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  • Well, It's A Start - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel that took us across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay to another very different Norfolk in Virginia That is a very easy sentence to write but the reality is something else First the span across Chesapeake at this point is around 20 miles That would be amazing in itself if it were only a bridge but it is actually a bridge with 4 road lanes and 2 tunnels You re tootling along across this amazing structure perched on pillars above the Atlantic and suddenly the road dips you drop below sea level and enter a tunnel Then you pop out again back onto a bridge and the a few miles later you do the same thing again Chesapeake Bay is vast Ocean going ships come in from the Atlantic and go up to places like Baltimore and Washington and Norfolk itself is the main base of the US navy It s not too easy to get an aircraft carrier under a bridge hence the tunnels All very well but think of how much water there is above you as you come off the bridge and disappear under the sea Halfway across there is a rest area and restaurant We had lunch there poised in space above the Atlantic ocean Quite an experience And so we turned away from the sea and headed towards the mountains We stayed the night in Louisa and then we drove the full length of the Skyline Parkway in the Shenandoah National Park around 3500 feet at its best We did our token Appalachian Trail hike at Blackrock Summit but long before the day was out we had run out of adjectives to describe the experience You ll have to make do with beautiful and stunning You ll be pleased to hear we

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  • Blog - Page 3 of 8 - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    Palmer had been taken ill very suddenly in October and had been diagnosed with endocarditis a bacterial growth on one of her heart valves which was gradually causing the valve to fail Initially she responded to treatment but suddenly the infection flared up again and she had to be rushed to a specialist heart hospital Michael who is a professional writer began to share his fears and anxieties with family and friends by email Those emails were answered and they spread More friends joined in and friends of their friends and Michael soon realised that this was not a battle he and Dee were fighting alone By the time Dee was finally discharged from hospital just before Christmas the emails were going to around 150 addresses This book tells the story of those two months the lows the highs the humour that emerged out of the most serious events Above all it is a story of the power of friendship the strength both Michael and Dee took from the huge outpouring of love and support from friends and acquaintances from all over the world This book is a tribute to all those who emailed visited wrote and were there when they were needed Bits of it are quite funny too For those of you who may be interested Out Of The Blue is available on Amazon s Kindle Store by following this link http www amazon co uk Out Of The Blue ebook dp B00D0BE99E ref sr 1 1 s digital text ie UTF8 qid 1369550450 sr 1 1 keywords out of the blue michael bartlett Alternatively if you do not have or want a Kindle but would still like to read the book then it is also available as a PDF download from the Crimson Cats web site http www crimsoncats co uk e book publishing 76 out of the blue html We plan to go on and publish many more E Books not all written by me I hastily add This does not mean we will stop publishing audio books we feel that the two can easily co exist We will however continue to concentrate on unusual material either out of print books that we feel deserve a new outing material of our own or ideas which are brought to us by other authors If we feel it is right for Crimson Cats then we will publish it I don t know what took us so long really At first we told ourselves we were doing research talking to various writer friends who had taken the first step reading all the instructions on the Amazon Kindle page buying a Kindle and downloading books mostly by friends so we could see how it worked at the consumer end It is now 2 or 3 months since we concluded that exercise but still the first book didn t appear Why Good question A rush of visitors some building and decorating work on the house a series of meetings that needed careful preparation all valid reasons but at the same time all were excuses The real reason I think was a fear of the unknown Never mind we have finally done it and of course the perceived mountain was in fact a molehill as everyone told me it would be Just a couple more thoughts with which to end I called this first book Out Of The Blue as the illness which overturned our lives back in 2002 came right out of the blue When I came to publish it however I discovered that this is a title which has been used many times before I also discovered that there are a lot of Michael Bartletts who are authors Fortunately none of those other Michael Bartletts have written a book called Out Of The Blue so that s something Next time I ll give much more thought about the title can t do much about my name though Michael A Life With A Purpose If I gave you this list of names Roger Ulysses Widdle and Puke Theodore the Magenpies and Alecko would they mean anything to you As a final clue I could add the name Spiro but if you were still puzzled it would be clear you had never read My Family And Other Animals Gerald Durrell s account of his childhood on Corfu Having spent most of my professional life as a writer and as a producer and editor working with other writers it is hardly surprising that a large section of my address books contains the names of writers Inevitably some of those writers have come and gone from my life others have become close friends and some are people I am glad to have had the chance to meet and work with One such is Gerald Durrell It would be vain and untrue to claim Gerry as a close friend but on the few occasions we worked together we seemed to get on very well and enjoyed each other s company I certainly enjoyed his As many of you know we recently published some of his short stories read by Gerry himself under the title Stories From A Corfu Childhood which are proving very popular Gerry was not an actor but I think it would be fair to say that he was a performer and is brilliant at finding voices for all his characters many of whom were family members He was of course a man with a mission and was certainly one of the most influential voices when it came to promoting the cause of conservation long before it was fashionable To celebrate his life and work a new exhibition The Gerald Durrell Story has recently opened within the Durrell Wildlife Park on Jersey This is an unprecedented look at both the public and personal sides of the author naturalist and champion of all animals The story takes in many formative events from both Gerald s life and the development of the Trust that now bears his name Each of the seven sections