It is for charity after all, and though I’m not in as good shape as I’d like to be I might actually win something for once…








But what if they set more than one on me at once? What if they’re teens – some of them are pretty big these days. I’m up for it, but I need more details before I can commit to it.

(Courtesy Analytical Grammar)



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It’s Here!

My latest international best seller (possibly): The Ghosts of Blackbottle Rock.

On my very first holiday in Polruan, on the south coast of Cornwall, I was watching the boats go by when I spotted a shop owner going into the store room in a secluded area at the back of his shop in what seemed to me to be a furtive manner. It was all in my imagination (see yesterday’s post about thinking like a writer); he was simply going to get more goods for his shelves. I fell in love with the area and went back many times, and he turned out to be a perfectly nice completely unfurtive man.

But at the time it set a chain of thought going: a family heirloom which was a clue to a suspicious shipwreck involving his ancestor, and restless spirits. All that and more eventually resulted in this book.

A young boy, struggling to come to terms with the loss of his mother and his father’s new girlfriend, takes my place as the person spotting the suspicious activity. He eventually teams up with two local children to investigate the both the man and how he is linked to some spooky activity in an empty old house he is seen visiting in the dead of night.

Kay De Garay

I would like to make a special mention here regarding the artist who provided the wonderful, striking cover picture. I do a lot of my writing in my favourite cafe, and I had noticed her beavering away with sketch pads etc so since I wasn’t keen on the publisher’s idea of using a stock photo for the cover, I rather cheekily approached her and explained my predicament. She kindly and readily agreed to come up with something. It was a serendipitous event, because not only is the picture she produced wonderfully atmospheric and eye-catching, but, in keeping with the spooky nature of the book, it is uncannily how I had envisaged the cover should look (only better!).

It’s out today in print and electronic format, published by Our Street Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing, and of course available from Amazon and elsewhere.

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I am a Writer!

For quite some time I’ve been so bogged down with my freelance work for the writer’s advice services I work for, and the non-fiction book I’m working on about the Gunpowder Plot, that it struck me that I no longer seem to think like a fiction writer the way I used to. When I was in full swing writing fiction, ideas for scenes, dialogue and even whole new stories would often come to me when I was out and about, especially walking my faithful hound Max. But with my mind on other things it felt like a long time since that had happened.

My faithful hound Max, off duty.

Well, I have a new children’s novel coming out (there will be a post about it very soon!) and when I was walking the old boy early the other morning when it was still dark I saw something that triggered an idea for a sequel – should the publishers be sensible enough to want one of course.

I’m currently spending a few days in the lovely, picturesque little town of Mere in Wiltshire, and at the back of the place where I’m staying is a steep hill that used to have a castle on it in ye olde days. My eye was drawn to little lights at the top of the hill. They began to move about and it looked pretty eerie and spooky. I eventually realised it was one or two adventurous dog walkers – but it had already set my imagination going: someone signalling…smuggling…on the run… etc etc.

The view from the top of Castle Hill in less spooky daytime

As a result, I already have several possibilities that excite me, involving relocating the next adventure from Cornwall to Mere.

Nice to know that I still think like a writer!



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The Joys of Autocorrect

A reminder from our friends at Analytical Grammar that Christmas is about the gift of giving

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Farewell Rodney Bewes

I just had to mark the passing of one of the ‘Likely Lads’, Rodney Bewes who died today at the age of 79.

He was part of what in my opinion is the best sitcom ever to appear on British television, because not only was it funny, but each episode was a little play in its own right. A lot of that is down to the brilliant scriptwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, but the casting was perfect and a few actors might have been as good Rodney Bewes and James Bolam, but none could have been better.

When the original 60s series returned as “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads” depicting the characters and how their lives had changed years later, there was an element of nostalgia in the show that appealed to me and one of my closest friends. We saw a lot of ourselves in the characters and their situations, and we still often talk about the show fondly and watch re-runs.

Without wishing to sound maudlin, the wonderful old school we attended when we first watched it has been demolished, and now another part of our youth has gone.

Rest in peace “Bob Ferris” – Rodney Bewes.

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Nailed On

I’ve finally come across a way to identify the perfect date, thanks an entry from The Shepherd’s Prognostication, 1729 in my trusty Perpetual Almanac:

The nails very short, signify a person to be wicked; small and cracked to be a greedy catcher; very little, to be a crafty beguiler. White flecks in the nails signifies very wealthy, and to have many friends; black flecks, to be hated. The nails long, smooth, reddish and clear withal, to be witty and of good capacity; narrow and long, to be cruel and fierce; the nails rough and round, to be prone to the venereal act.

So there you have it. Having examined them scientifically and objectively, mine are quite clearly long, smooth and reddish. I’m just working on developing the white flecks.

Like I said, long, smooth and reddish – with a nautical touch to boot.


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Classy Tattoos


Ah, we’ve all experienced love that has that kind of effect!

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