Blindsighted: A New Book on the Way

Welcome to another week

I started writing what became Blindsighted when I was trying to get back into writing after being unable to get going on anything when struggling with my mental health. Starting a new story really helped me get back into writing and calm my brain, which at the time was going a million miles a second with all the bad things I could possibly think of.

I got maybe around a third of the way into the story I wanted to write before deciding to stop and get back going with The Next Stage.

Up until that point, I’d struggled to edit TNS and the chore of going through it multiple times and editing was too much for me to handle. However, this time, I got into it, and I didn’t stop working on it until it was released back in October 2020.

When I’d released TNS, I started work on a story that I’ve had in my head for years; It’s All in the Eyes (you may have seen me mention it in other blogs.) I got a fair way into this story when, for whatever reason, I hit a wall. I felt like I was just writing for the sake of it and wasn’t really adding anything to the story. As much as I wanted to finish it, I didn’t want to rush it and mess it up – the story has been in my head for years; I don’t think it’s going anywhere. This was when I picked Blindsighted back up.

When I started on Blindsighted again, I had the story that I wanted to tell, so it didn’t take me long to finish it and once again be back to editing.

I’ve mentioned before that editing isn’t my favourite process involved in writing. It’s not that I find it hard to do – well, it is, but I find it hard mentally. Editing doesn’t engage my brain as much as concentrating on actually writing a story. The process of guiding a character around their world is much more satisfying and involved than going through something that’s already written and just needs proofreading.

But, as much as I struggle with this, and after four digital and one paperback proof readthrough, Blindsighted is finally ready for release.

I’ve set a date of 14th April 2020 – so, next Wednesday – for release. In theory, I could release it now, but I’m trying to get a little bit of buzz going beforehand.

A Goodreads page for the book has been set up, and I’ve been sharing the link on social media for those that like to add things to their TBR list. I’ll share it here, too, just in case you’ve missed it. Click the logo below to be taken there.

In between the release date and now, I’ll be working on another story. As The Next Stage has been received so well, I’ll be working on the sequel. This is provisionally titled, The Next Stage 2 – catchy, huh?

For now, though, we’re spending the day trying to do a low chaos run through of Dishonored…we can do this!

Have a good week all.

When Can You Call Yourself an Author?

This is a question that bounced around my head for a while. Before I talk about how I felt and when I decided to use the word author, I asked the writing community of Twitter what their thoughts were;

This question was something that prayed on my mind quite a bit when I started writing especially after released Creatures.

Although having written and (self) published a book, I still didn’t feel like I could call myself a bona fide author. Maybe it was the self-deprecating part of my brain, but I didn’t think I was good enough to be able to use that word.

Something in my brain associated the word “author” with the likes of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, James Patterson, Steven King, Michael Crichton; the authors of books that I grew up reading and I think I was comparing my work to theirs and, honestly, it just didn’t stack up.

In May of 2020, I was struggling with my mental health to the extent that made the difficult decision to quit my day job of working in IT. With this done, I had time to focus on my mental health, and I felt like a big part of my healing was being able to write, and although I was now doing this full-time, I still didn’t feel like I was good enough.

Having these thoughts is difficult to describe, and I’m doing my best to get my thoughts and feelings down here. I suppose a part of my struggle was that I had imposter syndrome. In case you don’t know what this is; it’s a psychological pattern where an individual doubts their skills, accomplishments and talents and you have this fear that one day you’ll be discovered as a fraud. Even though I had written and published a book, I still didn’t have enough confidence in my skills to say that I was good at this and I would be able to write anything else, that Creatures was a one-off. However, then came The Next Stage.

It took me around two years to finish and get The Next Stage published. I think a big reason for this was me delaying it because I still didn’t think it was good enough. It was only when I got to the point where I couldn’t do anything further with it that I eventually released it. When writing it, I knew that this book was superior to Creatures, but there was still that part of me that couldn’t believe I had written it.

Before publishing, the only people to read it were myself and Alex. When she read it, she said it was amazing – so much so that she read it in around four hours because she couldn’t put it down. But there was still that niggly feeling in the back of my brain that it wasn’t all that good and the only way I would truly find out is getting it out so that others could read it.

Once The Next Stage was released, and I saw the reception it was getting – being likened to the Alex Cross books and Blade Runner – it was as if a switch had clicked in my head, one that went from “I’m not good enough to be doing this” to “This is what I should be doing because I’m good at it.” Overnight I was able to call myself an author. Don’t get me wrong, the imposter syndrome still creeps in occasionally – usually when I’m hitting a depressive episode, but for the most part, it’s gone.

