An Envious Author’s delivery!

Author’s Envy, where I review the books I wish I’d written:

I’m Mark Hodder, an author, and these are the books that make me deeply envious. I wish I’d written them! You need to buy these books!

Interesting fact for authors of crime and thriller novels: if you shoot through a closed window, the glass will, in all probability, shatter and fall TOWARDS you. This is because the pane flexes outward when the bullet hits it then bounces back before breaking. Of course, it depends on the type of glass, but in the case of normal window glass, that’s what will happen.

In a previous Patreon ( post, I showed you the template I designed and use in OmniOutliner for the bare bones structure of any new novel. It’s a three-act progression shaped around the classic “hero’s journey” narrative.

The above image illustrates the next step, which is to open each stage of the narrative and sketch in scenes that fulfil the requirements of each of the plot “way-markers.”

A scene should be fashioned as follows:

  • Goal
  • Conflict
  • Disaster
  • Reaction
  • Dilemma
  • Decision

While that might appear extremely rigid, it isn’t at all. These are just guidelines to give some form to what…

I’ve been on Patreon for eight months, sharing with my supporters exclusive short stories (including Burton & Swinburne tales), flash fiction (SF & horror), preview chapters, insights into my writing tools and processes, early access Sexton Blake reviews, downloadable Sexton Blake scans, articles, images, and many other items of interest. In the community section, we’ve discussed the nature of time and reality, space travel, and consciousness. My Patreon pages are 95% MORE ACTIVE than those of other Patreon creators! Take a look, join the fun, and maybe pledge your support!

The famous Victorian era explorer, eroticist, linguist, author and cartographer (to name but a few of his talents) Sir Richard Francis Burton teams up with his eccentric and notorious friend, the poet Algernon Swinburne, to first solve the mystery of why history has split into a multitude of variants and then deal with the consequences.

Their adventures are chronicled in the following publications:


In which Sir Richard Francis Burton realises that history has somehow gone off the rails and, after teaming up with Algernon Swinburne, learns that Spring Heeled Jack is the cause.


In which a figure from an alternate…

THE PLAGUE OF PARIS is the third of my ongoing Burton & Swinburne short stories, all of which will ultimately be gathered in a volume entitled THE BLACK PENTAGRAM: A BURTON & SWINBURNE CASEBOOK, WINTER 1862–3. This particular story (13,000 words long) tells of Sir Richard Francis Burton and Algernon Swinburne’s encounter with the famous Louis Pasteur. It also involves a notorious French forger named Denis Vrain-Lucas. I recommend you look him up on Wikipedia … he’s a fascinating character!

THE PLAGUE OF PARIS, plus the first two stories, THE MYSTERY OF THE EMPTY BAY and THE DALE DYKE DISASTER (the latter is inspired by a true event) are all currently on Patreon. To gain exclusive access, make a $5+ pledge. Not only will you be buying me more writing time but you’ll also get to see a ton of other exclusive material! Go see:

Louis Pasteur

The Burton & Swinburne short story (9k words) THE MYSTERY OF THE EMPTY BAY marks the commencement of their fight against The Black Pentagram, a gang of five crooked sorcerers. Read it EXCLUSIVELY on Patreon for a $5+ pledge! You will also gain access to the second story — THE DALE DYKE DISASTER — and all the stories that follow (I intend a minimum of 12).

My $5+ patrons can now read THE DISASTER AT DALE DYKE, the second of a dozen or so interconnected short Burton & Swinburne stories that I hope to have published as THE BLACK PENTAGRAM: A BURTON & SWINBURNE CASEBOOK, WINTER 1862. All the stories are going to appear on Patreon first.

Sir Raymond Squires slammed down the receiver and turned to his wife. “The blasted GPO insists it’s not responsible. Says it’s not one of theirs!”

June Squires, standing by the bay window, pushed the net curtain slightly aside and looked out.

“It’s still there.”

“Of course it’s still there, woman! Did you expect it to walk away?”

“There’s no need to be snappy with me, Ray. It’s not my fault there’s a telephone box outside our house.”

“It’s not just outside our house. It’s blocking the driveway. How do you suggest I get the Bentley out? …


Author of the Philip K. Dick Award winning THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK and its sequels. Lives in Valencia, Spain. Father of twins, Iris & Luca.

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