12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it


crowd sourcing

Vote Now, Or Forever Wish You Had

Jala by Eoin Hurl (
Jala by Eoin Hurl (

You may remember a post I posted at the beginning of April, explaining that one of my internet friends had concocted A Brilliant Scheme to pay homage to Choose Your Own Adventure Books via the power of the internet.

The Life And Times of A Working Barbarian is now live, with a blog and a Facebook page to prove it (social media being the only way to gain any clout these days).

Continue reading “Vote Now, Or Forever Wish You Had”

An Awfully Big Adventure

I have a number of friends on the internet who I’ve come across through writing stories.  One such person is Glempy, also called The Rogue Verbumancer, who you may remember from guest posts like this one, and my almost monthly entries for the Pictonaut Challenge.

As the general setup of Pictonaut implies, Glempy is one of those writers who likes to get other people writing.  This predilection could stem from pure philanthropy, or it might be orchestrated so the man in question has a ready-made support network of peers gnashing their teeth and churning out #amwriting tweets at the same time as him – it’s impossible to know for sure.  Still, whatever his reasons, the outcome is a positive one – lots of stories for you to read.

With that in mind, I would like to tell you about Sir’s latest project – The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian.

Choose Your Own Adventure #45 You Are A Shark (1985)
Picture by Paxton Holley (

Do you remember Choose Your Own Adventure books?  You read some of the story, then had the option to choose what happened next – for instance, ‘to go through the spooky arch turn to page 62,’ or ‘to climb the rickety ladder turn to page 4.’  The story was in your hands, and anything could happen – if you made a bad choice the hero might actually die, or at least be horribly maimed.* 

The idea of Working Barbarian is to resurrect this storytelling model.  Glempy has assembled a group of writers, including yours truly, who have agreed to relay The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian in gripping internet instalments.  After each instalment there will be a list of ‘what do you want to do next’ options and you, the general public, get to Choose Your Own Adventure by voting on whether you want the Barbarian to go through the spooky arch, climb the rickety ladder or stroke the adorable cthulu kitten.   

I’m really excited about this project, and if you’re excited too then you should CLICK HERE whereupon you can subscribe to email updates or follow the blog so that new posts appear in your reader.  You’ll also be able to find out a bit more about the merry band of people involved in writing the thing.

The first part of the story, penned by Glempy himself, goes live on Monday April 8th.  Hooray!

*Bear in mind this was pre Song of Ice and Fire / Potter – main characters being senselessly killed was unusual back then. 

West Port Book Festival 2011

Everyone in Edinburgh loves a book festival.  There was one in Portobello at the weekend and there’s another just around the corner in the Old Town.  Peggy Hughes (who Twitter users might know better as the Scottish Poetry Library’s @ByLeavesWeLive) was kind enough to write me a guest post about it.

The West Port Book Festival has reached the merry maturity of its fourth year, with another programme of cracking collaborations, tall tales, award-winners, stars of the future, dead people, open mics, and of course cakes. This year we’re popping up in October  – Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th to be precise.  We have flirted with running in different months (August for starters and seconds and June for thirds) and find that variety is the spice of life.

We have lost a few of our sterling venues from previous years.  The Lot, the Roxy ArtHouse and the Illicit Still (scene of the cause of a monstrous festival-wide hangover in year 3) are all sorely missed, while the Owl & Lion Gallery has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and resurrected itself as the Owl & Lion Bindery, further up the hill in the West Port. We’ve got a new bookshop on the block in Pulp Fiction and are comforted by the never-changing Blue Blazer and its energy-restoring ham and cheese toasties. Some things change, but the ideas and vision behind the West Port Book Festival remain.

Continue reading “West Port Book Festival 2011”

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