Monday, 31 August 2015

Monday collecting update

I think my posts are going to be a little out of order. I am going to continue posting updates on the progress of writing on the previous posting but I needed to get the collecting side done.

I went to a car boot on Sunday and came back with a few books.

Iain M. Banks - Consider Phlebas (dupe)
Kelley Armstrong - Industrial Magic (dupe)
Kelley Armstrong - Stolen
Rachel Caine - Ill Wind (dupe)
Stephen King - Joyland (dupe)
Stephen King - Blockade Billy (dupe)
Christopher Fowler - Personal Demons
Ursula Le Guin - Voices
Melissa Marr - Wicked Lovely
Melissa Marr - Ink Exchange
Melissa Marr - Fragile Eternity
Melissa Marr - Darkest Mercy
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings HC - nice edition I didn't have
Peter Straub - Mystery (dupe)
Robert Rankin - Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls
Chaz Brenchley - Feast of the King's Shadow (dupe)
Dean R. Koontz - Night Chills HC (dupe)
Christine Feehan - box of books in the Dark series. Haven't looked inside yet

And today there was a book sale in the village hall just up the road from me. I found three more

Thomas Sullivan - Diapason
Captain Scarlet and the Silent Saboteur
John Wyndham - The Kraken Wakes HC

Monday writing - August 31st

Today is a public holiday in the UK. And as it's the UK it's raining which suits me just fine as I wasn't intending to go out today anyway. I did my book buying yesterday when it happily stayed dry so I am all good on that. I will post about the success I had about that later.

So this afternoon, nothing is going to stop me from writing. Well, okay anyone who knows me will realise there is always the chance for a quick procrastinate. And the on going re-arranging of my library will be a distraction. So a little of that done I sat down and start writing.

Or rather I started by posting the third part of Mr. Stinky to Wattpad (see previous post). But that done I started writing.

Yesterday I ended the day on The Intersection at 22, 851. So progress of today will gradually appear below.

Update 16:56 - The Intersection 24,560 words. Just over 1,700 so far today. Quick break time.

Update 18:07 - The Intersection 25,418 words.

Update 19:03 - The Intersection 26,463 words - need food

Update 20:54 - The Intersection 27,764 words.

Small aside - I just noticed that the three chaplets of Mr. Stinky I put up on WattPad have been read. My dashboard over there tells me that five page views have taken place - all to people in the USA. I hope they liked it.

This blog too is getting people reading it. Yesterday 104 pages were viewed. So far today another 40. Word of mouth (or keyboard) can't hurt

Update 21:13  The Intersection 28,170 - I know it seems like a short time since the last update and break but this one is enforced. Hopefully I won't be away too long. I think I might be able to finish the first draft of this thing tonight.

Final Update 22:59 The Intersection 30,448 and finished

Third Part of Mr Stinky online

Just uploaded the third chaplet of Mr. Stinky to Wattpad

https://www.wattpad.com/story/48525811-mr-stinky

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunday writing - August 30th

Update 14:07 - The Intersection 19,945 words

Update 14:41 - The Intersection 20,715 words

Update 16:06 - Been procrastinating again. A sudden urge to start sorting out the fantasy books section of my library.

Update 17:13 - The Intersection 22, 201 words. Not a bad little writing session. Quick break time

Update 17:56 - The Intersection 22, 851 words. Getting nicely weird. Just checked the post from yesterday. Despite all the procrastinating I have added more than 5,000 words so far today. Not sure how many more there will be though. Tonight I am joining the family to finish watching the Danish TV drama 1864. I recommend it by the way

And that is where it's going to stay. I have been ordered to stop writing. This evening is to be devoted to family time and Danish drama TV. Hopefully I will finish The Intersection draft one tomorrow.

Mr. Stinky Part 2 on Wattpad

If you want to read the first couple of chaplets of Mr. Stinky - click on the link below

https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/48525811-mr-stinky

I'm now going back to the Intersection.

Procrastination

Today I have rediscovered procrastination. Hurrah for me. I went out to a car boot sale instead of writing. Then I got good. I sat down and wrote the next bit of The Intersection - now up to 19,024 words - just short of 1,500 words and all before breakfast.

