Where do I begin?

"Begin at the beginning," the King said gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."

Unlike Alice in Lewis Carroll's inside-out world, I haven't been reliably sane since I was allowed to "stand up close to a horse" at the age of two and a half ... therefore (nice sane word, that) I shall ignore the King's sound advice and just plunge you into it. Web sites are like that anyway - you can get in through any door or window. Why should I insist you knock or ring the bell?

This site is about some of my long-standing obsessions: writing of all kinds, Fell ponies, carriage driving, an early blog about Foot and Mouth, a bit of local history and a few links to other sites.

Things I think are newsworthy: you don't have to agree

Jackdaw E Books is now up and running on the new web site. I've just had too many books sitting around ready to go and not having the energy to chase agents the way you used to be able to chase publishers. Whimsical Publications in Florida wanted to take "Dragon Bait" back in March but the fellow who was dealing with the submission lost momentum, so in the meantime, tough, I have been n gone n done it myself. Coachman and The Forthright Saga are simmering nicely and we're off with those two any day now. I just need a cover for TFS. Watch the new web site for information: www.jackdawebooks.co.uk

Following a trial run at Shap last month "Galloway Gate" will run on 13th and 14th July in Show Case, Devonshire Arcade, Penrith, between 11am and 2pm each day. It's a video of poetry readings with photographs of the drove road that runs through east Cumbria from Galloway in SW Scotland towards the industrial towns of Lancashire. Buy a soup from the soup shop and take in 30 minutes of poetry for lunch!

Hayloft Publishing were encouraging about "The Forthright Saga", a comic thriller novella set in the fictional Cumbrian towns of Dangleby and Pullet St Mary. Unfortunately for "The Forthright Saga" and "Horses in the Garden" - as of 19th March 2012, Hayloft are only selling existing stock and have returned both my manuscripts. Boo.

"Coachman" completed, March 2012... now this one has been a long time a-brewing - since about 1990. Thanks to the research value of the world wide web, I've been able to set my characters in the real world of 1838, when the railways began to take off as England's speediest means of public transport. God bless those who run Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive. Now doing the tedious bit of editing the text with an outsider's eye (difficult).

February 2012 Prole Magazine accepted one of the Naomi poems, "Ash Tree" for Issue 7.

The Interpreter's House accepted one of the Naomi poems, "Pink", for Issue 49, February 2012, and Candlestick Press asked to reprint it in a forthcoming pamphlet, "In Memoriam".

"Dragon Bait" went out to several possible outlets in October 2011. Whimsical Publications asked for the full MS to read (April 2012) but I have withdrawn it and am going to self-publish. See Jackdaw E Books.

Poetry pamphlet "Naomi" completed (October 2011) - whether it finds a home after not making it in the 2011 Poetry Business competition, remains to be seen.

Two poems, "Solstice" and "Magnetic Variation" have been accepted by Pennine Platform for the late autumn of 2011.

Ancient Blog makes TV - BBC's "Inside Out" North-East team found the Foot and Mouth Diary and despite an icy wind insisted on coming to record me reading selected quotes - outdoors. Broadcast on 14th February 2011. Embarrassingly, I was described as a retired horse trainer, so very glad that the 2nd Monday of the month is writers' group night and I didn't stop in to wait for those two minutes of slightly dubious fame.

November 2007: The Dales Diary (Border TV and Tyne Tees TV) features "Hoofprints in Eden". See menu.

July 2007: Daw Bank's self catering holiday cottage opens for business. We'll natter with you about writing, books, poems, farming, horses and wagon/carriage driving till the cows come home. See menu at left, and agency link at Country Cottages, 23892 Daw Bank Cottage ...

June 2006: "Hoofprints in Eden" is an Award winner! History, background, anecdotes; major work on Fell ponies wins Lakeland Book of the Year "Saint and Company" prize 2006. I had great fun researching and writing this, and it seems many people have enjoyed reading it too. See menu.

December 2005: the Duke of Edinburgh's office bought 4 copies of "Hoofprints" - I hope as Christmas presents, but the Duke's office weren't saying.

Foot and Mouth Diary - a bitter reminder of events as seen from inside Cumbria 2001. See menu.

Fortunately, to balance the FMD, "One Fell Swoop" - cartoon book about the Fell pony breed - goes on happily trundling along. See menu.


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