Friday, 18 July 2014

Kelpies Prize 2014

I'm delighted to be able to say that a children's book I finished writing earlier this year has been shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize.

This year's shortlisted books are:
  • The Superpower Project by Paul J. Bristow
  • The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean by Lindsay Littleson
  • My Fake Brother by Joan Pratt
The winner of the Kelpies Prize 2014 will be announced on 14th August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. For more information on the books and authors you can read the shortlist information sheet. If you haven't come across Kelpies books before, check out their Discover Kelpies website, for info, games and even free trial ebooks of some of their publications.

I have shared a few original draft chapters from The Superpower Project on this blog over the last year. Those are still available to read here.

And, if you are interested, I've written other books with heritage group Magic Torch, which also explore the myths, urban legends and folklore of the Inverclyde area.

Wee Nasties (illustrated by Mhairi M Robertson)
There's all sorts of Wee Nasties hiding around Inverclyde, a bogle with smelly feet, a grumpy old wizard casting cheeky spells, and even a (mostly) friendly monster in the river.

Tales of the Oak comic (illustrated by Andy Lee)
Within, are cursed treasure maps, serpent worshipping cultists, trolls, ghosts, undead pirates and graverobbers in tales told by some of our most infamous horrors - Captain Kidd, Granny Kempock and Auld Dunrod. Dare you shine a flickering candle on the darker corners of our local folklore?

Both of these publications can be read online or downloaded for free, as they were created with the kind support of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland. You can find out more about Magic Torch, our current projects and other publications on our blog Tales of the Oak.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Guest House of Usher Comic

art Andy Lee, script me

Not been around on this blog for a bit, having too much fun with Magic Torch's Commonwealth Storytelling project.

However, here's a sneaky wee page from a project the mighty Andy Lee and myself have been working on in between Torch stuff. (Andy is currently knee deep in Wendigo's, giant spiders and Tokoloshe's for the new Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes comic Uncommon Tales, out in October)

And if you are a reader lucky enough to live near The Dutch Gable House, we'd love to see you along at this day in July...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tall Tales for Sale

Just a wee reminder that myself and the Magic Torch team are available to work with you or your community group / organisation on producing comics.

We offer a flexible programme which can be tailored to suit the time and resources you have available. Our workshops include everything from working on scripts and illustration through to actually publishing a completed comic, you simply choose from our menu of options.
- Graphic Storytelling : introductory session exploring comics
- Finding the story / researching : shaped by your project outcomes
- Character design
- Script and page layout
- Creation

The 1 or 2 hour sessions are delivered over one or two months, with the end product being an 8 page pdf copy which can be shared online and printed. Additional options resource permitting, include producing presentation display boards of your comic, or short runs of physical copies.

If you are interested in finding out about costs etc, contact

Also, you may be interested in helping us with a new venture based on my Community Fables coping mechanism / creative problem solving. Check out more details here...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Tin Jimmy - Seagull

Calloo callay! I have almost for realises finished the first draft of my "magnificent octopus" or "first book" Tin Jimmy, some of which includes the research and exploration of the mysterious steam powered gentleman.

This is a page from 1950s Greenock "boys comic", Seagull featuring some of his local adventures from back in the day. Both the Seagull comic and a more shiny steampunk Tin Jimmy feature in the strip Mr Cube Strikes, which looks at the history of the Greenock Sugar Sheds.

Props as ever to Andy Lee.


Friday, 10 January 2014

2014 - Shall Not Suck!

I've shared our Local Heroes on the Tales of the Oak blog, but I really really like it, so here it is again. Looking forward to writing some stories about these folks later in the year. Right now, I'm all about the steam powered robots, so here's a wee detail from Andy Lee's Tin Jimmy schematic, currently on display in the Dutch Gable House on Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes desk.

Here's a wee haiku for now...

January fires
Have many long months to burn.
Collect kindling.

Monday, 23 December 2013


As another year lurches towards the edge, I could go all introspective and maudlin...BUT ITS NEARLY CHRISTMAS!

So here instead is the Tales of the Oak Christmas Special, a wee slice of Christmas fear...

You may also enjoy this selection of festive treats.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

I'm Waiting to be Offended

for all I know, this image may be dangerously out of context...

A silly poem, swifty scribbled and growled through a rictus grin...

I'm waiting to be offended,
And I really won't like it one bit.
Whatever you'll do will be awful,
And I'm simply not standing for it.

Maybe you'll use a bad swear word,
Perhaps inappropriate slang,
Or do a revolting hand gesture,
Or refer to someone as a "wang"

Perhaps it's because of the context,
Or your outdated views on x/y,
Your belief in divine intervention,
I must have my right to reply.

I cannot come round to your viewpoint,
I'd rather we were all the same.
I won't be agreeing to differ,
And I think we all know who's to blame.

Could be I won't like how you say things,
It won't be so much what you've said,
It's more how you looked when you said it,
I'll assume you'd prefer I was dead.

I don't want to hear things that upset me,
Can't we just have this sort of thing banned?
Lock up the stupid and tactless,
Then at least we'll all know where we stand.

All I know is, it won't wash at all, no.
I knew to expect this from you.
You're precisely just that type of person,
Who offends with whatever you do.

We've all done it. Especially you. No, not you - you. Precisely.