Category Archives: Blog

Heartache and suicide

It’s taken me some time to write this. I’ve written, re-written, held onto it…but I’m hoping it’ll feel better to get it out into the world, to push it away, to say it all.

Back in January, my friend Ryan Rogers was killed by a train in Stonehouse. We thought it was an accident; I originally thought that he collapsed on the crossing. We slowly learned bits and pieces, but it’s hard when all the evidence is being collated and no-one’s entirely sure. So we were waiting for the inquest to hear everything together, and that was in May.

He stepped out in front of the train. It’s a matter of public record, now; it’s pretty clear what the train driver saw even if there’s no video of it. He’d left his rucksack tucked by the bridge, too…I don’t entirely know what to believe, but on balance of probability, I have to go with what was said. There wasn’t anyone else involved. There aren’t any other factors we can point to. I’m still wavering, but I have accepted the verdict.

I saw him that morning; we’d had an awesome game the night before, and a good morning watching Ghibli films. I dropped him home. He was last recorded in the pub in Cirencester at about 2pm, and then he went to meet someone. Then it was 6.20 pm, and he was in Stonehouse. That’s it.

I’ve got two options.

Either; something happened between 2pm and 6.20. We don’t know where he went; we don’t know who he saw.  We don’t know why he was in Stonehouse. We don’t know what method he used to get there, or when he arrived. But something happened that made him decide to not want to live any more, and I don’t know what it was; only that it would have to have been something big, something hurtful, to turn him from the person who smiled as me as he got out of the car to the person who walked out in front of a train, five minutes’ walk from a place that was a second home and a sanctuary for him, where he knew we’d be waiting with hugs and acceptance, whatever the circumstances.

Or; he was lying to me. I don’t know how long for. We were good friends. We spoke honestly and often about mental health, and suicide, and the honest reality of what it means to live with a brain that tells you life is shit. If he was thinking of suicide before that day, then it means he was lying to me when he said he would see me next week, and when he said he did have things to live for, even if life was a struggle at times. It means he was lying to us all when he seemed happier, more stable, more optimistic. It means I can’t trust any of my relationship with him, because I don’t know how much of it was a facade. But it also means that he didn’t trust me, and that almost hurts more.

I don’t know which option to believe, or if it’s a mix of the two.

We don’t have his notebook; he always carried one, and it wasn’t in his bag. He didn’t leave messages for anyone.

We don’t know.

In many ways I’ve made my peace with it – I accepted it back in January, in the few horrible days after I first heard. I don’t have any answers. I can’t talk to him, or yell at him, or hug him. I won’t ever know. And I’m ok with that, because it’s not something I can change.

But it still hurts like fuck.

This is the reality of those left behind when someone commits suicide. It’s a way out, and believe me, I entirely understand the temptation. Life sucks, the world sucks, and no one cares; it’s a way out of the pain and it’s a way of removing yourself from the lives of people you’re just a burden to.

Except you’re not.

You leave behind so many unanswered questions and so many holes in hearts. You rip apart relationships and families, and you won’t ever be forgotten.

I’m not sure, if I ever did see Ryan again, if I’d punch him or hug him first. Probably both, which could be awkward.

This will fade, and this will heal.

But I will always have the scar. And I will always have, buried somewhere in the depths of my heart, that tiny list of questions, that frustration that we don’t have answers, and that little nagging doubt.

Could I have done anything to stop this?

I am a Horrible Author

I’m a horrible person.

When writing, that is. In real life, I’d hope I’m kinda nice.


When people don’t piss me off too much.

(Mostly joking! I’m usually incredibly polite and friendly, with the usual proviso of “slight introvert so finds it hard to start a conversation”. If you ever see me, do come and say hi!)

I was thinking about No Man’s Dawn, which is sort of a prequel to No Man’s Land. I’m not entirely happy about it, so I’m just letting it stew…so I was thinking about it in the car as I drove down to see a friend.

