Monday 18th July, 2016

Hi, guys! It’s official. The UK is now having a three day heatwave – with today being the first day. So I shall be walking the dogs last thing tonight and getting up early tomorrow to get their exercise in before it gets too hot for them.

(Actually being okay with doing this may also be the first sign of finding a new level slightly above the “down” I’ve been experiencing recently.)

In writing and reading news:

  1. The first draft of my Greenwood project – actually the title emerged as “The Knight’s Daughter” about half way through – is finished. It made 40,000 words. It’ll probably be next weekend before I start organising the file with everything in it and beta readers, though.
  2. I intend to start redrafting my “Fistful of Feathers” novel having got my notes back from my beta readers. But I shall be pecking at it because,
  3. I have the British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] award jury duty to attend to. I have to start doing the reading for the Novella and the Graphic Novel / Comic awards. This week will be the novellas.
  4. I also have some reading to do for some writing acquaintances so that will also come before Feathers.
  5. I’ve decided to stop work on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] at just over a year and 89 posts. (For those of you who don’t know, the Otherworld was the world I used in the story “Hunting Unicorns”.) I came to the end of my notes some time ago and started filling in the logical holes, and then chased a few other ideas. This is not to say that the world is complete and I may come up with other posts – particularly if people ask questions about things they feel are missing – but I won’t be doing the scheduled updates.

All done. See you next week!

Monday 2nd May, 2016

I’ve been good, after a manner of speaking. I have Greenwood over 18,000 words, which isn’t bad going considering how little time I’ve been spending writing. I’ve been a bit distracted lately reading books. I’ve just finished one on the War of The Roses and I’m part way through the Lays of Marie de France. These may have some bearing on the WIP, so consider it research.

Something I forgot to report last time is that I’ve reduced The Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] posts to once a week. Well, the spotlight is now once a week. The preload on the 15th of the month will be four to five posts. I’m using Thursdays to tie in with #FolkloreThursday on Twitter [External Link] but I won’t actually be using the tag as my stuff is intentionally made up, just based on folklore. The main reason for the reduction is that I’ve got to the end of my original notes (some time ago) and beyond the initial subject areas that these tied into easily. Now I’m having to expand a bit more slowly as I think about how the world behind Hunting Unicorns might function. Although I’m pretty sure I’ve made statements that don’t really stand with the story. Oh, well!

And that is pretty much it. See you again soon.

Sunday 28th February, 2016

Yeah, I skipped a week. There are going to be a few weekends like that with still having a house about 70 miles away from where I currently live that I’m hoping to sell. Anyway, on to things you may care about.

The Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] is back up and running. I’m thinking of opening it up to other people and / or shifting it to a more obviously wiki format and host (which would then leave me with some wordpress space to work out what I want to do with, but that’s a problem for another day). If any of that world-sharing appeals, please get in touch and let me know.

I was spotted at the 5th Sheffield Social and there are photos of me on Facebook to prove it. For a change, someone else managed to get the drop on the Mousie postcard and you can see a picture of Mousie out and about on Adele Wearing’s twitter feed here: [External Link]

I have a couple of Mousie photos with some books stacked up but I’m waiting until after the official launch party for African Monsters on March 3rd at Forbidden Planet, London to put them out. And, yes, I shall be taking Mousie if she remembers to get into my backpack.

And my last thing to mention: Adele and I did a book count and I’ve made my Ink Plan-related donation to National Autism Society (NAS) [External Link]

Monday 15th February, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day for yesterday. I hope you spent it either with someone you love (not necessarily romantically) or doing something you love.

The web-site’s been a bit odd due to host updates the last few days so the update was delayed this week but here’s the short and sweet catch up:

  1. I was a little too sickly last weekend to post an update but I did get my latest post up at The Finishing School [External Link] on Wednesday 3rd February.
  2. I’ve sorted out my latest batch of Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] posts. They’ve gone live tomorrow and I’ll be scheduling some spotlight tweets to run Tuesdays and Thursdays for the individual posts.
  3. Next week I shall be at Sheffield pub-meet-y social thing (more here)
  4. In a fortnight, I shall be at the official launch party for African Monsters on March 3rd at Forbidden Planet, London.

There. All caught up!

Sunday 24th January, 2016

OK. I’m officially settled in the rental property in Barnoldswick (Barlick to the locals). The main change being I have a broadband connection at this end. What this means is that I should start making regular posts here – although odd weekends will be skipped as I still have to sort out the house for sale in Thurnscoe. I will be get some more posts up on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] for February 15th and I may even manage to put something together for The Finishing School [External Link] for Wednesday 3rd February. We shall see.

