So, I have realised that I haven’t blogged anything for a long time.  This is not because I have given up , rather I have been rather busy. Day Job (that cursed think that I need to do as the Missus won’t let me sell the kids for food) has been very busy, I have also been hard at work with articles for MetalTalk including a 45 minute Inverview with H from Bristish Thrash Legends Acid Reign to transcribe this week!

Also, the New Project is taking shape, “The Puritan’s Son” is halfway through, and research and writing are intertwining, which doesn’t leave much time for blogging, which is a bugger.

So, not much to say for now, BUT I will try and visit here with some new reading matter soonish. I pwomise.




Inspiration – Why I writ wot I writ

So, why Smugglers and Why the Hawkhurst Gang?

Staymaker cover


Living in Hawkhurst – a village on the Kent/Sussex Border, roughly halfway between Maidstone and Hastings – for a decade, and being a bit of a history buff, I soon encountered the story of the Hawkhurst Gang. As I read more into it, I soon realised that the reality was more shocking than the romantic view of smuggling in a lot of fiction.

I have always fancied myself as a writer, but projects had remained as half plotted, half written ideas, until my best fiend Jo persuaded me to sign up to Nanowrimo in 2009. I dug out what I knew about the Gang, and wrote an Initial 50,000 word draft of Staymaker. After it was finished, I realised that it was far too short, and so I looked deeper into the subject, and realising that I needed to do much more research to improve both the history and the writing!

So I did. I got a lot of material out of the trial accounts of Kingsmill et al (a fantastic website called Old Bailey online has a lot of resource material in the form of actual trial transcripts), as well as three brilliant books on the subject*, and a number of Internet resources. Thus fleshed out, and woven back into a work of fiction, the editing began in earnest.
Most of the places in the book are still in existence today. The ‘Oak and Ivy’ Pub, on the Rye road was my local for many years (great beer and food by the way). Tom Kingsmill’s house, Highgate house, is now a public use building, and a playgroup meets there now. ‘The Mermaid’ in Rye is well known for its smuggling connection to the gang, but the Hawkhurst haunts less so. I wanted to make them known better (and since I started this project, a local history group unrelated to me) has tried to do just that.
This project has caused me to look more into the crime and punishment of the 1700-1750 period, and given my ideas for new projects, based on the villains of the period. It was a time with no formal police force (Indeed, the real Jake Pring was one of the first members of Fielding’s Bow Street Runners), so very different methods of solving crime were brought into play. It is that that interests me most – that and getting behind the romantic image of highwaymen such as “Blueskin’ and Turpin, ‘thief-takers’ like Wild, and, of course, smugglers such as Kingsmill and Ferial. I write what I like to read, which means gritty and violent novels to match the gritty and violent times.

Staymaker, and the short stories that act as a prequel of sorts are available here

  • * “Smuggling in Kent and Sussex” Mary Waugh
  • “Smuggling in the British Isles –  History” Richard Waugh
  • “Honest Thieves” F F Nicholls 

Busy, Busy

The realisation that I have had a whole month off of here has just hit me today. Not that I have been Idle. Firstly, two weeks holibobs in Dumfries with the Kids. Then back to work, manic and short-staffed. In addition, I have started final editing of Staymaker, my first full length Novel set around the Hawkhurst Gang’s Downfall in the late 1740’s.

Followers of my column on Metaltalk will have noticed a lot of stuff has gone up there as well. Most importantly, Today my review of Karachi Rocker Taimur Tajik’s second Album , released on Friday 6th Sept is here . In addition, Blackhour’s “Age of war” has been reviewed and I have interviewed Pakistani extreme metal Pioneer Babar Sheik of Dusk. All worth checking out!

So, In future weeks on here, Well I am part of a Nautical Blog Hop in a couple of weeks, organised by the Wonderful Helen Hollick, more of that in my next post, excited by that too! More editing, new Novel research and plotting and more reviews etc. Excited? Well, I am. (and knackered too BTW)

So, short and sweet, but, will leave you with something to whet your appetite for Friday’s BIG release. A track from Taimur’s first Album, Vice Versa (available from their website)