Hello I’m back…!

Writing by a pool…

Hello everyone, after a long absence I think I’m back.

I have had an unplanned few months away from writing.  It was certainly never my intention to just stop, but that is how it played out.

There are a number of reasons that I have not kept this blog up to date recently.  The most obvious one is that I have not been writing, and this is a writing blog so for a while I have really had nothing to say.

I have not written for a number of reasons.  The first is that I am back at work.  Apart from a couple of months in the middle when I briefly returned to work, I have not worked much since March last year.  When I was working before I had managed to find a nice balance between working and writing, but since I went back to work in August, that balance had eluded me.

There are several possible reasons for this.  The most obvious one is that my job has an almost random-seeming schedule.  I do not work a set pattern, I do not have set days off – sometimes I work nights, sometimes I work days, and often I work both in rather quick succession.  I have been doing it for over seven years now, and before the pandemic and furlough, my body was used to it.  To say that getting back into the swing of it has been a tough transition would definitely be an understatement.  I have been back at work for over ten weeks now, and I am only just starting to get used to what had been easy for me.  This is why I have not been writing, my days off have been spent exhausted and catching up on sleep.  I think I have turned a corner – today is the first time on a trip where I have worked overnight that I have managed to get up and do something with my day – even if it is merely wonder around a mall, go for a swim, do some reading and – finally – do a little more work on the second draft of Still Life.

The second reason is a family illness that I don’t want to talk about in detail on here, but it is definitely a contributing factor.

I am glad that I have found my mojo now and not , say, in December.  November is NaNoWriMo, and I really hope to take part, even though at this stage I have no idea about what I am going to write.  This is not necessarily a problem, last year I had considered the possibility of not taking part and the concept that became Still Life came to me less than ten days before I started writing it.  Hopefully the same will happen again this year.

I do have a couple of options.  Still Life is definitely the start of an ongoing series, and I have a number of ideas about a follow-up story, although not enough of a plan yet to start writing it yet unless I put some considerable planning time in before November.  Similarly, I want to write a follow-up to The English Hikikomori (tentatively titled Broken People.) There is more to tell about those characters, but again I only have a few ideas and not enough to start writing yet.  I have had several ideas about this book – one of them is making it a series of short stories following up what happens to some of the characters, and the other is to tell those same stories but in a combined narrative.  Who knows what I will end up deciding?

Because I have not been writing, I have also not been live-streaming.  I fully intend to start that again in the next few days, again in the hope of getting myself into some good habits for NaNoWriMo.

Finally, here is a brief update on my projects:

The English Hikikomori – stuck in what feels like an endless sign-off cycle, I need to buckle down and give it the final read through it needs.

Empress Of The Trees – More than 75% written, and I am happy with the chapter breakdown of the rest, I just need to discipline myself to do it!  The characters and those ends scenes are constantly in my thoughts at the moment, so hopefully I will resume work on that this year.

Still Life – working on the second draft, I really want to finish that this year so that a friend of mine (who has offered to give me some feedback) can do so.

Project Four – I will start writing this in November when I have decided what it is.  Watch this space!

So thanks for reading this, hope to see you on a live-stream soon!

Good luck with your projects,

Richard xxx

General Update 9th July 2021

The book title will be announced on the podcast tomorrow…

Just a quick update for today.

Firstly, tomorrow at midday (UK Time) is the official launch of the Bow Street Society Podcast (this link contains links to the various platforms that it will be available from, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify), during which the name of the fifth book in the book series will be announced.  I am proud of the show, which is in a magazine format, one segment of which (The History Of Policing in Bow Street Part One) was written by myself.

Secondly, I have managed to get around to doing a Twitch stream this week – I chatted with Bow Street Society author T. G. Campbell and did the final check through of the edits I have made to The English Hikikomori.  Paranoia determines that I must read that book through in full again before I fully sign it off, which I intend to do this month.

