So here we are, it is New Year’s Eve and I am at home. Not because I am some sort of loser (I am but that is by the by!) but because I have children and all my friends who live near me have children and there is no childcare. On top of that I always feel New Year’s parties are a bit of enforced fun so do not mind missing out, although I will go if I ever get invited!
Anyhow, it is the last day of 2017 and so it is the time to do one of those reviews of the year. Nothing like a good self-indulgent blog post to end the year! So here goes…
A few year ago I noticed that I was not hitting targets set for myself; work and family life are so busy that I never get anything done in the time frame I expect. I decided for one year to say that my target was just to write. That year was last year and was my most effective year of writing. I decided to do the same this year and, guess what? Yeah I have written even more. So much so that I cannot review in just a few built points so I am going to use different headings this time around…
I continued to write poems sporadically in 2017 and place them in my collection ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read.’ If you feel inclined you can read all my poems on wattpad. I managed five poems in 2017, the first of which was posted on the first day of the year (don’t expect the same to happen next year i.e. tomorrow!) and is about how my daughter keeps slyly stealing my glasses. It is entitled ‘The Glasses Ninja.’ I really wanted to move away from comic poems and my wife told me that my rhymes are a bit forced so I spent the longest I have ever spent on a poem writing ‘The Tale of the Vitae Plant.’ This poem was written for National Poetry Month and is about a great voyage, I tried to make a rhythm but it did not work so it really does dispense with many literary effects. I tried to evoke the feeling of an old poem set in the 1800s, I hope I achieved that.
With two children now running about parenting was getting difficult in April so I put my frustrations into a poem entitled ‘Parenting (or I love you but please leave me alone for five minutes).’ It is a tongue in cheek look at the stresses of being a parent and just wanting a little time to yourself. For the next poem I tried something a little different, I was trying to emulate Dr. Seuss as I had been reading a lot to my son, I therefore went for a nonsense poem about a farmer, where I created a range of funny animals. The poem is called ‘The Nonsense Farmer.’ The last poem of the year was in September and was released for National Poetry Day. I did not really like the theme of freedom that was given but tried to create something. Everything I thought of felt a little fluffy and unreal so I finally settled on an acrostic poem entitled ‘Freedom’ but linked it to being a slave to technology. I think that it is quite clever by you might not! The poems dried up after September due to another project which I will talk about later.
The First Flash of Hope
I had written a flash fiction story for publication in a free magazine the other year that did not get published. I enjoyed writing a story in only a thousand words so decided I would complete a book of twenty of them. As the first story was sci-fi I thought I would do all of them under the genre of sci-fi. I had made a list of some stories I could do but left it there. The plan was to release it only on Smashwords. However I realised I would never get it done unless I wrote them sporadically and updated slowly on wattpad. So this year I started releasing sci-fi flash fiction under the title of ‘The First Flash of Hope.’ The first was released in February and is the story that I tried to get published in a magazine, it is entitled ‘The Other Side of Mars.’ Even though I have a list of topics, the next flash fiction update, in April, was a new idea that sprung into my head. It is about a person who has a bionic arm fitted only for it to be used to hack information, unbeknown to the lead character. It is called ‘Bionic Hacker.’ The last flash fiction piece of the year was a little bit sillier, it looked at a planet that was ruled by ducks, a bit of a pastiche of Planet of the Apes. However, at the end all is not what it seems. The story is called ‘Planet of the Ducks.’ It was released in June and was the last flash fiction I wrote in 2017, again this was due to the project I will mention later.
A Close Shave with Destiny
If you have followed this blog you will know that I have written a fantasy novella set in a moustache entitled ‘A Close Shave with Destiny.’ I have been editing it for a long while as I intend to charge for it, releasing it in print and ebook, so want to make it the best I possibly can. This year I have finished two passes of it and got feedback from a beta reader. I am now running the book through my editing program, Pro Writing Aid. Once done it will, finally, be ready to release. I did manage to do something else I was very proud of this year, not only did I create the cover but I actually drew the image on the front. As I am a terrible drawer I am quite impressed with what I produced, you can see it here.
