Friday Delight

Friday again. Another week is done. It’s the weekend and all that jazz.

It’s been another long week at this end. Things with the house are slowly drawing to a close as we’re hoping to be in by the end of April. And my third book, Blindsighted, was released on Wednesday.

I spent the bulk of the start of the weekend preparing forthe release of Blindsighted. I was double-checking everything was in place and correct over on KDP, so when I published it, there wouldn’t be any issues – luckily, there weren’t any. Plus, I created a few little promo images for it that I could post on Twitter, Instagram and this website.

With all that done, it’s now out in the world. Unfortunately, I’m still yet to sell a copy, although I’ve had a few pages read on Kindle Unlimited. I’m not worried, though. The world is still in somewhat of a mess with the old pandemic, and people don’t have the same money that they might have pre-covid. The important thing for me is that the book is out there for when people want to read it. Although, it would be nice if I sold a couple of copies this week…

Things with our new house are moving along, if seemingly very slowly. We’re starting to get a bit frustrated now that we’re so close. We’re getting fed up with living out of boxes and just want to be told that we can move in.

We’re just waiting for the inspection to be done; then we can have our house demonstration. It’s painful because there is nothing we can do to speed it up, and for the most part, we’re boxed up and ready to go, so we don’t have anything much we can do around the house.

What we have been doing, though, is preparing to hand our rental back. This has meant we’ve been having to deep clean rooms and paint bits and pieces that need doing. But even with this, we’re coming to the end of what we can do until the place is empty.

We’re really looking forward to no longer being in a rental property and having to deal with our landlords, who, for the most part, are somewhat useless.

Our new house will be our first bought property, and we’re unbelievably excited to make it our own. We have so many plans of what we want to do inside and in the garden. So there will undoubtedly be more updates about our progress with those.

In other news, we’re currently winning our little Instagram battle with Alex’s sister and her partner. We, the socially awkward, are prevailing on social media over people that have been there and done it before us. Follow us over at @LUNELIFFEYLIFE for updates of our house journey.

That’s about it for today. I leave you with a simple message. Buy my new book!

Click to go to Amazon

Have a good weekend.

When Can You Call Yourself an Author?

This is a question that bounced around my head for a while. Before I talk about how I felt and when I decided to use the word author, I asked the writing community of Twitter what their thoughts were;

This question was something that prayed on my mind quite a bit when I started writing especially after released Creatures.

Although having written and (self) published a book, I still didn’t feel like I could call myself a bona fide author. Maybe it was the self-deprecating part of my brain, but I didn’t think I was good enough to be able to use that word.

Something in my brain associated the word “author” with the likes of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, James Patterson, Steven King, Michael Crichton; the authors of books that I grew up reading and I think I was comparing my work to theirs and, honestly, it just didn’t stack up.

In May of 2020, I was struggling with my mental health to the extent that made the difficult decision to quit my day job of working in IT. With this done, I had time to focus on my mental health, and I felt like a big part of my healing was being able to write, and although I was now doing this full-time, I still didn’t feel like I was good enough.

Having these thoughts is difficult to describe, and I’m doing my best to get my thoughts and feelings down here. I suppose a part of my struggle was that I had imposter syndrome. In case you don’t know what this is; it’s a psychological pattern where an individual doubts their skills, accomplishments and talents and you have this fear that one day you’ll be discovered as a fraud. Even though I had written and published a book, I still didn’t have enough confidence in my skills to say that I was good at this and I would be able to write anything else, that Creatures was a one-off. However, then came The Next Stage.

It took me around two years to finish and get The Next Stage published. I think a big reason for this was me delaying it because I still didn’t think it was good enough. It was only when I got to the point where I couldn’t do anything further with it that I eventually released it. When writing it, I knew that this book was superior to Creatures, but there was still that part of me that couldn’t believe I had written it.

Before publishing, the only people to read it were myself and Alex. When she read it, she said it was amazing – so much so that she read it in around four hours because she couldn’t put it down. But there was still that niggly feeling in the back of my brain that it wasn’t all that good and the only way I would truly find out is getting it out so that others could read it.

Once The Next Stage was released, and I saw the reception it was getting – being likened to the Alex Cross books and Blade Runner – it was as if a switch had clicked in my head, one that went from “I’m not good enough to be doing this” to “This is what I should be doing because I’m good at it.” Overnight I was able to call myself an author. Don’t get me wrong, the imposter syndrome still creeps in occasionally – usually when I’m hitting a depressive episode, but for the most part, it’s gone.

As I stated earlier in the post, this is just my journey through this period, and others experience other things and ways they define it. If you feel like you can call yourself a writer/author, then you do it, don’t let anyone stop you from defining your work.

Writing: To First Drafts and Beyond

A first draft. What is it? Well, it’s a draft…that came first. For every writer, it could mean something different. I’m coming to the end of my first draft of my ghost story, so I wanted to address what it means to me.

I asked my fellow writers on Twitter what the first draft for them consists of, and the answers varied;

For me, a first draft is similar to the latter response.

I write the basics of a story. Whatever comes into my head, goes down and I try to make it make at least a little bit of sense. There is dialogue in there, I try to get most of the location data down, and there is some description there – mainly so I don’t forget what I was thinking at the time. It’s the bare bones of a story, but it’s way off being finished. These, for me, have ended up being around 40-50K words

Once I feel like I’ve finished the story, it’s time to go back over it. That’s when the V2 file is created.

This second draft is used to figure out if everything is in an order that makes sense. For The Next Stage, this meant adding some extra chapters in between others. In this case, I added more detail and events revolving around one of the characters – the President. This allowed me to add other events later on in the book and added – I feel – to the book’s depth as a whole. This draft is also used to add extra dialogue and build on the description already in there. Making the world a bit more rounded and believable.

