January 1st, 2021…. Here We Go!

Here it is, 2021!

I can’t describe how hard 2020 was for me, and not just because of Covid. If I took Covid out of it I still had the worst year of my life, but it was also the best year. And it’s the good that is driving me forward.

The changing of a calendar isn’t going to magically make life like it was pre-2020. It really doesn’t work like that. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. The reason why I got out of 2020 in the good place I am in now is because I’ve worked my arse off to get here. To make the best of the world around me and keep my head high, and my eyes focused on the next goal.

Do I fall down? Yes, I fell down over Christmas and it took its toll on me, but I get back up and moving forward again. I don’t dust myself off until I know I’m not at risk of being sucked back into that dark little corner of my soul again. I stop that from happening by talking to friends and family, being productive with writing, going to work. I defeat the negative elements of my mind by engaging with the people I love, the communities that have embraced me, and just being me. This last six months has taught me I don’t need to be scared to show who I am to the world. Because despite what I’ve thought for most of my life, I’m not worthless.

This year will see the release of my first novella. That’s the only release that I have scheduled for this year, at the moment. I’ve got to do better at finding markets to submit to. I’m not just going to focus on word counts and look at completing more projects, submitting more, and knocking items off my to-do list.

Last year I had stories published in three anthologies, which I think might be my best in a calendar year to date, don’t hold me to that though. So, I’m aiming for at least four pieces published this year.

Okay, on to today. I kinda overlaid, like till almost midday! So I’m a little behind where I wanted to be, but I needed the sleep and I feel pretty good for it. I’ve posted my first video of the year to my YouTube channel. It’s also the first one where I’m talking to the camera. A little nerve racking, and I know it’s not the best but it’s a new venture for me where I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and like with everything else, the more I do the better I’ll get!

I will be getting into the Black Blood read through/edit shortly as well. I’ve edited about 2000 words a day over the last few days so I’m looking at doing about 3000 today.

I doubt I’ll be writing a lot of new words today. I’ve got a short story that I need to have written and off to the publisher by April but I need to think it out a bit, get some brainstorming done on it, before I can start writing. I’ve got a good idea of a major element of it, but I need more to it. At the moment it’s a few lines and an idea. Which isn’t enough.

Enough talking, time for action! Have a good day folks! No one is going to make this year good for you, people can help, but it’s You who will make this year, and your life, good or bad.

Good Morning, 28th of December 2020

I’ve kind of had a week off from writing. I was expecting to use it to get through the Christmas period but I didn’t need to in the end. Yes, it was still tough but thanks to all I’ve learnt, all the help and support I’ve had from the people I love in my life I was able to manage it better than I was expecting to.

Raven going for a majestic look 😊

I was also a little stuck with where I was taking Black Blood. I kept trying to add words but it was becoming very evident that I wasn’t prepared enough to finish this draft. So last night I began making notes. I didn’t start reading through the draft, I just copied some notes I’d scribbled down while writing the later stages of the story and did a few sketches. I’ve never really done the sketches, well not since Owen and I were working on From the Shadows a very long time ago. I found doing the couple I did last night really helpful, okay it brought a problem I hadn’t expected but I think I can find a way around that, or work it into the story.

I’m going to start the read through today, with the aim of having it done by the New Year. It’s a lick over 50k words and I think I can manage that. I’ve looked at my work rota and I definitely think it’s doable. Especially as I’m not going to be doing a full edit. This is a read through to figure out what I need to add and take away. What I need to do to get the ending how I want it, and to give it the depth and weight it deserves.

I think it’s also time to move this draft into Scrivener. It’s going to be helpful to be able to break it down into chapters and scenes and then I can insert or remove sections much easier. I can also have additional information that I’m compiling in there as well. I think that’s the way to go.

Right folks! I’ve got a little tidying before I can start working so I’m hopping off here. Have an awesome day!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Three

So, today was a good day. I finished up with 3724 words for the day, which puts me a little above where I need to be. So yeah, I’m back ahead but that doesn’t mean anything come tomorrow when I need to be hitting a good 2000 words again.

