Saturday, 27 April 2013

I've resorted to posting up recipes

Once again I have my friend Jim Murdoch to thank for this post.

Regular readers of this site (assuming they exist - maybe I should be referring to those who accidentally pop their head in when they're on their way somewhere else) would know about the travails I regular post about, describing how difficult it is to think of new topics to write about each week. How do you say something new and interesting that hasn't been said before? Or, given the near impossibility of the previous sentence, how do you rewrite something for the millionth time in such a way that it looks like it's new and interesting and hasn't been said before?

Luckily, Jim gave me a great idea, which has at least solved my problem for another week. Today I'm going to post up a recipe.

Now to think about what might be a good one to put up here. I used to do a lot of cooking. Hey, I even thought I was rather good at it. At least within the fairly narrow parameters I set for myself which was basically 'do I like this?'. So maybe I wasn't likely to last too long if I tried out for one of those cooking shows, which suited me fine 'cos I don't love those cooking shows at all. And maybe I wasn't inviting too many friends over for dinner parties - which also suited me fine as dinner parties always seem to be way more bother than they're worth. But, as far as I was concerned, I was cooking up a storm most nights, and keeping the most important person in my life happy and well fed.

These days, I don't cook all that often. I  have to admit I've gotten kind of lazy. Which means that thinking up a recipe to post on my site is more than a little tricky.

Hang on, I've got an idea. I might not do a lot of cooking, but one thing I definitely do a lot of is writing. Maybe I could post up some sort of recipe related to writing instead. A list of all the ingredients you need and the techniques to use to create your own story. So here goes:


  1. An idea
  2. Some characters
  3. A setting
  4. A plot (don't worry too much about this one - it usually comes out in the cooking).


  1. Get writing
  2. Write some more
  3. Keep writing.
There you go. My first ever recipe. Follow it closely and you will have your very own story. Actually, even if you don't follow it that closely, there's a good chance you'll end up with a story. That's the beauty of it.
Have a great week.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

I'm not me

Okay, so that's not strictly true. I guess, technically speaking, I am me.

But when it comes to putting up these posts, I always feel that I'm a little bit...I wouldn't quite say a fraud, but I wouldn't say it's totally me.

The problem goes back a bit. I've never been one for talking about myself. When I used to read those columns you see in newspapers and  magazines where so-called celebrities blab on about nothing much in particular except themselves, I always thought that I could never do that. To be honest, I thought you'd have to be pretty up-yourself to even manage it.

I thought the same about blogging. Why would I want to have a blog? Why would I want to talk about myself? Who would be interested in reading it anyway?

Then I became a published writer. Of course, being the captain clueless I usually am, I hadn't put any thought into what I might need to do to actually get people to buy my book. So I was in catch-up mode pretty quick. And what was one of the first pieces of advice I saw pretty much everywhere?

You've got to have a blog.

Holy crap! How am I supposed to do that? What am I supposed to say? Am I going to have to become one of those people going on and on about themselves that I had so heartily despised?

I guess the answer is yes and no. Here I am, on my blog, and I suspect I'm rabbiting on about myself as much as any of those so-called celebrity columnists. But I still don't quite feel the same. I kind of feel that the me I'm rabbiting on about isn't quite the real me. It's just a pretend sort of me that I make up on the spot. At least that's what I tell myself. Maybe that's what all those other bloggers and celebrities tell themselves to.

Anyway, that's about it for now. So what are you doing? Can't you find something more useful to do than reading a bunch of blathering about a person who may not even be me? Go outside. Get some sun.

Have a great weekend. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior

Today is one of those days when I'm glad to be talking about something bigger than just me and my writing.

A few years ago, after I'd released my first book, I was flailing around on twitter with no idea what I was doing. By a stroke of luck, I chanced upon a group of writers chatting away using the tag #pubwrite. They seemed to be having a lot of fun and sharing a lot of useful information so I kind of snuck in there as well.

Luckily, it turned out to be a friendly and welcoming group who made me, an infrequent visitor from the other side of the world, feel quite at home. In some ways, it was the first step for me in gaining a bit of confidence in the online world.

Time moved on. The #pubwrite conversation wound up as it, like many worthwhile things on the internet, became overwhelmed with spam. With my busy schedule, I kind of lost touch with a lot of the people.

It was with some sadness that I heard that one of the original members of the group, Karen DeLabar, had been unwell. When I discovered not long after that a number of her friends were putting together an anthology to help her with her medical expenses, it was something I felt I had to contribute to, even in a small way.

The result of lots of hard work, Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior, has just been released. I'm pleased that I managed to get a story in there, even a somewhat small and silly one, nestled among the work of a lot of terrific writers. Ultimately, what this shows is what can be achieved when a group of people come together to help one of their own, so I'd like to pay tribute to everyone involved with this. I'm proud to be even a small part of it.

You can purchase a copy of the anthology from:
There's a lot of great reading here, and you'll be supporting a great person.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Gift one, get one

Ok, today I'm in promo mode.

But I don't just want to look like I'm pushing my own book. So that's why today I'm talking about a really cool event being put on by a friend.

Gift one, get one is a promotion set up by Thomas A. Knight, the author of The Time Weaver, in order to mark the occasion of his birthday. You can find the details at his website -

The premise is simple:
  • Buy a copy of one of the participating books as a gift for someone else: there are 12 books contributed by 6 different writers.
  • Forward your receipt from Amazon to Thomas, as well as a selection from the list of 12 books.
  • A free copy of the selected book will be forwarded to you.
 Simple. Fun.
This event will be running from April 4-10. Did I happen to mention that Magnus Opum is one of the participating books?
So what are you waiting for? Go to and join in the fun now.