Avoiding Writing Disasters

All too often, angst-ridden writers post about how they have lost or messed up their work in progress. Surprisingly this includes traditionally published authors with many books behind them; laptops are stolen, manuscripts are corrupted or deleted in their entirety. The writer’s biggest crisis is losing an entire book ­– the modern equivalent of leaving... Continue Reading →

Are You a Writer or an Author?

Plenty of bloggers have by now reported on the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival that took place in Harrogate at the end of July. The huge airy marquee gave it a different feel to pre-pandemic years, but the panels were as engaging as ever. One idea stuck with me; the difference between being a... Continue Reading →

Department Z – Britain’s Gestapo?

‘Department Z? That sounds very mysterious.’ ‘Intelligence section,’ Parker said. ‘We identify threats and hunt down traitors.’ ‘Traitors? And what happens to them?’ Although Blackshirt Masquerade is fiction, Department Z really existed. The British Union of Fascists was established in late 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley and grew rapidly in both support and ambition over... Continue Reading →

Continuity Edit

As many authors do, I write many drafts of my books. Partly this comes from the early years in which I had very little time to write, and fitting writing into irregular time slots resulted in untidy early drafts. Draft 4 is what I call my Continuity Edit. I have a story with a beginning,... Continue Reading →

Writer, Archaeologist, Traveller

'Thriller Writer, Archaeologist and Traveller' it says at the head of the website, and that was the plan at the end of 2019. Then guess what happened to spoil everyone's year... and the one after that too. Never one to be in fashion, it wasn't until the second anniversary of lockdown that I went down... Continue Reading →

Crimefest is Back!

Yes Crimefest is back! After having been cancelled twice due to covid, a big question mark hung over the Bristol crime extravaganza’s future. Many attendees rolled our 2020 tickets over to keep supporting the team, and Specsavers stepped in to ensure it could go ahead this year. Attending three days of panels, choosing between two... Continue Reading →

First Blackshirt Reviews

I was pleased by Windy Tree’s five-star review of Blackshirt Masquerade, which catches the essence of what I intended to write. “I liked this a lot...it was a pleasure to read...I have seen it listed as a 'historical mystery' elsewhere, and it certainly is historical, with espionage (MI5) and a good dash of detectiveness thrown... Continue Reading →

Return of the Boutique Litfest

Festival organiser Isabel Picornell, Jason Monaghan and Paul McCormick of Gower Financial Services who sponsored Jason's talk (Lucie Stribrska) It's back! Alderney's small but perfectly formed Literary Festival returned after a two year absence due to covid. What makes the event special is that it concentrates on historical fiction and non-fiction, achieving a satisfying coherence.... Continue Reading →

Launch Week!

It's launch week for Blackshirt Masquerade, which has entailed a flurry of social media posts, blogging and cross-sharing. A key part of the launch was giving a talk at the Alderney Literary Festival entitled 'Was British Fascism Doomed to Fail?' Given that Hugh Clifton's undercover work aims to thwart the fascists, his success seems pre-ordained... Continue Reading →

Blackshirt Masquerade

Blackshirt Masquerade is the first of a series of novels set in 1930s Britain under the shadow of fascism. Perhaps this is not the right time to read about dark episodes in our past, but perhaps this might be exactly the right time to re-learn the lesson of the chaos and suffering that a man... Continue Reading →

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