Tag Archives: Sword of Damocles

Damocles breathes by itself

You’ll remember that I installed in my life a writing regime that was fair to the other important aspects of my life? No? Well, I gave up one evening, one morning and one full day to my writing. Have I stuck to it?

Erm, well no, not really. Of late I have plundered Sarah’s goodwill and have taken far more time than I should have. And I’ve done that because over the last few weeks I’ve been coming to the end of Sword of Damocles. And no matter who you are, if you enjoy writing, there’s nothing, including wild horses and cute babies, that can keep you from the final chapter or two.

And luckily for me, Sarah has been full of encouragement all the way.

So the time came (Mid-June) to let my new offering loose on a few very carefully chosen readers. And it’s with them now. Am I scared? Of course I am.

It’s not a long book by any standard, and weighs in at slim 80k words. And most of the remaining 15k went in during the final edit where I expanded the sub-plots, thought of an ending (I know!), and tied together all the loose bits that were left floating at the end of the first draft.

A good friend of mine made the cover for me, and I’m delighted with it. It does, I agree, look similar to Black by Rose, but that’s no bad thing really since I love that cover too.

Final artwork
Final artwork

So now what?

Well, good question indeed. I still have plenty to keep me busy, including making up for all the writing time I stole recently. I wrote a short last year entitled Any Old Iron. I might go back over that and see where it can be improved. Then again I might look into a new Eddie story.

Here’s a link to a recent blog about Sword of Damocles, and another linking to a piece in The Story Behind… section.

Damocles and Other Things

I count my blessings every now and then, and one of them is a new writing regime I’ve installed in my rather haphazard lifestyle. It means that each week I can donate a morning, an evening, and a full day to what I love doing the most: writing.

Of course, there are other things mixed in with it too such as at last being able to reply to that post on my favourite forum, replying to British Gas, or even writing a blog post 🙂

I remember (only just) writing Black by Rose and the overwhelming sensation I recall is one of total immersion in the book to the point of saturation. I conceived, wrote, edited, and published that book in six months straight. I wasn’t far from being exhausted (enough with the tiny violins!). Doing it this way is sane. Doing it this way helps me breathe between chapters. I have chance to contemplate characters and their situations, design a plot instead of tripping over one. It’s much better, honestly.

And now, I’m almost at the 50,000 word barrier, and hope to smash that later this evening.

Eddie is wrestling with his conscience in the story just now. He’s done something very wrong, illegal actually, in order to find out the truth and help bring a villain to justice. And he’s about to be punished for it.

Alongside that main storyline, I’m drawing a parallel sub plot where he’s about to take revenge on another villain, but is smart enough to realise it would be unwise. But this villain cannot be allowed to get away with things, so the spaces between my writing times has allowed me to consider it quite thoroughly. Oh yes, he gets the ne’er-do-well, but not in the way you’d imagine. Good old Eddie.


WiP Blog Tour

I have been invited to contribute to this blog tour in which authors are encouraged to offer a snippet of their work in progress. My particular WiP has been such for well over a year, and I’d be telling fibs if I said it didn’t bother me; I like to crack on and write it out before the story begins to ferment and loses the urgency it was born with. I think this blog tour is a wonderful way of letting people see an author is still alive, and what they might expect when he finally types The End.

Kath Middleton nominated me (she pointed a finger and shouted at me, if truth be known – and you don’t argue with Kath!). Everyone who is anyone knows Kath. She’s been responsible for boosting more writers’ egos than anyone else, and now she is more prolific a writer than most. Having access to The Well of Wonderful Stories, Kath cannot be pigeon-holed into any single genre. Pop over to her blog to see how industrious she is:  Kath’s blog.  And here is Kath’s Amazon Page.


There are rules for this blog tour, and here they are:

1          Link back to the post of the person who nominated you

2          Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work in progress.

