Half-Term Mayhem

Writing duties are mostly put to one side as the job of dad/entertainer takes over this week. Luckily I’m not getting any sort of rating from the kids (that might be a bit depressing, and a bit on the low side).


Our first trip was to Splashdown in Poole. Not entirely sure what to expect, I did regale the kids with tales from when I went there with a friend, pretty much when it first opened (I won’t mention how many decades ago that was), and told them about my most vivid memory. My friend had been before, and knew all about all of the slides. Taking me to the start of one up what seemed like a million flights of stairs (there was even a lift, I seem to recall…..that should have given me a clue), we both stood alone at the start of a very darkened tunnel, with only the rushing sound of water for company.

He’d told me this one was tame, and just a long winding ride down to the bottom. Gullibly I believed him, and with him insisting I go first, I duly jumped in. FLIPPIN’ HECK! When we met up at the bottom, he was beside himself with laughter. SAMSUNG CSCHe said, “I knew when you’d got to that bit, because all I could hear coming up the slide was, ‘Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!'” VERY FUNNY! The bit that he was referring to was a straight down, vertical, sheer drop, and given that the tunnel was entirely black, shrouded in total darkness, there was no way I could have even known that was going to happen. It was more the surprise than anything that had me screaming. Well at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The park had changed somewhat since I was last there (no surprise there given how long it’s been), and it took a while to get the hang of where everything was. The outside rides (the really, really fast ones) weren’t open due to the weather, so we were confined to the inside. No bad thing really given that I really had to keep an eye on both kids. But we explored pretty much everything. I was shocked, in pretty much the same way as my first visit, by a ride called the Space Bowl. It’s a leisurely slide down to an open bowl where you whizz round and round before unceremoniously being plonked through a great big hole in the middle, which I mistakenly thought would lead to another slide, but instead dumps you into a two metre tank full of water. SAMSUNG CSCAgain, more the surprise than anything else. Both kids followed me down, with them both being surprised like me. My youngest and I decided we didn’t much care for that one, while my eldest went on again, straight away.

We all had a great time on the rapids with our blow up rings. That was a hoot, despite how many times we all came out of the rings, and the best ride by far that we encountered, in my opinion anyway. The rest of the slides were quite mild, with only the Baron’s Revenge causing a little angst, and making my youngest scream for all she was worth. Given that it’s under six seconds from top to bottom, something of an achievement I think you’ll agree.

All crammed into two, what seemed to me, like very long hours. A good time, despite all of the bumps and bruises, and boy do I have a badly bruised knee.

Hengistbury Head was next, one of our usual haunts. SAMSUNG CSCMuch skate boarding (not me…..WAYYYY TOO OLD) and mucking around on the beach, lots of photography,(me) and given that it’s the end of October, we were all in tee shirts by mid-morning. MAD!

Another familiar haunt in the shape of Swanage followed. We did manage a brief walk along the beach, but for the most part, it was a bit too blowy. Taking in the shops and the fabulous steam railway, you can take a look at our journey back on the train from Norden to Swanage on my YouTube channel.

Gunwharf Quays was our next destination, with both of them excited at the thought of looking around the shops, the eldest more so. Trainers were the main objective for both of them, and had been sorted after the shops had been open for only twenty minutes. RESULT! SAMSUNG CSCAfter that, a leisurely stroll around, interrupted by a family game of bowling at the Bowlplex. I’d not been in there before, and would have thought with the kids being on holiday it would have been packed, but no. It was relatively quiet, and very enjoyable. A great way to break up a shopping trip.

So there you are, dad duties so far. Back to the writing and social media soon.



Goodreads Competition

Check out the competition on my Goodreads page to win signed paperback copies of all three of my books. Enter now. What have you got to lose?

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All Bentwhistle the Dragon fans can now subscribe to my monthly newsletter. In return for signing up for this, I’ve written a very specific, 34,000 word story about the lives of the dragon friends from way back in the nursery ring, nearly fifty years before their current time above ground. You will be able to choose which format you download this story in. Here’s a little more.

Barely hatched from their eggs, young dragons learning how to fly amongst other things, find themselves thrust into the limelight, with the annual History Fest Face-Off beckoning. Ebook Cover 4 small for blogShowcasing a fierce rivalry going back centuries between two famed nursery rings, the grand competition is renowned throughout the land, and the importance of winning can’t be underestimated.

