Story teller

He was a writer and a poet

A real writer though if you can understand,

He would bleed words all over the page.

Notebook after bloody notebook.

Piled up on the table and in his wardrobe

And his wife

Would say how he was always writing,

Even when he was supposed to be doing else.

He would journey back to his childhood in his mind

And tell us stories.

To catch the train, he and his sister

(Who was five years older),

Would have to walk across the neighbour’s farm to get to the little platform.

Then they would wave the train down with a flag

And it would puff to a stop so they could climb aboard.

One year, when he was about twelve years old,

Some kids started catching the train to school with them.

They were working on the farm nearby

And they were dirt poor.

These kids had no shoes

And summer spike grass

Or winter frost would attack their feet.

They had black toes and hard horny feet.

The boy, tall and thin, with long crooked teeth

Would get on the train and smile,

Hanging his hands down by his side, he would whistle,

And the kids would gather around him,

There as the train picked up speed and filled their lives with smoke and cold wind

He would tell a story.

The boy’s face would blaze as he spoke

And he would hold people with his words.

The poet would open his eyes after sharing that memory

And, a little sadly, would tell us

 no matter how much he practiced and wrote,

He never captured people in the same way

As the poor boy with no shoes.

The reading room.

The French doors lie open,

the sun and breeze trip in, like visitors coming for tea.

The books sprawl across the old wicker table,

under them, a crisp white cloth.

The smell of toast dances with the summer morning.

birds, overjoyed by the beauty of life, sing along the branches of huge plane trees.

She has stepped away for a moment, but her perfume stays

like the ghost that fell in love with a queen.

These days of luxury, sun-kissed ease

are marked in difference from the older, darker days.

The money is less now, but she does not miss the abuse of wealth.

Sleep a long deep sleep

and wake with the gentle day,

let the universe provide for now.

Stand on the balcony and look down at the trees and green parkland,

and remember the dirty, city streets that can touch you no more.


There isn’t much night, there never is.
Out in the lights, the bars and the cafes with friends,
walk home in the cold of the morning,
see the sun already turning the sky orange and white.

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Waking up as birds scream outside
the sun bursts in on you through broken curtains and torn shades.
You wonder why the hours are more like seconds.

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Alone in the evening, huddled in your room by the window,
you watch the lights of the bright neons below,
see the lovers disappear into the blue-black, and you wish the sun would hurry up.

The Lady’s garden.

Through the day garden walked the knight.

He looked at the beds, heavy with flowers

then glancing up as one might at a bird,

his eyes land on her window.


What softer bed behind those curtains,

what pleasures a visitor to her room might see;

might experience.

The mail-heavy arm against the silk curtains, hard flesh on gossamer skin.


He has seen war

and knows what war brings,

the faithful and faithless both scream when pinned down with steel.

Men, both brown and white, crying in terror at the onrushing machine.


He stops a while beside a lily and considers the soft opening of the blue flower

he sees a bee, heavy with baggage climbing down the flower’s throat.

From habit, his hand grips his sword handle.

He imagines a time when this garden might be his as well as hers.

Writing Wednesday! How to build a setting in your novel

This is the first of my writing Wednesday series, tips to help you create your work.

Today I will talk about creating settings for fiction before you start to write.

When writing a novel it is a good idea to brainstorm, to get ideas down about character, plot and setting.

Working out the setting fore your novel can be a fun activity.

When I am beginning a new work, I go for a walk. I don’t have to be anywhere fancy or exotic, I don’t have to be in the place where I will ultimately set the novel, all I’m looking for in the early stages are buildings, trees, streets anything that my characters might end up seeing, walking down or living in.

The best settings are the ones you know intimately. For example, if you are writing a story about a professor in a University in New York State but you’ve never been to the USA, take a walk at a nearby university or school and see how the buildings look, what does the library look like in the  morning when the professor may arrive at work.

Seeing how the trees look along the main path when the sun shines through the leaves will help you novel immensely. The proffer walks this way to class every morning, so how does the sun look against the trees in the morning. When the wind blows do the leaves make a noise? Do students sit in the shade of these trees at lunch time. These facts, facts you can glean from a simple walk, will create a great sense of truth in your walk.

I was considering writing a novel set in the 1930s, I wanted an art deco look to the world I was creating so I went for a walk and took photos of all the art deco building I could:

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I could easily set my novel in these buildings, I can tell you how water has stained the side walls, I can tell you where the mail boxes are, I can tell you how the sun glints off the side windows because I walked around these buildings, I went up the side and back lanes. Now when I come to write my book I can add these details.

The Bomber will be at the Frankfurt Book Fair. 

Pick up a copy today!

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When I awoke a few mornings ago the news was emailed to me that a female blogger had sold 78,109 books in seven days, making her the highest selling novelist since Jesus wrote the New Testament. (just kidding, it was ghost written).

The usual amount of jealousy washed across me until I calmed down and told myself she did a great job amassing such a loyal audience and then finding the time to write an 80,000 word novel to sell to them.

Then today I hear that although the characters and the story in the novel ‘Girl Online’ are Zoe Suggs, the novel was written by a ghost writer. A conflicting amount of feelings went to battle within my innards.

Schadenfreude, surprise, sadness, disappointment.

This happening has occupied my thoughts for the last hour or so and I am trying very hard to see both sides.

First I feel manipulated by large corporations, they see something popular then try to milk the public for every dollar they can squeeze from them. They announced plans for many more novels to be released under Sugg’s name, they want a Sugg book under each Christmas tree, all young girls should have this book or they will be left behind.

But publishers need these types of books to exist. They need these massive sellers to keep the other books coming. A big seller like this enables the publisher to take risks on other writers.

Then I thought about the betrayal that someone purporting to be a creative artist, selling their work to a huge audience, then revealing that the work was created by someone else completely. This is a huge crime in the art world.

But on the other hand writing a novel is hard work. It is a huge task for someone to sit down and write. All published writers are given editorial help. Editors make books better, and it makes sense to have outside help.

When I consider both sides to this argument I still feel that a dishonest act has occurred. Someone else wrote this story, all Penguin needed to do is write “by Zoe Sugg” in big letters and put “with so and so” in small letters underneath and there would be no problem. Fiction wiring requires complete honesty. It may sound silly but there is truth and trust in fiction writing, it is a direct connection between the reader and the author. It is a cultural curiosity that authors are important, you need to know who the story teller is before you invest in the relationship that forms between the two covers.

The Great Gatsby, 1984, Frankenstein, to me these great novels are my friends, their authors are my friends, I do not want to think of authors as editorial teams in large publishing houses, I want authors to be people battling away in private rooms desperate to tell me the best story they can.

I feel sorry for Zoe Sugg and I do not hold any animosity toward her personally, but I want nothing to do with her book. However, I fear I am uncertain, if I were in the same position as her would I sin as she has or would I be strong enough to do the ‘write’ thing.

photo the-house-of-frankenstein