Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Just a quick blog post to wish you all very happy Christmas!  As a special treat, head on over to the Haldred Chronicles Facebook page and you will find a Christmas surprise!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Other peoples blogs!

A quick little blog post to get another aspect to this blog going.  That of blogging about other peoples blog’s!

I’ll try and do this every so often, just to high-light some posts I think are interesting or useful (or both!)

First up, this post about using LinkedIn.  I have to admit, I’ve not yet followed the advise on this one but it definitely has some very good tips.  Hope it proves useful for my fellow authors in particular.

Books and such provides this handy little guide, which was particularly useful when I was first starting out my Nanowrimo experiences but still rings true now.  It’s all about first drafts and not to worry about them!

Finally, something a little different for both mystery authors and those just interested in running a mystery themed RPG.  This gem was passed to me by my fellow Nanowrimo writing buddy Daireen and is an excellent article on the fine particulars of writing mystery fiction.

Hope everyone enjoys.  Meantime, I have been writing away on both Tales of Larrick City and Book 4.  Tales of Larrick City has hit 10,000 words and Book 4 is coming together nicely with a lot of little modifications.  I’ll be taking a rest over Christmas, obviously, but will be back at things come 2014.

Just in case I don’t get posting up before then, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy new year.

Till next time.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My Nanowrimo experience

Hello everyone.  Yes, I know it’s been a while.  But I have lots to tell I’m glad to report.

As I reported in my last blog post way back at the end of October, my plan was to take part in the National Novel writing month run by  An event known on Facebook and Twitter as #nanowrimo.  I am glad to report that I took part in the event throughout November, though I did not complete it as intended.  The plan was to write 50,000 words but I only managed 26,000.

Still, the entire experience was one I would definitely recommend to any budding writer or current writer looking to boost there creativity.  The event forces you to concentrate on writing, even writing for the sake of writing.  Quantity is better than quality, the idea being that you complete a 1st draft then spend the next while perfecting what you manage to write in the tight time scale.

26,000 words was not what was required to ‘win’, but it certainly gave me a lot to think about and has set a solid foundation for Haldred Chronicles book 4.  The main characters, major plot points and scenes have all been formed in one way or another.  What is needed now is some time to properly connect them all together and fill in the details, particularly regards the descriptions.

A lot of the writing was often just dialogue between characters, to be filled in at a later date.  But that’s part of the fun!  Letting you set things up so that later you can go back and fill out the details; updating descriptions and making the scenes truly breath.

I had a lot of positive experiences during November as the challenge went ahead.  For example, I noticed certain activates I’d been doing in my life influenced my writing.  Obviously every writer will take some kind of small influence from there own life in writing, but during Nanowrimo this seemed to be heightened due to the challenge to put words on the page.  One example was my experience with the boxed set of all the seasons of the TV comedy series Frazier in my DVD collection that played in the background whenever I was writing.  I have found that some of the humour in book four has been influenced by the Frazier style of comedy; that unique sort of dry sarcastic wit.  Indeed, one of the characters I can say with confidence is definitely my own take on Frazier Crane, though given the setting he is sufficiently different not to just be a direct copy.

It was a fantastic experience as well due to the community involvement.  The multiple forums on the nanowrimo website were highly active during November and before, offering help and tips as well as places to brag / encourage.  The topic posts were a treasure trove of helpful material from ‘how do you escape a burning building’ to ‘dress sense of the 17th century’.  Anything and everything could be covered and when you asked a question, however obscure, someone somewhere on the boards would be able to answer it for you, often very quickly.  For those interested, the forums are still up and the community still very active.  Go take a look!

The experience was further enhanced by the writing buddies system.

Before the event began, I was able to connect with a number of like minded individuals in order to encourage each other, share work and comment.  This provided a more personal connection for developing the story and putting words on the page.  Constantly these writing buddies encouraged me to ‘keep writing!’.  They were part of the reason I got as far as I did.

I must send a particular big congrats to my writing buddies BriegeH, Daireen, Eimi111, Erin Funk, GabzWritez and ValkyrieMist who did successfully complete the challenge.  Good job all of you!  I assure you, I am immensely jealous J.

I may not have completed the Nanowrimo challenge, but I have certainly benefited from the event and now, the future is clear for books 3 and 4 to grow.  The plan will be to return to book 3 in about a months time and finish it.  Before that, I will continue for another month on book 4 and fill in a few more of the scenes.  I want to leave book 4 in at least draft 2 form. 

Book 3, ‘Tales of Larrick City’ will then be finished and I will look to release it in the first quarter of 2014. 

Once again, my thanks to all my writing buddies on Nanowrimo and everyone who encouraged me in completing the challenge.  Thank you so much!  Good luck with your own endeavours.

Till next time.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A post before the battle...

Well, November is almost here and with it, the November writing competition at  Preparations are being made.

First, sadly, I’ll have to suspend this Blog to give me time to write.  I’ll need to write around 1,500 words a day if I am to get anywhere near my goal of finishing a novel by the end of the month, so unfortunately I will probably only post about once in the next month; just to let people know I am still writing and how far I’ve got.  This will probably be in the middle of the month.

Secondly, I will of course suspend work on Tales of Larrick City.  I hope in the next few days to get it up to 10,000 words at least (at 7,600 now) and leave it in good form but we’ll see what time I get.  The plan is still to be in December with the 1st Draft’s of 2 books; it would be fantastic if I manage to do that.  I like a challenge!

