Posted in Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post by Author Geoff Nelder

Today, in my continuing support of the Solstice Publishing Winter Blog Tour, I have author Geoff Nelder here to talk about his writing experience and how he knew he wanted to become a writer.

Oops, there I go again, barging in on someone else’s blog, grasping for an unsuspecting new audience. No one is more demanding than Mrs. N. in more ways than two and this piece is inspired by one of her more painful questions.

chaosofmokii-1Writers’ Delusions by Geoff Nelder

This is the question Mrs. Nelder stabbed me with when she once peeped over my shoulder at my list of story rejections being three times longer than the acceptances.

W”hat on Earth made you think you could be a writer?”

Answer: I didn’t  know I was okay at writing until a teacher made me stand in front of the class and stumble through an essay I’d scribbled. A silly tale about a red squirrel scrambling on the gnarled boughs of the village’s oldest oak tree, stealing an acorn from a tree spirit to bury under a pupil’s desk. Imagine my surprise when every kid sneaked a peep under their desk.

Yes, those words held power and I liked it. Through my teens, I wrote jokes. Sold some to British comedians and my first was published in a magazine in 1969. At university, I became a co-editor of the rag-mag, a dreadful collection of very funny, awful smutty and politically-incorrect gags. We’d gather in the bar and brainstorm until the beer ran out. That was nearly half a century ago and I still see those jokes. Uncredited, no royalties. It was for charities then, still is. During that time I studied geography, mathematics. and literature. Struck dumb, me, when the lecturer read out loud William Langland’s Vision of a Fair Field full of Folk. This is a wondrous sample of that early medieval poem:

‘In a somer sesoun, whan softe was the sonne,
I shope me into shroudes, as I a shep were,
In abite as an heremite, unholy of werkes,
Wente forth in the world wondres to here,
And saw many selles and selcouthe thynges.
Ac on a May mornyng on Malverne hulles
Me biful for to slepe, for werynesse of walkyng;’

malverns2I learnt it by heart, while hiking on those actual Malvern Hills, a short bike ride from my house. I took my son on those hills a few years ago and the ‘sonne’ softly warmed our backs. I learnt the energy in words of sensual Show. Engaging the reader via all their five senses in every story. I read the great writers and they all do it. Even those science fiction and thriller books that the literati often overlook. Consider these two words from Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle: ‘She gave him a perfumed hug.’ You know which two words. Did you experience that hug? You were there, right?

After graduating, twice, I taught high school where writing lies takes over. Not really, but all teachers have to write masses of words. We talk about a target of 2000 words a day on our novels but teachers often achieve that when writing lesson notes, worksheets and above all, end-of-term reports. Most teachers hate that but writerly ones love it. It gives us the opportunity to be creative with an otherwise tedious activity. (assuming the school isn’t using computerized multi-guess reporting). One of my favourites: ‘The dawn of legibility in John’s writing revealed his utter incapacity to spell.’ Such chores honed my writing decades ago.

Not that I’ve stopped learning the craft. I’m with Pablo Casals – the famous cellist on why he continued to practise at 90: ‘Because I think I’m making progress.’

I remain fascinated enough by gnarled oak trees and squirrels to write them into my stories. This 2017 year sees publication of my ‘Girl in a Wandering Wood’ in The Horror Zine. I’d overheard the phrase wandering wood and thought what if a wood actually wandered? So, a botanist is trapped in a copse, animated by a spirit trying to stop her escaping. A squirrel helps her out, kind of. The same squirrel I wrote about in 1957.

A sample flash story. First published in Bobbing Around:  (2004)Vol 3 No.6  A newsletter by psychiatrist Dr Bob Rich.

Nothing Upstairs

By Geoff Nelder         

He should take advantage of the perspective from the top floor of a bus. Forrister’s car lingered in Foley’s Vehicular Care Centre for its annual medical but he had to put in a work appearance.

Green vinyl seats as opposed to his red leather but not bad. His nose expected sour milk odours—a foolish bias, so his eyebrows arched with surprise as fresh air slapped his face from the open top windows. Even so, those reasons for individual travel, cocooned in his Ford, came to him—personal space, sublime solitude listening to opera. He sought the least offensive fellow traveller. The beard looked normal enough: its owner gazing through a demisted circle on the window as London glided past.

