Monday, 30 December 2013

Spoiling by the BBC

The BBC are spoiling me.  Really they are.


I had awaited, with breath bated, Christmas Day when I knew Matt Smith would regenerate into Peter Capaldi and we'd had a new era of Doctor Who.  The day was upon us and, due to it being Christmas Day and me having various Chrismassy/family things to do, I had to watch it on my tablet on catch-up later.

That was fine, I didn't mind.  I just needed to watch it.  I'm a little unsure about the episode.  When the wonderful David Tennant transformed into Matt, there was a lot more action and tension.  Probably because this hand-over was spread over 300 years or so, that tension somewhat evaporated.


Still.  I enjoyed it.  It was a very different episode to the normal 'Phoenix from the ashes' we're used to.  We saw The Doctor age, something that was, until now, unheard of.  I liked that touch.  It was, also, good to see the Crack back, and the Silence - though they could have been built upon.  I wonder if Clara's tears as she said goodbye to 'her' Doctor were real?  Capaldi's first line ("new kidneys") mirrored Tennant's "new teeth", which was a nice touch.  Let's hope he can shine as bright in the Whovian Universe as his predecessors have.


When Eccleston reinvented The Doctor, I didn't think anyone could fill his shoes, especially someone I'd only known from Casanova.  Of course, for me at least, David Tennant equalled Tom BakerMatt Smith had a very hard act to follow and did so very well, becoming a much more physical and madcap Doctor.


With Capaldi, we've returned to William Hartnell's age, the previous Doctors growing steadily younger, and we have a whole new slew of regenerations available inside him.  I'm pleased he began with humour, and I'm sure he'll be able to bring a certain darkness we've not seen before.


So.  Doctor Who.  Cool.




I heard on the radio, after a multitude of 'Coming Soon' ads on the TV and the Many Happy Returns minisode on the Internet, that Sherlock is back on New Year's Day!



This is the third, and I assume final given that Cumberbatch is now known worldwide thanks to Star Trek and The Hobbit (along with Martin Freeman - his Watson), series of the updated Sherlock series.  I have loved the series so far.  Really loved it.  From the comedic elements of dogging in the Hound of the Baskervilles to Sherlock's sharpness and intellect.  And I thought the end of series 2 (no spoilers for those that haven't seen it) was EPIC!


So, New Year's Day, BBC1, 9pm, I know where I'll be!


Oh yes, and there's more.  I, myself, will be on BBC Radio Humberside from around 11:30am (UK) on Thursday January 2nd!  I'll be interviewed by Blair Jacobs on my involvement with the wonderful Christmas O'Clock charity anthology and my writing in general.  Drop by if you get chance.  Their website is


Oh, and if only they actually did the episode where the Doctor comes to visit Sherlock and Watson, as per the little teaser trailer someone (I don’t think it’s official) has spliced together and scattered about the internet.  It looks SO good!


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Someone's Stolen Christmas!

You'd Better Watch Out


You'd better watch out

You'd better beware

You'd better not shout

You'd better take care


Cos someone's

Stolen Christmas

This year


The elves are about

Searching everywhere

To find out who could

Ever really dare


Cos someone's

Stolen Christmas

This Year


They're hunting down the culprit

To see who it could be

They're finding who's

Been good or bad


And it could be you or me....


But it's getting close

To Christmas Day

And they just can't find

Who took it away


Cos someone's

Stolen Christmas

This year


So if it occurs

That the thief isn't found

Christmas just won't be

This time around


Cos someone's

Stolen Christmas

This year


The elves are really trying

But can't figure it out

And if they don't solve it in time

This year we'll have to go without


It's not looking good

They're scratching their heads

Now they're giving up

And going to bed


Now Christmas

Isn't coming

This year!


Originally found in my book Rudolph Saves Christmas, a little something for your enjoyment!

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming.  The goose is getting fat, but I eat turkey, so I'm not too fussed 'bout that.  I'm waiting for the snow to fall and the temperature to drop, for the river outside my house to freeze and the world to come to a stop.


And though the ducks will walk on water and the air will be just biting, I'll be fine with pen and paper, as long as I am writing.


This time last year I was in good cheer, for my second book was done.  It all had raced in such a blur, but now the race was won.  And since back then, I have been blessed with reviews so very fine.  My so long journey went so fast, and my books can surely shine!


Now Christmas is coming once again and more books I have in store, like Zits'n'Bits and Rudolph, and soon so many more.


I love to write, creating worlds no man has walked upon, and to take a reader by the hand and share with everyone.  I also love to find myself taken by a writer's hand, and led to places far and wide, discovering whole new lands.


I guess that on my Christmas list, I'd ask for a few more hours.  For writing, reading, marketing you need some special powers!  Just a couple, five or so, more hours in the day and I might get to do the things that keep on slipping away.  Work and life and family I thoroughly enjoy, but to fit it into 24, I'd have more me's to employ!


