How Butcher made me #Vegan

February 4, 2015

Definitions: A vegetarian is someone who abstains from eating meat but consumes dairy products.bull

A vegan is someone who abstains from eating any animal product. In spite of what some café and hotel chefs think, that means no milk, cheese, fish, eggs nor honey. Veganism is a philosophy that encompasses a vegan diet and a lifestyle of respect for animals. Hence not wearing leather or wool, not using animals as playthings, for entertainment or transport.


I responded to a call for short essays on Why I will always be vegan* for an anthology of that name. My piece was not selected because I refer to diet in a paragraph whereas the editor wanted a near-100% piece on the philosophy of veganism rather than why a plant-based diet is right for me. Fair enough. Even so, my desire to be vegan has come from a idealistic abhorrence of the way most human societies and individuals treat animals. From slavery (rabbits in hutches) to wholesale imprisonment, torture and murder in farms, would we treat other species the same if they could all talk English? I’d like to think not although the way some terrorists / freedom fighters treat their human captives perhaps there’s a latent insane nastiness in humans that sometimes overwhelms the latent good in us.

The following 400 words is the essay I wrote for Why I will always be vegan. Perhaps it is too lightly written. I have a tendency to use graveside humour too much these days.

+ + +

When your wellingtons become stuck, sucked down into deep mud and the only feasible extrication before a bull reaches you is to stomp with socks through the field, your mind elevates beyond the mundane. As a teenager I worked on a farm. I found Friesian #582f to be the most curious, while Friesian #411d enjoyed a sense of humour, nudging my back and knocking over buckets. Numbered but each with an individual character.

What a shame we had to eat them. Imagine my shock in Cheltenham library when reading The Ethics of Diet by Howard Williams (1883), I discovered that humans do not need to eat animals to be healthy. My father, engineer by day, illustrator of a science fiction magazine by night, quoted his favourite playwright,

Pen & Ink sketch by my dad, William C Nelder of GB Shaw

Pen & Ink sketch by my dad, William C Nelder of GB Shaw

George Bernard Shaw: “Animals are my friends—and I don’t eat my friends.”

From then on, eating animals became the new obscenity and I couldn’t understand why intelligent, free-thinking humans would do it. Until I challenged them. They didn’t want to think about it. Even when I pointed out the only reason for eating meat was for the taste and not the nutrition, many winced and turned away. Even so, I didn’t become vegan overnight. I ate dairy products as a compromise for family, until in a Geography class I found out that 8 million calves were killed each year in Britain so people can drink their milk. Not long afterwards (1973) I joined the Vegan Society.

However, life isn’t straightforward. A keen cyclist I assumed my veganism and activity would assure me a long life. I hadn’t bargained on genetics—in particular, the Nelder love of cake. It astonishes people how many vegan foods are unhealthy: sugar, crisps, some ice-creams, salted peanuts, jam, and much more. I ate healthy stuff too, but too much fat led to damage in endothelial cells furring up my arteries. I popped into A&E last year to enquire if these odd pains in my sternum meant anything. They rushed me to Broad Green, Liverpool where the nice doctors put stents in my coronary artery. They said my cycling and veganism mitigated the damage and has aided my recovery but fat is fat whether it’s vegan or not. It helps that I consume zero cholesterol but the liver makes it when you eat sugar anyway! Thanks to the Caldwell Esselstyn diet, which is vegan and only 10% fat, I now have to be vegan forever to reverse the CHD damage.

That bull, ironically named Butcher, tried to eat my wellingtons and turned out quite friendly afterwards. He was vegan too.

+ + +vegan society

I get asked if there are vegan or vegetarian characters in my books. In general I try not to use my fiction writing as propaganda. It is hard enough to gain respect among readers for my writing style, wayward three-dimensional characters and fascinating plots without trying to force my own lifestyle choices onto the pages. However, now and then it is only natural to include a character with a veggie stand. One example is Jena, the feisty woman astronaut in my ARIA Trilogy.


