Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monthly Round-Up: January 2015

I can't believe we're almost at the end of January already, in the year that 'Back to the Future' promised us hover boards and flying cars. It seems they were a bit wrong about that.

But in the meantime, here is a round-up of my writing-related activities in the first month of the year.

OUT NOW

Sadly, nothing new lined up to come out this year as of yet.  I have to finish writing things first (see 'Work In Progress' for more information there).  Of course I am still promoting DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL.  Just in case you haven't got around to reading them yet...

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

The year has got off to a good start, with three guest appearances thus far:

8 January - I appeared on JQ Rose's blog in her series of writers passing on their writing tips. There was also a giveaway running, and Susan Bernhardt won a free copy of DEATH SCENE.

13 January - I made a guest appearance on Marsha West's blog, talking about how the submission process has changed in the 25 years since I first started sending stuff out.

23 January - I was interviewed by Lisa Lickel, chatting about DEAD COOL.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Since the beginning of the year I've been struggling to get into the flow with SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, the third Shara Summers book. Even though I plot before I start, it still takes a little while to find the voice, and the pace, of a new book. This one has the added complication of being half-started already, and I decided to completely scrap what I had of the first draft and start all over again.

Happily, I am now 5,000 words in and I think I've found the muse. I still have a suspicion I'm starting in the wrong place, but the words are starting to flow and there's plenty of time to fix things in the rewrite. I have chosen to focus on the 5,000 words that I have already written, instead of the 65,000 words still to go...

As for the horror novel, this has become rather like a jigsaw, with my looking at two previous drafts (both of which I thought at the time were finished) and deciding which chapters belong in the actual final draft and which ones don't. And I suspect I may still have to insert a couple of new chapters before it's finally done. I was rather hoping to have this one finished by now. Sadly, that's not the case. Maybe by this time next month, though.

And that brings us to the end of this month's news. See you at the end of February!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monthly Round-Up: December 2014

Well we're not only at the end of the month, we're at the end of the year, so this will be a more general overview of 2014.

OUT NOW

It's been a rather good year for me with regard to publications. The first two Shara Summers novels were both published by MuseItUp this year, and in addition I had a story in the anthology THE DARK HEART OF PEEPING TOM.

And if you haven't got around to buying DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL yet, I'm including the links...

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

Two guest appearances for me this month.  I was on Conda's Creative Centre blog talking about the complicated love life of Shara Summers - despite my constant denials that I write romance.  Then I was interviewed for Suzanne's Thoughts for the Day.

I've been quite busy with guest appearances on the Internet this year, and the complete list can be found on my website.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Well, what can I say here?  I have several projects on the go at once.

The good news is, I have started writing the third Shara Summers book, which is currently titled 'Spotlight on Death'.  But I'm in a very early stage of the first draft, so there's a long way to go.  My aim is to get it to final draft stage by this time next year, but that might be being a tad ambitious.  We shall see.

The horror novel in progress, THE WHISPERING DEATH I was busy rewriting and then I got a bit tangled up when I realised the changes I had made to the draft meant the ending now made no sense.  However, since then I've worked out how I can fix it.  I am hoping that by the end of January I will have this novel in a fit state to start submitting.  I'm also not going back to the day job until Monday, so I've got the rest of this week to work on it.  Hopfully I can make significant progress in the next five days.

I will be back next year with more information about goals for 2015.  In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy New Year, however you choose to celebrate the end of the old year and the dawn of the new.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nine Years in the Making

This coming January, I'm slated to have shoulder surgery. As you might guess, this will curtail my writing, at least for a few weeks. So I've compiled a list of writing goals I want to accomplish before January 1. So far, I've written a short radio play based on a short novel, completed a 65,000-word thriller for NaNoWriMo, and, as of today, finished a short novel I began about nine years ago.

Yes, nine years. Cathedral Girl was my second NaNoWriMo attempt, following a "win" in 2004 with a historical vampire story. This project was my foray into studying angels and demons, which would culminate in the following publications, Death Sword and Exterminating Angel, and the unpublished drafts, Serpent Fire, The Judas Dilemma, and Hell on Earth. Hey, if you've got this knowledge available, why not use it? :-)

But why take so long? Part of it was while I knew how the story would end, I wasn't sure how to get to that point. I jotted notes from what I had and used a program called Writer's Blocks to flesh out the rest of the story. The result is a rough first draft, but that doesn't matter. What matters is I have something to work with.