is named after one of Gerald s books and contains objects letters photos and awards from the relevant period Each section incorporates a monitor screen showing images from the period including many original photos of Gerald himself The exhibition is staffed by trained volunteers who conduct tours and answer any questions that visitors may have Gerald s widow Honorary Director Dr Lee Durrell says The opening of this exhibition will be one of the most rewarding moments of my life The preparations have been underway for nearly two years and are a story in themselves my personal journey of sorting through hundreds of photos letters and memorabilia all linked to Gerry in one way or another In spite of all the work that Gerry and many others have done over the last 50 years or so there are still a lot of species in our world which are threatened with extinction To promote awareness of this a new web site called The Lonely Dodo has recently been launched by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust with the help of Aardman and Stephen Fry You can see more about this at their website www thelonelydodo com Do have a look it is great fun as well as carrying a serious message Many of the audio books published by Crimson Cats have personal anecdotes of one kind or another attached to them In our talks in libraries book shops and festivals we present some of the backstory for our titles how they came about and why they were chosen for the Crimson Cats list But like all good stories these anecdotes don t have to end All being well Dee and I plan to go to Jersey later this year to visit The Gerald Durrell Story to renew our acquaintance with the life of a man who I will always think of as a friend as well as being a writer and campaigner who I deeply admire Michael Writing Down The Mists Of Time I ve been having a trip down memory lane this week no don t panic this isn t my life story I m saving that for rainy days when I m bedridden No I ve been thinking back to the time when I sold my first play and could quite legitimately call myself a Writer Heady days Happy Deathday To You Radio Times It was 1972 it was a radio play called Happy Deathday To You and it was broadcast in Midweek Theatre on Radio 4 It was directed by Richard Wortley starred the late Derek Seaton and I had my name in the Radio Times Wasn t my Mum proud I was quite chuffed too I thought I d made it then Fame and fortune just round the corner However an older and wiser writing head than mine offered a word of caution The first play is the hardest to write the second play is the hardest to get accepted He was right Rejection followed rejection and it was 3 years before the next play a 30 Minute Theatre piece called Are You Lying Comfortably made it onto the airwaves Are You Lying Comfortably Radio Times Every writer will have their rejection drawer and it is the ability to put them behind you and start again that is the hall mark of a professional Like many writers I have often had comments from people at parties when they learn what you do such as Oh you write do you What do you do as a real job Or I ve been meaning to write a novel for some time but I m so busy Perhaps when I have a free weekend Sweet I have a number of definitions of what makes a professional writer Here are 3 of them A professional writer is an amateur who refuses to give up A professional writer doesn t just write they re write and re write and re write A professional writer is someone who knows where the key moments are in a TV play without background music to guide them Since those early radio plays I have passed through many stages as a writer I began by writing for pleasure then I wrote for pleasure but was selling most of it then I wrote to earn a living which inevitably involved some compromises I soon learned you could earn more for a 10 minute corporate video about a pension fund than you could for a full length play on Radio 4 even with its repeat fee then I found a balance between writing and other creative work which meant goodbye to the pension videos and then I switched from one medium to another and started again But in one way or another in one medium or another I have always been a writer first and foremost and I guess I always will The Beautifull Cassandra I was 26 when I sold my first play but I began writing somewhere around the age of 8 by winning an essay competition in the local paper Jane Austen began when she was 12 well she may have begun earlier but 12 is the first recorded piece The stories she wrote when she was between the ages of 12 and 15 are mostly short often very funny and although naive in many ways show the emerging talent that will deliver the novels in later years One of her first novels Mr Harley is half a page long and very funny indeed You can hear it beautifully read by Teresa Gallagher in the Crimson Cats audio book The Beautifull Cassandra and other writings which is a collection of some of Jane Austen s Juvenilia It is available as a CD or as an MP3 download from the Crimson Cats web site www crimsoncats co uk I doubt whether my work will still be read or listened to 200 years after my death but writing my plays stories and novels has always given me great pleasure and I have every reason to believe Jane felt the same Whether anyone will remember my work is neither here nor there To find something that gives you pleasure and which lasts throughout your life is not something to be dismissed lightly Michael The Next Big Thing I was recently contacted by my friend the writer Felicity Hayes McCoy to introduce me to a concept called a Blog Hop This particular one is called THE NEXT BIG THING in which writers answer ten questions on their work in progress and tag other writers to do the same My own next big thing is still in its very early stages far too early to actually want to talk about it I always tell my writing students don t talk about it write it so I am going to take my own advice However I have relatively recently finished a short story collection so I will use that as a basis for this Blog Here are my responses to the ten questions 1 What is the title of your next book The title for the next one is still undecided but the one most recently finished is called Personal Islands and it is a collection of short stories around a common theme 2 Where did the idea come from for the book I ve always been interested in writing about people who are alone without necessarily being lonely Many of my plays have been about the one person in step while the other 99 are not One of my favourite quotes comes from Thoreau If a man is out of step with his companions maybe he is marching to the beat of a different drum 3 What genre does your book fall under It s a short story collection with each story set on an island of some kind perhaps a real one such as Shetland or the Isle of Wight or maybe an unreal one such as an Aisle in a supermarket or The Isle of Avalon Each story in some way is about isolation chosen or unchosen wanted or not wanted 4 What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition This is fantasy time really isn t