Wednesday 25 August 2021

Three random questions on writers and writing

Q: When is it too late to write your first novel?
A: If you want to write one, then it's probably not too late.

And THIS - debut novelist at 79
And THIS - debut novelist at 84

Q: Where do the ideas come from?
A: There will usually be loads just scattered around you. Yes, you can use other people's ideas, but you can't use their words or their work.

Q: Are there any rules for writing?
A: The most quoted, usually aren't rules at all. But there might be 4 real ones.

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Image by Artie_Navarre from Pixabay

Thursday 3 June 2021

Bright new day, bright new tech - and a problem I didn't know I had

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger

If you follow my blog by email, you will receive this via a different route from before. By the wonders of technology you won't notice the change; though things might be a little slicker. I've swapped to which is a great new system built for both readers and writers of blogs on all manner of platforms. I recommend that you check out the link and see what it can do. I'd never heard of until it was recommended to me. I had a look and was impressed.

This process has highlighted a problem I didn't realise I had. My followers weren't all people. 

Image by Marc B

I found hundreds of dodgy emails, and I had no option but to remove all addresses from my followers list. 

That leaves me with a concern that I might have thrown overboard someone with a legitimate outlook address. If you followed me with an email address and have suddenly stopped getting notifications, please let me know and I'll throw you a lifebelt and bring you back on board. You could just sign up again using the new gizmo - top right of the page - but I'd rather know so that I can say sorry and maybe send you a book.

Saturday 22 May 2021

The view is very different from the other side of the counter

Once a year, pandemics permitting, I set aside being an author and become a bookstore manager for the weekend. When I first took on the role, I thought of it as wearing two hats, and assumed the author one would remain the most prominent. I couldn't have been more wrong.

My author hat shrinks to become a small decorative hat pin in the massive weighty bookstore hat under which I stagger about.

What's the biggest change? It's the way that the role has affected my relationship with books - and yes, the full-sized Daleks come into it too. For more detail check out this feature in Kings River Life magazine.

Wednesday 31 March 2021

The Unnerving Power of the Written Word

It’s a rarely-mentioned problem of writing contemporary fiction set in real places, that it can go out of date so quickly, but it can, and I have often bemoaned the fact that useful landmarks disappear overnight. I used to say that I took commissions from organised crime to mention police stations in my novels, because no sooner did the book hit the shelves, than the bulldozers moved in on the buildings.

It was certainly true of my first three novels.

You’ll be lucky to find a trace left of any official building mentioned in that trilogy. Then things settled down for a few books, but it has happened again on a rather grand scale for the latest, Boxed In.

I was asked a question about shipping containers and my publisher asked me to record an answer by way of a short podcast, which I did. And as soon as it was finished, container ships – which had been largely invisible to news outlets for years – were suddenly all over the mainstream media when a ship ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal.

Would I re-record my answer and include mention of the stricken ship, given that it looked set to cause chaos for weeks to come? Yes, of course I would, and here it is:

But what happened the very moment the podcast was live? Naturally, the ship was re-floated and the blockage cleared. My power to move mountains with words is back!

Why would anyone ask me about shipping containers in the first place? That’s a good question and so was the one about containers. It came after a recording I’d done about the weather in novels:

Thursday 18 February 2021

Real life and crime fiction

In an article in Kings River Life magazine, I look back on some of the things I've done and places I've been. In particular events and places that have found their way into my books.

Some events still cause a catch in my throat knowing that I was a step too close from never having the opportunity to tell anyone about it, ever, never mind weave it into a story. 

The article includes a free contest for a copy of Falling into Crime (ebook or print) but entries run only to late Feb 2021. If you miss the giveaway but would like a copy, you can browse here: