Stage one in a story’s evolution


Niccolo Machiavelli


Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Stage one of the research I need for my next book has drawn to its conclusion after almost three years. When I originally wrote this back in 2018, I had been reading about Machiavelli and Caravaggio in search of the traits my new chief character needs. From Machiavelli comes intrigue and deviousness. From Caravaggio comes hotheadedness, raging against the world and murderous intent.

While I was reading about both men an idea for a working title sprang to mind – Good Never Triumphs.

As yet I still have to determine the gender of the character, and the time in which it will be set. Before you ask ; no it will not be set in the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. I have also decided that he, or she, will be a sailor wandering the seven seas. This is where I can draw on my own life as I spent many years doing just that, first in the Pacific in the Royal New Zealand Navy, then the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean in the Merchant Marine and much later aboard my own sailboat off New Zealand’s East Coast. What he or she gets up too is still undecided. Might he or she be a murderer one step ahead of the authorities? Perhaps they are involved in the drug or contraband or people smuggling game! At this stage its anyone’s guess.

I’m in no steaming hurry to begin writing. But mark my words, by hook or by crook it will be written. This will be the first time in over twenty-five years that my main character will be thoroughly evil.

In the meantime I have a lot of thinking to do…


Another work in progress begins


If you read my recent post you will know that I have an idea for another book. This time concerning a freelance assassin, or perhaps that should read avenging angel – identity and gender unknown.

So, while I work on completing the rewrite of my fantasy anthology Goblin Tales. And before I begin the rewrite of my science fiction space opera The Berserker Saga, I have already begun playing around with the opening two paragraphs. This is what I have so far:

“It was all so vivid. Not only could I see every detail. But I was aware of his deodorant and the lingering smell of his last meal, still heavy in the air. I had just witnessed the violent death of my first target, without actually being there.”

“Weeks earlier I had had the same recurring dream. Each night I came to dread falling asleep. It was always the same. A woman’s thoughts constantly invaded my mind. She wanted her husband dead. I had no way of enquiring why she wanted him gone. And yet I knew somehow or other, I must help her achieve her goal. If only to give her, and myself, peace of mind. The first thing I needed to do was determine who he was and where he lived…”


What you have just read is what we writers like to call, the hook. It is a device to gain your attention, hopefully meaning that you will want to read the entire book.

While it is only a rough draft of the book’s beginning, in other words, not written in stone. I would be interested if any of the murder mystery buffs among you are intrigued by it? Let me know by leaving a comment…

More later


Here’s something…


…for you all to ponder.

What does a killer look like? Certainly not like the woman above. She’s too obvious, too Hollywood!!! For all you know the person involved may be a member of your family, or a neighbour. Maybe even a work colleague. Perhaps even someone you meet socially! Maybe it’s you?

For weeks now, usually in the early hours of the mornings, I’ve had an idea that simply won’t go away. I often wake with another piece of the puzzle thought through…

Imagine if you will that there is someone you know living somewhere on the planet who is not exactly in your good books. Would you want that person dead?

If your answer is in the affirmative, read on.


My idea is that the assassin is an enigma. There is no discernible pattern to the apparent deaths. Nor is there any evidence to show that a crime may have been committed. No DNA. No forensics whatsoever. Nothing! My anti-hero, or heroine has devised and developed several ways of getting rid of people without having to be near them.

Only once does someone actually witness a killing – the first. When questioned, they told the local police that they saw the victim’s twin apparently kill him, then vanish before the witness’s eyes less than a nanosecond after the victim died.

Even my favourite television cop the Sicilian Inspector Salvo Montalbano, who always thinks outside the box, would be hard pressed to work this one out! After all, how would you make any connection between what seem to be totally random suicides spread across the entire world?

At long last Salvo and his often comical male colleagues (they’re Italian for goodness sake, making them natural clowns) is back on the BBC in a brand new series, based on the novels of the Italian author Andrea Camillari…


Now here’s the thing – how do they know who to kill? No money ever changes hands between client and executioner. No traceable requests are made, because the identity and gender of the assassin, not to mention their location, are unknown.

That’s for me to know and you to ponder about. For your sake, it’s better that way. Otherwise you might be one of the victims in the book I may write, if you get too inquisitive. Remember – curiosity killed the cat. Now all I have to do is write a short story from the point of view of the assassin about the first murder they commit to see if my idea is feasible as a novel.

