A New (Short) Story Coming Soon

I’ve been writing for just over four years now, and so far, I haven’t written any kind of short story, well, until now, that is.

The other week I had an idea for a story, and it was one of those where I just had to get it down to get it out of my head. I knew going in that it probably wasn’t going to be a novel, but I still didn’t know how long it was going to be. Over the weekend, I finished the story, and at the end of the first draft, it comes out at just over 9000 words. I’m pleased with where it is at the minute, but there are definitely bits that need tweaking or adding in the next couple of drafts.

As much as I wanted to purely work on Creatures 3, having this break to work on something new feels like it’s been a good thing for me. I was starting to get blind to the story in the next Creatures book, so this idea came at an opportune time. As much as I want to get the next book out there, I also don’t want to rush it, and it be less than it could be. I’m going to work on this short story, which is titled The Tasks, until I release it and then go back to Creatures 3.

When I’m a bit closer to releasing The Task, I will reveal more about it, like the synopsis and cover, so for now, I’ll leave you in the dark a little bit, but I will say that the story is a little bit Portal and a little bit Squid Game.

I’m currently working on the second draft, but I’m hoping that it being a short story will mean that I will go through the drafts quicker. I don’t really know; I’ve not done this before.

As far as my other books go, it was a great month last month for sales and Kindle Unlimited pages read. I think that putting them all back onto KU was the best decision for me as more people now seem to be reading them.

For now, though, I will get back to it. Have a good week all.

Tough Distribution Decisions

Throughout my writing career, I have tried to make my books available to a wide variety of readers and have had them up for purchase on a wide range of platforms. Still, over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about what is best for me and have to come to the decision that due to having zero purchases on other platforms that, I will return to my roots and throw everything I have at the Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited market. I have weighed up all the pros and cons of this decision, and the pros of sticking with Kindle far outweigh the cons. I’m aware that some people don’t like to buy anything from Amazon, and that’s fair enough, which is why I made my books available on platforms like Google & Apple Books, but after several months of disappointing sales, I have realized that it’s just not viable to remain on these platforms. Yes, one of the factors is that I do not have any sales, so I’m not earning anything, but for this exact reason, when no one buys the books, there is no reason to be on them. Re-enrollong all of my work into the Kindle Unlimited program still allows a broader audience, and it’s an audience that I actually reach.

In the couple of weeks that I have been purely on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, I have seen more sales and book reads than I’ve had in the past 12 months of being on other platforms. Some people may see this as a cash grab, but for me, it makes more sense to be on platforms on which people read my books; after all, that’s why I write them.

Rant over.

I will be updating my website to acknowledge where my books are available in due time. For today though, as in the UK we’re currently going through a heatwave, I’m going to spend the rest of the day in front of a fan playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Back to School Is Out In the World

The second book in the Creatures series, Back to School, was released on Saturday (well, the digital version anyway, the paperback has been out a few days longer), and it was the most successful launch of any book I have published so far and combined with the pre-orders it meant that over the weekend I have sold more books in two days than I have over the last several months. No reviews have come in for it yet, but I hope those who have bought a copy enjoy it. As well as selling new books, I also gave away quite a few copies of Creatures for free. I figured, as seen as BtS is a sequel, it would be good to let people catch up on the story for no extra cost. As rough as Creatures was, it was still quite well received, and in my humble opinion, BtS blows the first book out of the water. From reading it myself after re-reading Creatures, I can see how far my writing has come over the four-year gap between releases.

Now that Back to School is out in the world, it’s time to think about what I will work on next. In some ways, this is a no-brainer as BtS leads directly into the next book in the series. I have already begun writing the third book, which at the moment is titled Into the Badlands; when you read BtS, you’ll know why. This book will be a bit different to the others at it will be set in a more open world and not so much in a small town or settlement. At the time of writing the second book in the series, I considered combing both books, but I felt like it would benefit from being two separate ones, so I already have plenty of ideas that I want to include in ItB.

As well as working on this new manuscript, I will be continuing to post blogs, reviews, etc., and trying to get back into streaming. We recently got a new gaming PC (the old one died during our house move for some reason), so I’m hoping to not only stream from my PlayStation and Xbox as I have in the past but also from our PC. I already have a few games on my radar that I want to stream, but if anyone reading this has any suggestions of ones that they’d like to see me play or review, then go ahead and suggest them in the comments.

For those interested, I’ve got a review of the new game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, coming on Wednesday, so keep an eye out for that being put up.

For now, though, it’s the start of another week and time to get back to work on my new manuscript. Have a good week all.

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.

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.

