What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Pastiche Ponderings

Pastiche Ponderings

What makes a pastiche a true pastiche? What criteria, if any, do we need to apply? I think of a true Holmes pastiche as being written/narrated by Watson in that familiar style we enjoy so much. If possible, taking it further, I prefer pastiches that have their opening scene in the sitting-room of 221b Baker Street, after all, as a location, it is the beating heart of the Canon. With one or two exceptions. all my Holmes pieces start in that fashion, it is where we see Holmes and Watson at their most relaxed and convivial. How far can we as authors take Holmes and Watson..are there places we should not go? Themes and issues we should not address? For the most part, I would say no with some reservations, particularly as to 'slash' which often has homoerotic content, it's not the Holmes and Watson that I know and love. Old age and death is another issue which has caused controversy over the years. In essence, we cannot 'play the game' of Holmes and Watson et al being real people with real adventues unless we also acknowledge their mortality. The idea of the two of them in their latter years fascinates me, what changes would have come about in their relationship? Would old age have mellowed Holmes? My novella 'End Peace' takes this on a stage further and whilst I do not consider it a risky venture, some may have problems, not so much for character death (should there be any he says cagily!) but for other content!
Just had a quick head count of the Sherlock Holmes pastiches I own (novels not short stories which run into hundreds) and I find it to be 153!! Yes, one hundred and fifty-three, which of course got me to pondering once more on pastiches. It's fair to say, which I have on many occasions, that I prefer shorter novels (that's not necessarily the reason why mine are novella length-more to do with my limited plotting expertise!) but I do enjoy a certain amount of canonical fidelity, more than enjoy I guess, I positively demand it! First, my preference is for Watson to be narrating, it's well nigh impossible to see a Holmes story in any other light for me. Further fidelity comes from adhering to certain facts in the canon; for example using accepted Holmesian chronology such as birthdates for Holmes and Watson (1854 and 1852 respectively for me) and having the stories set within the framework of that chronology i.e nothing taking place between 1891 and 1894 ( yes I know Watson erred in that regard). With my own scribbling I have tried very hard to keep to those principles; 'Lyme Regis Horror' takes place during a blank period in 1896, acknowledges the fat that Mrs Watson is dead etc. 'Lyme Regis Trials is set in 1903 so we find Holmes retired to Sussex and Watson living in Queen Anne Street. I stress that this fidelity acts as a framework to hang a tale and with that fidelity as a starting point then flights of fancy may take the writer and by extension the reader anywhere, but Holmes, Watson and their world remains recognisable and grounded in 'reality'. Obviously this is a personal view and it does not mean that I have not enjoyed pastiches that do not follow these 'rules'. Holmes has to be Holmes and Watson has to be Watson, even the BBC's 'Sherlock' recognised that and whilst it cannot claim to be faithful to the canon, it is certainly true to the spirit of the original and there is enough canonical detail in there to satisfy most Holmesians. And now I am rambling.....and I am peckish......and I have a Rammstein CD lined up to play; nothing like German industrial/heavy metal to liven up one's day!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


The dust has now settled after the final performance of The Tempest of Lyme and what a performance it was! The whole experience of evolving individual scenes into a cohesive whole was riveting and a joy to observe. En route to being performance ready, the cast and musicians bonded and there have been many friendships forged. I will remember so much about this production, Nicca's masterly Prospera, which was a masterclass in bravado and emotion. The interplay between Nicca and her Ariels was at once both touching and moving and the moments when Prospera was directing no small amount of pain towards her Ariels was especially moving, not least because of artistry of the actresses who combined to give us an unforgettable Ariel. Lucy, Sophie, Aurelia, Freya, Becky, Serena and Faye together were mesmerising. Truth be told, everyone involved in this production gave their all and I was in awe of everyone. I wish it could have gone on longer, I really do. We should be grateful such talent exists in Lyme and its environs from the youngest of our cast to the oldest. (whoever that was! Not me I hasten to add, although....) And Clemmie, dear Clemmie whose vision this was. I only hope we fulfilled it!

