the pilgrimage begins

Hello all,

If you are on this site, you are about to look inside my brain.  In my brain are fantasy worlds and worlds just like this one, there are heroes and villains and people just as boring and disturbed as each one of us.  Welcome to my head.

Every week, I’ll give you something else to read; maybe something long, maybe not.  The topics will range from children’s stories to fantasy tales, to more realistic fiction, to fiction that will make you question, if not your sanity, then certainly mine.

Go to the top of the page and click ‘Menu & Widgets’ to navigate the site if you don’t fancy trawling through the entire blog.  The ‘Stories’ page is precisely that, stories written by me.  The posts are arranged alphabetically, and right at the bottom is the option to search by category.

Read, spend some time, relax, shoot me a line.



it’s that time again

Yes, October is coming to an end, and that means it’s time to think about this year’s novel writing challenge.  I’ve got six ideas, all for the same series, and I know roughly what I would like to happen in each one.  I still have the luxury of choice, which means I can pick my favourite character to write about.

What troubles me is that I even have a favourite character.

I created all these characters myself.  It took time; it took love.  I spent a lot of energy intertwining them and tweaking them and giving them their special attributes (which now exist only in my memory, since my notes were all in the  car which was stolen in Sweden).  So why do I like some more than others?  I only hope that as I continue to build the world, the characters I have less affinity for will slowly become more solid.

One big change from last year is that I have a writing buddy!  Vicki Goodwin, a fellow writer and blogger, will be doing the challenge right alongside me.  If you want to get involved too, then why not?  I’d love to have you.

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find your purpose

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all knew our purpose in life?

What about if your life’s purpose was to find your purpose?

And what if you couldn’t die until you had?

Following a prompt courtesy of Reddit, I’ve just finished the first draft of a story on precisely that theme.  Coming in at just over 6000 words, it’s about the right length for a short story.  Some of it will be uploaded here in the coming weeks – maybe all of it if people want.

But you can’t just release a story out into the world when it’s only in its first draft – that would be tantamount to murder!  You kick your children out of the house once they are mature enough to handle it, not before.  On the other hand . . .

. . . it would be a dreadful post without just a taste of what is to come.  Here’s one of my favourite bits so far:

I have to say, this last century was probably the least fun.

I’m sat right now at a café. Not in Paris, good grief no; this isn’t a film. I’m actually in Warsaw, wrapped in a blanket and sipping a hot chocolate which I am pleased to discover is just as disgusting as the last time I was here. I’m scanning the bodies as they go past, hoping for some spark – anything – but no. My people are all gone now. And this century is just the worst, and it’s only just started, and I’ve done my best but in the end it wasn’t enough.

My name at the moment is Davis, by the way, not that it matters.

I didn’t cross the continents. I regret that. I mean, I’ve been everywhere now, but I really wish I’d been alive back when you could walk from Sydney all the way to Reykjavik. I once met a guy who claimed he had, but he claimed all kinds of stuff. And he’s gone now.

There was a girl, too – there’s always a girl – but that’s not really surprising, given my age. There have been girls, guys, and everything in between.

But the girl is what’s important right now, and not for the reasons you might think.

Find out all about Davis and his long, curious life in the coming weeks!

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a space between worlds

Gathering a bundle of lilies and jasmine, Reno plucked their petals and piled them in his palm. He slunk toward the edge of the bed and waded his legs in the pool. No matter how much water poured into it, the pool didn’t overflow. The water itself didn’t bear any sensation to his body. It was neither warm or cold. Reno dumped the petals into the pool. Floating on top of the surface, they swirled as Reno lowered himself into the pool. He took several breaths before totally submerging himself in the glistening teal pool. The coil of thorns loosened its grip and relaxed itself as it slid down his forearm. The thorns expelled their reserves of blood into the water, streaks of diluted crimson entwined and compacted into ruby colored seeds. The waning light of the setting sun poured into the pool and clashed against the seeds. Reno reached for them and cradled them in his hands.

‘Conception’ is the first volume of Sci-Fi/Romance/Space Opera saga A Space Between Worlds, by J.D. Woodson.  I won’t try to explain what it is myself, because the author has already done a far better job:


About A Space Between Worlds Vol.1: Conception:

Songstress Shanti’s final performance is no different than any other. Gazing into the mirror, the Songstress laments her faceless curse. To hide her unsightliness, she dons a beautiful mask. She knows she doesn’t belong in the darkness. Her desire is to live in a world of eternal light, to be seen for who she truly is.

An enigmatic man who calls himself Avidia beckons Shanti, claiming to know how to conceive the world of light sleeping inside of her, and escape her current world of darkness, Cauraaha. Avidia poses the question that will be the key to her desire, as well as an unresolved pain:

What is your first memory?”

Reno, a gentle florist, has his own stigma, a translucent coil of thorns wrapped around his arm, draining him of life at the utterance of the word “Promise”. Hidden away in his heart is the knowledge of a past he doesn’t wish to face, one that connects to Shanti, Avidia, and her curse.

