Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I must be the world's worst blogger. I just don't write entries. I was just the same with diaries. I think my best effort was to get to January 19th one year - and that was with big gaps! Must do better!!! Thanks to the Renegades for their usual useful comments tonights - all will be considered for the next draft of 'Czechmate'.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Double Tension

Whilst I am pleased that Contrail's full manuscript has been requested by an agent it has lead to a definite increase in the tension I am feeling. It's not helped by doubling up with watching England in the football! I now suddenly have all sorts of doubts about my baby - Contrail IS a good story, it's written to be commercial, it has strong central characters who have the ability to go onto new books (I have a draft of the sequel, Czechmate complete) and its so complex even I got lost at one point and wrote a line that gave my murderer a cast iron alibi! (You might think that this is not a problem but I hand write all my manuscripts in first draft because I find my thoughts develop at the same rate as I write, and I also write in a linear manner so that the story develops naturally. This may seem old fashioned but it works for me and it helps me keep a handle on the story - and to me that is everything. You can have as many pretty words and beautifully constructed prose but if your story is weak then the whole construct falls. But I digress.) (Another reason why I hand write and not type!) The doubts are there though - is it good enough, do people care about something that happened 60 years ago? The big one though is, is it the best thing I've ever written? I wrote the draft in 2009, I have developed as a writer since then, the one out on Kindle The Last Mountain is, perhaps a more gripping, affecting novel, so the answer probably is no. But it is a good story. I shouldn't let myself forget that. I still can't though. The doubts are always there. I suppose it's good that I really care about what I write but it doesn't remove the tension I am feeling!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Beings Creative

Been working on a difficult linking chapter on 'Beings Creative'. I have to accept that not every line or indeed every page of a comic novel can be funny. I hope that the rest of it is!
I'd like to thank the couple of people who have reviewed The Last Mountain on Kindle this weekend. Sometimes I regret going down the route of putting the book out in this fashion but I was really struggling to get agents and publishers to even look at it but reviews like these make it all worthwhile. They really have given me a big boost and lots of encouragement and I am both humbled and very grateful.

Monday, 30 April 2012

The part-time (but ambitious) writers dilemma

I suppose its the dilemma that faces all people who have ambitions as writers, getting the balance right between the need to make a living and finding the time to write well (i.e. not squeezing it in as and when). I'm self employed and for most of the last year it's been a worry that not enough work has been coming in. Well, I had a slight re-think about how I worked and what I should push to the market and suddenly I have all the work I can handle! The day job is now seriously impinging on what I want to do - but what I want to do does not, as yet, pay the bills! And of course it never will whilst I don't have the time to do it properly, which I don't because...well you get my drift! I don't know yet how I am going to resolve this. Still in the meantime 'The Last Mountain' has gained another review and is approaching 1000 downloads which is really encouraging.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Good Meeting of the Renegades last night

Another really enjoyable meeting with the Renegade writers last night - I just hope I haven't recycled the group cold back - apologies to everyone if I have. It was great to try out something new on a constructive audience, far, far better than working in the dark. Mind you I do wonder if I should just choose a genre and stick to it! My argument is that if I keep flitting I might actually find something that I'm actually any good at!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

On Ghost Writing

I have just submitted a sample chapter for a fiction ghost writing assignment. I have to say I am not sure I am feeling all that comfortable with the idea now it's gone. I mean it would be great to get paid up front for creative writing but I have a creeping feeling of disquiet about it all and wonder whether it is the right way to go. Time will tell whether this will a positive move or a put-it-down-to-experience thing!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Salford's Patrick Bateman

I have also been working on my dark character. The angle I am taking is a POV of very close third person, sitting on his shoulder, reading his thoughts. I am trying for creepy arrogance - a window on to a truly evil character. It's all a bit disturbing to be honest but sort of fun.


Is it interesting how things can come together? As a result of exploring self-publishing and, in particular, looking at how I could find a cover designer I came across Elance - electronic freelancing. What a great site. I have actually picked up some writing work from it which is quite amazing. More shortly....

