Amidst the Excitement, Writing

Amidst the Excitement, Writing

So, my third novel has hit Amazon (yesterday) and I am ludicrously excited about that. The anticipation and nervousness, wondering when the first review will arrive, will it be a good one or not, will people like it…I think I could be forgiven for letting all this distract me, but I am pushing on and continuing to write Realmborn 2.

Which is difficult, because I keep finding myself checking the Amazon page to see if there’s been a review yet…which is pointless! The work has been done, it is out there in the world now, no more I can do at this stage…but still I keep checking! (And have been doing since about five minutes after Metal Blade became available on Amazon, as if someone was going to speed read it and immediately leave a five star review)

So today I decided to knuckle down and write chapter eighteen of Realmborn 2, which I am very much enjoying, although I am finding it a very different process to writing Silver Soldiers or Metal Blade. Oh, the basics are the same, I’m still typing words into a computer, still making notes on each chapter and then fleshing those out into proper prose, still rewarding myself with a beer when the chapter is done, but the actual writing is very different.

For one thing it’s a different genre. Silver Soldiers was basically an action thriller, Metal Blade is pure sci fi, whereas Realmborn 2 is going back to the style of its predecessor, my very first novel, Realmborn. Very much a fantasy novel, a la Lord of the Rings, but with one of the protagonists being from 21st Century Britain, and so a large number of the chapters have a much more modern spin on the narrative style. This means chopping and changing the style chapter by chapter, depending on which character’s point of view that section is from. Which requires a lot more brain power…

There’s the complexity of the whole thing, as well. Silver Soldiers and Metal Blade had maybe ten or twelve main characters each, and they were both written as punchy, very linear, straightforward slices of entertainment. Short but exciting. Quick and fun. Fast and furious. Much like the way I make love. Well, Short, Quick and Fast, anyway.

Realmborn 2 is much more complicated, an epic fantasy novel with a huge cast of characters, interlocking storylines, and far more complexities to draw the reader in to a (hopefully) engaging and engrossing read. Which is all well and good, but it does mean that each chapter is about twice as long as those in my previous two books.

More words. Lots and lots and lots of words.

This is making the process of writing each chapter a little more gruelling, because I like to do a chapter in a single sitting. This is not always going to be possible with Realmborn 2, and I need to accept that. I need to accept it and persevere with a new writing process. Burning the midnight oil to get a chapter done is all well and good, but burning the 4 in the morning oil is just taking the ****.

So, from now on I am going to attempt 2000 words a day, Monday to Friday. Weekend working optional. This should equate to roughly a chapter every other day. Or three a week, maybe. Which would still allow the world to see the Realmborn sequel by about mid August, I think. I shall persevere.

It’s a target, I’m aiming for it. Successfully today, because Chapter Eighteen got written, yay for me!

Oh, and apologies to anyone who doesn’t find today’s image all that funny, that’s very much one that I must be the exact perfect generation to be amused by…

As always, my friends, Stay Frosty, People.

Advertisements

Metal Blade – Honest Reviews Welcomed

Metal Blade – Honest Reviews Welcomed

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged, apologies for that, I’ve been in the process of juggling new chapters for Realmborn 2 with getting Metal Blade out there and available for public consumption.

I am very pleased to be able to say that my third novel, a sci fi action story, is now available as an ebook on Amazon! As this is a shorter novel, very much designed to be a quick, un-put-downable read, it is priced at the bargain cost of just 99p for the electronic version, and can be read for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. The paperback version should be available in about 4 weeks from Amazon, or can be purchased from Lulu here.

I’ll update the Metal Blade page on this site in the next day or so, but in a nutshell the story is about two former bounty hunters on New Earth, one cybernetic, one a master swordsman, once best friends and now estranged. They must come together to defeat the evil plot of the sinister Science Ministry, joining forces with a beautiful assassin to save the life of an innocent young man who holds the key to mankind’s survival.

I’m hoping everyone finds it as exciting to read as I found it to write, and if you do give it a go, please, please, please do leave a review, they are very much what drives other people to give it a go, absolutely essential for an indie author like myself.

