A New Member of the Family

Getting a pet is something that Alex and I have discussed on and off for quite some time. Whenever we talked about it, though, we realised that it just wasn’t the right time. The main reason behind this was the fact that we were always in rented accommodation, whether it be a flat or house. The issue being that we’d either have to pay a stupid amount to allow us to have a pet or worry about and repair any damage that it may do to the property. But now we’ve bought a house, and we don’t have to worry about those things. We’re both now also in a better place mental health wise, and we can see only positives to getting a pet – well, I say pet, I mean dog.

Whenever we discussed getting a dog, the one breed that we always came back to was German Sheperd. There are a few reasons why we wanted this breed; they’re easier to train than some breeds, they’re obedient and loyal, great for guard dogs and a breed that will generally want to go out – something that we sorely need to do.

With my hip getting better, I will now be able to take a dog out for walks, and by doing this, it will hopefully make my hip even stronger. Both Alex and I enjoy going out for walks, but we struggle to find the motivation to do it. It’s generally just easier to stay in and play or watch stuff sat on our arses. But having a dog that needs to be walked will be the best motivation we could have.

The other day we were discussing it again, and we found a breeder and some puppies that we were interested in. We made an appointment and were able to go and view them that evening. It was a bit of a trek, but it was worth it for a reliable breeder.

When we got there, we found that there were only two puppies left available, both female. We weren’t really too bothered about which gender we got, so we were happy to see the girls.

We sat for over an hour with the two puppies, playing with them and learning about them from the breeder. We found that they were both adorable and the urge to have both of them was strong. We watched how they interacted with each other and us and made our decision based on the temperament that we saw exhibited. By the time we were ready to go, the one we had decided on was dozing off, and the other was still darting about the room. As much as we wanted an energetic dog, we also wanted one that we could tire out, and that would relax with us.

Happy that we had made the right choice, we made our way home. While in the car, we were discussing names for our new doggo. One that we’d mentioned before was Rogue. This was mainly because, in my book Blindsighted, the protagonist gets a German Sheperd and names her Rogue. While we were talking to the breeder, she mentioned that the puppies’ fathers name was Zeus. That got us thinking about names that revolved around that. Alex was looking things up, and we found that one of the daughters of Zeus was Athena. She was all for this, but it took me a while to come around to the idea, but I did. We now had a name for our puppy.

We couldn’t take the puppy away with us when we viewed her because they can only leave the breed when they are 8 weeks old – we were a few days short of that. But we made an appointment to go and pick her up on Saturday morning.

With this arranged, we now had a couple of days to “puppy proof” the house. This meant us taking up one of the rugs, lifting some plants off the ground and hiding some cables and wires that were available for the chewing. I also spent most of Thursday running around various shops picking up bits and pieces that Athena would need; a crate, collar, bowls, toys etc. With all that done, all we have to do now is wait until tomorrow. This is harder than it sounds.

I’m sure that there will be a lot of pictures and videos posted either here or on my Twitter and Instagram. But below are our first pictures of our little bean.

Bring on tomorrow!

Today’s The Day…

Today I start my creative writing course at University.

Over the past few years, I’ve written 3 books – Creatures, The Next Stage and Blindsighted –  and in that time, I have learned a lot about being a writer, but now I’m doing something that will help me improve even further; I’m heading to university to do a course on creative writing.

A year ago, I never would have thought that would be happening. I thought I’d lost my love of IT, and I wouldn’t find anything else that I could genuinely get into, but I was wrong. Despite no longer liking working in IT, I thought that I would inevitably drift back into it as it was the only thing I’ve ever known and that I was good at.

Writing came out of nowhere as a hobby and something I would do after my day job or at weekends. But it soon became bigger than that, and I wanted to take it further by making it my career.

I’m by no means the best of writers, and I’m not so up my own arse that I don’t think I could learn more about the craft, so when the opportunity came up to go to university to study it, despite being sceptical at first, thinking I wouldn’t get in, I jumped at the chance.

Today is what this past year has been all about. It’s all been leading to this point. The beginning of a new journey in my life. One that I want to make the very best of and one I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Today is a big day for me. I’m excited and anxious as all hell, but I’m going to go and put everything I have into it.