I will be doing a Twitch stream tomorrow at some point, and as part of it from 11.30am I will be interviewing T. G. Campbell again and we should be on air live when the podcast in launched.  I may also do some work on my other writing at some point during this stream – perhaps read some English Hikikomori, as well as do some work on the second draft of Still Life and perhaps even the first of Empress Of The Trees.  Oh, and Tahnee has said that she is going to interview me about by writing as part of that stream, which could be interesting! 

Regarding Empress, I had planned to complete the first draft this month, however so far I have not managed to write anything.  This is largely due to mu state of mind at the moment, but tomorrow may see me more enthusiastic about the project.  Or it may not!

So hopefully I will see some of you on Twitch.tv tomorrow, and I will be back here next week with an update on how things went over the weekend!

Kind regards,

Richard xxx

The Bow Street Society Podcast has a release date…

Episode One launches on Saturday 10th July…

So, after quite a lot of work – both recording interviews and editing – the trailer for the Bow Street Society Podcast is finally available.

The podcast – which is there to help publicise and give background information about T. G. Campbell’s Bow Street Society book series – has been a work in progress for a while. The first episode, which will be released on Saturday 10th July at midday UK time (so from 4am-7am in the USA depending where you are in the country) features an interview with the people behind the new Bow Street Police Museum, an article on the history of Bow Street and its connection to the Police, and an interview with one of the characters from the books.

Tahnee, the series’ writer, will also exclusive reveal the title of the fifth book in her series, due out soon – and trust me, if you know the series the title will both make you gasp and then start asking a heck go a lot of questions.  We asked two fans of the series onto the show when we revealed the title and their reaction was priceless!  All to look forward to in the first full show!

The podcast is in a magazine format – there will be news, features, and interviews relating to the books and the history of that part of London.

It has been a pleasure to be involved so far – we have already recorded interviews for three shows and have planned the first six.  So if you like the books, please listen to the trailer and then the podcast from Saturday.  If you have not read them, I strongly recommend that you do so – they are available from Amazon (search for T. G. Campbell).

The podcast is currently available on Spofity but will soon be going onto Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox and Google Podcasts, amongst others.

I will be back on Friday with an update about my writing (such as it is at the moment!)

Richard xxx

Can’t Write, Won’t Write

Life is like a broken pencil…!

Yesterday was the first of July.  The first day of July Camo NaNoWriMo 2021.  It was the day where I was due to start the next phase of my plan to get to where I want to be for the end of this year.  Still Life completely finished.  Empress of the Trees first draft completed.  And be in the first draft writing stage of my next project.

Problem is I am really struggling with motivation.  As you may know if you read this regularly I have a lot going on in my life at the moment.  I have a job that I love that is almost unviable thanks to the pandemic.  A family member is ill.  Everything just seems uncertain.  And traditionally, that is when I struggle to write.

I used to do a job that I hated, and slowly but surely the creativity was drained from me and by the time I left that awful employer in 2014 I was, creatively speaking, a zombie.  It took me until 2017 to find it again I think – perhaps it was a little earlier than than, but not much.  I knew something was coming back when I started writing songs again.

And this is what is terrifying me.  If I end up doing another drudge job that kills my creativity, that’s it.  I don’t think it will be coming back.  Of course this is all probably be being overly pessimistic.  I could just be having a bad week or two.  But I am finding that the urge to even live stream – which has really kept me going in the last fifteen months and introduced me to a few people who have been tremendous and supportive – is not there any more.

Actually it’s worse than that.  I’m struggling to make myself get out of bed some days.  I’ve put on so much weight in the last year which I need to lose, but eating for comfort has also always been a problem for me.

Oh well.  One small glimmer of hope is that I wrote this!  I knew it was due on Friday at 7pm – I like to write a longer piece and a shorter one each week, and this is fine as the shorter one.  Hopefully I will find some motivation and be back on Tuesday with a better outlook.

Take care,

Richard xxx

The 14th Doctor Who

Will Olly Alexander become Doctor Who?