You can find Metal Blade here, and I do hope you both give it a try and enjoy it. No gore, no filth, just an exciting read to transport you to a new world with some flawed heroes, villainous bad guys and a plot that moves at breakneck speed.

Thanks in advance, I hope you’re all well, and Stay Frosty, people.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Overcoming Writer’s Block

No, not with beer! Although as anyone who knows me can attest to, the beer pictured combines two of my great loves – the beers of Brewdog (Five AM Saint is my current favourite) and the great Elvis Presley. Happily I quite like the beer as well, it’s fruity and refreshing but still quite potent.

However, this is not a post about beer (leave a comment if you’d like some beer reviews, more than happy to sample a few over the course of an evening and let you know what I think), but about overcoming writer’s block. And here it is, my secret.

I don’t know how to overcome writer’s block.

I’ve been going great guns on this latest novel (the sequel to my first novel, Realmborn, which can be found here along with its reviews), happily bashing out a chapter a day for the last couple of weeks, and even deliberately taking a couple of days off here and there so as not to burn out too quickly. And it’s been going well, I’ve fond myself easily slipping back into the world of Jake Ranidir and his Mage-Knight cousin Rayne, enjoying the complexities of the Realm they live in, and particularly pleased that I know how the overall story arc goes, so I don’t need to come up with any twists or plot devices, it’s all there already, just waiting to be told.

Until Chapter Fourteen.

Chapter Fourteen is an exciting chapter, with one of my favourite new characters, some action, a little bit of exposition…should have been a really quick one to type up and put in the “happy with that” pile.

Nope. Nothing doing.

I hit a real wall, just couldn’t get past a certain section, and so did what I usually do when inspiration isn’t forthcoming. Slept on it. Normally a sure-fire solution for me, but on this occasion (four days ago), I woke up the next day and (when parenting permitted) sat down to write with the same damn results. Typed up a paragraph, re-read it, deleted said paragraph. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over again.

This time, instead of sleeping on it, I drank more coffee than is probably healthy and pulled an all-nighter, determined to push through and finish the chapter no matter what. I awoke at three in the morning with my face in the keyboard having last typed “fdcdhlrieyqfdhlhfdggieu”.

So, sleeping hadn’t worked, not sleeping hadn’t worked, and this chapter was now in its third day. Two days overdue. Threatening to blow my own self-imposed schedule out of the water and make me -gulp – work at the weekend. What was I going to do? Try persevering? Take a break and forget about it? Pay a vastly more talented writer to pen the chapter for me?

As it turned out the choice was out of my hands anyway. What with one thing and another the first chance I had to write yesterday was at about 10PM, and in fact I did do so with a beer, so maybe my opening statement was wrong. Because it was last night that I broke the back of the chapter, leaving me only a little to do today. And today I finally finished it!

Phew!

Last night it was like the clouds had parted and allowed me to see the chapter in the sunshine again, and today finishing it off was simply a formality. And I have no idea what made the difference, although re-reading this blog entry it appears to be beer. Not that I am condoning the use of alcohol in any way, shape or form! Well, maybe a little bit, it does seem to be my go-to reward for finishing a chapter…but only in moderation, people!

And why do people say “everything in moderation”? Pretty sure there’s quite a lot of things that aren’t ok even in moderation…genocide, suicide, fratricide…any of the “cides” really. Also heroin. And any kind of bigotry. In fact, the next time anyone says that everything in moderation is ok, punch them square on the nose and ask them if that was ok. I mean just the once, that’s in moderation, right?

Anyway, I digress, which may be why Chapter Fourteen took me four days to complete. Too much digressing! I think the upshot of my rambling is that there is no sure-fire way to beat writer’s block. You can take a break. Might work. You can try pushing through it. Also might work. You can have a beer/cake/cuppa/poison-of-your-choice (in moderation). Again, might work. Who knows? The thing to do is keep believing in your ability to finish it eventually, and to remember that, at the end of that day, it’s only writing. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. Continents won’t crumble, mountains won’t topple, the seas won’t rise…and yes, I am terrible at remembering this, and treat every chapter as though Armageddon and Ragnarok might have a child, presumably named Armageddarok, and if I don’t finish a chapter on time then that child would not only end the world but spit on its remains afterwards. But for Pete’s sake don’t use me as an example of what to do!