I also spoke to an editor I know and we’ve agreed a date for her to edit the novella I’m working on. And I’ve had an update from the gentleman who’s doing the cover for it, and seen it so far and I am stoked!

I’m working through till next Monday, with some long hours over the weekend, so I’m not counting on getting any words done then. I am off on Monday, but I’d like to be ahead of the game before then. So that means a solid few days writing between now and Saturday. I also have an appointment Wednesday night, which’ll be a couple of hours. That’ll also require a couple of hours of preparation tomorrow. So I’ve a lot to do, not including everyday stuff away from those things.

Can I do it? Yes, I bloody well can!

This is the final piece of my work that has been printed. My story ‘Dark’ in the ‘It came from the darkness‘ anthology was one I was invited to submit to and I was very proud to have been. It is a collection of drabbles and poetry from many big names and I was very humble when I saw who I was alongside in it and hoped my story didnt let the anthology down. Like many of my published pieces it is in an anthology that is raising money for charity, and I really don’t want to put up a piece which isn’t my best work. This got accepted, which tells me I did a good job (the publishers, Red Cape Publishing have published one of my stories and rejected another one. So I know they don’t take something they either don’t like or isn’t good enough). I can’t really say too much about the story, seeing as it’s a drabble which is a hundred word story, there’s not much I could say that wouldn’t spoil it.

It was a good day 😊

Right, I’m off to bed. I hope everyone is doing well and keep cracking on, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Two

Good morning folks, how are we all doing on this brisk autumn morning?

I was going to blog last night, and write but I fell asleep. So I got a mighty 295 words written and I am now below the projected total I should be at. I was thinking about how to hit my words on days when I had an afternoon/evening shift as I was overlaying each morning due to poor sleep the night before. But now I’ve actually looked at my rota’s for the next two weeks I’ve got all morning shifts (they could change but we’ll see), so I should be able to get home, grab a bit of lunch and then get cracking.

Today I am aiming for a nice 2k day, maybe more if I can get my arse into gear. Then continue the 2k a day through the rest of the week. I need 1900 a day to hit target, so I really need to pull my finger out and get those words down. I can do this. I just need to be disciplined and sit in the chair and write until the target is hit. I keep telling myself I want to be more professional with this, to treat it like a career. So, I need to properly put the time in and not have the TV on in the background.

So, my arse is in the chair. I’ve got bits and pieces around the house to do as well, but I’m going to work that into my targets for the day. Write a 1000 words, go take the rubbish out.

Today’s featured piece of my published work is Pumpkin Attack in the Beneath The Leaves anthology that was written to celebrate the birth of the one and only Em Dehaney. When I got invited to submit I knew what I wanted to write about these antagonists but I knew I couldn’t just write a story from their point of view. I wanted to go a route I haven’t gone before and that’s where the protagonists came into it. Writing about teenagers I found tough, especially a teenage girl, because I’m not a teenage girl but I thought about someone who is finding their confidence and overcoming shyness, while still keeping to what they were comfortable with. I also wanted to write something about a parent who was themselves growing as a person, while still being who they are. So it was very tough, and a lot of the depth of the story I wasn’t really planning and it evolved as I was writing it.

Right, thats enough procrastination! Armand, if your reading this please yell at me because I’ve fallen behind when I’ve had no real reason to have done.

Rock on, folks! 😀

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-One

Good evening, all. One very tired human being here. Work was good, had a good laugh, and a work out. Since coming off leave at the start of the week I’ve not really had a shop floor shift (I’m a retail worker), and today made me realise that maybe I relaxed a little too much during my time off!

Words wise, as I overlaid I didn’t get as much written as I should have done, only 480 words, but I went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. It’s also made me realise I’ve been playing it safe a little too much. Time to get brutal and bloody! Mwahahahahahaha!

I write this blog for myself. When I started out blogging I wasn’t sure what I was doing. Over the years it’s evolved into what this is now. I share word counts not to brag, not to get one over over writers. I do it because it reminds me that some days I can’t get words out, while other days I can knock out 2k easy.