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Just had some very useful feedback on one of my novels -'Touched'. The big problem I had was length. Now those of you who have had to suffer my 'short' stories might be surprised to find that the problem was not it was too long but that it was too SHORT! 'Touched' is only 55,600 words long and that means that it is not commercially viable. I've known that from day one hence the need for a second opinion. For one thing it has been nice to have my style, characterisation and story praised but brilliant to have suggestions for how to develop certain storylines and characters to add 20,000 words to it. This is not padding but a way of actually improving the book that I think will work. There will be much more shade within it, a much darker element to it but I think it will work. It is worth a try anyway!

Wrong Season!

I am a touch out of season here but the colours of Autumn are so vibrant and special that I thought they might cheer up a dull late winter's day!

Friday, 2 March 2012

I know this looks unreal but...

...actually it's a totally undoctored image. And amazingly enough it's of Warrington, taken from the Mersey looking towards the parish church. The church is in a really ugly location and Warrington is hardly photogenic but I caught this sunset one April. It was stunning and I have not seen one like it since.


Struggling to find much enthusiasm today. Had a disappointment which I won't go into but its hard to regain a positive mood. Still, onwards and upwards

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Where I'd like to be

There is something very special about the West coast of Scotland. The light is just magical. Ideally this is where I would love to settle and write...ah dream on!

Time for another image

Short stories

I am also working hard on improving a huge weakness in my writing - short stories. This is through my going to Renegade Writers. Short fiction is such a different discipline. I'm working on something new (and short!) and very different for me in that it is sort of horror/fantasy themed. I will probably crash and burn but it's good to try new things.

A few of my photos - my other venture into the world of the arts

I am working up 3 projects at the moment. The first is 'Touched' - a quirky romantic ghost story (or is it?). Everything is going wrong for Dan - his marriage has broken up, he's been made redundant and he's tried returning to his roots in Manchester but finds himself isolated, drinking to much and contemplating suicide. But then he meets the enigmatic Tess who comes in and out of his life, appearing then vanishing abruptly. No one else ever sees her but him and he starts to believe that he is either mad or that she is some kind of unbalanced stalker. Who is she? What does she want with him? And why can't he forget her even though he knows he should? Touched is actually out with an editor at the moment and I'm waiting on the results. The second novel that is at a final edit stage is 'Contrail' (I seem to be going through a single word title phase!). Contrail is set in Italy in the 1950's. The de Havilland Comet, Britain's technological leap of faith, is being tested in Italy. If it is successful it will give the country at least a 5 year head start over its competitors. However storm clouds are gathering. British intelligence believe there is a mole leaking secrets within the test team and. possibly, seeking to sabotage the aircraft. The ruthless Colonel Edwards of the intelligence services blackmails Stafford Watson-Wright, a gifted engineer, and Harry Jones, his former co-pilot and ex-soviet sleeper agent, into working for him to unmask the mole. Harriet, Stafford's headstrong younger sister is also drawn into the plot. But who is the mole and what do they intend to do? And who are they working for - the Russians? The Americans? - everyone seems to have a vested interest in stopping the Comet. Can it be saved? Contrail is the first of a series of cold war thrillers centring around the lives of Harry, Stafford and Harriet. Harry Jones is a wonderful character to work with - you never really know who he is and what he can do. He has such strengths but such weaknesses that often see his best intentions going spectacularly wrong - especially in his sparky relationship with Harriet! He is a great anti-hero/bad boy. Contrail is starting to do the rounds of agents at the moment. Had two rejections so far! The final novel that I am working on - The Honey Talker - is a thriller set in the shade world between legitimate business and organised crime in contemporary Manchester. It's just going into 2nd draft and will be a few months off completion. There is a possibility I may push The Honey Talker to one side whilst I move onto the 'Contrail' sequel 'Czechmate' - I just have a feeling that Contrail will fly - if you pardon the awful pun!
I am working on a number of novels at present. I have spent a couple of years creating a body of work in first draft form (11 novels in total 7 of which I would call 'Mainstream' and which I would put out under this identity. I am gradually turning these drafts into material that can see the light of day. One of these is having a trial outing on Kindle - 'The Last Mountain' and it's doing OK - 550 downloads in 8 weeks and some great reviews. The link is -


Hi everyone! This is where I will be posting news about my mainstream fiction writing (does that imply I write other stuff under different pen names you may be asking yourself? Well the answer is yes - and I may let you know what in time). I will be talking about my writing projects, the pain of trying to get published and any successes I hopefully will have. I will probably also be talking about more general things from time to time - or just rambling!