J: I’m slightly deaf in my left ear
I: I’m a poet at heart


Q: If you HAD to change your first name, what would it be?
J: Jesse
I: Zack
C: Zadock

Q:  The band has made it through Boot Camp on the X-Factor.  Who would you want as your mentor?
J: Rita Ora
I: Simon Cowell
C: Rita Ora

Q: If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
J: Draco Malfoy
I: Aragorn
C: Faramir

Q: What was the last thing that you did that got you into trouble?
J: Nothing – I don’t do trouble 
I: Being noisy and keeping my parents awake until 7AM
C: I cut off half the hair of my sister’s Barbie and gave her a kiss scar.  (Michael – think Spike from Toy Story!)

Q: Would you do a bungee jump?
J: Yes
I: Maayyybbeee?
C: Nope

Q:  If we were to press play on your i-pod, what song would be playing?
J: Black Storm Cherry – Lonely Train
I: Ingested – Divine Right of Kings
C: My Chemical Romance – Na Na Na

Q: Scary Movies or Happy Endings?
J: Scary
I: Scary
C: Happy!

Q: Born Zero the movie is being cast.  Who would play each band member?  (We took a consensus approach to this one)
Jack would be played by Leonardo diCapprio
Iggy would be played by Orlando Bloom
Charlie would be played by Johnny Depp
Frankie would be played by Kyle Gass

You can find out more information about the band, and watch their debut song by going onto youtube, following them on Twitter @BornZeroBand, and on their Facebook page, Born Zero.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Where am I? What have I been doing?

Ooopise!!!  Once again, my blogging has taken a back seat as I've been concentrating on various writing projects and also other social aspects of my life.  No apologies for that, I guess, but heck, I really do need to make more of an effort with my blog.

Therefore, this is the first of two blog posts that will hit the page over the next week to ten days!  PROMISE!!!

So what are these projects that I've been upto?

Well, Dragonfire is coming along... slowly!  Chapters 1-7 are off at the editors and I'd say that I am somewhere between a quarter and a third through the story.  There are new character to meet, old friends and foes who reappear and, of course, where would we be without a death to a major character!!!  It's been a while since the last big death so I thought it was about time to send one of the gang off to meet their maker!  Don't hate me when you read it :-))

The writers group is also keeping me busy.  There are a group of five of us who meet up each month and encourage each others efforts.  Somehow, I got landed with the job of being the chairman so I responded by setting some tricky homework assignments haha.  This month's is particularly hard.  If anybody fancies a go, the assignment was to write a story, any story, any genre.  However, it has to be 26 sentences long.  Each sentence has to start with the next letter in the alphabet to the previous.  BUT you don't have to start at A, you can start anywhere.  If you do have a go and want some feedback from the group, feel free to email it to me at michael@michaelandrews.co.uk

You may have noticed a different email address to my usual one.  That's because FINALLY I have my own website!  With a great deal of appreciation to Pete at App Intelligence, you can see all of my books, latest news, my book club and even links to download sample and buy my books by visiting www.michaelandrews.co.uk

I have also been doing some more book reviews and this is my latest one.  It's not what I would normally read, being a scifi / fantasy geek, but I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone who has a young child.

I Am Here!  Where are you? by Anita Jones

5 stars - An excellent book for parents with younger childres.

I am here! Where are you? tells the story of Ajay, a young Indian boy living in a suburb of Mumbai.  It starts off in his room before zooming out step by step until you get to see the universe.  On each page, you are invited to discuss the space where Ajay is and then compare it with the space that you and your child are in.

As an education tool, it is a wonderful idea, teaching children about spacial awareness while comparing it with an environment that they probably would not be aware of, ie Ajay's life in India.  It introduces the idea of cultural diversity as well as giving a very brief lesson about world conservation.

I can see that Ms Jones is well versed in children's education, with the idea to stimulate speaking and listening with observations, while Sam Smith has done a brilliant job with the illustrations.  They are bright and colourful and should be guaranteed to hold a young child's interest.

Aimed at children between the ages of four and eight, it is a clever concept to engage parents and children.

I am here! Where are you? is available on Amazon, currently at £2.99 and you can get it by clicking here



http://www.amazon.co.uk/here-Where-are-you-ebook/dp/B00F2P9B4O/
 
 

Well that's it for this quick update.  Next up is an interview with an exciting new band, Born Zero, who have just released their debut song.  We are just finalising the details of the interview, making sure that there is nothing untoward in their answers haha so expect to see that posted, with links about how to find out about the band in the next few days.
 
Peace out!