Showing posts from 2017

A few days

I think 2017 has to be my most unlucky year for illnesses for decades (I still put the year of three surgeries as a worse one). I seem to have picked up every bug I could during 2017 culminating with flu a month ago and (depending on opinion) a very heavy cold or different flavour of flu in the past week. All I know is it's curtailed a lot of the normal activity I would expect - i.e. writing.

I did recover enough though to pop down to Torquay for the weekend just gone - although it was only barely. I really didn't do much whilst I was down there. I certainly can't say I saw all that much of Torquay beyond the inside of one hotel and two restaurants.

The drive back was a bit better. We stopped at a number of seaside towns, keen to get just one more glimpse (after another) of the sea before heading back to the landlocked county of Leicestershire and home.

One of the most fun and yet frustrating stops had to be Budleigh Salterton. (Yes, it's a great name.) I have no idea…

A little writing

I think I am mostly up to date now on all the stuff that was delayed because of losing a week to the flu. Well everything except the writing that is. I had to do all that other stuff - the work stuff and house stuff,  the parts of my life that pays the bills after all - before I could dedicate some time to writing again.

And then I had to try to find some momentum. I am a momentum kind of writer. I know this. And a confidence kind of writer. For some reason, despite having written eleven novels, one of which has been published and another of which is due out in 2018, I still struggle when faced with the screen/keyboard to convince myself I can do this. I manufacture reason after reason to not do any actual writing - last minute tasks that I simply must do and then I can write. It's just procrastination I know, procrastination based on fear.

In some ways it's quite odd. I create computer systems during my work day that the entire business of the company I work for relies on. I…


I'm going to start this by mentioning my illness wasn't serious. I had the flu. I'm not dying, I was just unwell for a while. As a result my hopes for some decent writing progress in November have taken quite a blow. I was off work for a few days, totally unable to sit upright. No writing. That was the week before last.

This past week I have been back at work but the day job has taken all of my energy. I've been coming home from work and just collapsing onto a sofa and that was it for the evening. No thoughts of sitting at this desk and writing more of Breath of Imagined Dead were even entertained, let alone acted upon. Is it different now? Well I'm getting my energy levels back up and I'm going to give it a little bit of a try but I'm not guaranteeing anything.

It has rather impacted on the schedule I was hoping to keep. These past two weeks I had hoped to take the word count of the book from just short of 25K to more than 40K. Not one single word of that…

Quick writing update - includes tonight's writing progrss

I had planned to do an informal NaNoWriMo for this November. For anyone who doesn't know NaNoWriMo stands for National November Writing Month (I think). It's basically a writing challenge, the idea being write 50,000 words in a month - this month. It's a kind of challenge to get you actually writing. Well I tried this a couple of years ago when I was writing my bawdy space opera detective noir novel (yes, I know it's a crazy mash-up) and fell two thousand three hundred words short. But writing 47.7K in a month was a result I will settle for. Anyway for one reason after another I have not been able to write ever night (something you need to do to have a chance of getting to 50K). And so on the 12th I find myself at a mere 8,585 words on the month - 2,306 of which were added tonight. That's an average of 715 words a day as opposed to the 1666 the schedule demands. Can I get it back? Well, maybe; but do I want to if it means not writing as well as I could. 50K of rub…

7 Days have passed me by

I'm struggling to understand how another week has gone by since I last post an entry here. It feels like I've blinked just a couple of times and it's Sunday afternoon again. Still, better bet on with it.

I have had a couple of writing sessions since last posting. I reported a week ago that Breath of Imagined Dead was on 18,190 words. Well It's moved on a touch since then and now has 22,016 words. Not the most productive week I know with only 3,826 words added. I've written double that in a single day before now. But it's progress so I should be grateful for that.

I'm the middle of a section of being generally unkind to my main characters. I want them to be put through the wringer a little so it seems all the more miraculous when they come out of their current predicament. I just need to make sure I don't do without the proverbial pulling a rabbit out your arse trick. I think I have a believable plot so fingers crossed it all works out.

Aside from writi…

Sunday afternoon writing (and a links summary)

Had a bit of time this afternoon so I hit the keyboard (repeatedly). As a result I've taken my ya supernatural novel, Breath of Imagined Dead, up to 18,190 words, with 2,453 of them having been added today. Not a bad afternoon of writing. Unfortunately it's my first writing time this month.