it And an impossible question to answer when dealing with a short story collection I have always with only couple of exceptions been happy with the way my plays have been cast For Personal Islands it is impossible to pick actors for all the characters but that seems rather feeble so I will go for Juliet Stevenson to play the central part in a story called Because His Mother Can t which deals with a woman s journey to The Falkland Islands to look for the grave of her step son who was killed there while serving with the British forces who re took the islands from Argentina in 1982 I was lucky enough to be able to accompany my wife Dee Palmer the BBC World Service Producer Presenter when she went to the islands in 2002 and I found much of the experience very moving 5 What is a one sentence synopsis of your book How different people deal with different concepts of isolation 6 Will your book be self published or represented by an agency I am currently discussing this story collection with my agent Diana Tyler of the MBA Literary Agency We will try for a print publication but although the short story market has improved enormously with the advent of digital printing it is still a difficult market to crack We have not ruled out a Kindle publication 7 How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript This varied from story to story Some flowed off the fingers some were more a struggle as I worked out exactly what I wanted to say and how to say it One story Nothing To Fear deals with a woman who discovers she has a growth in her pancreas specifically an excessive growth of the Islets of Langerhans inside her pancreas and how she dealt with the choices this forced on her This story required me to have a lot of conversations with a surgeon about the pancreas and the way such problems are treated It was hard to find the structure to tell this story and even harder to work out how it was going to end 8 What other books would you compare yours to I wouldn t 9 Who or what inspired you to write this book The Falklands Argentinian cemetary at Darwin The visit to the Falklands was one obvious inspiration Another was the concept that battles never end but people might tire of them and step aside to let others continue this resulted in the story A Separate Peace A newspaper report on the number of people who die alone and unknown inspired Farewell My Lonely and my own mother s dementia was the starting point for That s A Funny Looking Cloud When I realised that deep down all these ideas had a common theme I went hunting in my head for other stories to make up the collection 10 What else about the book might pique the reader s interest Whoever knows what sparks someone s interest The style of the writing The subject matter Identification with the characters As a writer I don t even try to second guess my audience or readers I write what I want to write what I need to write in some cases and I always try and tell a good story Storytelling is as old as time and those of us who can spin a yarn tell a story entertain the rest of our tribe have a responsibility to use our talent if that is what it is for the benefit of others As one of my much missed BBC drama producer colleagues once said Imagination

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  • Blog - Page 4 of 8 - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    do is say I enjoyed this It s worth you giving it a try And what have you enjoyed recently that I could look at Happy reading and of course listening We offer a great range of titles at Crimson Cats www crimsoncats co uk Michael The publishing details for all the books mentioned above are as follows The House on an Irish Hillside Publisher Hodder Stoughton ISBN 978 1444730302 A Dance with Jane Austen Publisher Frances Lincoln ISBN 978 0711232457 Celebrating Pride and Prejudice 200 Years of Jane Austen s Masterpiece Publisher Voyageur Press ISBN 978 0760344361 Fox Betrayals Publisher Kenelm 978 0955477133 The Iliad Publisher Kingfisher Books Ltd ISBN 978 0753404997 My Friends And Other Animals It is 1985 I am a freelance a freelance writer and a freelance producer I shook off the shackles of the BBC at the end of 1982 I wish I could say I had seen the disaster that was John Birt looming on the horizon and decided to abandon ship before he arrived to kill the BBCs creative heart but that would not be true I loved the BBC job but knew I was going no higher at least not as a programme maker so when I was offered the chance to help start a new commercial radio station in Guilford I took it As a short term decision this was a disaster As a long term solution it was brilliant Commercial radio and I were not natural bedfellows I learned nothing about broadcasting from them but I learned a lot about running a commercial organisation something the BBC had certainly not taught me I lasted one year on the staff then resigned to go freelance I wrote and sold radio plays corporate videos audio book scripts I did a short term contract with British Forces Broadcasting and earned a living And then in 1985 I had this bright idea Why not ask Gerald Durrell if he would read some of his own stories for broadcast Gerald Durrell Jersey Zoo 1985 I knew Gerry slightly In the 1970s when I was working in BBC Children s Television as a director I proposed 5 short films about Gerald Durrell his life animal collecting expeditions and of course his zoo on Jersey for Jackanory I wrote compiled the scripts and together with a film unit spend a happy week on Jersey shooting these films Back to 1985 and I managed to persuade the MD of County Sound Radio in Guildford that broadcasting some of Gerald Durrell s stories with Gerry himself reading them would be great programming and great publicity He agreed so off I went to Jersey with a recording engineer to spend 4 days working with Gerry on a selection of his stories which I had abridged They were fun to do Gerry was great to work with and we enjoyed some good chats outside of the recording sessions The programmes were broadcast on County Sound later that year and were well received And that was that Until about a year ago By now I was in another life in another place Dee and I had left Guildford in 2006 and we now live in Norfolk where we run as most of you know the audio book publishing company Crimson Cats Sorting through a pile of old boxes one day I came across the Durrell recordings and thought why not Gerry had died in 1995 Many of his very popular books had been recorded as audio books but always with someone else reading them Why not let Crimson Cats publish some of the stories read by the man himself Well two possible reasons why not were although I had the tapes I did not have the rights to the recordings or the rights to the material so some work was needed First the recordings County Sound had long since gone bought out sold on absorbed into other radio stations I contacted the MD of the current radio station in Guildford and as I suspected he know nothing about the recordings However he very kindly wrote to me saying that as far as the radio station was concerned I