A Life-Changing Decision?

The wonderful world we inhabit. Photo courtesy NASA. I’ve slept poorly recently. This time I made a decision during the wakeful period. What kept me awake? Put bluntly; the dreadful state of the world today. Putting the most urgent issue of the environment emergency aside for the moment, in UK we’re now led by a …

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An Extended Pause.

A break from the relentless imperative of the internet is calling. This brief note is to let you know I’ll be absent from the internet, away from the keyboard and screen, for an unspecified period not likely to be longer than a couple of weeks, or so! I need time away from the chaos, insanity, …

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Landscape and Memory, by Simon Schama: #BookReview.

History 672 pages Art historian, philosopher, raconteur, academic, or proselyte? Simon Schama’s great tome carries elements of all these. One reviewer, quoted on the cover, adds ‘self-indulgent and perverse’, and I’ve no argument with those. There are undoubted instances of the self-congratulatory, ‘I know a lot more than you’, and the academic show-off in this …

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Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong, Reviewed.

This book needs no more reviews; but I’m a compulsive reviewer, so here goes. I’m of the generation the author writes about in this modern classic and found so many points on which I was able to connect that it was like making a visit to my early home. However, my enjoyment of the period …

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The Red Room, by Joan Barbara Simon, Reviewed.

I have never read anything like this. Now, there’s a statement. But what does it mean? This book is subtitled, ‘a portfolio’ and that’s a good description of the range of contents. First, let me advise potential readers that this is material for adults. Those who seek gentle reassurance in romance and the sweet murmurings …

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Mothers’ Day: A Best Friend Remembered.

In May this year, it’ll be 52 years since my mother died. That was 2 days after my 16th birthday and my memory of the day is, perhaps understandably, a little hazy. She was the victim of an idiot driver who reversed down a road in a place hidden from oncoming traffic. My father, driving …

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Honest Reviews

Do you write reviews? Do you read them; perhaps use them for some idea of whether a particular book is for you? It's certainly the case that reviews are an essential element for indie writers to get their books noticed. So, as with all matters commercial, an element of fraud and cheating has entered the world …

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Featured in a New Anthology.

A short while ago, I entered a short story into a contest. As usual, I then forgot all about it. A few days ago, I received an email to tell me my story, whilst not a winner, had been shortlisted and was to feature along with 25 others. It’s a collection of humorous stories written …

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Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 12.

Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve their craft. Here, I'm looking at ways to trim our writing. Readers will thank us. I'll look at common redundancies and a few flabby expressions. Ask the question: Can you do anything else with a question but ‘ask’ it? Of course you can: pose a question, even post a …

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A Weekend at #FantastiCon 2015.

And what a weekend it was! I first mentioned it in an earlier post, find it here. This was the second fantasy/science fiction convention I've attended. Both events were organised by my amazing publisher, Dan Grubb of Fantastic Books Publishing. The first was in Hull, last year. This year's event took place in the Country …

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The Island (Part 1), by Michael Stark, Reviewed.

This book, as the subtitle suggests, is the beginning of a story. For me, it is, as with so many 'books' in the current market, not what I understand to be a book. It's a scene setter. It follows a marketing technique that's been used in other industries for years but one I feel is …

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Launch of The Methuselah Strain in Hardback

My publisher, Fantastic Books Publishing has published my science fiction novella, The Methuselah Strain in a limited edition hardback version alongside the digital version. The book, all copies of which will be signed by yours truly, is due for launch tomorrow, 24th October at Fantasticon 2015. See the previous blog post, here, for full details …

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Fantastic Fantasticon 2015:

What is it? It's a different kind of fantasy/scifi/gaming convention open to anyone and everyone with an interest in these popular topics. A place to take part, rather than simply a market place (though there are things to buy for those who want them, of course). And if you're a Dr Who fan, you'll find …

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Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 11.

Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve their craft. Here, I'm looking at ways to trim our writing. Readers will thank us. I'll look at common redundancies and a few flabby expressions. But, reading this post and nodding wisely won't improve your writing. Stay alert to those extraneous words that sneak into text, or they'll slide …

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Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 10.

It's been a while: my apologies. I've been rethinking certain aspects of my writing life and deciding what changes I need to make, and when and where. And domestics have been a little unsettled recently with some slightly changed priorities that have made it temporarily more difficult to get on with my writing. Next Saturday, I'll be at …

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