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.

Back to Writing

Back to Writing

Today was a productive day. In fact the last few days have been productive, writing-wise.

Having proved to myself that I can manage a fairly gruelling writing schedule I am pressing on and working on the sequel to my first novel, Realmborn. My plan for my third novel, Metal Blade, was a chapter a day, and I almost managed this, completing the whole  novel in 28 days (and this should be released on amazon in the next few weeks, watch this space!). Realmborn 2 will take longer, but then it is a very different beast of a book. Think fantasy epic as opposed to something you could read by the pool in a day.

However, in the past 9 days I have written the prologue and the first seven chapters, and will be hopefully pressing on at this pace until it is finished, which would make it ready for release by about the end of July…ish. It’s going to be a fantasy epic, just like the first Realmborn, so it won’t be short!

It’s been really good breathing new life into some of the characters from the first book, and hopefully taking some of the lessons I learned from the reviews of the first Realmborn and putting them into practice in the writing of the second. Retaining the humour and voice of my debut novel, but injecting a bit more pace. That’s the goal, anyway…

I’ll get the prologue and first chapter up on this site tonight, hopefully, though I will stress again that there are major spoilers contained for anyone who hasn’t read the first one.

Speaking of, why not read the first one? You can find it on Amazon here, and it’s available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited. If not, the electronic version is only £1.99 (or the equivalent in dollars), so less than a pint, and in most places these days less than a half…

Alternatively you can read my second novel, Silver Soldiers, here, it is likewise free on Kindle Unlimited or at the bargain price of £1.99, and is more of a sci-fi action thriller. One reader said they couldn’t put it down, but as that was my Dad I think you should maybe make your own minds up. (I’m genuinely proud of it, and it does have some good reviews on Goodreads.com, should you care to go looking…I’m just not much of a one for blowing my own trumpet, which might be quite a detriment as an aspiring independent author!)

As always, if I can beg anyone who has ready either of my novels to post a review on Amazon, that would be amazing and much appreciated. It is genuinely reviews which drive other readers to give novels a chance in this bizarre world I’m making a go of, so please, please, please, if you’ve read either of my novels and have a spare five minutes…honesty is appreciated, flattery will get you a pint the next time I see you, outright praise will make me blush.

Right, if I’m going to create a whole new page on this website I’d best get cracking, hope anyone reading this is well and enjoying life, and takes some amusement in my epic new facial hair statement!

Oh yes, as you can see in the pic (if you can drag your eyes off my wonderful new moustache), today’s reward for completing a chapter was a glass of wine. A Shiraz. And it was very nice.

As I always say, Stay Frosty, People.

The Jungle Book…not for kids!

The Jungle Book…not for kids!

Well,not young ones, anyway. Took my five year old to see the new Jon Favreau live-action version of the Disney classic today, and I would recommend not taking the trailer for this as an indication of the overall tone of this film.

It’s dark. My son spent quite a lot of it cuddled into me, occasionally hiding his eyes buried in my shoulder. I guess now is the time to mention the obligatory…spoiler alert.

A lot of the film seems to take place at night, for one thing, in gloomy, creepy, spooky jungle settings. (Yes, I know it’s called the Jungle Book, I was expecting Jungle, just not the dark and frightening sort of jungle you might expect a Predator to leap out of.) And some of the brighter daytime scenes contained an army of violent monkeys led by some sort of prehistoric throwback giant ape with a penchant for threats and terrifying roaring.

