I Did an Interview

A few weeks back, I did an interview with Andy N on his Spoken Label podcast. The podcast features interviews with authors and artists from around the UK. During the interview, we talk about how I got into writing, my latest book (at the time) Blindsighted, and where I see my career in writing going as well as future projects.

The podcast is available in many different places, including the Spoken Label website, YouTube, as well as Google & Apple podcasts.

Below is the video version from YouTube:

Revisiting the Creatures Universe: Four Years Later

If you’ve been following along, you should know that the second book in the Creatures series, Back to School, is due for imminent release (25th June 2022, to be exact). It has been four years since I released the first book in the series, and indeed my first book, and it feels like a lifetime ago. Creatures was something that I had to get out of my head, and I decided to publish it on a whim. Little did I know that I would find in writing something that I love doing, and now three (soon to be four) books under my belt, I can’t see me doing anything else.

The writing of Back to School began right after I published the first book. I ended Creatures in a way that if I wanted to, I could continue the story, and I had an idea at the time where I wanted to take it, but I hit a wall with the story and only got a couple of chapters in before I had to stop. As I’ve said before, I didn’t see the point in writing something I wouldn’t be happy with. I moved on to The Next Stage, which would ultimately be my second book. I didn’t even pick Back to School up again until after the release of Blindsighted.

The manuscript for the first book in the series wasn’t perfect, so I decided I would go back through it, sort out any issues and republishꟷone of the joys of self-publishingꟷand this made me want to continue the story and made revisiting the Creatures universe seem like the right thing to do at the time. During my re-editing process, I really enjoyed re-reading the book. I hadn’t read it since its release and had even forgotten some of what happened. I would have ultimately had to end up reading it again anyway to write the sequel, but with the dual purpose of editing at the same time, I killed two birds with one stone.

When I picked Back to School back up (it was still just called Creatures 2 at this point), I finally knew where I wanted to take the story and characters. I had a clear idea of the story that I wanted to tell and how I would do it. Once I started writing it again, I just couldn’t stop. I found that the words just flowed through me and onto the page. I was having such a good time writing the old characters, and being able to create new ones and bring them into the universe was great.

Of course, like in the first book, there are many deaths­ꟷI’m not going to go into them because I don’t want to spoil the storyꟷand there are some particularly gory ones. I found that I’ve been able to flesh out the original characters more and give them a little more personality and growth; I just hope that readers will like what I have done with them. There are many new characters introduced, some major and some minor, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve done them justice.

Story-wise Back to School follows directly from the first book, and there are many references to the original story throughout, so I would suggest if you’re planning on giving book two a read, then you should read book one firstꟷthere will be a discounted Kindle offer of the first book in the next few days running up to the release of Back to School so keep an eye out for that.

I’ve enjoyed working on Back to School so much that I’ve already started work on the third book in the series. I’m hoping that it won’t take me another four years to release it, but who knows; I could have another idea about one of my many other projects that I decide I have to work on first.

As I said at the top of this post, Back to School is out on 25th June 2022, that’s only five days away, and I’m really excited to get the book out there. Having said that, due to Amazon KDP being a little more on the ball than usual;, the paperback version is available early, so if you head over to the books page on Amazon, you’ll be able to pick up a copy early. You can also preorder the ebook version on Kindle, Kobo, and Google & Apple books.

I’m excited about the release, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what people think of it. I hope that people enjoy revisiting the Creatures universe as much as I did. And like I said, keep an eye out on here and my social media for news about the offers on the first book.

Update + New Book on the Way

It’s been a busy few months, what with university, writing, and other stuff, so as much as I wanted to revive this blog sooner, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write anything worth posting. But now, with the imminent release of the second book in the Creatures series, Back to School, I thought it would be a good time for a catch-up.

I’ve now finished my first year (foundation) of university, and I have to say that I did much better than I expected, save for a few assignments (although I did pass them), I got some decent grades which I’m really pleased with. At times I found the experience a little daunting, and I did have a few very anxious times. I found it hard to start some of my assignments, but once I got going, I was fine. I found the foundation year a useful step before going into my degree proper. It gave me a taste of what to expect and also allowed me to prove to myself that I do have the skills needed to do the degree. I’m now on the summer break, and I’m really looking forward to going back in September.