(Who is this Pete, anyway?)

Right, it is late, I am tired, and I have written far too many words today. Stay Frosty, People. Unless you are a writer with Writer’s Block, in which case do whatever you need to do to get those next 1,000 words written. Whatever the hell that turns out to be.

Ouch…everything hurts

Ouch…everything hurts

So, first things first, once I finish writing a chapter tonight I will still be on course for my five chapters a week target for the sequel to my first novel, last year’s well received fantasy epic,  Realmborn. The writing is going well, flowing nicely, the story taking shape, the returning characters having matured nicely, the new faces proving very interesting. All in all I am well pleased, and looking forward to carrying on and hopefully having it finished by August.

I am also in the process of releasing my third novel, a scifi action adventure called Metal Blade. So far test readers are telling me, and I’m paraphrasing one of them now, “it’s so good I’ve been sneaking off to the toilet at work to read just a little bit more”.  I’ll let you know as and when it is available.

Now, the reason for the title of today’s post…I went to boxing training for the first time on Thursday evening. And now everything hurts! Yesterday was pretty bad, today is excruciatingly awful!

I’m not in terrible shape, I run a few times a week (not to blow my own trumpet, but I did run the London Marathon a few years back…ok, I’m totally blowing my own trumpet), and I casually assumed that I’d be in good enough shape to cruise through an hour and a half of boxing training at the local amateur club.

Oh, how wrong I was.

First off was skipping. With a rope. For twelve minutes (three minutes skipping, one minute of rest…four times). And kids do this for fun?!!?? Well, in days gone by, now they probably play a skipping game app on their phones instead…

After the exhaustion of an antiquated schoolyard playtime activity, one actual boxing occurred. Well, me against a heavy bag, and then me against Barry the trainer and his pads. Who knew boxing was so complicated?!?? My off hand to his off hand, always protect the chin, but also always protect the torso, keep your feet apart, soft knees, punch through the target…it was a mental workout as well as a physical one.

Finally, after the muscles in my shoulders and arms had been stretched beyond all recognition, we finished with what was described as “light circuit training”…if that was light I’d hate to see intensive.

I actually felt good afterwards, energised, strong, accomplished. But the next morning…trust me, a little light jogging does not prepare you for the intensity of rigorous boxing training, not even nearly, and I take my hat off to all those who do this on a regular basis, and in fact to athletes everywhere of all persuasions. Healthy people, I salute you!

The next session is Tuesday, giving me another three days to recover…could be dicey, but what the hell, I think I’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, sudden cardiac arrest, I guess, and there’s almost certainly the prospect of more pain the following day, but you know what? I got two chapters written the next day, I was more focused, and even remembered to Tweet. So maybe healthy body means healthy mind? Or maybe it was too painful to move from my writing position and as I wasn’t able to stand up I was forced to just work…who knows?

Right, my weary bones have got another evening of writing ahead of them, hope everyone is enjoying their weekends. As always, Stay Frosty, People.

Daddy Day Care

Daddy Day Care

A subtle shift in my life, as today was my first day of juggling being a full-time Dad with being a full-time writer, hence the bottle and baby wipes by the laptop.

So far it has been…different. Not sure I can describe I any better than that, because I don’t want to say it’s better than when I was working full-time, and I certainly don’t want to say it’s worse, but it is very definitely different. Very.

The advantage of a full-time job (for someone like me) I that you have a definite routine, things that need to be done at a certain time, tasks that absolutely have to be completed on a certain day, it provides structure. Being a full-time Dad is a lot more fluid (and I’m not just talking about some of the nappies I have to deal with), there’s a lot less of y being needed to be done by x time, a lot more of “sooooo…what am I going to do today?”

