Category Archives: Writing


Hey! Hi, howareya?

Kept you waiting, huh? (for all you MGS fans out there.)

Well then. Busy, busy, busy. But finally back to working on my own stuff once again. The Negative Bind hasn’t been forgotten about, it’s still very much on my mind. It has, however, been shelved for the time being, as my short story collection keeps rearing its ugly little head and distracting me.

Once upon a time I had a title in mind for this collection but as time went on I came up with another name for it and ran with that for a while. This new title – A Dog Barked Once – made perfect sense. To me, anyway. You see, the vast majority of my stories contain, somewhere in them, the line “…somewhere in the distance a dog barked, once, twice…”, and so A Dog Barked Once seemed very fitting. Hell, I could even write a second collection and call it A Dog Barked Twice!


But no. Again time has moved on, and I find myself favouring my original title – Flotsam.

Why Flotsam, you ask. Well, dictionaries define the word as:

  • pieces of broken wood and other waste materials found on the beach or floating on the sea.
  • anything or anyone that is not wanted or not considered to be important or useful.

If you were to ask me where I get my ideas from, most of the time I’d be unable to tell you. They just kind of appear in my head. The closest I can come to explaining it is to say I view the imagination in my head as a vast, and mostly empty, ocean. Floating around in this Imaginocean are idea boxes – some complete and whole, the majority only a part of the entire story, pieces of wreckage from a fractured tale.

Whenever one of these boxes floats close enough to the shore, I wade out and grab it with both hands before it can float out of reach again. I’ll open the box, see what’s inside, and write it down, before settling back to await the next idea box to drift into view.

So yes, I’m slightly weird. No matter.

A lot of writers like to do cover reveals. They like to keep the image hidden until they feel the time is right, and then release it with great fanfare, or in a more subdued manner, depending on their style. Well, not me. Once I have a cover I like then I don’t mind showing it around (mainly because there’s a very good chance I’ll change my mind and make another cover before long).

And so, without further ado, here is the cover for my upcoming short story collection, Flotsam.



When will it be released? Who knows. Whenever I get around to finishing it, would be my best guess. Until then, at least you have a pretty picture to look at, right?


As always, that shallot.



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Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Books, Writing


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Well hello there, how’re you doing?

Since before last Christmas I’ve been working on a collection of short stories. The stories had been knocking around in my head for quite some time, and so I thought they deserved to be brought into the world. I had a title for the book of this collection. I had a cover all worked out. I had a list of the stories I was sure I wanted to include, and a list of others I’d put in if there was room.

I set about this task in good spirits. I mean, how hard could it be, right? I had everything I needed. Piece of cake.


Every time I worked on one story, my mind would wander to another. Work on that other story instead, and I’d be thinking about yet another. Progress was slow. Progress was painful.

Something was wrong here. The words weren’t flowing and I needed to find out why. This past weekend I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, peering into the recesses of my mind, looking for the cause.

And I found it.

Sunset behind the clouds over Quintrell Downs in Cornwall.After I’d published my short story ‘Watcher’, I started work on another, longer tale. The story of Paul Bowscar came to life rapidly, the boy would never shut up, his tale needed to be told, and he was damn sure he was going to make sure I wrote it all down. He was constantly in my head. Talking incessantly, eager to be heard. Morning, noon and night.

Then one day – silence. Nothing at all. Paul had left, gone to wherever his own negative bind had taken him. The words dried up, the story stalled.

But no longer. Paul is back. Maybe he took exception to me writing things other than his story, who knows. But back he is, and it’s time to complete his tale.

So, The Negative Bind has been resurrected. How long will it take? Who can tell, and Paul certainly isn’t telling. He’ll get to the end when he’s good and ready.

Small excerpts might be posted from time to time. They might not. But this story will be told, one way or the other.

As always, that shallot.




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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Books, Writing


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The Key

Quite a long while ago I was challenged to write a story based on a certain image.

key This image, to be exact.

Well, as so often happens, life, and various other things got in the way and the story never got written, although I had a good idea of what I wanted to write. Time has gone on, far too much time, and I’ve been so caught up in doing other things – earning money in order to be able to pay the bills and feed oneself, what a drag that is – that I haven’t done any writing for myself.

Plenty for other people. None at all for me. Now, that kinda sucks, so I decided it’s time I did something about it.

And shock horror! Today I actually put pen to paper. Well, typed words on a screen. Same thing. I didn’t produce much, a thousand words or so, as the writing machine is kinda rusty due to lack of use. But it is oiling up nicely. The words aren’t exactly flowing, but they are seeping out slowly.

Who knows, if you’re good I might even post an extract.

Or not.

Anyway, as always, that shallot.



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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Writing


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Fairboss and Prizes

Nearly Christmas day… are you ready? No? Well, panic not. Before you know it, it’ll all be over and you’ll be worrying about what to wear for the New Year’s party, and what resolutions to make.

Soon be Easter.

And so… on with the 30 Writing Challenges. Challenge 23 states: Write the story of one of your childhood memories. 

Simple enough, you would’ve thought. But no, not really. You see, talking about myself isn’t something I generally do. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived a very varied and interesting life, which is worthy of many a tale. I just don’t enjoy telling those tales, unless I’m in a conversation. Ask me, and I shall tell, but to just sit and write something down? Nope.