Breakfast came with an episode of Castle - just had to watch it to the end. Then I went to put the 3 audio books I'd picked up onto the book shelf where they live only to see that the shelf was a little untidy. So half an hour spent tidying it all up.

And now that done I am finally at my desk so I can get back to the story and what do I do first? I pop onto blogger and type this.

Now I am going to write some more...

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Collecting Update - Saturday 29th - Shaun Hutson fest

Last weekend was a bust. I didn't have any free time to go hunting books. This weekend though is at least a little better. I couldn't head out to the Saturday car boots but I could head into Ashby and hit the charity shops.

I thought it was going to be a zero return experience books wise. I'd been to all but one of the shops and bought a bunch of CDs - including another copy of Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien - I lost my copy some time ago.

And then I headed into one last shop and found some old horror paperbacks, a fantasy book and another non-fiction about code breaking.

They are

Shaun Hutson - Erebus
Shaun Hutson - Shadows
Shaun Hutson - Relics
Shaun Hutson - Victims
Richard Laymon - Amara
Richard Laymon - The Lake
David Gemmell - The Swords of Night and Day

Sinclair McKay - The Secret Life of Bletchley Park

Maybe I'll get the chance to head out in the morning and find some more. You never know
 

Writing Update - Saturday 19th August

Back from a night off - some writing done.

The novella is now on 17,573 words. It's getting to the action part of the story too. Or not far off 2,500 words added.

I also made a bit of a start on the young adult fantasy story. I have a name for my central character - Elspeth. I always liked that name. Did a bit more planning - some more pages filled in my notebook. Even did some research for one of the sections. My research library coming in handy. I have books on most subjects so I can usually find something. I prefer it to the internet most of the time.

So research and planning in hand I started typing. First chapter is now done and the 2,379 words committed to the page.

And I can add in a couple of submissions. I dusted down a couple of short stories from a lifetime and half ago. They are revised and submitted to the Literary Hatchet. Fingers crossed. I wouldn't mind seeing a story sold. That would help keep the spirits up.

I've also decided to sign up on Wattpad. I heard about this site back in May on the drive back from holiday in Holland. Front Row (BBC Radio 4) was doing a special from the Hay festival and one of the authors mentioned this site where you could post your fiction so people could read it but you retained total control.

So I've signed up and posted the first chaplet of Mr. Stinky online

You can find it at

https://www.wattpad.com/162718530-mr-stinky-irish-jack%27s-book-1

 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wednesday Writing Update

Not good news I'm afraid. I had two emails from agents back - one rejection each for Mr. Stinky and Against the Fall of Empire.

Mr. Stinky now has eleven outright rejections and three passed their listed maximum response time.
Against the Fall of Empire has six rejections and one returned as the agent had stopped taking submissions.

Trying to summon the mood to write something tonight. I was thinking of parking the novella until later and making a start on the YA fantasy novel. I keep thinking about it just before sleep - and fortunately I keep a notepad (ok, more like fifteen notepads) by the side of the bed so I can write all these thoughts down.

I just need to figure out the first scene and I'm good to go. It needs the right start.

>>>End of writing evening update
I did manage some writing tonight. It wasn't much but something is better than nothing. The novella (yes I stuck with it) is now up to 15,149 words. Only a little over 600 words but that's better than nothing.

I did make another submission too. You never know. Maybe one day (week/month/year) I will have a positive reply. I'm going to keep at it.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Tuesday August 25th Writing

I know it might seem a little odd to post this regularly but I am trying to use it to keep me motivated. If I can see the number going up reasonably quickly it keeps my spirits up. And if I tell myself I have to post a figure - and make it one worth posting then I will just get on with it.

Anyway The Intersection is now at 14,513 words. From 12,763 last thing yesterday. 1,750 words. Not bad considering I was at work all day and have not completely neglected my wife this evening - if I had to do that to write, I would never type a single word.

No more emails form agents for either Mr. Stinky or Against the Fall of Empire though. Maybe more to report on that tomorrow.