But so it is and such is life, it only makes us stronger.  But, Santa, if you're listening, can you make my days a little longer?

The Cats Pyjamas Burlesque



In a previous post I’ve gone into the history of both the term and the show because of an evening spent at the Yardbirds Rock Club in Grimsby.  I told of how my wife and I had a great night, though the first half was better than the last.


Well, Saturday brought our second foray into the world of wonder that is Burlesque.  I can safely say both halves of the show, performed by The Cats Pyjamas Burlesque Cooperative, where equally excellent.


We almost didn’t it make on the night.  Our babysitter told us, at the last moment, she had pleurisy.  Even without the fact our youngest is prone to chest infections and at risk from pneumonia, we couldn’t let her still come.  For a while, we were pretty much stranded, then my mother-in-law stepped into the breach and agreed to babysit.  Yay!


It wouldn’t have been so bad but we were meeting friends – burlesque regulars – there and they’d sorted the tickets.


I’m currently experiencing severe back pain, so getting dressed in my tuxedo was an unpleasant experience for me and probably quite funny for anyone else!  Yes, a tux isn’t my regular attire when visiting the Yardbirds, a brilliant (as I’ve attested before) place for a great night out, but the theme was James Bond – and I look good in a suit!


I wasn’t looking forward to standing all night as the pain in my back gets more intense when I stand still, but hey ho.  I wasn’t going to let it spoil the night.


We arrived about 15 minutes before the show was due to start.  Enough time to pick a spot and get a drink.  There were plenty of people in suits and dresses, looking very smart and glamorous.  One guy was dressed only in tight swimming shorts and another had an amazing costume based on whichever Bond film featured New Orleans voodoo (who do you do what remind me of the babe).  His outfit and makeup was brilliant.


One of the things that made the previous show we’d been to so enjoyable was the host, Snappy O’Shea.  She has a great repertoire and rapport and is fast and sharp.  She consistently had everyone laughing and this night was no exception.  Snappy’s quickfire routine was spot on the mark and had all of us joining in.


Last time, there was a large humour portion to the show.  They had the 50 Shades of Beige and the lollipop lady and more.  SOOO funny.  This time, the humour part of the dances was put aside to encompass the ‘Double Oh Heaven’ theme.  There were still laughs aplenty thanks to Snappy and her wonderful relationship with the dancers and stage people, such as Stormy, but the acts themselves were more classy and demure, in the main.  To a certain extent, I did miss this, but the dancers definitely made up for it.  They were beautiful and made sure we had something great to watch.  Each deserved their applause and cheers.


Special mention must go to Kiki DeVille, the Australian singer who opened and closed the show, and popped up (ooer missus) a couple of times between.  She was a fab singer, and her songs were brilliant.  We really felt for her poor wet, hot, bald pussy – the poor cat!


I didn’t win on the raffle this time, but, thanks to Snappy and the delightful Busty Goodrack (Kerching!) I didn’t seem to mind!


All in all, a brilliant show.  I’m looking forward to February 8th, when the Valentine special is on.  I’ve seen a good few acts at the Yardbirds, and it’s a great venue.  The Cats Pyjamas most certainly is the dog’s bananas!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

What time is it? Christmas O'Clock!

A couple of years ago, I sat down to write some of the sequel to Sin.  As usual I had no idea what I was going to write, but I knew Sin would be 'strutting his stuff'.


1,000 words later, I discovered I'd written the beginning of a story which came to be titled 'Rudolph Saves Christmas'!  In the story, Rudolph (you’ll never guess) had to save Christmas!  No, really.


Anywho.  I have no idea how venturing into the world of an escaped lunatic who kills people with his mind could morph into a children’s Christmas story, but that’s pretty much how I work.  I just write.  I’ve just read an excellent blog post by Connie J. Jasperson, the author of the equally excellent Tower of Bones series on how she’s forcing herself to work to an outline to ensure things happen in her books the way she wants or needs them to.  I wish, sometimes, I could do that.


It appears I can’t.  Hence Santa from Sin.


I’m a member of the Myrddin Publishing Group and, under their banner, published my anthology Dark Places.  A number of the talented authors from the group, including Connie, have lent those talents to a very seasonal collection, with all of the proceeds going to charity.


The collection is called Christmas O’Clock and contains two books and six stories with subjects ranging from Magic Coal, a girl who has to face the North Pole courts to clear her name from the Naughty List and playing Scrooge in a school play.

The charity we’ve chosen is Water for Life, an international project aiming at helping people develop safe and sustainable water sources for their communities.  The charity’s website is


I join forces with such authors as Alison DeLucaNicole Antonia CarsonConnie Jasperson, Irene Roth Luvaul and Mary K. Mitchell in the collection, each of whom have successful books in steampunk, fantasy and more.


