creative writing, process, women

Writing Update

Im now 190 pages into the first draft of The Exit Counselor which i am doing longhand. I am waiting for my agent to get in touch about Until She Sings.

I am reworking Nothing Keeps Me Anywhere into a leaner book. There were things i found which did not sit right so i am making revisions each day.

Stranger Lights awaits a second draft and some research but it will come in time.

Thank you for reading, liking and commenting.  It means a great deal.

beauty, books, creative writing, purpose, women

Writing Update 14/04/17.

I hit 50 pages on the first draft in longhand, and have copied and pasted the individual episodes of The Ogden Review into a file for editing and restructuring into a complete book that I aim to pitch to my agent once I have gone through it.

It is strange to read older work. There is a melancholy pleasure, some surprises in what I looked through. There are some clear things that need fixing, but that was the price I paid for going with energy rather than detail. I’ve learned more since then, and aim to graft what I have learned to the dynamics of the original story. It has to follow a structure, and underneath the hood of this motherfucker lies some real plotholes but they’re my mistakes to make.

I am waiting to hear back from my agent about Until She Sings and Nothing Keeps Me Anywhere, Lawful Evil needs another draft, the new book is coming along well and I now have Ogden to refine as well as posting regularly here.

I have been reading The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, which is comprehensive, satisfying and involving. I’ve made copious notes about it, which all go into the journals that I keep and maintain. I work hard at the writing because I love it and view it as my purpose. Whether that lends itself to competence or not is hard to say, but I put the effort in to improve and advance myself artistically.

Thank you for your support. It means a great deal.

I miss you when you’re not around.

Matt XO




beauty, blogging, books, craft, creative writing, love, women

Writing Update 09/04/17

I hit 40 pages on the first draft today. It’s been a progression apparent to myself, in terms of what I am writing about, but not who I write for. I know what works for me as a practice, which cuts down on the amount of time spent being indecisive, I guess.

Sorry, couldn’t resist it.

I also changed the title, which is common for me to do. I have a predilection for fancy titles that sit on the axis between awkward and cool, and eventually something in me signs and suggests something better which I stick with until my agent tells me they don’t like it and I have to scrabble to find something else instead.

I have been reading Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey which is a great book, useful for me as I have a bit of knowledge about C G Jung and Joseph Campbell, the two major influences on Vogler’s work. It is pragmatic and I’ve made plenty of notes two chapters into it, just to clarify and cement my own understanding.

I study the craft of writing and storytelling, in order to forget it when I write. If something screams ‘CROSSING THE THRESHOLD’ I know I have fucked up somewhere along the line. I don’t resist structure or archetype in the slightest, but I do like to make it invisible and seamless. I read for pleasure as much as craft and writing at this volume means that I become more comfortable with the work I am doing, less prone to the mistakes or making new ones, which still represents growth to me.

It gets done. I don’t wait for inspiration but instead she turns up, smiles, gropes me somewhere inappropriate and then flies off again. I love that woman because she’s flighty and constantly changing, not in spite of it.

Being British means a reluctance to talk about ambition but I do push myself towards my goals, just not in a way that invites open ridicule. Closed ridicule, on the other hand, more than welcome.

If you were kind enough to buy or read the latest issue of Infernal Ink and you liked my story, please leave a review as it helps Hydra’s profile in terms of the magazine and, of course, mine. It was a seamless experience and surreal to look at my own work outside of the blue frame of the blog page editor. I want more of it, and it has renewed my enthusiasm beyond my fierce ambition and dedication.

I really appreciate the likes that my work generates. A writer wants to be read, even if sometimes the anticipation lends itself to anxiety of one kind or another. People come and go, disappoint and injure but the page is the page and I love pretty much everything about it

So, forgive the rambling, but wanted to peek from behind the curtain and say hello to you all. Thank you for your support and appreciation, there are over 900 of you now, which is a good sized crowd for a gig, I feel. If you really like anything I’ve done, please share it with others.

Take care, we have to be our own heroes out there now.

books, creative writing, fiction, short fiction, social media

Infernal Ink April 2017

`Here is the link to the magazine Infernal Ink and I have a story featured in the new issue which is out tomorrow. I hope you will take the time or spend the money to read it. It’s free if you have a Kindle Unlimited account.


beauty, books, creative writing, women, writing

Shameless Self-Promotion – Infernal Ink.

I know, you’ve been reading this and as enthralled as you are, you experience a tangible thirst to read more of my work in other publications. It’s not for my benefit, you understand but I am compelled to tell you about my short story being published in the magazine Infernal Ink.

It is called Women and Children First, I hope you will enjoy it and support my work and those of the other featured authors and artists involved in this.

Thank you.


beauty, books, creative writing, love, women, writing

Writing Update

I am 230 pages into Lawful Evil now. I’ve expanded the third act, based on some of the changes I made in the transition between the exploratory draft and this one. It is a leaner, more concise read, which is appropriate for the genre.

I work on the book each day, and as I ramp up towards finishing this one, my focus tends to hone towards getting across the line and onto the next one. I am starting to feel that ‘new book’ itch again but I have another first draft to edit plus I want to keep room in my schedule for the notes on the two other books my agent is reading through.

There is always the work, even if everything else falls to shit. No matter how I am feeling or what ails me, I still turn up and do the work. Inspiration is great and I treasure its arrival, but I don’t rely on it. I mean, I don’t know if these books will all find homes but I accept that as the price of having skin in the game.

I have plans for a couple of self-publishing projects, collated from what I post here. The Ogden Review warrants editing and filling in some of the gaps left by the enthusiastic rush to post episodes and I have a large body of poetry and short fiction to draw upon as well.