Another is a short humorous story, Vampire Non Sequitur, in which a vampire makes the mistake of biting, Claire, a vegetarian. This has devastating consequences for both characters. This story is published in Twisted Tails VIII available as a Kindle and edited by J Richard Jacobs


The delightful book cover is from the children’s book, Vegan Love by Ruby Roth


* See the blog on Why I will always be Vegan including purchase links to the ebook already available



Nelder News.

I won a Kindle Fire in a writers’ competition to write a pithy book review at Books Go Social here

I won a Kindle Fire at BooksGoSocial. Can you spot ARIA?

I won a Kindle Fire at BooksGoSocial. Can you spot ARIA?

To grab a copy of one of my ARIA books here are the links

Kindle –

Paperback Amazon.com

Kindle UK –

Paperback UK

Publisher’s website with more details and formats.

Buy it quick before you run out of memory!

You tube video trailer


The Origins of #ARIA

January 23, 2015

The Idea Dawns

From the slopes of Drum looking NW towards Anglesey. Anafon valley on the left

Steep cycling gave rise to an original idea in ARIA and this is the ‘secret’ Anafon Valley used in the book


As I puffed, riding my bicycle up a steep Welsh hill 5 years ago, an original idea inveigled itself into my head. The trigger as I started up Horseshoe Pass, was remembering my mum’s lack of short term memory after she suffered a stroke back in 1982.

Then… what if amnesia was infectious? Then what if no one was immune? I researched like crazy for months to discover a) there was no known medical event of infectious amnesia, and b) that the concept – especially with retrograde amnesia (lose say a year’s worth per week backwards) – hadn’t been used in published stories, nor film. It took a year to create the first 100k draft.

Emblem of the P&E Winner 2012.

ARIA: Left Luggage WINNER!

Scottish publisher, LL-Publications snapped it up and ARIA had its release on August 1st 2012 then won the P&E Award for best science fiction novel of 2012.

Short Synopsis

A silvery case is found in space. It’s opened on Earth releasing a virus that causes retrograde amnesia at the rate of a year’s memory per week. No one is immune.

It is tragic – as after a week or so people forget where their new homes and jobs are, and children lose speech, medicines are not produced.

Yet there is humour – who is that you wake up next to, and did you both make out? Ryder realizes what’s going on in time to persuade a handful of professionals to barricade themselves in a remote Welsh valley. The uninfected crew of the ISS join them.

Can they survive intruders? This is a human disaster yet with romance, betrayal, survival, mystery and an exploration into what is so important in life it must be preserved.

Ryder’s friend, Manuel, in the US, once he caught ARIA kept memo notes but soon realized he had to think what was the most important things he needed to know everyday he woke up. That idea became a crucial concept in the whole book.


Monday May 4 2015 Moraine Lake 18 days since ARIA started. Most people have lost up to 2 years and 4 weeks of memory.

Manuel struggled through to consciousness. A new alarm clock hammered away making him throw an unseeing arm at where his bedside cabinet should’ve been. One eye opened and found a pinewood ceiling. He could smell coffee but the unfamiliar log cabin tugged at his worry bone. He remembered going to bed in his own room; pale-green walls, white ceiling, cobwebs.

He admired the dawn light hitting the carpet. Pine trees with a busy resident woodpecker met his eyes. The alarm clock had feathers.

He scratched an armpit. “So, I’m definitely not in Baltimore.”

After finding the bathroom, his nose detected toast along with the coffee. He ventured into the kitchen.

“Oh, you’re up,” said a scowling young woman sitting at a rustic table.

Manuel searched his shot memory but failed to locate a white-faced girl with long jet-black hair among his acquaintances. “Before you throw a wobbler, read that.” She pointed at a NoteCom on the table. A milky coffee, just as he liked it, waited for him. He looked up again. Yellow T-shirt and jeans; he looked at his own clothes – black trousers, white shirt and a NASA tie. Good God, he’d dressed for work.

You are Manual Gomez, employed by NASA as their Education Officer.
Except you are on leave along with most of the population because you have ARIA. An infectious amnesia throwing out your memories at the rate of 50 days worth each day. This started for you on 15th April 2015. It is now Monday 4th May 2015 so you have lost 950 days or two years, seven months and two days of memory.

