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.

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.

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!

A Bit of a Dip: Taking a Break

This blog is a little late today as it took me a while to write it for reasons I’ll explain below.

It’s been a stressful few weeks. We’ve moved into our new house, and since then, it’s been pretty much non-stop with people coming in and out doing jobs.

I wish I could say that I’ve been okay through this, but the stress has hit a limit over the past few days and has sent me down into a depressive episode.

So far, I’m doing okay (compared to other episodes). I haven’t forgotten where I am or thought that everything was a dream – so that’s good. But I’m still not feeling right. I only went back to writing last week, and I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve managed to write a couple of blog posts for the bank, but I’ve not been particularly productive other than that. I managed to do a read-through of what I have written so far for The Next Stage 2, but when it came to writing something new to continue the story, I just hit a wall. I don’t want just to type anything because I don’t want to ruin what I have, so for now, I’m just going to leave it.

I can’t pinpoint precisely when this depressive episode has come on, it’s just been bubbling under the surface for a few weeks, and I’m now realising it for what it is rather than just trying to push through. Tears have been shed, and now I’m just exhausted.

I think a break from things is required, so I don’t think I’ll be around all that much on social media until I feel a bit better. I’ll still try to do some blogs because writing does help me when I’m able to do it. I’ll try to work on my stories where I can, but I’m not going to force myself to do it if I can’t.

Alex and I agreed that I need to talk to my doctor about it, but as usual, she’s not in this week, so for now, we just have to try to manage this as best we can.

I’ve had some good news about something in the past week, but even that’s not been enough to pull me out of this episode. I know that I have some great things in my life, and I’m surrounded by people that genuinely care about me. But when I feel like this, it’s hard to see that. I feel myself just wanting to be alone or hide from the world.

I hope this episode won’t devolve into the one I had a couple of years ago when my mind pretty much melted, and I couldn’t function at all. I just need to manage it the best I can and do what I can to help me through.

That’s it for now. See you soon and have a good week.

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.

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.

Blindsighted Release Day!

Well it’s that day again. The day when I get to announce that a book I’ve written is being sent out into the world.

Blindsighted is a story I started writing before the release of my last book, The Next Stage. It’s a completely different type of story. Where The Next Stage was a cyberpunk thriller, Blindsighted is more a Horror/paranormal/ghost story.

Below you can find the books description:

HE CAN’T SEE YOU, BUT HE KNOWS YOU’RE THERE.

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?

As of this morning, Blindsighted is available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited. The Amazon paperback version is still sat in the pending status but it should hopefully be available very soon too if you want a physical copy. I’ll post an update when it becomes available.

Releasing a book for others to read brings up feelings of relief and terror. Relief that it’s finally finished and ready for others to read and terror because you don’t know how readers are going to react to your story.

All in all it’s a good feeling, and with this – the publishing of my third book – everything doesn’t seem as strange. I feel like this is something that I should be doing, especially after the reception that The Next Stage got.

Anyway, you’ll be able to find Blindsighted over on Amazon by searching for it, going to the books page from the Books tab at the top of this page or clicking the links below.

Thank you in advance for buying a copy of this new novel. I hope you enjoy it!