In offline writing, I’ve finished Elkie 3 and it’s now circling the Fox Spirit [External Link] airport, waiting for its landing window. (There will, of course, be further work required on landing before reader-passengers are allowed on, if we’re going to carry on the analogy.) I’ve got the first draft of my first non-Elkie novel (in a while) out with beta readers and I’ve started the first draft of something else. I even managed to squeeze in the first draft of a short story and some redrafting of a couple of novellas that have been sat on my computer for a year or more. Things are moving on.

Finally, come to London on March 3rd. (Please?)

Other than that – more news as and when!

Monday 9th November, 2015

This is basically the last post before life goes a bit weird. Well, weirder. Today is my moving day, although I’m about to go through what may be the slowest move in history as I maintain a (mortgaged) house in my current location and (from Thursday) rent a place in my new location, about 70 miles away. I start work at the new job tomorrow, so I’m actually sleeping on someone’s sofa for this week. The dogs aren’t, they’re “on holiday” from this afternoon as being locked up in kennels is so euphemistically called. The house I share with the bank will be going on the market some time this week as well, with luck, so fingers crossed for sorting out my financial situation asap!

I won’t even be bothering with a land-line at the rental property for at least a month or so. All of which means that Internet access (at least for my own purposes) will be patchy. This will lead to delays in response, for which sorry in advance. I will try to maintain my usual blogging routines with the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] and The Finishing School [External Link] but there’s a fair chance you won’t see anything from me for a few weeks, possibly a month while I get the real life stuff organised.

I did, however, get a piece up on the Finishing School last week (Mindsets and Roleplaying: [External Link]) so that may keep you distracted for a while.

Finally and probably most importantly, the moving giveaway has closed. The winners have been announced and I’ve sent emails to get in touch. I haven’t received any addresses today, so organising the rehoming may end up delayed until next weekend or later, depending on how things pan out. Again, my apologies and thank you for taking part!

Sunday 1st November, 2015

I have been a particularly bad correspondent of late. Think about how difficult a mouse would find it tapping out words on a keyboard. Now you have that mental image, ignore the fact that I’m actually a human who just ran out of time and energy.

Perhaps the first thing I should mention is my current giveaway. You have just under a week to enter to win a set of 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf & A Pack Of Lies and / or a copy of European Monsters. There are a number of entries so far but all you have to do is comment! (With the proviso that I’ll not be posting them outside of the EU / EEA – and Switzerland – due to postage. You can live somewhere else buy the address I post to needs to be “local”.)

So, I’m in the process of relocating – in work and in habitation. I’m about to embark on my last week with FCC Environment and I start my new job the week after. I may have just about secured a place to rent that will except three dogs (although, due to paperwork, it’ll be sometime this week before the letting agents give me the final “yea” or “nay”). I still have a house to get on the market (once the dogs aren’t there so people can view it in peace) and tidy up a bit at weekends. Thankfully, the Rugby (Union) World Cup is now over – grats to New Zealand – and I have one less thing to distract me while I get things sorted.

Last weekend, I attended FantasyCon in Nottingham [External Link] (around house viewings in North Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as handing in paperwork). I met up with some lovely people – for name dropping purposes, have a gander at Steven Poore [External Link] – who just launched his epic fantasy, but there’s a tonne of blogging about people’s impressions linked from a BFS round-up post here: [External Link].

Apparently I did okay in my panel where I shared space with, amongst others, Juliet McKenna [External Link]. However, I’m not in a position to commit to anything next year until I have moving sorted and a house sold. Until then, I have to pay for two households, so it’s unlikely I shall have spare monies for con-attending. Wel, aside form the already having got a membership to Satellite 5 [External Link] (Glasgow, 28th-29th May, 2016), which I am currently determined to make.

Other things currently up in the air include my current WIP (Feathers), which I’m about two thirds of the way through – at least in first draft. I hope to get it sorted soon but I may detour into redrafting the last Elkie piece as that’s on a deadline for next year. I’m still working on the African Monsters anthology with Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link] with the intention of publishing it this year but the official launch will be in February next year.

Advance warning but I will be committing further bloggage at The Finishing School [External Link] this week – it’s the first Wednesday of the month, after all. If you have any HEMA-related things you want me to post about at the TFS, please let me know but I’m not sure how things will fit in with the time left over from the house-related responsibilities. Fingers crossed that I can manage a December post!

There may end up being a slight hiatus on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] posts and site diary posts here for much the same reason. I should, however, be back next week to let you know a bit more about how things are working out.

