Interviewed by fellow author, Ken Hughes

Today I was interviewed by fellow author, Ken Hughes ( Here’s how the conversation went:

1. Let’s start at the beginning: how did you know you wanted the kinds of supernatural forces you use in your writing?

tumblr_nvnvq7PkG61t8w028o1_500Growing up, I loved the X-Files, theOuter Limits, Dawn of the Dead, Buffy and Angel, and lots of other horror/fantasy products. I was also reading the books of Stephen King and James Herbert. For some reason, these were the things I loved, and I wanted to live in these scary worlds all the time. By writing my own worlds I get to spend even more time in the place I love to be—fighting for my life against monsters and ghosts. Maybe I love the thrill, but I also love the themes of death, loss, and adversity ever-present within the horror genre.

2. Magic can open a whole set of doors (and pitfalls) in the plot of a story, with new opportunities for characters. How has your concept of the supernatural meshed with your plots?

I have a tendency to weave my plots and characters together, which makes things very complicated to keep in order. I am slowly building a multi-verse which will have characters jumping between worlds. It’s hard work. When the rules don’t apply then you have to restrict yourself or your plots will end up unravelling all over the place! Continue Reading →

Book Funnel: Easily get your books to readers

Book Funnel: Get Sharing


Book Funnel is something I’ve been using for a while now, and whenever I discover a new tool that I feel offers value for money or some indispensable service, I feel compelled to share it with people. I’m not making any money for promoting the service, and am doing so purely as a recommendation. So what is Book Funnel?

Book Funnel is an online platform that costs a small subscription fee, but allows you to upload your ebooks and easily share with them with your readers via a web link. The beauty of the service is that the link will take the user to a page with multiple options for how they would like to download the books – mobi, epub, pdf. It automates the process of getting the book onto the reader’s devices and also deals with any technical support that might arise. Basically, it allows you to offer freebies and advanced reader copies easily and in a manner that allows you to just post the link and forget about it. Want to offer one of your books free to all platforms for 24 hours? Then stick it on Book Funnel and share the link all over Social Media (Amazon KDP Select is generally fine with marketing efforts so don’t worry about exclusivity, although don’t quote me on it).

Here is what a reader encounters when they follow your link (you can test it yourself on the website via a sample).


And from there, the user picks the option most suited to them and follows the simple wizard that will get the book onto their devices. I’ve said before that giving away free books is a must for new authors as the number one priority in the early stages is discoverability. The beauty of Book Funnel is that its built on a pay scale. If you only have a few dozen downloads each month then the cost is nominal. I would also recommend it to established authors too, as it is indispensable in conjunction with a newsletter. Give subscribers free books for signing up, and use Book Funnel to offer them a flawless and professional service.

Anyway, you can check out the service in full, here:

Tools to write with…

Tools to write with…

grammar_o_892749I am not a classically trained writer, and I never finished University. If you want a teacher to tell you about the finer intricacies of grammar and style, I am not your man. Without sounding arrogant, however, I will state that I am a successful ‘popular’ author and that I make a good living selling books. Many of my ‘classically’ trained contemporaries do not.

My training came through the experience of jumping right in the deep end. My first novel, The Final Winter, succeeded because of its story. As an avid horror fan, I was able to create a plot that other horror fans enjoyed. Technically, though, it was a bit shoddy. I’ve since rewritten The Final Winter, and it is a better book today than it was then. The reason being that I am a better writer. I’ve learned from experience, feedback, and reviews. I’ve fixed some of my flaws and gotten better at putting forward my strengths. That doesn’t mean there are not things I still struggle with though.

Below are a few examples of the intricacies of writing that took me a long time to find peace with. These are all now a part of my established style, and not necessarily the most correct ways of doing things, but I have learned that a writer only needs to be consistent. Find your way of doing things and then stick to it. Readers won’t care as long as you do it your way.

So without further ado, here are a few tools to write with…

Continue Reading →

Scrivener: 10 reasons it’s better than Word

Scrivener – a comparison to Word, and why it’s better.


Hi everyone. Throughout 2016 I plan on doing semi-regular blog posts about self-publishing. I will post about the tools I use and the methods I employ. The first topic I wanted to cover is Scrivener, because if you are or want to be a writer, you really should be using Scrivener.

Word is what most people are used to–it’s been around a long time–but aside from it being very set in its ways and not updated all that often, it is expensive and more feature rich than many of us need it to be. Scrivener however is regularly updated, cheap to buy, and most importantly — IT IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR WRITERS.

That’s right, there is a word processor out there that is specifically designed for people who want to write books. Whereas Word is a one-size-fits all application that has become bloated over time, Scrivener is streamlined to provide the exact features that writers need. Whilst I still use Word for the odd task, I use Scrivener exclusively for my novel writing, and have done for some time now. Below are some of the reasons you should consider grabbing a copy of Scrivener for yourself. Links to purchase at the bottom of the page.

