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Friday, April 10, 2015

Comic Cuts - 10 April 2015

Last week I mentioned that my "book-in-a-week" project has turned into a "book-in-ten-days-maybe" and that I had already used up six days. My confidence that I would be getting back to work on the book on Friday of last week didn't pan out. I'd forgotten that it was a bank holiday, which meant a change of plans. I suspect that I really only did one full day over the whole weekend, spending the time indulging myself with walks, cheesecake and visits to friends to watch movies. I can heartily recommend all of these activities.

So that's day seven, during which I did a little rewriting and scanned some additional material that I thought I wasn't going to include in the book, but what the heck. It will add another few pages and another few pence to the cost, but this is already a 180+ page, thoroughly self-indulgent project that I'm guaranteed to lose money on... why not go for broke, eh?

The extra pages were finished by Tuesday and I worked on the cover Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. It isn't quite finished but it's starting to look good. Wednesday afternoon I spent on laying out some of the introductory pages, which takes me up to the close of day nine. I'm writing this Thursday morning and I should be getting back to the book tomorrow—Thursday's a bit of a tidy-up day and I need to make some phonecalls, sort out some mail, back-up some of the files on my computer and start work on next week's blog posts.

I shall be on day ten by the time you read this (if you're reading this on Friday, that is) and it will be interesting to see how close I am to finishing as that's two working (five-day) weeks. A burst of speed might be a factor in doing some books I have planned, a subject I'll return to next week when I should have some news about the future of Bear Alley and Bear Alley Books.

Random scans for this week are a group of pamphlet-style magazines from around 1947-48, all published by Brown Watson. The firm went on to become better known as Digit Books, but in its earlier days produced 32-page magazines, making the best of the paper shortage. The first three are from a run of eleven issues of Sparkling Confessions which ran in 1947-48. I believe some of these were complete stories, but most were anonymous collections of two or three stories.

Just to add to the fun, some issues were numbered, some weren't. The first issue shown here was the unnumbered second issue with the lead story "I Plotted in Vain". The series was then numbered until issue eight, with three unnumbered issues following. The wedding cover had the lead story "Sisters Under the Skin", whilst the rose-sniffing lady featured on an issue that led with the story "My Indian Prince".

Spotlight Confessions and Tantalising Tales were both one-shots from 1948, once again filled with anonymous short stories. There's a chance that some of these were written by Eileen Wilmot, who contributed to a similar, contemporary Brown Watson magazine; G. M. Byrne and Ronald Horton also contributed, but to one of the crime titles and neither author has any track record as romance writers.

Next week it's Look and Learn nature author week, pulling together some of the  biographical diggings that I've been doing in my spare time. OK, it wasn't really spare time—I should have been working on other things.

I should explain some of the above pics. There was a local history exhibition on over the weekend and I was wandering around taking photos of some of the exhibits. The top pic (Bile Beans) was a postcard from the 1940s, while the other two were posters from the same era. Bile Beans, incidentally, were laxatives.

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