Deep Fried Genius

It’s been a while since my last post. But now I’m back. And I’m talking about fried food. Obviously…

There’s an unwritten rule that, if you’re an author, you need to have a blog. So, like many authors before me, I started a blog. And I thought I should probably try and be very literary, or talk about what a brilliant author I am.

So, I wrote a few blog posts. Some people read them, and that was nice. I picked up a few followers, which was even nicer. Some kind souls even took time out of their busy days to comment on the things that I’d written – which was great.

But the trouble with blogs is that you have to keep writing them. And there’s really only so many posts you can write about how many books you’ve sold; or that your books are on special offer; or what great progress you’re making on your current masterpiece. People are quickly going to get bored with you.

So, like many other authors with blogs, bereft of ideas I let mine fall somewhat into disrepair and I haven’t posted anything in a while. Something I am remedying with this post. And I intend to post much more regularly from now on. On many fantastically interesting issues. Things that interest me (so, mostly TV shows). Maybe the odd bit of authorly advice. A few opinions, per chance. Things that just pop into my head. And, of course, the inevitable ‘book’ post.

So, what am I writing about today?

I think it was Oscar Wilde who said, “When you can’t think what to write about, write about Fried Food Competition TV shows.” And that’s great advice for me. Because I’ve just discovered the best, weirdest, funniest, most fried food-obsessed TV show ever. It’s called Deep Fried Masters and it’s on Netflix now.

The premise is fairly simple. A host of cooking professionals pit themselves against each other in competition to see who can create the best culinary creations. The twist? These are all fried-food stall owners, who ply their trade at State Fairs up and down the USA. It’s Deep-fried MasterChef. It’s Bake Off with a grease slick. And it’s brilliant.

Helmed by king of the corndogs, Jim Stacy, contestants go head-to-head to cook up their best fried treats. Stacy is joined by fellow fried food aficionados, Abel Gonazales (a man who is apparently so successful in the business, he only has to work 24 days a year) and Butch Benavides, to decide who gets to take home the coveted Golden Corndog (I’m not making this up). They deliver their verdict not only on how good the food tastes, but how much it will sell for, and how easy it is for people to eat on ‘the midway’, lumbering from one fast food truck to another.

As you can imagine, the contestants take things incredibly seriously, with all the staged back-biting and barbed comments you want from a TV cooking contest. And the red-neck, ‘crazy yank’ quota is through the roof – southern-fried accents galore, super-sized contestants with giant waistlines, and one plucky chap even frying up chunks of alligator.

But, of course, the real star of the show is the food – a masterful array of greasy, oily deliciousness. There’s deep-fried pizza. Deep-fried hamburgers. Deep-fried cakes. Deep-fried lemonade (no, seriously). Deep-fried just about anything. And corn dogs – so many corndogs.

Not since Man vs Food  has a show revelled so gloriously in celebrating the kind of junk food we all love. It’s real food for real people. The sort of thing you can see yourself actually eating. This is a show where contestants are routinely criticized for NOT putting their food on a stick, for God’s sake.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the fancier cooking shows, like MasterChef and Great British Menu. Watching a classically-trained chef cook braised duck with a cherry jus and truffle shavings is interesting. And seeing a Michelin-starred judge ripping it to shreds can make for 30 minutes of good telly.

But put that duck on a stick, dip in batter and give me the opinions of a red-neck in dungarees and a ZZ Top beard, and you’ve got yourself a show, my friend.


Happy birthday George


It’s been quite a year. Exactly one year ago today, my first novel, The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring, was published. And my lovely wife bought me this brilliant card to celebrate.

Since it went on sale, the book has sold quite a nice number of copies – more than 13,000 so far, to be precise. And it’s received some very positive reviews – 120 5-star reviews on all the various Amazon sites.

It reached number 18 in the UK Kindle chart, and number 2 in Australia. It was also an Amazon #1 Bestseller in Humourous Fiction and #1 Bestseller in Romantic Fiction.

So, thanks to everyone that bought a copy, wrote a nice review, or sent me a message to this blog or my Facebook page to say how much they enjoyed it.

But it doesn’t end there. I’ve been toiling away at all hours in my little cupboard/office. And in a staggeringly unlikely coincidence, just this very morning I finished writing the first draft of a new novel. What are the chances?

There’s still a bit of work to do, and plenty of editing. But hopefully the new book will be out very soon. Watch this space for updates and maybe even a teaser of the first chapter…

Anyway, that’s more than enough self-congratulation. I’d better get back to work!

The joy and pain of Amazon reviews


What do authors think of customer reviews on Amazon? Obviously I can only speak for myself, but I have mixed feelings.

They can be a great way to get feedback from readers. And they can help to boost book sales. But then, sometimes, they can be violent, hurtful, digital bullets that make you doubt yourself, your ability to write and, at times, the sanity of the general public.

I recently wrote an article for literary website Quadrapheme giving my own two-pence worth on the subject.

You can read the whole thing here