Author: philclinker

Blowing my own trumpet

I’d like to share with you a couple of reviews we got for “Bakerton”:

“This book is a great read! There are lots of twists and turns to the storyline which keeps your intrigue in the novel to the end.”

An absolutely exciting novel … can’t wait for the next one.”

All very satisfying, of course, and I don’t see a problem with any author blowing his or her own trumpet. After all, Joshua did all right round the walls of Jericho, and Miles Davis certainly blew a mean trumpet. But then I got to thinking about the origins of the phrase. What, exactly, is the history of blowing your own trumpet?

The phrase dates back to at least 1576 and probably as far back as medieval times, when official heralds blew fanfares for the arrival of a monarch. However, if a commoner wished to announce his own arrival, he would have to blow his own trumpet. It was used (in a round-about way!) by Shakespeare in “Much Ado About Nothing” and 16th century philosopher Abraham Fleming wrote that he would “sound the trumpet of mine own merits”.

The phrase really gained popularity in the 19th century. The OED’s earliest citation is from a letter written by Mark Twain in 1859 (but only published in 1917), in which he wrote, “Permit me to blow my horn”. While in his work, “Australia and New Zealand” (1873), Anthony Trollope wrote, “In the colonies … when a gentleman sounds his own trumpet he blows.”

In America, the phrase “blow my own horn” also became prominent in the 19th century, where it was used in the West to describe a braggart or “blowhard”.

I just hope that the next time I blow my own trumpet, you won’t think me a “blowhard”! Really, I’m just a wordsmith.

Have a good day.

I thought you might be interested in a little exercise we had a while back. The idea is to write a story in around a hundred words. Something like this:


I wanted the dog.

She wanted the cat.

We couldn’t agree on the budgie.

“He’s mine,” she said. “He was a present from Aunt Gladys.”

“Pah!” I huffed. “He was a wedding present. To both of us,” I emphasised with venom.

“Well,” she said, “I’m taking him as a divorce present!”

We glowered at each other, the pain of a failed marriage etched on our faces.

“And another thing,” she hissed. “I want the goldfish.”

“You can keep it,” I conceded graciously, “because I want something else.”

“Fine!” she said. “Then just take it and go!”

So I tipped out the goldfish and took the bowl.

Just a bit of nonsense really, but why don’t you have a go? Send it in and I might just put it up on my blog.

Happy writing!


Hi, Sheriff John Withers here.

It’s a cloudy day here in Bakerton. I grabbed a quick breakfast at Scotty’s Diner and had a chat with Millie. You know Millie, of course. She’s the daughter of my chess-playing friend Brad Moody, who runs a small logging business up on Copper Ridge.

You’d like Copper Ridge. The beautiful copper birch trees reaching for the sky, the sun dappling through. It’s a shame they’re lopping down an awful lot of them to make way for properties to accommodate the rich folks who are forever moving into the area. Copper Ridge West was first. A collection of forty high-spec residences designed by the famous architect Marvin Franklin. His widow Martha still lives up there, a half century later, ruling the roost. Don’t get me wrong. Martha’s a good woman, and she sure helped us out in the case of the General. If you don’t know the story, I respectfully suggest you read the book about it called ‘Bakerton’, by my friend Phil. I talk to him a lot, so he can keep writing about our escapades down here in Bakerton.

He also told you about the Western Lake. My, that is a place for sore eyes. It was built by Hiram Baker (who named the town, as you might have guessed), and it would have been just the place for that artist Bob Ross to put onto canvas. I love the Lake, and me and Judith get down there as often as we can. I try not to think about what happened down there one time, but I believe Phil has put it into his next book. Suffice to say, murder was on somebody’s mind that day!

I gotta close now. Dawg is back from patrol, and with any luck he has brought in some muffins made by his wife Kitty. A man can dream!

See you next time, friend.