Wednesday, 25 October 2017


I am so grateful to my friend Debbie, who followed me on previous blog, who has made me aware that the comments box on my posts does not work. I must say I did used get a small amount of comments on my old blog, so this time having had zero comments but occasionally some feedback on Facebook, it did feel a bit like I was talking to myself. 

After tinkering with the website editor like an untrained car mechanic that hasn't got a clue what he is doing, I looked for the easiest option and went with the Facebook comments section. Apologies to anyone who has not got FB.

A one word comment or a full blown critique will be more than welcome. So please help me keep my blog and book reviews alive, and spare me a word or two, which will be gratefully received.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Work in progress.

A number of people have been asking me for the past two or more years when my next book is coming out. I have had more than one project on the go and getting nowhere. After getting my motivation fix that I needed at Harrogate Crimewriters Festival this year, I have finally knuckled down to a project very close to my heart that has been around in one form or another for the past five years. Yes you have seen it on this blog, from time to time, in different formats. In the loft I have a complete storyboard with the plot divided into acts and scenes, for a screenplay. That's where it's staying. The story is more or less in my head, and that's the best place for it to be if my fingers are going to turn it into printed words.

Although I have a very rough outline in my head, this is very much a seat of your pants story, and that is the way I have always found works best for me. I'm writing in a different voice and I don't know where its coming from. I now know that I'm going to complete this one, because my reading hasn't exactly gone on the back burner,  but has slowed down considerably because I'm getting more interest from my writing. I'm on Chapter Eight and coming up to 20,000 words, so it's well underway. I put a cover together, just to make it seem more of a tangible item for me, but it's not the cover I'm looking for. I need a picture of an old midwest movie theater taken at night. Haven't found the right picture yet. If anyone has one they think I could use, I would love to take a look at it.
The premise is Melvyn, from the West Midlands in the UK, is a cinema projectionist, and at the end of a bad relationship takes a job in Texas. He is a fish out of water with the local youth cowboy culture, and sets himself up against them because of the love interest, the girl most sought after in town, the sheriff's daughter. He's up against some big characters here, but it is going to be a zero to hero story.
I can't say anymore. Plenty of drama, and hopefully I have pitched the vernacular at the right level for the region. It is a different voice for me, but I have tried to retain some of my comedic style. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Caffeinated Retreat

Elephant House Edinburgh where
 JK Rowling frequented to write.
Amongst the clatter of baristas operating coffee machines that spew hissing sounds like we are living in a steam age revival, the noise of loud mother's and screaming babies being hoisted out of their buggies into wooden high chairs, too young to be catered for by burger bars with thick shakes, abominable piped music adding to the onslaught to my ears, and yet here I am emulating JK Rowling and like many others the length and breadth of our spectred isle, writing 500-1000 words per medium sized americano.
I don't know why. But it works. As soon as I get settled at a seat and table, not the soft leather sofas that would induce me into a coma, and open my laptop, my fingers are flying over the keyboard like Liberace on ecstasy.
Surely this is going against the forces of nature? It shouldn't work, but it does.
It has become part of my routine whenever I can, about 3-4 times a week. Like going to the gym. Zumba for the brain. I have even taking to cycling there, as during the act of pedalling I'm thinking about my characters and plot.
I think that combined with the 'commute' on my bicycle and the industrial noise environment within the coffee shop, this stimulates the work ethos centre of my brain, wherever the hell that is, and I turn into a productive word machine, that has no need to stop and pause to play solitaire, update FB and Twitter status, read crime fiction and write blog posts. Incidentally, I am writing this as home, as my blog has become yet another distraction from writing within the domestic domain.

Conclusion, I think coffee shops work for me, because I have not adapted my home to be a workplace, and the noise of the coffee shop matches years of trying to write reports in shared offices, constant ringing of phones, and people milling around. If I had been a shepherd in a remote isle off the mainland of northern Scotland, maybe quietude and isolation would be my place for the Muse.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Please share this link to all people interested in writing. Full details of the whole six part series ‘Write On’ now available.

‘Write On’ – a six part documentary series showcasing contemporary writers from the North East – will air on Made in Tyne & Wear from 3rd September.
Written, directed and produced by David Jewell, the series focuses on a range of contemporary writers from the region, several of whom have worked extensively with Northern Film + Media.
The first episode features international crime author Mari Hannah, whose book The Murder Wall is currently in development with Stephen Fry’s Sprout Pictures and had its origins in the NFM and BBC drama development initiative North East Voices. Also featured later in the series is the acclaimed horror novelist Stephen Laws.
Award winning film screenwriters Martin Herron and Gavin Williams give practical advice on writing for the cinema and explain how they accessed the industry and progressed to on screen success.
For anyone interested in producing their own movie, filmmaker/ director Andy Mark Simpson offers a masterclass in how to produce a full length feature on a micro budget.
Freelance journalist and author Phil Penfold describes his career writing as a film and theatre critic, giving his own unique take on a range of showbiz names.
For those interested in writing and in what it means to be a writer, who want tips to improve their own work, or have ever dreamt of making a career in the industry, these are the must-see documentaries.
‘Write On’ will be broadcast initially on Made in Tyne and Wear but is soon to be available nationwide. Watch on Sky, Virgin Media or Freeview, or view live online.

Broadcast schedule:
Episode 1  Mari Hannah: Sun 3rd Sept at 10 am, repeated Wed 5th Sept at 1 am, and Thurs 6th Sept at 10 am
Episode 2  Andy Mark Simpson: Sun 10th Sept at 10 am, repeated Wed 13th Sept at 1 am, and Thurs 14th Sept at 10 am
Episode 3  Gavin Williams: 17th Sept at 10 am, repeated Wed 20th Sept at 1 am, and Thurs 21st Sept at 10 am
Episode 4  Martin Herron: 24th Sept at 10 am, repeated Wed 27th Sept at 1 am, and Thurs 28th Sept at 10 am
Episode 5  Stephen Laws: 1st Oct at 10 am, repeated Wed 4th Oct at 1 am, and Thurs 5th Oct at 10 am
Episode 6  Phil Penfold 8th Oct at 10 am, repeated Wed 11th Oct at 1 am, and Thurs 12th Oct at 10 am

Thursday, 24 August 2017

"Write On" is a six part series featuring contemporary writers

"Write On" is a six-part series featuring contemporary writers from all aspects of the creative industries. From police procedural thrillers by international crime author Mari Hannah through to the horror novels of Stephen Laws, professional authors explain aspects of their craft.

Award winning screenwriters Martin Herron and Gavin Williams give practical advice on writing for the cinema, whilst Journalist and author Phil Penfold talks of his career writing as a  movie/theatre critic, giving his own unique insight  into some household showbiz names.

If you've ever thought of being a film writer then filmmaker/ director Andy Mark Simpson explains how you too could make your movie, taking you through making short films to writing and producing your very own feature on a micro budget.

If you're interested in writing and writers, want tips to improve your writing, or have ever dreamt of making a career in the industry then these are the must-see documentaries.

"Write On" launches on 3rd September 2017 with award winning international crime writer Mari Hannah whose novel The Murder Wall is currently in pre-production with Sprout Pictures.
“Write On” is available on the Made In Tyne and Wear channel but is soon to be available nationwide throughout the UK.
Watch on Sky, Virgin Media or Freeview or view live on line by visiting

 Please share this post with all of your contacts who are interested in writing or the creative industry.