In case you have not noticed it from my live streams, or from my Big Finish review live-streams/podcasts, I am a bit of a Doctor Who fan.  I have adored the show since I was a kid.  I love almost all of the old series, and have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the new one.

Broadly, I think the Russel T. Davies era was a triumph, and that the show has lost it’s way a little since then.  Matt Smith was a good Doctor let down by average stories, and Peter Capaldi was an amazing Doctor let down in the same way (but somehow more so!). I’m not totally trashing the Peter Moffat era – there were some terrific stories, but broadly I felt he was more interested in the characters that he had created (River Song, Amy Pond) than the titular character.  He did get the 50th anniversary right though, I thought Day Of The Doctor was great fun and the creation (and casting) of the War Doctor inspired.

Then we get to the current era of the show.  It is the least right it has been since it came back.  Season 11 just did not feel like Doctor Who, and once again the companions were better written and more interesting than the Doctor, especially Mandip Gill as Yaz and Bradley Walsh as Graham.  The problem was the Doctor herself.

I have no issue with the Doctor being a woman.  I just think they picked the wrong one.  I am sadly not a fan of Jodie’s portrayal of the character, and it has, to some degree, given all the naysayers and sexists a lot of fodder for saying that the whole thing was a bad idea.  They are of course wrong, as Jo Martin proved when she appeared as a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor in Fugitive Of The Judson last year.  She was utterly bloody marvellous, and the fact that her version of the Doctor is likely to be limited to a handful of guest appearances is such a shame.

Season 12 was much better than 11, and whilst the big revelation divided fans, I actually like it.  It does not rewrite the history of the show – not one line – it just reveals something that we did not know.  If it had changed what went before I would not like it, but it does not.  You can watch the older episodes without feeling like the Doctor is lying about his or her past.

Although the BBC have yet to confirm this, it appears that Season 13 will be Jodie’s last, which is a shame.  I said I was not a fan but Season 12 was a huge step in the right direction and it would be such a shame if she finally nails it then leaves immediately.  Season 13 should go out this year, and rumours suggest that she will leave after a two part finale being filmed to go out next year.

So of course the rumours about the 14th Doctor have started flying.  One of the strongest contenders – according to the press anyway – is Olly Alexander, the singer from Years And Years and star of Channel 4’s smash hit series It’s A Sin (by Russel T. Davies.)  Personally I hope that this is not true.  I have no problem with Olly becoming the Doctor – in fact I think he’d be fantastic.  But he should be the 15th Doctor, not the 14th.  I very strongly feel that 14 should be a woman.  Anything else would make the “Not My Doctor” idiots feel like they had proven their point.  I want Jo Martin – ideally – but any actor of her caliber would be as good.  And it that means Olly Alexander doesn’t become the Doctor until 2026 I’m fine with that.  He’s just relaunched his pop career and it would be a shame to put that on hold for a continuing TV show.

So those are my thoughts.  If Olly Alexander is revealed I will be happy, but it will feel like a missed opportunity.

Let me know what you think, and I will be back with a writing update on Friday,

Richard xxx

The Bow Street Society Podcast

The Bow Street Police Museum

A few weeks ago I told you all about a cracking series of books by a friend of mine, Tahnee Cambell (who writes as T. G. Campbell).  Every year Tahnee publishes a short story collection under the banner “The Bow Street Society Casebook” which are a series five short mysteries,  and a full length novel which is a “Bow Street Society Mystery” which are murder mysteries.  All of these books are set in the same universe and feature many of the same characters.

The fifth book in the mystery series is due to come out later this year, and a while back I suggested to Tahnee that a podcast could complement the books.  I have been involved in this for a while now, and the first podcast is going to be released in July.

The format of the podcast is a magazine show.  The idea is to give the listener some additional information about the background behind the books – some of the material is directly related to the stories and characters, and some is background material about the locations and the time period.  For example, earlier this week we recorded an interview with Vicki Pipe  and Jen Kavanagh who have been setting up the Bow Street Police Museum inside the original building – Vicki is the Museum Manager and Jen was Independent Curator who was key in tracking down exhibits and also getting information from people who worked at the Bow Street Police Station (which closed in 1992, thirty years ago this year.)

