Welcome

Welcome to my blog. The home page will always display the most recent blog post so please use the tabs to navigate your way around. Keep up to date by visiting the 'News' area. The 'Short Stories' area and the ‘Flash Fiction’ area contain everything produced thus far, and comments would be much appreciated! Be sure to check out the 'Three Words' area that will explain how you can get involved in influencing the written work to come, or for details on contributing your own artwork visit the 'Artists' area! You can read my 'Blog' (in the truer sense), additional content is also available via the 'Other' section and don't be afraid to leave a comment in the 'Guestbook'. Thanks for visiting!



Saturday, 15 December 2012

Blog - 15/12/12

Alas, I have failed ye. I haven’t managed to finish the Christmas story in time. I changed my mind about it so often it became unworkable for long periods where I had to get my head together, and I tried to change technique part way in by drafting straight to computer which didn’t pay off as I’d hoped. Also, when I saw that the BBC were doing an adaptation of James Herbert’s ‘The Secret of Crickley Hall’ I became engaged in a battle to start and finish the book in time to catch up with the series which probably didn’t help. I managed to read it all though, enjoyed it too, James Herbert’s horror is good stuff, but in the end what my brother told me of the BBC’s version fell drastically short of my expectations and I never actually watched it. Any hope I had of a last push for completion was then laid to waste by a seasonal stomach bug - I don’t do illness well. Excuses aside at least that means there’s more chance of a story next Christmas! Right?...

Before I go I’d just like to encourage you to have a quick look at: http://www.themilliondollarbookshop.com/

It’s a great and innovative idea to raise money for children’s charities created by the author of the ‘Broken Empire’ series, Mark Lawrence. If I had a book out I’d totally take advantage of it and help some kids in the process! It’s one of things that will only get better with awareness so give it a look-see and possibly tell someone about it too!

Thanks for sticking with me, I know I could and should do a lot more, so if we can keep the Mayans at bay maybe I’ll have a chance to remedy it. Happy Holidays people - stay safe, be good to others, yadayada. Cya in 2013!

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Blog - 15/11/12

Well, not a lot to talk about this month. I’ve spent most of the time planning and organising for my epic fantasy series of the future so there’s nothing to display. I am now in the process of planning for this year’s Christmas story though, so hopefully you’ll have something new to read before 2012 is over! Early indications are this one might turn into a serial too with a new piece added in subsequent years from the same story but that is yet to be fully decided.

I have been talking to friends and looking back over old projects and it’s probably about time I started working on them again. I get bored of spending too much time on one project and I also worry that if I finish it in one attempt that there’s not enough chance for me as a writer to improve, or that certain ideas could have been used that I wouldn’t have thought of at the time. I guess in a little way I’m scared of finishing a project, I’m just so worried I could have made it better with time apart to learn and think of new things. Finishing is just so, you know, final. I could always go back and re-master, but it’d never be the same and I couldn’t change the plot in any great deal. I think I’ve had sufficient time away from certain projects though, now might be the time to go back and do some more work, including the first novel I started, which is scary. The gap has proven its worth though, I found myself cringing so much at my first efforts and places for marked improvement. I still love the story and the characters in it. I just have to man up and bring it (slightly) closer to an end. ‘Slow down though Paul, you still have that Christmas story to write.’ Plenty of time to change my mind then...

Though I haven’t spent much time actually writing I have been doing a lot of reading recently. I finished Tim Severin’s Pirate series and was thoroughly impressed. The gripe I had at the beginning disappeared entirely by the end as I got truly immersed and I can’t thank him enough for providing a bit of a guide for my own time writing about the open water. I’m definitely going to look into his Viking series and his new Saxon one too. It’s all been about Jorg for me though. A friend lent me ‘King of Thorns’ by Mark Lawrence and boy am I glad he did. Astounding. If you thought ‘Prince of Thorns’ was good... I honestly prefer it to Westeros. Please read this series. It contained more of the type of fantasy I like and is structured so cleverly,  with twists and ‘ahhhhs’ in abundance. Just so, so good. Not such a fan of the ‘Builders’ stuff but it’s a small price to pay and well incorporated. I wondered if there’s an element of homage to Stephen King as I found out he was a fan of the ‘Dark Tower’ series recently and it strikes a similar chord to the ’Old Ones’. Maybe. Just so good though. The third will be different, I know it, but there’s not a chance I’ll love it any less.

