Writing a book and seeing it published is quite a feeling. I remember vividly the buzz I got from holding a copy of my first book. Twenty books later I still get the same sense of excitement. These days, not every book goes through the traditional route of publishing and self-publishing is now a very respectable way of getting your book to the public. I am doing some editing for Tay Books, which helps people self-publish their books to the highest possible professional standards. Are you looking to get your book out there? Who knows? We might wind up working together.
June 22, 2022
Every now and then I write something and I think "Yep, that's not bad, that." Imagination Theatre are rerunning one of those efforts, the Sherlock Holmes play, The Strange Case. I'd wanted to write a two hander Holmes and Watson play for a while - and this was it.
February 28, 2022
Love and solidarity to the people of Ukraine.
March 2, 2022
I have a short piece in Rapid Reel's stage presentation on March 7 in Manchester. It's one of ten 5 minute monologues or duologues, all written especially for the event. Mine is called The Devil's Work. Tickets are available here on a pay-what-you-feel basis.
January 28, 2022
It's an odd thing for a man of my vintage to still have a hero - and yesterday the world lost one of my great heroes. I earned my crust writing jokes for thirty years and I still write humour now. Barry Cryer has always been a favourite of mine as a performer but the more I got into my writing career, the more I realised how much he had written and with Eddie Braben and Talbot Rothwell he became a hero as a writer. He was a hero to a lot of us who worked on the comics. He was never old school or old fashioned because he was always thinking of humour now. He was as relevant in 2022 as he was in 1970, and the wonderful thing was that he never ever stopped being funny. If you don't listen to I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on Radio 4, you need to go to iplayer and listen to whatever episodes are there. It's funny and it's filthy and among various generations of comedians, Barry Cryer is at home with them all. Great comedy is timeless and that includes Barry Cryer. He may be gone but he's still my hero.
January 1, 2022
What better way to start the year than with a free story? And those lovely people at Candy Jar Books are giving away two free stories - one of them by me. My tale, Sweaty Flow (the title is explained in the story) takes the Brigadier to a dodgy seaside hotel... You can read more here.
December 5, 2021
I worked on the great comics the Beano and the Dandy for years... from 1985 to 2014. I even had a stint as editor on the Beano for about 5 months. This book is an unofficial history of the Beano, focusing mostly on the people who worked so hard to produce the comic and make generations of kids laugh. It should be out early next year.
December 2, 2021
And I'm back again! Also available for pre-order at Candy Jar's site is the special edition of my Lethbridge-Stewart novel Mind of Stone. It does feature an additional new original short story, Straight as an Arrow.
December 1, 2021
Available now for pre-order is Operation Wildcat and Other Stories, an anthology of UNIT stories published by Candy Jar... and one of those "other stories" is Shadow, written by me! It looks like a really good anthology - you can get more details on it here!
November 6th, 2021
You can hear a new episode of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes scripted by me this month. The Poltergeist of Buckley Street airs on Imagination Theatre in the last week of November. It's always a pleasure to write for the folks at Imagination Theatre. I'll give more details closer to the broadcast date. Holmes is always fun to write, though.
September 10th, 2021
Why is the Master on Gallifrey during Genesis of the Daleks. What is he up to and what does he make of this new Doctor...?
Master Switches is a new anthology of short stories focusing on the Master. My story is ReGenesis of the Daleks. The anthology is raising money for the Stroke Association and is available here.
August 14th, 2021
And the news is out, Erimem is back on audio, this time at BBV. I have adapted three of the early novellas to be told from the perspective of Erimem's friend, Andy (or Andrea if you don't know her well). You can find details at BBV here.
June 12th, 2021
Interesting times with Erimem. I've spent the past few weeks working on a great new project with my favourite Pharaoh. You might get a clue what's coming here at BBV's site... listen out for Erimem's adventures, coming soon.
June 2nd, 2021
Announced today from Altrix Books... Master Switches, a follow-up to Master Pieces, and like that book contains more adventures of the evil Time Lord, the Master. My story in this one is ReGenesis of the Daleks, which features my favourite Master and, oh, I'm not telling you more. You'll have to pick up the book to find out.
