Posts Tagged ‘Hodderscape’

 I have spoken, with a great deal of excitement, of the Hoddescape open submission window. Well after weeks of writing, rewriting and editing I finally took the decision to down tools and to pass on the opportunity this year.  It was disappointing to come to that decision as it was and is a. Wry exciting chance.  However, I reread my work and ultimately came to the conclusion that this time it wasn’t for me.  In fact I have appraised my entire choice of writing and genre and have come to the decision to refocus my work away from my beloved sci-fi, horror and fantasy. I have decided that it is time to give the genre a rest.

I am not giving up of writing though!  Despite many suggesting I do.  I am refocusing my efforts towards the historical thriller and adventure stories.   Now, the neighsayers might say ‘ what qualifies you to write about history?’  Well, that is an easy question to answer.  I am a graduate of history and a work background in museums and I have been described as knowledgeable in such areas.  I have a vast amount of knowledge in a great many areas of History and I am going to focus my work to suit my expansive knowledge.  

So, I am in research mode.  I love being in research mode learning, adapting knowledge and discoveries and hypothesising about events.  To adapt actual events into a fictional context sounds easy but requires a meticulous amount of detail.  Nothing at all can a be out of place, every detail must be accurate.  For example, when talking about the Battle of Britain it is important to ensure that the right mark of spitfire is described.  I have seen so many files where they use older types of spitfire, that weren’t developed until years after, as there vehicles.  This blunder can instantly destroy any work.  How about a historical story of the ancient world and they use iron forged swords before smelting had been discovered.  Attention to detail is paramount.

It is my hope that I produce a work that flows at a breakneck pace and has many twists and turns whilst maintaining a very British feel.  To this end I am going to write about a historian at a university who, through greed and mercenary desires, is embroiled in a plot to uncover the secrets of the Second World War. Some of the protagonists will be driven by greed some by desire some by a necessity for discovery.  It’s going to be multi-levelled intricate tale of intrigue, deception, high adventure and  historical accuracy.  

It will be in a similar vein as some of the great writers, Nernard Cornewell meets Clive Cussler with a hint of Len Deighton and Ian Fleming.  That is my hope.  I will write some accompanying short stories to underpin the story and characters and publish those here. 

I am very excited by this and I hope you will join me on this journey!


This week saw a rare event, and one that gives me the opportunity to flex my reviewing muscles.   I have children, 2 small boys that require a great deal of time.  We don’t have babysitters, mostly because family are too far away and we just have not found a suitable sitter.  So, we rarely go out.  My boys, this week, had a little holiday and went to stay with their grandparents.  We had a whole day and night off.  And we were not going top waste the opportunity!

A busy day was planned.  Our first port of call was to the Medieval cathedral town of Salisbury.  Driving up the A-338 north towards the town you drive through some stunning and inspiring country.  Rolling hills, green fields and suddenly, coming over the crest of the hill you see the spire of the cathedral.  As your elevation increases as does the stunning scene of the monumental cathedral as it is revealed to you.   It is magnificent and a wonder to behold, it dominates the skyline and is simply breathtaking.  But, that is not why we were there.   We were there to follow the Barons Charter trail. 

This might not mean a lot to you.  It is a charitable ordination that has created 25 statues that have been uniquely decorated.  The Barons Charter was a group of landed gentry who were intent on enforcing the laws of King John, including the Magna Carta. It is the anniversary of the Magna Carta this year, 800 years since it was signed, and this is part of the commemoration.   It seems to be a strange thing to try to visit, and something that may not hold much interest, except for one statue.  Decorated by Paul Kidby, Discworld Illustrator, he created a baron that memorialized and represented the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett.  As many of you know he is one of my favourite authors, and I felt obliged to visit this as a memorial to the prolific and comedic author.  

To learn more of the barons visit the website here:

Part 2 of our day off was to leave Salisbury and head to Bournemouth.  I love Bournemouth, I have lived there and it is a wonderful place.   We walked on the beach, had a paddle.  It is something I have to do.  I love the sea.  I love the smell of the briny ocean, I love the feel of the sand between my toes.   I cannot express how much the beach and the sea means to me.  I have an attachment to it.  Although, oddly i prefer to be in it than on it.  I don’t get seasick I just don’t like boats particularly.  Much rather be in or under the sea.   It was a nice sunny afternoon, the sun was hot, the water cool.  Lovely!

But the evening was a departure from our routine, we went to the cinema.  We have not been to the cinema since before the boys were born and I was so excited to see Jurassic World.  Here is my review:

Jurassic World is exactly what you would expect.  The Park has grown into a successful and profitable attraction and from that respect is amazing.  It is great to see what it could have been following the first film.  Expectedly the dinosaurs escape and eat people.  This is all it needed to be.  There are subtle undertones of corporate greed, military interference and conspiracy and also the risks of genetic manipulation.  It has all the themes that Michael Crichton warned of in his original novel.  unfortunately it was all there in short supply during the film. 

What was missing was characterisation.  It was effect heavy and unfortunately the characters were wooden and predictable.  Which is not to say it wasnt a good film, it is what it is.  It was enjoyable and vast in its scope.  The 3-D was some of the best I have seen.  Not a bad effort, but it has very little relation to Crichton’s superb original work. 

My review in a word:  Passable.

Which is not to say that it was not an enjoyable film. it has many subtleties to the plot.  It just felt that some of the characters did not come across well and is just a cash cow for the studio.  A shame as there could have been so much more to it, perhaps the next one will have more substance.

And to Top things off an update on the writing front.  I have been working hard on submissions for the Hodderscape open submission window and also a few short stories which I think are working well.  But I am having a bit of a rethink.  It has been often said to me that my historical fiction is better than my Sci-Fi, I have a style akin to Ken Follett.  I studied History at university and have an in-depth and working knowledge.  I was always criticised in my essays at uni for being too literary in my writing.  Perhaps this is a way to go? 

I have an idea that utilises my knowledge and passion for the subject.   I have been criticised that I am not finishing projects, I get stuck and move on to the next one.  This is disheartening for me.  I lose the thread and the impetus and lose the momentum because I feel that it is not working.  It is a curse I have.  Frustration takes over.  Very annoying for me.  I know have new ideas pinging around my head and it detracts from the ideas I was running with.  My time is very limited I work a lot of hours in a week and my writing time is short .  I try to write when I can but do struggle when I am tired.  so, I need to sit and finish a project, them start a new one.  Arrgghh it is so very frustrating and I spiral into lack of production as a result .  im sure it is an affliction that affects all writers.  I hold out hope that other great and prolific writers took years to produce work, to find their own style and voice.  Time, that is what I need, Time!