Personal Blog: R&R&R (wRiting, Reading, Relaxing)

 ¦ dialling in from the Sky Bunker ¦

I was supposed to be starting a sabbatical from work soon. Time out to kick-start a big bundle of marketing and PR for  my books (a set of new covers due soon) and bounce across seas and continents to revisit some of my favourite places of recent years, many of which have featured in my works of fiction: Vancouver and Vancouver Island (Tofino); Jasper (Whistler Mountain, Maligne, Pyramid Lake); Sicily (Taormina); Malta (Gozo, Valletta); Seattle (Bainbridge Island); California (so much to see again!); Norway (the Arctic Circle, family); New England (Boston and north, up through the region I’ve called the Harbour Coast); Switzerland (Interlaken and Beatenberg) plus a few others. However the recent development at work, my division and my job being sold to another media company meant it was probably the worst time possible to vanish. So I am shifting the sabbatical to next year but have taken some immediate R&R (and R) to complete a few things I wanted done.

This period started with a 7 A.M. flight to my former hometown – Newcastle Upon Tyne. I went to the house I grew up in (Jesus Mound)  and said goodbye, closed the door for the final time and walked away with 34 years of incredible memories. I had a few days to drift through old haunts and some new ones: Butterfly Cabinet cafe and The Wild Trapeze – which are so awesome I would gladly fly back to Newcastle on a regular basis just to hang out in them. Great coffee, fantastic food and the Wild Trapeze is designed specifically to spend time within – relaxing, writing, enjoying the space and the light.

I’m back in Bristol now. First day back I was booked to do a public reading at BristolCon Fringe. I read Shadow of the Black Sun, which is a World War II Cthulhu Mythos story I wrote last month, commissioned by the folks at Achtung!Cthulhu for their Dark Tales anthology due for commercial release in December.  I really enjoyed the reading.  And the story was well received.

Peter Sutton, was another BristolCon Fringe participant. He  stood up and read an extract from his new novel (work in progress), where seven Knights of the Crusades have been cursed to carry the names of the Seven Sins. He also read a short story where a young boy is destined to become the portal for biblionauts, creatures that can alter reality through the realm of dreams…but who require a dreamer to help them. Very engaging and witty, with spontaneous bursts of laughter throughout from the rapt audience and a delightful applause and laughter at the final punchline. Very good. You can contact Peter here to learn more about his work:

I also met a new member of BristolCon. Tom David Parker.  He impressed me with a brief summary of a Gothic novel he is working on – “The Ladies of Walthamstow” and his passion for M.R. James (possibly the best Gothic horror writer who ever put ink to paper, and is still capable of delivering a chill more than a century later). Tom described going to Walthamstow to spend time in a local library researching the book and discovered a mansion that stood empty for 50 years during the period of the 1800s that his book is set within; maintained by a caretaker who was a former detective. Sometimes reality precedes fiction. I’ve not seen his writing yet but if writes like he talks then I think he will be a formidable talent for the future – he plans to read an M.R.James inspired short story (set in modern-day Britain) during November’s BristolCon Fringe event. So make sure you ink the bookmark for your diary that month.  You can contact Tom here for more information: @tomofbristol

I have been making steady progress with Oakfield. 45 minutes a day and no more. Still loving my much cut-back writing schedule. Balance in living and writing, at last!  The other novels have been getting the nominal touch of TLC every few days (Broken Fury) and couple of weeks (Sunder Gloom), keeping the plates spinning so to speak.

That’s it!



2 thoughts on “Personal Blog: R&R&R (wRiting, Reading, Relaxing)

  1. I not a man to say no to free beer. Actually I was thinking of you when I wrote that. I’ve not been to Boston since 1998 and it would be great to have a point of contact when I get there. I will defo keep you posted. Is that amazing seafood restaurant still there in the old quarter? Can’t remember the name of it but outside was all cobblestones and the interior floors were all wonky with age.

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