Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

The Dragonette ’57 convertible steamwagon was not facing any competition:

Keen Steamliner - cool!
Keen Steamliner – cool!

“I collected my wagon early the next day. It’s a racing-green Dragonette ’57 convertible; the last model with the little wings and the air-trimmed front end. Daddy’s pride and joy, with marble interior finish and leather ragtop. It did my heart good just to touch her. Sceech the grease goblin had done a good job on the shoes, and I took off in a reasonable frame of mind. I had slept pretty well and though I didn’t feel like a million crowns, well at least I didn’t look like buried treasure.”

Continue reading Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

‘So, you’re a writer?’

The man at the fireworks party turns to me and says, ‘so, are you a writer too?’

I was rather taken aback to be honest. I mean, I was here to watch people walking up and down the street dressed up as monks and Romans and such like, while carrying burning torches and banging drums, before going to see a fab firework display (with the burning of a political effigy), not to talk work.

Image Courtesy of Adrian Spinks Photography
Image Courtesy of Adrian Spinks Photography


Of course, you can’t stop a writer comparing notes with another writer. So, full of enthusiasm, and beer, I reply:

‘Yes, I am a writer! I write fantasy and comedy now, just got a book out with Harper Voyager. I use to write for radio and TV, for people like Rory Bremner – a lot of political stuff. Plus, stage and now film. How great to meet another writer here, you didn’t do the secret handshake you see, threw me completely!

‘So,’ I say, ‘what do you write?’

Continue reading ‘So, you’re a writer?’

All-Inclusive Holidays in Mordor – not just for the adventurous!

There is not doubt that the growth of Mordor as a holiday destination has been one of the great tourist successes of the Modern Age. With its startling volcanic landscape, and frozen lava fields, Mordor provides a magnificent backdrop for any vacation. The colour scheme is remarkably different from what most of us are used to, yet Mordor has its own stark magnificence, as the ash greys and blacks of the petrified magma contrast with the bright white local buildings and splashes of palm and cactus green.

The writer enjoys a moment of relaxation next to the lava fringed Sea of Nurnen

The resort destinations of the Sea of Núrnen are, of course, the major attractions. Fed by rivers from Ephel Duath and Ered Lithui, which now run clear and true, this startlingly blue inland salty sea is currently much larger than of old and provides a wealth of opportunities for water sports, such as wind surfing and water skiing.

This was our first trip to Mordor and we didn’t know quite what to expect. The larger towns are experiencing some commercialisation, but over all Mordor is still manages to retain its own unique charm. Our hotel was built from local lava bricks and was clean and accommodating. The return of abundant bird life has certainly put an end to the flies that once bothered travellers! We went ‘all-inclusive’ as we weren’t sure about the local cuisine, but we needn’t have worried. The fertile plains of Nurn, with their rich volcanic soils now provide a wide range of staple, as well as exotic, foods. Plus, the Sea of Núrnen provides plenty for the fish-loving gourmet to enjoy!

The locals were exceptionally friendly (a bit different from the past eh?) and from many different backgrounds. The smiling bar goblin was forever mixing up a fantastic range of cocktails – warning they are very strong! Of course many people are simply attracted to Mordor by the warm weather, the sandy beaches and the deep blue sea – and who can blame them? We found a beautiful beach for relaxing on, with a fabulous restaurant close by, where they mixed a marvellous Mordor Punch – perfect for watching the sun set over the distant Ephel Duath range.

Although somewhat surprising, there is little doubt that Mordor has become the chic choice for both the adventurous traveller, and the more sedate holidaymaker. We’re certainly going back again!

Continue reading All-Inclusive Holidays in Mordor – not just for the adventurous!

Confessions of a FantasyCon Virgin (Nicely’s going home, he’s going home)

Nicely at Fantasycon2015

Detective Nicely Strongoak has just returned to his spiritual home, as an excited me went back to the University of Nottingham for Fantasycon 2015. Yes, it was here on the Nottingham campus where, after work as an ultrastructural morphologist, I first put down my ideas for the dwarf detective in a modern(ish) fantasy world, on a Apple computer so old it was actually a Pip. And I was now here talking about him.

Officially I was there discussing comedy and fantasy on an excellent panel, with top writers Donna Scott, Frances Hardinge, Steve Jordan, Heather Lindsley and Craig Saunders, and doing a little bit of reading from A DEAD ELF. Unofficially I was getting my first introduction into the current state of fantasy writing in the UK, and very healthy it appears to be.

Continue reading Confessions of a FantasyCon Virgin (Nicely’s going home, he’s going home)

Funtasy 2015

Really looking forward to Fantasycon 2015 in Nottingham when I’ll be on the panel for Funtasy: Comedy & Humour in Genre Fiction at 7.00pm Fri 23 Oct along with Frances Hardinge, Steve Jordan, Heather Lindsley and Craig Saunders. Donna Scott will be keeping us all in order as we discuss matters such as “what type of funny? Narrative tone, situation, language and character”.

Getting ready for FantasyCon 2015
Getting ready for FantasyCon 2015

Continue reading Funtasy 2015

In conversation – genre and more

Have a look here for a very stimulating conversation with fellow writer Jason LaPier discussing combining genres in fiction writing, and much more. It’s always an interesting subject , because people can get very worked up about their favourite genres.

Superhero with speech bubbleAnd it’s also interesting  to find out how other writers approach their plotting and world building (his book has a great cover too!). Plotting is so important, but can sometimes seem slightly magical. I’m not even sure how I approach my own plots sometimes.

Superhero with speech bubble

Continue reading In conversation – genre and more

Talking Dwarf

SuHuGo have a listen to the latest ‘Husband’s Half Hour’ ( for wise words (ramblings) about dwarfs, fantasy, comedy and corkscrew sperm from Dr Tel. Plus great songs from Ronnie Golden and the inimitable and truly fabulous Su Husband too (not forgetting the fab Elastic Band.) A rather fun afternoon for all.