Dazzling on its Travels
Friday, 16 February 2018
Well hello there...it's been a while, I know. What have you been up to, you probably aren't saying.
A new novel, almost finished, a story from Dazzling that would not be contained in a mere 3,000 words. More of which soonly.
But I wanted to thank those who have posted lovely things about Dazzling, in various places, for which I am obscenely grateful. Word of mouth is still the best way to generate…
A Final Post
Friday, 14 July 2017
Great to see many of you have your copies of Dazzling...and thanks to those who've posted pictures on social media - a prize, I think, to the furthest of these from the UK...(Cork is winning currently).
The signed copies and book bundles should be heading out too, so if you haven't got yours by next week, give me a shout and Mabel will chase up the publisher, if only so she gets another box…
Last Chance Saloon
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Some lovely news to share: a story from Dazzling the Gods has just been shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Prize, more of which here. It's fantastic to know a piece you've written has touched such an esteemed panel of judges. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, a quick note to say there's a few days left for anyone to get their name in the back, should you know such a someone. The trade edition…
Can't wait, won't wait
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
I know: nowt happens quickly in publishing. But worry not, Dazzling the Gods taking shape as we speak. And I'll have a fancy cover to share with you soonly, but if you can't wait those long months without reading the fruits of your labour (well, my labour, your cash), then my Tuscan-based story is forthcoming in the next issue of The Lonely Crowd, which you can order here. It's a little meta-fictional…
Tuesday, 4 October 2016
We did it. Well, actually, you did it.
I’ll keep this brief: I’m sure we’ve all had enough of What We Talk About When We Talk About Dazzling The Gods…and would rather just read the damned thing itself.
I choose this unorthodox road to publication for a couple of reasons. Firstly, to see if it could be done (why climb the mountain? Cos it’s there), to test out an arguably more democratic…
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
First up, you've all been obscenely patient, and I'll spare the 'All good things...' cliche. But, here we are, final proofs, a cover being conceived. And thanks to a recent surge, we're closing in on 80%.
I've spoken before about this model being a curious, unorthodox one, and what I hadn't anticipated was the fear once I'd committed that the book would flounder. So a big thank you to all …
Fractals and other Hare / Tortoise Races
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
First up, thanks to this week’s pledgers, nudging the collection to 63% funded. Slow and steady wins the race, except in Rio, I guess, as that bloke on the powered bicycle up front kept finding out.
I'm still blown away by the number of people to get behind this book - it's an unusual model, asking someone to buy something that doesn't exist, in order for it to exist. And so what if it takes…
The Offspring Badge
Monday, 1 August 2016
First up, thanks to all 139 of you who've supported / pre-ordered the collection. We're closing in on 50%, which as the numbers people among you will know is pretty much halfway. As with the most successful drug dealers, short stories (books in general) are all about word-of-mouth, so I'm always obscenely grateful when you spread the word, nothing as coercive as a gun to the head, but, you know…
Leaving the Comfort Zone
Monday, 18 July 2016
Writing my short story ‘Romi and Romina’ was a welcome departure from my preferred aesthetic of lyrical realism, a sojourn into science-fictional waters, though perhaps its thematic undercurrents steer a familiar course. Researching it was fun: barely any of Hemingway’s vein-opening.
If we are to believe Ben Okri – and I am inclined to – the short story is second in difficulty only to the sonnet…
A Game of Two Books
Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Been a strange week. First Brexit, then 'we' lost to the Isle of Man (or somesuch) at kickball. Where will it end? With Google and Amazon in a bidding war to publish Boris' memoir, titled 'The Prime Minister Years'? Don't be silly: as if books will exist then.
Anyways. While they still do, I've decided to furnish supporters' rewards with something lovely: a free copy of Short Fiction, the literary…
Thursday, 23 June 2016
The excellent Manchester Review has published a story of mine today (actually it's a compressed chapter from my next novel, but works as a story), which you can read here. The book is set largely in Romania, but opens in this actual house on the north Devon coast, a building we would try to break into as kids, regale ghost stories to each other in the grounds. A guesthouse in Victorian times,…
Friday, 27 May 2016
Fiction is never the endeavour of one person alone , and I’d like to offer heartfelt thanks to the following people, whose inimitable presence in my life helped shape Dazzling the Gods. They say the greatest gift a writer can receive from his or her parents is a dysfunctional childhood, and I would like to express particular gratitude to Les and Sandra on this account. Certainly the bouts of…
At the Musée d'Orsay
Thursday, 5 May 2016
To say thank you for all those who've pledged, and to give you a flavour of what's in Dazzling the Gods, here's a story for you. Just click the link. Some have pointed out this piece is an allegory hewn from a less-than-favourable book review I've received. I couldn't possibly comment.
