Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Poisons Himself.

On September 20th, 1879 the British Medical Journal published a letter entitled “Gelsemium as a Poison” in which Doyle recounts his use of gelsemium as a treatment for neuralgia (nerve pain). Gelsemium is also called Yellow Jasmine (or Jessamine). This was not something which had been prescribed for him. This was before he had invented Sherlock Holmes, so it... Continue Reading →

A Very Hungry Success Story.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children's picture book designed, illustrated, and written by Eric Carle. The book features a very hungry caterpillar who eats his way through a wide variety of foodstuffs before going into a cocoon and emerging as a butterfly. It is one of the few childrens books I remember reading as... Continue Reading →

Inventing the Detective

Edgar Allan Poe is known for many things. His poem, The Raven, is up there as one of his most famous works, possibly because it was featured in the very first Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons (brilliantly, in my opinion). Amongst several ‘firsts’ he is considered the first full-time profession writer earning a... Continue Reading →

A Reclusive Genius

There is a stereotype of authors as solo operators who toil away in isolation, driven to create by the work itself more than dreams of financial reward. Like most stereotypes that isn’t always the case, but there are examples who embody it. For this stereotype, I can’t think of a better example than Henry Joseph... Continue Reading →

An Author’s Worst Nightmare

Many authors have destroyed the only copies of their works. James Joyce burned his play, A Brilliant Career; Terry Pratchett had his unfinished works destroyed when he died in accordance with his wishes. Sometimes though, a manuscript is lost by accident and found later (such as Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman which will feature... Continue Reading →

A Night to Remember

A friend of mine recently reposted a FB article celebrating the 130 year anniversary of the publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Her post reminded me of the extraordinary story of how the book came to be. An American, Joseph Marshall Stoddart (managing editor of the American publication Lippincott's Monthly Magazine),... Continue Reading →

Rachel’s next book.

My daughter, Rachel, and I wrote a newly published book together, Unicorn's Egyptian Rescue. It has been available long enough to generate a few sales. Rather than wait for royalties to be paid in the real world, I gave Rachel some money as her share of what we had sold to date. This was very... Continue Reading →

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