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March Already?

Had a week off from the regular blog as not a lot has been happening writing wise. I’ve been mainly been involved with music: running my own buskers night at the Benton Ale House in Newcastle as well as performing at several buskers nights around Gateshead. Music is always a fun thing and while I don’t consider myself remotely brilliant at singing or playing the guitar, nobody seems to mind.

One thing I have done during the week is send my booking form and deposit to the Swanwick Writers Retreat. This will be my eighth year at Swanwick (I’ve sacrificed holidays abroad to attend), but for 2016, it will be my first as a published author so for me this year is an important one.

The Swanwick Writers Retreat is a week long event that takes place in August and attracts both established writers as well as beginners. Its based at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. The place is very much like a college campus overlooking the a wonderful lake and lots of nearby countryside and wild life.

Swanwick offers a number of interesting courses on writing whether its fiction or non-fiction. There is also the added bonus of a special guest evening speaker. Over the years I’ve met the likes of crime writers R J Ellory and Peter James, as well as Deborah Moggah (author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Curtis Jobling (creator of Bob the Builder), comedy writer David Nobbs, science fiction writer Ian Banks, David Crystal (author of The Story of English) and his actor son Ben (author of Shakespeare on Toast).

But before you think its all work and no play, the evening events includes discos, fancy dress, my buskers night and the end of week play. There’s also plenty of time to just sit, relax and take in the atmosphere of the place. More importantly its a wonderful chance to meet old and very dear friends as well as make new ones.

I’ll not plug it any further other than without Swanwick, I may not have come close to getting a book published. I owe the place a great deal.

To find out more go on

That’s enough on Swanwick. My next event is the second Bela Lugosi talk at Newcastle’s celebrated Castle Keep. As a ghostly apparition had been lurking around during my last talk, it’ll be interesting to see if it returns. I hope it won’t be as cold.

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