They shoot horses, don’t they?

Indeed, yes, they do.

Not a spoiler, but a thinly veiled hint of what is to come with the continued adventures of Miss Amy Grace.

Most folk have been going slightly mad with the whole Covid-19 thing.

Me, I’ve discovered that my cold wasn’t just a cold, it was in fact Covid-19 – which is nice to know and I’m now suffering the aftereffects of a nice lung infection thing!!!

Go me!

It seems that all the coughing and spluttering I’ve been doing wasn’t attention seeking Man-Flu after all.

Maybe that’s why my creative output has been so miserably low???

It would be nice to blame my lack of creativity on the current virus of choice – but alas personal accountability has to come into play, and truth be told, and shame admitted, I just haven’t been putting in the effort.

Not the Alcoholics Anonymous revelation it could or indeed should be.

It’s not as if the imaginative juices have become a dried up river bed in a dust bowl of ideas, quite the contrary, ideas a plenty continue to flow.

I just haven’t utilised this ever present bounty… 

So, of all the creative problems that exist with writing, it seems mine is that of actually writing!

Oh, and to top it all the clock has ticked, days have passed and the old “if you don’t here from us, assume it’s a no” has happened (again).

Colouring In

Some call it editing, some proof reading, and some a million other things.

This exercise has more descriptors than are alleged to exist for snow – 50 words, a certain album would have us believe. 

Whatever we decide to call it (and I’ll stick with ‘colouring in) it is my current creative focus.

My process isn’t quite ‘Industrial Light and Magic’, but in my mind it’s a remarkably close second. 

Depth needs to be added, descriptions fluffed, details polished.

What is the prison like?

How does it smell?

How bad were the bad men?

The storm came, and rain it did fall – are we happy with how we’ve illustrated that point?

Has my imagination been adequately reflected with the written word?

Questions, questions, and more questions.

It’s good to review.

I enjoy this process.

It’s nice to accept what was good, what is good, and it’s equally nice to add those little flourishes of detail. 

So that’s me.

Oh, I have stumbled upon the joy of twitter and #writngcommunity

It is encouraging.

Some share similar struggles – yet persevere.

Some achieve success and are applauded.

Social media, in this instance can be uplifting.

The hate anger and bile that you have to filter through to read the human joy less so.

Anyway, its Wednesday and we are colouring in.

My imagination the provider of a rich palette of colour tone and hue.

One day others my share my joy.

Possibly others will read my work and enjoy the tale being told.

One day the lights will go on in the big auditorium and it won’t be empty, some of the seats will be occupied… 

Until then we mix away with the blues and the greens, the reds, and the yellows.

4th Album Syndrome

The first is the easiest, it’s the one you always wanted to make, it contains your most precious rifts; ideas that you’ve cherished for years that now have form.  You love this album.

The second was a mixed bag to produce.  It held onto the themes of the first but didn’t repeat them, it wasn’t a tribute album, and you avoided the risk of the indulgent concept album – indeed you love this as much as you do your firstborn.

Album number three was a difficult child.  She had all the proceeding baggage of one and two but needed to be both fresh and comforting at the same time.  It could expand, but couldn’t really deviate too much lest you lost all that was good about one and two.  She worked hard with these songs, this album was forever in the studio being remixed, but yeah you love this one too. 

Number four is a difficult wayward child.  This wants so very much to be the debut album that it cannot be.  This collection of songs should easily build on what has gone before, the difficult ground has been broken, the hard sweat and toil to create a theme achieved.  It wants to tell the world about the gaps and edits in the albums one to three, it wants to avoid self-indulgence, but it so badly wants to expand the narrative and add depth…  

Yet Thursday’s child she has so very far to go. 

They’re not albums I know, they are books.

My books.

My tales.

I’ve tried to cover some major themes with each book.

Thomas Payne was the fast-paced chase movie about revenge.

Magic was the dark tale of cruelty and love.

Gotham, this is loss, this is suffocation and sadness.

Prison is revenge, it is wrapping three into the fourth, but it isn’t the end.  It is a chase movie about revenge, it is a tale of lost love, it is also so much more.

And maybe that’s the problem.

Maybe pulling all those tales into this one book is the reason I’m struggling to get over this metaphorical hump.


Maybe it’s because I know with this tale the differences between the good guys and the mustachio twirling baddies isn’t so clear cut.

In this book we have good people following the system, doing their lawful job but delivering injustice as they do.

Maybe this is the book the others should have been?

Possibly not.

I’ve broken 50,000 so that must be a good thing.

I know what I want to happen – it is just that perennial problem of a fast mind and slow keys…

Knowing the problem is the first step to finding a solution.