Nothing else to say really! Christmas comes early when you need to write about it in advance! Until next time, buh-bye!

 
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Monday, 15 October 2012

Blog - 15/10/12


Hey! So despite what I said last time I actually went on to finish the first paragraph short story competition entry. I finished the first draft of the full version and it came out at over eight thousand words. Saving the improvements for later I went about chopping the story down to meet the competition deadline’s three thousand words. I still don’t know how I did it, but I’m happy with the end result and it’s been entered now for judging. The results will be announced in February next year so I can guarantee you’ll have some new material to read, whether it be successful or not. So wish me luck! If you believe in that kind of thing...

I have decided on a path for my writing in terms of the short stories. My plan is to write the full version and then create a shorter competition version to send off for entry, but this you already know. The next step will be to await the results, as you can guess. Bu then my plan is to wait six months after the competition version of the story has been posted on my site before making the full version available as a purchasable PDF file. It won’t cost much, something like 50p each, but it would be nice to have tangible evidence that people want to read my writing. The idea is that hopefully the competition version that is free to read on my site will whet the appetite for the full story. In terms of practicality I’ll set up a Paypal purchasing thing and then send the PDF in an email. I’m aware that e-readers such as the Kindle support PDFs even if they’re not e-reader specific and I’ll make every effort ensure that the PDFs are correctly adapted for the best quality (even if I don’t yet have one myself, I plan to nag a friend) and obviously you don’t need an e-reader to read a PDF!

Now for an idea I’m going to throw about. For the full version of the stories I’d like to have a picture on the first page to act as a cover image. Sadly I’m not the most artistic person myself. What I’m proposing is some type of competition with a paid speculative prize. My plan is to open the floor to artists to design the cover image themselves, based on the competition version of the story available on the site. I’ll give them five months to make their entry and choose my favourite to use as the official cover image for the story. No entry fees, but the one I choose will be entirely my decision so be aware I might not see the entries with perfect artistic vision. What I will try and arrange is that the winner will get a cut of any profit I make on the story. Pure speculation, but my first idea is that the artist would get 5% for every 100% I make, up to a maximum point where the artist would make no more from the sales.

For example, if I were to charge 50p for the story: I sell 20 copies, earning a total of £10. I would keep £9.50 and the artist would earn 50p. I would pay the artist 50p via Paypal, up to the point their total earnings reaches £100. Maybe I pay every time the artist makes, for example, £1, up to the point £100 is reached, and then any sales I get after that I would pay the artist nothing. In the current example I would have to sell 4000 copies before their total payment is reached, which for a little known writer is unlikely, so it’d be a nice little earner on the side for the winning artist. In retrospect that sounds a little stingy, so maybe closer to 15%. I don’t know, it’s all speculation but what are people’s thoughts on the idea? As an artist would you be interested? Let me know. Of course it’d also help us both in that if the artist wants to make their money it wouldn’t hurt for them to promote the story... hehe. Maybe I could put all the other entries up in a gallery on my Facebook page too?

In other news I’ve been working on a spur of the moment Flash Fiction, the best way I’ve found for this tight format so far. I know I said I’d talk about TfTT but I’m out of space, and the current piece that I’ve been writing has gone way over what I expected, so no surprises there! Seriously it’d be great to have feedback on the proposed PDFs and artist competition idea so get at me in the comments or tweet me! Until next time, buh-bye!

 

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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Blog - 15/09/12

Hello there! So you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in a while. I seem to be having problems with my internet connection at the start and end of the month so in future I’m going to start posting these blogs mid-monthly.