And you thought all I was doing is a major re-write of a couple of my books…

More later


Employing new characters


To my fellow writers I do apologize for what I’m about to say. But for the sake of the non writers among you it needs to be said, if only to confirm your thoughts (if you had any that is) on the subject of fictional characters.


If there is one thing all writers love to do, it’s to come up with characters specific to their book’s needs, as and when required. In my latest work in progress, the historical adventure Autumn 1066, I have a mix of characters from the historical events that actually occurred, together with fictional ones.

While once again working my way through what I’ve written so far, the one type of fictional character I didn’t have need of until now was a villain, or in this case a pair of them. So its time to add a scheming priest and a wolf-coat to the mix. If you want to know what a wolf-coat is, I’m not about to explain it to you here. Instead I suggest you look it up. Whether or not you the readers think they are the type of individuals I’m suggesting here, is entirely up to you to decide.

I have yet to decide whether or not either of them will survive. Because they’re fictional, only the storyline will determine their ultimate fate…

What you have to remember is that when writing any story, the author has the ultimate power of life and death over his or her characters. We determine our character’s fate, who they are and their purpose for being. Regarding the two new characters, like all of my other fictional characters in the book, their part will gradually unfold as the story progresses. And before you ask – no I’m not going to reveal what I have in store for either of them, nor for that matter will I divulge anything about any of the other fictional characters. In other words – THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS.

On a more serious note, the one thing I must not change in the book, no matter how tempting it might be, is to alter what actually happened to the historical characters. To do so would be foolish in the extreme.

The time for all of you to find out what happens will be when you purchase a copy and read it for yourselves.

I’ve decided that this book will initially be published as a paperback. Why? Read Derek Haines’ blog post for an explanation of the subject here.

To give any new work of fiction a fighting chance, means that those who normally harshly criticize any book that appears solely in ebook form, must initially be denied the chance. As Derek says, a paperback version of any new book always stands a far better chance of gaining favourable reviews. When the time comes to publish the ebook version, they can always be included as a promotional tool. After that, what the trolls say about the ebook version will be seen as nothing more than sour grapes on their part by the general public.

Well, If you will excuse me, the story won’t write itself you know…

More later


The post that started me blogging back in the day


Have We Had Help?

 You have to begin to wonder just how much fact there is among the vast amount of disinformation, fantasy, and accounts of sightings of alien life forms in this day and age. Thanks to the paranoia mainly created by the hidden agendas of various governmental groups in countries like the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany, as well as the former ‘Iron Curtain’ countries, it becomes increasingly more difficult to sift out the truth.

Have you ever stopped to think how quickly we have advanced since the turn of the twentieth century? It wasn’t all that long ago, we were reliant on the horse and cart, candles, and sailing ships; the list is endless. Since the end of the Second World War, we have experienced a technological leap beyond the normal rate of progress for mankind.

Over the past 25,000 years, man has slowly but surely advanced towards a state of civilisation and self-worth in keeping with man’s ability to learn by trial and error, enabling us to find out what works best in any given situation. And yet since the late nineteen forties, we have advanced beyond belief in all areas of technology. We now have the ability to leave this beautiful planet of ours, to extend our natural lifespan via various means, and to create weapons of mass destruction. Are you willing to accept this accelerated advancement without questioning just how it is we have achieved so much?

The most implausible explanation can be made plausible if it is uttered from the mouth of someone in authority. I simply do not, and will not, believe that we have made such rapid advances on our own. For this to happen, someone must have given us a hand in all this, but at what price for mankind. Since nineteen forty-seven, people around the world have reported various phenomena, alien to our way of life. The various branches of the news media have tended to trivialise most of the reports by categorising them as ‘flying saucers’ or ‘little green men’ ably encouraged by governmental agencies who frankly scare the hell out of me! While a lot of phenomena witnessed by people from all walks of life, all racial groups, all political persuasions, and all religious beliefs, can be satisfactorily explained away, there are a growing number that cannot!

As we move away from beginning of the new millennium, just how many of the prophecies in books like the ‘Old Testament’ for example are going to be fulfilled. While it must be remembered that the people who originally wrote the basic text of religious books like the Old Testament were by today’s standards considered primitive, and had a far less sophisticated use of words, they never the less give us a rudimentary history of their times. If they are to be believed, then they/we have never been alone, they were helped by people not from this planet. Are we now experiencing the same kind of assistance, are we being advanced? If so to what end and why?

