Saturday, 11 April 2015

Friday, 13 March 2015

Terry Pratchett And The Sound Of Pages

I was lucky enough to meet Terry Pratchett on three occasions, and each time he greeted me like an old friend, as though we were picking up a conversation we'd left behind on our previous visit. In reality I was just one of many, many people who had queued to spend a moment with the man who wrote some of the greatest books that had ever been published.

He was gracious and friendly and pleasant, adding messages and pressing ink stamps of Discworld characters onto books as he chatted with everyone. I remember one evening seeing him with a bag of frozen peas at the ready to soothe his aching hand after signing for so many people.

The true depth that his work worked its way into our lives has only really become apparent for many people since news broke that he has passed away at the age of 66. The stories, the characters, the style, the humour, the satire, all of those things have now crystallized in our minds once again. The books are wonderful, and his legendary status was further cemented by his fascinating nature in conversation, his love for Orang-utans, his wit, his honesty regarding his fight against Alzheimer's disease and his will to carry on.

His loss has hit me harder than it probably should have. I may have spent a few brief moments with him, but I didn't know him. I just admired and enjoyed. I was just another fan, but he made everyone he met feel like the most important person there. With his passing we have lost a treasure of a man, a cherished mind and personality.

But we haven't. Not really.

Here, let me explain with my own brief tribute.

The Sound Of Pages 

News travelled fast. Very fast. “The End,” the final tweet had said. The news sites picked up the moment quickly. He had gone. People began to hear the news right around the world that a life had been cut short, a wonderful mind had succumbed to ill health. A man that many saw as an inspiration, an entertainer, a genius, had gone. 

Across the world there was mourning. Across the world there were stories shared of what his creations had meant to people, the things his unique vision had brought into the lives of millions. 

Around the world, hands reached up to shelves and pulled out well-worn paperbacks and hardbacks. Favourites that had been there throughout entire lives. 

Around the world, the sound of pages rose, turning with the world, rising like a whispering wave. Inside that sound, between those turning pages, there was the sound of laughter, the sound of adventure, the sound of wizards and witches and idiots and heroes and more idiots and a rather hairy Librarian, the sounds of people who lived in a carpet, the sound of real society being pointed at, the sound of years of stories being rediscovered, remembered, relived. 

The pages continued to turn, and as the legend of those stories was ignited anew, they would continue to turn for generations to come. In the sound of pages, between those adventures and gasps and snorts and explosions and chases and schemes, deeper, between those wonderful things, a softer sound was there. 

In the sound of pages, the great man breathed again.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

My HALESTORM cover story - out now!

My interview with Lzzy Hale of rock giants HALESTORM is out now - the cover feature of our current issue!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Leonard Nimoy: We have been, and always shall be, your friends

Hearing about the death of Leonard Nimoy has been a poignant and strange thing today. He was an incredibly talented man, loved by his colleagues and fans across the globe, and leaves behind a legacy like no other. The things he did, the decades spanned where his work had become part of the backbone of popular culture, the number of things he created which have entered the lexicon of our lives is astounding.

His sad passing has made fans new and old revisit some of his greatest moments as Spock, the many glorious moments from TOS, the iconic and now even more poignant death of Spock in The Wrath of Khan, along with all the other moments which further strengthened his legendary status.

Personally, something which has stuck with me for years now is his performance onstage with a number of other Star Trek luminaries in Alien Voices: The First Men In The Moon, a live adaptation of the HG Wells classic. Hearing Nimoy perform without the expectations that came with him being in costume as Spock gave me the first real taste I'd had of his versatility. As much of a Star Trek fan that I am, the thing I'll remember the most is that powerful performance. I must revisit that soon.

Leonard Nimoy's passing has also made me think about how things continue to change around us each day. The heroes I grew up with will one day all be gone, replaced by things I can't imagine and which I won't understand as I age myself and move away from being in the loop about the latest cultural changes. It hasn't happened yet, but it comes to everyone eventually.

However, even when heroes such as Nimoy are claimed by failing health, the eras they created that defined generations of fans around the world live on in the recordings, the continued passion of the fans and what we pass on to future generations. It's important that the wonderfully creative work of people such as Leonard Nimoy isn't brushed aside and forgotten by future lovers of the fantastic. The original series may seem quaint now, but it was groundbreaking when it first aired. It changed perceptions. It challenged established ideals. It changed popular culture forever.

Leonard Nimoy was an integral part of that change. That zeitgeist. That cultural shift.

What an incredible thing to leave behind.