Richie eager to represent the nursery ring, Peter eager to help his friend, both are lost for words when the class bully, Cowl, outwits everyone in the race to represent Purbeck. Suspected of using unknown magic to get ahead, the friends are determined to get to the truth and expose him for the cheat they think him to be. But can things ever be that easy?

An unflappable newcomer proves to be a worthy ally as aerial acrobatic antics abound in an illicit laminium ball match, the outcome of which may well determine the fate of one of the young dragons.

With so much at stake, can the dragon friends hunt out the truth? Will their combined might be enough to save not only their nursery ring, but the reputation of the competition itself?

Crazy new spells and magical elixirs combined with much skulking around give a valuable insight into the young dragons’ education and personalities. Not only that, but one of the students will end up with much more than they bargained for. You’d be absolutely BATTY to miss it!

Cover Reveal

Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy (Book 3)

Finally here after what seems like a lifetime to me: Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy, book 3. To be released on Wednesday 7th October, the action continues on from book 2 in the series, Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Chilling Revelation.

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Amid turmoil surrounding devastating attacks across the world, the dragon domain faces the planet’s greatest fear: global terrorism by an unknown force of magic users.

Against this backdrop of fear, the friends’ relief at having Richie back from the jaws of death is quickly tempered when they discover the price she has paid and exactly what she will have to forfeit.

With Manson’s deadly scheme in full swing, events quickly turn from bad to worse. An army of nagas controlled by the threat to their king, help the evil dragon storm the kingdom, capturing Peter, Tank and Flash in the process.

With no help on the horizon and the dragons below ground neutralised, how will the threat be stopped? Will the white dragon turn out to be their saviour, or will a fierce lacrosse match prove to be the turning point for a rescue so unconventional, nobody could ever see it coming?

With a hoard of treasure and more magical artefacts than a witch’s kitchen, you’ll have to read on to find out if everything will turn out all white!


Amazon Kindle

All Formats On Smashwords


To Celebrate The Release Of Book 3, You Can Now Download Bentwhistle The Dragon In A Threat From The Past (Book 1) For Free From Smashwords In All Formats For A Limited Time only Here


Booking Ecstasy

My love of all things fantasy and comic books seemed to go up and down throughout my teenage years. At one time there was a fabulous comic book store in Salisbury (think Stuart’s store from The Big Bang Theory, only smaller) just a few moments’ walk from where I currently live. It was heaven, and I could often be found in there, spending what little money I had on Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Justice League comics.

My tattered and worn old copy

My tattered and worn old copy

Unfortunately it didn’t last more than a few years, which wasn’t surprising really given the distinct lack of trade. So with my life revolving around playing hockey, all thoughts of strange new worlds and the events unfolding within them, drifted to the back of my mind. Until, that is, the day I had to go and fix a fax machine in a very large bookshop in the middle of Southampton. Tool case in one hand, paperwork in the other, I remember trudging through the store, only focused on getting the job done and getting out. It didn’t take long, and the manager was very grateful. After getting him to sign the paperwork, I weaved my way in and out of the bountiful bookshelves, heading towards the huge glass framed exit. It was then that it caught my eye. Unbelievably, I’d nearly walked straight past it, or rather… them. A whole display advertising one book. I was stunned, that is until I dumped my tool case on the floor and picked one up. The cover was intoxicating. thrawnMy favourite characters were looking out on me in all their glory. It was one of those moments when time stands still. I can recall it as if it were only yesterday and not 1991. Taking in the droids on the spine as I turned it over in my hands, I stood lost in another world, reading the blurb on the back. Short but sweet would be how you’d describe it, but I was long since hooked. I had to have it… NOW! Struggling back to the front desk of the store with my tool case, paperwork, and my precious purchase, the staff, who I’d just been working amongst, all looked bemused. I didn’t care. After paying I rushed to the car, and made the fatal mistake of starting to read it. I should have been working. I had other jobs to do. I must have read for about half an hour, just until my parking ran out. Star Wars novel Heir to the Empire Timothy ZahnAfter that I had to get on and do the rest of my calls, but all I could think about for the rest of the afternoon was that book, sitting on the floor of the passenger side of my car. My evening had just been booked up. It wouldn’t of course be difficult for you to guess that I stayed up nearly all night. Yes it was that good. I couldn’t put it down, and the weariness that I felt the next day was well worth it. And more momentous than all of that, was the fact that the book in question had started me off on a journey that would last with me for a lifetime. Numerous other books in the saga have been bought, read all in one go despite everything going on around me, and nearly all have given me the same sort of satisfaction as that one.