Publishing: It’s Your Decision

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen an increase in people talking down to or just downright insulting those of us that self-publish our books. I don’t understand this mentality. There are many reasons why someone might choose to self-publish their work and several different ways that they can do it. None of these reasons means that they are any less of a writer or that they deserve to be talked down to or treated like crap.

For me, self-publishing was always the way I was going to go. So when I wrote Creatures, publishing using KDP seemed like the logical choice. It was my first book and something that I just wanted to get out into the world. I didn’t fancy spending hours trying to bag an agent or a traditional publisher, and it meant that I could have more creative control over the story, look and feel of the novel. Yes, there is a lot of work required for marketing your self-published book, but even that is nothing compared to querying multiple places.

Creatures did alright going the self-publish route, so when it came to my next novel, The Next Stage, it was a no brainer, really. Even though I knew that this was a better novel than my previous one, I still wanted to have complete creative control over my work.

Being a traditionally published author doesn’t mean that your work is any better than those that choose the self-publish route. I’ve read some brilliant self-published stories just like I’ve read some shite traditionally published ones.

Editing of self-published books is another thing that has been dragged through the dirt. Many self-published authors do so without any financial backing. They have to do everything from writing, editing, cover creating and marketing themselves. Sometimes things slip through the cracks editing -wise. I get less annoyed by errors in a self-published book than I do when finding them in traditionally published books that have professional editors behind them. Plus, the good thing about self-publishing your book is that if you or someone else spots an error, it’s a simple case of editing your manuscript and re-uploading it, whereas God knows what it would take to change a traditionally published book.

I’m not mentioning any names, but one person in particular on Twitter has been kicking up a stink recently and trying to rip self-published authors to shreds. However, when I looked into their publishing, they’re using a hybrid publisher. A hybrid publisher is a publishing house that wants you to pay and do all the work, but they take credit for the work. In other words, you pay for the privilege of being a self-published author. In simpler terms, you get ripped off! Maybe this method works for some people, but it seems too dodgy to me. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to piss all over other people’s hard work. I got an offer from a hybrid publisher for The Next Stage, but I didn’t have £3000 – and wasn’t willing – to throw at them to basically do nothing

I guess what I’m trying to say in this blog post is simply this; stop being a dick. People have reasons why they take the route they take with their work, and it’s not for anyone else to comment on.

I’ve had it said to me that self-published authors aren’t real authors and couldn’t get traditionally published if they tried. The thing is…I don’t want to try. I’m happy – as are many other people – with the way that I publish, so I say again; stop being a dick.

This post turned into a little more of a rant than I originally planned, but I get fed up of idiots gatekeeping being an author. If you write, you’re an author. Whether you publish your work or just have it in a notebook that only you look at. Don’t let anybody tell you what route to go with your work. At the end of the day, it’s your time and effort that’s gone into it, so do with it as you see fit.

Whichever way you decide to publish your works, remember one thing – don’t be a dick.

Back At It

This week for the first week since we moved when I’ve been able to sit down and do some writing. It feels really go to be able to sit down and make some progress on my current WIP.

I consciously took some time away from it while we moved so we could get things sorted for the old and new houses. I’d say we had some down time after the move, but we didn’t stop during those two weeks. We were either having people in doing jobs for us or we were busy unpacking boxes.

Although we never stopped doing stuff, by the end of last week I was ready to get back into my writing. I miss it when I’m not doing it and although I’ve not done a great deal this week – I’ve just been going through what I’d already written on The Next Stage 2 – it was a welcome return and my head has been happier for it.

Buy The Next Stage on Amazon now

I took a bit of a knock last week. I’d been waiting to see the orthopaedic surgeon and hoping that we would get to discuss the surgery for my hip. But unfortunately, he decided that if I had the surgery now, my recovery wouldn’t be great due to the loss of strength in my leg. I’m now going to have further physiotherapy (apparently my last physio was pointless according to the surgeon – woo!) I felt a little deflated after my appointment and felt like the past year had been a complete waste of everybody’s time, but now I see that physio can only be a good thing, especially now I’m probably under a surgeon. I’m trying to look on the bright side of things but at times it’s hard, especially when I’m in near constant pain.

To make matters worse, I woke up this morning to my back being extremely sore and I’m barely able to move…so that’s great. But I’m trying to keep my head above the line of depression and just taking this opportunity to write and work on some other stuff that I’m planning to do soon, hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it very soon.

It’s not been all bad though. My website has just hit the 5000 viewer mark, which is amazing. I didn’t think I’d hit that for a long time. I’ve also had a post reach the 100 views target too – you can read it here. So there is some good mixed in with the bad. I’m just trying to focus on that.

I hope your Friday is going well. I’ll be back on Monday with a fresh post. Have a great 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.