You can find Christmas O’Clock at the following places:


Amazon US:




Amazon UK:




Anyone who buys a copy of the book is welcome to a free copy of either Zits’n’Bits or Rudolph Saves Christmas, my own children’s books.  Just contact me through either my website or my Facebook page and leave me a message and I’ll be in touch!



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Promises, promises...

Oops.  I had a story to tell and I had only so many words to use, but the idea didn't want to listen and spilled over, creating a bit of a flood - at least in comparison to what was initially needed.


As such, I have a lot of trimming to do!


When I visited the wonderful Writebulb peeps, I took part in their writing challenge.  My commitment was to write a 1,000 word flash fiction called The Masquerade, and finish my children’s story ‘Puddlebrain’.  The first part of this seemed easy.  A thousand words?  No problem.  The second part was also a cinch.  I knew exactly where Puddlebrain was going.  I could bash that down without no worries.


OK.  I should have been committed for my commitment.


Since I was there, which, granted was a little while ago and should have given me plenty of time, it’s been a little hectic.  But then, when isn’t my life?  And, as is usually the case – just look at Sin – my ideas don’t conform to a word count.


I don’t control the stories.  They control me, in a fashion.  As I’ve said before, I don’t plan or outline, I simply write.


So.  1,000 words?  When I reached 1,500 words I thought I was close to the end and it’d be fairly simple to trim it down to meet the flash requirements.  I could keep the ‘full-fat’ version for my upcoming anthology Darker Places but whittle away bits to squeeze into the margins.  As it was, I left out a little scene I wanted to put in, so I could work that into the final version too.


I finished the story yesterday.  It’s around 2,650 words.




A friend of mine from America, Cindy Harper, suggested I keep the current story and write another.  I’d love to.  Unfortunately, the deadline is this weekend, and I have an interview to do and a blog post for Sin.  And I have to bin 1,600 words!  So, perhaps not.  I’m not sure what would be quicker, writing 1,000 words or deleting 1,600, but the latter seems to be the faster option.


As for Puddlebrain?  She’s still lost in The Grimace, though it’s leading her out to face The Shadow.  I know this.  I can picture it.  I’ve run through the scenes and the dialogue.  I just haven’t managed to write it down yet.  But I will, and soon.


Just perhaps not by the end of the week.


So.  I knew that time ran away from me like a teenager in a slasher movie.  I knew whatever I wanted to do would actually be a struggle when it came down to it.  But I still said I would do it.  Silly billy.


Anywho.  Hopefully I’ll get the flash fiction sorted and delivered.  Then I can work on Puddlebrain and have it finished and get some beta readers on the case.


And then I may manage to talk to the police about what’s going to happen to Sin now he’s in handcuffs...


Time, though art mine friend and mine enemy in equal parts.  Why dost thou entwine thyself in my dilemmas?

Or something...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

When Inspiration Strikes...

You can never tell when an idea may hit.  Or when one might seep in unannounced and take you by surprise.  A little nudge in the right direction is always welcome and today I had just that from the lovely Helen Murphy, an old school friend of mine.


Of course, when I say ‘old’ I mean from when we were at school together, not drawing her pension or leaving her teeth in a glass on the bedside table overnight...  Saying that, I’m not sure of the pensionable age in Australia, where she lives now...


Anywho-be-do.  I received an email from Helen earlier today in which she told me of the writing prompts from a group she attends.  Helen also sent me the poem she’d written triggered by said prompts.  It was excellent, as is all her poetry and I couldn’t help but reciprocate with something of my own.  I have to admit that it was off the top of my head and is ‘as it comes’, but I quite enjoyed the little creative interlude to my day so I thought I’d share it with you and give my thanks to Helen – young Helen that is.


Summer Loving

By Shaun Allan


The garden was overgrown now

A fire of wilderness

Where no man dare step

'Cross the breach

Lest they burn with

Heart's confess


'I told him not to come back'

She cried

Though was more of a

Hesitant whisper

But he was there yet

Or his body was

She'd buried him with her sister


The summer sun shone

Coating the world

In a sheen of shimmering heat

But its reach didn't reach

Into her shell

As her soul lay in shreds at her feet


At the jetty she'd seen

Her sibling and love

With a heat as hot as the sun

A deadly embrace wrapped in

Natures own clothes

Placed in her hand

A gun


Now her sister lies cold

And her lover so bold

Rots beside his lies


And as the sun sets

And the moon takes her hand

She looks on the garden

And cries




Oh, the writing prompts were as follows.  Maybe you’d like to see what you come up with?


Use one of these lines as a basis for a poem, story or true story.


1   The garden was overgrown now.


2   ‘I told him not to come back!’


3    He/She was there.


4    Use these three words in a poem, story or true story:  summer, shell and jetty.

Helen's poem was a wonderful piece about rekindled romance. I did think about following her lead but, well, you probably know me too well for that by now...