Author Jealousy – Is it Necessary?

As a writer who’s wanted to be published since before I hit puberty, and still looking for the Holy Grail of writing  – the Three Book Contract – now I’m in my fifties, I have to confess to getting somewhat churlish when I hear some young bright thing’s first novel has been taken up by a trade…

Extract: High Tide in the City

High Tide in the City is a noir cyberpunk novel by Martine Lillycrop. The following is an extract from the book, available now on Amazon Forget the turban, the Asian music, wispy beard and joss sticks, where he lived said more about Sitaroo Man than his appearance. His next-door neighbour was the council’s high-level housing…

The Second Life of Bethany Sweet

Originally posted on Martine Lillycrop:
The afterlife has always fascinated me. I don’t believe we only get one shot at getting it right. One life, then judgement and an eternity of suffering or bland repose. It seems too simplistic for the complex vortex of matter and energy our universe is made up of. Nor do I believe…

Old writer new insight

Old Writer, New Insight

I often cringe when re-reading something I wrote years ago. It’s not necessarily the content (though it’s often that, too), but the way it’s written. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that old work seems immature and less skilled in hindsight. We’re developing as people, as well as writers, and our mind-set is fluid. What interested us, and…

Rewriting the Balance of Black and White Characters in Fiction

I loved Chella’s recent article on avoiding black stereotypes in our writing. It highlights an issue so long-standing in fiction I think it calls for a deeper discussion. It was a revelation to me, following some general conversations with Chella, to realise that there are default settings for characters in fiction. I never even considered…

5 Things about Character Names

“He doesn’t look like a Paul“. Ever heard that phrase, or something similar? Like it or not, there’s more to a character’s name than just a title. Your character’s name does a lot more than provide a hook to hang their hat on. Of course, you could just make up the first name that comes…

Happy New Year

2015 has been a year of ups and downs for me personally. It’s a year when a great many changes and tragedies have entered my life. I could write about everything I wish for you in the coming year, but I think Neil Gaiman says it best. Fifteen Years ago, I wrote: May your coming…