So, what have I been up to in all that time? Well the truth is not a lot really. As I mentioned in my last post the summer schedule of sport has been insane. How good were the Olympics? I was particularly glued to the athletics, gymnastics and the weightlifting though I watched a lot of the football, women’s football (which was far better) and some volleyball and judo as well. I followed most of the BMX and caught the occasional tennis match as too, though I didn’t watch a lot of it because I watch tennis all year round and was giving other sports a chance. All in all it was fantastic aaaaaaand pretty much all consuming. I didn’t do much else other than wake up, put the Olympics on, eat occasionally between events and go to bed when it was over for the day. But the sport has settled down now, the US Open was the last slam of the year (Well done to Andy Murray for winning that maiden slam to go with that Olympic gold medal!), only that small matter of the new football season now!

You may be surprised to hear that I’ve done some writing during that time as well! Not an awful lot, but some! I’ve mainly been working on the first paragraph short story competition but it looks like I’m going to miss the deadline for entry. I’m still going to finish it, I’ll just post it on here and credit the competition for the opening paragraph. I’m trying a technique where I write my short stories without worrying about the word limit at first and produce a ‘full’ version. Then when I’m happy with it I’ll go back and create a shorter ‘competition’ version. I may have missed the deadline but I’ll still going to make a competition version of it because I need the practise.

I finished reading the ‘Black Tower’ series. It’s scary how similar the ending turned out to my first plan for my fantasy series having not previously read this. It was in truth a bit predictable, but it was an appropriate ending to the story. The story practically demanded that ending. It made me think about how one dimensional writing can be at times. Stories tend to write themselves when you’ve planned out enough and it’s difficult to change direction without compromising everything written so far. I think that’s why stories change so much as you write them. They’re following their own path and it’s the writer taking occasional left and right turns that force the story to work out a more appropriate origin. Then when they go back to change it they find they’re on a different path entirely.

I’ve since read ‘Prince of Thorns’ by Mark Lawrence and was thoroughly impressed. His writing style is superb and left me green with envy. I won’t be the only one. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series when I can get hold of them. For now though I’ve started reading Tim Severin’s ‘Hector Lynch’ series which I’m enjoying. The author is very knowledgeable in his writing and it’s proving very useful for my own fantasy series which starts out with pirates as well. It’s like reading a text book with a narrative! My only criticism is that everybody speaks so formally and state entire big picture situations that it’s questionable whether they, the character, would be so well informed about. I wonder if this is where the author knows so much he can’t bear to leave the reader in the dark about anything because of some impassive need to educate. It’s not a problem though, you soon adapt, it was just a shock to start with.

I’m trying to keep these posts to a single page so I’ll end it there. Next time I’ll talk about a new thing I want to add to the blog writing wise. I’ll code name it TfTT for now. Until then, buh-bye!

 

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Friday, 1 June 2012

Blog - 01/06/12

So this month I’ve been working on the ‘Three Words’ story and I’ll just say, researching the words has left me with a bit of a strange search history. With obscure things like this it’s always a bit difficult to gain the information you want solely with online research, but to be honest, I’m not too sure I want to go so far as to join a cult in undercover mode just to find out the intricate stuff, so I’ve allowed myself room for creative license. That was however, the attitude I had when concocting my original story idea...

That’s been the feature of this piece of writing though, the amount of times I’ve changed direction has been incredible... even for me. Inevitably, now that I’m somewhat settled on an idea, the worst has happened. It’s grown massive, like, just as with the first ever ‘Three Words’ post I’m planning on turning it into at least a novella, though a full novel is a lot more likely. So yeah, sorry, it’s going to be ages before this piece of writing is going to see the light of day. I can tell you however that it’s going to (at this stage of development, haha) be a supernatural crime story, so at least you can get an idea if you’re going to be interested later down the line.

As a result in terms of reading I’m going back to reread the whole of my Phil Rickman collection for inspiration. He’s a fantastic writer. In fact ‘The Wine of Angels’  from his ’Merrily Watkins’ series was the book my mum suggested that kick started my reintroduction to reading after a long absence, and the rest is dust. I have however made a quick trip back to finish Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series before my Rickman deluge. I’ve only really just got to the point where I’m able to read ANYTHING after my ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ addiction without making a little whining noise and wishing I was back in Westeros.

