Showing posts from 2010

A Timely Call From America

Just when I was at my lowest ebb, the phone rang. It was a call from America. The friendly female caller told me I was a finalist in a VERY BIG WRITING CONTEST. Out of the thousands who had applied, my story had reached the final eight. She said that even if my story didn't win one of the three prizes I should know that I'm a great writer. I could've cried.

I've never been a believer in destiny or providence, but I sure as hell needed that phone call last night. The timing was almost supernatural.

Happy New Year people! May 2011 be your year!

A Quick Audit

It's been a while since I've written about my writing projects so I thought I'd have a quick roundup of where things are at.

Novel: Lazarus Island
This is the novel I wrote a few years ago which consumed me completely at the time of writing it. I finished it and then just stuck in my trunk folder. I got it out recently and began reading it and was pleasantly surprised to find it still packed quite a punch. I've vowed to fix the ending and send it out asap.

Novella: The Vanished Race
This is the follow-up to The Hotel Galileo which was published last year by Wolfsinger Press. It needs one more polish and then it's ready for the world.

Novel: The Silver Sea
Can't say too much about this one only to mention how excited I am about it. Again, it needs one last polish before I can send it out.

Novelette: The Man Who Ate Planets
Coming soon in the Permuted Press anthology Best New Tales of the Apocalypse...

Lost and Found by Rhonda Parrish

Lost and Found is the new novel from Rhonda Parrish. Check out the first instalment here:

You can either read online or listen to the first chapter as a podcast. If you like fantasy you'll love this.


Hello you lovely people.

I've been out of the loop for a while. The lack of blog entries is testament to that. But I'm still here. If anything I've been recharging myself. I have several projects about to see the light of day and I have a number of irons in a varied selection of fireplaces. The only one I can confidently talk about is the long-awaited Permuted Press anthology Best New Tales of the Apocalypse edited by Bobbie Metevier and DL Snell. This collection of apocalyptic tales includes my story The Man Who Ate Planets. I can't wait for this anthology to come out. Seriously I cannot wait. It should be released any day now. As for the other projects - I'm hoping to report on them soon. How soon? Real soon....

Watch this space. No not that one. This one.

Once More With Feeling: In Defence of Remakes

There's been a lot of eye-rolling in the entertainment press regarding the glut of remakes dominating Hollywood output these days and I have to admit that, until recently, I've been shaking my head and tutting a fair bit, too. When I heard they were remaking The Omen a couple years back I remember feeling a pang of despair. Richard Donner's Omen is a timeless classic, with still enough power to chill the blood even today. Why remake it? (As an aside, although I haven't seen the 2008 version, I believe it was received with relative apathy from both audiences and critics alike.) Then I heard they were remaking Piranha. Why? The first one was a pulpy riff on the Jaws phenomenon. Did we really need it remade? And then, even more recently, I heard there are plans to remake Total Recall. Again, my cynical movie alter ego (let's call him Norman Barry) piped up with a derogatory sigh and the classic cry, "can't they come up with any new ideas istead of rehashing o…

Never Again - A Weird Fiction Anthology

The anthology, NEVER AGAIN, edited by Allyson Bird and Joel Lane, is now available for pre-order here:

The subtitle for this special collection is 'Weird Fiction Against Racism and Fascism' and the profits will help benefit charities such as the Sophie Lancaster Foundation amongst others.

The anthology contains fiction by some of the most talented writers around, including Nina Allan, Lisa Tuttle, John Howard, Tony Richards, Alison Littlewood, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Rhys Hughes, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Joe R. Lansdale, Kaaron Warren, Steve Duffy, Gary McMahon, Rob Shearman, Carole Johnstone, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Volk, Andrew Hook, Simon Bestwick and many more. Pre-order a copy today!

I can't wait to read it!

Sapphire and Steel

Just finished watching the complete boxset of Sapphire and Steel. This is a show which I only saw once when I was about ten years old and it left such a huge impression on me. I couldn't remember specific things from it (apart from Joanna Lumley's eyes going all blue and twinkly) but it was more of a feeling which stayed with me. Rewatching the series as an adult obviously means much of the magic is lost but, even despite the huge limitations of the budget, the show still stands up as a genre show that was way ahead of its time. I love the interplay between McCallum and Lumley (he is all cold and gruff while she is soft-spoken and all heart) and the ending of the final episode in which our heroes are left stuck in an existential trap - 'Nowhere...forever' - is just fantastic. For me, the shorter assignments (i.e. four episodes) were more successful but, as a whole, the series was a genuine original. I would love to see it brought back but only if they stuck to the show…

Story Goals and the Lost Art of Brevity

TV news just in: US networks have this week cancelled Heroes and Flash Forward. Why? Well, both shows had seen their viewing figures drop significantly. The reasons put forward for their respective slumps were a lack of direction in the former and a lack of brevity in the latter.

