30 Robin Jarvis and The Whitby Witches

Robin Jarvis and The Whitby Witches

I first read Robin Jarvis’ The Whitby Witches when I was a child.  I can’t have been any older than ten, because by the time I finished the series I had yet to leave primary school.  And actually, I didn’t read them – my mum read them to me.  It was probably her eyes that first alighted upon that fateful tome, bound with a leering hound front cover that arrested both our attentions in that little library up the road.  We devoured it swiftly and ordered the sequels shortly after.  After reading and loving those too, I requested the boxset from my Grandma for Christmas (she lived near Whitby) so I could own those fantastic stories for myself.

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29 Anatomy of a Drum Kit- A Tour of My Drums

Anatomy of a Drum Kit: A Tour of My Drums

In between writing stories and blog posts I like to drum.  It’s a smashing hobby; cathartic as well as creative.  I think I started when I was sixteen, but I’ve improved a fair bit since my first off-beat battering of Smells Like Teen Spirit.  I bought my own drum set, a Mapex Tornado Rock Fusion, back in 2013 after finishing university, but it’s evolved and spread a bit since then, and received a DIY tattoo on the bass drum.  I pulled it out of its usual corner today and gave the whole thing a polish and spruce up, since I’m toying with the idea of recording some covers for YouTube.  Let me show you around… (more…)

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28 Writing a Novel- The Midway Point

Writing a Novel: The Midway Point

It’s been about three months since I started work on my novel, Rosetta, and a little over two months since I described my first impressions of writing it.  I hit 50,000 words last week – a little over half my forecast completed word count, which means I’m near enough halfway through.  At the very least, I’m in the thick of things, and I’ve got some new reflections on the subject of writing a novel to tell you about.  Some of them are pretty surprising; at least in light of my first impressions. (more…)

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27 All Write Now- Great Writing Music

All Write Now: Great Writing Music

Earlier this week I ambiguously tweeted that I’d written to Ludovico Einaudi – composer of, among many other beautiful piano pieces, The Waves.  I didn’t mean that I’d written a letter to him, though that’s how it came across – I only meant that I’d listened to his Islands album whilst writing.


I tend to listen to music whilst working on my books, and was overjoyed to find Stephen King does the same, as he notes in his fascinating On Writing.  Whilst King prefers ‘loud music – hard rock stuff like AC/DC, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Metallica’, I prefer soft stuff – instrumental, electronic, classical…  Music that I wouldn’t usually spin in the car or that I’d learn the drums to.  Background music, I suppose, though I don’t want to mislabel any of the excellent albums below as merely sonic wallpaper. (more…)

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Resolutions: Redux

Around this time last year I wrote this post about New Year’s Resolutions, and what I was hoping to achieve throughout 2015.  Without even looking at those resolutions I can already say I’m really happy with the past year and what I’ve accomplished.  I’ve done things that, if not life-changing, are certainly milestones for me in my life.  Let’s take a look at my resolutions of yesteryear… (more…)

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25 Writing a Novel- First Impressions

Writing a Novel: First Impressions

I remember far back into my childhood when I dreamt of writing novels.  It couldn’t be that hard, I reasoned.  I could write a page every night after school, and more at the weekends.  It would be just like reading a book: I’d find out what happened as I went along.  And for the record, I still think there’s mileage in my idea of an alternate medieval universe in which everyone is accompanied by their own gargoyle, but I’m learning now there’s a lot more to writing a novel than one seed of an idea. (more…)

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24 Night Shade- A Short Story

Night Shade: An Apologia

I’m not a fan of fan fiction.  I think using characters that other authors have put their love and imagination into is cheating and disrespectful – especially (inevitably) when the writing isn’t as good as the author’s own.  I can’t see the reward in it either – fan fiction isn’t part of the original story and is therefore in no way ‘real’ or ‘true’ to it.  I don’t see the point in it other than as a writing exercise, and even then it’s a half-baked activity – the characterisation and interplay between different characters has been established for you.


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