Sunday 13th September, 2015

Hello again! Yes, I missed another week. And, no, I’m not entirely sure why, either. However, here’s a few things worth sharing!

The Future Fire [External Link] Indiegogo fund-raiser [External Link] made it’s goal, so thank you to everyone who donated time or money. I’m not anything directly to do with it, I ought to add, I’m just someone who’s been lucky enough to be published by them a few times and who hopes to be published by them again.

I’m about half way through the projected length of A Fistful Of Feathers. I know where I intend to end up but it’s still a bit touch and go as to whether all the elements will line up or the route will actually get me there. Of course, as well as having the mid-story blues (or “major bout of procrastination” as it should more accurately be called), I’m trying to square up a few other commitments with day-job and writing that a) aren’t obvious to everyone else and b)keep me from getting through this middle chunk any faster.

My final update-y bit is about my Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link]. It finally occurred to me that deadlinks may put people off more than I should, and the only real solution is to release posts as I put them on wordpress. However, given that I can either post them individually over a month or do a bulk upload and then “spotlight” individual posts over the month, guess which I’m going to do? Well, more or less. I’ve now scheduled all the posts due for my Spetember 15th update very fist thing on Tuesday morning – and will be tweeting a link to a page on my more usual schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’ll be away next weekend as I’m going to watch a rugby match. This means I’ll be late posting or may skip next week – and that I won’t necessarily be watching Doctor who at the same time as everyone else…

Sunday 16th August, 2015

Today I put notional pen to paper for the first time in eleven days. Yes, it had been eleven days since I lost wrote some fiction, what with preparing for Nine Worlds, attending Nine Worlds and then recovering from the virus(es?) I was doomed to catch having spent three days in a crowded hotel that uses air conditioning. And I didn’t exactly get very far today, either, as I only wrote about a hundred words on my Feathers WIP. Still, it’s a start.

(Round-up of Feathers: The working title is “A Fistful of Feathers”, which tells you a bit about the starting situation but not a lot, and I’m about two fifths of the way through of a projected 100,000 words. The intended ending is still on course.)

I’m also now into my third month of Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link]. As a quick recap of what’s going on, the Gazetteer is a combination of notes for a short story I did and then further expansion as I map out the world further (no actual maps are involved). The original story was “Hunting Unicorns”, which was published by The Future Fire [External Link] (and you can find the actual story here: [External Link]). The reason I started the Gazetteer is because TFF editor, Djibril al-Ayad, approached me along with other TFF authors to write flash fiction set ten years after our TFF stories as part of TFF’s tenth birthday celbrations, about which you can find more on the Indiegogo campaign here: [External Link]

While I couldn’t come up with anything from the Otherworld for him and went with another story for my flash piece, I realised I wouldn’t mind practising my world building skills. So far, I’ve had to do a couple of minor tweaks – only one of which, on Sir Theodore William Mortimer-Warren’s entry, has had to be made on the live web-site – to keep the world consistent but I’m actually trying to keep it as parallel to our own history as possible. Well, with a few points of exception in order to force the fantasy into it! So, how’s it shaping up for you? Daft project of no interest to anyone but myself or entertaining?

Obligatory Book Plug
I have a couple of books out: 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf and A Pack of Lies. If you’ve read them, feedback and/or reviews would be gratefully received, thank you. If you haven’t read them and want to know if they’re for you, you can find some background information to the world on this site (titles, genre, location, characters), along with the opening prologue and first chapter of 25 Ways.

Sunday 12th July, 2015

So, Edge Lit #4 was attended, and I managed to make it through a reading of A Pack of Lies without anyone seriously objecting to my stumbling delivery, my lack of North Walian or Norwegian accent (where appropriate), or the stench of fear I no doubt carried around with me. It was a lot of fun meeting up with everyone again and my thanks to Alex Davis and hs team for organising it.

In other news for this week, I’ve had a rather lovely review of 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf from E P Beaumont – someone who lives in a different country, on a different continent, who I barely know on Twitter, and who I did not put up to it. Beaumont read and reviewed my book alongside that of Skulk-mate Joyce Chng / J Damask’s Heart of Fire, which has a different sort of werewolf. The review post, which draws some interesting conclusions, is called Love in the Time of Starships: One Ordinary Day, with Werewolves [External Link]

If you want a feel for what 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf and A Pack of Lies are like I have the opening prologue and first chapter of 25 Ways on this site (which Beaumont links back to).

That’s everything aside from mentioning this week’s updates at the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link], which were about Unatural Resources and the Ranger service (it may make more sense if you link through). I know world building information isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but is my fake wiki working out or do you have any comments, changes or requests?