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Tempest of Lyme...An interview with Sophie Thomas

Sophie Thomas is one of our Ariels. Let's learn more about her...

Have you always wanted to perform?

I have always loved theatre, film… all things dramatic! When I left the University of York having studied History, I decided to forge a career behind the scenes and, after brief work experience on Broadchurch, started work as a Floor Runner on the television series Doc Martin. It wasn’t until I was on set on the first day, watching all the actors arrive, their interactions with the director, that I decided acting was something I really wanted to pursue.

How did you get started?

Well I turned down a very exciting Production job on BBC’s Wolf Hall in order to take a slightly less exciting office job that was flexible enough for me to start building my acting experience and training. I took weekend classes at Pinewood Studios, London and Bristol for a year before the opportunity to continue my studies in Paris presented itself!

You spent some time in Paris recently, ostensibly studying/working! How did that work out?

I spent last year at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq studying theatre and acting which was an incredible experience. The training was based around the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq which focuses on physical theatre, movement and mime. One of the most enjoyable aspects was that each week we worked in small groups to create a short piece of theatre based on a given theme using inspiration from our lessons. Nearly every week our small creations were torn to pieces by our exacting teachers (by exacting I mean brutal) who left us in no doubt of our errors, and on our own when it came to finding solutions. It has given me a great respect for the creative process and I now see the stage as a place of infinite possibilities to explore.

How are you enjoying the experience of rehearsing for The Tempest of Lyme?

It has been really fantastic! There are so many wonderful people involved in the project, most importantly Clemmie whose vision and direction are the driving force behind the production. I hope to direct in the future, certainly create my own work and I have definitely learnt a great deal from her and this experience. This is my first Shakespeare production and I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else! It has been a real journey for everyone and I shall miss seeing all the wonderful people involved each week when we are done!

All the Ariels seem to be bonding so well together. Would you agree with that?

As we are playing one character, with a very physical approach to the part, it has been essential that we work well together in order to create the sense of one entity.

And the future? Do you see yourself performing? Writing? Or?

I have already mentioned my interest in directing and creating my own theatre! Primarily I see myself performing. I start rehearsals after The Tempest for a new play, “Eggs”, written by Rachel Besser which will be performed at the Cygnet Theatre in Exeter in September by Tree Shadow Theatre Productions. It deals with the challenging and sometimes controversial subject of Fertility and will definitely be a challenging piece as each actor involved will be playing multiple roles. We hope to go on tour in the New Year. If anyone would like more information about the production… visit . I am also writing my first play although this is proving to be a lengthy process with frequent periods of writers block!

Thanks, Sophie!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Tempest of Lyme...An Interview With Bramble Wallace

Bramble is playing the part of Miranda in The Tempest of Lyme. Learn more below:

     Could you tell us a little of your background with regards to drama?

-       Well I am Currently studying BA Hons Acting at the Arts University Bournemouth; I would say I have been interested in acting since I can remember. It stems from when I played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing in the Shakespeare Schools festivals at the Unicorn Theatre in London, and my passion just grew and grew. I had a year out before coming to study at Bournemouth and I did some work at the Phoenix Theatre in London back stage at ‘Once’ the musical and then worked in a schools drama department as a technician helping productions. And it was then I realized that acting was my passion so I applied and here I am!

       Which roles have you particularly enjoyed playing?

-  I love researching my characters in great detail, I love a challenge therefore characters that are different to myself are the most fun to play. One of my favorite roles was when I played Holly from Arinze Kene’s play ‘Gods Property’, a play that discusses the racial tension in the 80’s. My character was a really feisty skinhead, very different to any other character I had every played before. I would say she was the most challenging, and in ways the character that was most unlike myself!                                   

        In The Tempest of Lyme, you play Miranda. What are your views on the character? Do you see points of comparison between the two of you?