You have remarried to Jat, who also has ARIA and is sitting at the table with you. She’s diabetic but cut down her Humilin dose – see notes.

“You’re Jat? My wife?”


“I am Jat but I have no recollection of marrying you. Don’t get any ideas.”

“Hang on. My head is spinning coping with waking up with a disease in Canada instead of my home in Baltimore. Look at us, Jat. I’m mid-fifties, you’re what, eighteen?”


“Twenty – that’s not the big deal.”

“No? What is?”

“Look at you. You obviously don’t look after yourself, you’ve deserted your other wife, because of this amnesia and how do I know you don’t have any STDs?”
Manuel, glad he received the broadside while sitting down, shook his head.

“Jat, as far as I know I have no diseases except one that’s robbed me of what must have been a helluva courtship and a cracking wedding night. Me wife left me for an insurance salesman. And though I grant you I’m hiding a six-pack stomach under a keg, I have more muscles than I used to.” He did a strongman impression. She turned to face the window so he couldn’t her smiling.

“There’s a load of chopped wood out back so I guess you might have been working out,” Jat said. He saw her reflection fighting a grin.

# # #


Jon Courtenay Grimwood “Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”

Robert J Sawyer ARIA “is a fascinating project.”

Brad Linaweaver “Geoff Nelder’s ARIA has the right stuff. He makes us ask the most important question in science fiction–the one about the true limits of personal responsibility.”

Mike Resnick “ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.”

Purchase Links

Kindle –


Kindle UK –

Paperback UK

Publisher’s website with more details and formats.

Buy it quick before you run out of memory!

You tube video trailer


Viruses are pretty yet deadly

Viruses are pretty yet deadly










P.S. Experimented with font sizes in this post. Not sure it worked well. Let me know.

Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge. His must-read novels including Exit, Pursued by Bee; ARIA trilogy, and thrillers: Escaping Reality, and Hot Air.


ARIA facebook page



A #review of Mark Fine’s The Zebra Affaire

January 22, 2015

The Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine

Paperback: 352 pagesZebraAffaire

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (15 May 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1494762609

ISBN-13: 978-1494762605

Reviewed by Geoff Nelder

This is more than a daring, multi-racial romance set in a racist South Africa in 1976 on the cusp of abandoning apartheid. The best section by far for me is the beginning where black Malawian, Stanwell, crashes his pickup and is illegally cared back to health by a white family and in particular by Elsa (23). The tension is palpable and a marvellous introduction to the girl as she had only just arrived at the house for a job interview and up to this point had not really clicked with Lydia, the lady of the house. I immediately relished a personal connection when Elsa mentioned her namesake was the lion in the book and film, Born Free. I met Joy Adamson in the library in Cheltenham, UK when she gave a talk to us kids in the early 1960s.

There is much to praise in the writing style of The Zebra Affaire   with respect to settings and description. Colours, smells and action are all there along with sounds, eg ‘The thunderstorm roiled across the Highveld plateau like the marauding Zulu impi on the warpath… lightning’s vivid scar.’  Sometimes the descriptions borders on being too purple but the reader is left in no doubt where they are and what is happening.

The characters, too, are vivid as are their backgrounds. Sometimes there is too much backstory although I understand the need to lay out the rationale for their behaviour. I liked the way the narrative matches the character. For example the gutsy captain of industry, DGF, has his scholastic background summed by his school motto: Forti Nihil Difficilius*, which ‘filled him with the piss and vinegar to take on the world’. Talking of one of those attributes I relate to Elsa saying how when she peed in a remote part of the bush it was probable no one had ever peed there before and this gave the moment a special thrill. I do the same at ancient places—not the peeing but just to find a niche, say a far-flung corner of Gozo’s Ggantija and put my toe on it savouring the notion no one had stood there for thousands of years.