Throughout the history of mankind, we have had our failures and successes. We have learned, and at times unlearned, as in the so-called ‘Dark Ages’ which were anything but dark. We have seemingly done this on our own, at our own pace. But now we seem to be aboard a runaway train, from which we cannot get off. Why are we experiencing such rapid advancement in technology, medicine, and at what cost?

Why is it that mankind seemingly advanced from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon in a relatively short space of time? To transform from an almost apelike creature to a life form, which could pass you in the street without drawing attention, seems remarkable to say the least! And yet it happened. Why, if the historians are correct, were there relatively advanced groups of humans in control in days gone by, like the ancient Egyptians who bear no physical or racial resemblance to the people they ruled over? Where did they spring from? Where do they fit in? Why do ancient peoples like the Maya speak of pale blond gods who set the pattern for their lives for centuries before the first white men arrived on the South American continent?

Why does a man miraculously arrive on the scene in ancient Judea via ‘virgin birth’, perform miracles, change man’s way of thinking, get crucified, get buried then completely disappear? Why does that same man according to legend then appear a few months later in northern Japan and supposedly live to a ripe old age in anonymity?

If we are being helped once more by non-humans, then it is incumbent on the governments of the more powerful nations to come clean. If however, as many believe, we are paying a price in human lives for technological advances beyond our present capabilities to fully appreciate, let alone invent for ourselves, then the price is far too high! Whether you believe, as I do, that we are not the only sentient form of life in the universe or not, the fact is that some outside influence is at work, and has been for the better part of sixty years or more! We are kidding ourselves if we believe otherwise.

If, as a growing number of people believe, and I number myself in this group, we are being ‘helped’, what are the government agencies afraid of? Why don’t they admit to non-terrestrial beings living and working alongside us? If they have a hidden agenda for mankind as some sort of subservient species designed to be a slave group, or worse, as a food source, then we must be told the truth! If there is nothing to hide, then where’s the harm in admitting the existence of the various groups of non-terrestrials? If they are benevolent or not then please say so and don’t keep us in the dark anymore!

Being kept in the dark is far worse than knowing the truth. At least if we know the truth then we can prepare ourselves one way or another for what is to come. By not telling the people of this beautiful planet what is going on, the governmental agencies are preparing the way for mass hysteria if the non-terrestrials are going to do anything harmful. After all, we receive warnings for things like volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, and tidal waves that enable us to take steps to protect ourselves.

If, however the non-terrestrials are so advanced that there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves against whatever they may have in store for us then we must be told now!

On the other hand if there are no non-terrestrials, as the governmental agencies would have us believe, and the secrecy surrounding the brilliant leap in technology in the last sixty odd years is solely down to mankind, I say show us incontrovertible proof! Throw open the doors of places like ‘Area 51” to groups of responsible human beings from various nations around the world who can once and for all put an end to all the speculation and rumour surrounding such places. If it’s good enough to send teams of people to inspect various situations around the world like Iraq’s so-called armament factories, or the former Yugoslavian countries various hell-holes, then its good enough for agencies like the United Nations to send similar groups to places like ‘Area 51’, and the so-called underground bases like ‘Dulce’. We’re not asking the various military groups to publicly expose their military hardware. All we want to know is whether or not it’s all our own work!

If it’s not then why not say so! Bring the non-terrestrials out in the open for the entire world to see. Let them address the world via the UN; let them tell us their intentions towards mankind once and for all! If it’s their intention to somehow or other assimilate us then we have the right to know! If however they are here merely to help us advance from a warlike race to a peaceful one, then let them say so!

By neither confirming or denying what is going on, the governmental agencies are reinforcing the commonly held belief by people not only in the US, but around the world, that they have a hidden agenda regarding aliens. Are we approaching Armageddon as prophesied in the Old Testament, or are we experiencing an unprecedented time of accelerated technological advancement?

The questions raised in this article can only be answered if we all demand to know the truth once and for all. The time has come when we can no longer remain complacent! Whether you believe in the existence of alien life forms or not, there is enough happening around the world as we enter the  new millennium, for even the most sceptical among us to begin to wonder what is really going on.

