dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Monday, 30 July 2012

Play Jazz

Frankie Boyle said, Live at the Apollo, that he had recently become father to a little boy. Then, after a pause, he added, "I'm getting a bit sick of him to be honest." You know what, writing is the same from time to time. It becomes a bit of a drag. The thrill wears off after so many thousand words. It returns, okay, but while you're waiting, what do you do? The answer, as with most things, is this: Stick with it! Grind it out, paragraph by paragraph. This is possible when rewriting at the personal PC computer, but much harder by shorthand on the first draft. Typing is like a manual job; creating new worlds with a black pen, hunched over blank paper, sure ain't.

Get some out the way, that's ATD's motto. It might only be a few lines, but hey, nobody's perfect, apart The Hoff and The Hump (David Hasselhoff and Englebert Humperdinck). Then, whenever you get a moment, and this is vital...play jazz. Yup, you read it correctly, go play jazz. Hoover up, put a wash on, straighten your hair, and go play jazz man. It works for Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky. Can you believe Tom Cruise is playing Jack Reacher in the Jack Reacher movie? Can anybody believe that? Me bets even Lee Child cannae believe that. I know I can't. Maybe I was dreaming. It was a YouTube advert after all. But hey, if you are after instructions on what to do in life, don't listen to me. Just watch the video...

Sunday, 29 July 2012



Saturday, 28 July 2012

When the Moon is Fat

Not a productive week at all, compared to last, but still better than nothing at all. The difference between nothing and something is more crucial than something and a lot. Had to get a little something down after three nights away from the tale. Am about to get cracking on it now for one or two hours, after dropping by here to warm the fingers up. Listening to Tonight, Tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins, a memorable video from back in the teenage day. Actually, as a consequence, it has just spun-off a memory of The Judder Man advert from a similar time. A good base for a character to take further. He makes you think about how your villains should move.
Everything is a consequence of something else. Cause and effect. Life has a beat. Can you hear it thrum in your veins? Hear it crackle in the rustling leaves? Whoooosh, goes the wind. Watch the yellow moon sink.
Top British horror author Conrad Williams had a similar character in his novel Decay Inevitable; a surgeon who kind of jerkily flickers around, removing organs from people. The first ideas I ever had about movement must have been the skeleton fight in Jason and The Argonauts, 1963. That was scary as a kid. There was something about the mix of live-action/animation. Many foes in later years would move in a patchy hyper-real manner. The technique has been hammered now, in the wake of epileptic seizure pop videos. Even the Queen's corgis twitched down the steps in last night's opening Olympics ceremony...

Monday, 23 July 2012

Summer Nights

Sat down to write and found nothing was coming. Distracted by music as usual, because music is a big enemy of writing, but there was another thing, too---I was waiting for nightfall to arrive. The atmosphere of the current piece almost requires it. The summer does strange things to you. Currently, I'm describing the early life of a young woman. So many times in the past the writing has been caught up in short and sweet situations, but I recently read THE DEAD ZONE by Stephen King (that guy again), and although I wasn't overly impressed, the darn thing kept getting better the longer it went on. And by the end he was telling the life of a character called GREG STILLSON, a fascinating individual, from start to finish. That is storytelling proper, I realised, when you begin to summarise whole lives from beginning to end. So that's what I'm doing at the moment. I'm in a pure fantasy land. This section of the book is a result of a song (see how I've gone back to the music thing here). A song from a band I discovered a year ago. What it made me think of, the imagery I got in my mind, has become part of the tale.

It made me think of combat. Skilled combat. Between two opposing rulers. And I'll leave it there for now. Don't want to give too much away. But what I will say is this part of the first draft written in biro pen, when being typed up, is expanding wildly. Maybe up to five times longer. There's really no equal to writing like the masters did, with ink, and then keying it up six months later, filling in the blanks, veering off on a tangent, then coming back to tackle the next line.

Okay. Keep writing, and writing will keep you. Or doing whatever it is you do.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Novel Update

About to start typing up Chapter 5. It’s about 80% complete. Chapters are 6000 words long. If this is to be only 7 chapters, that would carry it above the magic 40,000 word barrier, and make it novel length. 40k is a nice tight package. It can be read in a day. Never liked calling books of these lengths novels, but if people are calling their 10k books novellas it doesn’t leave you much choice does it. What can you do eh, call yourself a short novelist? People will think you are under five feet.

