Weekly Ramble #65

It gives me a sense of hope that even in these times people are buying my books. Not that the sales or royalties matter, let alone do they even contribute to my salary but the thought that someone has been interested enough in the blurb or cover art to give an essence of my soul and imagination a try. 

Hope can give a person enough to know that maybe they are on the right path no matter how uncertain all of our near futures are, some things will shine through this dark time, like sunshine on a rainy day, feeling that heat just feels better when it’s been cold for so long. People who continue to blog and read this blogging effort I must thank you from the bottom of my heart. We must keep the spirit of what we were alive enough so we don’t lose what we stood for. 

I’m trying, like always to create stuff that will at least take one person away for a while and most of my reduced audience seem to appreciate that while those who appear not to be tuning in are distracted elsewhere – this is a difficult time I know and I hope all of you are holding up.

I’ve started a diary that I hope will capture everything that’s going on right now, from my personal life all the way to current events. This is a fascinating historical time and without a diary to convey the essence of in the moment emotion, I couldn’t possibly relay this in years to come. It’s also a way of coping and a self care practice of reflection. Like stories, once I had laid them to rest on paper they no longer need to reside in my head. This coping strategy is working at the moment.

My plan like I said before is to have a business as usual front to all of this. There is no reason not to carry on especially with all the closures and postponements going on around the world, the Hall of Information hopes to carry on throughout.

Good vibes and health to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #64

Nobody could have predicted that a pandemic would cause so much fucking stupidity amongst the masses. I want to think that it’s the few that have spread this dumb hysteria to stockpile food. This post was never intended to slam people or the ‘masses’ and first and foremost it’s a check in with all of you because I’m fine, and I hope you are too!

Empty shelves in 2020. What are we doing? Starvation is going to kill us long before some potentially lethal but possibly not flu – anyone else think what the fuck? While everyone seems to be panic buying for the apocalypse, where are the answers to any of this? Why don’t we know anything? To take Ibuprofen or not? Hot weather apparently kills it… Other vaccines or medications could work in helping fight it? I mean are there a bunch of old wives in charge of this thing? At this point I would prefer that; at least we would be comfortable and rational right?

Now that I’ve got my swearing out and vented just a little, I feel semi okay but this is quickly becoming a fight of a generation. People are still not listening. Stay inside unless you’ve got to work or get food. The whole lock down thing, that is a final final resort because it will kill the economy. Countries who have imposed it have done for the better of their people as opposed to GDP’s. The people running the show are probably just as miffed as we are about it all.

Over here in the UK a lock down would probably be pretty difficult to enforce. The schools close today – a sad realisation that there are some kids who won’t take their final exams this summer and finish school like they deserve. Teachers taken away from their calling. So so many jobs rely on places being open. This whole damn deal is such a mess but in this trying time, we’ve got to be strong, we must look out for one another, the older generation who are apparently susceptible to this thing need protecting; they raised us after all so now it’s our turn to help them. To those working in all walks of medical; they will be the real heroes in all of this,

I’m trying desperately to carry on with my normal schedule. Somehow I finished reading a book earlier this week and put up a review. Editing is 75% done of Darke Awakening and I fully intend to publish it this September. This is going to be the new normal for a while and so I will be checking in regularly via this ramble series from now on.

Wherever you are in the world, tell me about what’s going on? We have to be together in this no matter where we are. What’s happening?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 #47

Blog Post 301. Not a bad milestone to reach. I originally put this blog together to display my writing prowess and the ironic thing is my 300th post wasn’t really about my writing as such, it was about sharing my book promotional efforts to help other authors. 

Things only really start to move when a writer decides they are no longer an island. I mean I could go on and on about my books but between me and you and it isn’t the most riveting of subjects. It’s self centered to constantly talk about one’s stuff and the only real way we learn in life is by reaching out and listening to the trials or errors of others. My writing does the talking for me and how the reader interprets what I have to say is down to them.

My default philosophy when I have any writing ‘success’ is not to celebrate and wave it like a flag but to think how I am going to share with others how it happened. There is a historic reason why people help each other and it’s not for the recognition or for the spotlight; people help each other because it makes the individual feel good for doing so; I guess this only applies to the honest amongst us.

