Category Archives: Writing

Saturday Sonnet #8

process

 

‘process’

I sit before a screen devoid of words
and wait for something smart to come along.
Ideas, skittish as a flock of birds,
are steadfastly withholding their sweet song.
This moment – now – the doubt begins to speak
Of how the things you write are value-free
Of plots that fail, of characters too weak
To make a mark that anyone can see.
And yet I type and worlds begin to come
From out of nowhere down on to the screen;
Their parts, sometimes, far greater than their sum
Their movements leaving nothing where they’ve been
If writings all that matters here tonight
What matters is the simple fact you write.

“Death of a Nobody,” The 2nd Danny Bird Mystery is available now.

In the UK, you can buy it here. Everywhere else, you can buy it here.

“Death of a Diva” – The 1st Danny Bird Mystery – can be purchased here

Saturday Sonnet #7

Having spent the weekend at CrimeFest, I’ve become familiar with the dangers…

So, in tribute, I wrote a Sonnet…

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<Insert Obligatory Somewhat Buzzed Publication day Gin & Beer Pic>

On The Dangers of Believing What Authors Tell You Their Books Are About

“This book you wrote,” somebody said to me
“Is it all Fifty Shades of Filth and Phwoar?”
I guess I should have really let it be,
But “Yes,” I joked, “It’s all of that and more.”
Then didn’t think, again, of what I’d said,
Until my friend’s review popped up online.
“This book is one I wish I hadn’t read,”
They wrote, though you could almost hear the whine.
“I saw that it was ‘Crime’ and thought ‘Oh Good’
There’s bound to be some torture; nice and vile
I like a bit of buggery and blood
But this filth forced a thought and – worse – a smile
I wanted anal sex and acid baths.
But all I got was mystery and laughs”

My books are Death of a Diva, available Here

And – as of yesterday – Death of a Nobody, available here.

If you like the above, you might enjoy them. If you want, y’know disembowellings and blowfly infestations, you might not.  <But you won’t know til you try>


Saturday Sonnet #5

old-trainers-12002789

friday

In hindsight, some despair is evident,

But, hey, what else are you supposed to do

when pheromones, it seems, are heaven sent,

and order you, put bluntly, to go screw?

Whilst every single Gay in London town

Comes freshly from the Spa or from the Gym,

you squeeze into your jeans, perfect your frown,

and go into the night in search of him.

Then end amidst the throng on Compton Street

At sometime near approaching kicking out

To find a man with size eleven feet

And money left to stand for his own shout.

Though his Trainers are hotter than his form

you bed him; any old port in a storm.

Saturday Sonnet #4

Book_DOAD (1)

For Rebecca Chance, who asked for it…

Death of a DIva

My life, it seemed, had ended on one day
Until I came across a certain bar
And thought that I could turn the grim to gay
Which thus explains why we are where we are.
My star turns life’s been ended premature
And PC Plod has got me in the frame
And e’en my best friend is no longer sure
If I deserve to keep my own good name.
Add to the mix a Gangster who’s intent
On making my life hell if he’s involved
And plots galore both obvious and bent
And – for my sake – this mystery MUST be solved.
The end, now that you’ve had this little look?
Alas, you’ll have to buy the dam-ned book

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

Saturday Sonnet #3

mouse-1

She thought that all I did was to keep house
That she could waltz right in and take my man
from me and I’d stay silent as a mouse.
That I’d fight back was never in her plan.
And yet how could I not when all I knew
was heading West with Laura and her hair
of yellow and her sparkling eyes of blue,
her scarlet nails and fashion savoir faire.
But then she learned: You cannot run in heels,
as I slid up the gear lever to “Drive.”
It took me hours to scrape her off the wheels.
Laura’s no more; this mouse is still alive.
She lies beneath the sod, and moulders now;
But then, she always was a rotten cow.

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

Featured Author

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So, I was the featured author on Charlie Cochrane‘s blogs this week.

The first time – apart from a Fahrenheit chat when Death of a DIva was released – that I’ve been interviewed.

Typically, I agonised over the answers – do I want to appear pure comedy and silliness and risk not being taken seriously, or do I come across like a high brow Salman Rushdie and talk endlessly about my craft in tones that suggest I’d be happier doing the grouting, but that writing is a vocation for me, like, y’know, working with lepers is for other people..?

In the end, I went with “Just tell the fucking story, Derek, and stop over thinking,” which – I think – worked well.

I want to thank Charlie for being such a lovely person, and for questions that made me go “Oooh, I don’t have  a glib answer ready for that.” I’m looking forward to reading some of her mysteries now.

