The virtues of reading two books at once…almost.


Currently reading: The Breathing Method: A Winter’s Tale by Stephen King.

Also currently reading: The Good, the Bad and Me: In my Anecdotage by Eli Wallach.


Recently, I have been reading Stephen King’s Different Season’s and really enjoying it. I always wonder though, with every book I read, what book I should read next to keep the enjoyment going. Usually, I wing it but recently I have started to plan ahead when I was coming to the end of The Body (Stand by Me) and starting the last story of Different Seasons. I thought, why not read two books at once? I have never done that before. Let’s see how this goes, shall we…

Well, actually, I have tried two books at once before but it didn’t work very well. I just ended up focusing on one book and forgetting about the other. I would always have to go back to the beginning of book two when one was finished. This time though, I have the ten minutes or so before my second train departs to take me to work and the twenty minutes on the train that allows me to read one book in a fair amount of peace. Beforehand, the bus or tram had mostly been my method of travel. Or walking. Each with plenty of things to stop me from reading (mainly concentrating on the road and other people. Laaaaame.) But waiting and travel with plenty of space available has helped my cause.

I thought of many books that could be my second book. As I did this, I began to hear something. What do I hear? What is that noise? Thousands of little voices but from where? I follow the sounds and they get louder and clearer as I approach my lovely bookshelves. All the books and their characters giving me their own reason why I should read them instead or as well as my current book. They say “Kindle is killing books, you smell lovely, you should be worried as you’re hearing voices from books”, and so on. I looked around and saw one book I’d been looking forward to reading since Christmas. Eli Wallach’s biography The Good, the Bad, and Me. He played The Ugly (Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez aka “The Rat”) in my favourite film of all time so naturally, I wanted to read it. And so, I now have one book for home and one for travel.

I’ve found it very useful and enlightening for my own writing to read two different authors and their very different styles. Each I enjoy and each is pushing me to make mental notes to use in my own writing. Stephen King (for obvious reasons) and Eli Wallach for his straightforward and unflinching account of his life. Most of the notes lean towards helping me to describe effectively and to try and make the reader feel what I want them to feel for a particular scene.

I’m also reading fast and racing through my books. But what of the next two books? Oh no. I hear the voices again…

Before you go. Quick question, if you do read two books at once, are they similar? Or different? And for either answer, why?

Thanks for reading. Have a good rest of the week!





Re-Blog: Top 10 Jobs for Writing Lovers by Nicholas C. Rossis.


Came across this useful article from Nicholas C. Rossis (, which itself was reblogged by Chris the story reading ape’s blog ( about possible jobs to take up that can help your writing skills and bring in some money as well.

Here is a snippet of the article. Click the link below it to access the full thing.

‘Your passion for different things and your talent for writing can lead to a productive and profitable career. If you’re still not ready to focus on novels, maybe you should try another job; one that will help you take your writing skills to a higher level… and bring you some money.’

via Top 10 Jobs For Writing Lovers

My Writing: Everyone is Welcome! A 996-word story of mine.

So, I entered a short story competition in August 2017. Safe to say I didn’t win. I’ve not heard anything. Ouch for me.

Anyway, here is one of my short stories. It is about an aging employee and his annoying and constantly angry assistant who are just trying to make sure they do their jobs correctly for their very strict employer. Let me know what you think either good or bad but please be constructive. I would be more than happy to return the favor.

“The day begins like all those that have come before it with my big, bearded and always grumpy assistant standing guard to help me welcome the new arrivals. “Good day to you, Sir.” I always say to him. Silence is his eternal reply. Such a grump.

No hassle from the first customer but judging by the look on her face, I can only assume she is not a morning person. I am and why would you not be? The hot and humid weather might have something to do with it. Some act like the weather is nothing to them but I know they lie to themselves. That is the worst thing they could do.

The heat is searing and the sun is easily cutting through the clouds. If only I could reach up so high to calm the heat down and help the new customers. I wonder what it would be like if I could reach so high? More arrive now and are moving in a smooth stream with little to no grump on their faces. It could be a busy day but as long as I remember my routine, they will all get in with no problem. I hope my aches and pains do not come back. That would be a disaster.

Great. One stupid rubbernecker holding everything up. The worst thing that they could do. To be fair, most concentrate on just getting in. The people walking through seem to be shivering slightly. Is there a breeze? I cannot tell. In fact, I can feel something but it can barely be described as a breeze. Do they shiver for a different reason?

What are some of these people wearing? More money spent on their clothes and hair than their bodies and minds. Individuals wearing all kinds of so-called fashionable clothing with not an ounce of class or pride amongst them. Well, except that guy. Tragic really. They look so bad they do not even look good walking past the overflowing refuse bins. How can you look worse than a bin? It is a shame they did not think things through. Or maybe they did. That could be why they are here.

Mid-day approaches and the customers are increasing but they still come in a steady stream so no worries. My assistant barks at the unruly ones. He has such authority. More than me. I think I will ensure the gates are fully open for a while. Until it dies down later on.

