Wednesday, 30 September 2015

End of Wednesday Update

Chapter 12 is done. Word count for the book up to 46,433 with 1,743 being added tonight. Not too bad. About the same as last night too.

I'm done for the day. Just time to type some more inanity into my blog.

I never thought I would be the type to keep a blog. I don't tend to have much of a web presence when I'm not writing - well, maybe apart from ebay and Amazon. I do like collecting things. But I am actually getting to like doing it - the blogging; I've always enjoyed the collecting.

I have a completely free evening tomorrow night too so am hoping for another 2K words. And then most of the weekend as my wife is musicking a lot. She has a show to get ready for so is wanting peace and quiet (well as quiet as you can get playing a saxophone)

So I will be tapping away, hoping to get as close to 60K as I can. And I really hope I am not jinxing that as badly as I did last weekend.

Just have to try to keep follow my wife's advice. Make happy your default setting. It's confuses the hell out of people; and often worries them.

Mr Stinky Part 10

The tenth section of Mr. Stinky is now online at WattPad

Go on - give it a read and let me know what you think

Hopefully someone will leave a comment or vote for it. Might be nice

(And yes I know that might sound a little pathetic. It's not meant that way. Nuance is difficult to do in plain text. You should have read the first two versions of that short paragraph. Made me sound almost suicidal if you didn't add a dose of sarcasm and self-deferential humour.)

Another bit of writing done

Bit of an effort and now I have two more sections of chapter 12 done. 1,234 words added. One more section and the chapter will be done and they will have completed their journey.

I feel very strongly about travel in fantasy novels. I've read more than one book where you can tell the author has done enormous amounts of research about roads in medieval times. So you can get dozens of pages talking about the manufacture and maintenance of carts, the roads themselves, what it was like to travel then, how to look after horses etc. All of which does absolutely nothing to progress the story.

After all I can imagine them getting to the denouement of the story and the big bad (demon, dragon, fantastical beast of any other description, evil god etc) will take pity on them and give them a fighting chance because they spent twenty pages of text fixing a broken cartwheel

I've cheating. I cast a magic on the cart so it wouldn't break.

 Novel is now up to 45,924 words

Wednesday Writing and life

Over half way through another working week. Two more days and I will have a weekend and maybe the last chance for a car boot book hunt. After last weekend's blowout it would be nice to have some success.

At the every least I should get a run through some of the local shops on Saturday - popping into Ashby in the morning.

Tonight though we finally caught up with a show I know a lot of people are raving about - Midwinter of the Spirit. And now I can see why they are. It's a really good show, not afraid to take time in between the gory hits to develop back story and characters; well acted and just generally absorbing. It feels in places like many of the Scandinavian dramas we enjoy watching - nice moody shots and gentle music. Looking forward to watching the next episode, although I won't get chance tonight. Probably have to wait until Friday evening.

Anyway I am now settled in the computer - my wife has music to do so it's best I stay out the way. I have Magenta's Twenty Seven Club CD playing and am about to start on the Patternmaker's Daughter.

I need to get it done and revised by end of October as I've chosen to have a go at this NaNoWriMo challenge - writing a novel (min 50K) during November from scratch. I have an idea in mind for what it will be - a sf space opera type thing - and I'm guessing it will be more like 90K. Not sure if I can get it done in a month but I'm willing to try.

I will have time. My wife has signed up to the musical director for a pantomime so she's going to off doing that a lot from November. As it carries on well into the New Year I might get two done.

Of course all of this might just change if I get a publisher or agent interested.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tuesday writing update

Chapter 12 is underway. The action that ended chapter 11 is behind the party and they are now on a new island. So another little journey is about to start.

They have been joined by a new character, one that will come in quite useful in the next couple of chapters.

Tonight's two chaplets have totalled 1,379 words and have brought the novel up to 44,690 words. In terms of the plot it's just over halfway, although one or two of the later chapters will be a bit longer than the average.

Signed up to NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month (I think). The aim is to write a novel draft of at least 50K words during November. I'm going to go for it. Just need to finish The Patternmaker's Daughter before the end of October so I can have a clean slate.

Just as well I have next Wednesday booked off - I can do a bit more writing then.

Tuesday initial writing start

I'm going to try to start a number of writing sessions with a submission. After all there's no point writing if no one is going to read it and without submitting it all that is left is self publishing, which I do not want to do. I set myself the challenge of getting published the old fashioned way so I am going to stick at it

Anyway tonight I came across Dark Quest Books so I have sent in a request to them for the weird novella The Intersection. Their website does say shorter pieces have more of a chance so you never know.

Moving onto the YA Fantasy. I am trying to write the chapter after a big battle thing. Its always going to be a comedown no matter what I do but it has to be done. Trying a kind of self referential approach to it - with a touch of symmetry tossed in for good measure.

Anyway it's pick a good album - The Alarm's Strength - and start tapping away at the keyboard time.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Got over my funk

My woes of yesterday writing wise seem to be definitely behind me.

I decided the best thing to do about the chaplet that was blocking me was to just leave it. By the end of yesterday I had written one chaplet and I didn't like it - even after about eight attempts to fix it.

So tonight I left it alone. I'll sort it when I revise the story. I went straight to the next bit - a nice action sequence.

So the result is that the book now stands at 43,311 words. Tonight I have added to chaplets, finishing chapter 11.

The two chaplet totalled 1,767 words. Not bad for a school night.

And I submitted Against the Fall of Empire to another agency as well. This time it's off to Sheil Land. you never know, one of these might work.

And when I've finished the YA fantasy the subs will all start again. I have a list of agencies that like YA books.

Giving the latest Iron Maiden album another listen. Not bad. Still going to say the 80s albums are my favourites but I will listen to this again - and, if they release another after it, I will be buying it

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Last minutes Sunday thing

I went away from the keyboard for a while and watched some TV - we picked the Stephen Fry Central America documentary series (last episode). Settled the brain down a little (thank you Stephen).

Had a bit of a chat with my wife about the funk and decided by the end of it submitting to another potential market might be just what was needed. So the science fiction novel Against the Fall of Empire has been sent in to Jo Fletcher Books. Wait time is up to 6 months but you never know

And now, for today at least, I am done

Sunday collecting

Popped out this afternoon - wasn't expecting much as we went to an antique's centre. Not the usual place for books.

Today though, there were a few. I bought ten

The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley
Marion Zimmer Bradley - Web of Darkness
Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Ruins of Isis
Marion Zimmer Bradley - The World Wreckers
Marion Zimmer Bradley - Stormqueen
Diana L. Paxson - The Jewel of Fire
Anne McCaffrey - The Tower and the Hive
Anne McCaffrey - Stitch in Snow
Anne McCaffrey - Pegasus in Flight
Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough - Acorna's People

And all of them in really good condition

Happy with that mini horde

Blow out Sunday

Most of what I tried today failed big time. My head just wasn't in anything.

I struggled to start writing - managed a few paragraphs only to then delete them.

I tried going back over the first Ben Williamson weird novella. That's still lacking a lot of polish. Didn't get much today.

Went out - didn't even manage that well.

Head just wasn't right.

This evening I gave it another go. I have added 800 words to the YA fantasy novel. Unfortunately I am fairly sure much of that will not survive the editing on first polish run. Bugger.

I did manage to get a couple of submissions sorted though. I sent a short story into the Dark and Mr. Stinky in to Samhain Publishing. Not expecting much from either of them but it made me feel I was at least still trying


Oh - golly. I've just re-read this post. I sound depressed. Hopefully I'm not. It's just a bad day. I'm going to keep telling myself that. We all have them.

I did manage to buy some books when I was out. Maybe I should do a collecting post.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Final., final, final Saturday update

Watched Doctor Who - ok. Not the best but ok

Watched the England Wales rugby match. England controlled so much of the set play they should have won - especially given even more Welsh injuries. They didn't - darn it

Wales did deserve it though. I'm not playing the we was robbed card

So to cheer myself up I found another publisher to send The Intersection off to. This time Strigidae

Three on that one now - fingers triply crossed

Promised(-ish) collecting update

I mentioned in an earlier posting that I had stumbled across a couple of book sales and some of what I came back with were genre books.

Here's the newly purchased selection. Most are already haves - at the prices they were asking I wasn't leaving anything. I'll find people to give the dupes to.

Laurell K. Hamilton - Incubus Dreams Trade Ppb
Robin Hobb - Royal Assassin (dupe)
Terry Pratchett - Mort (dupe)
Terry Brooks - The Druid of Shannara (dupe)
Anne rice - Interview with the Vampire (dupe)
Stephen Donaldson - The Mirror of her Dreams (dupe)
Stephen Donaldson - A Man Rides Through (dupe)
John Meaney - Dark Blood
Julian May - Intervention (dupe)
Charlaine Harris - Real Murders

Not the biggest haul - but it was still fun

Saturday update

Well okay - no more writing has actually happened on the YA fantasy novel but there is a good reason - or rather two.