The Fifth Coin
Again, if you have followed this blog you will know that I have been writing a novel called ‘The Fifth Coin.’ This is a young adult novel that I won NaNoWriMo with last year, I did not take part this year due to time constraints. I am at the editing stage and have finished two passes of this but am not focusing on it at the moment, instead I want to continue with the other project and getting ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ released. You may or may not hear more about this next year.
Islands of Hope
The other project I have mentioned is ‘Islands of Hope.’ This came about after talking to a friend who told me of a serial novel he really enjoyed. I thought that by setting myself the challenge of writing something each week and updating it I could at least be releasing some of my work and building up a novel. I have been writing between five hundred and a thousand words each week and editing them using Pro Writing Aid then uploading to wattpad. The novel is a sci-fi one about a dystopian future where a company has taken over most of the world. A girl steals some bread and is taken in by the company then sold on as a slave only to be sold to the revolution. So far it is around thirteen thousand words long but is growing each week. You can read it by going here.
Right, so it appears I actually did quite a lot of writing this year! I suppose I should talk about plans for next year. It seems that the idea of ‘just writing’ works well for me. I will say this though, I hope to publish ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and hope I continue to keep up the ‘Islands of Hope’ updates. Ok, so that is it, I hope I have not waffled to much. All that is left to say is have a happy new year and a great 2018 and here’s to more successes!
I final submitted a short story to an online and print based magazine. It is a strange story that is a little sci-fi but not really and a little fantasy but not really. It moves away from character and focuses on implied mysticism. Safe to say that finding an appropriate magazine to submit it to was a challenge. The one I found focused on left field sci-fi. I suppose I really did not expect it to get in so when it was rejected I was not surprised, even when it got rejected for the reasons I thought it would. However, I thought I would be hurt when that happened but I am really not. Maybe it is because I know other people get rejected all the time or the fact that there are more magazines out there I can submit to. It could even be that I know I can independently release it through Smashwords or Kindle and it won’t cost me a penny (although it may also not get read). The thing that did frustrate me, though, is that many places that want short stories like ones that are about people and are a bit quirky. They call it contemporary but I call it things I don’t want to write about! That is why it is so hard to find a place for some of my writing. It is almost a little too mainstream whilst being not mainstream enough. So the search for my place in the market goes on.
I think another area that helps me is that I see myself as a hobbyist author. I have a full-time job and only write because I enjoy it, therefore if writing gets me nowhere it is no skin off my nose. As long as one person reads and likes my stories then I have an audience. Plus I will subject my children to my writing when they are older! So, being a pessimist has not always helped me but I do feel with writing it does. Robin McKinley said ‘Write what you want to read. The person you know best in this world is you.’ I write stories that I want to read so as long as I keep doing that I will be happy.
So what next for my short story? I will submit it to a few more magazines and if it goes nowhere expect it on Smashwords for free in the near future.
Well it has not been the free, writing fueled summer I expected but at last I have managed to edit Super Lizard Returns and format it for Smashwords. You can get a free copy of the ebook here. There are a few changes from the Wattpad version, mainly typos but I have added in a few lines that add continuity to the stories and link them together more clearly. Basically it is just mentioned things that happened in previous stories in the book rather than pretending they did not occur. Finally I have changed a few jokes from the first story, Sequins and Spandex. A few hinted at being a little rude and given the target audience I felt that these were not in the spirit of Super Lizard. So there we have it, I promised an edited ebook version of Super Lizard Returns before the end of my school summer holidays and, for once, I have delivered. So enjoy and please leave a review even if it is not a good one, I like to know how people feel about my work. Oh, yeah, and it should be on ibooks, Sony and Barnes and Noble soon enough when those people at Smashwords have weaved their magic. Right I am off to stare into the sunlight and wonder where all the time has gone!