As I stated earlier in the post, this is just my journey through this period, and others experience other things and ways they define it. If you feel like you can call yourself a writer/author, then you do it, don’t let anyone stop you from defining your work.

Lockdown Writing

I live in the UK, and we’re currently in our…wait a minute, I know this…third lockdown, and we’re experiencing all the fun that goes along with it.

Lockdowns have been sh!t, to say the least. We all have to find ways of getting through them; some people have built things, others painted, watched, read, played, but it has been writing for me.

During this time of world collapse, for me, writing has been a great escape. I know I left my full-time day job at the start of 2020 to focus more on writing, but continually being unable to leave the house is also a good catalyst for getting more writing done.

The first lockdown and the proceeding events gave me time to focus on finishing off The Next Stage. I had more time that I ordinarily would have spent playing games or watching crappy movies that I instead used to be more productive.

It’s so easy during these lockdowns to while away the time without actually doing a great deal, so for me to be able to focus on something has not only helped me pass the time, but the focus has also helped my mental health.

More time for writing doesn’t just mean the act of writing words, but also the planning of a story. I’ve been able to do more research on specific topics that I want to have in my books.

For my latest book, Blindsighted, which is a supernatural horror, I’ve been able to look more depth into hauntings, spells, and even – without giving too much away – spells. The added time for research means that I don’t rush it and simply add the first idea that I come up with; I can look into a few different things and pick which one I think will work the best. I did quite a bit of research for The Next Stage, but it makes me wonder how much I could have done if I had been writing it during these lockdowns. I feel like I put a lot of detail into it as it is, but maybe it would have been even greater if I’d written it now; not that I feel it’s lacking in any way.

It’s not just the writing that has passed the time during lockdowns, but also everything else that comes with being an author.

The publicity of a newly released book took up quite a bit of time. Spending my time on Twitter, not just posting ranty comments – although there have been a few – but interacting with fellow authors, reviewers, and the writing community, in general, has taken the place of the those physical interactions that I may have had while not in lockdown. Even though I’m an innately antisocial person, I still struggle when the choice of being social has been taken away from me. I also started my Instagram and even this blog during one of the lockdowns, both of which have helped me get my work out there to more people.

During the start of this lockdown, I also did my first radio interview; something that came out of nowhere and I never thought I’d ever do. But now that I’ve done one, I’m looking forward to the next.

Even these blogs have helped me. This has been another outlet for book publicity and my frustrations and want for social interaction.

Through my interactions with Twitter, I’ve found that I’m not the only one who has focused on writing through this uncertain time. Fellow writers have also used this time to finish projects they’ve worked on for some time and even publish more works than they would have been able to in an average year.

More books being published, I’ve found, has also helped other non-writers through the lockdowns. Being able to escape to other worlds has got them through the worst times. This, in turn, has again assisted the authors by providing that little bit more income.

I hope we can get out of the lockdowns and the restrictions as soon as possible, but having writing to focus on makes the time go a little quicker and makes it that little bit more tolerable.

New Year, New…Book?

I’m taking a break from my regular schedule of posts but will return to it next week.

The new year is upon us. We can put the sh!tshow that was 2020 behind us and try to move on.

To bring a little good to the first day of the new year, I’ve decided to make The Next Stage available for free on Kindle and Google Books. You can find it via the following links;

If you’d like a promo code for Apple Books, then just message me on Twitter and I’ll send one over to you.

If you’re looking for a new read, then The Next Stage could be what you’re looking for.

26th October 2138, Lieutenant William Kell is at the scene of another homicide committed by a rogue group of AIs. What has now become a routine investigation will soon explode into a deeper conspiracy, one that threatens all of humankind. Now it’s a race against time to stop the group’s devious plot before it’s too late, and the city of Washington D.C. implodes into violence.

If you’re unsure, why not check out some of the reviews over on Goodreads, and see what other readers have to say about it.

While you’re over on Goodreads, you can also now set up your 2021 reading challenge. With this challenge you can set a goal for how many books you aim to read this year. I’ve done this for five years, and have found it a good way to make sure I read more. You can see my challenge below and start your own on the website.

This past year I only just managed to reach my goal due to focusing more time on writing and getting The Next Stage out there, but I’m going to try this year, to make some more time for reading, I especially want to read more self-published and Indie authors like myself, as I know how hard it can be to get our books out there to readers.

You can see what I read during my 2020 reading challenge here.

Thank you to all who have already read and reviewed The Next Stage and Creatures. It means a lot to me that people have actually enjoyed what I’ve written and even recommended it it to others. You’re awesome!

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!