Imagine being thirteen years old and getting into a car that’s going to drive you to a building where you’ll be locked up with nine other children. You don’t know what they’ve done, they don’t know what you’ve done. They all seem messed up and scary. All of them have secrets, but none of their secrets are as huge as the one you’re hiding from them.
When will you get out? How will you get out? What is it going to be like? You don’t know.
All you know is, the next time you wake up, your bedroom door will be locked. Every time you wake up.
Ten children locked up, working out how to cope, how to survive, who to trust and who to avoid.
One of the children has a book of spells, and all of the spells work. They come with a serious price though, because the children aren’t the only ones locked up in there, and the other prisoner is much much older, more dangerous, more broken and more desperate than any of them.
This is a story of a struggle to fit in and a struggle to get out. A story packed with secrets and lies, where a touch on your back could be a flirtatious invitation or it could be a home-made shank, a cry in the night can be homesickness or something far far worse.
Magic, theft, fights over pecking order, crushes with a twist and daring jail-breaks. Finding out what makes these children tick, and whether ten broken watches can manage to synchronise together when it really matters.
Imagine “Five Children and It”, if the Five Children were juvenile delinquents, and the ‘It’ was more like Steven King’s version. A Young Adult novel, but assuming you ever lived through teenaged years suitable for adults too.
The fly was smooshed across the newspaper, over the rolled up angry face of Wayne Rooney. A blackberry jam smear of blood ran from it, wings smashed.
It was poked, gently, with the prong of a fork. There was no doubt whatsoever. It hadn’t moved since it was hit hard with The Sun the day before, resting on a table after sipping at some spilt cola. He had retrieved the paper from the bin, delighted that the corpse was still there. Fate had brought them together.
Sprinkled with salt, then a crumbling of pungent yellow sulphur, spat on. It perhaps ought to be blood, but spit was simpler to procure. There was a mumbling of words, volume kept low. Concentration. He felt the power work the way through the veins, out through the fingers, into the hazel twig held within the fingers and out.
A soft fire sprang up around the broken body of the fly, whispering around it, kissing it with holly flames.
Was that? Could it be?
The holder of the hazel wand peered at the fly. The dark green flames were impressive enough, to have pulled those out of the air – the flames weren’t hot but cool and they didn’t scorch or char the newspaper, they just bathed the fly’s body. The salt burned. The spit bubbled. The sulphur crumbled within the flames.
But was there a stirring? Was there?
There was a knock at the door, brisk and forceful.
“Al,” said a deep voice from outside, “Breakfast is up mate. Coco Pops as well. Get in!”
The flames went out as his concentration lapsed. He pushed all of it under the bed, corpse, wand, newspaper. The experiment would have to be concluded another time.
Exciting bit. Every last i has been dotted and t crossed. The copy edit has come back and I've made all the necessary adjustments and signed the text of the book off.
Having not been through this process before, it was an eye opener - as well as just checking spelling and grammar, the copy editor goes through each line and scene to make sure it is consistent and working. They keep track of…
If you're keeping up, I've been working on the book since the Structural Edit came back. I thought it might be nice for you lovely patrons of the arts to know a bit more about what that involved.
The editor, a lady called Gill Harvey, did me a detailed note about the book overall telling me what she liked about it - which was thankfully the voice and my writing style and the characters and…
I received the structural edit over the weekend. That's the big important phase of the book. This is where it goes into the arms of an editor who doesn't know me, doesn't have to sugar-coat anything, doesn't have to look me in the eye and lie to me to save years of friendship. They just read the book cold, as a reader, and as an editor with a critical eye, and they then tell you what's wrong…
So this is what is happening at the moment with the book. I finished my own edit at the end of October, and I reached the point where I'm happy with the book. Or at least, the point where I don't think I myself can see anything else that needs fixing.
That edit went off to Unbound and they have the manuscript with an editor who is going to go through it in both a small scale (sentence by…
Thank you all of you fabulous people. 3 weeks to go on the crowd-funding for the book, and we just hit 99%. It has been amazing how kind and generous people have been.
Where we are at now is that I just need £30 to get the book funded, and out there to all of the wonderful supporters. I'm pretty sure we can make that. And payday is here, or looming.
The next stage, after it is funded is…
I thought I'd write a little about the setting for In Secure, my book that you can pledge for here
It is set in a Secure Accommodation Centre, called Saffron Park, which is located on Dartmoor. Secure Centres are a special sort of children's home where children can be locked up - they aren't the same as a juvenile prison or Borstal, in that a lot of the children…
I believe that people who have pledged to my book have probably received an email from Unbound that contains a code voucher allowing them a free £10 to another book.
There’s lots of good stuff on Unbound, and that’s basically a FREE book, as well as making another author’s day.
So please visit and use your voucher, which is valid till the end of July.
May I suggest please
All the Perverse…
In this video, I am going to talk about Robin, one of the main characters in the book. About five seconds into the video, some good friends of mine begin throwing water bombs at me, and continue doing so at an accelerated pace until the end of the video. More interesting to watch than just a bloke talking...
This is very much how Fyodor Doestoyesky would be promoting his books if he were around…
It is going to be fun to do, and I think fun to watch as well. I'm going to be talking about one of the lead characters, Robin.
Funding going really well - this is day 8, and at 23% already. And that with the background of the Referendum, and complete meltdown of our Political system and oh dear the football... Huge thanks to those who have Pledged and we are going to make this happen.
I used to write a lot of fiction, I mean a LOT, but it has been a few years since I got a story in my mind that was clawing to get out and onto paper. I've been flexing my writing muscles with my law blog, and just before Christmas last year, I had an idea.
Sometimes those ideas go away, and sometimes when you try to get them onto paper they just die on the page, the words feel clunky, the…
These people are helping to fund In Secure.