My Writing Process

There’s a new meme doing the rounds and this is it. I was tagged by talented  author Catherine Cavendish – author of the dark and spooky (do go check her out, that link on her name works!). She challenged me to answer a few questions about my writing. So here goes…

The Three Usual Suspects at Waterstones York

The Three Usual Suspects at Waterstones York (L: Julia Kavan R: Cat Cavendish Seated: Me)

What am I working on?

It would be easier really to say what I am not working on. My writing has led me off in different directions and whilst I wouldn’t claim to be a polymath there are times I feel ever so slightly like an emerging polymathette (if anything ending in -ette can be so physically large! Maybe a couchette? In leatherette?).


Blood of the Gods

Embed from Getty Images

Have I had some terrific feedback on this from test readers! But, to date, the agents I have approached, whilst commending my writing, say they wouldn’t have a clue how to sell it. If you’ve ever read Anne Rice‘s vampire books, or Joanne Harris‘s Sleep, Pale Sister, then you’ll have a teeny weeny idea of what Blood of the Gods is. I have combined ancient Rome and the god-emperors with a dreamy, dark, parallel world of bad business in the present day. And my vampire is, well, let’s say traditional (ie. no sparkles and no hint of empathy with mankind) and different, too. I continue to seek a suitable lair for this but will wait for the right offer as it has been a labour of love and a result of which I am proud.



Glass prison

My first foray into the psycho-sexual, written together with author Julia Kavan. I write the part of a troubled psychiatrist, Julia the part of a disturbed young woman who enters his life. There were times we doubted we would get to the end without one of us killing the other, but here we are. It was a great experience – I hope for Julia, too – and has produced a tight, chilling tale that almost all readers have loved. I say almost because one said it was too disturbing to finish – and that was such a compliment! As with Blood of the Gods, we are looking for a suitable institution to take this one forward.


Massacre Magazine

Human hand with blood

Click to see on Amazon


Click Image

Click to see on Amazon


Alert: Overuse of the word ‘proud’. But I am. We are. Of this new venture. What Julia and I realised was that the established publishing world seems afraid to touch real horror, and this means that there a good writers of it not being published. So we had the idea to produce a new magazine which would take only the edgiest of submissions, the stories that push the boundaries, and instead of trying to make money out of it simply use it as a vehicle for exposing horror writers we think deserve a chance. We’ve had some terrific stuff in the first two editions and just wait until you see what’s in Issue 3 next month! Our thanks to all those who have subbed from all over the world – and thanks to those who have published with us. There is still lots to do, but progress is sound and the feedback positive.



Italian flag

My little eBook – rather an ePamphlet – The A-Z of Understanding Italians has been such a success that I have decided finally to write my semi-autobiographical novel about the hiarious adventures of a struggling ex-pat estate agent in Italy. Yes, this was the book I wanted to write in 2008 and was told by ‘those who know’ not to bother. Well, I reckon they were wrong. The reaction to A-Z has astonished me and that’s market research in my book. So, right now this new one has the working title Mozzarella and Mayhem and is in the early stages. Watch this space.


Humanist Funerals

It seemed to me that as I enjoy writing stories, and it was suggested to me that I could ghost write family stories/autobiographies, that I could probably do something useful and rewarding with this skill that I seem to have. You know, I have always fancied being a cardinal or bishop, but being an atheist is rather a block to that. So when I saw that the British Humanist Association was looking for new funeral celebrants I was almost defeaned by the bells ringing. If you want to know more about this side of my life please visit my other website:


How does my work differ from others?

It’s mine! (Well, except when half is Julia’s).


Why do I write what I do?

Because I am what I am. I think the love of horror comes from being forced to attend Catholic Mass as a child. Such blood lust and cannibalism.

Some people don't understand Romanicism


How does my writing process work?
Embed from Getty Images

It’s a reflection of my own life: three steps forward, two back. I stagger around bumping into ideas and try to keep them in my head for a time when they might come in useful. I lay awake at night worrying about a new novel and only when I feel I have a decent idea do I begin to write anything down. Then I try to be strict, by starting at 9am (ish) and not stopping until I have written at least 1,000 words each day. Some days I manage more, but rarely. I can’t leave a crap sentence on the page/screen, you see. I read published books with lines like, “She sat up and threw her legs off the bed,” and “His eyes bounced off the top of the cupboard.” Well, sorry and all that, but it is crap writing and doesn’t get near my second draft. I tend to turn in on myself and woe betide anyone who disturbs me just as the right word is emerging.


