Weekly Ramble #61

The editing process of book number 6 has gone well. ‘Darke Awakening’ is a bold and somewhat incredible feat – if I’m allowed to say so. The work we do must give us some sense of pride and as I reached the summit of what was a second draft, I feel a little more relaxed about it. 

When it comes to my own stuff, my main concerns when penning any story are:

1. Is this thing going to work?

2. How the hell am I going to market it?

Luckily when I drafted ‘Darke 2’ I put in a huge amount of effort in answering question 1. First drafts serve that purpose and now comes the probable difficulty in all of this – getting people to read it!

My marketing endeavours have historically worked to an extent and this time around I shall be looking at previous methods while also trying to find new ones. My audience is in a constant state of gradual growth which helps immensely.

Those in the loop will realise I have subtly prefixed ‘The Order of the Following’ on the end of Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood’s amazon page titles. And in order for Darke Awakening to be fully appreciated they need to be read first as it is all linked together in what is an ambitious crossover. You can expect to hear more about ‘The Order’ soon.

dfw-lh-3dx2The hardest challenge an indie author faces is brand awareness and distribution. Translation- telling people your works exist and that they have appeal. That’s what I shall be doing in the coming months so watch this space!

For a while I can let it sit and go back to reading some awesome indie books. My current read is a book called ‘NightJar’ – its a wonderful foray into the English language, I urge you to check it out.

Those of the author persuasion how do you tell people about your works? 

 

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Weekly Ramble #60

The bravest people amongst us are the ones who realise that they need to reach out for help. To seek a solution for whatever problem you face means deep down you care. And self care is so damn important in this life.

It’s okay to not be okay sometimes and admitting that is a victory in it’s own right. The truth is I have the highest regard and respect to those who talk about it in any way, shape or form. It’s alright to express your emotion in whatever way that helps process feeling. By all means cry, laugh, growl, sit in silence or even blog about it; hell I’ve processed stuff by writing whole novels (my poor readers…).   

I can only speak from experience when times have been tough in life and although it may appear you are falling down branch by branch landing between your own legs each time, trust me when I say eventually life does give you a break (from the nut shots).

Some things aren’t forever and this includes the suffering our minds can go through; just think of it as another stage in this journey called life. As much as it’s easier said than done coming from a guy in a ‘good’ place currently, these days we’re all not far from spiraling.

You could feel like that one in one thousand kid roaming the school hallway knowing and feeling that this place isn’t where you fit in; I’ve been there and some day soon that sensation of not belonging, much like school will fade. You’ll find those who are like-minded, that’s a human instinct to find others like yourself and school; it’s a public place, you have to do it for now but not forever.

You could be working a shitty job for a shitty boss just trying day in day out to prove your worth; some folks will never understand or appreciate that worth; by all means work hard and gain experience but not everyone deserves your energy and graft.

Remember that your own mind well being comes first and there are numerous ways to overcome rough patches; take a social media break, binge watch an entire series on Netflix , and personal favourite; keep a diary of how you feel and then look back on those days gone by to see how strong you’ve become. Lean on your friends, those who are true friends will be there when you are in need.

Life has a funny way of getting better eventually and whatever storm your in now, will blow over, trust me, even though I don’t know everything…

Do what you have to do to take care of yourself in this life.

What quote gets you through life?

I shall close with my go to quote from one of my true heroes…

 

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Weekly Ramble #59

I am fully immersed into book editing mode. Delving back into the pages and words I laid down nearly two years ago has lifted me. It’s surprising how well polished I left what I thought to be a first draft of ‘Darke Awakening’. Over the books and years my style of drafting has evolved into an edit and go process which pays off when you return to a project. 

This book will have it’s challenges but the most difficult part of the writing process has already been figured out. It’s a masterpiece, an intricate complicated shitstorm of fun intertwined with several story arcs combined to tell one great mess of a book which I personally adore. It may well be a tad ambitious but what I have edited so far has restored my faith in a story told over three books; Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood – three books readers must take on to enjoy this next one and hence the real challenge in all of this; marketing the whole thing.