And when someone is honest they are representing the truth and the truth is something real and when something real it is something you can feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I write…

Many of us create to beat the blues,

So don’t blame me for the 2 star reviews.

Something I made way back when,

Words I’ve moved on from since then.

Although it may still be a piece of me,

Publishing it set those words free.

A thousand days of thinking it through,

Just to create something for you.

My stuff may never be your cup of tea,

But it’s not for you, it’s for me…

My New Book: A Retrospective

May has arrived, and for me this is the biggest month of my writing life! Darke Blood arrives in a mere few weeks so this entry is a dedicated retrospective of all things Darke. I will be talking about the story, the inspiration behind it and of course my extensive attack based marketing plan which is already in full swing! This is Darke Blood, a retrospective look.

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 My first real television hero in life was female. Many of you will know whom I am referring to but before the days of the Avengers and the seemingly endless tirade of cape wearing redemption seekers there was Buffy Summers. One of the very first female leads in television that was perceived as strong and later on independent. This might not appear a big deal today but we still have a very long way to go in terms of diversity in all forms of storytelling,  although cliché does have a big factor to play in that but so does society.

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Joss Whedon created Buffy with a view to flip cliché and embrace the quirky differences many of us have. The real horror in a world of vampire slaying wasn’t the demons coming out of the hell mouth below the high school, it was the high school (something I used in Open Evening). A clever and different story followed from this premise with the introduction of a character orientated story and the ever important humour that brings it away from any real darkness. As the high school in Buffy crumbled so did the change of horror, now it was surviving college and struggling to date someone who’s actually mortal. Eventually it shifted again with adulthood becoming the real theme of Buffy, either way the characters had each other to deal with whatever life faced them and that is above all what inspired me to write stories, the resolve.

After finishing my first published novel Open Evening, there came a decision I needed to make. What next? Very quickly the genre of vampires and witches came to mind, but there were two reasons for this. Firstly I had always wanted to do vampires just to pay homage to my favourite television hero and secondly, these stories still sell and are arguably more popular than ever. If you look at TV and literature, in the last decade there has been more than one big time vampire or witch story . So to me this seemed like the perfect idea to step into.

I’ve already shared the somewhat painful drafting process Darke Blood I went through so I wont dwell on it but there was the question of what exactly does it pay homage to? Well, stories speak to people in different ways, go ahead and read a book you’ve read before, give it a few years and your perception, mood and current lifestyle all come to play in how you perceive it, sometimes it will even change.

As I have read through Darke Blood after the several edits and of course the back and forth with my editor, I think I have finally grasped what it’s about and what it really pays homage to. That being strong female lead characters and our need for them even more so today.

Hence I have come full circle in life, from sitting in front of the TV as a 12 year old kid on a Thursday night, to writing my own take on Buffy. And if you ask me Darke Blood is so much more than homage to a TV show which broke boundaries back in the day.

But isn’t the main character in Darke Blood male?

In essence there are two lead characters in Darke Blood one is male and the other is female. But throughout the narrative our female is the stronger and somewhat a leader, but it isn’t about breaking down those boundaries because Buffy did that, this is about that concept working alongside with the other.

What set’s Darke Blood aside from other stories of the same genre?

Well this book doesn’t spend the whole time paying homage to Buffy, it has an independent identity and my own take on vampires. We are all led to believe that vampire stories have to fit into a certain set of rules, rules which have just been there since the Van Helsing days. You know, using garlic and having to invite a vampire in. Instead of these tales of folklore, why not add a little science to vampires? Maybe even define vampirism as a disease which in fact could one day be cured. What if there was a blood substitute, after all it’s a chemical right?

Same goes for my take on witchcraft. If you break that word down, you are left with ‘craft’, so what if there were different particular crafts? Again I used the science route to redefine and somewhat invent my own version of magic but strictly keeping it close to a reality where this stuff could actually be possible.

Both vampirism and witchcraft are just sub-themes, as much as they are unique selling points that give the book it’s rounded appeal, the main theme of Darke Blood is identity. Main character Blake Malone soon finds conflict within himself as the realization comes apparent that his memory seems to be blocked. Along the way of trying to resolve this conflict he discovers the forces of vampirism and witchcraft accompanied by some very special nods towards Open Evening. I will say no more.

