An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.

Posts tagged “author

At the movies

Hi readers!

Again, it’s been a while. Sorry about that. The Down Days blog has been eating up most of my time and I’ve found it such a refreshing writing experience that I just can’t help myself. Still, I’ve been up to some other things, too…

After taking a little break from the signings/events circuit last year to get Alan Shaw 2 finished and off to Inspired Quill, I’ve done a few more events. Some lovely Steampunk events, and planning for more in the future. That’s gotten me bitten by the bug again, as it always does. So many lovely people are asking for the Alan Shaw sequel now, that it’s quite a boost for my confidence which was waning, to be honest.

I’ve started work on a new novel, as well as the obvious sequel work and finishing off Emi (which is pretty much the bane of my life. I just can’t seem to get in a flow with the damn thing). The new book is in the cyberpunk genre, all synthetic humans and media overcrowding. It’s lovely and shiny and new in my head and that’s always an amazing feeling for an author. I’m hoping you’ll be reading it as soon as I can get my finger out and finish it.

What else?

Oh yeah, I’ve finished my first script! I’ve been asked by a small production company to send my ideas for them doing short films based on the Not Before Bed short stories. Of course, I started with the titular story. It’s a total of three pages long (inadequacy issues, eh?) but it was really fun to do. Let’s hope that they can do something with it. I’d love to see some of my short stories on a screen at some point. How cool would that be?

That’s all from me right now. I hope you’re all doing well and that your own projects are steaming along. Oh, and since I’m rubbish and haven’t done this yet… Happy New Year!

(Hey, it’s still January, so it totally counts)

 

Thanks for reading.


A shift in perspective

Hi everyone,

So, I think I’ve had a bit of a realisation moment regards the novel I’m working on. I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, as such, but it’s certainly kicked me in the backside.

Basically, I realised that I was writing my Cyberpunk novel from the wrong perspective. I think that 3rd person is the crutch I always lean on. At least, it’s the reflex direction that I tend to take. But, as I was reading through the last part of my current WIP, (the cyberpunk novel, that is, not one of the other thousand books I need to get finished) I realised that the perspective should be first person. What better way to describe life in Shika-One City than fro behind the eyes of my protagonist? Especially since I’m trying to get across a very particular speech pattern, colloquialisms and, as I’ve mentioned before, a completely gender-neutral society. Do it through Xev’s eyes! (Xev’s name will probably change, but it was what popped into my head from the first, so I’ll deal with it for now.)

The bad thing, of course, is that I now have to rewrite the first 25k of the book that I’ve already written. The great thing is that I haven’t written anything in 1st person in ages and it’ll be fun to do so. I have to admit that I love a challenge and this is a perfect one.

My other fore-brain project, Emi, is also going pretty well. I’ve just re-read the whole thing from the beginning and I think that it reads alright. It’s another of those challenging things to write so I guess the real proof will only come out when someone reads it. I don’t think that IQ will publish a novella, so I’ll have to publish it myself. But that’s ok. It’ll be a nice little thing to add to my signing table.

And Down Days continues to do very well. We’ve had over 2000 hits over there, from all over the world. Every post has some kind of interaction or comments and the followers are mounting swifter than I could have ever imagined. The posts are proving nice and easy to come up with, too. That’s probably because my depression rears its head in some way almost every day, but I’m trying to see silver linings. With plenty of experiences to share, there’s plenty to write about.

I hope all of your writing projects are coming to fruition, too.

Thanks for reading.


An exasperated author

Becoming an author is hard. No one will ever tell you otherwise. The mental dedication that it takes to sit down and write a book is immense in itself, never mind what it takes to deal with rejection after rejection, constantly fighting the rolling rock that tries to crush you as you shove it up hill, just because you want to share something that you’ve created with the world.

Then there’s finding an agent and/or publisher who believes in your words. And, after all of that, when your book is on shelves, there might still be the silence that follows. 