For all my inner promises (and I may have mentioned it here or on social media) that I was going to try a NaNoWriMo this month I was a little doomed by having some work (day job) and other functions to attend every day/evening since the start of the month. I'm not trying to make an excuse. I'm going to give catching up the day average a try this week as my wife is away on a work trip for two nights so I'll have a little time.

The real aim though is not just maintaining a daily average for an arbitrary challenge. The real aim is getting the draft finished. I'd like to have this story written before Christmas which means adding a further 72K in 7 weeks if I'm going to be …

The book is out

I am now a published novelist.

I just wanted to type that sentence; just to see how it looked. It looks good. It makes me happy. I will now never not be a published novelist. I've entered a new phase in my life you might say. Not that I'm going to let it go to my head - for one thing my wife wouldn't let me. She's far too sensible. But for the main reason that I don't want to stop trying to be good at this.

Yes, I've been published but that shouldn't be the pinnacle of it. I don't want to risk complacency in any way. I want to be published again. I want to get better at this writing stuff. I want to be as good as I can. And I want to remember always that there is always room for improvement. I want a second book to come out and have someone say it's better than the first; and a third to be better than the second and so on.

Of course this does mean I have to do the writing. So I must also knuckle down and get busy. But that's not going to be ton…

It's been a week

Well okay, it's been a little more than a week. I promised myself I was going to blog more regularly when I started doing it again a little over a month ago and had been keeping to it. Until the last eleven days that is. And a few things have happened in that time.

For one thing my book is now eleven days closer to being released. Here's another screen shot. Just in case you haven't seen enough of it. I know I haven't (yeah, I'm still buzzed).

Last Sunday I went to Huddersfield Haunting. Here's their Facebook page -

It was Huddersfield's first horror convention and it was an enjoyable experience. Mostly for me because I got to meet my publisher at Writer's Sanctum Publishing (

I was a little nervous beforehand as we have had many great email conversations over the months and whereas I thought from them we would get along well you never know until you meet in the …


Two weeks before your book comes out is a strange time for doubt; or perhaps it isn't. Maybe there's a natural tendency to worry about whether anyone will buy it; and then whether they'll read it. And then of course there is the worrying about whether anyone will like it. But strangely that's not the kind of doubt I'm on about.

You see a couple of days ago I bought some books - not an unusual thing. Well I have started reading one of them - Robert Harris's Munich. Now I like Harris's work. I read Conclave just a few weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely. But this is something different. You see I'm reading Munich and starting to question why I am even trying to write.

Now I'm not saying this is the best book in the world EVER. For one thing I'm only five chapters in so it's far too early to judge and, being honest, it's unlikely to beat the books I rate at the top of my personal list - Foucault's Pendulum, Dune and Midnight's Child…

Some links - interviews and Amazon

I may have mentioned a few days ago that I have been doing some interviews to support the now imminent release of my debut novel the Stairs Lead Down. Well these interviews are starting to appear out these in the world.

The first was on Heather Weicht's Blog. Here's the link to her website
Heather Weicht's Website
When you're there just click on the BLOG menu item at the top and you'll see the interview

The most recent is featured on Pamela Morris and you can see it at
Interview on Pamela Morris's Website
The fun thing with this one is it includes a 100 word drabble I wrote and sold a few years only to have the magazine fold before it could be published. It also has a brief sample from the Stairs Lead Down so you can give it a look.

The final set of links I have for you are to the kindle pages for the book on Amazon UK / US / Canada / Australia. You know, just in case you fancy buying yourself (or in this case pre-ordering yourself) a copy. No pressure though, I…

Saturday writing

Today has turned out completely different to the way I expected. Not in any huge way admittedly. I mean I didn't swap a day at my keyboard writing for a day parachuting or paragliding or dog sledding or anything like that. I still spent most of my day in front of this computer and I still wrote. It was just what I wrote that wasn't what I expected.

You see at two this morning I woke up with a story idea in my head - the complete story, everything. I had concept, plot, characters, bits of dialog, how it started, and as it is a comedic stories a number of jokes. So I grabbed a notebook, the one I keep for story openings and started scribbling.

I really should have had confidence enough to grab a fresh notebook and dedicated a book to this one but I was still half asleep. You see this book has one or two page ideas for a page 1,2 of a novel that are waiting for a plot to come along and take them somewhere. This was a fully formed thing. I had the ending. But that doesn't rea…

End of another week rambling blues

It's Friday night. The work week is over and the weekend awaits.

