An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.

Posts tagged “books

Moving along nicely

Hi everyone!

Well, things are finally looking like they’re hotting up in my little bubble of existence. I’ve finally gotten some writing flow back, after months of creative drought. Just in the last week, I’ve written the opening chapter to Alan Shaw’s third volume of adventures, poetry (which I still suck at but enjoy) and been catching up on articles and blog posts that people have been waiting for for months.

More than that, Inspired Quill have started the editing process with The Adventures of Alan Shaw volume 2 and apparently it’s going well. I had a lovely compliment from Sara, The Boss, who asked if I’d already sent it to an editor beforehand. For someone with crushing confidence issues, that really meant a lot. It’s hard to tell if you’re improving as a writer, or whether you’re just coasting. It seems I might actually be learning! Who knew that was possible, eh?

In other news, my blog on living with depression, Down Days, has now had over 3000 views. It shot up by about 200 in a single day when I posted yesterday in an unexpected explosion of interest. How nice is that? If you have any experiences to share, poems, posts, or artwork, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. It’s very rewarding to share your story, both cathartic and helpful for others.

Well, I’ll let you get back to your weekend.

Thanks for reading!

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.

The latest event

Hi everyone!

Just thought I’d pop in and see how you guys are doing. So…what’s new with you?

I attended an event over the weekend called “Mines and Monsters” in Eastrington. It was a nice little event in a village hall, mostly focussing on Minecraft and pitched toward kids, but with some other geek-fest stalls. It’s the first one I’ve done in ages. I had the “opportunity” to get up on a stage, put a box on my head and play Minecraft (something I’ve never done in my life) while blinded and facing the opposite direction from the screen while kids screamed instructions at me. It was bloody hilarious and I was laughing the whole time inside my giant box-head. Suffice to say, I did not catch the pig I was supposed to be slaying. Which was confusing, because I thought that Minecraft was about building things.

I am such an out-of-touch old man hahaha

I think with Alan Shaw volume 2 not being out yet, that I was waiting for that before heading out again. That might sound crazy, but I hate feeling like I’m peddling the same old books each event. That’s also the reason that I haven’t attended any Steampunk events this summer, despite a flurry of emails to do so (which is always nice of folks). But, for some reason, I decided to accept this one, and I’m glad that I did.

It can be lonely being an author. All of your readers seem so far away, sometimes, and the reviews can be slow or non-existent which makes getting feedback really tough. For someone like me who loves to know what people did and didn’t enjoy so that I can keep working to improve with each book, that void of contact can leave me feeling cut off.

Then there’s the other bonus of selling my books to folks: I get a real kick up the arse about finishing the next one. Every time someone asks which of my books are part of a series, I look at the solitary Alan Shaw volume and think “dammit, finish the last one so its ready when volume two gets out”. Think how awesome it would be to have an actual completed series out there. All the ideas are in my head, after all, I just need to get them down.

But, as many of you will know, focusing on one project at a time isn’t exactly my thing. Right now, I have six separate book ideas in my head, three of which are on the go, one of which is written but needs tearing apart because it’s old and rubbish. And I love them all equally. They’re also ridiculously different styles and themes.

Why do I do this to myself?

Oh yeah, because I can’t help it and I love making things up 🙂

Anyways, that’s me for now. Inspired Quill are working on the edits for Alan Shaw volume 2 and I’m typing as fast as I can to finish the last book, for those who are waiting to find out what happens at the end of the series.

See you all soon!


Thanks for reading.

To the keyboard!

Hi everyone,

Well, after that horrible down period comes the upswing. This is the part that I wish I could ride forever. My fingers can hardly keep up with my brain. I’m still leaving Alan Shaw 3 to stew for a while. The ideas are coming thick and fast with one in particular that has tickled me into thinking that it’s brilliant (I’ll probably change my mind later), but I think I need a break from the Steampunk world. So, I’ve tinkered with my Cyberpunk novel a little, adding another 1k words. That seems to be going very slowly but I think I need to get into a flow with it, is all. The one I’ve picked up this morning, on a complete whim, is Emi. Remember that one? It was a while ago since I last talked about it:

Two dead humans, a man and a girl, wander through a post-apocalyptic landscape where the creatures of folklore and myth have returned. With their humanity forgotten and no purpose or destination, what could possibly happen?

I still love the idea of this story and I can’t wait to finish it. I think it has real potential to be brilliant…if I don;t mess it up. Right now, it feels a little disjointed and choppy, but it also fits with the style of the book. The character have no human drives or needs, only distantly remembered values that have no bearing or place in their new world.

I love books like this and I’ll admit that it’s a little experimental. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going, or if it has a story at all, but these characters keep going from encounter to encounter and I’m totally hooked on what weirdness will come out next.

It’s also going to be quite short, as I find most experimentally odd novels are, but that’s no bad thing. I think it might actually work in the story’s favour. I guess well have to see.

Anyway, I’m off to write more. Hope you all have an excellent writing day!


Thanks for reading.

So I’ve been reading…

Things have been busy lately, but I’ve finally found time to sit down and read in the middle of life and writing. So what’ve I been reading?

Nat Robinson

Basically anything this guy churns out is petrifying brilliance. As a short horror author, Nat really should be recognised more. He deserves to be up there with your favourites, whoever that may be.

I’ve read Devil Let Me Go, which is one of the few books that will never be removed from my shelves. Midway is also a slice of awesome if you like being psychologically terrified rather than gore-fested. But then he does the Splatterpunk so well, too. Truly a master of his genre. Highly recommended.

Lee Cooper – Granite Grit

Lee was kind enough to send me a copy of his book a couple of months back and it’s been daring me to read it ever since. A hard-hitting (exuse the pun) story of a man trailing his father through the gritty underworld of street boxing, it certainly is an intense read. It isn’t really my cup of tea, genre-wise, but that’s my personal preference. Perhaps someone who likes gritty realism would be better suited to it. If you like beefy boxers and bloody knuckles, this one’s for you.

Dean Burnett – The Idiot Brain

I mentioned this book briefly in Down Days. It’s a brilliant explanation of all the stupid things our extremely clever brains do and why. I found myself utterly fascinated and laughing like a loon at the same time. Burnett definitely has a flair for comedy and getting across complicated information so even I could understand it. If you’ve ever walked into a room and forgotten why, or had a conversation with someone and have no idea who they are, then maybe you should read this one.
So what about you guys? Read anything good?
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.