How are you going to implement Darke Marketing?

My first book was always going to be a trial and error experience. Many lessons were learned and a lot of stuff came up that I probably should have done but wouldn’t have been aware of unless I took the plunge into publishing (if you get what I mean?).

In terms of marketing as an independent author I am pretty much the General or architect of my own success. But social media is the king of book sales and so my efforts towards it have gone up tenfold this time.

What I have already done

Teaser Trailer

This was my first experience of making something like this and to be fully honest it looks okay. The whole idea of this trailer was to get the name out there and of course the release date. Over 700 people have viewed it so far, and if I can convert even a small percentage of that figure into sales then we shall be off to a good start. I even had some good people share it which is always fantastic so thanks to those that did.

Emailed my subscribers/ people I know who would like the book/people whose email I have

Yep if you’re lucky you may have an email from me in your junk box. This sort of thing is imperative to get the word out early. Loyal friends are great way to get in early reviews and get the ball rolling. Sign up now by following this blog with your email address to receive future stuff for free.

What will you be doing?

Book cover reveal blog post

Book cover reveal FB post

Book cover trailer (Maybe)

Facebook online launch event – invite people to share the link

Going live on FB- Maybe a Q and A if anyone actually cares (maybe)

Facebook Advertising

Goodreads exclusive UK giveaway

Ask some peeps to guest blog on my site

Incite people to take a book selfie – this really sold books last time

Press release to local and national press

Instagram posts (something that is book related and not just booze or food)

Email my loyal followers – sign up on this site today to receive future news first and even exclusive pre sale content.

So as you can see I have a huge list of stuff planned. This month there will be all hands on deck from me to give Darke Blood the best chance it has of being a success. I do hope you can join me, this story isn’t just about vampires, witches and identity. It isn’t just about a homage to Buffy or female lead characters. It’s about all of them and so much more!

A thank you to followers

The Hall of information officially opened for business nearly two years ago with a dedication to gaining more followers. With every entry over that time I can happily say that the follows have slowly crept up to 70. Something which two years ago Lee wouldn’t have thought a realistic thing.

My whole premise is to build a loyal following of good tasted people who will buy my book when it first hits the shelves this September. Yes, Open Evening will make its journey over the summer through a professional cover artist and professional edit. Hopefully a wonderfully polished product will come out the other side and will be something I am more than proud to share with you.

This blog is titled a journey to publication and it is during my year of writing that the destination is sitting just before the horizon now. A year so far which has seen me over come a high level of writers block type frustration along with adapting to being a shift worker. Things will just take longer to create from scratch from now on. My latest draft of a new title will hopefully reach completion with in a few weeks and maybe I will divulge some more info on that soon.

In other writing news my first play will make its way to the stage next week. Hotel doom stars an all talented cast of fine actors and actresses who have worn my writing like a glove. Their input has been amazing and we have a great show. It would be a shame if the audience numbers do not match the level of this show so if your in town next week then check it out here.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever supported me on this journey of writing. Whether you have simply liked a status, retweeted or followed me in some capactity I can only do this with your help. Let’s get some new faces out there on the shelves with decent meaningful stories to tell.

editing begins

Year of writing

Reflections of a writer director

I write this current blog entry after what has been a pretty damn disheartening week for me. Before I spend words moaning at life being hard and all I would like to say that this piece isn’t directed at anyone personally other than myself.
Although it would be easy to use social media as a vessel for sending subliminal messages I am very much an adult and won’t do such things. More over I would rather use this blog page as a way of just venting my current feelings and mood towards things.
First off let me just talk about my writing situation, this is a blog so nobody can interrupt, basically shut up and listen.

Since November I switched departments at work in order to chase better opportunities and more money.  Doing so meant that I no longer work Monday to Friday with weekends off. My work pattern is rather sporadic at best and gives no real stable routine. Something which my writing thrives under, or used to anyway. Gone are the days where I could come home and begin writing at six all the way through to half ten at night. Those times where I really learnt my craft and I look back on them as one great lesson in penning words.
Now my time is way more valuable, not only for me to write but to spend time with my nearest and dearest and of course to actually sleep. Saying that my writing in the past five months has reached a rather diabolically slow pace. If I am completely honest the current book I am trying to draft is a complete and utter shambles. Some of you are probably saying really is it that bad? My angle is that I don’t want to sell a shitty book, which is what it currently is.

