In Rays of the Light: Weird but Oddly Good (Review)

First off, let me say that I’m switching up my posts this week and doing my gaming post today and writing on Wednesday. The reason for this slight schedule change is that – if you didn’t already know – my next book Blindsighted will be released on Wednesday, so I’ll be doing a special post all about that.

Now that’s out of the way, let me get back to why we’re here; In Rays of the Light.

In Rays of the Light is what has been termed a “First-person meditative quest” – which I would say sounds about right. It was released relatively recently on 21st March 2021 for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and XBOX One.

You start the game in a room in front of a TV with static displayed on it and expected to figure something out – I’m still not sure what…

There is no tutorial that tells you what the controls are; you’re pretty much just left to figure it out for yourself. When leaving the starting room, you are left to explore an empty and overgrown building and its surrounding area. There are strange messages written on the walls throughout the building, which only serves to weird you out that little bit more.

Although at one point you pick up a piece of pipe and get yourself ready to bash something’s brains in, there is no combat. Nothing will jump out at you – although there are a couple of dramatic stings of music followed by flashes of shadows that I’ll admit made me jump.

You’re free to explore the areas, finding keys and other bits and pieces to help you solve puzzles and get to the end of the game. There are also several notes that you can pick up and read and, along with cutscenes that play out, tell you more of the story.

I don’t want to give too much away – mainly because I’m still not sure what happened – but the game concludes with some bizarre occurrences that might leave you scratching your head and asking, “What the hell was that all about?”

In Rays of the Light isn’t a huge game, and if you only play it through once, it probably won’t take you any longer than maybe 2 hours to complete it. If like me, you wanted to get the platinum, this requires a second playthrough, but that will only take around 30 minutes as you can pretty much just run through it, especially if you’re just played it through once.

We picked this game up for around £7, and honestly, it was worth the money – although I wouldn’t pay more for it. It’s a decent way to spend a couple of hours and, in the most part, is pretty relaxing – at least until the last third or so of the game.

I don’t think it will be a game that I go back to at any point as I’ve seen pretty much all it has to offer, and although I still had questions at the end of it, I feel like I had a rough idea of what the developers were trying to say. I’m going to give In Rays of the Light a ⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was alright for what it was, but there wasn’t much to it. I’d say if you want a little game that you can just run through (especially if you want to get an easy platinum), I’d say give it a go.

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.

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.

5 Stars! (Bonus Blog)

I just wanted to thank everyone who has so far read The Next Stage. Especially those that have rated it on Goodreads. It now stands at an average of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ with 50 ratings. I can’t believe that it has gone down this well with people and you’re actually enjoying it.

If you haven’t yet read it, you can find everywhere where it’s available over on the books page of this blog.

By way of celebration of this I’m making it available for free on Kindle on Friday 11th December. If you would like it sooner on Google or Apple Books, let me know, and I’ll send you a promo code.

Thank you again. It gives me more motivation to continue with writing.

It’s All in the Eyes

It’s been a long week in an exceptionally long year.

Writing has this week saved my brain from having a meltdown.

My new project-and hopefully next book-is called It’s All in the Eyes. I don’t want to give away too much at this stage, but it’s turning out to be a sci-fi/horror story. It’s set in England, mainly around Manchester, and it follows a pair of mycologists discovered a new fungus that’s spores have an-I’ll say-adverse effect-on those that breath them in.

Like Creatures before it, this story is based off a dream. One that I had probably nearly 20 years ago, which has stuck with me ever since. On multiple occasions, I’ve tried to write it, but it just never worked. But now, with two books under my belt, I feel a lot more confident that I can do this story justice.

I’m so far just over 16000 words in, and it’s flowing really well. At this point, I’m not sure how long it will be, I’m just going to see where it goes. Hopefully, it will turn out alright, and if I do release it, people will enjoy it.

As I carry on with this here is a friendly reminder that my new book, The Next Stage is now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback format.

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.

The Next Stage is Now Available

After two years of work, my new book The Next Stage is now out.

The Kindle version is available on Amazon, and if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, you can also read it as part of your subscription.

The Next Stage is a cyberpunk thriller set in future Washington D.C. as a group of AI have taken it upon themselves to murder those humans that they foresee committing a crime. The AI Homicide of the Washington D.C. Police Department has been set up with the sole purpose of catching these killers. But now a bigger threat looms over the city. Lieutenant William Kell, must investigate the murders and put a stop to them before the city implodes into violence and human and AI groups clash in the streets.

As a bonus, Creatures will be free on Kindle for the next few days.

The Next Update

So, I’ve spent the last few days going through the proof copies of The Next Stage and doing some final checks. That’s all done now and I just have to make the changes on the actual manuscript.

I’m all set for a release on Monday 26th. Unfortunately, although I said I was going to try to do I preorder for the Kindle version, Amazon for some reason has now decided I can’t so I’ll just have to make it live manually.

I’m so proud of this story, I love the characters, and I’m still amazed that I’ve been able to write something like this. It’s been a long two years of working on it, but it’s all been worth.

I hope that readers will enjoy it as much as me, and I’m looking forward to the feedback.

I’ll have a few days off writing after Monday, and then I’ll be diving into my next story.

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: Paperback Proofs

The Next Stage paperback proofs have just arrived, and they look better than I could ever have thought they would. I’m really pleased with the quality, and I think my decision to go with a simple cover works very well.

Next week I’ll spend my time going through it and making a few changes to formatting etc. There’s not all that much that needs to be done, so the release date I had in mind (26th October) will still be what I’m aiming for. I might also put the Kindle version up for preorder if any wants to get in there first.

I’ll do some more updates throughout the week, but for now, here’s the cover I went with;