Music for reading or writing

Sheet music

You can hear a lot of things sitting in silence.

Sometimes I write in silence.

Often, I write listening to the music in my Tony O’Connor playlist.

Tony O’Connor may have left the planet but he left some beautiful music behind when he did.

Enjoy the samples.

You can buy his music from the iTunes Store. It’s great music for reading.

I’ve just downloaded Momento to add to my playlist.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.


10 positive aspects of blogging

  1. It’s fun
  2. Allows me to showcase my writing on a range of topics
  3. It’s inexpensive
  4. Reader comments
  5. Provides worldwide exposure for my books
  6. Requires learning a new skill set
  7. It’s an outlet for my artistic creativity
  8. Enables me to promote the work of others
  9. Vehicle for articulating my perspective on the world
  10. It’s a great way for connecting with other people.


Thanks for dropping by, Peter.


There is some writing that is best done with pen and paper. This is where journals come in. A journal is a book you create by writing down your thoughts, and your answers to those questions that bother you, or that you have been putting off looking at for years.

Journals are a pathway to self-discovery or self-recovery.

You can write what you like in a journal. You’re the only person who is likely to ever read it, and you’ll be dead when, and if, anybody else reads it, unless you come from New York, where everybody seems to publish a book about their personal journey.


Extract from the soon to be released third book in the Living alone series: Sanity Savers

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

Writing murder

Most of us do not commit murder, except in our fantasies.

It’s okay, you can admit to those murderous thoughts you’ve had about killing your boss, your spouse, that idiot that cut you off in traffic, or the one that got the promotion you know belonged to you.

Despite our best efforts to suppress our murderous intentions, sometimes we fail. If we’re lucky we stop ourselves or someone else stops us before it’s too late. Sometimes we commit murder.

I write about murder. In the first two novels of the Inspector West series, for example, close to a dozen characters lose their lives. Crime fiction is largely about murder, although it can delve into other types of crime.

It seems we like to read about people being murdered. Maybe, like me, you’re interested in why people commit murder, or how people deal with the impact of sudden loss in their lives. The other thing about crime writing that I find interesting is the impact of what appear to be the random intersections of different storylines.

Some crime readers are into what are known as police procedurals, addicted to following how the police go about their work in solving the crime. I’m not much into police procedures. I take a minimalist approach to how the police go about doing things. I’m more interested in the people involved in the investigation.

From my perspective, the plot needs to have a resolution. Storylines have to be pulled together in a way that does not leave the reader hanging – not knowing what happened or who did it. That does not necessarily mean that the crime has to be solved by the investigating officer.


In After, the first book in the series, the story follows a murder mystery plot. Josie Ford is murdered and the story moves towards finding out who killed her and why.



In The Holiday, the second book in the series, the story follows a mystery suspense plot. Kieran Moore is killed and his grandson, Toby, is abducted. The identity of the killers is known to the reader at the time of the murder, and the story moves towards finding out Toby’s fate and whether the criminals will be caught or not.

What are you looking for when you’re reading a crime novel?

Did I get anywhere near the mark?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter


Mid-year review

In January I set out my goals for the year and invited you to do the same in The rule of three.

With June coming to a close, it’s a good time to conduct a mid-year review to check on progress.

The first of my big three is to increase the volume of my published body of work.

The three actions in my plan to achieve that goal are:

  1. Complete writing The Holiday, the second book in the Inspector West series
    • I’m working on the second edit, with publication planned for late July/early August
  2. Write According to Luke, a novel for young adult readers
    • Replaced with the Living Alone series for men living on their own.
      • After She’s Gone (Published this month)
      • Cooking 4 One (Publication planned for July)
  3. Continue writing Sharing the journey.
    • Blog posted every week – there has to be another book hidden in that material.

The second of my big three is to engage with my readers.

The three actions in my plan to achieve that goal are:

  1. Blog on my author’s page on Goodreads
    • I’ve linked this blog to my author’s page on both Amazon and Goodreads
  2. Post regular updates to my Facebook and Google+ author pages
    • My postings on my Facebook author’s page cannot be called regular
    • I’ve linked this blog to my Google+ author page
    • I’ve created an author’s page on
    • I’ve created an author’s page on the
  3. Encourage readers of Sharing the journey to leave comments and ask questions
    • I’ve regularly invited you to share but it seems you’re a bashful lot – apart from the spammers!

The third of my big three is to improve the level of my physical wellbeing.

The three actions in my plan to achieve that goal are:

  1. Regular meditation
    • Daily meditation
  2. Regular exercise
    • Room for improvement on this one
  3. Regular sleeping pattern
    • Getting around 7 hours most nights.

In summary, apart from the exercise bit, I seem to on track for meeting my goals.

Progress score


So, did you set yourself some goals for 2014?

How are you doing?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

Writing from the heart

On Saturday, 22 March 2014, I participated in the Writing from the heart workshop offered by Nancy Aronie at the New York Open Center.

This was a writing workshop with a difference. We were asked to write two pieces in response to a prompt. We spent twenty minutes writing the first piece and then shared it with the group. Then we had a break for lunch. After lunch we spent ten minutes writing the second piece before sharing.

