Saturday 22 October 2011

The Guns of Retribution launch!

Thursday night saw the first launch party for The Guns of Retribution! I hired the back room of Bob Trollop's, a small pub on Newcastle's Quayside, a room I chose based on the preferences of Grey O'Donnell, the protagonist of Guns. I know that probably sounds extremely weird, but Grey does make his presence felt from time to time, most notably while I was writing the book (see here for more) and he's even come through on a ouija board during a paranormal investigation to say hello. It only seemed right that I chose a location I thought he would like, and Bob Trollop's has something of a vintage atmosphere. The back room in particular is vaguely reminiscent of a saloon, or perhaps an illicit bar in a rundown homestead out on the open plain, attracting outlaws and farmers alike, as they seek the solace offered only by Madam Moonshine. Indeed, the front room of the pub inspired an entire scene in the sequel.

Well luckily I managed to sell some books, and naturally sign them, and I really hope those who bought them enjoy the books! The book has been getting good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and I hope that those who enjoy pulp fiction will enjoy the book as being exactly that. I really enjoyed the night, and look forward to being able to introduce Grey to more people!

If you haven't already bought a copy and would like to, it's available for both the Kindle, and in paperback. Amazon US links are Kindle and paperback, and UK links are Kindle and paperback.

Friday 21 October 2011

Friday Flash - The Stripper

This post has been taken down as the story is now out for submission - wish me luck!

Wednesday 19 October 2011

The Lost Art of the Letter

On Monday night, I watched an item on BBC News about a new Van Gogh biography that attempts to explode the legend that the troubled artist committed suicide. The primary research materials have been the thousands of letters left by Van Gogh and it got me thinking. So many biographies rely on correspondence either written to, by or about the figure in question, and letters usually provide the largest body of material due to their inherent "keepsake" nature. Call me a Luddite, but there's something irresistable about the letter. Emails don't make that satisfying "thwap" sound on the doormat. They don't have the same tangible feel, and they don't feature random doodles. The lack of handwriting makes them so impersonal.

It did make me wonder exactly what form future biographies will take. Will they quote casual tweets as an indicator of a person's mental wellbeing? Will access be granted to inboxes to allow researchers to comb through years of spam and Facebook notifications? Will blog posts become the favoured means of communication, replacing the personal correspondence of a beloved or notorious figure? As our private lives become increasingly public through the use of social media...will there even be a place for the biography?

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Looking for Conflict

Writers are forever being told that good stories rely on conflict or drama. "There is no story if the protagonist has to problem to solve!" cry the experts. Apparently the world isn't full of enough conflict, and we need to inflict yet more arguments, high stakes and the like on our lovely readers. Hell, I'm as guilty as anyone - I managed to cram a train robbery, two shoot outs, a hanging, a horse chase and a fist fight into The Guns of Retribution.

But what if you're one of those really nice people who gets on with everyone, and is a joy to be around due to your sunny disposition and caring attitude? Where do you find your conflict?

Personally, I recommend that you take a look at It's a blog that features notes written in a passive aggressive tone that are left for others. Some of them are downright hilarious, though if you're as fastidious about spelling and grammar as I am, then you might teeter on the edge of annoyance. Still, I can't help thinking that if you were to browse through some of these, you'd easily find some conflict that you could spin into a story...and who said stories full of conflict couldn't be funny?

Monday 17 October 2011

Photo Prompt 55

New prompt available!

If you want to use the prompt, all I ask is that you include a link to this entry and a credit to me for the photograph, and that you post a link to your story in the comments box below so I can see what you've come up with! If you don't comment on this entry, then I can't comment on your story.

The 55th prompt is Dog Leap Stairs.

Dog Leap Stairs

All photo prompts are my own photography - you can find more of it on Flickr. You can also buy my prints from Deviantart. 20% of all proceeds go to charity - the other 80% go towards my PhD fees!