Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction



Portsmouth Bookfest – Day of the Dead II

Halloween is here!

Already? I hear you cry!

Yes, I reply… in what was a fairly dull conversation I’d admit, but it does mean that it’s time for Will Sutton’s brilliant – Day of the Dead event.

After the success of the sell out event at The Square Tower last year, there will be another eclectic mix of spoken word and music to celebrate Halloween and all that is dark and gruesome.

I will be reading an excerpt from a future novel called THE INFORMATION – a middle grade, fantasy, sci-fi adventure set in a macabre future world.

I wrote the draft of this book one morning on a golf course… I got hit a bit, but a few golf ball scars have certainly enhanced my profile.

So if you want to listen to this and more spooky snippets here’s the official plug…


Friday 31st October           7.15pm                   Day of the Dead II 

Square Tower


Hello Darkness! With the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub

Macabre. Poignant. Gut-wrenching. Pungent.

Tales and songs performed by the writers themselves.
Alongside the talented authors who created last year’s sell-out Day of the Dead event, Portsmouth Writers’ Hub brings you fresh voices to confront the darkness.

Sounds alright, eh?

Hope to see some of you at the event, but if not have a great month of trick a treating, bonfires and eating soup again if it cools down. I haven’t had a bowl of Oxtail since about February, so I for one welcome a little cold weather… eventually

Tom ‘All Roll and no Soup’ Harris


Well it’s that time of year again, when Portsmouth Bookfest takes over my life for a month.

This is my third year of being involved in the Bookfest and it really only seems like 2 years and 12 months since I first got involved – honestly, it does…

So, to celebrate the launch of the paperback of Portsmouth Fairy Tales for adults, we’ll be headlining at the Guildhall!

Yep, you can check us out in the presence of the Lord Mayor soon – yeah, yeah, yeah… I know what you’re going to say

Woooooh, you’ve changed… You don’t hang out with riff-raff anymore!

Well, you’ve obviously not met any of my friends and family if you truly believe that!!!

The event is free, but please follow the link below if you wish to book a ticket for what should be an entertaining evening.

Here’s the official blurb…

Thursday 23rd October     7.30pm                BookFest Launch

 FREE – please book a ticket at

 Lord Mayor’s Room, Portsmouth Guildhall

This special event sees the official launch of Portsmouth BookFest 2014. We will officially open the festival and we are delighted to celebrate the publication of Portsmouth Fairytales For Grown Ups- the authors invite you to an entertaining evening of readings to celebrate the launch of this brand new collection of Portsmouth-based stories.

Not bad, eh?

Portsmouth Fairy Tales – Book Launch & Readings


Once Upon a Time… Tom decided to keep a blog post short… no, honestly, he did…
So, following on from the earlier workshops, the authors of Portsmouth Fairy Tales will be reading extracts from their stories, moi included.
If you can get along that would be amazing to see you there – please find details of this event below… or ask The Pale Man on the door for directions. He’s on loan from Pan’s Labyrinth… and don’t try to sneak any kids in, he’s got a tremendous appetite and eyes in the back…er front… of his… hands!!! (Very brave and heroic children who slay and defeat this evil creature on the door may pass free of charge, but don’t use magic… not in front of grown ups.)
The Pale Man - Pan's Labyrinth
Evening Event:
Leave the kids at home and join us for an evening of dark, twisted and delicious fairy tales. All freshly-written, all set in Pompey’s alleys, buildings and beaches.
Sit back with a drink, while 11 authors – including the amazing Tom Harris, who juggles fire whilst he reads – reveal their tangled tales.
Readings start at 8pmThe Groundlings Theatre, Portsea, Saturday 21st of June


No booking required. Free event, part of Portsmouth Festivities. More info here.

Hope to see you there


Portsmouth Fairy Tales – Workshops:


To tie-in with the launch of our collection of adult short stories later this month, some of the writers will be hosting free workshops in Portsmouth – and there is a brilliant reason to attend them.
I won’t be there! 🙂
So if you are sick of the sight of me – I know I am! – this is a perfect opportunity to get yourself down – if you live North of the island – or up – if you are a crustacean or mermaid – to Southsea.
Neil Gaiman Quote
Here are the details. So, please get involved & spread the word.
Both workshops are free, so come and meet some of the writers who will feature in the forthcoming book. They are much more entertaining, trustworthy, intelligent and have far better bowel control than I could ever dream of… ahem.
If any of our community workshops below sounds like your kind of thing then we’d love to see you there.
Workshop 1Epic Fairy Tales & Mysteries at Our Own Doors:
This creative writing workshop is for the 60+ – if you have I.D and are 55+ we can squeeze you in on the quiet… just keep it on the down low.
William Sutton, author of Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square, journalist and playwright and Zella Compton, author of The Ten Rules of Skimming, columnist and playwright, bring you a 2 hour creative writing workshop:
– how to write an epic fairy tale (for grown-ups)
– how to write your life story (or fib about it)
Beginners and experienced writers welcome. Have fun exploring how real lived experience and everyday dilemmas can be woven into fantastical tales of your city.
Join them at Southsea Library 3-5pm, Saturday 21st of June. Free event. More info here.
Workshop 2- Creating Compelling TV Drama & Globally-Loved Characters:
This creative writing workshop for new graduates and writers will help you establish your voice in a diverse literary landscape.Matt Wingett, TV script writer and novelist, and Tessa Ditner, comedy writer & journalist, bring you a 2 hour creative writing workshop that reveals:
– the drama game – how to master conflict and create compelling drama for TV and other mediums
– what’s so special about you? Find a character to grip your audience through novels, movies or computer games, like Bond, Potter or Lara Croft.
Join them at Carnegie Library 1.30-3.30pm Saturday 21st June. Free event. More info here.
I hope you can get along to one of these great workshops and in the meantime, keep writing and reading
I’ll be back with more news on the project soon
Thanking You Kindly


