8th July 2018

Yesterday was what I call a productive day. I was up at about 6am and at my desk by 6:30am. There I sat till maybe 3pm sort of time. I had the odd break here and there, and spent the normal time faffing about on social media. All in all though I wrote 2961 words for the day. That’s 534 on WC2, 742 on AG3 (the final draft of a fanfic piece), 778 on PE3, and 917 on a guest post for a friends blog.

Needless to say I’m really chuffed with this. I’d set myself a target of 2000 words for the day, so smashing that put a decent smile on my face.

I am getting stuck with PE3. I’ve got scenes I know will be in the story that I’m going to jump ahead and write, but I’ve kinda lost where I’m going with it. So I’m going to tap up a friend and see if she do some brainstorming with me, because right now, I really don’t know where I’m going and it’s time to ask for some help.

After I finished writing I watched Knocked Up and This Is 40 back to back. I’d not seen Knocked Up since it came out so it was nice to see it again. This Is 40 is one I’ve seen a couple of times and one I do like a lot. While I was doing this I cleared out all the clothes I own that either don’t fit me, I haven’t worn in over a year, or have had it. I probably cleared out half my wardrobe doing this yesterday, and it was rather therapeutic. I’ve been in the process of changing what I wear for a while and have a decent collection of t-shirts and some gorgeous hoodies. The next area to cover is trousers. I love jeans, so that’s not gonna change too much but I now need to get some more pairs. I want to have a look around at different styles of trousers as well and see what takes my fancy, when the cash flow permits.

So, an exceptionally productive day yesterday. If I could get two of those a month I’d be one happy camper!

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Book Review: Practical Life Advice: or some $#!+ like that by Amber Jerome-Norrgard

Each one of these little pieces of wisdom from Amber Jerome-Norrgard is very spot on. A few in particular struck a cord with me in a way that I wouldn’t of been able to appreciate five years ago. Some of them are obvious, and almost common sense, in a way but I for one don’t always see this in a conscious way. So to have them written in front of me makes them very bold thoughts that are currently running around my head!

A few did tickle my funny bone and a few I wish I could put on billboards on major roads!

I do seriously need these in some sort of sub-dermal electronic tattoo on the inside of my eyelids and I get a random one each time I close my eyes.

Looking Back At 2017

This last year has been a tough one. As a family we’ve had a lot of crap thrown our way this year. We’ve lost loved ones, and had issues of health pepper us amongst other difficulties life has a habit of throwing in our paths.

It has been a hard year, it’s not been harder than anyone else’s year. It’s been what it is. We’ve taken each day as it comes and in my opinion that is the best way to take life at times.

These things I won’t go into detail on. They are things that affect my family as well as myself and I don’t think it’s my place to talk in-depth about these events on my public blog.

One moment this year that hit me harder than I thought something of its nature could was the death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. Although now I am really out of date with most music, I was a huge fan of Linkin Park when they first hit the scene. Their first two albums are two of my favourite albums ever, I didn’t even listen to that type of music until they came along. It’s music that speaks to me, but I didn’t realise how important it is to me until Bennington’s death this year. I mourned his death in a way that I haven’t for other public figures. I read a lot of Tom Clancy when I was in my late teens. I was a huge fan of Alan Rickman as well, and although it saddened me when they died it wasn’t like when Chester Bennington died. I immediately binge listened to the Linkin Park albums I had, and blitz their YouTube channel. It was only a month or so ago that I’ve stopped getting a lump in my throat when I hear his vocals. I realised a few weeks after his death that I felt like this because it was the first death of one of my icons. Someone who not only did I look up to and admire, but someone who spoke to me. I didn’t know the death of someone I didn’t know would hit me as hard as Chester Bennington’s death did.

I’ve had highs and lows with writing this year. A few projects I put a lot of time into have crashed and burned pretty badly. In particular I was quite demoralised by a zombie story I thought was going to be something good but it just didn’t pan out how I was expecting it too and it kind of gave me a bit of a confidence hit. I had done a lot of outlining for it, characters had been thought out and developed, but it just didn’t go right. I tried to rewrite it for NaNo, and it’s not bad. I’m happier with it now than I was initially but it’s not how I was expecting it to go. I think I can roll with how it’s changing, I just need to do some re-thinking on it.

