I’ve never seen myself in a film (not a big screen film), but a video, home movie or anything more flickering than a dropped photograph. And even photographs are rare. Until we see ourselves moving, walking and talking, we never really know how we come across to other people. It’s why there’s a big industry … More Are We Weird?
I’ve learned that keywords for books uploaded to Kindle don’t have to be single words, the phrases vampire mystery, paranormal suspense would be counted as two keywords by the system if they’re separated by a comma, so with this in mind I’ve set about changing my keywords. I’ve also been using a technique which involves … More What Is Going On At The Kindle Store?
Around about this time of year I meet up with a friend and we dish out our Annual Awards for the year. The awards are highly prized even though the recipients don’t know they’ve won. (That’s how exclusive these awards are) Most people hold some kind of annual review, but I won’t do that. Instead, … More 2015 Awards and Review
Human civilisation has reached a point where it cannot survive without putting nuts into everything, which of course is terrible news if you have an allergy to nuts. And in our attempts to reconcile our nut frenzy with our nut allergies we place warning signs on everything from coffee bags to vacuum cleaners: may contain … More May Contain Nuts
In a sketch by British comedians Mitchell and Webb, two SS officers sit next to a roaring campfire. One turns to the other and says, ”Have you noticed we’ve got skulls on our caps? Are we the baddies?” In the real world it’s not always obvious who the goodies are and who the baddies are. … More Come and Join the Baddies
Inspired by a recent article on Matthew Wright’s blog (‘Why All Who Write Should Think of Themselves as Writers. Period’) I started to think again about advice in the literary world. Advice in the literary world is one of the reasons why I’m metaphorically as bald as an egg; tearing out my hair has become … More The Many Species of Author Advice
Many years ago, and I’m talking decades, like, last century dude when everything was in black and white, my Uncle George convinced himself we, the Harrisons, were related to another set of Harrisons at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire. His proof, which probably wouldn’t hold much water in court, relied on the portrait of a man … More Samlesbury Hall and Ancestral What-Might-Have-Beens
I had an idea the other day. Start a group on Goodreads where people can meet and discuss the science behind ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witchcraft and other elements of the nether regions. The idea would be for a light hearted exploration where scientists don’t poo-poo ideas, but contribute to add, for example, a plausibility to … More Science and the Supernatural
Countdown to darkness. The frivolity is coming to an end as I move the Opening Sentence to ever gloomier subject matter. But there are still a few waifs and strays to publish before we hit the long dark night. Today, I talk about beer. Peculiar beer. Around the world, at any one moment in time, … More Real Beer
Strictly speaking, one of them wasn’t a vampire and one of them is my own creation, but myths have to start somewhere. Contrary to what people will tell you vampires are not yesterday’s news, they’re still the top of the foodchain when it comes to folklore. Here are my top five bloodsuckers and bloodthirsty individuals. … More Vampires and The Bloodthirsty
There was a time when I got my thrills through intellectual endeavour. Deciphering a piece of architecture by Peter Eisenmann was a big thing, and then I bought a motorbike. The year was 1997 and it was the first motorbike I had ever owned. Prior to that the only two wheeled contraptions I had sat … More Motorbike Rider
Even if you live under a rock in Guatemala, you can’t have failed to see and hear the ongoing farce that is the financial wrestling match over Greece’s financial predicament. I’m not a financial expert or an economist, but when has that ever stopped anyone thinking they had the answer to Greece’s problems? No, I’m … More Greece’s Humiliation
We all love a hero, don’t we? Well, I don’t. I don’t see the point. One of the reasons why I read very few novels is because they don’t interest me. They’re boring. They’re all the same. But so many people advise writers to read. Well, that’s great if you want to learn how to … More Writing By Numbers
At the risk of tempting fate I’m going to predict something: I’ll be struck by lightning before my brain falls to bits. Why? Because of euphoric trance. And before you start shouting ‘it’s uplifting trance, moron’ I couldn’t care less what you call it. I’m sticking with euphoric because uplifting trance sounds like a geological … More Why I Listen to Trance
If you could recreate one element of your childhood, what would it be? Just one; not a single memory like that amazing holiday in Milnthorpe, or your first kiss with Sharon Fothersdike outside Grimethorpe Social Club. A real rose-tinted-spectacle general condition that made childhood so much better than the living hell that is adulthood. To … More Lost childhood
With only days to go Toten Herzen’s number one fangirl Raven (real name [REDACTED]) gives you a guide to the British general election. I hate my life. And a lot of it is because of politicians meddling and scheming and turning everything upside down. But give them credit, every five years they let us decide … More Raven Rants – guide to the British general election
Not all these tips are appropriate for every author. You need to pick the ones you think will work for you. Note: the author accepts no responsibility for any injury or embarrassment sustained in the course of following this advice. 1 QR codes pros – They’re mysterious and people love a mystery. ‘Ooh, where … More #Ten #SureFire Ways To #Promote #YourNovel
Who cares about anything? NSA spying on us all, who cares? Aliens in Area 51, nobody cares? Engineers blew up the World Trade Centre towers… see that’s when it started. That’s when conspiracy theory went too far and everyone switched off. Conspiracy theory was no longer fascinating, it was the haunting ground of the nutcase. … More Conspiracy Theory Is Dead
As it’s Easter Sunday and I haven’t posted anything for a while and I couldn’t get into the garden centre cafe because everywhere’s closed, I’ve resurrected my post from two years ago about Easter… What is it about Easter that gets the planners in such a fuss? Every year it chops and changes: this year … More Will someone sort out the date for Easter?
