And…Relax. For a Minute.

Many thanks to the lovely people at The Ucheldre Centre for Sunday’s launch event!


It was, I think, something of a success. We got to say thank you in person to David Crystal for the lovely things he’s said about the book – and then he said some more! And above all it was a pleasure to meet a man with such passion for language and its usage, and who just wants to share that passion. A true, true honour.

There were many other ‘special’ guests in attendance, some who had driven for over three hours to be there, some who had walked around the corner. So many people who influenced the work, who continue to inspire more creativity and writing, so many with tales of their own to tell that need telling.


Obligatory arty black-and-white shot


To all of you, thank you for coming, for listening.

Most of all, thanks for writing.





Launch Event

This Sunday sees the official launch of my novel, The Words We Use are Black and White, at the lovely Ucheldre Centre in Holyhead, Anglesey, North Wales –


The Ucheldre is a special place for me – as well as being a hugely important Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts it’s also a cultural and social hub for the local community. Not only that, but it was also the venue for the creative writing workshops I had the pleasure to lead for the mental health charity MIND for many years.

Welsh-Mind-logoIt’s almost impossible to overstate the benefits of these workshops: they continue to provide a safe, protected space in which all participants can express themselves. The workshops are open to the public, too – we all suffer sometimes. We need support, comfort, a way to talk freely about how and why we are, and MIND still offer this service to anyone who needs it – see for further details of what they do – or, indeed, to join the creative writing workshops!

The workshops are, in a sense, a bonus. The chance to write creatively allows us to say what we need to say, both to ourselves and to those who are willing to listen. Please support MIND in any way you can, even just by reblogging or retweeting this post – mental health problems happen, I think, to all of us. Diagnosis isn’t the most accurate way to qualify our health, or to say who is ‘ill’ and who isn’t. Share the message, folks – mental health matters.

It makes me very grateful, therefore, and more than a little humble, to be able to lauch the book at the Ucheldre Centre, therefore. Join us if you can, this Sunday, 23rd November at 6.30pm, Ucheldre Centre, Millbank, Holyhead, Anglesey, LL65 1TE  Tel: 01407 763361

Of Physical Objects and Digital Worlds…

101_4606So, it lives. The Words We Use are Black and White is released today, and is now available in all good book shops around the world etc. etc. Oh, and on Amazon, here. I’ve got a pile of ‘author copies’ on my desk, waiting to be sent on to various family members and reviewers. And yes, that is a photo of Jacques Brel in the background.

How does it look, then, this physical beast? Not quite Frankenstein’s monster, but still something that has existed only in other forms before. It was in my head, in various shapes. It then was written out, longhand, then typed, then printed out and scribbled on with red pen (more than once), then printed out again in a more formal way…

Time passes. The novel waits for its turn, then is reformed as various pdfs to be emailed back and forth. Typefaces, fonts, spacing, layout decisions. A cover appears, with the image and colours I’d always had in mind (more than a grateful nod to my publishers here, but more of them later!) Slowly the words appear, in black and white.

Then a digital version, then another. All formats covered, all eReaders catered for. To me, the book looks odd in digital form – it’s as if the plan had gone awry somewhere along the line, and the delicately-laid language has become corrupted. But that’s fine too – what’s the point of words if they can’t be re-imagined, relaid, reformed? They’re the same words, and in the same order…and if you want to read the book on a Kindle then the option’s there, and I’ll be delighted to hear your thoughts on it.

The paperback, however: okay, I’m biased, but it’s gorgeous. The colours on the cover are darker than I thought they’d be, and it’s better for it. The font is not one I know, but I think it suits the content. The book’s too thin for my liking; these days margins have to be smaller and smaller in order to keep costs down and allow publishers to make a profit, even though the words inside are the same.

It’s always an odd feeling, seeing your work in print, whether digitally or in physical form. And when that work is a novel, or something of a similar size and emotional involvement, it feels like something is over. It’s not, of course – it begins in other ways, yet the notion of grief when you finish writing a novel is well-known. You have to say goodbye to people you have lived with for years.

And yet here those people are, in digital files, and in a paperback pile on my desk, waiting to talk to someone else. Odd.

The Days Count Down

Nine days until the novel is released, and seventeen until the official launch. It’s been a long journey to get here, one which has at times been fraught. Nothing special there, you might think, and you’d be right. Every published author has their troubles along the way.

This might sound resentful or bitter, but it’s not meant to: I’ll be glad when the book’s been out for a couple of months, and life can calm down a little. All the publicity, promotion, marketing etc. has taken me too far away from those precious and vital acts of writing, those moments which form the start of it all. I’m not complaining, of course: the work that comes with publishing a novel is part of the deal, and I’m happy to do it. It’s a cracking read, this book, and I’m very happy indeed with the way it’s turned out. The readings too will be fun, as I’ll get to say thank you in person to some of those who have helped me (and there are many).

Yet…yet…is this really who I am now?

There’s another deadline looming ahead. Three weeks to get that done. Not a big job, and it involves writing creatively.

What a novelty.