Good Morning 14th April, 2021 (Make Art Uncomfortable)

Hey folks, how are we all doing today?

Yesterday I wrote 336 words on a short story but also did a lot of research for the same short story, and I’ve come to the decision that I’m just gonna go balls to the walls and yet loose. I’m not going to worry about grounding it in reality. I’m just gonna try and make it batshit crazy.

I’m having trouble letting go when I write recently. Stephen King said in On Writing that you have to write like an orphan, or words to that effect. I was reminded of this when watching the film M.F.A. recently. At the end of the film there’s a line where it basically says art shouldn’t just preserve the beauty of life, but also the brutality. Make art uncomfortable. I love this message. So many of us grow up listening to music about good love, or films where everyone lives happily ever after.

Art is different for everyone. Some people thrive on the uncomfortable while others thrive on a good old romcom. Everyone is different and we embrace different things. For me, what I write, people will find uncomfortable. But some will find it fun. I can watch Saw movies with barely a flinch at the content, but watched The VVitch and The Ritual, made me squirm in my seat. But there are different degrees of being uncomfortable. Listening to the audiobooks of The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum and What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher made me very uncomfortable. Even to the point where I had to stop listening to them. M.F.A. falls into that grouping. Although not as extreme as I Spit On Your Grave, it’s still a content matter that is not pleasant and when done wrong, without the respect the topic deserves it just makes a whole other level of horrific.

For films like The Vvitch and The Ritual, these made me uncomfortable because there’s a witchcraft/cult elements to them. An unknown factor that made me uncomfortable in a way I’d yet to experience. It’s something I’m still trying to put my finger on exactly why I find it uncomfortable.

Another book that made me uncomfortable is The Silence by Tim Lebbon. This one I had to stop listening to three times. It’s got a quiet brutality to it, one which I can see happening. There’s three distinct moments in The Silence which I could see myself being in that situation. Having to make an uncomfortable decision.

Not being scared to write things which people will be uncomfortable with or offended by is something I need to be better with. I’m not going to write something just because it’s shocking. I don’t think that works and people tend to see through things like that. I’ll strive to write what the story is asking for.

Right, speaking of writing it’s time to get a few hours done.

Rock on folks, never give up on that dream. Never let someone take it away or belittle it or you. Just keep going.

Good Morning, Sunday 17th of January 2021

Good morning folks!

I was going to write an end of day post on Friday(15th) but I was working on a post for my Buy Me A Coffee page and accidentally wiped out two hours work on it! Yes, I almost cried. So I gave up for the night.

Aside from that, I had a productive day. I wrote 1176 on a new short story in my Penal Earth universe, and edited 3204 words on Black Blood.

I’m still some way off finishing this edit on Black Blood. It’s not like an epic mess, but there’s a lot of work to do on it to get it where I need it to be. The ending is still eluding me. I kinda know what I want it to be, but I think I’ve got to map it out better. Figure out the beats of it and make the pay off worth it.

I had Dizzy’s company for all of two minutes this morning!

The A4 pad I’m using has pages of notes I’ve got to put in and I’ve got a lot of details to put into the character profiles as well. I made notes for Penal Earth in the middle of last year, but I’m not sure where they are. So I’m going to need to have a search for them.

Horror Drabble Anthologies from Kevin J. Kennedy that I won in an online event ☺️

Today, is going to be productive. I’ve got today and tomorrow off and I want to make a good use of that time. I’ve a personal matter to spend time on tomorrow so I expect I’ve get more done today. I’ve had a good nights sleep, I’m in an exceptionally good place in life, aside from that one part that I don’t talk about.

Time to rock and roll!

12th & 13th December 2020

Good evening, folks!

I haven’t written today. I was at work and generally not feeling too well. So I’ve had the evening off.

I did write yesterday, 870 words on Penal Earth. I had been planning to write about a thousand words and then spend some time reading through Lovers, but I was on the verge of falling asleep at my desk, again. So I decided to go and have a nap.

I’ve got an early start tomorrow and then am off on Tuesday and will be looking to get closer to wrapping up Penal Earth and work on Lovers. I’m not sure how much of Penal Earth there is left to write. I don’t think I’m too far off the ending. With Lovers it’s going to be a total rewrite and I’m not sure when I’m going to be starting that draft.

Tonight I’ve finally got my YouTube channel up and running a bit. I’ve not got much up yet and am not sure how I’m going to approach it but I’ve got a video of me doing my first reading at the launch of Sparks: An Electric Anthology as well as a few videos of my friends CL Raven reading at Cons. There’s also a brief video of when I visited the site of the Battle of Hastings (again, with CL Raven).

I’ve never been that comfortable on camera but I’m not feeling as nervous as I used. So I’m going to have a play around and see how I get along.

Right, that’s it for now. This week has been a productive one and hopefully next week will be too.

Have fun, everyone!

3rd of December 2020

All my plans for yesterday went right out the window when I fell asleep while writing and came within an inch of face planting my keyboard!

I did get a few words written, but a little less than half or what I’d planned to and I didn’t get any of the other half a dozen items I’d planned to do done.

Much of it is where I’m nearing the second week of my early’s at work, and it’s my fault because I need to be getting to bed a little earlier each night and as I said yesterday, I need to look at my work rota and adjust it to how tired I might be. Then even if I exceed what I’ve set a target for I’m not going to get annoyed for having not hit goals. Like I’m feeling a little at the moment.

I should have gone for a nice little target yesterday, but I was feeling overly confident from the day before.