Finally, I just want to wish all the very best to everyone doing Nanowrimo this year.  Friends, family and fellow writers, good luck to you all and successful writing!

Until the next Blog post, all the best.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Other people's blog's...again!

As I’ve been working away on Tales of Larrick City (now up to 7500 words) I’ve again been taking a look at a lot of Blog’s out there.  Here are 4 posts in particular that I found very interesting.

First up, a post up by Toddi Gutner on the Entrepreneur site.  This post is all about your LinkedIn profile and gave me a lot to think about regards my own presence on the network.  It has a lot of hints and tips about improving how you as individual can present yourself on the network, although it is primarily aimed at company profiles.

Second, another ‘how to’ post, on, well, how to Blog!  It lays out in concise and practical terms just how to Blog properly and I’m already reading through it and thinking ‘yeah, I missed that step’.  Very useful for putting you on the straight and narrow and making yours updates not only more relevant to what you do, but also more interesting in general.  I hope to implement the suggestions in future posts.

Next, a more writing centred post by Diane Mae Robinson on the Imogen Knight Blog. It’s about how to write a good children’s story.  Although only aspects of the post were relevant to what I’m doing (my stories are primarily directed toward teenager / adult level) it’s very well laid out and provides excellent advise.  Well worth the read for any writer of fiction.

Finally, if you’ve had enough of ‘advise’ post’s, here’s a fantastically funny post by the legendary Conan O’Brien, who has recently become an influencer on LinkedIn.  Yes, I’m scared too!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My writing space

A slightly late blog this time (I normally try to post on Mondays and Fridays) so apologies.

At the weekend I did something that I don’t get to do often; type up my novel seated at my ‘writing space’; my specific little area that I’ve cleared for writing.  It was…liberating.

Normally, I just write where-ever I have somewhere I can put the laptop down or make a note on, but I have also set aside a place in my house specifically for writing.  I’ve set up my perch in the spare bedroom, opposite the window on a nice big table, with plenty of room for the laptop and notes.  I managed to bring my word count up to 5,000 for Tales of Larrick City as well as making a few more notes on the future.

To describe it further, I’ll go through what I see when I sit down.  On my left is the Google Chrome book laptop that I use to check out forums / blogs etc.  Beside it are some of my reference book’s (Forensics’ for dummies for example, very good book) and my note books too.  In the corner are more note books and previous book drafts for easy access.

Directly in front of me at the end of the table is a pile of RPG source books and rulebooks from various gaming systems.  Good for inspiration and visual reference.

Moving on to my right hand side I find my main laptop: a small Dell Latitude D430.  This is where I actually do my writing, hammering away on the keyboard which is nice and clickly (I don’t like the new silent keyboards, no response!).

Everything at the table is nice and spaced out, with stationary in the drawers out of the way and space to place a cup of tea or coffee without it being in danger of spilling over a keyboard.

This blog isn’t so much an instruction on how to create your own writing space, it’s just a comment on how I’ve organized mine.  If you’re a writer, how do you organize your writing area?  Do you even have a writing area or just write where-ever there is room?

Meanwhile, like I said, I’ve made good progress on Tales of Larrick City as we are up to 5,000 words and climbing.  November is getting closer which is prompting more work in that regard as I want to have a solid, 1st Draft for Tales of Larrick City before I hammer into Nanowrimo and start on the 4th book properly.  It will be an intense November; the writing space will be a critical battleground!

Till next time.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Story time

I’ve not posted up a short story in a long time so for today’s Blog, why not?

This was a short story done a while back with Katrina and Matt.  It was an experiment in different language styles and a more ‘action’ orientated style of writing.  It’s a break from the norm I must admit and didn’t quite work out how I wanted, but it was a good excuse to try something new. 

The original writing challenge was to write an alternative take on a Fairytale.  This is my attempt.  Please excuse the rather unoriginal names of the characters.

Hope it entertains at any rate :).

* * * * *

“Big Dog this is Wolf Pack!  We’re falling back!”
“Big Dog to Wolf Pack, say again, what do you mean falling back?”

A massive explosion answered the question for Captain John Spartan, making everyone around him duck for cover as a plume of black smoke bellowed up from behind the house his SWAT team had been assaulting.  Seconds later, members of the SWAT team came dashing round the battered wooden residence.  They were carrying one of their own in a casualty tarpaulin; others appeared wounded or in shock, face’s blackened.

“Get those men behind the line!” barked the Captain, bringing the stunned police men and women around him out of there shock.  Uniformed officers rushed to the SWAT team’s aid, escorting them back behind the protective line of security tape and police cruisers.  No sooner had they gotten the injured officers to the ambulances than gunfire started from the house, huge muzzle flashes erupting from the windows.

Officers, civilians and TV-crews dived for cover as bullets tore apart the police cruisers for a third time, peppering them with bullet holes.  Mercifully no-one was hurt but John didn’t want to think about the bill for repairing all the damage the ‘Pig Skin’s Brothers’ had inflicted.

They were only 3 men, but from the looks of the damage inflicted and the harsh treatment they had given the SWAT team they had enough explosives and firepower to continue the siege for a long time.

“Captain Sparta!” yelled a disheveled looking reporter as she scrambled over to where John was kneeling by the side of the one of the battered cruisers, followed by her equally disheveled looking camera-man. 
“Kate Appleton, Channel 9 news.  What’s your assessment of the situation?”
John paused, making sure to give Kate as confused as expression as possible. 
“Well the situation is I’ve got armed criminals shooting at me and reporters asking me stupid questions.”
“Sir, we’re live on air.”
John smiled at the accompanying camera.  “I know.” He said. 
“Riddick!” John yelled over his shoulder, ignoring Kate as she opened her mouth to continue questioning; she sensibility shuffled off.

