This coming Saturday (23 April 2016) commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Many people believe that he was England's greatest ever poet and playwright. Whether or not this is true is a matter of personal opinion, but in any case he's definitely up there with the front runners.
One thing which cannot be disputed is how much Shakespeare has contributed to the English language. A surprisingly large number of words and phrases in common use today were first penned by the Bard himself. If you're on a wild goose chase and find yourself neither here nor there, feeling faint-hearted (having not slept one wink), waiting with bated breath for the naked truth, and all of a sudden find yourself saying "Good riddance" as those who have eaten you out of house and home whilst playing "Knock, knock, who's there?" vanish into thin air - you are quoting Shakespeare. The world is [your] oyster, but for goodness sake, don't wear your heart on your sleeve and end up looking a sorry sight in a fool's paradise. Truth will out, and it's a foregone conclusion that you can still have too much of a good thing.
The Bard of Avon has certainly inspired much of my own writing. One of my first successes as a poet was winning a limerick competition, in which I summed up the plot of Macbeth in five lines:
On the strength of a witches' conjection
a regicide's planned to perfection,
but revenge is prepared
by a tree-moving laird
who'd been born by Caesarean section.
One of my long-term projects is to produce a limerick for each of the plays. That's still very much a work in progress, but in the meantime, two of Shakespeare's other plays - Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar - formed the basis of two of my novels.
The Ghostly Father takes a new look at Romeo & Juliet, and asks the question "What might have happened if the events of the story had taken a different turn?" If, like me, you love the original story but hate the ending, here is your chance to read an alternative version - one with a few new twists and a whole new outcome.
The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, during an amateur dramatic society's performance of Julius Caesar. What really happened to the actor playing the title role, during the final performance on the infamous Ides of March?
Shakespeare-themed celebrations will be taking place all through the anniversary weekend. My humble contribution to these celebrations is to offer a special discount on the ebooks of these Shakespeare-inspired titles. For a few days only, they will cost you just 99p each. That's two books for less than the price of a regular cup of arty-farty coffee. And if you usually prefer to spend a little more and go for a large coffee, then why not splash out another 99p and treat yourself to my other novel, Nice Girls Don't, which is also reduced? This book isn't directly Shakespeare-themed, but the Bard does get a couple of mentions.
Click on the book covers on the right to be taken to your local Amazon links. And you'll still come away with change from £3.