Well that first half of the year has flown by! Good in terms of work but not in terms of writing. Excellent A-level results and a new job put my career in an exciting place but the effort that went in to this meant that I have had to drop other aspects of my life, most notably writing. But with summer comes some down time from my career and I can once again pick up writing where I left off months ago. I had two plans for 2015, finish Super Lizard Returns and write a young adult novel. Neither have happened so far. Super Lizard had been placed on hold whilst I got up to scratch with the young adult novel but I found it increasingly hard to juggle work, family and writing. I managed a measly 200 words by mid March and I thought this was all down to my lack of time but the more I thought about it the more the ideas for the novel were not really fleshed out enough and as such when I started writing the story felt weak. For this reason I have cancelled the young adult novel. So once again I am in a situation where plans have failed. I am happy to say, though, that I have new plans, ones which may well come to fruition as I can now spend some time writing. Firstly I will finish Super Lizard Returns, in fact I have managed to start the last short story. So it will be finish by the end of summer then I will get it on Wattpad, edit all stories and place the ebook on Smashwords. As well as this I have started a new project, yes another one! I wrote a book entitled Captain Caleb and the Tickle Monster for my nephew a few years ago, well I am now writing another picture book, one for my son. Well I say writing, I have written it and am now creating the images (which could take some time!). I never liked the ebook format of Captain Caleb so I have opted to use Create Space to make a print version of my new book. The independently funded three copy print run for my family of Captain Caleb was so much better than the hashed together ebook. This book will be out by Christmas I hope. I also intend to reformat Captain Caleb and release that through Create Space so there is a proper print version which is how I always intended it to look. My final writing plan is to not start anything new but get some older stuff finished, I have three stories (two novels and a short story) that I want to finish before I start anything else. These are for adults and as such will not be released under my name but my adult writing pseudonym.
So there were are, a quick update of where I am at. I hope to have some new stuff out soon and will plow through as much as I can over summer so that when work heats up again in September and I go AWOL from writing I will at least have left you with something to remember me by!
I am happy to say that the Extra Time Edition of World Cup Dreams is now available. It was to be print exclusive but it was only one extra click of a button to put it on Kindle so there is an e-book version as well. You can purchase the print edition for £3.60 or the Kindle edition for £1.84. Both are exactly the same. However, if you purchase the print version then you can download the digital version for free. Thank you to anyone who buys the book, I hope you enjoy it. If you do not want to spend the money and do not mind missing out of the six extra short stories then the free version is still available on Smashwords and will continue to be.
You can buy World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from…
Right I am off to proof read ‘I can hear you pain’ so that it will, hopefully, be up in the next few weeks. It feels good to get some projects completed you know!
Just a quick post from me to let you know that the e-book version of World Cup Dreams is now available for free on Smashwords. There is a foreword about the challenge of writing a short story of between three and five hundred words each day during the World Cup as well as details of results for each day. I am hoping it also makes the premium collection which will mean you will be able to access it on Kobo, Sony Reader, Nook and many other e-readers soon. You can get it by clicking on this lovely link. The original is still up on Wattpad and I would like to once again thank anyone who read even one of the stories. If you want to leave any reviews (both positive and negative) then please do, I like feedback and try to reply to every piece.
Further the this, look out for the print version of the book, World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition, which will cost a small amount but will contain six shorts exclusive to this version. I hope it will be out sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Anyone who follows me on twitter will know that I have been writing a short story for World Book Day. Today is that very day and the story is unfinished. It is hard to hold down a job, be a husband and father and manage to write. I often find that I set myself deadlines and miss them. After the success of NaNoWriMo I thought a short story to help promote World Book Day in the school I work at would be an easy task. But after a couple of weeks that involved two parents evenings, a party for a friend and a job interview it appears the timing of World Book Day was not in my favour. The positives are, however, that I am over 4,000 words into a short story I had not even planned to write over a month ago. My plan now is to get the ebook ready and up on Smashwords over the weekend. I doubt I will actually do it in this time frame but do expect to get it all organised in a week or two. Another bonus is that the nice people at World Book Day have recognised what I was doing and given me some nice messages via twitter as well as letting me use the World Book Day logo on the front cover. So basically what I am saying is watch this space, it may be late but a new short story is coming and I am still planning on doing a reading at my school to, hopefully, show the students that reading is fun but writing your own stories is even funner (is that even a word?).