Short Story Writing


On its own is a short story important? Not necessarily. But as a proving ground to try out ideas with the view to expansion into larger works at a later date, short stories are an invaluable tool.

The trick is to always to keep it short – between five to fifteen hundred words. While you’re writing, if it’s any good your mind will automatically want to expand it to novelette, novella or even novel length.

Don’t give in to temptation. You’re writing a short story!

The main thing to remember once you’ve decided on its subject, is that it must always be brief and to the point. I know I’m repeating myself, but its a fact. How many short stories end up as novelettes when the author looses all sense of self-control?

If you believe your short story is truly worthy, hand it over to a few people to read, in other words employ beta-readers. If their verdict is favourable, the next thing to consider is whether or not to leave it as a single short story, or perhaps the first of a series or anthology, just like my Goblin Tales.

To create any story, especially a short one, you must keep you’re writing tight. Don’t get carried away with what I call flowery prose. In other words don’t feel the need to fill it with utterly pointless rambling.

Unfortunately many short stories I see these days were quite clearly not thought through before being published. To that I say be your own worst critic. If it looks and sounds like total rubbish when you read it out loud, chances are that’s exactly what it is. But don’t let that put you off. Learn from it. So get busy and write a short story.

Remember – mighty oaks from little acorns grow.


Here’s another timeless tale


Piemite Sweedlenewt – the diminutive teller of tall tales relaxing


Here’s another timeless tale from the Goblin Tales anthology for your enjoyment.


The Tiny Teller of Tall Tales

In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), and Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, become drunk and spellbound at the same time, during one long winter evening.

Six long moons had passed since the day Mous was kidnapped and very nearly killed by the insane goblin Glormfist Bezeldrop, when he smashed his way into Mous’ temporary briar patch prison with his vicious spiked metal mace, intent on bloody murder.
By now the hours of daylight were short, while the nights were long. To lift their spirits during the long winter evenings after they had eaten their supper, ably assisted by Neo’s special mead, each of the five goblin brothers told tall tales. The more mead they all drank, the taller the tale. Even old Bejuss had them all in fits of laughter one night when he lisped a tale of when he was a raven chick.
By far the best teller of tall tales was their tiny guest, a plains goblin called Piemite Sweedlenewt, or Mite to his friends. Compared to the goblin brothers, Mite was barely tall enough to reach their middles.
He had been on his travels to the south earning his supper and mead by telling his tales. Like most goblins his size he soon realised that now winter was here, his chances of getting back to his own home before the snow drifts built too high was now impossible. So at Glob’s kind invitation, Mite made himself at home with the brothers and Bejuss for the rest of winter, sleeping in a cupboard draw lined with sphagnum moss in the goblin brother’s kitchen.
To earn his keep after one or other of the brothers told a tale, Mite would draw himself up to his full height of one foot four inches, clasp his hands behind his back and begin.
Each night the feelings of suspense, wonder, anticipation and excitement about what Mite’s next tale may be, filled their minds so much that they all thought their heads would surely burst from it all.

