Meet Tom Gillespie.

Tom has just informed me that his new book is to be launched tomorrow, so I thought it was a great time to let you meet him. Over to you Tom…

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hi Annie.

I grew up in small mining town on the outskirts of Glasgow. After finishing a masters in English at Glasgow uni, I spent the next ten years pursuing a financially ruinous musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with my band . I now live in Bath with my wife, my daughter and my hyper-neurotic cat, where I work at the University as an Academic English lecturer.

Can you remember the first book you ever read or was read to you.

Noddy Goes to Toy Town. It had a profound effect on me. I still don’t fully trust flat-capped northerners on holiday.. Oh wait, that’s The Famous Five, isn’t it?

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

“Poo.” (no really, it is)

(Stop laughing Annie!)

Do you have a favourite writing place.

My head

Are there any other writers/authors in your family.

No I’m the only writer, but not the only lunatic

What or who has been your has been the biggest influence on your writing.

Music, movies, food, the moon, sex – and the day Archie Gemmill scored for Scotland against Holland in the 1978 world cup …. but not writing.

Which author(s) do you read most.

Me. I’m never done editing and re-editing my own work. I barely get a chance to read anything else.

Do you have a favourite genre and what is it.

I hate genres. I’m a genre buster. It’s a bit like saying, what’s your favourite colour? Every colour is important and every colour is relative to the next.

It’s blue, by the way.

What are you working on at the moment?

-Trying to pay off a massive home improvement loan that is bleeding me dry. Oh, and a collection of short stories, about debt.

Where can we buy your books?

Painting by Numbers is available in kindle format here:

And soon to be released book format… Awaiting link


Twitter: tom_gillespie

Facebook: /tomgillespiewriter

Thanks Tom. Good luck with your new book, I really hope it’s a best seller.


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Meet Edge Dyrksec Johnson

Today we get to meet Edge Dyrksec Johnson author of the debut novella Stormbringer…

Tell us a little about yourself Edge.

I am a husband, a writer, a gamer, a geek, a techie, and a dreamer. I grew up in rural Oklahoma, discovered a world beyond its borders, and stepped into a strange urban landscape in Los Angeles. My writing usually blends themes and tropes from fantasy and science fiction, though I do occasionally dabble in slice of life in my #FridayFlash fiction stories. I have been published in the Best of #FridayFlash, both volumes, and I am the Editor for the FridayFlash community website.

Can you remember the first book you ever read or was read to you.

Not really. I read a LOT as a kid. I remember several classics, like Where the Red Fern Grows and several Box Car Kids books. Though, the best story I have about a book I read occurred in sixth grade. I always wore a (trench) coat that was able to conceal a novel in at least one of its pockets, and at my school, recess on cold or rainy days was held in the gymnasium. I often found a perch where I could put my feet up and read in peace and quiet to ride through the loud period, but I never gave much consideration to who was noticing me or what I was reading. One such rainy day, I sat on my perch, reading a particularly awesome Xanth novel, obviously by Piers Anthony, and one of the girls in my class came through the door nearby and asked me what I was reading. Without missing a beat, I tilted the book so she could read the title. When she started laughing, I turned the book to figure out what was so funny. Apparently, a book called The Color of Her Panties may not be the best choice for wooing my classmates.

What was the first thing you ever wrote.

Aside from homework and punishment, the first real work that I started writing (and never finished, sadly) was a book I called The Way of the Sword. I wrote on it only during my 4th hour Typing class my freshman year in high school and only after my regular work was done. By the end of that year, I had easily typed over fifty pages for it, but it was sadly done on a type writer. I attempted to re-write the story once for NaNoWriMo, but I do not do well with that sort of writing frenzy.

Do you have a favorite writing place.

Yes, but sadly, my bed is not the most productive place to write. I do fairly well now in my new office, with my desk and computer with speakers to blare some music. I also have a door that I can close to keep everyone away from me.

Are there any other writers/authors in your family.

My dad tried to write, and is one of the reasons I tried it so often growing up. Outside of that, I am unaware of any. I am not the only English graduate though, as I have an aunt that graduated with the same degree. I do not believe she is a write though.

What or who has been your has been the biggest influence on your writing.

