December 2016 Newsletter

Happy New Year!

I hope the holiday season brought you all the happiness you wanted and left you not as bloated and stuffed as me. May I take this opportunity to officially welcome to you to my first newsletter of my new website. As many of you know, the transition to this website from my old blog at has been a long time coming. I will still leave that site up and running as it contains over 170 book reviews which proved very popular but from now on this will be the place where you will find everything you need to know about me and my work. This is the format I intend to go with on a monthly basis. Let me know what you think:

My news:

Within Stone’s Shadow has been released!

Both the Kindle and paperback versions of the Within Stone’s Shadow the third and penultimate novel in the Ballad of Frindoth series was released a few weeks ago. My loyal followers will know that I always intended this series to be a trilogy however, as I neared the middle of the first draft I realised I still have a lot of the story still to tell. Rather than release another mammoth book like “the Stones of Sorrow” (it consisted of over 255,000 words!), I decided I would rather split the final novel into two more palatable lengths.

Part of me was reluctant to go down the current trend of splitting the final volumes of series into two which seems to be more of a money making exercise rather than delivering a focused story. However, as I was agonizing over this decision I realised I all of the character arcs I had written so far had reached a natural stopping point. Writing a fourth book would also allow me to change the style of the book slightly as it is a time when many of the character’s path start to cross over so I could deliver a fast paced novel which did not short change the characters I love so dearly.

You can find the new novel on the books sections of this website but to save your precious fingers an extra click, I have included the link below.

Within Stone’s Shadow

Words written:

After the gruel of achieving 51,000 words in November, I decided to take time off in December and concentrate of being Christmassy with the family. This is a long-winded way of saying I only managed 4,354 words!

Best book I read:

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

Not sure why I decided to eventually read this book. All I can say is that I loved it. Considering it was published in the 1938 it holds up incredibly well. It is billed as an American Gothic novel and I already love the genre. The characters are well portrayed and realised and the mystery just draws you in and won’t let go. I highly recommend it.

I feel I must also mention Little Small Things – Jodi Picoult. Any other month this would have secured top spot. I have seen it described as a modern day “To kill a Mocking Bird.” Whilst I don’t think the novel quite captures Harper Lee’s wonderful tale, I can see where the sentiment comes from and can appreciate it. This is a book well worth checking out.

Best Film or TV show:

Being Christmas I managed to get through a lot of favourite films and plenty of new ones. As a massive Star Wars fan, I enjoyed Rogue One (especially the last 45 minutes) but it was certainly not without its faults. As it is Christmas I am going for, “A Nightmare before Christmas.”


Amazingly I had never seen this film before (I only saw It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time last year). A Nightmare before Christmas never appealed to me but boy was I wrong. Me and the kids loved this one and watched it three times over the festive period.

Best day:

December is such a marvellous time for doing all things Christmassy. The wife and I go out of the way to make it as magical as we can for the kids but no day topped Christmas Eve where we visited Father Christmas at Hever Castle. Many places make the visit to Santa Claus special but Hever Castle just gets it. The whole grounds are made to look special, from the snow they spray over the trees, to the hall of Christmas trees in the castle to the professional actors they higher to interact with you as you walk around the grounds on the trails.

Joke of the month:

Don’t know if this is a wind up but I just received a text saying I’d won £250 cash or two tickets to an Elvis tribute night. It says Press 1 for the money or 2 for the show.


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