The Spirit Bar

My paranormal comedy short story, The Spirit Bar, has been bought by Theme of Absence magazine!

The story will be published on December 21.

This is the most recent story I have completed, and whenever I think if it I laugh.



Very exciting gift in the mail! Thanks Scot M Noel and DreamForge – A Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. A gift for being their #1 (first) Patreon supporter. An ideologically-uplifting magazine I aspire to be included in. #dreamforge


Another day, another book in the mail!

I have a bucket list of classic books to read. ‘Boz’ is one of my favourite authors. I’m also currently reading a sixty-year-old edition of ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’

Red Wine and the Red Book

It’s time to celebrate! After months working on my short story, I finished it today, and started submitting (watch this space!)

Time to reward myself with a book. I don’t read novels while I’m writing (a form of procrastination), so this is a treat.

I’ve been working my way through the classics (bucket list), and today I’ve started a novel older than me by a factor of 1.5 – Catch-22.

I found the purrfect companion to this vintage red book – red wine!

Long night in!

The Long Road

I’ve just finished the handwritten version of what will be the eighth draft of my current short story.

It’s a long road trying to make it my best.

My short story writing process involves handwriting a draft with pencil and then typing it out (involving more changes). Then I go through a thorough editing process, and by about the forth draft I involve beta readers and/or paid editors. With each new draft I completely re-write the whole thing, starting with the pencil.

This story is a good 4,000 words, so once I’ve typed this again, considering my rub-outs and strikes of the delete button, I would have laid down a good 70-80,000 words. More than enough for a whole novel.

We all have our own processes that work for us individually, but this is mine – thoroughness and constant whole-re-writes. Using pencil and the repetition of re-writing helps me memorise the story, and I find pencil far more creative.

I won’t mention how long I’ve been working on this one, but it’s on the far side of solid few months.

And each time I finish a draft, I’m like, “Okay, it’s perfect now.” Then it comes back from the reviewers …

Mindfulness for Writers

Stuck on a plot point, today I took myself away from the keyboard, to a place where my mind would be more receptive to inspiration.

Landscaping for a garden at the little farm, with nothing to do but turn the soil whilst listening to hundreds of frogs croaking in the running brook behind me, my mind stilled. Yes, I was working hard physically, but in my mind I was writing. I was thinking clearly.

Ideas to answer my story question flowed into my mind and I had that ‘light-bulb’ moment, and I can now return to the keyboard.

There are two places we write, on the keyboard when we have some direction and in a place of solitude when we seek inspiration.

This is probably why I like to bring my keyboard outside under the trees!

Tomorrow’s Speculative Minds

It’s a significant night – I’ve started novel-reading to my six-year-old son. I’ve chosen The Hobbit. And the choice wasn’t made lightly.

I have a plan: I read a few pages and then he reads the last paragraph. Then he chooses a reward. Before long, I will lengthen his share of the load, remove the reward, and improve his reading. But that’s just the outer plan.

Of real significance is my inner plan. What I am subtlety doing here in exposing him to classic speculative fiction is developing him into a more creative, explorative, and questioning young man.

Where has the world been better questioned than in books such as Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Animal Farm? Where has our imagination been more livened than in stories such as The Lord of the Rings? Where have more documented scientific predictions come true than in the works of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and George Orwell?

I want my son to be someone who will look at the world and have the ability to see differently, to look at something and see how else it can be, to tap into whatever artistic pursuits he desires and leave his own unique impression on our world.

That’s the beauty with speculative fiction in literature – it opens the doors to imagination, creativity, and questioning.

Where would we be without speculative fiction? Some Bradbury novel, probably.

Vintage books

The first book in the start of my antiquarian book collect has arrived – a 1948 reprint of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ Seventy years old! Literature made to last.

Real Books!

I’ve decided to start collecting real (physical) books on writing craft. I haven’t read a real book since I bought my Kindle. I just bought the hardcover of Stephen King’s ‘On Writing.’ Now I just need a book shelf!

Is it wrong if I just want port for dinner? I blame the writing that’s working for me tonight. 🍷