Archive for March, 2013

Reading Rather Than Writing

I share quite a lot of books with my mother-in-law, Dot Hibbert, and it was she who introduced me to P G Wodehouse, an odd choice for me perhaps. But I am now reading the Blandings omnibus and really appreciate the deftness of Wodehouse’s prose. Also, although a snapshot into a bygone English age, now it reads almost like fantasy, times have changed so much. Dot and I also really like Kate Atkinson’s novels. I started reading them years ago, and especially adored the bizzare ‘Human Croquet’, but was not so much grabbed by the ‘idea’ of the detective novels Ms Atkinson did later. Now, I’ve started reading them, and find her quite the subversive! On the surface, stories like ‘Case Histories’ and ‘Started Early, Took my Dog’ are mystery/detective novels, but also full of sublime insights about life, and also ageing, which to many is a sore nerve to be licked very carefully.

I’ve recently reread all of M R James’s ghost stories, since I received the box DVD collection of the Ghost Stories for Christmas, (at Christmas), which were televised dramas of his stories. He had so many great ideas, and although I think the writing somehow muddies the awesome gruesomeness of some of the ideas, many are still chilling. The (first) TV adaptation of Whistle and I’ll Come to You is great, and the story itself even weirder. I also particularly liked the story about the hair, strange curtains with a hair pattern on them… sorry can’t remember the name, get an omnibus of his stories… that was truly frightening and had me creeped out on nights when I slept alone while Jim was at work. One effective motif James uses regularly is ‘things’ creeping on all fours rather than walking. Shudder. Especially when they are creeping in the dark towards your window.

I also recently read a John Saul oldie, called ‘Second Child’, which I picked up at the charity book stand of the fab pub we go to with the in-laws for lunch once a month. I’d read Saul before, when I worked for Staffs library, and always found him a bit meh in comparison to other horror writers, but really enjoyed this one. It’s not great literary shakes, but was just a nice page turner for the time I read in bed before sleep.


First proper post

Still working on short stories at the moment. I’ve only done a few over the past decade – eek how scary is that – but have half a dozen ideas at the moment, two of which are finished and sent off to anthologies and two more started. The other two are just in note form. The two that are finished and sent off are partly influenced by my hobby of playing World of Warcraft. One was my take on a part of that virtual world, with all the serial numbers rubbed off. I love Pandaria, the new continent in WoW, and just playing in there in the evening has spawned so many story ideas. ‘The Drake Lords of Kyla’ is just one of them, and it’s been submitted to a publisher. I hope the editor approves of it! The other one is not so much about that virtual world, but just my experiences of being a guild leader. A whole book could be written on the politics of virtual worlds, and how it reflects or even amplifies reality. We underwent certain situations in our guild over the past year, and although it was rather upsetting at the time, my writer head couldn’t help but think, yummy, here’s food for a tale! I set it in a sort of quasi Game of Thrones sort of world with knights and noble orders, but really it’s about MMOs and guilds. Any gamer will recognise that straight away. Anyway, that’s sent off too, so hopefully the receiving editor will like it. Will keep news posted here.

Running on from the above, I’d just like to stick up for gamers. I know many other fantasy/horror/sf writers apart from me are really into MMOs. For many, who are uninitiated, it’s seen as some sort of brain cancer that ruins your life and somehow lobotomises you. A lot of people believe if you play such games you lose all sense of reality, let your kids and pets starve, and can’t do anything else. I’d just like to say that personally, even though I play WoW a lot of evenings, my days are full of work and whatever else I feel like doing. And my experiences in the virtual world have only helped my creativity, in more ways than one.

I have had a sort of pause in my work for the last few years, and it’s only recently I’ve felt my muse return, but that was to do with life situations – again, somewhat horribly really good for story fodder. Thank the gods some good comes out of these situations! WoW has helped me get through some really nasty times, so I will always stick up for it and its fans.

I’m being really disciplined about writing ideas down nowadays. Notebook by my bed and so on. Simply because over the years I’ve lost so many ideas I had. My main problem now is not so much ideas or the ability to write freely but simply time. I created Immanion Press and now it’s a responsibility, and a proper job. So my writing time is curtailed just as much as it was when I had a formal 9 to 5 job years ago. Still, I can’t complain about that. I work from home and my business is my own. I might not be rich, but I’m solvent, just about. Who can ask for more than that? 🙂

Welcome to my new blog

Hi all

With the launch of my new website at, I’ve started a new blog also, for up to date news and musings.

Please check out the new site, and do let me know here of any problems with it, or suggestions for what information you’d like us to include.

More to be added soon.