Calling all New Year’s Resolution Writers

So, you want to write a book. You’ve wanted to write a book for a while now, and this is the year you’re going to do it. While others have sworn off the drink, the cigs, and the chocolate, your New Year’s resolution is to write. Go you. You can do this. I have to… Continue reading Calling all New Year’s Resolution Writers

How to Write the Perfect Christmas Ghost Story

My latest for the Wordsworth Blog, on writing tips from M.R. James... ‘There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas,’ wrote Jerome K. Jerome in the introduction to his darkly comic collection Told After Supper (1891), ‘something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer… Continue reading How to Write the Perfect Christmas Ghost Story

G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

A new post for the G.W.M. Reynolds Society... As a child, I possessed a morbid passion for nineteenth century gothic literature. I had inherited this trait from my mother, a Catholic turned Spiritualist with a taste for true crime and horror film and fiction. My parents had me late in life and my grandparents were… Continue reading G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

Unveiled: The First Unthank School Anthology

Before I stepped down from my role as Head of Online Courses at The Unthank School of Writing to focus on my own writing, my final project was a very pleasant one indeed. With my old friend and colleague Ashley Stokes, Head of School, I jointly edited Unveiled: The First Unthank School Anthology. Having canvassed… Continue reading Unveiled: The First Unthank School Anthology

The Last Chartist Petition – Part Two

This really happened... In the wake of the Trafalgar Square riots, the Duke of Wellington himself, then in his seventy-ninth year, was called upon by his government to protect the nation once again. This time the Iron Duke was tasked with defending London against the dangerous radicals that were intent on marching en masse to… Continue reading The Last Chartist Petition – Part Two

The Last Chartist Petition – Part One

The million-strong People's Vote March today put me in mind of the Chartists. OK, I know that Chartism didn't end well, with the final petition discredited by the Tories (claiming the signatures were fake, the demonstration much smaller than it was, and turning out the army), but everything they were fighting for has since come… Continue reading The Last Chartist Petition – Part One

Letting Go and Moving On – A Review of My Year

Given the clattering clown car of idiocy and doom that was 2018 (and, indeed, 2017 and 2016), I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve had a really good year. It didn’t start out so well either. After slogging through about four years of severe and uninterrupted depression since the last nervous breakdown, I cracked up… Continue reading Letting Go and Moving On – A Review of My Year

The Museum of Everything

A ghost story for Christmas... When I was a kid, I made a list of things that scared me. I was honest, while at the same time restricting myself to the real night terrors, rather than the vaguely unsettling. Like a Desert Island Disks list I got it down to seven: Spiders (foreign and domestic,… Continue reading The Museum of Everything

A Short Story for Halloween

The Final Entry in the Journal of the Late Leviticus Lovecraft October 31, 18— My reason fails me this night. Already, I have seen the shadows moving in the darkness beyond the glass. And yet, they tell me that I am ill. Ill I am, but I know that I be not mad. 0 curs’d… Continue reading A Short Story for Halloween

A Motivational Writer’s Toolkit

New post for the Unthank School of Writing blog... I’ve just finished teaching two online groups for the Unthank School of Writing, the modular How To Write A Novel course and the Online Fiction Workshop. These were hard-working and dynamic writers’ groups, and I’m delighted to report that several students have decided to stay with… Continue reading A Motivational Writer’s Toolkit