Of beer and fantasy.


We went to a brewery the other Sunday. Shepherd Neame’s brewery in Faversham, Kent, as it happens. And fabulous it was too. Britain’s oldest brewer, they believe and I’m not getting into a pointless argument about that one! I recommend the trip wholeheartedly, even if – unlike me – you are not a great beer fan.

I love beer.

beer-and-fantasy Continue reading Of beer and fantasy.

I’ve got a .gif and I’m going to use it!

Yes, it goes round in circles! Is there any reason for it?

book cover turning

Well, it does give me a feeling of great satisfaction. And you can see the back of the front cover – as it were! But apart from that, sorry no reason at all!

Pretty though, but after a while … Continue reading I’ve got a .gif and I’m going to use it!

We love 101!

I was absolutely delighted to have reached something of a personal landmark recently – 100 reviews of A DEAD ELF on Amazon! I was so pleased I tweeted about it and made a little picture:

Detective Strongoak cover 100

A very happy writer – who was then gripped by a terrible anxiety. I can’t explain it, but I was filled with the thought that review 101 was going to be awful. I didn’t quite wake up in the middle of the night sweating, but it was close. In the end I just ‘knew’ it was going to be awful – I’d got use to the idea in fact.

And then last night this popped up on Amazon.com:

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun fantasy/mystery

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing: Good fantasy/mystery story line, well written and edited, well developed and engaging characters, and no graphic sex or excessive violence. A bit more cerebral than a lot of fantasy out there, and I loved it.

So thank you Sheila Retherford, wherever you may be in the USA – so glad you liked it – and now I can relax! Continue reading We love 101!

Telling a Book by its Cover

A rather nice posting recently reminded me of how much I love the illustrations in children’s books (putting aside the debate about whether such a thing really exists). The post reminded me of how much I loved the Tolkien-drawn cover of my own childhood copy of ‘The Hobbit’. I had always had something similar in mind for my own book: ‘A DEAD ELF’ (not a children’s book!) but updated, to reflect the differences in the two book’s content.

hobbit v strongoak cover

I was a little shy of mentioning this to my new publishers though, as it seemed a little ‘precious’ of me (ha). So, it was with excitement, and some trepidation, that I open the image file from my publisher – and was completely bowled over! It was like the talented artist and illustrator Alexandra Allden had been reading my mind! Just the right sort of ‘nod’, while being distinctive in itself. I could not have imagined a cover that more closely matched my expectations, or for that matter the book! Still in love with it – especially the soft touch paperback cover. Continue reading Telling a Book by its Cover

Fun in Augmented Reality

Have you, or any of your friends or family, gone Pokémon Go crazy? Are you trekking the streets and countryside hoping for strange pastel-coloured figures to pop up on your Smartphone screens? It seems that the world has woken up to ‘augmented reality’ and is getting very excited.

I won’t be getting excited.

That’s because I have been excited by the possibilities for years now! The reason being that back in 2013 I worked with a company called Apeartome Ltd (now tomee.com) on a project that didn’t involve just augmented reality, but ultra-reality! This wasn’t just cartoon figures appearing on your Smartphone, but people! And they would talk to you!

soldier York

The figures in question were historic people (both actual and imagined) who would tell you something interesting about the City of York. A Roman soldier, a Victorian businessman, Guy Fawkes and Richard Plantagenet were just some of the characters that would pop up at various locations around the city to enhance the tourist experience for tourist. You could even have your photograph taken with them!

york fawkes

Writing the scripts for some of these was tremendous fun, I particularly enjoyed penning the home-sick legionnaire, but more exciting still was getting an insight into just how powerful the technology was and could be. As somebody who was involved in the early days of the ‘multi-media explosion’ it was fascinating to see some of the predictions coming into actuality. As a fantasy writer it’s a bit a little bit of fantasy come true!

Continue reading Fun in Augmented Reality

Abandon Summer Office!

One of the great things about this writing business is the chance to use the summer office. It’s wonderful with garden coming into full bloom to have this little hide-away.

back to the office

Sadly this year’s’ weather has been so pants there have not been many great summer office days. And now, when we finally have a decent day, what happens?

Inside the Summer office

I have to vacate the office, that is what! Yes, for the first time ever it is too hot for Dr Tel to be out there in the summer office. The jolly-old thermometer is hitting 90F and I can’t concentrate!

How cross am I?* Continue reading Abandon Summer Office!

The Elf with No Name

“I stopped a step or two from the top and weighed him up. The long straight blond locks were pulled back tight with a pin-stick slide-clip that flashed a sapphire or two as he turned his head to survey the night-time Citadel. A knotted plait hung over one shoulder. His two-button suit in midnight green was expertly cut in a style that did not impede movement. His hat was as cool as an ice-dragon’s undercarriage.

Elf with no name

Lean and nicely balanced and probably fast with it, this was one elf that would need careful watching.

Continue reading The Elf with No Name