May 16, 2021
I am not in this forthcoming short story anthology, Gabriel Fox and Catnip Velour Volume 1... but I am in Volume 3. One of the most fun projects I've written in ages.
April 15, 2021
There's a new Commando by me out today. This one marks the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, and hopefully shows that there is more to the 1745 uprising than the simple Scotland v England narrative.
Commando is still full of action but it's also a great way to learn about history; I encourage you all to go out and get Commando - or stay in and get it electronically - you still get eight great stories a month. Top stuff.
January 05, 2021
I've got a new issue of Commando out. Not In My Name is about the German Resistance to the Nazis. I did some reading on the German Resistance and was surprised by how little I knew about them. As with all Resistance movements during WW2, they were incredibly courageous people, and as "traitors" to Germany, if anything they were treated more harshly than the Resistance in occupied nations. Brave, brave people.
December 23, 2020
It's late in the year, but there's one more bit of work slipping out to the public before Christmas.
Erimem and her chums try to escape the horrors of 2020 by heading back to Hollywood in 1940... but the adventure takes her to the High Seas, ancient Alexandria and even more ancient Thebes... Thanks to Covid it's only available through Amazon for now.
December 15, 2020
After a fairly extended silence (blame Covid for it - it's delayed the announcements and release of so much stuff this year) I thought I'd pop up to show I'm still busy.
Here's a little festive short story I did featuring Peter Cushing's lovely movie Dr Who. It's a quick read.
There should be another bit of news before New Year.
July 28, 2020
Take two of your favourite shows, mash them together and see what happens... a heap of great authors (with me on their coat-tails) did just that and the end result is this anthology of short stories. Where else will you find Fireball XL5 facing the Alien? Or Match of the Day crossing over with The Omega Factor? You can read more about the book at the Obverse Books site here..All proceeds go to Parkinsons UK.
June 4, 2020
Most exciting! Peter Cushing's Dr Who returns and this time he's raising money for the NHS as he faces off against Yeti, Autons, Daemons, Silurians and Daleks...
The book are by David Agnew... apparently... and continue to grow the Cushingverse... a place where Peter Cushing continued in the role far beyond the two Dalek movies of 1965 and 1966. Titles are:
Dr Who and the Yeti Invasion of London
Dr Who - Journey into Time
Dr Who and the Auton Attack
Dr Who and the Curse of the Daemons
Details of the books can be found here.
April 12, 2020
For Canadian Eyes Only.
I have two James Bond books hitting the stores in Canada - but only in Canada. OO7 is out of copyright in Canada, though he will remain under copyright protection in the majority of the world until 2034.
The first of the books, FireWalker, is a novel set
in 1963 and takes Bond across the world from the USA to Cuba to Russia and Europe. Bond is on a desperate chase to save the world from destruction.
For Queen and Country, the second book, is a collection of half a dozen short stories, themed loosely on betrayal. From Canada to Sweden to Australia, Bond's missions bring him back to London, where he has to risk everything for Queen and country.
These books are only available in Canada.
April 2, 2020
I have another issue of Commando released today. Conchie! is the story of a conscientious objector in World War One. The starting point for it was an episode of Dad's Army in which Godfrey was reveled to have been a "conchie" during WW1, and he was ridiculed and ostracised by his platoon-mates for it. I think this is the kind of thing Commando does really well. There's a bit of a notion that Commando is all about jingoistic flag-waving. It's not. It wouldn't be for me if it was. There's a lot of layering and complexity in these books, often looking at war in ways you wouldn't expect.
March 25, 2020
The world is a strange and different place at the moment. Frankly, it's as scary as hell.
Covid-19 is brutal thing and it kills. Please everybody stay at home, avoid infection and do what you can to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe. Stay at home, watch movies, read books, skype your loved ones, but most of all... be safe.