It’s a fascinating interview and will form the backbone of the first show.  Tahnee is lucky enough to have been able to visit already, and I plan to go in the near future.

You can visit the museum website here, and Tahnee’s website about her books here. There is also an article about the museum from BBC News here.

We have more interviews in the pipeline (indeed we have already recorded two more!) and the idea is that the podcasts will come out six times a year – every other month.  The second show, which will come out in September, is deliberately timed so that it coincides with the release of the fifth book in the Mystery series, and the November show will come out shortly before the release of the next Casebook and will, to a degree, focus on that.

Book Five is being written as we speak – in fact it is almost done, and should be going out to the beta readers in the next couple of weeks, I am pleased to say that I am one of those beta readers but I am incorruptible (if you want spoilers cheques should be made payable to the Carnivorous Animal Support Hospital – actually, just use the initials.)

I have struggled to get much of my work done thanks to continuing difficult personal circumstances (I had to sit in my writing field for the Police museum interview as it was the only place I could get a signal!) 

I was hoping to get the first detailed edit of Still Life completed this month, but as things stand I have done just over half.  The first sweep through (which I have been doing on Twitch) should still be done a few days into July.  Also in July I need to try and use Camp Nanowrimo to complete my first draft of Empress of The Trees.  If the second draft of Still Life and the first draft of Empress are completed by the end of July that will give me three months to complete Still Life before I start my November project.  At this point I have no idea what that will be, but then Still Life only materialised in my head two weeks before I started writing it!

In my next entry I should be back at home, at least for a while.

Hope you are all well and any writing projects are going how you want them to!

Richard xxx

Please join my Discord server!

Join my Discord Server...

I will update you on my writing progress on Friday, meanwhile I would like to introduce you to my latest effort to conquer social media!

I already have regularly updates accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  I also regularly do live streams of me writing on Twitch.tv.  Also I upload all of my live videos to YouTube for posterity, and if a novel is ever published I will eventually unlock the whole writing process in video so that those people who have tendencies towards masochism can watch the agonising process (it’s not quite the whole process, sometimes I am unable to stream live and forget to record what I am doing!)

All those links to the various social media are listed on the side of this page at the top.  If you are looking at them now, you may even notice that a new one has been added!

This is because I have added a Discord server to my myriad of social media options.  There are channels about each of my works in progress, which I will update when I reach a significant milestone for each work.  There are also two audio channels – I may add more – but one will be for when I am writing but not live streaming (labelled “writing”) and the other will be for when I am live streaming on Twitch (“twitch-streams-live”).  It will be permanently activated when I am live streaming on Twitch so that, as well as text chat, anyone watching who also used Discord can interact with me directly if they want to!  (Assuming the computer can cope with sending sounds from one microphone to two places simultaneously, I will test it at some point!)

The link to join my Discord server (which is Discord fluff for “follow me on Discord”) is here.  It is also with the other links at the top of the page.

That’s it!  Short but sweet, catch you on Friday!

Richard xxx

Second Draft Woes

A bench. Not my picture.

I have noticed that, when I write articles on this blog, I get more traffic!  Odd, that.

I have been trying to get into the habit of updating this every Tuesday at 7pm, and have managed this for the last three weeks.  I would like to try and ramp that up a little bit, so I am going to try and write something each Friday as well.  Hello!

This has been a tough week for me.  I have been living with a sick relative since the end of April, and we finally got the big meeting with the oncologist this week, and it was bad news.  The cancer has spread to the point where it cannot be cured or removed, so we are looking at medication to control it in the short – and if we are lucky mid – term.  The good news is that the treatment should – in the relative short term – make them feel a lot better.  One of the side effects has been severe anaemia which has resulted in relatively frequent visits to the hospital for blood transfusions.  The medication should enable them to produce their own red blood cells again in the near future, which should cut down the transfusions and enable to live normally for a while.

