Friday, 30 April 2010

License to Shag: Shag to Kill, book 1: Return to Murder Cove

I mentioned my first novel in my interview. Well, here's the first draft. Don't be too harsh!

The book's undergone a name change. it will now be the first of seven in the Licensed to Shag: Shag to Kill series. The first one is called "Return to Murder Cove", as I feel that there's a few words that will always make your title a better one. One is "Return", another is "Revenge", the third is "Killer".

In case you're thinking, "how can it be 'return', it's the first book, they've not even been to Murder Cove yet", that's something that happens in the book at some point. Here is the first chapter. I have put notes to explain why I've written some stuff.

Click the images to make them larger.

Friday, 23 April 2010


Sorry for the absence, but I’ve a great excuse. Shortly after my email, I had a phonecall. British Grazia had already gone to print, they said, but Polish Grazia would be thrilled to have an interview. So I flew to Warsaw on April 11 with just a credit card and a box of rubbers. I was to be famous!

I wouldn’t recommend Poland – everyone there looked really miserable for some reason, probably something to do with all flowers piled up in the streets. I didn’t think it was anything to be upset about – they clear up easily enough! I even put some in a bin myself, but that just seemed to make them sadder.

“Well how do you propose to get it done?”, I asked them. “No-one ever solved endemic litter problems just sitting round and reading about plane crashes”. Anyway I was quickly deported, but it turned out they wanted to do the interview by phone the whole time anyhow.

So - if you’re in Poland, my short interview is on p.43 of this month’s issue, right after the 8-page feature on Bishops’ Wives.


GRAZIA: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

SAO: Thanks. It’s great to be here.

GRAZIA: This is a telephone interview.

SAO: Yeah, but I sat down especially.

GRAZIA: What first inspired you to take up blogging?

SAO: Well, I’ve always been a fan of blogs – blogs with cats looking funny, blogs with cats wearing things, and blogs dedicated to divisive crypto-fascist polemic (also cats). So when I saw that there was a word that combined “blogs” and “sex” – the word “sexblog” – I realised that the world needed my contribution like a hole in a donut head.

GRAZIA: So you’ve been a blog fan for a long time?

SAO: Yes – I’d say they were the major inspiration in my decision to learn English. On discovering them I bought 100 issues of "Readers’ Digest", from which I learned from scratch.

At the end of the day, I thought, build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. If you build it, they will come, and time is money, and money talks. So I guess what I’m saying is, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. A stitch in time saves striking while the iron’s hot.

GRAZIA: That sure is a lot of clichés. But why make it about sex?

SAO: Well firstly, ever since I was about 13 I’ve always felt this strong urge to procreate. But I never used to understand the power girls like me have until recently.

Let me tell you a story. I once knew a guy who could barely look at me, and found five-minute conversations with me a chore. One night we had sex five times. Sure, we broke up the next day, our one-month anniversary, but the sex certainly improved things. So I suppose you can say it’s about sex, because I found out that sex makes me popular. “If you want to get ahead, you have to give-a head”, as my Italian grandfather used to say!

GRAZIA: There’s around 40,000 sex blogs already, and 3000 involve students. What makes yours better?

SAO: I go to Oxford. Sex here is very different to sex anywhere else; I've lost count of the number of times I've been on top, and accidentally blurted out a view as to the potential horizontal effect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights since the Lisbon Treaty. Of course, this probably happens to girls at all universities, but their arguments are rarely as well-referenced.

GRAZIA: You seem to have a few followers now. Would you recommend sex-blogging to others in your position?

SAO: From a free-market economic perspective, certainly. I mean, if you accept the assumption that all rational beings will want to maximise their economic potential, then to have sex gratuitously, without at least opening up the opportunity of a lucrative media deal is patently inefficient – wasteful, if you will.

We wouldn’t accept it in business. We wouldn’t accept it in government. Why should I accept it in my vagina?

GRAZIA: What are your future plans? Are you currently working on other projects?

SAO: I'm working on my first novel, about an everyday Oxford-educated sex blogger who gets recruited by the CIA for some sexy reason. It'll be called either "Licensed to Shag" or "Shag to Kill", I haven't decided yet. Maybe "Licensed to Shag: Shag to Kill".

It's still very much in the planning stages, but it'll definitely be a Choose Your Own Adventure, because no-one's written a good one of them in ages. I'm a firm believer that there's no book that can't be improved with a Choose Your Own Adventure format. Even with my favourite books - The Complete Works of Shakespeare, A Child Called It - I just feel, I need more choice!

GRAZIA: Do you have anything else to add?

SAO: Erm... if you're ever in the area, do go see Amsterdam, as the doubledicking there is something really quite sumptuous. Oh, and to my parents: I owe you everything.


Well, that's it! I think I came out quite well, though they did edit out the bit in the middle where I listed every man I'd ever slept with with names, addresses, dates of birth, penis size and a rating on a twenty-point scale. I'll post that up here later.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Correspondence #1

SUBJECT: My Oxford Sex Blog

Dear The Editor of Grazia,

I'm a (female!) Oxford student, and I've started a blog about my sex life at Oxford - I started this on the same day as someone else started their blog about Sex at Oxbridge. Now, I'm not bitter - far from it! Ha! Ha! - but I can't help but think that she has stolen what is rightfully my success.

I've heard on the grapevine that you're thinking of printing a story based on her, even though I've slept with more people. What kind of just universe is this?

Anyway, all I ask - ALL I ask - is that you take out her story from your magazine and replace it with mine. In return:

- I will ask for just half the money that she's getting. Since the death of print media you need to cling to every penny, no?

- I will promise to have sex with as many people as I can find between now and my article. These will be as famous as possible; if you would like to suggest some people for me to try to sleep with, I'll happily oblige! People have already suggested Graham Norton, and (Oxford Professor of Constitutional Law) Vernon Bogdanor, though that might be unrealistic, as Bogdanor's really old.

- I will make sure that every one of my words is absolutely brilliant. When I feel a word is at all out of place or mundane, I will get a thesaurus and find a better one. This might sound arduous, but it is the modus operandi I use for all my manuscriptions (!).

As the old saying goes, "I'm making you an offer you can't refuse"!

Now, I know what you're thinking, surely I could just take this anywhere? Well, perhaps - I already have offers for exclusives from Seatback Magazine (the official in-flight magazine of Virgin Atlantic), and reputable London freesheet The Daily Note! But they don't inspire me quite like yours, with its perfect mix of words, and pictures relating to those words.

So - you put my words in your magazine, sell it for a profit, and give me a small percentage of those profits. Everybody wins, right?

Yours hopefully,
The (Anonymous!) Oxford Sex Blogger