Bad F*****g Language! Swearing in Literature.

This is a touchy subject. YA writers please cover your eyes. Children’s authors hit the big read button on your monitor, unplug the machine and toss it out your window.


Why? Because it’s everywhere. A loved one has a minor accident, they swear. A neighbour’s blood is boiling, they swear. Your mother trips on her oversized slippers, she swears too.

And even if they are strong enough to replace their shits with sugars, fucks with flips, buggers with bloomins, they won’t do it every time. Their thoughts won’t be picturing mounds of sugar cubes when they’ve stubbed their toe, or broken a finger, or had their window smashed in.

So go ahead. Stop skirting around the issue. Don’t use profanity for every other word, but when the time calls, you bring the rain.

Language is our tool. Enjoy it. Be brave.





Favourite Lines, Rat Stew

There are three narrators in the novel, separated into three sections. Here’s a few of my favourite lines from Pete, and his opening run out in Rat Stew. 


‘We’re going to burn.’


‘Sirena purled and weaved. The wide eyed gawked, praying for a lick of heat. It made my stomach turn. She had my life in her hands after all.’


‘Letterboxes were tinkled, metal shutters massaged, doormats caressed by my sultry touch.’


‘Roy boogied between them, waltzing around like a celebrity on some stupid dancing show. Fucking Roy, the greatest celebutard in Aberscombe!’


‘Blood and guts were coming.’


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For Writers, Roll The Dice

I haven’t been on this wordpress thing that long, but I’ve seen a fair few writers having a hard time. Some are plainly obvious with the content of their blogs and websites, and overs are exposed between the cracks in their words.

It’s a nails old game.

Whenever I’m feeling dusted up, I try to remind myself I’m not the only one. Other’s have been there longer and harder than most of us could even imagine.

Here’s a poem by Bukowski, a man who made the gutter his paradise.

Roll The Dice

if you’re going to try, go all the
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.



Favourite Lines, Rat Stew

There are three narrators in the novel, separated into three sections. Here’s a few of my favourite lines from my old friend Al, (an outcast, who is head-over-heels obsessed with Sirena) and his opening run out in Rat Stew. 

‘There are days we are forced to enjoy. Days when we have no choice but to get drunk and festive or dance around with our Nan like we’re five years old. These are all horseshit when we make it to sixteen. And after that, it’s meeting red hot smouldering beauties that gets our blood boiling.’

‘I was a plastic bottle, washing in at her shore.’

‘It was practice. I don’t want to go into the guts of it, but you know how it goes. You mature, you get lonely, you learn the most beautiful woman in town has a thing for you and you bang a prostitute. Pretty standard practice.’

‘Her voice was steak dinner. It was caviar.’

‘Who gives a damn? A month ago he had one of his fucktards forcefully vomit, wrap it loosely in a plastic bag and post it through my letterbox. You think I want to avenge that guy?’

‘The real meat comes in Greek form.


Check out the rest of the opening section with a free preview on amazon. Available just below.

Author Advice, Sacrifice to Rejection

There’s an easy way to make a living from your writing skills. Simply tell everyone you’re a writer, quit your job, kick back and watch daytime television. And when our bestsellers have made us millions, we can track unicorns across a countryside boasting trees of doughnuts, poorly marked buried treasure and beautiful damsels in distress.

If only…

It’s never going to work that way. Instead, prepare yourself for a kick-in-the-gut circle that looks a little like this:

  1. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  2. Discovering that unicorns don’t really exist and actually, you aren’t Hemingway, or King, or Orwell, or Tolstoy.
  3. Rejection.
  4. Heartbreak.
  5. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  6. More rejection.
  7. The cold hard feel of the bottom of the barrel
  8. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  9. A glimmer of hope, an opportunity, a heart racing chance!
  10. Rejection.
  11. Motivation! That glimmer of light isn’t getting away this time!
  12. Rejection.
  13. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  14. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  15. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  16. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  17.  Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  18. A chance.
  19. A big chance!
  20. Rejection.
  21. Rejection.
  22. Rejection.
  23. Time, effort, sacrifice, blackening eyes.
  24. Penny size success.
  25. A smile.


This is the reality for most of us. Sure, you’ll hear a story about some guy in some make believe place who just wrote a best seller because he was bored, or had a spare afternoon, but it’s bull. It’s the same for ‘debut bestselling authors’, don’t think for one second that was their actual debut! That they sat down and wrote a book and bang, they’re riding a rollercoaster of plaudits and paper money, spinning on a loop-the-loop of fans. The rest of their work didn’t make it.

So if you are going to find the time to write, strap yourself in. It’s going to beat you down.

And if you feel for that, if you understand where I’m coming from or relate to any point of that list, then let me know. Tell me something about your book. And I’ll tell you something about mine.


Everyone Knows the Bacon’s Still Burning

Writing, breaking, writing, breaking.

This is a break from writing, and yet, I find myself writing. Madness? To some it might seem that way, but to most of us using this wordpress blog thing, it probably makes perfect sense.

And if it does, I’d like to stretch my beaten fingertips through your screen and shake your hand. Because who cares if the bacon’s burning? I’ve got a piece to finish. Who gives a flying one if the tap’s dripping? Or the neighbours are having a row and you’re waiting for something or somebody to come through the wall? I don’t. You don’t.

We’re too invested in these pens and keys and sheets of white on white. We write when we’re not writing. We write when we break. And we write again.

Anyhow, I prefer my rashers extra crispy. This was a break well spent.

The 21st Century Writer

I’m having some interviews this week for jobs I don’t want, in order to leave a job I want even less.

I can’t complain too much. At least I have work and the opportunity to get more.

And five days out of seven isn’t all that bad. Come on, at least we get mornings, evenings, nights and two smokey hot days to do what we want.

It meant I could make this. And that makes the grey hairs all the less agonising.

Length Isn’t Everything

Call me a cynic, but long chapters break my spirit.

They can be beautifully crafted, structured and edited, but what’s the point in reading a chapter that I sweat to finish before my stop on the train? Or a chapter that I’m worried about starting at night, because I know my eyes are going to be lead weights by the time I’m half way through?

Give me some short-medium length, don’t stop the music, don’t quit on the pace, don’t wanna stop reading, hating that my train stop is fast approaching, fearing that I’ve been kept up half the night because I always think I can read on more, hard hitting chapters.

I’ll take a bit of that. Yes please.

Creative Writing Degree, A Pint of Blood on Every Page

Yeah, I did one of those. It was way back when phones just about had cameras, and watches didn’t track our heartbeats per minute.

Three years I spent at that grindstone. I came out with a bachelors degree from a fairly respectable university and learnt a few things along the way, but was it worth it?

It’s a tough question. Society seems to have gone so far one way that it’s almost as if, if you don’t have a qualification, you must know nothing. I see people study Business Studies for 5 years, without ever getting their hands dirty and they expect to be sitting atop a pile of shiny notes by the time they’re thirty.

It’s the same in nearly every subject. Students boast about their courses, ‘Oh, well I’m studying a Politics degree’. My eyes roll, like they’re going to be the next Prime Minister or Nobel Prize winner.

What I’m getting at is, the degree only matters if you make it matter. If you write everyday, if you love it, if you care about it, if you pour a pint of blood onto every page, you don’t need to study the damn thing, you’ll learn the tricks yourself. But if you’re nervous and worried and standing naked in a wild forest with nothing more than a pen and a dream, you best knock that university door down and learn how to pour a pint of blood onto every page.