“Sir!” bellowed a gruff formidable looking uniformed sergeant, who quickly sprinted over to the Captain’s side.
“I think it’s time.”
Riddick gave his commander a confused expression behind his black aviator glasses.  “You sure?  Hell of a lot of people around.”
“I know, but considering what the Pigs are packing I don’t want to risk any more lives.”

“Send in the Lupin.” ordered the Captain.

* * * * *

“Ha ha! Yeah!” screamed Stray Hat Willie, punching the air with one hand.  “Did yah see that bro?  Look at them cops a’ running!”
“It’s a beau-ta-ful thin’.” Agreed his brother, Two-by-four Tommy, shouldering a plank of wood.  “No way is we go’in back to the big house now, no way!  They aien’t getting us out fo’ a lo’arong time!”

“Yeah got that right!” declared the final member of the trio, Stone Wall Freddy, the mountain a man slapping a fresh box magazine into his M60 machinegun and grinning toward his brothers.  “Cops ‘ill fuss and fetch out there till they’s gone stupid.  By then, we’ll have dug the tunnel and be away out in’ta the swamps.  Old daddy would ah been proud!”

The brothers briefly took their hats off at the thought of their dearly departed ‘Pa’. 
“Now.” Freddy said next, looking over toward Willie.  “Willie, it’s your turn down in the hole.”
“Ah come on Freddy!” whined the younger brother.  “I wants ta throw more grenades!”
“You’ll get your chance.” Freddy assured his concerned cohort.  “But we all take’s our turn, you know that.”
“I guess so.” agreed Willie reluctantly.  “But yeah’s better keep’s me a few cops ta explode!”
“Hell yeah!” shouted both of the other brothers.

Just as Willie was about to open the attic hatch and descend to the tunnel digging area, a strange humming sound started to build up from outside the house.
“What the heck is that?” asked Freddy, frowning and heading back to the window, machine gun in hand.
“Hey, yeah should see this boy’s.  Them cops got some kind ah ray-dar thing out there!” he declared, beckoning his two comrades over. 

The brothers took a window each, peering carefully out of the shattered glass.  Sure enough, an armored vehicle painted in police blue and white was parked up by the perimeter.  Atop it was what looked very much like a radar dish, pointed at the house.  The humming seemed to be coming from the vehicle.
“Ah!” said Tommy, grinning.  “If they’s trying that old psycho-ma-logical warfare on us they going ta be disappointed.  I could go fur some of that Rock-in-Roll!”
“I hear that!” agreed Willie. 
Freddy, considered a little smarter than the other two, wasn’t so sure.  He was particularly concerned by that fact that everyone he could see at the police perimeter had there hands over their ears. 
“Boys.” He said, as the humming from outside seemed to intensify.  “I think we should maybe all get digging, just this once.”
His brothers looked over.  “Why’s that Freddy?”

Freddy didn’t get a chance to answer; he was interrupted by the house falling down.

* * * * *

Kate Appleton was beaming at the camera.  The makeup boys had cleaned her up and she had an exclusive interview with Captain Spartan.  This would be a perfect boost to her career, even if Captain Spartan wasn’t known for his media appearances.

“Captain Spartan.” She said, microphone in hand, flashing a toothy smile.  “can you tell us just what has occurred here.”
“Lupin.” said John, eyeing the reporter and wondering why the hell he had agreed to the damn interview.
“Ah…can you elaborate for our viewers?” Kate asked, trying to maintain her fake smile and resisting the urge to beg the good Captain to act like a normal human being for once.
“Fine.” John relented, producing a slip of paper from his back pocket and rather obviously reading from it.

“Lupin is the latest weapon in the fight against crime.  This highly specialist police armoured vehicle is equipped with a turret mounted sonic non-lethal weapon designed to collapse constructs under controlled circumstances.  Given the danger faced here at Brick Street we decided to deploy Lupin to prevent lose of life.”
Trying his best to look a little bit more interested, John addressed the camera.
“Basically folks.” He said, actually managing to crack a smile.  “We huffed and we puffed and we blew there house in.”

The camera just happened to pan past the Captains head to the scene of the 3 Pig brothers being lead away in handcuff’s.  Each of them was covered in the dust of fallen masonry and still had shocked expressions plastered over there faces.

“So remember.” John declared, face serious as he pointed at finger at the camera.  “Crime doesn’t pay.  Commit a crime…”
He thumbed back toward where the Lupin vehicle was parked.
“…And the Big Bad Wolf will come knocking at your door!”

Monday, 14 October 2013

Good days and bad

Don’t be worried by the title, JG’s not having a bad day.  I am just reflecting on the tendency with writing to have your good days and bad.

A good day is when you get a lot of writing done, obviously.  My Sunday yesterday was such a day, were I was able to sit down and make a lot of good progress on not only ‘Tales of Larrick City’ but also on a number of other little projects; that’s a good writing day.

A bad writing day is just a day were either you’ve set time aside for writing and get nothing done, or a day where you just don’t have the time to get anything done in the first place!  How does one overcome such obstacles?

For me, half the battle is fought and won when you have set some time aside.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a strict routine thing (e.g. 1 hour every day).  Just means that if you’re planning your week you make sure that you’ve set some time aside to write.  Secondly, to defeat the problem of having nothing to write during those times, taking quick notes is a must.

