New projects and old

Hi everyone,

So, I figured I should probably update you guys on the flurry of WIPs that I’m constantly working on. If I’m repeating myself, I apologise, but I think most of this will be new information.

Here we go…

 

Down Days – My insight into living with depression was released over a year ago as a free ebook, and the ongoing blog that followed it is still going over at http://www.downdays.org. When I started with the book, the idea was to release it for free as I believe that money shouldn’t be a barrier to people getting information that they need, especially about something as vital as mental health issues.

However, now that we’re a year on, I’ve stretched Down Days as far as I can on my own. And so, I’m looking for a small publisher to possibly take it on. Check the blog for more info on how far I’ve gotten with that.

Completion – Possibly impossible

 

Emi – A horror fantasy where all the characters are already dead and the creatures of Japanese mythology walk the earth. You might have gleaned from my last post, but Emi is now completed. It’s a project that I’ve been working on since way back in Greaveburn times and continued as I worked on The Adventures of Alan Shaw one and two. Finally, it’s done and…I’m really proud of it. It’s bloody weird, but I think it may be my favourite story I’ve ever written. Which says a lot since I love my novels.

Now, it’s time for Emi to fly the coop and I’ll be trying for serialisation in magazines before novella publication. It’s too short for Inspired Quill, and possibly too weird.

Completion – 100%

 

Cyberpunk novel (working on a title) – A story inspired by my love of William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick and Katsuhiro Otomo. Themes surround the human condition, evolution gone stale and social progression. Written with non-gender specific pronouns and focusing on the characters lives in the futuristic Shika-One city, I’m hoping to really push myself to try something new. Also, this book currently has a soundtrack and I’ve been describing the music that the characters listen to without using lyrics, band names or genres. I never do anything the easy way…

Completion – 60%

 

And now…introducing…

Aethertide – My first attempts at a comic book, I’ll be working with the excellent Katherine Ellis, writer and artist of the Crankrats webcomic. Although still in the embryonic stages, I’m hoping to have a lot of fun with this. Olivia Heward is a genius scientist, studying the origins of the powerful substance known as “aether”. After a slight miscalculation, she’s hurled through the extra-planar space between realities on a wild adventure.

Tell me that doesn’t sound like a riot to write! And hopefully it’ll make a fun graphic novel for you all to read.

Completion – About 20%

 

Well, that’s the update for now. Hope it’s whetted your appetite. Alan Shaw volume 2 will be with you soon, guys, I promise.

 

Thanks for reading.

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New Look!

Hi everyone,

So, just a quick post to let you all know that the blog has a new look. Instead of having to trawl through my terrible posts first, you should now hit some pics and details of my books. Hopefully the whole thing is easier to read and use.

If you have the time to check it out, I’d appreciate it. Please feel free to let me know if you find any broken links etc.

In other news (just to make this posts a little less boring) I’ll soon be sharing guest posts from my fellow Inspired Quill authors! They’re nice folks with a lot of talent so I hope you’ll greet them well.

I hope you’re all having a good weekend. I’m off to plot a comic book (May Cthulhu save me).

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.

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.

Guess who’s back…

This place is a little dusty…it can’t have been that long since I…

TWO YEARS!

I’m so sorry, guys! I’m afraid this blog fell down the back of the radiator in the spare room and I’ve only just found it.

Oh my. What’s happened in two years?

Well, I’ve still been writing, if that helps. I just today finished the last strokes on The Adventures of Alan Shaw volume 2. It’s a doozy. I hope you’ll all like it.

Oh, and I finally did give up the day job, despite people telling me not to (or was that because of my singing? I forget.). Anyway, you are now looking at a full-time author. Which is how I’m thinking about it, rather than as a complete lack of direction or plans or financial support or…I think I need  moment.

Anyway, here I am. I’ve started up a little editing/proofreading service to make sure I can still eat. That’s going well. I just finished editing a great Steampunk Children’s book called Verity Twigg and the Da Vinci Quill Mystery, which I’m sure you’ll all enjoy when it hits the shelves. I’ve also just done a foreword for an upcoming collection of anecdotes about playing RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons. I was asked to do it as the editor knew I ran my own games, so that was nice of him.