Byz sat up in bed, mug full of mead in one hand. He was surrounded by his favourite spiders, woodlice, slugs, snails and worms and wrapped in his warm spider web blanket, agog with wide eyed expectancy.
Make and Mous were acting like two over excited goblin youngers; both eagerly awaiting the new tale. They sat on the floor in front of tiny Mite who had his back to the roaring fire. Glob sat on his chair beside the window with Bejuss perched on his shoulder. After filling everyones mugs with his special mead, Neo sat on his stool beside the fire. Like the rest he eagerly awaited Mite’s latest tale, while quaffing copious amounts of his delicious mead.
Glob nodded to Mite to begin. “Ternight me dear friends I’s wont’s ter tell yers a tale on long ago n the time afore,” Mite began, after burping loudly and clearing his throat. “Many thousands on summers ago when the world wos still yung, far ter the north on here, there lived a goblin by the name on Gracknil Miserblink. Now Grack as he liked ter be called, wos the gatekeeper twixt our world n the one neath the ground, in the time when queen Persephone Witchclaw ruled Goblindom.
Persephone wos the most bootiful goblin a body ever did see. She was knowns n talked bout by all the world’s different kinds. She had long black hair as soft as goose down, wot cascaded like a black waterfall ter her slim waist, n flowed across her delicate shoulders. She had the fairest, softest green skin yer ever cud imagin.
Folks did say that back then once she had set her mind on yer, yer wos hers ter do wiv as she pleased. In the many wars in those times, goblin warriors willingly died for her in battle, often wiv her name bein the last word on their lips. Before she sent them off ter war, she gave each one a tender kiss on the cheek, increasing the war fever in them ter bloodlust pitch.”
Byz’ hand suddenly shot up, dislodging some of his slimy companions as they slithered or crept across his bed. Mite looked at him a trifle annoyed. But as the simpleminded goblin was one of his generous hosts, he simply said, “wot is it lad?”
“Ooh, ooh, master Mite sir, tells us more bout wots she did looks like, if yer please – urp. Pardons me, I’s sure – urp, pardons agin.” Byz apologized profusely, as he continued to burp loudly. His brothers lent forward in eager anticipation, hungry for Mite’s answer.
Seeing that he now had his captive, if slightly drunken audience, in the palm of his tiny hand, he smiled inwardly and obliged the simpleminded goblin younger. “Why bless yer lad,” he began, “jus imagine her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother on all, bein naked n a good deal younger n shapelier. Back then in the time afore, no goblin queen ever wore any clothes.”
Byz belched loudly and turned bright green with embarrassment, hiding his head under his blanket blushing and burping, making all of his pets fall onto the floor.
Glob chuckled lecherously, giving himself hiccups, secretly dreaming of finding the mother of all without a stitch on.
Make puffed a furious mixture of smoke signals and hiccups from his bestest briar pipe, desperately trying not to imagine such a thing, without much success.
Mous covered his face with his hands and began giggling loudly while blushing almost as deeply as Byz.
Neo burped loudly, hiccupped and turned his face away. His eyes crossed furiously, while clouds of steam rose past his head through the neck of his jerkin.
Bejuss got such a shock when Glob began hiccupping that he dropped the slug he was eating into Glob’s mead mug. He leant forward, quickly retrieved it with his razor sharp twisted beak and swallowed it. As the effects of the alcohol pickled slug took hold inside him, he started to imagine what a full grown birdy looked like without its feathers, retching at the thought.
“Goes, hic – pardons – on please Mite,” Glob managed to say, trying to calm his lustful thoughts and his hiccups, wanting to hear the story with no more interruptions.
Mite loudly passed wind with such force that the flames in the fire retreated in fear to the back of the fireplace. “Where wos I’s – oh yes I’s remember. Now Grack wos charged wiv guardin the gate by Persephone. No one passed twixt world’s wivout his permission.
Urp – pardons me. Now the kinds wot inhabits the world neath ours, n probably still do fer all I’s know, is strange n terrible ter behold. All fangs, sharp teeth n claws they is, wiv scaly skin n black hearts. Most on them never bother wiv our world, content ter live in their own. But from times ter times, one would try ter enter. This was where old Grack earned his keep.”
“Urp – sorry,” Neo belched. “Wot’s does yer mean Mite?” he interrupted, as his drunken brain finally realised with great relief that the steam escaping from his jerkin was simply because he had been sitting too close to the fire, and not from his own lustful thoughts of seeing Hermione naked.
Mite was by now beginning to get thoroughly annoyed by the constant interruptions. He turned his head to the left and tried unsuccessfully to gain steady eye contact with the drunken goblin’s constantly wandering eyes, to indicate his displeasure. All he succeeded in doing however was to make his own eyes ache. Muttering and closing his eyes briefly, he continued. “I’s wos jus bouts ter tells yer!” he replied rather angrily, before once again passing wind loudly.
Neo bowed his head in shame, stood up and took his stool and mead mug over to where Glob and Bejuss were. By now he was totally drunk. Grinning childishly to himself, he released a silent but deadly burst of gas. He began giggling uncontrollably when Bejuss and Glob looked accusingly at each other. The pungent smell Neo had created became so overpowering that both of them began to choke. The cross eyed old goblin fell on the floor holding his sides with tears rolling down his old face, as he roared with drunken laughter.