Inspiration, after all, can come at any time but you might not be in a position to elaborate on something you thought off at the time.  So, instead, quickly jot it down or make a note on a phone.  Then, when it comes to your ‘writing’ time, you can bring out the note / phone and properly write up the idea, which might possibly cascade into further ideas.

Now as I said in my previous blog, I don’t think I’ve been in the game long enough to be dispensing advice, so veterans may consider this just ‘what I do’ as apposed to definitive directions on how to write up your story.  Just a little thought J.

Meanwhile, as I said, I made very good progress on Tales of Larrick City and have now got a lot of the ground work done.  However, the middle of the mouth is coming soon so I really need to kick it up a gear if I am to finish the 1st draft by the end of the month and be ready for Nanowrimo.  Hopefully over this week I will grab some ‘writing time’ as intended and get more done.  I also now have 6 reviews on for Kalla which is fantastic.  My thanks again to everyone who has been reviewing my book, it really helps!

Till next time all.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Other peoples blog's

I am glad to report, I have been working away on Tales of Larrick City this week as planned.  In the process, I’ve also been reading a lot of other peoples blog’s.  This is both an educational experience but also very interesting to see the different styles, different advise and just the different things people post about.

Take this update for example from one of my favourite authors, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, talking about the writing of his latest novel.  The post is entitled “Lets talk about Abaddon”.  For Warhammer 40K players you’ll know what he’s talking about.

The post is humourous, as well as being very insightful into the world he is writing on and the amount of research he’s been doing.  And like I said, it’s just damn funny.  It’s the kind of blog I wish I could write.  Interesting, informative and funny.

Then there’s this blog from Randy Ross

This one is more of an insight into the writers experiences with social media.  Which, sadly, seem to have been not the very best particularly regards Facebook and Twitter.  Read carefully and you see plenty of hints and tips on how to maximize their effect, as well as pitfalls to avoid; a very informative blog post.

Finally, from Bob Mayer.

This post is all about writing marathons and I thought quite useful due to my intention to run with Nanowrimo in November.  Again, its an advise blog with plenty of very good information.

These blogs and more have greatly encouraged me in my writing and I hope they do the same for you.  I still consider myself a complete novice in the world of the writer so I don’t feel I’m in a position to write ‘advise’ blogs just yet.  But I think I can still make my posts interesting to the reader and I hope this one has been interesting for you, if only just to direct you to other peoples sites.

It will be a learning experience as I continue to experiment with my online presence.  In particular this week I have seen a massive increase in my activates on  Come visit me if you are on the site yourself J

Till next time everyone, have a good weekend.

Monday, 7 October 2013


This weekend past I was in Scotland, visiting friends and family with Debs. It was a fantastic trip, a proper catchup and an opportunity to visit some beautiful and interesting place's. Place's such as the Macintosh museum in Glasgow (Macintosh was a noted and highly regarded designer from the very early 20th century), and a little walk round the park there, as well as a trip to Edinburgh. 

Perfect places for inspiration to strike. Which it did! I now have two more book ideas from this little trip alone. One was inspired by the Macintosh museum, particularly because Macintoshs designs were so modern for the 1900's. It got me thinking about how a Macintosh-like individual would be treated in the world of Haldred Chronicles. 

The second idea, was from a chat with a good friend we visited about his latest design projects and his...'Mad scientist ' aspirations shall we say. 

For those of the writing type, I ask you. Where does your inspiration and ideas come from? Is it from a place or person you visit? A sudden random thought triggered by anything from a song you hear or just a text message? Just curious :-).

News wise, I'm making good progress with Tales of Larrick City and enjoying the writing immensely. I have also been making preparations for the November writing challenge, as i've now signed up with Nanowrimo officially. Also seen a big increase in likes on Facebook again; once more a big thank you to my fellow authors for the interest and support.

And finally, I now have 5 reviews of Haldred Chronicles: Kalla on Amazon which is just fantastic! Thanks so much to everyone who has been reviewing and passing on encouragement. You guys and gals are great, keep them coming.

Till next time.

PS: this blog update was created solely on my Z10 blackberry. So yes, I have confirmed I can email-blog now as well! ‎

Friday, 4 October 2013

Book covers

On Wednesday of this week I met up with my fantastic cover artist Mat and we talked book covers.  Specifically, ideas for the book covers of ‘Tales of Larrick City’ (my next book that I’m currently drafting) and my as-yet-unnamed 4th book. 

It got me thinking; what makes a good book cover?

The ‘Lost Fleet’ series by Jack Campbell uses a lot of very impressive covers, most involving space craft of one type or another which immediately draw the eye.  George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels more recent covers go for simpler but no less intriguing covers with medieval designs.

For my own books, Mat proposed the idea of having the main characters on the front cover so that the readers have a visual reference.  In the case of Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa, you have Alyssa (the main character) on the front cover with Malak    For Haldred Chronicles: Kalla, Victoria Haldred herself and Kalla appear on the front cover. 

Main characters on the cover’s of novels is nothing new; J K Rowling’s series Harry Potter traditionally had Harry himself on the front cover in some scene from the book itself. 

My question is, what works for you?  What kind of book cover designs do you like?  Those that depict scenes from the book or characters there-in?  Or just more simple designs with prehapes book specific symbols or locations?  What, for you, makes a good book cover?  Please comment and share.