Ahh… so now you’d like me to tell you the name of the book. It was Star Wars Volume 1 Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn. And it was nothing short of fantastic, especially to this huge Star Wars fan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read my battered and tattered copy… but who cares? Each time it sends shivers down my arms, even though I know what happens. For me it’s a classic and that’s without the fact that it has led me deep into the Star Wars expanded universe. As well as this three book cycle, the second and third instalment of both of which I had to buy on the day they came out in hardback, reading them both the said same day, Timothy Zahn has written many other great expanded universe titles.  He is definitely an author I would love to meet and get to know better. I only hope that Disney in all their wisdom do justice to the new film coming out. The books of the expanded universe have meant, and still do, a great deal to me. While I understand the reason for the changes, I’m not entirely sure I agree with them. Only time will tell. Here’s hoping.

Booking Marvellous

For almost as long as I can remember, one of my favourite things to do has been to read. Getting lost in a book is a magical experience and one that I’m always happy to lend my free time to. Recently for me though, it’s become harder and harder to find that free time to give over, not only because I seem to work almost every hour of the waking day currently, but because what I’m doing now is…..EDITING!


Polishing up the third book in my series is as hard as anything I’ve done, and seems to be taking its toll on me. Just the thought of reading for pleasure at the moment makes me feel physically sick, given how long this process has been going on, and just how hard I’m working to getting the book just right. I say just right, I suppose I mean PERFECT, well, in my mind anyway. Can anything be perfect? I suppose it’s a very subjective point of view. Each time I go back through the book, I always spot something. I suppose that’s to be expected, given everything that’s been going on in the storyline of the last two books; bringing it altogether and adding to the excitement is bound to offer up the odd challenge or two. It certainly has, and it seems hard for me to reach a point where I’m one hundred percent happy with it. Hopefully that point will be any day now. With that in mind, and the fact that something as important to me as the pleasure of reading has been temporarily taken away from me, I’ve decided to write about some of the most important books that I’ve read. While they may not seem important to you in a literary context, they have had a deep impact on not only my reading habits, but on the way in which I write and develop my stories. Hopefully over a period of time, I can tell the stories of the stories that have led me to being where I am today. Your thoughts are most appreciated.