Something I have learned is that it doesn’t matter whether I write with a pen and paper or straight into a word processor the words are the same. I wrote a first draft of a story I’ve got a lot of hope for by hand but was writing something else at the same time digitally and realised quickly that it didn’t matter how I wrote something, if I was in the mood to write it all came out the same. With this story in particular I’ve got to change a lot for the second draft. Like the zombie story I mentioned it came out different to how I envisioned it. The biggest problem is I’ve written it from only one point of view, and to tell the story I want to I need to do it from multiple POVs. I don’t think it’ll be difficult, but I want to let it sit for another month or two before I return to it. I’d like to get some more planning done for it as well.

The work with Owen is a little up in the air at the moment but I’m expecting to find out what’s happening early in the new year.

The highest points of this year for me have been getting two stories published. Both through charity anthologies from Burdizzo Books. The first one, The Final Charge was in Sparks: An Electric Anthology in October. The second was my take on The Three French Hens in this years 12 Days of Christmas 2017 Anthology. I am incredibly proud of both of these stories. They were a lot of fun to write and knowing the proceeds from both books go to good causes makes it feel even better than it does. The folks at Burdizzo Books are fantastic people as well, along with the group of writers they have around them.

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It’s great to finally have my writing in print and has really fired me up and shown me that it’s not impossible. There is nothing stopping me except myself.

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The last item I really want to talk about are a few of the people I’ve met this year. I attended a book launch for Sparks up in Walsall and met the head honcho and editor Matthew Cash as well as a couple of the other contributors. We later had another launch in my home town as Burdizzo Books’ other editor, Em Dehaney, is from Gravesend as well. Both launch parties were fantastic, I did a reading at both, although with the Gravesend one I was hit with a severe cold a few hours before and was incredibly unwell. I thought I was going to pass out during my reading, but it was still an amazing experience.

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Myself with Pippa Bailey, Matthew Cash, and David Court.

I also went to a few cons this year. Unfortunately DemonCon down in Maidstone has now come to an end. I was pleased to be at the last one in February, but will miss it. It’s the con were I first me Dan Abnett and his wife Nik, who are lovely people. I went to Birmingham Horror Con around that time as well, that was incredibly fun and I got to see my friends Cat and Lynx Raven again as well as Dave from From The Shadows. I also went to EGX with my buddy Stefan from Stefan’s Daily Gaming. Although I’m not a huge gamer this was a lot of fun as well. It was good seeing some great games and a lot of people who were in their element. Bristol Horror Con was my favourite of the year though. Not only did I see CL Raven and Dave (From The Shadows) again but I also went to a couple of panels. I spent a little time talking to Adam Millard and his wife in the VIP room. Seriously lovely people who were very encouraging of my own work and just fun to talk to. I also got the chance to speak to Tim Lebbon as well. Again, another awesome and encouraging person. I just hope the more of these I go to the more at ease I get speaking to all these fantastic people.

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With Lynx and Cat Raven at Bristol Horror Con

The horror community is really welcoming and seems to have a lot of heart to it. It’s definitely a place I feel at home it.

One night in particular that was both fun and tiring was an all-night ghosts hunt I went on with Boleyn Paranormal down at a True Crime Museum in Hastings. It was a lot of fun, very interesting and I met more awesome people, but I’m not doing another all-nighter. I was shattered for a few days after that. Cat and Lynx Raven were there as well, and they popped back to my home to meet my animal army before they returned to Cardiff. En Route to my house we stopped at the site of the Battle of Hastings. Although not far from my home I can’t recall ever going there and it was quite a surreal experience that I’m glad we took the time to do.

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Lynx and Cat saying hello to two of our hens

A massive highlight of the year for me was meeting Scott Sigler and AB Kovacs. I’ve been a fan of Sigler’s work for a decade now and when he announced he was coming to Europe, including the UK, it would have taken the zombie apocalypse to have stopped me from getting there. It was a great evening in a pub in London just hanging out with Scott, A and other fans of Sigler’s work (AKA the Junkies). It was good chatting to them both and seeing the love they have for the fans of the work. Both Scott and A have a lot of charisma and energy and clearly love what they do, and it was one of the highlights of the year.