Speaking of violence…this was an extremely violent film. I’m not one to complain about this usually, but a Disney movie? Aimed at the family? The trailers certainly didn’t give rise to the expectation that Shere Khan (voiced incredibly sinisterly and effectively by Idris Elba, is there anything that man can’t do?) would suddenly kill Mowgli’s foster-father (foster alpha male?) to make a point, and that a few scenes later we’d see said dead wolf’s bones being picked clean by vultures…

I think this is my main problem, it’s a good film, the animation is amazing, the voice work is superb, it’s not overly long, it’s very well done…but I think it was completely mis-advertised. The trailers drew my five year old in, made it look bright and exciting, action-packed but fairly innocent, the classic “contains mild peril” scenario. So that’s what we were expecting, what we got was a dark, threat-filled and fairly  grown up film. A good film, yes, and there was some comedy from Baloo the bear (Bill Murray, making the character a charming, loveable rogue with his heart in the right place), but there was also a helluva lot of scares that I for one would not recommend to the under 8’s. Yes, it’s a PG not a U, I get that, but come on, give us more of a clue in the advertising to G the P’s, eh?

All that being said, I do think it was very well made, and as I said, the voice work was fantastic. Scarlett Johanssen as Ka the snake was suitably hypnotic, alluring and threatening, Sir Ben Kingsley hit just the right note as the almost old school colonel-like Bagheera, Bill Murray and Idris Elba I’ve already mentioned, Lupita Nyong’o was an endearing and courageous Racksha (Mowgli’s adopted wolf Mum, and apologies for any mis-spelling), and Christopher Walken as King Louie was on top form, making the giant ape both semi-amusing and then very, very threatening.

Neel Sethi, the lad playing Mowgli, was really good, I think he captured the character really well, and he can certainly run through the jungle with a great deal of skill. If acting doesn’t  work out for him (although I think it should) he could be a hell of a free runner.

My one other major complaint I the King Louie song, the I Wanna Be Like You number. Through the rest of the film there are no other songs, with the sole exception of a rendition of the Bear Necessities by Baloo and Mowgli, but they do that unaccompanied, just their voices, but suddenly when King Louie decides to belt out his greatest hit, there’s a full band playing along in the background. It felt forced and jarred with the rest of the film.

So, overall, a good film, well made, well acted, a couple of minor complaints as an adult viewer but nothing that wouldn’t make me give it a solid seven or a sketchy eight out of ten, but please, movie advertisers, please, give us a better idea of what a film is actually going to be like before we take the risk and shell out to see it. The cinema’s not a cheap trip out any more, and my lad only saw about two thirds of the film in the end…if it’s going to be dark, let us know in advance!

This is still a blog about my life as a writer, by the way, and I did do a whole chapter this evening, but for some reason I felt the world needed to hear my opinion on movie advertising tonight. Hell, it’s my blog, my rules!

Stay Frosty, People. Unless you’re climbing up Mount Everest, or trekking in the Arctic or something, in which case Stay Warm.

Totally shaved off the beard

Totally shaved off the beard

After a flurry of interest and opinions (thank you again you lovely half dozen people who read my blog), I decided that I couldn’t keep my beard, not after teasing the internet with the prospect of me shaving it off for something more interesting.

There were several differing opinions, the Downey Jr/Tony Stark look seemed to be quite in favour, but I decided that it look too groomed for me…let’s face it, Iron Man probably has a personal barber who sorts his facial hair out every day, whereas I usually have a case of I Hate Mornings Syndrome…the odds of me managing any kind of regular upkeep on a moustache/beard combo that sculpted, that defined…was never gong to happen!

The Sam Elliott got some good votes too, I’m just not enough of a manly man’s man, a gravelly voiced Silver Fox, a macho cowboy, to be able to pull that one off.

There was one vote for the Kurt Russell Hateful Eight look, and I’ve tried my best, but my lack of a mane of good, thick hair means I’m not quite pulling it off. In the end I’ve gone with something in between Kurt and Sam, I think, I reckon I’m probably more cowboy than superhero in any case, and  seriously, who has the time to groom their moustache and beard every morning?!?!? And so, for at least a week (I shall withstand any mockery I am subjected to), I am going to let this bad boy grow, and see just how awesome a moustache it can become.

My suspicion is incredibly awesome.

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Ideally I will get to the point where I can plait it.

