An Author’s Holiday

As I’ve previously said, in May of this year I quit my job in IT, because I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore and it was affecting my mental health…blah, blah, blah, but this blog isn’t about that, it’s about holidays.

Now that I don’t have a “real” job and I’m writing full time, you’d think I could pretty much do what I want to, write? (Haha, see what I did there? Urgh) I’ve been trying to give my days a bit more structure because, 1) It helps my mental health and 2) it means I’m more likely actually to get something done. But, just like in a 9-5 job, I need time off. This year more than ever, time off is essential, to not only look after my mental health but also recover some from physical injury.

One plus for not working a 9-5 is that if I decide to take some time off, I only need to clear with my own brain. There’s none of this, trying to find out what other people have booked off, and trying to get it approved by some manager who you never see. The only obstacle I face is actually making myself take the time, and not deciding I will just write this little bit – and then realising it’s 4 hours later.

All I’m trying to say with this blog is that I’ve decided to take a few days off over Christmas and the new year.

Although I’m taking this time off writing, I’m putting together some blog posts and scheduling them, and I’ll probably still be around on Twitter.

As it’s Monday here’s a bit of a writing update.

I’ve shelved It’s All in the Eyes for the time being. I got a bit stuck with where I was going with it, and rather than muddling through and messing it up; I decided a break from it might help.

I’ve done some more work on the tentatively titled The Man (which may also be called Blindsighted, I haven’t decided yet.) I’ve still got a good idea where it’s going, and I’m almost at the end of creating the basic story, so I may pick this back up in the new year again to try to get the first draft finished.

This last week, however, I’ve been working on The Next Stage 2 – no that’s not going to be the final title…I just don’t know what it will be yet. I’ve got around 6000 words written, so it’s coming along. I’ve managed to put a few of my favourite ideas together, leaving some by the wayside for another time. I’m really hoping people will like it as much as the first one, but I guess time will tell.

Friday Catch-Up

So today is just an end-of-the-week catch-up.

Today, to celebrate The Next Stage getting over 50 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews – 61 at the time of writing this post – the Kindle version is free over on Amazon. But, if you’d like a Google or Apple Books version, I have so promo codes to giveaway so just let me know.

I still can’t believe how The Next Stage has been received, and I’m exceptionally grateful the those that have reviewed it and especially those that have taken the time to do a text review. Reading how you enjoyed something I’ve written just makes it all worthwhile and like I’m actually good at what I’m trying to make my living doing.

In other news, I’ve decided to set myself a schedule for these blogs, so I have a vague idea of what content to post. It’s going to look something like this;

Monday: Writing update, where I’m up to with projects, and how I write, what I think about writing etc

Wednesday: Gaming, I’ll be doing reviews or retrospectives on gaming throughout my life.

Friday: Mental Health, these will be posts about how I live with bipolar, thoughts on how to deal with different situations, and general chat about it to get things out there.

I may deviate from this on occasion depending on what happens in my life, but I’ll be trying to stick to it where I can.

I’ve also decided to start Twitching again – game streaming, not the tick I get when someone mentions Twilight. My Twitch link is on the main page, but I’ll also be posting when I stream over on Twitter, it’ll probably be a weekend day, so if you want to join me, you’re more than welcome. I did a test run yesterday with Cyberpunk 2077, I’ll be playing through that, but I’m also going to be doing a try of all the months new PSNow additions – a blog about the one we’ve been playing recently will be coming on Wednesday.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been working on my ghost story, and I’m almost at 50,000 words, so it’s coming along. I’m hoping that I’ll have the story finished before Christmas and then I can polish it in the new year and hopefully release it soon after.

That’s it for today, so have a good weekend, and I’ll be back with more updates on Monday.

Welcome to Another Week

I’ll start the week with some good news that made me happy this morning.

I woke up to my first review for The Next Stage on Goodreads, and what made it even better was that it was a 5-star review. It means so much that even just one person has read and enjoyed what I’ve written and to get that rating is just…wow.

Since then I’ve had another 2 reviews, both 5-stars. So at the moment, it stands at the highest average it can get.

I am honestly beyond chuffed with these reactions to a book I put so much into.

Today, I’m continuing to work on It’s All in the Eyes. So far I’m at a total of just over 20,000 words and the story is really coming along.

While I write, I do bits and pieces of research on various things when the plot requires it. I can’t do any before because I just write and see where my brain takes it, and so far it’s taking it to some interesting places.

I have no idea when this book will be finished and out, but as I’m getting more confident in what I’m doing I feel like it won’t take as long as The Next Stage.

I’ll continue my updates and maybe even give out a few teasers when I feel like I’m ready to.

In the meantime grab a copy of The Next Stage and let me know what you think.

The Aftermath

On Monday, I finally released The Next Stage into the world.

The Next Stage is now available on Amazon to buy and on Kindle Unlimited. (Click image to go there now)

Since then I’ve been taking this week to play some games, watch some stuff and generally relax. I’ve tried not to think about writing for a few days, but I’ve failed and have had ideas continually bouncing around my head. I’m taking this as a sign that writing is something that I should keep doing.

Over the years, I’ve tried many creative pursuits. From my ill-fated t-shirt shop, to Todd the Zombie, and now my writing. But I find writing easier to stick with and easier to come up with ideas for. I feel like if I stick at it, I will only improve.