I’ve jumped through the fiery hoops that have led to my books being published. I’ve attended signings, radio interviews and promoted on social media to the point of exhaustion. You know what, fellow authors? I’m tired.

Some of you may know that I live with depression and have done for quite some time. I like to think that, in spite of that, I have always worked hard to remain optimistic and continue to work damned hard on my writing career. Still, there are days like these when I wonder why I bother.

Five years, I’ve been published. Five years and I feel like I have wasted myself. I don’t want millions of readers, or movie offers, or ultimate fame. I just hope for a few people to smile when they reach The End, for my stories to touch a small number of people. But today I feel unheard, unseen, unread. Maybe I’m just no good. Maybe the visceral images in my head and my writing skills just don’t match up. Maybe I just don’t write anything interesting. That’s OK. Not everyone’s ideas are widely relevant. Maybe all those books that I’ve read and courses I’ve completed were of no use.

But, if that’s true, then why has no one told me? Surely some kind of author euthanasia is appropriate here. Put the old dog down and save him the pain.

I’m sorry for this wallowing post, friends. I just feel so tired of it all. What’s the point of writing the last Alan Shaw book? I know how it ends and no one else cares anyway. What’s the point of trying to say something about society with a new cyberpunk novel if no one hears the take? What am I doing, wasting my time, bleeding at a keyboard for those stacks of paper to lay mouldering? Why am I killing trees that could be sacrificed for literature that’s worth while?

All questions with one answer. Give up. Accept that my best wasn’t enough, but the attempt was made. Move on. Wipe the hard drive. Keep my stories in my own head where they belong. Some dreams need to remain dreams.
This author is tired. He has had enough of failure. I will always be proud that I tried, at least.
Thanks for reading.


It’s been a long road…

Hi guys, it’s me again. Well, it’s been a busy time! Quick update, I guess.

Author First, my editing service, is going well. I have a few recurrent customers now, which is always lovely, and it’s managing to keep me from starving.

Also, the free e-book on living with depression, Down Days, is doing well. There have been a lot of supportive comments and lots of shares which is always appreciated and makes me think that perhaps I did the right thing by pouring my heart out on paper, although it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

What else? Ummmm….The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume 2 is now with Inspired Quill. I’m just waiting for my turn in the editorial queue as they’ve taken on a lot of great authors lately who are itching to get their first books out. I don’t mind waiting, to be honest. I remember well what it was like to wait for that first book to be released, and the euphoria that came afterwards. They deserve it for all their hard work. IQ have also launched a training course for any aspiring authors that you can find HERE

In other news, my column over at Geek Syndicate is going well, too. Lots of D&D related fun happening there. While we’re on it, my D&D games are getting to be really fun. I think i’m getting into my stride as a DM and acting out characters is getting to be my favourite part, where roleplaying used to be the bit that I dreaded most.

As for writing…it’s going sloooowly. I quite simply haven’t had much time to write lately. Emi is still stuck in a rut that I can’t seem to get out of. I have started a new novel, though, a cyberpunk story which mixes the gaming and real worlds with questions about humanity and where we’re headed. That’s a lot of fun to write and I’ve decided to use only non-gender specific terms and names to show how gender equality has progressed even if the world is otherwise falling apart, a subject close to my hopes for the real world.

I have a signing booked at the Sandbach Author Event on the 5th of November. It’ll be the first one I’ve managed to attend in a while since my car exploded the day before my last signing (long story). Hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

That’s about it from me. Pretty boring, really.

 

Thanks for reading, anyway!


Tools for writers: Do we need them?

So I’ve just got back from meeting with a couple of fellow writers. We descend on The Showroom in Sheffield now and again (we try to be more frequent but it never seems to work out that way) to talk about what we’re up to.

How’s that sequel coming along? How many days in a row have you procrastinated over shiny things on the internet? That kind of thing.

Today’s discussion mostly revolved around writing tools and technology. Pete and Christie are hardcore into their technology. They both use Scrivener, which is a writing tool that let’s you organise your manuscript with all manner of virtual post-its and bookmarks to make moving around your work easier. It sounds great. Anything that makes editing your own work easier is a surefire hit.