I have no doubt that I will wake up in the morning with a bad case of Beard-Shavers-Regret, but for now I am quite happy to see my chin again, while retaining enough facial fuzz to hide a multitude of sins. And sometimes food, for later. And retaining the ability to strain my coffee while drinking it.

I’m just sorry I couldn’t achieve this:

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Still, I’m going for the eccentric author bit, I’m also going to buy some leather patches to sew on the elbows of all my jackets, start smoking a pipe and referring to myself in the third person.

When Dave finishes this blog tonight Dave is going to reward himself with – actually scratch the third person thing, that’s just annoying. I’ll consider the moustache enough!

Speaking of being an eccentric author, don’t forget to buy/read/review my books, please, the two currently available can be found here (for fantasy lovers) and here (for those who prefer a quicker-paced action thriller set in the near future), and it really is reviews which make the difference for indy authors like myself. Don’t forget that both books can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited, so anyone with Amazon Prime, dive on in there!

That’s about it from me for tonight, no writing occurred today but I did think abut the next chapter a lot, so that counts, right? Still, I’ve done a prologue and four chapters in the last 6 days, I’ll take that. As long as I get something done tomorrow. And not the tomorrow I usually refer to, the tomorrow of unfinished DIY, but the actual tomorrow, the 24th April 2016. Trying to maintain a level of at least five chapters a week was the goal, I’ll stick to that.

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Good night, Stay Frosty, People.

Do I keep my beard?

Do I keep my beard?

A random question, I know, but it’s one of those late night things that I thought, in the absence of anything actually insightful or intelligent to say, I might as well just put out there in the universe and see what comes back.

(Quick update before the inanity begins, I have now written a prologue and four chapters for Realmborn 2, and I am just awaiting my test readers all coming back to me on Metal Blade, which I hope to be available soon. Feel free to leave reviews for Silver Soldiers or Realmborn on Amazon, and if you’ve not read them yet, why not?!?!? Details of where you can get them are on their individual pages on this website. Right, enough serious stuff, on with the inanity)

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my beard, I truly do. But I do get bored quite easily…I’m one of those freaks of nature who, when clean shaven, has a five o’clock shadow at eleven in the morning, and once got told by my headmaster to stand closer to the razor next time I shaved…I was 13 at the time. So it doesn’t take me long to grow facial hair, which does mean that the temptation is always there, when slightly bored with it, to just shave it off and start again. Which I’ve done, on a regular basis, for years.

(The sole exception is the sideburns. I’ve had sideburns since I was twelve, and I will have sideburns the day I die. That is non-negotiable.)

The flip side of finding it so easy to give in to the boredom and shave it off is the agonising regret and Shaver’s Remorse the following day. I always forget this when I come to shave off my beards, and I always remember it the following day when I look in the mirror and wonder who the bald-faced bloke is staring back at me.

So this time, this time, dear internet reader, I have decided to only shave bits of it off. I am going to go for something interesting, probably tomorrow (or later today, as I notice that the old clock has just ticked past midnight), assuming my nerve holds…

So here are some options, from which I may draw inspiration:

1: Sam Elliott

Sam Elliott, the man, the legend, the awesome moustache. And I’ll happily wear a hat and speak in a far more gravelly voice.

 

2. Tombstone

Kurt Russell, when he was in Tombstone. Again, hat optional, I guess.

 

3.

kurtrussellhateful8

Kurt Russell again, this time as he appeared in the Hateful Eight (great film, btw, loved it). Could I pull this look off with my lack of a thick mane of hair?!?!?!

 

4. Rober-downey-jr

Robert Downey Jr, as Iron Man. Or, well, as Tony Stark, really. But still, cool beard.

 

5. brucecon01

Bruce Campbell, because I love him. I also think I could pull off this facial hair look with relative ease…

 

6. colin farrell

Colin Farrell. And another look I think I could pull off…facial hair-wise. Obviously not looks-wise, don’t be ridiculous!

 

7. Funny-Beard-Photos-8-270x300

Random man found on the internet with Batman’s bat symbol as facial hair. Looks a little tricky, but my eldest son would love it!

