Latest stories

Review: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Fellowship of the Ring

This book was published in 1954 and set the tone for modern fantasy. However, in the 60+ years since then a lot of the tropes have been repeated over and over which makes anyone coming to this now feel that it is a little dated. It is still highly evocative, well-plotted, well structured and engaging to listen to and so, as any reader or specifically writer of the fantasy genre I would recommend...

Review: Save The Cat

Save The Cat

Blake Snyder takes you through the process of crafting a screenplay stage by stage based on his many year experience in the business. His beat sheet setting out the key milestones in the films narrative structure has been used successfully in many, many films and is referred to regularly. There are other templates for screenplays, of course, but this is a very accessible and essential guide to...

Review: The Elements of Style

Begin

One of those ‘essential reading’ books for writers. It lays out many of the rookie mistakes you should avoid if you want to be taken seriously. We all make them – I still do. Erudite and necessary reading and to have for reference right next to you. I came across this when reading On Writing, and have seen it referred to many times in many online forums. It is dry but makes...

Review: The Etymologicon: The Hidden Connections of the English Language

Dictionary atop map of England

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English LanguageMark ForsythEtymologyAudible Studios1 May 2012Audiobook6h 42mAudible A quirky, entertaining and thought-provoking tour of the unexpected connections between words, read by Simon Shepherd. What is the actual connection between disgruntled and gruntled? What links church organs to organised crime, California...

Review: On Writing

An excellent book that is both a memoir and an excellent outline of the main tools you need in your writer’s toolbox if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. Stephen King’s approach to writing is story-driven, not plot-driven, so eschews away from other guides which suggest a need for endless pre-planning, outlines, character notes, etc. It’s refreshing to hear this, and it’s a great...

Pazuzu’s Covenant

Signs clattered. A dog barked. Something heavy fell. He frowned at the note written his little black book and slid it back into the inside pocket of his tailcoat with a hint of resignation. He knew it was going to be a bad day. The Undertaker waited in the doorway of the saloon and checked his pocket watch again. There was no sun to glint off the case today. Dark clouds hung low on the horizon...

Cut

Donkeys

The opening of Karl’s petting zoo promises to be the start of a new, brighter chapter in his life, but an unexpected meeting threatens to destroy everything he has worked for.— Logline. This is a follow-on piece to my earlier FTW. FADE IN It was a little after three in the afternoon. Sam, the lead zoologist, was enthralling a group of children with his extensive knowledge of goats...

F.T.W.

Truck in a Back Alley

Carlos is given a life-or-death task by his boss and while pondering the gravity of it, he is distracted by a dog that wanders into a derelict boxing gym. Driven by compassion, he seeks to rescue the dog and confronts his own demons, making a choice between good and evil.— Logline. FADE IN Carlos had been late and Mike was very unhappy. The meeting had gone badly. Carlos had been left alone...

The Epics of Gilgamesh

Central to the origin stories was Gilgamesh, the shepherd king of Erech. He was as strong as the savage bull, the most splendid amongst heroes and the most glorious amongst men. His strength was unrivalled and he had the most extraordinary good looks ...

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    About me

    About 40 years ago, I discovered role-playing and Dungeons and Dragons in one of the after school clubs. It revealed a universe that allowed me to flex my storytelling muscles and enjoy a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi and feed the escapist dreamer inside.

    Over time, I played (and story-led - marked with *) many systems including Call of Cthulhu*, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons*, Middle Earth, In Nomine*, Bushido, Chivalry & Sorcery, Chill, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Gammaworld, Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Immortals*, Marvel Super Heroes, Paranoia, RuneQuest, Vampire: The Masquerade*, and a couple of systems my own devising (Medieval* and Parody*).

    I explored live-action role-playing – eventually running my own club and creating my own LARP systems (Fools Gold and Dream Conquest) – and usually found myself in script-writing or game-master duty, writing over 500 individual live adventures over the period (usually weekly), many linked into the world events of the fantasy land we created. I also volunteered for Curious Pastimes and Lorien Trust at their main LARP events (special effects at the Ritual Circle), and did a little script work, cameos and improv for Curious Pastimes. I was also the South East's Editor (UK) for the LARP magazine The Adventurer. The biggest event I ran was a 10-month modern-day "murder mystery" LARP set around parts of Kent where characters were "always-on" and could get updates and interactions at any time outside of scheduled events. That was in the 1990s.

    I was also the artistic director for English Heritage for their live Halloween Horrors events at Fort Amherst in Kent from 1998-1999.

    Now, I write as the mood takes me with occasional competitions and challenges, and this year (2020) I will be taking on #NaNoWriMo.

    Here's to the future!