A mentoring tale and the wolf within…

A few years ago, I was invited by Geoff Brown to be a mentor for the Australian Horror Writers’ Association.

It involved working with a particular author on a work-in-progress and, as you’d expect, sharing as much knowledge with them as possible. The payment was modest for the amount of work doing it properly would involve but I wanted to give it a try and see if I could make a difference.

Initially, I was shown two pieces of writing and at that early stage, I balked. I didn’t see any potential in either passage, so I asked Geoff if there was anyone else’s work I could look at. I was then sent a scene from a novel about a werewolf who used heroin to prevent himself from turning at each full moon. I loved the idea and the writing had real depth. I asked to work with the author and away we went for several weeks.

The author was Pete Aldin and we worked well together. I did what I could to guide, hone and encourage a person who clearly had a lot of raw talent and, like me, was quite late to the writing party.

It was a great experience. It caused me to question what I thought I knew about novel writing and come out stronger on the other side. And, throughout, despite setting some tough tasks for Pete – the kinds of tasks I’d have set for myself years before, if only I’d known – I watched his writing gain power and impact and saw his novel stretching towards fullness.

The mentoring period came to an end and we said our virtual goodbyes. I hoped I’d made a difference for Pete but I knew working with him had made a big difference for me; it showed me I had something to give, other than my stories, and it proved to me that not all writing advice is good advice because every author is so different. There’s no right and wrong way of doing it as long as what you do works – for you.

And that was the end of that.

Until a few weeks ago when Pete got in touch with some news. He’d finished his novel, taken loads of advice from lots of different people and had ended up publishing it himself. I was even mentioned in the acknowledgements. I was delighted.

I said at the time that I’d tell our story in a blog post, so here it is!

Pete’s an ace writer and his novel is a super-cool spin on the werewolf genre. If you like your characters hairy on the inside, check out Black Marks. And when you finish it, having loved it to bloody bits, go and give the man a star rating or better still a nice review…

Giveaway results

winner-winner-chicken-dinnerWell, the Goodreads giveaways that spanned most of January and February are over.

Following half a day of printing and signing letters, personalising title pages and stuffing envelopes, all the prizes are now in the post.

*pats self on back*

I gave away: Continue reading

Thank you with cats!!!

Just a quickie this morning, lovely people.

It turns out that so many of you downloaded the opening extract of The Veil it went straight into Lovereading’s Top Ten books of the week – I’m up there with Nadiya Hussain!

So it’s a big THANK YOU from me and a picture of my catsmaking-big-cats-look-small

(And if you haven’t read the beginning of the story, what are you waiting for? A quiet Sunday morning? 🙂 )


Give-away January!

I’m delighted to announce that all my proposed Goodreads give-aways have been approved.

This means that from the 11th to 24th of January I will be giving away six different titles, totalling 42 books! So entering means there’s a very good chance of winning something. Continue reading

Try before you buy!

The Veil

The Veil

The Veil has the honour of being a staff pick-of-the-week on book recommendation hub Lovereading.co.uk – as well as occupying a Book of the Month slot on the same site.

If you like a bit of Sci Fi with your Horror, why not read the free opening extract that Lovereading have made available. Not only will you be hooked, you’ll also give the title a boost and I might make it into the top 10 downloaded books of the week – awesome!

By the way, when you’ve had a mind-blowing experience reading one of my books – do share your thoughts by leaving a rating, review or both somewhere on-line.

It makes a difference to sales and knowing there’s another satisfied customer out there always makes me want to knuckle down and get the next story out there as quick as I can…

New Year Giveaways

It’s 2017. Extraordinary. Astounding.

Or perhaps nothing more significant than flipping a page on a calendar…

Whatever the case, I’m celebrating by giving away a load of books on Goodreads this month. These are some of the titles I’m hoping to share:

MEATBlack FeathersGarbage ManSplintersclown-wars-toxicBlood Fugue






So, watch for updates and get ready to pounce – some of these will be signed, out-of-print copies. Meanwhile, wishing you every joy and fulfilment for what is bound to be a year to remember.