An uncomfortable moment passed as Forrister obliged the window-side occupant to move a corner of his coat and shuffle up. In his car, Forrister would by now have tuned into Classic FM talking back, unheard, to the presenter, so he turned to his companion.

“Cold, today.”

No response. Could be his new friend had defective hearing but more likely incredulous anyone had the temerity to strike up a conversation. Twenty minutes before disembarking—he had to give it another shot.

“Hey, there’s Putney Cinema. Don’t go in Screen Three, it’s squeezed in between One and Two—you only hear the other two films and at the same time!”



“For—is that all?” Beard conversed all right but in gibberish and to the window. Suddenly, Forrister’s head received a blow from behind as a robust woman thrust her elbow over the seat.

She treated Forrister to a cloud of gardenia fragrance.

“Grooten?” She barked. Beard turned, looked at her and nodded.

What? He hadn’t appreciated the rapidity of language development since he last used public transport. Contorted out of recognition. Forrister couldn’t participate. The woman had slumped back into her seat and the beard brushed again at the condensation. Forrister had to try again.

“Full today then,” Forrister said, sketching a wave at the one empty seat.


Then: “Jaffa. Man…”

“I have an orange. Would you like a piece?”

Before the Beard could reply, the elbow dented Forrister’s head again.

“Grooten?” she asked. He shook. She re-slumped.

Dejected, Forrister re-bagged the orange, stood and weaved his way to the winding stairs, three stops early. Before the descent he glanced back.

The woman took Forrister’s seat. Beard took an ear-piece out of his left ear.

And shared the cricket.

About the Author

Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge. He was awarded Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society for his research into air pollution and microclimates and used his students as unpaid researchers to discover urban heat islands in Yorkshire towns and villages. He taught now-out-of-date Geography and IT to the ungrateful alive but escaped on his bike to write.

His publications include science fiction novels Exit, Pursued by Bee and the ARIA trilogy; and thrillers: Escaping Reality, and Hot Air. Many of his short stories have found homes in mags such as The Horror Zine, Perihelion, Ether Books, Encounters, Jimston Journal, Delivered, Screaming Dreams and many anthologies such as Monk Punk, Science Fiction Writers’ Sampler (with Gregory Benford and David Brin), Twisted Tails, and Zombified.

His non-fiction include books on climate and he co-wrote How to Win Short Story Competitions.

Latest is an experimental science fiction short story, The Chaos of Mokii, published as an ebook by Solstice Publishing at


Where can we buy the books?

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

How can we follow you on Facebook?

Twitter Handle?  @geoffnelder

GoodReads? As Geoff Nelder


Are there any other sites we should know about?

That’s it, thanks for reaching this far, if you did. May the rest of your life be deliriously wicked in the best possible way.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Books

Author Spotlight: Geoff Nelder and his Character, Dr. Menzies

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I have a rare opportunity of not only speaking with an author but also one of his characters. I’ll be chatting with Geoff Nelder from The UK Chester. He says his town is near Liverpool and is swarming with lookalike facewall200Beatles. In addition to Geoff, I will be speaking with one of the characters in his books, Dr Menzies, who will introduce himself later..limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Geoff.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable. I understand one of your characters is arriving later, so let’s start with some general questions.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I had to look this up but my first non-fiction  article– The Criminal Propensity – was published in a college mag in 1968 and my first story the year after.

I’m not going to list all my 87 published stories: They’re here

None are self-published but most are with small indie-press

Wow! Almost 90 published articles that’s quite impressive. Can you tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

Two of my novels are thrillers. ESCAPING REALITY is a humorous thriller set in Britain and Amsterdam; HOT AIR is a gold-award winner set mostly on a Spanish island. I was arrested twice in the research for this book. I didn’t know I was trespassing on Claudia Schiffer’s mound on Mallorca until a gun under my nose informed me.