Writing update so far

Novel 1 - Adam's Death - never seeing the light of day (not without major rewrite)
Novel 2 - The Day Before Tomorrow - ditto
Novel 3 - When the Snows Came - ditto, ditto
Novel 4 - Mr. Stinky - submitted to various agencies and publishers.  Received many rejections, although a lot of them were complimentary. Still awaiting two responses.
Novel 5 - Against the Fall of Empire - submitted to various agencies and publishers, One maybe, a number not yet responded, but it is still not a month since the first submission.
Novel 6 - The Samaritan Killers - paused. Found out horror not a good thing on the market at the moment

Novella 1 - A Parallel Life. Finished, needs revising - paused
Novella 2 - The Intersection - in progress, mentioned above. Hoping to finish draft one this weekend.

Novel 7 - The Patternmaker's Daughter. Young Adult Fantasy, still being planned. Should start writing next week.

Who knows after that...

Monday, 24 August 2015

Oh dear, found the app

I'm not sure why I never thought about Blogger having an iPhone app. I can't exactly claim to be non-tech savvy. I've written two iPhone apps after all.

I just don't tend to think tech when I'm at home. I don't use tech much. I read paper books, not a Kindle. I don't do downloads. I don't play games. I avoid Facebook as much as I can.

And now I find an app for this. Oh well, I'll have to try to not spend too much time on this thing.

Uber quick

Monday 24th August
The Intersection - 12,763

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Final Sunday Update - The Intersection

The novella has ended the day on 11,455 words. When you consider that before yesterday morning there were only about 500 words down on paper (or in MS Word) I don't think that's all that bad going.

Hopefully I'll be able to add a bunch more over the next few days. It would be good going into next weekend on about 20,000. That might mean I have chance to get it done over the Bank Holiday weekend. Then September can start on the fantasy story - The Patternmaker's Daughter.

Oh, and when I was taking a little break from writing earlier I made another couple of submissions to agencies; one for Mr. Stinky and one for Against the Fall of Empire.

Hopefully one of them will  give me a positive at some point. In any case I'm not going to be demoralised just yet - not when I've got this fantasy to plot and write. My wife likes the sound of this one so I've got to write it for her I suppose.

Damn It

I just did something I promised myself I would never do. I just joined Pinterest. I normally try to keep away from all these social media sites. I just don't want to spend hours of my life watching videos of cute kittens, smart dogs figuring things out and dumb humans. I like trying to be productive.

But I needed some images of old New York and there were a couple of pages on Pinterest that were full of them. So I took the plunge. I got want I wanted but now I have an additional distraction to try to avoid so I can concentrate on working.

Talking of which - back to the novella. It''s over ten thousand words already. Hoping to get to eleven thousand.

Writing Update 23rd August 2015

Before I start on the writing, I want to mention the collecting side. I didn't do any book hunting this week at all. Yesterday my wife was playing a wedding. She plays clarinet and saxophone in a jazz/swing band - available for bookings around the Midlands if anyone is interested.

As she would be out for most of the afternoon and evening, we decided to have breakfast out together. That meant I didn't go anywhere I might find books. And today, well getting up all that early is a non-starter when I was up so late (she didn't get back 'til nearly midnight then needed to unwind).

No complaints here - after all there are things more important than books. Yes, I said it.

So I had most of yesterday afternoon and evening free and put it to good use. I started The Intersection, my second Ben Williamson novella. As I type this it stands at 7,596 words; not a bad effort.

As I will have large amounts of today available I will imagine it will top 10,000 before the day's end. I imagine the story will take about 30,000 words so I should be over a third of the way through in two days. Pretty good writing rate, even if I say so myself.

Of course all that is irrelevant unless I start selling. So onto the submissions front.

I have one book, Against the Fall of Empire, out there with several agents. One of them has requested the full manuscript and I'm waiting eagerly to find out what she thinks of it. but another two have declined it; one because she's not taking new clients on at the moment so not a rejection as such. Not that it makes much of a difference as it still means I have no representation out there.

