The shop across the road looks like it sells a load of old tat, but it sure looks more appealing than trying and failing to put pen to paper. I down the last frothy dregs of my cappuccino, tuck my notebook and pen in my bag, and head out to kill some time.
The door jangles to announce my presence, and in seconds the shop owner appears before me with a wide grin stretched across his face.
“Looking for anything in particular?”
I shake my head. “Just browsing.”
I look at the shelves and take in the junk. Twee wooden figurines. Cheap plastic flowers arranged in even cheaper plastic vases. Cutesy signs with naff statements like God Bless This Mess and Dust is a Country Accent. Dachshund draught excluders with blue plaid bellies and cartoonish eyes. Floral aprons and floral tea towels and floral oven mitts and floral cushion covers and…
“Perhaps I can point you in the right direction,” the shop owner says, his megawatt grin not faltering for even a moment.
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The Kindle version of my debut book, Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection, is available for 99p until 26th December!
Grab it now on Amazon
Countdown to Christmas with 24 contemporary short stories
In a gloomy Yorkshire town on a snowy Christmas Eve, nothing pans out exactly as it should…
An awkward breakup, a vengeful turkey, digitalised ghosts and alien abductions.
A chocoholic grizzly bear, a talking Christmas tree, mince pie overdoses and a very bloody murder.
Will poor old Saint Nick make it out alive?
Sad, strange, funny and gruesome, this overlapping, multi-genre collection of tales has a little something for every reader. Curl up with a mulled wine and some fictional festive misery, and discover what Father Christmas really likes to drink when he wriggles down your chimney. Spoiler: it isn’t milk.
During the middle of an unprecedented snowstorm in 1964, Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s baby with the help of a nurse in his empty clinic. It turns out to be twins. The first baby is a perfect little boy. The second is a girl with Down’s Syndrome. Believing that he is doing the right thing for all involved, David hands the child off to the nurse and asks her to take it to an institution out of town. He tells his wife, Norah, that the baby girl died. The nurse, Caroline, can’t bear to leave the little girl in the cold, clinical institution for the rest of her life. Instead, she goes on the run, starts a new life and raises the child as her own. Continue reading “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards | Book Review”
I published a merry bloody book!
And now that we’ve got Halloween and Bonfire Night out of the way, I’m finally able to flog it. It’s Christmas-themed, y’see. Yes, sensible old me thought it would be a cracking idea to make my first foray into the self-publishing world with a seasonal book that folks will only ever want to buy for around 6 weeks of the year. I mean… you live and learn, right?
Merry Bloody Christmas is a multi-genre short story collection which I originally wrote and posted on this blog last year. I was reasonably chuffed with the stories then, but I knew they weren’t as polished as they could be. Not only that, but they soon got buried as I continued to post new stories and book reviews. So, I pulled them from the site, dusted them off, whipped them into shape, and published them. Continue reading “I Published a Book!”
Anyone remember a few weeks ago when I wrote a blog post about how I hate not finishing books, even if I’m not enjoying them? Well, here comes a real-world example of why I am the way I am. Continue reading “Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng | Book Review”
‘One hundred words to go, that’s all, bobblehead! One hundred little words to write until I meet my target and I can rest easy. And it’s only 4 a.m.! I’ve done well, haven’t I?’
The writer’s bobblehead mascot nods frantically in agreement as she taps out a manic rhythm on the desk with her fingers. Continue reading “Missed Targets | Flash Fiction”
Children of Blood and Bone is probably the best YA fantasy novel I’ve ever read. Big statement, but it’s true. I loved it. Continue reading “Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | Book Review”
Here I am, living my life, maintaining a routine, going about my day to day as best as I can, when the old bastard turns up and ruins everything.
He doesn’t even knock first. He just walks right into my house, marches up the stairs, wanders into my spare bedroom where my little desk is set up, and glares at me until I cry. Continue reading “A Visit from Self Doubt | Blog”
You think you know how to write fiction? You probably don’t. Not unless you follow these four cardinal writing rules.
Remember: some highly successful writers break these rules and still write great stuff. But you are not one of them. It is not possible to break these rules and write great stuff unless you are already a successful writer. Got it? Good.
1. Show, don’t tell
You’re telling me a story, right? Wrong. You need to show me the story. You don’t need a pen and paper or a keyboard — you need a stage. Perform for me, monkey.
You could act out the story, mime it, or come up with a contemporary dance routine. Whatever you do, don’t you dare tell me what happens, because that’s bad writing. It’s boring. What readers really want is a series of ideas which they can interpret in a million and one different ways without fully understanding what your story is all about. Do you understand? Of course you don’t. That’s exactly my point.
Now, there is a very subtle difference between showing and telling when writing fiction, and I’m afraid I can’t share with you what that difference is. Why? Because I have no idea myself. Nobody does. All I know is that “show, don’t tell” is the most repeated mantra known to fiction writers the world over, and we must abide.
2. Never carry dialogue with anything other than “said”
You don’t want your writing to become too pretentious, right? In that case, don’t even think about using anything other than “said” when you’re telling — sorry, showing — us how your characters interact.
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Warning: I have a bit of a ramble here. If you want to get straight to the review, click here.
I acquired Some Lie and Some Die late last year when I helped my Mum do a mega clear-out in readiness for her to move house. She was saying goodbye to the family home she’d lived in for almost 20 years, so you can imagine there was a fair bit of clutter that had been accumulated, and a great deal of that clutter was books. Glorious books. Continue reading “Some Lie and Some Die, Ruth Rendell | Book Review”