2017 has had a lot of downs, but its had a lot of ups as well. That’s what I’m focusing on, I’m not ignoring the low points, just choosing to look at the positives. Most importantly I appreciate those important people I have in my life. My friends and family mean the world to me and I’m very grateful having them all.

Roll on 2018…

 

Good Morning, Sunday 14-5-17

I’ve not been well this week. I had something that made me ache all over, I had a temperature while also having the shivers. After a couple days of that, and some weird as hell dreams I’m feeling much better, albeit a little more tired than normal. But I did loose a couple of days where I’d like to have gotten some words done. I have picked it up the last couple of days, although as I’m editing this fan fiction piece I’m not writing bundles of words but I am making progress.

Outside of that I’ve finished my edits on a short story which I’ll be sending to an anthology soon, once my Beta readers have looked it over. I have also made some progress on an outline for an Assembly story. I’d like to light a fire under my arse and get that done and off to Owen so he can put his touch on it and see what he can improve on in it.

Speaking of Owen, I really need to get those final alterations on The Space Watch done. I may try and blitz through that once I’ve finished working through the chapter I’m editing for the fan fiction piece.

Time for some breakfast and then to the desktop for some work. Have an awesome day, everyone!

Good Morning, Good Sunday! 16/4/17

Good morning! Well, it’s another Sunday morning, the dog is snoring at my feet, and the cat is nowhere to be seen (probably stretched out on a bed somewhere). I can hear the birds singing in the garden but that is all the sound I can hear right now. I live in a rural area and this time of the morning on a Sunday is quite often very peaceful (as I said that a car went pelting up the road at a silly speed). Anyway, this last week has felt somewhat slow, writing wise. I’ve not written a huge amount of words but I have written everyday and have averaged about 300 words a day (I’m not including yesterdays words in that). So I’m pretty chuffed with that. It’s felt like an odd week where I haven’t got much work done, but I was quite pleased when I saw that I’d done that much this week.

This last week has seemed to have gone by in a flash, but aside from Wednesday when I had a Write-In, I’ve not had an especially busy one outside of the day job. That said though, I only really had Monday and Tuesday night’s to write. I did do a few words at the Write-In, but not many. My brother and his family have just moved house, so on Thursday night I helped him move a lovely sofa they have, which wasn’t easy but we got it out the old house and into the new one. That took a bit of doing. And then on Friday we moved the bulk of his furniture. So Thursday and Friday I didn’t get a lot written, but I wasn’t expecting to because of helping my brother out. Last night I just flaked out, but I did write 600+ words in the morning before I went to work.

This week I’ve got today to get some work done, and tomorrow is a bonus day. As it’s Easter Monday we get a Bank Holiday (same with Good Friday), so no day job. I’d like to have put a big dent into my FanFic piece. I’ve barely touched that this week and would like to make some serious progress with it.  The majority of the work I’ve done this week has been on the short story I’ve been playing with. It’s over 3000 words now and I like a lot of it, although I’m not sure about how strong it is. It’s a story in Owen and my Assembly universe and at worst it’s a great character piece which is letting me flesh out a character we’ve got plans for in the future, and at best something we’ll put out one day, probably in a collection.

I am thinking through to NaNoWriMo a little. I know November is a long way off but it’ll be with us sooner than we know, and I’m seriously considering writing the zombie piece I’ve just done the primary outline for. I’m thinking of this story because I always assume I’m going to be able to do more than I can during a year. It’s about seven months till November and I’m not sure we’ll be able to get The Space Watch locked down by then, I’m also going to try and submit to some anthologies this year so I’d like a little time to be writing for them as well. I’ve also got one Assembly story I’m working on the outline for, and I’d like to get another couple of outlines done for next year. I’m also thinking like this as a way to start planning what I’m writing. I’ve tried to do that a couple of times but it doesn’t play out like that. Partly because I wasn’t outlining at all, or anywhere close to the depth of outline that I need to have. So, if I decide to do this zombie story for NaNo this year then I know I’ve got over six months to spend more time on the outline, I don’t think I need that amount of time but I’ll know what I’m doing and what time frames I’ve got to work with.