could consider the recordings as mine I then contacted the Gerald Durrell estate via his literary agent They were also very helpful and we agreed a deal whereby Crimson Cats would publish these stories and would pay the Estate a royalty on sales A Win Win situation The Estate also helped by providing the pictures for the front cover of the CD So there we are Five stories about Gerry s life on Corfu where he lived with his family before the 2 nd World War read by Gerry himself which gives the readings a very personal touch especially in his characterisation of the various voices These stories are taken from his books Birds Beasts and Relatives and Fillets of Plaice and are presented in a double CD pack or as an MP3 download I never saw Gerry again after those recording sessions on Jersey but listening to the recordings as I edited them and prepared them for publication brought it all back The recording sessions themselves walking through the zoo in the early morning the evening drinks in that wonderful living room in Les Augrès Manor the pleasure of meeting and working with a man who through his conservation work and his books did so much good and brought so much pleasure to other people Thank you Gerry Michael Crimson Cats At War and Peace I always think of November as the month of War which is silly really when you think that there is at least one war going on somewhere all the time It s Armistice Day month of course that and the dark dark evenings once the clocks have gone back It also makes me think about the range of Crimson Cats titles out of 20 soon to be 21 titles a disproportionate number of them seem to have some war connection Private Rawson s War The most obvious ones are Private Rawson s War the amazing collection of personal letters written by a soldier serving in Iraq and the middle east during the second world war Then there s War Girls the anthology of prose and poetry written by women in the first world war Finally we have My Grandads And Afghanistan which isn t about the current conflict in that country but has personal recollections of all the previous conflicts there in which Britain has been involved illustrated with quotes from Kipling War Girls Those are direct War titles as it were but if we look at the our list more closely several others have war links Gods and Fighting Men The Fianna the legends of pre Christian Ireland has a lot of fighting in it My Adventures As A Spy shows Robert Baden Powell gathering intelligence in preparation for war Authentic Narrative Of The Death Of Lord Nelson covers the battle of Trafalgar If our audio books were cats there would be a lot of torn ears and scratched noses Death of Nelson But not entirely Sometimes quite a lot of the time actually cats curl up usually in pretty calendar poses and relax So we have The Beautifull Cassandra the delightful and amusing stories written by the teenage Jane Austen or Every Lady A Gardener showing that women in the 19 th century faced many of the same gardening problems as we do today or How To Own A Human an anthology of stories and poems about cats Then there is our new title due to be published in mid November This is Stories From A Corfu Childhood some of Gerald Durrell s stories of growing up with his larger than life family on the Greek island of Corfu These stories are read by Gerald Durrell himsel These and many more titles make up the Crimson Cats list available as CDs or as MP3 downloads The CDs make great Christmas presents easy to post so why not have a browse through our web site listen to audio extracts from all titles and find something that appeals to you or your friends Michael Join Us At Guildford Don t Paws To Think About It Crimson Cats has been invited to the Guildford Book Festival to talk about how we produce and publish audio books and to read from some of our titles The show is called TELLING TALES and will take place at the Electric Theatre Guildford on Thursday 25 th October at 4 00 pm Tickets from the Festival Box Office 01483 444334 or 01483 444789 Hope as many of you as possible can join us for the kind of show that only Mike and Dee could present Miaow Travelling Writers Have Fun Kansas I think it was the American author Paul Gallico who once wrote something along the lines of When I am making no progress with my writing I always manage to convince myself that I would do better if I were in Switzerland Of course once there and hitting the same problem I become convinced that where I really need to be is New York or London or Paris Even while making the decision I know it is false but it keeps hope alive and gives one a great excuse for travelling Bearfoot Pass Montana I ve never needed an excuse for travelling the only need has been time and money but I can sympathise with Gallico The first urge when you re struggling with a piece of writing is to think of all the different circumstances which might make it easier better weather less pressure a new computer house to yourself and so on All false if you want to write it if you need to write it then you will write it However when you do travel especially for a long period it is notable how easy it is to solve problems that were defeating you back home problems ranging from how to re build the kitchen to the ideal plot for a short story or how to get your email Inbox under control While you re away these problems are easy to solve because they are abstract there is nothing you can do about them until you get home so you can find theoretical answers that make you quite proud Nevada City Montana Of course when you do get back home reality kicks in and unless you re careful you can find yourself back at Stage 1 perhaps even more disillusioned because somewhere in your head you thought everything was sorted Of course none of this should ever prevent you travelling because travel is inspiring and above all don t let the thoughts of abstract problems spoil the pleasure and experience of travel itself With that in mind I have compiled the Bartlett Palmer 10 Top Tips for Crossing America Keep a diary written and or recorded You think you will remember the details but you won t A small recorder helps you note interesting funny things as you come across them such as this sign outside a church Lord make me as good as my dog thinks I am Avoid the Interstates and keep to the back roads Takes longer but you see the real America not just large trucks Do NOT eat in George Nick Steakhouse in Centreville Iowa unless you like your meat frazzled to several inches beyond its normal life Never pass a petrol pump gas station without checking how far it is to the next one It s worth stopping anyway as most of them also sell pretty good coffee Do NOT stay in Motel 6 in Eureka California However Motel 6 in Boisie Idaho is excellent When in Custer City South Dakota you must visit the Dark Horse saloon 100 different beers 24 of them on tap and steaks to die for If you re running short of clean clothes check that your chosen motel has a guest laundry BEFORE handing over your credit card Do NOT ignore signs in National Parks that tell you not to molest the animals just