As do novels, all too often. It’s exactly six years since I sat down to write a 2000-word short story, The Bath Curse, for the Open University Creative Writing course I was then undertaking. At the time, I thought it might also make a good opening to a novel about Roman Britain.Continue reading “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow…but slowly”
Five months ago I realised Covid wasn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Mainly because our beloved leader and his cabinet of All-the-Untalented were showing every sign of world-beating incompetence. We never stood a chance of avoiding the second wave, let’s be honest.
As it turns out – how can I state this modestly? – I was right. So I needed a distraction, and I found one.
Now, after five months of spending every afternoon Mon-Fri buried in my virus-free hillside writing cabin, I have emerged having finished my RomanoBritish mystery novel Governor’s Man: The Bronze Owl. Hopefully it will be the first of a series that people will like.
The word “finished” is of course light touch. So far the first draft has gone off to valiant beta readers for initial impressions, and even more nervously to my gallant editor Gemma Taylor at Oakleaf Editing, she who must be obeyed.
In the meantime, I’m off to walk the well-ventilated and hopefully virus-free beaches of Devon for a week, with my long-suffering dog and that man who brings flasks of tea uphill to the cabin. And to play ludus latrunculi.
Of which, more later in the book …
It’s been a while since I wrote in this blog. Sorry about that.
It isn’t that I haven’t been writing. I have – up to 1500 words most weekdays, escaping into the world of my novel Governor’s Man: the Bronze Owl. Third century Roman Britain, the south-west to be precise, with excursions into Londinium and Rome itself. It’s a surprisingly alluring haven, despite the lack of central heating and Netflix. Actually some of the scenes do feature central heating, for which my policeman/detective Quintus Valerius is endlessly grateful given the vagaries of the British climate.
Back in the autumn, the bijou but lovely team at Stormy Island Publishing kindly accepted my flash story Mirror at Midnight for their upcoming Halloween anthology. Then fate intervened, via toddler’s orange juice poured into the editor’s laptop, and Halloween went by uncelebrated (by me). Continue reading “Fear and Fables…horror at Christmas”
I don’t often write about political events, either here or in my travel blog
This blog is intended for those who love reading, and might like to follow my writing and publications. Nevertheless I won’t apologise to you, my readers, for diverting today a little way down the murky paths of UK politics. But you are deserving of an explanation, so here goes:
If you’re dead or live on Mars, you may not have heard of the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Being neither a Martian, nor moribund (last time I looked), I was already aware that Swanwick is the oldest independent writing school in the world. But it’s taken me several years to take the plunge as a delegate. I assumed it would be packed full of published authors, all knowing each other. I pictured myself sitting forlorn in a corner, ignored by the great and good, and then slinking away to my room, knowing myself to be right at the muddy bottom of the literary food chain.
I’ve come a long way from the Malverns to conduct a bloodbath. My home for this week is the The Court in the tiny village of Sheepwash, Devon. Lovely hosts Debbie and Wendy run Retreats for You in this beautiful sixteenth century townhouse, mainly for writers, but anyone in need of utter peace can enjoy their splendid hospitality and the deep rural peace here.
This blog is usually about my writing, or other authors I love. In case you’re steeling yourself for the crushing disappointment of not hearing about my latest publication, relax. There will be links to my new anthology at the end.
We writers tend to live in a fantasy world of our own creation much of the time. But at times in any writer’s life, reality doesn’t just intrude: it bangs open the door, shouts loudly to attract attention, and continues to be demanding and exhausting for as long as it can get away with. A bit like a teenager.
The turkey’s all eaten, the Christmas decorations packed away in the loft, and 2016 securely seen out amidst much maudlin remembering of auld acquaintance.
Goodbye 2016, hello 2017. It’s New Year, the annual opportunity to turn over a new leaf and generally plan to live a fitter, happier and more productive life.
New Year, New Me. Time to change my life.
I’ll lose those twenty pounds, take up virtual boxing, learn Vietnamese, and create tofu cuisine. Just like January 1st last year, when I committed to learn German, enrol in spinning classes, eat more mackerel … and, er, lose those twenty pounds. Continue reading “Banish the New Year resolutions!”