Personally and it might sound indulgent and egotistical but I’ve said this before; I actually don’t care if people don’t like what I write, I do it for the story telling and not the reaction of mass audiences.

Yeah we get bruised as creators when someone gives us a scathing review but that isn’t why we are in this game. We do this because we want to create and to contribute towards art and literature. We do this because it fulfills us and shines a light into this dark void of life. Opinions and audiences are variable, the story we tell is the constant.

To reach the summit of those two sacred words ‘the end’ is to truly live as a writer. And to create something from the imagination entirely from scratch is to be free. All of us live to be free. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #58

I’m sad but proud. After spending ten consecutive years performing for my community drama club I have hung up my ‘acting’ boots – they were a fine pair of acting boots, very comfortable in fact and the parts I have trod on that stage will stay with me for life. The truth is I thought I would be a lot more upset but I guess the pride and happiness of what has been achieved in those years is shining brighter than anything else. And the real truth is, I’m not leaving for good, I’m just leaving the stage…

Over the past couple of years the Iver Heath Drama Club has entrusted me to write their annual pantomime shows; a leap in its own right and possibly the greatest compliment my writing and myself has ever received. That’s what I am going to continue doing, writing stories which is the dream that was forged out of performing for that wonderful club. I vowed to that family to pledge my pages, my pen and my stories – a deal that I will honour for as long as I write.

As a performer I got the perfect ending on that stage, having adapted our own version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs I was then cast as the Magic Mirror which is apt because ten years ago it was my first role. Sometimes things go full circle. This time around I gave that role more meaning and along with everything I had gained on that stage it became the epitome of all of me. Even though it sounds like this was all about me, it wasn’t and this ending was about passing on the torch, or crown to those who deserve it.

While the high of the most successful IHDC show begins to wear away I shall recede back into writing stories and reading some truly wonderful stories on my TBR list. While one door closes many other will open not just for me but for those who let me belong to what is a fantastic community run club. I have already drafted next years script!

And just remember this;

The greatest stories aren’t the ones we read,

The greatest stories aren’t the ones we write,

The greatest stories are the ones that we live.

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Weekly Ramble #57

Seeing your own writing come to life and put onto a stage in front of an audience is something I am still getting used to. It’s an incredible and rewarding feeling. As writers, bloggers and creators many of us don’t ever get instant applaud for our work. Books can take years to ever gain any type of gratification so most of you can imagine when an audience member approaches me and say’s that I did a good job, it’s probably the pinnacle of being a story teller. And I wont lie, even after the past weekend which now seems a lifetime away; I’m still rather high from it all and perhaps I should be. 

The truth is I am damn proud of the stories I have created but the plays, they are truly special because they are made by the performances and the production. My writing is a mere first step, or even a suggestion of an idea; the rest is in the hands of everyone else. Those performers and everyone else involved should be proud, not only because they have brought a fantastic show into this world but because there aren’t many good  moments in this life to be proud of. Life can be bitter sometimes and it can bite you hard and bring you down. You must find things to be proud of to cast light over the shadows of hardship and that’s up to you. Taking pride in one’s work is probably more important than any other type of praise or reviews; the fact that you did it and it made a difference; a positive difference in your life is all that matters when it comes to story telling.

Be proud, all of you!

Weekly Ramble #56

Lots of things to do. Lot’s of writing things to do. 2020 is here and it’s going to be a busy one! Welcome back to my Hall of Information blog, things went a little quiet over the festive season – people were busy and  I got engaged but now I am back to my regularly irregularly scheduled blogging efforts!

I say irregular because as a blogger I’m not particularly organised, there are many bloggers who have more planned posts than appendages, I do not. I am quite simply an in the moment person and when inspiration strikes up so does my writing and the same goes for how I write books and plays. Unless I have a real rigid source material I tend to make things up as I go along for most of the part. In most projects I have a few outlining moments and probably a finish, the rest I just create. Some people call this being a ‘pantser’, personally I’ve never liked that definition, in story telling my style could be defined as being a ‘chancer’ much like many of the characters that are within. This style has indeed worked quite well for me so far, the stats for last year were through the damn roof – thanks for reading!

