Hot Off The Press

So, on Tuesday I spent an hour with the children I’ve been working with over the past couple of months who’ve been coming along to my junior writing group. And it was fun, and it was a bit special, because that’s when they received their actual books. They’ve been writing and illustrating their stories brilliantly, and once they were done, thanks to the fab Bookimbo, I was able to turn them into actual little paperbacks. And they looked brilliant. The children read from them, people who had nothing to do with the group listened and it was fab. I’ll be running the same course starting mid January, so if anyone’s interested then do give me a shout.

A big thanks to all who came. It’s been an awful lot of fun and I’m seriously proud of what everyone’s achieved. Great work, folks!

And here are some pictures…The Booksgroup1 group2 junior1 junior2 junior3 junior4 junior5

Christmas Offer

So, as it’s almost that time of year again I thought I’d mention that all of my books can be ordered as presents. Only £10 each, signed and with a personal dedication with postage Cover 180x180-2OBBY DVDincluded. Let me know (you can use the form here) if you’d like any.

And while I’m talking of special offers, my online short fiction course is still only £89.NSPcovercropped

Paper Talk

One of my lovely neighbours caught me in the entrance hall yesterday to tell me I’d been mentioned in the local paper. The article’s not really about me at all of course, it’s about Jenny Martin, a writer I’ve taught for a little while now. More importantly it’s about her brilliant collection of war poems, Aftermath (click here to buy) with a foreword by the magic Dame Vera Lynn. And here’s the article. Apologies for the poor quality.


Teaching And Stuff

Yesterday was the last session of the children’s writing course I’ve been running. Six children, eight weeks, lots of fun and lots of hard work and, at the end, six brilliant stories that I’m now going to be turning into six little books. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, mostly I think, because I had a great bunch. There’s a chance I’ll be putting them up online so, if you’re interested, watch this space.

And I’ll be doing it all again, starting January 20th, half past four until five. If anyone’s interested then give either me a shout, or get in touch with Bollington library.


There are also a few spaces free for my online short fiction course. And, because I’m a generous kind of chap, from now until the end of December, it’ll only cost you £89. Give me a shout if you’re interested.

And don’t forget, I’m still here to edit short stories from £20. Let me know if you need any help.


It’s been a while since I’ve been on here, and I’m sorry about that. I’ve been busy (as you’ll see) in a good way and I’ve not really had much to say and I think that when that’s the case it’s better not to try to pad things out. Same as writing.

So autumn’s definitely settled in. And the clocks have gone back. And that’s all reminded me why this is my favourite time of the year. It always feels slightly more magical when there are leaves on the ground, all different colours and crisp, and just asking to be kicked up. With (occasional) bright, cool days. Before the wet and the sleet of the winter arrive. And, of course there’s Halloween. I actually think that I should make Halloween my Christmas. There’s an awful lot less stress, it’s fun and a bit magic, and the decorations, I think, are far better. Pumpkins and skulls and cobwebs and trick or treaters beat tinsel hands down in my book. I’m even going to shun my usual grumpiness and go to a Halloween party, with costumes and everything, for the first time in my life. I think I’m going through a period of transition.

And on the subject of Halloween…

Last week I judged the Poised Pen’s Halloween Flash Fiction competition. And things like that are, despite the hard work and time demanded, always fun. You can see the short list here.

Huge congratulations to the winner, Jacki Donnellan, whose brilliant Jack’s True Story, took first prize. And an excellent story it was too. And it contained at least one pumpkin.

Congratulations too, to C Connolly and to David Shakes, whose stories, The Lament of Eva Keena, and Ferryman, took second and third prize respectively.


And yesterday I was at the local radio station, Canalside, with someone who’s been both a friend and a student of mine for a good few years. Jenny’s collection of poems aftermathand short stories, Aftermath, is available now (with all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal). The station recorded me reading some of the poems from the book for Jenny to be played in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday and, if I can, I’ll see if I can get hold of the files and pop them up here. They really are very good.


And, with it being half term, this is the first time in, I think, five weeks, where I’ll not be running my children’s writing group. It’s been hard but it’s been tons of fun too. It’s  a lovely and heartening thing to see people not only genuinely excited by writing, but able to produce some really great stuff too. I’m glad I’m doing it.

So, yeah. Busy in a good way.

And that’s about it, I think, for now.

Merry Halloween!

This Week

This week’s been pretty good. Busy, but good. Far more people than I’d expected liked what I had to say on here on Tuesday – thanks so much for all the lovely comments and shares. It’s cool to be able to help.

On Tuesday I taught, as usual. But before the usual writing class I held the first after school writing group for children. And it was an awful lot of fun and reminded me, again, how much I’ve missed working with children. It’s good. And they’re a really good bunch, which helps a lot.

Between sessions, as I disappeared for some fresh air, I thought I’d discovered a hummingbird. In Cheshire. It was this little chap, and it turns out that it wasn’t, in fax, a hummingbird (which is a shame – I could have been famous) but a hummingbird moth. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time. (There’s a video, in case you’re interested, over on my Facebook page but it’s too big for here.)


And yesterday, I baked. Not done that in a few months but a good cause in the Macmillan Coffee Morning brought me out of my baking semi-retirement.

Here’s proof.


And here’s the result.



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