7-5-17

Today started fast, with a 1000 words and a digital edit on a short story by 9am. I did this because I woke up in a really bad mood, and writing seemed to be the only thing that made sense. It put me in a good mood before going down into Rochester for a bit of lunch and to pop into Get Ready Retro, a local comic book shop. I managed to pick up the next volume of Wilds End (The Enemy Within) by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard. I really liked the first one and I’m looking forward to reading this one.

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Those thousand words I wrote this morning was on the fanfic piece and the short story is for one of the story submissions I’ve got coming up. I’ve printed it off and will red-pen it tomorrow.

The rest of the day has been spent with my feet up playing video games and binging some shows on Netflix. Aside from having to shoot into work for forty-five minutes, that was my day.

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Perspective 

Since last weekend I’ve been watching Hells Kitchen on Netflix. There’s three series on there and I’ve got to admit, I wish there was more. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy this show. I think I probably watched the first three, maybe four seasons of the show before drifting away from it, as I do, and as I was watching it last night while I was doing a little editing I realised that to the people aiming to win, Gordon Ramsey is what Dan Abnett and Scott Sigler are to me.

When I used to watch the show it used to amaze me how often they screwed up something they’d claimed to have done countless times before. This time round though, I can Appreciate the pressures they’re under. I’m not going to say I understand it, because I’m not there trying to reach these goals, but I feel I can see how much pressure they have in those kitchens. As I was walking to work this morning I realised that for the contenders working with Gordon Ramsey is a dream come true, and would I be any different if I was working with someone like Dan Abnett or Scott Sigler? I’ve been lucky enough to have met both of my writing idols, and I wasn’t quite a gibbering wreck when I met Dan Abnett but I don’t think I was far off. I would probably have been the same with Scott Sigler but we were in a pub, his business partner A Kovacs was there, along with twenty to thirty other Junkies (that’s what us Sigler fans call ourselves).  And what would I be like if either Abnett or Sigler asked me to work with them on a story! I think I’d be a gibbering mess till it had sunk in, and then I’d be second guessing myself half the time.

If I’m honest I’m not expecting that to happen, but if I am not writing and trying to get my work out in the word then I stand no chance at all. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

Another Update

I finally finished the second (might technically be third) draft of last years NaNoWriMo novella. I’m pretty much going to dive straight into the next draft as I want to try and have it done in decent time.

There’s three main points that I’ve got to work on. Adding a new character to the mix; continuing a storyline that kinda of got forgotten about; and adding some more depth to my protagonist. There’s a couple of seeds I want to plant in the story for storylines down the line, and a couple of other tweaks that need to be added. I’m sure I’ll find more to work on while I’m working my way through.

I got some Beta notes back in the week on a story that Owen and I have put together, and finally had a look at them today. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them in the next week or so.

Reading wise I’m about halfway through Wool by Hugh Howey. I’m enjoying this novel, and have been surprised by some of the twists and turns in the story. Sometimes I’ll think I’ve got it sussed out, and then Howey takes it in a direction that I didn’t see coming.

The comic I’m reading is volume one of Wilds End by Dan Abnett (writer) and I.N.J. Culbard (illustration). This is a comic with anthropomorphic animals in the countryside of 1930’s Britain. So far the story is pretty captivating, and growing at a nice and steady pace. The artwork has got a beautiful look to it. At my first glance I found it beautiful for its simplicity but as I’ve looked more at it I’m really admiring how well Culbard has managed to put so much heart and character into these characters.

I’ve just started listening to No Worse Enemy by Christopher G. Nuttall. This is the second book in Nuttall’s The Empire’s Corps series. I’m about ninety minutes into it so I’m not fully engaged into it yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series and I’ve got high expectations for No Worse Enemy.

 

What I’m Reading: 4/3/16

Last night I finished reading The Man In The High Castle by Phillip K. Dick. Overall I liked it a lot; the plot was very subtly woven into the lives of the characters. The universe building was done much the same way; everything that Dick needed to get across to the reader was done through the characters.

There’s obviously a lot more to the story than I’ve written so far, but its a story where I think I’m going to be thinking it over for a while. There’s so much going on in it that I don’t think I’ve quite got a handle on yet. I’m thinking about getting it as an audiobook so I can go through it again.

Speaking of audiobooks I’ve just started listening to The Dark Tower, the final book of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m really eager to see how King finishes this series. I’ve got a few ideas of how it is going to end; but seeing that it’s a book by Stephen King, and it’s his Dark Tower series then anything is game.

I’ve not got stuck into Deadpool and Cable just yet, but I’m going to try and get into this coming week.