I would have edited The Zebra Affaire differently. One issue is Point of View (POV). Too often the POV head hops and sometimes with no section breaks. Having said that I enjoyed the POV swap to the dog early on with: ‘An uncomfortable tension descended over the charming tea party. Leo sensed the shift in the wind, got up, stretched, circled a few times, glanced  cautiously at the two women, and then settled back down at the same spot with an empathetic sigh.’

Another issue is the relative lack of concern by these influential white families flagrantly breaking the apartheid laws and behaving all sweet and nice to Elsa and Stanwell. In fact there seemed to be no real conflict tugging at the reader until about halfway through when, thank goodness, evil in the guise of a bigoted Security Branch Agent tackles the niceness head on in his brutal way. The last half of the novel becomes grittier as a result and reflects that bit more what most readers want to find in such settings. I would liken aspects of this book to that Booker winner, Disgrace by JM Coetzee, which, instead, is set in post-apartheid South Africa but is jammed with the racial tensions black on white and vice versa. I wonder if Mark Fine nods homage to that masterpiece by naming a secretary as Ms Coetzee?

The author explains his rationale for using sectioned-off italics as mini-encyclopaedias. I can imagine his editors fighting this solution, as would I. Even if some readers didn’t know the details of what Marmite is, or the history of South Africa was, I don’t think a novel is the right place to inform, especially as when the italics end the narrative often remains in the info-dumping. If the author feels there is a need he could have had appendices. The editing guru, famous for his ‘Hunting down the pleonasms’, says there’s never a need for Tell no matter what the genre. However, a little information can help but here I fear it is far too much.

In spite of the info-dump overload, I can recommend this novel. It is Romeo & Juliet meets To Kill A Mocking Bird; it has many touching moments; and embracing a difficult period with aplomb. The title is particularly apt and I found several nuances in the plot that relate to it superbly.

The author’s Amazon page is worth a look too here at


*For the brave, nothing is too difficult. Jeppe High School for Boys, Johannesburg

Nelder News

I’m still waiting to hear from Wee Creek Press to see if they want to publish my series of Scoot books for infants illustrated by the talented Kathy Bullock. Once we have String Theory ready we’ll consider other options. If you know of a children’s book publisher looking for illustrated surreal stories for 3-8 years old kids, please let me know at geoffnelderATyahooDOTcom

Geoff facebooks at and tweets at @geoffnelder

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

Geoff’s Author page on Amazon UK US

Lust 4 #SciFi? Apocalyptic award-winning ARIA by @geoffnelder for #kindle now  UK –

Exit at #ElCapitan

January 15, 2015

What a marvelous achievement for Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson who have been climbing the Dawn Wall of Yosemite’s El Capitan, taking 19 days to reach the summit. The rock is huge and smooth, but there might be other reasons why it might not have been scaled before.

I researched the mountain for my science fiction novel Exit, Pursued by a Bee in which alien spheres, buried in the Earth’s crust for two billion years emerge under specific places like El Capitan, Ayers’ Rock and Glastonbury. All of those places have some kind of spiritual significance to ancient peoples, including El Capitan. In my story time is maintained as a linear, continuum on Earth and its vicinity by the alien artifacts that gathered time decoherences. In my research I discovered that a Native American tribe in Yosemite had declared El Capitan to be a haunting place, where mere humans were not permitted to deface. Presumably that kept people from climbing it in the past. Or did it? I also found references to a climb of the rock in the mid-twentieth century, but then there were no TV crews and helicopters to record it. Even so I applaud Tommy and Kevin for the first official recorded climb.

This isn’t the first time that the news reminds me of Exit, Pursued by a Bee. Every now and then mysterious circular holes appear in the landscape – Beijing and South America I recall and blog about it here

Maybe my novel is more Nostradamus than science fiction after all! If you are interested check out Exit, Pursued by a Bee at


Don’t Bite My Finger…

January 7, 2015

omnibusTwo of my short horror stories have been published in Monk Punk and Shadow of the Unknown Omnibus.

Often on the back covers of anthologies I am listed in the ‘Others’ so here I am listing ALL the writers.

