Friday, 21 February 2020
Friday, 14 February 2020
Friday, 7 February 2020
There had been a few dings out there in the seven years we'd lived on Wellowteme Crescent. At least two a year. Most recently a young lad in a Honda Civic not slowing down enough for the junction had clipped the back end of a Citroen C1 driven by an older lady who had the right of way. The problem was the faded paint markings, which regularly caught out the uninitiated. Three winters ago a guy rolled his van over the grass triangle. Ironically there was black ice and he was going way too fast, and he obliterated the gritter box. The fire brigade had to cut him out of the van. He lost a leg I think. Was another life being turned upside down this very moment?
Monday, 27 January 2020
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Sunday, 25 September 2016
The art of plot procrastination is something you have to master when you're writing. You can't burn through your plot too quickly, so how do you overcome the desire to throw in each staggering revelation in your story just to get them onto the page?
It's sometimes frustrating when it's done badly. The protagonist finally locates the one person who has the answer to all the questions, and when the critical question is asked of the character, the response is often, "I will tell you everything you need to know, all in good time, but first, you must be hungry!"
This sort of thing usually ends up with the character with all the information getting murdered before he can answer said question.
How did I get round it when I was writing Spireclaw? Well, without wanting to spoil the plot and revelations in that story (Spireclaw thrives on its twists and turns and blind alleys), there were a couple of techniques which I employed. Use several angles at once. Keep several balls in the air so that the reader is never quite sure which one is going to drop. Is the twist going to be around This or That? Bring your revelations in from a perspective and angle that is unexpected. It enables you to build new perspectives on the issue at hand without having to play your trump card so quickly. I realise these are abstract concepts, but if you want to know what I mean, go and read Spireclaw on this very website, or get it from Amazon on your Kindle. Then come back and read this blog post again.
Friday, 23 September 2016
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
Four of my books will be available for free this Thursday (5th November) for a one day only, get 'em while you can deal on Amazon Kindle.
I hope you take this opportunity to pick up one of these books and get lost in a world I created.
Monday, 19 January 2015
My follow up to "The Axiom Few" is coming along nicely and I sincerely hope to get it out the door before the summer. By the way, "The Axiom Few" is free on the Kindle from the 21st to 23rd January. Click here to get it.
The sequel collection, "The Axiom Tapestry" will contain eight more stories, one of which, "The Pytance Initiative" will contain part of the origin story of the BRENDA device that is so prominent in the first book.
Here is an extract from "The Pytance Initiative"...
The quantum strip hung in the centre of a clear, spherical bosonic chamber which could be seen from the upper gantry where Vernal Campion now stood, tablet in hand, scanning the system event logs for errors. With two hours to go, thankfully there were none. If any appeared now, he may have to be the one to tell Derek. And the Prime Minister had already departed London on her way to the Stratabyre. Trying to halt this rolling snowball would be a messy business.
He stepped out of the inner glass door, which slid closed softly behind him, and traversed the elevated walkway towards the rear of the Stratabyre. Below him a system of cable troughs crisscrossed the cave, disappearing into sections of rock wall towards coolant lakes and hidden banks of processor arrays housed deep within the perpetually cold, ancient stone. Above him, dim lamps barely lit the space, due to the lumo-sensitivity of the biological meshes that hung vertically from specially designed dermabrackets. He could hear the sound of soft unseen fans working to keep the cave drier than nature would intend, while leaving the environment moist enough for the bio-meshes to retain their elasticity. The combination of sounds felt to Vernal as though the whole cave was humming with anticipation.
Something about the majesty of the space, where high technology fused with millions of years of geology made technicians speak in low voices when they were out in the main area, away from the control room. Or was it just that the Stratabyre had the capacity to carry echoing voices and resound them into an unintelligible susurration. All he could hear were whispers now. A quiet church.
And despite being nothing more than a biologically enhanced machine, straddling the inside of the cave like a confined spider, the Brenda device had no front or back, no face or physical interface, and had not even been fully connected up, yet Vernal Campion was convinced she (no, not she... IT) was looking right at him.
Monday, 20 October 2014
My five year old son asked me what God looks like yesterday. I immediately started thinking about the way I asked myself that question while I was writing Schaefer's Integrity about ten years ago. But I replied, "Well, what do you think God looks like?" He said he didn't know, but could we look him up on the iPad. So we Googled God. And sure enough, on the internet you get a lot of pictures of a bearded old white fella parting the clouds. I explained that nobody had ever seen God and these were just people guessing. Then I suggested maybe my son would like to draw his own idea of what God looks like. So he did. What does it tell you that he drew a man dressed in black with a red face and... are they horns...?
Sunday, 13 July 2014
Thursday, 19 June 2014
I'm going to use the word "tapestry" here because I can see no other way of describing the route my new set of Axiom Few short stories seems to be taking. BRENDA's origin story is well underway and I'm really excited. The stories are becoming a tapestry and that may well influence the title of the story collection when it comes out. It won't all be about new characters though. At the end of The Autumn Structure our friend Geek was trapped on an alien vessel and I have to get him off there!