Wait. Disaster. I can feel them. The aches and pains. I thought I was getting better. He will be here soon to help me so no worries. He does not spare any expense with me. He knows what to do. Just a few drops of medicine is all it takes…hold on. Where is he? No. He is busy! How could this happen? Now, of all times! I am starting to seize up. No, not now.

“What are you doing? The punters are brushing against the steel? You know, the tall spears that make up the structure with gargoyles atop pillars that hold them together at either side lose their desired effect when it jams like a common garden gate.”

“I need him to come and provide me with my medicine. There are so many new arrivals.” The steel is beginning to bend under the pressure as the punters push against the gate. Look at this one. His red face reminds me of so many others that have come before. Took it too far. Big shame. Moderation is key. Enjoy life but remember to care for body and mind.

“There are always so many. Calm down. I’ll get him. Why can’t you just do your job?!” He shouts like I can help it. Please stop shouting. It is slowly getting better, I assure you. Stop shouting, Sir. Please!


What did he just do? Has he managed to get him to come back? It is such an honor to see him. How long has it been since I looked upon the Lord?

There. He. Is. So domineering. So in control. So much strength. He is coming closer. Look at the punters. Cowering. Treat him with respect and he will be your guide. He is your leader now.

“He is unable to perform his duties again, my Lord. Replacement is needed.” Wrong words. And from a Gatekeeper no less. You are lucky to have a role in this at all. You can be mean to me but not in front of the almighty. “Please, I did not mean…”

That sickening thud. Never ceases to make me flinch. Look at him, flying across the land and smashing through the piles of waste. I hope he is in good health and not hurt too much.

For someone so powerful, what great care he takes of me. So delicate. “Thank you, my lord.”

My Gatekeeper is back. I hope he is well enough to continue. He flew faster than I have ever seen him fly to get back. I forget his power and how wide his wings can span. He looks shaken but I feel he will be alright. He is a tough customer and always was. I knew that when he first walked through the gates.

“All I meant was that they are old gates, your eminence. The fear that the gates of hell create for those who are to spend eternity behind them, thus avoiding the white fluffy Lord above and seeing you; the red, brilliant, and all-powerful God below, is diminished when you have to keep fixing its aches and pains.”

“Your words are heeded. And immediately disregarded. The gates will stay and your lack of respect is wasting my time and making the hounds of hell hungry. The refuse bins are empty. The rotting limbs within them are coming with me. Now, let the accursed through. I am in need of torture and…amusement.”

I am fixed and back to work I go!”

Thank you for reading and have a nice week.

Five Fascinating Facts about William Gibson

I’ll be honest, I had not heard of William Gibson until this post. This is reblogged from and my thanks go to I’ll try to make up for my error. William Gibson sounds like someone I should be reading. 

Here is the first fact from this post. 

Interesting William Gibson facts

1. William Gibson popularised the term ‘cyberspace’ in a short story of 1982. Defined as ‘the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs’, cyberspace first appeared in fiction in William Gibson’s 1982 story ‘Burning Chrome’ (no relation to Google Chrome, we’re told), a story about a couple of freelance hackers. (Before it was published, Gibson read this story out at a science fiction convention – to an audience of four people.) But contrary to a widely held belief, William Gibson did not actually coin the term: it had originated, surprisingly, back in the 1960s when two Danish artists styled themselves as Atelier Cyberspace, after ‘cybernetics’, a term invented by Norbert Wiener way back in 1948 in his book Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. (‘Cybernetics’, by the way, comes from the Greek meaning ‘steersman’ or ‘pilot’.) Gibson, however, helped to bring the term ‘cyberspace’ to a much wider audience, especially after the success of his smash-hit cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer, in that uncannily dystopian year, 1984.’

For the rest, please click the following link:

Have a good day. 

Book Review: Transcendental (The Transcendental Machine)



Most of my mornings for the past two months or so have been fairly average on the surface but good underneath. On the surface, I get the bus into Manchester and walk ten minutes to work. Underneath, I get the bus and read the latest story on my Kindle reading list. This book was until recently a sci-fi story entitled…what this post is entitled (but without the ‘Book Review’ bit)

The chapters were around 20-25 minutes long and with my journey being about 20 minutes, I was able to comfortably read four chapters a week on my way to work. Give or take. This morning, however, I finished the book. It is one of three stories and I think I will be purchasing the next two. When payday comes around.

So, the description of this story is as follows taken from the following link

Riley, a veteran of interstellar war, is one of many beings from many different worlds aboard a ship on pilgrimage that spans the galaxy. However, he is not journeying to achieve transcendence, a vague mystical concept that has drawn everyone else on the ship to this journey into the unknown at the far edge of the galaxy. His mission is to find and kill the prophet who is reputed to help others transcend. While their ship speeds through space, the voyage is marred by violence and betrayal, making it clear that some of the ship’s passengers are not the spiritual seekers they claim to be. Like the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a number of those on the star ship share their unique stories. But as tensions rise, Riley realises that the ship is less like the Canterbury Tales and more like a harrowing, deadly ship of fools. When he becomes friendly with a mysterious passenger named Asha, he thinks she’s someone he can trust. However, like so many others on the ship, Asha is more than she appears. Uncovering her secrets could be the key to Riley’s personal quest, or to make him question everything he thought he knew about Transcendentalism and his mission to stop it.