This week is going to be a big adjustment for me. It’s the first week in a long time that I’ve had to be somewhere and not be able to do my own thing. It’s been over a year since I quit my 9-5, and I still don’t think that I’ve adjusted to a new routine. Now I’m throwing myself into a new one, and I’m hoping that my brain doesn’t implode. I’m just lucky to have someone who is always behind me and supports what I want to do. Alex is always there for me and encouraging me, and I couldn’t have got here without her. Sorry to be soppy, but my wife is the best 😊

So now, I’m away to start on the new road my life has taken; wish me luck!

Coming Next Week: University!

Next week I have the start of all things university. I’ll be beginning my induction week on Monday, where I will learn more about my course and meet some of the people involved in it.

I’m simultaneously both looking forward to this and dreading it.

My anxiety is hitting the roof right now and only seems to be getting worse the closer I get to starting. This is usually the case when I have to do something, especially something new, but I’m generally okay once I start, so I’m hoping this will follow previous patterns.

I can’t wait to start, it’s a whole new adventure for me, and I look forward to everything it brings.

I’ve had my schedule through for when the course actually starts, and I’m not in all that much – in fact, I’m only in 2 days. As I’ve not been in full-time education for years, I’m doing what’s called a ‘foundation year’. This will ease me into uni life slowly and teach me how to study again (something that I’ve never been great at historically). I would imagine that my schedule will be a little busier when I start my true first year of the course.

For now, though, two days where I’m required to be there isn’t too bad and depending on what I have to do for uni, I will be able to continue with my current schedule of writing and blogging, at least for a bit. However, I’m sure I’ll eventually have to work out something new to take into account my course requirements.

As I said, I’ve got a mixture of hope and fear going into this course, but I’m mainly trying to stay positive. It will help me with my writing and maybe even help me get a job in the future.

While I’m studying, make my day even better by picking up a copy of one of my books. Each book bought puts a smile on my face, so head over to Amazon and check them out.

What To Write?

Being a writer sometimes means that you have to juggle your different ideas. I recently asked my fellow writers on Twitter how they decide which idea to work on;

I currently have around 9 ideas that are in various stages of development. Some are just a very basic idea, some have a number of notes written for them, and others have several chapters done.

I tend to flit between ideas often. If I have a new idea that I want to develop, I will spend some time working on that before continuing with previous ideas. Some stories come easier than others. For example, I got a bit stuck with my story It’s All in the Eyes, and then I had the idea for Blindsighted. I found the latter flowed smoother and quicker, and I could fully develop that into a release.

At the moment, I’m working on, And Then I Killed Her, which for now is coming freely. However, if I get stuck, I may move on to one of my other ideas.

Having said that, if I come up with a new idea – for example, I came up with an idea for a new story the other day that involves a homeless wizard – I may spend a few minutes writing a few sentences or jotting down the basic premise, but I won’t spend a great deal of time working on it.

Some books, like The Next Stage 2 and Creatures 2, are coming off the back of a previous entry, so I have a few ideas bouncing around of where I can take the story, but because – in my mind – they have to live up to the book that came before I spend a bit more time figuring things out. Creatures 2 is around halfway written, but I got a little stuck and decided that I would move on to something else rather than struggling with it.

It can be a blessing and a curse to have a lot of ideas bouncing around. On the one hand, it’s great because you’ve always got something to work on if you have issues with a current WIP. But on the other, it can be a pain because I want to work on several at a time. For example, I’m really excited about my wizard story, but my current serial killer WIP is going so well that I don’t want to stop writing it if I lose my flow.

As I’ve found from asking folks on Twitter, everyone has a different way of figuring out which story they will work on at any given time. As with many things, what works for one, might not work for you, so find your own method.

Rewrite!

Nothing like starting the day off with a Monty Python reference.

I’m starting today what I’ve been dreading and putting off for a week now; rewriting what I have of my current WIP, And Then I Killed Her.
I’m only around five chapters in, but I feel like the pace is off. Things are moving way too quickly, and the tension I’m trying to build just isn’t happening. I’ve got ideas of how to fix it, but it’s just felt way too daunting to start on. But I know I have to do it sooner or later, so I figure I just have to make a start on it and see how it goes.
What I’ve written is good, and I like it a lot; it just doesn’t flow as well as I’d like. And as I’ve moved the story along a little bit quicker than I expected, I’m unsure where to go next. I’m hoping that spending some time on it over the next week or so will get me back on track.