The interview is here, if you’d like to read it, and you can buy Death of a Diva (a 5* book worth every penny of your money) here, if you haven’t already.

 

Guest author – Derek Farrell

Saturday Sonnet #2

princebowie

I don’t wish death on any living thing,

But find it hard to know that Bowie’s gone.

That Prince no more will dance and play and sing,

While Bashir Al Assad goes rolling on.

Yet I’ll still play “Let’s Dance,” and “Kiss” Out LOUD

Not read Mein Kampf from first page to the last

Or watch Kim Jong Rant at a frightened crowd;

These hate details all fade into the past.

For though our monsters loom and always will,

In shadows they are doomed to spend half-life.

Our heroes bask in light, and always will:

Their work – they joy they give – defeating strife.

When death comes we can not escape its pains,

The beauty that we make alone remains

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

The First Draft Lesson

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This week’s been an interesting one for my writing.

I write crime fiction, which I think is heavily reliant on plot, and as a result, before I start writing, I always have a plot (and several sub-plots) mapped out, from beginning to end.

I write a detailed sketch of some scenes that means I’m doing little more – when I get to them – than adding in adjectives and adverbs (which, in editor mode, I will delete in the first draft), and funny lines or character quirks as I come to them.

Then, by the time I’m writing the book, I can let my imagination run riot, creating new scenes, comic asides and expanding on the characters (which are based on character sketches that also run to over a dozen pages) safe (sort of) in the knowledge that I won’t end up hopelessly lost or backed into a corner by a rambling subplot.

The sketch for the book I’m currently writing runs to 48 pages, and yet, still, some days feel like carving basic shapes out of marble using a toothpick.
So this week, between Hong Kong and a small town South of Auckland, in weather ranging from freezing fog to stone-splitting sunshine, has been like this:
This is hard.
This is shit.
This is easy but shit.
This is a first draft; it’s meant to be shit.
This isn’t bad.
This is shit again.
This is actually really good.

And then, today: This is so good I never want to stop.

But I did, because the sun was shining, I had the cutest kid to play with, my hosts had been super kind, and because I didn’t want to become known as  the unsociable writer who came to dinner and never spoke to anyone and because, of course, I’m on holiday, and I know – now – that I can get back to that place.

Eventually.

The lesson – which I shouldn’t really have needed to be reminded of – is the oldest one of all: First drafts are allowed to be anything from Genius to Shockingly Bad. What they are not allowed to be is unfinished.

I’m closer than ever to having a finished first draft, and though I know that some of what went before will need reworking (or, possibly,even jettisoning) I’m going to focus on that finish line, just ahead, and waiting to be crossed.

Then, the real work can begin.

Songs From The Marq

Death of a Diva is available now. To buy it, click here.

You can also send it as a personalised Gift E-Book here.

I write in noise. My mother used to tell anyone who cared to listen that, as a child, I was incapable of enduring silence, and that – with the arrival of the domestic stereophonic headphone in the seventies and the personal Walkman in the eighties – I was able only to read, write and think, whilst I had the counterpoint of TV, records, another book, or a selection of pickles on a plate.

And I still need counterpoint today. Here is how I write: I watch, I listen, I think “What if,” or “I wish I’d said… ” followed, immediately, by “Jesus, what would have happened if I’d said…” Because I don’t write. I tell stories. And when I sit down in silence and wait for stories, nothing happens.

When I was a kid, my family had music that went from “My Fair Lady” via “Elvis Gold,” “Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake,” numerous Andy Williams records, and vinyl by Dinah Washington Francoise Hardy Nancy Sinatra, Diana Ross and her Motown cohorts and on into ABBA, The Human League and many of the best 80’s recording artistes.

Our family soundtrack was melodic, lyrical, and tuneful. And it told stories.

And I write – I tell – stories with music ever present.

Continue reading Songs From The Marq

On Murder

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I’ve come, over the past week or so, to realise that the best murder mysteries are, ultimately, about serial killers.

Not, necessarily, the Gory Hannibal Lecter type of serial killers; even the classic Agatha Christies, for example, seem to work even better when the Nemesis has a couple of (or preferably three) victims.

The classic Murder mystery pits a sleuth against a murderer. There’s a first murder – a hook; something to attract the attention of both the sleuth and the reader. Normality has been upset; the natural order has been broken, and must be restored.

And if there’s one murder, and the detective can investigate and, eventually, unmask the killer, then it can be a good story. But what makes it a Great story is when the stakes are upped.

Continue reading On Murder