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.
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 safe, avoid infection and do what you can to make sure you 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 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.
June 01, 2019
For Canadian Eyes Only.
In Winter 2019 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 rest 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 will only be available in Canada.
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.
February 13, 2019
I've written The Lane, one of the new Papercuts II series of Young Adult horror novels from Badger Learning. I've always liked a spooky story and this one is based on a lane I walked along when I was on a family holiday near Alness in the Highlands. A long, dark, scary lane with noises coming from either side.... it scared the bejayzus out of me. Hopefully this book will scare some young adults the same way.
January 25, 2019
Unbound, a collection of stories featuring non TV Doctor Whos is now available HERE. Claire Bartlett and I have the story Cold Comfort in here. It's not a particularly short story, coming in at over 22,000 words, which is why the editors chose to split it into two parts. We wrote it in the style of a Target novelisation, including some very recognisable Target chapter titles. I had a huge amount of fun in the writing of this story, and it may actually be the closest I ever get to writing a Target novelisation.
January 24, 2019
I have another Commando story out today. Spitfires of the Sea was the nickname given to motor torpedo boats, which patrolled the North Sea. I first became aware of these boats after reading that the second Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton, had captained one of these boats during World War 2. Apparently he wore a tea-cosy on his head to stay warm. It's amazing where you can find inspiration if you look for it.
January 14, 2019
And so, the first volume of Restoration, the new Blake's 7 season is now available, and in it is The Hunted, a script by, well, me. This one has a very definite World War 2 vibe to it. I had a huge amount of fun doing this. I've also enjoyed listening to the other stories, which are all excellent. The set is available from Big Finish.
January 5, 2019
Happy New Year to each and every one of us. I hope it brings you everything you want and, more importantly, everything you need.
December 13, 2018
I have another Commando out this week. Raid Over Hellbronn is one I had in mind for a while before writing it. There was a movie I saw way back (the title evades me) which verged on documentary about a naval mission in WW2. I wanted to do something similar for the RAF... and this is it.
November 29, 2018
Out now, a new set of Commando issues, featuring the last two installments of The Weekes' War series, including Tommy's War, which was written by me. I've had a really nice response to this series. Obviously I can't take all the credit (though I'll have a good try). I'm glad it's hit the spot with readers.
November 1, 2018
Marking the centenary of the Armistice, Commando is running a five issue series, following the Weekes family, as the war comes to a close. The series was put together by Claire Bartlett and myself. It was, as ever, great to work with her on these. My grandfather - Papa we called him - fought in WW1. He was much in my thoughts as I wrote this one.
October 15, 2018
The second of the novelisations of the scripts I wrote with Claire Bartlett is now available. The Heart of Frankenstein is an expanded version of the story, which allowed me to dip into some of the characters in greater depth. It's available in paperback, ebook and large print format either from the publisher or on Amazon.
October 13, 2018
The latest Erimem novel, The Egyptian Falcon - by me - is out now. It mashes up many genres - noir detective, time travel, zombie, behind-the-scenes-in-Hollywood and war-time propaganda thriller. I had fun with this one. I do hope the readers have fun with it as well.
October 10, 2018
So, it has just been announced that I've written another Blake's 7 script, for the new series, Restoration, which will be out next year spread across three box sets. The first, featuring my story, The Hunted, will be released in January, 2019.
October 5, 2018
I have another Commando out just now. The Last Men at Dunkirk actually came out of my terribly bad habit of being late for anything I'm going to. I wondered what I should never have been late for... and the Dunkirk evacuation was high on that list... which led to this story.
September 18, 2018
I have another Commando out this week. This one, Target: Churchill is influenced by the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. If memory serves I actually pitched this around Bonfire Night last year.
August 24, 2018
It's a busy time for me in Commando-land. I have two out just now. The Red Devil and Fuelled by Fury are currently in the shops. I was told by Commando editor Gordon Tait that the cover for The Red Devil was spectacular - and he was right. It really is a lovely thing.
August 2, 2018
This Commando release, The Enemy of my Enemy, is out soon. It pushes German and Allied forces into a position where they have to form an uneasy alliance. Initially this story was conceived as a Doctor Who tale, with the Seventh Doctor bartering a peace between human enemies so they could defend Earth from a crashed reptile species running amok in the North African deserts in 1943. I think I also pondered doing it as that same sci-fi story but without the Doctor before realising that without the Doctor it felt like a 1990s Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. I think it works best this way, without sci-fi.