…no matter what the reader fancies, as long as it’s unsettling, s/he is certain to find something melodiously creepy in Symphony of the Damned. Rebecca Rowland, Horror TREE In my last post, I announced that one of my horror short stories features in a new anthology, Symphony of the Damned. You can still pick up the […]

I signed my first actual, honest-to-god contract for a piece of fiction at the start of the month, for a horror anthology published by Savage Realms Press, called Symphony of The Damned. The book was published a couple of days ago, and I may have to frame that contract! I submitted “Shadows Under Leamouth”, my […]

Castle Gate entrance to old markets area, Sheffield

I haven’t had much to say on here because I haven’t been writing much; the process of writing has been a physical and emotional slog for the last few months, and I found myself picking up other creative outlets. Finding excuses to not write is just that: an excuse.

It’s been eighteen months since I last visited Northern Ireland, and I doubt I’ll be able to get over this summer; as of the time of writing, the GOV.UK site still advises against all but essential travel to NI (or at least I think it does; it may be downright illegal, depending on your source). […]

I’m pleased to reveal the new, much improved cover artwork for my 2017 novella The Battle of Watling Street. The imagery really captures both the story itself, and the juxtaposition between historical fiction and science fiction that defines my strange little tale that might really be about grief and loss, with historical figures and a […]

In my July update I hoped for the best but prepared for the worst, and here we are in another year, in another national UK lockdown, with a very unprecedented Christmas behind us.

If I distilled anything palatable from the bitter brew of 2020, it was to be actively grateful – not in a wishy washy, Pinterest board way, but to frequently and actively list out on a piece of paper all the reasons to be cheerful whenever the new normal threatened to overwhelm. We are safe, we are fortunate that we can work from home, we continue healthy, we have a good broadband and Wi-Fi connection so we can connect to friends and family online, as well as buy most of what we need in the same way. We did manage to get out and about for some hiking trips in between lockdowns (pic above is from a brief trip to the Lake District in September), but I’m now doing my part as a stay-safe couch potato.

Flowers are wilting My enthusiasm, too Only weeds survive.” –  Gaia Garden The weeds are not only surviving; they’re winning, and a lot of my time is taken up with tackling them; in the garden and in my writing commitment. With lockdown easing, we’ve ventured out for a few walks, but always in less frequented […]

I’ve had asthma since my teens, nearly forty years now. It lurks, ready at the lack of a coat to remind me of how it’s compromised my respiratory system. A mild cold in December mutated into a chest infection that hung around like an oblivious, unwelcome guest for nearly a month. Needless to say, I’m […]

I hope you all had a restful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year break.  The tone of this post was set by my New Year’s Eve iTunes playlist  (mercifully for my friends and family it’s quite short, unlike my eight-hour gargantuan Christmas version). While singing along to Abba’s “Happy New Year”  I realised it’s not […]

This month’s poem is inspired by both a trip during August to Northern Ireland, my journey of DNA discovery, and the depressing news cycle we watched when we (rarely) turned on the TV to catch the news while taking in the magnificent Causeway coast. I recently had my DNA ancestry traced on 23andMe and discovered that […]

We lived on a road at the base of the massive outcrop in the picture above which is, of course, Cave Hill. Straddling the skyline of North Belfast, it was immortalised by Jonathan Swift as a Sleeping Giant. The best panoramic views of the city and Belfast lough are from the peak by McArt’s Fort, or […]

…And the blackbird’s tune, And May, and June!                               – De Gustibus, Robert Browning I’ve added a lot of tags to this post; my four weeks away from writing and blogging generated quite a few thoughts and ideas, as well as […]

Philomena Who’s in that house there, look? I thought I saw a light flickering in the empty rooms; who’d be in there late on Saturday night? Who’s in that house there – that wee house belongs to my dad! No one lives there now. Should we go and check it’s nothing bad? Who’s in that […]

The Customers Finally, summer’s here, and we’re enjoying a wee drink in this bar. A mix of us, from both sides of the fence. Unusual for these troubled times but it works for us. The balmy moon glows in our glasses, when the yellow headed men invade the bar and call out for us to separate by faith. […]

(Apologies for the hiatus, I’ll be catching up with posting my NaPoWriMo poems this week…) David We’ve stopped here by a ditch, across the sea from home; guns across our chests, peering like Eagle Eyes action men. It’s wetter here, more clouds; the sky drips more, but still I know this grass, this hedge, this […]

Thomas I was dumped at this church, unable to get home; back down the hill into town. This city, this town is deathly sick; my head stoved in with a brick and barrels from the bar. I watch a car toil up Forthriver’s rise, from this hill among the skies. No hallowed stones or weathered […]

Rachel We came up on the tube by district line; we nearly missed our stop. Jumped off at Earl’s Court and running, we just caught the Olympia branch train, a short hop. It put me in mind of the Blitz, the push and shove onto the platforms; the songs, the camaraderie, worried glances at the […]

Roy Bells ringing on the radio, Merry Christmas Everybody, Silent Night; my ma wants a record of carols; I’ll pick one up tonight. I had a wee dance in the kitchen, and she laughed as I shuffled along; the fits have left me limping, and my arm hangs down all wrong. But after all, I’m lucky, […]

Brandy Black and tan, contentious colours, your panting flanks and eager eye. A questing snout quivers to defend; loyalty is your nature, not a means to an end. Drunk, I named you for a drink, But Fido, that tired  joke, is your ideal: faithful, trustworthy, except, perhaps, around a meal. Your greed was your doom, […]

John, Joanne, Andrew No ghosts trouble me; Gone for good, oh, gone. Three years, five months, Four bairns, three gone, One left: one. If I could Gather up the days, go back, To that summer afternoon, Our Mark up ahead, wee Jo on her bike and Baby Andrew, oh, my babies. John just catching on […]