Having that amount of time will also give me time to work on any submission calls I come across, as well as some short stories I want to work on in addition to outlining and planning future pieces.

I’d love to be smashing out a thousand words a day and writing where the wind takes me, but I’ve been doing that for many years and it’s not working for me. I’m hoping this steadier, more prepared, approach will prove fruitful.

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Snoring like a steam train!

Good Morning, Sunday

This is going to be a bit of a bulky post as I just sum up what’s been going on in the last few weeks.

It’s been a slow couple of weeks with writing, I’ve literally written no new words for pushing a month now. In that time though I have been  working on an outline in much more detail than I have done in the past, and I’ve been working on getting last years FanFic piece read through. With the FanFic piece it’s a little complicated as I have to figure out what I’m going to need to connect the various pieces together, as well as figuring out what I’m going to re-write to make it all into a coherent story.

I have got my vampire collection all sorted out though. This is one of the files that I’d done beta note adjustments on, but I’d lost the file and have had to do them all over again. As I was doing the changes I couldn’t help but think it might just be an idea to rewrite the whole thing as (I’d like to think) I’m a better writer now. Aside from the time it’ll take for me to rewrite another story I’ve written (50k plus words), I’d also loose some of the subtext that is in those stories. I listen to Armand Rosamilla’s podcasts (Armcast and The Mando Method) and he has said that he has thought about rewriting some of his older work, but he isn’t now who he was then, and they’d loose something if he rewrote them. I can’t help but agree. I also don’t want to be that writer that keeps working on the same things and never moves forward. I do suffer a little of that but I’m trying to pull away from it. Now that I’ve got this done, and ready to go off to other beta readers, I’m feeling like I am moving forward.

We’re also moving forward on The Space Watch. Owen is working his way through, putting his stamp on it and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him to go through it in detail and see what he thinks needs working on.

I did have a massive highlight last Saturday (18th March) and that was meeting Scott Sigler. Scott is one of my writing idols and he’s having a small European tour and as soon as I heard him announce the two London dates I immediately booked the 18th off so I could go and hang out with a writer who I’ve been following since 2007. I also got to meet his business partner, AB Kovacs. Both Scott and A are really fantastic people. They are both very engaging, passionate, hard working, and genuine. They’ve also got a great deal of appreciation for the fans, we call ourselves Junkies, and that was very clear to see on Saturday. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best moments of my life, and has opened my eyes a little to how much of a rut I’m in. Both with writing and life in general. I am taking steps to change that, but I am quite an introvert and it’s not easy for me to step out of my comfort zone.

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Scott Sigler and myself
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AB Kovacs

Back to Saturday night though; in addition to meeting Scott and A, I got to hang out with a good twenty to thirty other Junkies who were an awesome group of people and were all so passionate about Sigler’s work. I also got to meet comedian, illusionist,  and writer John Lenahan. John was podcasting back when Scott started off, and is such a cool dude. What made him even cooler was that he did the voice of Talkie Toaster from the TV series Red Dwarf!

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John Lenahan

Elsewhere, I’ve been getting back into the cinema. I’m a huge movie fan and it’s getting to the time of year when the movies I want to see are coming out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been to see Lego Batman, Logan, Kong:Skull Island, and Beauty and the Beast. Lego Batman was a lot of fun, silly and over the top, which is what I was expecting. Logan was just brilliant! Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine with such commitment, understanding and passion over the years it’s going to be a shame not seeing him playing the character again. Kong was surprising good. Action right from the start and never did it feel like it was slowing down. It just kept its pace, and the action didn’t disappoint. It’s also the first time I’ve really seen Brie Larson in anything. She’s been cast as Carol Danvers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was really impressed with how she was on screen. Beauty and the Beast is probably one of my favourite Disney movies. I saw the animated version a couple of times at the cinema when it first came out, and it’s always resonated with me. The live action version was good, but I think it doesn’t quite match up to the original. This is one of those times where I’ve realised this film was going to find it hard to impress me because of my love for the original, that said there was a lot I liked about the live action remake and I will definitely be buying it on Blu-Ray when it does come out.

