A ‘Verse Full of Scum, Episode 7 and publishing schedule

Sticking to my promised schedule of an episode every Monday, you’ll now find Episode 7 of A ‘Verse Full of Scum at the Serial Novella page.

There has been a fair amount feedback about the series and, I’m pleased to say, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to write to me. Also thanks to those that have posted reviews at the Pages Unbound website. If anyone else would like to add their reviews, that would be fantastic.

The only vaguely negative feedback so far is that quite a few people have complained about the weekly publishing schedule. They’re keen to read more and they want more regular installments. Well, I can understand the frustration. I wrote the thing, so I know how it ends, but if I didn’t, I’d probably want more regular episodes too.

However, I remember similar things from when I was a kid. TV series like Flash Gordon and Dr Who. Half an hour once a week was not nearly enough; I could hardly bear the wait to find out what happened. But wait I did and those Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings when the next episode aired became so much more pleasurable because we had to wait for them.

So I’m following that tradition and keeping the weekly episodes for A ‘Verse Full of Scum. Every once in a while I’ll treat you all to a double bill, like the recent Easter long weekend double episode. Remember, good things are worth savouring and I’d like to think that this is good enough to savour.

I’ve also been asked if this series is going to be published as a regular book. I’m not sure yet. I may very well issue a Print-On-Demand version of the whole thing when it’s run its course here on the site. However, I promised that it would be published here for free and that’s a promise I’ll keep. If a hard copy book version does appear, it won’t be until the full free version here is done.

So, enjoy Episode 7 and keep the feedback coming.


We have “crabs”!

It’s been a while since we had a funny sign post here at The Word, so here’s one shamelessly stolen from The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks.


Apart from the comedic irony of the “Friends Restaurant” proudly declaring that they have crabs, the quotation marks do lead to a whole slew of possible meanings. From the Blog mentioned above:

Cindy says this is a nice restaurant. However, they have one or more of the following: 1) imitation crab meat; 2) decorative crab statues; 3) an STI.


Neil Gaiman and I are more alike than you think

All right. I’m going to admit right off the bat that this is a terribly poorly veiled attempt to put myself and Neil Gaiman on the same page.

Let’s start at the beginning. As a teenager I was a huge fan of comics and graphic novels. Among my favourites were Neil Gaiman’s Sandman stories. They opened my eyes to a whole new style of storytelling and a whole new level of imagination. It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision, but I suppose it was inevitable that these stories would have an influence on my own writing.


I never actually read any of Gaiman’s novels, however. I don’t know why – it was just something that I never got around to. Actually, I lie. I’d read one. He wrote a fantastic book with Terry Pratchett called Good Omens. If you haven’t read this, then stop right now and go and read it. I’m serious.

Good Omens (image from Harper Collins).

Then people started saying how reading my first novel, Realmshift, reminded them of Gaiman’s work, particularly American Gods. Of course, I was flushed with pride to be compared to a master of the craft like Neil Gaiman. In fact, one mad soul was even kind enough to title a review of RealmShift on Amazon.co.uk “Possibly about to steal Neil Gaiman’s crown“. I say, old chap, steady on there!

So I went and read American Gods and I could understand the comparisons. I’ve since also read Anansi Boys, which I think is actually better.So, am I really just rattling on about all this in an attempt to crowbar some kind of shared credibility with a living legend? No. Not entirely. Publishing fiction online for free is something that I’m a fan of and something that I think can greatly expand a person’s readership. I’m on the same side of the fence with music. I think that sharing MP3s is a good thing. I’ve been out and bought albums based on a download before and I think people will buy books based on a free read. The first three chapters of RealmShift are available for free on the RealmShift page of this very website, and my Serial Novella is an entire short novel being published in weekly chapters entirely for free, also right here.

And Neil Gaiman is also an advocate of free fiction. See, I told you there was more than shameless self-aggrandisement going on here. That great novel American Gods is available to read for free on the Harper Collins website right now. I apologise for not drawing your attention to this sooner, but it somehow slipped by me and I’ve only just realised myself. I apologise as there are only six days left to read it. But it’s free. You can find it here at Harper Collins.

And now everyone has gone off to read American Gods and I bet not a soul is looking at A ‘Verse Full of Scum or RealmShift.



A ‘Verse Full of Scum Episodes 5 & 6

I hope everyone had an enjoyable few days off. In honour of the general celebratory nature of the recent long weekend I decided to give you all an Easter holiday special double bill and post up the next two episodes of A ‘Verse Full of Scum on the Serial Novella page. Why I consider Easter to be celebratory I’m not sure – after all, the alleged crucifixion of one of histories most enduring characters is not really cause for celebration as such. Maybe it’s more a time of reflection. Maybe it’s a time for chocolate eggs and bunnies, since the Christians once again hijacked Pagan festivals to further their own agenda. Who really knows for sure?

Regardless, if nothing else it’s a ‘Verse Full of Scum double bill.

Go and have a read now. Episode 7 will be up next Monday.