I liked Heroes. I watched the boxset of the first season and found it mesmerising. The second season was scrappy, no doubt marred by the writer's strike, and the third season just felt directionless. In any drama or work of fiction viewers need to feel there is a universal end-goal, a sense that the events (and the characters) they are following will reach some satisfying dramatic conclusion. (Soap operas are the only exception to this. They just go on and on and on - which is why I can't watch them - a dramatic phenomena I don't feel capable of explaining or understanding!) Sure, each individual season of any long-running drama has some story arc for viewers to follow, but it's usually just on…

Lost and the Road Not Taken

As someone who has watched Lost avidly since it first arrived on our screens six years ago, the latest and final season has been a bit lacklustre to say the least. I still enjoy it and I would never miss an episode, but it's almost as if the unveiling of the answers fans have craved for so long has let too much air out of the balloon and now it's just a matter of just seeing it through to the end. I'm hoping I'm wrong and that the finale will be as brilliant and as shocking and unpredictable as the writers have been promising all these years.

Anyway, the most interesting thing to come out of this season is the idea of the parallel reality seen in what the programme-makers are calling 'flash-sideways'. The detonation of the bomb back in 1977 created a different timeline for our main characters, an alternate reality running side by side with the events on the island. I'm not entirely sure where all that is going within the tv show but it got me thinking about …

Stephen King at the Movies

I love Stephen King.

I love his novels. I love his short stories. Hell, I love pretty much everything he's ever written. Of all the writers I've encountered, his his work has had the greatest influence on me. He's been called "a master storyteller", amongst many things, and I agree with this up to a point. I see him as the closest thing we have to a modern Mark Twain in his ability to capture the essence of small town America in populist fiction while spinning a great yarn.

So why on earth do almost all movie adaptations of his work suck?

Wait, let me just explain myself here.

I'm not saying all, I'm saying "almost all". There are exceptions. I would say (and yes, this is just my humble opinion) that the better movie adaptations are, in no particular order, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery, Stand By Me, The Dead Zone and a few others. There are many other movies/tv mini-series such as the original Salem's Lot, which have been &qu…

Author Threads

No, I'm not talking about a new high street fashion store tailored exclusively for writers. I just wanted to mention that the BFS forum now has a special little place for writers to discuss/promote/explain their various projects and publications. I've got a quiet little corner there myself. Thanks must go to Allyson Bird who has worked very hard to set this up for the BFS. Cheers, Ally! Everyone is welcome to drop in.
The link is here:

On NOT Writing

Writers write.

That's what they say. It's the first thing they think about when they wake up and the last thing on their minds when they put their head to the pillow. When they're not physically in the act of writing they're thinking through plot points, blocking scenes, inventing new ways to show character, and so on and so forth. And that is exactly what I've been doing for a while now. I haven't waited for the time to write I've made the time and that's worked pretty well so far.

But the past six months have been a kicker. For the first time in a long time there have been entire weeks when I haven't been able to write and I just wanted to talk about the effect that has on the mind and soul. When I say "haven't been able to write" I'm not referring to the great spectre known as writer's block. I'm talking about a situation when life - that is, the day-to-day demands of work and family and everything inbetween - when all tha…

The Hotel Galileo from Amazon

My alternate history mystery novella THE HOTEL GALILEO is now available to order direct from priced at just over £6. Until now this title was only available through so it's great to be able to offer people in the UK the chance to order it on this side of the Atlantic.
Here's the link:

News on the follow-up: THE VANISHED RACE, Barclay Heath's second mystery, is nearing completion. Editing is almost done and I'm hoping to send it to my first readers in the very near future. I hope to be able to post a few hints about the plot here soon.

Doctor Who: Farewell to The Tenth Doctor

Now that's it's all over and the dust has settled and Gallifrey has been sent "back into hell", I'm finally able to see just where the Tenth Doctor's final adventure fits into the saga since its rebirth in 2005. I've come to wait a while on such things before making any rash judgements as most of the episodes which I now regard as my favourites took a second or third viewing to really help me fully appreciate them. (Although there are two episodes which I hated on first viewing and still hate even now, which I'll mention briefly later on.)
So was The End of Time any good? Was it a fitting send off for David Tennant, voted by readers of Doctor Who Magazine as the Most Popular Doctor in the show's history? Did the final episodes do him justice? Well, yes . . . and no.

To explain: As always, the double episode crammed a fair amount of drama into the two hour running time with some moments swinging wildly from the sublime to the fairly ridiculous. For e…

The Future

I've been messing about with this blog for a while and the truth is I'm just not entirely happy with it. I have promised myself a 'proper' website in the near future (probably after my degree is completed in May/June) with free content and other lovely stuff. I have exciting plans for a more professional website. Watch this space for changes.

As mentioned I will finish my Literature Degree in June this year. After that it really will be no-holds-barred. The amount of projects I have on the go or 'on-hold' at the moment will ensure that the next twelve months will be a every busy and exciting time.