Subscriber Competition

Two subscribers to my newsletter will be picked at random to appear in my upcoming book of short stories, featuring The Loneliness of Moony Moore.

Due to be released later this year with Clarendon House Publications,
the book with focus on the people who inhabit the strange town of Deben Market.

I’m looking to have one male and one female character named after two of my subscribers.

All you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter. I will use the website to pick the names of the winners.

I would like more than 100 subscribers before I run the randomiser.

For your chance to appear in the book, simply complete the subscription form, or contact me through the contact button above.

Enter now and good luck!

Thank you.

Alistair Byrne, Moony Moore and Wodehouse

Imagine Alistair Byrne, the hero of my novel The Loneliness of Moony Moore. He is tall, dark and of course handsome – aren’t all heroes? He is well-spoken and well-educated, just about perfect really. But what about the not so good points? Well, he has trouble asserting himself, is shy and a bit clumsy. He’s just about penniless and although not heartbroken, is getting over a relationship (he’s been dumped for a better catch.)

While Alistair is staying in a small seaside town licking his wounds, his world is changed, yet again, by the discovery of a new talent – some might call it a curse. More on that later.

I picture him to be a modern day P.G Wodehouse character. If you know the books, think Monty Bodkin or even, dare I say it, Bertie Wooster.

Wodehouse’s characters are all brimming with confidence, even when they are in the soup, and aren’t smart enough to sort it out without the help of a manservant. It’s part of his wonderful world, nothing really gets them down, even though they are complete fatheads. By total contrast Alistair is not a blithering idiot, but is totally lacking in confidence, and a gentlemen’s gentleman for that matter too.

My book is set in the modern world, so for a start I’d have to tone down the vernac’. Chaps just don’t have that sort of turn of phrase anymore, even the clever ones. There is murder and spiritual activity in the book, so it’s going to be a hell of lot more sombre than the great man’s work.

In fact, there’s very little comedy at all. Abuse, beatings, corruption, and murder, but no comedy. I promise you, the book is not a comedy – very far from it.

So to recap, Alistair is a slightly clumsy, shy, non-assertive, and not forgetting poor, but well spoken – although he lacks the confidence to say anything – terrible good looking, Oxford graduate who finds himself in the middle of murder mystery where the dead have a habit of confiding in him.

When I think about it, Alistair and my book have very little to do with Wodehouse, I just like reading his magic and I wanted to say so here.


I Have An Editor

A few days ago, I submitted a piece of flash fiction to an editor. 1500 words to be proofread and content edited. Why, you might ask, would one want an editor to look at such a short piece of fiction?

  1. I had read and re-read it so much that small mistakes went unnoticed – that’s right I had gone word blind. I needed help, and was willing to take criticism from a professional.
  2. My sentence structure was smartened up, and the story flowed better after my editor’s input.
  3. The staggering amount of work was impressive. Her notes informed me, I found I was learning or re-learning because of the experience. I was shown things I do incorrectly without realising I was doing them. Now I can try to avoid these bad habits before they become too ingrained.
  4. I feel like an author now – I can say “Yes, I have an editor” or “My editor says”. Silly I know, but hey.

If anyone is interested in finding a professional editor at reasonable rates I can highly recommend Cat Chester at pinkproof – she was fast and very professional. Her feedback encouraged as well as corrected. As I said to her afterwards, I felt like I was handing in my homework for a school project, I was very nervous about what she would say. I shouldn’t have been, a more helpful and supportive experience I couldn’t have hoped for. I wish my school teachers could have been half this helpful.

I have asked her to look at another short fiction today, and wait with baited breathe for her observations.


I wanted to write a book, that’s all

I wanted to write a book, that’s all. Just write a book. The need had been mulling around in my head for sometime, so I bit the bullet and started last year around May or June.

I did what a lot of first timers do – I read books by famous authors including P.D James, Elmore Leonard and of course Stephen King’s “On Writing” and thought I can at least try. Not that I thought I could be as good as P.D James or as successful as Stephen King, but I had to be better than some of the guff that I’ve seen printed.

I started the first book set in world devastated by a virus, a space virus, (no Zombies or mutant Vampires – yet). Just ordinary people struggling with a suddenly changed world. But it was taking time, time I found hard to find. Then I found out about NaNoWriMo, and thought it sounded like a grand idea. I signed up, left the first book half finished and began a new one with no idea at all of what was to happen. I made names up as I went along, I invented a fictional town. And just kept on typing. I hit the target of 50,000 words with a couple of days spare – whoop whoop!

That was when the hard work of sifting through all the guff I had written began. It was mixed up and jumbled, like a jigsaw puzzle in a thousand pieces and I had no idea of the final image. Now with Christmas over and a new year well underway, I still don’t have the complete picture, although it is much clearer.

The main story is there, but the detail is missing.

The town I created had to have a population, and people had to be somewhere. So I invented jobs to occupy them during the day and houses for them to in sleep in at night. Not to mention shops and businesses. Soon I needed a map, the map needed street names. I needed more detail. Shops had to have addresses. Even more detail was needed, the inside of shops and homes had to be imagined. Why? After all, most of them won’t appear in the book. Because I had to see what my protagonist is seeing, if he’s looking out the window, and looking at the Post Office which is next to the bakers, and thinking about the lady who runs said Post Office,  I can’t very well a few chapters later have the PO on the other side of the street next to an Estate Agents can I? And the lady in the PO needs a character, and relationships. She may only be a very minor character in my story, but her life is very important to her.

In order to try to see the town and some of the inhabitants, that weren’t in the book, I wrote a piece of flash fiction. 1500 words and I asked an editor to take a look. She was very encouraging, and I am indebted to Cat at pinkproof for all her help. More short stories will no doubt emerge as I try to get to grips with my town and the people who inhabit it.

I really thought writing a book would be straight forward. Not easy or simple, but straight forward. How wrong was I?