Weird Stuff About Me

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No, believe it or not, this isn’t a continuation of my comedic “About Me” post from a few days back, but instead something true but possibly just as bizarre. Not exactly sure why I’m sharing this, but I promised a new post, so here you go.

Despite how it might seem with my ‘impeccable’ posting regularity (note the sarcasm there), I am not in actual fact perfect. There are odd imperfections, albeit ones 99.99% of the world’s population will ever witnessed, because they all take place at night.

There are two things which I’ll discuss, the first of which I don’t know the name to. So hopefully someone reading this might be a more medically/scientifically knowledgeable, in which case please do my curiosity a huge favour and leave a message explaining what it is so I know it exists and I’m not mad. You’ll have my eternal thanks.

Basically, I have these times where I’ll dream I’m flying or floating and then I wake up and actually slam into the bed, almost as if I had been levitating and crashed back to earth with my consciousness. Now, unless I’m an unknowing mutant, I’m guessing it’s a muscle problem? Something about the chemicals administered during the sleep cycles to treat them or whatever, I’m not Isaac Newton. Again, if this sounds familiar to anyone by all means, please enlighten me.

The second oddity about my sleep is known to me, however that doesn’t make it any less strange. Or, for that matter, sinister. It’s called Sleep Paralysis, and it’s slightly disturbing…

Very rarely, I will wake up suddenly and violently in the middle of the night to see shadowy figures standing over me whilst I’m pinned (crushingly, I might add) to the bed,  a demonic roar flooding my ears. This lasts for what seems like a terrifying eternity until I actually hear myself praying and begging for it to end, although I never have any will over what I say. Everything ends as suddenly as it had begun, and I fall heavily to sleep. I awake naturally in the morning, slightly disturbed and a bit ashamed – I like to think myself a rational person, for the most part, and I know none of it’s real, even when it’s happening. But that doesn’t still the terror. Fortunately, apart from those awkward feelings in the morning, there are no lasting effects.

Now, as I said before, this I know about: sleep paralysis dates back to the medieval days (at least, in theory, as although current medical knowledge at the time was thin on the ground, experts today find instances that match the symptoms). At the time, it was commonly mistaken for demonic possession, and for obvious reasons, having suffered from it for several years. But now we know that it’s to do with the chemicals released by the brain when asleep, chemicals that relax the muscles to a state of semi-paralysis (hence why most people don’t toss and turn, or roll out of bed)… Not only does sleep paralysis deliver an overdose on rare occasions, but on these occassions the brain will snap on when the rest of the body is still asleep and it gets confused as all hell. Hallucinations and panic attacks seem to be its way to deal with the impossibilities it’s witnessing, much to our distress. Sadly, being armed with knowledge doesn’t do squat to rectify the predicament, and I don’t know if I’ll ever recover, or if any night now could be my next attack. Like I said, there’s no lasting trauma when I wake up and can rationally tell myself what happened, but that doesn’t mean I dont dread the next attack.

What about you, fair readers? I’m sure I’m not alone with weird, wonderful and lesser known conditions; if you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear from you. And if you know what my first condition is, I’d love to hear from you? Is it tied to the sleep paralysis? Let me know what you thought of this, and I may well make a regular thing of exploring off conditions…

Until next time!


About Me (HUMOUR)


It’s been too long, friends. But I’m back, with a snazzy new phone with this cool little WordPress app, so I thought I ought to anoint it with a brief biography – expect more posts and reviews to come at regular intervals, the next probably being on Saturday.

