The Mangle Street Murders by MRC Kasasian

The Mangle Street Murders When March Middleton goes to live with her guardian, the ‘personal’ detective Sidney Grice, she is faced with two problems: firstly, how is she ever going to live in the same house with a man so annoying, so irritatingly contrary and so stuffed with self-importance that she can barely get a…

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First Drafts and Other Hurricanes

Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of everything is shit.” Maybe it is, but it also depends on what you term to be a First Draft. As my approach to writing has changed a bit over the years, I no longer write and edit as I go along, but instead, simply write until I…

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Stand Up and Write!

Some years ago, I hosted a writing course with the above title. I forget why I worded it this way, since the course was certainly not about standing up to write, however, this post is about that very activity – writing standing up. Ernest Hemingway famously wrote standing up. Even though he apparently had a ‘tower workroom’ which…

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Amelia Dyer – the Killer Character

Looking for a plot for Book 2 in my mid-range children’s series ‘The Christie McKinnon Adventures’, I happened on a bunch of Victorian villains. One that stood out from the others was Amelia Dyer – baby killer. At first glance, maybe she wasn’t ideal material for a children’s adventure, but I reckoned she’d be good…

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Please Release Me – Dates

A recent blog post from sci-fi/paranormal novelist Allan Krummenacker, highlighted his decision to postpone the release of his latest book, “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”. Why did he do this? Simple – he had the good sense to realize that pushing the proverbial boat out and burning the two-ended candle just wasn’t going to…

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‘Storm Ring’ by Stephen J Carter

Storm Ring Stephen J Carter’s “Storm Ring” is the 1st volume in the “Zero Point Light” Sci-Fi series. The story opens on the starship Arcturus 4 when the ship’s computer wakes up its human cargo. Rather unhelpfully, the initial scenes reminded me of ‘Alien’, but this feeling quickly passed as the story progressed. The six-strong…

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Night Shift by Stephen King

Night Shift Though some of the short stories in Stephen King’s first collection were familiar to me, I’m amazed I haven’t read this book before. Some (like ‘Strawberry Spring’), were first published in the late Sixties, but most appeared between 1971 and 1978. Only four, including ‘Jerusalem’s Lot’ and ‘Quitters Inc’ were previously unpublished. While…

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer

Asked for her 10 top tips on writing, British crime writer PD James talked about the ‘necessary loneliness’ that many writers endure. But how does that work in practice? “I’ve never felt lonely as a writer, not really, but I know people do.” PD James   In the Mode If you’re in it for the long…

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