An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.


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.

It’s been a long road…

Hi guys, it’s me again. Well, it’s been a busy time! Quick update, I guess.

Author First, my editing service, is going well. I have a few recurrent customers now, which is always lovely, and it’s managing to keep me from starving.

Also, the free e-book on living with depression, Down Days, is doing well. There have been a lot of supportive comments and lots of shares which is always appreciated and makes me think that perhaps I did the right thing by pouring my heart out on paper, although it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

What else? Ummmm….The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume 2 is now with Inspired Quill. I’m just waiting for my turn in the editorial queue as they’ve taken on a lot of great authors lately who are itching to get their first books out. I don’t mind waiting, to be honest. I remember well what it was like to wait for that first book to be released, and the euphoria that came afterwards. They deserve it for all their hard work. IQ have also launched a training course for any aspiring authors that you can find HERE

In other news, my column over at Geek Syndicate is going well, too. Lots of D&D related fun happening there. While we’re on it, my D&D games are getting to be really fun. I think i’m getting into my stride as a DM and acting out characters is getting to be my favourite part, where roleplaying used to be the bit that I dreaded most.

As for writing…it’s going sloooowly. I quite simply haven’t had much time to write lately. Emi is still stuck in a rut that I can’t seem to get out of. I have started a new novel, though, a cyberpunk story which mixes the gaming and real worlds with questions about humanity and where we’re headed. That’s a lot of fun to write and I’ve decided to use only non-gender specific terms and names to show how gender equality has progressed even if the world is otherwise falling apart, a subject close to my hopes for the real world.

I have a signing booked at the Sandbach Author Event on the 5th of November. It’ll be the first one I’ve managed to attend in a while since my car exploded the day before my last signing (long story). Hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

That’s about it from me. Pretty boring, really.


Thanks for reading, anyway!

Down Days

Morning everyone!

It’s taken a lot of tissues and typing but my POV view on living with depression is finally here. It’s free to read and download and distribute so head over and take a look. Since I released it this morning, there have already been 150 hits, a number that truly astounds me.

If you feel like trying to help spread the word and break the stigmas around mental health, depression and anxiety, then it’s right HERE.

There’s a lot more information behind that link as well, so I’ll let you have a read for yourself.

This has been a quick post, I know, and I apologise but I’m already getting floods of comments to my shares that I need to keep up with.

I hope you’re all having a great Sunday!


Thanks so much for reading.

My Pokemon Go progress

So the world has changed since Pokemon Go was released. I’ve met a stack of lovely people, everyone is wandering around being generally awesome in the sunshine rather than hiding away in our dens like us geeks usually do.

I joined Team Instinct (haters gonna hate). And, I have discovered, I am therefore outnumbered and outgunned to a ridiculous degree. But that’s OK. Every game I’ve ever played, be it RPG or otherwise, I choose the hard option. Always. It’s more fun that way 😁

Fifty-nine of the little blighters have been caught (I’ve seen sixty but a Wigglytuff escaped my clutches). And, as I’m sure you’re expecting, the battery on my phone has died many deaths. It’s a great game with real potential to get people outside and walking like no other app in creation. 

There have been stories of negativity, of course. People can be douchebags. But most of the truly dangerous outcomes have actually had nothing to do with the game. Someone mounting a curb to hit a kid or someone shooting another gang member has very little to do with catching charizards. As usual, I implore you to ignore the media just…forever.

I even got my first gym! Kicked those blues right out and hoisted the yellow flag of awesome! (It probably lasted all of five seconds but the victory is real)

I’m having an immense amount of fun and I’m sure you are all too. What’s your progress? Put me to shame!
Thanks for reading!

Writing projects

I always wonder how those authors do it. You know, the ones who start a book and get all the way to the end in one concentrated slice of…concentration. I’d love to be able to do that. But I just can’t. Maybe I’ve gotten into bad habits. Mixing shift work with writing means that I have to take what I can get when I can get it. That also leads to writing whatever pops into my head when I get a spare moment. Hence, I always have a few projects on the go at once.

At the minute, I have a few things going on. With The Adventures of Alan Shaw part 2 being finished (subject to publisher edits) I’m working on part 3. I’m also officially back on with Emi (check the WIP page if you’re interested). However, there’s a secret third project that seems to be eating my attention right now. I’m calling it Down Days. It’s a POV book on what it’s like to suffer with depression.

It’s a strange beast in a few ways. I’m writing about myself, and some pretty personal stuff at that. I’m going for complete honesty and I’m not editing anything out. That’s scary. Secondly, I have never written anything like it before. I’m not just out of my comfort zone, I’ve been separated from it by generations of warfare. It’s turning into a great cathartic experience, though. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much while writing. A sadistic part of me must be enjoying it as I’m already at 11k words. I have no idea how long something like this needs to be. I usually say that a story will be as long as it wants to be, so I’ll stick with that.

In other news, I’m doing a column for geek syndicate about Dungeons and Dragons! Take a look over HERE. I’m having a lot of fun writing it and, once more, I’m doing something that I’m not used to. Prose is my usual thing and all this non-fiction and article writing is keeping me on my toes. Never a bad thing.

So that’s what’s happening with me.

How’re you guys doing?

Thanks for reading.