Anyways, about me…. Well, I was born on a blood moon to a unicorn and a bass player in a Spandau Ballet tribute band. From an early age it was clear I was magical, as I could fart rainbows and count to googleplex in Klingon. I grew up fast, my life an 80s movie training montage with a song from Peter Gabriel (maybe Big Time or Sledgehammer), during which I ran away from the circus, saved a poor remote town from a villainous oil baron, and jumped the General Lee over the Grande Canyon. In my teenage years I was selected as a Power Ranger, but I didn’t know any martial arts so became the Earl Grey Ranger,  throwing kick ass tea parties every time they saved the world from an alien immigration invasion or one of Godzilla’s rampaging stools. Finally, it was time to return my home planet of Krypton, but sadly I’d left the gas on several years prior and it had since blown up. Stranded on Earth, I studied important life skills like crochet, lollygagging and puppy origami. Ready for adulthood, I set out into the world to make my fortune as a tree doctor, quickly earning fame for a triple-sap bypass I’d performed on an overweight redwood. After a few years I decided I wanted a change of pace, to started living backwards. That was okay until I reached reverse puberty, then I moved on to bigger things, like elephant smuggling. I had give that up after the fifth crushed moped put me in debt, and now I live my life as a mysterious masked man, known only as the dashing Suspect on Crimewatch. I wander the land, seeking out adventure and a comfy pair of slippers. My mission is not over.

… That’s about it, to the best of my memory? What about you? Do you have any special stories from your life? Let us know in the comments!

Until next time (definitely Saturday)!


Anti-Coffee Propaganda! (HUMOUR)

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I know, I know, it’s been a while again, many apologies. To make it up to you all I’d thought I’d share a piece I wrote to contribute to a coffee-vs-tea debate taking place on one of my favourite forums. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it 😉


You! Yes, you there, slurping your fiftieth cup of that molten bitter abomination know as ‘coffee‘ – you probably can’t read this because your bouncing around like a rabbit on a jackhammer, hmm? Well, if you weren’t, you’d know that the coffee concoction is actually an invention of Freddie Krueger and the Dream Genie as a secret weapon to keep you all awake so you can’t interfere in their plans to brainwash your children in their sleep to rise up and form a new dark domain on Earth. Yeah… that’s right, you heard me. Every Starbucks you guzzle is a step closer to your own annihilation.

Don’t believe me? Just read these facts, as proven by SCIENCE* and brought to you by the Jolly Tea and Cocoa Drinkers Amalgamation, and see for yourself…

  • Coffee beans are a myth; coffee was actually ‘discovered’ out of desperation of an over-abundance of rabbit droppings.
  • The Boston Tea Party was a conspiracy by the joint efforts of the Coffee-Drinking Communists, the Masons, Illuminati, Time-Travelling Hitler, the Easter Bunny, Fu Manchu, Cthulhu, Time-Travelling Genghis Khan, The Immortal Hulk Hogan, The Master, Time-Travelling Jack the Ripper and a Pikachu with a grudge to swell the numbers of coffee enthusiasts. But we all know how that went, now don’t we?
  • George Clooney, spokesperson for ‘Nespresso’, is in actual fact an android puppet of the Nescafe corporation. The real George Clooney died during the filming of Batman and Robin, where he succumbed to dehydration within his bat-nipple suit. It seems exploiting the dead whilst keeping their passing a secret from the public isn’t above these nefarious bean-floggers…
  • Coffee’s bitter taste derives from the sad, salty tears of the child-slaves forced to crush the ‘beans’ 25/8 – that’s right, they’re so overworked they had to invent an extra hour and day just to meet demands.
  • Until recently, it was believed that medieval castles protected their gates from invaders by pouring cauldrons of boiling oil and/or tar from the parapets. Recent historians have discovered that actually, being true tea-loyal Brits, they were really dumping all their remaining supplies of that dreadful coffee.
  • Did you know? If you spill a bag of coffee ‘beans’ on the floor at exactly midnight, they’ll form a perfect map of the Nine Circles of Hell from whence they came.
  • Every time you dunk a biscuit in a cup of coffee, Mr McVities drowns a kitten in a well. And he’s filled up several hundred wells so far…
  • Aliens exist. We here at the Jolly Tea and Cocoa Drinkers Amalgamation have contacted them. They’d dearly love to visit us, but sadly coffee is their kryptonite and just being in the same atmosphere with so many coffee drinkers would prove fatal to them. So how do you feel, huh, knowing your despicable drinking habits are preventing the human race from reaching its true galactic potential? The Federation will never become a reality as long as you partake of the Black Bean.
  • Every time you eat a chocolate coated coffee ‘bean’, Willy Wonka stuffs an Oompa Loompa full of everlasting gobstoppers. He’s swiftly running out of workers, but his taxidermy collection is staggering.
  • No one really likes coffee, they’re just too weak-willed to resist the subliminal messaging Nescafe, Kenco and their band of Black Bean Brethren have planted in almost every webpage. Why, being of superior mental control I’ve spotted three such subtle commands on this very page alone.
  • Four now.
  • Did you know? We have nothing to fear except fear itself… and the fact that the President drinks ninety shots of espresso a day. And that big red button is looking mighty fun with every drained glass.
  • Five
  • Every time you eat coffee-flavoured ice-cream, Mr Whippy runs over a small child. Enough said, I’m sure.