It's a nice day is the first of them. Anyone who knows England knows that an actual nice day, 20C and dry, at the end of September is not all that common - especially on a Saturday. So you have to make the most of it.

Anyway we went out found two book sales and came back with a boot/trunk full of books. Well when they were that cheap who wouldn't. now most of these were thrillers that we instantly put in front of my in-laws. They picked a good bunch and the rest will be going into work with me on Monday. the company I work at has an area where people (mainly me) put books on a have what you want basis.

Id do have some sffh books - if I get time I'll detail later.

Then once I did get back to the keyboard I thought I'd better chase down a lead on submitting my horror novel. So I've formatted it, wrote a new synopsis and have sent it in to Permuted Press. It's fingers crossed time.

Now I'm going to go stretch these aching bones and muscles a little and then maybe write another chaplet

...and that chaplet is done. 731 words added. Novel now at 41,000 words - oddly exactly that.

Tonight is mostly going to be dominated by Doctor Who and a certain rugby match - go England.

Saturday - Am Writing

I might get time to write (insert jinx here).

So far I have added one more chaplet comprising 653 words. It completed chapter ten rather nicely bringing the word count to 39,418. As chapter 11 will see the group leave the island where everything has taken place so far the story has finished its second phase. Phase three begins.

Music for the day is Rush. I['m the only one in the house so I've turned it up to 11 - okay to be honest up to 25 but that's doesn't have same ring to it

Back to it after a short walk around

Another section done - chapter 11 is underway with an 860 word chaplet. Word count now up to 40,268. Broken through the 40K mark. That was the last section to take place on dry land for a bit. now to burden my characters with what I suffer from - seasickness.

No more writing to report but I have sent my weird novella The Intersection in to another publisher - this time the wonderfully named Fuzzy Hedgehog Press

Brutalist Architecture

I like Brutalist Architecture. There, I said it. I know a lot of people do not but I do. I quite enjoy the way at one point the human race just decided to impose itself on the world around it, throw away the aesthetic and concentrate on making something that worked.

Now I'm not saying that it always did work - many of the high rise blocks of the 60s have long since failed and been knocked down. But I still like the form.

There's a good little film on the BBC News website about the National Trust giving tours around some of the best Brutalist buildings like the South Bank Centre in London.

You can find it at

This is probably not available to anyone outside the UK so I apologise for that.

The National Trust has details on their website too at

And there's a great article on the Guardian website

I like the way it often clashes with everything around it, just check out the Torre Velasca in Milan,  but I love it.

Now I will admit I also like Romanesque Architecture, High Gothic, Palladian, Baroque, Renaissance Architecture, Byzantine - I could go on. But all these types are generally accepted. Brutalism is kind of the underdog. Maybe that's why I like it.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Friday evening update

I know I said I wasn't going to tempt fate again but I figured I am sufficiently into a batch of writing that I could stop (while I let my brain mull over the next sentence) and start an update.

I am writing. It will not be a lengthy session this evening. I'm just doing a little while my wife catches up on Great British Menu. I'm 328 words into this section and mainly just talking about rain. As I live in England it's a subject I feel I am something of an expert on. Not in the same range as the Scots with snow - I read this week they have 421 for snow. Now that's determination to find something to talk about. I knew I liked the Scots for a reason.

Anyway will add a final word count when I have it - need to do the writing thing.

Last update of a very short writing evening.

The section is complete. 904 words added. Total word count for the Patternmaker's Daughter is now 38,766.

More over the weekend. My aim for the end of the weekend was 50K. But that had included about 4,000 last night which never happened. So maybe I should scale the hope back a bit. I do want to enjoy something of the weekend.

Thursday, 24 September 2015


My planned evening of writing uninterrupted didn't happen

Two friends needed to talk. One for a depressing reason, one for a very cool reason

First is facing a risk to his job. His employer is downsizing and he is in the pool they will cut from. I have my fingers crossed for him.

The second was a joyous one. His 11 year old son is a veracious reader and has started to write a science fiction story. Proud dad wanted to chat with me as I am the only person he knows who has written fiction that's been published. Nice of him to think that way - I have only sold a few short stories (couple of dozen or so).

Anyway after a cool conversation with him in an upbeat mood I am left with little time. Not complaining - it is always good to talk to people.

Well I made the most of the time I did have and have added another section to the YA Fantasy novel. It now stands at 37,862 words.

More will happen over the weekend. Stopping now

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wednesday didn't happen -- the perils of modern life

Today doesn't seem like a day that writing was ever destined to happen.

Okay I have a day job I have to do - that's a given. Fortunately it's one I enjoy. People are pretty friendly, job is interesting enough and it's not too far to drive. I'm not one of these people that enjoy driving an hour or more to work. Twenty minutes is fine.

So the work day was done but then there was the shopping need. Head over to two stores to get the stuff I need (including dinner, too late to cook by then). And so we get back at nearly 8pm. Sit down to eat and then relax a little and it's past nine before I even switch on my home PC.

Than there's the list of emails to go through, some of which weren't spam.

I log onto Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Wattpad - not frivolously I assure you. All to do the things that will hopefully increase the awareness of my writing self.

I get through them all and it's coming up to 10pm. Given how tired I am it's not a good time to start writing. Given the average section of the novel (c. 600 words) take me an hour once I get going I don't think I can commit enough time.

So I have submitted my science fiction novel to another potential agent. I have some hopes. This lady read and enjoyed my horror novel earlier in the year but told me that horror was not an easy sell at the moment. Hopefully I will have better luck with the science fiction story. My wife, and my friendly readers, thought it was better than the horror so there's a chance.

Also it was the first submission since I sold the dark sf short story "A Day like Any Other" to the Literary Hatchet so it was cool to be able to mention a recent sale. I mentioned the half completed fantasy novel too and the darkly weird novellas.

Her turnaround time is four weeks so now it's time to wait. Fingers crossed. Ok, maybe not. My fingers won't actually cross. They go up and down easily enough but sideways movement doesn't happen. I'm just not the most dextrous of people. But then I can type pretty well so I am not going to complain.

Now it's 22:11 so I definitely not writing tonight. I might go and revise the first Ben Williamson novella a little more. That's something I should definitely finish

The Intersection was at the 3 week turnaround time of Dark Hall Press so guess that's a no. Have sent it in to Nouvella. They allow simultaneous subs so I will look for other markets tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Writing, writing, writing

Tuesday evening is a good time to write. My wife is out rehearsing for the concert she's playing in second week of October, so I am all alone. And as I'm not the biggest fan of TV there aren;t that many distractions.

Okay, maybe there are the 16,000 books in my library - they are good distractions. And there are a few movies I have on DVD I've yet to see but other than that..

And before you think I might be about to mention some recent Driving game or First Person Shooter, they are never going to prove a distraction. I am not a game player. I do not own a games console, I do not have any games on my PC or smart phone. It's just not part of my DNA. I did used to play Dungeons and Dragons and other such games many years ago (with dice and character sheets, not on computers) but that's long behind.

So being alone in the house means I am likely to get some serious writing done. and so it has been tonight. Well as much as the time allows anyway.

The first bit of the evening writing didn't actually serve to add to the word count. It was me and my notebook. I jotted down where the next chapter (the one after the currently being written) as some thoughts had occurred to me.

This done I started writing. Two more sections of chapter 10 are done. Another new character introduced and the action has moved to a new city. The end result is the book now stands at 37,116 words. 1500 for the night. Not bad

Monday, 21 September 2015

Monday evening

Have managed to find a little writing time this evening. I can't say I am going to write a hugely long section of the novel tonight but I guess anything is better than nothing. And I'm getting to use the word papoose in a story - always wanted to. I guess you need to have a dream to keep you going.

Back to the writing. I have written the first section of chapter 10. The book is longer by 560 words. Now I'm going to take a small break to try to come up with a good fantasy world  type place name.

Might get chance to do more later. Might not. I'm not sure I want to write any more tonight. I rather like the thought of spending some time with my wife

Word count for now is 35,636

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Good news

I guess I wasn't finished. Just as I hit send on the previous blog entry I received an email that contained some good news.

A little while ago I submitted a short story to the Literary Hatchet - a US based online magazine dedicated to dark fiction, poetry and prose.

That short story - A Day Like Any Other - has been accepted by them. My first sale since coming back to writing.

I'll post more info when I have it but for now here's a link to their website

The Weekend (other than writing)

Apparently you can do more at the weekend than write. Someone told me it was true. Well, being honest I did do a few other things.

Friday there was the start of the rugby world cup. I am a lifelong fan of rugby - even managed to play a little of it in my youth although I was never that good I will admit. England beat Fiji, even managing to get a bonus point fourth try, but it wasn't exactly convincing. They will need to play better to progress. Otherwise it will be Australia and Wales that will progress from group one. And I am enough of a sports fan to happily support Wales should this happen. Home nations should stick together after all. I would rather have a northern hemisphere winner.

Staying with rugby - Japan did the impossible. They beat South Africa. I thin I cheered more for them than I did the night before for England. I guess the English do always like to see the underdog do well.

