Tag Archives: Giles Blunt

The Love of Puns, or punishment denied…


HK8861I knew a man once who was a pro at puns. Well, that’s not true – I’ve known three men who were pros at puns. My dad, my older brother, and another fellow, lets call him Paul. Not his real name of course, except, yeah, it is. Oh, and Mark. So four, at least.

Men all, and I can’t help but think there’s something in that. I never feel safe with them. They may burst into puns at any moment.

Each one of them is capable of stringing off puns, one after another, until I lie, writhing, on the ground, laughing and groaning and wincing with pain all at once. I remember one gruesome car trip where my brother and father riffed on puns about fish for an hour or more. I was trapped in the back seat, trying to block out the endless “I have a haddock!” “Perhaps it’s a cod coming on”, until my ears were about to rupture.

It takes brains to rig a pun. You’ve got to see parallel universes and be able to link them, you’ve got to adore word play, you’ve got to be literate and silly and not afraid of shunning.

Because shunned you will be.

Like dirty limericks or sleazy romance novels or lurid poetry, a little punning goes a long way. Remember, punning and shunning rhyme, and could probably be used in a limerick or lurid poem as such. To wit (as it were):

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Click on the photo for more…

For whom life was one terrible pun

He gathered no wife

Nor friends all his life

When they saw him a-coming, they’d run.

Now, I hasten to add that I like a good pun now and again. They can add spice, lighten up an otherwise turgid conversation, and when done well, can impress others with your wit. In writing, they don’t scan, really, except on a t-shirt. It’s sort of a “you had to be there” kind of thing. However, as book titles, they are fabulous. More than once I’ve grabbed a book based on the pun in its title. This author, I rationalize, must have a wicked sense of humour. I’m rarely disappointed.

Some of the titles I’ve seen:

The Long Quiche Goodbye (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY) by Avery Ames

Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy

The Gingerbread Bump-Off: A Fresh-Baked Mystery by Livia J. Washburn

Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery) by Liz Lipperman

One Foot In The Gravy: A Nashville Katz Mystery (D… by Delia Rosen

Due or Die (A Library Lover’s Mystery) by Jenn McKinlay

The More the Terrier (A Pet Rescue Mystery) by Linda O. Johnston

Shoe Done It (An Accessories Mystery) by Grace Carroll

You Better Knot Die (A Crochet Mystery) by Betty Hechtman

Ghoul Interrupted: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie

See? Dontcha want to read these? As for me, I’ve just ordered up a huge helping of Mary Jane Maffini books from the library. I feel the need for a well-written cozy as the snowflakes continue to fall, and she’s the queen of those. (Some of the others – well – a cute title still needs some good credible writing behind it!)

A good cozy is a welcome break from the very grim (but also wonderful) more realistic mysteries, like those by the inimitable Giles Blunt, or Mark Billingham. Like meringue after steak, they are a treat on the tongue, light and frothy and totally enjoyable and you don’t feel the need to check in your closets before turning out the light.

But use those puns sparingly, please. As one gardener pointed out to another, while looking at the beans sprouting from his compost pile, “The mung is the lowest form of humus”…

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Self-Love, or geez, some writers need to get a sense of perspective!


Okay, writers out there – here’s the thing. I KNOW we’ve all been told we have to develop our “platforms” and get known and be followed and all that such stuff, but we need to stop the self-adoration long enough to realize a few hard truths.

1. If you are self-published, make good and sure someone else has edited your writing for you at least a couple of times before you start flashing it about. It’s like smiling with spinach in your teeth to wave an unfinished book in people’s faces.

2. Be perhaps a bit certain that your story has merit. Have you read lots of books in your genre? Are you writing good stuff or are you trying to catch the latest curve – zombies, erotica, whatever? Unless you are insanely lucky, this will not make you rich or respected. I say “perhaps a bit” because a lot of tripe gets sold in huge numbers and while that makes me gnaw my fingers to my elbows, I can’t be responsible for the taste of the audience. So the best of luck to you if you can write sloppy derivative garbage and sell it.

3. Cross postings are boring. And annoying. I have one dear friend or two who posts their announcements in a variety of places, OFTEN MORE THAN ONCE. A lot of these places have the same members, so we poor facebookers get an onslaught of postings all about the same thing and see nothing else for days. This makes me want to go to your home, pick up your computer, and smash it on the ground with extreme prejudice. Spread announcements out if groups overlap. Keep track of them so you aren’t posting the same thing everyday. And don’t be so damn unrelenting about yourself. You may be interesting but no one is that interesting. Don’t post every damn blog posting in every Facebook group. If people like your writing, they’ll follow your blog.

4. Develop a sense of humour about yourself. Giles Blunt, a man who writes grimly dark and wonderful mysteries, and who is a success at it, has a hilarious self-description on his blog. I’ve always loved his writing, but now that I’ve read his blog, I want to meet him. Which means, since imprisonment for stalking isn’t my favourite thing, I will have to buy more of his books. (Many thanks to Judy Penz Sheluk for steering me to this blog, and hers.)

See, here’s the thing. We readers WANT to like new writers. I WANT to get to know new people, ideas, approaches. I read probably seven to ten books a month, easy, and I’m one of those good customers out there. So you don’t need to beat me over the head with stuff.

Write well. Post rarely. Have something to say. Whisper funny stuff in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere.

Sending all of you wonderful writers out there much love for Valentine’s Day.

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