I do, however, weave a lot of my personal memories, emotions and feelings into the majority of the stories I write, and so I have decided that for today’s challenge I will post an extract from my soon to be released book – The Negative Bind. 

This book tells the story of Paul, a teenage boy whose perfectly ordinary existence is shattered after an accident. Paul sees his life spiral out of control, with unexpected and possibly tragic consequences. Paul is not me at a younger age, by the way. That really would be a tragic story. But there’s no denying a lot of me is in the story, in one shape or form.

The following is from chapter 10: Fairboss and Prizes. I hope you enjoy.

Extract from Chpt 10: Fairboss and Prizes.

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges


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There’s A Tiger In My Kitchen

Apart from Ruby Tuesday, name a song with Tuesday in the title. Ready? Go!

Got one? No? I’ve got one, something by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I think. But, I digress.

Challenge 22 of the 30 Writing Challenges states: Write a story about making something to eat. Yes, I know. WTF?

At first I thought I’d just do a blow by blow account of how I make a ham and cheese sandwich, but that would’ve just been a childish tantrum over such a lousy theme. Then I thought I’d do a piece about a farmer planting his crops, because that is also making food, is it not?

That idea went out the window for being too schmaltzy and artsy.

A silly first line kept running through my head, and so I decided to go with it. I sat down, opened up Open Office (fuck you, Microsoft) and as so often happens, wrote something completely different from what I had originally intended.

So, um… enjoy.

There’s A Tiger In My Kitchen

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, and I want something to eat.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, it has big elephant feet.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, whatever am I to do?

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, and now it’s starting to moo!


The tiger that’s in my kitchen, he really doesn’t like me.

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, won’t make me a cup of tea.

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, is now talking on the ‘phone.

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, says I shouldn’t be alone.


There’s a tiger in my kitchen, and he’s dressed up like a nurse.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, but I suppose it could be worse.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, but now I’m not so sure.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, maybe he has the cure.


Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, but he really wasn’t bad.

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, and now I’m kinda sad.

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, my insanity has been beat.

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, I really don’t want to eat.

The End. 

I’m really not sure what to make of that, but there you go. Not sure it’s really got anything to do with actually making something to eat, either. But still, it was a silly theme.

That shallot…



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Posted by on December 22, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges


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Apologies… Not Really

Happy Monday everybody! Anyone remember the Happy Mondays? No? Well then, moving on…

Another day, another writing challenge. Challenge 21 of the 30 Writing Challenges states: Take a character from a well known book/movie. Place them in another well known book/movie from a different genre. Write what happens. 

Interesting. Except, not really. It could, if you’re not careful, turn into another fan-fiction. Nothing wrong with that if you’re into that kind of thing, which I’m not. I prefer to use my own characters in their own settings.

Added to that, I’m feeling really crap today. Plus it’s been raining heavily and steadily for the past 36 hours or so, and the chance of further floods is high. So, with the greatest of apologies, I will graciously decline to complete Challenge 21. I may come back to it at some point. I may not.

In case you’re interested, I did briefly think about the challenge. The best I could come up with was placing Rocky Balboa into Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. Unfortunately for Rocky, because of the boxing gloves, he was unable to swim, and so drowned very early on in the story.

So yes, best I give this one a pass.

Until tomorrow, that shallot.



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Posted by on December 21, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges


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Queueing is SO British.

Sunday. Which is still the weekend, so I shouldn’t be here. I don’t write at weekends. Usually. As I believe I said yesterday. And yet, here I am. Writing.

As yesterday, I’m going to keep this next challenge – number 20, I believe – as short as possible. In fact, it might end up only consisting of a few lines. Well, so be it.

Challenge 20 states – Use these words in a story: grandfather, photo album, post office, and folder. Using those words, I, or anyone else, could write any story they liked, about anything at all they liked. And if it wasn’t Sunday, I’d spend a bit of time trying to come up with something that might be at least half good.

As it is, you have the following to weep over.

Note: I may, or may not have, written this yesterday and scheduled it to post today. Who knows? More to the point, who cares?

Queueing is SO British.

I waited patiently in line at the post office. At the counter, an old lady wanted to send a parcel to her dear friend in Australia. The young lady behind the counter was trying her best to explain that yes, she understood madam was willing to pay whatever it cost, but sending a kitten through the mail, air mail no less, just wasn’t the done thing.

Next in line was a fat man – sorry, a man of exceptionally large stature – with hairy ears and dandruff. Clutched in his great paws was a carrier bag full of loose change. Whispering under his breath, he kept repeating to himself “£23.67. The total is £23.67. Don’t forget. £23.67. The total is £23.67.”

And then there was me. Under my arm I held a red folder. It was, in fact, a makeshift photo album, full of old photographs of the town through various different ages. My friend’s grandfather was due to celebrate his 80th birthday next week, and he – my friend, not his grandfather – wanted the photos to put together some sort of This Is Your Life thing. Hence the red folder.

Happy birthday grandad, here’s a reminder of just how old you really are. Congrats.

I wasn’t in the post office for that though. I wanted to pay a bill. So I waited patiently in line for my turn.

Queueing is such a British thing, don’t you think?

The End 

And, as always, that shallot…



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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges


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