Doctor Who is back. Yay! Although I am a little worried to hear the viewing figures were down. Every time that happens to a show I like I fear the network will cancel. So BBC - hold your faith. We want more Doctor Who. Especially when it was as good as that episode was. The Doctor, My Axeman.

Saturday nights are reserved for family film night. This weekend it had to be Avengers: Age of Ultron. The plot is one of the most predictable (even for a superhero movie) I have seen in a goodly long time; but it didn't matter one jot. I didn't care I just wanted "Hulk smash Giant Killer Robot". What's not to love.

Today - well we finished watching the season 8 DVD set of Big Bang Theory. I love this show. And I am so glad it's become such a hit. I know a lot of people like having their secret love - people do get a thrill when they find something a little underground - known to just a select few. It can give a buzz to think you are one of the few in the know.

But in TV terms that is a problem. Shows that do not attract a big audience get cancelled. So when I like something I am happy when it goes massive. As long as it doesn't change the show (like, say the way the X-Files went).

This coming season I am going to try to watch as it's broadcast rather than wait for the DVDs. I have done that the previous 2 years as it always clashed but this catch up TV should mean that's a thing of the past.

Other than that the only writing free moments (that weren't eating meals) involved watching an episode of Castle and last week's Mock the Week. Oh, and the bits of Bill Maher on YouTube rom Friday's show. I like this guy's sense of humour and a good deal of his politics. He does occasionally go off a bit for me but most of the time he's just plain funny.

Unfortunately the weekend is just about done so I am just getting the last things ready to go back to work sorted. 

Mr. Stinky Part 9 is now on Wattpad

If anyone wants to read it, the ninth part of my horror novel is now on Wattpad


Writer's Log - Sunday 20th September

I'm under orders today to write. The reasons are twofold. Firstly my wife read yesterday's efforts and wants to see what happens next. And secondly she has to do some arranging today. She's doing a concert next month and has to arrange one of the pieces for it today. They are rehearsing on Tuesday and this is her only chance to get it done.

Yeah, I'm with you. I think that the second reason is probably the main one but I'm trying to kid myself that the first has weight too.

Anyway, the book finished last night on 31,729 words. That's my starting point. Let's see how well it goes today.

Oh - first music choice of the day is Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory. One of my favourite albums of all time.12:18 - first section done. Word count is up to 32,258. That chaplet was a word under 500. Under half an hour into it today. Yeah, I know - late start. I had an update I had to do for my day job first.

The Dream Theater is doing its job well. Foot it tapping and the fingers are going fast.

When I started writing the next section of the book I realised it wasn't a new section - just a continuation of the previous short section. Revisited that last section, added the new text into it and now it reads so much better. That section now totals 721 words, and I've moved onto the next section proper. Will give a total word count when this one is done.

Current music - Dream Theater's self titled album

Another section in the bag. This one was 688 words in length. The whole book now totals 33,217 words. Or 1,500 or so on the day so far. Not bad but the later start today means catching up to yesterdays finishing total will take work.

And before anyone comments (if anyone ever comments) that quantity is nothing without quality, I am very much aware of that. I'll find out more about the quality side once I've finished draft one; read it back; revised it' read it again and sent it off to my test readers.

Now for a short break and then it will be...

One more writing session, one more section of chapter eight done and dusted. Total word count now up to 33,716. I think I've come to the conclusion that today will not be as big a day in writing terms as yesterday. It always was a hard act to follow. Two thousand words so far is still a pretty good effort. Will try for more in a little while.

In the meantime, I now have a Facebook page for my writing. Al I have to do now is figure out what to do with it.

You can find it at

how's that for a snappy URL?

17:50 Update
The afternoon has seen little writing occur. Partly cause by the facebook page listed above but mostly by me. I know where I need to get chapter eight too but getting it there wasn't working. So the section I was working on was abandoned and I walked away for a while and spoke with a friend on the phone. (He's probably going to read this at some point so I'd better be nice about him.)

Discussed writing with him - not the plot just the doing. He's read the two novels I'm sending round agents and is one of the people who wants book 2 of the sf story. Nice to know I'm not the only one hoping I get a chance to write it. I've warned him there's another book likely to be coming his way in three weeks or so - providing I get it back on track.

Anyway - after having deleted the attempt at the next section and rejigged the previous one a little, it's now on 33,845 and so I'm getting on with it

19:03 - Chapter eight is done. The novel is moving on now. Word count up to 35,076. Or 3,400 for the day.

Given that part of the day was dedicated to setting up and adding some content to the Edmund Lester Facebook page, and another part talking business to a friend that's not too bad. And I got it passed the sticky bit too. Win, win in my book.

Might be more later but I doubt it.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The World

I am a great fan of the European Union. Not the most popular of phrases for me to utter I know but it's true.

Okay I do not give it a free pass to do whatever it wants. I believe there is much about it that needs to be resolved and changed. The present migrant crisis is showing the disunity that still exists between the member states. But I like the idea of friendly nations working with each other.

For purely pragmatic reasons it is important. Up until the formation of the original European and Coal Community, most of Europe had been at war with most of the rest of Europe for centuries on and off. With technology getting more and more advanced this needed to change. And fortunately it did. Now disputes can be settled across a negotiation table. Anyway - that's the boring bit.

I like the European Union because I like people, and I like the regional differences you find when you visit. These differences are to be celebrated and cherished. I want to visit every corner of this world if I can before these differences disappear under Golden Arches. (And no, I am not blaming McDonald's for killing culture. It's just a metaphor about globalisation.)

So - onto the point. I got to thinking (procrastinating more like) when I just checked the demographics on this blog. A new country has popped up into the audience - Portugal. Fantastic. I enjoy this border crossing contacts, electronic or otherwise.

It's not a country I have been too although I do desperately want to. Maybe it will happen in the future. That's all money dependent. I'm not paid as well as I was in my previous job so I am having to consider such things a little more than I used to. Not a call for pity - BTW. I am just stating facts. I have to be more sensible now.

Still in about eight years I should be mortgage free so there will be time for all that later...

Now I should get back to my writing

Saturday update

This is determination. It is 9:18 on a Saturday morning and I'm at the keyboard. In fact I have already written the next section of Patternmaker's Daughter. Yay! Go me!

I started this morning with the novel standing at 25,876 words. One quick type later and it's upped a little to 26,447. 601 words added.

BTW = if you fancy reading any of my scribblings, the first 8 chaplets of my horror novel Mr. Stinky are available on Wattpad
 - check out

10:10 - second update. Another section is added, a short one this time. The books is now 26,946 words long. That section was only 469 words but they were useful - the book is moving.

I've been listening to Maddy Prior's album Lionhearts as I type. Every time I listen to one of her albums I realise just how much I like her voice. I've fished out Ravenchild for the next writing session.

11:22 - Third update. Another section is in the bag. Word count is up to 27,648. That section lasted a little over seven hundred words. Time to reach for another Maddy Prior album.

12:31 - Fourth update. Word count now at 28,202. The Maddy Prior phase ended after three albums. I noticed a Rolling Stones compilation album, Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass). It's playing as I type this.

14:55 - Fifth (and first post lunch) update. Word count is now 29, 039. Things are about to get going again. Transition is just about done.

Music for this section is Bruce Springsteen - many thanks to Brian Keene for reminding me (in a tweet, I'm not claiming to know him) just how good the Nebraska album is.

16:09 - Chapter eight is now done. Bruce Springsteen is good. It took Nebraska and the first disk of Live 1975-85 but I got to the end of the chapter. Word count is now at 29,654 and I've just introduced the character who will be pivotal to the next part in my lead character's story.

The next portion of writing will be brought to you by Spock's Beard's Snow album - and maybe Neal More's Momentum afterwards. Who knows.

16:47 - Just wrote the first section of chapter nine only to realise it belonged in Chapter eight. That chapter just grew longer by nearly700 words. Total word count now at 30,336

17:42 - The first section if chapter nine (that remains in chapter nine anyway) is done - 630 words long. Total length of the novel is now 30,965 words. Over 5,000 for the day. I think I might get enough time for one more section before the evening begins. I'm keen on spending at least some time with my family today.

18:15 - That's me done for the day. The second section of chapter nine is now complete. In total the book stands at 31,729 words. Or just shy of 6K today. Yay - go me.

Now it's time to eat, and then it won't be long until Doctor Who starts its new series. And then it will be time for the Saturday night family film - this week will be Avengers: Age of Ultron.

More abuse of keyboard will follow tomorrow.

The week ends

My initial plan for this evening included writing. The problem was for some reason my brain had completely forgotten about the rugby world cup starting and England playing Fiji. So the writing was delayed yet again - I know; it's terrible. And to make things worse, apart from a few moments here and there, England didn't even play all that well.

As for the writing, well there's not much to mention. No more emails from agents and publishers landed on my desk. And no one particularly seems to be reading the parts of my horror novel I've posted on Wattpad.