I am in red. I enjoyed the tease with the Monk Punk short story, Don’t Bite My Finger… It sounds gruesome but aficionados of Zen Buddhism will know the koan (a kind of saying, mind game or paradox), ‘Don’t bite my finger… I am pointing the way.’ Haha, you still have a mini story all of its own in that koan. Links to buy this terrific omnibus as print or kindle are at the end.

I am sandwiched in there between these clever writers:

Foreword to New Edition by Aaron J. French

Introduction to Monk Punk by D. Harlan Wilson

Fistful of Tengu by David West

Don’t Bite My Finger by Geoff Nelder

The Power of Gods by Sean T. M. Stiennon

The Key to Happiness by R. B. Payne

Wonder and Glory by Adrian Chamberlin

The Just One by Willie Meikle

The Liturgy of the Hours by Dean M Drinkel

Brethren of Fire by Zach Black

The Second Coming by Joe Jablonski

Nasrudin: Desert Sufi by Barry Rosenberg

Suitcase Nuke by Sean Monaghan

The Last Monk by George Ivanoff

The Cult of Adam by Mark Iles

Snowfall by J.C. Andrijeski

Xenocyte: A Kiomarra Story by Caleb Heath

Vortex by Joshua Ramey-Renk

The Birth of God by Jeffrey Sorensen

Rannoch Abbey and the Night Visitor by Dave Fragments

Citipati by Suzanne Robb

Black Rose by Robert Harkess

The Path of Li Xi by Aaron J. French

Where the White Lotus Grows by John R. Fultz



Evil Fruit by Joshua M. Reynolds

Weaned on Blood by Richard Gavin

Visionaire by Stephen Mark Rainey

The Perplexed Eye of a Sufi Pirate by Geoff Nelder

The Bountiful Essence of the Empty Hand by John R. Fultz

The White Lotus Society by Aaron J. French



Foreword to original edition by Aaron J. French


It Tears Away by Michael Bailey

Graffiti Sonata by Gene O’Neill

Blumenkrank by Erik T. Johnson

To Unsee a Thing by Richard Marsden

Memories of Inhuman Nature by Rick McQuiston

What’s in a Shell? by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

When Clown Face Speaks by Aaron J. French

The Music of Bleak Entrainment by Gary A. Braunbeck

The Chitter Chatter of Little Feet by Fel Kian

Watch for Steve by Ricky Massengale

Uncle Rick by M. Shaw

Caverns of Blood by PS Gifford

JP and the Nightgaunt by Robert Tangiers

Sister Guinevere by T. Patrick Rooney

Alone in the Cataloochee Valley by Lee Zumpe

Quietus by A.A. Garrison

Amends for an Earlier Summer by Geoffrey H. Goodwin

Sanctuary of the Damned by Cindy D Witherspoon

The Festering by James Dorr

The Rose Garden by James Ward Kirk

In the Valley of the Things by L. E. Badillo

The Devil’s Kneading Trough by Sean Page

The City of Death by Jason D. Brawn

Terror Within the Walls by K.G. McAbee

The Laramie Tunnel by RB Payne

Amundsen’s Last Run by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

Antarktos Unbound by Glynn Owen Barrass

Azathoth Awakening by Ran Cartwright



The Courtier by Mike Lester

The First and Last Performance of Varack by John Claude Smith

Back Acres by Jay Wilburn

In Silence by K Trap Jones


Amazon Print:




Nelder News.

Author’s Page And/or Book Page Links At Cold Coffee
Geof Nelder Author’s Page At Cold Coffee Press
ARIA: Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 1)
ARIA: Returning Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 2)
ARIA: Abandoned Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 3)
Escaping Reality
Extreme Planets: A Science Fiction Anthology Of Alien Worlds (Chaosium Fiction)
Exit, Pursued By A Bee
How To Win Short Story Competitions
Hot Air

“We are sailing, we are sailing, across the water…”

December 6, 2014

Cruisers’ AA by Jackie and Noel Parry

Cruisers’ Accumulated Acumen is a guide in 27 chapters of over 1800 helpful hints and tips on sailing made alive with a hundred anecdotes bringing alive their adventures during their 9 years afloat.