Portsmouth Fairy Tales – Cover Reveal

Right now, at this hour, I am not in a land, far, far away, and so I am able to reveal the cover for a forthcoming collection of short stories for adults entitled –

Portsmouth Fairy Tales

– I’ll be back every day this week to give you news on workshops, readings, release dates, prices and some useful tips on how to win big on the stock exchange… but I digress.

It’s been a fun and exciting project to work on with so many local authors and the first time I have written anything for adults for a very long time.

Having worked around fairy tales for my Middle Grade novels, The Amber Room and the soon to be released, The Amber Antidote, it was great to adapt some ideas for adult fairy tales, and journey back to the darker origins of the genre. It was nice to burst free from the rules and shackles and grow up… even if it was just for a moment in time.

I will be posting all this week with more details on the book ahead of its release.

The cover was designed by local artist, Jon Everitt and so without further ado, here it is.

Funnily enough, I met the guy who sat for the portrait yesterday. A charming individual, who lives in constant fear of attack from Herring Gulls and Cormorants… I’ve simply no clue why they torment him the way they do – any ideas?

Portsmouth Fairy Tales book cover by Jon Everitt

8 Lines a Week – Fruit-based Spellimg Nistakes

Shy Lime at the back

Happy Bamk Holiday weekemd to you all, welcone to 8 limes a week, the Chromicle for the Chaotic.

If amyone still works om a typewriter – fair respect to then! Let’s face it, it cam save a writer’s life, look what it did for Paul Sheldom!


But ask yourself, what would happem if the oh so reliable keyboard’s on our laptops emcoumtered sinilar frailties to the typewriter- say, for instamce if ome letter you typed appeared im the text as amother… I womder, I womder…

Anyway, here is this weeks 8 Limes a Week!

The origin of limelight is related to the type of stage lighting used in old music and theatre halls and is not so called because everyone who enters it has a thousand jealous eyes cast over them leaving them lime green with envy.


2/ Is it any coincidence that the magnificent man who created Harry Lime went by the name of Graham Greene.

Harry Lime

3/ Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock but the only lime coloured Flintsone in Bedrock is Pebbles – go figure!


4/ There’s a food manufacturer based down the road from me called I.R. Onics. They sell Key Lime Pie but their bakery is always locked!

Key Lime Pie

5/ A dear, crude but loyal, friend at school once told me that Chocolate Limes were the only sweets that shit themselves!

Chocolate Limes

6/ Another close friend of mine once asked me if limes, oranges and lemons came from the same tree – I said, I didn’t know but pointed him in the direction of the Bell family who come from St Clement’s.

Lime Trees

7/ I recently tried to purchase the Lime Cycle. I asked the shop keeper how it worked and he said – It starts off as Calcium Carbonate, when heated that becomes Calcium Oxide plus Carbon Dioxide, the Calcium Oxide then reacts with water to produce Calcium Hydroxide, when more water is added and filtered it becomes Calcium Hydroxide Solution. CO2 is added to form Calcium Carbonate again. I took a deep breath and asked him if he had it in blue.

The Lime Cycle

8/ And they said it couldn’t be done! And it got rid of my bellyache!


And it’s goodbye from Mr Lime until next time.

8 Lines a Week – The Blue Spruce of Dr. Seuss

Welcome to the 2nd edition of 8 Lines a Week – The blog for the busy.

Forgive me this week if I jump right on in, for I discovered a tonic from a helpful old jinn, a sprightly ole fella of Loraxian kin.

The Lorax old school

Last weeks 8 Lines didn’t half stink so I wrote it in an invisible ink

This week I was inspired by an old chum, Dr. Seuss, and with the help of the sap squeezed from a blue spruce, I began to produce

Dr Seuss Cat in The Hat

Last week I was empty, I’d injured my mandible, so now I bring you something more tangible

Childhood memories from Knowle and from Dorridge, stirred in my head like a Vat of Prune Porridge

So a few old books got me out of my jam, as quick as a pig can get turned into green ham in a can delivered by a man in a pram

Green Eggs & Ham

So without further ado, and I do and I don’t, I’ll complete this last line whilst I pull on my coat

Bye from above and bye from below, this 8th line must mean that it’s now time to go…


8 Lines a Week – The Portsmouth Writers – a celebration of St George!!!

St George

Hi, welcome to 8 Lines a Week, the archive for the assiduous.

