The rise and rise of self publishing

January 24, 2017

OK, I’ll admit to a little self interest here, but bear with me.

I’m involved with publishing. You’re reading it. Blogs have unequivocally levelled the playing field when it comes to getting one’s thoughts out there for others to see at little or no cost. There is something unspeakably cool, however, about seeing your words printed and bound, and self publishing is on the rise. Read the rest of this entry »


White Hermione and Straight Biggles

January 20, 2017

When I first read Harry Potter, Hermione was white. Well, she was in my head because I’m not particularly inventive and I was much more interested in the story than painting a picture of every character in the book.

Now, she isn’t. Or rather, she doesn’t have to be. Likewise, Biggles the pilot of Sopwith Camels in the Great War didn’t strike me as being either particularly gay or straight and yet apparently his orientation has been the subject of speculation. Read the rest of this entry »


Well that’s (a) novel

December 7, 2016

I’m writing a story. So far it has only a few hundred words, but already I want to find out what the characters in it do next. In fact, that’s the most exciting bit about writing so far. I have some idea about the general scheme of the story and what I want to be “true” for the world I’m weaving, but as it evolves gently before my eyes I’m still constantly in awe of the ease with which I can conjure and construct whatever suits my needs. Read the rest of this entry »


Reading for Pleasure

March 3, 2016

It’s World Book Day. Hurrah! I love reading and I love books.

I’m not on either side of the Kindle debate, having both more books than I should comfortably fit on the available bookshelves and also an e-reader with more to enjoy. But I am a keen advocate of recommendations. And lists of personal favourites. Read the rest of this entry »


Writing about Games, Writing Games to Write About

January 23, 2016

I’m a massive fan of the Metrozone (Petrovitch) series by Simon Morden, and have read a number of his other books. He’s been a speaker at Greenbelt, which was fun to listen to. On the side column of this blog, you can even see the Freezone flag. Click it to find out more.

So, I was delighted to read recently that he’s invented a new game too. Read the rest of this entry »


1 Walsall Poem

July 27, 2015

I’m almost a published poet. I’ve been added to a collective effort celebrating Walsall wordsmiths in the form of a curated blog.

100 Walsall Poems is now live, and has been for a little while. My effort is included and I’m rather flattered to have been involved. I met the project curator Peace the Poet this afternoon on my walk from the office to the car.

He’s a pleasant chap with a positive disposition, and well known in the borough as a performer and poet.

By all means have a look at the project, and also check out the other things he is doing. It’s all about community and collaboration.


Book Worm

September 5, 2014

In the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed posts on Facebook about ten books. Here is mine:

With sufficient respect to Nigel for asking, and in the hope people may find it interesting, here are my ten books. Books that have stuck with me for one reason or another. Read them all.

1. Equations of Life, Simon Morden
2. Rock and Roll is Dead, Steve Lawson
3. Jingo (and Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms and Thud!), Terry Pratchett
4. The Horse and his Boy, CS Lewis
5. The Crow Road, Iain Banks
6. Poetics of Music, Igor Stravinsky (translation from the original French)
7. And now let’s move into a time of nonsense, Nick Page
8. Sharpe’s Waterloo, Bernard Cornwell
9. Pigeon Post, Arthur Ransome
10. The White Cat. I’m not even sure who wrote this but it was my boyhood favourite bedtime story. “There once was a King who had three sons… we shall see what we shall see.”

Please do feel free to share your ten. I’m not going to nominate anybody. It’s been quite fascinating reading other people’s though.

And beneath, in the comments, Nigel was kind enough to wonder how and why these books have a hold. So I decided the best way to address his interest would be via the blog. Here again are my top ten books in no particular order, this time with a little about each. Read the rest of this entry »