Greatest influence? Honestly, I try to write with as few outside influences as possible. I have read works by dozens of authors, but I try to make sure that my voice is unique. If I were to assign influences, I would actually reference my parents for having such a diverse love of literature to start, and then for passing that passion on to me at a young age. Nothing could have made my childhood better than those trips to the used book store where we were given permission to get as many books as we wanted, regardless of the price. Our average haul from those trips yielded more than twenty “new” books for us to fight over.

Which author(s) do you read most.

Tricky question. Overall, I would say I have read the most number of books by Piers Anthony, but most of those were before I graduated from high school. Since then, Jim Butcher has been the most frequent author I have read. Koontz had some really good stuff, and Crichton have some influences. I have even read the entire Star Trek: New Frontier series (Peter David and John J. Ordover, I believe).

Do you have a favorite genre and what is it.

Fantasy and Science Fiction, more or less in equal parts. I find that I really prefer genre blending and bending, which leads me to liking some Urban Fantasy (Butcher’s Dresden novel’s), CyberPunk (Shadowrun), and Historical Fiction (Card’s Red Prophet). If I had to pick a single genre, I would have to lean ever so slightly toward Fantasy. Magic is the tipping point, for while I love technology, the mystic arts in most books carry the burden of consequence more so than their technological counterparts.

I know you write for adults as well as children but which gives you the most pleasure to write for.

I write for no one. Well, I may write for myself on some levels, but I target no one, no demographic, no group of individuals, no specific individual. I would be terribly offended if someone read my work and said, “You wrote that for downtrodden women with abusive husbands.” Excuse me? No, I did not. I wrote it, because it was part of the story that needed to be told. Should downtrodden women with abusive husbands have works written about them to shine light on the issue? Most certainly. Will I ever write such a work for them? Never.

What are you working on at the moment.

I am currently working on a set of novellas set in a mystical world, where each work will follow the rise of a prophesied hero and their acquisition of a relic that will be used to save the world.

Where can we buy your books.

If I had any available, I would gladly point you to them. As soon as I finish the first novella (Stormbringer), it will be available at my website (, likely for $1. My two published #FridayFlash fiction stories are available through the Best of #FridayFlash anthologies (first volume has “Uncle’s Ukulele” and is available at, the other will be available in the near future and contains “Big Pimpin’”).

Good luck with Stormbringer Edge…

For your copy of Edge’s new novella visit the following link.



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Meet Carol McKay…

This week we meet Carol McKay… Carol was my tutor for the Open University A174 Start Creative Writing, which has sadly been discontinued, and is the co author of As I Lay Me Down To Sleep


Carol McKay


Tell us a little about yourself.


I’ve always worked with books and writing. My first career was as a librarian. Then, in my thirties, I took a correspondence course in journalism and earned my first pay packet as a writer with an anniversary piece about Citroen cars in Autocar and Motor magazine. And I hate cars! After that I concentrated on social and family history journalism and raising my four children. I explored writing fiction, too. In 2001, I graduated with an MLitt in Creative Writing here in Scotland and in 2004 started teaching it through the Open University. My writing’s been published in literary journals, anthologies and newspapers and shortlisted for the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition.  In 2010, I won the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship which enabled me to spend a month in the Hotel Chevillon, south of Paris, which was much favoured by RLS and his fellow writers and artists in the 1870s.


Can you remember the first book you ever read or was read to you.


I don’t ever remember having a story read to me. That didn’t happen in our house. But I do remember we had a few children’s books. There were two which were bound in red and which had bright white paper and colourful illustrations that really fitted the stories. One was Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. I’ve loved that story ever since.


What was the first thing you ever wrote.


When I was ten, my sister emigrated to Canada and shortly after that, one of my brothers joined the Merchant Navy and the other started work. I must have been feeling sorry for myself because I wrote a poem about it. The first verse went something like this: ‘Isabel went to Canada, / Tommy went to the sea. / Allan went to the Railways / and all that was left was me.’  In a more upbeat mood, I then wrote a poem about going to live in Tahiti and had two verses of it published in our school magazine. I’ve never made it to Tahiti yet!


Do you have a favourite writing place.


Not really. I’m a very utilitarian kind of person. I sit at my desk in our dining room. I like to have the radio playing in the background but I find it very hard to write if there are any other distractions.