Maybe I have just taken it a bridge too far especially after the last book I drafted literally flowed like water and in a matter of months it was done. Foolishly I thought maybe I could repeat that again by just going with a few loose plot points and deciding the take it from there. Perhaps an arrogant approach from me.

There seems to be a complete lack of inspiration for me right now which is holding my creativity down below the surface of rather stormy waters. Maybe in the books I have previously written I was just lucky to have the story already there, but with this project is just a brick wall. It’s frustrating as hell because I want this so damn much and there is some awesome points that this story could shine with.

Only if I can unlock the links between these few great moments is becoming an ever such a hard task.
More than once have I almost walked away from this project, but a very deep need to succeed and get it done is holding me onto it. Somewhere my inspiration lies, but where I still haven’t found out.  I don’t watch much tv these days which is one of my many vessels of inspiration for ideas, lets face it, UK Netflix sucks a big dong.

It’s been over a week since I even looked at the book I am trying to write and as that time increases it fills me with zero remorse for walking away. We’ll see.
To add to my already frustration and lack of writing inspiration for the new book, this week I was forced to make a decision which has caused my conscience to remain a little unsettled. Being a first time writer director of a play so far has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in life but saying that, this week I had to make a rather difficult decision. Maybe it has even cut a friendship from my life, I do hope that isn’t the case.

Things were pushed a little too far in my mind and action had to be taken, deep down I feel a little remorse but the in the long run if I want something to be successful sometimes a small sacrifice is worth the reward. I will do anything to ensure my writing isn’t put at jeopardy and the fantastic cast I have, my team which I cannot let down. Making this decision truly is best for business, but where do friends come in business. Only time will take its course for me to know that.

Until then I will try to throw myself back into writing a book which my heart really isn’t in. Maybe that’s a subliminal method approach seeing as it’s about vampires.

My book update : Options….

It was around March/February of this year I sent out my manuscript to the various powers that be protecting the gates to publicationville.

Only a few rejections have trickled back to my inbox since then. I did once receive a reply over a year since submitting, guess they are busy rejecting other writers. Not that I am bitter, these literary agents have to make a living somehow and choosing my crap maybe isn’t for them.

Slowly and in an orderly manner I am accepting the ‘standard’ way of publishing my book won’t work for me. The whole pander to an agent by telling them what my book is similar to simply isn’t my style, it never will be. Editing a book can only be done so many times. So in this ever growing world of reliance of internet I have to address my options.

Option 1

Self publish my book – This will involve mostly all costs coming out of my creaking wallet. Editing, cover design and formatting onto amazon are all things I am not a professional at. Therefore they will cost me. I consider this option my last resort, by that I mean when every other idea has been tried several times.

Option B

Keep hitting out to literary agents, maybe I will get lucky – This one is wearing thin right about now, but I will start a new campaign sometime later this year when my self-esteem has re spawned. Although like the lottery you need a ticket to be struck by lightning twice. I like those odds.

Option C

Crowd Funding – Let the ‘people’ decide – This depends on what crowd funding outlet I choose. Some you can just sign up and go where as others such as unbound you have to apply, in which I did yesterday. Thanks to Matt for pointing that one out to me.

Option 4

Give up, become a guy that used to write. Say that in bars in a half drunken slur to a much younger bright eyed version of myself – Although the promise of a constant booze top up sounds nice it isn’t viable for my liver or livelihood. Plus I’m better than that to give up now, I hope.

Option E

Mothball the Clark Thorn series – This is a very viable option, I started all of this as a back story for the Jack Thorn series, now I know that story I could just move on. I do have an idea for a horror story also.

 

Even after glancing at the options I have to keep going. The weekend after completing the first draft of my third book I am back editing the first one. Hey maybe combining the options could work, I may just get lucky and the good people of unbound may see something in my book. But I am definitely mothballing the whole being drunk in a bar thing.