Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year - New Start - New Aspirations??

New year – New Aspirations? Yay!!?? Perhaps...
 At least that’s what it’s meant to be. But maybe the aspirations are not so new…  It’s been quite a while since I worked on my WIP and whilst I did have every intention of continuing with it, I now feel like starting a new project! I guess it’s the New Year thing – new broom and all that!
The thing is my WIP is 60000 words done so it seems a shame to abandon it. But I won’t shelve it forever. I think I’ll just get going on something else and keep it in the background. I will, in any case, have to sit and re-read it all anyway - just to remind myself of where I was at. So maybe when I’ve done that I’ll feel re-invigorated and excited by it again!!

Perhaps the solution is to try a few short stories and then see how I feel… (sighs and pulls face…)

 But then again – some brilliant ideas are calling out to me. They just don’t want to wait on the backburner and I worry that I will forget or lose the main idea if I prevaricate. I have made notes but that’s not the same as starting a new project fired up with the enthusiasm and excitement which will carry me through the first chapters.

I know many people say they start a work with great hope and then part way through go stale and abandon it, especially if the writing gets tough or the plot starts going nowhere. But I must say I am a finisher and rarely give up on a work even when it gets hard. There is satisfaction in just completing and often the work is better for struggling through some hard parts.
So, maybe I will get back to my original work, after all…
Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Bah Humbug!

Bah Humbug? Or a good Christmas Carol?

Christmas is almost upon us and the frenzy is building day to day like a good, page turning, suspense novel!
At this time of year I always enjoy reading (or watching an adaptation) of Dickens Christmas Carol. As ghost stories go, it’s got to be THE classic. I often wonder if writers like Dickens ever had any idea just how time-honoured their writing would become. Every school child has heard of the story and most have watched a version of it on TV. If you ask people who Bob Cratchett was, I think most would
associate the name as synonymous with a poor working class family man who was bullied mercilessly by his penny-pinching employer. And the word ‘scrooge’ (from Ebenezer Scrooge) came into common parlance after Dickens wrote his story. The word has come to be used to describe someone who is mean and miserly.

The story is of course a morality tale and Dickens meant it as such. But the scenes with the ghosts must have been pretty scary to readers and listeners of the day and even today it ranks with many as an all time favourite and goes with Christmas tide nicely as we should all be more aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. I know it made a lasting impression on me when I first heard it as a child and alongside believing in Santa Claus, I also believed in the ghosts of Dickens tale.
Since Dickens’s time many have tried to write similar stories but none, in my opinion, come close to capturing the sense of fear about the hereafter that “A Christmas Carol” did.

Happy Christmas and happy writing everyone!

Do you have a favourite Christmas story?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The biggest lie ever told to children!

The origins of Santa and the stories surrounding Christmas are buried beneath layers of popular cultural belief. I am, of course, for the moment, putting aside the religious meanings of Christmas – it’s not that I am anti Christian or anything, simply that the notion of telling children the story of Santa and his reindeer has got to be one of the greatest and most enduring stories of all time ( next to the bible and religious teachings). It is also the biggest lie that parents happily enthral their children with.

I mean, when you think about it the image of a big fat man in a bright red suit sliding down your chimney (breaking into your house), eating your food and drinking your wine and then going into a child’s bedroom when they are asleep, ought to be pretty scary for most children. But, hey, it’s okay for this intruder because he’s bringing a sack full of presents! Right!

It just struck me that in other circumstances you could possible write a reasonable paranormal thriller story around the notion of this superman character who can get his reindeer to pull a sledge around the heavens and visit every child in the world in the space of just one night!

But hey, who am I to spoil the kiddies’ fun? I believed it myself for a fair few years… And enduring and endearing it still is – especially when you watch their little faces light up with the wonder and the thrill of it all because they’ve listened hard on Christmas Eve and heard the sleigh bells…

I first posted this article a year ago but thought it worth reminding everyone of the joy children bring and that Christmas is the time when families come together and celebrate as one and the main focus is often the children. In light of the recent tragic events my heart and prayers go out to those families who have lost their beloved children (and those who lost other family members) and it is to be hoped that this kind of tragedy never happens again.

A very Merry Christmas to one and all and here’s hoping we all have a peaceful 2012!

Sunday, 14 December 2014


“I shall not altogether die”, Horace 65-8 BC

In writing about death (yet again), I am aware that many may be a tad concerned at my fascination with the ultimate end game! (But there again, I am a thriller writer…) And as someone once said the two things you can depend on in this life are death and taxes!

In fiction writing, life extension or immortality has been a popular topic. It would seem that it is the ultimate goal of many a villain, one way or another. But immortality is one more step into the realms of fantasy. I guess it’s because none of us actually knows what lies waiting for us at the end and for lots of people it is still a fairly scary (if not taboo) subject. The origins of striving for immortality go right back in the annals of story epics – in fact in the Epic of Gilgamesh which dates back to 22 BC,  there was a quest to become immortal.

Many religions have, as their foundation, a belief in the existence of an ‘Afterlife’ and it is a popular subject in supernatural fiction. Wraiths, Spirits, Ghosts, Vampires and Zombies all use the plot device of actually dying at a particular point and then returning to some kind of life.

The other interesting point with all these supernatural characters is that they all have a (according to their genre’s) a weakness. Otherwise they would have taken over the entire universe by now! So to make decent adversaries for our stories they must have an Achilles heel.

In the case of vampires, for example, they may be killed by sunlight, burning or decapitation. Their bodies have an absence of heart rate, breathing etc but somehow they continue living (although needing to imbibe blood to do this). This requires the reader to suspend belief to step into this vampiric world.