All this will come in time. I'm having a lot of fun with it at the moment. In the meantime, why not head over to Amazon and get the book that started it all...
Thursday, 30 January 2014
Friday, 17 January 2014
Monday, 21 October 2013
A lot has been said against the 2011 film, that it is a pale imitation of John Carpenter's classic horror, but I think it is a great piece of work, and it stands well against the older film, and it is a real joy to see them back to back, to learn what happened to the fated Norwegians before that helicopter came buzzing over the Antarctic ice shelf chasing that dog. And the two films, despite being made nearly 30 years apart, gel beautifully together.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
I've backed Ian's book and you can do it too by going here, and I'll be keen to hear from Ian how he gets on with his project, and I hope it gains the funding level it needs to go forward. The book certainly looks like a lot of fun, and although it initially looks like it might be an older read than my four year old will be able to understand (though I may be wrong about that), I'm sure I will enjoy reading it nonetheless. It's always great to read stuff by people you know.
Ian also has a book on Kindle, A Year Without Beer, which you can find here and gets a respectable 4.5 stars.
Thursday, 11 July 2013
My brand spanking new short story collection A Comet of Ideas Looking for a Planet is free on Kindle until Sunday 14th July.
This collection covers fifteen years of writing, of stories that weren't part of the Axiom Few canon, or novels, obviously. In a later post I will write more about the stories behind the stories, but for now I hope you enjoy reading it.
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
The video went on to win the BBC's Showreel 87 Film Awards, Judged by Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist, The World Is Not Enough, Blink), Chris Menges (The Reader, The Mission, The Killing Fields) and Bob Godfrey (creator of Henry's Cat) with “Why?”, a film about school bullying, shot on video and televised in the Christmas of that year. As the cameraman on that film I was especially honoured to be told by Michael Apted that he was impressed with the camerawork.
I had always wanted to be a film maker and even did five days running at Scott Free, Ridley and Tony Scott's production company in Beak Street, Soho in 1993. It was then however, that the reality check hit me and I decided that the politics of film-making was definitely not for me. The highlight of that short tenure was to lay eyes upon the original H R Giger drawings for Alien, hanging above the great man's desk, and the large globe used by Gerard Depardieu as Columbus in 1492. Ridley himself was on the phone while I stocked his fridge with beer, but he did take a moment to thank me as I was leaving his vast top-floor office.
Fast-forward 20 years and when the opportunity to write and direct a short video for Cheshire Council's ICT Service Desk came along, I seized the moment and wrote a short treatment for the opening scene of the video, which, it had already been decided by the team, would be a riff on "Men in Black".
Cue the "Service Desk in Black", which formed the "fun video" part of an overall entry by the ICT Service Desk into the Service Desk Institute's annual awards for "Best Large Service Desk". As a finalist, the fun video has to be produced for the Gala ceremony. It has to showcase the team and the great work they do.
So, now the ceremony has been and gone, we can unleash the video to YouTube. We shot it over three evenings in early May 2013, and had a huge laugh doing it. It was one of the highlights of my career to be involved in this project.
Saturday, 19 January 2013
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Friday, 30 November 2012
Set at the edge of our solar system, amongst the many spinning stations and stones that make up the Kuiper Belt mining colony, Duncan Schaefer, a lowly chef, becomes infected with a virus that brings into question a number of beliefs held by the scientific community. The virus has a mind of its own and soon Duncan is on a quest to Earth to discover the truth about the strange mutations in his body, and his bizarre dreams of an inverted pyramid structure in distant space...something called the Extraction Point.
Below is a snippet from Schaefer's Integrity. Get the novel free here.
Monday, 26 November 2012
If you have read the collection, or even only part of it, I would be hugely grateful if you could write a short review on Amazon. Every review helps sell more copies and I really would like this collection to be a success.
Sometime between now and Christmas I will be promoting one other book in a free 2-day extravaganza, Schaefer's Integrity, so keep an eye out for that, and I will obviously be making it known here, and on Twitter and Facebook, when that happens.
In the meantime please look at my other works which (due to various copyright issues) will probably not be going for free on Kindle in the foreseeable future. Those are The Axiom Few, Spireclaw and The Daedalus Transfer (the latter two of which can be read right now on this website).
Thanks again everyone!
Friday, 23 November 2012
Just a quick post to let you Kindle readers know that my short story collection "The Train Set" is available on Amazon for free today and tomorrow (Nov 23rd and 24th). I would love it if you downloaded and had a read of one or two stories within it, (or all of them if you like). Then tell your friends!
You can get it here.
Here's a snippet from one of the stories... "At Steepdean Halt"
I was twelve that year when we had our last family picnic at Steepdean. The field where we had come for years was just as beautiful as ever, and in the heat of June 1976 it possessed a summery beauty that seemed to contrast so plainly against the tragedy that happened here; a tragedy that protracted an idyllic day in the countryside into a sad and mournful autumn.