Once the fifth chapter is done and printed off in hardcopy, concentration will turn to another project for a while. 6 and 7 will be hot, a double dose of action-packed finale, but there will probably have be another chapter, in all fairness. You know, to round things up. Then there are the notes, and checking stuff, like trying to be consistent with the names of things you don’t really know the names of, and shish like that.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Becoming Petronella

The outline came easy, filled in with coloured pencil as I went along: a bare voluptuous woman framed by the tousled plumage of black feathery wings against a backdrop of twilight sky. Her torso was suited in a finespun filament of protective armour, like a new-age knight of the royal order. Her hair was neatly and practically bobbed, face dominated by a seductively dangerous smile of bright pink lips ringing dazzlingly white teeth. I exaggerated the mouth, but not to monstrous proportions. And those were the main ingredients: the armour, the wings, the gaping rictus. The sky I rendered in hues of wildfire orange and violet scarlet.

The above paragraph was originally cut from the end of Chapter 3 (Escaping Hazel). Sadler (main character) is sat in his rehab room drawing a picture. The only reason he was drawing a picture because there was nothing else happening in the story (in other words, I couldn't think of anything better to happen). I was simply filling in the lines, writing for the word count, and so that's why it had to go.

But now, oh now, there's an unexpected female character called PETRONELLA who has come into the story at the end of Chapter 4, and her description just accidentally matched the picture above (weird), so if I REINSERT the cut paragraph, it looks like Sadler will have been drawing her in a kind of psychic vision to come. And that's handy, seen us though she has been dead over two centuries.

At the time I thought 'why is he drawing this'? But now it works.

These are my characters. This is my world.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Alteration: Making the NAME and TITLE larger on above version. 
Despite whatever else you hear, dust jackets are all about name and title.
Anything else is optional. Go check out the bestsellers on the shelves
if you don't believe. That's the best place to learn to do a cover, surely. 
46 days off the novel ESCAPING HAZEL, and then straight back into the story with only a glass of liqueur as the catalyst. Done half a page, then a paragraph the next day, and today starting typing up Chapter 4 in Microsoft Word XP. So the writing cap is back on, which is pleasant. I sincerely believe that this one, when complete, will be one of the finest classics in the history of books. No irony. Honestly. You HAVE to think along these lines, otherwise what's the point? I'm not here to write just 'another book' again. Those 'other books' are done.

After long speculation, the next ebook release has been decided. It will be 50% Rude (I always do the percentage sign on the wrong side because it looks better). Now is the best time for this title to swoop along in the slipstream of 50 Shades of Shite Grey. Half of 50% Rude is erotic, as you may have guessed by the title, and written long before anyone to my knowledge had even heard of 50 Shades of Shite Grey. This is one of Zombie Publications' latest offerings. It would have been nice to upload in chronological order, but the iron is hot and now's the time for striking.

It's a good way to think. It's all about VIRAL POTENTIAL. Below is a man on a mock cover done for fun who I met on two occasions as a kid. He is a a myth and a legend of sorts among local folk who has attracted media attention over a number of years in the Merseyside basin especially (more about him later for sure). Something along these lines could have mass appeal. A fictional book about PURPLE AKI? I'd buy it! (Or at least rent it from the library, and remember, reading is better than buying folks). The key is fitting something of equal interest together with your personal work. It's a digital global network we inhabit now. It can sometimes feel like it's all about 'likes' and 'shares'. How oh so very sad. But still, the novel Escaping Hazel will only be available in print. I don't want it to be seen by a thousand, but rather cherished and inspirational to ten. Thousand.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Whales...Barker Style

When something is 'Barker Style', it is instinctive and improvised, because Clive Barker, rather than being a technical inker like some all-rendering comic artist who can depict cathedrals tottering on ankles from the viewpoint of a manga girl ninja's bootlaces, simply draws 'whatever comes into his head'. Some of it, sometimes, looks simple and easy, and yet, simultaneously, inexplicably, indivisibly (indivisible as in, like, pain and pleasure...), it's kinda awesome because it's brave and bold and like nothing else. It's its own thing, if you catch me. It's its own style. Like one or two other professions in this world, he can just make it up as he goes along. And here's the good news -- any schmuck with a 10p pencil can do their version of the same. Risk it. Trust it. Don't let us hear you can't draw! That's like saying you can't swim! 

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Last Piece...

This is Darren Hodgkin's farewell parting gift before he sadly decided to willfully exit this world. A day or two after witnessing him craft this, he was gone. It was startling how quickly he knocked it up. It seemed to take him only seconds. It's surprising how fast some people can appear to work when you have little idea of what you are doing. It's because they have a plan of action laid out and they are making headway on it while you twiddle your thumbs. Shipshape now chop chop quick sharp! All hail ex-classmates! Amen and drinks up! Long live the creatives! And God bless the working stiffs, lest we forget, economically viable or not!

Stuff of the Month

Who cares what the movie is like when
the cover is this good? Stick it on.
Saw this female gaze in a shop window in town for 150 bucks. 
Sure enough it stopped me in my tracks.
Robert Harrop of Edge Sculpture really outdone
 himself when fashioning this Venus. What a cracker.

Now gimme a kiss. Lip against lip, flesh against stone. Window licking.