-Miranda is a very sweet character, very naïve about the world as she has grown up on a remote island, with no one but her mother and Caliban. It is this naivety that gives her such an open warm heart, seeing the world as such an exciting place. She is very loving and kind, but does stand up to her mother at points in the play and she is very loyal. I would say that in that way we are similar.

      What prompted you to become involved in this production?

I was really intrigued when I learnt about the twinning between Lyme and Bermuda, and Lyme’s links to The Tempest. Also the opportunity to meet and collaborate with local actors was something I was keen to do.  The idea of doing a production of The Tempest outdoors with the actual sea as our backdrop was an opportunity I just couldn’t miss.

 What would you say to someone who is not sure whether it’s for them and is unsure whether to attend?

I would say that this is a fantastic collaboration of music and performance, with some extremely talented people. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this iconic play staged in such a unique way. Its very funny and you will definitely leave with a smile on your face.                                                        


  What are your current and future plans?

At the moment I am preparing for my third year shows and getting ready to graduate next year. Focusing on some interesting collaborations in both film and stage. One day I would love to be creating my own theatre and running similar projects just like this. I think theatre is such a powerful inspiring way to connect people from all walks of life and its something I will all ways strive to do.

Thank you, Bramble.

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Tempest of Lyme...Rehearsing

Rehearsals are marching on apace and everything is beginning to fall into place. And, most importantly, we are having enormous fun into the bargain. Last week was built around the Wedding dance (a jig in fact although extraordinarily unjig like from some of us!) and the music and cacophony of sounds required for the storm scenes. We are good it seems at making a noise! Some pictures below courtesy of Peter Wiles. (

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Tempest- An Interview with Maya Pieris

Maya Pieris takes on the character on the Boatswain in the forthcoming production of The Tempest of Lyme. A busy woman, but she found the time to answer a few questions:

         What made you want to get involved in this production?

       Well it’s all Declan Duffy’s fault! 2 years ago I did a physical theatre weekend with Niki McCretton at Bridport Arts Centre and he was on and suggested I might want to do some amdram so I joined Encore who were about to do Oh What a Lovely War which was a fab experience. Then got a part in a first play written by Lorraine Parnell who lives in Bridport and was hooked! I then joined up for the Dorchester Community Play and saw then saw the ad for this production and decided to give it a go and audition. Clemmie was brill at the audition and flexible over time and put me utterly at ease. I said I would be happy with anything and landed the part of the Boatswain, one of the lesser known gems of the play, and in the chorus so was “well pleased”! so far all the rehearsals have been fun joined to hard work.

     And how are you enjoying the rehearsals etc?       

   So yes I am enjoying the rehearsals and being part of a group-we all start together and end together with gentle and quiet leading from the front. And everyone’s fun and friendly and supportive.

      Have you a theatre background?

          I definitely have a theatre background- I played a cat aged 6, one of a group, dressed in pyjamas with a tail who were all doing a “turn” to What’s new Pussycat and having been terrified about going on I then had to be lifted off the stage as I was really enjoying it! I was then the wardrobe mistress for my 3rd year primary school nativity play in charge of T towels for the shepherds, wrote my first play in turquoise ink, a whodunit, aged 12, was in Dido and Aeneas and then a brief break of 20 years before doing 2 more Baroque operas, another break and then Bridport and Lyme. One needs to rest!!

           You have been heavily involved in food since moving down to Dorset. How did that come about?

       My life as a “foodie” is in the past!! I did run Four Season Preserves, an apparently award winning preserves business though not much business and had 2 brushes with TV in the form of the Hungry Sailors and the Hairy Bikers one of whom I used to know “well” at college when we both had more hair and hair colour! I started the business back in Hertfordshire from where we moved in 2010 but for various reasons couldn’t regain the momentum. But everything has a season!! Like a cat I’d used up my 4!