I still want And Then I Killed Her to be my next release, so whatever I have to do to it, I will; it might just take me a little longer than I had initially thought to get it finished. But these things happen and can’t be helped. I suppose it’s all part of my chaotic writing style. Maybe if I planned things out a little more, I wouldn’t run into these issues. Maybe…

With going to university in September, I want to try and get as much done on this novel as I can before my time is taken up by uni work. Perhaps all of this will help me prepare for uni and the course to come.

Back to it now, I guess.

Before I go, though, I just want to let you know that the Kindle versions of my novels The Next Stage and Blindsighted will be available for free over on Amazon this weekend. There’s no particular reason for this; I just want to get my books out there to as many people as possible.

Have a good weekend!

Reviews Are In…

…well the first one is anyway.

It’s been a slow burn release but Blindsighted is starting to get out there. Sales are low, but Kindle Unlimited pages are coming in quicker and the other day I had my first review over on Goodreads – and it was a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. It was also a text review which I always enjoy reading. It’s nice to see what people thought about your novel, whether there is a particular scene that they enjoyed or even if there were any issues they could see. It’s nice to have that input from readers to help me grow as a writer.

When The Next Stage was released, it garnered a high number of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews for the first couple of months which kept its average at the maximum for quite some time. I’m not expecting the same with Blindsighted, but it would be nice to see some more good reviews come in soon.

As I’ve said in previous blogs, I’m not doing any writing at the minute as we put all our energy into our house move. We get our keys today and I’m hoping that we can get everything sorted in the next couple of weeks so I can get back to writing and trying some other things – more information on what I’m planning will come soon.

Our house move has been going on for almost a year, and we’ve spent that long living out of boxes. We can’t wait to get everything sorted, so we can get back to living our lives.

So while you’re waiting for more book stuff from me, you can catch up with my novels by buying them over on Amazon or by using your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

While we wait for the call to come in about picking up keys, we’re trying to keep our minds occupied by playing Stardew Valley. The co-op is really great, and I’ll be doing a blog about it soon.l, so keep an eye out for that.

That’s all for today. I hope you have a good weekend and if you’d like to see updates on our house move watch my Twitter and Instagram as well as our house Instagram.

100th Post!

As we’re in the middle of our move and I’m currently not doing any writing due to this, I wasn’t going to do a blog post, but I noticed that this would be my 100th post, and I didn’t want it to pass by without acknowledging it.

I started this blog back in September 2020, intending to share my thoughts on things in my life that I enjoy and discuss mental health issues, and I think so far I’ve been doing a pretty good job if I do say so myself.

The blog has also allowed me to connect with more of the writing community and the wider internet population. I’ve been able to share my thoughts on writing, gaming and mental health and been able to hear what your thoughts are too.

Some of my posts have been more popular than others, but I think I’m gaining a decent audience that reads my posts regularly and even follow me on here and on my social media profiles.

I’ve also been able to share updates on my writing and give readers an insight into my and other writers processes. Showing that not everyone works in the same way and how different writing styles allow writers to create in unique ways.

So far this year, I’ve had nearly 3000 views. That’s an audience that I never dreamed I would have.

I’m hoping to continue this blog far into the future, and I hope you continue reading and enjoying my posts.

Once the move is done, I’m hoping to get back into my regular posts and writing and work on some new things that I don’t want to go too much into at the moment.

For now, though, I want to thank all of you for reading and supporting me.

Here’s to the next 100 posts.

Have a great week!

P.S. don’t forget that my latest book Blindsighted is available over on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats, as well as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Friday Houseday

The end of another week. But this Friday marks something very special for us. Today is the day we get to go around our newbuild house for the first time.

For the past few days, I’ve been resting up and have spent most of my time playing various games – mainly Oddworld: Soulstorm, Borderlands 3 and Detroit: Become Human – so that I can walk around our new house without being in a lot of pain from my hip.

As the days have gone on, we’ve been getting progressively more excited about finally being able to see our house, and it’s finally starting to feel real.

Today is our house demonstration. I’m not entirely sure what it involves, but I believe it’s where they show us where everything is and how it works. We also get the opportunity to ask any questions or point out any issues we may see.

