On Taking Inspiration From Wherever it Comes


There’s a fantastic podcast going on at the moment called The Bestseller Experiment which i urge you listen to.  It’s two guys looking into how to write a best selling novel in one year, which sounds cynical andall about the filthy lucre on the surface, but it’s more about looking into writing craft, its business, and creativity in general.

The Bestseller Experiment

Anyway, last week I was listening to the episode with Brian Cranston.  Cranston had written screenplays, which was the link, but the conversation quickly turned ot creativity and artistry in general, and something he said stuck out to me.  Cranston was speaking about an early audition he had and the advice he was given was ot give the interviewer what they want to see, and he said no, you give the audition the character deserves.  And you may not get the part, but you will be remembered.

And I think the reason hat stayed with me was interviews with other artists I read as a kid that I still carry around with me now, and those were with James Hetfield of Metallica.

Whenever I’m asked my influences – which happens believe it or not – I include Metallica, and that always takes people by surprise.  Not that this mild mannered chap would listen to such brash music (god help them if they ever see my CD collection*), but that a writer would list them as an influence.  But the thing is Metallica came out fo nowhere in the 80s playing their own style of music.  When everything was just getting faster, yellier and more distorted, they took their love of Euro glam rock and played their own version of it.  Their love of their own art showed, and spawned a hundred copycats, but the point is they went against the grain.  They ignored the market and played the music they wanted to.

They played it, and they did indeed come.

And that’s a lesson I take to writing – pay no mind what’s popular, ignore the zeigeist, write what you love.  If you love it, there’ll be more.  Trust me on this.



*For the kids in the audience, CDs were like tiny, limited MP3 players that doubled up as chicken hypotising discs

A Toy Christmas, Now Recommended World Wide


In a very welcome piece of news,  A Toy Christmas (featuring a story from muggins here) featured in the worldwide Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators recommended reading list for Winter 2016.

OK, yes, it’s summer here, but this being a proper, growd up, world wide society, they’re set in the US.  This is great news, and very flattering.  Congratulations to Sophie and everyone at Christmas Press on this achievement!


The First Review for ‘A Toy Christmas’


And hot on the heels of the launch comes the first int he wild review of A Toy Christmas, from Readplus.  It says some really nice things about the book, and singles out your truly among other authors from the collection.



In her introduction Sophie Masson talks about the magic of toys at Christmas and this collection of stories certainly reflects that theme. Written by some well-known and not so well-known authors, (Natalie Jane Prior, Meredith Costain, Michael Grey, Fiona McDonald, Juliet Marillier, Anna Bell, Ian Irvine, Kathy Creamer, George Ivanoff, Goldie Alexander, David Allan, Rebecca Fung, and Beattie Alvarez) whose short biographies are given at the back of the book, this is a collection that begs to be dipped into for the variety of stories that can be found within its cover. Each story is illustrated in bright colours, adding to the appeal of the book.
As a fan of fantasy, I immediately used the Table of Contents to read the story, A real present, by Juliet Marillier, one of favourite authors. Jenny is a little girl who wants a present for the Thing under her bed, her best friend and comes up with a creative plan for a present. The story is redolent with the joy of imagination and the meaning of giving presents. Another by George Ivanoff caught my eye, and I was delighted to read Pudding Prize, extolling the old Christmas custom of putting a surprise in the Christmas pudding. In this Anna finds a tiny matryoshka, a Russian doll which symbolises fun and laughter and learns about the beautiful nesting dolls from Russia. Avi and the Chanukah surprise by Goldie Alexander will remind readers that many cultures do not celebrate Christmas, but have their own way of celebrating their customs. One that brought a tear to my eye was An unexpected gift by Michael Grey, where a little boy is given a toy that reminds him of his absent mother.
This is a collection that is well worth having in the library as it collects an engrossing range of Christmas stories, each quite different, but all quality, around the theme of toys. Readers and children who listen to the stories will be reminded that Christmas is not only a time of fun, but one of giving, of caring for the lonely and bereft and celebrating different customs.