$3.99 or free currently on Amazon Prime

Also available in paperback for $26.99

ISBN-13: 978-0987551504   Pictures

My sailing experience is limited to school days tacking up the River Avon from Tewskesbury to Stratford-on-Avon in the UK although I have a silver medal in my cabinet from a race on a lake in Peterborough. Those few years of being on the water were brought back by my reading this book so thanks Parrys for that!

Advice that wouldn’t have been possible when I was a schoolchild includes having a pack of baby nappies on board – nothing better for absorbing spillages. Also, we discovered when my wife’s nose wouldn’t stop bleeding that they’ll take a lot of blood!

Did you know about the problem of using stainless steel bolts with aluminium? Haha – I kind of did because of my science background but I hadn’t realized how serious the problem can be on sailing cruisers until I read the section on galvanic corrosion and electrolysis. Well done for making a potentially deep subject easy to understand and with practical advice.

Chapter 22 is on Theft and Piracy. Plenty of sensible advice here along with Jackie and Noel’s own theories on how to thwart thieves and pirates. No suggestions of acquiring heavy-duty sonic projectors—after all we are talking sailing cruisers not liners. A problem with piracy and small-time thieves is that ordinary folk are made to feel vulnerable by the media. It’s inevitable that they highlight the few terrible incidents. Jackie points out that after 9 years, 50 countries and over 70,000 miles they’d not met a pirate and only dealt with a couple of minor theft issues. It can happen to any of us any time. I was walking with my wife in a crowded Malaga, Spain when a man pushed up against me. I thought, hey, he’s being rather fresh then realized his hand was in my pocket. I grabbed hold of his wrist and yelled as loud as I could. He yanked his hand away and ran but the crowd grabbed and held him until the police arrived. He wouldn’t have got much. Like the advice in Cruisers’ AA my wallet contained the bare minimum for an enjoyable day out.

The book is brought to a finish with many pages of useful references from sarongs to navigation aids, weather to anchoring techniques.

Finally, there are other groups of readers than sailors for this book. I am a writer of fiction and I’ve written stories for anthologies and magazines that involve a techie knowledge I didn’t have to ensure meaningful dialogue and action. This isn’t nerdy it’s important, at least to me. So if you are a writer of contemporary sea-faring tales, you’ll need this reference too.

Nelder News

It’s not too late to grab copies of my ARIA Trilogy or other books. Here is my Amazon page with links.
UK Amazon author page
And for US readers
Geoff facebooks at and tweets at @geoffnelder

STOP PRESS****************

As part of a Read Tuesday promotion the second book of the ARIA Trilogy was almost free on Kindle at 99 cents on Tuesday 9th December. Well, if you missed it then it is still less than a coffee – see it at

Mirror, mirror on the wall

December 3, 2014
Chester library

Chester library

A writer’s world is rather like this in several ways. I caught myself looking up at a security mirror in a corner of the main library in #Chester It’s a peaceful place to think of plot nuances and write tricky scenes, or just to read, edit and research. There’s a window you can’t see that overlooks bustling pedestrians, doing their seasonal shopping in Northgate Street, which not only has curiosity shops but now has the wooden huts of German market stalls with their cooking and herb aromas.
It’s not too late to grab copies of my ARIA Trilogy or other books for Christmas. Here is my Amazon page with links.
UK Amazon author page
And for US readers
Geoff facebooks at and tweets at @geoffnelder

STOP PRESS****************

As part of a Read Tuesday promotion the second book of the ARIA Trilogy is almost free on Kindle at 99 cents on Tuesday 9th December for one day only – see it at

ARIA : Returning Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 2)

ARIA : Returning Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 2)

Buy from Amazon

Wikipedia shooting in foot?

