Sunday, 10th of January 2021

Good Afternoon, folks!

Despite not getting outta bed much before 11am I’ve edited 6802 words on Black Blood and written 835 on a new short story set in my Penal Earth universe. That setting has been nipping away at me for a few days now, and the fact I’ve done a lot of editing so far this year meant I needed to get some new words down.

I’ve got a rough idea of the story I want to tell, but as normal, I don’t know what’s going to happen as the words are coming out. I can’t even tell you yet how long I think it’ll be as I don’t know. I’m just letting my gut go with it and see what happens. I think where I’ve not really done anything new since NaNo, and even then it wasn’t really new ground, I’m getting a little twitchy and need to get some fresh words out.

My priority is the Black Blood edit, but in the past I have found I can be very productive when working on two projects, or more, at a time. So I’m hoping to see how well I do with balancing these two this next week or so. I also have another project that is due by, April I think, that I can dive into if I need a little more variation. I think I’ll be aiming to have a first draft of that done by the end of February.

This Master Chief was a present from my dear friend Stefan (from Stefan’s Daily Gaming).

That leads into something I need to do better with, planning out the next few weeks of work. I need to consider deadlines, both self-imposed and from editors, and plan out my time. If I’ve got something written down I think it might lead to me being more organised.

I’ve got a week of earlies for the most part this next week, so I’m not sure how my writing week will be, but I’m aiming to do a little each day. Getting enough sleep is something I’m beginning to appreciate, and will be getting earlier nights, especially when I’ve got an early to contend with.

It’s the little details that make a story.

Reading is something I really need to be pulling my finger out with as well. That was the something that I stopped doing in the last eighteen months and I’m desperate to get myself back in the habit of reading. I’ve got so many great books to read and it’s time I force myself to get back onto that wagon.

Right, folks! I’m going to leave it there. Have an awesome day and good week ahead!

Good Afternoon, 3rd of January 2021

Hey folks!

So today has been a slow one in starting. I dragged myself outta bed at 10am and I’ve felt tired, I’ve only just warmed up but am still feeling dead tired. I slept but I slept really badly, I think it was a very unsettled night for me. I’m trying to pinpoint why I didn’t sleep well, but haven’t been able to.

Needless to say, I’ve not got any writing done today. I’m set up to get cracking, but have looked at the next scene to look at and it’s one that’ll pretty much be the start of an entire sequence that will need all but a whole rewrite. So, I’m bloody grateful I’m not navigating that today. It’s just a read through and note taking. I’ll make edits, even though I’m not going to keep these scenes I think it’s a good idea to keep this editing mind on and it’s all experience at the end of the day.

Today’s work space.

I have written a few words today. Just a few though, for a project for a publisher that I’m looking forward to participating in. I’m still not sure how I’m going to get this story done just yet. I’ve got a good idea of the feel of the story, but it’s executing it and I haven’t really figured out the story yet either. This is the story I was talking about recently where I was saying I need to sit down and do some brainstorming.

I’m sure Raven will try and sit on my notes when I start working

Something I did forget to mention the other day was that I have submitted a couple of stories to an anthology. I had a mild panic when I thought I’d screwed up by not adhering to the submission guidelines, but after emailing the editor they clarified that I haven’t. So I’m relieved by that and I’m now eagerly waiting to find out how they’ve done.

Right, I’m going to crack on with this Black Blood read through!

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.

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!

9th Of December 2020

Good evening, folks!

I wrote 945 on Penal Earth and was planning to edit the zombie book, but I was a little limited on time today as I had a little shopping first thing and a couple of errands to run. Then this afternoon I had an appointment to prep for, which was this evening. So I had a little time between the prep and the appointment to write and fit in a number of other little bits and pieces.

I’ve had a little bit of a good/bad day on the writing front. I got an update on the cover for the zombie book and wow! It looks amazing! I so cannot wait to show you all it! I also got a rejection for my story Flame Spitters. I am gutted, I really like this story and think it’s one of my best pieces. The editor liked it a lot, and it got into the last twenty-five, but I know they had over a hundred submissions and seeing some of the names that the publisher has worked with, so although gutted I’m not overly disappointed. There is always somewhere else to submit to, and worse comes to it I can put it in a collection.

I am working out my goals for next year. I’ve got a lot so far, so I need to sit and process them a little and see what I can aim for which’ll push myself just outside of my comfort zone. So far I don’t think what I’ve listed is overreaching, but I don’t suppose I’ll know until I start trying.

A new notepad that I feel in love with!

Right, I’ve got an early shift tomorrow. I’m planning to write for maybe two hours after I finish work, and then I’m determined to get the zombie book edited. I’ve seen the cover, and the editor is booked for early January. So I want this bad boy done!

I’m off to shower then bed. Night folks, rock on and be kind!

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-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!