I’ve now got the hard decision of choosing what book to read next. I’m prioritising the books that I got at DemonCon a few weeks ago, but I’m not sure what I’ll go for first. If I’m honest It’ll probably be one of the Dan Abnett ones, but I haven’t decided yet.

 

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Demoncon XI

Today I went to my first convention. A local one called Demoncon in Maidstone in Kent at the Royal Star Arcade. A friend in my local NaNoWriMo group told me about it and as soon as she told me about it I knew I was going to go. One because I wanted to go but also because she said that Dan Abnett was going to be there. Dan Abnett is one of my writing idols. His Gaunts Ghosts series is a series I started reading in my late teens, early twenties when I first started reading and it really blew my mind away. I’d read Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books, and the Gaunts Ghosts books were so far removed from Clancy’s work and they showed me a whole new world of fiction and how brutal a setting could be. I always liked the Jack Ryan books, but with Gaunts Ghosts I fell in love with all of the characters as well as the setting and the bigger universe that was hinted at. 

So meeting Dan Abnett was a serious life highlight for me (and I didn’t geek out too much). It did help that he is such a nice dude. I was fortunate to spend a good ten minutes talking to him, which was really awesome. I also met his wife Nik Vincent, who is also a writer and they have collaborated together. She is as well, an absoulutly wonderful person and it was a real pleasure talking to her as well.

I also met three other writers, Kit Cox, Miles Allen and Lance Manley (LR Manley). All three of these gentlemen are writers who I hadn’t come across yet and I spent a few minutes talking to each of them about books, writing and other writing related/con related topics.

All three were really welcoming and really easy to talk to. I purchased books from all three and I’m really looking forward to diving into them. I will just mention that Lance Manley does a lot of work againts bullying and that is some that needs to be praised.

I did also buy a fantastic piece of Joker artwork by Phil Buckenham.

I also spoke to Vic Iddstar Hill. She made a short movie called Sincerely, Soldier Bear (search it, or Hat Day Films on YouTube) and I just wanted to praise her for such a fantastic film. It’s such a deep piece of filmaking with a huge message that is very subtle in how she has presented it. It also come across as very innocent in its presentation as well.

I’m very happy this was my first convention. It’s not a huge convention but I found that really welcoming. It had a great atmosphere and those people I spoke to were all fun and engaging to speak to. I often find new things like this quite intimidating but this I didn’t. I felt a little overwhelmed, but the warmth of those I spoke to helped hugely and in the couple of hours I was there I didn’t get any bad vibes. It seemed like a lot of people doing what they like and having fun.

I’m sure I missed a lot but I am so glad I went. I’m itching to go again (the next ones in September) and that next time I’ll know what to expect. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m so happy Demoncon was as much fun as I’d been told.
  

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.

State Of Play

This week has been very random with what I’ve been working on; after getting my vampire collection off to Beta readers I found I felt a little lost but I got some bits on Project Apollo done and I’ve spent a little bit of time working out the key plot points for The Residents, this wasn’t actual planning but just listing down the key plot points that take place in the story. I’ve spent a little time doing a bit of research but that was mainly looking at pictures of abandoned theme parks but I need to actually do some reading research on a number of topics that will be needed for The Residents.

Owen and I spent a fair bit of time talking last night about Project Apollo and the universe it’s based in. Although we have a lot of data about this universe we do need to work out a lot more of the details within the universe to make things work better. We’ve got a lot of different elements here and working them all in-together is going to be challenging and interesting.

So what’s next? well I’m working on a few little bits for Project Apollo, just mainly trying to find the right voice and feel for it. I’ve got two short stories that need a quick little edit pass to just tidy them up, I’ve got another short story that I want to look at and all but re-write it but I’ll see if I can make the changes I want without the re-write if I can. But I think it’ll be The Residents that is the next big one. Both Chrystalyn and I are keen to get cracking with this and we’ll be spending time working out timelines and detailing the plot more. Most of the characters are already pretty well fleshed out so until we start writing I don’t think we’ll learn a huge amount more about them. It’ll be great to get actually writing with this. It’s a very exciting story we’re creating.

 

Something I did find out last week which almost made me wet myself with excitement is the news that there is a NEW Gaunt’s Ghosts novel out next year by Dan Abnett!!!!! I was dancing around the house and I was almost overwhelmed by that excitement. So I went over to the Black Library (the publisher) website and discovered there is a number of short stories involving these characters there! I couldn’t find them on Amazon but I found them on iTunes so I downloaded them all to my iBooks. I am rather annoyed at myself that I did not know these existed but I’ve got them now and once I’ve finished Old Man’s War and read a short story and a novel by Terry Mixon I’m going to dive into them 🙂