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEE is a science fiction wonder in which alien artifacts leaving Earth have to be persuaded to return to put right the timequakes they’ve triggered.

aria1-jupThe ARIA TRILOGY is my proudest achievement. It is the only fiction that uses the concept of infectious amnesia. It doesn’t exist but imagine the ramifications if it did. Hence it is apocalyptic but there’s survival, hope and revenge built in.

XAGHRA’S REVENGE is a historical fantasy based on a real abduction in 1551 of the entire population of the island of Gozo. Their spirits seek revenge. To be published in 2017.

chaosofmokiiTHE CHAOS OF MOKII already released in November 2016 by Solstice Publishing. A city exists only in the minds of its inhabitants. There’s fun, if you can get past the bouncer, and danger. Experimental sci-fi that is also metaphysical.

My gosh, they all sound awesome. I’m particularly interested in your trilogy that deals with infectious amnesia. What a creative idea.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goal is to be famous “because that’s the way to get more sex.”—Deep Impact.

I want to be regarded as a more literary than speculative writer but that needs work.

Seeing my fiction in films would be exhilarating. I already see them in my head, why not yours?

Lofty goals, but I think you have a good start.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

No idea. Next. Seriously, it’s like when you send a story to publishers and five respond along the lines of ‘brilliant and unique concept, great characters, faultless writing, but it just isn’t a fit at this time / I don’t love it enough / we’ve just accepted a similar plot’ but finally one says, ‘where have you been, we want to make a whole book out of your short story. Do you have more?’ Readers are no different to editors in their subjective tastes. In short, I want to attract readers who enjoy mysteries, situations that characters find themselves in with no obvious escape and yet they know I’ll find a way out. That is usually in the field of speculative fiction. Not guns and monsters but landing on a planet with a friend and solving a problem or three. I need to attract readers like a flower attracts bees, and keep them buzzing for more.

I hear you about positive query responses without offers. I’m familiar with those. I love your analogy of readers and flowers.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Join a critique group and get all your submissions professionally edited, especially novels, before submitting to a publisher. I’m not just saying that because I offer editorial services. All my novels were critiqued then professionally edited before submission.

That seems like wise advice.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

“Hey look! Dad’s trying to write a story. What are you writing about? Don’t hide it. I saw the words ‘nipples so long…’”

Lol. My 12-year daughter doesn’t read my work, but I read aloud when I edit so she’s heard some of it and is my worse critic, but she’s very proud of me and has given me some excellent marketing advice.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I’d already read two suffering shelves of how-to-write books and attended a million workshops at conventions before attending  a Creative Writing class. First task: ‘Use a mirror to describe yourself.’ Good grief. I realized I could teach the classes better. So I did. Not that class but I found writers’ groups in my area were happy to pay me to give them writing craft workshops.

On the other hand, and it’s an enormous hand, contacts. Classes, especially at accredited universities or convention workshops run by famous writers, agents and publishers are a valuable way to network, network, network. Remember, it’s not who you know but who knows you.

I definitely agree with that. I’m planning to get more involved in conferences. Even though some are costly, if it’s a good one, it will be worth it in connections you forge.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a crazy cyclist, knocking off 100 miles a week up Welsh hills. It’s while solo traveling that ideas inveigle their way into my head.

Walking seems to do the same for me, but I also get lots of ideas during my sleep at night and wake up ready to type them into my computer.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

Writing can be hard work, but like all the creative arts, the most rewarding too. It’s rewarding yet scary to know you’ve put ideas, scenarios and weird characters into innocent readers’ heads. Funny though when you encounter a discussion where your story is being discussed, bringing out subplots you hadn’t thought about.

Disturbing too, when writing horror or fight and death scenes that you might give a potential torturer / murderer some ideas.

Those are some interesting thoughts. I do find it enlightening when my readers share what they are getting out of my writing. As far as giving murderers ideas, although I write mysteries that include people getting killed, they are cozy mysteries and not too violent. I also prefer to kill bad characters who deserve it.

Excuse me, Geoff. Someone has just joined us.  I think it’s character.

