Writing Goals for 2013

A lot of people in the writing community on WordPress are doing this so I guess I should recap my successes for 2012 and state my goals for the year ahead.

This has been an interesting year. I started off deciding early on that I wanted to self-publish a collection of short stories and spent most of the year working on that. I decided to work around this I would play the various writing competitions available by ear. Continue reading

Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

With the recent release of the film, I thought I probably ought to read and review it sometime soon. This is the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi. He is a zoologist, originally from Pondicherry where his parents owned a zoo but he graduated from Toronto University. This novel is the account of the remarkable events of his life. It is a Man Booker winner and has sold over 7 million copies. Continue reading

Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Marley was dead, to begin with.

The above is still my favourite opening to a novel!

We all know the story by now. Ebeneezer Scrooge is a mean old man who has come to despise Christmas and everything that it stands for. He is incredibly rich, has more money than he will ever know what to do with yet lives in a big, cold draughty house, pays his employees an absolute pittance and is cruel to he Clerk, Bob Cratchett. He is so tight-fisted that he will only permit the smallest amount of coal to go onto the fire in their office. Continue reading

Book Review: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

After the only other werewolf in existence is killed, Jake Marlowe finds himself alone. Contemplating his own existence, the impending extinction of his species and giving serious thought to suicide and thus ending a 200 year curse (middle aged for a werewolf), Marlowe recounts a largely mundane existence of mere survival against humanity, the elements and his enemies.

He hides from an organisation known as WOCOP and realises his precarious position when it also seems that vampires are out to get him too and these are no sparkly emos either! But are they after him to kill him or do they want him for something else…? Continue reading

Writing the Seasons: It’s Christmaaaaas!

Welcome to a the year’s first Christmas special! Perhaps not as hotly anticipated as this year’s slice of Doctor Who but I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know what I think of how we portray the season in our writing.

With two weeks to go, I’m sure some of you are about to start or are currently writing festive-themed short stores. So here, I hope to go over the obvious ways to portray Christmas but also to try to think about the less conventional elements to the environment at this time of year. Continue reading

Bad Sex Awards 2012

So here we go again, it is that time of year when we honour (is that the correct word?) those pieces of literature from the last year that display the most ridiculous, the most perfunctory, the weirdest and the most unsexy sex scenes every committed to paper, MS Word or any other wordprocessor.

Yes, it is time for the Bad Sex Awards and this year, The Guardian is giving you the chance to vote for what you think is the worst example of smut in fiction. Continue reading

ebook update Dec 2012

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make a year-end release now. As you may remember, I now have a second job as a copywriter and this takes up several evenings per week. Squeezing in writing for pleasure is going to be difficult over the next couple of weeks at least. Though all of my short stories have now been edited (and I still want to do a final grammar and typo check on all of them), the final piece in the collection will be the concluding part to the Herrenvolk saga. After bouncing a few ideas around last night, I finally have some ideas I want to try out but with another busy week ahead – workwise and a long weekend away next weekend – I can’t see I’ll have much time to work on them. Here’s to starting at least something before Christmas though. Continue reading

300 words of… Angel’s Mass

Greetings on the first day of Advent! Ghost stories at Christmas have become a bit of a tradition in British media. It probably all started with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and over the years both television and radio have got in on the act. What better day than this to post a sample from my own effort in this tradition?

This is a ghost story set at Christmas Eve in the 14th century. The place is Tintern Abbey, the monastery on which my undergraduate dissertation was written. Right through that winter I started this story (2006-7) the abbey was practically all I could think of so it was inevitable that I would write a short story set there. My effort was a spooky tale about a young monk who receives an unwelcome guest. Enjoy! Continue reading