What I Want To Read In 2015

I didn’t read any where near enough last year. I can think of a half a dozen books that I really wanted to read but just didn’t get around to (Wool, Pandemic, Feed, The Man in the High Castle, Soul Asylum and The Earthsea Quartet). Those are just the ones off the top of my head. Lets add in some shorter pieces by Dan Abnett (set in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series) and J.C. Hutchins novella series, The 33.
Then I’ve got novels by Justin R. Macumber, Terry Mixon, Paul E. Cooley, Armand Rosamillia, Mimi Black and Christopher Stocking. (Dan Abnett also has a full length Gaunt’s Ghosts novel out this year too, yes I’m excited!).
I’d also like to read the second Lincoln Rhyme book, The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver and the first Harry Potter book read early on this year as well.
I’d really like to get start on the fourth Dark Tower book as I finished the third recently, but as it’s taking me a while to get through this series by Stephen King I’m a little reluctant to make a start on Wizard and Glass while I’ve got so many other books that I’m itching to read. That said, if I get through enough by the mid-point of the year then I may dive into it. I was thinking about giving it a go as an audiobook but these Dark Tower books seem so complex I’m not sure I’ll absorb them as much as I would do if I read them. I am a big fan of audiobooks, but I do miss the odd thing while listening (interruptions while at work) and also, I’ve read the previous three books and I think it’ll feel weird not reading the other four.

These are all books I’ve already got, either on my bookshelf or on my Kindle app or my iBooks app.

I will be listening to a lot of audiobooks this year as well. I’ve got eight or nine in my Audible library already.

I’ve set a Goodreads target of 60 books this year. With the audiobooks, comic books and the shorter pieces I’m planning on reading I think I’ll manage that. If I’m well ahead of target early on I may increase it but I’ll see how I’m doing.

The Reading List

Although I am not setting myself targets or making any grand plans for this year one thing I am aiming a little more attention to is reading. I felt last year I didn’t make enough time to read and this is something that I need to change. one piece of advice that I’ve heard successful writers give is that to write we need to read.

I have just finished Shadows of the Realm by Dionne Lister and I have just started Embedded by Dan Abnett. Shadows of the Realm has been on my Kindle App for a couple of months and I really enjoyed it. I’ll admit that I was not sure how I would do with it as I’m not a huge fan of fantasy but if I’m honest I’ve never really tried to read a fantasy novel. I’m glad I did read Shadows of the Realm as it is not only very well written but it is also one of those stories that gets more and ore addictive as you read it. After I finished it I went straight over to Amazon and downloaded the second book in the series. I’m holding off reading it though until the third is out and I’ll read them back-to-back when the time comes.

Tracie got me Embedded for Christmas but it’s been one that I’ve wanted to read for some time. I’m only thirty or so pages into it but already I’m at the point of eagerly turning the pages to see what happens.

This year there are a lot of books I want to read. Scott Sigler has Pandemic and The Champion out, as well as a number of novellas and short stories in various anthologies. Christopher Stocking has The Rotten Apple out and Jordanna East has Blood in the Paint out soon as well. Justin Macumber will also hopefully be releasing a couple more novels this year.

Then there are the novels on my iPad and book shelve I want to read this year. Doing a quick count I can see twenty three on my shelf and twenty eight on my Kindle App. Damn that’s a lot of books, and I know I’ll buy more during the year. Of course I’m not expecting to read all of these this year, my Goodreads goal is thirty five books. That is the same as last year but I didn’t hit it… hopefully I will this year.

Here are the website links to the authors I mentioned:






What’s In A Name?

I’ve written about this before but I’m just going to give it a quick look again.

When I’m writing I may give a character the name of one of my friends because I suck at naming characters and I don’t want to loose my momentum, but as I’m writing these characters can often feel rather empty. I can’t find what their purpose is. I’ve heard a lot of writers saying that each character, no matter how insignificant, is the hero of their own story. They have their own dreams and ambitions, their own daemons they are fighting. Even if we as readers never see that we as writers need to know it as it adds to the depth of the story.
Sometimes though I can’t find that, I’ll write the parts involving the character and as I said, it feels empty. But then I give the character a name and everything changes. I hear their voice, I see how they look and I know exactly what they are after. I remember an Ex totally disagreeing with me on this. She said a name didn’t mean anything. I’m not sure if this is a writer thing, or a me thing but I think a name can be a huge part of someone’s identity. I have never been fond of my name, but my nickname I love. I feel much happier being addressed by my nickname then my actual name. It feels like the real me.

A name is a huge part of who we are and from a writing point of view it helps me create a character. What do you think?

I finished reading His Only Star by Christopher Stocking last night. Amazing read. It really struck a nerve with me and I recommend that you check it out. Next read is the final Hunger Games book, and I’m starting on listening to the audiobooks I brought with the iTunes vouchers I got for my birthday. First will be World War Z by Max Brooks.