And what big plans do I have this year? Well it’s cliche to say it could be a big one, if not the biggest yet. My main writing endeavours are split 50/50 this year. Half of my time I will be spending putting together what will be my 6th independently published book! Those who do tune in to my social media efforts will know I announced ‘Darke Awakening’ quite close to Christmas day. Those who were really paying attention will know that I decided to green light this project earlier last year after 3000 plus people downloaded ‘Darke Blood’. You can check out my basic teaser here. 

The other 50% will be spent shaping and editing my dream project (the one that got me into writing) ‘Jack Thorn and the Maverick Prophecy’ a science fiction legacy story about robots in the future – think real world Star Wars in the future with hints of The Terminator, Buffy and Transformers… If all goes well I will be querying literary agents with Jack Thorn later in the year! You can read some here…

Of course in less than a month my third on stage play will premiere and I have already drafted the fourth one so look out for more stage stuff! For people who live locally to me you can buy tickets to see that show here.

Most probably my most important efforts I shall share with you last. Indie book reviews! Yes I am back and ready to review indie books. Last year I did 40 and this year I hope to do 41 – a moderate aspiration but realistic. Again if you tuned in I cast out my indie book bait and hook into the twittersphere last week and got an amazing response of book rec’s from some awesome authors. Watch out for reviews soon!

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So what have you got planned this year? Answers via the comments section but if you are shy, GOOD LUCK! and thanks for reading… 

Peace out. Happy New Year!  

The Final Ramble 2019

Life is too short not to care about the future of our environment. Even if the majority of us have adult problems in an adult world those problems will be minuscule compared to what’s coming if we don’t all do something. You can say what you like about Greta; she’s just a kid and what does she really know? That’s an unfair question to ask simply because it puts someone at a disadvantage due to age. I only know what I know because I have lived longer than her and even then it isn’t much. I’ve been through that early twenties phase of thinking I know everything and having an answer for everything. Now when somebody asks me something I think about it first before realising I don’t know. Trust me when I say this; I’ve spent the majority of my life figuring out I don’t know a lot, but the answers, I know where to find them. And what exactly are we going to do about this girl who is just trying to spread a message? Give her a break, put what you think about her and the way she delivers her message aside, but embrace the message that we need to do something about the future of this world.

Life is too short for grudges and hatred. That person you think you ‘hated’ for years upon years is a person also. They feel just like you, inside they might actually be willing to let go like you and I’ll tell you now, hating long term is bad for everyone’s soul. Of course there will be situations where forgiveness may never see the light of day and I understand that too but it’s important to move away from a grudge. Time has a way of moving a lot of water under that bridge we call life.

Life is too short to be unhealthy. This is a serious one for me because over the past few years I’ve had my fair share of ‘health stuff’ to deal with and I still am. This doesn’t just refer to physical health but mental health also. Do what you have to in order to help your own mind – it is our greatest wonder and our greatest feature. The heart comes in at a close second, it’s a muscle so use it, walk, run, yoga, take the stairs, do what you’ve got to do. Eat well but eat healthily and wisely. I’ve taken the majority of meat from my diet in recent times and spent over 100 days of this year alcohol free. The whole meat thing may even help the environment and well no booze equals more smiles trust me.

Life is too short not to help others like you. This year I have read some incredible independently published books. I’ve travelled to different lands and worlds via those words, met many characters who have faced many diverse adversities and I don’t regret reading even one word of it. People have been thankful for my review efforts and I’m only doing what I would want others to do for me.

Be safe, be healthy and have fun this festive season. To paraphrase Doc Brown; ‘your future is what ever you want it to be, so make it a good one…’

To everyone who has ever graced this blog with their eyes and taken in just a few of my words; Thank you. See ya’ll next year! (I might have one last book review before the year is out) 

 

Weekly Ramble #54

I need an agent. That is my conclusion if I want to achieve what I want to achieve. With every book my following goes from strength to strength and without disparaging any of my supporters, it’s not enough. My reach or lack of it belittles what I have achieved in writing. Without sounding high and mighty, my efforts as a story teller are falling on deaf ears. 