Meanwhile, progress has been good with me and book 3.  ‘Tales of Larrick City’ sits at 3500 words so far and is steadily growing.  Likewise, having signed up with Goodreads, LinkedIn etc I am starting to become better integrated with the writing community on the internet and have seen an extensive increase in likes on my Facebook page!  Big thanks to all my fellow writers who have welcomed me into the fold.

Till next time everyone

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The need to blog more often

Well, tonight I’m not feeling the best.  I had to cancel some gaming I was hosting, which sucks as I was really looking forward to it.  However, I have managed to write up this blog and do some profile updates whilst the meds hopefully do there work to convince my guts that being sick is not a good career path.

As the title says, I need to blog more often.  I’ve started to realize the potential of blogging.

Blogging is supposed to inform people of what I’m up to; that bit I’ve gotten right.  Via this blog in its various forms across websites and forums, I’ve kept everyone up to date on what I’ve been doing on the writing front; word counts, plot plans, book plans, character interactions and all that other good stuff.

I’ve also occasionally posted up short stories to give you a little something extra to take a look through and get a glimpse of just what goes on in this dangerous mind of mine.

What I haven’t done is promoted any particular discussion, or informed on techniques used in my writing.  I’ve been talking about writing stories but not prompted anyone’s individual thoughts on writing.  I’ve proposed characters but not encouraged any engagement on them.  In essence, I need to get people talking instead of just reading a blog post and forgetting about it.

Fortunately, a lot of very talented ebook writers and bloggers have helped immensely in advising on just how to do this and get more from book blogging.  That, and they’ve been a great help in improving my various internet profiles.

An example of good blogging is this post from an interview with the author of ‘Wool’, currently one of the most popular ebooks ever.

Then there’s the advise I got from members of the Createspace community.  I’d like to publicly thank Eric from the createspace forums / blogs for helping me improve the next few links to my profiles (his own link is please visit!)

My LinkedIn profile is now =
Much easier to remember I think you’ll agree.

My good reads profile is now =
Again, much easier to remember and quote.

And he even helped me update my Author pages on Amazon too!

They now look a lot tidier and go directly to my internet pages on these sites.  Thanks again Eric!

Now for some news.  As of today I have officially started writing ‘Tales of Larrick City’.  It’s format will be a departure from the last two Haldred Chronicles books as this one is going to be a short story compendium and glossary of the series.  It’s also going to be a departure from a price point of view too, because when it’s released it will be free!  It will give me an excuse to try a few different writing styles and experiment more, as well as filling in some nice additional detail on characters and the Haldred Chronicle’s background.

In addition, I have decided that I will write book 4 as part of the November Novel Writing Month competition held by The Office of Letters and Light (  This competition is the reason ‘Alyssa’ was finished and published in the first instance, so it will be good to get back to it.

This should mean that I will have at least the first drafts of my next 2 books done by the end of November.  It’s ambitious but I’m going to try as a little extra work at the start of the process makes all the difference.

So there we have it.  New ideas about blogging, new internet profiles on websites across the board and new plans for the future.  Lots happening!  Till next time everyone (when I hope to be updating as a much healthier individual).

Friday, 27 September 2013

Updating my internet profile!

The last week has been a whirlwind of activity.  Mostly to improve my internet profile :).

To start with, I am now officially registered on LinkedIn as an Author.  I have also taken the time to register with a few groups on LinkedIn as well which is already bearing fruit.  A lot of very good bloggers are on the network site, so I’m already learning a lot from fellow writers.

Next update, the good people at have registered me as an official author!  This fantastic website lists thousands of books and details on the authors, as well as customer reviews.  As such I have made sure that Alyssa and Kalla are both listed, along with info about myself.  As with LinkedIn I have registered with a few groups and blogs.  You can find Goodreads at the link below.

Finally, I made sure to update my author central pages on both and  They now have proper Bio’s and links set up.  You can find them at the links below.

I’ve been active on a lot of other sites and forums too but I’m taking my time with things, getting used to interactions and posting.

I also hope to blog a bit more often in the next while, and not just with book updates.  Should hopefully offer a more varied reading experience!  We'll see how it goes.

Till the next update everyone.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Plans within plans...

It’s been over twenty days since the release of the second book in my fantasy detective series ‘Haldred Chronicles’.  I am very happy with the response.

So far, I have two five-star reviews on Amazon for ‘Haldred Chronicles: Kalla’, which is just fantastic.  As well as this lots of people are now reading the second book and thoroughly enjoying.  Likewise, I have seen a further uptake on book one so the ‘cascade’ effect is taking shape.  I hope this continues.

Here’s the link on Amazon for book two, if anyone is feeling very kind and wishes to purchase or even better, review!

Looking to the future now, I hope to start ‘official’ work on ‘Tales of Larrick City’ very soon.  My original intention was to leave Haldred Chronicles writing for about a month, then start into it again, but I have found myself already writing little scenes here and there.  That and I’ve been writing other stories as well.

One of which you can catch over at the Aeronautica ‘Airspace’ forum ( 

I warn you, this one is written in haste and not as well polished as my published work but I hope you enjoy.  As before (from last year), it is a companion to the wargaming campaign currently ongoing over at the forum, and is of a different style to that found in Haldred Chronicles.

Other plans afoot are more work on the various websites and networks that I am now part of.  The likes of Authonomy (, The Indie Writers Network ( and the Kindle Boards (  I hope to take a more active part in these internet sites over the next while, as well as many others.  This should increase exposure for the books (and the insanity of them of course!)

The ultimate objective is to be published by an official company.  As such, my other big project for the next few months is to prepare a basic synopsis and detailed synopsis for submission to publishers.  The intention is to write them up for both books and so I have a good variety to send on.