3          Nominate some other writers to do the same.


Unusually for me I have a couple of WiPs on the go. One is a short story entitled Any Old Iron, but is just something I conjured up one day and has no bearing on what I usually write. The other is what I usually write and is entitled Sword of Damocles. It features CSI Eddie Collins getting into more scrapes as he blunders his way through a rather intriguing case, a case that plunders the depths of desperation as one man struggles with a past he thought was long dead. And Eddie dishes out his own version of justice along the way to people who have no honour. I know that description sounds rather vague, but I’m keen not to give away too much of the plot or the sub-plots. Anyway, without further ado…


Chapter One

The flickering light attacked his eyes, but he didn’t see it. He didn’t see anything except the bottle on the table next to him. It remained unopened, but he could feel his resistance to it melt like chocolate on a bonfire. Maybe constantly challenging himself to see who was in control – the alcohol or him – was a bad idea.

It was two-thirty in the morning and Eddie felt wiped out, but his mind was in a tailspin again and that, combined with a thudding heart, refused to let him sleep. So here he was, torturing himself with the memories of whisky-induced slumber and a repeat of Jeremy Kyle. His nails dug into the arms of his favourite chair and his toes clawed at the carpet until he could stand it no longer. He leapt up and kicked out at the television. It crashed against the wall. The sound died immediately and the picture fuzzed, became a trapped rainbow and then it too died. Eddie was panting; felt like opening his skin and crawling out, anything to be free.


Chapter Two

The noise was appalling. Up on the stage, his equipment illuminated by red and green spotlights, a DJ spoke unintelligibly into a face mic positioned so close to his mouth that he might as well have been shouting through a pillow. And Terry would’ve volunteered to be the one holding it there.


Chapter Three

“Morning, Moneypenny,” he said to the receptionist.

“Eddie, someone to see you.” She nodded towards the three plush leather chairs partly obscured by state of the art potted palms.

Eddie saw something that looked like an extra from the Rock Horror Show. It stood up and smiled, then met him in the middle of the floor, hand outstretched. Eddie heard Moneypenny snort from behind him. “What the—”

“Mr Collins?”

Eddie grunted. In front him was a skin and bone manikin wearing a pink blouson and tight black leggings that disappeared into knee high black boots with chrome buckles up the sides. Over his shoulder he carried a red satchel with hearts scattered all over it. Eddie turned to Moneypenny, “Is this a piss-take?”

“Mr Collins, I’m Sidney. Your new secretary.”

Eddie stared. “You’re kidding, right?”

“They said you were shi— they said you needed a hand.”


There are so many more opening sentences I would love to have shared but alas I cannot. It’s time to move things along, and I nominate two authors whose work is an inspiration.

Tim Arnot writes classy British post-apocalyptic tales of a world I love to read about, inhabited by characters I’d really like to meet in person.

Bill Todd writes crunchingly realistic stories featuring an ex-soldier, Danny Lancaster, who turns detective. And he does it with real style.






So where’s the damned book, Barrett?

Several people have enquired about Sword of Damocles, the new Eddie Collins book; how it’s coming along and when I expect it to be released.keyboard-155722_640

2014 has probably been the most tumultuous year I’ve ever had the misfortune to live through. There have been some good bits though, but on the whole it left me feeling quite disheartened, very fragile, and for a time, ill in the mind as well as in the body.

The new year is here now and I can at last look to the future with something approaching a positive attitude. And I can at last begin telling lies through this here keyboard.DSC_1187

Sword of Damocles is once again under construction, albeit quite slowly. In the meantime I’ve penned a short story entitled The Lift which features Eddie Collins and some of his outlooks on life and the people who insist upon being part of it. Because it’s a short story, it’s compact, his feelings are compressed tightly within the confines of a steel coffin.

Originally I’d decided to do an interview with him since he does seem to have something of a following (he loves it! No, really!), but I wondered if I could tell more about him by putting him in a position of sever discomfort – one where he has to engage with people, especially people he knew he would not like (that’s just about everybody though.). And so, The Lift was born.

I hope to have The Lift out in February, and rest assured in the meantime I’ll continue onwards and upwards with Sword of Damocles.DSC_1188