It’s about time that I did a giveaway. Before that though, some shameless self-promotion.

You may know that I co-host a podcast, 1857.

I have started appearing in another.


The following excerpt was written by Harry Marks, producer, director, leading voice and top fellow of the Shelflifesitcom.

Harry is a talented swine, and silver-tongued with it. He has worked out that I can resist anything bar flattery, so he’s perceptive too.

“[Ray Liotta voice] As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to own my own bookstore. Unfortunately, the economy and, more recently, the virus situation around the world have made achieving that dream impossible. But there was another dream. Once upon a time, I was a film student focused on writing the next great screenplay. As I got older, my passions shifted toward fiction writing and I’ve spent the last 10 years writing six failed novels.

Rather than invest months of time and effort in another manuscript, I wanted to write something I could guarantee would be seen by more than agents and critique partners. And since self-publishing any of my novels was never part of my plans, I figured I’d tap into one of my other hobbies: podcasting.

The Show

The Shelf Life is a sitcom about Edwin Charles (played by yours truly), the owner of Blue Cat Books, a small-town, independent bookstore. The coffee shop next door is run by Vincent Hughes (played brilliantly by the 1857 podcast’s Stuart Lennon). When a young woman from out of town shows up with a bombshell secret, Edwin’s quiet life is turned upside-down.”

Told you he was silver-tongued.

Read the rest of the post here, at Pencil Revolution, the fantastic blog of Johnny Gamber, of Erasable Podcast fame. Careful at Johnny’s blog, before you know it, an hour has passed.

Free Book

My writing buddy Amanda Fleet has been slacking off. Just publishing novels three, four and five. She’s forever putting me to shame!

The books form the Guardians of the Realm trilogy. They’re excellent. Go buy them or

I’m giving away two paperback copies of the first of the series, “Aegyir Rises”.


All you have to do is be signed up as a subscriber to my newsletter. Not that I have actually sent any newsletters, but I’m going to – if only to announce the winners!

I will draw a couple of names from the hat on Wednesday, April 1st.


My writing is supported by people like you. Membership costs £12 per year. For this princely sum, you will get access to subscriber only posts, direct access to a members chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a member.

To be clear – you DO NOT need to be a paid member to qualify for the giveaway, only asubscriber – and that’s free.


Going Solo 15. 1857

“Let’s call it 1857.”
So ended a conversation and began a podcast. I can’t reveal the detail of the conversation, as the origin of the title is a closely-guarded secret.


TJ was a friend of and when I took it over, I got in touch with him. We agreed that he would shoot some brief videos on a variety of notebook brands. The videos can still be found on the pocketnotebooks You Tube channel. I learned that commissioning video is too expensive a method of marketing notebooks, but I gained a relationship with a kindred spirit.
One thing led to another and TJ and I recorded a trial run of a podcast. We borrowed heavily from the Erasable Podcast, Pen Addict and RSVP, our favourite stationery themed shows. A standard format emerged, and we used the structure to facilitate a weekly conversation.
That’s all it is really. A conversation. TJ and I are a generation apart. I was 21 when TJ came into the world and this becomes prominent when making references, particularly to popular culture.


Might 1857 become a commercial project? It might. The production costs of the show are met by listener’s donations, merchandise purchase and underwritten by Nero’s Notes. There is a marketing benefit to Nero’s, but it’s difficult to quantify.
Producing 1857 is a channel for our creativity and a communication medium with customers. We have a Slack channel for listeners, and talking to them there is one of the few places where I talk directly with customers. It’s also a lot of fun.
To date, TJ & I have been disciplined. We record once a week and release once a week, so far, without exception. We pre-record episodes to cover vacations, maintaining an unbroken sequence of weekly releases that is approaching 90, as I type.


I enjoy the anchor that a regular schedule provides in my week. The discipline of researching, recording and releasing is good practice and I’ll be honest, I really look forward to my weekly conversation with TJ.
We have only actually met once, when Mags and I flew to Belfast for a weekend, where TJ and Meg showed us the town. Naturally, we recorded a show – which you can find here.