Hello and welcome to my blog.
I'll be voicing my thoughts and opinions on the creative process as well as other random topics that enter my mind. I can't promise to be entertaining or informative, but if you like genre fiction, movies, TV or comics then there should be something to interest you.
Any errors and foul language are my own.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Book Reviews

I recently had the good fortune to review a couple of brilliant books for Starburst Magazine.

The first was The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, a YA portal fantasy that really struck a chord with me. Click on the link below to see what I thought:


The second was The Three by Sarah Lotz, which I devoured in a couple of days. The concept of it intrigued the 1990's Dean Koontz fan in me, but the book is utterly unique, thought-provoking and chilling. Again, the link is below:


It's difficult to condense thoughts and feelings into a few hundred words, suffice to say both books hooked me for different reasons. I haven't linked to reviews before, but I still feel the urge to SHOUT about these two.

Consider yourself shouted at, dear reader.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

History Lessons

History is fascinating.

I've learned that this week, simply by dipping my toe into the waters of research for no more than fifteen to twenty minutes. The sad thing - which I'll brush over, although I'm sure it's incredibly important - is that humanity doesn't seem to have learned too many lessons over that last couple of centuries. Wars are still fought for all the wrong reasons (is there a good one?), the divide between rich and poor is huge, and politicians are still, well... politicians, I guess.

A bfief aside: Tony Benn has died in the last week and, whatever may have been thought of him, I'll always remember him (albiet vaguely) as someone who stood up for what he believed and never swayed from it. His best quote? I'd go for "I left parliament so I could become a politician", which sums it all up quite nicely. Aside ends.

What's amazed me about my research is the discovery of what's happened over the last two-hundred years in the area where I live. It's steeped in history, both good and bad, most of which has come as a surprise. Bryan Talbot's Alice In Sunderland had much the same effect, making me feel sadly ignorant of the nearby world around me. I've known about the myths of dragons in these here parts, but to know that I may have walked on the same paths as Lewis Carroll is equally amazing.

Anyway, all this history has given me a world for my two characters - Adamson and Wood - to inhabit. That world ties in with a role-playing campaign I'm about to start, along with a completed short story set several decades later in the 1960's. And, while I'm still riding on the enthusiasm I encountered at Newcastle Film and Comic Con, if there's anyone in the know who would like to help me create a comic based on any of the above, I wouldn't be adverse to having a chat.

I'm ridiculously excited about all of this, and enjoying the writing too, in a way I haven't been since finishing my fantasy novel Requiem for the Grey Man. A couple of years of struggle, trying to come up with the next 'great' idea, have resulted in several starts, but nothing concrete, other that that short story I've just mentioned. I'm feeling good about this one.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Story for Lent

I once likened a large gap betweeen blogs as having to blow the dust off an old book - for this one, you've had to travel across the world, outsmart some villains, then dig for it like buried treasure. Indiana Jones and Jack Colton, eat your heart out.

Anyway... hello. How are you? Good, I hope.

I've no excuse for not blogging for so long, other than to admit it's slipped my mind for many months while I've been plotting/throwing away various ideas for my next writing project. It's been tough, to be honest; there's been various crises of confidence, worries that I'm a pale imitation of those I admire, or simply just not good enough. Now, though, it all feels like it's coming together.

Lent has inspired me to get back to this blog. Traditionally a time of denial and absintence (I've given up chocolate and the multitude of biscuits I scoff on the sly), I've looked at it another way and given up... ahem... not just putting my backside in the chair and getting on with writing. This blog is part of the plan (after all, I managed the A to Z challenge last year) and, as well as my stories and - if it pays off - an original roleplaying campaign along side them, I've setup #40daystory on Twitter.

Basically, this involves me trying to tell a story in the format of a tweet a day over Lent (47 days including the Sundays), coming to it fresh every day, unplanned and quite raw. As I've no idea where it's going to go, it may turn out to be utter garbage, but it's an idea I've acted upon, whih is the whole point.

So, I'm back. This time, I intend to hang around a bit longer, and I'd be delighted if you joined me for the ride.