Mite drank some more mead and continued. “Now sides his razor sharp goblin blade n his armour, Grack had a secret weapon…”
“Wot kind?” Make suddenly interrupted, belched, and then quickly dropped his head as Mite glared angrily at him.
“As I’s wos sayin afore I’s wos rudely interrupted yet agin! He had another weapon at his disposal, one wot the kinds in the world neath ours never use – urp.”
Mous was about to put up his hand to ask something when Make dug him hard in the ribs to keep him quiet, making him wince in pain and pass a foul smelling cloud of his own, forcing all sitting close to him to hold their noses.
Mite did his very best to ignore the disgusting smell and the constant interruptions. “Now this weapon is only ter be used by those wot knows it; in the wrong hands, well… Anyway, Grack wos sat on a rock beside the entrance when out on the corner on his eye, he saw a terrible beasty stick its long nose out n sniff hard. Halt! Who goes there? Grack cried as he quickly gots ter his feet. The monstrous beasty took two paces forward n looked at Grack wiv the coldest, blackest eyes yer ever did see. I want ter visit a cousin on mine in yer land gatekeeper, it told Grack.”

“Rarrk – I’th wonder wot kind on beathty it woth Glob – urp?” Bejuss belched out his question.
The normally good-natured storyteller threw up his hands in sheer despair. “For the love on acorns, will yer all let me tell me tale!” Collectively they all apologised, burped, passed wind and promised not to interrupt any more. Mite calmed himself as Neo handed him a second mug of his special mead. He nodded his thanks, and after taking a long draft of the sweet alcoholic brew continued telling his tale.
“As I’s wos sayin, the beasty took two paces forward. Grack looked long n hard at it standin there in front on him. Friends, I’s swear it wos half dragon, half serpent, wiv a large horned head wiv fangs so long that theys stuck out above n below its mouth. Its long forked tongue flicked out tryin ter lick Grack’s face. Its breath wos so foul it wud have made Grack’s skin blister if it weren’t for the gateway. Its body were long n serpent like, covered in close fittin armoured scales wiv sturdy short legs in front n short spindly ones at the back. Its tail did whip this way n that. When the tip on its tail struck rock it sent showers on sparks flyin, fillin the air behind the barrier wiv the smell on brimstone.”

Bejuss, unable to contain himself any longer, suddenly burped and lisped, “urp – rarrk! The beathty thoundth like Kilycke, don’t it Glob.”
Mite finally lost his patience and exploded with rage. “I’s gives up! I’s aint never had so many interruptions afore. I’s bid yer all badnight!” he thundered, storming off in the direction of his bed in the cupboard draw.
Glob glared at his brothers and Bejuss in particular. “Mite – hic – comes back n finish yer story – urp. I’s promises ter hit the next one wot interrupts yer on the bonce wiv me club – please Mite – hic – please?”
The pocket-sized storyteller reluctantly turned, burped and looked at the expectant faces of the five brothers and Bejuss. He sighed, shrugged and assumed his place in front of the fire. The flames cringed in fear of yet another explosive bout of wind from the tiny goblin’s backside. Mite took another long draught of Neo’s mead, burped, passed wind squeakily, scratched his backside and continued.
“Grack looked the terrible beasty in the eye n tolds im, yer can’ts enter our world unless yer answers me riddle. The beasty bared its sharp fangs, hissed n thrashed its long tail, flooding the air around it wiv the smell on brimstone. It snorted n sniffed at Grack.”
Bejuss flew into the rafters, then held his wings over his nostrils to shut out the foul smell from Neo’s backside and stared down at Mite. The brothers all noisily burped and broke wind in unison once more before they drew closer to the storyteller, eager to hear what happened next.
Mite continued. “Now afor I’s tells yer wot Grack’s riddle wos, I’s shud remind yer that the gateway wos sealed by an invisible barrier. While the orrible creature cud try ter lick Grack’s face, it cud go no further until it had correctly answered the riddle. Grack stood n said ter the beasty, gives me the answer n I’ll give thee leave ter enter. The creature glared coldly afore it replied, ask yer riddle then gatekeeper. Grack composed hisself before he began ter recite it.
I’s cannot be felt, seen or touched; yets I’s be found in everybody. Me existence is argued, yets I’s has me own grace. What is I’s?
Except for the crackle of the nervous flames and the high pitched squeaks and putrid smell of violent flatulence, plus the sound of drunken burping and the occasional pop of boiling sap from the logs in the fireplace, silence reigned in the goblin brother’s home. Make sat furiously puffing on his pipe, puzzling over the riddle, racking his alcohol befuddled brain for the answer. Byz just sucked his thumb while Glob, Mous, Neo and Bejuss, stared in drunken silence at the tiny storyteller.
Glob could stand the suspense no longer. “Hic – please go on Mite – urp. Wot wos the answer n dids the beasty guess it?”
Mite emptied his mug, burped, spat into the fire’s flickering flames, let rip the loudest, most earsplittingly high pitched noise then known to Goblindom from his backside and continued. “The terrible beasty shook its head, cos its brain hurt as it tried ter make sense on Grack’s riddle. The more it tried ter think, the angrier it got. In the ends it gots so frustrated n angry that it charged at the barrier at full speed knockin itself out! When’s it cames round, it saw Grack stood there on the other side on the barrier wiv his hands on his hips, smiling. The beasty rose ter its feet n charged agin; but wivout the answer it twerent able ter enter our world. So in disgust it turned round n disappeared below, never ter be seen agin by anyones from our world. There me friends I’s ends me tale.”
Mous stood up, swaying drunkenly and started to clap loudly as he slowly sagged in a heap on the floor. From where he lay he posed the question on everyone’s mind. “But wot woz the anzwer ter the riddle wot Grack azked, if yer pleaze mazter Mite zir?”
Mite helped himself to another mug of mead and was about to answer when he fell unconscious to the floor in front of the fireplace, overcome by the alcoholic brew.
Byz got bored. Unbeknown to them all, indirectly he gave them all the unspoken answer to the riddle as he began loudly playing on his pipes, assisted by the mead he had consumed. The answer to the riddle was simplicity itself – the sweet music of your sole. In response to Byz’ beautiful tune, somewhere far beyond Goblindom’s western border a long forgotten magic barrier briefly opened.