Naturally all of this has had an impact on my ability to get much writing done.  I had been on course to get the majority of the chapters of “Still Life” signed off by the end of this month.  There are 33 chapters and on the 15th I was hoping to get chapters 15 and 16 signed off.  15 was fine, but 16 was really hard work.  It is the midpoint of the story and ties off one of the storylines, has some action and even a few people running around with guns, something I don’t write very often.  I finished my writing session (on Twitch) knowing that the 16 was not signed off and needs more work.

And then all of the family stuff I mentioned above happened.  It has all been hard to process and whilst I have been tinkering with Chapter 16 I have not signed it off.

Part of the problem is that I enjoy doing these editing sessions on Twitch.tv, but sadly the internet here is too poor to enable me to do it (it’s copper cable and about 5% of the speed I am used to at home – 3mbps compared to about 70mbps).  I have located a spot in a nearby field where I can write and stream using 4G, but the weather has been quite bad, today has been the first day that I have been able to do it for a couple of days  (I literally sit in a field, and my laptop is not waterproof!)

I am writing this Friday lunchtime, although it will not arrive on the blog until 7pm so perhaps I will have 16 signed off by the time you read this.  I have been reading ahead and most of the next few chapters do not need all that much work, but Chapter 26 is a total train wreck and needs major rewrites – perhaps even starting again from scratch!

So it is the 18th and I have not signed off Chapter 16.  Hopefully I can get (did get?) that done today, then look at 17 and 18 tomorrow on the 19th.  Some chapters are too big and I will only get one done per day, but as long as I can do two on some days I should still get this edit sweep done by the end of the month.

Then, before I will consider this draft complete, I will do a final read through and run each chapter through Grammarly.  Then it will be done!

Then hopefully in July I will get the first draft of Empress Of The Tress finished, in time to work on the third draft of Still Life in August (hopefully based on some feedback from beta readers!)  Where I will be these months – here or at home – I have no idea, and the family health problem will certainly impact, it cannot not (if you see what I mean!)

Hope you and yours are all well,

Richard xxx 

Introducing “The Cushion Tree”

I want to use this week to talk a little bit about Twitch.tv and the channel I have on there.

I had heard of the platform before, but had assumed that people only used it for what it was actually designed for, which is streaming gaming content.  It was not until the lockdown last year that I realised that it could be – and actively was being – used for other things.

The first person that I found using It for purposes other than live gaming was comedian Richard Herring, who took to it like a duck to water last year.  He moved his interview show (which up until this point had always been recorded in front of a live audience in a theatre) which is called RHLSTP (yes, that’s is, that’s the name, it used to be short for something but apparently now that’s the actual title!) onto Twitch and continued it there during lockdown – in fact in some ways he was able to expand the appeal because he was able to interview people from all over the world, and has done so, live from their living rooms!  He also plays himself at Snooker once a week, and does an insane puppet show that is (apparently) a sideways look at the weeks news!

He is not the only comedian to have been active on Twitch – even before the lockdown – but he is the first that I follow.  I have enjoyed the live RHLSTP shows and hope he still does them occasionally.

But it demonstrated to me that there is an audience on Twitch, not just for Gaming.  So I had what I believed was a genuinely unique idea – what if I did some writing on there?

I did my first stream on March 23rd (yes, I missed my anniversary this year, I was simply not thinking about it) in which I verbally introduced my projects, and then later on the same day I talked about The English Hikikomori, and then later still on the same day I did some editing.  At that point I had not figured out that there was such a thing as streaming software, so all you could see was my merry face with nothing overlaid, I figured that out on the 11th May, and from that point was able to play in videos and music, superimpose text, and even show you the typing screen on my computer as I worked.

Of course I was not the first person to have this idea – I was soon told about the Twitch Writers Network, of which I am now a member!

