Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Saturday, 7 May 2022

How to Format a Short Story for Submission

Just a little writing guide on how to format a short story for submission. You can find a great list of writing prizes on the Almond Press website. There's also an excellent written guide by William Shunn, here.

Thursday, 5 May 2022



Up until now, I haven't played Wordle, as I'm usually engrossed in Words With Friends, but I finished all my games and still couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd check it out. I've been playing for ten days and so far it seems fairly straightforward - though I know I've just jinxed it by saying that. My strategy is to start with LOUSE, because that knocks out three of the vowels. If none of those come up, I go for HAIRY, which sinks the other two. Once you know the vowels and the easy endings (S, R, H and Y) then there's only really D left as a sensible possibility. The one today was tough:






It's harsh when you hit an ending with multiple rhyming options. The other ones that are difficult are double letters. So, LOONY for example, because you don't want to blow a vowel guess by doubling it unless you're sure. 

But, on the whole, there tend to be a limited number of options for a five-letter word once you get the vowels down. 

It's a bit tough for Brits as they use the American spelling for a lot of words, dropping the U in OU words, even though it was invented by a Brit. 

It's more fun than I was expecting, but I won't be tweeting my daily score.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Rwandan Dictionary of Sign Language


I've been doing a bit of vlogging lately and decided to explain how I ended up in Rwanda in the first place. I came to help research the first dictionary of Rwandan Sign Language, which was published in 2009. There's a bit about how I got here and the process of standardising a national language - you can skip through the timestamps in the description.


Saturday, 23 April 2022

The Original Black Mona Lisa


Aaaaah! Super excited! How cool is this? A few days after posting about Daddy's rap video, I went to his studio and got to see the original Black Mona Lisa. Sure, I'm keeping my cool. Who's not cool? I'm cool. Possibly some more fun things to talk about soon.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

#IndieApril 2022

[Scroll down for yummy book art and links, keep reading for author ramble.]

Hello bibliophiles,

I realise Indie April is almost over and I've not mentioned it at all. I also realise that my blog has turned into a lit review site for all the books I've been reading, rather than writing. I promise that this is a temporary state of affairs - honest! 

The reason I've been so useless at blogging recently is because I've been editing the backside off my new novel. It's been languishing in limbo for almost a year, because I wasn't sure how to feel about it and there was a fuckton (technical literary term) of historical accuracy to deal with. Possibly more than any other book I've ever written. I have been stupidly lucky - far luckier than I deserve - to have an academic expert who has given so much of his time to helping me through this. It would be a disaster if he hadn't. But, because he's put in so much time, I felt I really had to try and do the time period justice. 

Just a few of the fuckups I had to correct - in ancient Mesopotamia, there wasn't any:

  1. Horses
  2. Money
  3. Ability to read silently

I won't go into any of that now, I am probably going to do a videolog about it because, at over 160,000 words of manuscript and countless rewrites, I've actually had enough of typing.

Thankfully, the beta read is going fairly well so far. It's boosted my confidence rather than destroyed it, and because of the positive feedback, I'm starting to see the story in a better light than I did when I originally finished it. As I keep going on and on about, it wasn't the book I set out to write, or even the main historical character I meant to cover. Because of that, I had a hard time excepting it for what it was rather than what I expected it to be. But, now I see, it does hold together. I can be proud of it.

Anyway - #IndieApril is a Twitter tag every April where indie authors like myself (small press and self-published) brag about the kick-ass stories we've written and remind people to go buy them and leave (five star) reviews.

In 2020 I did a set of blogposts for IndieApril that explored the inspiration behind each of my books. I was going to do vlogs this year, but just ran out of time, but I will probably do those later on, so do drop me a line if you have questions about any of my books, as I'll be gathering those up to talk about.

For now, though, I thought I'd just showcase the gorgeous covers and link you through to the in-depth blog posts about each of them. And please do go leave reviews or star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, they mean a lot, as does word of mouth if you enjoyed something. 

        Rosy Hours #IndieApril                            Creeper's Cottage #IndieApril

                          BUY                                                                                BUY



   Children of Lir #IndieApril                                  Tangled Forest #IndieApril

                  BUY                                                                          BUY

This one wasn't out at the time. It's a look at
 the relationship between photography and mortality.


What follows is the dreaded backlist of early novels. 
Read at your own peril. 

         Lucid #IndieApril                                 Angorichina #IndieApril

                BUY                                                                  BUY                  

(But you can still purchase if you're feeling generouse)

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Kingdom of the Cursed

Feels like only yesterday I finished the first of these, Kingdom of the Wicked. I was feeling a bit down about getting to the end, until I realised it's part of a series. The third one, Kingdom of the Feared, is due out in September. I can't remember the last time I pre-ordered a book, but I've pre-ordered this one.

One sister. Two sinful princes. Infinite deception with a side of revenge.... Welcome to Hell.

With the enigmatic Prince of Wrath at her side, Emilia sold her soul to become Queen of the Wicked and travelled to the Seven Circles to fulfil her vow of avenging her beloved sister. 

But the first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. And it quickly becomes clear that nothing in Hell is what it seems. Even Wrath, her onetime ally, may be keeping secrets about his true nature. But that suits Emilia just fine - she's got secrets of her own.

Faced with backstabbing courtiers, princes who delight in fear, luxurious palaces, dazzling galas, and conflicting clues about what truly happened to her sister, Emilia finds herself on a mission to unlock the mysteries of her own past and uncover the answers she craves.

As long as her sins don't catch up to her first....

Of course, now I've got Two Princes going round in my head. 

What a fascinating writer Keri Maniscalco is. A lot of people were saying Kingdom of the Wicked was YA. The narrative was, but the raunch was borderline. This time around she's gone full NA. And I had to look that term up. I'm still not entirely sure what a New Adult is. I think I'm classed as an Old Adult, or at least a partially used one, perhaps second-hand? But, apparently, sparkly brand-New Adults are a thing now. And that means you can throw a lot more raunch in there. 

I must admit, I rather like the idea of young women (and probably a few men) having their first all-consuming literary crush on the Devil.

Again, I just really liked the female power in this. How unapologetic and self-aware Emilia is, and what a good role model that makes for young women. The strong distinction between lust and love, and how you can desire someone you do not love, and that is perfectly all right. 

There was huge emphasis placed on consent throughout this, which is extremely important, though, at times I did struggle to believe the Prince of Wrath was such a complete gentleman. The embodiment of war... I don't know. Having seen a few post-conflict zones, I struggle with the idea there's much etiquette involved. But, at the same time, it's a romance novel and if War showed his true face, I don't think anyone would be feeling that sexy. So, it's the ultimate power with self-control motif that makes the whole thing fly.

I like it. It's fun.

I chose a violent, bloody shade of red and painted my lips the colour of murder.


His gaze was hard enough to make diamonds jealous.


"You look like a beautiful cataclysm."...

"It's every woman's dream to be likened to a natural disaster."

"A violent upheaval. I'd say it suits."


I believe John Milton, a mortal poet, said it best. Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. I told you the power of choice, the appeal it holds for me. I would do terrible things, unforgivable things, to choose my destiny. 


Astra inclinant, sed non obligant - The stars incline us, they do not bind us. 

Just a delightful book. I went to bed each night looking forward to the next chapter, whilst working my way through Dostoevsky during the daytime. I must admit, I'm not enjoying that one as much. I've now reverted back to listening to The Binding for a third time, as that's one of the best books ever written and a suitable replacement. Plus, if I do nod off early, I don't miss anything because I remember the story very well.

So, here's to being violent little vixens.

This series is wonderfully entertaining.