Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Rat Run Released!

And Rat Run is finally out there. The end of Lenny's journey that began in Rat's Tale. Who'd have guessed my bad-boy would come so far? If you're curious to find out how it finishes, feel free to check it out....Amazon UK, Amazon US or other links here. Reviews always welcome!

Lenny’s been released early from prison. He’s got a normal and boring job, and he’s living a normal and boring life in a small flat in Liverpool. But Lenny’s never done normal. Or boring. Everything comes with a price and the local cops have already been in touch, expecting him to provide intelligence about his old life in London. 

Then an email sends him racing back down south. It’s not the best idea he’s ever had, but it’s Becky who’s contacted him and she’s always been his weak spot. Becky’s teenage brother is missing, and Lenny knows that heading to London to search for him means breaking the terms of his prison licence, risking his freedom and maybe even his life. 

The search for Becky’s brother takes Lenny into dangerous territory from his past, he’s got the cops on his back again, and he has to decide whether this new life is worth what it’s going to cost. 

This thriller is set six months after Ratline and contains adult material. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Writers' Group exercise. 10 minutes: The visitor. Who or what came to the house and what did they take, or leave? 

In the mirror. There. Quick. See it? No. Just shadows - reflections from the window-prisms, sunlight dancing in the early evening. The sun is low on the horizon, the sky is blood-orange and the reflections are strange in my mirror.

Put the light on. Bold halogen from the ceiling to crush prism-light with its harsh and unforgiving glare. In the mirror nothing changes. Still reflected rainbows pulse behind the glass.

Peer into the depths. What? What's there? Who's there? Shadows lengthen, indigo-blue-green sparkles out into the room.

Touch the glass. Cold; soft - yielding. Ripples from a pebble. Hand, arm, body. Life.

Step through.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

What Somebody Wants

Writers' Group exercise. 10 minutes: Write the opening of a story/poem where a character wants something....

He heard the door click shut, a fraction of a second before something poked him in the flesh just below his left ear.

He froze, hands poised on the handle of the filing cabinet. "Can I help you?"

"I don't know," a voice replied. Male - an overweight smoker by the sound of his breathing. "Can you?"

"The club is closed."

"Don't seem to bother you much," the stranger replied.

"I work here."

"Oh? You have a problem with the lights, then?"

The thing in his neck jabbed harder. A gun? Probably. He sighed. "What is it you want?"

"The same as you, I suspect," said the stranger. "I'm just better prepared. Now open the drawer."

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Rat Run

And the muse awakens. Scribbling (OK, typing) madly these past few days as my fingers can't keep up with my brain. This is what I just love about writing - when it all comes together and I feel like I have a foot in each of two different worlds, when I'm living and dreaming the book, when I'm literally scribbling with a pen on odd bits of paper at home, in the car, at work and trying to keep up with my imagination. When you get that little frisson of excitement on reading something back that you don't actually remember writing because it happened so fast ...

So I thought I'd better get me a cover, since I'm really not that far off finishing now. What do you reckon? Same model again as I have on all my Rat books - but since this one starts out in Liverpool, I've got a little Liver Bird in too! Should be out by Christmas, if not earlier, but depends on how long the editing takes!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

I'm stalling on my latest book. Rat Run is the third in the trilogy which is Lenny's story - Lenny Dixon being the bad-boy we were introduced to in the first trilogy. I was fascinated by him and wanted to explore him further to find out what makes him tick. It's been a bumpy ride with several surprises along the way, but the end of this story will be the right time to say goodbye. And I'm sad. This isn't fantasy, and I'm not leaving a world behind, but I'm leaving my world - my little fictional bubble I created over 20 years ago when I first heard Michael's story in my head.

Will I go back again? I don't know. Whilst I've written series books, they're not police procedurals and there's no cop with a different case to solve in each book. I enjoy reading them, but that's not how I write. And I refuse to churn out rehashed plots over and over again, so this really is likely to be the last visit I make to this world.

It's funny how we get to know characters as real people, isn't it? Both writing and reading - the people come alive in a good story and you start wondering where they go and what they do when they wander off the page. Or am I just weird?

So nearly 30,000 words into this latest book and I think I've got a plot now. I hope. I just have to talk myself into finishing it. Saying goodbye is hard and I wonder if that's why my subconscious is playing all sorts of games with me and refusing to co-operate.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A Plot is not Just to Grow Potatoes

Am I too old for this social media lark? Being slightly the wrong side of 50, I’ve always been transparent and open in who I am. Maybe that’s na├»ve in the new online world, where things last forever and once said, can never be unsaid this side of the (zombie) apocalypse.

I’ve always been me online. My accounts are always as near to my name as I can get, and I don’t hide behind pen-names or aliases. I can understand why people do, but I’ve never felt the need until now.

Read more ...

Friday, 29 May 2015

A Good Face For Radio?

I'm involved in a community radio play project. Littlewich Ways Productions is an idea from a member of our village drama group. Many actors can't commit to line-learning and/or rehearsals; some older members are no longer comfortable on stage and newer members may lack the confidence.

So Littlewich Ways was born. Think The Archers and you'll be on the right track - only our characters are funnier. Life in small Cheshire village peppered with black comedy and exploring human relationships in a series of short radio plays. Actors come from the community itself. Some are members of the drama group; others are not, but we're all having fun being creative!

A small script-writing team (of which I am a member) meets each week in the local pub, where we come up with new and interesting ways to torture our characters. We also read and review each others' scripts and provide feedback and support.

I've not done much scriptwriting. I tried my hand at writing the screenplay for my novel Hamelin's Child. It's not easy. I'm not a 'visual' writer - I prefer to get into people's heads and find out what makes them tick. Up close and personal, I have a lot of thoughts on the page of a book, which doesn't translate to the medium of film. It was an interesting exercise and I learned a lot, but I think I'll wait and maybe one day the amazingly-talented Jimmy McGovern will write the screenplay of my books!

I also wrote an episode of White Witch - a Dr Who spin-off drama narrated by actress Damaris Hayman (and available to buy on DVD at Galaxy 4). So far that's my only professional credit, so I'm still learning!

But radio scripts are a whole different ballgame again. It took us several episodes to realise that radio scripts have to be just a little over-the-top, exaggerated, hammed-up even. You only have one of the five senses to engage. Start a scene and how do you know who is talking? Giving every character a different accent would get tiring to listen to after a while, so you have to name-drop in the first few lines so that the listener can get an immediate grasp on who is there. Similarly sound-effects become much more important - you can't 'hear' a sunny outdoor scene, so you have to convey it in birdsong, children playing, wind, the occasional car, the non-echo of a voice spoken outdoors.

We're in the local paper and appearing at Northwich Literary Festival next week on Tuesday 9th June where we'll be talking about Littlewich and its inhabitants and what we've got lined-up next for them.....