The End of the World…and more!

Want to know what the end of the world looks like? I can’t say whether it’s a cataclysmic meteor or zombie apocalypse, but I can reveal what will be on TV. The Turner Doomsday Video is the title of a video intended to be broadcast by CNN at the end of the world. The video, created atContinue reading “The End of the World…and more!”

The Pirate, the Dinosaur, and the Slimy Snot Monster.

What starts as just another wet Saturday ends up in a BIG adventure when they find a door onto a magical shop It took all week, but by Saturday morning the rain had stopped. “Finally!” I said, sliding down the hallway and making a heroic scoop for my trainers. “Not so fast,” said mum. “YourContinue reading “The Pirate, the Dinosaur, and the Slimy Snot Monster.”

Turtles Alive! In an exclusive interview, Grandma Crick, the eminent explorer and award-winning scientist, reveals that King Josef did order for her to be fed to the Monger turtles, and that she was held prisoner for FIVE DAYS while granddaughter Mila was sent to find the infamous Evertrue Emerald, just as The Scoop had reported.Continue reading

The anxious writer – how tension makes a story (but writer anxiety breaks it.)

Every writer knows that stories need tension in order to grip readers. Many self-help books teach writers how to add tension, with easy-to-understand points set out in a helpful framework to explain how a story might work. They direct a reader in much the same way that your dad taught you how to dance. JustContinue reading “The anxious writer – how tension makes a story (but writer anxiety breaks it.)”

The Realm of Possibilities and the spark that leads us there.

Today I want to find out what drives people to start a new writing project. What is it that sparks a story? Some start with a question, a what if?, as Stephen King reportedly does with many of his. Some start with an image, like C.S. Lewis’ picture of the lamp-post in the snow, whileContinue reading “The Realm of Possibilities and the spark that leads us there.”

The girl who went her own way.

She was not good at listening to advice. Not good at being told what to do, so contrary. She laughed when they told her to stay away from the woods, from the bears who made their home there. The bears that would blunder out from the undergrowth, their claws so sharp, their jaws so strong.Continue reading “The girl who went her own way.”


Today I’d like to update you on one of the short stories I’ve had published recently in My Weekly, a magazine published here in the UK. My main work in progress has been all-consuming, although I did manage to find time to write some short stories. Back copies of My Weekly are available on PressreaderContinue reading “Furbag”

Short Kid Stories

I have great news to post up today and a chance for you guys to check out some of my work. I was told this morning that Short Kid Stories are to publish my story, Max and the Moonmaid, about a boy who catches a clever shape-shifting mermaid but who soon regrets it when sheContinue reading “Short Kid Stories”

The Blue Hour magazine

Guess who’s soon to be appearing in The Blue Hour magazine for the second time? Oh all right, you guessed it, it’s me 🙂 The Blue Hour magazine is an online art and literary magazine featuring the work of some very talented writers and artists, such as the wonderful Michele Seminara and Anne Bradshaw (IfContinue reading “The Blue Hour magazine”

The Mask of a Genius

. He was late, though the set was ready weeks before, and brought the women cherry nude fondants and fondly pinched their pert young cheeks. . He preened his new suit in the interlude, Oh, the praise he urged for his gold silk shirt! His moustache erect and suitably crude. . The cats ran away,Continue reading “The Mask of a Genius”

Deirdre’s Lament

Originally posted on Opus 61:
Do you remember how I dreamed of this?On the shores of Loch Ness, in the days of our blissI dreamed of a dove with mead in its mouthPursued by a hawk, red with blood from the southAnd now you lie beautiful down in your graveBetween your two brothers, whom you couldn’t…

August – Dorothy Parker and Charles Courtney Curran

Charles Courtney Curran – Lotus Lilies 1888 August When my eyes are weeds, And my lips are petals, spinning Down the wind that has beginning Where the crumpled beeches start In a fringe of salty reeds; When my arms are elder-bushes, And the rangy lilac pushes Upward, upward through my heart; Summer, do your worst!Continue reading “August – Dorothy Parker and Charles Courtney Curran”

The World of Dr Seuss

  This slideshow features some gorgeous art from the hugely talented and, in my opinion, little appreciated Dr Seuss. Really, I know his work is still in demand and all but how often do we pause to think of him as the gifted and surprising artist he was? I always adored his books and theContinue reading “The World of Dr Seuss”

Advice for the writer – Thomas More

Advice for the indie writer can be found in the most surprising places sometimes. This extract, from More’s Utopia, is amazingly fresh and relevant considering it was written around 500 years ago. “But to tell the truth, I’m still of two minds as to whether I should publish the book or not. For men’s tastesContinue reading “Advice for the writer – Thomas More”

Daft dogs…and daft owners

Brought to you courtesy of Jill of All Trades over at And here’s Lucy! Her daft owners put the scarf on her but the sock in her mouth is all her own doing (gun dogs like the feel of something in their mouths apparently – which explains why she loves meal times so much IContinue reading “Daft dogs…and daft owners”

The Blue Hour magazine – plus me

I have a poem appearing in The Blue Hour magazine! Check it out here I don’t generally think of myself as a poet (or an artist for that matter) but I have enjoyed writing a few of them, including this one which I wrote as a response poem to James Fenton‘s poem Wind. I hopeContinue reading “The Blue Hour magazine – plus me”

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast

You find the darndest things in your cereal sometimes but today my daughter found this ‘weird & wonderful’ facts card in her Chocolate Curls. It features a ‘weird quiz’ on the back: 1) Which sea creature doesn’t have a brain? a. Shark b. Lobster c. Starfish 2) How do butterflies taste things? a. With theirContinue reading “Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast”

The ‘British Accent’ – A Rough Guide for the Perplexed.

