Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Monthly Round-Up: August 2015

Where does the time go? We're at the end of August already.

Summer is nearly over and meteorologically it certainly feels that way. Lots of rain here in London and it's feeling distinctly chilly. I actually put the heating on today.

Anyway, enough about the weather. On with the news.

OUT NOW

I'm very excited to announce that THE WHISPERING DEATH is now available, in both Kindle and paperback formats. The official launch will be at FantasyCon in Nottingham on Saturday 24 October (which also happens to be my birthday) but I have not yet had a time confirmed.

There's also going to be another launch in South London on Wednesday 14 October. If you're not going to FantasyCon but are in the vicinity to make it to this one, let me know and I shall send you an invite.

PUBLICITY

Two appearances to report this month:

18 August - I was on Jami Gray's blog talking about the editing process and how the end is not the end.

24 August - Canadian author Allan J Emerson hosted an interview with me on his blog today.

TWITTER Book launch invite 27-8-2015 MASTERWhile we're on the subject of publicity, I want to mention that tomorrow night (Thursday 27th) there will be an online Q&A session to promote THE WHISPERING DEATH. My publisher, Kensington Gore, and I will be online to answer any questions that people might care to ask. This starts at 7pm British Summer Time, and it will be happening on Twitter. Use the hashtag #QAKGPUB (an abbreviation of 'question & answer for Kensington Gore publishing') to join the conversation. I am attaching the invite here. Feel free to spread the word!

WORK IN PROGRESS

Over halfway through the first draft of SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, the third Shara Summers novel, now. Actually, technically it's Draft 2.5, since I rebooted it twice, but I have now got further than I ever did in any of the earlier versions so I am feeling hopeful that progress is being made.

I've set a goal for myself that I will finish this novel, to final draft stage, by the end of the year. This will mean I've got two WIPs on the go, since I'm also in the (very) early stages of a new horror novel. But hey, sometimes that's a good thing. When I get stuck on one WIP I can go work on the other one.

Lots going on, then. So on that note I'm going to sign off and go back to the writing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Whispering Death

It's time to unveil the cover for the forthcoming horror novel THE WHISPERING DEATH!

This one is being released by British horror publisher Kensington Gore in Autumn. The e-book version may, in fact, be available in a few weeks. The print version will follow in a couple of months. I am hoping to be able to launch it at FantasyCon in Nottingham in October but I am awaiting confirmation on that.

This is the scariest novel I have written in a while, and it's not for the faint-hearted as it has rather a lot of gruesome scenes. It also has a lot of references to LARP, to D&D, to Resident Evil and is an homage to geekiness in general. Oh, and it has zombies, too.

I am very excited about the release of this book. For those of you in the UK and not going to FantasyCon, I'm endeavouring to arrange another launch, in the South of England, to offer another opportunity to attend. As always, watch this space for further info.

In the meantime, here's a teaser in the form of a blurb for the novel.

Blurb for THE WHISPERING DEATH
 
Death comes to us all; life is the name of the game and everyone has a role to play.

When a group of live action role-players perform a ritual as part of a game, they unwittingly unleash an ancient evil that tears their world apart. The reanimated corpse of a long-dead magic user, corrupted by powerful dark magic, offers a promise of unlimited power, but at a terrible price. Having helped open this Pandora’s box, Mark and Elizabeth must race against time to close it again – before it’s too late.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Monthly Round-Up: July 2015

Generally I do the monthly round-up on the last Wednesday of the month. However, last week I was in Darkest Wales, with no access to wifi and barely any mobile phone signal. It was nice to get away from it all, but a bit of an adjustment to be 'off the radar'.

So, July's round-up is a week late. But there is plenty to report, so on with the news.

OUT NOW

The 'Former Heroes' anthology is now available to buy, in print and e-book format. Featuring seven original stories of SF, fantasy and horror, all of these authors are united by being live action role-players. It's a fairly eclectic mix of stories, but it has already started receiving good reviews. My own story is definitely one of the darker ones.

COMING SOON

THE WHISPERING DEATH is in final proof stage, and now I'm getting excited. It's always a thrill when a book starts to become a reality.
It is hoped that this one will launch at FantasyCon in Nottingham in October, but I'm still waiting for confirmation of a launch slot. More news on this as it happens!

PUBLICITY

I was pleased to feature on the Omnimystery page at the beginning of the month as the author interview.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I've not made much progress on the new horror novel, but the third Shara Summers novel, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, continues apace. One of my work colleagues was asking about it the other day, which has given me some motivation to get on with it. I've set myself a goal to have this WIP finished by the end of the year. Not just 'current draft' finished, but at final draft stage. So I'd better apply bum to chair a bit more often and get cracking.