I'm really going to have to put some time into finding out how to promote my writing. It's not something that comes naturally to me. I don't just think of things that can get me attention. I've spent most of my life trying to avoid it so it's a bit of a radical rethink of the way I do stuff.

I'm thinking I might create a Facebook page for my writing. It could help. It probably can't hurt. So far I have this blog, my twitter account and the Wattpad thing. I might have to look at other way people promote fiction

That and do some actual writing. Tomorrow I promise will see the story moving on.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

2 days no writing

This fantasy novel induces more gaps in writing than any book I've written before. It started ok and the first 6 chapters flowed out. But 7 & 8 have been much stickier.

I think I have the basic idea down but forming the words/sentences/paragraphs to get it on paper is tricky - and not helped by the season 8 DVD set of Big Bang Theory. I'll have to admit we've watched the first two disks over the last two nights.

I will have to try harder

Recommended author 1

I've been reading science fiction, fantasy and horror since the mid 70s. In that time I've read an awful lot of really, really good novels and short fiction. I've also read a lot of bad but that's a different story and one I try to leave behind. However I thought I might periodically recommend an author that's general good. And I'm starting with Clifford D. Simak.

Simak was an American born early in the 20th Century who was first published in the 1930s and continued writing until his death in 1988.

He wrote many wonderful novels like Way Station (featuring a man looking after a staging post on an interstellar transport route), The Werewolf Principle (a sf take on werewolves - the main werewolf is an astronaut) and The Goblin Reservation (time travel).

But it is the book City that I believe every sf fan should read. City is a set of linked stories telling a whole. In the far future mankind abandons the cities to the (scientifically enhanced) dogs. They soon forget about Man to the point the stories are seen as myths.

It's a fabulous book. Go, find a copy and read it.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Wednesday writing update

No emails from literary agents or publishers today. Both a good and bad thing. Bad that still no good news; good that the number of chances I have of receiving that good news has not diminished.

Onto the writing itself - I have had a couple of things holding me up a little. The first was a problem. Chapter 7 ended the first section of the novel. Chapter 8 therefore had to move things along to where section two needs to be. Problem was how to get it there. I tried a couple of times over the past two nights and all attempted ended under the backspace key.

This afternoon though I had a couple of ideas. The first is of an entirely new story that has gone into the ideas book. The second was how to approach chaplet 8.1.

Well I can now report that chaplet is done. 576 words long and I have started the move to where I need chapter 9 to begin. Might get to write more later - depends on the second thing...

I bought season 8 DVD of Big Bang Theory. We both love this show (along with most of the planet). When it was on TV it clashed with so many other things we decided to wait for it to come out on DVD. And now it has. So disk 1 has been watched and disk 2 goes in after dinner. I might not make it back to the keyboard.

The new idea would be for a creepy little tale including a lot of the worst of human nature. Might park it for a while as everyone tells me horror is not all that popular.

Surprise Collecting Update

It's a Wednesday; not my usual day for collecting. But we had the day of work and once we'd taken care of the boring stuff I had the chance to pop into a couple or charity shops in Derby. And it was fruitful

Anne McCaffrey - The Renegades of Pern HC
Terry Pratchett+2 - The Science of Discworld 4
Chloe Neill - Some Girls Bite
Alan Dean Foster & Eric Frank Russell - Design for a Great-Day
Alan Dean Foster - Quofum
Bentley Little - Guests HC
Gordon R. Dickson - Mission to Universe
Robert A. Heinlein - The Past Through Tomorrow Vol. 1
R.A. Salvatore - Siege of Darkness
James Barclay - Dawnthief (dupe)
Jon Mayhew - Mortlock
Marion Zimmer Bradley = Exile's Song
Amanda Ashley - Shades of Grey (nothing to do with E.L. James)
Tricia Sullivan - Double Vision
Dan Simmons - The Fall of Hyperion
Mercedes Lackey - Storm Breaking (dupe)
Pittacus Lore - The Fall of Five (Trade ppb)
Brian J. Robb - Star Trek: The Essential History
Raymond E. Feist - Rise of a Merchant Prince (Trade ppb)
Dean Koontz - Darkfall

plus a couple of non-sffh books

Kate Colquhoun - Mr Briggs Hat: A Sensational Account of Britain' First Railway Murder HC
Vanessa McMahon - Murder in Shakespeare's England HC

And a DVD - Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles Vol. 1
This last one is the animated series spin off from the Starship Troopers film

Politics in the UK

A number of my colleagues assume I am a Tory. I'm not. Not to say that I fit in with any of the parties totally but there are policies from each of the main ones that I favour. Not UKIP though; I am too much of a believer in Europe to favour them.

But one thing I have been a little irritated by in recent times was the indistinguishable nature between the Tories and Labour on a range of issues. They were much of a muchness in many ways. Things have changed. If Labour are going to go the way Jeremy Corbyn is talking then there will be a definite choice for people.

I'm not saying I think people will vote for a more left wing party when they didn't vote for the centrist version in the last election but at least there is a choice.

And Jeremy Corbyn has done one thing already in PMQs that I approve of. He's vowed to put issues ahead of theatre in this tradition of the British Parliament. That can only be a good thing.

I find myself in agreement with some of the things he says too. I do think that Britain has become a little more of an unfair society over the last few years. There was a major recession and some of the people perceived to have caused some of the problems did a lot better out of it than the workers in the factories and shops at the bottom end of the scale.

Would the government have reacted so quickly to bail out businesses? Well, no. They wouldn't. I did get some of the arguments made but others were spurious, just like the general idea of trickle-down economics in general. It sounds plausible until you involve people.

I think that austerity to the level being proposed by the Tories is too much when they give tax cuts and breaks to the more wealthy. When the top tax rate was cut from 50% to 45% (over £150,000 income) at a time when the government was talking about severe cuts to public spending it was frankly appalling. Talking that everyone was in it together and then rewarding the most wealthy was wrong.

And then it was made all the worse when last year top Tories said it actually helped raise Tax Revenue. Well it didn't. Okay, that over the time from before the cut to after it the Tax Revenue did rise is true, but to say the tax cut helped raise the extra amount was poppycock. The improving UK economy did that.

So if Labour picking a left leaning leader means that debate in politics will focus on things that matter to everyday people in the UK then I am in favour.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Expense of Being a Prog Fan

I love prog rock - there, I've said it. Now this is all when and good except for when you are trying not to spend money. The trouble is that the bands I like keep releasing albums and I keep wanting to buy them.

Now not only does Neal Morse have this Morsefest 2014 4CD/3DVD monster out and Spock's Beard their latest album which I have yet to buy but Spock's will soon have a 2CD/DVD best of the first 20 years set coming and Flying Colors will have a new live 2CD/DVD set

It's going to get expensive

Writing Feedback Update

Another agency emailed back today and it's another rejection for the horror novel. Email had the usual non committal but friendly text - market is tough etc.

I've kind of been feeling negative about it all in the last couple of days. I'm spending a lot of time at the keyboard and I fear missing out on life a bit. Okay, friends (such that I have any) might say I never totally joined in with the idea of a life before but...

I am trying to remain upbeat but it's not in my personality to do so. It's a bit of an effort at times.

My wife is being wonderful (as always). She keeps telling me good things about the stories (and yes I get the bias that might exist) and she is desperate to read what happens to Elspeth - the lead character in my fantasy novel.

(Now before anyone says anything about the name Elspeth, I have always liked it.)

I have been reading science fiction, fantasy and horror for nearly four decades. I'm THAT old. I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of novels in that time. I love old school SF in particular - Asimov, Simak, Heinlein, Clarke, Henry Kuttner, Eric Frank Russell and of course the two writers I may have created my pen name to pay homage to - Edmund Cooper and Lester del Rey.

I have shelves full of their books and still would like to have a book somewhere in my library with my (pen) name on the spine, and I want to do it the way they did - through traditional publishers. I have nothing against self publishing. A lot of top novelist start this way. But I want to go old school on it.

So all I have to do is develop more staying power and keep going...

Mr. Stinky - 8th Installment now online

I've posted the 8th chaplet of Mr. Stinky to Wattpad

Hope you enjoy - leave me a comment if you do

Monday, 14 September 2015

Things just got in the way

Monday evening came and went with next to no time on the keyboard and no writing of note to mention. I tapped in a couple of paragraphs but if I got to 200 words I'll be amazed.

Part of it is the last chapter ended a phase and although I know where Ineed to get phase 2 to be in a hurry, I'm not totally happy with my first thoughts on how to do it. I will have to rethink.

But life is full of those things that take time; needing to go shopping; cooking; round trip to petrol station to fill the car and a new TV quiz on science with Brian Cox.

The last wasn't as good as I'd hoped. I'd love a really good science quiz. This one needed too much prompting in the way of clues.

So not much to report on PMD although I'm going to spend the last part of Monday re-reading the first Ben Williamson weird novella. So that's writing work ongoing

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunday report

Sunday, bright and not that early. My wife got in pretty late last night following the gig. I think that was the latest she's ever got back. Still she enjoys playing so I am not going to complain - I was asleep anyway when she got in.. I'm getting on with writing while she catches up on her sleep.