November 29, 2014

You have to laugh, don’t you? During early 2014 the police at Wikipedia objected and removed the page there about my ARIA Trilogy on the grounds that the novel was insufficiently ‘notable’ to be worthy of mention. This in spite of counter arguments by readers who pointed out that it was the only work referring to the substantially unique concept of an amnesia that is infectious. So it isn’t there, however, if you search for the phrase ‘infectious amnesia’ you’ll encounter a list of fictional diseases that includes ARIA – haha. Here it is and in various recursive loops it comes back to the Wikipedia page about me and then to the trilogy. Ho hum.

Note that Wikipedia now asks readers to contribute voluntarily to its funding. I have in the past but how can I do so now it has deleted my best work? Shot in your own foot, wiki.

Meanwhile a publicist has created a page for me and ARIA at a rival database that’s free here

Cold Coffee Press are running a campaign to promote my books focussing on ARIA: Left Luggage but also featuring my other books here (apologies for the adverts on this site)

Author’s Page And/or Book Page Links At Cold Coffee
Geo Nelder Author’s Page At Cold Coffee Press
ARIA: Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 1)
ARIA: Returning Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 2)
ARIA: Abandoned Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 3)
Escaping Reality
Extreme Planets: A Science Fiction Anthology Of Alien Worlds (Chaosium Fiction)
Exit, Pursued By A Bee
How To Win Short Story Competitions
Hot Air

Inside the #mind of an #author

November 12, 2014

facestarsDo you have your passport, overnight bag, duty-free booze and immunisation jabs against yellow fever, malaria and insanity? This might be an easy ride but always be prepared for the unexpected. Clear Air Turbulence is nothing new or rare for those travelling Air Nelder. However, you’re here at Gate 42 (well known for being the answer Deep Thought gave as the secret of the Universe) having tricked your way past customs and jumped the queue.


Once inside you might find that your only way out is via the emergency chute from a rear exit. We’ll sit in a port seat for now. These on the left facing the cockpit. Relax into its cushioned bounciness and clip your seat belt on. This port side of the plane corresponds to the left hemisphere of my brain’s cerebrum: the logical functions. What, Air Nelder can be logical? Have you read any of my stuff? The pilot has and that counts. Incredible as it sounds Nelder has penned academic pieces, even whole books on matters deep such as climate. A passion for having my head in the clouds from an early age (me and the clouds) led to my being awarded a Master of Science for climatology and air pollution, plus a Fellowship of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Me, a Fellow of a Royal Society – it made my right hemisphere laugh out loud. I rarely write academic tomes about climate now, but my mind can’t stop admiring them, and being in awe of such facts that a small fluffy cumulus cloud can weigh 30,000 tons! It’s a wonder we don’t all wear steel helmets. That tornado devastating Oklahoma on May 20th shows we can’t take weather for granted. Knowing nerdy bits such as each water molecule in the atmosphere has up to 200 forces acting upon it, making forecasting so tricky, informs the zany right hemisphere in my fiction, as well as helping my other main non-fiction mind and body.


Cycling is an activity perfectly suited to my writerly mind. Solo journeys up the gentle slopes of Welsh hills create hours of workout time for the right hemisphere’s lateral thinking, and I dream up non-fiction pieces to sell to cycling magazines such as Cycling World. The right side intrudes into the left so that my cycling articles carry titles relating, for example, to me cycling up a Greek volcano, or researching into why dogs bark at and chase bicycles. I get paid for those contributions and so it’s a case of my left hemisphere subsidising the right because I often disappear from home to attend writing retreats but either cycle there or hire a fancypants carbon-fibre racing bike when I get to Cyprus, Greece or Mallorca.


The jiggling of my cerebrum as I cycle over rough byways, and the loneliness of this long-distance pedaller must aid the wayward thinking generating story ideas. My first novel zigged into my head, called itself Escaping Reality and zagged out there. Now the 3rd edition is published as a Kindle (today, in fact from Adventure Books of Seattle) I’ve always wanted a Brit version of that splendid TV series in the 1960s, The Fugitive starring David Janssen. I even worked in a madcap cycle escape where the reader wondered if the cycle would outlast the fugitive!


