Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process, a Blog Tour

I was invited by the talented and prolific Simon Turney to take part in this blog tour about writing process. For those of you who are not familiar with Simon, he is the author of the Marius’ Mules series of novels and the Tales of the Empire books (Interregnum et al), plus several other projects. Go take a look. I am certain you will not be disappointed whichever story you begin with. He is passionate about history and writing, eager to share his knowledge and to give support to other writers. He is one of those chaps you pray are beside you in the shield wall, when your Lord cries “To Sweord”. You can view his part in the blog tour here

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Submissions, Self-Doubt and Spitfires!

Kill clichés. I read that somewhere last week. I often read it, somewhere. If, like me, you do not enjoy editing and find it the hardest part of being a writer, I wager you have an insatiable yearning for as much help as you can find on the subject. This is how I came across (many times) the words ‘kill clichés’. Bizarrely, as I sat down to begin this blog piece, a cliché is precisely the first thing that popped into my head. I opened a blank document and there it was, wagging its little tail excitedly and bouncing on the spot. Well, I thought, I’m not writing my novel now, I’m writing a blog piece and it is a sweet little thing. So I’m using it.

Monday, December 30, 2013

As the sun sets on 2013...

            During the longer winter nights, curling up on the sofa under blankets, it’s easy to lapse into quiet contemplation. Nearing the winter solstice, I thought about where my life had led me over the last twelve months, in particular my writing life. Waiting for the slow lengthening of days seems akin to watching an egg-timer; with each grain of sand that falls from top to bottom, a moment has passed. I thought about all the moments I could remember from the year and decided to share some of them.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Knock, knock. Who's there?

Bards of a feather?
Wall Village Hall: time to talk!

On Saturday 2nd November 2013 I did a Winter Talk in the village hall at Wall in Staffordshire; home to the Roman museum of Letocetum with its inn, bath house and mansio, under the shared responsibility of the National Trust and English Heritage. When I arrived, the cosy hall was bustling with the happy chatter of an audience in eager anticipation. Like meeting old friends, the reception was warm and welcoming. The organisers and I had time for informal photographs and a moment to catch up, since our last meeting at their Summer Event in August.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

From Script to Screen - 'Deception'

When I approached Birmingham-based film company Lightweaver Productions with a treatment for a film noir, little did I know how it would feel to see the results on-screen. That moment, however, would be a while coming. First of all, I worked with Lightweaver Productions to produce a script. We had to ensure dialogue felt natural and memorable for the actors, delivering information that viewers needed to know. It was also necessary to have actor and camera directions that were both effective and achievable in the lapse of film available, which could fit within the budget constraints. Eventually, ‘Deception’ was born; a Grime-Noir thriller in which characters, and hopefully viewers, would be deceived by the turn of events.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In whose footsteps do we follow?

Last Sunday 4th August 2013 I gave a talk and reading from my first novel at Letocetum Roman Museum, Wall, near Lichfield, Staffordshire. This site saves itself from you until the last moment, as you climb the steps and enter between tall hedgerows; you are deceived very briefly as your eyes scan a green field and then you see it; sunken in the ground, the low ruins of a ‘mansio’, bathhouse and inn. You can imagine these buildings in their hey-day, nestled into the ground atop this hill, with uninterrupted views of the surrounding Staffordshire countryside. I wondered about travellers arriving down Watling Street, wind-beaten and weary and glad of a bath, a drink and a night’s comfortable sleep.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking with Romans

Letocetum (Wall, Nr Lichfield, Staffs) is run predominantly by the National Trust, with a bathhouse under separate guardianship of English Heritage. Near to the junction of Ryknild/Icknield Street and Watling Street, it is not far from the discovered location of the Staffordshire Hoard (now in the combined care of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-On-Trent). This Roman staging post was built in the 1st Century over an earlier Brythonic settlement known as ‘Letoceton’ (leto – grey, ceton – wooded area). Initially inhabited by the 14th Legion until 130AD, the town was afterwards run by the civitas of Cornovii from their capital in Viroconium (Wroxeter). The bathhouse served travellers, while the wattle and daub mansion provided lodging for official couriers to the Roman Empire. There was possibly an amphitheatre, basilica and a temple to Minerva, Goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade and defence.