I made a great start on this story, but now production has slowed somewhat. The line up of summer sport on TV this year is insane. I’m currently glued to the French Open, then there’s Wimbledon, the European Championships, oh yeah and don’t forget that small case of the Olympics. I’ve never really paid much attention to the Olympics in the past, but I’d like to get into them, and what better time to start than when we’re playing host?

Before I leave you I’d like to point you in the direction of a TV show called ‘Breakout Kings’ starring the gorgeous Serinda Swan amongst others. Truly awesome stuff and the second season finale was an absolute belter, which is why the decision to cancel the show is completely beyond me. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from this show, so do yourself a favour and watch this hidden gem before it fades out of TV conscious forever. Buh-bye!

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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Blog - 01/05/12


This month I’ve been working on the specific short story competition entry. The main research stage is finished and I’ve started to write the first draft so hopefully, just maybe, I’ll be able to finish it before the deadline. I’ve been guilty of investing a lot of time in developing other stories again though so it hasn’t gone as far as I’d have hoped in the time I allocated. For now though all attention has been switched to the ‘Three Words’ post short story.

There were three entries this time round all with different words so the result came up a tie and I chose to go with Chris’ suggestion of NECROLATRY, LAMPADOMANCY and WERGILD. I’m not ashamed to say I had to look these up, and once you do too you’ll see it could make for quite an interesting story, so thanks Chris for the great suggestions! I’ll have to start with another research session before I actually start writing but it’s always good to broaden your horizons and write about different things, plus it could provoke ideas for other pieces of writing so diverse entries are most welcome in the future! I promise I’ll stick to this one project, but it may be a while before you see anything. I guess by now you’d know that anyway.

A quick note on the ‘Three Words’ posting. I had a friend tell me they were unsure about entering because they needed to make some form of account to post, but there is the option to post anonymously if you don’t want to. I may have to reconsider how to enter in the future when there is a higher volume of entrants to prevent tactical voting but for now it’s easier to leave it.

Don’t be put off if your words aren’t chosen either. I start getting ideas as soon as I read them so it may help spark something elsewhere. There’s nothing stopping you posting your words again next time round either so you may get another chance to force them through. I haven’t written a lot of Flash Fiction yet either so I might use one runner up for that each time.

Not a lot else to say this month really so I shan’t. Buh-bye!

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Monday, 16 April 2012

Three Words - 16/04/12


Time for your ideas for the next reader orientated piece of writing.

Make sure you comment on this post with your three words in CAPITALS. Names or expletives won't be counted.

Remember, if you like the suggestion somebody has already posted you can show your support by repeating the three words they have used again.

The top three words will be incorporated into the next piece of writing, so get creative!

Closes - 30/04/12.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Blog - 01/04/12


You see? I do write things!

So I released the short story ‘Dirty Browsing’ this month. I haven’t had a lot of reaction to it yet so I don’t know how well it’s gone down and I’m slightly concerned it might be partially down to the subject matter. Yes, the key words may be ‘Erotic’ and ‘Poo’ but that doesn’t mean I’ve written some dodgy porno! Please have a look if you’ve been avoiding it and let me know what you think! I’d also like to point out I’ve never personally seen the video in question and instead had it described to me, sometimes secondary research is just so much more appealing… Intrigued? Have a read?

I finished the first draft of the Delorean story this month, and when I typed it up and made a few tweaks in the process (I call this my second draft) it came out at around nine thousand words - far too long for most writing competitions. As this is always the case for me I had an idea. What I’m going to try is to start a short story and keep writing until I finish and not constrain myself to the small word limits and when it inevitably comes out massive I’m going to consider this the ‘full’ version of the story. I’ll then chop it up and strip it down to make a ‘competition’ version of the story which will be small enough for entry. After the results come out and I’m free to release the (hopefully winning) story on my site I’ll release the ‘competition’ version first, and then after some time I’ll release the ‘full’ version as well.

I’m currently doing the research for another specific short story competition so I haven’t done any more work on my book yet as previously planned. So instead of waiting until I’ve done more work on that I’m going to run the next ‘Three Words’ post first. More entries would be greatly appreciated! Look out for that on the 16th of this month.