So! There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, undeniable and irrefutable proof that the consumption of the Black Bean leads to ruin, devastation, and the Infernal Eye Twitch. So cast aside your mugs, throw down your coffe-pots – kick that Starbucks mermaid right in the tuna and say “No! No more! I will never be a slave to the Demon Drink again! For I have seen the light, and that light comes from the warm glow of freshly brewed tea, or the beaming smile of a child who’s been given a mug of cocoa steeped with mini-marshmallows! Those are the only two TRUE warm beverages, and never again shall I stray! GET THEE BEHIND ME, KENCO!”

You will thank us in time, and we will always welcome you with open arms, and triangle teabags.

The Jolly Tea and Cocoa Drinkers Amalgamation

*- SCIENCE – The Secret Collective Inventing ‘Evidence’ in the kNowledge that Coffee is Evil

Back (For Reals This Time) – and Description Advice!

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So… I fell off the face of the Earth. Again. Sorry about that, folks, but circumstances were not with me once again. Fingers crossed I can steam through any further problems life tries to throw at me. But, onto the main topic of this blog’s renewal post!

During my months lurking in cyberspace, haunting my usual writing forums, I kept coming across the same question raised in numerous threads: that of describing characters without being cliched or boring. Finally, I tore myself free and added my two cents. Here’s what I wrote:

Always try and find dynamic ways to introduce descriptions that are interesting and natural to the narrative.

For example, in my first MS I briefly introduced a policeman who was rather portly… But rather than coming right out and saying “Here’s a fat old copper”, I slipped lines like “bloated sausage fingers thumbed through a notepad”,  “he sat down as gracefully as he could, the unfortunate chair groaning under the pressure regardless”, and “he patted his stomach, which continued to ripple and bounce a good five seconds after” into the narrative, each hinting that he’s amusingly round yet not ashamed of his appearance.

If you practice this method of description, it not only seems natural as, just like in real life, the reader will notice different things about your characters over time, but it also allows them to fill in the blanks and personalise the characters – again, for example, I never mention what colour or style hair the policeman had, if any; that’s something minor left to the reader’s imagination.

Avoiding info dumps isn’t just a lesson in exorcising laziness, it also helps freshen narrative and pace. Gone are the days of Dickens & Austen, where one could get away with spending pages describing a miserly man or a pair of curtains. Readers don’t want to feel like they’re being forced to read a detailed biography before being allowed to go on enjoying the story, they want to enjoy it at a natural pace, and that’s what dynamic description can do.

Just be careful not to take it to the extreme and fall into the old trap of only mentioning something important about a character JUST when they need to utilise it, as that too can appear like a lazy cop out. For example, the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver: it was introduced years ago as a highly advanced multipurpose tool that can do just about anything (except work on wood), so we as the audience accept it when it’s utilised to deal with a situation or baddie. But if we’d never heard of the darn thing until the Doctor was faced with a room full of activating Daleks and a ticking timebomb, it comes across as a cheap trick, a deus ex machina, a storytelling cheat (of course, the screwdriver is so overused these days that it’s become just as much a lazy problem solution device, but it’s kinda earned the right by this point, even if it means the writers get a bit unoriginal. But I digress…)

Instead, try for the opposite effect, that of Chekhov’s Gun. It’s a term that means if a gun is shown in Act 1, someone is probably going to use it by the end of the story, and character description can utilise this. Give your character(s) a random, seemingly useless item, trait, skill, etc that appears to just be thrown in to make them original. Only, of course, you know differently, and plan to have said item/trait/skill come into good effect later down the line.