This weekend is going to be a little different to most. My wife is a musician. As a result she is out playing quite a lot and mostly at weekends. So for her to be out is not unusual. Many weekend evenings/nights I sit at my keyboard tapping out whatever my current WiP happens to be. But this weekend it's a little more extreme than normal. She's out for most of it; playing a number of gigs up in Yorkshire. So as they are all in the same vicinity she is staying up there. My Saturday is going to be a solo venture.

Now don't get feeling all sorry for me and wondering how on earth I am going to cope without her being, as I am, a mere man. I am quite capable of managing solo. And it's not as though in truth this is all that much of an unusual event. Her day job (unfortunately the music doesn't pay enough for her to not have one, much as I need to work in addition to being a writer) sees her travelling …

Tuesday writing update

After a day off from writing to spend some time with my wife before she set off on a business trip, I have been back at the keyboard tonight and, although it wasn't as easy going as it has been, writing definitely happened.

It didn't get off to the best of starts. I re-read the end of the previous scene to know where to pick things up from and didn't like it. So I broke the first rule of first drafts. I rewrote it. In fact I rewrote it five times. And if I'm honest I am not totally happy with that sixth version. However I did finally accept that I had it as good as I was going to get it for now and moved on. I can always give it another think when I come to do the first revision.

Hmm, thinking about it this isn't really the first draft, or at least not yet. This is my second attempt at this novel and I'm still in the rewrite phase. The first attempt, last year, just didn't happen. I had it in my head that because the MC is a teenager then it was a young ad…

Back in the Saddle? Hopefully

For some time now I've been struggling with writing. It's not been a writer's block type thing. It's been more a life kind of thing. I go through peaks and troughs in general and recent times have seen a definite trough. I've not been wanting to do many of the typical things I enjoy normally. But I have hope I'm emerging from my low point.

For one thing I've found and compulsively binge watched a couple of TV shows (as previously mentioned). I've also found myself getting hooked on reading novels again, completing Emily St. John Mandell's wonderful Station Eleven in just a couple of days. So maybe writing will go the same way.

I hope so as we are heading towards one of the busiest times for my wife. Musicians always work more in the run up to Christmas. Add that to the fact she has a few overnight trips for her day job too and it means I will have ample spare time to fill. Writing would be the perfect way to do this. So I'd better figure it out…


I am not a very graphical person. I like art. I'm just not any good at creating it. Fortunately not everyone is like me. Fortunate because it was up to one of these talented types to design the full cover for my book. And I think she's done a great job. But I'm not going to have you take my word for it. Here's the full cover. (A small version of it anyway. The full file is huge.)

And that wasn't the end of the graphics goodies that came my way. She's also designed some bookmarks. Below are images of the front and back...

The book comes out in 24 days

Some TV thoughts

I grew up in the 70s and 80s back in the days before video recorders were commonplace; certainly before On Demand TV. As a result even decades later I still find the idea of binge-watching a novelty. And exiting too, if I'm honest. The only problem is finding the kind of show that makes me want to binge-watch.

I've tried a number of shows but few have made me desperately want to watch the next episode even when I'd promised myself I was going to go to bed before each of the previous two. Some shows, much as I've enjoyed them, have seen whole days pass before I got back to them just because the mad desire, that unable to control you urges level of desire, wasn't there.

I'm counting the Marvel Netflix shows and series like Man in the High Castle amongst these. I enjoyed the first Daredevil. I really enjoyed Jessica Jones (and will admit this nearly got me losing sleep). But I stalled in the second Daredevil and am still to finish. I will. I want to give Cage a t…

Weekend Update

Unfortunately the weekend is nearing its end. They always seem to end too quickly. Still at least the day job is not one I hate. Anyway - the blog. I promised in the last entry that I would try to not be a stranger to posting in the way I have in the last few months so I am here again typing in an inane commentary on parts of my life in the slim hope it might entertain someone. I really should consider vlogging. Of course that would involve having my face on screen - not overly happy about that idea.

[Get on with it]

I have done little writing in the last seven days. I have re-read the opening three chapters of Breath of Imagined Dead and am generally happy with it - once I have the changes I'm scribbling down sorted that is. The story set up is fine and the chapters end with a cliffhanger I hope is perfect as a tempter to go out with the first book.

And that's the bit that's getting real in a hurry. The Stairs Lead Down comes out at the end of the month form Writer's…

A return to posting

I have been terrible at maintain this blog. For that I can only say sorry to anyone who has enjoyed reading my rambling entries. I am going to try to improve the frequency especially as I have things to promote these days. You see it's only a little over a month until my first novel, the Stairs Lead Down, is published.

