The Author’s Search History.

Why does a flying fuck not matter?
How to liquefy meat and bone
Sleeper Shark
Brazilian Waxing how-to
Scar from Lightning Strike
Do Tasers leave visible marks?
How to treat a severe head wound
Vote Yes or be shot
Police Riot Gear Diagram
Nuclear Society of Slovenia
Hand-Foot Syndrome
Most Poisonous Caterpillar fatality rate
List of communist nations
How to prepare snails for food
Earth Worm Burger recipe
poisoning by stove fumes
Do moths fight?
Nuclear Waste Train timetable
IUD insertion
Can one person drive a narrowboat?
Wahoo Fish
what time are vending machines restocked?
use a trouser press for cooking
affinity liquid chromatography
Max Headroom Incident
Transgressive art meat hook

I think we writers must be some kind of spectator sport for GCHQ!  I am dreading the first time I need an explosion in a story or something else really sensitive …


Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  



This is one of my most prized books. It’s a hallucinatory horror novel that is extremely strong, vivid and original, filled with a kind of stinking beautiful poetry of rot and perversion – it made a huge impression on me when I first read it. There were only 150 of these printed by Delirium, and for a long time this was the only complete version of the book available – which rather epitomizes my ambivalent relationship with these special limited editions. On the one hand, it is nice to own something so special, but there seems something wrong to me about having a work tied up in such a rarefied circle of readers, especially when the prices start climbing up into the triple digits! You can’t exactly grab people and say “hey, you have to read this!” Fortunately, it’s now available in paperback as well and well worth checking out if you are feeling like such a strange journey through the jungles of Cambodia.

Published in: on April 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Morning Yet?

This is crazy. It’s evening and I have just been lying in bed working on a short story set on the London canals in the deep night – and a peaceful dawn breaks at the very end. Now I am utterly convinced that it’s morning and that I should probably get up soon . . .

Published in: on March 13, 2015 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Doom that Came to Liberal Discussion


One very key element of the liberal left has long been under threat: its liberalism – that is, its willingness to debate with anything outside a narrow range of opinions within its own walls. And the more scary and incomprehensible the world becomes, the more debate is replaced by edict and prejudice: literally pre-judging.

The Guardian sometimes nails it spectacularly, sometimes perpetuates the very problem this article highlights (obviously – it’s created by many different voices).  The problems outlined here concerning the political left can be extrapolated to cover pretty much any issue that needs to be fought for, including those in the book world, and as a result it is rather close to the bone for me. It seems to be one of the biggest problems with even the most progressive areas of thought: what’s the point of any of the big issues and causes if the ‘majority tone’ is that of people stifling debate due to their own insecurity and if they are unable to cope with the blurred nature of reality? Hey – I like debate, I like to discuss things, or at least I used to. I like it because the world is fascinating and because there are so many things we still need to work out and understand as a species if we are going to get anywhere.  But we are reaching a state where I simply will not discuss or involve myself with subjects like feminism, animal welfare, food, heath, racism, religion etc. Even book genres for gawd bloody sake! So even though I agree with most of what the people involved are fighting for, they will have to fight for it without me. I am not aggressive and we don’t NEED aggression – we don’t need abuse and dogma.  We need thinkers – we need sense and reason and questioning of everything.  The kind of bickering, selfish and defensive quarreling that seems to predominate achieves zero.  It is tiresome and stifling but infinitely worse than that, it’s making enemies when the whole point of these causes is to work together and be open in order to make something better in areas of thought that none of us have a full understanding of.

Opinions differ.  What are you going to do?  Beat her up?

Opinions differ. What are you going to do?  Yell abuse?

These days these topics are pretty much limited to my novels, where I can tackle them without every single comment needing to be a weapon and a suit of armor. They are a way to explore such subjects without the need to be defensive because they are stories about how humans function rather than attempts to put together a thesis.  Such is the magic of characters acting out a narrative.  And maybe this aspect of fiction contains a heck of a lot more it could teach the world than many think.

The most basic awareness in all these subjects needs to be that nothing is black and white, nothing is clear-cut and simple, that we don’t even begin to know the ‘truth’ – simply because that’s not the way humans or nature work. Never has, never will be. We don’t even know ourselves in any real sense yet, living lives filled with illusion and delusion and in an entirely artificial environment, both physical and mental. We are all just fumbling our way towards these things and towards ourselves.  A lot of our ideas are inevitably going to be wrong or incomplete but that’s ok because everything can be a step closer to further understanding – and yet we act as though we are some kind of messiah of ideas that must be worshiped or else. People need to realise that the complexity of reality does not invalidate any single one of these issues. The only thing that threatens to invalidate them is ourselves, if we have tied our identities and egos to our beleaguered ’cause’ or ideas to such an extent that even slight disagreement or asking questions is grounds for excommunication.  The author of this article calls it the paradoxical voice, but for me any subject has to contain these paradoxes otherwise something is missing – incomplete.  Unsatisfying.  Any basic idea is going to be both right and wrong.  And any major issue, as listed above, even more so.

