An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.


Who still visits this thing?

Hi everyone!

So it’s been a while, and I’m amazed to see that anyone still visits this old thing of a blog. If anyone wants to see one that I actually post to, head over to which I actually update more than once a century 😁
Thanks for reading, folks!

Back to Hopeless Maine (or did we ever leave?)

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you guys know about the release of a project that I’m very passionate about. Written and illustrated by the incomparable Nimue and Tom Brown, the brand new edition of Hopeless, Maine graphic novel has been uneashed upon the populace!

Here’s how Tom and Nimue describe their brainchild:

Hopeless is a strange, gothic island off the coast of Maine, cut off from the rest of reality for the greater part. Hopeless Maine is also a graphic novel series, the peculiar child of Tom and Nimue Brown. Here’s a little taste of island life.

Now what made me fall in love with these Graphic Novels was the artwork; a visceral Gothic masterpiece of landscapes and creatures that slithers in the dark reaches of the imagination like nothing else. I loved it from the very first images. Then, I read it, and fell in love with the brilliantly simple storytelling that gives plenty and leaves plenty, too, so that the reader can’t help but soar away on flights of their own dark fantasy.

As an honoured part of the Hopeless, Maine blog tour, I’ve been blessed with the presence of one of Hopeless’ denizens, the utterly creepy Owl Demon:


Owl Demon. To confuse matters, residents of the island of Hopeless, Maine tend to call anything unfamiliar a demon. This has included especially funny looking chickens, and a parrot who came ashore with a shipwreck. It’s difficult, when faced with some of the island’s resident life forms, to ascertain exactly how unnatural they are. However, if you scrutinise them closely, you will see that genuine demons seldom have plausible anatomies. They don’t need to, on account of being demons. Laws of physics and biology hold no interest for them. If you stop to scrutinise an entity for long enough to identify its demonic status, this is probably the last thing you’ll ever do. Understanding the nuances of islander demonology (assume it is a demon and run away) makes a good deal of sense if you aren’t interested in having your body parts slowly rearranged. For much the same reason that islanders do not look too closely at the anatomy of demons, no one asks too many questions about where the demons actually come from.

Cooking instructions: if you were even thinking about it, seek medical or spiritual help as a matter of urgency.

Brilliant isn’t it? And the graphic novels themselves are cover-to-cover with darklings and demons, nightmare creatures and cryptozoological monstrosities.

For newbies to the series, the books are available from all good comic stores and online sites. The best place, however, would be The Book Depository where you can get the preceding volumes as well as the latest instalment, Gathering.


I can’t recommend the work of the Browns highly enough.

Go get it. Get it now. Before it gets you!

Thanks for reading.

The latest event

Hi everyone!

Just thought I’d pop in and see how you guys are doing. So…what’s new with you?

I attended an event over the weekend called “Mines and Monsters” in Eastrington. It was a nice little event in a village hall, mostly focussing on Minecraft and pitched toward kids, but with some other geek-fest stalls. It’s the first one I’ve done in ages. I had the “opportunity” to get up on a stage, put a box on my head and play Minecraft (something I’ve never done in my life) while blinded and facing the opposite direction from the screen while kids screamed instructions at me. It was bloody hilarious and I was laughing the whole time inside my giant box-head. Suffice to say, I did not catch the pig I was supposed to be slaying. Which was confusing, because I thought that Minecraft was about building things.

I am such an out-of-touch old man hahaha

I think with Alan Shaw volume 2 not being out yet, that I was waiting for that before heading out again. That might sound crazy, but I hate feeling like I’m peddling the same old books each event. That’s also the reason that I haven’t attended any Steampunk events this summer, despite a flurry of emails to do so (which is always nice of folks). But, for some reason, I decided to accept this one, and I’m glad that I did.

It can be lonely being an author. All of your readers seem so far away, sometimes, and the reviews can be slow or non-existent which makes getting feedback really tough. For someone like me who loves to know what people did and didn’t enjoy so that I can keep working to improve with each book, that void of contact can leave me feeling cut off.

Then there’s the other bonus of selling my books to folks: I get a real kick up the arse about finishing the next one. Every time someone asks which of my books are part of a series, I look at the solitary Alan Shaw volume and think “dammit, finish the last one so its ready when volume two gets out”. Think how awesome it would be to have an actual completed series out there. All the ideas are in my head, after all, I just need to get them down.

But, as many of you will know, focusing on one project at a time isn’t exactly my thing. Right now, I have six separate book ideas in my head, three of which are on the go, one of which is written but needs tearing apart because it’s old and rubbish. And I love them all equally. They’re also ridiculously different styles and themes.

Why do I do this to myself?

Oh yeah, because I can’t help it and I love making things up 🙂

Anyways, that’s me for now. Inspired Quill are working on the edits for Alan Shaw volume 2 and I’m typing as fast as I can to finish the last book, for those who are waiting to find out what happens at the end of the series.

See you all soon!


Thanks for reading.

To the keyboard!

Hi everyone,

Well, after that horrible down period comes the upswing. This is the part that I wish I could ride forever. My fingers can hardly keep up with my brain. I’m still leaving Alan Shaw 3 to stew for a while. The ideas are coming thick and fast with one in particular that has tickled me into thinking that it’s brilliant (I’ll probably change my mind later), but I think I need a break from the Steampunk world. So, I’ve tinkered with my Cyberpunk novel a little, adding another 1k words. That seems to be going very slowly but I think I need to get into a flow with it, is all. The one I’ve picked up this morning, on a complete whim, is Emi. Remember that one? It was a while ago since I last talked about it:

Two dead humans, a man and a girl, wander through a post-apocalyptic landscape where the creatures of folklore and myth have returned. With their humanity forgotten and no purpose or destination, what could possibly happen?