I found a couple more places to submit the horror novel to - Mr. Stinky is back in the game.

And finally - new writing idea. I was sitting in the car yesterday morning waiting for my wife to return from the hairdresser and an idea came to me. So I furiously scribbled away while listening to Neil Young on the CD player. End result is a full plot outline lasting ten pages of A5 notepad. And this time it seems to be a young adult fantasy story. And I can see it being a trilogy - how conventional of me.

The title that came with it was the Patternmaker's Daughter. I was sorely tempted to put the Intersection aside and get straight on with it but I figured another few days of mulling it over should help strengthen the plot. And it should only take a couple of weeks to finish The Intersection so it won't be too much of a delay.

Wish me luck

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Writing Update - Thursday 20th August

I didn't post anything at the end of Sunday. I should have but I'd been writing all day. The novella was done; first draft anyway. It totalled 34,117 words by day's end. I now have the task of revising it, which I will have to admit not having done much of several days later.

It's the bit I enjoy least. But that wasn't the main reason I've left it. I read somewhere that you should leave the revising a while; come back to the story after it's gone cold a little. Not sure how much truth is in that but I'm willing to give it a try.

Submissions wise I have heard back from one or two of the places I sent Mr. Stinky and Against the Fall of Empire. Nothing else in the positive though, although some nice words about Mr. Stinky. The email contained "It does sound like a good, twisty tale of possession" although it was still a decline.

On the positive I still have the one agency that has requested the full novel for Against. Keeping my fingers crossed.

As mentioned before- I've been trying to think which novel to write next - Against book 2 or the comedy horror. Well I started the comedy horror. I have a rough plot. I have the crux of the story and climax all sorted in my notebook. I have a number of ridiculous characters and even some jokes. So I tried writing it this evening. Problem was it started sounding a little too serious. I write 2000 words. The prologue was light hearted enough but as soon as I started in on the story I got to the tone I used in the other novels - the serious ones. Have put it aside to rethink my approach.

Then another idea hit me. The novella I finished last weekend had an impossible storyline. It just couldn't happen. And tonight I came up with the idea for another, which I've titled The Intersection. I have the full story in my head, characters, situations, the lot. It too will be weird in flavour and it too could never happen. And it too will have the same lead character. This time going in a totally different direction.

I think this might be the next one I will write. I rather fancy seeing if I could write three impossible stories featuring the same character and bundle them together. Might be interesting.

Wish me luck on the submissions

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A busy day

I ducked out of car booting today. I figured the ground was still far too wet to head out onto the fields where the local ones take place. Maybe I will have better luck next week.

So instead I concentrated on finishing the novella.

I left it last night on 26,142 expecting it to end at about 30,000. I was wrong. Overnight I had an idea that took part of it in a new direction and all the better for it I think that is. It did make it a touch longer though. First draft now clocks in at 34,117. So I guess that means I added twenty five words short of eight thousand. Not a bad day.

After all that typing you might think I want to run screaming from the very sight of a keyboard and yet here I am typing up a blog entry. And I'm having to restrain myself from re-opening What Remains When the Dust Settles, my sequel to the novel I've been subbing around - and which has had one positive (so far) reply.

I want to continue Zeke's tale (he's one of the lead characters) as my wife wants to know what happens to him next but I'm a little reticent. I think I might be better served by going for the comedy horror. If the agent currently consider Against doesn't go for it I might have another novel that I can send out. The more options the better.

Can anyone tell me why I didn't try this years ago?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

End of Day Writing Update - Saturday 15th August

Saturday has seen a little writing - in between buying books and sorting them into my collection, and actually pretending to have a life.

The novella has grown by four thousand words and now totals 26,142.

The first draft should be completed tomorrow. Then I'll have to decide what to move onto next. Decisions / decisions.

Oh, and the pretending to have a life was watching two German TV movies - Brunetti films three and four. There based on the Donna Leon novels and feature a Venetian detective. We all love Venice and if we can't go there right now at least we can bring a flavour of it into the living room. Odd that it is German. The Italians haven't done an adaptation of it I guess.

