Late to the release, but not to the party


I’m back!  The holiday was a blast, if tiring (if proof is needed, I actually started to go grey at the temples, as Suzie enjoyed pointing out to everyone), and I step back into an Australia which suddenly has The Life and Times of Chester Lewis available to it!

The Life and Times of Chester Lewis

I still haven’t had to time to read the final chapter of my copy, but I’m itching to see how Steve Rossiter ended the saga.

Also since I’ve been away the first two instalments of another story of mine, Asset Procurement, have seen the light of day in Mantic Games’ fan magazine Iron Watch.  It’s quick and dirty sci fi fun for anyone who swings that way.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a steampunk epic to finish.  TTFN!


A Chester Lewis Update


I’m still on holiday, and with somewhat sketchy Internet access, but I’m dropping by to share a link to an interview with me over at the Chester Lewis website:


(apologies for the dodgy formatting! It appears WordPress doesn’t like iPads that much)



Leeeeeaving, Ooooon a Jet Plaaane!


Although I will be back on October the first…. which is less poetic, but certainly more accurate.

Yup, I’m off on holiday, so I’m afraid this place will be a tad quieter than usual for five weeks, but I’m sincerely hoping my own writing output won’t be too effected.  Oh, it will be,  I’m going with two small boys with a pad and pen, but still, I aim to fill this pad and god help me if I don’t…



The Fear… Duh, Duh, Duuuuuuh!


There’s an interesting article over on Alison Goodman’s blog about fear, self doubt and their role in writer’s block.  And honestly, reading it made me feel really lucky.

A Writer’s Block, yesterday.

I don’t tend to get writer’s block.  I mean, I get stuck, I get frustrated, I hate myself, my writing and want to bite pens in half (I write on a battered old laptop, so why I hate pens in those situations I don’t know), but I don’t stop.  And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The fear doesn’t stop me.  If anything, it’s fuel, an urge to always do better, to prove to myself and readers “Look!  I can do better!  love me, LOVE ME!”.  When I hear otehr writers, especially ones as well regarded as Alison, have it affect them in different ways puzzles me.

I suppose what I wanty to say here is use the fear.  Stare it in the face, and when it’s attention is distracted steal its wallet.  And also, I feel blessed to think this way.



The Bells! The Bells!


The people who lived in this house before the wife and I moved in were kind enough to leave a wind chime in the outside entertaining area (I don’t like the word pergola… to me to sounds like some pacific battle from WW2), for which I was very greatful.

I love windchimes.  To the point where I don’t understand why otehrs wouldn’t.  Not that it matters, because I also don’t trust them.  I mean, who could trust someone who doesn’t love windchimes?

For me they herald they beginning of something.  Perhaps it’s my watching all those terrible late 80s and 90s horror films, where a few clink-clonks on them signalled someone was about be offed…. whatever the cause, I love them, and they aid my writing no end… even when the pigeons also took a shine to them.

There’s also a tree in our back garden.  And oak, I think, although I’m terrible at guessing trees without leaves and we moved in in winter, but to the local pigeons its the most comfortable tree around, and since I moved the windchomes to catch more breeze, well now they have something to play with too.

So, I’ll be writing, with a gentle tinkle-plinkle-plonk in the background, when suddenly it be like Bez from the Happy Mondays has been on the Vimto and decided to go at them with his maracas.

Exhibit A (minis Bez and maracas):



Novel Composites


Twitter’s wonderful.  Of course for the ability for everyone around the world to disseminate information without filtering it through faceless agencies, and lolcats, but also I wouldn’t have found out about The Composites.  People with way too much time on their hands who use it wisely by putting the description of literary characters through police composite software.

And you know what, most of them are scarily accurate.  Just check out the Cathy Wilkes compo from Stephen King’s Misery.  Anyone else see Cathy Bates?

And my personal favourite…. I could see Kate Bush singing at him on a blasted heath.

The Life and Times of Chester Lewis


Those who of you who read my old blog (and I know there’s a few, Google Analytics wouldn’t lie to me) may remember some news about me writing a story for an anthology called The Life and Times of Chester Lewis.  Well, we have a release date!