If you read this and think or see other people talking about their word counts, don’t get put off if you aren’t getting the numbers that other people do. Especially during NaNoWriMo it can be off putting seeing so many hitting big counts, but as long as you’re getting words down it doesn’t matter. A hundred words a day, you’ll have a story completed before you know it!

Just write and edit at the pace you’re comfortable with.

My next published piece was in Corona-Nation Street. My story ‘The Wank Diaries’ has an interesting journey. I wrote it with the intention of submitted it to this anthology but I wrote it and wasn’t happy with how it came out. So I dropped it. This was when I wasn’t in the best of places. Then I had a big change in my life and I was lower than I’d ever been in my life. I wasn’t writing, but I saw Burdizzo Books MC Matthew Cash putting a post online reminding people of the deadline, so I looked at it again. Scrapping the ending immediately. What I then wrote I could never have predicted and wasn’t quite sure I was capable of writing. So much of the despair I was feeling came out in the ending of this story. Brian Keene calls it ‘Bleeding on the page’ and I definitely bled on the page here. I’m very proud of this story. It gave me something to focus on and get writing again.

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Nineteen

Today was a good day. I got some good sleep, first time in ten days or so. I wrote 1781 on NaNo and then 231 on a short story I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2019 for a total of 2012 for the day.

The short story I worked on in 2019 was one that I was done with. I’d not had any urge to edit it because I wasn’t happy with it and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Then today when I wasn’t even thinking about writing and BANG!!! The solution hit me and I had to write some of it down. Not much, just those few hundred words to serve ad a reminder when I come back to it.

Max acting hard done by 🙄🤣

I am now on par for NaNo. The last two days have wiped out my banked words. I still don’t need to write 1667 a day, but I’m going to try to as I’d like to get some more words banked when I can.

I also did some rearranging in my office today, and am a lot happier with it. I just need to find somewhere for my bin to go and then most bits and pieces have a home.

I also prepped for an appointment and then had the Zoom appointment. It was after that that I got the words down.

Out and about, running an errand this morning 😊

I cracked on and worked. That is something I need to push myself harder and be more consistent. Arse in chair and work! Simple as that. When I can’t get my arse in the chair, write when I have time. I’ve got Apple devices that are all synchronised, so no reason why I can’t write at any opportunity I have.

Time to get my head where it needs to be. I definitely have more than enough time.

Elements of Horror Book Two: Air from Red Cape Publishing is the fourth book I’ve had a story published in. Walking was a story that had a few twists and turns in it but I’m very happy with how it ended up. I was skimming through it earlier as I looked for a detail and I found myself smiling as I looked through. I’m not at the stage where I’ve discovered who I am as a writer, or what my style is. Sometimes I think I’m not quite self-aware enough to know that yet. Or I’ve not read enough of the genre I’m working in. Whatever the reason is, I’ve not found who I am as a writer yet. Each thing I write is more often then not coming from the gut, especially short fiction, I think Walking is a prime example of that. So, please hit the link and check it out.

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Fourteen

Good evening, folks! How are we all doing tonight? Today I’ve written 1592 words and past the halfway mark! I’m currently at 25751 words for the month.

It was a good productive day’s writing before I went into work for a little training. I was planning on getting some more words down tonight, but I think I might just chill out a little bit and have a good go at it tomorrow.

I started writing this post at 6pm and after dinner, washing up, a couple of emails, and extensive procrastination I’m back to finish this post! 😀

Right, where was I?

Yes, getting back at the wording tomorrow. I’m still ahead bit I’m still not getting back to being on 1667 words a day. I wasn’t far off today, so tomorrow I’m going to push through, get the 1667 words and then maybe push through to the 2k mark. But we’ll see.

12 Days of Christmas 2017 was the second anthology I was published in. This was one of the easiest stories I’ve ever written. The anthology has stories inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas song. I snagged Three French Hens. I had a story in mind and I think I wrote it over three days. I had plenty of experiences from years of keeping hens to use when I was putting the story together (if you’ve read it, which ones do you think are true and which ones aren’t?). The most difficult part was working these experiences into a story, and when I say difficult, it really wasn’t. Although it’s not the longest story I’ve written, I definitely think it’s a fun one.

