How to Psychologically Torture Your Characters – a Recipe

250g of resenting dependency of others150g of feeling like a failure100ml of selflessness and being used by people100ml of social pressures3tbsp essence of personal injustice5 medium sized organic unrequited love pods Mix all the ingredients in a pot and stir thoroughly until fully blended, leaving no lumpy bits of personal injustice. The unrequited love pods […]

Learning to Murder Your Darlings

Although most of my focus has been on releasing Salmonweird, (just two weeks away from release now!) I’ve made a lot of progress on Children of Phobetor this year. I’ve made more progress in one year than I ever thought I would for a book that’s 6 years in the making. Now I’m staring at […]

Some 21st Century Character Archetypes

This first appeared in 2012. New version edited and updated. I read a lot of books and I watch a lot of films and TV series, typically in the evening to wind down from spending all day on the laptop working. I’ve identified several tropes of the modern age. I don’t know if any appear […]

Feed a Writer AND an Artist: Buy Books New!

“Do you know how much it costs to pay an artist to design a custom cover for your book?” Was a question I recently asked of somebody in a book group. This was in response to how “cheap” self-published and indy book covers look, and that they “put readers off”. While readers are drawn to […]

Some Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Prequel

It seems prequels, prequel-sequels and sequels to prequels that remain prequels are all the rage at the moment. This year, I’ve read Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage (the first volume in His Dark Materials follow-up, but a prequel) and last weekend watched Alien Covenant. These two works have got me thinking a lot about what […]

Are You Ready for Dead Lock?

Visitors and observers of my Facebook Page yesterday watched my exciting announcement of my completion of horror thriller Dead Lock. Only the first draft, of course. I will spend the next few days correcting the proof copy before sending out review copies to those who have already agreed to review it. Yesterday was a cold, […]

Dead Lock Cover and Dead Heat 2nd Edition Cover

It’s nice to be able to start adding the final touches to Dead Lock now. Yesterday afternoon, I posted the new cover image and a new cover for Dead Heat, but I want to go into a bit more detail about the changes. Firstly, I wanted the Dead Lock cover (see below) to be a […]

How to Create a Book Title That Doesn’t Confuse the Reader

Last week in a Facebook book group I am in, a cover caught my eye and I enquired what the book was about. Both the title itself and the nature of the cover made it look like a fantasy or dystopia novel. Apparently, it was actually about a mother searching for her abducted son. This […]

Why Regional Food Culture Matters in Your Fiction

Food, glorious, food. Who doesn’t like it? We need to eat to survive but there is so much more to food than mere sustenance. I started writing about food on this blog when researching for my Romans vs Aliens novel (preliminary title: Children of Phobetor). The article on Roman street food remains rather popular. I […]

Brevity in Your Writing: Adding by Taking Away

When reading a book, nothing annoys, frustrates and irritates me more than when an author over-writes their work to the extent that it annoys, frustrates and irritates me no end. There has been a tendency in the last decade or so for enormous forest-killing books to exceed 800 pages to grace the book shelves of […]