Anyway! Today is a new day. I did get an early night last night, and I read for a second night running. Reading is something that I’ve not been able to pick up again after what this year has been, but I felt inspired by a friend and I’m making an active effort to read again.

I am not going to repeat yesterday’s mistakes. I do have a list of work I was planning to do yesterday, but I’m now going to aim to have that all done by the end of Sunday. I’ve got to stop being overly ambitious and be more realistic in my targets.

Dizzy sulking because I was reading and not worshiping her!

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 Fifteen

Wow, halfway through the month already. I’ve had a chill out day today, which I need to stop doing. I need to get up on a day off, have breakfast, get dressed, get writing. Simple as that. No thinking I’ll watch an episode of this or that (today it was The Queen’s Gambit, which was lethal as I’ve all but watched it now). I still got 2317 today, but I could have got 3000 words done, if not 3500. I know I have the ability to do that when I’ve got a day off and I should be doing it. For the speed I can write at and the time I have, it is easily doable.

I was on a Facebook live event tonight with the Mando Method Podcast folks. It was a lot of fun and in the hour before it I managed to crack out about a 1300 words to add to the 1000 or so I’d already written throughout the course of the day. We talked about NaNoWriMo at the halfway point and how we were all progressing. We touched a few other topics as well. It was a lot of fun, its been a while since I laughed that hard. It was really good to talk to these folks in real time as well. Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda have been very supportive to myself and many other writers. Please give it a watch 😊

Grumpy cat stare!

I’ve got one more days leave before getting back to my normal working week, so writing time will be cut down. But I can still get all the words done I need to, and more. I’m going to set myself a target of an hour at my desk a day. That’s head down and writing/editing. I’m not going to set word count goals at the moment, I want to get in the habit of spending that hour a day at the desk. My biggest enemy is myself and in particular my lack of discipline. That is something I need to overcome.

Under The Weather is the third book I’ve been published in. With my story, The Snow, I knew roughly what I wanted to do with it but it took a few little twists and turns along the way, but it was never a difficult write. One major element did change in the story which changed the entire theme of the tale. I still think it works, and it’s one that I’m really happy with.

Well folks, that’s me wrapping it for the night. I’m gonna watch a bit of tv and then read a little before bed. I’m aiming for an early start tomorrow.

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.

29th October 2020

Hey folks! 772 words today and planning for NaNo, as well as tidying up my office so it’s ready for Sunday evening when I get home from work.

In other news I can reveal what the secret project I’ve mentioned a few times is. It’s an anthology called Beneath The Leaves from Burdizzo Books to celebrate the birthday (I’m not saying which birthday but it’s a milestone one) for Em Dehaney. Here’s the link:

It was a massive honour to be included in Beneath The Leaves as Em is a fantastic human being and I think the work everyone has put into this shows that.

Horror movie and research 😊

I’ve not felt this capable for a very long time. I’ve got one element in my life which isn’t how I wish it was, but that’s not just something that I can fix with a flick of a switch.

Right, another busy day tomorrow. So I’m going to read a little of Beneath The Leaves and then bed.

Night folks!

18th September 2020

2068 words today. Another day where I’m doing what I consider NaNoWriMo numbers. When I was getting back into writing a few months ago I was scared I’d never get back to where I was. The thought of doing NaNo terrifies me because I know what it takes. I’m not feeling that now. I’m feeling confident, in a way I’ve not felt before. It’s not the false confidence I’ve had before. This feels, right. Like I’m capable of achieving my goals.

A month and a half until NaNoWriMo begins. Despite what I said in the last paragraph about hitting goals, there’s some I’m just not gonna hit that I set to have done by NaNo. This isn’t me being negative, it’s me being realistic. If I keep at this sort of pace, I could do it. But life is life. I can write everyday, but some days it’ll be a few hundred words and not the 2k like today. I’m in the position at this stage of my writing career where I haven’t got deadlines, and the ones I have are open submission calls. So if I miss them, I’m not faulting on a contract.

Today’s random picture 😉

I’m feeling focused and motivated. I need to step up in other areas of life as well. I’ve faltered a little recently so I need to get back on track, and find the right balance for everything.

It’s one step at a time. One hurdle at a time. Even if I go back a step, I’m aiming to move forward two steps tomorrow.

New Release Coming Soon!

Good evening folks! I have good news. I’ve had a story accepted for a charity anthology of drabbles (100 word stories).

Here is the blurb:

It Came From the Darkness is a unique collection of drabbles (stories of 100 words exactly) and artwork, compiled by Red Cape Publishing and Philip Rogers 101 PR in aid of the Max the Brave Fund. A huge number of horror writers, poets, artists, and film makers have come together to support the cause and offer the reader something special. Each piece of writing begins with the same five words, but the stories themselves are all wonderfully varied. So dig in, take each tale one bloody bite at a time, and beware of what comes from the darkness.

Includes stories from David Owain Hughes, Matthew V. Brockmeyer, Tim Lebbon, Lou Yardley, Cortney Palm, Lee Franklin, MJ Dixon, Singh Lall, and many, many more.

Cover artwork by David Paul Harris (www.davidpaulharris.com)

Please click this link for the announcement post.

I was very honoured and incredibly flattered to have been invited to submit to this one, and even more so when I got accepted. The Max The Brave Fund is very worthy and I hope we make a nice amount of money for them.

Seriously loving this cover!

The pre-order should be up on the 23rd of October, with a release scheduled for the 30th of October. So please keep an eye out for it, but if you miss it I will be posting about it here. Also, follow the hashtag #ItCameFromTheDarkness on social media to keep up to date as well.