Taking a break from cycling I wandered lonely as a hot air balloon one summer’s day near Bath, UK and you can tell something of my mind by the fact that I wondered how a villain would shoot down a hot air balloon! Don’t be daft warned the rows in the logical left side side of this Nelder airplane. Go on, urged the creative right. So it happened. In Hot Air a feisty red-headed girl witnesses a villainy from her balloon ride and has to escape several times from the gang who try to silence her. One of those escapes is from the gorgeous Mediterranean island of Mallorca and I just had to take a research field trip there to experience the smells and sights that internet searching alone cannot give me.


One day I was puffing while cycling up a steep but beautiful mountain in Wales called Horseshoe Pass. Halfway up the steepest hill, it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to lock my door at home. Then one of those wayward thoughts zinged into the starboard hemisphere and said what if amnesia was infectious? A few more rotations of my legs and I reckoned I’d never read any story nor seen any film using the idea of infectious amnesia. Being a writer I added to the conflict and made the infection such that no one was immune, and the amnesia acting retrograde. Ie you lost your memory backwards from now, say at a year’s worth per week. Medically, it doesn’t exist – thank goodness! Think of the ramifications as people forget who they married, their jobs, where they lived. Kids forgot first how to write, read and talk. Then the logical side of my mind took over and produced the novel based on infectious amnesia called ARIA: Left Luggage. Beware – it is apocalyptic, how else could it be? On the other hand adversity is sometimes overcome with humour. It’s high concept and unique but a fascinating adventure of survival and friendship too.

Here’s the fabulous cover art for ARIA: Left Luggage and its Amazon links:100_0205

Kindle –



Kindle – UK –

Paperback UK


Thank you for flying Air Nelder today. I hope you had a pleasant flight and will join the crew again soon.



It looks like the fabulous artwork done again by Andy Bigwood for the cover of ARIA: Abandoned Luggage has been nominated for a BSFA Award. Good luck Andy, let’s hope it gets into the shortlist. The book and ebook can be found here Now admire the cover! Aria3-cover

Two writers sharing a youtube conversation on writing and publishing tonight and my name crops up at 7 and a half minutes in. Gerald Hornsby is disccussing fiction writing with Darren Wearmouth and apparently I’d critiqued a story by Gerald for the Helen Whittaker Prize a few years ago. I’d mentioned that of all the senses he’d only used sight. This clearly had an impact on him leading to his success in more recent years. Here’s the link I’m known to be rather obsessive about using colours and smells in stories and today I was reading the marvelous grown up novel, THE TOOTH FAIRY by Graham Joyce (RIP – such a shame, I’d met him several times at FantasyCon – a lovely man) and it’s the perfect exemplar of using sensory Show. Happy writing



Escaping Reality

Hot Air

ARIA: Left Luggage

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Birthday Week

November 6, 2014

In Britain we have Guy Fawkes Night during which we light bonfires and explode the sky with fireworks to celebrate the fortuitous apprehension of Guy Fawkes and his compatriots on November 5th 1605 – known as the Gunpowder Plot. Guy was part of a conspiracy to blow up Parliament and with it, King James I of England. Fawkes and Robert Catesby were hoping to lead a Catholic revolt because the King and the authorities had slipped in their Catholic tolerance. The rebels were hanged until semi-conscious, had their ‘privy parts’ cut off, then beheaded. It was my fortune to be born in Hannover on November 5th , brought to England when I was five and so everyone in Britain celebrates my birthday, whether they know me or not!

For my birthday I was given DVDs eg of the delightfully funny Frankie Howard’s The Runaway Bus, and Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, books, whisky and a set of dumbbells. I’m not sure which to tackle first!

Also on my birthday I heard that a short horror story of mine, CHICKEN, is to be in a fine collection SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS published by The Horror Zine, edited by Jeani Rector. There’s blurbs by Graham Masterton, Susie Maloney and a foreword by Bentley Little. Look, there’s a trailer here.

Again on my day of deliverance celebration I find I am featured in an author’s blog. I’d forgotten I’d been asked for this information so it made me laugh to see it again here.

I had fun with my camphone while on a bike ride this week. See if you can tell where the mirror is on my bike. It’s a kind of shadow selfie.







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