Monthly Archives: April 2018

London Off The Tourist Map: No. 1: Smithfield

London’s less obvious areas have porous boundaries. Confusing to the casual visitor, they are hardly ever clearly defined, and Smithfield exists in blurred patch of London that lies between Farringdon, the Barbican, the Thames and Clerkenwell. It was once known as Smooth Field and is one of London’s most magical places, and one of the […]

Entertainment I Love That Other People Don’t Get

Of course some pleasures are universal. I’m a Shakespeare obsessive because you know, words, and after you trim away all the fat (who needs the second appearance of the ghost in Hamlet?) you have stories filled with emotions that everyone has felt and can therefore understand. I love Game of Thrones because it’s basically the […]

Entertainment I Don’t Get That Other People Seem To Love

The best piece of advice I was ever given was; ‘If 5 million people all love the same thing, you at least need to know about it and understand why’. The writer who stops caring what the mass of the public likes makes himself irrelevant.’ But these are the things I struggle with. All books […]

First Chapter: ‘The Curse Of Snakes’

‘The Curse of Snakes’, my first YA novel in a proposed series of six exploring old myths in a modern world, tanked after a messy edit and a disastrously mismanaged launch (it went through a variety of covers, titles, plans, an abbreviated name for me and eventually no plans at all). As an incorrigible optimist […]

Chapter One: The Curse Of ‘The Curse Of Snakes’

I’ve been asked about certain books by a few newcomers to the site, so I thought this would be a good time to take a look at first chapters, which can be very revealing – after all, they’re the ones that make the strongest impressions on readers. I’m starting with the oddest of the odd […]

What Nobody Tells You About Book Tours

My latest blog tour is about to kick off. What are blog tours? A regular tour is where the publisher sends you around the country by train and pays for your hotel so that you can do events and meet your readers. A blog tour allows you to answer questions from popular book bloggers wherever […]

Agesplaining: Far More Annoying Than Mansplaining

As I mentioned once before, here’s an image I really hate. It gets trotted out from the photo bank every time there’s a story about a ‘senior’, a ‘granny’ or anyone else over fifty. It’s not that the young feel contempt for older people but that many have no feelings at all because they haven’t […]

Why I Stopped Writing Horror Stories

Horror stories were once read by adults. They were specifically not for the young. Forbidden fruit, they revolved around unsettling (and unspoken) adults concepts, and were rarely predicated on shock effects. They looked outwards and encouraged the exploration of ideas. Of course there were straightforward classical-minded ghost tales from the likes of MR James, but […]