Sunday, 8 November 2009

Postcards from the North

I'd like to thank you for your continued feedback and support, both with comments about 'Damaged Goods in Transit' (attached in the last mailout) and responses to my call for promotional suggestions. People have got back to me with some very interesting ideas, and will be duly credited in the next collection's acknowledgments. As ever, it's never too late to get in touch, and I aim to reply to all responses personally. So, if anyone can think of any more marketing ideas (especially ones that involve the internet), please don't hesitate to drop me a line here. All positive contributors I use will be credited in book 3.

Now, as November is upon us, and the launch date looms ever-closer, I'd like to let you know about some events which will be going on over the next few weeks.

- On November 17th, I'll be reading as a featured artist at The Continental's regular literature night, Word Soup, in Preston. With a couple of other highly-recommended, excellent writers booked, it's shaping up to be a good night. Head over to for more details.

- November 20th brings Lancaster's monthly Spotlight club (, at which I'll be performing open mic.

- And November 28th is, of course, the book launch itself, also taking place at The Continental (see above for web address). Obviously, I hope to see as many of you as possible there, but understand - particularly as Christmas draws near - that people have many commitments, so, if you want to come along, but can't make it, why not come down to one of the other events listed above? More listings to follow shortly.

I'd also like to highlight a couple of links featuring reviews of both the first and second book.

- Andrew Hurley at the Preston Writing Network recently contributed an in-depth piece about my first collection, 'Sunrise and Shorelines'. It's an excellently written review that even had me looking at my own work in a different light, and can be read at:

- Fellow writer Norman Hadley ( also shares his thoughts about 'In Memory of Real Trees' on the Lunecy review:

And, speaking of 'In Memory of Real Trees', I'm pleased to attach another sample (see below), highlighting a slightly different side of the book to that shown in 'Damaged Goods in Transit'. 'Postcards from the North' is a paean to my much-loved homeland. It came to me on a train, travelling through Yorkshire, and attempts to rewrite the negative cliches, often associated with northern England, as things to actually be proud of.

As ever, I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Postcards from the North

We’ve got forty-two different types of rain,

clouds gone murky from streaming soot,

cobbled streets and old steam-trains,

smokers coughing up their guts.

We’ve got godawful cities full of godawful people,

where treacle-black rivers hide forms, drowned and foetal,

crumbling mills in the shadows of steeples,

industrial corpses and disappointing sequels.

We’ve got tea so bitter that it burns in your mouth,

and stories you’d hardly believe down south,

of twisted beasties that lurk below the bed,

the gallows of Golgotha to lop off your head.

But we’ve got hills that climb for miles,

witch stories whispered by midnight fires,

spindly webs shimmering through January gloom,

frost glittering like fairy-lights beneath a bright moon.

We’ve got The Smiths singing ‘Sheila Take a Bow’,

where Orwell’s ghost stalks a drizzle-soaked town,

Yorkshire cobbles stained with blood, myth and mystery,

Lancashire spook tales and bridges to history.

We’ve got a sleepy village on the edge of the world,

where long grass in the twilit fields

sways in the wake of a warm sea wind,

and at the passing echo of the six-fifteen train,

they say a pair of old friends can be seen most days,

contentedly lost as a melody plays;

the haunting strains of some violin tune

that someday will all but fade.

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