Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Well, have a splendid New Year, everyone.

May all your wishes come true!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a merry Christmas and that all you hope for in the New Year is yours.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Share a shopper's misery

I love giving gifts. But I hate Christmas shopping. I mean hate with a vengeance.

In truth, I suppose I dislike shopping in general. Whenever I'm in town for a shop, it's very much a military operation:

11:02 Arrive Marks and Spencer's
11:03 Commence Operation Shopping List One
11:07 Shove Past Old Lady to Check Out

Yet Ann, my other half, loves shopping. She, along with her sister, can plan entire days wandering here and there looking at stuff they spent entire days just the weekend before wandering here and there looking at in the same shops.

And she takes on this sinister personality when shopping. Ordinarily, Ann's this mild-mannered, courteous person who wouldn't say boo to a goose, as the saying goes. But when in the shopping theatre, she'll mud-wrestle her own grandma to get to that elusive bit of stuff that wasn't there when wandering last weekend.

But worst, of course, are those marital, "let's go shopping together days; we can have lunch.". Is there any worse torture for husband-kind? Because we can't say "No thanks," as there lies madness, and we really don't want to be dragged around looking at stuff on hangers in shops that smell like an explosion in a perfume factory.

The shops are full of us victims. We nod almost imperceptibly, and share a moment's masculine misery. I think there should be little man-crèches in shops where we can all gather while the women ponder of size 12 or 14 and does their bum look big today.

But I have a plan. Last time, there was this three-year-old, and he was playing up, and his mother said: "If you don't behave, I'm not bringing you again." It was one of those Eureka moments.

If you're in town today, and you see a grown man misbehaving, do come and say hello, now, won't you?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Burying Brian is here!

My new novel, Burying Brian, is now published by Immanion Press. And I'm happy as, well, happy can be!

It's been a long time coming—the first novel, Digging up Donald, was published way back in2004, and the gap is a reflection of how much more difficult it felt to produce the 'right' follow up to Donald.

Donald received some wonderful criticism. There were many glowing reviews, and in all the time the book 'drew interest' I saw only one negative-ish report bemoaning it wasn't that particular reader's cup of tea (and even that review held more good comments than bad!).

Because of Donald's reception, I've felt more pressure to 'produce' with Burying Brian. Of course, whether I've done so successfully is now at the whim of the reading public. And I'll maintain to my dying day that humour is by far the most difficult sub genre in which to write.

Brian has taken six years to write. Oh, I took lots of breaks in that time—more than I should have, probably—so it's not six 'solid' years in the making. In my excuse I'll say that if I wasn't writing I was certainly thinking about the project (if, like with Donald before it, I claimed thought time as well as physical writing time then I doubt I'd ever be able to suggest how many hours the project has taken).

But I'm happy with it. I like to think there's enough clever humour in there compared to Donald, and the style of writing is very concurrent. Like Donald, Brian is a gentle comedy, written almost as if in simpler times. But hopefully it still has enough edge to be relevant today.

I need to thank Storm Constantine and all at Immanion Press for being patient with me. I hope for their sakes if not my own that the novel is a success.

More information, including a preview of the opening thirty pages or so, may be found on my website

Brian also has his own Blog here: Burying Brian

There you may ask him questions, poke him cruelly in the ribs, or stroke his ego until his spine goes soggy.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Advent Calendar

Peter Tennant and all the nice elves over at TTA Press are running the now annual Advent Calendar, in which during December a story a day is recommended for viewing (and encouraged for discussion in the TTA Forum).

I'm happy to say my story "Sixty Seconds of Christmas in a Victorian London Alleyway" has been selected for 'day 13'.

The Advent Calendar may be found here:

Advent Calendar

Friday, 3 December 2010

Side Show 2

I received my author copies of "Side Show 2: Tales of the Big Top and the Bizarre", published by Sam's Dot. It contains my story: "To Pull a Child From a Woman", which I think is one of the best stories I've ever written.

The tale is of the lowly Hobo and his fear of the Clown Master, Whiteface. But it's also about love, and loss, and longing, and how ultimately simple Hobo yearns for nothing more than the basic thing in life most of us take for granted—a mother's love.

Sam's Dot Publishing

Side Show 2

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Don't you just hate the 'flu?

I've been invaded by one of these beasties below. I suspect this is actual size, but I'm no molecular biologist.

It's all very suspicious, but I was reading Cate Gardner's anthology Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits at the time, and mere seconds later Cate reports on Facebook she's feeling poorly herself. Very dodgy. I shall need to mention this in my forthcoming review of said anthology for the Future Fire. "The stories are great, but they will make you ill."

Of course, I've dealt with all this like a man. Which means my wife comes up twice an hour to lift my arm so I might mop my fevered brow. Still, I was excused Hoovering fatigues, so it's not all bad. But why isn't Night Nurse drowsy any more? The drowsy was the best bit.

I think I'm 'on the mend'. But I'm weak as a kitten, bless me. And there's no truth in the rumour that this is mere 'man-flu'. Anyone who says so is in danger of a foppish pelting with a damp handkerchief.