I write allsorts, but not the sweet liquorice kind.  Like chocolate, sometimes a little dark and bitter is all good. I’ve been writing fiction for a good few years now, and together with Tiro, joined the Writers in the Peak in 2010 to get some fresh ideas, feedback and write with a little more discipline. I’ve previously tried a few writing/performance groups and finally settled here.

I write mainly fiction/ fantasy short stories and poetry in a black vein, I’m quite happy with the darker aspects of life, although I’m still weak on dialogue, preferring monologue or as little dialogue as possible.  I’ve tried to rectify that recently by undertaking dialogue writing exercises to try to improve; the results can still be a bit stilted.  I also have a habit of ‘making my readers work’ I think was the polite phrase at the end of a recent reading.  I don’t believe that readers need spoon-feeding all the information about the setting/ character/ plot and prefer leaving some things for them to work out themselves. Assumptions; I like messing with those too.  If you hadn’t guessed it, I’m fascinated by exploring the grittier side of life, the things that a human being will do when forced to confront a choice between dark and darker.  The worlds under and between this one.  Things which live in the shadows, and the people who choose to stand in the liminal places between the candle and the star.

I write when things arrive, which is usually at the most inconvenient time for me – getting off the train from work, in the middle of conversation with friends or family, at some night hour of the very early morning, whenever I don’t have a pen and paper, or keyboard handy to record whatever-it-is.  Writing for me is like listening to a conversation play out through next doors thin wall, or seeing scenes play out as if from a film.  Things tend to arrive in one piece, or at the worst, large chunks, although lately I’ve been able to use the merit of electronically revising each piece to get precisely the right turn of phrase, something I didn’t previously do.  Characters, scenes, feelings and description arrive en-masse and I’m usually distracted by trying to concentrate on it until I can write it down and get it out of my head.  Sometimes a piece of writing will evoke a particular feeling and to continue writing it, I have to somehow recapture that feeling again.  Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t and don’t complete the piece properly, and sometimes I try without quite getting the exact feeling and the piece ends up not quite the right shape I’d intended at the outset.  In October 2009, I begin sharing an online writers blog with Tiro and finding time and place to write finally became a little more disciplined.  I find it easier to know that everything’s all in one place, where previously I’d lose the scrap of newspaper, receipt or bus ticket that I’d written something down on.

The writers I most admire are legion, but most notably are George RR Martin, for his ability to make his readers work without making his work obscure.  I’ve got the first part, it’s the second point that I’m finding a bit tricky… Seamus Heaney, notably for his interpretation of Beowulf, something I’ll regularly go back and read when I need my blood firing up.  Heaney’s poetry is richer than Christmas pudding, a deep use of language which evokes something ancient and wistful, which strips the modern part of my brain back and leaves me quite happily in some ancient hall hearing the poet chanting his work beside me.  Fantasy wise, it has to be Sir Terry Pratchett.  I can’t single out any one of his works over another, they’re all brilliant, long may he reign.  His ability to take a complex conceptual ideas and translate it into simple words whilst telling a ripping good yarn (such as defining society in Nation) is something I can only hope to ever be half as good at.  I’m also fond of Bernard Cornwell’s historical books of Stonehenge , The Arthur Books and  The Saxon Stories series.  I love his ability to breathe life into the shadowy past, making it realistic and easily believable.  Some of my stories are edging towards futuristic military.  Dan Abnett is happily to blame.  His Gaunts Ghosts series are some of my favourite futuristic military based stories.  I love the grit, realism and outright darkness that he injects into his writing.  Simon R Green is also a big influence; his Forest Kingdom series was a refreshing fantasy with a difference, and took familiar fantasy archetypes and put them into new settings and dilemas.  Again a big dose of dark influence and what people choose to do when faced with it.  Just beautiful writing.  The same can be said of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, a world in which magic and the wild things exist in the human world, the setting is a perfectly crafted blend of film noir, classic fantasy and a hefty dose of modern world realism.  Hope you’ve seen the theme by now…

I am published in the Fade: The poetry journal of the North Staffordshire Press in their first issue, which can be found HERE

The pieces below are some of my favourites: set from the future, to the modern-day, fantasy and militaristic sci-fi, they’re all a little bit dark and groovy, and I’m rather proud of all of them in their own way.  Enough of the rambling, enjoy.

You may have noticed that my rate has slowed over the last few months, it’s because there’s something else being written.  Something big, which to date (December 2011) is around the 32K word mark… There are extracts of it available at Liminis, the website I share, and also at YouWriteOn.  I’m currently hunting for readers and critisizers (which I’m sure isn’t a word, but what the heck, ) who can provide objective feedback and suggestions to aid the project.  If you’d like to be one, just drop me a comment below, or an e-mail 🙂


Growlerya short piece exploring the meaning of the word.

Dust to Dust – a modern-day drug deal goes a little bit wrong.  Or maybe that’s just the assumption

Fourth Ammeloration – a fantasy monologue coming-of-age piece in which the speaker imparts  all the stuff-you-need-to-know

Hospitality – a fantasy tale of pilgrims arriving at a long-awaited rest stop to find something isn’t quite right

Kate Flaxpiece a modern-day fantasy story of a job interview with a surprising panel member

Neema’s Rose – not a war story but a love story, set against a backdrop of a futuristic military based day job

The Titan Sings (part 1)The beginning: giant robots, military underground bases, and a main character too smart mouthed for his own good.  Sexier than socks on a rooster.

The Titan Sings (part 2) – The end. As above.  Still just as sexy.


You can find more of my work at the writers blog I share with Tiro: HERE.  I also have a profile at YouWriteOn, which you can find HERE


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