Books

What I’ve Been Reading

Usually I’d post this on GoodReads but I find their interface a bit messy and frustrating, so I’m running it here this week. First off, I loved ‘Larchfield’ by Polly Clark, about a mother-to-be in a remote past of Scotland, fighting with the neighbours, trying to stay sane and write poetry, and finding a surprising […]

A Warning Against Originality

Somebody asked me the other day if ‘Plastic’ was ever published. I explained that it was a few years ago and is now an e-book too, so this piece is about the effort that went into the attempt to create a short, unclassifiable novel. I had grown up in the sixties surrounded by strange experimental […]

5 Easy Things You Can Do On World Book Day

Here are five things you can do on World Book Day today, wherever you live. Literacy is priceless and self-perpetuating, and a skill that costs nothing to keep. Your discernment and taste in reading gets richer and deepens with every year of your life, except in the case of my father, who was stayed with […]

Celebrating 20 E-Books: ‘Rune’

It came as a shock to me to open my battered copy of ‘Rune’ and find that the world of Bryant & May was already fully formed in my second novel. The characters are developed (although the idea of Bryant having ‘dinner with a beautiful woman’ is harder to see now) and there’s mention of […]

Behind the Net Curtains Something Lurks…

  Some authors seem to work forever below the waterline. They can be successful in their own right without impinging on the consciousness of an attention-deficient public, whose recall-rate of viral videos featuring inadequate Russian driving skills is far above works by novelists who bring a lifetime of experience to their craft. Equally, critics will […]

Celebrating 20 E-Books: ‘Calabash’

They’ve been remastered and have out into the electronic atmosphere, so to celebrate this massive backlog of 20 e-books finally being made available – a project I began with designer Martin Butterworth over two years ago – I’m going to occasionally publish an excerpt from the range. Here’s a scene from the novel ‘Calabash’ in […]

Today’s Challenge: Share A Writers’ Secret

    Recently someone challenged me to offer up a writer’s secret, something we don’t even talk about with other. So here’s one. Many of the writers I’ve met are addicted to covetously measuring the success of others. We don’t mean to, but the yardsticks of style, intellect and erudition can prove obsessive. We don’t […]

That’s Nearly All The E-Books – What’s Next?

The e-book arrival last week of my ‘Devil Quartet’ of short story collections, Personal Demons, The Devil in Me, Old Devil Moon and Demonized brings the new e-book total to 17, with just three more to go, Red Gloves Volumes 1 and 2, and the original collection Frightening, making a nice round 20 volumes. Everything else is currently […]

Waugh Stories

Imagine being part of a literary dynasty; the pressure to achieve must be unbearable. We automatically think of stern Catholic Evelyn Waugh as his dynasty’s prime mover, the man whose innovative satirical writing came to symbolise an era (that’s him above, looking extremely cross). But he wasn’t the only writer. Alec was the younger brother of […]

Six Letters, Starting With B

Dorothy Bowers was a crossword compiler, born in Leominster, Herefordshire in 1902. She was the daughter of a bakery owner, and after a short and not especially joyful life died at 46 from tuberculosis. At least she had the satisfaction of knowing that, on the basis of just six books, she had just been inducted […]