Monday, 2 June 2014

Appearances June 2014

This month I'll be performing at a number of venues. On 12 June, 2014, I'll be at the Old Rectifying House, Worcester, at 7pm where Tim Cranmore, the Worcestershire Poet Laureate, will be launching his new book, "Barred". Polly Robinson will also be giving leading a reading of her booklet collection of poems on Chatterton, and I will be reading "The Father".

Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe begins on 20 June, 2014, and I'm participating in a number of exciting events throughout the festival. For more info on the festival, head on over to - it promises to be better than ever this year, as we head into the fourth year, with a fresh, passionate, approachable, selfless, friendly and highly talented team at the helm this time.

On Friday 20 June, 2014, at 7pm head on down to the Worcester Guildhall, where Tim Cranmore's successor will be chosen, as I am one of the six finalists for the Worcester Poet Laureate 2014-15 competition. I wish the very best of luck to all participants, because whoever wins, we are assured of a wonderful night and a talented winner. Tickets are £4.

Later that Friday night, also on 20 June, 2014, head on over to the other side of the river, to the Old Hills, Callow End, where a midnight poetry walk is taking place, including readings by yours truly. It is with some excitement and fear that I approach this event, because I can't see in the dark, but it will also be an invigorating new venue, doing poetry in the open air! It is something I've not done before, so I hope it doesn't rain!

Next, head on over on 25 June, 2014, to 42 at Drummonds, New Street, Worcester, doors open at 7pm, where I'll be reading on one of the most outstanding nights in the genre calendar, as it's the 42 Festival Special.

On 26 June, 2014, head back to our familiar venue of the Old Rectifying House, Worcester, for a poem from my forthcoming poetry collection "Billy". I'll be performing this at SpeakEasy Worcester.

To finish off the week and the month, we're back in Drummonds on 29 June, 2014 from 5pm onwards to take part in the Worcestershire Poetry Slam 2014. It promises to be a great night, with numerous well-known and new poets from across the region competing for the title. It'll be the first Slam I've participated in, and I'm looking forward to it immensely!

And after that? I'm going to have a long rest... until next month.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Barcelona: showing how location can also be a character

I visited Barcelona last year, with my wife and son. It's a big urban city with high-rise buildings lining every street. Most every street is a wide, bright boulevard, and it has beautiful fountains and splendid greenery in most avenues and at major junctions. Those streets that are narrow are mysterious dark alleys leading to intriguing restaurants, caf├ęs, bars, shops, galleries and museums. It has a thriving Catalan culture and language, and is a hotbed of politics, Catalan and Spanish. It's also famed for hosting the 1992 Olympic Games.

Maybe this update isn't about writing or any of my works. Or maybe it is. What I want to say is that places are often just as important as people in writing. I often think when writing fiction that a place can be as important as a character, and in fact can be a character in themselves. Barcelona has a relaxed character, but a fiery nature bubbles just beneath the surface and could easily be unleashed, as the history of Barcelona shows.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Forthcoming appearances May 2014

It's going to be an exciting month, this month!

Book Launch of "Portraits in Prose" by Andrew Owens.

On Thursday 22 May 2014, I'll be at Drummond's at 7:30pm (it's a venue that's extremely friendly to us literary types!), Worcester.

Andrew Owens will be launching his debut book of short stories, "Portraits in Prose". I'll be doing a few short pieces in support of Andrew's big night. I strongly urge you to come along and pick up a copy, or purchase via Kindle here.


42 May 2014

I'll also be putting in an appearance at 42 at the end of the month, on Wednesday 28 May 2014, at Drummonds, 7:30pm. I have an astounding new piece I'm performing for the night, one I've been working on for years, so pop along to hear it first!


There will also be a very special appearance of me reading poems coming up next month, June 2014. I can't reveal details yet, but watch this space... it's going to be a very special night.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Free Kindle poetry ebook "Enigma in the Darkness" today!

Let's have a free Kindle poetry book give-away!
Enigma in the Darkness
It's precisely six months since Hallowe'en, so to celebrate Walpurgisnacht (30 April) in style, I'm giving away on Kindle for free my dark poetry book "Enigma in the Darkness" from now until 1 May inclusive, so don't delay. To obtain your free copy, just head on over to the following links:

If you like it, please leave a review on Amazon.

What's more, there will be more exciting news coming in the next few months. I am currently working hard on my next poetry books, as previously hinted at earlier on this month, to hopefully be released later on this summer!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Getting it written, Chuck Wendig style, and Dvorak style

Chuck Wendig 350 words a dayChuck Wendig wrote a great article a while back, worth reading, about getting a routine going for writing. The thrust of the argument is sit your arse down and write, motherfucker, write 350 fucking words five days a week, and you'll get yourself your own novel in less than a goddamn year (maybe I'm paraphrasing, but he does swear a lot).

At the beginning of the year, I came up with an idea for a series of historical novels. I set about the research (despite having taken an interest in my chosen period for over twenty years), joined an academic society focusing on my chosen time, wrote a few pages... and then faltered. I've not really done much work on it since, although I've had the historical events going through my head for over two decades. Perhaps it's the prospect of the huge mountain to climb, a climb at least 80,000 words high, which caused me to grind to a halt with this, but I knew I wasn't going anywhere soon with it, despite setting myself a deadline with it.

Then I remembered Chuck Wendig's article. So I set about reviving my flagging project by pumping just 350 words into it each day. Things started moving again, but it still lacked some momentum.

At around the same time, I also remembered an article by Holly Lisle. It was back to 2000 when I first read it. The article is still there, and it was about the Dvorak keyboard layout.

To channel the spirit of Chuck Wendig, I thought (swear words alert): "Fuck it, let's do it." So today, I took the plunge and I am trying Dvorak. I have been typing much, much slower than normal, and although I only got approximately 500 words done today, in the process of typing much slower, I feel I have been more productive. With each and every word, I have had to not only stop and think about the location of the letters, but also in doing so, I have been able to think more deliberately about the development of the story.

Dvorak keyboard layout

My story has come on a pace to a point where I'm happy with the progress I'm making, thanks to the 'Chuck Wendig 350 daily words, motherfucker" method, and thanks to Dvorak. Although I'm making lots of mistakes with Dvorak, I'm making fewer than I thought I would. All in all, it's definitely a fun experiment, even if I decide to go back to the old QWERTY keyboard layout. In fact, I'm typing this using Dvorak keyboard layout right now.

It's also given me some insight into what my son may be experiencing at the moment. He's of an age where he's learning to write, and he spends hours and hours joyfully writing his name over and over again. It's a bit like that, like learning my letters all over again.

So in conclusion, I have a happy paradox: by slowing right down and only having tiny (350 words) goals, I am actually becoming more productive.

For more information on Dvorak keyboard, click here and here and here.