Wraiths and Spirits can pass between this world and the next but there weakness is that they grow weary and long for everlasting peace.

The Undead (Zombies) are similar to Vampires, in that they appear to be alive but are not. They have no soul so cannot experience emotions of any kind. Stakes through the heart seem to be the way to do for many of these – or basic dropping off of body parts!

All of these creations make for fascinating fiction and whilst the whole genre is make-believe there are certain rules that all genre writers tend not to break. It is almost as if these beings were real ‘people’ in the first place!!

So , are you a fan of this kind of fiction? Do you expect the characters to conform to rules about immortality?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ghostly encounters

Ghostly Encounters of the Terrifying Kind!
Coming from a medical/science background as I do, I do not really believe in Ghosts but, like many people do accept that there are some things (the hereafter for instance) that we know little about. Ghosts and the belief in all things spiritual is one area that fascinates most people even though the common sense part of their brains tell them it’s so much bunkum. The existence (or not) of ghosts has been the subject of many research projects dating back as far as anyone can remember and yet the phenomenon continues to confound experts as the reality cannot be proved beyond doubt one way or the other.

For me, as a writer, humanity’s belief in ghosts is great fictional material and I unashamedly use it in my stories – when appropriate.

Some things you may not have known about ghosts:

Ghosts are universal and (with different names) exist in every culture in the world. Belief in their existence goes back centuries to pre-literate culture. Indeed the great poet Homer talks of the ‘spirits of death’ standing about in their thousands, in the Iliad.

Ghosts are considered unnatural and undesirable as they are seen to come from a place we know nothing about so we are therefore naturally fearful. However not all ghostly encounters are threatening as ghosts can sometimes be viewed as benign guides with messages for the living and/or unfinished business in this life.

 Ghosts can sometimes be known as revenants. A revenant comes from folklore and is a visible ghost or animated corpse (un-dead) returned from the grave to seek revenge or terrorise the living.

The airy, ethereal apparition which is usually associated with visible sightings of ghosts may have emanated from the belief that the soul or spirit of a person resides within them and at death leaves the body from the mouth as a breath-type mist. In the Bible, God animates Adam with a breath.

The appearance of ghost or spirits is often seen as a bad omen or portent of death.

In a recent survey it was found that approximately one third of Americans believe in spirits or ghosts.

Finally, many classical writers and poets since time immemorial have used spirits or ghostly apparitions in their works - from Homer to Shakespeare, Dickens, Wilde, Milton and Coleridge. Never mind Poe and other actual horror writers. So, to my mind those of us who occasionally use ghosts and spirits in our stories are in good company – even if we can only aspire to the lofty heights our predecessors rose to.

Do you enjoy a good ghost story?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Suspense is everything...

        Dictionary definition - suspense is "a state of uncertainty".
I think I enjoy plotting and writing thrillers because  they are the kind of stories I love to read myself. A good story that grips me from beginning to end with the ‘will he /won’t he' succeed motif is the best kind of tale. And the feeling that disaster is around every corner doesn't hurt either. This to me is the art of suspense. Keeping readers on the proverbial edges of their comfy sofa is what I always aim for. I know this type of book is not to everyone’s  taste but for me it is the bedrock of good story telling.
One of the all time greatest proponent of the art of suspense was Alfred Hitchcock and I seem to recall reading somewhere that he said one of the greatest ways to create really good suspense was to put a bomb under a table (metaphorically speaking) where people, unbeknowingly, are playing a dull game of cards. The audience, of course, would know the bomb was there and ticking but the cast of players would not. What unbearable suspense for the audience!
The Witcheye Gene
Suspense in thrillers, in my humble opinion, is the key to success. Rising tension with lots of problems and, most importantly, loads of conflict for the main character is what keeps readers involved and in a state of uncertainty.
I like to think my own thriller books - especially The Witcheye Gene is full of suspense. I did craft it as a page turning, thriller read that is fast paced and full of twists and turns.
I believe suspense (and some say suspense of some kind is essential in any good novel - be it romance, action, scifi or whatever) is what keeps the reader reading!
A bomb under the table doesn’t hurt either!

Do you try to put suspense in your stories?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

From Backyard to Graveyard.

From backyard to graveyard

The subject of graveyards or cemeteries is something that fascinates me. As a writer of supernatural thriller novels the sombre oppressive atmosphere of a graveyard, imbued with such reverence and awe as befits the dead, is a great place to start. Its melancholy sense of past misery seems to hang in the air like some unholy miasma as legions of the living have cried rivers of tears in their intense grief and loneliness. What a sad place for the living…

Death is inevitable for all of us and in a graveyard we are reminded of the frailty of human existence like nowhere else. The fascination for me, when I visit graveyards, is to look at the oldest graves and inscriptions and wonder what happened to the person… Sometimes great ideas for stories spring forward from this as I try to imagine what life might have been like for the said dead person.

But apart from that there is the great unknowing… What does happen when we finally confront our very existence? Scary stuff, indeed, for most of us… Unless you have great faith in your own brand of religion/belief… Most of us do not want to be reminded that we are going to pass into the great unknown someday. Perhaps that is really the scary part about graveyards and cemeteries.

But spirits, ghosts and things that go thump in the night are also great things to think about in graveyards…

So let your imagination fly!! If you dare…

Do graveyards/cemetaries scare you or are they just places of great sadness?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Still Free, free , free...

"The Witcheye Gene" is still FREE for a couple more days only. Get your free copy now.

Available on  Amazon:

Amazon.co.uk The Witcheye Gene

Also Amazon.com The Witcheye Gene

Any comments or reviews would be greatly appreciated.

Have you offered your books for free? Do you think it a good idea or not?