Writing Update August 15th - some good news

My novella A Parallel Life is now at a little over 22,000 words. It's not been the best week for writing as where I work has been a little short staffed as two people have been on holiday and I've used the evenings to actually relax.

Once I'm done with this blog entry I will get down to it and try to finish it this weekend. I have the desperate urge to get on with What Remains When the Dust Settles, the second book in my sf series; or maybe the comedy horror/dark fantasy thing I've been toying with.

Anyway that is the writing update. Now for the submissions update.

I received a rejection for Against the Fall of Empire from Ki Agency. I don't mind naming the agency this time as the email was very pleasant reading for a rejection. It included phrases like "clearly write well" and "the plot has ambitious features" and commented rather helpfully that maybe the synopsis I'd written was not up to par. On re-reading it I think she may be right. I will rewrite that and try to adjust the focus before I send it out again. So overall a big thank you from me to Ki Agency. If you have a book I would seriously give them a look. They replied quickly and not with a form letter.

The second email was much more interesting. This time I will not name the agency - just in case. The agent this time asked for the whole book. She wanted to keep reading it. So I sent the full manuscript, all 428 pages of A4 over to her last night and now have my fingers crossed she continues to enjoy it.

Even if she decides that it isn't quite right for her I am still buzzed at getting beyond a straight rejection.

Anyway - now to do some writing. I want to finish this novella.

Saturday Collecting Update

I wasn't expecting much collecting to happen this weekend. It has been raining here in Leicestershire for the past two days so the fields where the car boot is looked a little sodden as I drove passed earlier. But somehow the worlds conspired against me (or for me).

We went into Ashby de la Zouch this morning and parked in the library car park, which we rarely do. As we got out of the car I noticed signs in the windows of the library announcing a Book Sale today. I think my wife despaired when I pointed them out.

So we popped in and there were many boxes of books on the tables inside at 25p per book. And there were a few I decided needed a new home. All are paperback and to keep unless noted

Matt Forbeck - Blood Bowl: Dead Ball
Kelley Armstrong - Men of the Otherworld
Kelley Armstrong - Tales of the Otherworld
Anne Rice - Interview with the Vampire (Dupe)
Robert J. Sawyer - Flashforward (Dupe)
Shaun Hutson - Dying Words
Brian Lumley - Blood Brothers
Scott Westerfield - Midnighters: Touching Darkness
Nicky Singer - Gem X
Keri Arthur - Bound to Shadows
Keri Arthur - Generation 18
John Saul - The Unwanted
Stephen King - The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah
Christine Feehan - Dark Gold
Suzanne McLeod - Spellcrackers.Com: The Bitter Seed
ed. Charlaine Harris - Crimes by Moonlight
ed. Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner - Death's Excellent Vacation
Charlaine Harris - Deadlocked
Joanna Russ - The Female Man SF Masterworks Edition
Glenn Duncan - The Last Werewolf
Terry Brooks - Genesis of Shannara: The Elves of Cintra (Dupe)
Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson - Hellhole Awakening Trade Format
Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson - The Wheel of Time: The Gathering Storm HC
Christine Feehan - Dark Lycan HC
Kate Elliot - Traitors' Gate Trade Format

Onto Coalville and there was a bring and buy book sale in the Church Hall on Ashby Road. So I had to pop in.

Mervyn Peake - Titus Groan (Dupe)
Mervyn Peake - Gormenghast (Dupe)
Mervyn Peake - Titus Alone (Dupe)
Clifford D. Simak - Cemetery World Prism Edition
Robley Evans - Writers for the 70s: J. R.R. Tolkien
Isaac Asimov - Foundation Panther Edition - Chris Foss cover
Isaac Asimov - Puzzles of the Black Widowers (Dupe)
Terry Pratchett - I Shall Wear Midnight (Dupe)
Bob Shaw - Ship of Strangers Pan Edition
Chris Beckett - Dark Eden
Ian McDonald - Cyberabad Days
Richard Matheson - I Am Legend SF Masterworks Edition (Dupe)
Iain M. Banks - Surface Detail (Dupe)
Paul Hoffman - The Left Hand of God
Charles Darwin - Voyage of the Beagle
Michael Smith - Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park HC

Not too bad for two surprise lots.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Collecting update

This morning's car boots were packed and many stalls had books on them, even if most of them were celebrity biographies or Ian Rankin type of things - Rankin's are good books, just not what I'm looking for.