So I was chatting the other day to my friend Matthew Curry of The Chia Pet Circus and he very kindly tweeted this clip to me, reminding me how quaint the BBC used to be: “Don’t forget your cocoa, and don’t let the bed-bugs bite. Breakfast will be at six SHARP!” One of the thingsContinue reading “The ‘British Accent’ – A Rough Guide for the Perplexed.”

Talking heads.

      A cephalophore (from the Greek for “head-carrier”) is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head; in art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading. In Dante‘s Divine Comedy (Canto 28) the poet meets the spectre of the troubadour Bertrand de Born in the eighth circle of the Inferno, carrying his severed head inContinue reading “Talking heads.”

One July Summer – Dorothy Ardelle Merriam

One July Summer What has happened to summer, That’s what I want to know. Is she on a vacation – Who knows where did she go? Tell, what was she wearing; A zephyr breeze and rosebud Or grass and wild berry? Could she be honeymooning With spring or early fall Or has she gone soContinue reading “One July Summer – Dorothy Ardelle Merriam”

Henry Tonks – Spring Days 1928

    SPRING DAYS c. 1926–29 Inscr. ‘H. Tonks 1928’ b.l. Canvas, 34×32 (86×81). Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1931. Apparently this painting was begun in 1926 and ‘repainted at various times with different models’ as Tonks was never entirely satisfied with it. Henry Tonks, FRCS (9 April 1862 – 8 January 1937) was a British surgeon and later draughtsman andContinue reading “Henry Tonks – Spring Days 1928”

Undiscovered Voices – advice for children’s writers

Undiscovered Voices is a competition for unpublished and un-agented writers and illustrators living in the EU, in partnership with SCBWI British Isles. Find out more here: (Entries open: 1st July to 15th August 2013) I’ve got hold of 5 videos featuring some of the top names in children’s publishing giving advice to SCBWI membersContinue reading “Undiscovered Voices – advice for children’s writers”

10 links for writers

      Top links to help you discover more about the wonderful world of writing.   Writing sites, Magazines Market listings, Agency listings and more: Thoughts on writing, publishing and book marketing: Write for fun. Write to inspire. Write to change the world: Advice on every possible question you might ask:Continue reading “10 links for writers”

Happy Birthday Chris Van Allsburg!

Happy Birthday to Chris Van Allsburg who was born on this day in 1949. Chris is an American author and illustrator of children’s books including Jumanji and The Polar Express, both of which won him the Caldecott Medal, and Zathura. “His books often depict fantastic, uncontrolled events and utilize sometimes brutal irony. Van Allsburg breaks out of theContinue reading “Happy Birthday Chris Van Allsburg!”

Double Arch and Milky Way stars at Arches National Park, Utah, USA

Arches National Park, Utah: “The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.” Source: National Park Service Image source: Click here for moreContinue reading “Double Arch and Milky Way stars at Arches National Park, Utah, USA”

The Essential Rumi – Like This

Listen to this delectable recording of Tilda Swinton reading Like This (and try to forget that it is in order to celebrate the launch of a perfume…) Related articles I swear ~ Rumi ( Ten Life Changing Tips by Rumi ( The brilliance of Rumi (  

Take a ride in my Time Machine.

Today’s post can take you back in time. No kidding. It is a time-travelling vehicle to take you back to what some might describe as a more innocent time. I’m not convinced it was necessarily innocent but the commercials back then were more fun than the majority of today’s slick and strategic offerings, and IContinue reading “Take a ride in my Time Machine.”

Boum! Charles Trenet

I so enjoyed my last post on Le Rayol, France and the French Riviera that I’ve not been able to get this song out of my head since. I’ve tried to find a translation for it and this was the best I could come up with, though any suggestions would be welcome. The clock goesContinue reading “Boum! Charles Trenet”

Le Rayol – The French Riviera

  If, like me, you adore the rugged beauty and glamour of the Mediterranean then Le Rayol on the French Riviera is the place to be. “Sleepy villas sunk in gardens, an old petrol station, a little grocery shop, a hairdresser with pink neon sign, a wonderful fish restaurant with wooden terrace overlooking the sea. AnyContinue reading “Le Rayol – The French Riviera”

How to murder your darlings – in just 5 steps

Let me start by making it clear that today’s post relates to the EDITING stage of your work only. The editing stage is notoriously difficult to define, and there’s a lot of good information out there on what constitutes a thorough edit, but I would like to suggest a few ideas based on one ofContinue reading “How to murder your darlings – in just 5 steps”

The Recording Angel

Not the most obvious name to spring to mind when mentioning great British artists, yet G F Watts is the man behind many beautifully engaging and recognisable works, and though less than a household name today he has apparently been called ‘England’s Michelangelo’. If the name of George Frederick Watts isn’t instantly recognisable I think thisContinue reading “The Recording Angel”