This can also tie into foreshadowing: if you mention in passing that “Character A was surprisingly strong for his age”, then maybe that could be a subtle hint that, sometime in the future, there’s going to be a serious problem that only Character A’s strength can solve. Maybe Character B falls off a cliff, and only A was strong enough to pull him back up to safety, you get the idea…

Anyways, I’ll stop rambling now. Hopefully I’ve helped a little bit in understanding ways to utilise more than just stock descriptions. But no matter what, just enjoy writing and it’ll show – that’s the most important thing 🙂

Take care,

…. So yeah, that’s my input. Hope it helped! I might make more advice posts like this in future if this proved popular!


Guess Who’s Online?

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So, I finally have an internet connection at home. What does that mean as far as this blog is concerned? Well, for one thing I won’t be updating on my phone any more, so don’t worry about odd formatting errors.

Also, it’s far easier for me to type on a keyboard than on a small touchscreen. I’ll set myself a goal to post a new blog at least once every two days. Oh, and I’ll see if I can throw together some sort of cool lookout. Failing cool, something not so plain and boring.

That’s all for now – I’m off to teach myself how to make ebooks. Stay tuned for more news on that, as the first handful of short stories published will be completely free!



Blog Revival Plans & Novel Update!

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Hello, my little tiddlywinks! It is I, the Blogmaster General, here to inform all and sundry that I fully intend to return to this blog with a vengeance!

I’ll be posting reviews of not just the rest of the INVISIBLE FIENDS series, but the complete SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT and DEPARTMENT 19 series, too.

Why those two particular series, I hear you ask?

Because they’re awesome.

That is all.

No, really.

Oh, alright, here’s the secret: the good and kind people at HarperCollins Children’s Books have sent me copies of both the latest DEPT 19 book (BATTLE LINES) and the SKULDUGGERY spin-off, THE MALEFICENT SEVEN. Expect a rollercoaster of reviews to come!

Now, for the novel news: I submitted the first thirty pages of THE ENIGMA FILES to Brooks Sherman back in the middle of December, 2012 (as opposed to, erm, December 2013…? Eh, you know what I meant).

He finally had the chance to read it, liked what he read, and wants to read the entire thing! I sent it off this afternoon – fingers crossed!!

That is all.

No, really this time. You’re dismissed.


PS: Are you still here? Hmm, okay then, here’s some Super Saiyan French Fries:


Happy? You may leave now.

My PitchWars Rollercoaster

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So, January 23rd is quickly approaching like a ravenous jaguar that’s just realised its prey got stuck in a bear-trap (this happens more often than you’d think. Seriously, watch Discovery once in a while), and I’ve finally finished the line-edits from all my betas, finishing with my mentor’s. It was a hard and informing journey, but now we’ve come to the biggest monster of them all: addition revision!

But Dave!” I hear you cry. “The agents will be reading your opening in just two days! Aren’t you worried that they’ll be reading one version and unknowingly making requests (hopefully) for an entirely different one?

Not at all, dear friends, and allow me to tell you why:

1) I’m smarter than I look, believe it or not: I’ve already edited the opening that the agents will be reading so it won’t be different.

2) There’s not exactly a mountain of changes to make, and seeing as how I’m practically snowed under, I’ve got all the time between now and the 23rd to slip in the additions. And seeing as how they’re not entirely game-changers, it won’t wreck the narrative one bit.

3) Don’t call me Dave. Only friends call me Dave.

4) … What’s that? I said you were my friends when I started this list?

5) Okay, then. Call me Dave.

Where was I…?

Oh, yes! The additions.

Well, they range from bit-parts to major character motives, scene changes or alternative versions, and the addition of new ‘casefiles’ pulled from the Enigma Files website itself.