Once the second draft is done, it’s time for another read through. This V3 draft is used to correct any spelling or punctuation that has been missed or entered correctly. It also serves for me to make the story read a little better. In the first couple of drafts, the story might not read and flow as I would have liked, and if that were sent out to readers, they might find it disjointed and difficult to read. I may end up reordering paragraphs or even chapters to improve the story’s flow during this stage.

V4 – now we’re getting into almost finished territory. This draft consists of reading through once again and double-checking everything I’ve done in the last few drafts. For The Next Stage, this was also the stage in which I ensured that the story’s timing was how I wanted it. Because I had dates and times on each chapter, I needed to make sure that they were set in the right period and any mention of date/time was correct as per the chapter heading.

After doing all these checks, I was finally ready to let someone else read it, *Enter Alex*

Once she had read through, enjoyed the story, and pointed out any issues that she noticed, I was ready for another draft, but this one was slightly different.

The next version I created wasn’t done in Word. This draft was done by uploading to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and creating the book as a paperback, as I would like it when it’s finished, and ordering a proof copy. I found this stage immensely satisfying as I could hold the book in my hand, and the whole thing felt a bit more real.

Armed with post-it notes and highlighters, I went at the proof copy. I read through and marked it up as I went. I was surprised at the amount of stuff that I marked up in it, despite having been through it 4 times before. There was something about having it physically in my hand that allowed me to find errors easier – I’ll definitely be doing this again with my next book, and I recommend it as a way to edit if you can.

After doing this read-through, I decided that I had found all I could and was ready for publishing.

Self-publishing means that, for the most part, I rely on my judgment as to whether a book is ready to publish. It’s so easy to sit and repeatedly go through it until my eyes bleed. But at some point, you’ve just got to say “f!ck it, it’s done.”

This method is just what works for me. As I said at the top, different writers have different approaches. You’ve just got to find what way works for you. You can look to others for advice and what they do, but ultimately it’s your decision to find what’s best for you.

Thanks to everyone for their input into this post.

New Year, New…Book?

I’m taking a break from my regular schedule of posts but will return to it next week.

The new year is upon us. We can put the sh!tshow that was 2020 behind us and try to move on.

To bring a little good to the first day of the new year, I’ve decided to make The Next Stage available for free on Kindle and Google Books. You can find it via the following links;

If you’d like a promo code for Apple Books, then just message me on Twitter and I’ll send one over to you.

If you’re looking for a new read, then The Next Stage could be what you’re looking for.

26th October 2138, Lieutenant William Kell is at the scene of another homicide committed by a rogue group of AIs. What has now become a routine investigation will soon explode into a deeper conspiracy, one that threatens all of humankind. Now it’s a race against time to stop the group’s devious plot before it’s too late, and the city of Washington D.C. implodes into violence.

If you’re unsure, why not check out some of the reviews over on Goodreads, and see what other readers have to say about it.

While you’re over on Goodreads, you can also now set up your 2021 reading challenge. With this challenge you can set a goal for how many books you aim to read this year. I’ve done this for five years, and have found it a good way to make sure I read more. You can see my challenge below and start your own on the website.

This past year I only just managed to reach my goal due to focusing more time on writing and getting The Next Stage out there, but I’m going to try this year, to make some more time for reading, I especially want to read more self-published and Indie authors like myself, as I know how hard it can be to get our books out there to readers.

You can see what I read during my 2020 reading challenge here.

Thank you to all who have already read and reviewed The Next Stage and Creatures. It means a lot to me that people have actually enjoyed what I’ve written and even recommended it it to others. You’re awesome!

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!

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.

Friday Bonus Entry (Giveaway)

With the release of The Next Stage on Apple Books, I’ve decided to run a giveaway with some promo codes for free copies over on my Twitter.

To enter, head on over and follow me @GaxTZ and like and retweet my pinned tweet.

I’ll announce winners on Monday 23rd November at 11am (GMT) and DM a code to the lucky few.

I’m hoping to do something similar once Google Books is sorted, so don’t worry if you don’t have an Apple device, your time will come.

Dopey Words

First off I would just like to apologise if this doesn’t make sense or I start to ramble. I’ve just been put on some stronger painkillers for my hip, and well I’m kinda spaced out.

I’ve spent the majority of the day looking into more ways that I can deliver my books to you, the readers. I’ve posted previously that they’re now available not only on Amazon but Lulu and Payhip too. I’m also working on both Google and Apple books, I’m just waiting for approval.

I’ve been trying to price up different options for the best way to distribute. So far, due to my available funds, my options are somewhat limited. But one option I’m looking at is getting a bulk order of the paperbacks and then selling them on through this site; I don’t know if people will want that, but it’s worth a shot.

Basically, a lot of this has come about because The Next Stage as been receiving amazing reviews and so far hasn’t got anything below 5 stars, and I want to get it to as many people as I can.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reread some of the reviews because it still staggers me that something I created and spent so much time on, people are actually enjoying, and enough to write about why. It’s an odd feeling, but it’s a nice feeling as @HorrorPaperBack said earlier on Twitter, it’s bewilderfying.

I’ve not really done much writing this week due to being in pain, but I’m hoping I can remedy that over the next couple of days as long as this new medication helps…it’s undoubtedly doing something right now.

As more selling options come up, I’ll continue to update and let you know where they will be available. But for now, check the “Books” page of this site to get your copy from where they’re available now.

Oh yeah, and I’ve also updated the links on the home page below my photo.