Out now: The Greatest Show Under the Earth

My latest book, The Greatest Show Under the Earth, is released today.  I’m hugely proud of it as it’s a bit more ambitious than my usual stories and it’s my favourite yet!   I can’t wait to hear what you all think about it and I’d like to tell you a bit more about how I went about writing it.

Following the disappearance of a young girl at a travelling carnival, Zoe spots a pattern that will lead her on a journey fraught with danger, grief and horror. With time running out, Zoe must track an ancient evil and save her loved ones from a terrifying fate at the hands of The Greatest Show Under the Earth.
Roll up now and step right in…
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Reading William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist

If you look up a list of the scariest
horror films ever made, William Friedkin’s 1973 movie The Exorcist will most likely be on there.    And deservedly so: it’s an absolute shocker
of a film, full of horrifying imagery and terrifying implication.  The
Exorcist
is more famous as a film than as a book, even though it’s based on
an excellent novel by William Peter Blatty. 
This Halloween I treated myself to reading the book and, as a writer, I
learned a lot from it.


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What You Can Learn from Reading Bad Books

Reading is wonderful. Books are wonderful. But some books are more wonderful than others.

We all have different preferences when it comes to reading. Sometimes it’s down to genre, or to what happens in a story, but mostly, I think, it’s down to a writer’s style and the way they construct a story.

I’ve just finished a book I found a struggle. We won’t mention any names here, but it was a genre I don’t dip into very often. But I like to read around and think that all writers should read widely, as you can learn just as much from a book you don’t enjoy as you do from one which is well-written and immersive. For one thing, you’re not so immersed in it as to stop thinking about the mechanics behind the book.

As a writer, you can’t please everyone, but you can still be mindful of a few pitfalls that make a book harder to read and harder to love. Here’s what I learned from reading a book I didn’t like:

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Out Now: The Brighton Prize Anthology 2017

I’m featured in the just-released The Brighton Prize 2017.

Last year I wrote and entered a flash-fiction story to Rattle Tales, a Brighton-based writing collective, for an evening of readings they were hosting.  My story Death Rattle was selected, and I got to read it live in Brighton to an audience of rattle-waving writing enthusiasts.

It was a great night – it was wonderful to see how other writers performed the stories they had written, and the audience questions that followed each story were often illuminating.  It’s notoriously difficult for writers to take their craft to a public stage, and I was really excited by the opportunity.  Sadly, the 2018 Rattle Tales night falls a little close to my wedding day, so I’ve refrained from submitting to it!

I wrote Death Rattle to be read out loud and tried to emphasise sound throughout the story.  I also tried to avoid certain tongue-twisting combinations of words that I might struggle with on the night!  I’m really proud of the finished tale; I think for such a short piece of writing it tells a much larger story than it first appears.

I’d love for you to check out the The Brighton Prize anthology; not only to read my submission but also check out the stories from the writers I shared a stage with last June as well as the acclaimed tales that were selected The Brighton Prize – the short story competition run by Rattle Tales.

Happy reading!

How to Cure Writer’s Block

Earlier this year I went through a bit of a dry spell on the writing front.  I took about a month off my usual routine due to some heavy targets in my day job and found myself unable to get off the ground again with any kind of writing.  I’d start, stumble, fumble for words and grind to halt once more.

Diagnosis: Writer’s Block

I found although I was making time to write, and even knew what I wanted to write, the words weren’t quite flowing.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have the ideas, or the motivation, or even time to write, it was just that I was really having to push to get anything down, and I wasn’t enjoying it.  This, for me, is writer’s block:  an inconvenient affliction that prevents you from writing despite your best intentions.  But good news – I managed to recuperate with a few simple steps.  Here’s what set me on the road to recovery perhaps it could be of some help to you too. Read More