I also joined Tumblr. this month! I’m a very young (tumblr? / tumblist? / tumblerer?) and am not totally sure what it is people want to see on it so don’t expect great things. I’m mainly using it as another alternative platform for people to keep up with the pieces of writing I’ve released so if you follow me on Twitter / “like” my Facebook page or subscribe to the site directly by RSS or email you won’t be getting much else.

Links below, and don’t forget to check back on the 16th to enter your ‘Three Words’! Buh-bye!

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Read the short story ‘Dirty Browsing’ – http://bit.ly/GG6cTX
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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dirty Browsing


‘Would you boys like a drink?’
                ‘No thanks, mum I-‘
                ‘Yes please Mrs Glatch.’ Liam interjected innocently enough – the kid was thirsty. James thought he was just trying to show off.
                ‘One for you as well James?’ He looked back to see Liam had picked up the mouse, his mouse, and had moved it to his side of the keyboard and all of a sudden James felt a little thirsty too.
                ‘Yes please.’ He said, and then he brought it back, feigning to navigate the page to justify possession.
                As Mrs Glatch left the room, Liam looked over the notes they’d made in James’ history book. He ran his hand through his long hair and rocked back on the extra chair that had been brought through from the dining room table.
                ‘Do you think we’ve got enough?’ James asked.
                ‘Probably. If not you can just ask people if they have any questions at the end.’
                ‘You can answer them then.’ Liam’s mouth twisted into a little smirk.
                ‘You know, you might actually have to say something at some point. I bet Mr Cody will ask you a question directly.’ James didn’t look happy.
                ‘No. We’re using my computer. You can do all the talking.’
                ‘I’m just saying he might. Do you want me to go through some of this with you? Just in case?’
                ‘No.’ James said, scowling. He took it as a deliberate attack on his intelligence. Liam thought he was so smart, just because after school he actually read books. To James it was like a curse word and whenever Liam tried to talk about something he found interesting in one of them James would cut him off and talk about the game he was playing on his Playstation.
                Liam might be the smarter, but James had enough cunning to ensure it was always his house they hung out at. Liam had no Playstation of his own so winning was a guarantee, and no matter how repetitive it might be it still felt good. So you know what Liam? Your books can suck it.
                ‘James?’ Mrs Glatch called out from the kitchen. ‘Can you come and get your drinks please?’ He got up and headed to get them.
                When he got back he found Liam sniggering as he looked directly at the screen. He put the drinks down on the desk and once again placed the mouse on his side of the keyboard. There was nothing on the screen except for a minimized Internet page, so James clicked it.
                ‘”Boobies.”’ James read aloud, amazed. No matter where he looked on the page he couldn’t escape another wonderful pair of breasts. Liam started laughing.
                ‘Haha, you look like you’ve never seen them before.’
                ‘No, I have but…’ Try as he might he could not pull his eyes away from the screen. ‘How come I can see them? I’ve typed that in before but nothing came up, I had to go to page one hundred just to see anything.’
                ‘Have you never heard of safe search?’
                ‘No, what’s that?’
                ‘Boys?’ James’ heart leapt into his mouth and he scrabbled to close the page before she got into the room. They probably couldn’t have looked guiltier if they tried, sitting in front of a desktop with nothing open. Liam had desperately locked himself into a position with his eyes facing front as he struggled to keep back the laughter.
She poked her head around the corner and looked at James placidly.
                ‘Can I assume by all the noise that you’ve nearly finished your project?’
                ‘Erm, yeah, nearly mum.’
                ‘Okay. Don’t be too long, your father will need the computer for work soon.’
                When she left earshot James breathed a huge sigh of relief. The two of them looked at each other and Liam started chuckling.
                ‘…safe search?’ James suggested.
                ‘Oh yeah, right. Open up a new page and I’ll show you.’ The search engine had been set as the homepage, avoiding one of the steps. ‘There, you see? Under the search bar it says “moderate safe search is on”, click on it.’ James followed instructions and it brought up a new menu of options. ‘Now you want to click on “don’t filter my search results”’. It asked to confirm that he was at least eighteen years of age but the pair of them shared a glance and sniggered. ‘Okay, now you can see all the boobies in the world.’
                ‘It’s really that easy?’
                ‘Yep. Oh, don’t forget to change it back after.’
                ‘Oh right.’
                ‘And obviously you still have to delete the Internet history as well.’
                ‘Delete the what?’
                ‘Hahaha oh my God.’
                ‘What?’ James asked, worried now.
                ‘The computer keeps a record of all the pages you ever visited, didn’t you know that?’ James’ face went white.
                ‘Where?’ He almost barked. Liam started giggling again.
                ‘Take it easy, as long as you’ve not searched for anything else I don’t think your dad will notice the occasional booby…’ James shifted nervously in his seat. ‘Have you?’