On Tuesday night the Portsmouth Writers gathered in the sublime Square Tower in Old Portsmouth to celebrate St George’s Day & World Book Night as well as the proud literary heritage of the city. The event was covered by South Today and Radio Solent and bought together an eclectic and talented mix of writers from around the city, my good self being part of this south coast syndicate of scribes.

As ever we were ably supported by Portsmouth City Council, the Portsmouth Writers Hub at the New Theatre Royal and the fabulous Jo from Blackwells. The event was organised by Historical Novelist, Jack Hughes, who did an excellent job – I doth my cap to you, sir…Portsmouth City Emblem With work on display around the tower, ten of our band also read from our collective scribbling’s and excerpts from the literary greats of the city. Here is a snippet of what was on offer, in 8 Lines obviously…

*the length of what constitutes a line may alter slightly due to narrow display of website page… I thank you for your discretion in not drawing attention to this… 

Dickens 2 Take Nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence

read by Charlotte Comley and taken from the lips of Mr Jaggers from Dickens’ Great Expectations

Assisted by a descendant of the long-dead King, the rotten remains were lifted out, tasting the air after 500 years of being deconstructed by the sea

written and read by James Bicheno, extract taken from his  poem entitled – The Mary Rose

Others wear traditional clothes, defiant in newfound cultural ownership, painful nostalgia hugging brown skins that have shed Waziristani or Burmese sweat and blood

written and read by Lynne Blackwood, extract taken from her short story –  The Lesson in Dhansak – about her first generation Anglo-Indian heritage

He tried to shout but his mouth had been zipped shut. North was bursting, screaming inside…RUN…RUN…RUN…but she couldn’t hear

written and read by Tom Harris, extract taken from his middle grade novel, The Amber Room

Inside The Square Tower

Pull up your pants there is work to be done!

written and read by Anna Barzotti , extract taken from her short story – The Mozzarella Wars! From the collection – Stories Beyond The Dirt Track

Quake you spongy, fly-bitten puttocks, she is free. Mary Rose sails.

written and read by Zella Compton, extract taken from her original poem Henry & Mary, scribed specially for this night

When she closed her eyes she could see the pink wool winding round her body like a giant spider’s web

written and read by Christine Lawrence, extract taken from her novel Caught in the Web

You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us

read by Tom Harris and taken from the lips of Scrooge from Dickens’ Christmas Carol


That’s all from 8 Lines a Week, The Pompey Writers and the fantastic Square Tower…

Outside The Square Tower

Thanks for whizzing by and pop by next week for a London Marathon special


8 Lines A Week

Shark Plate

We are all busy. So I’m not saying that I am busy and no-one else is – so let’s get this straight. I’m no busier than you or anyone you know, because however busy you think you are someone else is always busier, juggling work, studying, family, relationships, money, hobbies, fruit, balls and chairs if they’re exceptional. Have I got that point across… excellent now I’ll begin.

Oh, I need to blog, but I just feel I need to prioritise my time working on honing my craft. So much to create and so much to learn about the writing process – how can I afford to spend time blogging when I should be working!!!


I’m in my first year of a new job at Portsmouth University, which I love, and when the day is done and the night comes down and the moon is shining through I can be found writing, editing, proofreading, swearing, ripping, shredding, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting my new novel. I love writing, I guess you know that’s true and I love my job – I’m lucky, but… I’m still busy. Okay, fair enough, that lady on the Sussex coast with all the cats and the degrees and the 18 businesses is far busier, but me… yep, I’m a little busy.

So, when I aint got nothin’ but the urge to blog, I tend to stop and work on my manuscript because time is precious and I never want to take my foot off the ball or my eye off the pedal, because that’s when mistakes are made! It’s always on my mind and one thing I can say is that being submerged in a novel is a wonderful place to be… and even though the distractions of life are always pulling me down that’s fine, because that’s the way it is – that’s life! That’s what all the people say!!!

But, I’m still busy whatever anyone says – yes, I know Mr Archer from Nottingham that you run 11 Fletcher outlets and have 21 daughters to clothe, feed and defend from young dart-playing suitors; I bow to your busyness, and your business – but, guess what, I’m still quite busy.

So, how do I write and maintain a blog when I’m really busy, plenty of people do it, so what’s wrong with me?

In pondering this question, I listened to The Beatles.

Yes! Eureka! Like a projectile Ringo Starr crashing into Lucy in a diamond embedded sky it hit me.

I could write a small blog. Wow! The Brain of Britain has arrived!

I’m busy, everyone’s busy, so I could scribe and prescribe a small blog which takes less time to put together and less time to read and then we’re all happy, right? And that nagging need to blog is soothed – how bloomin’ marvellous.

But how long is short?

8 a Week

It was right there in the lyrics.

8 Lines a Week seems about perfect.

And no that has nothing to do with recreational snortage before you ask, I haven’t the time to lose days on end with all that stuff – have you not listened to a word I said?

Anyway, must dash, I have a new blog to prep’ because I’m, yep… how did you guess?

Mr Busy

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