Last night I finished with the fantasy novel at 20,716 and six chapters done. Well I have added the first section of Chapter 7 this morning and the word count has increased to 21,374.

I must, must, must not get distracted by the 3rd Ben Williamson weird novella. Not that I can say I am likely to avoid it. I have the next few sections sketched out and am aching to write them. And I know I need to finish revising the first of the novellas. I've reread about 2/3 of it and just need to get through to the end and it'll be ready to submit somewhere.

Update 12:40 - Section two of chapter 7 written. Word count at 22,390. It's time for lunch

Or rather - time to pop to Tesco - we are out of just about everything. Writing will be delayed

Lengthy delay - wanted to spend at least part of Sunday with my wife. Call me crazy after all these years but...

Anyway it's 16:48 and I've just completed another section. Word count is now 23,136. That section was a little sad. I'm beginning to see what authors have said about caring for their characters. Now I'm just hoping it was the right effect on my wife she reads it later. I need a few minutes to stretch.

19:17 - Another little break - I had a chat with a friend who acts as a reader of everything we do. I've been encouraging him to give writing a go as he's as much a sf/f geek as me and does have some good ideas. So we chatted for a while. He has the two Ben Williamson novellas so I should get some feedback on those soon.

I have returned to the fantasy novel - chapter seven is getting near its end. Word count is 23,696. Now for the exposition part - there always seems to need to be one. At some point you need to fill in the background for one of the characters (and hence the reader). I'm about to start it in PMD. Now to ensure it's not too heavy on detail. I don't want to overly labour it.

One final update. Chapter 7 is done. Exposition all over (at least for now). The word count is at 25,294. Four and a half thousand words today. I have met the target I set for myself of twenty five thousand by the end of the weekend - only just though. The two thousand I write for the 3rd Ben Williamson novella kind of got in the way. Had to be done though, it wanted out.

And now I am done. Going to relax for a few minutes - spend some time with my wife and get ready for work tomorrow.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Collecting update

Saturday trawl though Coalville was successful

Kristine Kathryn Rusch - The Fey: Changeling HC
Kristine Kathryn Rusch - The Fey: Rival HC
Kelley Armstrong - Living with the Dead HC
Raymond E. Feist & William Forstchen - Honoured Enemy HC
James Herbert - Portent HC
Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane HC
Terry Goodkind - Temple of the Winds
Sherrilyn Kenyon - Acheron
Celia Freeman - Legacy of Kings
H.G. Wells - The History of Mr. Polly (I love this book)
Philip Reeve - Mortal Engines
Philip Reeve - Scrivener's Moon
Dean Koontz - The Husband (dupe)
Robin Hobb - Assassin's Apprentice (dupe)
Hilary Norman - Blind Fear
Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski - Star Trek: TNG - Dyson Sphere
John Gideon - Greely's Cove
John Tigges - Book of the Dead
Garry Kilworth - Spiggot's Quest
Jon Courtenay Grimwood - Pashazade
The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF
R.A. Salvatore - Promise of the Witch King
Meg Cabot - Love You to Death
Meg Cabot - High Stakes
James Clemens - Wit'ch Fire (dupe)
Anne McCaffrey - The MasterHarper of Pern (dupe)
Andy Remic - Soul Stealers
George Lucas & Chris Claremont - Shadow Dawn (dupe)
Richard Osborne - Demolition Man
Una McCormack - Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Brinkmanship
Frank Herbert - Dune Messiah
Frank Herbert - Children of Dune (dupe)
Frank Herbert - God Emperor of Dune (dupe)
Richard Laymon - Midnight's Lair
Richard Laymon - The Cellar (dupe)
Juliet E. McKenna - The Gambler's Fortune (dupe)

Not a bad haul. It might assuage the urge to go out to a car boot in the morning. You never know. I am undecided. It did rain overnight and again this morning so the ground will be a little wet tomorrow - even if it stays dry until then.

We will see

Writing Update (ongoing) - Saturday 12th September

Well as stated in my previous post I had an idea for how to start another Ben Williamson story. I'd had the basic plot sorted a couple of weeks back but no idea of how to start it. Well on the way back from Coalville and the Saturday book trawl I had it.

And there went any chance of getting straight back on with the Patternmaker's Daughter.

Well an hour and a half or so after sitting down I have 2,204 words of 'I Had To, Don't You See', the third Ben Williamson novella written. No I am going to take a short break and I hope to be back in Redgrove (the town where PMD is set) when I get back to the keyboard.

BTW - I had some new music playing as I was writing. I played a live concert by Italian prog band  Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM for short) and then the Night album by Gazpacho - another prog band or art rock - whatever you want to label them. I just like them so I'm not too worried by the label.

Update 2 - I took a bit of a break, ate dinner and watched a little College Football on ESPN. Before you ask, yes I am English. I just happen to like some North American sports. I'm still a mad cricket and rugby fan - I just also like American Football and Baseball. I quite like Ice Hockey and Lacrosse too. Although I really cannot stand Basketball. I'm sure it's great to watch, just not me.

Anyway, got back to writing and actually managed to open the file for The Patternmaker's Daughter. Tonight it started at 15,948 words. I have now completed chapter 5 and the word count is up to 17,742. Not a bad little writing burst. All in this afternoon and evening I am little over four thousand words in. Just split over a couple of stories.

Going to recharge for a few minutes - stretch out these aching shoulders and write more later.

One more section done - the first of chapter 6. Book now stands at 18,434. This chapter is going to be less action focussed than the previous one but hopefully no less intense. Will find out what my wife thinks at some point tomorrow. Break time...

Update 3 - Another section done - a little shorter this time. Word count up to 18,853. Now for the main part of this chapter. When this one is done the first part of the book is over and the action will move on.

Update 4 - PMD is in full swing. Not even thinking of the 3rd weird novella. Well okay, I am thinking about it but I keep resisting the urge to swap files. The start of the courtroom scene in the fantasy novel is done. Word count at 19,540. 700 words or so in that section.

Update 5 - 12:23. I think I have given up on any chance of going to a car boot in the morning. I bought enough books today to not worry about that, even if there aren't many more times when I will have the chance to go. Writing tonight went well so I wasn't going to curtail it.

Anyway the book now stands at 20,716 words. Chapter six is done. Nearly five thousand words in PMD today. Over two thousand on the novella. Busy, busy, busy.

Not sure if I will write any more tonight.

What is wrong with me?

I am about 20% into writing the first draft of a young adult fantasy novel. I think it is going well. My wife likes it, likes the lead character, and wants to find out what's going to happen to her. I'm in the house on my own as she has a gig tonight in Skegness (a wedding) so had already left and won't be back until later.

I've done my mad buying session for the day - have five carrier bags of books behind where I sit for later blogging about and sorting into the collection or swaps piles. I have much good music to listen to, enough liquid (mineral water* and pepsi max) and everything is good to go on me writing the fantasy story.

So what do I do. On the drive home from my mad book buying spree I get the idea for how to start one of the other Ben Williamson stories that I've had mashing around my brain. And it won't let me go. so I am writing that. AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! I think I must be mad. I will get to the fantasy novel, just a bit later.

*yes, I am one of the idiots who buys mineral water in bottles rather than just use a water filter. I persuade myself that I prefer the taste.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Writing Free Day

I had thought I might add another thousand or more words to my novel today but I forgot something. I had a dental appointment.

Cue a new crown and a filling and my head was full of anaesthetic and I felt a little woolly; certainly not good enough to do any writing worth keeping. So I found another agency to send the sf novel into and then spent the evening with my wife watching a Stephen Fry travelogue documentary about Central America.

Tomorrow I will write - and maybe buy more books

I did get a chance to do a little thinking about one of the other story ideas and add some scribbles to the notebook containing that world's bible. I'll add more in a bit and then sleep

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Patternmaker's Daughter - status report

Today started at 15,326 words

First section of the evening took it to 15,948

Second section, just finished, has increased this to 16,695 and I'm out of time for the night

More tomorrow. I'll spend a little time later planning the sf story a bit more.

And, yes I must get onto the revising of A Parallel Life. I have somewhere in mind for submission

Thursday - first a worry then onto writing

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am prone to worrying. It seems to be one of the things I am truly good at. Occasionally it is helpful - often actually. I test and retest my work (day job time) more than most and I think this does me good. And I am known to plan things well at times.

But there are times when it threatens (and sometimes succeeds) to get away. Two of them are relating to writing. Firstly I am having one of those days when I feel I'm never going to get a novel published. I need to avoid this as if it gets too bad I will turn it in to a self fulfilling prophecy. I will expect it to fail so I will make it fail. It would stop me writing if I let it.

And the silly thing is, I know that if I did manage to get published and was needing to write more books I KNOW that I could produce them at a good pace. I get the ideas for stories. The notebooks I've been jotting them down in can testify to this. There are dozens and dozens of plots scribbled down in them. I find the writing (tip tap keyboard part) a lot easier because I have everything already decided before I start.