 

8. Crazy Moustache

Last but by no means least…how cool would this be?!?!?!?!

 

Anyway, should anyone feel like expressing an opinion you can do so using the comment section on this site, or if you’re reading this on FB just leave a comment there, or you can Tweet me, or  Twitter me, or send me a Twaddle or whatever the terminology is, @deastmanauthor

Hope everyone reading this is well and looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

Stay Frosty, People.

Realmborn 2 has begun!

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A decision has been made, my next project will be Realmborn 2!

I was torn between writing a sequel to my first novel and starting on something else new, but then I discovered some notes from last year mapping out the start of the sequel…I was hooked pretty quickly!

So, I shall be trying to maintain a fairly prolific pace, I am hoping for five chapters a week, which will give me leeway to have to odd day off here and there. I shall, of course, keep you as updated as possible via this blog, and may put some teaser chapters up in the next few days. Spoiler alert, though, if you’ve not read Realmborn yet then don’t read the teasers!

I’ve made a pretty good start, had to come up to London today so had a good couple of hours on the train this morning, and then some time spent lazily writing in a coffee shop this afternoon. As always I had my faithful writing companion Wade stood by my laptop offering his sage words of wisdom…

Hopefully everyone is enjoying the sunshine, I am bedecked in my usual Hawaiian shirted manner, pretending it is summer…today has been a good day so far.

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Stay Frosty, People…like my beer.

I have finished writing my third novel!

So, no image obviously, as I’ve only finished the first draft, but it’s called Metal Blade and is about a pair of bounty hunters on a new earth in the distant future, one of who has a load of cybernetic enhancements, the other carries a sword…so maybe just picture Robocop stood next to a samurai warrior for now. (Artwork’s not really my thing, so if anyone has any suggestions for cover designs, please do let me know.)

I’ll not give too much away, but in a nutshell the plot revolves around our heroes foiling an assassination attempt and then finding out why the poor schmuck was marked for death in the first place…we’ve got strong women, a deadly assassin, wisecracks, gunfights, swordfights, sword vs gun fights, a really odious bad guy…it’s a lot of fun, and you can read a rough first draft of the first chapter on this very website! (Along with details of where to buy my first two novels, of course, always an important thing to point out. Come for the blog, stay for the books.)

There’s still work to be done, typos to be hunted down and exterminated, possible changes to be made, entire characters to be removed/added/killed off/brought back to life, so there’ll be a short while before it hits Amazon, but I hope to have it out there for public consumption by the middle of May.

I’m actually absurdly proud of this one, I think it reads well, it’s fast-paced and exciting, and most importantly of all, I started writing it 28 days ago. 55,000 words and change, 24 chapters, a beginning, a middle, and an end. A whole book, in 4 weeks. I am actually pretty damn pleased with myself. I have a few test readers so, unless they are being mega-polite, I am fairly confident on the quality level (I could be completely wrong of course, it could be awful and I just have very nice, polite people reading this for me), I think the speed on this one comes from having had the time to really focus on it. So, if nothing else, this experiment in writing full time has at least shown that I can be fairly prolific when I put my mind to it.

Can I repeat the feat? Maybe, but what with? I am torn between writing the sequel to Realmborn, or writing another standalone story I have in mind called Monster Island. If anyone has an opinion, please let me know.

In the meantime I am going to call it a day, because this weekend holds the joys of marketing my second novel, Silver Soldiers. I’ve been advised to write a Press Release, start a Facebook page, get in touch with book bloggers, do more twittering on my Tweetie Bird account thing…this marketing lark is hard work, and I take my hat off to everyone I know who works in that field. You are all unsung, hard-working heroes!

So yeah, tomorrow’s entry might be me telling you what advertising/PR strategies I’ll be adopting, and how I hope increase market saturation and my social media presence throughout eastern Europe…head this way if you need a cure for insomnia.

As always, till next time, Stay Frosty, People.