So I’ve lots going on and I hope you will all continue to enjoy the fruits of my labour.  Thanks again to everyone for there fantastic support and encouragement over the last while.  Thank you all of you.

Until next time, lots more to come!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Lots of updates!

Well it has been a whirlwind of activity here so I have lots to update you all on!

First, those who have been visiting the blog should notice a bit of a facelift.  With the assistance of the fantastic photography of Ricky Parker I now have proper background images and a better layout.  I hope people will find the blog more interesting and easier to read now.  For those viewing this update on one of the other blog sites ( or ) the link for the main site is below.

Secondly, the Facebook page has had a massive update, namely the photographs from the launch party of the 31st August 2013! 

It took place at the ‘Cabin’ Hall at Windsor Baptist Church, Belfast, and was very well attended.  There, I had an author interview with the fantastic Vic and then a dramatic reading from the Haldred Chronicles: Kalla performed by Vic (playing Victoria), Joanne (playing Gretna), Carson (playing Malak) and Hayley (playing Katy).  All of whom did an exception job of bringing the Haldred Chronicles to life.  The night was rounded off with a free raffle that included a signed copy of a Haldred Chronicles poster!  Everyone had a fantastic time.

You can see some of the photographs of the event at the below link:

Thirdly, my twitter account has had a facelift as well, again due to Ricky’s excellent photos.  To keep up with my random musings, check out the link below.  Of particular note is the new photo of me!

For anyone interested in Ricky the photographer, please visit his site below.  He does exceptional work, I hope you’ll agree.

All that remains is to remind people that all of the above crazy-ness is due to the release of my latest book, Haldred Chronicles: Kalla.  Available for both the Kindle and Kobo books!  Check out the links below for the UK edition

Thanks again everyone, hope you all enjoy

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The time of publishing approaches...

The time of publication is fast approaching.  After months on months of drafting, rewrites and proofing the final product is pretty much ready.

Haldred Chronicles: Kalla will be released on schedule on the 31st August 2013.

As a final precaution I am having the “final” draft looked over by a fresh proof reader, as well as two other people who hadn’t read the first book; just to check coherency and if the book sits well as a stand alone story.  I have written it with the idea that you don’t need to have read the first book, but if you have you’ll get that little bit extra out of it.  I hope, depending on what comments come back to me, that I have succeeded.

A launch party is also confirmed, but it has become a more low-key affair than originally intended.  It’s a social meet up for a load of friends and a few guests to come and enjoy some banter, an interview with myself and a reading of part of the book.  It will be good fun but won’t be over the top.

The next update to this blog will be literally the ‘it’s out!’ post with a link to purchase the book.

After book 2, what are my plans?

Well, I hope to continue work on the short story compendium “Tales of Larrick City.”  This, once complete, will be a freely downloadable book of short stories, as well as a glossary for the Haldred Chronicles universe.  Release date is still to be confirmed; I need to finish it first!  I hope people will enjoy as it fills out the story and background of the world.  That and it’s a good excuse to keep writing before starting work on book 3.

Speaking of book 3, the plan is to start it off in November 2013.  I will write it as part of the November writing completion run as the National Novel Writing Month at  Hopefully I will finish a complete first draft by the end of that month. 

So that’s the plans anyways.  Next blog update will be the release of the book.  I hope you all enjoy!

Take care.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Launch date is closing in!

Just a quick update to indicate that I’m still here!

The draft is sitting with a select few proofreaders for review and comment, as well as checking over the all important grammar and spelling.  Everything is on schedule.

Added to this, I have been making preparations for a possible launch party on the 31st August 2013.  All being well this launch party will take place on the evening of the 31st with some food and drink, an interview with me as well as a raffle and the reading of an extract from the new book.  It should be a fun night once all is organised.

In preparing for this night, I have placed an order for some business cards with some rather nice custom graphics, as provided by Mat my illustrator.  They look the business and I hope to get them sometime this week.

I also put in an order for a couple of small posters to the ‘Zip Posters’ web company.  They too should be with me this week.

So its all go and I’m thoroughly looking forward to finally releasing the new book for you all.  Till launch day!

Monday, 29 July 2013

31st August; the countdown begins!

As I said in my last blog post, I have designated the 31st August 2013 as my launch day.  Now it’s a race to finish up everything and get it all prepared before then!

I have been busy working my way through a print out of the novel, making corrections, adding detail and basically tidying everything up.  It’s a very good experience, particularly the elimination of repeating words.  Proof readers of my previous novel will remember the original drafts that were packed full of constant uses of the word ‘quiet’ instead of ‘quite’, as well as the evitable overuse of the word ‘said’.  Fortunate then that the original novel was proofed so well, good job everyone!

Another idea has also come to mind.  Several people have suggested the idea of a launch day and I must say, I’m very interested in having one.  The basic idea is to hold a launch event at a functional room somewhere, probably in my hometown Newtownards, on the evening of the 31st August.  I will of course post up more details nearer the time.  I definite think it would be a fun thing to try, even just the once.

So it’s at last all coming together.  The book is almost done and if I organize it right, there will be an official launch event for it too! 

I shall keep everyone informed on the blog and my Facebook page.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, 18 July 2013


I think the title gives it away.  Yes, at long last, I have finished book number 2.  58’000 words.  Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.

Now, when I say finished I mean I have completed the story in a coherent form.  It’s not finished as in ready to publish.  I still need to go through the whole book with a fine tooth comb and confirm that all the grammar and spelling is right, that all plot holes have been filled in, that characters act the way they should act etc.