It has been a slow buildup but I have fifty followers now with a handful that I see on stream regularly and semi-regularly.  Most of the people that watch me are other writers, they have me on in the background to encourage them to work!

I am now in a position where I am finding it difficult to find opportunities to stream.  I am living with a sick relative who lives in a postcode with no fibre optic and even the 4G sucks.  I have discovered a place in a field (that is part of my relative’s property) where the 4G reception is okay so I route my laptop through my phone and transmit that way!  It’s not always great but it’s better than being off-air.

So I am literally writing in a field, and I have updated my title sequence to show that.  In fact I made a rather silly video, complete with rights-free music, to open the show, in the style of a silent movie.  The link is at the top of this page, it is the first scripted video I have put online in absolutely ages, and I am actually quite proud of it!  I call it The Cushion Tree.

I will continued to write live from a field as often as I can – which will not be every day – in the hope of getting the first read-through of Still Life completed by the end of this month.  Chances are dwindling but I will keep trying!

Until next week,

Richard xxx

The Bow Street Society

This week I would like to tell you about a series of books written by a friend of mine.  I met her through the Milton Keynes local NaNoWriMo writing group.  I actually attended a write-in at a coffee shop in the town in 2018 with the group, when I first started taking writing seriously.  Tahnee was one of the first people that I spoke to, and although there are many people in that group who write great stuff and that I enjoy talking to, I genuinely believe that Tahnee’s books are special.

She writes as TG Campbell, and the series (The Bow Street Society) are murder mysteries set in late Victorian England – mainly London.  I read the first one in 2019 and was immediately impressed.  For a start, the books really bring the era to life.  You get to understand a lot about the period, from what things looked like through to attitudes about class, sex and many other things.  Simply put you come away feeling like you understand the era rather well without the bother of attending classes.

The structure of the stories is – as far as I know – unique.  Instead of a sole investigator working for the Police, these stories tell you about a group of amateur detectives that you can go to if the Police are not interested on your case – or you do not trust them to deal with it properly.  The Metropolitan Police did not have a great reputation at this point in their history, there had been occasions of corruption that undermined the public’s trust, so it is conceivable that such a society would have attracted clientele at this time.

The Society’s secretary – Miss Trent – allocates people to each case that have skills that could be useful when investigating it.  They have an artist, a cab drover, an illusionist, a lawyer, an architect, a journalist and even a mortician working for them.  Certain characters appear in all of the books that I have read so far, which seem to be the core characters.

The stories are great too.  I will freely admit that this genre is one I do not usually enjoy reading, but I really like many of the characters and that draws me in to the murder mystery.  There is also a larger, ongoing conspiracy storyline involving the Society’s relationship with the Police which is fascinating, as well as continuing subplots involving the society members.  

I have read three to date – The Case Of The Curious Client,The Case Of The Lonesome Lushington and The Case of the Spectral Shot.  They are all different types of story – the most recent one seems to draw from gothic horror in places, there are some scenes early on involving a doll in a display case that are downright spooky.

I thoroughly recommend these books.  All are available as Kindle downloads or paperbacks from Amazon, I personally prefer to hold a paper book in my hand so I own physical copies of all of them.

To complement the main series, Tahnee also releases a short story collection every year that contains five shorter mysteries (not murders) that the Society investigates.

So far there have been four books in the Mystery series and four books in the Casebook Collections.  A fifth in each are due out this year, and I have the pleasure of being on the beta reading team for the fifth mystery, so I get to find out what happens next ahead of most readers!

There is also a podcast coming, which I am co-presenting, more details will be released soon!

Please consider reading these books – they are all available from Amazon, just search for TG Campbell – here are links to the first book in the series at both the UK and US Amazon sites: (UK/US)

You can read more at the website, www.bowstreetsociety.com, where you can also subscribe to a monthly newsletter called the Gaslight Gazette, which contains articles, updates and even short stories.

I will be back next week with an update on my writing progress so far this month,

Take care,

Richard xxx