I also got the first book that I ordered from amazon yesterday 🙂 which I added to the two I brought in Waterstones on Sunday. I’ve still got five to get here 🙂 Ill go into exactly what I’ve brought in a later post.

And last night me and a friend went and saw Iron Man 3. Really good, although I prefer the second movie personally, but it was still very good and I will be buying it on DVD when it’s out.


No More Early Nights

Last night I was feeling a little more tired then normal, so I thought I’d get an early night. Waking up this morning I am feeling shattered! So now more early nights for me, that aside me and I got Owens notes back on my Project Apollo notes and I’ve sent back my thoughts on his notes. Hopefully we’ll be back writing the story very soon.

I think I’ve mentioned that I have started planning my NaNoWriMo story, so far I have a list of notes and an idea of the layout. As well as word count and a little planning of the first chapter I have not got much done. Neither of the two main characters are named yet but I have them pretty well thought through. I’m setting this one in my home town so location I know very well. This and Project Apollo are at the front of my mind at the moment. This new project is Project Sheppard.

I Need to get cracking on one or the other very soon.

Reading wise I started His Only Star by Christopher Stocking last night. It’s started off well and I’m looking forward to being able to get stuck into it tonight 🙂 I’m also listening to the We’re Alive podcast. This is a zombie apocalypse story in a radio drama format. Some of the content of this show is a little annoying, there are plenty of cliches and some of the characters are a little more annoying then I’m normally tolerant of, but its a very good story and I love some of the things the creators have thought about. This is the second time I am listening to this one, series 4 is out in the next few months. I’m looking forward to it 🙂

Another Book Read

I finished reading Chris Stocking’s ESTRA Corp. last night and I was impressed with the story generally, but the ending really blew me away.  Here’s the link to his blog http://writetoperfect.wordpress.com/ which I’m a big fan of.  This book is a little rough around the edges and Chris has mentioned that he’d like to fix it up a little.  I hope he does cause it has a good story, an interesting universe and some pretty fascinating characters.  There’s a lot of questions left unanswered and looking at it from a writers point of view its a very rich universe that if Chris wanted to he could play with a lot.  As for the ending, I didn’t see it coming which is always a good sign.  Surprising the reader is, in my opinion, good 🙂

It did take me a while to read this one, I had too many outside factors which did not give me time to zip through this as quickly as I normally get books read.  I just never seemed to find the time to actually sit down and get lots of pages read.  Normally I’ll read a couple of pages of a morning before I go to work and a couple of evenings a week I sit down and steam through ten or twenty pages but I havent been doing that lately.  Last night I did though.  In addition to reading the last twenty or so pages of ESTRA Corp. I knocked out over seventy pages of Salvations Reach by the legend that is Dan Abnett.  Here’s his website, http://www.danabnett.com/ Salvations Reach is I think the 13th book in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series of Warhammer 40k novels.  I’ve got them all and have read a few of them multiple times, Necropolis I’ve read more times then I can remember.  For me that’s the book where Abnett got his feel for the characters and universe that he is writing in here and as a general rule the books got stronger.  The Gaunt’s Ghosts books have followed a regiment from their founding and having been there since then I was really excited to get started on this book.  The way that Abnett writes also adds to this, he’s not just giving us a story that we read but I’ve found it’s like I’m there in the trenches with the characters.  Characters have died and I’ve been absolutely gutted that they did.  I need to look into some of his other fiction because he has written in a wide variety of areas, just check out his bibliography on Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Abnett_bibliography and you’ll see what I mean.  Dan Abnett is one of my biggest influences as a writer.  Within the first thirty pages of Salvations Reach I’m already amazed at how much information Abnett gives with so few words.  So I am determined to try to learn as much as I can from Abnett as I read Salvations Reach as well as enjoying the read, which I know I will 🙂



This Weeks Simple Target

This week I am aiming for quite a small goal and that is to finish the book that I am reading. Christopher Stocking’s ESTRA. Corp I am proper enjoying this novel but due to circumstances of the last seven days I haven’t been able to wrap the novel up. I’m well past the half way point of the story now and I’m itching to get to the end of the story.

I am waiting on Owen getting back to me about one of our projects that we’ve hit a roadblock on so I may delve into that and try and wrap it up. Owen also suggested that as we are very happy with the ending of Project Phoenix that we should work backwards from it and build the story that way.
I have three other stories that are roaming around my head at the moment as well. Nothing really big about those three but some details, world building bits like I’ve mentioned before.

Needs Dynamite To Blow A Hole In This Writers Block

I’m finding that ideas are flowing quite well at the moment but getting them down onto paper is a different story.  The grey matter is still working and the ideas that I am having are mainly world building ideas which are making two worlds that I write in feel like they will have more depth when I go back to working on them.  Another idea that I have is that I have is gaining some ground because a TV series that I am watching on DVD is of a similar idea (Thanks to my girlfriend for getting me that for my birthday 🙂 )

This lack of being able to write is getting to me now as I am even struggling to write blog posts! I have three blog posts partly written which I just cannot wrap up.  Add in a writing partner argument which has come close to ending the partnership and a number of non-writing life issues I am more than a little frustrated at the moment (including computer/laptop issues), but it is the lack of being able to write (and Edit) that is driving me crazy.