      You are also known for your writing including a recent play. Can I twist your arm to tell us more?   
        Since moving here I have regained my writing “mojo” and had some success over the last 4 years with publications and not always self-published. I used to write with Story traders in Bridport who provided a great chance to get back on the chair and sit at the desk and continue to attend Annie Freud’s poetry group in Cattistock and various courses run by the Bridport Arts Centre and others. And yes amazingly I’ve just won a Page to Stage award with the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton- the prize was having the play performed and I had just over 2 weeks to get the actors etc! It was a scripted performance but was the first time I’d had to do production/direction too! And it went brilliantly with interest shown by a Lincolnshire community playgroup for me to take it there! The play is in 3 acts but it was the middle one that went forward for the award and it was about a strike by girls at Gundry’s net factory in 1912. The outer 2 acts are Punch and Judy shows! Hopefully the whole play will be done next year with Bridport Museum advertising it.The idea was inspired by research and writing undertaken by Carlos Guarita and a re-enactment of the strike by the Bridport Wildcats.
                                                                         WATCH THIS SPACE!    

          If anyone is undecided whether to come and see The Tempest of Lyme, how would you convince them?

          And as for coming to the play –well be there or miss one of the best events of the year in the area! Will be the best of community play working. I’m hoping to have a Hertfordshire group come down.

 Thanks Maya.           

Thursday, 16 June 2016

GiveMe5 for The Tempest of Lyme

 With so many (wonderful!) local people involved in The Tempest of Lyme, the costs are going to be quite high for costumes, set and props. So we need some extra help to make it happen, and make sure it looks brilliant (to match the brilliant performances!)

Today and only today we have the chance to get every £5 donated to the cause match-funded by Local Giving. Please donate if you can, and share to friends and family and on social media. We need to raise around £1000 ie 200 x £5 donations. If you can help....please do. Thank you. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Tempest of Lyme....An Interview......

.......with myself!!

While in limbo, waiting for some cast members to get back to me, I thought I would take on the task of interviewing myself. It's a dirty job...but someone has to do it!!

1. How long have you lived in Lyme Regis?

It will be twelve years in July. And very happy here.

2. What stage work have you done?                    

Very little. I suppose I always liked the notion of doing it, but never, ever envisaged in a million years that I would ever attempt it!

3. What then, got you involved?

Jenny Wiles had the idea to present Oh What A Lovely War in November 2014 and as I love the show, the songs and the message it puts across, I decided to take the plunge...and loved it. The Tempest of Lyme will therefore be my second foray into this strange world.

4. What are you enjoying most about this production?

I try to get to all the rehearsals because I enjoy seeing how each scene develops in the hands of an extremely talented director and equally talented local actors. I particularly like how everyone's input is considered, even if ultimately rejected! But really, the flow of creative ideas is quite amazing with everyone working hard to make the show a success.

5. What are your views on 'method acting'?      

Method? Acting? What?

6. You balance work and charity shop volunteering with your rather prolific writing. How do you do that?

Er....somehow. Although, believe me, I can be very lazy indeed. Often. 

7. Can we expect to see you on stage again?      

It's a possibility unless the public demand I don't!

8. And how come you look exactly like me?

Odd isn't it.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Tempest...Rehearsals Continue (as you would expect!)

Bit by bit, scene by scene, piece by piece, act by act, (you get the idea) The Tempest of Lyme is coming together. There has been much music this week, much singing, many Ariels, a weather-beaten Sea Venture crew and Thatcher's Gold cider although admittedly, that was only me... 

I am enjoying how the scenes evolve as we run them with new ideas, new angles being continually explored. A fascinating process and if that wasn't enough, I got to brandish a wooden sword at Brian! And not just new angles and ideas either, but last night, re-writes! Hey, we coped admirably I thought. One of the key words of the show will be ENERGY and we certainly got a feel for that yesterday evening: running around, yelling, shouting, pushing, shoving, verbally abusing others. I'll leave you to decide whether all that was part of the rehearsal! Some pics from Theatre Square:

'King' Stephano lording it over Lyme.

Ah, we have singers!

One of those quiet moments...

Lyme gives us a stunning backdrop.