My younger brother, Samuel, aged eight, hands sticky with dried orangeade, beat me in a running race to the edge of the field where the trees began. He may have been four years younger than me but he was just as tall and his legs were powerful. He’d probably had more sugar than me too. Besides, I was a girl and in my brother's eyes, girls could never be faster than boys.
Though we were both out of breath when we got to the edge of the field we wasted no time in seeking shade from the high sun, which pierced the perfect blue sky but could not penetrate the canopy of leaves.
Samuel was already standing astride on the lowest branch of one of the bigger trees when I caught up, and while I bent over out of breath with the heels of my hands supported on my knees, he was eagerly climbing to the next set of branches.
‘Be careful,’ I shouted knowing full well that my pleas would not be heeded. In fact, he was already on the next branch up and could probably see the village from his vantage point if he looked to the south across the cut.
The railway below had been almost invisible to me, and when the sound of a diesel train started to rise in the distance to the east it became obvious just how close to the track we were. Through the trees below us the sun pinched the four rails. The ever louder churning of the oncoming train filled the day and soon the smell of the locomotive was upon us, as was the train itself. A flat fronted, yellow-faced, blue Class 60 with 8 passenger carriages plunged noisily past us. No sooner had it appeared did it disappear to the west, dropping us back into a silence punctuated by nothing but the sound of the church bell in the village tolling two o'clock.
Samuel and I had been silent and unmoving while the train had passed, but this minor interlude, or the apparent danger it presented, did not stop my brother from boldly climbing to a higher part of the tree.
'You should come down from there,' I called, but the grin he returned to me displayed that a common stubbornness had possessed him, the kind of bloody-mindedness that usually ended up with grazed hands and knees, salty tears and ice-cream. As he advanced further along a branch that seemed incapable of holding even his small frame, I thought these actions would end in tears. I had no idea that the tears would belong to my mother, my father and me.
The moment it all started was when Samuel stopped suddenly, looking down and out in front of him as though he was eyeing a place to land from a jump that was both dangerous and stupid.
'Don't jump! It's too far and the ground is sloped!'
He ignored me, but said nothing and for a moment I switched my thoughts to the notion that he might have been planning a leap to the branch of another tree.
Eventually he called down to me, 'Claire. There's a girl on the railway line.'
Friday, 2 November 2012
Well Nick there's loads of us up here and we've been watching these three lights going back and forth for the last hour.
Whereabouts are they exactly? I mean, you should have a pretty good view up there right?
Yeah, they're sort of over Leith Hill way.
Isn't that the approach to Gatwick? Are you sure these aren't just planes landing Barry?
Yeah well, they would be if they were moving towards the airport but these lights are just sort of oscillating back and forth.
Really? How many are up there with you watching this?
Hundreds. We're all up on the lookout watching to the south and these lights...
Are the lights together when they move?
I mean, are they in a formation?
Yeah, like it's... like they're attached to one ship.
Or craft or what have you.
Thanks Barry. I can hear lots of people in the background. Sounds like there's a crowd up there. I'm gonna try... Jane can you... yep. I want to try and get through to Surrey police to see if they've... Ahh, they're engaged. Ok. Keep trying for me Jane. Put them through when they answer. Right, we have Anne on the line. If anyone knows what this is about then please do call in so we can put our listener's minds to rest. Now Anne you're up on Leith Hill aren't you?
That's right Nick. The lights are directly above us, we can even feel the...
How high above you are they Anne? Can you tell us?
...warmth of the lights. About fifty metres above us. Yeah, fifty to a...
So it's really quite close to you?
...hundred or so...
And how are the lights arranged? Can you...
...like a vertical rod, three lights arranged...
Can you see if it's actually a ship, like our last caller said?
...hovering above us.
I have to say that we've just had a call from the Civil Aviation Authority and they've actually suspended all inbound and out... Anne, what was that noise? Anne?
I'm here. There's a new light. A spotlight shining directly down on our hill and...
Another light? Coming from the shippy crafty thing?
...lighting up everyone on the hill. I didn't realise there were so many people up here and... oh my G...
Anne? Anne are you still there? Anne? Well it looks like we've... we've lost Anne there. Jane can you find out what happened to that line. Let's go to line five in the meantime. We have erm... let's go to Alex who's on Box Hill. Alex what can you see?
There's a like, a light shining down onto Leith Hill but from this far away I can't really work out what's going on.
We were just talking to Anne, who was on Leith Hill but the line went dead. I don't know if there's anyone else up th...
It's shooting up into the sky. The lights are climbing upwards.
Alex, stay... stay on the line, we've got to go to a break...
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
So please browse the page tabs at the top to view all (or most) of the content that was previously available on my website. I will, in a short while, update the page redirects for my web domains to point to here, so that links to me are not lost.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Dark Tickets - Also briefly seen on this blog, but new to this collection.
Flyers - A novella that is new to this collection.
Buy The Train Set from Amazon on Kindle now.
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Go here to see them.