The Unhappy Blogger

It’s a tricky thing. You spend your whole life being told not to be a show-off, then along comes social media and you’re told the opposite. Fair enough, if that’s what you want, I’ll bang on about myself for your viewing pleasure. 

Well don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Mean Cuisine

floating restaurants

An old bit of silliness. But fun. You'll never order take out again.

Battle of Gravesend.

Archaeologists have finally discovered the true location of the Battle of Gravesend, the site of a clash between rival Chinese floating restaurants in the Thames estuary.

On a moody day in 1988, two huge maritime eateries rounded Sheerness heading for the fabled dining possibilities offered by the London Docklands development. The 20,000-tonne Jade Palace was fast but lightly armoured, relying on speed and an efficient staff of Cantonese chefs for supremacy in the competitive waterfront-development dining theatre. The Pride of Shanghai was bigger at 40,000 tonnes, but sluggish. Even though she carried a decent selection of French and Italian wines to complement indigenous Chinese beers, she was at a distinct disadvantage in the narrow confines of the estuary.

The two opposing restaurants sighted each other at 4pm, both vessels running light as only a few late business-lunch customers remained on board. Immediately, the Jade Palace raced into the attack, her waiters manning the balconies and sharpening their cleavers in anticipation of an easy victory. The Pride of Shanghai viewed the approaching restaurant with foreboding, but the captain, a veteran of earlier engagements such as the clash between the Great Wall and Magic Dragon in Cardiff Bay, was not a man to be underestimated.

Turning his flank, he gave the Jade Palace a smaller target and prepared to ram the ornate battle diner. Knives, oil lamps and chairs flew. Soon the grey waters of the Thames ran red with the blood of waiters, waitresses, kitchen porters and a coach party from Belgium, who frantically ran around the Pride of Shanghai asking for a refund until shrapnel cut them down like a scythe.

Steadily the Pride and the Jade Palace closed upon each other until both vessels, now ablaze from stem to stern, collided in a sickening impact, a horrific cacophony of blood-curdling screams and snapping bamboo.

Mortally wounded, both ships limped apart and entered their death throes. Bodies, chairs, traditional prints and crispy ducks bobbed in the water, now slick with plum sauce. Within a few minutes it was all over as both restaurants, no longer floating, slipped beneath the cold waters and were gone.

There were not many survivors, but a traumatised few survived by hanging onto the tables, chairs and wooden dragons until finally they reached the north or south bank of the river. In time, they integrated with the communities where they made shore, and this in part explains why there are so many first-class takeaways in Strood, Canvey Island and Southend.

La Senza

The original Cardinal La Senza and Sister Wendy. From a book what I did back in the day. The Brief History of Underpants. Gosh illustrated publishing used to be a lot more fun. It's still out there. 0.01 cents to buy. Sigh.


OK I’m back. I’ve been head down in other people’s books but now I’m free to pursue, write and promote my own.

There’s nothing worse than finding something you love doing, only to see it fall beneath the wheels of the day job. But it has, it did. Still that was then, and this, dear readers, is now.

So, where are we? Ah yes. How have we done since launch? The book was delivered unto Kindle in February, but I didn’t really start promoting it seriously until mid-May, and not vigorously enough in retrospect. You have to learn on the job in this game and learned I have. I was doing it wrong. I think I’m doing it right now – there’s a wealth of great advice out there, you just have to take it. 

The big thing is reviews. If you put an e-book out there, do anything you can to get reviews (well anything legal and hygienic). Reviews suck new readers toward your book like nothing else and in this respect things are now shaping up nicely. See the reviews page for a selection of my favourites. 

As of just now, checking watch, the stats are: 41 reviews average rating 4.3 35 reviews, average rating 4.6 1 review, rating 4

Goodreads 10 reviews, 43 ratings, average rating 3.98

I really need to poke Goodreads with a stick; I’m not quite sure how. Note to self – find out how to poke Goodreads with a stick.