Monday, 16 February 2015

More words in, more words out

I really need to finish reading some of the books which have found their way into my bedside table. The above pictured books are recent additions to the library which appears to have taken over our house, but I've not had chance to finish any of them yet. This has had a knock-on effect with my writing, as the more I read, the more I'm able to write. It's a well-worn bit of advice for writers to read as much as possible in order to develop and maintain their craft, and the proof for me is that when I can't get the time to read enough, my productivity also suffers. 

I've certainly noticed this recently. With a full time day job, two small children, work on the house and my regular freelancing, time available for my books is at a premium. Energy is a rare thing too, as sleep has been a scarce creature since becoming a father again. 

All of this sounds like me making excuses. I'm really not. It's just important to me that people know I'm working hard to get to the place I've always wanted to be with the stuff I write. It's not been easy lately, but I'm battling on. I love doing this. I promised myself and those around me that I would carry on, following the experiment of putting out A Stolen Fate, and so here I am. I'm really enjoying it when I get the time to actually get some words down into the various files, but I would really like those moments to be less infrequent.

February 2015 - portrait of a caffeinated hack
One way I've got around the lack of time at home is to work on my commute, during which I've actually made a hell of a lot of progress this past few months, making my magazine deadlines easier to fit in with daily life, work and my unending desire to get the stories out of my skull and into the skulls of others. However, recently even those times have been fruitless, as they've been taken up with me either feeling too ill or sleepy to concentrate, or with me trying to focus on whichever book I'd taken out with me and failing miserably due to tiredness.

Thus my productivity has wavered somewhat. The less I read, the less my brain is well-oiled enough for hefty bouts of writing new content. The books I have scheduled to come out this year are all on target, but there's so much more I want to get out there for you. I mean, what else am I going to do with all this stuff?

Incidentally, I had 90 minutes of free time today with no other distractions and got another 1,500 words added to the current novel. It just goes to show you.

So the point is simple. Keep reading and you'll keep writing. Keep it varied, too. Read widely. Read voraciously. 

Oh, and if you see me nodding off with a book in my lap, give me a poke, yeah?


PS My blog will now have a conscious focus rather than the random jumble of stuff which it's had since I started it. I'm going to gear it more towards the life of a semi-pro hack trying to fit in interviews with rock stars in the middle of getting the kids to bed and then getting something done on the novels.
So yeah, a new start from here.

BTW - look out for my interview with none other than Lzzy Hale of the mighty HALESTORM at the end of the month in our next issue.

Friday, 9 January 2015


Cover to be finalised - but this is close!
ROGUE SOUL, the continuation of the story which began with A STOLEN FATE, will be released on April the 6th. The Shadow Children return, and this time they're not alone.

The events of the first book have stirred up forces darker than the undead heroes of A Stolen Fate have ever imagined. Secrets will be revealed, new mysteries discovered and a threat like no other must be overcome, or the fundamental rules of existence may be shattered forever.

The Shadow Children will face their origins, or lose everything.

Full blurb coming soon. Rogue Soul will arrive in trade paperback and Ebook from Dreamrider Media in April.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

That was a year

I wasn't intending to do an end-of-year post this year, but 2014 has turned out to be a little odd. It has been a year both life-affirming and heartbreaking, energizing and exhausting. I began the year optimistic that I would be able to achieve a few things, and it was a marvellous thing to be able to see two long-standing projects come to fruition at last.

The first was the release VHS ATE MY BRAIN back in March. The limited signed run sold out in six days, and the book has been selling in physical and digital form way beyond my expectations ever since.

I'd like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to every single person who has checked it out. I genuinely had no idea that a print-on-demand book about such a niche interest would be picked up by so many people. Thank you so, so much.

The other was my debut full length novel, A STOLEN FATE. It's imperfect, but I'm extremely proud of how it turned out. I am certainly excited to be bringing you the first sequel, ROGUE SOUL, in April 2015. There will be various other releases from me throughout the year.

This year was defined mainly by the birth of my second son, who is a wonderful little person full of laughter and dribble. My first son continues to amaze me every day with his sense of humour and rapidly developing intellect, and my wife continues to be my best friend as well as my spouse.

The year draws to a close with some sad family news which came about this very morning, on the last day of the year.

Thus I find myself in a reflective mood as 2014 ends and I welcome 2015. What to I strive for in 2015? To be better. To do more of what makes me happy. To create more. To remember who I am a bit more often.

I wish you the very best of luck with your new year. Treasure its newness. Run with it.

Endings are beginnings.

Much love,