A free book

Not To Noble Books are making my latest (!) publication available for the magnificent price of absolutely nothing for the period of 28th October to 1st November (inclusive) Don't blink. Don't miss the opportunity to read the true (well, to me at least) story of the Border Romeo and Juliet, a Northumbrian ghost story, revenge over the centuries and a heroine who could be the girl next door (if you grew up where I did, and you didn't) Free fiction. How can you resist?

For your reading pleasure

I know I don't post as often as I did, but just in case anyone is interested, you can now acquire my novel, Gallasill, as an ebook from Not So Noble Books via the dread lords at Amazon. It is a ghost story set in a country town that is where I live disguised with an ineffectual pair of cheap sunglasses. A family's secrets from way back come home to roost when Sarah refuses to leave well enough alone.


Those fine people at Not So Noble Books are now in receipt of a signed contract. In turn this means that Gallasill will be appearing as an ebook for your reading pleasure and delectation in due course. Feeling good about this.
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    cheerful cheerful

Swing, swing, swing that scythe

There are many writers whose work I admire and enjoy. There are very few whose work screams at me - 'this is the benchmark to which you must aspire, you dullard.' Of my 'contemporaries' there were four, but Rob Holdstock has gone and now Iain Banks has joined Sir Terry on the not long for this world list. I like his 'mainstream' work more than I do his 'genre' work because he brings the fabulist's vision to what has become a stultifyingly self-obsessed self-indulgence over the last sixty odd years. The Crow Road is one of the few contemporary novels written during my lifetime that I can read again and again, discovering more each time. I haven't read a Booker winner that comes anywhere near its lyrical humanity and imagination. Espedair Street is pretty damned hot in my opinion too. As I say, my opinion. Yours may differ. That's life.

So, that is three out of four of my gods either erased or about to be. Manda, you take good care of yourself.


As Graham Parker once sang, what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding? Today, tomorrow and every other day. We can do it if we try.

Something for the discerning ladies and gentlemen among you...

My first (published) novel 'Monkey See' has been issued by Wild Wolf, and is now available on Amazon (at least the UK version) I shall not tell how how wonderful it is because that would be crass. Besides, judgement is and always should be the reader's. It is a supernatural thriller set on Tyneside and, while one of the main characters is definitely dead, she is not a zombie.

Back when I was young and foolish...

... I used to like The Mamas and the Papas. Why? Well, there was John Phillips' rather cool way with words and a melody. Then there were Denny Doherty and Cass Elliott, two of the finest voices of my lifetime of listening to popular music. Of course, the fact that my girl friend was a dead ringer for Michelle Phillips had nothing at all to do with it, nothing whatsoever... Anyway. I was listening to the radio today when one of their songs came on, singing as true today as it did back then. This is dedicated to the one I love. Of course, everything is dedicated to the one I love, and she's much more beautiful than Michelle Phillips.
Tell the one you love that you are dedicated to them. Go on. Make it so.

I'd given up hope

Something happened today that hasn't happened - to me - for a long, long time. I went all Ian Rankin. I was reading the BBC News website - as I do, a boy needs a bit more than he gets on the weather report, you know - when I came across a story from Iran. As I read it a novel appeared in my brain - who, what, why, how. And it is better than any of the ideas I have been working on since I sent Spuggie to Mr J. Onward!

Touching your heart

Years ago, we got satellite tv for the first time. One of the channels was CMT - Country Music Television - and I watched a lot (I was having one of my periodic bouts of depression, caring for my totally mother in law - Meatloaf singing 'Objects in the rear view mirror' reduced me to tears, that was a sign) Most of it was crap, just like any other channel. Then this beautiful blonde woman appeared, singing directly into the camera, to me, a quiet song about love, and what it means to be a grown up in love. She sang my heart softly with her song. Everyone has artists who speak directly to their hearts, of their experiences and emotions. That was my first encounter with Mary Chapin Carpenter, singing 'Come on, Come on', and I was smitten. Instantly she was there with Mr Sumner as writers who spoke directly to me. I now have all of her records (as I have all of Sting's) and I have seen her perform (as I have seen Sting) Her new songs speak to me just as much as the old ones, and if that makes me a sentimental old Hector, well that's just okay by me. There is nothing wrong with sentiment (sentimentality is another thing altogether...) Sentiment is what makes us human, that and the ability to communicate with each other. I have seen Peter Green perform 'Man of the World'. I have seen the Mike Westbrook Brass Band perform 'I see thy form'. Someday I will see Mary Chapin Carpenter perform 'Come on, Come On'. Then I will be able to die happy. A perfect song.