Those who identify with the “paradoxical voice” self-censor because they know they are going to get rocks thrown at them – not by their enemies but by their friends. That’s not only a bad feeling; it’s a tendency that’s bad for democracy, for politics, and the wider movement we call the left. And the left – in its compassion, freedom and concern for social justice – is the only hope for the future of this country.

Published in: on March 12, 2015 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Duet now available to read online – in Wordland 5 from Exaggerated Press

Another of my short stories has just been published, this time in Wordland 5 from Exaggerated Press.  You can read it online here along with plenty of other great writers – or you can get the hardcopy soon.

The theme was True Love.  I am a bit of a twisted, bruised romantic, so the theme was certainly a good one to play with. The result was a bizarrely icy, lonely and surreal horror story about the underground music scene set in London – lonely concerts in bizarre industrial warehouses, a hefty dose of urban alienation and an unusual amount of the surreal for me.  The Black Sheet Moth spreads its wings . . .

Published in: on January 25, 2015 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blood is Not Pink – free to read online

One of my (rare) shorter works has been published over on the Sparks of Consciousness blog and can be read for free online.  Called Blood is Not Pink, this is an odd one for me – a whimsical but dark and even slightly cruel slipstream miniature.  Click through and have a read!  You don’t often see things this small with my name on them!  And yes, it features my character Richard Jarvis, the English Gentleman . . .

Published in: on January 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Aaah the romance of writing . . .

Writing a book is like being in love – as you work on it, as you get so intimate with it, there is no question whatsoever that this is ‘The One’ – and no way will you ever be involved in the creation of anything better.  It has all the sense and rationality and intellectual reasoning we tend to show with our human relationships.

And then it’s over – it’s finished – it’s gone out of your life . . . the reviewers start mauling it around, and that process is a bit like your friend buying you a drink and saying “Hey, I know you were close but, you know, she’s just another novel.  There’s plenty more fish in the sea”.  And you sigh and nod and stare forlornly at your completed work . . .

And then before you know it, you are hard at work on another ‘The One’ – and your friends are rolling their eyes with a hint of weariness, muttering ‘here we go again . . .”

Published in: on January 4, 2015 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

New Story Accepted for Publication – Duet.

It’s a rare enough event so I have to get a bit excited.  It’s rare considering how slow my output is and that when I write a piece, the creative process seems to go on forever.  Stories tend to be large, take at least five or six drafts and are always beleaguered by the day job and the small publisher I run, Eibonvale Press. But anyway – my story Duet has been accepted for publication in Wordland 5: True Love from Exaggerated Press.

I am a bit of a twisted, bruised romantic, so the theme was certainly a good one to play with. The result was a bizarrely icy, lonely and surreal horror story about the underground music scene set in London – lonely concerts in bizarre industrial warehouses, a hefty dose of urban alienation and an unusual amount of the surreal for me.  The Black Sheet Moth spreads its wings . . .

As an aside, I do have another piece accepted for publication soon that i am not at liberty to mention yet, save that it is possibly my favorite story yet.  So watch this space.  :-)

Published in: on October 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Novels in Progress and I am Getting left Behind by History . . .

I am currently working on two slipstream novels simultaneously now – one with the underlying theme of general social frustration and over-regulation (entitled Meat – now in the polishing stage) and one on more direct themes of sex, liberation vs. repression and judgementalism that suddenly came out of nowhere and wouldn’t let me rest until I had at least started sketching it out.  I am tentatively calling it Triangular Sky but who knows if that will change.  I am going to have to go into more details about both of these elsewhere, but for now i will say that both books feature my mighty supernatural adversity, the Polyhedron!  And they are both slightly activistic books giving me a chance to vent a bit on various aspects of modern life, though i hope not overtly or in your face.  These are fantasies with such issues as backdrops, not idea- or politics-driven stories.  I have a massive allergy to books that lecture or preach too much – so I am always very conscious indeed of the fine balance that needs to be struck in this area.

