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Monthly Archives: June 2021

Harm’s Way


Having set aside the second draft of Little Blade, I began the first tentative steps of the first draft of the third and final book in the trilogy, Harm’s Way.

I’m just going to sketch out the structure. There’s a lot of plotting in this one, so I need to start carefully, ‘cos everything I do now will affect what happens later. Beyond that first sketch, I’ll let it flower in my imagination a bit before doing any more.



There comes a point during the second draft when you’re not adding, or subtracting, or making improvements, you’re just shuffling deckchairs.

So after a couple of false finishes over the last week, I’m definitely finished with draft 2 of Little Blade. I’ve exhausted the seam, need to let it marinate for a while.

What to do now?


winter is coming


But not for a while yet…










Midsummer Day.



call the cops!

Was busking in Durham with the Brothers last night and it was one long party. Ended up with a bunch of chavs, a load of dressed-up girls having a night out, and a dozen Royal Marines in party-dresses dancing like dervishes and cossacks in the market square.

Great fun.

Sadly, about ten o’clock the cops arrived mob-handed and made a beeline for the be-frocked Marines, and arrested them all. Dunno why. I have to believe it was something they’d done earlier, otherwise there’d be no sense in arresting them. Sure they were rowdy, and sure, they were dancing like maniacs, but then so was everyone else.

It was all a bit surreal – young fit men in party-dresses, handcuffed and led away to the cop vans. These lads man the walls of our society, they’re generous and friendly and absolutely necessary, and unless they’d done something serious earlier in the night, I think the polis should have cut them some slack.


Little Blade

Just completed the second draft of Little Blade, which is the second in the Jago series.

I’m going to set aside the next couple of months to do admin, connect with readers, all the stuff that isn’t writing but is part of being a writer.

If you want to get in touch, feel free. Contact details here:

change of mind


When I was a kid my gran had a caravan at a really cheap ‘n cheerful park on the coast. There were a lot of kids there, we all knew each other, and though I was one of the younger ones, it was good fun.

One day a weird thing happened. The owner of the park had had some work done on the shower block and, somehow, the cowboy who fixed the pipes in the shower rooms managed to connect the gas mains to the water pipe. Don’t know how that’s even possible, but it happened.

The result was, a pal of ours went to have a shower, turned on the water, and got gassed. He collapsed and nearly died. About a week later, when he’d gotten out of hospital, I noticed he stopped hanging about with us. It was like, somehow, the experience of nearly dying had altered his view of his life and, by extension, his view of his friends.

He had a near-death experience, and afterwards he didn’t want to be friends with us any more. He’d moved on, in some way. He found a door, and he stepped through it, and never came back. There was his life before the accident, and there was his life after the accident.

We were part of the before.

It still fascinates me; how did he do that? I want to know what he thought and how his thoughts changed. I remember him looking at us one day a week or two later, and his face twisted a little and he looked away.

It’s like I accidentally glimpsed a strange, unused path, and wondered where it led.

I still do.


just the words


I read a lot of pulp fiction, cheap thriller novels, and I enjoy them. Sometimes they’re better than you might imagine, and the ones that are poor, I just delete from my kindle without a second glance.

What I do notice though, is that often the writers of these books use cinematic techniques in their writing. It’s like they’ve watched the film of the story in their mind, before writing it down.

For example, the cat leaping out of the darkness when the audience expected the bad guy to attack, that’s a cinematic technique, as is the foot going through the rotten floorboard just as the hero is about to try and escape. You can just tell when the writer is watching the movie of the book in his mind, and describing what he sees.

But when it comes to writing, to misquote Pat Parisi, it shouldn’t be cinematic. It doesn’t need to be. Your mind fills in all the gaps as you read.



What is it about warm summer nights that makes me want to drink red wine?