Thursday, 31 December 2009

I ain’t dead

It’s true, I’m not. I’ve just been enjoying the festive period with my family for the past few days. I hope you’ve had a happy festive period and that you’ll enjoy the New Year celebrations later tonight. I’d say I wish you a better 2010 than 2009 but for a lot of people it’d be hard for 2010 to be any worse than 2009. After all, any year when only having had a worldwide recession is seen as better than the alternative (that being a complete meltdown and collapse of the global financial system) has got to have been a pretty bad year.

In the UK, the start of the year saw the end of high street firm Woolworths just before their 100th anniversary of trading. The end of the year saw us wave goodbye to Borders, who used to be a bookshop but sort of forgot what they were by the end. And in-between there have been too many companies hit the wall to count and too many jobs lost.

I’m sure it’s been the same everywhere else.

The US, of course, has at least had the ‘shining light’ of a new leader in the shape of Barak Obama. So, America finally elected their first black president – and there was I thinking the first black president would be Will Smith. Just two hurdles left to cross now. A woman and an immigrant. Of course, before that Austrian bloke currently running California can be President they will have to change their constitution (or so I’m told – correct me if I’m long). And I think we’ll have to wait a while before we see a woman elected, after all, Chelsea isn’t old enough yet, is she?

But while America has at least had a sense of hope following their election (or part of the country does – I’m told not everyone likes him), we on this side of the pond have not had so much a guiding light as a flashlight with fading batteries in the shape of Gordon Brown.

I can’t remember a time when this country was so in need of an election. I don’t even think it was this bad in 1997. At least back then the country was on the mend and heading in the right direction. But now, the whole country seems in a terminally depressed state. We need an election not necessarily for a change of government but just to shake things up and get everyone interested in politics again. Like it or not, these people make choices that affect us all and right now there are too many people who don’t seem to care who’s in charge.

Yes, things have gotten that bad.

Having said all that, 2009 hasn’t been a bad year overall for me. Yes, I didn’t get a pay rise at all this year, but the plummeting interest rates saw my mortgage payments fall and that more than made up for now pay rise. On a writing front, Charlotte’s Secret and Lost & Found both continued to sell steadily if not spectacularly, Kissed by a Rose was released and voted Erotic Romance Novel of the Year by the members of the Erotica Romance Connection. Phaze also confirmed that they’d be taking the book to print in March of 2010 – which can’t be bad. 2009 also saw me complete Eternally & Evermore, which has been accepted by Phaze for publication next summer and I’m well on the way with the next book.

So, no, 2009 wasn’t a bad year for Marc Nobbs.

But, that’s it from me for this year. Here’s hoping I’ll continue to hold you attention in 2010. Thanks for spending this year with me.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Grabbed by the Balls

Okay, so, the title got your attention right? I haven’t literally been grabbed by the balls since… well, for a very long time. Thankfully, I haven’t pissed any woman off enough for them to want to do that to me (and ladies, there’s not much worse you can do to a man to punish him than abuse his balls – ain’t that the truth). But what I’m talking about here is a story idea. A new story idea has grabbed me by the balls and I doubt it will let go now until the story is finished.

It’s great when that happens, isn’t it?

Let me elaborate.

In recent weeks I’ve been working on rewriting an older story, College by the Sea, which you can read the ‘original’ of on StoriesOnline. This is because of the success that I believe I’ve had rewriting another older story, Reunion. Reunion is about five years old and you can read it on StoriesOnline or download a .pdf here.

Now, Eternally & Evermore, started out as a simple rewrite of Reunion. I wanted to make it longer, add subplots and take time to explore Matt and Kelly’s relationship more. What actually happened was that Matt morphed in Will, Kelly became Amy and the whole story got turned on its head and is now so far removed from Reunion that it’s a stretch to believe that it ever started out as a rewrite of such.

And it’s not just the plot is so much different, it’s that the characters are totally different too. It wasn’t just a case of changing the names. I also changed their personal circumstances. I don’t want to give away too many of E&E’s secrets (and their are a whole host of surprises in store, believe me), but Will and Amy are older, wiser, and have been through more in their lives than either Matt or Kelly. And that has made them very different people from Matt and Kelly.

I tend to think of it like this… Will and Amy are the people that Matt and Kelly would have been had their lives taken a different path. Consequently, they have a very different story to tell.

And, honestly, I’m so pleased with the job I did turning Reunion into E&E that I figured I could at least as good a job by starting with College by the Sea.

The problem though is two fold. First, College isn’t that good. I started writing it over ten years ago and have never finished. I’ve actually written more of the story than appears on StoriesOnline, but I got so disillusioned with it that I found a sort of convenient place to stop and did just that. It’s too long winded. It lacks focus and the story really doesn’t go anywhere.

So while I knew where I was taking the story with Eternally & Evermore, I didn’t have that same single-mindedness with the rewrite of College. Hell,  I didn’t even have a clue what the title was. Not the first idea.

