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 […]

Bookshops VS Amazon

A Kindle is like a toaster; it only does one thing. And its sales seem to have hit the buffers. This is not because readers don’t like onscreen reading, but because multipurpose devices have taken over; we now read on phones and tablets too, and we listen on audio. The Kindle did what the iPod […]

Night At The Cinema Museum 2

I think my taste has always been a bit suspect; I’ll quite happily watched terribly flawed films if they have an odd sensibility, but I cannot forgive poor writing. So my trash-aesthetic is a lower-set bar for films than books. Here are there remaining choices I made for the poor devils at the Cinema Museum, […]

Night At The Cinema Museum 1

I started to write this piece some time ago but never finished it – so I’ve concluded it now, and am running it over two days. ‘British film’ has always been a bit of a tautology, the punchline to a national joke on a par with ‘British car industry’. When I was in my early […]

London’s Secret Call To Arms

In March 1941, there occurred one of those odd little footnotes in history that most people have now forgotten about. Winston Churchill needed to prevent public morale from sinking. He knew the Germans were about to retaliate by hitting London and they did – on May 10 the city suffered its worst raid, with 2,500 […]

‘It’s All Getting A Bit French’

…So said a character in a British movie when everyone started getting aggressive. I thought of it because recently, a waiter who worked at a Vancouver restaurant was sacked for being ‘rude and disrespectful’, and has filed a complaint against his former employer, insisting his approach to the job was simply down to him being French. […]