hope that someone has given the Bears the same instruction Never turn down the chance to talk to people you meet Casual conversations in bars motels restaurants filling stations supermarkets museums roadside junctions ferries anywhere your wandering takes you are ultimately going to be more satisfying than any view of rivers mountains or wildlife however spectacular and memorable they may be In Red Lodge Montana we met Allen and Linda Allen is a lawyer and defined a self employed person as Someone who can decide how many hours he works on Sundays Stay flexible and trust your instincts If you come across something that looks or sounds interesting then it probably is interesting Give it a go Above all yes I know this is No 11 have fun Michael Goat in The Badlands Starston to Starston via the USA We re home our Trans American trip completed Sitting on the plane in San Francisco airport on Sunday morning I was interested to note that the flying distance home from there by whatever route the planes use was somewhere in the region of 5 800 miles We drove 5 866 miles in our trip from Washington DC to San Francisco and it took us just over 4 weeks The plane did the same distance more or less in 10 hours Not a fair comparison I suppose just one of those little oddities of life And where do you think you ve been We were greeted if that is the word by a deeply suspicious cat Holly does not do people and she had clearly had a traumatic 5 weeks with strange people coming into the house to sort out post water our plants and handle all the Crimson Cats book orders Our lovely neighbour Rachel who was feeding Holly for us and is herself a cat lover described her interaction with Holly as a hiss and cuddle relationship Holly clearly resented her but still craved the affection she normally demands from us I should add that having been deeply suspicious of us when we first walked in within half an hour she Holly that is not Rachel was lying across our knees purring loud enough to be heard in Yellowstone Park Probably frightened the bears Holly clearly regards travel as totally unnecessary but we love it New places new people a break from ordinary routine a chance to refresh both body and mind Accounts of people s travels often make good reading as well We currently have 2 travel titles in the Crimson Cats range Everyman s England by Victor Canning and Hippos Hairpins and High Button Boots by Mary Kingsley Good travel writing is not just about the places visited but also about the experience of the person doing the visiting Victor Canning was best known as a writer of thrillers but his journeys round England in the 1930 s the observations he made and the people he met give us a pin sharp picture of the country before the 2nd World War In contrast Mary Kingsley s journeys along the rivers of West Africa in the late 19th century to collect specimens of fish and makes notes of local religions show us a very different world In particular her battles with French customs officials and crocodiles are very funny We would like to publish more travel titles but it is difficult to find good material that fits the Crimson Cats criteria interesting different not currently available in audio probably out of print Most contemporary travel writing is ruled out as the good stuff is already in the hands of the major publishers We did look briefly at an Englishwoman whose name escapes me who left England to go and live in the Rockies in western America in the 19th century and kept a diary of her experiences It sounded promising but in reality was rather dull As I ve said before in these Blogs not everyone can write in such a way to entertain and captivate an audience Victor Canning and Mary Kingsley achieve it magnificently the Rockies lady did not If anyone has any suggestions for good travel writing we might consider then pleased get in touch In fact if you want to comment on any of these Blogs then please do so The Blog itself is not interactive but an email to editor crimsoncats co uk will always find me and all emails will be answered Michael Cathedrals Of Towering Wood Redwood Trees Well we have made it to San Francisco 5866 miles from Washington at least that s the route we took The final stretch of our journey down the Pacific coasts of Oregon and northern California took us the through the forests of giant Redwoods We have seen so many wonderful things on this trip that we ran out of adjectives long ago but these trees aren t just beautiful they are humbling Driving along a narrow road through lines of trees that seem to touch the sky is rather like driving along the nave of a cathedral When we stopped the car and got out the silence was deafening The forest was all around you trees moss ferns lichen and these beautiful trees some with a circumference of 25 feet towering above you Suddenly all the stories about woods and trees seemed very real Think of the children s stories Babes In The Wood Hansel and Gretel Little Red Riding Hood The Wild Wood in Wind In The Willows Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest Moving up an age range you have the Old Forest and Fanghorn from Tolkien s Lord Of The Rings John Buchan s Witchwood many of the Inspector Morse stories have scenes in Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire there s Burnham Wood in Macbeth and the forest in A Midsummer Night s Dream and so

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  • Blog - Page 5 of 8 - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    some claim to this land as you can see from the pictures Palmer has a population of around 400 and Bartlett a mere 128 Both these little townships are in Nebraska Mike in Nebraska Onto South Dakota which we suspect will offer even more time for thinking Michael The Mail and Male Must Get Through When I was a child I was fond of a series of books about a young cowboy called Pocomoto The only title I could remember was Pocomoto Pony Express Rider This memory occasioned a change of plan today Having driven across Ohio Indiana and Illinois we spent Monday night in southern Iowa This morning we had planned to start heading north towards South Dakota but glancing at the map over breakfast we noticed there was a Pony Express Museum in St Joseph Missouri about 150 miles to the south On the spur of the moment we changed our plans and came here The museum was great another argument in favour of serendipity and the influence of reading A quick Google search told me that the Pocomoto books are still available but I don t plan to re read them The memory was enough It gave us an unexpected treat so I ll leave it at that Michael Tell Us A Story Saturday 2nd June found us in Indiana at a town called Decatur This is a trip which involves a lot of long drives and we are using some of the time to talk about the future of Crimson Cats and how we might develop further We came across a lovely quote recently There is a great deal of solemn discussion about The Novel In fact every novel is an answer to the ancient plea Tell us a story Last Friday evening in the company of Jennifer Amy and Beth of Jane Austen Books in Ohio we talked a lot about stories and their power to entertain inform amuse and inspire people Stories are wonderful whether they are being told round a camp fire printed in books listened to on radio CD or the internet Long straight road As we travelled the long straight roads of Ohio Indiana and Illinois we talked about the greater flexibility of providing audio books as downloads With a CD we need to provide around 70 80 minutes of material to fill the physical CD but downloads have no such restriction Maybe it is time to launch Crimson Cats Short Stories classic stories contemporary stories stories by new writers who cannot reach a wider audience any other way stories at whatever length they need to be We were reminded that it s possible to tell a story in a very few words by some pieces of verse painted on the walls of a wonderful restaurant in Decatur Indiana called Back 40 Station which has a railroad theme One of our favourite verses was Approach a crossing without looking Who will eat his widow s cooking Stories don t come much