Accepting procrastination is what it is, is indeed another leap towards salvation.

Over analysis has blighted this book.

Maybe I’ll just type away and let the cards fall where they will?

I should.

Wish me luck!


Numbers on their own are meaningless, open to interpretation and sometimes just alien to the original question (42?).

However, this one references The Amy Grace Adventures Volume 4: Prison.

A title that has become more than a little apt over these last few months.

49,462 words in and…

I’ve gone back to page one, improved punctuation, rephrased and titivated where I can, but the number stays stubbornly at forty-nine thousand and change – no real advances.

I’m stuck; yet every re-read leaves me feeling satisfied with my work.

I like the plot.

I like the little surprises in the plot.

I like the theme of complex retribution.

I like the new characters – I still like the old ones.

Yet I’m stuck in the steel town of Pittsburgh.

It’s the 21st of May 1890, and like Groundhog Day I cannot leave this Wednesday to see the dawn of a new and different Thursday…  

We have so many riches to dine upon.

We have a government agent looking for Amy, and we have Amy looking to kill the government agent.

We have a backdrop of the immensely interesting/tragic/cruel “coal wars” and the killers of Amy’s lost love are the rich industrialists tied up in this rich tapestry.

We even have a fairy.

Yet Amy is till stuck in a stable looking at a dun mare… 

I’ve deleted proceeding paragraphs, but whatever I do I cannot seem to (metaphorically?) get back on the horse.

My only solution seems to be to write chapters in advance of this situation and hope that I can create a union at some point in the future. 

We shall see.

49,462 and counting!


Yeah guilty of something, probably nothing too. 

Words haven’t flowed.

Stories haven’t moved.

Procrastination has been reanointed the undisputed Lord King or everything!

I’ve hidden behind research.

I’ve bluffed with titivation and editing.

I’ve luxuriated in dithering…

Questioning everything isn’t the help it could be.

Self-doubt is a gorilla sized monkey of doubt – and my back aches…

It could be the isolation.

It could be.

It could be so many different things, competing and complimenting each other to stop me typing.

The imagination hasn’t stalled.

It runs in full fettle frustrated at the lack of outlet.

And yet I know all of this.

All of these paths we’ve trodden before.

Not all knowledge is a good thing…

Maybe this public (empty auditorium) flagellation will ease the blockage.


We live in hope.

Whatever you are doing, stay safe and stay sane!


Everyone thinks that working from home, being isolated, will be a boon for the writer that is me.

It isn’t!

I’ve been isolated for nearly four weeks – I’m not complaining, I understand the rationale.

Friends have said that production should surely proliferate.

It hasn’t.

Inside my imagination ideas, themes, and all points between continue to flow.

None are written.

I don’t know why this is.

I should be a ‘happy camper’ typing away.

But I’m not.

As a state of affairs go this one is perplexing.

Is it Covid-19, or is it me?

Do I have, if not writers block, then a remarkably close relative?

Am I suddenly averse to scribbling?

Have I developed a Nihilist view of my writing, is it is all pointless and without purpose?

Questions, so many questions – so few answers.

This is an empty auditorium so I can be self-indulgent.

Is it the rejections?

Am I worried by the sooth saying of Gretta?

Am I reinforcing failure – or stubbornly holding out for the inevitable break?

I don’t know the answer, I just know that I’m not writing, and knowing that is somewhat upsetting.


All the time that has passed hasn’t been cheaply spent. 

Back in 2015 an opening line became a short book.

That cathartic first attempt created a need to tell further tall tales; and discussing the difference between Goths and Steampunk was the genesis that gave the world Amy Grace.

And, as ever the original incarnation is a very distant cousin from what we have now. 

Originally a child found amongst the dead of Khartoum, a child that was to grow up and chase a scoundrel around the world in an epic HG Wells/Jules Verne adventure. 

That was the plan.

Flying machines and steam.

It didn’t happen.

Page one, of book one, made an instant and drastic turn in the opposite direction from the pre-written plot line.

The first few pages were brutal (not the version that survives now) and pulled absolutely no punches as to what was going on and the inherent cruelty of such an event.

The premise for this revised incarnation was to write an unapologetic tale about surviving rape – steampunk and flying machines only ever guest appearances from that cruel moment onwards.

Rewrites, critique and further changes toned down the opening salvo, what had been brutal was now told with enough description to understand, but not enough to see each stretched sinew.

Thomas Payne had an ending an ending that was corrected with Magic.

Magic gave us love, and love gave us Gotham and lost friends.

Gotham led us to treachery and had us thrown into Prison, and incarceration is leading us a merry dance. 