HELLO THERE, DEBBIE, IS IT? Apologies for the shouting but I had to get that Geoff Nelder out of the way. My name is Dr. Antonio Menzies from Italy and I’m a main character in his crazed award-winning medical mystery ARIA TRILOGY. I’m asking and giving some answers because Nelder is too lazy to do this bit himself.

It’s great to have you here, Dr. Menzies. This is a first for me. Although I have another blog written by the cat character in my Cobble Cove mysteries, I have not yet had the pleasure of interviewing an author’s character during my Author Spotlights.

So, can you tell me a bit about Geoff’s latest book?

Nelder’s gone all historical fantasy in his latest novel. He holidayed in Malta, discovered my predecessors, Ottoman pirates, abducted the people of a whole island. Well, the spirits of those slaves are crying out for revenge, aren’t they? Hence XAGHRA’S REVENGE is finished and we’re looking at 2017.

That sounds quite exciting.

Does Geoff Nelder have to do any research?

Don’t mention research! He’s obsessed with getting stuff right. He has to name streets, towns, and rivers in the right places. I blame it on him being a geography teacher for 100 years. In ARIA he read every damn book on the brain, amnesia, Alzheimer’s, you name it. No don’t. So into research he emailed an astronaut, Leroy Chaio, for data on the struts of the International Space Station and get this, Leroy replied while he was in orbit!

As a librarian, I can relate to that. Even though I create some fictional towns in my books, I try to research the real places and other aspects of the stories to make them as realistic as possible.

Where does Geoff Nelder get his ideas from?

He steals his ideas from me. No question. Nelder says he oxygenates his brain while on his long cycling tours but I’ve no doubt at all that he sneaks a peek at my prescription pad and little black book for his ideas.

That could be right. I know my characters often persuade me to change scenes and even the identity of the killer(s).

How long on average does it take him to write each book?

I was in a pub the other evening and overheard a nerd book reader say, “I read Geoff Nelder’s ARIA: LEFT LUGGAGE in just a weekend.” What? I happen to know that poor old Nelder spent two years writing that first book in his ARIA trilogy. Granted much of that was in research and another half a year going through his critique group in the British Science Fiction Association, but even so, TWO YEARS to write a book is ridiculous.

I disagree. Although many authors seem to publish a book a year and some Indie authors publish 3 or 4 which I personally believe can’t be of the best quality, I know of authors I’ve read who have taken twenty years to write a book. While I don’t recommend that either, you can’t really rush the process. All authors work at their own pace. Personally, it takes me about two months to create the first draft. After that, it usually takes another two to four months to proofread, edit, revise, and research it before I submit it to a publisher. It usually works out to about a year between books for me. If I wasn’t working full-time and devoting additional hours to promoting and marketing activities such as blogging, newsletter writing, and social media, I might be able to do two a year.

Does your author have a favorite place to write?

As an idiot researcher, Nelder likes to write his stories in their setting. Hence if a scene is in Paris, that’s where you’ll find him, sat at an outside café table swimming in the language, atmosphere, and booze. I encourage this, especially with his science fiction. Go to the Moon I tell him. Often.

Ha, Ha. I’m sure he gets a laugh out of that.

What would Geoff Nelder’s reaction be if a character from one of his books came to life and turned up on his doorstep?

You’re kidding, right? I am here, you know.

Whoops, he’s coming back. I’m off

I must say that was an interesting conversation, Dr. Menzies. Now, back to Geoff.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.





SF database about me

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

Geoff’s Author page on Amazon UK US

Great! It’s been a lot of fun having you both here, and your books sound wonderful. I wish you both the best on your next release. Is there anything else you’d like to add for our readers.

Most recent release to promote is THE CHAOS OF MOKII.

Imagine a city which exists only in the minds of its inhabitants. There’s everything you’d expect in a real city including fun and trouble. Olga, has to get past the bouncer then in Mokii she finds an intruder. He is trying to usurp the virtual city because there is financial reward from the advertising revenue beamed into the visitors’ minds. Can she thwart him?

Created as an ebook by Solstice Publishing read for only 99 pence or a dollar and a handful of cents.

Kindle ebook at