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Category Archives: Events

About this time of year most parents eye the calandar and count down the days until their children are forced back into a tight schedule of soul enriching learning.


Instead I have several countdowns to keep me completely focused, calm and collected.

Saturday 27th  August 2016 will see HumberSFF’s first event, David Tallerman and BFS_Logo_red_SMALLDaniel Godfrey have somewhat bravely accepted the invitation to be the guest BSFA_Logo_2014authors for the night. An event that wouldn’t have happened without behind the scenes help. I’m supposed to be keeping things organised, I might even ask them a question or two. Time will tell.

Friday 2nd September 2016. The release of Explorations: Through the Wormhole happens. The anthology features my short story, When the Skies Open. Mark your Facebook Events now!  You don’t even have to leave the sofa to take part in this one, there’s freebies to win & the chance to talk to all the contributing authors throughout the day. I mean, how often do you get sit at the same digital table as this lot?ExplorationsThrough The Wormhole_WoodbridgePress

If you’re really lucky they might buy you a virtual drink when the bar opens too. Might and virtual being key important words there. More about that soonish.

(4th of September…back to school! – see I’m not counting down at all.)

23rd September sees the start of FantasyCon. Where I may or may not be chairing a fcon2016logo-300x66panel.


And then there’s the writing. By luck and careful planning the writing hasn’t been completely abandoned through the summer break. A breakthrough has been made!




When I’m working on my own writing I find it difficult to read within my preferred genre. For me one of the biggest advantages of SFF is, while there’s a good dose of imagination and future thought in it, the genre still has a healthy dose of day to day life. People still have relationships, crimes are still committed, mysteries still happen, so I’m able to read other stuff too.

On the search for something outside Fantasy and Science Fiction I pottered across town to catch Nick Quantrill launching his latest crime novel, The Dead Can’t Talk. It wasn’t so much as it being a local author which drew me to the novel, more that one of Hull’s most iconical buildings featured in it. The Lord Line Building not only means something to the thousands of people involved in the fishing and shipping industries, but just like the Humber Bridge, a child knows the landmark. Everyone knows they’re home when they pass Lord Line just off the A63. The people of Hull have adopted it as their own.

An Event to Remember.

Nick gave his book a proper send off into the big wide world, yes the expected gathering of chairs were there, and right comfy ones they were too. More were brought in to accommodate the crowd. York band, Bull brought the music. Helen Cadbury prompted questions relevant to the genre they both share. Much like Hull, the launch blended all the things Hull folk hold dear, friendship and fun, to create a great festival feel.

For a book.

Not too many days later. In the university library I attended a more composed launch of Daphne Glazer’s The Hendersons. A quite room, the white walls prepared for the next art display. Tea and coffee as well as finger foods awaited the guests, perfect for a composed book rich in characterisation. While I knew nothing of the Sheffield locale nor its history in which her book was set, it still transported listeners from the modern austere surrounds. Elegance and the unique mix of art and books found in Hull University’s Brymor Library merged with Daphne’s ability to inspire and enthuse. Her audience was entirely different from Nick’s, but just as engaged and curious about the novel, the author’s writing processes and inspirations. An extravagant launch and minimum expense in a city known for its grit, but I’m still waiting for the butler to offer Ferrero Roche to everyone.

Is It Worth All That Hassle?

Both launches saw book sales, of course. That’s the point of it, isn’t it? Marketing?

Or.  Is it a celebration of work, hours of effort and editing, wrangling with submission processes and book cover choices? Why shouldn’t it be a party that reflects the author’s individuality as much as the product?

Alcohol often flows at these events, but both authors were keeping a clear head – for the readings at least. Slurring your paragraphs doesn’t sound all that professional after all! Neither launch appeared to take the authors outside their comfort zones. I believe it added to the atmosphere, which in turn made their events successful. The authors enjoyed the experience on the whole.

Going Beyond The Fear.

Through the fear of no one turning up or the nightmare of standing in front of lots of people book launches are often a side thought or organised because of expectation. It might require a little bit of money too. Generally speaking book launches involve people staring at a writer, posing questions the author might not want to answer, as well as the author reading from the book in question. For those reasons many authors preferring a quiet life dislike promotion and the public process. Something I do understand.

Seeing readers gathered to support you as an author however can be a huge encouragement. Online book launches offer a shield from some of face to face engagement, but for me I’m more likely to remember a commitment to attend in person.

