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.

Creative Indecision

Being of a creative state of mind pretty much every day, be it with writing, drawing, or fantasising about the movie script I’ll one day (probably not) write, I’ve come across creative indecision fairly often. Recently, when working on Alan Shaw (see the WIP page), I had a choice between putting in a piece of dialogue that was pretty damned good (I thought) but might not necessarily fit, or removing it and making the flow of the story better. I ummed and aaahed over it for quite a while. But, in the end I took the risk and cut it.

“It’s ok, guys. I got this…”

That’s what we dabblers in the arts have to do. We make a decisive move for the aesthetic or plot-based gain of our work, be it a brush stroke or a sentence. And so it annoys me when people who make movies get away with any such deliberations. Hollywood is a sod for this. They must sit around a table, chewing on their pen lid, and they just go…

“Bugger it. We’ll just shoot both endings and shove one on the DVD.”

“Let’s make a version without any aliens for the non-SciFi fans.”

GAH! How annoying. Let me give you an example. The most recent is a perfect one. Prometheus is about to be released on DVD. As a fan of the Alien movies (at least Alien and Aliens) I had to see what was supposed to be a loose prequel to how those damned xenomorph eggs got on that planet in the first place. So I went, I watched, I wasn’t blown away, but I appreciated what they did and how they did it. I’m looking forward to the next prequel when we find out a bit more. But then I saw the advert for the DVD.

“…with an alternate beginning and ending”

That’s right. Not only could Ridley Scott not decide if the ending should be different, but the BEGINNING as well! So, essentially, this is an entirely new movie. Changing these two vital parts of a story, it doesn’t even matter what happens in between. This is evidently a huge money-making scam on the part of The Company (no, not Weyland Yutani). But Scott had to have agreed to film the extras or it would never have existed.

Ridley Scott: Sufferer of Stunted Decisiveness. One in ten older directors are afflicted with it.

I put this down to Creative Indecision. It’s like performance anxiety for creative types. Scott knew what a huge deal an Alien prequel would be, and has decided to “please everyone” by doing these alternate sections for those who didn’t like the original. Excuse my french, but when did directors of Ridley Scott’s caliber stop having balls? He’s a legend for a reason. He makes damned good films. So have a little faith in yourself, Scotty!

Basically, all this for a bit of extra fluff on the DVD. Next, every film will go totally Paranormal Activity and have 46 endings, just in case. But the lesson we must learn from this, dear friends, is to not let ourselves fall into the same trap. We must be decisive, amost righteous in our decision making. Our worlds are ours alone. Your readers/viewers/appreciators only see what you show them, so show it in the way that you think best. No one knows your story better than you do. Otherwise, we’ll end up with books stuffed with extra chapters at the end, with alternate bloody endings.

Thanks for reading.

After an absence (and added alliteration, apparently)

Hi everyone. Sorry I’ve not been around. I think I only missed one week’s actual blogging, but I’ve been slacking off for longer than that. Or, should I say, I’ve been busy. Busy busy busy.

Spookier on the outside…

Last week, for instance, I went on a ghost hunt. You heard. Me and an intrepid group of friends went to Knottingly town hall throughout the night to experience some ghastly goings-on. It ended up being extremely fun, and a little bit pants. But that was part of the fun. Wandering round in the dark with just our little group, torches in hand, creeping along like the Scooby Gang, was the best part of the evening. Although my inability to explain the table tipping comes a close second. If it wasn’t for the mediums and their total disregard for the laws of physics, I’d have been even happier (One fo them said that the grainy effect you see when you’re in the dark is “seeing the energy of the world”. Nothing to do with photoreceptors, apparently). But, I had my trusty talisman to protect me:

Who you gonna call?

And this little group of gems to act as ectoplasmic cannon fodder should the proverbial shit “get real”:

Ready for action with their Indian restaurant menus clutched tight. (From left to right) Lindsay, the top of Hannah’s head, James and Laura; aka Janine, Slimer, Venkman and Egon.

Other than that, it’s been business as usual. Plugging Greaveburn, looking for places to do signings or just to turn up and do a jig (I’m quit the Jigenator, when I need to be). I’ve also applied for a couple of jobs totally unrelated to my current Nursing career. Gasp. That’s right, folks, I’ve gone for writing jobs. Jobs that will mean that I write for a living as well as for fun. This could be either empowering or catastrophic. I’ll let you know how it goes. Cross your digits for me.

Other than that, it’s been full steam ahead (pardon the pun) with my next novel. As some of you may know, it’s being tentatively named The Chronicles of Alan Shaw (or just Alan Shaw for short), and it will be my first forays into Steampunk when I actually know that it exists. Unlike when I wrote Greaveburn and I had no idea. I’m not saying that I have any more of an idea now, but at least I’m going in with my eyes open and goggles firmly in place. Anyway, new project, new writing-high. It’s going well. I’m approx 75k words in, and only half way through as a rough estimate. It’s going to be an epic, I hope, with lots of juicy tidbits and complications and (without giving too much away) tie-ins, hopefully. We shall see…

Ooooh, let’s see…what else? I’ve been introduced to David Lynch films by the aforementioned James. I know, I know. Where have I been, right? Apparently buried under a laptop-shaped rock. As we finished our ghost hunting endeavours at 4am, we decided on a movie marathon the next day which consisted of Lost Highway, Hook, The Crow, and Monsters Inc. Quite the eclectic mix there, but it was a blast. There was Haribo and pizza, and many-a discussion about what Lost Highway actually meant. I don’t think we got very far with that last part. But any excuse to watch Bill Pullman play an adult character is fine by me (We shall not forsake thee, Bill, for the crimes of Casper).


And that’s just a few reasons I haven’t been around. Others include decorating and starting my next Open University course, but they’re boring ones.

Don’t forget, folks, that the Greaveburn Competition closes at midnight tonight. There have been some great entries (even a saucy one) and I’ll post the winner next Saturday. If you’ve been slacking and haven’t entered yet, get on it! A few late entries will be forgiven because I’m not a totalitarian author by any stretch of the imagination, so there’s still chance.

Have a good week!

Thanks for reading

>A big Hello!

>Hi everyone.

Let’s not beat around the bush here, this blog is about Movie Reviews. As time goes on, it might change and expand to other things. Let’s never restrict ourselves eh? And, being a hard working amateur writer, I might just plug my stuff when it’s due on the shelves. But who cares about that?

I’m not going to lie, I love movies. I could spend my every hour catching up on all the things I’ve never seen and eat popcorn until I develop an allergy and have to stop for the good of my own health. But because fo that, I’m a little judgemental. I dont care who won Oscars for what, I dont care how many stars Empire or the Times gave. What you’ll get from me is an honest impression. Saying that, I try to give a balanced argument. We might even have a laugh as we go along!

So, with no further a do, let’s talk movies…