Saturday, 31 January 2015


If you've listened to Blood and Smoke so far, you'll be aware that some of the action on the audio recordings that David is listening to takes place in Aldwych underground station, which was used as air raid shelter in World War 2. For years I've been trying to get down there, especially as I'm now writing about the place. Illustrations, maps, plans, photos and a whole pile of books are fine for research, but you can't really get a sense of the layout of the place unless you actually go there. However, this isn't easy because the station has been closed since 1994.

The London Transport Museum organise batches tours of the station every now and again, but tickets go very fast. I had tickets for a tour last June, but ultimately couldn't go because my dad was taken ill on the day of the tour. Then another batch of tours was announced in October, but I missed the news and only found out about it when it was totally sold out.

So anyway, there I was on Thursday, watching a Youtube video about the station and grinding my teeth in frustration that for the foreseeable future, this was the closest I was going to be able to get to the place I'm writing about every day. Finally, over-brimming with vexation, I decided to call the Museum and  see if I could get news on when tickets for the next batch of tours would become available. The guy I spoke to told me there were tours on now. I said I was aware of that but that they were sold out. He then told  me that there had been a cancellation and that a ticket was available for that night (Thursday). The resulting jolt of excitement I felt almost knocked me off my chair. I snapped up the ticket and legged it to the station. After battling my way through the London rush hour, I finally got to the Strand and joined the queue of fellow station enthusiasts. And then, oh joy, they finally let me inside.

I won't bore you with the details, (blah blah tunnel, blah blah staircase) but suffice it to say I had a wonderful time, and what I learned and saw in Aldwych will now make itself into one or more of the remaining chapters of Blood and Smoke ... and beyond.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Update: January

Yikes! A month has passed without a word from me. So, just so you know I'm not dead, here's an update. I went away on holiday for a week at the start of January and managed to get 15,000 words of U&F 4 written. Actually, all this numbers stuff is starting to make my head spin, so let's just go with titles from now on, and let's call U&F 1&2 by their old collective name of "Underwood and Flinch" (the first podcast). Then you have "Blood and Smoke" and then this new project, which is going by the working title of "Underwood and Flinch: Underground".

So, I went on holiday and got a lot of work done on "Underground". We went to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. The weather was good, but I spent most of my time indoors battering away on a little lap top I take away with me for the specific purpose of holiday writing. I always write on holiday. Last year I wrote a huge chunk of "Underground" as well, so that's two years, two holidays, two huge chunks of "Underground" written. But this year, unlike last year, I've continued to write after my holiday. I've been writing today, and every day since I got back. I suppose you could say the muse is upon me, and "Underground" is coming along at a furious pace.

"But what of Blood and Smoke?" you cry. "When will we get the next episodes of that story?" Well, I've got the first drafts done of the remaining episodes, but I haven't polished them for recording. Not yet. Not until I have certain elements of "Underground" sorted out. Why? Because "Blood and Smoke" has numerous overlapping storylines with "Underground", and so it all has to tie up. I don't want to release those remaining B&S episodes only to find that I later need to go back and change them. So never fear, "Blood and Smoke" will finish in time. And "Underground" will begin when - and only when - it's finished and ready. As I mention above, I'm writing every day, usually over 1000 words, so hopefully I won't have to wait until my 2016 holiday to get it finished. Huzzah!!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Sometimes December 2014. Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, Listeners! My latest podcast, Sometimes December 2014, features news, music, the return of Mr Yip, and a new classic story reading - H.P. Lovecraft's The Statement of Randolph Carter. Also muscling in on the action are Terry and Tony Nash, the two puppets pictured with me in the festive pic above.

After a bit of a delay, the podcast is now available to download through iTunes - huzzah!!

To download / listen live, click this link: Sometimes December 2014

Monday, 8 December 2014

Disturbing the Devil by Paul Warren

More listener works of art. This time we have Paul Warren with his latest U&F inspired piece, "Disturbing the Devil". Love that moustache.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Night Crossing - Graphic Novel: Latest Pic

For a while now, U&F fan Amanda Whipp has been working on a graphic novel version of the U&F pilot story, Night Crossing. The book will be available to buy next year, but for now, here's a look at Amanda's latest mini-masterpiece. It is of course, the razor scene Mr Jenkins' cabin.

Lovely detail, don't you think? I used to have a similar razor to that one when I was a young man. Of course, disposables existed then, but I wanted one like my dad used to have. I nicked myself more than once with it and eventually - several dozen blood-blotted toilet paper dressings later - I gave it up. It was that or end up looking like Edward Scissorhands. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on Amanda's progress with the graphic novel on this site.

And talking of this site, the more astute among you will have noticed that U& has had something of a change of appearance. This new model lacks some of the user features of the old site, like the fan art gallery and whatnot, but it is extremely phone / tablet friendly. It's also hosted by Blogger, so it's dead easy for me to update. That means I'll be updating U& more often than I have done for much of 2014 ... which is nice.

Monday, 17 November 2014

New Podcast - Meanwhile! - Number One

"Meanwhile" - it's a news show in which I basically explain what's been going on in my writing and audio production world (or the lack thereof) for the last season or so. Also features news of Free Ebook of The Month and a five minute sample of Disturbing the Devil. It's in iTunes now, or you can listen direct here ...

Disturbing the Devil - New Pay-Download Story.

Happy Halloween! Here it is, Disturbing the Devil. 

Blimey, but I've had a frightful time trying to get this damn thing online. It took the usual millennia to write and record, but on completing it today, I discovered that my struggle had only just begun. I thought I'd just produce it as I would a podcast audio file, upload it to a host, and that's it! Oh, no. Getting an audiobook onto Audible is murder. Figuring out Gumroad is easy, but the whole US-UK tax hell is, well, hell. In the end I went with Payhip. They've let me price it a price I think is reasonable for you, and also good for me (if I sell enough ;-) You'll see a UK £ price of £2.50, that equates to $4.00 US. I will get it onto Audible in the next few days, but when I do, it'll be over $7.00 US (their pricing, not mine) so if you're on a budget, Payhip might be the best way to go. You'll need a Paypal account and then they'll send you a download link.

I haven't been able to test it because I'm both vendor and buyer, and paypal doesn't like that. There's also a possibility that buyers outside the UK £ region may be told that the vendor doesn't accept your currency (I do, but Paypal might not) I don't know, I'm hoping everything will work for people outside the UK, but if not, I'm afraid you'll have to bear with me until I can get things sorted out better, but right now, my brain is broken and there's steam coming out of my ears; I can't think anymore, I've been at for 6 hours straight and I'm done for the night.

If you want it on iTunes, that'll have to wait for my Audible set up to finalise. Other phones and apps, I have no idea, probably the same - Audible will deliver via your network somehow. But for me, for now, I'm knackered: I need a drink ... or two ... or three ;-)