Being Different Isn’t A Bad Thing.

If anything, the last few weeks have shown me that a book launch is no different than a story. An author’s talent and creativity can be found in the pages just as much as it can in a launch.

Like a story, a book launch can be anything you want it to be. By being different in your approach a book can stand out from the crowd and last in a reader’s memory.

It’s not a wedding, there’s no need go beyond your budget. A little bit of planning can win you a fan or convert an undecided reader. It will give you a celebration you deserve as opposed to many sleepless nights.


Disaster has happened. A little bit of research for a current project has turned into a new project of its own. Mission creep is lethal in my household – painting a wall quickly becomes a complete room renovation. I suspect this little idea may well follow the same path.

Pub to the to the right! Yes those beams are old.

Pub to the left…pub to the right! Yes those beams are old.

You know how it happens, you walk into a pub for a lazy Sunday afternoon and suddenly want to share the fantastic place with all your genre-mad-mates, right?


Well then. I know there are many SFF fans in the Humber area. Be they readers, authors, game creators, graphic novel writers, they create and consume a culture of magic and wonder.

Promoting anything is hard work and costly, an indie author has limited options to get his work noticed. Even the traditional published writers have a trek as alas, the Humber area is remote and isolated from the busy happenings further along the M62 – even more so from the hub which is London.

With Hull City of Culture waiting in the wings I thought it high time our geek genre had a spotlight too. A chance for local authors to grow their social networks outside of the social media, meet fans from the area and allow readers to discover new work.

If you don’t try, you won’t know…right?

So Humber-SFF was born, not to compete with others but to make the genre more accessible as a whole.

It made sense to hold it on the 27th of August, a bank holiday weekend neatly between Nine Worlds and FantasyCon By the Sea. We’ve even got a whole pub* to ourselves.

27833741It wouldThe Sign in the Moonlightn’t have happened without the help from friends behind York Pub Meet and Sheffield SFF Social (Thank you!) not to mention the fantastic author Daniel Godfrey who was 100% behind the idea from the start (Pre-order his book!). David Tallerman’s also graciously agreed to be part of this momentary insanity (So buy his short story collection).

*We have one half of the present day pub to retreat to post-readings. The Monk’s Walk is thought to be formerly two pubs one holding the name The George and Dragon.

What IS Ten miles east of England?

November has been a manic month. All my attention and effort went into Story-Craft it has been a hugely rewarding project. I will not forget the pride the children had in their work and their glee at seeing their work out there in the wild on YouTube.

Their sense of achievement radiated throughout the party which the school put on to celebrate their hard work. Parents and teachers alike have praised the project which connected the children in just the way it was supposed to, and I hope to do more in 2016.

It’s very nice to return to my quiet little writing corner though and clear off the things still waiting for my attention before the new year arrives.

I forgot to tell you. I’ve been so busy sorting and preparing that I forgot completely.  I’ve been awarded a Special Commission at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival.

Humber Mouth Literature Festival 6-16th November

Humber Mouth Literature Festival 6-16th November.


With Ten Miles East Of England: The Quest For The Lost Stories I’ll be connecting kids with words by using Minecraft. Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be working with one class in Alderman Cogan C.E. School. We’ll look at play scripts, lyrics, poems, comics, websites and generally play with words until we have a story to build in Minecraft for the festival in November. (You’ll notice a significant lack of the word BOOK in there.)

2015-09-27_07.53.56When I popped in to meet the class I would be working with I had no intention of raging on about books and their importance. There’s no greater turn off after all, than being told, preached at or ordered to do something. I took lots of different ‘books’ with me, all varying in game and visual tie in. The shiny covers of the Minecraft guide books were the most popular things on the table – and that’s before we actually start,  so let’s have less of “kids don’t read.” They just don’t always read what ‘we’ want them to read. It doesn’t mean we should devalue what they (and own up guys, what we) enjoy. It doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of narratives or stereotypes. These exist in formats outside of our much loved books. Let’s stop judging things by the cover.

What IS Ten miles east of England?

What IS Ten miles east of England?

I’ll be updating the commission website: throughout the coming weeks with various things. We’ll be recording our gameplay on You Tube, and inviting everyone to take part and write their own Minecraft stories too.

Drop by the website, write some stories of your own (check out the challenge page) and have a play on Minecraft turning those descriptive passages into biomes! (You may be there a while!) Or you could just share the website address on Twitter, Facebook and their other social media friends.