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  • Blog - Page 6 of 8 - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    in the 1st World War and says at last women will have equal pay with men Wonder what happened to that then The real puzzle is how so many of these excellent women poets remain unknown A treasure trove of material waiting to be discovered The music consists of songs of the period Roses of Picardy If You Were The Only Girl in the World Oh Oh Antonio and so on They are all played on the piano by Bill chicken keeper and civil servant Byrne far away in his little family nest in Jersey and emailed to us Ah the wonders of modern technology And there is another first for Crimson Cats a recorded interview with Ruth Sillers the actress who put the collection together and reads the various pieces She talks about the material how she chose it and how the project came together For those who buy the MP3 download that interview is part of the package but it is also available to listen to on the War Girls CD page on the Crimson Cats web site We are sometimes asked how long it takes us to prepare and publish an audio book but there really isn t an accurate answer Our anthology of cat stories and poems How To Own A Human was assembled recorded and published in about 6 weeks War Girls has taken just over a year Maybe it could have been quicker but as the old song goes Work can only be done one way The right way and sometimes that means taking time Michael Bath Time for the Cats We had a great gig in Bath in mid September We were invited to do our talk about how we produced the audio book The Beautifull Cassandra as one of the Jane Austen Festival events and we were offered the small auditorium at the Theatre Royal in Bath as a venue Oh yes please A couple of rehearsals to get back in the swing and we were on our way The Egg at the Theatre Royal is wonderful It is primarily a childrens theatre with a very imaginative range of shows Downstairs there is a cafe with lots of toys and while we were there it was packed with parents and children just popping in for a coffee and juice and no doubt to pick up a schedule of events For us it was great to have a proper stage with a technician to play the CD tracks for us So often on these occasions we have to rely on a borrowed CD player which we operate ourselves except at the crucial moment you forget where the Play button is We had a good audience in Bath some of them in costume It really added a zing to our talk to look out across the audience to see people in Regency frocks and bonnets The whole Jane Austen Festival had a wonderful range of events a real tribute to those who put it all together There was something deeply satisfying about paying tribute to Jane in Bath We had a great time and a very warm reception Michael Nice To Have A Success Isn t It When we first launched Crimson Cats back in 2005 one of our stated aims was to try and rescue out of print books and make them available to a new audience through audio We have managed to achieve this several times with titles such as My Life And Times Everyman s England and Authentic Narrative Of The Death Of Lord Nelson to name but three Now however we have had an additional success Everyman s England the book of travel writing by the thriller writer Victor Canning as he travelled round England in the 1930s is about to be published again as a book in hardback form It happened like this We were chatting to a friend who has worked in publishing all his life and we mentioned Everyman s England He liked the sound of it bought it enjoyed listening to it and suggested it to Summersdale who are one of the UK s top independent publishers They also liked it and it will be pubished on 1st August this year I do not know exactly when the last edition went out of print but it has certainly not been available in book form since the War The first story in the book begins I travelled from King s Cross to Berwick on Tweed in a sleeper on the night express for no other reason than that I like to read in bed and at the same time feel that I am being rushed forward at a tremendous speed This piece and the others in the book are a series of pen portraits of England commissioned by The Daily Mail in the 1930s where Victor Canning vividly conjures the pattern and colour of the great fabric of English Life from Cumberland to Cornwall His heartwarming humorous and often irreverent observations of sleepy villages pastoral scenes and busy industries provide a delightful insight into life between the wars Nice isn t it A lovely piece of writing now has a second life in print as well as in audio The reader on the Crimson Cats audio book is Charles Collingwood aka Brian Aldridge in The Archers Charles has also written the introduction to the Summersdale book Faithful readers of these Blogs whoever that person may be will remember the one back in February called Never Knock Luck in which I described how we managed to produce Everyman s England in the first place and the link with Charles Collingwood Just shows doesn t it you start this publishing lark and all sorts of things can happen If you would like the book then it costs 9 99 and you can buy it from the Summersdale web site http www summersdale com book 5 506 everyman s england Don t forget the audio book as well The CD costs 10 99 from http www crimsoncats co uk 13 everymans england html Or it is available as an MP3 download costing 6 98 from http www crimsoncats co uk downloads 37 everyman s england download html One of my favourite lines in the book comes from Chapter XIX entitled Somewhere In Cornwall Here Victor meets and talks with fishermen in a tiny Cornish village and comments on the decline of their industry The lines I like come towards the end of the chapter In some villages the change is nearly complete fishermen have become landlords and their wives landladies and their living is made during the Summer by catering for the visitors Soon all the Cornish villages will be seeking to catch the visitor and make his fortnight by