A Debt I Can Never Repay

I hark back to the heavy days of 1994, and having long since been bitten by the book bug, admit that I was ever so slightly stupid in the way in which I fed my addiction. Instead of just wandering into a bookshop and browsing until I’d found something to quell my hunger (of course I did do this as well) I was, for a time at least, a sucker for all of those mail order book clubs. You know the ones I mean. I did, some years later as a service engineer, have to go to said book club’s head office, long after I’d realised just what a sucker I’d been. That was something of a revelation. I digress. Anyhow, having ordered my five books at fifty pence each, or whatever it was, I was delighted when the huge box of books finally arrived, with all thoughts of having to buy one book a month at full price for at least the next twelve months, soon forgotten. Upon opening said box, I pulled out all the lovely tomes, and soon set about slavering over them. They were all fantasy and science fiction, both at the time my preferred genre, all with the exception of one. One was a thriller, and hadn’t been a book that I had ordered. How odd. Stupidly, I couldn’t even remember the book that was supposed to have arrived. Must have been good. So being the lazy twenty something that I was, instead of sending the mistaken book back (far too much like hard work), I just left it lying there on my bedside table, gathering dust. At the time, I read every night, as well as a great deal at the weekends. I suppose a couple of months must have gone by before I found myself without anything to read. Looking at the hulking great hardback that I had been too lazy to return, I can remember being quite unenthusiastic as I picked it up early one evening. What stands out in my mind from that relatively innocuous event, is how tired I was the next day at work, having stayed up reading until well gone 3am. What a book addicted muppet I am. So perhaps now you’re wondering what the book was? I’ll tell you. Debt Of Honour by Tom Clancy, one of the most eye opening and addictive books that I’ve ever read. Needless to say, I rushed home from work the following evening and stayed up again into the small hours to finish it, no mean feat I assure you. 174777As well, and I’m sure this will come as no surprise to those of you with the same addiction, I had to go out and hunt down the rest of the books in the series, and then read them all in order. I wasn’t disappointed. They were, and still are GREAT! Everything about them just sends goose bumps up my arms, from the level of detail to the naval knowledge, from the characters to the way tiny, almost insignificant little bits of storyline weave their way seamlessly into the whole of the plot, something that I’d never seen in quite such a way before, and something that I think has influenced me as a writer, more than a little. The character of Jack Ryan is brilliantly thought out and brought to life, and a wonderful hero. But it is perhaps not him that had me hooked. John Clark for me was the one…..the one that stood out, the one that had that almost Han Solo appeal. A good man with a dark side. Partnered with Chavez, they made quite a team. The staying up late was well worth it for me, especially considering the book’s end, something which I’m not going to spoil for you if you haven’t already read it. Those couple of days, and the fluke with which left me with the book in the first place, play a pivotal role in my reading habits and the way in which I write. I always wished to meet Tom Clancy, I mean who doesn’t wish to meet their writing heroes…? I know I certainly have always wanted to. It always makes me wonder what I would have asked him. Would it have been about his intricate naval and military knowledge? About his inspiration for the well defined characters? Did he start from the end and work his way backwards when figuring out the plots of his books? Or just how it was he learnt to incorporate such insignificant pieces of text, that, like tiny pieces of a puzzle, all fit together in a much larger picture, perfectly at the end? I suspect the latter.

Thanks for reading.

Bournemouth ComiCon

August bank holiday weekend….something very special to me. Even before it had started on Friday, I was caught up somewhere in the past. Grass pitches, scorching sunshine, bucket loads of friends and of course my trusty stick. Image0060 (2)Somewhere out there, I was caught up playing hockey on my favourite pitches, with all my friends, whether it was in the past, or somewhere else. All weekend I haven’t been able to shake that feeling, and I doubt whether I will on each and every August bank holiday to come. I digress.

So with no hockey, and two very excitable children, it was off to comicon in Bournemouth on Sunday.


The kids have been excited for months, ever since we told them we’d got tickets. The monster comicon in San Diego has been on their ‘bucket’ list (although why they have one of these, I’m not quite sure) for a very long time now. So the excitement was no surprise. What was surprising was just how keen my wife was to go, although I couldn’t persuade her to hire a Wonder Woman outfit for the weekend. (Not just for comicon!)

Thinking that we’d do our usual, arrive much earlier than everyone else thing, this time it didn’t quite go to plan.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger queue in my entire life. It was great to see all of those in costume, however. Many Dr Who’s, Wonder Women, Ghostbusters, Supermen, you name it, they were there. The best for me though was an adult Spiderman who looked a dead ringer for the real thing. Wonderful!

Despite the length of the queue, things got moving pretty quickly, and we soon found ourselves inside. The kids were goggle eyed at everything, much like their parents. The crowds it has to be said were horrendous, with us having to keep hold of the children pretty much all the time. But it was great to get a look at such unusual stuff from all our favourite films and TV shows, as well as so much more.

From gazing at television celebrities from a distance, to the Delorean from Back To The Future, to meeting Stormtroopers, Chewbacca and Darth Vader.


We all had a great time, with the kids blowing nearly all of the pocket money they’d been saving up, knowing that they were coming here.

Most certainly will be going again.

Book News

Editing finished of Book 3, Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy. Hopefully released towards the end of the month. More information to follow.

Kids, Books, And Where’s That Sunshine Gone?

