Showing posts from 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…

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 T…

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.

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 aga…

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…

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 Pr…

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…

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 includ…


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 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 st…

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 ev…

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

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 …

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…

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 wo…

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 sectio…

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 …

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 for…

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…

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 pp…

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 sa…

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,…

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

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 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 …

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 -…

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 …

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 o…

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

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…

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 Rail…

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 probab…

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 nex…

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

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.


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 gu…

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-Hertogen…

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 bi…


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 me…

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


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 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 …

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

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 a…

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 thi…

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

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'…

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