Been too sad to blog

Been too sad to blog

Now, I realise that whether or not I blog is of little or no importance to 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the world’s population, but I do feel an apology is in order.

I am sorry. I’ve been silent for the last week or so, mainly due to a kidney infection which laid me low. (Has anyone ever had a kidney infection? Oh my word, not been in that much pain, or felt that ill, since my previous life as a sufferer of the Black Death who was being tortured at the time.) But also because I’ve just not felt like my particular brand of conversational, light-hearted rubbish was particularly appropriate in the last few days. A friend of mine recently told me I should broaden my blog posts a bit, talk about more general topics than my writing or what films I’ve watched, and I shall, but just recently I haven’t felt justified in speaking about current affairs without sounding as though I’m jumping on a bandwagon.

I’m not normally one to watch the news, because, frankly, it depresses me. I realise that this is a childish attitude, and it is one I am trying to change. I want to be more up to speed with what is happening in the world, I genuinely do, but it really gets me down, to be fair. Generally speaking the news tends to be “MURDER” “TERRORISM” “CORRUPTION” “TRAGEDY”. With an occasional mention of global warming or the possibility of a meteor striking the earth and wiping us all out. And on top of that I’m supposed to give a flying monkey’s left nut about whether or not we are in the EU or not. The propaganda from both sides makes me suspect that whichever way I vote next week, we’re screwed. (Apologies if you are reading this outside of Britain, it’s the current hot topic.)

When I was a child the news always ended with “and on a lighter note…” There’d have been a baby Panda born, or a dog would have learned how to use a washing machine, or scientists would have found fossilised remains proving that dinosaurs had had Playstations…

Nowadays there’s so much bad news that the “lighter note” stuff doesn’t get a look in. There’s just not time. Who wants to hear about baby Panda’s when there’s another tragedy needing to be broadcast to the world? And I’m not saying that in a cynical way, because I do feel that people need to know what is happening in the world, I’m just sad that there is so much bad stuff nowadays that the “and in other news” pieces have been relegated to the internet.

Maybe we need a channel dedicated to the fluff pieces? Bliss News. As in “ignorance is bliss”. I’m not saying we ignore the bad stuff, but maybe we need a channel dedicated to puppies saving drowning kittens, endangered species being given new leases of life, and any other sort of story that warms the cockles of our hearts? Not as a substitute to the harsh, bitter, real news, but as a temporary escape? Something to temporarily distract us from the tragedies we face on a daily basis and remind us that the world contains joy as well as sadness.

I write fantasy and science fiction novels, and while there are bad guys, good inevitably triumphs in the end. I’d like to think that people could also use my books as a temporary means of escapism, a way to see the world as it perhaps should be, rather than how it is.

Anyway, I’ll try to get back to blogging more often, and to emphasise the lighter side of life, but I think it would be wrong not to at least note that I’ve been as affected by recent news as everyone else.

The tragic murder of Jo Cox hit me hardest when I clicked on the various links and learned just how great a lady she was. That her life has been ended so abruptly, and in such an evil fashion, is beyond unspeakable. I highly recommend that if, like me, you were unaware of who she was, what she had achieved, and what she stood for, you spend a few moments just reading about what an amazing woman she was. And that, again like me, you find some inspiration from her and resolve to do more with your own life.

Anton Yelchin was an actor of great talent, a particular favourite of mine, someone I had assumed would go on to be as big a name as Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Bruce Willis. One of the tributes I read, after learning that he had been killed by his own car in a tragic accident, was that cinema would be poorer for his loss. And I think this is very true. Like Heath Ledger, he could have gone on to do great things, and his death is untimely, pointless and bitterly sad.

And amongst these higher profile deaths, I was also incredibly affected to hear about a man dying in a Potash mine in Cleveland. Whilst not a celebrity, I couldn’t help but wonder who he had left behind, whose lives were ripped apart by his loss, who he had left behind? So RIP John Anderson.

These are just a few of the stories that, like my kidney infection, have brought me low this past week. But in the same week, a student awoke from a coma and his classmates re-held a graduation ceremony for him, a Muslim community near Detroit, Michigan broke their fast in order to be able to give blood following the shootings in Orlando, and the lady who became famous for her joyous, infectious laughter over her Chewbacca mask has now been given her own action figure by Hasbro. There is still joy in the world. I’ll try to get back to writing more regularly about that joy.

Apologies if this post was not my usual inane rambling, sometimes even an idiot writer with his head in another world like me has to acknowledge the world he lives in.

Stay Frosty, People, or as Frosty as you can.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I am so glad Deadpool is still out in cinemas…

…or movie theaters, I guess, if this blog ever makes it across the Atlantic to be read in America.

What a film! I saw it for the third time tonight, and still think it is easily my favourite film of the past, well, ever.

Ryan Reynolds, perfectly cast. In fact, could anyone else have pulled off the Merc with a Mouth? I believe the answer to be no. He was obviously having fun, he was obviously invested in the role, and he was obviously passionate about giving the audience exactly what they wanted, which was the comic-book Deadpool brought to the big screen.

The film had laughs, action, and its tongue rammed firmly in its cheek (I’m sure Wade Wilson could come up with a different image of something else rammed firmly somewhere else, but let’s keep it clean). Very rarely have I been in a cinema and heard so many people laugh out loud so many times, from the opening credits onwards.

Great casting, great plot (simple but effective), simply a great movie. It worked on several levels, managing somehow to be an action film, a superhero film, and a love story all rolled into one glorious package.

I have no complaints, none, and that is rare. I’ll usually find at least one thing to pick holes in, but not with this. Roll on Deadpool 2.

Oh, writing-wise, completed the first draft of Metal Blade, my third novel, today, the first chapter of which is available on this website, but I felt today’s beer reward should go to my good friend Wade…

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Ordinarily I’d remind people to stay frosty, but not tonight.

Tonight it’s time to chimi the ******* changas!