An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.


At the movies

Hi readers!

Again, it’s been a while. Sorry about that. The Down Days blog has been eating up most of my time and I’ve found it such a refreshing writing experience that I just can’t help myself. Still, I’ve been up to some other things, too…

After taking a little break from the signings/events circuit last year to get Alan Shaw 2 finished and off to Inspired Quill, I’ve done a few more events. Some lovely Steampunk events, and planning for more in the future. That’s gotten me bitten by the bug again, as it always does. So many lovely people are asking for the Alan Shaw sequel now, that it’s quite a boost for my confidence which was waning, to be honest.

I’ve started work on a new novel, as well as the obvious sequel work and finishing off Emi (which is pretty much the bane of my life. I just can’t seem to get in a flow with the damn thing). The new book is in the cyberpunk genre, all synthetic humans and media overcrowding. It’s lovely and shiny and new in my head and that’s always an amazing feeling for an author. I’m hoping you’ll be reading it as soon as I can get my finger out and finish it.

What else?

Oh yeah, I’ve finished my first script! I’ve been asked by a small production company to send my ideas for them doing short films based on the Not Before Bed short stories. Of course, I started with the titular story. It’s a total of three pages long (inadequacy issues, eh?) but it was really fun to do. Let’s hope that they can do something with it. I’d love to see some of my short stories on a screen at some point. How cool would that be?

That’s all from me right now. I hope you’re all doing well and that your own projects are steaming along. Oh, and since I’m rubbish and haven’t done this yet… Happy New Year!

(Hey, it’s still January, so it totally counts)


Thanks for reading.

A shift in perspective

Hi everyone,

So, I think I’ve had a bit of a realisation moment regards the novel I’m working on. I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, as such, but it’s certainly kicked me in the backside.

Basically, I realised that I was writing my Cyberpunk novel from the wrong perspective. I think that 3rd person is the crutch I always lean on. At least, it’s the reflex direction that I tend to take. But, as I was reading through the last part of my current WIP, (the cyberpunk novel, that is, not one of the other thousand books I need to get finished) I realised that the perspective should be first person. What better way to describe life in Shika-One City than fro behind the eyes of my protagonist? Especially since I’m trying to get across a very particular speech pattern, colloquialisms and, as I’ve mentioned before, a completely gender-neutral society. Do it through Xev’s eyes! (Xev’s name will probably change, but it was what popped into my head from the first, so I’ll deal with it for now.)

The bad thing, of course, is that I now have to rewrite the first 25k of the book that I’ve already written. The great thing is that I haven’t written anything in 1st person in ages and it’ll be fun to do so. I have to admit that I love a challenge and this is a perfect one.

My other fore-brain project, Emi, is also going pretty well. I’ve just re-read the whole thing from the beginning and I think that it reads alright. It’s another of those challenging things to write so I guess the real proof will only come out when someone reads it. I don’t think that IQ will publish a novella, so I’ll have to publish it myself. But that’s ok. It’ll be a nice little thing to add to my signing table.

And Down Days continues to do very well. We’ve had over 2000 hits over there, from all over the world. Every post has some kind of interaction or comments and the followers are mounting swifter than I could have ever imagined. The posts are proving nice and easy to come up with, too. That’s probably because my depression rears its head in some way almost every day, but I’m trying to see silver linings. With plenty of experiences to share, there’s plenty to write about.

I hope all of your writing projects are coming to fruition, too.

Thanks for reading.

In my absence

It seems a lot of my recent posts have been apologising for not being around very much. This one will be no different, it seems.

Still, I’m sure you lovely folks don’t exactly live your lives waiting for me to post my next little ditty, so no harm done.