Through it all I’ve sent versions of Amy Grace to agents and recorded the replies.

Delusion may be mine, but I honestly don’t think so.

My sales pitch is undoubtably poor – my elevator time is tongue tied frustration. 

Sip tea with me and I’ll tell you everything, I’ll enthuse, and I’ll pull you into the captivating world of Amy Grace. 

But it is the elevator pitch that counts, the application form that rules supreme…

It’s not insurmountable, but it is difficult.

Things of worth are supposed to be hard won, and begrudgingly I accept that maxim.

So, five years of writing continues.

Years of attempts do not end.

Tales still need telling, and the cursor is still blinking.

The Apachean mountains beckon, we have a coal war to survive, men to kill and friends to save. 

Keep the faith, stay safe and stay sane!   

Pandemic Padding…

Ever watched Apocalypse Now? 

Which version I hear you say…  and that is a fair point.

Which version indeed.

It may be annoying when they add those extra five minutes of footage, when that extra monologue is included, but if it brings you closer to the imagination of the artist, I’m kinda all for it. 

Edge of Darkness isn’t a great book, its not, well not in my opinion.

The loosely adapted film, whichever version you see, is indeed great art. 

And therein, by a round about route is my current undertaking.

I am again offering my wares to the world, and I am accordingly reviewing and adjusting my masterpiece. 

I’ve been adding words, removing words, adding commas, removing commas.

Passages have been left as is, passages have been ever so slightly ‘adjusted’.

The story it remains the same.

The story I am absolutely convinced is a good one, a page turner in the truest sense. 

Amy is different, she is a referenced blend of so many things, and she is her own indisputable character.

When she hits popular print, she will be enjoyed.

When she is enjoyed, she will be a subject worthy of discussion.

People will see things that others miss; nuances will be discussed.

And for those counters of beans, money will be made.

So, working from home I am working on my ‘Redux Version’ of Thomas Payne.

You will enjoy it.


It will be printed.

You will be able to buy it.

Stay safe!

Stay sane! 


It’s the stuff of life, or so a very wise Benjamin Franklin would have us believe – and I think he indeed had a point, we should spend it wisely!

Anyway, time is my current focus.

Prison is the first book that has a forced timeline – events MUST happen against a dictated and unmoveable rhythm.

Thomas Payne was easy; the siege of Khartoum lent a good series of dates to dance around.

Magic and Gotham played the easy flow of a storyline, with only one glorious summer needing structure.

Now, now that I’ve created a storyline (you’ll like it) and it has an implacable timeline.

I’ve looked back over the whole narrative (from birth) and tried to tie it all down to months, weeks and years.

There is a distinct possibility that I’m being far too forensic – maybe nobody has noticed, perchance if they have, they don’t really care…?

So, I am mapping Amy’s life from 1864 – 1890.

She is no longer the 21-year old debutant, she is a woman of substance, maturity and wealth, she is an independent woman who is galloping towards the end of her twenties

So that’s me typing away at my keyboard, I am mapping the life of a fictional character – oh the joys of writing!  

A Teardrop Explodes!

It’s a beautiful image, something that you can play with, I just need the opportunity to plagiarise it.   

I find it beautifully visual and wonderfully emotive all at the same time. 

And as it’s a reference to an artist of some renown, Julian Cope, who will appear as a character somewhere in ‘Prison’. 

This little missive was provisionally titled with reference to Mister Edgar A Poe and his dream within a dream poem, especially the grains of golden sand line, but indie guitar pop won out in the end – take a bow Julian Cope!

Time has inexorably plodded onwards, and the waves still crash on my shore, and the sand still falls between my fingers, and we’ve now had another silent refusal, another aspiration nullified… 

I know in sending my script that I agreed to the ‘if you don’t hear from us, consider it a no…’, I did, and I do. 

However, rejection is bad enough, but the silent rejection is harsh – it really is!

It is constant amongst my musings, a theme that will probably remain up and until I strike it lucky…

We have the next application in draft, we continue unabashed. 

I’ve been writing, moving stories along, reacting to reviews, and where possible making the necessary amendments. 

I was trying to move The Big House along, research was flowing, but no typed words were produced.

Whenever I warmed up the keyboard, it was a little fiery woman who near exclusively dominated.

We are four complete books to the good, scribbling with a purpose number five, and titivating six, seven and eight. 

My passion to tell tall tales continues, I am still enjoying the whole putting my imagination into structured form, and despite the rejection(s) I still take succour from the support of those who’ve read and enjoyed my stories.

The next step is a big one, but a small one too.

My hands are on the ladder…