  1. Backups – I wrote a short story in Word last week and lost the entire thing by overwriting another document by accident. I have no idea what happened, or even how it happened, but I do know that Word offered absolutely no way to get it back. It was an entire day wasted. This would not have happened with Scrivener because Scrivener backs your shit up to the eyeballs. Every project I have started in Scrivener has its own automatically-generated folder which is teeming with previous file histories. With Scrivener, not only can I retrieve lost work, I can also access old versions of the same file. Handy for rolling back changes that didn’t work out.
  2. Make notes as you write – What I find VERY useful is that I can make notes that are attached to each separate chapter as I write. Ever been writing a scene and had a thought, or realised that something in the earlier chapters doesn’t make sense? With Scrivener you can jot down notes in the sidebar that you can go over later. This is so useful when writing draft 2 as you will have a bunch notes to remind you of what needs fixing as you go through the chapters again.Untitled
  3. Chapter Descriptions – Also note, in the above screenshot, there is a description of the chapter I am working on. Before I start writing my novels, I write a short summary for each chapter so I know where the plot is going. These descriptions appear as I write each chapter, and make sure I know what I’m working towards in each scene. Furthermore, when I have finished draft 1, I can then look at each chapter and see a description for each one — great when I’m trying to find a certain part of the story to go back to and make changes.
  4. Chapters are separate documents – In Scrivener, every act, chapter, and even individual scene can be it’s own separate document. The benefit of this is that it is very easy to visualise your overall story and check the flow and beats of the narrative. You can colour code different character scenes if you want, or separate chapters into ACT 1, 2, and 3. It is fabulous for plotting in whatever way you prefer. You can also drag and drop scenes to reorder them into any sequence you want–again, something that would be a nightmare in Word (copy and paste bitches).win-write_structure_revise-lg
  5. Corkboard and Research – Again Scrivener aims to help writers specifically through the use of features like the corkboard and research section. The corkboard allows you to display notes, chapters, images, and anything else in your story to make it easy to plan and sift through your thoughts. There is also a research section that allows you to pin webpages or supporting documents that you wish to refer to as you write. With Word this would entail the use of separate files and a web browser (not ideal if you are offline).
    Keep your research handy

    Keep your research handy

    Arrange your chapters and scenes to figure out the best flow.

    Arrange your chapters and scenes to figure out the best flow.

  6. Split-Screen – Want to have a photograph in front of you why you describe how one of your characters look? Well, you can use split screen to load up an image on one half of the screen while you write in the other. Or you can load a Wikipedia page up while you make notes about a very technical scene. Whatever you need to hand can be pinned to one side of the screen.
  7. Character and location sheets – Scrivener allows you to add Character sheets and Location sheets to you manuscript portfolio. You load one up, fill out the details, and can even add a photograph of someone you envisage (Brad Pitt?), then whenever you need to remind yourself of certain character details, you can click once and get it all in front of you. Then, one more click will get you back to your scene. Everything is all right there for you, organised along to the left hand side.
  8. Word Counts! – I love this. Scrivener allows you to set a ‘manuscript target length’ that will fill up a little progress bar as you write words. There is no better way to motivate yourself than by watching that little bar fill up. You can set daily writing targets that will pop up excitedly when you hit them, or even set individual targets for every separate chapter (great for working on pacing and balance). Scrivener will also record your word count for the whole day, so you know where you are at. I do 3000 words a day minimum when I am writing a novel, and Scrivener is great at pushing me towards meeting that goal.
  9. Templates – eBook, paperback, screenplay? Scrivener has templates for them all. Load one up and it will automatically generate copyright pages, TOC pages, etc. Nice little time saver!
  10. Compile straight to ebook – When your manuscript is finished, you can hit ‘compile’, but that’s not where it ends. You have the option to create a Kindle file, a print pdf, an epub, or other formats. Want to create your own ebook files to give to your readers, Scrivener will do it automatically for you. It will also allow you more control over what you upload to Amazon. Want to add little images to every chapter heading? Well Scrivener will let you automatically insert jpegs or gifs into the document that will appear alongside every heading — no need to add them individually for every single chapter like you would have to in Word. Table of Contents? Done. Subheadings? Done. I could go on.
  11. Bonus reason – Scrivener will automatically compile a Table of Contents from your chapters and back matter to form a complete book for you. It will also paginate for you properly for print (a massive headache in Word). Having every separate by nature means you don’t have to bother with page breaks and section breaks like you do in Word. It’s so much easier, like most things in Scrivener.

One extra reason:

It’s only $40! Compare that to Word, which is a lot more, and you’d be mad to use anything else to write your books.

To grab a copy, just click the banner. I will get a small affiliate commission for your purchase, but the truth is that I have been recommending Scrivener for a long time, but have only recently become an affiliate. I promise you that I use the program myself every single day and that it is every bit as good as people say it is. It is worth the money, you have my word. IRW.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

Grab your copy now!