the sea feed them during the winter That was written in 1936 Victor certainly got that right didn t he Michael To Blog Or Not To Blog That is the Q Not one that bothered Hamlet obviously he had other things on his mind but it is a question that I ask myself from time to time When I first began writing this Editor s Blog for Crimson Cats I set myself a target of one a week That seemed plenty In practice it has proved impossible to live up to partly because of the constant need to fit 48 hours into every 24 but more so because I just don t think there is enough to say Don t misunderstand me I could write a piece each week without any trouble but why would anyone want to read it This is meant to be a Crimson Cats Blog and so it is fine when we launch a new title come up with a new idea have an interesting anecdote to tell but after that there is a danger of padding and as every good radio playwright knows padding is the cardinal sin Sometimes when I am surfing the net I come across blogs that are outstanding for their sheet banality A lovely morning today a pleasure to be alive so I took the dog for a walk and after that baked an apple pie for supper The sun glinted off the china ducks above the mantelpiece so I decided to go the whole hog and clean the car as well To be fair I made that one up but there are lot like it out there and although I am pleased that he she is happy my only response is So what It s a bit like those Christmas letters usually from people you haven t seen for years which inform you in excruciating detail how the guinea pig has been having violin lessons this year and that their 2 year old is all set to take their A levels by the age of 7 Am I being unkind Well perhaps a little I guess at one level it is good for people to be able to put fingers to keyboard and to express themselves but why would I want to read it I work on the assumption that people who read the Crimson Cats Blog are people who are interested in audio books in how a small publisher like us works what we do and how we do it It s possible you might be interested in our views on the audio book market in general or even let s stretch a point printed books maybe even the theatre and a broader arts spectrum But the fact that we spent several days turning out the cellar to try and find a dead mouse which our noses told us was there and failing No The need to get the garden ready for our village Open Gardens Day in June the Parish Council elections which are coming up the Siskin we saw on our bird feeder this morning the mist over the Norfolk fields at dawn our plans for going for lunch in France No no no Why would you as an audio book buyer in Salisbury San Francisco Sutherland or Sydney be the slightest bit interested in any of that You wouldn t so I may have to continue to fail to produce a Blog a week Don t open your mouth unless you have something useful to say my mother once told me and I think the same applies to the written word Nevertheless keep reading When I have something interesting or relevant or even just funny to say about the world of audio books then there will be a new blog And if you have any aspect of this industry you would like to know about or our views on it then email me at editor crimsoncats co uk and I ll see what I can do You could argue that most of this Blog is padding couldn t you so I ll end on a positive Crimson Cats note A fortnight ago we gave one of the live presentations about our audio books explanation of the process of audio book production mixed in with readings from some of our titles at the Guildford Institute in Surrey This went down well and was a nostalgic trip for us We lived in Guildford for 22 years and it was there in 2005 that Crimson Cats was first launched Nowadays we would rather live in Norfolk where you know it s rush hour if you need both hands to count the cars but it was good to go back travel those familiar streets see a few old friends And have some fun perhaps that s the most important thing of all Michael Never Knock Luck We are often asked how we choose the titles we publish as audio books and as I have said before there is no easy answer to this The main criteria are that we should be excited by an idea and that we feel we can sell it One of those on their own is not enough We must have both and even that is only the starting point There are occasions of course when you feel the stars are fighting for you and that was certainly the case with the fourth title we published Everyman s England is a collection of travel writings from the 1930s by the thriller writer Victor Canning I first met Victor in the early 1980s when I was the Editor in charge of the then Afternoon Theatre slot on BBC Radio 4 This was a storytelling drama slot so I hit on the idea of contacting a number of popular novelists and asking them if they fancied writing a radio play A few days later I had a call from Victor s agent saying that yes he was interested and would I like to have lunch with him in the Fly Fisher s Club to discuss it further I am not a club man but I greatly enjoyed that lunch and more to the point Victor and I liked each other on sight He went on to write me several radio plays but we also became friends and Dee and I spent several weekends with him and his wife Adria at their home in a Herefordshire village A few days before one of these visits Dee found a copy of Everyman s England in a second hand book shop so she bought it and we took it with us Victor was amazed when we showed him I thought that had vanished long ago he said He signed it for us To Michael and Dee with some surprise Victor Canning Everyman s England Sadly Victor died in 1986 but when we were looking for a travel book to publish as part of the initial list for Crimson Cats we remembered Everyman s England and had another look at it Basically it is a collection of writings essays really about various places in England during the 1930s We never asked Victor why he wrote them but I strongly suspect they were commissioned articles for a newspaper They are warm human interesting and very perceptive and they were just what we were looking for The only problem was that the book was still in copyright as it was considerably less than 70 years since Victor s death However the book had been out of print since the late 1930s so I reckoned there was a deal to be done and I contacted the agent who looks after Victor s estate She was somewhat taken aback on two counts First she had never heard of this book and second she was slightly bemused by my suggestion that I did not intend to pay anything for its use only a royalty on sales She asked me to write and make a formal request and that she would pass this on to the current copyright holder A week or two passed and then one morning the phone rang When I answered it the voice on the other end said Hallo Michael it s a long time since we last met The owner of the voice was the actor Charles Collingwood who plays Brian Aldridge in The Archers And it was indeed a long time over 20 years in fact when we had last met in my office in Broadcasting House in London I bet you don t