TV wise, I watched The Expanse, and really dug it. It was a little bit of a slow start but once I’d gotten to about episode three I was locked-in. I’m looking forward to seeing the next series. It’s also reminded me I’ve got to get through the rest of the books in the series. I’m now getting stuck into Iron Fist, and am really enjoying it. It’s just taken a turn I wasn’t expecting. I could quite easily go and binge the last four or five episodes but I’d like to get some work down today.

Reading wise, I’ve not got Terror Byte by J.R. Park finished yet. I’m enjoying the story but I’ve let myself get distracted by movies, TV and comics in the last couple of weeks. I’m going to aim to get back to reading before bed each night, again and will hopefully have it finished by this time next week. Speaking of comics, I’ve just finished House of M, and really loved it. I’ve been curious as to what led up to Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment and I brought House of M simply because the cover looked cool and I was intrigued by the title. So seeing Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment was an added bonus. I’ve now moved onto Secret Invasion. I also listened to Alone by Scott Sigler. This is the third book of his Generations Trilogy and really ended the series well. The audiobook was narrated by AB Kovacs and she smashed it! A really impressive performance, and very easy to listen to.

Well, that’s about it. Sorry for the chunky post, it’s not often I break five hundred words, let alone a thousand! I am trying to focus my attention and energy better. I’m not being overly successful with it, but I’m trying. Hopefully I’ll have a productive week.

Good Morning, Sunday

This week has felt quite odd. We had my Grandad’s funeral on Friday and although that went well (as well as any funeral can) its felt like a week where I’ve been out of sync. I’ve also not been especially well again also, which hasn’t helped.

On Monday I started making my red-pen changes to The Space watch, although most of the night was spent arranging the layout in Scrivener so I’ve got each chapter broken down into its various scenes. Tuesday night, after getting home from seeing The Lego Batman Movie (which is awesome!) I cracked on with a little planning on a zombie story I’ve had brewing for quite a few years. It’s struck me that when I’d thought that I’d not be able to build a story strong enough to write with this idea it was because I need to put more thought into it. This goes back to what I was saying the other day about making sure I get an outline done instead of just steaming into it, which I have tried in the past with this idea. I’ve got an idea, and I’m using a couple of movies as a sort of inspiration/format for the tone I want to aim for. I’ve done a little more planning for that, and have come up with an idea for one of the characters that I like a lot, so I need to see if I can make it work.

That’s what I’m going to be working on outlining wise for the next few days. I’d like to think I’ll be done with it by the end of this next week, but I’ve not done much outlining so I’m not sure what the timescale will be. That is my secondary project, my primary one is going to be getting The Space Watch sorted out. Now I’ve done all the logistics of switching it from Pages to Scrivener I don’t think it’ll take me too long to get it sorted out. Being me I’m planning on getting stuck in today when I get home from DemonCon (more on that in a bit), and I’m assuming that I’ll be able to smash out the rest of this edit pass by the end of the day. It’s probably about 25,000 words, which is doable, but I’m not going to bust my gut to get it done. If I rush it, I’ll start missing details and making mistakes.

I’ve had to stop working on my fanfic piece, simply because I was working on it during my lunch breaks but I’ve got to a bit where I’m going to need some time to sort this next section out properly. To do that I’m going to need more than a lunch break to do it. So what I’m going to do is get The Space Watch edited, then get through some Beta notes on my vampire collection, and then get stuck into it. Then I will be up to date with some work that I should have had done for quite some time, and then I’ll get this read through of the fanfic piece done and see where I need to go with it.

Just a quick word on DemonCon; this will be my third one, and I’m really looking forward to it. I am still feeling a little unwell, so thats dampened my enthusiasm a little, but I’m still pumped. I’m going to make more of an effort to ask people if I can take their pictures, there’s going to be loads of cosplayers there, and I’m going to make more of an effort to have a chat with them as well. I need to get over this shyness of mine and I think events like DemonCon, Birmingham Horror Con, and Bristol Horror Con are great places for meeting people and getting talking to them. There is such a  great, warm atmosphere at these three different cons that I’ve been to, and the people who go to them are all into what I am. So hopefully the more of them I go to the less shy I’ll be.

Speaking of DemonCon, I’d better go and get ready.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!