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Monthly Archives: May 2017


Favourite books of all time:



Orlando – Virginia Woolf



Neuromancer – William Gibson



Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy



Tortilla Flat – John Steinbeck

when we should be diving for pearls

Life gets in the way.

It should be written on my gravestone. At the moment, the only spare time I have to write is a Saturday night.

Now, in fact.

Virginia said that all you need to be a writer is a private income and a room of your own. Well, I’ve got a room, but I have to work for a living, which cuts into the writing time somewhat. And I have a life, which soaks up most of the rest of my time. But Virginia owned a publishing company too, while I merely aspire to a new Macbook.

So I’m going to go and work on Grendel, which is bubbling away at the back of my mind; so many questions I need to answer before I can continue, but I have to write in order to discover the answers.

It’s an addiction, writing.
Which is why I do it.


update: Grendel is available now – click the title for link.


free beer

Enough of my headaches!

Played another gig with Thelonious Punk the other day, this time on tenor sax; my third instrument in as many gigs, and all of them equally mediocre. Has to stop, so I told Ralphy that I was going to stick with tenor from now on.

I’ve had to learn the set three times, and he’s such a brilliant, mercurial soloist that I need to be on top of my game just to be keep him in sight. I’ve got ten days to polish up my act a bit, in Bb*. The fortnightly residency we’ve got only offers free beer, so the sets get freer as the night progresses, and we really don’t care what the audience or management think, as we’re only doing it for fun.

We’ve been offered some paying work off the back of it, which is nice. And they’re talking about us playing an all-nighter on the bank holiday.

An all-nighter for free-beer?

Haha, are they mad!

* talking of Bb instruments, this website is great: In Bb

28 days later

Purdah’s nearly over.


I don’t pay attention to the sort of narrative theories studied in university, I had them down as a french plot back when I was an undergraduate and life since then has only reinforced my first impressions. Neither do I pay attention to the how-to-write structures promoted by creative writing classes. My only responsibility is to the story, and only I know if I’ve done it right.

However, the best description I’ve ever come across for a universal narrative structure is this:

  • Equilibrium
  • Disequilibrium
  • New equilibrium

And even then, I pay it no mind.

telling tales

Writing a story is a strange thing. From a few disparate events, from transient moments or  an overheard name or phrase, I create characters and places and a brand new story which didn’t exist before I created it, and even in the creation is still being created, being moulded, being redrafted, until it reaches something like real.

It’s a leap of faith too: firstly and, to me, most importantly, that it will work. That is will be any good. Secondly that anyone will enjoy reading it.

And there’s a whole level of something approaching arrogance, or maybe blind faith if I want to be a bit charitable. Just the feeling, the inclination that I can do it. That I can make things up, that I can write thousands of words, and that they will work together to create a story.

But mainly writing is something I do because I am compelled to. I get up at five every morning, drive to a nearby MacDonalds, buy myself a coffee, and I write for two hours. I just write.

It’s how I make sense of the world.

The Shakers – free download

My best short story collection.

Free Kindle download 14-18 May. Click image for link to Amazon page:


Still haven’t got a title for this.

Went back to complete the first draft after a period of some months, and it’s coming together, but detailed, it’s going to be nearer 90,000 words if I’m not careful plus, in my head at least, it’s spawned a second novel, and a third, so a trilogy. But I’ll be happy to complete the first one and leave it at that.

It’s coming together though. Can’t promise it’ll be any good, but I’m liking the makings of a first draft.


Whatever stories I write, whether they’re good or bad or somewhere in the middle, and however much I love the characters that inhabit them, they’re just stories. They’re just made-up things.

If the characters I write about are alive, in some way – if they inhabit a tangible reality – then they do so in a way that is beyond my ability to explain.


I’m working a job three days, Tuesday to Thursday, and writing on my four days off. It’s Wednesday evening and I just can’t wait to get writing again, so roll on 5am Friday. I’ve no idea if the story I’m working on is going to be successful, but I’m going to give it the full note value.

It might turn into two books.

Or three.