Are there any other writers/authors in your family.


My parents left school at fourteen. They were bright but had no opportunity for higher education. Both were great readers and my dad, when he had a wee whisky or two, liked to jot down his thoughts as poetry. I remember being really mad at him when I discovered he’d written on the cover of my brand new Cat Stevens record album when I was sixteen! But I forgave him. He had real potential but the life he was living and the time he lived in didn’t encourage men like him to express their inner feelings. Now he’s gone, I quite treasure those few lines for the glimpse they give of that sensitive side to him.


What or who has been the biggest influence on your writing.


Without a doubt, my schools. I went to the local primary school in the huge housing scheme where I lived in Glasgow. Looking back, I realise how high the standards were there. Pupils were really stretched. We read and sang classics and though I didn’t realise it at the time that must have influenced me. Until recently, I thought it was my secondary school which made the difference to me. Wait, that sounds pretentious. What I mean is that I became different from the rest of my family when I went to secondary school because I went to a fee-paying school and then to higher education – the first in my family to be given that opportunity. My secondary school introduced me to great writers, including great contemporary Scottish writers like Hugh Macdiarmid and Norman MacCaig, who both gave readings in the school hall. My school’s motto was Non scholae sed vitae – (education is) not for school but for life. Of course, it was my parents’ sacrifices which enabled me to go there so I should give a nod to them, too.


Which author(s) do you read most.


I’m a big fan of David Mitchell and Jon McGregor, Anne Donovan and Ali Smith.


Do you have a favourite genre and what is it.


Contemporary literary fiction.


What are you working on at the moment.


This summer, I’m editing a book about Addison’s Disease, which is an auto-immune condition I was diagnosed with in 2010. It will feature twenty or so pieces of life writing by people around the world who have the condition. It’s a life-threatening condition and it’s supposed to be what killed Jane Austen! Nowadays, it’s fairly easily managed with drugs but it was a bit scary being diagnosed with it in an emergency situation. I’m also supposed to be jotting down some thoughts towards a memoir of my own. And I’m always working on an idea for a short story or two.


Where can we buy your books.


Ordinary Domestic, my collection of short stories, is available as an e-book from Pothole Press. You can find it on Amazon here –


As I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a memoir by Eileen Munro with Carol McKay, is available as an e-book or in print, here –



My website is and my blog is



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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Gibberish, Meet the Authors


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A Novel in a Week!!

Hey folks, I’m going to follow David W Robinson while he attempts to write a novel in a week. Can it be done? Follow on at the link below and find out.

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Posted by on July 7, 2012 in a novel in a week


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My Gran Said…

A silly poem.

My Gran Said…

He’s gonna stab him with that gun

my gran said

as we watched the murder mystery


He’s gonna strangle her in her bed

my gran said

as we watched the love scene

being told

He’s gonna poison her with that drink

My gran said

as we watch the garden party for the Queen

being shown

You’re missing the news

my gran said

as Ronny and Ronny

fooled around

someone robbed the bank

my gran said

as the advert for the trustees

was aired

She’s gonna kill him with that pan

My gran said

as Fanny and Johnny

fry an egg

This is a good cup of tea

my gran said

sipping hot chocolate

from a mug

You trying to get me drunk?

my gran said

slurring over eggnog

in a glass

She’s driving us mad

my sister said

as gran dozed in the chair.


Shh! Don’t wake her up

I said

As peace descended

for once.


All Text Copyright © 2012 Annie Green ( Trudy Chappell) All Rights Reserved


Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Gibberish, My Poetry, Short Stories


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Meet Clair Evans

This week we meet author Clair Evans. One of the authors from ‘Tales from the Cafe’ volumes One and Two. I first met Clair on the Open University A174 Start Creative Writing course.

Welcome Clair. It’s nice of you too take the time to talk to us.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Clair Evans, and I’m 38. I am originally from Somerset, but have lived in the Cotswolds for 16 years, and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve got three sons, aged 21, 18 and 5, a cat and a Labrador puppy.

I used to be a groom and a Special Constable (not at the same time), but I’m now focusing on completing my BA with the Open University.

When I’m not studying (or procrastinating), I like to go for long walks around the nature reserves here, watch dramas, science fiction programs, or documentaries. I love to read non-fiction, too, and have books on many subjects, including geology, nature and history. I occasionally call myself a gardener, and have even been known to bake the odd cake.