As far as writing goes, it’s been a bit hectic. I was getting in somewhere I could, before and in between lectures. I didn’t have it in me to write in my spare time at home. I just felt like whatever I wrote wouldn’t be great, and I didn’t see the point in rushing it and hating what I’d written. To begin with, I was doing a lot of work on my paranormal thriller, And Then I Killed Her, and although it was going pretty well for some time, I hit a wall with it and just didn’t know where to take the story. Again I didn’t see the point in writing for it to be nonsense that I’d have to completely overhaul, so I moved on to another project. This project had been in the works for four years, and it was the sequel to Creatures. I’d started writing it as soon as the first book was released, but for one reason or another, I just didn’t carry it on. This time, however, when I picked it back up, I could see what story I wanted to tell, and since finishing uni, I have blasted through the remainder of what I wanted to say.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll probably already know that Creatures 2: Back to School is almost ready for its scheduled release on 25th June 2022, which is exactly four years after the release of Creatures. I’ve done several rounds of edits so far, and I’m now doing my final round by going through the paperback proof. This is my favourite part of the editing process and the part that I feel is most important. As I’ve mentioned before, having a physical copy of my book and going through it with highlighters and post-it notes at the ready allows me to find things that I have missed previously. I don’t understand what the difference is, but I thoroughly recommend doing it with your own books if you’re a fellow writer.

Unlike my other books, I’ve been able to put the Kindle version of Back to School up for pre-order. If you head over to the Amazon page, you can pre-order it so that it will automatically be delivered to your device upon its release. I’ve already quite a few (more than I expected, to be honest) of orders, and it’s great to see people are willing to pre-order my books. Of course, with this comes a little bit of extra pressure. I need to get all my edits for the book done and uploaded before the 21st ready for release. It’s going to be an interesting few days.

I’ve spent this morning doing some background admin for Back to School. You’ll notice on this website that it now has its page next to its predecessor, along with its current links for where to buy it. I’ve added a page on Goodreads so you can add it to your TBR list, as well as being able to link the two books as a series for easier navigation. I have also scheduled a free book promotion for Creatures on the days leading up to the release of Back to School, so if you haven’t read the first book in the series, you can grab a free copy to read before you read the sequel. This is kind of important because the new story follows on directly from the first. I do intend to make this new book available on other platforms (Google & Apple books etc.), but this may have to come at a slightly later date; but I will keep you posted with any updates on this.

Well, I think that’s about it for now; I better get back to editing. Keep an eye out for more updates.

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.

Another Monday

On a Monday I usually do a writing update and was hoping that today I would have the news that I finished editing the proof copy of Blindsighted, but unfortunately I don’t. Editing is taking a little longer than I had originally expected for one reason or another, but I’m still doing what I can in a view to release soon.

To acknowledge the imminent release of Blindsighted, I’ve put both of my other books – The Next Stage and Creatures – up for a reduced price over on Amazon. For the next few days, both books will be 99p/99¢ so make sure to grab your copy now.

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UK Amazon
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US Amazon

Over the weekend we spent time boxing up more of our stuff in preparation for moving very soon. We’ve been living out of boxes for months now while we wait for our new house to be built. With the move just around the corner it’s almost painful having to wait the remaining time. We’ve been to see the house a few times over the past week and it’s amazing to see the progress that has been made in a week. Our house has nearly finished rendering and we can’t wait to move in so we can finally have a home we can make our own.

That’s all for today, I’m going to get back to editing and maybe putting together some blogs for the next few weeks.

Have a good week all.

The Editing Struggle

When the week started, I was determined to get the paperback proof copy of Blindsighted edited, but it so far hasn’t happened for one reason or another. I’ve managed to get around three quarters the way through it, but the past couple of days haven’t been very productive.

I find editing a difficult thing to do when my head isn’t 100% in it. Generally, I don’t mind the process, it’s a necessary evil and is a critical process in writing a book, but when my head is having an off day, I just can’t get going with it.

Writing is something that helps me get through some bad days. The act of creating and engaging with the characters and worlds calms my brain and gives me something good on which to focus. With editing, though, I don’t get that.