Anyways, I hope you’re all well! It seems that this year has moved along at break-neck speed and I can barely turn around without whole weeks having scurried by. The Steampunk season, as it seems to be to me, is coming to a close, I think. At least in the North. Howarth has a charity  Steampunk event in aid of cancer research this weekend which I’ll be attending and hopefully doing some good there. Leeds has its usual Christmas Market coming up as well as an event on the 29th of November (which I can’t remember where it is at the minute but I’ll be there, anyway). There is also a Steampunk craft fair in my own fair Doncaster on the 1st of December which you should all try to get to. It’s their first time so it’d be great to show them some support. I’ll certainly be there if only because it’s above the Salutation pub and the bar will be only a few steps away 😀

And that will no doubt be very much done and dusted until after Christmas, I imagine. At least in my neck of the woods. But with a new year will come a lot of new, fun stuff. I certainly can’t wait for you all to meet Alan Shaw and join in on his adventures. I’m so excited that a wee just a little every time I think about it. I have reports from my excellent editor, Peter, that it’s well underway and the lion’s share of the edits might be done by the turn of the year. I’m really looking forward to reading his comments, as he always has a great insight, especially as a fan of Steampunk himself.

Other than that, I’m off to try and catch up with some more uni work. I seem to constantly be on the back foot this year and I need to get that sorted out.

Anyway, salutations, my friends.

Thanks for reading.

Am I an author yet?

What is the benchmark for when you can finally call yourself an author?

It seems that anyone can put on their profile information that they’re a writer or an author, and that most of these people spend a lot of time complaining about how little of their time their professed title takes up. I never had that problem. Anyone who has been following my progress through the murky world of authordom will see that I’ve only just started to change my profile from “aspiring author” to just “author”. And that was only because my Marketing Womble, Leah, told me to do so. Otherwise I would have happily left it as it was.

Why is that? Performance anxiety perhaps. If I’m an author now, then that comes with all kinds of connotations. I should be professional, knowledgeable, prolific. I quite often feel like none of those things all at once. There’s still so much to learn, so much to do, so many more novels to write and characters to nurture, and I never seem to have all the time I’d like to fire off a few chapters or do all the little projects that I want to take on. But it has struck me lately that perhaps that’s what being an author is all about. The constant striving to be better. If that’s what being an author is, then I’m certainly striving my way forward.

I’m not saying that there’s a list of things that you must do to be an author/writer. Except perhaps one: write! But as I look back over the last few years I start to put together a few pieces of evidence that my low self esteem needs in order to prove that I’m becoming the author that I want to be.

I’ve had a book published (kind of an obvious one, I know), had several great signings, I’ve done workshops and talks in colleges and with writing groups, I’ve helped others to edit their own work, I’ve tried to impart a little knowledge on this blog to other aspiring authors, and I now have my second novel finished and submitted to my publisher (Inspired Quill) for the first round of edits. I’ve also helped to put together the literary area of next weekend’s Steampunk Doncaster convention, which was a great honour.

In short, I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky. That’s certainly how I feel.

But am i really an author yet? I suppose I may never feel like one, because I don’t know anyone who can describe to me what it feels like. Maybe I’m already there. Maybe I’m a mile away. Maybe I should stop asking stupid questions and just get on with the writing. But it took writing this blog post to realize that last option even existed. And so, with that in mind, I’m going to throw on my goggles, and enjoy the Steampunk Doncaster festival next week. Then I’m going to work on my comic book script, short film screenplays and other little projects while I wait for the novel to come back from the Editor. Then I’ll edit it…then it’ll be published and the whole signing/marketing awesomeness will start again. Then…who knows?

I think I’m trying too hard and not enjoying it enough. It’s time to have some fun. And perhaps bu myself a “Do not feed the Author” t-shirt.

What do you guys think is the point when you become an author?


Thanks for reading

World Goth Day!

Hi everyone.

As some of you may know, I love everything Gothic. Among my favorite books are Gormenghast, Wuthering Heights, Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, alongside movies such as The Crow, Dark City and Franklin. Everytime I walk the streets of Edinburgh or see a particularly good cathedral of dilapidated churchyard (there’s a great selection of the latter in Doncaster where I live), I get a silly grin on my face. Right now I’m listening to the haunting vocal stylings of Robert Smith as I type, to get me in the mood…I’m weird and I love it.