So - let's put that one aside. I am going to continue doing this.

The other worry is this blog. I fret that it's a bit dull. I'm never sure what to put on these things. I've read through published writer's blogs but a lot of their stuff seems to be about the events they are going to in support of their books etc. They have tales of conventions, book signings, fan societies, publisher meetings, book releases - in general all of the stuff I do not.

If I was to tell you all about a typical day for me at my day job it wouldn't make the most entertaining read. Not that my job is boring. I actually enjoy what I do (I view it as a series of puzzles to solve). And I like the company I work for. Bizarre I know.

So I tend to restrict it to random thoughts and updates on the writing - which mostly means detailing a growing word count. but that's not a riveting blog entry. Or to put it another way - hmmh!

Now if I started typing all about the next story I am thinking of writing - a sf space station based tale - it would be equally pointless. I might never read it and you, if there is a you reading this, might never get to read it even if I do. It would have to beat the publishing lottery for that o be a possibility.

So if my blog gets a little dull from time to time I can only apologise.

Now - the writing

Mr. Stinky has had 14 reads in total. Not very high. I'm going to have to look into finding ways of driving some traffic its way.

Mr. Stinky does still have one or two submissions outstanding. But I am not all that hopeful. I have had a couple of agents email me back saying they quite liked the first part and the synopsis sounded good but horror is a next to impossible sell.

Against the Fall of Empire has a few more open submissions, including one where the agent has requested the whole novel. So I am little hopeful. It has had eight rejections though.

The Intersection has only been submitted to one publisher so far - agents don't seem to be all that interested in novellas. As that publisher has an exclusivity requirement I am holding off sending it elsewhere until I hear back.

The Patternmaker's Daughter. Start of the evening was at 15,326. One more section written and count know at 15,948. I am setting myself a goal for the end of the weekend of 25,000.

I'm thinking that the full length of this one will be about 80,000. It would make it the shortest of the novels so far

Adam's Death 100,000*
The Day Before Tomorrow 85,000*
When the Snow Came 92,000* (projected - never revised)
Mr. Stinky 96,000
Against the Fall of Empire 122,000

*will not see the light of day

Hoping to have it finished, revised, read by my friendly test readers and submitted by end of October. If I can just hold out on starting the sf novel that is. I think I will enjoy that one more. I've never tried creating aliens before.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Mr. Stinky part 7 now online

The 7th part of horror novel Mr. Stinky is posted to Wattpad

Hope you enjoy it - and please, leave a comment if you read it.

Keeping it familiar - one challenge at a time

Earlier today I went into Ashby and found a bunch of CDs. Most of them were from bands I'm vaguely aware of and know I kind of like but am not hugely familiar with. I'm talking about acts like Elbow, Incredible String Band, the Dead Weather and Maximo Park.

Now I like new music. I'm always on the lookout for it. Nothing gives me more pleasure than finding something new that is amazing - even more so if I find I'd missed them all these years and there are lots of albums to catch up on. It's happened a few times over the years. I never found Tom Waits until I was in my thirties. Frank Zappa about the same time.

But when I'm writing I'm finding listening to new music is one challenge too far. I need something familiar in the CD player. So I've put all the new ones aside for now. I'll play them when I'm searching for places to submit my fiction to. For now I am writing and I want something I know well.

So I've popped the best of Grand Funk Railroad into the Cd player and I'm heading back the novel.

Wednesday 9th

We have a day off work today. The initial plan was to spend a relaxing afternoon together. The reality is different. It always is somehow. But this time it is for a good reason.

My wife plays saxophone and clarinet in a jazz/swing band. Recently she heard of a soul band that needed a saxophone dep for this coming Saturday. Now she knows a lot of soul. Who can have lived through the past four decades without hearing a lot of Soul music? But she has never played any.

So she is spending the day today (as well as tomorrow and Friday evenings and all of Saturday before she has to set off for the gig) preparing for it.

A shame in some ways - I do like spending time with her but I know how important music is to her. So I am in my office for a wholly unexpected writing session.

So far I've edited the previous chaplet a little and added another. The word count at 13:56 is now 11,628.

15:32 - Short break over - writing recommenced. The chapter is progressing okayish. I think it will probably need to be revised heavily once I've finished but I need to get passed it so I can write the more fun parts (for me anyway - hopefully it will all be okay to anyone reading it).

Anyway the word count now stands at 12,332. I think there are possible another two chaplets and chapter 4 will be done. Quick change of music and another few minutes or re-arranging the books in my library and I'll be writing again.

16:38. Chapter 4 is complete. The word count is now at 13,031 words. Time to sort out the Terry Pratchett books.

20:09 - After time off for food (including the annoying bit of having to cook it) and watching a little TV with my wife, Chapter five is well underway. The first section of it is done and my word count is up to 13,672.

Not the freest day for writing I've had - especially given I had the day off work. But it has seen 2,400 words added. And I am determined to get this over 3,000 for the day. After a little break that is.

21:33 - another chaplet done. Chapter five now 1,277 words long and the book as a whole is up to 14,315. I'm over three thousand on the day. Not too bad. Hope I have it in me to do one more section.

22:18 - getting towards the crux of chapter 5. But time has gotten away from me for the night. Word count is up to 15,326. My hopes of three thousand for the day are surpassed. 4,200 today. 12,000 words since Saturday. Not a bad effort.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Tuesday writing progress - September 8th

The Patternmaker's Daughter now stands at 11,200 words - 750 ish added so far this evening.

I did think about concentrating on revising A Parallel Life, the first Ben Williamson weird novella I wrote. It deserves to be polished and I have a potential home for it in mind (for the submission anyway, I'm not so presumptuous to think they will accept it).

But before started I had an idea for how I could start the next chaplet of PMD, and as it was a bit of a tricky one mood wise I thought it best to give it a go before lost the incentive/impetus/will/determination/avocado (one of those words is probably right).

Well that chaplet is done and I think, barring a few revisions I'm sure later, good to go. Now can move it on to where need chapter five to start. The end of chapter five will see the first act of the book done and the plot move on both geographically and fantasy content wise.

Just going for a short break - give the neck a rest - and then I'll try to do the next one.

Andy Goode

I've just seen the news item on the BBC Sports website about Andy Goode's retirement. I was a little shocked. I'd hoped to see another few games with him playing. He's been one of my favourite players since his time at Leicester Tigers, the team I've supported since I was a kid. And before anyone claims I jumped on the successful team bandwagon like some people are want to do, I want to say I lived in Leicester when I started to follow them (before they became the team in English rugby) and I still live in Leicestershire so they are my local side.

Anyway I digress. Andy Goode was a brilliant player; tough and physical and a superb goal kicker. I will miss watching him play.

The news story is at

Monday, 7 September 2015

Iron Maiden and Soul Music

Those topics might not seem connected and there's a good reason. They aren't; other than temporally - as in they both featured heavily in my life this evening.

The new Iron Maiden album is out and I bought a copy this evening. It's playing as I type these words. On one listen through I can say it's not bad. Doesn't have the kind of scream-along choruses of years gone by, but still very enjoyable. My foot has been tapping since it started.

Now I just need Dream Theater to release their next and I'll be happy. Oh, and then a new Transatlantic, Flying Colors, Flower Kings, Neal Morse - I could go on. I might have to fill in some of the gaps in my Frank Zappa collection too.

Right - onto Soul Music. My wife plays Saxophone in a Jazz/Swing band. She's just got the opportunity to play as a dep in a Soul Band this coming Saturday in Skegness (at a wedding I think). So I am going to have a fair amount of time this coming weekend to do some serious writing.

I'd better set myself a target word count. I think I'd like to get the Patternmaker's Daughter to 25,000 words.

Hmmh - the Iron Maiden album has go to the track Shadows of the Valley. The intro sounds a lot like Wasted Years. It soon changes but that start is a bit close.

Monday Writing Update

I don't have much time for writing tonight. Unfortunately a number of mundane tasks are getting in the way - shopping for instance.

The Patternmaker's Daughter did get a brief addition. I have made the changes based on my wife's read through last night and I've written the first section of chapter 4. The word count now stands at 10,447 words. This chapter though is going to be a tricky one. I might have to do a bit more thinking than usual.

Thanks to the rather delightful Paranormal Fiction Author K.J. McPike (go to her website at I now have a lead on another market to submit my stuff to. I think I'm going to send in the first Ben Williamson novella. That does kind of mean I have to finish revising it. That gives me the impetus to do it though. Which is another reason for not much writing tonight. I'm going to head straight off to do the read through.

No news on any of the current submissions though. Still better than a rejection I guess

And with regards the future. I was watching a TV programme last night after finishing chapter 3 of PMD and it was a little boring. I'm not going to say what the prog was, but I am grateful that it did not hold my attention. My mind wandered a little, mashed together about four or five different ideas and I have the plot of a sf detective novel in the notepad. Now I will need to get PMD finished quickly so I can get started on this one.

