Bridging the gap

'Out of the Smoke' Author's Commentary Chapter 5: The Eagle and Child The two boys left Aggie's shop with their pockets heavy and their hearts light.'Out of the Smoke' Chapter 5: The Eagle and Child When JRR Tolkien was writing 'The Two Towers' he came to an impasse at the end of the first half,... Continue Reading →

The convenience of eavesdropping

'Out of the Smoke' Author's Commentary Chapter 4: Aggie The shop was narrow, but deceptively deep; Aggie's counter lay at the far end, through a dusty maze of ancient display cabinets. A gas-lamp burned in the depths, barely illuminating the cave. Aggie's voice dropped low and continued speaking, picking up the conversation from which it... Continue Reading →

Creating a villain

'Out of the Smoke' Author's Commentary Chapter 3: The Devil's Lads Halfway across the river Tosher nudged Billy again."Look out," he muttered, and this time there was no humour in his voice. "Here comes trouble."A rabble of boys and young men was striding along the pavement towards them, spread out from the parapet to the... Continue Reading →

A life of grime

'Out of the Smoke' Author's Commentary Chapter 2: The Silver Spoon The journey down was, if anything, more dangerous than the journey up. Flues did not exist in isolation: they ran up the backbone of the house like a river with many tributaries, the flues from three or four different fireplaces all merging together as... Continue Reading →

Begin at the beginning

'Out of the Smoke' Author's Commentary Chapter 1: Up, Up, Up "Get in there!"Gerard tightened the rope around Billy's ankle with a sharp tug and shoved him towards the sheet-draped fireplace. Billy stumbled and almost fell, but he bit back the retort that came all too easily to his lips. It wasn't worth arguing with... Continue Reading →

Call the Poor – Part 2

An 'Out of the Smoke' Short Story Part 2 Part 1 - Part 2 The group trudged through the darkened streets, heads bent low against a freezing wind that seemed to have come straight from the pole. Robert kept half an eye on Clara, but he soon realised he need not have worried about her:... Continue Reading →

A Rose By Any Other Name

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, scene ii The above lines from Romeo and Juliet are often taken by writers... Continue Reading →

Lifting the Lid: Til Death

It’s official. I want a divorce. Not from my wife, of course. She’s the loveliest creature on this good earth, and no matter how hard things get in this marriage the D-word is one that will never come up. No, I would like a divorce from this novel. I have hit a period in the... Continue Reading →

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