Gorse #8

I’m delighted to have a short story ‘Cinq à Sept‘ published in the latest issue of gorse.

I was lucky enough to have a story in issue 2 so it’s really great to make the cut again.


Apart from my own efforts you REALLY should check out the new issue, it’s fantastic and contains some great pieces of work.

It should, as they say, be hitting all good bookshops in the very near future, but just in case you have trouble getting a copy you can always buy one via the gorse website, enjoy!!






I’ve spent the last year working on a short story collection, which I’ve now finished and will start submitting shortly. It makes a change from the novels I’ve tried so far and reflects the acceptance of a point I’ve come to with regard to my writing.

I thought I was a crime writer, or more to the point I thought I could write the kind of novels I’ve tried in, as has been called, a Hardboiled-Modernist style, submit them, have them be accepted, and published. Most of the rejections I’ve received for these efforts circle around the commercial possibilities of my work. Writing in any genre, especially in something like crime, the books have to have a commercial appeal, it’s too tough out there now for writers, publishers and booksellers to ignore that fact, and looking at what I’ve been trying I can appreciate that the commercial side of things is where my efforts to date have been falling down.

In parallel with my ‘crime writing’ I’ve been writing short stories, and have had some published, and have come to the realisation that they don’t represent a sideline while I was waiting for something else, or somewhere to practice writing, but are an integral part of what I want to write.

So, as I said, I spent the last twelve months working on a short story collection, which I’m very happy with.

I’ve also decide to stop trying to be published as a ‘crime’ writer, I just can’t make it work, and will instead attempt to be classified as a ‘literary’ writer. I know that both are just genres, and in an ideal world both titles would be redundant as all writing would be judged on its quality alone, but publishing, and especially modern publishing, requires a hook (or a scaffold) to hang each writer on, so this is the path I’ve chosen.

Funnily enough I don’t feel any different as a writer, and I haven’t made any conscious efforts to change what it is I actually write, but certainly when it comes to writing another novel I won’t be trying so hard to fit into a crime genre.

Incidentally I have an idea for a novel which does involve some of the tropes and characteristics of crime, specifically noir, fiction, but I’ll be coming at everything in a much more experimental manner, but more about that at another time.

I still know in my head exactly what sort of writer I am, and who it is who inspires me, and where I aim to go as a writer, and I feel it’s a lot easier to just hang it all under the name ‘literary’ to avoid having to qualify everything as I try to explain myself.

So for the moment I’m a short story writer, I’ll probably always be writing short stories, I really get a lot of pleasure out of them, even if they are bloody hard work, and I feel I can say exactly what it is I want to say in them. I also have my experimental novel to work on, which I’ve already started and is really exciting me, so while I may be a failed crime novelist I’m enthusiastic and eager for the words ahead, and anxious to see how it all works out (though no flipping ahead to see whodunit!!)


And yes, Bowie would be the obvious accompaniment here, but I thought I’d try this one instead.

Dromineer Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition

I was delighted to be awarded third prize in the Dromineer Literary Festival Flash Fiction competition on Saturday afternoon.

Myself and the other award winners got to attend and read our pieces in the Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer overlooking the picturesque Lough Derg.

Congratulations to the other winners (and the winners in the Poetry Competition too) and thanks again to the festival organisers and judges.

My story is included here, hope you like it.








Story in Hotel

I’m delighted that the people behind Hotel, a stunning new journal of new approaches to fiction, non-fiction and poetry have decided to publish my short story ERWIN SCHRÖDINGER BLUES on their website.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and the other great pieces they’ve published online. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a hard copy of the journal to see what wonders they’ve published there too.




Shakespeare 400 and the wound

As we pass through the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare we all, readers and writers alike, have to acknowledge that his work is not only the bedrock on which we build but the continental plate out of which everything we try to do struggles to survive and grow.

My favourite description of the work of Shakespeare has always been that provided by Harold Pinter

Shakespeare writes of the open wound and, through him, we know it open and know it closed

It comes from a note he wrote in 1951, it’s reproduced here by Granta

A Note on Shakespeare

3:AM Magazine

I’m delighted to have a short story published in 3:AM Magazine. For years it’s been a fascinating, and always entertaining, collection of both fiction and non-fiction and I’m thrilled to now be a small part of it.

Here’s the link to the story, I hope you like it.




Exercise your reading muscle

Right, I’m not going to post about how in 2016 I’m going to eat better and exercise more, nor about how I’m going to write a masterpiece and take the publishing world by storm. Whatever I write about it’s not fantasy. I’ll keep slogging away to the best of my ability, keep adding to my collection of rejections and maybe, just maybe, find a little success here and there.

The one form of exercise I’m planning to go public on, in the hope that by doing so I force myself to continue with it, is to improve my reading exercise.

Reading is the fuel of all writers and like someone entering a gym for the first time after only jogging I plan to broaden my exercise, my reading exercise. The plan is, borrowed / stolen from a friend of mine, that every third book I read will be something I’ve never read before though probably should have. This could be a classic, or books by authors I’ve been aware of and always felt I ‘should’ read. Whether this improves things for me I’ve no idea, but at least I’ll have a better appreciation of works out there. I’m making no promises with regard to the gender, nationality or any other descriptor of the writers I’ll read, especially as I haven’t come up with any plan, as I come to each third book I’ll dig out something that fits with this idea and see what happens.

In the spirit of the plan my first read of 2016 (after I finish my current book, 1599 by James Shapiro) will be Jane Eyre, Naturally I know the story from various film and TV adaptations but I’ve never read it.

The reason for choosing Jane Eyre is quite simple. Two friends of mine whose opinions I trust have both over the years, quite independently, told me that Jane Eyre is their favourite book, and something they both return to. So at least now I’ll have a better idea what all the fuss is about.

I may, or may not, post about how I get on, depending on whether I manage to continue with it, but it’s a good idea so hopefully it’ll last.

After all, we’re always being told that we should exercise more, and as a writer exercising my reading muscle is as important a way to pass the time as I can think.


And reader, I exercised it!

(. . . or something like that)