Can you remember the first book you ever read or was read to you.

The Magic Porridge Pot! I loved that story, and still do. Sadly, I don’t remember my parents ever reading to me, although I’m sure they must have.

What was the first thing you ever wrote.

Oh, that’s a tough one. I wrote stories for my English class at school, but I think the first thing I wrote as an adult was a short story about a woman who has an argument with her partner and storms off along country lanes with her dog. She ends up needing to be rescued. That got lost years ago, and I’ve never managed to re-write it.

Do you have a favorite writing place.

Graveyards. They are so peaceful, and usually very pretty, too, especially in these Cotswold villages. If it’s raining or too cold to sit outside, I just park my little car somewhere isolated. I detest the fact that I then have to try to read my atrocious handwriting and transfer it all on to my laptop, but I cannot write at home. Too many ways to procrastinate!

Are there any other writers/authors in your family.

My grandfather wanted to tell some of the story of his time in the RAF during World War Two, but he didn’t write it himself, his daughter (my aunt) wrote it. It was never sold, but copies were given to family members.

What or who has been your has been the biggest influence on your writing.

I would have to say Rory McCormac. He wrote three books about an Irish veterinary surgeon, who gets caught up in the criminal activities of various people. I was gripped by these stories in my early twenties, and decided that I would love to write books like that. I’m still trying!

Which author(s) do you read most.

I don’t really have a single author that I read; shockingly I’m not very up-to-date with books or authors at the moment. In the past I have read a lot of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and other ‘classic’ authors, and Stephen King, David Morrell, Stephen Booth, and Dan Brown. I’ve just started using my local library again, so I’m hoping to experience some more recent talents!

I read a lot of non-fiction too, particularly books by Brian Cox, Iain Stewart and Simon Reeve.

Do you have a favorite genre and what is it.

I love thrillers with a religious or historical twist in them. Dan Brown’s stories fascinate me, even though his style of writing is not my favourite! I also love the classics, and ‘Lorna Doone’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ are among my all time favourite books.

What are you working on at the moment.

I’ve just finished a university course, and have another starting in October (both Creative Writing modules), so I’m actually taking the summer off to recharge the mental batteries. However, I do have a novel part-written, and have plans for more poetry writing. I’ve already had two short stories published in e-book anthologies, and will be working on more of these in the near future.

Where can we buy your books.

I write for Café Three Zero, and both of their e-books, ‘Tales from the Café: Volume 1’ and ‘Red’ are available on Amazon and Smashwords.


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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Gibberish, Meet the Authors


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Meet Trevor Belshaw…

…also known as Trevor Forest, writer of children’s fiction, Magic Molly and the Mirror Maze, among others, and the hilarious grown ups story Tracy’s Hot Mail.

Hello Trevor welcome to Creative Gibberish.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I write for adults as T. A. Belshaw. I also write for children under the pen name, Trevor Forest. I live in Nottingham with my wife, two dogs, two cats, three rescue chickens and twenty-five fish. I have written seven books, (six for children) and I’m now working on books eight and nine. Last year I began a creative writing course at the OU and I’ll be starting the advanced course in September.

I am 58 years old, but like most authors I live in a parallel universe. In my tiny part of this weird vastness I am about 11 years old. I like being there; the world looks so much better.

I’ve always had the urge to write, but family and work commitments over the years made it impossible until quite recently. In 2009 I finally took the plunge and so far, it has worked out quite well.

Can you remember the first book you ever read or had read to you?

Apart from the Janet and John books at school? I think my first book would have been an Enid Blyton story. I can’t remember which one; I think I read them all over time. We used to get Rupert Bear annuals at Christmas which were great fun. Later I graduated to Just William, The Swallows and Amazons and Willard Price’s Adventure series. I read a couple of Roald Dahl’s early books and a lot of classics like Treasure Island.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

As a child I wrote lots of silly little adventure stories, usually with me as the hero. I have three brothers and we used to put on an occasional play for our parents on a Sunday evening. We were all involved in writing those. Back in the 90s I wrote a children’s story about a couple of kids who found their way into a different land, a bit like Narnia, but more up to date. I’m not sure what happened to it; I remember being quite proud of it at the time.

