Telling Stories

Last year I posted a blog on SM Blooding and Crew that won ‘Most Popular Post of 2009′ with a massive 32 comments…lol…As it’s one of my favourite real life stories I feel it’s about time I posted here on my own blog.

Telling Stories–Kurt Chambers

What being a writer means to me, is being someone who tells interesting stories. That’s what we do, right? Whatever shape these stories take, fact or fiction, it doesn’t matter, they are stories told by us the authors. So, this week I decided that’s what I will do for my blog. Why not tell you folks a story. Not just any old story, but one that’s true. We all love a true story don’t we? Well, tough if you don’t, because I’m going to tell you one anyway …lol… It’s a true story about me (obviously) and it’s one of my favorites. Let’s give it a name.

The Curse of the Twelfth Century Monk

When I was seventeen-years-old I was working as a laborer on a building site in the very old town of Hitchin, south east England. The building was called Hitchin Priory, and dated back to the twelfth century (1100’s) when originally built. It was owned by loads of famous people including King Henry Vlll, Stubbs the painter and many others over it’s long history. I was asked to dig a hole in the cellar to find the water table, as the building was slowly sinking. I was right at the back of this massive cellar that contained many bricked up passages. They led underground to all the major buildings that existed in the time of the priory. They were bolt holes for the monks when King Henry Vlll decided to persecute them many hundreds of years ago. Lots of these tunnels still remain unexplored due to their dangerous condition. It was a creepy place to work, but massively interesting.

We started digging until we reached a depth of about neck level. The ground was pure grey clay. It started to get wet in the hole as we came closer to the water table, so I was the one in the hole digging as I was wearing wellies …lol… A dark stain started to appear right in the middle of this hole. I picked at it, and pulled out what looked like a tiny piece of cloth. Like a dark brown hessian sacking. I said to my mate, “Check this out. It looks like cloth.” We only had a lightbulb on the end of a lead so it was hard to tell. He dismissed it and said just carry on digging. It was nearly tea time and we’d nearly finished.

I kept digging and the brown patch started getting bigger. I pulled out a massive piece of cloth. I started joking that we might of dug up some treasure or something …lol… So I carried on digging with avengance. Then I hit something hard. I scraped around it with the shovel. It looked like the bit of beading you get on the top of a coffin. I tugged at this so called pierce of beading until it came free in my hand. To my surprise, I was holding a human Tibia (The front bone in your lower leg, the shin bone.)

Now, please bear in mind I was just seventeen-years-old. My stupid gene was in full force. I was an idiot like most boys of that age.

“We’ve found a body! Let’s dig him up!

The words just slipped out of me. I was imagining this dead person wearing a priceless medallion or some piece of valuble jewelry!” Like I said, I was seventeen!

So that’s what I did. I tried to dig him up. I was delving in the realms of grave robbing …lol… Unfortunately, as I continued digging up against the far wall of the cellar, it turned out this body was buried under the wall. It was just his legs sticking out. I gave up and went to tell the site agent of my find.

I had my tea break and went back down the cellar. There was some bloke taking photos. Cool! I thought. He must be from the local paper. I grabbed my shovel and made claim to being the one who dug him up. He wrote my name in a notebook. It turned out he was from the police. He told me they had to do tests on the remains, and if they were less than seventy-years-old, there would have to be an investigation. Great!

Well, they must have done those tests, because the story came on the local news on the TV, saying that builders had dug up the body of a five hundred-year-old monk at Hitchin Priory. I didn’t get a mention, I was just a builder. I shortly got the sack from that job and things went seriously down hill from then on. My life has been insane. I’m not kidding, seriously insane! I’m convinced I have been cursed. The curse of the twelfth century monk :-)

So, the moral of my story. Grave robbing is seriously hazardous to your wellbeing. If you ever get that urge, take it from an experienced wanna-be grave robber, don’t do it …lol…

Getting Published

As I haven’t had the time to blog here as often as I would like, I have decided to re-post some of my favourite posts from the awesome SM Blooding and Crew where I’m a guest author. I hope you enjoy :)

Getting Published–Kurt Chambers

I’m in the process of submitted Truth Teller to a possible Publisher. I’d like to share my experience with you of the first time I did this. I’d just spent two years of my life with a pen and a notepad permanently at my side. I had a story to tell, and I took every opportunity to scribble down a few more paragraphs as the story played out in my head. It was very, very exciting. I was going to be the next best thing, I knew this for certain. This story was just SO great. It didn’t matter that I knew absolutely nothing about writing, and even less about the publishing industry.

