Month: January 2018

The Mystery of the Unexplained

Okay, so back in the early 80s, there was a fondness for magazine producers in the UK to release their products as fortnightly serials, building up to a full volume set after you’d been collecting them about a hundred years or so. I’m sure I recollect titles dealing with different battles in warfare and you got a different ‘toy’ soldier with each issue, I also think there was some kind of wildlife one focusing on a different type of animal each time.

That didn’t float my boat, but what did, was one called The Unexplained. It took ‘mysterious phenomena’ and looked at ‘new evidence’ to try and explain them. All the usual suspects were there – some twenty years before the X-Files – Loch Ness, alien abduction, bigfoot / yeti, spontaneous human combustion, the Bermuda triangle (Remember that? Health and Safety must have sorted that out because I haven’t heard a peep out of any kind of dangerous geometry for years…), the Cottingley Fairies and near death experiences.

The second I saw the advert back in the day, I was hooked. I’ve just watched the old ad on YouTube and it still scans pretty well, considering. I had to have it. So every fortnight I trouped off down to the village shop to buy my glossy dose of spookiness, or the manual on how to become Fox Mulder as it might as well have been. I read and re-read it, can still picture some of the images in there, and it became a really important part of how my mind developed into fiction – getting into James Herbert’s The Rats and progressing quickly onto Stephen King, with It coming a couple of years later. But it’s the lure of the unexplained that has always done it for me – even now, my son and I will sit and watch Finding Bigfoot together, with the glimmer of hope that one of the dodgy sightings just might turn out to be real.

And now, having published The Hand of an Angel, and looking at the roster of stories on which I’m currently working, it seems there may be a bit of a link in what would be otherwise completely separate tales. And so, perhaps, I should really have sub-titled The Hand of an Angel: The Unexplained Series – Volume 1.  





That was the easy bit…

You go through a slightly strange period when you finish writing a book. At some point after finishing it, and whilst going through an editing and re-drafting cycle until you’re happy that it is totally done, you actually get brave enough to tell people that you’ve written a novel. Brave enough because you’re worried that they’ll laugh in your face because they don’t think you can string a sentence together, or because you’ve just admitted to spending the last year playing make-believe on your laptop. And yes you do get some mixed reactions – there are so many ways of expressing the word ‘really’. Happily the vast majority of people have offered their congratulations, feeling that it is an achievement to have done it. And having said so to other authors, I suppose that it is.

So you’d think that that was the hard work done then. Oh no. As a self-published author – which is a bit like John Cleese in the Fawlty Towers sketch where he plays the part of lots of different people who run the hotel – the hard work is only really starting. You take on the role of the typesetter and research the popular and outdated fonts for novel writing before getting obsessive about the placement of every margin, the graphic designer for the cover, the solicitor to go through all the legal and financial stuff with Amazon and it’s subsidiaries, the marketing guy to look at campaigns on Amazon and social media, and so it goes on and on.

So I genuinely thank every single person who’s patted me on the back in some way for finishing The Hand of an Angel, but that was really the easy bit compared with the promotional work to get as many folks out there as possible reading it. Roll on going back to the easy part of writing a book again!







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