There is still work to be done, but this is a definite milestone. 

I’m afraid I have no short story for this very brief blog update, it was just to confirm I’ve not just been sitting doing nothing.  I have been writing, and writing a lot!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A very busy month

It has been quite some time since last I updated the blog, but then, it has been a very busy month (the title kind of gives that away).

I have been doing nothing but writing and proof reading over the last while, re-reading chapters, tidying up the writing and basically working things through with novel number two.  I’ve had no time to really do anything else due to working on the novel and real life; so no further progress on publishing or on other stories.

The good news is progress has been made and the novel is really taking shape.  The first half of the book is basically done and I think properly carries forward the characters, both old and new.  However, it’s the second half of the book that is proving a little difficult.

I have been coming up with very good scenes, but a lot of them just don’t fit with the story so I’ve had to cut them out and save them for future books.  Several perfectly good chats between characters have had to go purely because they just didn’t suit the situation or didn’t advance the plot.  It was a shame and it’s slowed things down but maybe, just maybe, they will get worked into future stories.  We’ll see.

I am keeping at it.  I’ve had a lot of encouragement from friends and family and everyone is very keen to see the next book.  I don’t want to disappoint them!  I am making progress on the last six chapters and plot elements are falling into place, just slower than I intended.  One big piece of work that was holding things up was the identification of the final bad guy.  Fortunately, that has now been sorted.  I’m most pleased with the result and I hope people will be suitably impressed once they…well, I don’t want to spoil the plot now do I?

That’s progress for now.  Meanwhile, hope you all like the little short story I’ve done below.  This is another old one.  Nothing big, just a simple dual between medieval warriors.  Enjoy!

* * * * *

The North Mans Blood

The fool’s body offered no resistance to Vadra’s blade.  It cut cleanly, slicing the soft skinned southerners head clean from his shoulders.  Vadra had thought the mans neck too long anyway; it was fitting that this weaklings end would come because of it.  Too long; like a chickens.

Yes, that was fitting too; slicing the head off a chicken.  Not that the man, in life at least, had been want for courage.  Oh he’d had courage indeed to face a veteran Warchief such as Vadra in single combat.  But he had fought like a chicken; prodding and pecking worthlessly with his thin sword blade, expecting Vadra to fight the same way.  Vadra had let the man try and land a clean blow to draw blood but the heavy northern armour he was clad in was proof against the southerner’s blows.  Then, when the southerner had at last changed tactics and gone for a stronger blow, Vadra had contemptuously swept the mans’ sword aside, sending it to the muddy ground.  Vadra’s backswing with his long sword had been the beheading blow.  The southerner hadn’t even had time to scream.  Or beg for that matter.  Vadra, in his vast experience, had seen many a southerner beg before the end.  It was very annoying.

“He was a good man north lord.  He was a friend.”

Vadra turned at the sound of the voice.  Around him single combats where taking place up and down the muddy battlefield.  North men fighting in a mass melee with southern warriors, the bright colours of the southern lands in stark contrast to the dark grey’s and blacks of the northern host.

The voice had come from another Southerner.  This one was different.

Unlike the headless corpse now lying at Vadra’s feet, a short, thin thing that hardly deserved the name ‘warrior’, this man was bigger.  Broad shouldered, clad in chain mail with only a small sash tied at his belt to mark him as a southern mercenary.  He had a thick shaggy beard, much like the one Vadra sported, black and braided.  He held a long sword, again like Vadra’s, at the ready.

Yes, maybe this Southerner was a proper warrior.  Indeed he had the look of a north man about him.  Prehapes he was of northern blood?

“I will have to kill you now north lord.”
Vadra smirked at the threat.
“You will try.” Vadra replied in his best broken Southern dialect, his skill at languages not as great as his skill with his sword.

He took a ready stance.  The Southerner nodded, slipping into a low guard.  Already, Vadra was impressed.  The Southerner indeed seemed to know what he was doing; it would be interesting to see how long that lasted.

Vadra attacked, blade sweeping high then down at an angle.  The attack usually caught off guard inexperienced foes with its speed and controlled power.  The Southerner countered well, batting the blade away and thrusting.  The long swords met in a clash of steel on steel, slipping past each other in a shower of sparks.

Yes, this one was a good warrior.

Vadra did not let up, striking again.  Again, the Southerner blocked then counter attacked with skill.  Blade met blade in ear splitting clangs of steel on steel, each warrior striking again and again to weaken the other.

Vadra did not let up.  He never did.  His strength, his years of experience, his skill with the blade; all these combined, would see him victorious.  Of this he was sure.  No southerner, no matter how skilled, would ever best him.

He blocked one of the Southerners blows.  He let go of his sword with one hand, and brought a mailed fist up, slamming it into the Southerners stomach.  The man staggered back, winded.  Vadra allowed himself a smile.

A soft skinned underbelly then.  How disappointing.

The man had his sword out in a wandering gesture but with a thunderous blow Vadra knocked the sword from the mans hands.

Time to die.

He swung his sword up, ready to...

The man leap forward and to Vadra's astonishment, grabbed the Long Swords elaborate pommel, denying the killing blow for but an instant.

Fool, he could not delay the envit...

Vadra gasped, a sharp searing pain in his neck.  He gurgled as blood bubbled up from the gaping wound now in his throat.  The Southerners face was inches from his own, a cold hard anger behind the mans eyes.