As I’ve said in previous posts I am still having ideas and the ideas are getting stronger which I think means the actual writers block is lifting and that I just need to beat the fatigue from a long working week before I am back to writing again.

In other areas I am still reading ESTRA Corp. by Christopher Stocking.  I thought I would have had this read by now, but falling asleep almost as soon as I get home has slowed my pace a little.  I have just got to a bit which has thrown a little surprise at me so I’m keen to see where Mr. Stocking is taking that little thread.  I’ll have a couple of hours where I can get stuck into the story today so hopefully I’ll have it wrapped up soon.

I recently saw The avengers or Avengers Assemble as its titled over here in the UK and I will just say “WOW” There will be a post about that in the next few days hopefully.

In the last week I’ve also re-listened to the audio books of The Caves Of Steel and I, Robot by the master that is Issac Asimov which has been very eye-opening.  I think where I’ve grown as a writer since I listened to them last I am finding much more appreciation for the skill with which they are written and the strength of content within them.  Asimov was truly a pioneer of the genre and I must discover more of his work.  I may readFoundationagain soon.

As always feel free to follow and ‘Like’ me on Facebook and Twitter respectively, those links are on the right hand side of your screen and hopefully the words will move from my head onto paper before too long 🙂

This Week’s Update

Okay, so I am still having more than a little trouble getting anything written at the moment, but I know its down to fatigue.  So while I’m hitting this big brick wall of writers block I am going to decorate my room.  I’ll be going for a lighter colour to my walls and get rid of this dark red I have (Dont Ask lol)  So I’m hoping it’ll lighten the room up a little and be a more calming environment.  I don’t think it will help ease my writer’s block, as I’ve said that’s more fatigue, but It’ll make a nice change.  The only downside to decorating is that I will have to clear out my room so I can get to the walls! It’s a small room with lots of furniture.

I’ve also actually brought a few books in the last week.  Thanks to a very good friend who gave me an Amazon Gift Voucher I was able to buy Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Salvations Reach by the one and only Dan Abnett.  So once I’ve finished ESTRA Corp. by Christopher Stocking I have three more books to try to choose between reading.

One thing that is making me feel calm about this writers block is that I am still having ideas, albeit little, world building ideas, but ideas all the same.  So I know that there is still that creative spark within me and once I have my little week off in June I am sure I’ll be firing on all cylinders once more.

This Week’s Target & Last Weeks Update

I did not hit my target of 2500 words for last week, I was just shy of 2000 words.  One reason was that I decided to re-write the short story I was working on and I was asked to drive my granddad to his sisters on sunday, which meant I had to do a couple of chores on friday night as I had plans on sunday.  What I did write was some pretty good stuff which I’m looking forward to re-writing.


Now for this week : I am going to get a short story edited.  My amazing Beta readers have been good enough to take the time to read what I sent them so I am going to have one done and hopefully ready to submit by the end of the week.


I’ve started Reading ESTRA. Corp by Chris Stocking and I’m flying through it. I’m already at page 63.  I also watched Final Destination 5 last week which I absolutely loved and I thought the ending was brilliant.


Right now I’m off to edit, edit and edit some more.  Catch you all later.

The All-Pro By Scott Sigler

As you guys probably know I have been reading The All-Pro  and as I’ve got to the second half of the book it really pulled me along with little effort.  Sigler has given us what I think is one of his best books to date with The All-Pro bearing in mind that his publishers don’t publish this and its a self published effort. The All-Pro  is following the career of young Quintin Barnes who has become the starting quarter back for the Ionath Krakens in the Galactic Football League.  So it’s basically American Football in space, the biggest difference is that Barnes is playing against and with aliens that either worship him, or would be quite happy to eat him.  I’m not an american football fan, but this is a sport that I’d like to see.  Many different species of intelligent life forms of different shapes and sizes? whats not to like about that? http://scottsigler.com/GFL

The characters are unique and fascinating, even the games themselves are the edge of your seat action sequences. There is a little romance, lots fo deceit and threat and suspense.  Not only is the storyline itself very good but Sigler has put a lot of world building into this book which is very clearly leading up to something spectacular on a galactic scale. This was already a strong universe due to two previous books in the series and Sigler’s The Crypt series of stories which are set in the same universe but this took it all to another level and I cant wait to pre-order the next book in the series The MVP.

Please go and check out the link above and find out for yourself just how strong a series this is shaping up to be.

The next book that I will be reading is Estra Corp by Christopher Stocking. http://writetoperfect.wordpress.com/