A dual narrative of introspection and self-discovery, A Space Between Worlds eloquently questions the truths of life and death, timeless bonds, and regret through lyrical imagination, philosophy, surrealism, and a journey through the unconscious mind.

You have to admit it sounds intriguing, even if it isn’t what you usually read.  I recommend it not just for fans of the genre, but also for writers who are just starting out – Woodson’s experimental use of plot and language can give you plenty of ideas.  As always, you can decide what would work for you, what you would change, what you would avoid.  No two writers are exactly alike, and that is as it should be.But who is J.D.Woodson?





J.D. Woodson was born Chicago, Illinois in 1992. He grew up in Palos Park, a quiet suburb southwest of Chicago. During his early years, J.D. gained a fondness towards poetry and continued to writing it through primary school and high school, winning small awards for his work. He would attend Columbia College Chicago with intent to major in poetry, however he shifted his focus and major to Fiction Writing due to his love for storytelling. After his sophomore year, he would take a leave of absence to study outside of the workshop method he was taught and gained experience as a ghostwriter which his projects spanned from fiction to non-fiction. To read more about J.D., you can visit him on his website.

Click here  or visit Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page to enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of  A Space Between Worlds Vol.1: Conception by J.D. Woodson.

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I’ll leave you with a second excerpt for the novel.  You can see plenty more, including reviews and interviews, by clicking around the links above.

Your eyes see right through me; my voice is your haunting. I am without a body; you cannot embrace me. Once I dismiss myself, I will be rid of your amused and spiteful gazes.

Shanti’s fingertips scaled down the harp’s string meticulously. A host of stars were extinguished. Without their light, the faces of the audience were rendered unclear. Her fingers galloped up the strings swiftly. The dead stars rekindled with brilliance. Shafts of starlight glittered around the opera hall and exposed the patron’s likenesses vividly. There was one whose shone brighter than the stars. Shanti’s movement ceased. A pair of glassy eyes shined like the dawning sun, calling to her.

Shanti synched her breathing with the string’s vibration, scaling up and down The sky was set ablaze, but quickly faded to black. Focused and steady, the first string was plucked and a masterful cord ensued. A star, deep in the darkness, resonated and was pulled down to the earth. The Songstress’ voice was raised.


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moving house, moving heart


Here’s a strange thing: when you live in a place long enough, it starts to feel like home.  It becomes a part of you, and you of it.  You take on the characteristics of your home.  If you move into a stylish flat, you unconsciously become more stylish to match it . . . or else, the apartment crumbles until it matches your decrepit personality.

(I’m moving house right now, so writing from experience)

Another thing that happens when you move house is that you throw things away.  If you’re clever, you’ll throw away as much as possible before you move so that you don’t have to drag it around with you.  But even if you do it the other way around, sooner or later you will end up throwing things away.  Perhaps you’ll throw away things that you never thought you would part with, or things that you had forgotten you owned.  It may feel like you are throwing away a part of yourself – but a part that is no longer relevant, or desirable, or necessary.

So it stands to reason that when you change the place where you live, you also change yourself.  It sounds simplistic to say it, but where and how we choose to live defines, to a large extent, who we are.  As a writer, it is something that I have sadly neglected.  In future, characters and their residences should match, and even if I don’t specifically write how they live, I should at least plan it so that it is clear in my head.

Are you a writer, and have you also neglected this essential aspect of the craft?  Or do you have a few tricks up your sleeve in this regard?  Let me know.

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weeks upon weeks of inactivity

I can make excuses, but it won’t help. For those who follow me, I apologise. I have something on the way, though it may take slightly longer than first thought. Until it arrives, I’d like to ask you a question I’ve been wondering about recently:
What exactly is ‘purpose’? Where does it come from? And how do you know when you’ve found it?
Let me know.
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that elusive needle

credit to Tom Gauld for the cartoon

Just been checking out one of my favourite websites,     I saw this great guide by Jeanette Stampone on writing short stories, and I thought I had to share the wealth.

7 Tips for Writing Awesome Short Stories

monstress – issue 1

Cassiopeia’s Moon is doing sterling work over at her literature review blog.  This one in particular caught my eye as the book is creating quite a buzz.  Monstress is a graphic novel by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, set in a world torn apart by war.  But for a more in-depth look at the series, click on the link and head on over to her site.

A book lovers corner

24426209Monstress – Issue 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

My rating:4 of 5 stars

I’m still new to the graphic novel genre but it seems like I chose well when I pick something up. Monstress is a new series about a girl, Maika, living in a world torn apart by war. In this 72 page issue you only get a glimpse of the world, and what a world! It already feels complex, filled with politics, history and mysticism.

In the beginning I had some trouble understanding what was going on and missed the insight into her, Maika’s, head you usually get when reading a novel. But then explanations came. There had been a war, those who lost have become targets for slave trading, something mysterious happened at the war’s final days. And then there is something about Maika.

I do recommend to not read any synopsis. I did…

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