Summer Holidays

Still being dragged through the summer holidays kicking and screaming by my kids. SAMSUNG CSCAnother trip to Snowtrax this time to zip down the slopes at speed on the ringos, and not the ski-bobs. Fun was had by all, and I was dizzy just watching and taking pictures. On top of that, Swanage beckoned once again, with a very long day on the beach. I swear my youngest is part (well, nearly all) mermaid, staying in the water from 9am, through to nearly 3pm. Mad doesn’t begin to cover it. SAMSUNG CSCAnd this time, instead of a round of putting, we went and hit the ‘Pitch and Putt’. This was a new experience for the kids, with my youngest being thrilled. “This is just like on the telly dad,” she told me on seeing the first hole. “Do you want any help?” I asked, figuring she would. Nope, not a chance. Oh well.

The last couple of weeks has seen them both learn to skateboard, unlike their mother who has had a few almost You’ve Been Framed moments when trying to board their board, so to speak. SAMSUNG CSCBut they’re very pleased with their accomplishments, with both announcing that they might turn professional. I’m not sure they truly grasp the concept somehow.

Not sure what the weather’s like where you are, but the sunshine must have witnessed something very bad around here, and be tucked away in a safe house somewhere. Haven’t seen it properly for what seems like an age. Just a few hours’ worth would be much appreciated.

Book News

The final proof of ‘Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy’ should be with me any time now. As soon as I’m happy with it I’ll post a release date here. Not long to wait, I’m sure.

I did mention that I was working on a short story (SHORT…..that’s a laugh. Turned out to be just shy of 35,000 words. Much longer than even I anticipated) a few weeks ago. Good news. It’s finished and with a little editing, should be ready shortly. It’s called ‘A Right Royal RumpASS’ and dates back to when the dragons were in their second year at the Purbeck nursery ring. Ebook Cover 4_edited-3A competition with another nursery ring leads to Richie and Peter making friends with a new student, whilst discovering an unerring secret about another, all set against the backdrop of student life. But most importantly of all, you learn how Richie gets her dragon name. The illustration for the cover was produced by youngest daughter Poppy. To find out why it had to be that, you’ll have to read on. My wife and children tell me that they laughed until they cried when they read it. JOB DONE!

The Barons’ Charter Trail

The Barons’ Charter includes 25 life-sized decorated medieval baron sculptures displayed as an art trail across the city of Salisbury, until 6th September 2015. They will then be auctioned on the evening of 1st October to raise money for The Trussell Trust, the UK’s leading poverty charity. Find out more here


The Terry Pratchett Baron

Having found a number of the Barons around Salisbury since they were first launched, it was decided then that we would attempt to do all 25 in one day during the summer holidays. So now we have, and it kept all of us out of trouble, for a couple of hours anyway.


The Magna Carter Baron

My favourite would be easy to guess……that’s right, the Terry Pratchett Baron. 073Superb artwork that brought memories from all of his books, flooding back. I would definitely like to own that one, me and of course a million other people. This was also my youngest daughter’s favourite. Good girl!

My eldest daughter liked the Magna Carta Baron best. Appropriate if nothing else. A good time had by all, and another summer day ticked off from the holidays.

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Summer Holidays

With the summer holidays in full swing, I’m most definitely a full time dad at the moment, ahead of everything else, writing included. It seems to be the case of having to find pockets of wellness in my eldest daughter for us to have a day out anywhere, and luckily enough over the last week or two we’ve managed a couple of days out.


Ski-bobs at the wonderful Snowtrax just outside of Bournemouth kept them quiet for ages, despite the threatening weather, and with us stupidly having not bought any waterproofs with us. (Dad’s fault.) SAMSUNG CSCWatching them have so much fun was a delight, and not something with my eldest daughter’s illness that happens too often.

Reverting to type, and visiting our favourite place…..Swanage. A break in the weather, and again, all of us feeling okay, led to an early morning start, seeing us arrive before almost everybody else, and be one of the first on the beach itself. Many hours of fun, (after I’d blown up the dinghy) ensued, on a lovely spot on the main beach. A customary visit to the railway, the town and of course the putting greens made for a very long, and very enjoyable day out.


The writing side of things hasn’t totally been forgotten, and if you’ve checked out my website www.bentwhistlethedragon.com you’ll find there are a few changes, as well as a hidden glimpse of what’s to come. Book 3…..nearly there. Also you’ll be pleased to hear the short story (I say short…..35,000 words) about the young dragons in their youth is finished and being edited, with a view to being given away as part of an email subscription to a monthly newsletter. Hopefully available soon.

Happy Holidays!