And I had the BEST* idea.

You know it’s bad when I start giggling to myself. It’s even worse when I start laughing. And when I lean back and go, “Oh, now that’s GOOD” is when it’s going to be really bad.

Have I told you that my beta reader didn’t talk to me for two days after That Ending in No Man’s Land? I’m still quite proud of that as it’s entirely deserved. I’ve now got a little private bet with myself as to what names she’ll call me after she reads this one – I may have to create a bingo sheet.

Off to do some writing I go! There may be evil chuckles.


*Worst. For my characters.

Reminder: pub, reading & Peter Newman

Bristol Con FringeA reminder that I’ll be at the The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer (aka. The Volley) in Bristol on Monday, supporting Peter Newman. He’s reading from one of his short stories, and I’m reading an excerpt from the next GreenSky book, plus you get to ask random questions.


Hope to see you there!*

*My anxiety brain isn’t sure if lots of people or no people is the better scenario, so…come along anyway and help me fangirl.

Writing update: June

I’ve mostly been editing for the past few weeks, but have managed to do a bit of writing…

“Drop the girl, get out of the mess you’re tangled in, and get us our information.” He gave me a thin smile and waved a hand at the door. “That is all.”

I had my hand on the door handle when the additional sentence that I’d been expecting slid out, smooth and barbed.

“We are watching you.”

I slammed the door after me.


It usually hurts when you find out that someone’s been lying to you, or cheating you, or stealing. It’s worse when they’re dead, and you can’t scream at them.

Luckily, if they’re a zombie, they can hear you just fine, and screams are normal around zombies. Something to do with the whole ‘living dead’ thing. People can be so judgmental.

So, say hello to Zombies R Us! That’s my service. I deal with anyone who’s got a grudge, and…give them a target. For a fee.

After all, it’s not like the zombie cares any more.


“I tried to get onto the project!” The man was probably drunk, Zack thought. Or at least had supped a few gulps of something potent. “I tried to get information!”

“It doesn’t look like you tried very hard,” Zack said, tired of the man already. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have been sent here.”

“They don’t trust me!”

“Well, of course they don’t.” Zack managed to not roll his eyes. “You haven’t exactly been a fount of information, have you? Most of the things you were telling us during the war were wrong.”

“That wasn’t my fault.”

“Of course not.” Zack took another sip of his drink, almost enjoying how frustrated the man was getting. He was definitely near the end of his use. “By the way, I saw your daughter before I left. She’s nearly fully grown, you know. Quite a woman.”

It took the man a moment to realise what was being implied, and Zack saw his fists clench. But as he’d expected, the man was too much of a coward to cause a scene. “What did you do to her?” he whined.

“Nothing she didn’t enjoy.” He leaned forward, dropping his faint smile. “But don’t forget that Jirlaen can do worse. She’s well cared for at the moment, but that doesn’t have to be the case.”


“Luk, how do you tell if someone’s a vampire?”

“Usually, wait until they try to drink your blood.” He spotted her expression and rolled his eyes. “It was a joke. Joking!”


An update from the start of June

isle of wightAh’m on holiday!

Only for a long weekend, but still. Holiday! Sea, sand…occasional sun…wind…a dog who smells rather of pondweed thanks to an impromptu play in the ditch yesterday…and no ice cream yet, but that may happen today – so not too bad overall!

I’m on the Isle of Wight for a few days with my family, so it’s nice to get away for a bit. Unfortunately it’s not all relaxation; I’ve got a stack of paid-editing to do, Terra Nullius stories to edit, websites to update, stories to finish. If I get my editing done, I’m going to finish editing Book 7 of GreenSky and then start working again on Book 10. I’ve also started work on No Man’s Sky again, as I had some inspiration while driving here, so that’s good.

Beyond that – books to read, family to talk to, walks to have. I’m just about to take one of the dogs and trundle round the River Yar while there’s some sunshine, so writing can wait!