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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Vanished Race - OUT NOW

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If Agatha Christie Wrote Science Fiction . . .

Two years ago my first novel, The Hotel Galileo, was published by Wolfsinger Publications and one of the back cover blurbs declared the following: "If Agatha Chrsitie had written fiction she would have stayed at the Hotel Galileo . . ." (Thank you, David Boop). After pondering that sentence for a while it struck me that what I was really trying to do with the book (and consequently the series) is what all writers do: create something they can't find in the current market.

How many times have we enjoyed a certain book or film or tv series and said afterwards, "Yeah, I really enjoyed that . . . but what if they did it this way, or in this type of genre, or with vampires?" For me, The Barclay Heath Mystery Series (which now includes The Hotel Galileo and The Vanished Race) was borne of a love of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries and an underlying desire to do something different with the genre. I loved the traditional 'Britishness' of Christie…

The Healing Power of Stephen King

It's happened before. Many times. When I'm feeling down, moping about in what Dorothea Brande called that 'slough of despond', there's only one tonic I can rely on to reinvigorate the creative juices, to fight off the shackles of despair and stop the old Muse from draping herself languidly over a metaphorical sofa like a pampered tart with a headache. The name of this miracle tonic? Stephen King.

In tough times I've always turned to one of King's books. Non-fiction works are just as good as novels. On Writing always helps relight the fires. As does Danse Macabre. But anything from the opening passages of Carrie to the epic conclusion of The Dark Tower is usually enough to drag me from the pit of despairing writers and hoist me, breathless, onto safe ground. This latest bout of fear and self-loathing has been a pretty protracted affair (months rather than weeks or days), and even the surefire King cure-alls failed to work. But in the end, I found the pill I …

What is a Slow Learner To Do? Guest Post by Lee Thompson

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I remember when I was younger, all the hours I put into martial arts and how people thought it came naturally. But I lived it, breathed it, dreamt and caressed it. And then in my twenties playing guitar and having other musicians around Detroit say I had something unique going on, something really special, while I let my soul bleed through my fingertips. I wish I was a natural at a lot of things but know I’ve never been with anything (except maybe daydreaming.) So yeah, I’m a slow learner. My buddy Ken made a blog post recently about discipline, how he wished he had more of it. That’s one thing I’ve always had, luckily. Whether I was imagining, training, writing songs, or whatever, I was committed and they were a priority—those things occupied space in the forefront of my mind even when I was doing something else. I’d work out the images, the motifs, the substance and structure constantly and consistently.Something I read a long time ago that I think has a lot of benefits if put into …

Live to Write, Write to Live

By any standards, being a writer is not a sane life-choice.

It takes a monumental feat of perseverance and self-belief to achieve the goal of being published, usually over a long (sometimes considerably long) amount of time with no promise of success at the end of it, save of course for the personal satisfaction of having written and, hopefully, having been read. Whilst pursuing this crazy dream, the writer must also juggle the usual demands of a modern life: family, work, studies, and many other responsibilities; so finding the dedication to apply themselves in whatever limited free time they have to sit down in a room and write takes incredible self-discipline, especially when deep down we would really rather be relaxing, enjoying a Babycham or two, or, just for once, sleeping. But for those bitten with the writing bug the dream, and the will to succeed, is so strong that despite the madness of it all, we just have to do it. As Samuel Lover said, "When once the itch of literatur…