Apparently, the Clean Reader app (you know the one that changes words like bum to something less inflammatory like baby peaches) has been well and truly caned by authors everywhere. So much so that Clean Reader has removed all novels from its catalogue. And one or two people have raised some interesting legal points, notably … More Clean Reader app Update
You might not be interested in football (and let’s just pause here to remind our non-European friends it is football, not soccer), but Spanish side Valencia have in recent years transcended the sport to such a degree even die-hard football haters would sit up and take notice. Settled on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Valencia Club de … More Supporting Valencia
For those who are pure of heart and chaste of tongue, the Clean Reader app is a godsend. (Sorry that should be ‘is heaven sent;’ can’t have anything blasphemous.) Clean Reader removes naughty words from ebooks. So if the words ****, ****, **** and **** offend you then Clean Reader is what you need. It … More When the Clean Reader App Goes Haywire
Who were (are) the Malandanti? I came across them when I was researching witchcraft for the second Toten Herzen novel. To understand the Malandanti you must first learn about the Benandanti. Benandanti means ‘good walkers’ (Benandante is the singular) and were a group of people from the Friuli region of northeastern Italy in the 16th … More Origins of the Malandanti – update
Every so often you read a quote that appears to be about a current issue, but then turns out to have been written four hundred years ago. Anyone who has seen the latest kerfuffle involving Jeremy Clarkson (BBC fracas pulls Top Gear from Sunday night schedule etc) might think the lynch mobs out to get … More The fracas over Jeremy Clarkson’s fracas
A new regular feature in which Toten Herzen’s number one fangirl Raven (real name [REDACTED]) mouths off about everything and anything. I hate my life. It was supposed to be exciting. I followed Toten Herzen across Rotterdam at three in the morning and it came to this. Boredom. Terminal boredom. And then Rob Wallet comes … More Raven Rants – boring books
And lo, a woman came along and kicked his do-gooding ass from one end of the street to the other. … More A real superhero. . .
Elsewhere, in my feature on Nemesea, I recalled how close I came to losing two of my hands. The threat, the near miss came from Delain’s album, April Rain. Was it better than Nemesea’s The Quiet Resistance? My hands survived thanks to the release dates and a technicality. For the kind of metalheads who like … More MetalMonth – Delain
Can I write an article about hair metal withour mentioning Steel Panther? Let’s give it a go. I can see the lights flicker as a million internet users switch off at the phrase hair metal. My laptop screen has just been sucked inwards as a vacuum replaces the space where WordPress used to be, but … More MetalMonth – Hair Metal
In 1977 four members of the rock band Toten Herzen were murdered in London by Lenny Harper. Harper was only charged with wasting police time and the bodies disappeared. The killing of Toten Herzen is now one of the forgotten events of the decade, which is why in 2012 UK music journalist Rob Wallet decided … More MetalMonth – Toten Herzen, fact or fiction? Pt. 2
Ronaldo Padavona does not play for Real Madrid. Ronaldo Padavona is better know as Ronnie James Dio. Where the name Dio came from is open to speculation, but he became one of the most admired and respected vocalists in rock music. I could have written a ‘How I Discovered’ post on Ronnie Dio, except how … More MetalMonth – Ronnie James Dio