Anchor Leg Vlog #2

Earlier this year I recorded a vlog in which I introduced my upcoming novel, Anchor Leg. Well, the novel is progressing nicely (I’m just entering the editing phase) so I thought it was high-time for another update. Click below to watch me reading from Anchor Leg‘s first chapter.

Let me know what you thought in the comments section, more vlog updates coming soon!

You can view my YouTube channel by clicking here.

June 9, 2016Leave a comment

The 2016 Fishing Magic Writing Competition

I’m pleased to report that my short story Old Monastery Pool has placed third in the 2016 Fishing Magic Writing Competition! A huge thanks to Fishing Magic, the panel of judges and congratulations to Altamash Kabir and Ian Nesbitt who placed first and second respectively. This is my second writing-related prize, the first being Best Short Story at the 2014 eFestival of Words.

Old Monastery Pool is a spooky tale of curses, giant fish and haunted watersides. It’s based on local folklore and you can read it by clicking here.

June 7, 2016Leave a comment

Book Review: Storm Child by Sharon Sant

In Sharon Sant’s novel Storm Child, thirteen-year-old Annie has a big problem. Her baby sister is a witch in an alternate Victorian society that does not look kindly upon such magical beings. Worse still, Annie lives in the care of Ernesto Black, a contemptuous man instructed by a ruthless power to find and do who knows what with magical children. Annie has no choice, then, but to leave her baby sister somewhere she’ll be safe. And this tearful goodbye is how the book opens.

Annie is not the only one living under the iron rule of Ernesto, however. Polly and Isaac, a pair of former street urchins, are also present. Polly (perhaps the book’s most excellent character) is under strict instruction to wheedle out where Annie took the baby, using a blossoming friendship as cover for doing so. The first half of the book is a masterstroke of shady motives, suspicion and Don’t trust him/her! moments, the perfect set up for learning all we need to know about the characters. The second half sees magic move more into the fray, with a wonderful action-packed climax and lots of juicy revelations.

Sant’s knowledge of the Victorian era is breathtaking. The characters feel so real (thanks in no small part to perfect use of slang in dialogue) and the world building is effortless. The plight of being a young person growing up in such a ruthless and unfair time is beautifully transmitted and the magic on show is subtle and well thought out. In short, a fine Victorian fantasy romp!

Storm Child is available via Amazon UK now.

April 21, 2016Leave a comment

Book Review: In Exchange by Steven M. Caddy

It would seem that space is having something of a renaissance. First we had Chris Hadfield shooting a music video in orbit, then we watched Tim Peake present a BRIT Award to Adele live from the ISS. Space is cool again. But, much more importantly, NASA and other space programs have finally embraced the concept of space belonging to everyone. Space exploration is no longer a race between warring nations, but a joint, global venture to discover, learn and tweet cool pictures.

So, no better time for Steven M. Caddy to release his debut novel, In Exchange. The novel follows Michael Morgan, the first ever human raised in space, as he comes down to Earth to meet Peter Davies. The two boys are part of an experiment, an exchange. Peter will show Michael what it’s like to live on Earth, and, after some gruelling training, Michael will lead Peter back to the space station Daedalus.

Michael and Peter are likeable leads and watching their friendship grow is a real pleasure. Especially during a trip full of camping-related capers anyone who embarked on such adventures in their youth will immediately recognise. The novel is also beautifully researched. You will learn so much about space (for example, sleeping in orbit is troublesome because of phosphenes; spontaneous flashes of light visually perceived by astronauts), but the facts are never overwhelming. Technical detail never takes precedence over story and this is good to see.

On top of that the novel dishes out plenty of exciting catastrophes and the ending comes with a sizeable twist. Whether you’re on board with the second Space Age, or just looking for a good adventure story, In Exchange is the book for you.

In Exchange is available from Amazon UK now.

Download free sample chapters here.

April 12, 2016Leave a comment