However much success was had - here's an indication



MaryJanice Davidson - Undead and Uneasy pb (Keep)
Tom Holt - Odds & Gods pb (Keep)
Tom Holt - Expecting Someone Taller pb (Keep)
Terry Pratchett - Reaper Man pb (dupe)
Neil Gaiman - Odd and the Frost Giants pb (Keep)
Kelley Armstrong - Personal Demon pb
Arthur C. Clarke - The Ghost form the Grand Banks pb (Dupe)
Robert Silverberg - Tom O'Bedlam pb (Dupe)
Richard Laymon - All Hallow's Eve pb (Keep)
Richard Laymon - Night Show pb (Keep)
Harry Harrison & David Bischoff - Bill, the Galactic Hero on...The Planet of the Hippies from Hell HC (Keep)
Harry Harrison & David Bischoff - Bill, the Galactic Hero on...The Planet of the Hippies from Hell HC (Dupe) - yeah I know two copies
Star Trek - Best Destiny HC (Keep)
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Warped HC (Keep)
Malorie Blackman - Checkmate pb (Dupe)
Iain Banks - The Wasp Factory pb (Dupe)
Ben Elton - Blast from the Past pb (Keep)
Kellley Armstrong - Stolen pb (Keep)
Kellley Armstrong - Personal Demon pb (Keep)
Jasper Fforde - Something Rotten pb (Dupe)
Jasper Fforde - The Big Over Easy pb (Dupe)
Jasper Fforde - Lost in a Good Book pb (Dupe)
Jasper Fforde - The Well of Lost Plots pb (Dupe)
Jasper Fforde - The Eyre Affair pb (Dupe)
Jasper Fforde - First Amongst Sequels pb (Keep)
Jasper Fforde - The Fourth Bear HC (Dupe)
Caleb Carr - The Alienist pb (Keep)
Lili St. Crow - Strange Angels pb (Keep)
Lili St. Crow - Reckoning pb (Keep)
Kurt Vonnegut Jr - Breakfast of Champions pb
Stephen King - Lisey's Story HC (Dupe)
The Lore of the Land: a Guide to England's Legends (Dupe)


Not a bad morning
 

Quick Writing Update - Sunday 9th Aug

I received another rejection today - for Mr. Stinky, my horror novel. This time from a publisher. I haven't tried submitting to many publishers - just two about both have rejected.

Will keep trying

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Getting back to blogging - collecting

I am a mad book collector; mostly of science fiction and horror. I have several. I enjoy going out hunting for books. I also enjoy giving books to people. I have been telling some of my colleagues - the ones lucky enough to be much younger than my 47 years - about many of the great sf novels and I have been buying dupes when I see them and giving them as gifts. Think of it as my crusade to get more people reading the best sf.

To start this I want to mention that the first two books I did this with were among my favourite sf books of all time
 - Michael Moorcock - Behold the Man
 - Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Anyway I go to bookshops, new and second hand when I can find them, charity shops, car boot sales, summer fetes and anywhere else that might sell them. So I thought it might be fun to details my successes. Apologies if you find this boring

Car Boot
 - Charlaine Harris - Dead and Gone (Keep)
 - Charlaine Harris - A Touch of Dead (Keep)
 - seven other Charlaine Harris Dead books for the duplicates pile and for future donating
 - Malorie Blackman - Knife Edge (Keep)
 - Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 (Dupe)
 - Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale (Dupe)

Charity Shops
 - Arthur C. Clarks - The Sentinel HC (Keep)
 - Simon Morden - Equations of Life (Dupe)
 - Simon Morden - Theories of Flight (Dupe)
 - Stephen Baxter - Flood (Dupe)
 - Sarah Pinborough - The Shadow of the Soul (Keep)
 - Christopher Golden - Angel Souls and Devil Hearts (Keep)