My main challenge at the moment is getting my books out there and visible to people. At the moment my primary advertising is done through my Twitter (GaxTZ), but I’m hoping that this blog will also serve to show people what I’m doing and how to find my books when they become available. Along with these two things, I’m looking into other resources I can use. At the moment I don’t have much free money, so I can’t really pay for advertising on Amazon to a scale that it would be helpful to sales.

This week I’ve done a free promotion on Creatures hoping that people will take a look at The Next Stage while or after they read that. So I guess we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that’s enough of a ramble for now. As of next week, I’ll post further updates with what I’m working on, but I’ll also keep doing the games blogs. We’ve just ordered Crash Bandicoot 4, so be prepared for a ranty post about how it’s impossible to play and how it’s a stupid game anyway that I never liked.

Proof Copy Editing

This week I’m spending my time armed with highlighters and post-its reading through the proof copy of The Next Stage and doing some final editing before release.

There’s something about having the physical book in my hands and reading it as it’s supposed to be read that’s helping me find any issues there may be as well as tweaking some of the language to read better.

It seems like an odd thing for it to help in this process, but if anyone else is doing the same kind of thing, I’d definitely recommend it.

I’m hoping that after this readthrough I’ll be happy with it. I feel like if I read it more, I’ll just keep changing stuff for the sake of it. But at the same time, even though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t want to rush things.

Doing this it reminds me of the times in school where you’d read a book and have to make notes on it so you could write about it with quotes and whatnot.

I’m trying not to worry about the amount I’m finding to tweak, after all, I’m doing this mostly myself with some help from Alex, and this is only my second book so I’m still relatively new at this whole thing. But one thing I will say is that I read through some of Creatures again the other day and I can already tell that my writing has changed since then and I feel more confident in what I’m doing.

When I’ve not been editing this book for release, I’ve been thinking on which of the 5 or 6 stories I’ve started writing I want to develop into my next. There’s a mix of genres, I’ve got a couple of horrors and another couple of sci-fi and one that kind of straddles both, the last is a very basic idea that I have no idea where to go with…yet.

I kind of want to see how The Next Stage does and maybe do something different, but I really don’t know. I guess I’ll take a look at them all and see how I feel about them. I do know though that for now Creatures 2 is on hold. I’m about halfway through writing it, but I’m struggling to get any further, and I see no point in pushing it because then I’ll just completely fall out with it, but we’ll see.

For now, I’ll continue highlighting, post-it noting and scribbling.

The Next Stage is Coming Soon

I’ve not only been playing games over the past few weeks, but I’ve also been working on my next book, which if you didn’t already know, is called The Next Stage.

I’ve been going over my fifth draft to iron any issues and tidy things up a bit, and now I’m happy enough with that I’m getting ready for release.

I ordered the proof copies the other day, and they should be here by the 15th October, which is good because I’m hoping for a release date of the 26th October (for reasons) so I’ll have a couple of weeks to double-check everything and make sure it’s all good.

I’ve made some changes to the cover art as what I was trying to do didn’t really work, so I’ve gone with a more simplistic cover hoping that when it’s printed, it will look better.

Once I’m happy with it all, I’ll give another update on the release (hopefully it won’t change from the 26th) and probably reveal the simplified cover art.

Isolated Gaming

Well, I’ve done it.

After nearly 5 years of it sitting on my ‘to play’ pile, I have finally finished Alien Isolation.

It took me a few days, a guide and a lot of hiding in cabinets bit I’ve done it and I feel better for having another game ticked off the list.

Alien Isolation was another game that I looked forward to coming out, and then when I did; I didn’t buy it straight away. Instead, I waited for a but then gave in to temptation. Annoyingly I only got a little bit in before the stress of being stalked by a Xenomorph got to me and I stopped playing.

It was a game that I really never envisioned me finishing, and I think it was only because I used a guide to point me in the right direction that I have. If I didn’t use it, I would still be hiding in a cabinet not wanting to come out for fear of being eaten.

Having now finished it though, I’m ready for a sequel.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve finished several horror games that have been on my list for ages; Outlast 1&2, Resident Evil VII, and now Alien Isolation. What a creepy few weeks it’s been, and it’s not even Halloween yet!

There are loads on my list that I want to finish, but the next ones for Horror are probably White Night, The Evil Within 1&2 and Soma. There are probably others, but those are the ones that come to mind.

Onward to more scares!

It. Is. Done.

I’ve finally just finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Although it took me a while to actually get round to playing it due to reason I said about in a previous blog I find that now I’ve finished it in at a bit of a loss and I really can’t wait for the sequel.

Breath of the Wild is a huge and extremely beautiful game, and the number of hours that I put into finishing it seemed to fly by.

Over my playthrough I did most of the quests if not all and all the shrines. These extra little dungeons really added that little bit different to the game. Although some are frustrating – I’m looking at you motion-controlled maze – they’re fun and also help towards buildup Link either in health or stamina, so they’re well worth doing.

I was almost tempted when I got the point of having done the Divine Beasts of rushing straight to Ganon but putting the time into the shrines gives a good pay off, plus you get a little something after doing them all that old-school Zelda fans will appreciate.

I wish I’d played it sooner now that I’ve finished it, but at least there’s less time between it and the sequel now. I just hope my Switch continues to work so I might actually buy it.

I would definitely recommend this game to anyone, lovers of Zelda games or not.