                ‘What? No I…’ VAGINA! Somebody screamed at him inside his head. ‘Just the boobies.’
If Liam looked doubtful, James chose to ignore it.
James may have his Playstation, but it was Liam who had an older brother. He was not selfish though and stepped into the breach with a measure of pride, to teach James the ancient ways of dirty browsing.
                With the basics now covered, Liam allowed himself a little room for creativity.
                ‘You know if you get bored of seeing the same results every time you can try wording your search a little differently. Like, instead of searching for this…’ Liam typed “sex” into the search bar. ‘…you can try this.’ Then he highlighted it and replaced the word with “erotic”. Fluidly, he transitioned into the role of the jester. ‘And then you can change it up a bit, try new things, like…’ He quickly typed in a second word and before James could react, hit return.
                Thankfully, where they had opened a new page the words were run in a full web search that yielded links, not pictures, of “erotic poo”. It had to be said, looking down the list there were some pretty filthy results, and they laughed at the sound of them. One in particular caught Liam’s eye though and he looked thoughtful for a moment.
                ‘”Two girls, one cup”.’ He read aloud. James looked just as confused as he did. ‘That sounds familiar for some reason. I think I heard my brother telling his mate that it’s a good one.’ Curious now, he replaced “erotic poo” with the new phrase in the search bar.
                Up came a new list of results, but nothing that was really helpful. There were plenty of links, but the descriptions were nonsensical and stuffed full of “filthy” this and “teen” that.
                Liam took the mouse and moved the pointer up towards the other search option tabs and James grew nervous. He stuck out a hand tentatively as if to prevent him, but Liam was quick to reassure him.
                ‘Don’t worry, we’ll delete the history. I just wanna see…’ He clicked on the images tab.
                As the first few images started loading the pair of them stared at the screen in cohesive bemusement.
                ‘Is she –‘ James started to ask, and without thinking, Liam clicked on an image to get a better look.
                ‘Eurgh!’ James screamed out.
                ‘No way!’ Liam exclaimed, the pair of them horrified by what they saw. What were they expecting given the route they took to get here?
                ‘Boys!’ Mrs Glatch called down from upstairs.
                James lunged for the mouse as he heard her rushing down the stairs but Liam instinctively protected it under his hand. As they jostled the weight forced Liam into a right click and a menu appeared briefly on the screen. It was enough to snap them back into some rational thought and they froze.
                ‘Do you think we did something?’ James asked quickly.
                ‘No. If we clicked save it would ask us where we want to put it.’ Liam replied.
                Mrs Glatch was on them sooner than they had anticipated but Liam reacted quickly and cleverly, choosing not to risk missing the close button in the corner of the page and instead clicking the much bigger button in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen to open a new Internet page.
                ‘Are you alright boys? What happened?’ She asked concernedly. James looked to Liam for help.
                ‘It’s okay Mrs Glatch’ He called out over his shoulder. ‘We just accidently stumbled across a picture of an artist’s interpretation of Julius Caesar’s death.’ All the while calmly selecting the minimized page with a right click and closing it without having to bring it up. The deed done, he turned to face her. ‘Do you know how Julius Caesar died Mrs Glatch?’
                ‘Julius Caesar… I think he was assassinated wasn’t he?’
                ‘That’s right,’ Liam said with a grin. ‘Twenty-three wounds by sixty potential assassins… It was a bit gory.’
                ‘Oh boys, you have to be careful when searching the Internet. There are all kinds of nasty things on there.’ Too right, James thought, and the pair of them exchanged a glance. ‘Have you finished your project now?’
                ‘Pretty much, just need five minutes to check a couple of things.’
                ‘Okay. James?’ She said readdressing him. ‘I’ll tell your father you’re nearly done.’
                ‘Okay mum.’
                She left them to it and with the adrenalin still pumping they shared a couple of jokes whilst Liam observed James put his teachings into practise, tuning safe search back on and deleting their Internet history. It was done just in time for James’ dad to sit down and use the open page to start checking his emails.
                ‘Your brother’s a proper weirdo though.’ James said as they went upstairs to his room.
                ‘Yeah, I’m gonna have to make sure I lock the toilet every time I go for a poo from now on.’ Liam said and they both laughed.
                They were playing the Playstation, normal order resumed with James thrashing Liam five-one on Pro Evo when they heard James’ dad start screaming. As he pounded his way up the stairs the two of them shared a horrified glance.
                ‘I thought we deleted it!’ James said, raising his voice over the approaching thunder.
                ‘We did!’
                ‘What about when the menu came up? It –‘
                ‘I told you! It would have taken us to another menu if we clicked on save!’
                Liam wasn’t wrong, if they’d clicked on “save as” it would have asked them where to save it – two clicks at least. Unfortunately saving the image as your new desktop background only takes the one. When James’ dad finished checking his emails and closed the page he got the fright of his life.