“I told you I'd kill you.” said the Southerner, as the life of Warchief Vadra ebbed away, the dagger in his throat putting pay to his murderous ways.

* * * * *

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Onward, to glory!

Taking full advantage of being back to 100% I have made a lot of progress on the novel this last week.  I have chapters 1 to 6 pretty much done, with 40’000 words now written.  Chapters 7 to 12 have a lot of major scenes already completed, I just need to fill things out and that’s it.  I hope to have the whole novel completed on schedule at the end of May, in which case I shall at last be sending off to various proof readers!

That’s the plan anyway.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing other writing projects as well just to keep me occupied.  I had 3 little ideas during the week which I have taken note of and hope to be developing further once I sit down properly and figure them out.  2 novel ideas and a short story.  Right now, the short story is more likely to get developed given time available.  Novel ideas are nice but time is very restricted!

I also did a little fiction for the Paradiso infinity campaign which has got back on track at our local gaming centre, which I present to you all below.

So only a small blog update but hope you guys enjoy the little story below and progress has definitely been good!

* * * * *

“Sergev!  You look like hell!”

Dimitri Trencov walked from behind the folding table and embraced his old comrade in a bear hug.  Sergev Vortravic hugged his old fighting companion back, glad to see a familiar face.

The two Ariadna veterans were in Dimitri’s work tent, an old and battered affair that had seen its fare share of war, off-planet and on.  The Veteran Kazak had earned the nickname of ‘old bear’ referring to his huge stature and veteran status amongst the line Kazak’s.  In comparison to Sergev’s shorter but no less muscular form, he was indeed a bear; a bear meeting a wolf.

For Sergev was a Stavka operative, nick named ‘wolfcub’ for his youthful appearance yet ruthless efficiency.  The wolf, the hunter, let lose on the planet Paradiso.

“Dimitri” he said as they broke off.  “It has been too long Old Bear.”
“Ha!  Old Bear is right, and getting older!”
Dimitri was in his fifties now, a true veteran, with a well groomed greying moustache and bright blue eyes.  He indicated a folding chair and crossed the tent space to a metal cabinet.
“How long’s it been?” Dimitri asked as he opened the cabinet and retrieved the expected clear bottle of quality Kazak vodka and 2 small shoot glasses.  Sergev took the offered seat.
“3 years” replied Sergev.  “3 long years with too much time behind a desk.”
“That’s what you get for joining Stavko!  I warned you!”
“That you did.  What was it you said? ‘Too much paperwork and not enough action?’”
“Certainly sounds like me!” replied the Old Bear boisterously as he set the two glasses on the folding table and poured the two of them drinks.

“To fallen comrades and dead foes!” intoned Dimitri, raising his glass.  Sergev copied the gesture.
“May the fallen be remembered and our enemies stay dead!” replied Sergev in the time honoured manner.
They both downed their glasses
Sergev did his best not to cough but Dimitri smirked regardless.
“They must be serving you the watered down stuff da?”
“Very funny you old ruffian.”

Dimitri refilled the glasses regardless, his grin widening.
“Well I take it your not just here to talk just of old times?”
Sergev nodded, taking the now refilled glass as his expression turned serious.  “Regrettably yes my old friend.  I’ve a prisoner with me, an engineer from the Haqqislam.  He has information and we need that information fast.”
“So you come to the Old Bear because you know the Old Bear can get that information fast.”
Dimitri nodded “What do you need to know?”
“Specifically, coordinates of an alien artefact and what, if any, research they have conducted on it.”
“You think this engineer will know?”
“We hope so.”

They downed glasses again.  Sergev had to wipe a few tears from his eyes.
“It’s good stuff.  Brewed it myself!” declared Dimitri in triumph.
“That explains a lot.”
The Old Bear laughed, having downed his own glass to little effect.  He refilled both drinks again.
“I take it when you say Alien you mean the Combined army?”
Sergev shook his head.  “Not this time Old Bear.  This…this is something new.”
The Old Bear frowned.  “Now you have me intrigued old friend.”
Sergev, having recomposed himself, raised his glass.  “That was my intent.”
He downed the powerful tasting concoction, again doing his best not to cough as the liquid burned its way down his throat.  He was aware that his vision was blurred slightly but felt sure he could survive at least a few more glasses.  It was a tradition of the Old Bears; the drinking of a lot of vodka during briefing’s.  He respected you more, the more you drank.

The Old Bear downed his glass likewise, before nodding sagely.
“Alright Sergev, I’ll try.”
“Please.  We are up against it.  The Pan Oceania, Nomads and the Japanese have all captured similar individuals.  Not to mention other forces we have not identified yet.  The race is on to see who will get to the device first.”
“I will do my best.  Let’s just hope this engineer you have acquired can help us.”
He had by now refilled the glasses yet again.  Sergev was thanking a variety of Gods that they hadn’t been talking too long else he strongly suspected he would be on the floor in only a few more servings; the old man was right, he’d not kept the practice up during his time with Stavko, a failing he was now paying for.

“I will do as you ask.” The Old Bear raised his glass.  Sergev, recognising the gesture, did likewise.  The glasses touched and both men drank deeply.
“Thank you.”

Business concluded, Sergev got carefully to his feat, head swimming.
“Gods Dimitri, what was in that?”
“What else but damn good Vodka!”
“Next time.” Sergev suppressed a cough.  “I’m bringing my own bottle.”
The Old Bears laughter followed him as he made his way out of the tent on unsteady legs.  He reserved to himself to find a cot to collapse in, at least for a while.