We pick up the keys a week today, and we can’t wait.

Unfortunately, we can’t move in straight away as soon as we get the keys – we have to wait until our flooring/carpets go down. Although we just want to start moving stuff in as quickly as possible.

This journey of house ownership started around a year ago and has been a long and difficult saga. Moving house is stressful for ‘normal’ people, but when both of us have a mental health issue, it adds that extra bit of stress.

You’d think that now we have a date that we’re getting the keys, and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that it would be easier, but we just want to move in now.

We can’t wait to be done with solicitors and our landlords. Both of which have been a pain in the ass and pretty useless at times.

We’re aiming to get out of our current rented property in a couple of weeks, giving us a week or so spare to clean and sort it out to the stupid exacting standards that the landlord wants. We know – because they’ve always been a pain in the ass – that they will be extremely picky about stuff, so they won’t have to give us our full deposit back. We’ve entirely accepted that we won’t get it all back because we know they’ll find something to complain about. We’re just doing everything we can to limit it…but there’s only so much we can do.

With the move imminent, I haven’t done any writing work since the release of Blindsighted. I just can’t focus on anything because we need to do things around the house, and we’re surrounded by boxes. I’m hoping that once we get in the new house, I will be able to jump straight into my next WIP – which may be the sequel to The Next Stage.

I can’t stress how much we’re looking forward to decorating and making this new house our home. I’d be lying if I said the main thing I was looking forward to wasn’t setting up the new games room. We’ve already been sketching some layouts and looking at things that we can do with it. I’m excited to get all my consoles back out, on display and usable. It feels like they’ve been packed away for decades. The only problem I will have is what I play first – because, of course, they will all need testing.

I’m hoping we can get loads of photos this afternoon when we visit the house, so be sure to check out my Twitter and Instagram and our house Instagram.

I hope your Friday goes well and that you have a good weekend.

Inspiration: A Ghost Story

What inspires you?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my fellow writers over on Twitter where they get their inspiration from for their writing, and although answers varied, a number of them did come up with similar answers. Mainly TV, movies, games and music.

I’ve talked before about how some of my writing has been inspired by dreams that I’ve had. Creatures, in particular, was heavily influenced by a dream I had, and it’s what got me writing in the first place.

However, my most recent work, Blindsighted, was influenced more by my experiences of places, people, and events.

Without spoiling the story for those that have read it, I want to talk about one event in particular that happened at my junior school.

Blindsighted is a ghost story at heart, and the experience that inspired a particular scene still lingers in my mind to this day.

Back in my old junior school, there was a story about a man that haunted a certain room.

The story went that a man was fixing the room one day when he slipped and fell off. However, he wasn’t killed from the fall, but some slate slipped off the roof and struck him in the head after he landed.

After his death, he had been seen on the balcony that overlooked the main assembly hall and also in and around one of the classrooms.

The classroom in question was across the assembly hall and was next to one of the boys’ toilets. This part of the school was always dark. The classroom was used for music lessons and wasn’t always in use, so more often than not, the place was in darkness. I remember avoiding this place wherever possible and never going through there on my own. But one day I had no choice.

I was in a lesson on the light side of the assembly hall and needed to go to the bathroom. I knew that I couldn’t be too long, so I couldn’t go to the toilets that were on the other side of the school. I had no choice but to go to the ones near the music room.

I asked permission to go and started to make my way to the bathroom. I stopped at the doors to the assembly hall, which was in total darkness because it wasn’t in use. I couldn’t turn the lights on; otherwise, someone would come and tell me off, so I slowly opened the door and started across the hall.

As I walked, I kept my eyes on the opposite doors and could see a tiny sliver of light coming from one of the windows in the music room (this was never enough to light it properly.) I don’t know if it was because it was dark and I was young and impressionable, but I felt like I was being watched. As if someone was stood on the balcony above me, watching my every move.

As I pushed open the set of doors – which, of course, creaked eerily – and stopped, ready to bolt if something was there. After a minute or so, I knew I had to get moving, so I made my way into the bathroom.

Inside I used the toilet (they were all in cubicles) and laughed at myself for thinking there would be a ghost.