_____



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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Blog - 01/03/12


This month I made the decision to shelve the sky-pirates for the time being. With the story it’s taken from undergoing heavy development; character origins, personalities and traits are changing about all over the place as well as the current scenario and world history – it’s like trying to build a house on shifting sands, so I’ll come back to it when things are a bit more settled.

I’ve instead been working on another incomplete short story from the three words section – the winning words being DELOREAN, HAMMERSMITH and DRIVE. I’d only just started this one before I took up a different project so I’ve had a lot to do but I’m aiming to have the first draft finished in the next few days. It’ll probably be a while before anybody gets to read it however.

I’m thinking about possibly releasing the other short piece I finished at some point this month if I can get the second draft of the aforementioned story finished in time. It’s not very long and not my best work but at least it’ll be something new to read. I’m then planning on going back and working on my first book (code named WTR) for a couple of months but I’ll make a new ‘three words’ post about a week before the end and have a go at writing the resulting piece in one go without a resting period to see how it turns out.

In terms of reading I’m now fully caught up with ‘Song of Ice and Fire’, finishing ‘A Dance with Dragons’ early in the month. I’ve run out of superlatives for this series and it was with a heavy heart that I put that final book down. I read somewhere that the next is due to come out at some point this year though and in the meantime I might try and get hold of his ‘Hedge Knight’ series because at the moment I’m on a George R R Martin high. I’ve gone back to resume Roland’s quest in Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series but I’m still pining for Westeros.

Coincidently it’s World Book Day today so I’m going to encourage anyone who hasn’t already to go out and read ‘A Game of Thrones’ to join the rest of us in this epic of a fantasy series and who knows? Maybe in the next few years I’ll get the opportunity to push you in the direction of a book I’ve written myself… Buh-bye!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Blog - 01/02/12


Still plodding along on the sky-pirates thing – slowly. I haven’t exactly taken the bull by the horns and leapt into this new year with the vigour for writing that I intended and this must be remedied. Excuses aren’t worth much, but as a token effort I’m going to blame the Australian Open somewhat for playing havoc with my sleeping schedule. I love my sleep. And again, whilst I drag my heels in the writing department there has been a lot of background thinking going on including a complete overhaul of the second part of my fantasy series, but words are wind I know.