But, I don’t use it. For anyone who can remember my previous “planner or pantser” post, I don’t even plan that much.

I get an idea for a story, cook it in my head until it’s nice and brown, then hit the keyboard with nothing but the images in my head and a notebook, just in case.

It’s strange to think that we’re all striving toward the same thing. We all want to write stories. But we come at it from such diverse directions. And I don’t think any of them are wrong. My friends love their gadgets. I’m probably considered a minimalist. We all get the job done in our own way. So why am I so jealous of their ability to be organised? 😁

What’s your method? Let me know if I’m a complete literary mutant or not 😊
Thanks for reading


How D&D helped my writing

I’m totally addicted to Dungeons and Dragons.

I’d always wanted to play and never had anyone who knew how but, after dropping into someone else’s game for just the one session, I gave myself Gygax.

Since my exntded shore-leave from the blog, I now run two games, both very different, as Dungeon Master, and I play in another. I really can’t suggest it strongly enough. Especially for writers. There is no end to the creativity you can play out in the games. The story can be sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thriller, you name it!

I’ve found it’s a massive help to maintaining creativity. When my books are stumbling (all talk about the several projects I’m working on in a later post) and I can’t get my Auth-on, D&D has been exactly what I’ve needed.

Not only do I get to come up with ideas that don’t have to have every detail planned out, but the players do half the work for me! With a brief set-up, the players drive their own plot based on whatever they want their characters to do, often coming up with paths through the story that I would have never come up with

I would never straight-up novelise the games I run. Those are for me and my friends alone, to enjoy spending time together and having fun. But those little sparks of inspiration that playing gives me; those are priceless.

Being forced to think on the fly when a player takes a tangent, having to ad-lib and (my favourite part) playing all of the NPCs (non-player characters) is not only immense fun and such a rush, but brilliant for my story and character-generating skills.

Let me give you an example.

So, the players, who are a crew of a ship, have been attacked by an undead pirate and all of their belongings have been stolen. Limping to the nearest island and left to their own devices while their ship is fixed, they decided they wanted to head to a tavern.

While in the tavern, one player picks an arm-wrestling match with a local (who I had to make up) but the true moment of excellence was Eugene. A player asked if there were any locals at the bar, as he intended to fleece one of them out of some money (the players didn’t even have money to eat).

Anyway, I said there was indeed a young elf at the bar. He seemed out of place, nervous, with a large backpack at this feet. This, as it turns out, would be Eugene. Over the next few minutes, the player decided to tease me by asking Eugene’s entire backstory (which I didn’t have prepared) but the funniest part was the voice that came out when Eugene spoke. Because I hadn’t written this character before hand and, perhaps because of his name, the poor NPC ended up with the voice of Professor Frink from Futurama.

I could barely hold it together. Eugene tickled everyone around the table. And every time they go into the bar, they ask if Eugene is in there. Probably just to mess with me, actually.

The moral of this story, is that D&D is a GREAT writing tool. You should try it.

 

Thanks for reading.


Not Before Bed…the return

Oh yes, it has been a long time in the making but it’s finally here. The short story collection which I put together and self published before Greaveburn was accepted by Inspired Quill has finally come home. IQ have graciously accepted to reprint the old warhorse of nightmaresthat is Not Before Bed. With new editing, amazing new cover and even some re-hashings and new endings for some of my old work, the beast is definitely back.

The inimitable Charley Hall has produced a creepy cover, and there is even an internal illustration inspired by NBB by Chloe Lisa. It looks pretty great, I have to admit. I’m very chuffed with it. Check out the Tour Deets page for where me and the new books (The Adventures of Alan Shaw is still doing the preliminary rounds), or follow my Facebook page to stay up to date.

Other than that, feast your eyes on this juicy cover art and await the release date on 15.12.14 (Just in time to darken your Christmas, Horror-fans).

NBB ebook cover

 

Thanks for reading!