Now I have to tag two more authors. Here you go:

Julia Kavan

Xavier Leret


Porca Miseria! #SampleSunday

It is so long since I offered a Sunday Sample. So here we are. A little bit from my naughty A-Z of Understanding Italians which, amazingly, has been a bestseller on all month! Hopefully it will raise a titteretto or two.


Italian flag


Exclusively from Amazon, and free to borrow through Amazon Prime


D is for Driving. It is often said that Italians are the worst drivers in Europe. I am not absolutely sure about this but I can fully understand the sentiment.  I knew an elderly Athenian, a well-to-do Greek who had travelled the world, who told me once that he would not drive outside Greece because it was unfair to inflict Greek driving on innocent countries. His wife was half Italian so I must presume that he had some experience of her driving. Nevertheless, put an Italian behind the wheel of a car (same applies to a white van or an articulated lorry) and you would be forgiven for thinking that their brains are switched off as the ignition is switched on. Let me give you a few random examples.

You are happily driving along a peaceful country road in perfect conditions, excellent visibility and observing the speed limit. Not a vehicle in front of you, nor behind. Far in the distance you can see from the trail of dust that a vehicle is plying its way along a white road in the general direction of the road you are travelling along. It’s about a kilometre away, you can see because you have just come over the brow of a hill and the white road is in the bottom of an extremely wide valley. You think no more of it and continue your gentle and picturesque descent.  You become aware that the other car, you can now make out that it is a maroon coloured Panda, has reached the end of the white road. It doesn’t move. It just sits there. You assume that the driver has no wish to join the main road as there is more than enough time to get in front of you and if he were going to turn toward you he wouldn’t have to consider your approach at all. You keep half an eye on the Panda now that you are aware of it but there is no movement of any kind as you gradually draw closer and closer. Soon you can make out the driver, a small elderly man in a trilby and dark blue quilted body warmer, despite the outside temperature being thirty-five degrees Celsius. He’s looking towards you intently, hands firmly on top of the steering wheel. Your instinct causes you to brake slightly but he shows no signs of moving in any direction. The distance between you and him is now narrowing and soon you are content that it’s safe to ignore him since he would not now have time to get in front of you. One hundred metres, fifty metres, twenty-five metres, fifteen metres, ten metres. Just as you are almost level with the edge of the white road the Panda leaps forward right into your path and you are forced to swerve in order to miss it. Your nearside wheels hit the verge and at one point seem to be in mid-air while you hang on for dear life and try to guide your car between the roadside kilometre marker and the bonnet of the Panda. You clear the obstacles and stop the car. Trembling you get out, as much to check on the old bugger as anything else, and walk towards his car which is stopped askew in the middle of the road. You see that he is waving his arms about and you are worried that he may be in shock. As you approach he leans out of the window and shouts ‘Arsehole, you want to look where you’re going!’ and drives off.

Numero Uno – Again

I reckon if the Italians like my naughty little A-Z of Understanding themselves, it can’t be bad. Up and down at the top of the chart, today it makes No.1 in three categories, for the first time in foreign humour (and not just Kindle).


A-Z No1 Humour.jpg



Go  on, get your copy now. It’s only £0.77 / $1.19. Or FREE to borrow on Kindle Prime.


Only from Amazon

Only from Amazon

Italians Seem To Appreciate My Wicked Sense Of Humour – No.1 Again

So look. I know it’s not the same as being No.1 in the NY bestseller lists, but for a little tongue-in-cheek eBook I reckon I’m entitled to crow just a teeny bit. This morning A-Z of Understanding Italians has gone back to No1 in Italy (yes, Italy), but just look –


In Travel

In Travel


In Humour

In Humour


In erm, CHILDREN'S Humour??

In erm, CHILDREN’S Humour??




Number One on Kindle

When I wrote my wicked little eBook about Italians I never dreamt it would be bought in Italy. I did it all rather tongue-in-cheek and my partner actually worried that I might be hunted down by craggy-faced, suntanned thugs in pinstriped suits. So you can imagine my amazement to find it at No1 on under English Language Travel Guides! I am not expecting any offers of employment from the Italian State Tourist Office.