To begin with the day does have some structure, as my eldest needs to be at school by 8.45, which means he needs to be dressed and out of the house by 8.35. Wait, dressed and breakfasted. And washed. And his teeth cleaned. Damn, those tasks are starting to mount up. None of them are big tasks, but have you tried getting a five year old to do what you want when you ask him to? Without getting distracted? By and large we make it, meaning the time between waking up and 8.45 has some semblance of order to it. But after that? When looking after a much, much younger infant?

I am discovering that you need to create your own structure, or else go insane. More insane. I’m also discovering that being a full-time parent involves embracing a level of insanity simply to stay sane. Sounds wrong, I know, but I also know that most parents out there reading this will agree. Hopefully, otherwise I’m doing it wrong.

Anyway, today my youngest and I had jobs to do. And I got lucky, as he fell asleep soon after the school run, allowing me to get the first job, Exciting Trip to Supermarket, fifty percent completed with him dozing in his pram. Result! And I found everything I was looking for in the shop without getting stressed and having to walk up and down each aisle three times (being a man I can’t ask for help, and would rather spend an extra forty minutes in a shop trying to find something myself).

So, so far so good. Jobs remaining, feed youngest, go to post office to send off a birthday present, do laundry back at house, cook dinner ready for the evening.

Feeding the youngest was something I had planned to do in some sort of coffee shop (probably rhyming with car-trucks) so that I could feel all twenty-first century parent cool. We didn’t make it, his screams echoing down the street and forcing me to cut the journey short and feed him on a bench in the sun. Which was more than pleasant, and saved me a couple of quid. Still feeling like I had a handle on this whole parenting thing.

Go to the post office. Did that. Computer failure meant that going there was pointless, but I did go. And it was there that I discovered that I wasn’t quite as on top of this whole thing as I had thought…I’d left the changing bag back at the house, and my child’s nappy was looking more and more full. Full to bursting point. To the point at which the Isle of Wight was at risk of being submerged in a great wave of infant urine…

New plan, go back to the house, change the nappy, do the laundry, go to an alternative post office. And getting back to the house needed to be done fairly swiftly…my problem with doing anything swiftly was that I was out and about in the middle of the morning on a weekday. So it was basically me (with my giant pram), other parents with their giant prams, eight thousand year old people with an assortment of zimmer frames, mobility scooters,  and walking sticks and with an average speed of Sloth-like, and a host of the unemployed who vaguely resembled extras from The Walking Dead.

Speed of movement was almost impossible, but somehow I managed it, making that pram almost fly down the street. I made it, by the way, avoided the urine flood, saved the island. Yep, I’m a hero.

He was also happy to play on his playmat and coo quite happily at me while I did the laundry. In retrospect if I had known that that was the only four minutes and fifty two seconds he’d allow himself to not be physically attached to me all day I might have done something else. Like make myself a coffee. Or sit down. (He’s teething, hence the clinginess today. And probably tomorrow.) Anyway, laundry done. Tick!

He then fell asleep on my shoulder (and was very resistant to being moved), keeping me trapped on the sofa for half an hour (poor me), but I was some distance away from my laptop, but did manage to catch up on some tweeting. Yep, I tweet. And retweet, on occasion. And no longer think a hash tag is a label on a breakfast potato item.

When he awoke we just had time to dash to the alternative post office and queue for twenty minutes to get the birthday present posted, allowing a little time for an explosive nappy (won’t go into details) before the school run, and then it was back to having two of them. I’m a man, I can’t multi-task, s then next four hours before bedtime were basically a write off. Oh, and dinner did not get prepared during that time, eldest had leftover spaghetti Bolognese from yesterday, I had a biscuit.

And then it was bedtime, which went smoothly, and the full-time Dad bit was done for the day. I’d hoped that full-time writer might have made a few appearances during nap times and what have you, but for the moment I’m content that I didn’t screw up the Dad part too badly. I guess it will just mean some more midnight oil than usual being burned for a while.

Speaking of the writing, a 5* review appeared today for Silver Soldiers, very exciting! You can read it here.

And now it is late, I’m tired, and determined that tomorrow will include both awesome parenting and Chapter Ten of Realmborn 2. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. And I am aware that plans can be changed at any time without notice…

Hope everyone is well, and stays that way.

Stay Frosty, People.