I was sitting at the side of the road having a tea break in my builders van when I finished the last chapter. I laughed out loud …Ha!… What a fantastic ending, I congratulated myself. My mate, Mick, rolled his eyes. “You’ve finished then?” he remarked in a casual tone. “What happens at the end?” Like I was going to tell him. I suggested he purchased the book when it went on sale. He rolled his eyes again …lol…

Once I finished spell checking and making everything just right, I set about finding out how to get published. Yes, admittedly, this wasn’t the best way to go around things, but what did I know. I read so many articles on the internet that I thought my head would explode. I was sure I knew what to do and went for broke. I found an agency in New York that looked like the next best thing since sliced bread. Yes, I thought. Let’s do this thing. I sent a sample of my work and sat back to wait. Man! I can’t ever remember checking my email so many times …lol… I was like a man possessed. People were starting to avoid me in the street so they didn’t have to suffer any more book talk.

Then it came…the reply. I remember staring at the computer screen with my mouth gapping open. I just wanted to cry. In truth, I think I did cry a little. How could this be? Why? I must be mistaken, I’ll have to read it again. It read the same.

Dear Mr.Kurt Chambers.

We would like to thank you for submitting your material to our agency. After careful consideration I am pleased to tell you we would like to offer you representation with our agency. Please find a copy of our contract attached to this email.

It’s all a bit of a blur now. I vaguely remember some screaming involved and can just about recall waving a copy of this email I had just printed out in my wife’s face …lol… I had made it! The first novel I had ever written was sent for the first time to an agent, and I had been offered a contract. What was the chances of that happening? After two of the most wonderful days of my life, a light-bulb went off in my head. What WERE the chances of that happening? I’d better check this out. I’d read there were some dodgy agents out there. After some more research, I discovered the Preditors & Editors web site.

I remember staring at the computer screen with my mouth gapping open. I just wanted to cry. In truth, I think I did cry a little. How could this be? Why? I must be mistaken, I’ll have to read it again. It read the same.

STRONGLY NOT RECOMMENDED!

There is a moral to this true story. Always, always…ALWAYS…do your homework!

Friendship

2010 is finally upon us. Last year was not a good one for me for lots of personal reasons. I won’t go into details because that would just be depressing and boring for you lot to read. I’m not complaining though because I still consider myself, despite being cursed by a medieval monk, a very lucky person. Why is that I hear you ask? Well, I’m a very lucky boy because I have the most wonderful friends in the world. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, no you haven’t! My friends are better than yours. Sorry, you’re wrong, they’re not …lol… Not unless they are the same friends as mine :D

I haven’t been around much these last few weeks. The reason for this is my laptop died. My world came to a standstill and left me abandoned in the realm of real life. People, let me tell you, this is a horrible place to find yourself. The gateway back to my writers life was closed and I had nowhere to turn. I wandered in this strange land for what felt like a lifetime, frightened and at the mercy of my….family! :0 You’ve never met my family, so it’s hard to really get the full concept of how scary this actually was. But I wasn’t alone. Unknown to me, my awesome friends from my writing world had already formed a cunning plan to rescue me. Working together, they hatched a secret plot to bring a gateway from their realm all the way to my real-life world. How they did it, I still don’t know, but it was the most awesome act of kindness I have ever know in my whole life. I’m not ashamed to admit it made me cry with joy, literally. I wasn’t forgotten, I wasn’t alone. My friends had saved me.

This gift came in the most beautiful form. It was so small and shiny, and …PINK! … lol … When it took me back to my friends they were waiting for me with open arms. It was so unbelievably moving. They showered me with the best gift of all, their kindness, with messages of how much I meant to them and how important I was. These are my friends, the best friends in the world and I love them. Anyone reading this blog who doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about might be mistaken in thinking that this story is nothing more than a fairytale. Well, let me tell you it’s not. It really happened.

Thank you, all of you, for being the most awesome friends I’ve ever had. What I thought was a tragedy turned out to be a blessing. It made me realise just how important you all are to me. I seriously couldn’t live without you. You rock my world.