The Mystery Blogger Award


Recently I was delighted and very surprised to be nominated for The Mystery Blogger Award by the very lovely jrose88 of the at Milliways with a pen blog.

The Mystery Blogger Award…

  • is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get.
  • is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.
  • was created by Okoto Enigma.

To be honest I’m extremely flattered!

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

So let’s get to it shall we?

Three Things About Me:

  1. I’m clumsy. I regularly trip over the chairs in my classroom, much to the amusement of my students. I spilled a cup of coffee in the welcome staff meeting on the first day of my first job. And then did the same  on my second job. And my third.
  2. In my second job I was awarded the nick-name ‘Beast’ after stumbling into a very nice lady English teacher, causing her to spill coffee all down the front of her dress. This was nearly twenty years ago and I still feel bad about it. Sorry nice lady English teacher!
  3. The nick-name stuck to the point that when I moved from living in town to the countryside the other teachers referred to my village as ‘the enchanted forest’. Also  my wife started getting called ‘Beauty’ but she was quite happy about that.

The Questions I Have to Answer:

What’s the book you always wanted to read (or should have read) when you were younger but couldn’t because you never found it/it didn’t exist? Like, what would you have felt truly represented you?

Great question. The Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. I would have absolutely loved them when I was a kid. They’re exciting, funny and have great characters. also I was really into myths and legends so they would have fitted right in.

Are you good with directions?

Yes and no. I have a really good sense of direction and I don’t get lost, in that I can always find my way back to somewhere I’ve been (particularly pubs for some reason). The problem is my ability to recall the correct word for any given situation is pretty poor, so I’m useless at giving directions. “Go over there!” is not an instruction my wife finds helpful when driving.

Starbucks, yes or no? Explain why.

In terms of coffee I prefer Costa. When Starbucks first had their massive expansion people complained they were taking over the world. This isn’t so much of a problem for me, I mean, its better than the usual megalomaniac dictators.

What are you the most hopeful about for 2017?

Tricky. Asking a maths teacher a ‘most’ question immediately results in them trying to rank order everything that might possibly happen. Hang on I’ll switch maths teacher to off. There, that’s better.

In general I’m an optimistic person so everything, but if I have to pick stuff I really hope will happen:

Big things – Peace in Syria and improvement in the state of the middle east in general.

Personal stuff – keeping my work life in balance, No. 1 daughter does well in her exams, I publish something.

Weird question: Do you have a favourite airport?

Interesting! I quite like Manchester, East Midlands is Ok as well. Any airport I arrive at when I’m going on holiday is exciting.

My Nominees:

The Orang-utan Librarian

Tanya Simone Simpson

Inside the mind of Davy D


Yeah, Another blogger

Simply Marquessa

eyes + words

Unbolt me

The Five Questions I’m Asking:

If you had to stick to one genre of book ,what would it be?

What are your all time top 3 films? ( I mean seen rather than starred in, but whatever…)

What is the best comeback you wished you’d said but didn’t think of at the time?

Pizza is a better invention than the wheel. Discuss.

Weird Question. What is your favourite fish? Explain.

My best post? I think its is probably this: The Exercise Bicycle for the Mind

all the best



Published Today – One Hundred Voices Vol. II

imageOne Hundred Voices Volume Two is published today including my story: Cast Into Darkness.

Which makes me a very happy bunny.

Like the first volume it contains 100 pieces of short fiction, each one 1500 words or less. I’m still working my way through Volume One and I am enjoying it immensely. It’s certainly an eclectic mix with all sorts of style and content and I’m sure that Volume Two will be more of the same.

if you are interested in buying One Hundred Voices Volume Two then then click here

If you use this code: 100V2V24, you get 10% discount.

please share this post by tweeting, reblogging etc.

Many Thanks


Tuesday Review – Write, Publish, Repeat


This was the right book at the right time for me. As someone who is about to embark down the self publishing road I was looking for something to help me plan my route through the complexities of this vast area and this book has really helped.

It is not a book about the technicalities of publishing, but then there’s plenty of advice about these out there. This book is more about successful approaches to self (or indie as they call it) publishing in terms of building readership and marketing. I liked the fact that it starts by stressing how indie publishing is for many authors better than traditional publishing but then really makes you think about what it is you want to achieve and what it takes in terms of dedication and hard work. This is not a book about tricks and quick fixes, it is a book for people who are serious about writing in the long term.