I hope you all enjoyed this tale.


Something for you all to think about


Have you ever thought about what makes the author of any work of fiction you’ve ever read, actually tick? No, well don’t you think maybe its long past time that you did?

Without exception, when you read anything written by a fiction writer, unlike non-fiction books created by those of an intellectual bent who rely solely on facts and scientific theories, what sets our work apart from them is the way we make use of life’s experiences and our vivid imaginations.

Take my novella – Céleste as an example. Apart from the smattering of facts and human legends I used in the story, in one specific passage I drew on a particularly painful memory from my early childhood, while throughout the rest of the story I used other personal experiences.

One in particular immediately springs to mind, when I wrote about the relationship between Céleste and the human she loves – David. I remembered when I fell in love back in the nineteen sixties with Mai, the most beautiful and gentle soul I have ever met in my entire lifetime, who became my wife and the mother of our son. I experienced total heart break eighteeen months later when they were both cruelly taken from me by friendly fire. As a result I have suffered several breakdowns over the intervening years, which is the reason why I live alone today, too frightened to get close to anyone ever again. It may sound foolish I know, but its a very real fear to me…

So there you have it. Now go and buy your copy of Céleste to gain an even better understanding of the way my mind works.


The last chapter beckons – or does it???

CELESTE cover 8,5 x 11

With five chapters done and dusted, at the moment from my point of view, I only need to write just one more for Céleste to be novella length – approx thirty thousand words. It’s already knocking on twenty-seven thousand as it is.

For a while there I briefly toyed with the idea of maybe expanding it to fifty-thousand. But I quickly abandoned that notion simply because that would mean slowing the pace of the story, by bogging it down in mind numbing info dumps. To my great shame, I’ve done it in the past to pad out a story. No one wants that kind of thing interrupting the story line, myself included if I’m being brutaly honest.

So at 2am yesterday morning, once again I began the thought process necessary to carefully come up with all of chapter six’s twists and turns and maybe even an ultimate twist at the end, or not, as the case may be. Only time will tell when it comes to the latter point.

Meanwhile while I’m doing that, I’m also going back over the previous five chapters once again as I’ve done each time I’ve completed a chapter, looking for errors, inconsistencies, etc, etc while bearing in mind what both my fellow writers Nicholas Rossis and Derek Haines, have already commented on after they were good enought to read the .pdf copy I sent to them a week or so back.

Click on their highlighted names above to see their books on

Now ladies and gentlemen I’d better get back to work, writing about Céleste and her love affair with David O’Leary, demands all of my time, not that I’m complaining mind you. Face facts, if you were me and you found yourself briefly sharing your life with an absolute stunner of a woman, albeit only in your mind, would you complain?