And these things have been a huge influence on my writing, culminating in the release of my Gothic Fantasy novel Greaveburn last year.

And so, it is with great pleasure that I am here to inform you of this year’s World Goth Day! Every year on the 22nd of May, the darklings crawl from their crypts, or take the winding stairs from their 17th century apartments, and grace the world with their midnight glory.

The website HERE has a fantastic array of information and other great stuff, but otherwise I implore you just to get involved!

And in honour of this most awesome event, my publisher Inspired Quill have granted an epic discount on Greaveburn for World Goth Day. Take a look at the blurb and click the pic below to get yourself linked over:

A Hero murdered.

A Girl alone.

A city of Villains.

From the crumbling Belfry to the Citadel’s stained-glass eye, across acres of cobbles streets and knotted alleyways that never see daylight, Greaveburn is a city with darkness at its core. Gothic spires battle for height, overlapping each other until the skyline is a jagged mass of thorns.

Archduke Choler sits on the throne, his black-sealed letters foretell death for the person named inside. Abrasia, the rightful heir, lives as a recluse in order to stay alive. With her father murdered and her only ally lost, Abrasia is alone in a city where the crooked Palace Guard, a scientist’s assistant that is more beast than man, and a duo of body snatchers are all on her list of enemies.

Under the cobbled streets lurk the Broken Folk, deformed rebels led by the hideously scarred Darrant, a man who once swore to protect the city. And in a darkened laboratory, the devious Professor Loosestrife builds a contraption known only as The Womb.

With Greaveburn being torn apart around her, can Abrasia avenge her father’s murder before the Archduke’s letter spells her doom?


There’s also a new juicy interview with myself over at The Pen Punks blog which some of you itching for a sequel might be interested in reading *knowing wink*

That’s all from me for now.

Embrace the weird.

Make ’em laugh


If you read my last post, you’ll know what I’m talking about here, so I’ll keep it short. The Steampunk Doncaster event has an indiegogo page which we’re hoping will help us to make the festival extra awesome in June this year. If you hit the hyperlinks above, you can see the campaign itself, so feel free to share or donate or scoff and look at something more interesting.


What you WILL be interested in seeing is the outtakes reel of me trying to make that damned video with the help of Toucan Media.!

It certainly had me rolling, watching myself make cock-up after cock-up. Take a look:

And if for some reason that video doesn’t work, you can Youtube it HERE.

Let me know what you think! And don’t forget to share 😀

Thank for reading.

Steampunk needs you!

Hi everyone,

I don’t do this often, or at all, but I need your help.

As some of you may know, I’m the literary co-ordinator (Man of Words) for my local Steampunk Doncaster Festival. This year, on the 15th and 16th and June, we’ll be holding our very first event.

We’ve already got a stack of brilliant authors (including Jonathan Green, Anna Chen and the graphic novel writing duo of Moore and Rappion), a stack of brilliant crafters and tinkerers and an exhibit stacked with artists and sculptors. We’ll be based in Donacster’s Deaf Trust building, a huge old place with lots of history, and the main aim is to bring something to our local area be it artistically, or in terms of tourism in years to come.

Basically, we want to give back to the area we live in and love.

But here’s the thing. We can’t do it for free. Being a poor starving author, and the rest of the teeam being similar creative types, we’ve poured as much money as we can into the festival to make sure it happens. But there’s only three of us on the crew and we can do no more than we already have. The Deaf Trust building, being a registered charity, has cost a small fortune in itself. And that’s why we need you to visit our Indiegogo campaign.

We don’t expect you to donate your life savings, or anything at all, for that matter. But every single hit, share, Like and Tweet we can get, spreading the word, is a massive help. And that’s where you guys come in.

If you need incentive, I look an absolute fart in the campaign video (well worth a chuckle, I assure you). Here it is!

Steampunk Doncaster Campaign

That’s pretty funny, right? What a doofus.

Anyway, please hit the page there and share your little hearts out. And encourage people you know to share it, too. We want to make this thing grow, year after year, and get better and better, so every little helps.

Thanks for reading guys!