know why I m ringing he said and he was right I didn t know Actors do contact us from time to time in case we can offer them any work but I could not believe that Charles was in that position I have a letter of yours in front of me he said about Everyman s England You probably did not know that I hold all the copyright in Victor Canning s books He was right again I didn t know that either and I was amazed To cut a long story short Victor had died before his wife Adria and left the copyright in his books to her She in turn had died and left the copyright to her godson who just happened to be Charles Collingwood Unlike the agent Charles did know about Everyman s England liked it as much as we did and fortunately was quite happy for us to produce it as an audio book in return for royalties Ever the opportunist I then had a bright idea and said Well why don t you read it as well There was a pause and then Charles said Would that be on a royalty only basis as well Of course it would I said cheekily Another pause and then Charles said Oh go on then Why not And that is how through two pieces of good luck we came to produce the audio book of Everyman s England with Charles Collingwood of The Archers fame reading it for us And it has proved to be one of our best sellers all round the world You ll find it here for the CD http www crimsoncats co uk 13 everymans england html and here for the MP3 download http www crimsoncats co uk downloads 37 everyman s england download html Never knock luck Michael Crimson Cats Cuckoos Cliff Morgan When I first began drafting this Blog I read the above title out loud and our cat who is not crimson but black and white muttered something about mixed metaphors Not for the first time I wondered about the wisdom of having an educated cat but I ignored her as the title seemed right for what I want to talk about When Crimson Cats first began the idea was to find interesting out of print material and give it a new lease of life as well as developing some original ideas of our own On the whole that is what we have done but somewhere along the line some cuckoos crept into the nest I am referring to the set of Sporting Legends interviews where Cliff

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  • Blog - Page 8 of 8 - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    Private Rawson s War Interesting phone call right out of the blue this morning The Watford Observer rang up to enquire about Private Rawson s War the audio book we published last autumn It s a collection of letters written home by a private soldier who served in Iraq and other places in the Middle East during the Second World War The relevance here is that Private Tony Rawson lived in Watford before he was called up and it was to the family home in King Street Watford that he sent these letters to his mother usually once a week The other interesting thing is that I wrote to the Watford Observer about Tony Rawson last September when we first published the audio book and now 11 months later it has reached the top of the pile There s hope for my inbox yet The journalist who contacted me runs the nostalgia page in the Watford Observer and I guess that s as good a place as any for Tony to come to rest The journalist tells me that King Street is still there Though Rawson probably wouldn t recognise it today he added Tony Rawson was a gas fitter in Watford and when he was called up he went into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps as his eyesight was too bad for active service Tony hated the army but was honest enough to admit that it gave him opportunities he would not have got back home in Watford His experiences in the Middle East gave rise to all sorts of thoughts of what he might do after the war but in 1946 he was invalided home with TB and went back to work for the gas company However after the death of his parents he trained as a teacher and went to work in Zambia Outside of these letters we don t know much about Tony Rawson so maybe the article in the Watford Observer might spark a few memories from people who knew the family How We Choose Our Books Katherine Mansfield We are often asked how we choose the audio books we want to publish but there is no easy answer to this Some we choose some find us sometimes we think of a topic and assemble material of our own Our main criteria are 1 Does it already exist in audio 2 Will anyone want to buy it If the answer to 1 is yes then we probably won t do it As a very small publisher we have to gain an edge on the big boys somehow and having unique titles is one way of doing this The answer to 2 is not always predictable When it comes to selling you don t know till you try I ll give you an example When the CD about Katherine Mansfield was first suggested to us I was doubtful I know and love her short stories but I was not convinced there was a market for them

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  • kipling Archives - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    Picture Postcards from Kipling From 5 99 for the download version Details My Life And Times From 5 99 for the download version Find Out More Cliff Morgan Sporting Legends 1a 2 99 Find Out More Mary Peters Sporting Legends 1b 2 99 Find Out More Cart Product Categories Anthologies Biographies Cats E Books Fiction History Legend Sporting Legends Travel Crimson Cats Crimson Cats Audio Books bring you interesting and

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  • Days of Contrast - Crimson Cats Audio Books
    we found Mama Mia s and Valerie It looked like another take away place but the noise coming from it suggested otherwise We went in and found a wonderful Italian restaurant with an even more wonderful Valerie She was a buxom lass in a tight black outfit exuding personality like a burst water main She welcomed us with open arms literally told us there would be a 15 minute wait and gave us a slice of pizza to be going in with She asked our name for the table and then announced to all the others waiting This is Michael my new friend an English cowboy The wait was worth it Chef Joe Massaglia is an artist with food Possibly one of the best meals we have ever eaten presided over by the ebullient Valerie and a team of delightful waiting staff Our lady was called Mary Beth who d adopted 6 feral cats and drew a little picture of a cat on our bill It was when we left I had the full Valerie enfolding treatment not something to forget Valerie would be a huge asset to any restaurant in the world So Contrast 1 one of the worst motels ever and one of the best meals ever Valerie saved our day Do you feel lucky Contrast 2 The next day was Sunday The morning we spent in Atlantic City a sort of east coast version of Las Vegas Atlantic City was fascinating and appalling in equal measure it makes Disneyland seem like the real world Brash depressing but kind of compelling like a snake looking into the eyes of a mongoose I wanted to yell I m not a celebrity get me out of here Fast And so we went back to Cape May which was now emptying

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