I have a couple of partials to finish. While I'm hoping to finish one before my surgery, I'm not sure if I will or not. But if I can make a dent in it, that's better than nothing.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Monthly Round-up: November 2014

It's the end of November already. Lots of stuff going on at the moment, and I don't just mean writing-wise. Sometimes Real Life gets in the way as well.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Quite a lot to report in this category!

DEATH SCENE is part of a promotional bundle pack organised by MuseItUp, which includes four mysteries by five authors for the bargain price of $1.99. This is a limited-time deal, so get it now. And, of course, DEATH SCENE is available on its own, too.

DEAD COOL, the second Shara Summers book, is out now!  Yay!!

I am also pleased to be able to announce that a story of mine is included in the forthcoming anthology THE DARK HEART OF PEEPING TOM, by Exaggerated Press. The anthology features stories that appeared in the 1990s horror fanzine PEEPING TOM, which included early work from a lot of now well-known British horror writers. And me...

The story of mine that features is "Jim Hendrix Eyes" which is now my most-published story - this is its fourth appearance. The anthology will be launched at the British Fantasy Society open night on 5 December.  Everyone is welcome at open nights, whether you are a member of the BFS or not.  If you happen to be in London that night, do come along.

If you can't, well you can still buy the book - just click on the link above.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

This month I've been interviewed by Stuart West, and I was a guest on the Red River Radio blog talk radio show, the recording of which is still available to listen to.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Let's not go there.  Really.  My WIP is not co-operating.  When I get it behaving itself again, I will report.

My next update will be at the end of 2014 - where has this year gone??

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Publishing Milestone

(Cross-posted)

This month, I finally achieved something I'd been wanting to do for the past two years. I self-published my first collection of short dark suspense stories on Amazon, both for Kindle and the upcoming print edition. Malice and Mayhem: Tales of the Macabre are eleven stories, five previously published, that deal with how strong emotions like jealousy, obsession, and vengeance can often have detrimental, even deadly consequences.

I noticed that many of my characters, both in my short stories and in my longer works, are often seeking vengeance or are obsessed with wanting something, no matter how dangerous it might be. In "Obsession," Corinne cannot get over the fact her dead ex-boyfriend had a girlfriend before her, and she's determined to use necromancy to find out who he loved more. In "Family Tradition," a cursed kris (wavy dagger) forces a young man to commit murder, and he finds getting rid of the weapon is a lot harder than he expected.

These stories are influenced by the dark suspense shows of my past, namely ThrillerNight Gallery, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The idea is not to slather the stories in gore for the sake of scaring readers, but to leave them feeling uneasy. (Although there are some graphic descriptions, the overall rating for the book would probably be 14 and up.)

You can find out more about Malice and Mayhem and read the entire first short story, "It's in Your Blood" by clicking here.

Sometimes, there's truth to the warning, "Be careful what you wish for..."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monthly Round-Up: October 2014

It's October already. Tthis month is mostly known as being Hallowe'en season. And for me it's also the month of my birth. I was born a week before Hallowe'en - fairly appropriate for a horror writer.

And it's time for another update, so here is the news for this month.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Death Scene is available at a 60% discount until the end of the month, as part of MuseItUp Publishing's fourth anniversary celebrations. If you haven't bought it yet, now might be a good time, before the price goes up.

Dead Cool is released on 25 November, but it can be pre-ordered if you want to get your order in now.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

 Two guest appearances this month.  I was on Jami Gray's blog talking about the importance of a sense of place, and then on Margaret Fieland's blog talking about why my characters never get 'Happy Ever After' endings.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I have been feeling decidedly under the weather for a good part of this month, struck with the lingering virus that seems to be hitting rather a lot of people at the moment. I end up feeling tired all the time, so getting up early to write has been rather difficult. I'm still working on the horror WIP, though have not made as much progress as I would have liked.

Time seems to be flashing by, and I haven't done nearly enough writing. But there's still a bit of time left before the end of the year.

Happy Hallowe'en!