That’s right, from October the 1st you too could own a spanking copy of The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, featuring such esteemed writers as Michael White (no, slightly more moral relation), Jo Hart, Lia Weston and yours truly.  You better believe I’ll be pimping this more often closer to release, but in the meantime enjoy the old dude with the party hat.


Just Why Does DOOM Suck So Much?


One thing I’ve noticed since I decided I would take this writing thing seriously is that I tend not to enjoy books and films as much.  I’d read something like this would happen, but that was after I realised I was appraising stories rather than just enjoying them.  Which is normal, I suppose, for a storyteller.  Everything is raw material to us, and stories, in their base form, are judged when we come across them.

Which is what I was thinking as I watched DOOM last night.

My lovely lady wife was out with friends, so I thought I’d catch up on the kind of films she’d rather divorce me than watch.  About midway in I would have divorced myself.

It really is that bad.  But here’s the thing; it’s trying really hard to be Aliens, so why was it failing?  Especially consdierring that even indexed for inflation, the budget for DOOM far outstripped that of Aliens.  It could have gone on The Rock’s per diem for creatine I suppose.

There are myraid reasons why, but what jumped out at me was Aliens built on scenes, and each scene had a purpose:

  •  The opening shot of Ripley being found (catalyst)
  • The debriefing (exposition and background)
  • The job offer (revealing Ripley’s mindset and laying groundwork for final fight scene)
  • “We lost contact!” (the call to arms…. god I feel dirty for using The Writer’s Journey terms)
  • Waking up on the navy ship (introduction of extra characters, or “cannon fodder”)

…and so on.  Where as 30 mins in to DOOM it was basically fifteen different shots of marines walking down corridors saying ‘ooh, isn’t this spooky’.  I paraphrase, but that’s the gist.

So within half an hour we found there are some dead scientists on Mars and they can’t find anyone.  Compare that to the five points above for Aliens, and that happens in about 20 minutes.

IN short; scenes, scenes, scenes.  Make ’em count, make ’em mean something, and, above all, make sure you have some kickarse knife tricks in one of ’em.


Another Milestone Reached


The fine people at Anromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine have deemed the latest story I sent their way worthy, and shall be running it in their November issue.

*Ahem* go me.

I’m so happy with this on a number of levels.  First off, ASIM is a quality publication.  Or ‘a proper grown up magazine and everything!’ as my inner self is shouting while jumping up and down.

And secondly, I was very proud of the story.  I won’t say what it’s about, but it was inspired by the passing of one of my favourite authors, and I’m so happy someone thinks it’s good enough to show other people.

You better believe I’ll be harping on about this closer to the time.


Get In Ma Head!


Writing groups are, on the whole (he he),  a good thing for a writer.  That sentence should come with the caveat ‘the right writing group’, I suppose.  A bad writing group will undermine a writer’s confidence and, worse, soak up time which could be used to write, but let’s ignore those for now.

I’ve been a part of a group before, and I miss it, so when I saw another group advertised through the Victorian Writer’s Centre I jumped at it.

I met the guys last month for the first time, got along, and think I may have found a new home, but something which happened in the feedback session made me realise the ability to receive feedback is a necessity for a writer.

The guy in question (used here in the gender-non-specific sense to keep things nice and safe) when someone said they didn’t understand a particular paragraph, the writer was straight on the defensive, saying the reader ‘did not get them’, and suggesting it was her fault, not their’s.

Woah, woah, woah, I wanted to say (but didn’t, because it was my first time and I didn’t want to rock the boat).  If a reader says they did’t understand something then the writing is suspect, full stop.  Perhaps they’re wrong, but even if they’re not suspicion has been raised and needs to be satisfied.

What writing is is story telling.  We as authors need to get the message, be it action, descriptions, feeling or dialogue, across to the reader as clearly and concisely as possible.  If that does not happen, the fault lies at the source.

I was made more thankful for the CAE Novel Writing course I took which made receiving and giving feedback its own syllabus.  I’m happy for any feedback I get back, even if it’s only ‘It’s sucks’… at least as long as I can find out why said suckage happens.