‘A Toy Christmas Launch’, at Kids Readings Carlton


Yesterday saw the official release of ‘A Toy Christmas’ from Christmas Press Picture Books.  A wonder childrens’ anthology if I do say so myself, and featuring some wonderful talent.  I was lucky enough to attend the launch at Readings’ Carlton store in Melbourne with fellow authors Meredith Costain, Goldie Alexander and George Ivanoff, along with editor and head publiersherino Sophie Masson.

Fun was had by all, and Sophie did a wonderful launch of the book to a storeful of people.  “Pics or it didn’t happen” I here you cry.  Well, as you asked…


Left to right – yours truly, Meredith Costain, Sophie Masson, Goldie Alexander, and George Ivanoff


Me, doing ‘voices’

I Aintn’t Dead


Wow, June since the last update….?  Well I can only apologise, and promise you that I have very good reasons.  The wife and I are building a house, I had a big project due for Mantic Games (incoming soon), and, probably most importantly, we became parents again.  Three boys….. future me is crying about the food bill.

But i have still been working, and have things afoot, not the least of which two anthologies which are being published soon with stories from yours truly included.  In fact I just heard that one – A Toy Christmas from Christmas Press Picture Books – might be getting a launch party in Melbourne in November.  More news as I hear it, and if it happens it would be great to see anyone there who can make it.

Also, Brood Parasites.  It’s taken a whole new turn.  I’ve taken on board advice from a NY Times best selling author and have completely restructured it.  That means the serialisation on this site is, well, now longer current.  But I’ll be keeping it there for prosperity, at least int he short term.

So yes, things progress, and in a very exciting way.  I’ll be back with publication news soon, and until then, you stay classy.


Brood Parasites Chapter Sixteen


Rejoice and holler, Brood Parasites chapter sixteen has been published and is read and waiting for your eyes!  Wherein we find out Gatha is more then she lets on….

It’s also been added to the BP page on this humble blog, but I know Wattpad is better optimised for mobile devices.  Who says I don’t think about you guys?

Happy reading!


Just Keep Swimming


Alrighty, blog updated!  Looks a bit lacklustre compared to the last one, but hey, it works, which is always a bonus on something you want to, well, work.   You may also noticed I posted Brood Parasites onto its own page.  I’ll be updating it alongside the Wattpad project, but given how optimised Wattpad is or mobile devices I’ll be keeping that updated as we go along.

Anyhoo I did have a reason to post today, and that’s to say I’ll be posting a series of vlogs onto my YouTube channel.  This isn’t going to replace the blog, but there’s a certain ability to hide behind the keyboard here, whereas when I sit in front of a camera I feel a little bit more laid bare* (*nudity will not feature – thank god for everyone involved), and I’m hoping it will force me to be more honest with myself about my creative output if I feel I’m sharing it with everyone.

I’ll also be taking the opportunity to talk about, well, whatever I feel like talking about – the difficulty into writing around a full time job and  family, whatever happened in publishing that week, various facets around writing and storytelling – that kind of thing.

The first log will be uploaded in the next day or two, and please, let me know what you think!


Aaaaaand We’re Back!


Hello from Michael’s website take 3!  I know, it looks fairly, well, yeah…. that’s what it looks like.  but the last one, while looking pretty damn nifty, wasn’t very usable.  So!  We’re back to this blank blog form.  Which is fine for the moment, but I’ll be prettifying it in time.

In the meantime,  Brood Parasites continues apace, and Deadzone: Infestation from Mantic Games (background and story by yours truly), has begun to reach backers.  The feedback and buzz has been fantastic, and has left me feeling very warm on the outside when I wake up to comments like this:

If you haven’t read it (to change game systems a bit) the fiction in the Deadzone Infestation book is about my speed. It sets up the situation, explains what each faction is doing there and sets the stakes, but leaves the end of the story to the players. Some of the best game fluff I’ve read for a while, both in terms of quality and for doing its job as game fiction.

Always nice to know what you were aiming for hit the mark.

OK so, onwards and upwards.  Brood will continue to be serialised, and I have some more stories being published later this year.  But first, let’s get this wesbite sexy…..