We don’t keep hens anymore, but it was fun and very interesting while we did.

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twelve

1185 words written today. I’m at the point with NaNo where the urge to edit is kicking in! So I might try and do some editing on a short story and see if that quells that urge.

I didn’t write as much as I wanted to, today. I had a phone call just after midday and then a friend who is a very skilled writer text me asking if had five minutes to brainstorm a problem she had with a story she’s gearing up to write. That five minutes ended up being three hours, it a damn good three hours. It was good working ideas out and just letter her talk out her ideas. The story itself sounds damn good and I’m kinda itching to read it. So I’m gonna start bugging her to make sure she’s writing, because that’s what friends do!

The first story I ever had published was in Sparks, from Burdizzo Books. I still can’t quite believe that I’m a published author, but I have proof of it, even if I have to pinch myself once in a while. My story, ‘The Last Charge’ is one that was very easy to write. I wrote from the hip, no real idea where I was going with it. Looking back, I’d have done a few things differently, but I don’t look at it and cringe. It’s still something that I am still very proud of.

Imposter syndrome is real, very real. But I don’t feel as bad about having it hitting me once in a while when I hear of well established authors suffering from it. What beats over that feeling is the buzz you get from having a story published. I’ve only encountered two things that have given me a better high (no, not narcotics!).

Right, folks! I’m settling in for a movie (The Cave), and then a busy day tomorrow.

Have a good one folks!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Eight

1617 words today over the course of five Starship Troopers movies. That’s day three where I’ve done both a movie marathon and writing at the same time. Not the best for productivity, (let’s ignore the 3k I wrote Friday) but I still got words down and am still ahead of the NaNo target. I’m not quite where I’d like to have been, but I need to balance my time off and writing so I actually get some down time. I can find that balance.

Such an awesome series, and one that I’ve found very inspirational over the years.

Tomorrow I need to get some editing done, it’s only a short story. Very short, so it won’t take long. I’d also like to get some work done on Penal Earth as well. I’m not the most gifted at sticking to one project so it’s time to dive into another one and get some words done on that one.

I am about to sit down and review my works in progress and set myself a little plan of action for the next week and try to stick to it! Which has always been my failing but I’ll persist and try and stick to what I list.

Something I am very guilty of is rewatching the same movies and shows, yes I’ve spent the last three days doing that but that was a special occasion. Time off work and a desire to watch some movies I’ve not watched in quite some time. So I’m trying to watch more that I haven’t seen before. I know I run back to old favourites when I’m not doing too well, it’s a comfort thing. But I need new input. I need to check mow out. Right now I’m watching Dead Space Downfall, never played these games but the film sounded interesting. So far I’m not disappointed.

With that said, I’m going to wrap this up now. Touch base with where I am with projects and make a small list of work for this coming week.

Have a good one folks!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Seven

Good evening, folks! 1743 words this evening. Earlier in the day I edited and submitted a story to an anthology. This story I wrote while in quite a bad place and I think some of the darkness I was feeling at the time transferred into the story.

1743 isn’t the 3000+ I wrote yesterday but that was an anomaly and today was what I’m aiming for. It’s all good and well hitting a 3k day but if tomorrow I can barely do a hundred words then it’s not much good. I’d really like to get to a consistent level of productivity. I’d really like to get into the habit of doing 1500 a day throughout the year. So looking at next year, that might be a goal I aim for. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, even with my day job. I just need the discipline to sit my chunky arse in a chair and write.

Editor Dizzy sleeping on the job! She’s seventeen, so I think she’s allowed 😊

Tomorrow I need to sit down and touch base with where I am with my projects. I’ve lost a little track, the story I submitted today I only did so because the editor put up a post about the approaching deadline! So I need to work better to make sure I’m not missing these deadlines as they come along.

That’s it for the night, I’m going to read and then get my head down. I’d like an early start and get a mornings work done before feet up and relax tomorrow.