March 21, 2020
I'm taking part in Rapid Reel, one of what I think will be many projects which bored creatives use to get themselves through the boredom of self-isolation brought on by this damned coronavirus. This project gave writers 3 hours to write a short monologue based on a prompt line from the organisers. That monologue is then handed to an actor and 8 hours after the line is sent to the writer, the monologue goes live online. It's a fun project which will run on several more days. Details here.
February 11, 2020
The next Erimem book, not written by me, though I am the range editor. Rachel Blake wrote Absolution, working from a story by me. It's part of a little arc for Erimem, an arc which ties off things that started in the first book back in 2015, and starts off a few new directions for the books. The next two are Sacrifice by Beth Jones and Retribution by me.
February 06, 2020
I have a new ish of Commando out today. There's something intriguing about enormous ships and planes... so when I read about the biggest tank ever designed, the German Ratte P.1000 I just had to write a story about it. And here it is... Supertank!
February 01, 2020
To many of my generation, the Target books were as big a part of Doctor Who as Saturday nights. The Targets were how we relived our favourite stories in the days before VHS and DVD. They also taught many of us to love reading.
I may have commented on stuff like that in the piece I wrote for this book, You on Target, about The Space War and its author Malcolm Hulke, whose work, along with that of the legendary Terrance Dicks (who wrote 60-odd of these Target novelisations) continue to influence me to this day. You can get the book from Amazon here.
January 08, 2020
I did an interview about my work with the fabulous Paul Magrs on his website. Paul is a fabulous bloke and one of my favourite writers. I would recommend that if you haven't read any of his stuff, you should give them a try. You will not be disappointed. You can find the interview here.
December 30, 2019
And there it is. my last release of the year on the last Monday of the year. I dip back into Erimem's universe with an Agatha Christie pastiche, Death on the Waves. I enjoyed this one... I always enjoy spending time with Erimem and her chums, especially when it starts a bit of an arc in the series.
December 20, 2019
It's Christmas, and who doesn't like a nice present at Christmas? Those lovely people at Big Finish are spreading the cheer with more than a dozen free stories. One of them is The Veiled Leopard, a Doctor Who story written by Claire Bartlett and myself. You can find the various free stories here... be warned... there are Daleks there so keep your heads down.
November 14, 2019
This is about family as well as work. Today, November 14, 2019 is the tenth anniversary of my mother's death. Obviously she and my family have been in my thoughts a lot of late. What's that got to do with work? Well, today is also the day that this Commando story, A Boy Goes To War is released. In it a 15 year old boy named John Cowie runs off to fight in World War One. And my mother's father - my grandfather - was also John Cowie, who ran off to fight in World War One aged 15. This isn't his story but he inspired it. He was kind and funny and warm - the best grandad anyone could have, I miss him terribly. Mum too. She was very close to her dad. It feels appropriate that coincidence brings this Commando out today.
November 2, 2019
Master Pieces, an anthology of stories about the Doctor's best enemy, the Master is out now. You can get a copy here. I have a story in it. Splinter of Eternity features Erimem and her chums, so if you like those books, you get a double dose of goodness - and you raise money for the Stroke Association,
October 16, 2019
I have another Commando out this week. Faceless Heroes is a contemporary action story... think something along the lines of The Rock or Olympus Has Fallen. It's a bit of an experiment, but it's great that the Commando team are willing to try stuff.
September 6, 2019
This book, Offside, is out this week from Badger Learning. It's the fifth book I've written for their Young Adult or Reluctant Reader ranges. This one deals with a 15 year old footballer dealing with racism on the pitch and relationships off of it. It's unfortunately a topic that still needs to be explored and brought into the light. It's 2019 for goodness' sake. I thought that by now we'd be past the stupidity of racism and bigotry. Unfortunately I was wrong about that and we have to confront racism face on. It had no place in the past and it definitely has no place in the present or the future.
September 5, 2019
I have another Commando story out today. Invasion Poland is based in the very earliest days of World War 2. This was written quickly so we could mark the 80th anniversary this week of the beginning of the war. The cover is by the legend Ian Kennedy.