Second problem was that I have been working on this story in some shape or form for over ten years. It was the first story I ever started writing, and it’s based very much on some of my experiences from my time at University. College is set in Aberystwyth, in the same hall of residence that I stayed in and features many of the places I used to go. I mean, the lead character, is a physics undergraduate – like I was, and while he isn’t me, part of him is. But then, there’s a part of me in all my heroes. And some of the characters in the book are very much based on people I lived with.

For the rewrite I moved the action to Westmouth – the town that is rapidly becoming the centre of my ‘universe’ (can we call it the ‘Nobbiverse’, yet?). I kept some of the characters names the same, changed others, and cut the cast list by either simply dropping some of the extras or merging some of the more prominent ones.

But I couldn’t bring myself to change the two central characters – Dylan and Joanne. I was too close to them. And so the story suffered from my lack ability to let go. My friend and editor said I was doing an okay job, but the story didn’t grab me. It didn’t feel right.

Then, earlier this week, something happened. An idea struck me. Utterly different from Dylan’s story, this idea is fresh, and exciting and I damned if I’m not looking forward to writing it. It’s got me by the balls.

As the delightful Mrs Cole says on that god awful L'Oreal advert – I’ve got my mojo back.

So, here’s hoping I can keep up this enthusiasm for the story. It’s got a lot of development to go – I need to map out the story and work out the ending – but I know who the main characters are and what the conflict is and that, for me, is the main thing. With great characters and a compelling conflict, I can nail this thing.

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Morning after the Night Before

So, how do we all think that young Joe McElderry is feeling this morning having won Britain's biggest talent contest? Pretty good, I’d wager. Shocked? Certainly. Terrified of what’s to come? Probably. But pretty good nonetheless.

The real winner last night though was, of course, Simon Cowell. Ten million phone votes at 35p a call? That’s… a lot. £3.5million. For those of you on the other side of the pond that’s somewhere between $5.5million and $6million depending on current exchange rates. Then there’s all the sales from Joe’s single which will inevitably be Christmas number one and probably the ‘fastest selling single of all time” or some shit like that – it usually is.

I did find it amusing that Simon kept saying “this is the closest contest I think we’ve ever had” when in actuality anyone with two ears who wasn’t tone deaf knew Joe was going to win from about week three.

But I do wonder how long he’ll last. We shall see.

I thought that the best performance of last night was Alex Burke & JLS doing their mini-meadely. That was really good. And then Simon pulls Paul McCartney out of the bag as the last big surprise act. How’s he going to top that next year? Dig up John Lennon or Elvis and reanimate them for the evening?

I tell you what though, I wonder if, ten years ago (give or take) when Simon Cowell agreed to be the forth (and least well known) judge on some little show call Pop Idol, he knew it would turn him into a global superstar. Pop Idol was, of course, massive and the Simon was the star of the show with his frank (and sometimes hurtful) comments. Naturally, when the Yanks decided to pick up the show as American Idol they recognised Cowell as the star and signed him up. The rest, as they say, is history.

For me, there were two moments that stood out in that first series of Pop Idol. Gareth Gates’ first audition, with that 30 seconds or so of silence when he struggled to say his name than sang so well afterwards, and, the moment that made Cowell and Will Young for me, when Cowell called Young’s top 50 performance ‘ordinary’ and Young answered him back. Classic TV. I’d give you a You Tube link but for the life of me I can’t find the clip anywhere.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Changes Afoot

If you’re reading this on the Blogger or MySpace versions of this blog then you may have noticed a few changes. First off, those menu buttons at the top of the page have changed colour, being now an attractive shade of blue rather than dark grey. Also, the logo at the top of the page now reads “” rather than “”.

Yep, I’ve come over all patriotic and stuff. :-)

Actually, the change is because I’ve moved my website to a new host and with the hosting came a free domain registration. Since I couldn’t be having with the hassle of moving the .com domain, I opted for instead. The old .com domain now redirects to as well.

Why the change of host? Well, this new host offers more features. The website needed a refresh, which you’ll see if you click on any of the buttons in header (or here if you’re on SOL, Soulcast or Zoo). So while refreshing, I thought about what else I could do.

For example, I’ve started a Marc Nobbs Wiki. It’s not much right now, which is why there is no link to it on the website, but over time I’ll expand it. Or you can. It is a wiki after all, and therefore it’s collaborative. take a peek at

See that? It’s a sub-domain. My new host provides me with unlimited sub-domains. So currently redirects to the blogger blog. In time I may move this to my new webhost using a WordPress solution, but I need to monitor bandwidth for a couple of months before I do that. I also need to consider what will happen to those people who have subscribed to the blogger blog – I don’t want to lose them by moving.

I’m also considering homogenising all the social network sites, eg and – but that may be a step too far.

