Monthly Archives: June 2018

Caine’s Generation

I’ve just delivered the new Bryant & May novel, ‘The Lonely Hour’, along with my last new short story, specially written for crime editor Maxim Jacubowski’s possibly final collection, and before I go back into a new draft of my medieval epic I need to restock my brain, so I’m catching up with stuff I […]

This Is My 30th Anniversary As A Writer!

An article in the London Times by James Marriot this morning gets the day off to a depressing start. It was inspired by the fact – long known to us authors – that the average writer earns less than minimum wage. Earnings for professional writers have fallen by a staggering 42% since 2005, just as […]

The Swan (And Edgar) Song Of The Department Store

I’ve always loved big department stores. As a kid brought up in Gamages, Bourne & Hollingsworth, Marshall & Snellgrove, Derry & Toms and the rest I loved the order and regimentation of such institutions. Seeking them out in other countries I fell in love with New York’s Bloomingdales, with its platoons of knowledgeable old ladies. […]

The Illustrated London News

The Illustrated London News first appeared on Saturday 14 May 1842, as the world’s first illustrated weekly news magazine. It appeared weekly until 1971, then less frequently, and finally ceased publication as late as 2003, although the company continues today as a content and digital agency which holds the archives of the magazine. By 1863 the magazine was […]

The Tuesday Song

I know. I know. But it’s so gloriously hot and luscious outside, and I’m trapped inside with the curtains drawn, trying to finish my MS, so let’s have a song from the underrated Beatles jukebox movie ‘Across the Universe’. There’s something about Beatles songs that defies adaptation, but I enjoyed this tale of two lovers […]

The Writers’ Best Tool

In all of the self-help writing books that teach technique, plot structure and overcoming writer’s block (to readers who haven’t yet started writing!) hardly anyone addresses the one thing would-be authors need more than anything else. Take a look at the photograph and ask what you see. This was my secondhand paperback haul on Saturday […]

Write? But I’m A Working Mum!

Whenever I trawl through past books I can’t help noticing how many women writers gave up because the demands of looking after a parent or children prevented them from putting their thoughts on paper. For many, writing was one of the few ‘respectable’ jobs for a young woman, on a par with being a governess, […]

I Am Curious, Giallo

Every movie lover has pet hates. The two genres of film I least enjoy are chick-flicks and westerns, although there are a tiny number of both I’ve admired, ‘Prelude To A Kiss’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘The Big Country’ and ‘The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford’ among them. I grew […]

Fiction Gets Woke

The idea of being ‘woke’ isn’t so much new jargon, but a way of rebottling old wine with new subtleties. The word, which is African-American in origin, concerns the perceived awareness of issues concerning social, feminist and racial identity but is expanding to include all consciousness-raising matters. One can trace the racial use back to the […]

Comedy Not Funny: Official

An interesting piece in the London Times this morning. Shane Allen, Head of BBC comedy, has declared old comedy dead and says that shows like Monty Python which feature ‘six white Oxbridge males’ wouldn’t be commissioned now, and that in future there will be more diversity, with the all-black show ‘Famalam’ proving popular. Now, there […]