We got to ‘hear the voice’ of each writer in the words chosen and in the way each of us spoke our pieces.

After each reading, Nancy gifted the writer with feedback on what she loved about their piece, and invited everyone else in the room to do the same.

It was an amazing experience.

You can find out more about Nancy and her workshops at:

Here are the pieces I shared with the group on the day.

Dinner at our house was…..
Dinner at our house was regimented. How else would they do it? There were ten kids in my family.

You ate what was on your plate or you didn’t eat, and there was always someone happy to eat what you didn’t like. One of my brothers earned the nickname ‘Garbage Guts’ – he would eat anything!

My folks were not rich, and with ten kids my mother didn’t work outside the home – full-time job at home.

Dinner would start with everyone being lined up for the obligatory washing of hands. Then the older kids, including me, would set the table and help the little ones into their seats. Then Mum would serve while Dad supervised.

There was no talking – can you imagine the noise ten kids in a small room would make?
Once the food was on the table, Dad would say the grace, and we would start. You got to stay at the table until you had finished, and then, only when you had asked permission, could you leave.

As we got older, the no speaking rule got relaxed and there would be conversation over dinner, but the other rule, about eating what was on your plate or missing out, never changed.

The food was basic fare. The only cheap food staple was bread, so we could eat as much of that as we liked.

It must have been a good bonding experience because most of my family’s gatherings are food based – but at least we have moved on from Mum’s cooking.

When I look back I can see where my liking for tomato sauce (ketchup) came from – it was the only condiment available, and it masked a lot of tastes.

I can still see us all jammed around the kitchen table, sitting really close to each other and learning to keep your elbows tucked in, so that the brother next to you didn’t get an elbow in the face.

In one house, the kitchen was larger, so Dad made an extension for the table, to ease the pressure of all those bodies, seated and focused on eating.

We had a saying about the quick and the dead – if you weren’t on your guard, someone else would help themselves to what was on your plate.

A time when I was not invited…..
My wife decided she was going to New York and I wasn’t invited.
‘It’s something I have to do on my own,’ she said.

This came as a bit of a shock.

We had been married for thirty something years, the kids were grown. We were adults. We could do this sort of thing. It didn’t matter what the others thought. I was willing to support her adventure.

Then she went.

It’s pretty lonely in a big house all on your own but I was a tough guy. I could do this – I told myself.

I spent the first six months drawing portraits of her – I wasn’t missing her, that much.

We had our weekly Skype conversation, and I had lots of time to sit and contemplate this circumstance that life had delivered.

What did I find out?

Being lonely and being alone are not the same thing. I discovered that I was okay being with myself. I knew, despite the voice of fear that kept shouting all sorts of stories about being rejected and left behind, that it wasn’t about any of those things. You don’t have to be in the same room to love.

And then, I went to New York to see how she was faring. It was so much fun having her lead me about the new city, the new place, instead of me always having to be the one who knew how to find your way around in the new places.

Your turn
I invite you leave a comment sharing what you love about each piece or to write your own response to the writing prompts and share it with us.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

The rule of three

The idea for this week’s post comes from Bob Baker, who is the guru of guerrilla marketing for authors and book publishers, so you can probably guess why I know about him.

Bob suggests we limit ourselves to three big goals for the year, instead of overwhelming ourselves with a long list of resolutions as we embark on the new year. He suggests that once we have our three goals, we can draw up a plan of action, using the rule of three, to break down what needs to be done to achieve those goals into manageable steps. What the project management people call ‘chunking’. Yes, I do project management in other parts of my life – and it comes in handy when you’re writing and publishing your own books.

Here’s the big three for my writing life, and an action plan to give you an example of how it works.

The big three for my writing life for 2014

  1. increase the volume of my published body of work
  2. engage with my readers
  3. improve the level of my physical wellbeing

Three actions that will increase the volume of my published body of work

  1. complete writing The Holiday, the second book in the Inspector West series
  2. write According to Luke, a novel for young adult readers
  3. continue writing Sharing the journey

Three actions that will allow me to engage with my readers

  1. blog on my author’s page on
  2. post regular updates to my Facebook and Google+ author pages
  3. encourage readers of Sharing the journey to leave comments and ask questions

Three actions that will improve my physical wellbeing

  1. regular meditation
  2. regular exercise
  3. regular sleeping pattern

So how does this translate to a daily action plan?

  1. daily writing target of 700 to 1000 words to cover all the words required for increasing my body of work and engaging with my readers – this gets an 80/20 breakdown, with 80% of the writing effort going into writing the books
  2. daily meditation and exercise, and
  3. sleeping.

Looks pretty easy when you break it all down to three daily activities, doesn’t it? And, who would have thought sleeping would end up the action plan? 

By year’s end we’ll know how successful I’ve been.

You might not want to announce your big three but I invite you share your goals for 2014 by leaving a comment to this post. If you’re not that game, maybe you’d like to suggest a topic for a future blog.

The new year’s already started, so don’t leave it too long to set your big three for 2014.

Thanks for dropping by.