Can't say I know whether I will ever see any of these published, but whilst they keep popping into my head I am going to try to keep going. It could be a lot worse. Knowing you have a publisher wanting to publish your work but not having an idea worth writing would be worse I feel.  I do at least have the fun of seeing the word count grow and the story unfold. And my test readers seem to like the stories...

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Wattpad update - Mr. Stinky chaplet six now posted.

The sixth chaplet of Mr. Stinky is now on Wattpad

The Netherlands

I just got curious about the page view stats on my blog. I noticed that a new country just appeared in the list - the Netherlands. That made me smile.

I love the Netherlands. I've been there many times on holidays - yes I know it's not the typical choice. But trust me you should go. They are a wonderfully friendly people. And the country is beautiful. I dare anyone to go to Dordrecht and not find it a wonderful city.

I was last over in the Netherlands in May/June and had a wonderful time. We all did. We stayed in a small town called Oosterhout, or rather just outside. The cottage we hired was perfect. It was surrounded by farmland but no more than a kilometre to walk into the town centre where there were plenty of bars and restaurants. Idyllic.

And it is ideally suited to visit many wonderful cities - to be honest most places in Holland are. It's not a big country.

Anyway we went to Dordrecht, Utrecht, Middelburg, Goes, Delft, Leiden, den Haag / The Hague, 's-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg and a few more besides.

Next year one of our holiday options is to base ourselves somewhere around Zwolle and explore further north. I might get outvoted though. My wife likes the thought of driving to Liechtenstein.

Anyway, I'm distracting myself. Back to writing

Sunday writing progress

Relatively early start to the day. I didn't get up early enough to think of a car boot sale. No great loss - the ground didn't look all that dry yesterday.

Anyway I am going to work on the YA fantasy today. I left the story yesterday with two chapters written and  5,264 words on the page.

Let's see how it goes today.
Okay - initial update. First part of chapter three written - word count up to 5,811 words. Short break time

Second update 10:59. Second part of chapter three done. Word count now 6,458 words. These short sections seem to suit the mood of this book. Problem is they seem to take me as long as a 1,500 words section of The Intersection did. Hope that means it's more than twice as good. Anyway, over a thousand words added by 11am Not too bad.

Third update 11:36. Another chaplet done. Word count no at 7,004. Going to take a break

Fourth update 12:35 - Chapter three is probably two thirds done. The word count is up to 7,724 and the next section will include a big beastie. Once I've wandered around for a bit first though. And maybe had breakfast.

Update 13:18 - Word count is now 8,551. Time to eat. Although I can't really call it breakfast anymore. Lunch

Not a bad morning. Over three thousand words added.

Update 16:36 - Chapter three is done. Word count 9,989. Now to convert it to a pdf and pop in to let my wife read it.


Now I am a big cricket fan and English. So you might think I am going to take a biased view of Ben Stokes' dismissal in yesterday's ODI. Well I'm going to disappoint you.

I've watched and re-watched the dismissal in both normal speed and slow motion. And I've read the comments from both Australian and English fans. Well I have an opinion and having a blog I feel I am valid in giving it. And my opinion is that I would not have argued with the umpires if they had given him NOT OUT and I am not arguing with them for giving him OUT,

Ben Stoked prevented the ball from having a chance to break the wickets. That is a fact. Whether it would have hit the stumps is irrelevant. He prevented it from reaching that far. Now the question is whether the action was deliberate. On a personal note I do not believe that it was but I can understand when people think it was. He did almost catch it after all.

So it is a judgment call and isn't that what we have umpires for? These men are there to make the judgment calls. And it wasn't as though one of them made a snap decision. There was an on field debate and then they went to the third umpire and he used all the technology he had and between them they made a decision.

You can agree with it or not but it's the system. And yes it did affect the game. But games can turn a dozen times on many such incidents -  dropped catch, a mishit drive.

I am sorry England lost. And I am sorry that there was controversy that marred a good win for the Australians. They played well and they played to the letter of the law - surely the professional thing to do. After all these guys are professionals. We are long past the age when the gentlemanly thing was the key driver of cricket.

No one walks when they know they are out on a marginal decision any more - not unless the umpire gives them out. And often not even when the out is a blatant one. Stuart Broad got away with a corker in a previous Ashes series. But he played the letter of the law and waited for the decision. Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith did likewise in my opinion and good for them, They are supposed to play this game to win after all.

It is sad that the phrase "It's just not cricket" no longer has any relevance to the game itself but if that's the case then it should apply all round.

So - do I agree with the decision - not wholeheartedly, I saw enough doubt in it for me that it was deliberate. Do I accept the decision - YES.

Now let's move on. Australia are two nil up in the series. Hopefully England can use this to fire them up for game three.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Writing progress Saturday 5th September

My wife is out tonight playing a gig in Wales. As a result I am all alone for the next few hours. I am intending to use the time to make a decent go at the fantasy novel The Patternmaker's Daughter.

A little over a week ago I start this novel - before putting it aside to finish the weird novella. As a result I start tonight with one chapter written (which my wife has read and enjoyed - but she might be biased).

Before clicking a single key in its direction there are 2,378 words. I can't say I am likely to write too much of this. I am finding it hard to get into the head of this character - possibly because at no point in my life have I been a thirteen year old girl. But if I can get it to 5,000 words I'll take that.

Just going to change the CD playing (was Blues Traveller, now Primal Scream) and I'll get going. Maybe I should have picked something folksy to get me in the fantasy mood. Nah! I'll stick with Primal Scream for a bit

Will post updates as they happen

Update 21:27 - 3,411 words.

This story is definitely not as easy to write as the sf novel or Ben Williamson stories. I am having to work a lot harder at this. Hopefully it will work out as I like the idea of the story I've created. If I can tell it I think it could appeal to people - well okay, I think it could appeal to my wife. I write for her after all.

I'm going to take a short break as my neck is complaining about being hunched over a keyboard on a Saturday night. Think I might sort out a few more books (reorganising my library a little).

Update 22:47 - 4,538 words.

Time for another stretch. The story is going okay still very much in the set up phase. Once this chapter is done though it'll be time to start to get the story going. I think I'll have allowed enough time with the lead character to have something actually happen.

I think I'll be going a little mainstream music-wise with the writing of this story. I found that with the sf novel. I needed the familiar, the comfortable and the non-challenging. Some of the out there jazz in my collection will be staying unplayed until this is done.

Right now I've opted for some 1970s Billy Joel. I will defend my liking of this man's music (up to Innocent Man). Listen to Piano Man or Scenes from an Italian Restaurant or New York State of Mind. Anyway - stretch time

Final update 23:48 - The second chapter is finished. The word count is now 5,264.

I am done with writing for the night - at least for the keyboard part. I am going to go mull over what happens next. The action is about to start and I want to make sure I get it as right as I can.

More tomorrow.

Saturday Collecting Update - Sept 5th

Not much of a chance to hunt this weekend although I did have a few minutes free this morning. So I hit some of Ashby's charity shops. The result was a large pile of CDs (John Mayall, Elbow, Primal Scream, Simon & Garfunkel and many others) and a small pile of books

Books were
Kelley Armstrong - Living with the Dead
Kelley Armstrong - No Humans Involved
John Saul - In the Dark of the Night
Iain M. Banks - The Algebraist
Will Baker - Shadow Hunter

Ian Mortimer - The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England

The last one is not a sf book, but a straight history book. You never know when stuff like that will come in handy. When I was writing a week ago I needed to some common herbs with medicinal properties that could be found in England. Walk into the library and there were two or three books I could choose from.

Might go out in the morning. All going to depend on the weather and whether I wake up.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Friday Writing Situation - plue head talk

Well one of the two Ben Williamson weird novellas is revised and submitted. I am still holding fire on revising the other. The Intersection is the better of the two so I want to concentrate on that one submissions wise. Not to say A Parallel Life (the other one) is a bad story. I think it's okay; weirded my wife out a little so it must have done something right. But Intersection is jut a little better. Gets into the Roald Dahl meets Zoran Zivkovic territory.

Re-read the opening chapter of The Patternmaker's Daughter, my YA fantasy idea. It seems pretty good. I might give it a try tomorrow. I have the evening free as my wife is off playing a gig somewhere on the Welsh border. She won't be back 'til late whereas I should be back at about 6pm. So a good six hours of writing time should be available; more if I stay awake. That all depends on whether I have a desire to hit a car boot sale on Sunday morning. I might not bother and just concentrate on the writing.

I need to not stop writing for more than a day or so. I have admitted something on this blog many, many moons ago. I have a tendency to depression. It's not fun just one of those things. Well this writing lark seems perfectly suited to exacerbating those tendencies. You spend hours and hours, week and week, trapped in a small room typing away. You put everything into it; literally. This is part of you. Then you have the soul destroying bit of trying to get it published.

Now everyone I have communicated with in this effort has been wonderful; friendly folks all. But essentially it's been rejection after rejection - or worse waiting for no reply. In days gone by this has been enough to stop me writing completely. Five years ago it did.