Keep spreading the word.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
I’ve made a habit of coming second recently. Which is fine in certain arenas: a marathon, a search to find Britain’s two most handsome men. Less so in others: a game of conkers, a fight to the death, love rivalry. I think it began with my amateur boxing career (I’m the one on the left above, the one with his eyes shut), a pursuit I excelled in as a runner-up. I remember the solitary time the referee…
Thursday, 14 April 2016
Here's a picture of my cat, Mabel, which acts as both cynical ploy to draw your attention (apparently it works on Facebook) and clumsy allusion to Schrodinger's thought experiment.
You see, my collection of stories both exists and does not. It is there on my hard-drive, stored as a series of ones and zeros (I think), a file of around 190KB, innocuous and without form. And yet it's so much more…
On Not Being a Parent
Sunday, 3 April 2016
Hello from The Shed. We reached 100 supporters today, which is wonderful and humbling, so thank you all. Do keep spreading the word!
Theme in fiction is often a nebulous, chimeric beast, particularly so for an author as they reflect upon their own work. So often it emerges at a level not entirely understood, and often only in retrospect. A lot of the stories in Dazzling the Gods muse on fatherhood…
Art as Response to Atrocity
Thursday, 24 March 2016
The tonal range in Dazzling the Gods is a broad one, satire buffing up against elegy, lyrical realism mixing it with quasi-science fiction. One story in the collection, though - 'The Grandmaster of Gaza' - was wrought from anger at world events, not an approach I'm comfortable with, but there we go. I was asked to explore this process for a literary journal, a copy of which is below. Thanks to all…
The Curative Power of Words
Saturday, 20 February 2016
I have no idea why there is an image of a golden ringed dragonfly devouring a bumblebee accompanying this post. There's not even some vague thematic segue to be made. But it looks good. I took it on Dartmoor a few summers ago, and squatting carefully down beside it, I could hear the crunching and slurping.
Anyway. Thanks to all the new pledgers, up to more than 60 people now, helping bring …
Dazzling the Gods: Evolution
Monday, 15 February 2016
After penning my second novel, I was out of contract, and so began an at times pitiful period of pitching (try saying that after a glass or two), one to almost trump Alan Partridge's desperate soliciting of a second series (Monkey Tennis?). I drafted around five synopses I thought might tempt my publisher - pacey psychological thrillers, page-turning lit-lite – promising to turn out one a year…
BANGING CHE GUEVARA
Thursday, 11 February 2016
A little treat to celebrate reaching 10% funding. Dazzling the Gods contains a few shorter short stories, one of which is below.
Banging Che Guevara
Clive – Tanya – Roz
Once a week Clive takes the new intern to a hotel in Covent Garden. Furthering the frisson is the knowledge…
15 Laws of the Literary Life
Sunday, 7 February 2016
Thanks to everyone who has pledged so far - it means a lot, and the book is well on its way to existing. We've a long way to go, so do spread the word.
But for now...
If you’re not a writer, you might have a certain perception of the literary life. Take Hollywood, with its portrayal of the drink and drug addled escapades of wild writers such as Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson and Truman Capote…
Stewart Lee & the Short Story
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Thanks muchly to the latest pledgers. Here's a post on one of my favourite comedians and why he's analogous to my favourite literary form.
Last March I navigated Devon’s gloaming, bucolic lanes to watch comedy’s version of the short story: Stewart Lee. Why the facetious analogy? Perhaps because both enjoy a cult, minority status, one where irony, intellect and a playful contempt predominate. In…
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
If you watch the video I made closely, round about 32 seconds in, you'll see my eyes shift in panic. Mabel (pictured below), who'd been asleep on my lap, suddenly leapt off and pounced on one of her toys. Somehow I kept going! Never work with children and animals.
Sunday, 31 January 2016
A quickie, to say thank you to those who have pledged so far, helping Dazzling the Gods enter the world. I'm still working on the last couple of stories for the collection, but here's a list of those pieces to make the cut so far:
At the Musée d’Orsay
Dazzling the Gods
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
'A short story is a shard, a sliver, a vignette. It’s a biopsy on the human condition.' Will Self
Welcome to my shed. Pull up a chair. Kettle's on.
The short story is, arguably, one of the most dynamic and visceral literary forms. It is a summer romance, an unexpected lover, that frisson amid the mundane, or as Kafka said, ‘an axe to break up the frozen sea within us.’ It’s also the…