Yeah, I really should have got back to posting here sooner. I could have posted the cover months ago but just haven't. To make up for lost time (something I'm positive you can't do) here it is.

It's a young adult supernatural tale set in my hometown, Ashby de la Zouch. Here's the blurb from the publisher's website.

What could be worse than moving from London to the middle of no where, at the age of 13? New school, new place, new people and a ghost in the kitchen!
Lizzie and Noah discover a portal to the ghost realm and take the Stairs Down to end up in an andventure of a lifetime.
Will the help of two mysterious women - Elizabeth and Magda be e…

Mini Rant 1 - Poor Marketing Campaign - Ocado

In the UK we have an online shopping delivery service called Ocado (I'm not sure if this exists elsewhere). Now Ocado do a perfectly fine job. I have no complaints about them whatsoever. But I do have a bit of a gripe when it comes to whoever has done their recent marketing. Here's a picture...

Now, this looks pretty innocuous on first glance but go read the text.... "It's one small click for you. It's one giant leap for your life."

Now we all know what this is paraphrasing. These are almost the words of Neil Armstrong, the first words from the Moon's surface. The original phrase signified the single greatest achievement of the human race (up to that date). It's something we as a species should be incredibly proud of (if you a Moon hoax believer, please leave my blog now and never revisit).

So to see it used to promote a way of doing your shopping without having to go to the effort of actually doing the shopping feels wrong. And it makes me less incl…

Fighting the doldrums



My head's not right. I don't mean in that it's too big for most hats, which it is annoyingly, or that it looks a bit weird, which it probably does. I'm not the best judge. But questions as to its ability to fit well under headgear or whether you might want to spend an hour or two just looking at it aside, my head isn't right. On the inside.

I've managed to do a little writing tonight, adding two scenes to my latest work in progress totalling a little over fifteen hundred words and taking the novel beyond he forty thousand mark, but it's been forced. Last night I didn't even manage that. I stared at the keyboard for a while, write an opening …

Are labels harmful in music and fiction?

It's an odd question and one with the inevitable answer as far as I'm concerned of YES.... and NO.

I found labels immensely useful when I was kid learning about the entertainment I liked. I fluked my first love in both these forms. In music it was a BBC programme showing the Who smashing their instruments. In reading it was seeing a cover I liked on a carousel of books inside a kiosk shop on Great Yarmouth seafront during one of the many times we ducked inside one building or another to escape the rain. I seem to remember that summer holiday being something of a washout.

So there I was in 1977 encountering music and reading for the first time; really encountering it anyway. I'd obviously done both before. I'd heard music on TV shows. I'd read books because school kind of makes you. But with the Who and Asimov I found myself wanting to do both; just for the enjoyment of it. And so to labels.

You see I wanted more. And I wanted more that I would like. You see my nin…

Desk music

I am a man of habit; in the short term at least. I tend to do and redo things. Some of them last a long time - I'm still a fan of the Who four decades after first listening to their music and of Asimov's fiction the same length of time after first reading one of his short story collections (Through a Glass Clearly). But others are habits that come, stick around for a while and then disappear.

Well the one I am about to blog about is both. I keep a stack of CDs on my desk that are the core of my listening at any one time. They are not the only things I listen to - far from it. I will stand up and walk across to the shelves on the wall to my right and pick CDs off quite often as the mood strikes. But the ones on my desk are the ones that when I play them I don't want to put back - at least not for a while.

Well having just added one to the pile (and taken one off it which I will not name as its removal is my fault not its - I have heard it a few times recently so it can res…

Blogging Oblivion

I've realised, despite all my good intentions another month has gone by since I last blogged. It is very remiss of me. I'm not sure why but I seem to have just got out of the habit. I will work on it. I'm not going to make it a New Year's Resolution or anything like that. I don't make Resolutions. They are only made to be broken. But I am going to try to change my ways

Okay, so it has been 29 days since I last even logged into this website. An absolute age. But not logging in here and blogging doesn't mean I've been inactive. Since my last blog entry, on the occasion of completing my novel "How to Run a Business", I have written another Ben Williamson novella, clocking in at a fraction under 30K. It's called "Were It Was So" in case you are interested and features a number of devices I remember from the 1970s. It's another weird tale and was very enjoyable to write.

Of course the news on the Ben Williamsons isn't as rosy as …