As I’m going through something that I’ve already been through multiple times, nothing new is grabbing my attention and focus. I find my mind drifting and thinking about other things more often, and I end up missing things that need to be altered or corrected, which, in the end, will only harm the story.

As much as I want to get this draft completed – I think it will be the last – I don’t want to rush it, miss things and then put it out into the world only for people to pick up on my mistakes.

If I could afford to hire an editor, I would do, but as it stands, I don’t have the money available to me to do so. So, for now, I have to do the bulk of the work.

I’m really pleased with how Blindsighted has turned out; it’s very different from my last book, The Next Stage. It’s been good to write a different story genre, from something that was heavily sci-fi to this paranormal horror is a welcome change.

I don’t know what genre I want to write at the minute, or even if I want to stick to just one, I think I may end up being more of a multi-genre author. Of course, for that to happen, I need to get Blindsighted released.

I haven’t set a specific date for release as I don’t want to rush things and put more pressure on myself than I already do. I’ve said before that I’m hoping to release in the next couple of months, but if I set a date, I will probably only beat myself up if I don’t meet the deadline. There’s no rush, and it’ll be out when it’s out. My mental health is more important than publishing a book. I need to make sure that I keep my brain happy; everything else will come in time.

Reading this blog back, I can see it’s a little bit all over the place. I’m struggling even to type this, if I’m honest. So, that being said, I’ll leave things here for now and get back to trying to edit.

Have a good weekend.

Planning Your Writing

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the way that I write and the preparations and planning that I do for a story. I also asked some of my fellow authors on Twitter how they write;

I’ve written two books now, with several others in progress and I realised that I haven’t really done all that much planning of how the stories are going to go.

With The Next Stage I had my corkboard with its map and post-it notes but this was mainly so I could trace the paths that the characters took and the times at which different events occurred around the city. As far as actually planning the route a story is going to take, I do very little.

With TNS I would occasionally write one or two words for what I thought was going to happen, but this wasn’t really a set-in-concrete guide it was merely an idea as to how it could go. When I’m writing I pretty much just type and see where it takes me. I may have a rough idea of the story I want to tell, but unlike some authors I don’t have an ending in mind. I may have a key line – maybe dialogue or a description – that I want to try to write but that’s about it.

I’m now going through my paperback proof draft of Blindsighted and I’m still chopping and changing things. A few weeks ago I decided to change the perspective from third to first-person. I hadn’t planned for this and I thought that it might involve rewriting the entire story but thankfully it wasn’t as much work as I had envisioned. If I had planned the story ahead of time I might have decided to do this sooner as I may have seen that with this type of story the first person perspective would add to the atmosphere.

I’ve not written anything in first-person yet. Most of my WIPs are written where I do a different character for each chapter as I follow them around, whereas Blindsighted is written around one character – an eleven year old boy.

The only reason I can think of for not planning where a story is going to go ahead of time is that I like the whole process of writing and seeing where my typing takes me. It’s almost as if the world is being created in that moment, it’s all new and fresh and anything could happen. Characters appear from nothing and enter the ever changing world.

For other writers this might not be something they do. They may plan out every little detail ahead of time or just plan out the bare-bones of it. The purpose of these blogs is to show how different writers have different methods pertaining to their writing process. What works for one, may not work for others.

This isn’t to say that I’ve never tried to plan. When I first started working on The Next Stage I began with a single sentence and then attempted to figure out what characters were like and what the futuristic Washington D.C. they inhabited was like. I only got a little way into this before I got frustrated and wanted to start writing the story. I told myself that I would write a bit and then go back to planning, but alas, I never did. But this I think worked in my favour as my method led to The Next Stage being received amazingly well by readers despite my slap-dash technique.

This method works for me. I’m sure it will evolve over time and I may start to plan more things. But at the moment this is the way that I write. Part of the fun of writing is finding out your method and what works for you. But reading and hearing about what other writers do might inspire you try something new or adapt the method and tailor it to your writing style.

As I interact more with the writing community I’m learning more and more and although I’m still at the start of my writing career but I like to pass on anything that I’ve learned or how I work to others and hope that they in turn will pass on their knowledge to others.