What else?

Oh yes, you can get in on some of that juicy experience, if you like. I’m adding a new page to the blog with some reviews of work I’ve already done and a contact. Feel free to drop me a line if you are in need of editing, proofreading or general assistance with your stories or manuscripts. Hell, I’ll proofread your business’ menus if you like (Don’t you hate ordering from a miss-spelled menu? Just me then).

Oh, my next writing project is a book called Down Days, which is a first hand account of someone with depression. Me, that is. I’ll talk about that a bit more in another post, I think.

To clarify, I’m back. Hopefully with more than a bi-annual visit. I hope you’re all still there, and all still well. This is going to be a tough ride so I appreciate your patience.

 

As always, my friends, thanks for reading!

Happy New Year!

Hello, fellow readers!

Once again, time seems to have totally evaded my grasp. I can’t believe how fast everything seems to be moving of late. As a Whovian, I’d suggest some kind of time-dilation anomaly that only The Doctor himself can save us from. But until he turns up, we’ll just have to deal with it.

In case you missed the title of this post, and have been in a particularly potent coma of late, you’ll know that we are now firmly placed into the year 2014. Every time I look at that date, I can’t help thinking how close we are, or even how we have passed by, some of the predictions made by favourite sci-fi movies. Here’s hoping that Skynet doesn’t finally get traction, eh?

But this year, while swift, has been good to me. Greaveburn has sold more and more copies and gained a growing group of appreciative readers (Fans is too strong a word). The reviews have remained brilliant, although I’m still waiting for that first stinker of a one-star, since I’m an optimist, you know. And I think it’s time for this year’s Greaveburn Awards. Three people made special contributions to my sanity this year, letting me know that it’s ok to get lost in my fantasy worlds. And those are:

Jess Booth

jessJess bought Greaveburn at the 2013 Weekend at the Asylum convention, and promptly read it in about 6 hours. She also left a lovely review on Amazon. This kind of book-fanatical behaviour warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you, Jess. The next time I’m in Widow Cullen’s Well, I’ll make sure to buy you a pint ;D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Lithgow

ashI think Ash made it into the awards last year, too, but he has maintained his uber-fandom this year by reading Greaveburn more times than I ever did. He also stepped in as assistant fact-checker in a workshop I did at the Steampunk Doncaster convention this year, because he knows the characters better than I do. I actually had to defer to him once or twice in the workshop. God bless you, Ash!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frances Rockett

Not only does Fran win an award for the most Steampunk name on her birth certificate, she has been a huge help to the Greaveburn movement this year. She has acted as shop girl for me at several events, drawing in the crowds and then promptly sending them away again, one book heavier. She’s  a machine. A book-selling automaton.

fran

So thank you to those three people in particular, but to everyone else to picked up a copy of my work, read it, borrowed it, reviewed it, entered the Readers’ Gallery, Liked, Shared, or told a friend. You’re all my favourite people.

But now we have hit 2014. A new year means moving forward.

This year is going to be a busy one, too. The itinerary goes something like this:

  1. I turn 30 (yikes!)
  2. I finally finish my university course, giving me my second degree (this times in English). So look out for photos of me in a silly hat later this year!
  3. I get married (double yikes!)
  4. My next novel, The Adventures of Alan Shaw gets released! YIPPEE! That’ll be around June time with a new shiny edition of Not Before Bed, too.
  5. At some point, Greaveburn will develop a cult following and the masses will demand a movie be made. I already have the cast list in my head ;D

Ok, so maybe that last one is a push. But the others are very true, and very scary. I really can’t wait for you all to meet Alan Shaw. But I’m very nervous about it, too.

Anyway, whatever it is you have planned for this year, I wish you all the best of luck and happiness. Remember that the lows never sink the highs, they’re just anchor points between your adventures.

 

Thanks for reading for another year.