I was looking for a more recently published book (this was published 27/08/2013 according to Kindle) as I have read older books and want to get into the habit of reading newer books. I also want to get into the habit of reviewing said books as I’m looking to be more active on Goodreads in the future. With that in mind, here is my review:

4 out of 5.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I have always enjoyed books, films and TV sci-fi that blends the fantastical elements of sci-fi with real life and tries to make it all seem as normal as possible. This story does just that.

There are a number of main and secondary characters who are all well drawn and are used very well. Each character does not outstay there welcome. None feel like they are just hanging around. Whenever their part is played in the story, they leave it. I liked the main character Riley, who seems very down to earth and grizzled war veteran by the sounds of things, who is also quietly smart. Asha is very mysterious from the start, which drew me into her character. And the vast array of aliens, all quickly and concisely described, provide a wonderful variety to the story. Some of the chapters are from some of the aliens themselves. Telling their own story of why they are on the ship and journeying to find the Transcendental Machine and reach the next step of their particular races evolution. All this coupled with solid descriptions of the surroundings means the story builds well and ends leaving me wanting more and thinking a lot about the whole thing. Which is how I like it.

Can’t wait to read the next two.

Timelines: An Apology.


So, I’ve been really enjoying writing my latest story. It’s set in Stockport, Manchester, England, my hometown, and it is allowing me to use locations I have either been to, lived near or can easily get to. I’ve written stories based in Manchester City Centre before that I have enjoyed writing for the same reason but in my hometown is slightly better. Eventually, I’m going to write one a lot closer to home in the small village I grew up in but that’s for the future.

I have been doing some character profiles and story outlines but do not have an ending written out just yet. As I have been doing this I wondered how I could track my story. Usually, I would just read back over my notes or the story itself to make sure everything is as poly hole-free as possible. This has always been a bit messy really so I thought, how can I do this easily and efficiently? A long time passed thinking about this question until…

…a timeline punched me in the brain.

I’m not sure why I haven’t used one before with ANY of my previous stories over the years. It is working so well so far. I’ve laid out my timeline per character and date. Side by side, each column with actions to move the story along. This has allowed me to sync each character up and it seems like a breath of fresh air compared to my usual method. And long may it continue. But I feel I must say…

The Kid

I’m sorry, Timelines. I’m sorry for not utilising you sooner. You are now, barring any goliath of a story planning idea to come my way, my future. I cannot see why I would not use a Timeline. It seems like it should have hit me sooner. I am sorry. Also, I hope the use of ‘The Kid’, my Lego monkey writing sidekick, will help my cause.

Phew. That feels better. Though, I feel I may have more grovelling to do. I’ve read many articles regarding timelines and obviously just let them rest in my subconscious. More fool me. Hold on. I’ll have to go back over all my previous stories and create one for each. But that will take some time. Maybe I should just use Timelines for any stories in future? But don’t all my stories deserve the same treatment?

Do you use or have you used Timelines when planning your stories? Do they help to ensure that each character is kept in line (story)? Or did you find them a hindrance and move onto something else?

Okay. I’m going back to the Timeline. And the apologies. Have a good week. Bye!



One quick one and one…not so quick one.


It has been a while. Again. Always seems to be the way recently. I think to myself ‘I’ll post more often’ and then stuff happens. This time it was moving house. I thought I’d have time but it has been all consuming, until recently, with setting accounts up for bills, unpacking boxes, building things, buying things to build, buying things to dig up other things, the list goes on. I’m almost completely settled now so I can get back to posting on my blog. This wonderful thing. My little soupcon of the internet.

So, since last time I have written another 1,000-word story. This one is opposed to the last one (see the last was a story based in a very dark place and this one is based in a very light place. The lightest place as it happens if it exists. I would say where it is but it would ruin the twist to the very dark story, which I will post on this blog in future.

I wanted to write an opposite story and one that occurs at the same time as the other. I have always enjoyed watching and writing chapters that have events happening at the same time but shown from different viewpoints. Anyway, I decided to write it quickly while the idea was fresh in my head.

Then I finished. Then I was living elsewhere. Then I moved out.

As I was setting everything up around the house move (bills, more bills, finding the local supermarket, and local pub etc.) And during this, a story woke up and began to run around my head. It’s been months since it had been for a run but I’m glad it managed it. And it is based in the town I’ve just moved too helped as well. The story is my take on the one man vigilante tale. I’ve watched and enjoyed plenty of them (John Wick, I’m looking and smiling at you) so I decided to write one myself. I wondered what one would be like with a person who isn’t an ex-Army, Special Forces, Gangster, Assassin, or any of them. A story about someone who just took up a number of different, readily available self-defence classes because he wanted too and then, suddenly, had to use them.

I got to work and I’ve written two chapters so far. Hopefully, I can keep it up and finish the story soon. It’s slowly building in my mind but I don’t have an ending yet.

Have you ever written anything without an ending?

It’s been a while since I have. Feels…schwifty.

So, I’ll get back to it. Hope you all have a good week.