In 2008 I started a blog where I wrote what I hoped were humorous articles about my two young Springer Spaniels. Later that year I joined a new writer’s website called Writelink. The first piece I nervously put forward for review by my peers was a humorous article called, My First Date. Thankfully it went down well. I published it to my writer’s blog earlier this year.

Do you have a favorite writing place?

Over the last couple of years I’ve tried various places around the house in an attempt to find a quiet place where I can concentrate, but I always end up back at the desk in my workshop where I work repairing PCs. My highly excitable dogs are in here with me and I’m forever being interrupted by my wife walking through to get to the garden or demanding we go shopping.

Everything I’ve ever had published has been written on my main PC. The computer is a hand-built, quad core machine that I built about the same time I started writing. It has had one major upgrade and a new monitor since then. I have had a couple of laptops over the years but I’ve never really managed to write anything on them, I don’t know why, it just feels uncomfortable. I also tried a Mac Mini, which I hated. It still has eight chapters of a children’s book called The Duck Pond Lane Detectives on it which I will have to transfer to my Windows PC and finish one of these days. I keep it in a box under my worktop. I fire it up now and then to tell it how much I hate it. I gave the laptop to my wife in the end.

Are there any other writers/authors in your family?

Not serious ones as far as I know. My brother Keith does a few satirical poems which are very funny though.

What or who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I met some wonderful people on the Writelink website, far too many to mention here, but all of them should be thanked for their freely-given help and advice. Among them were David Robinson, Marit Meredith, and the lovely Maureen Vincent-Northam. They are all fabulous writers and have given me so much advice and encouragement over the last three years or so. Maureen edits my books and she’s just brilliant at it. Author-wise I think Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton have been major influences. Quite a few reviewers on Amazon compare my writing to theirs and while I’m not saying that the comparison is warranted, something must have sunk in all those years ago.

I would like to give my illustrator and cover artist, Marie Fullerton a mention here if I could. She is such a talent and her work is a constant inspiration.

Which author(s) do you read most?

I used to change my favourite author like I changed my underwear. For years I was an avid reader of Stephen King, Wilbur Smith, James Herbert and a host of fantasy writers. I loved Graham Greene, George Orwell, H G Wells, Tolkien and Dickens. My all-time favourite adult author is Leslie Thomas. He has always had the ability to make me laugh and cry, sometime within the space of a single paragraph.

Do you have a favorite genre and what is it?

I write a lot of humorous stuff; my adult book, Tracy’s Hot Mail being one example. I much prefer writing for children though. I still try to keep the humour element; I love the thought of kids laughing while they are reading one of my stories. I have to say I find it much easier to get into the writing zone when I slip into my eleven year old mind-set.

Are you a meticulous planner?

No, not meticulous. When I wrote the first Magic Molly book I just winged it and let it flow. While this was great for the creative process I found that the story meandered all over the place and I was going down blind alleys and leaving quite a few loose ends. You can’t really do that in children’s writing; everything has to be tied up neatly. These days I keep an ideas file with every project. I try to build a story timeline but I’m not very good at sticking to it. The chapters aren’t marked out as such, but I do have a few pages of notes which map out the basic story. I also throw in a few scenarios that I’d like to build some funny dialogue around.

What are you working on at the moment?

A children’s book called, Magic Molly book 3; The Yellow Eye.

The story is about a young witch, Molly Miggins, who, to her great annoyance, is always being given special tasks by the Magic Council. In this book Molly has to find a jewel called the Yellow Eye which has been missing for over two hundred years. To get it she’ll have to overcome a goblin double act, A witch with an enormous nose who sniffs for magic and a sulking dragon called Shufflebottom.

I’m also thinking about returning to an abandoned web serial called The Westwich Writers Club.

Where can we buy your books?

Details of my children’s books can be found on my website; Paperback versions of my children’s books can be bought directly from me via Facebook or email; (trevorATtrevorforestdotcom) the books are also available on the Kindle.

Tracy’s Hot Mail is published by Crooked Cat Publishing  and is available for the Kindle Smashwords  and for all other e-readers including Apple Sony and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for hosting this interview Annie.

Thank you Trevor.


Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Meet the Authors


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