September 2, 2019
This is one of the very exciting projects I've been working on lately. The wily slave Lurcio returns in this audio adaptation of Up Pompeii. I was fortunate enough to get my titters out and work with Barnaby Eaton Jones and my dear mate Daniel McGachey on turning the stage play's script (by Miles Tredinnick, based on characters and situations by Talbot Rothwell and Sid Colin) into an audio script, which will be performed live on stage in front of an audience. You'll find more details here. I had a ball doing this. The cast looks fabulous, the script is funny (I'm biased I know) and this should be a blast.
August 22, 2019
When I was a kid, there was a time I was off school ill. My Dad bought me the first copy of a new comic to cheer me up. That comic was the Warlord. About 11 years later I went to work for the publisher of that comic and stayed with them for 29 years, working on their comics... but I never got to work on Warlord. Now, five years after leaving DC Thomson to go freelance, I have finally got to write Codename Warlord, bringing Lord Peter Flint to the pages of Commando in his first new comic strip since 1991.
July 11, 2019
This My Weekly pocket novel, The Mystery of Attwood Hall, was written by me under the pseudonym, Holly Millar. It's the first book I've done for them. It will only be available for two weeks but I had a lot of fun writing it. The novel is a cosy crime mystery, the first time I've gone into that genre. I will be back in cosy territory next year with The Cosplay Murders.
June 28, 2019
It's an odd thing. As a writer you know that sometimes you write something that might not make it to the audience. At various points in your career it's going to happen. It just is. Now, as it goes, it's a pain in the bum when it happens but - and I like big buts and I cannot lie - you just have to live with it. And sometimes the world pats you on the head and gives you something nice to write. This week I got the bad news/good news thing happen in the space of about half an hour. So, disappointed about the fab project that's not happening - for which my first script was 90% written - but incredibly excited about the project that is happening.
May 28, 2019
This is the rather fantastic cover for my latest Commando, First Men Ashore. This is a D-Day story, focusing on the sappers who cleared the beaches, and it's also a sequel to The Last Men at Dunkirk, a Commando I had published last year, letting Sergeant Malloy fulfill his promise to return to France. I must admit that it wasn't my idea to make this a direct sequel to the earlier story. That suggestion came from the Commando team. One of the things I like about working in a creative business is that collaboration of ideas. I'm an egomaniac so I take any kudos going but sometimes you just have to put the hand up and admit that somebody else had the good idea.
April 18, 2019
And here we go with another Commando. This one is based on something I read about not long ago... the dangers faced by Jewish soldiers in the British army who had come here from Germany to evade persecution and found they weren't always trusted even by their new comrades. To Wear the Uniform is about Jakob, a young soldier proving to his comrades that he is loyal and every bit as British as them. I think it's a message that still needs saying today.
March 24, 2019
Just back from the Scottish Association of Writers 50th annual conference at which I had the pleasure of adjudicating as well as giving a workshop on radio.
I promised to post a few useful links for the lovely people who attended my workshop. Those links are here.
March 20, 2019
Revenge! the final part of the three part Commando story War Across Europe is out today. I have to admit that this is one of the most personal and personally satisfying things I've written for a long time. The personal connection to the subject matter really does give it something extra for me.
March 19, 2019
This will be out later this year... around August or September, just in time for Halloween. It's another novelisation of a horror radio play Claire and I wrote for Imagination Theatre.
March 09, 2019
Resist!, the second part of the Commando mini-series War Across Europe, is now available and deals with our two heroes Stefan and Grigor becoming involved with the French Resistance. This series is quite personal to me, dealing as it does with a bit of my family history. I have to say that Neal Roberts has done really terrific covers for all three titles in this series.
February 21, 2019
I have a new Commando out today. It's the first in a 3 part series. This series, War Across Europe, was inspired by but not based on my uncle's actions in WW2. I really hope people enjoy this, and also enjoy the way Commando is now experimenting with things like this series and the Armistice series we did last year, The Weekes' War.