As a person who started this at absolute zero I cannot help but look back and be damn proud of where I am. But if this dream of mine was a house I built from the foundations, I’m still siting in the footings of the basement. For the stories I have written and the efforts I have put in, the return if I were to look at this as a business person is lacklustre. The board of directors would have shut me down after book 2’s release.

It’s conflicting because ‘business’ is not what this journey is about. I’ve written 5 books. Every single one them became a huge learning experience in both publishing and the written word. Some incredible folks have helped me get them out there; editors, cover artists and the like. Reviewers have kept my belief alive. For all these efforts in vain I am a story teller and I know what a story is. You can only learn to write stories by finding it within yourself. Anyone can be taught grammar, punctuation, spelling and all of the functions of language, but to be able to pen a story from beginning, middle to end with everything in between, that is what I learned while putting together 5 books.

And now after everything I set out to do, even in creating this blog, I am back where I started – looking for a literary agent. But this time I am armed with experience and the know how of story telling. The times have changed and everything I thought I knew about getting an agent, the last time I queried circa 2013, has changed. Apparently science fiction isn’t looked down on anymore. It just so happens to be the genre I am going to use to find an agent. But I need a book and I’ve got one. This year I drafted ‘Jack Thorn’ a story, the story that got me into writing. It’s funny how things go full circle. And as I said, I need an agent…

Have you queried to agents recently? Any good responses? Let me know via the comments, this is our journey, not just mine… 

Weekly Ramble #53

All this year I have been immersed in being busy. Whether that’s writing stuff, work, moving places, performing or even doing social things. In some senses I don’t think I could function without doing stuff. I know we all need a rest every now and then, the mind must wind down and reflect, right now I’m doing just that (while subconsciously thinking ‘what’s next?’).

While being real busy I just haven’t taken a moment or used any mind space to reflect on that fact that I now have 5 books published. A feat which is actually pretty damn cool, especially after doing it in under 5 years. The truth is and without sounding overindulgent I am damn proud of my work, in turn I am damn proud to know some of you who have pushed me on and on this year and in previous years. Being proud of the good things in life is so important and not everyone will get that. Now I am of a certain age (the kids won’t get this) I have come to appreciate that this life can bite you sometimes. In fact there aren’t many real good days that we have. Be proud of the good things you achieve, wear them, carry them with you, let them remind you it isn’t always bleak. Life is too damn short not to be reminded every day of the good stuff. 

This blog and it’s ‘moderate’ success has been a revelation this year, all you need to do is look at the numbers below to see how things exploded in a matter of months. There are a stack of good supporters this Hall of information must and will pay tribute to next month.

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For those in search of a ‘different’ type of read, my 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ has literally just been published and is available to download for less than $2 (it always will be). The paperback drops next week. Check out the awesome cover here. It’s a story about love, life and even if people do leave us, their influence lives on inside us.

Peace out and thanks for reading well cultured, well read individual! 

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‘The Ghost Beside Me’ Official Cover Reveal!

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is coming next week and well I should probably share with ya’ll the rather spectacular looking book cover which was literally finished today!

Scroll down to check it out. If you ask me I think it’s incredible and Design For Writers have yet again done an amazing job!

So what is ‘Ghost’ about? Well in a few words, it’s about a lot of things. It’s first and foremost a ghost story and a love story combined. The book is dedicated to the memory of my Grandfather whom when I was quite young told me and my brother a ghost story which I still think to this day is true. With that dedication comes a story inspired by that and an opportunity for me to deliver an important message that the people we have in our live’s may leave but their influence never goes away and they are always with us.

The story is also about overcoming the adversities our own mind can create such as anxiety and loneliness which is such an important thing we must all talk about more. For quite a short book there’s a lot going on and I do hope you will all join me for it’s release hopefully next week! 

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