Well, that’s my ramble for today. I’m going to head back to my editing so I can hopefully release Blindsighted very soon.

Have a good week all.

Paperback Proof Editing: Blindsighted

It’s that time once again. Time to go through a paperback proof copy of my next book – in this case, it’s Blindsighted.

I did this with my last book, The Next Stage, and it really helped me pick up on some errors that I had missed entirely when going through my digital drafts.

When I go through it, I spend my time highlighting things that I want to change and mark the pages with little sticky notes, so it’s easier for me to find what I need to alter on the digital version.

At this time with TNS, I was almost ready for release, and I’m at that same stage with Blindsighted.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to go through the paperback proof, so I still don’t have a firm release date, but I’m hoping that it will be some time in the next couple of months – so stay tuned for further updates.

At this time, it’s probably a good idea to share with you what Blindsighted is all about and show you the cover.

Description:

When Nathan and his mother move into their dream home, they think their days are looking up.

But when Nathan starts to experience visions of a man with no eyes stalking him, their dream home soon becomes a nightmare.

Soon he starts to see a mysterious ghostly boy that seems to be guiding him towards something. Can Nathan make sense of what the boy is trying to tell him before the sinister man gets too close, or will he disappear as others have?

Cover:

Friday Restday

Earlier this week, I finished my latest draft of my next book, Blindsighted.

Before I did anything more on that novel, I tried to do some further work on Creatures 2. This didn’t go as planned.

When I finish a project that I’ve been so into, like a novel draft when I finish, it leaves me feeling somewhat lost. I try to jump straight into something else despite knowing how it’s going to go *Spoiler Alert* it doesn’t go well.

I don’t know what it is, but I sit there with a project open, and I’m raring to go, but I just go “meh” and can’t get started when I look at it. I generally try to push myself through the feeling and try to get my enthusiasm back, but it tends just to frustrate me, and I don’t do anything, and if I do, it’s not my best work.

Also, I find myself doubting everything that I’ve just done on my current WIP during this time. I feel like it’s not as good as it could be and that no one will like it. I went through all these stages when I was working on The Next Stage, so I know that people do enjoy my work and that I am good at what I do. There’s always that nagging doubt that I find it difficult to get rid of at the back of my mind.

I don’t know whether this is part of my bipolar or anxiety that is telling me I’m not good enough and gives me the imposter syndrome that I’ve mentioned before. But whatever it is, it’s bloody annoying!

Yesterday after a couple of hours of work, I gave up and played some of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Today I’m not even attempting to work because I know I’ll just get annoyed – plus my hip is killing after doing some house stuff – so I’m going to spend the day sitting on our new, very comfortable bed, playing something and working myself up to doing more work on Monday.

Have a good weekend all, and hopefully, I’ll have some new exciting updates on my writing on Monday. Don’t forget, though, if you need to take some downtime to get your brain a break and get your mental health topped up; it’s okay to do so.

The Third Draft Continued

It’s Monday again, which means I’m back to going through my latest draft of Blindsighted.

Last week, I decided to change the style from third-person to first-person and as much work as that’s created for me, I feel it was the best decision.

It now feels a little more personal, and for the story, I’m telling, first-person works so much better than I third. I’m hoping that it will allow the readers to get a little closer to the main character and feel what he’s going through.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, writing in this style is a first for me. I usually follow several characters, but for Blindsighted, I’m only following the one. The MC is called Nathan, and he’s an eleven-year-old boy who lives with his mother. The story follows him as he and his mum move into a new house, and he starts to have strange experiences. I don’t want to go into the story too much as I’m yet to write and reveal the blurb. I’m hoping that once this draft is finished, I can spend some time writing it, and then I’ll give you more of an overview of what the story is about.

As it stands, I’ve got just under 100 pages to edit, and I’m going to try, this week, to get this draft finished. Of course, whenever I say things like this, there’s always something that will come up. We’ve already got someone coming in to fix the bath today and a new bed being delivered on Wednesday, but I’m hoping that I can work my way through the remainder of the draft even with these distractions.

I hope that your work has started well and continues on the same path.

Have a good week.