By the time of the next monthly round-up we'll be moving into Autumn, at least here in the Northern hemisphere. Where does the time go? See you then!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Brief Artistic Life

In my continuing quest to move away from my Windows XP to my Windows 8.1, I recently hooked up my Wacom tablet and put Corel Painter X on my hard drive after checking for any compatibility issues (none).

It's been ages since I've drawn. There were a number of years where I spent time reading artist bios, took a few painting and drawing classes, and immersed myself in the world of art. During that time, I quit writing. I wasn't finishing any stories I started, and kept being drawn back into the art world. I wanted to hone my skills to become an animator, even if only for myself.

Still do.

Here's the thing. I wanted to be an artist long before I wanted to be a writer. And I've been lucky to have my work displayed in student art shows and a few non-juried ones.

I'm not leaving writing. Can't. No, really. Tried to quit twice. Failed both times. Looks like drawing/painting and other artistic pursuits refuse to lie down and die, too.

So, in the spirit of honoring one's creativity, here is a small horror art project I'm working on.

It's still a work in progress. I'll be painting with acrylics. Plan to work with both digital and traditional media on my artistic journey.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Monthly Round-Up: June 2015

Summer has reached the UK! Hooray! Long days and the occasional glimpse of sunshine, and I've even felt brave enough to put away the tights when wearing work skirts. Still plenty of rain, of course - this is England. But the alternative rainy days and sunny days seem to make the strawberry plants in our garden thrive. We've got more strawberries than we know what to do with right now.

Anyway, I digress. On with the news.

COMING SOON

I am pleased to announce the imminent launch of the FORMER HEROES anthology, by Far Horizons Press. All of the stories in this anthology are by writers who are also live action roleplayers. It's an eclectic mix, all dealing with characters who were once heroes. There's some fantasy, some sci fi, some horror. My story, 'The Unending Scream', is most decidedly a horror story. Would it be anything else?

There'll be an online launch on Facebook for FORMER HEROES, so you can join the party without leaving the comfort of your own home.

And, speaking of LARPERS (a bit of a reach, I know), we are still aiming for an Autumn release for THE WHISPERING DEATH. I hope to have more news about this soon.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

Today I'm visiting Eric Price's blog to talk about a subject common to all writers, both seasoned pros and newbies alike: Writer Insecurity.

WORK IN PROGRESS

SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, the third Shara Summers book, progresses well. Most of my work on it is being done in Starbucks on Aldwych in London, early in the morning before going to work. Of late, though, I've had to sit in different spots, since my usual seat has been taken. I really hate that.

Well that's all to report this month. See you next month!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Ten Commandments of Writing #5: Thou Shalt Rewrite



Whenever a writer is portrayed in a film or TV series, the process is always the same. They sit at their typewriter or PC (depending on how old the series is), banging out the words, they print out a huge stack of pages, and then they write 'The End' with a flourish, and proudly present finished manuscript to agent/publisher.

I know TV misrepresents a great deal of professionals, but I always want to shout at the screen at this point. I don't know any writer who can churn off a first draft that is perfect and publishable and in need of absolutely no revisions.

Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, there are generally two ways of approaching the writing of a manuscript. Some writers start the first draft with a clear goal of getting to the end. The first draft is likely to be full of inconsistencies and plot holes, but the important thing is to get to the end of the first draft and remember that everything can be fixed in the rewrite. This is my approach. The first draft is effectively putting up the scaffolding. The bricks and mortar and everything else that is required for the construction to be solid and functional can be added in future drafts.

Then there are other writers who revise as they go. Every time they sit down to write, they review what they wrote before and they will quite often go back and polish, or revise and rewrite bits before moving on. So by the time they get to the end they have effectively got a finished product. But it's hardly a first draft, because many changes and amendments have been made along the way.

Whichever way works for you is something that only you will be able to decide, possibly after much trial and error. The point is, revision is essential to the writing process. How many rewrites are required will, again, vary from writer to writer, and may well depend on how much thought goes into the first draft. Some writers I know spend quite a lot of time thinking about each sentence before writing it down, whereas I would rather tap into that early morning flow of words and type the first thing that comes into my head. It means I'm more likely than that more ponderous writer to re-read what I've written and shriek, "what was I thinking? This is complete rubbish and makes no sense". But I know I've got several rewrites to get it right, so that doesn't worry me.

Like many things misrepresented in the media, writing is not as easy as it's portrayed on TV. And no one gets it right the first time.

And so this is the Fifth Commandment. Thou shalt rewrite. And rewrite, and rewrite again, until the manuscript is so polished it shines.