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Monthly Archives: September 2019


My favourite books tell stories that I want to be involved in, they create characters I want to know and describe places I want to visit.

When William Gibson turned the Golden Gate Bridge into a shanty town in Virtual Light, I really wanted to live there, up on the wires, maybe find a shack near the top, next door to Skinner and that biker girl he adopted. When I read Elmore Leonard’s Swag I wanted have a beer or maybe eight beers with Ernest Stickley Jnr. in the Prancing Pony in the village of Bree, then fall out of a car, drunk, with Terry Lennox.

I still want to stand in the forests of the north alongside Rudd Threetrees against The Feared, brawl with Henry Chinaski on skid row, spend a morning studying the creatures washed up on the beach with Doc. And if we’re talking beaches, I want to visit Lochdubh.

Stories take me places that I really want to be.

paperback writer.

This blog is a little over ten years and 1000 posts old – that’s 2 entries a week for a decade – it would have been more but I went through a phase when I deleted a lot of my favourite ones. Don’t know why. Can’t get them back.

Before this I wrote a blog from 2006-8 about my teaching job under the pen name Daniel Ken/Keane (it’s an accent thing) and that got a couple of books written that are in print. Check the teaching novels page on the site for details.

This Year I put out Dealer No. 1 which is excellent, but could do with a copy-edit, and Shoreline Gold, which is an early one and more meditative and, by a tiny margin, I prefer it.

Christmas should see the completion of .50 Cal  or whatever I decide to call it, the second in the Mark Barrett thriller series. A third short story collection is due soon and the Christmas collection Comfort & Joy should be available in print too, hopefully before the festive season arrives.

I’ve had agents and publishers, but I prefer to be an indie writer. It’s more satisfying, though it’s also more challenging. I don’t enjoy the hassle of finding cover designers and artists, and publicity can be difficult because I don’t have the network of contacts of a publishing house, but I do like the purity of vision it allows me.

I’ve got a lot of stories left to write. I’m working through them.



Been spending a lot less time online.

I’d forgotten how interesting real life can be; I’m rediscovering stuff.


I did a 5-day e-tox which meant I had no computer time, I switched back. to my brick phone and I even began reading paperbacks rather than use my kindle. Kept a paper journal.

It went well.

So I’m I’m going to do a 10-day e-redux from 16-25th. Not so much a blanket ban on technology, but a massive reduction, allowing myself only 2 daytime checks of the computer, revert to my brick phone, and insert exercise and meditation into the space I would normally use for surfing t’web.

Using a paper notebook instead of this, and back to reading paper books.



blue note

Gave up playing in bands this week.

The last few gigs have been rubbish, the final one was a 10-2.30 daytime slot playing to the Great North Run. The band comprised of two guitars, a keyboard and three saxophones, along with two singers and a rhythm section. Someone was blowing a whistle too. Couldn’t hear a thing. Didn’t get paid either, though I didn’t know that until it was over.

Anyhow, enough of that rubbish. If I play at all, I’ll be busking.

On the plus side, it takes away a lot of background noise, literally as well as figuratively. I’m going to focus my time and energy on The Plan.


The knife shop replied and told me what I’d asked for is too expensive, so I either pay more or choose something else.

It took me a day to decide on the original replacement choice, so I really don’t know how I’m going to find a third alternative this side of November.


PS – I eventually chose a multi-tool. I will never use it.

favourite authors

The long list changes from day to day, but there are some who always make the list:


Jane Austen. Because she’s Jane Austen.

John Steinbeck. For his short novels.

William Gibson. For imagining the world in advance.

Elmore Leonard.


Despite the above, I’m currently re-reading the Cassandra Clare novels.



favourite musicians

My favourite musicians are:


Bill Evans, for his use of space.

Neil Young, because he’s Neil Young.

Robert Fripp, because of his conceptual approach. And also cos he’s blindingly good, whether on his own, with his band, or as a sideman.

John Coltrane.




Having returned my over-large pocket knife to the company I bought it from, they asked me what I wanted in return. I honestly don’ know, there are so many options, blade types, lengths, different steels… or I could buy a torch, an axe, a rucksack…

I’ve spent an entire morning and haven’t managed to decide.


After a busy spring, I took the summer off from writing. It’s Autumn now and I’m ready to go.

Things to do:

  • Begin promoting DN1
  • Add thumbnails to my short stories
  • Ensure my short story collection, the shakers, is available in print and online. It’s currently down, awaiting a cover. Plus I need to get hold of the MS, which I’ve lost.
  • Complete the second Mark Barrett novel (whatever it is eventually called)
  • Continue working on the following novels:

The trick is to get back to my writing routine. It will flow from that.