I never run out of ideas and there are always projects in the pipeline because to me, I aim to act like a professional even though there’s not been any money in it. These last few years have been about a journeyman’s experience, learning and developing as I go, I don’t necessarily rate myself but that hunger drives me to improve and push myself artistically and professionally. I love what I do, I do it each day and the more I learn, the more nuance and courage I find in the practice.

I like using challenges and prompts to test myself, especially where I am weakest on the page and each one builds courage for future projects.  I know who I am and what I want, and I work towards that each and every day. Thank you for coming along this with me. Any time you read something or like it, it is a rewarding experience and I genuinely appreciate it.


fiction, mental illness, short fiction, women

Secret Origin

Why did I let you in here?

You knocked.

No one here does. They just come inside. They insist. They invade.

You knocked. I appreciate the show of respect.

So please, sit down.

The lack of restraints always comes as a surprise to anyone who visits me.

The visible ones, anyway.

It is the administration’s credit that we are afforded a small degree of autonomy, or the illusion of it.

There is a small device implanted in my head. It was my welcoming gift here.

What? No, I trust you either or could find out what measures are in place here.

Plus talking to people is the only pleasure I get outside of a good book. So, go on, ask away.

I always felt that your articles positioned that those affected were all women a little preachy. I was reading about a woman who tried to frame another woman for drug possession over something involving the PTA.

There is no inherent nobility to a gender. There are individuals, some of whom try to be better than others and some who do. We don’t even know what happened to trigger the changes.

I know that it saved my life. It’s what I did with it afterwards that got me put in here.

So, you spoke to Leanne?

Fascinating case, but when you use a child as a human ashtray, you tend to expect some form of justice applied.

I mean, there are a dozen women like her for every Brennigan Bradley. Now, before a lot of those women would incorporate the things that had happened to them. However, you introduce a massive charge of whatever form of energy that was and –


Look, tell me something, is it true what she did to her mom’s boyfriend?

That’s pretty impressive.

You tried to hide your revulsion there. As good as your training is, and considering how many drugs they have me on, well I will tell you this.

You still move so slowly to me, like single frames of film. It’s quite relaxing.

Is that a healthy reaction, Doctor? Expecting someone who is post human to behave in an idealistic, entirely unrealistic way?

I apologise. I am defensive about the others, even the ones that I loathe.

Especially the ones I loathe.

So you’ve met the majority of us then?

Then, absolutely yes, please ask more questions.

Although, can I make a suggestion? Something has been bugging me since you walked in here.

Lose the centre parting. It does you no favours at all. I know you want to be taken seriously, but that is too severe for your bone structure. Also, whatever blusher you used, go home and burn it. Please.

Look, I spent ten years earning my black belt in passive aggression. It would be a tragedy if I couldn’t break a few boards now and then, wouldn’t it?

Jason and I never had children. Corrine and Ellis were in their early teens and lived with their father since Laura died. She drank herself to death, and I never made the connection until it was too late.

It was, at first, a business arrangement. He loved me for appearances and I loved his money and his status. It should have been perfect for the pair of us.

Have you ever had a man hit you?

No, not like that at all. I like it when a man shows me he wants me. No, I’m talking about when he throws a good, hard right into your stomach. You can’t wear a two piece that summer.

He would hit me where people would not see. I would look back and see blood in the toilet bowl or limp for a few days but he would leave me pretty.

On the outside, anyway.

He was adamant about not wanting children but refused to wear anything and when I suggested a vasectomy? He laughed and said he played enough golf with those men to know he would never have them near his testicles.

He stopped laughing when I showed him the white stick and the blue tick.

By that point, large parts of me were already dead. He celebrated the news of impending fatherhood by kneeing me in the stomach.

I knew why his wife drank herself to death. I admired her courage.

So after The Shift happened, I was laid up on prescription painkillers, weeping at animal charity commercials.

I was already looking at taking on the liquor cabinet as a lover when Jason came home from a bad day at the clinic. He glared at me like I had offended him and he paced the room, working up the courage to do what he had been thinking about all day, to prop up his flaccid, petty ego.

He would never stop.

Something clicked in my head. You’ve interviewed enough of us to get an idea of what it was like but you can never really capture it. It was like waking up after a long time asleep and like falling asleep after a long time awake.

The clarity of sensation is entirely exquisite. Power is seductive, but this was a lover’s caress made manifest in every fibre of my being.

I could see Jason and I knew what to do.

His brain registered as a neon cat’s cradle, stretched to infinity. I reached out and tugged. It was not a refined action but then neither was kneeing me in the stomach.

Pinching the soft upper flesh of my arm until I cried for him to stop.

He collapsed onto the floor of his study. His eyes were blank and his tongue protruded from his lips. It was a look that suited him.

I walked on that charge. The abuse came out but medically they could not explain how I might have murdered him. I was a great success as a widow. I did not waste the time with grieving; I went into myself and started to figure out what I can do and who I was.
Everything else, you know.

I am not insane. I am in possession of an elevated perspective and I lack the humility to pretend otherwise.

There are no heroes or villains.

Just people.

There are no origins, secret or otherwise.

Just births and deaths and events.

Wow, your expression is priceless. I bet some of them gave you pretty little speeches about responsibility and our place in the cosmos.

I consider it a mark of honesty. Someone like Brennigan, she’s hiding things. She still has to deal with them. Now trauma can make ordinary people do terrible things, but imagine someone like Brennigan if one night she just broke?

What? I can still read people, I just can’t reach in and monkey around anymore.

Unless my medication stopped working. Or, with all this free time, I’ve altered my metabolism to break them down into inert compounds and I’m here for my own amusement.

You should have sex with him. You were thinking about him a moment ago and your dopamine levels went off like a rocket.

I’ve enjoyed this.

Let’s do it again.

No, it is not a request.