However, the current chaos of Scotland is reminding me that there is one huge societal issue that I haven’t tackled in either.  In Meat, I drew on a highly fantastical and surreal version of the London Riots and set it sometime in the future where everything we know has got just that little bit worse.  In Triangular Sky I am looking at the rise in PostModern Prudery and possibly a bit of UKIP-style politics (again – just tinges in the background).  I almost feel as though I am being left behind by history now though because even as I process that idea, here’s another thing going on right now that is crying out to inspire some hot Polyhedron action.  It’s a good thing that themes are timeless, even if history isn’t.  The excitement and ugliness of what’s going on in a part of the world I always used to feel very close to is going to be the defining memory of the Scottish Independence Referendum, regardless of how the country votes.  However noble some of the aims of both sides are, it seems unable to escape a sense of ugly nationalism and partisan entrenchment – sense and debate running wild into polarized bullying and tribalism on a societal level.  This has been made very clear by a vast number of comment threads and articles and personal accounts.  The old familiar chaos of a run-away vortex of emotion that ends up helping no one, only digging things in and reinforcing resentment.  I suppose that is almost inevitable in any major issue (it is clearly visible in English politics as well, not to mention globally) – but that doesn’t make it any prettier.  So maybe there will be a third novel at some point – the ultimate incarnation of the Polyhedron.  I can’t think of anything more Polyhedral than this kind of partisan obsession and excitement.

It would definitely not be a novel about Scotland, let me make that quite clear – I doubt any human being knows enough to do that for a LONG time and besides, that’s not the way I work.  I am interested in the small scale.  The personal, set against the unknowable mystery of society as a whole and the even more unknowable future.

And then maybe I can lay writing about this kind of thing to rest for a while and get back to the quiet seaside strangeness I was playing with in Feather!  Because I will tell you one thing . . . this kind of writing is EXHAUSTING!  It takes me to some of the ugliest places in the human soul and then I have to somehow make sense of them . . .

Now – if i can just find a way to combine it with Guerrilla Knitting . . .

Published in: on September 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Edifying Experience

Thank you my dear Virgin Broadband for a really interesting and edifying experience today, when your nice shiny new government mandated ‘web-safe’ internet filter accidentally got switched on for a while.  

I must confess it was quite a shock at first, when my writing lead me to research some minor specifics of feminine hygiene (I am NOT taking any chances with even such mundane things when it’s probably second nature to half my bloody readers!), only to come up against a brick wall plastered with talk of pornography, hate, drugs and suicide.  

There was a second shock a bit later . . . I would not have equated the minor surgery that I recently underwent and was trying to research as anything to do with hate or porn either – and likewise recovering from it hasn’t driven me to suicide yet.  But hey – always happy to be corrected about these things!  

Shock number three was that image on tumblr that came out of nowhere of some woman or other with what looked like a butcher’s meat hook through her perineum.  I will chalk that up to ‘extreme body piercing’ and ‘some people like to do weird things to themselves and who am i to judge?’ and then try and forget I ever saw it.  I am sure I will survive . . . but apologies in advance if cosmetic meat hooks turn up in some story or other in about 10 years time . . . 

Virgin, I fully intended never EVER to touch these filters, even with a six foot pole.  But I am kind of glad it got switched on for a while.  It was an education, showing very clearly that they don’t just sit on the ‘useless’ fence, they plunge right over into the badly maintained and thorny garden of ‘worse than useless’.  If anyone doesn’t believe me, just try the following little experiment.  Switch it on for a bit, go to Tumblr or something similar – even wikimedia commons – and just run a few searches.  Not for things you might want to discuss later maybe, but just try it.  And tell me how effective they are.  

Then for gawd sake turn it off again!

That’s the useless part.  They don’t protect anyone at all from anything at all except maybe from more focused and specific research.  You will always be able to find the porn, and if it’s hate and racism you want, just go to the YouTube comments sections!  The worse than useless part is the false positives – and beyond that, the further cementing of many natural normal parts of life as somehow ‘dirty’ when they really desperately need liberating for all our sakes – the simple act of trying to constrain the frank and unmoderated discussion and sharing of information and experiences – the pretending that certain things don’t exist when they really do exist and need addressing on many levels.  Even making users imagine they are somehow ‘safe’ when they aren’t . . . 

I am not often shocked or disturbed these days, but even I draw the line at meat hooks!  That time – that ONE time – I might just have appreciated a bit of protection.  But hey – I’m never going to get it without damaging everything else in ways that are beyond unacceptable to me.  I am aware of and accept that inescapable fact.  You can’t program or legislate human taste.  So, as you go down the path of life, you just have to accept that you are going to find a few roses as you go – and the occasional meat hook . . . 

I can’t blame you, Virgin, really of course.  It’s the government’s fault for pushing these useless things onto us with all the usual crap about some kind of morality that never represented anything meaningful.  I also appreciate the fact that you were the last of the major ISPs to bow to government pressure on this.  That is something I will remember.  But neither we nor you, Virgin, should just quietly accept it when they mess us around and interfere in things it is clear they don’t understand.  People in general need to think about this – need to realize that these filters are about far far more than somehow blocking things that you personally regard as icky.  And then SWITCH THEM OFF!  Take charge of your own internet instead, people, and make your own decisions!

Published in: on August 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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