I'd been writing and gaining a little bit of success for about three years; many short stories published, as well as dozens of articles and reviews all to paying markets. Then my head went a bit sideways and I stopped writing - for four years plus.

I didn't do nothing in that time. After a while I started a company buying/selling sf collectables, comics, art glass and pottery and modern art prints. It didn't do too badly. I even had to pay the tax man his share of company profits.

Anyway head vaguely back to normal and not wanting to spend all my free time on the business, I sold up. That was about 16 months ago. Well I started writing again - yehay!

The first three novels are best left in the deep, dark recesses of my hard drive. Let them fester. They served their purpose. I proved to myself I can complete a novel length piece. The fourth was Mr. Stinky which has been the unlucky recipient of a good number of rejections from agents - even if some said some quite nice things about it.

Novel five was Against the Fall of Empire, my sf "blockbuster" (as if). I am hoping it will be the first of a series but I've decided not to write the others if the first is not going to get published.
I had a bad few months So I wrote the Ben Williamson novellas. And that brings me up to date.

Except for the head thing. That's a little weird. I went a bit out of things in March. Pressure in a number of ways got to me and I made some odd decisions. Nothing too bad - nothing irretrievable, but I wasn't coping well.

I am getting back into things again and this time have used the writing as one way of helping rather than it disappearing. But I am a little worried that I do not have the thick skin or infinite resolve it seems that are almost as important as having a good novel. I keep getting worried I might run away from writing again as it is a very negative experience.

I'm hoping Wattpad helps. I am posting the horror novel Mr. Stinky to it gradually in sections. So far I have posted five but it has not been inundated with readers. And this is where I have to admit a second shortcoming on my part. I am not a sociable person. I do not have a huge number of friends. In fact I could count them on one hand. I have no family beyond my wife and her parents - the perils of being the only child of parents who were older than average when I entered the world (not looking for sympathy BTW). It does mean I am struggling to get people to read either this blog or the story.

On Wattpad, despite my earlier post which states that someone has read it, I am not sure that the logged entries constitute anyone other than me.

At least I know with this blog that some people are reading it - Blogger gives me a geographic breakdown of the people viewing it and I can categorically state I am not resident in the United States, France, Germany, South Korea or Ukraine - the countries when most of the views happened. The ten in the UK could be me. But the others - someone is out there (very Mulder).

Anyway to get back to my rambling before it hit a tangent, I am trying to remain determined. I have a number of ideas I would like to write over the coming few weeks and months. I just hope that at some point some people out there in the big, wide and very scary world get to read them.

In the done pile
1 Horror Novel
1 SF Novel (intended the first of a series of at least 3)
2 Weird Novellas in the Ben Williamson series.

Ideas plotted in various notebooks
1 YA Fantasy novel (underway, 2,400 words done. Intended as the first in a trilogy - what other series length would you expect)
3 More Ben Williamson Novellas
2 Horror Novels (both part written but stopped when I was told horror is a tough sell)
1 SF space opera series (plots for 2 books sketched out - I destroy the Earth in chapter 1, very Hitchhikers)
1 weird novel of 1970s childhood (wonder why I picked that era)

The list goes on. I keep a pile of notebooks by the side of the bed, plus one in my car and others just around just in case.

So I need to remain determined. Else I could let this all go. I must keep at it. One day it will work. And before anyone asks - I AM NOT GOING TO CONSIDER SELF-PUBLISHING.

If you want to help - follow me on twitter

or head over to Wattpad and post a comment

or post a comment here




Mr. Stinky Part 5 on Wattpad

I've just posted the fifth chaplet of my horror novel, Mr. Stinky to Wattpad

Now I need to think up some ways of getting more people to read the damned thing

If you have any ideas let me know

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Prog Rock Chart

There's a prog rock chart. I can't say it raised more than a casual interest in me, even though I'm a mad prog fan. I hadn't even particularly noticed the lack of one.

There's a news story on the BBC site about it at

Tame Impala have the honour of being the number one on the first ever chart. Not a band I've liked all that much. The vocals just don't do it for me. I do own three of the albums on the chart (Roger Waters, Symphony X and Pink Floyd) and I've been considering buying the Muse album.

Prog is an odd music form. A lot of people hate it. And a lot of prog fans are MAD prog fans. I might look as though I come close to being a MAD fan. I do have a lot of prog albums but there are some things that I know I disagree with  a good deal of my fellow fans that might ban me from MADness.

I happen to like the Yes albums that go a bit mainstream - like 90125 and Big Generator. I was probably the right age when they came out. And I'm listening to It Bites as I'm typing (Once around the World). Definitely showing my age. If I said I like Marillion too I guess I am really telling you when I was a teenager.

Anyway I like the music I like and that's that. Now where are my gong CDs?

Writing Update - Thursday 3rd September

Tonight I finished the revision of the weird novella The Intersection. The final length was 30,600 words (give or take). I have just submitted it to Dark Hall Press. They like exclusivity so that's it for the novella for the next three weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I got another reply from an agent about Against the Fall of Empire today - from Andrew Lownie. Friendly little email and not a bad turn around time. One month and two days since submission. You can't complain about that.

Going to have to spend some more time soon looking for other places to submit - probably concentrating on Mr. Stinky, the horror novel I've started to serialise on Wattpad.

It's had five reads on Wattpad although no one yet has commented or emailed. Not sure it's all that easy to find. Might have to put some work in to researching how to generate traffic to the story - and this blog I guess.

The next Ben Williamson story (if I write it) is looking like it could be a good one. I think I am going to hold off though until I get someone interested in the first two. Although I do have this idea of grouping three stories together into one book. (Wishful thinking I know.) The two existing stories (both impossible) feature the same lead guy and both start and end on the same dates in the same world. The two or three ideas I have for more Ben stories would also fit this. Could be an interesting set - even if I say so myself.

Fourth part of Mr. Stinky online

I've just posted the fourth chaplet of my horror novel, Mr. Stinky to Wattpad

Ben Williamson 3

I've recently written two novellas featuring the same lead character. Both of them feature an impossible plot with weird elements. I should have the latest of them revised tonight - tomorrow at the latest, then I can submit it.

I was intending of them getting on with the fantasy story but a third Ben Williamson story keeps jumping into my head. Decisions, decisions

I probably will go with the fantasy story even if only for the fact it gives me another option for finding a publisher or agent. I might not write with specific markets in mind - I can only write what comes into my head- but I think I should opt for the most marketable of two options if I have them.

It sounds a bit mercenary but I do want to see one of my novels/novellas in print

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Books question

I've been collecting science fiction, fantasy and horror books for nearly four decades. I have several. But I'm wondering where they are all going now.

A decade or go there were lots of second hand book shops. Today most have closed. Charity shops ten years back would have lots of old A-format sf paperbacks, now you see mostly the B-format supermarket friendly books.

I want to find the Clifford Simak books, the Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, Lester del Rey, Samuel R. Delaney, Edmund Cooper, Robert Heinlein, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Sheckley, Harry Harrison, A.E. van Vogt etc that I used to pick up easily.

They must still be out there. I hit car boots looking for them but most books I see are 50 Shades of Grey variety or Katie Price biographies or boy band picture books.

Fingers crossed I find them

Off topic - Music - Spock's Beard and Neal Morse

I love music. I particularly like Progressive Rock

A few years ago I stumbled across a band called Spock's Beard. They released an album called Snow just after I heard them for the first time. Now I love this album - still play it regularly. I bought the Transatlantic albums (featuring Mike Portnoy, of Dream Theater at the time, another favourite band of mine). Loved those too.

But unfortunately for me not long afterwards Neal Morse, keyboard player, singer and songwriter in both bands left them to go solo. So I thought I'll buy his solo stuff.

The first solo album Testimony came out and it's a bit Christian. I don't have a particular problem with that. I might not be a Christian but I have no problem with anyone having a belief in whatever they want. My issue was that, it just didn't have the edge of Snow. It sounded a bit saccharin to me. So not quite as good as Spock's Beard.

I also bought the first post Neal Spock's Beard album - Feel Euphoria. It's not bad - again not as good as Snow, but not bad. But it too lacked that edge. I liked Octane too.

Move on a few years. Neal Morse albums have gotten better and better. Momentum is great, the Grand Experiment is great. Transatlantic have reformed and their last two albums are great. So all is happy, happy for me here.

Spock's Beard though...

I've listened to the two songs on Youtube from their latest album and it's a bit mixed. I quite like Bennett Built a Time Machine. Nice melody, good touches of whimsy in the lyrics. Happy with that.

But Minion - oh dear. It sounds like someone was trying to make the most archetypal Kansas song there was. It's like you've photocopied Wayward Son over and over 'til it's got blurry.

Come on guys, you can do better than that.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Tuesday's Gone

This evening saw no writing at all. I spent all the time I had re-reading The Intersection, red pen in hand, teacher style.

Have done over half and have pile of pages with corrections. Will hope to finish  tomorrow eve and work on corrections Thursday. I have a publisher in mind for the submission

Then I can get on the the fantasy novel