She’s got David firmly wrapped around her perfectly manicured little finger in the story. For him and me its a case of whatever Céleste wants, she gets. What can I tell you, we’re both madly in love with her. Were he real and we happened to meet, I would gladly punch him on the nose. That’s how jealous I have become of their relationship. Will I kill off the man she loves? We’ll see…

Now before you go, do yourselves a huge favour and click on her cover above to take a closer look at the fictitious women David and I positively worship before you hit the return key on your computer’s keyboard.

Thanks folks, more later,



More News Concerning Céleste’s Progress


Well, things have finally gone the way I wanted them to regarding the cover for my latest W.I.P Céleste. As you can see from the above advertising banner, (click on it and the Kindle cover below to see them in more detail) I finally found someone prepared to come up with the cover quality the story demands to make it stand out from the crowd.

The cover artist’s name is Alexios Saskalidis who can be contacted at He was recommended to me by my fellow scifi author and friend, Nicholas Rossis. As you may have guessed, like Nicholas, Alex is domiciled in Greece. He is the one responsible for all of Nicholas’ excellent book covers. I can tell you this, I’ve already told him that he will be getting all my future trade if the eyecatching cover below is anything to go by. He doesn’t come cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but quality is always well worth the price paid in my book, if you will pardon the pun.

I know I’m once again onto an absolute winner when it comes to Céleste, as I was three years ago when I came up with a timely story written around the dire predictions about the end of days when the New Ager fraternity misinterpreted why the Mayan Calendar had ended in 2012, in my novel The Seventh Age (which became a best seller by Indie standards, at well in excess of 200,000 sales).

Since then it has become more difficult to attrack potential readers for any book. This new story deserves to be given the same chance if it is to succeed in what has now become a saturated marketplace. Ask any other full time author you care to name and they will all tell you the same thing; no matter how good the story may be, these days unless a book’s cover attracts the attention of potential readers, you are quite literally wasting you’re time…

Alex has been producing high quality covers for years. Therefore he is full of ideas. In this case he came up with a much better alternative to what I had in mind for the cover. So far, apart from the above banner which is one of three I will be using as pre publication advertising until I finally publish Céleste sometime next year, he has aready provided me with the Kindle version of the cover shown below. Using the material I supplied to him (blurb, bio and my mug shot), he has also created the paperback version. But until I finish writing the book and can give him the final page count, along with the CreateSpace template size I have finally settled on, which will be the standard paperback size, (5×8 inches) understandably he is holding off from sending the finished product to me.

CELESTE cover 8,5 x 11In the meantime Céleste has taken an entirely different direction to the way I originally intended. To begin with I saw it as being a ‘dyed in the wool’ science fiction tale, full of adventure and dangerous situations. But I’ve now gone down an entirely different route, largely thanks to the way the characters are interacting with one another. Apart from the ongoing love affair between Céleste and the mission commander David O’Leary, there are now two more slowly emerging from among the ranks of the remaining crew members aboard Apkallu.

Why have I decided this is the way to go rather than sticking with hard core scifi? Well, I was reading another of Derek Haines’ informative articles the other day concerning what sells in todays world of books and what doesn’t. From the research information he came across, it turns out that by far the most popular genre being bought and read these days is romance, (over 80% of the market). So to appeal to that readership I’m combining the three romances as the main thrust of what is essentially still a science fiction story at heart.

By the way If you think that the stunningly beautiful Céleste looks like trouble as she moodily peeks out at you from the cover, I can tell you that she very definitely can be, especially when provoked. Even though I’ve just finished putting the finishing touches to the fourth chapter, already two of David’s crewmates have fallen foul of her – one of them twice.

Well that’s about it for now. I realy must get back to it, as chapter five now beckons. So far the word count stands at 20,843. It’s pointless me giving you the number of pages as I’ve yet to transfer the text to the CreateSpace Word template I’ve decided on. Having grown heartily sick of Createspace endlessly bleating on about my sending them an A4 sized .doc file, I experimented with a larger size of template the other day and the page count then came out at thirty-eight, way more than the standard A4 page count of twenty-two of the original file. I’ve a feeling that if I did transfer it to the new template at the moment, it would easily exceed fourty pages already.

So in the meantime if you will excuse me, I’ve got the intricacies of three romances to be getting on with.

More later folks,



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