I still love the idea of this story and I can’t wait to finish it. I think it has real potential to be brilliant…if I don;t mess it up. Right now, it feels a little disjointed and choppy, but it also fits with the style of the book. The character have no human drives or needs, only distantly remembered values that have no bearing or place in their new world.

I love books like this and I’ll admit that it’s a little experimental. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going, or if it has a story at all, but these characters keep going from encounter to encounter and I’m totally hooked on what weirdness will come out next.

It’s also going to be quite short, as I find most experimentally odd novels are, but that’s no bad thing. I think it might actually work in the story’s favour. I guess well have to see.

Anyway, I’m off to write more. Hope you all have an excellent writing day!


Thanks for reading.

Apologies for last week

Hi everyone,

If you were around last week, you’ll probably have guessed that I was having something of an authostential crisis. With three books out already and one on the way, and with three others that I’m working on as well as keeping this blog and Down Days up-to-date, plus keeping my Dungeons and Dragons column over at Geek Syndicate going, I think perhaps I was feeling a little out of sorts.

Sometimes it seems that all you do, as an author or writer, is throw things out into the thin air and watch them float away, never to receive any feedback. Of course, I expect nothing less. I’ve been doing this for quite some time and I expect no dizzying heights of fame or fortune. It’s just something that I love to do. However, living that sometimes vacuous existence can wear you down.

Plus, my publisher, Inspired Quill, in a recent meeting, has suggested that I should look for other publishers for future novels. This was under the guise of them suggesting a larger publisher for my books. However, there is always that thing at the back of my mind that says “The other authors are better and they’re wasting their time with me”. I can totally understand that mentality. They are running a business after all, and they need to collect authors who write in more mundane genres. I guess maybe I need a publisher who has Speculative Fiction as a larger part of their business plan.

So, that’s the plan. I need to find a new publisher. I also need to finish the next book.I also need to stop whining. Plan!

In the meantime, let’s hope that more people find my books and that one of them decides I’m a goddamn genius…


Thanks for reading!

So I’ve been reading…

Things have been busy lately, but I’ve finally found time to sit down and read in the middle of life and writing. So what’ve I been reading?

Nat Robinson

Basically anything this guy churns out is petrifying brilliance. As a short horror author, Nat really should be recognised more. He deserves to be up there with your favourites, whoever that may be.

I’ve read Devil Let Me Go, which is one of the few books that will never be removed from my shelves. Midway is also a slice of awesome if you like being psychologically terrified rather than gore-fested. But then he does the Splatterpunk so well, too. Truly a master of his genre. Highly recommended.

Lee Cooper – Granite Grit

Lee was kind enough to send me a copy of his book a couple of months back and it’s been daring me to read it ever since. A hard-hitting (exuse the pun) story of a man trailing his father through the gritty underworld of street boxing, it certainly is an intense read. It isn’t really my cup of tea, genre-wise, but that’s my personal preference. Perhaps someone who likes gritty realism would be better suited to it. If you like beefy boxers and bloody knuckles, this one’s for you.

Dean Burnett – The Idiot Brain

I mentioned this book briefly in Down Days. It’s a brilliant explanation of all the stupid things our extremely clever brains do and why. I found myself utterly fascinated and laughing like a loon at the same time. Burnett definitely has a flair for comedy and getting across complicated information so even I could understand it. If you’ve ever walked into a room and forgotten why, or had a conversation with someone and have no idea who they are, then maybe you should read this one.
So what about you guys? Read anything good?
Thanks for reading.

An exasperated author

Becoming an author is hard. No one will ever tell you otherwise. The mental dedication that it takes to sit down and write a book is immense in itself, never mind what it takes to deal with rejection after rejection, constantly fighting the rolling rock that tries to crush you as you shove it up hill, just because you want to share something that you’ve created with the world.

Then there’s finding an agent and/or publisher who believes in your words. And, after all of that, when your book is on shelves, there might still be the silence that follows. 

I’ve jumped through the fiery hoops that have led to my books being published. I’ve attended signings, radio interviews and promoted on social media to the point of exhaustion. You know what, fellow authors? I’m tired.

Some of you may know that I live with depression and have done for quite some time. I like to think that, in spite of that, I have always worked hard to remain optimistic and continue to work damned hard on my writing career. Still, there are days like these when I wonder why I bother.

Five years, I’ve been published. Five years and I feel like I have wasted myself. I don’t want millions of readers, or movie offers, or ultimate fame. I just hope for a few people to smile when they reach The End, for my stories to touch a small number of people. But today I feel unheard, unseen, unread. Maybe I’m just no good. Maybe the visceral images in my head and my writing skills just don’t match up. Maybe I just don’t write anything interesting. That’s OK. Not everyone’s ideas are widely relevant. Maybe all those books that I’ve read and courses I’ve completed were of no use.

But, if that’s true, then why has no one told me? Surely some kind of author euthanasia is appropriate here. Put the old dog down and save him the pain.

I’m sorry for this wallowing post, friends. I just feel so tired of it all. What’s the point of writing the last Alan Shaw book? I know how it ends and no one else cares anyway. What’s the point of trying to say something about society with a new cyberpunk novel if no one hears the take? What am I doing, wasting my time, bleeding at a keyboard for those stacks of paper to lay mouldering? Why am I killing trees that could be sacrificed for literature that’s worth while?

All questions with one answer. Give up. Accept that my best wasn’t enough, but the attempt was made. Move on. Wipe the hard drive. Keep my stories in my own head where they belong. Some dreams need to remain dreams.
This author is tired. He has had enough of failure. I will always be proud that I tried, at least.
Thanks for reading.