Personal blog: North

¦ Dialling in from Newcastle ¦

SATURDAY: I flew up here Saturday morning. Spur of the moment decision.  A need to see old friends.  Taxi from the airport into Heaton and abruptly I am walking around the streets where I grew up as a child in the 1970s. It’s raining and it’s cold. Shock to system. I head to my favourite cafe in the North: the Wild Trapeze. A fantastic, profoundly unique little place. Reminds me a little bit of how the Boston Tea Party in Bristol used to be (1998) before it became big and corporate (but still excellent).

It’s only a month since I was here last, in Newcastle; in fact I have been coming up North every 4 to 6 weeks for a while now – it’s been a year since I left my job to focus on writing projects. Continue reading

Personal blog: a memorable long weekend

The comfort of friends

Sharky Bones McCoy and Miss Scarlet

Sharky Bones McCoy and Miss Scarlet

I am having a lovely time. It’s 7 am on a Saturday morning. Miss G and two old friends are sleeping upstairs. Sharky Bones McCoy who I met back in 1998 and the original Miss Scarlet from 1995.  Early morning sunlight is streaming through big windows. I am sitting at the oak refectory table that has always been in my life: it belonged to my parents, and I have photos of me at this table through childhood years, birthday parties with candles in cakes and the fashion of the 1970s – that was Heaton. Then Jesus Mound from 1980 onwards.  This is where I sat when doing hateful homework for school. And in 1989 this table is where I sat when I quit my job, aged 19, to start my journey as a writer, beginning with Oakfield: a book I would not finish for 25 years, after I had written 8 others.  This table came down to Bristol in 2011 after my parents died (several years earlier) – and it occupies the dining room, pride of place.  So here I am, 2015, and 320 miles from the city I once called home.
I have been wide awake for hours.  Reaching the final chapter of Yellow Dawn 3rd Edition was like driving off a cliff at high speed. After 5 months of hard going there is now a period where I can choose to relax a little. Weirdly, I find that hard to do.  But I am trying. Continue reading

Travel Video: Fortica Španjola, Hvar town, Croatia

Quick video of the place I spent every morning, for a string of days I stayed on Hvar. Photos and words here: or read a sneak peek of the 1st chapter I wrote whilst up here:

Soundtrack from the surprise cult thriller, Cold in July (2014)

Personal Blog: the Mood ends after 11 days

¦ dialling in from Tvrđava Španjola overlooking Hvar Town ¦

The Mood arrived on a Friday afternoon before I headed to the airport to jump on a click-and fly flight to Newcastle. This was the 1983 flavour, one of two types that pervade my sense of smell, taste and emotional “mood”; the other is the 1989 flavour which is more euphoric.

’83 starts with the smell of burnt cheese and evolves into burned vanilla, petering out over the final days.  It’s been a good one.

Right now I am sitting in the Španjola Fortress on top of a hill overlooking Hvar Town and the old harbour.  It’s morning. Islands litter the horizon, breaking up the vistas of blue sky and blue sea. Breakwaters crash across sandy beaches. Sunlight catches the aquamarine shallows. Temperature is rising towards 27c.

I arrived Saturday afternoon to a thunder and lightning storm that shook the gods in their thrones of cloudstone.  After weeks of relentless progress with the 3rd edition, the abrupt change of track into chill out mode left me in a strange state of mind. Adrenaline surges kept me awake for 2 nights before I finally settled into a new groove. Meanwhile, I’ve started fleshing out notes for the novel based on the epic, globe-spanning campaign book for Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, a campaign called Shadows of the Quantinex. Where characters discover what caused the event known as Yellow Dawn to happen, have a chance for retribution and can attempt to stop the next hammer blow against humanity from agents of the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods. But most of my days are spent lounging by the sea with drinks on tap from the staff that drift down regularly to see what you need.  Evenings in Hvar Town with Miss G.

Have met some interesting folks. Lots of Norwegians, Americans and Canadians. A couple from San Diego who sold everything to travel the world for a year in order to build up “nomadic recipes” for a cookbook at the end; staying with local families where possible, to learn their ways of cooking. Last night encountered a deputy district attorney from LA and her two grown up kids – we drank, talked and laughed the sunlight hours away. Late night walk back to hotel with moonlight reflecting off water as smooth as black glass.  Croatia is a fantastic country.  Proper write-up and pics soon.

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