It may not surprise you to hear that I’m a slow reader too. This month though I’ve finished ‘A Storm of Swords’ (both parts), torn through ‘A Feast for Crows’ and also cut a swathe out of ‘A Dance with Dragons’ as well. Needless to say the quality of the reading has contributed a great deal to my haste and the formula is one that encourages use of the invented word ‘unputdownable’ that I read in a review somewhere. But I have found my first gripe with it as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series the chapters are written as point of view and the world is vast, so not everybody is in contact with each other and there are many stories running parallel too with lots of awesome overlapping and chain events affecting others both directly and indirectly. Not having an established ‘good versus evil’ vibe also means that we follow characters in direct opposition to each other with allegiances swapping about all over the place and petty in-fighting as well. There is an awful lot to cover and as events unfold down the timeline new places are dragged in and it gets increasingly wonderful, but increasingly detached as well.

After the events of ‘A Storm of Swords’ the seams burst and George R R Martin had to make a decision. He chose to split the next part into two separate books with some of the characters disappearing to follow their stories in the second, but with both set just after ‘A Storm of Swords’. At the back end of ‘A Dance with Dragons’ the stories will join back up again and the characters followed in ‘A Feast for Crows’ will be reintroduced but I haven’t got that far in my reading yet to see how smoothly it happens.

I have to admit, I found it slightly irritating to be thrown back in time to begin with. One scene in particular got my back up because it adopted the same technique I’m planning on using and I didn’t really enjoy it. In said scene one character followed in ‘A Feast for Crows’ interacts with a character followed in ‘A Dance with Dragons’. The second character’s account is almost identical but with his own thoughts, feelings and reasoning behind decisions in place of the first, and I found myself putting up with it rather than enjoying it because there wasn’t really a case of a revelation happening the second time around to make it any more exciting. I have to remember though that there was five years between the two publications so perhaps if I had read it in accordance with release dates it may not have been so fresh in the memory.

I’ve taken the feeling into account though and perhaps I can approach the same situation when it happens in my writing differently. So I have to thank the learning curve here. Things with the series are wonderful again now and it’s obvious that the partition was necessary so as not to lose touch with individual storylines being spaced too far apart. It does raise a question about writing such complex and vast stories though. Is there such thing as a perfect size? As in the optimum amount before a story gets too big and has to broken down like this? I don’t know. One idea I’m looking at is to write characters accounts as series that work as stand-alone series but for other readers can be taken into the whole chronology of the world if chosen. That would mean releasing books of several different series at the same time though, and with my track record I better not get ahead of myself eh? Till next time.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Blog - 01/01/12


Happy New Year!

Last month saw the release of my new Christmas short story ‘She Promised Me Snow’. I’m just glad I managed to have something new for you to read before the year ended! I used it to coincide with the launch of my new Facebook page, so a few ‘likes’ on that would be most welcome! Links to both have been included at the bottom of the post.

Of course, I’d already started on the Christmas story the month before so it didn’t take up all of my time. I closed the current ‘Three Words’ post and have used the winning entry to write another short story, completing the first draft. The plan is to implement a new system of writing something, leaving it, and then coming back to it after a while to get a better view of it - so it’ll be some time before you get to read it. On the topic of ‘Three Words’ there’s not going to be a new post open for a bit because I have a small backlog to catch up on of half completed short stories or ideas of my own. It’d be nice to have a few more of you making your suggestions when it comes around though and hopefully the Facebook page will open up more opportunity to get involved for those of you who don’t have a Twitter or Google account.

My new year’s resolution is to get something published this year (did I hear someone laughing?) even if that means self-publishing or just getting a short story printed in an anthology. I think my best hope for that is with my Nick Flockman novella if I ever finish it and self-publishing looks the most likely option, but if I finish it early enough I might try and present it to some literary agents. Failing that I’ll try and release it myself at Christmas, so er here’s hoping! For now though it’s back to the sky-pirates. I think it’s actually going to end up longer than Nick Flockman at this rate so again, patience my friends!

In terms of reading, ‘A Clash of Kings’ finally arrived about halfway through the month and has since been demolished. I have now started on ‘A Storm of Swords’ which I got, as well as the rest of the series, for Christmas! I won’t have that problem of waiting for the next book this time around! It is fantastic reading and again, highly recommended and providing me with much inspiration!

‘She Promised Me Snow’ – http://bit.ly/sTAzJC

Facebook Page – http://on.fb.me/vGWDW6