Maynard & Bradley (Second Hand Bookshop in Leicester)
- Isaac Asimov - The End of Eternity 1959 UK Panther pb (Keep)
 - Poul Anderson - The Dancer from Atlantis (Keep)
 - Christopher Hodder-Williams - The Prayer Machine HC (Keep)

Waterstones in Burton on Trent
Salman Rushdie - Josaph Anton, a Memoir HC (Keep)
Ann Leckie - Ancilliary Sword (Keep)
Adam Christopher - The Machine Awakens (Keep)

Not a bad haul but below my recent weekly average - roughly fifty books in each of previous four weekends. You never know - tomorrow morning's car boot may rectify this.

Wish me luck

Getting back to blogging - reporting on writing

I am a terrible blogger. It's not the first thing I think about and I guess it shouldn't be. After all there are more important things in life (my wife being the main one). But I think blogging should probably be one thing I do think about.

Then the question is what should I blog about. I started this blog to post news about my writing - and then promptly stopped writing. So I stopped blogging.

Well I did start writing again and this time I am trying my hand at novels, although this will not be news to anyone who has read the last couple of posts from 2014. Well despite a period when I went a little weird for a while I have stuck with the writing.

I finished my first novel, a horror story called Adam's Death. You're not going to see it; no one is. Not unless I majorly rewrite it. It was an okay idea for a story but a first attempt at serious writing.

A second novel followed, science fiction this time. It was called The Day before Tomorrow. A bit pretentious that title I know but what can I say? It's also going to stay just for me to see.

These two served a purpose. They proved to me I could stick it out and get this kind of thing finished. Adam's Death lasted 100,000 words. Day lasted 87,000. Both had plots that are okayish, characters that didn't seem too bad but they're not right.

The third novel, Mr. Stinky is a horror at 96,000. It's better than the first two and I've even sent it in to several agents, all of whom have rejected it. Most of the rejections were form letters; I'm not complaining as their submissions pages suggested this would be what I would get.

One of them though was a very kind email, personally written, referencing the characters and saying how much she liked it but that horror of this type was not an easy sell at the moment; useful advice that. I wished I'd known it earlier as I would have stayed with the sf ideas. I keep a pad everywhere I go and sketch down ideas when they happen. Most of them are sf but for some reason I thought horror was a better option.

When I got this email I dropped the fourth novel, When the Snow Came, leaving it at about 25,000 with the rest of the plot outlined in case I go back to it and the fifth, with the rather dumb working title The Samaritan Killers, at 23,000 and decided to concentrate on sf. And before you say it I know it's probably dumb to write two novels at the same time - just as it's dumb to use the same word (dumb) more than once in the same paragraph.

Anyway I had an idea for a sf novel (or rather series of novels). I was on holiday at the time, in Oosterhout in the Netherlands (which is a wonderful little town ideally suited as a base for exploring the country). I went into a Albert Heijn supermarket and found a note book (in Dutch BTW the word for a note book is notitiebookje, which I love hearing). By the time I got back to England this book had more than forty pages of scribbled notes; characters, plots, background, settings, locations.

I wrote book one, Against the Fall of Empire in a little under seven weeks. Not too shabby given its length at 122,000 words. I think its the best thing I've written. The whole story is likely to take me four books to tell.

This book is now doing the rounds with agents and has so far received a couple of rejections. I am hopeful I will find someone who likes it. I started to write the second in the series, What Remains When the Dust Settles, but thought I might be limiting my options as I couldn't submit a book two to anyone.

So I have put it on hold. although I do keep sketching ideas into my notitiebookje when they come to me - there are more than 120 pages of notes now. And this beings me to where I am now.

I had an idea for a weird tale, not quite horror, not quite fantasy, just strange. It's called A Parallel Life and I think it will be much shorter than the others maybe 30,000 words, so a novella. Not sure if I am likely to have any more luck at this length but the story is making me tell it.

I'll post more when I have it

(Apart from the next post - which will be on my other thread.)