That’s right; not only has this last month given me a huge, unique insight into both the agent-hunting life (my mentor chose mine from hundreds of other entrants submitted to her within a week), and the author-agent dynamic, but it’s also shown me how someone who shares the same passion for the future of your book – agent or beta – can only be a Good Thing, and will often lead to the improvement of the book.

In this case, the improvement came from my mentor Jennifer. Not only has she jumped at the sight of my ‘X-Files for kids‘ tagline, but she’s done everything in her power to eke out every last possible drop of X-Filesness… Which led to the casefiles.

These are the sort of ingenious suggestion that make you slap your face in disbelief; I mean, I’d always considered adding casefiles, but was worried that the inclusion of non-fictional segments would never work. Then along comes Awesome Malone, the Master Mentor, with the same desire to see more files explaining the paranormal and that, as they say, was that.

Now, whenever Karl Breslin – protagonist and administrator of the Enigma Files website – mentions paranormal phenomena, the reader can expect to see more information on the subject in a casefile at the end of the chapter.

It’s working out great so far, and I can’t wait for Wednesday.

Until then!


Do you have any special methods of revision? What about special features in your books? Lemme know in the comments!

PitchWars Update – It’s Good News!

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Update on the PitchWars contest:


“THE ENIGMA FILES: PHANTOM THIEF” got picked by a mentor!


This means the lovely Jennifer
Malone, my new writing mentor, will read over the book throughout December. Then she’ll send me the most masterful, in-depth critiqueI’m sure I’ll have ever seen.

But the fun doesn’t end there! I’ll then revise the book in answer to all her feedback, and re-present it for the final stage of the contest: so 15+ agents can read it, and request more.

I’m so excited.


New Facebook Page


Following the steps and advice of published authors, I’ve decided to set-up an author page on Facebook. You can view it here. Please Like it and tell your friends about it – when the page gets 50+ Likes, I’ll celebrate with you all by posting an excerpt from my current draft of the first Enigma Files, so you can all have a taste of what to expect when the full book finally gets accepted and published.


PS: Blog, Twitter, Facebook… Are there any other social platforms I should consider adding to the list? Let me know in the comments!

What ARE The Enigma Files…?

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So, some of you may know that I’m working on the second Enigma Files book, working title ‘Cursed’. You may also recall that I’m about to send out the MS for EF 1, ‘Phantom Thief’ to several agents who expressed interest in my short twitter-pitch on such contests as #PitchMadness. Well! Another such contest, #PitchWars, is now looming on the literary horizon, I’m which mentors hook up with aspiring writers to help rhythm polish their novels ready to unleash upon the pack of slavering agents. I’m entering, with the first EF book in mind… And prospective queries were almost immediately answered by two such mentors, one of which pointed out there was no in-depth description of the book anywhere in sight. So, for Fiona McLaren, Brenda Drake and any other curious mentors/agents, allow me to give you a glimpse inside… The Enigma Files. When Mason Scott was uprooted from his home and friends in New York to join his mother in Nowhere, England (also known as Hetherby), he expected life to be boring. What he didn’t expect was that he’d soon make friends with a silver-haired, emerald-eyed super genius with a penchant for seizures, or the strange new world that the same boy would introduce him to. Because, in case you hadn’t realised it, Karl Breslin is no ordinary boy; whilst most his age are playing football and chasing after girls, Karl lives his life through the Enigma Files, an online wiki he’s created and runs to document and investigate the paranormal. There’s a thief about the school, but one unlike anyone’s ever seen – because they can’t be seen. But are they using elaborate tricks, or something more supernatural? Were they dealing with a psychokinetic mind, a poltergeist, or something else…? Karl seems to think so, and before he knows it Mason is dragged along on his investigation. Mason is happy to oblige – it gets him out of lessons for the rest of the day – but is soon targeted by the thief, who threatens his life if he doesn’t leave Karl alone. Unshaken, Mason and Karl continue the case to its startling conclusion, and a revelation neither expected. ~***~ That’s the best I can come up with on the spot. Hope it’s done its job, and piqued your curiosity! Until next time, Dave

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