I’m not a natural with social media. I’m from a generation and national background that says you should not show off. Here I’m having to show off, shout and generally scream for attention despite having been efficiently trained not to by everyone and everything I’ve come into contact with since birth. It does work, of course, but you can sense the narrowed eyes every time you join a Facebook group, tweet a stranger, or tell someone in the queue for a typhoid/Ebola jab that you have a book out. I can’t say I blame them in all honesty. At any rate, here are my favourite two reviews, one good, one bad.

(Five stars) More fun than a barrel of monkeys. 27 July 2014

I was obliged to download this superb book on the beach in Croatia recently, despite having more than fifty unread novels on my Kindle already. (I know, I know, but I have an irrational fear of being without something to read, I hoard real books and digital ones.) I felt compelled to download this particular book after spending the first day and a half of my holiday listening to my wife shrieking with laughter and watching the tears roll down her face as she writhed about on the sunbed next to me. I simply had to read it myself, to find out if it really was that good, or if my dearly beloved was simply indulging too heavily in the 'cocktail of the day'. Download it I did, and her one word review, (GENIUS!') to me turned out to be not in the least over stated. I won't bother with a synopsis, you can read that in the book description, I will simply tell you what I thought of it. It is the funniest book I have ever read, the characters are all believable (even the dead ones), likeable (even the evil ones), and three dimensional. The story takes place in various locations, from sleepy Dorset, to the big city, rural Spain, and even Purgatory, Great writing is capable of transporting the reader to anywhere, by this standard, this is indeed great writing. If you enjoy a tremendous, imaginative, story, told with passion and affection, and if you like laughing until your face aches, your stomach hurts, and your face is wet with tears, and if you don't mind nearby people staring at you with amazement and amusement, then you must buy this book. You will not regret it. If you read this book and don't pull a muscle somewhere in your face, then you would probably qualify for a job as a lower level administrative assistant somewhere in the bowels of purgatory.


(One star) Did not like it. 17 July 2014

It was stupid and I did not even finish it. It kept jumping around and was very hard to follow. Lost my interest about 1/4 of the way through. Skipped ahead to see if it got better but it never di


Well the novel is now live. That feels weird. I am now watching the letterbox for royalties. It's been 20 minutes and nothing. Bloody publishing!

Anyway, here it is.


To celebrate, here is a picture of me looking pleased with myself. I'm sure it won't last.


Missing link


The image I've chosen for the jacket of The Unhappy Medium comes from a book of Dover images, Dover being royalty free. Back off copyright lawyers, back off, nothing to see here. 

It sums up Newton's fall from grace wonderfully, but I'd love to know its true meaning. Sadly this is not mentioned in the book; it simply hints that it's most likely from Der Bilderschmuck der Frühdrucke, a modest twenty-volume work from the 1920s. 

Anyone out there have all twenty volumes, a knowledge of medieval Latin and is stupid enough to help me for no good purpose?

No I thought not. Still, it was worth a shot.

I'm not going to give up without a fight, however, so as I search in the world beyond my office (you should see the state of things in here), I promise I will update this blog with developments.

A clock ticks

Well it's close, just how close I can't say, but it is close. Thankfully, for a change, this time there is no deadline, well not on The Unhappy Medium at any rate. No, the deadlines on everything else have to come first.

Damn that day job, damn it.


A wet start


As I write this, England is under attack from above and below, sometimes from the side and then within. The weather, determined to make the country a green if not a pleasant land, is dumping huge quantities of water upon the landscape.

It is against this backdrop of national catastrophe that I selfishly plan to launch my novel on KINDLE. This move on my part will do nothing to alleviate the misery. As an electronic publication, it can’t even be pulped and turned into flood defences. For this I apologise.

Ignoring the wider national drama, I am putting the final touches to this website and removing the more choice swear words in the novel to make it easier for people who don't like that sort of thing.

With my normally chest-high desk clear of the last monstrous project, I can now cross the I’s and dot the T’s, and even begin my first baby steps towards the follow-up novel. I promise I’ll work harder this time.

Watch this damp space.

T J Brown

© Tim Brown 2016