As I flushed the toilet, I thought I heard the doors go. I wasn’t sure if I heard right because of the sound of the flush. I remember standing there in the quiet for a bit, wondering if there were would be any other noise – if someone else had come in, there would be sounds of them moving about.

After standing there in silence and internally laughing at myself again, I turned and left the cubicle. As I washed my hands, I heard a shuffle behind me – there were no mirrors in this bathroom, so I couldn’t look up and see. Something made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I cautiously turned around.

I then saw something that I can never forget.

Stood in the corner opposite me was a man. He had his back to me, but I could see he was wearing overalls and looked kind of shabby. I didn’t know what to do; I just knew that he shouldn’t have been there. I looked up at his head (I was much shorter back then) and could see something sticking up out of his head.

The door was on the opposite wall, a few feet left of the figure. As much as I didn’t want to move, I knew I had to get out and back into the light of the corridor on the other side of the assembly hall.

I ran. I don’t know how quickly I got out of there, but I was out of breath by the time I got into the hall.

I could see the lights on the other side of the door and darted for them. I didn’t turn around, but I felt like someone was walking behind me.

When I got to the other corridor, and was thankfully back in the light. I got on my tiptoes and looked through the small window in the door. I could see across to the other set of doors, but I couldn’t see the thin bit of light from the music room window. It was being blocked out by someone standing just behind the doors.

I calmed myself down some and went back to class.

I never used those toilets again and only went to the music room when I was with other people for a lesson.

Now I know there are many people out there who will dismiss this as the overactive imagination of a pre-teen child. But I know what I saw and experienced. The entire thing was terrifying and enough so that it sticks with me to this day. I’ve had other haunting experiences, but this one, because I was so young, just seems the worst by far.

When writing the scene in Blindsighted that relates to this experience, I tried to get across the feeling of fear that I felt when I was a child and saw what I saw.

There are other things in the book that I’ve pulled in from childhood memories, but nothing as scary as seeing the man with a piece of slate in his head.

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and I hope when you read Blindsighted that this will give you more insight into how I wrote that scene.

 Have you written anything about any experiences that you’ve had in life?  – not just ghostly things but anything.

What inspires your writing?

Friday Delight

Friday again. Another week is done. It’s the weekend and all that jazz.

It’s been another long week at this end. Things with the house are slowly drawing to a close as we’re hoping to be in by the end of April. And my third book, Blindsighted, was released on Wednesday.

I spent the bulk of the start of the weekend preparing forthe release of Blindsighted. I was double-checking everything was in place and correct over on KDP, so when I published it, there wouldn’t be any issues – luckily, there weren’t any. Plus, I created a few little promo images for it that I could post on Twitter, Instagram and this website.

With all that done, it’s now out in the world. Unfortunately, I’m still yet to sell a copy, although I’ve had a few pages read on Kindle Unlimited. I’m not worried, though. The world is still in somewhat of a mess with the old pandemic, and people don’t have the same money that they might have pre-covid. The important thing for me is that the book is out there for when people want to read it. Although, it would be nice if I sold a couple of copies this week…

Things with our new house are moving along, if seemingly very slowly. We’re starting to get a bit frustrated now that we’re so close. We’re getting fed up with living out of boxes and just want to be told that we can move in.

We’re just waiting for the inspection to be done; then we can have our house demonstration. It’s painful because there is nothing we can do to speed it up, and for the most part, we’re boxed up and ready to go, so we don’t have anything much we can do around the house.

What we have been doing, though, is preparing to hand our rental back. This has meant we’ve been having to deep clean rooms and paint bits and pieces that need doing. But even with this, we’re coming to the end of what we can do until the place is empty.

We’re really looking forward to no longer being in a rental property and having to deal with our landlords, who, for the most part, are somewhat useless.

Our new house will be our first bought property, and we’re unbelievably excited to make it our own. We have so many plans of what we want to do inside and in the garden. So there will undoubtedly be more updates about our progress with those.

In other news, we’re currently winning our little Instagram battle with Alex’s sister and her partner. We, the socially awkward, are prevailing on social media over people that have been there and done it before us. Follow us over at @LUNELIFFEYLIFE for updates of our house journey.

That’s about it for today. I leave you with a simple message. Buy my new book!

Click to go to Amazon

Have a good weekend.