John Paxton Sheriff

John Paxton Sheriff

I was born in Liverpool in 1936, and began writing short stories while living with my wife and children in Germany in the 1960s. While we were living in Australia in the 60s/70s I had general and romance stories published in Australian Women's Weekly, Australian Woman's Day, and crime stories in Adam. There was then a ten year gap during which we returned to England/Wales and I began a successful business designing and selling collector's toy soldiers worldwide.

Since returning to writing, I have:

  • Published six general and romance short stories in Woman & Home in the 1980s and early 1990s when Kati Nichol was fiction editor.
  • Published three short stories in The Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, New York, when Catherine Jordan was editor.
  • Written several crime stories for D.C. Thomson's Weekly News' Dixon Hawk crime series.
  • Over a period of 18 months in the 80s I wrote a series of illustrated articles for Country Quest on The Seven Wonders of Wales, and another on the famous houses/castles of Wales.
  • For ten years in the 80s/90s I worked as a freelance feature writer for North Wales Weekly News and North Wales Newspapers

Over the past twenty years I have written and had published 60+ books:

  • Modelling Toy Soldiers (Hale)
  • How to Write Advertising Features (Alison and Busby)
  • Practical Short Story Writing (Hale/Barnes & Noble, New York)
  • Creating Suspense in Fiction (Hale)
  • Writing Crime Novels (Hale)
  • 46 Western Novels (Hale)
  • 7 Private Eye mystery novels featuring Jack Scott (Hale)
  • 2 Private Eyes mystery novels featuring Penny Lane (Hale)
  • A horror/Gothic tale, D'Arragon's Axe, has been published on Amazon Kindle to good reviews.

I am a former member of the Crime Writers' Association and the Society of Authors, and in 2011 I took the supervised test and qualified for and joined MENSA (I have since left).

John tutors the following courses: Short Story, Article Writing and Freelance Journalism, Fiction, Becoming a Successful Writer, Polish Your Writing Style.

What Our Students Say

The feedback was exactly what I was needing, very fair and full of pointers to work on further. I was always going to struggle with the verb exercise and will go back over this a few times. I also need to think about nouns becoming adjectives as in the example 'aluminium guttering’ from the ‘View From Window’ exercise. I’ll be starting assignment two this week and very much looking forward to further feedback (I can’t help but feel John may have gone easy on me for my first submission).

Graeme Morrice, West Lothian - 15/03/2016

John, thank you very much for your comments and advice regarding Assignment 3. I was very pleased that you liked my story and, once again, the recommendations you made have been extremely useful and insightful.

You are helping me understand that writing is a great craft that needs a lot of thought and care. Not only do I need to think carefully about the right and best words to use but it's also where they are placed within a sentence that can make or break the impact or reaction I'm looking for. Your feedback has provided a light-bulb moment for me. I've read about it before and thought I'd understood, however, you providing an example with something I have written somehow made it 'click' in my brain.

Thanks very much. I'm looking forward to implementing your advice in my next assignment.

Karen Kettle, Sandhurst - 30/05/2017

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