Cost of Living Crisis

Various news reports last week put the current rate of inflation at between 2.7% and 7%, depending on the criteria and timescales used. At the same time, interest rates rose to 1%, their highest level for some time. We are accustomed now to the idea that we are in a cost-of-living crisis, but just how bad is it? I would suggest, a lot worse than many people realise. The energy costs and fuel price rises have been well documented, and are way above the quoted rate of inflation. Surprisingly, when you think back to the fuel crisis of 2000, most people seem to have absorbed these without too much complaint. The Government has managed to divert attention from their misguided policies by apportioning blame to external factors.  A favourite scapegoat is Covid-19, but the virus itself was not to blame. It was the untold billions wasted on pointless measures in response that did the damage. If that won’t wash as an excuse anymore, then the convenient crisis in Ukraine makes a good substitute.

The Meat Elite

 Hi all, As you'll know if you've read my novels, I do like to explore alternative, dystopian futures on occasion. I have all sorts of ideas, often inspired by current affairs, that don't make it into print as they aren't substantial enough to make it into a full novel. So they sit on the backburner. What I'd like to do is explore some of these through short stories, so here is the first of what may become a series. Here, I imagine what might happen if future people in power looked back at what happened over 2020-2021 and used it as a template to pursue other objectives. Addendum (May 2022) - A year after I wrote this story, I am now halfway through writing my next novel which is going to explore this world in more detail. What you see here will be adapted into the new book, so this is now a preview of what's to come. It's interesting looking back at what I wrote a year ago and seeing what has transpired during that time. What I wrote as fiction now feels mo

The importance of branding

 Every store you shop in, every product you buy is a brand. The biggest brands are recognisable the world over, from the red and white of Coca Cola to the golden arches of McDonald's. Any professional business needs clear and consistent branding, and books are no different. When I started writing my Time Bubble books in 2014, I had no inkling that seven years later I would have eleven of them on the market. When I started, I had no great marketing plan - I was learning on the job. I realised early on that I needed my covers to match, so I had the hourglass on the first few, but over time, I deviated away from that. There was nothing wrong with my old covers - they served their purpose, but I realised over the past year that I needed to upgrade them. Some of them were looking a little tired, and dare I say, even a little gloomy, so I got together with my cover artist and we came up with a plan to relaunch the range with a bright, shiny new selection of colours. My idea was straightf

Return to Tomorrow

Hello everyone, What a year it’s been. Where to start? Well, I won’t dwell on the virus, lockdowns or any of that, because millions of column inches and tweets have been devoted to that elsewhere. You didn’t come here for that – you want to hear when the next Time Bubble book is coming out! I’m pleased to say that the answer is soon. I have faced a number of challenges this year which have delayed progress. Firstly, I had to home school the children for three months earlier in the year. Secondly, and I won’t go into great detail on this as I am not one to whinge about health issues, I am waiting for eye surgery which I hope to have in the first few months of next year. As things stand, I can still write and work, but I have to go slower than before. This is also the reason you have not seen much in the way of posts from me because I have dedicated all my time to getting the book completed to the standard you both expect and deserve. I am very happy with the end result, provisionally ti

Teasers and Prologues

I watch a lot of TV - probably more than I should since I got Netflix, but hey, it's winter and the sun sets ridiculously early, and I've got 91 episodes of Orange is the new Black to get through, amongst other things. What do you think about teasers in TV programmes - in particular those that give a hint about what's to come? I'm talking about something shocking and unexpected in the pre-credits sequence that's going to happen much later in the show. After the opening credits you get a caption along the lines of "Three Days Earlier" so you know you'll be working up to what you saw before. Personally, I've always liked this, and the literary equivalent is the Prologue. I used to feel that my books started rather slowly so I gave it a try in Class of '92 , my last book, which opened with a dinosaur rampaging through Oxford. I think that got people's attention. For my new book, I've decided to go down the same route and opened the

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

What an awesome night out I had in Bicester last Sunday - significantly better than many of the ones I had when I was actually living there. I think this is one benefit of moving around - you make new friends wherever you go but the ones you made where you were before welcome you back with open arms when you return. The pessimist in me might suggest that people were only so pleased to see me because having been absent for almost two years they might have forgotten what a pain in the arse I am! The optimist in me hopes that's not the case and I am not actually one of those people who gets gets described as "alright in small doses" behind their back. I'm sure there is an element of absence making the heart grow fonder but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I had chosen this particular Sunday to revisit my old stamping ground after receiving an invitation to a Christening. My friends, Anne and Mark, had recently had a new baby, something that in itself had been

Devon delights

We're enjoying a well deserved break down in Devon this week and I do feel justified in saying well deserved. It's a phrase I see bandied about rather a lot but everyone in the family has worked really hard this year at work and school to move things forward and we really have earned this trip. I know I haven't posted endless details of what we've been doing all over Facebook but seriously who wants to see all that constantly anyway? I could post endlessly about how well the kids did at parent's evening, how well my latest book's doing and all that gubbins, but honestly, do people really want to see all that stuff? Too much of that gets you unfollowed faster than you can #hashtag your latest check in of where you're having your dinner - yes we get it - you're eating out tonight whilst the rest of us are at home. Good for you. This is why I rarely post to Facebook at all now, let's be honest it's all getting a bit old hat. I'd far rather c