Now, I really must go and do some writing… I mean work. Yes, I must go and do some work.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The AWARD WINNING “Kissed by a Rose”

Yes, it’s true. It’s True. Kissed by a Rose was been voted Erotic Novel of the Year for 2009 by the members of the Romance Erotica Connection.

REC ERotic Novel of the Year 2009

As you can imagine, I’m stoked. I’m also very humbled, this award is a great honour for someone like me. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for the book – as I’m sure would Adam and Chloe.

If you haven’t read Kissed yet, then you can purchase a copy here. Or, if you can wait, you’ll be able to pick up a print copy of the book sometime next year. Phaze have confirmed that they will be taking the book to print and I’m currently going over the manuscript one last time to make sure it’s as clean (in the typos sense – not the sexual sense, lol) as it can be. I don’t have a date for the release of the print copy just yet, but when I do I’ll let you know.

I’m also waiting on a release date for Eternally & Evermore in electronic format. All I know so far is it will be ‘next summer’. Again, more details when I have them.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Is there such a thing as too much sex?

I’m not talking about real live, obviously. In the real world, I think everyone agrees that you can’t ever get enough of a good thing (and sex is certainly a good thing – if you’re doing it right). No, I’m talking about sex in fiction. Is it possible to have too much sex in a novel.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that recently, in a few things I’ve read, I’ve found myself scanning over, or even skipping, the sex scenes in order to get back to the story.  Let me try and explain.

At the start of this year I made a conscious decision to add to my reading list some of the much loved ‘epic’ stories that are about in the ‘free’ erotica community. I mentioned this earlier this year on this blog. I’m talking about the likes of BlueDragon’s Ordinary Sex Life series and his John Billionaire series. Wizard’s Trailer Park series is another.

And, of course, any exploration of ‘epic’ stories on SOL wouldn’t be complete without Frank Downey’s Dance of a Lifetime, which is excellent, by the way. Yes, Frank’s style is a little too sickly sweet sometimes, and he has the habit of doing things with his prose that really annoy me (not least of which is using bold for emphasis – and using emphasis far too often), but boy this guy can spin a good yarn. If you haven’t already wasted the many, many hours it takes to read this, then you really should. You won’t be disappointed.

The latest series I’m tackling is Nick Scipio’s Summer Camp.

Now, Ordinary Sex Life, Trailer Park and Summer Camp are all “coming of age” stories. They are told by a first person narrator – a teenage boy – and cover that period in his life when he grows from a boy to a man and discovers all about girls and the fun things you can do with them. Dance of a Lifetime could be called “coming of age” if you stretch the definition but it’s more of a “star crossed lovers” tale.

Because OSL, TP and SC are about a young man discovering sex, there is a lot of sex in them. With many multiple partners – often at the same time. But as I’ve read each of them, I’ve found myself scanning the sex scenes rather than reading every word. I’m looking to see if the scene in question is significant to the story, or just there for the sake of having a sex scene.

Don’t get me wrong, all three series have the elements of good fiction – good, interesting plots, lots of conflict and characters that develop as the story unfolds – but sometimes the sex seems to have been ‘tacked on’ to the story, possibly because author feels it’s been a while since we had a sex scene and this is a sex story, after all. But sometimes, the sex scene is essential to the story, because it contains a crucial plot point or character development, and those are the scenes I’m looking for when I scan. Those are the sex scenes I want to read because they progress the story.

For me, too often, the sex is getting in the way and, honestly, I’d rather just read the story.

I’m not doing these stories down. They are all very good, very enjoyable and I’d recommend them to anyone (okay, maybe not anyone but you know what I mean). That’s why I’ve included the links. I’m just trying to illustrate my point that it is possible to have too much sex.

Too much sex is something I’ve tried to avoid in my last two novels. Or rather, sex for the sake of sex is something I’ve tried to avoid. Instead, I’ve tried only to include the sex scenes that I think are relevant to the plot and character development.

Kissed by a Rose is ninety thousand words and fifty three chapters long yet it contains only thirteen distinct sex scenes. It alludes to a lot more, but only thirteen are described in any detail. That’s because the reader only needed to see what went on in those thirteen scenes. All the other times that Adam and Chloe had sex, it was not as important to the plot or their individual development.

Eternally & Evermore is also around the ninety thousand word mark, and is fifty-two chapters long. But in this one (due to be released by Phaze Book next summer) the first sex scene doesn’t happen until chapter chapter twelve – almost twenty thousand words into the book. The next sex scene doesn’t happen until chapter twenty-three (and that’s only a dream). In fact, there’s only six explicitly described sex scenes in the whole of the book, each one of them serving a purpose to the story and none of them there just for the sake of having the characters screwing.

So, to answer my own title – yes, there is such a thing as too much sex. Or rather, for my tastes there is. But what do you think? Have you ever thought about it? Feel free to let me know what you think.


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