There is currently a heatwave in England. Every weather channel has various diagrams to explain just how toasty it is and invariably there's a lot of red on the map. Those of you from hotter climates may well laugh, but it's currently 30 degrees Celsius and I'm officially melting. And while my office has air-conditioning, my … Continue reading 5# Things do to when you don’t want to write
Last Wednesday, I read out an excerpt from my first chapter at my writing group. You'd think given I blog, enjoying writing and reading, that something like this would be a walk in the park. You might as well ask me to perform open-heart surgery. If you don't know me, I should explain I am the … Continue reading Taking a risk is the Only way to Grow
The eternal question asked by and of writers. Where do you get your ideas from? In response to this frequently asked question, the divine Neil Gaiman has said: 'I make them up,' I tell them. 'Out of my head.' Well, obviously. Whatever we do and say, odds are, it probably originated from out of our heads. … Continue reading Where do you get your ideas from?
Once a year, a list like this gets published. 100 books to read before you die. 100 books you should read. 100 books that changed the world. You know the sort. Last Monday, the BBC published their latest version of this on the culture website. 100 Stories that Shaped the World. And every time I see one … Continue reading Should we care about the top 100 books?
On a sunny Saturday in London, I went to see Quiz at the Noel Coward Theatre. Written by James Graham, this has to be the most mental plays I've seen. Yet it's thought-provoking and current in the light of social media as it is today. And while I enjoyed it, I also have to admit, it felt … Continue reading Review: Quiz by James Graham
Another summer, another Comic-Con. Yesterday, I went to MCM London Comic-Con at the Excel Centre and as usual, had a complete blast. But I think it's easy for us hardcore fans to forget that to anyone who hasn't been, this could seem like a strange and intimidating new world. For the last few weeks, I've … Continue reading Five Questions You Wanted Answered About MCM London Comic-Con
Now we are in the fifteen-week of the year, I wanted to do a brief update on where I am on the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. Have I read the target of fifteen books? Ha! I'm only four books behind. So far this year, I've read: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde … Continue reading Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge Update!
MAY THE VERSE BE WITH YOU! This is perhaps one of the nerdiest books out there and was, I'm convinced, written for me. It combines two of my favourites things, Shakespeare and Star Wars. It's a hilarious and fascinating read and I absolutely love it. You really don't need much of an introduction - this … Continue reading Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
They are not idiots. They're hacks. I've written on this blog before about my quiet love for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's a book I studied and one, as a teenager, I felt a lot of kinship with. Because what else is Frankenstein about but a Creature attempting to find its place in a cold and … Continue reading The Monster, The Sun and A Tale of Hack Journalism
***SPOILER ALERT*** Star Trek Discovery spoilers ahead! If you’re not past episode 12 “Vaulting Ambition” then just back on out of here and come back later. But if episode 12 is old news to you, or you’re not a Trekky, then read on! This isn’t a love letter to the scf-fi world. I’m only using … Continue reading 6 Signs You’re Writing a Bad Guy
Last weekend, I saw 'The Birthday Party' by Harold Pinter. It had some of my favourite actors in it including Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan, Zoe Wanamaker, and, of course, Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was at the Harold Pinter theatre - however, I've been living in London for about eight years now and I've been coming … Continue reading Review: The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter
This week, the Guardian ran a quote from Arnaud Nourry, chief executive of Hachette Livre, saying that ebooks are “a stupid product” which have "no creativity" and have so far only had "one or two successes among a hundred failures." If you haven't heard of them, Hachette is currently the world's third largest trade publisher so we … Continue reading Are eBooks Stupid?
Since I saw Hamilton at the Alexandra Palace and posted my review, I’ve been having many and various fun arguments with friends and fellow musical theatre lovers as to why this is probably one of the greatest musicals in the last twenty years. I’ve seen some amazing new musicals like Groundhog Day and Matilda, but … Continue reading Why Hamilton is Genius
This is a book which has been on my shelf for a whopping ten years. I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to read it, but I'll thank Robin's Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge for encouraging me to stop buying new books and read the ones I have! Here's a brief … Continue reading Review: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
What does every alternative version of history have, from steampunk to dystopias? Airships, of course! In fact, I've just finished reading Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and airships feature in that world too. For some reason, the minute history changes, these great elephants of the air hear their calling and come running. First, a little history. … Continue reading Steampunk: Airships
Two of the most stressful things you can do is move house and start a new job. In December, I decided to do both. I have a philosophy that if you have several hard things to do, do them at the same time because how bad can it be, really? Hum... Well, I've finally finished … Continue reading Where do you write?
This is another historical nonfiction novel by Erik Larson, who's really a wonderful writer in this genre. This book I listened to on audiobook and in retrospect, I'm glad I did. It's pretty dense and I imagine can be difficult to plough through. The Devil in the White City follows the lives of two men. … Continue reading Review: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
'The Eyre Affair has been on my list to read for years and I've only just got round to it! I'm a massive Terry Pratchett fan and I've been trying to find another quirky creative author to fill the void. Alas, I'm not sure Jasper Fforde is going to be it. The Eyre Affair is … Continue reading Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
After I posted my Writing Resolutions a couple of weeks ago, Robin sent me a link to her blog where she's hosting the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. It looks like an amazing way to commit to more reading, though I'm sceptical... will I really manage the 52 books this year? Hum... I mean, … Continue reading Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge
This Saturday, I saw Hamilton at the Victoria Palace. I’ve been dying to see it since it opened on Broadway in 2015. The hype of its arrival in London has been infectious and I was trying desperately not to be too excited, worried it wouldn’t live up to the incredible praise it’s received. After all, … Continue reading Review: Hamilton
I've never believed in New Year's Resolutions because they simply don't work! There's a good reason why every article out there which talks about New Year's Resolutions also adds some helpful advice on how to stick to them. If there's anyone out there who has made a Resolution and kept to it for longer than … Continue reading Writing Resolutions of 2018
This is technically part two of my Frankenstein post which I published here on Friday in honour of the 200th anniversary of this book. But there was so much to talk about with this particular character, I thought he deserved a Never Underestimate post! Something I’ve always found fascinating about Frankenstein’s many and various adaptations … Continue reading Never Underestimate… the Igor
Monday marked the 200th year anniversary of the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, was published anonymously on 1st January 1818. It was famously born from a dream and written for a ‘ghost story challenge’ at the Villa Diodati in the summer of 1816 in the company of Lord Byron, Percy … Continue reading It’s the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein
How can you tell if your favourite character is, in fact, a manipulative bastard? This character, for me, will forever be judged against the standards of Shakespeare's Iago. Has your character manipulated his friend into a bar brawl so he gets demoted? Convinced his wife to steal a handkerchief he later plants on said friend … Continue reading Never underestimate… the Iago.
Let's talk about the weather. Here in England, we had a massive snowfall last weekend. For those of you living in Canada, or Japan or some parts of America like New Hampshire and Alaska, I imagine you'd wonder why this is post worthy. But you've got to understand, we Brits can't handle the weather. Like over-excited … Continue reading Using and abusing our weather-beaten words