Of course there were some things that don’t work for me. For example the authors write very quickly and produce a lot of books, I write very slowly. But then you don’t have to do everything in the book, I’m happy to take the things that will work. For example the authors write series where each episode is a novella of maybe 20 to 30 thousand words. My novel is actually split into three books, so I could actually release them separately. That way I can set the first one as free as a way of getting people interested and I will have two sequels already written to follow it up. Plus I could then release the whole thing as one book but at a price that is discounted against the others. By the time I’ve done that I will hopefully be close to finishing the novella I’m currently writing so there will not be a massive time lag between releases.

So for me it is Indie publishing full steam ahead. I’ll let you know my plans in the near future.

Writing Progress – December 16


December rolls round again and I’m still writing. The big change in progress is that the story fragments that were simply called Dust have coalesced and extended to the point that I have had to split into chapters. This is a significant step, as short stories don’t have chapters in my world. Chapters mean a longer story and at the moment this one is 8000+ words and counting. Now entitled Thus Falls The Shadow, this will be a novella in all likelihood, maybe around 20,000 words. As you can see I have just started Chapter 6, in which our hero Will tries to escape from the the asteroid colony Zestrade where he and his partner/lover Rilk found a lot of dead bodies and some clues that will push them further on their journey through the Kwa system. With them are Drd (diminutive, three-armed, non-human pilot) and Bex (foul mouthed spacer-trash teenage girl who was the only survivor of the massacre on Zestrade).

It’s not particularly original but it’s not really meant to be. It’s basically Heart of Darkness set in space and it’s a lot of fun. I was bit surprised but also pleased when my main character turned out to be gay. I basically just let my characters lose and see what they do. This is probably not the most efficient way of writing but I’ve tried planning it out in detail and it just makes me bored. 

Also on the is the start of a short story called The Sign. Don’t know whether I’ll take it any further.

Oh yes, Happy Christmas to all.


Tuesday Review – Fantastic Beasts


I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since I read the first book, long before they started talking about making films. After all, I love Fantasy, and Harry Potter is one of the greats. The funny thing is that by the time the film franchise was nearing the end I was getting fed up with it. I can’t even say why, it was just getting a bit too much. So when I heard about this film I was a bit dubious, still my kids wanted to see it so see it we did.

And I have to say that I absolutely loved it! Here are some of the reasons:

1) It recaptures the wonder.

Watching this I had some of the feeling that I had when I first read the books. This was partly because of:

2) It is set in a new world.

or rather, the new world, I.e, the USA, New York in 1926 to be precise. This gives a new opening into the magical world and adds in the whole roaring twenties culture. It works really well, especially for someone like me who lives all those old black and white gangster films.

3) It is a film of contrasts.

From moments of genuine wonder and touches of humour to the dark edges of human nature there is a good range of light and dark.


4) It has Eddie Redmayne in it, who is quite brilliant!

My only regret was having to return  to the real world. Lincolnshire in December can be a dreary place with not much in the way of fantastic beasts.

Fantastic Beets though, that’s more like it. We’ve got sugar beet, beetroot, turnips, mangleworzles…

Tuesday Review – One Hundred Voices Anthology


Ok so this is not a review in the usual sense of the word, mainly because I haven’t read the whole of this book. In fact I have read only one of the 100 stories and that’s the one I wrote myself.

What I’m really reviewing here is the actual physical book and this is because my copy arrived last night and I feel very happy about it. There was a really special moment when I opened the box and I could just see a bit of the spine under the packaging which made me feel almost as excited as I did on my 7th birthday when I got my first action man.

So what is it like? It’s a beautiful weighty, papery, smooth smelling experience, that’s what it’s like.

I realise at this point that this post is a little self indulgent. You know what? I don’t care. It’s not everyday you see your name in print for the very first time, in fact it’s never going to happen again, so allow me this moment, if that OK with you.

Of course you hit like to buy it. If you like anthologies and you like short fiction then this could be the book for you. It’s the kind of book you keep around and dip in and out of when you have a few moments. It’s the kind of book I pick up when I’ve finished reading a novel and I want a little break before I start reading the next one.

Use this  Link and the discount code 100V70 if you would like to order a copy, particularly if you are in the US. In the UK you’re probably better off ordering it from Amazon.

Stay safe and be happy.