An update on health issues, Ben Williamson, and thoughts about this blog's future

Anyone who has been reading this blog or my twitter feed or just knows me may be aware the past month has been a turbulent time. My wife had a stroke in mid January. Thankfully it was just a small one and she is recovering but it's not been an easy time for any of us. All I can say is anyone attempting to deal with a more major stroke has my utmost sympathies. It is truly frightening to see a loved one unable to control their limbs or speak. I'm just glad it was temporary and that thanks to the NHS very quickly scheduling surgery to correct the cause and prevent it causing another stroke, we have a chance of getting life back to normal.

Needless to say writing has been a very low priority since it happened. As a result the initial plans to have the sequel to the Stairs Lead Down finished and ready for a release in the spring have been torn up and thrown away. I'm going to get back to finishing the novel as and when I can but it's not going to be yet. My heart is just not in it. I hope you understand.

That said writing matters have not taken a back seat entirely. I have been discussing things with the publisher and we are hoping to replace the release of Breath of Imagined Dead (the sequel I mentioned but didn't name above) with two Ben Williamson novellas, a Parallel Life and the Intersection. They seem happy and so I've been revising the first so it's ready for publication. The latest draft is roughly half done, a little over 15K although I know one of the later sections needs a complete rewrite - it's just too wordy and slow. And once this revision is done I'm going to go over the whole again and do a final draft - hopefully the publisher will think that worth putting out.

A Parallel Life will be being put out for free - as a kind of way of getting people into what we are hoping will be a series. If you like it, the hope is, you will buy the second, and then hopefully a third, fourth etc. We will see. If it goes well I certainly won't be lacking for material to keep this series going for a while. I already have several other Ben Williamson novellas either finished at least to 1st draft, or partially written. These include

Kiss Like Judas - time travel - plotted, 9.6K of first draft written
Room 1B - alternate realities - plotted, 6K of first draft written
The Town - an offer too good to be true - plotted, 13K of first draft written
Were It Was So - editing reality - first draft completed, 30K
- social media - first draft completed, 30.5K

I think the notebook I have for Ben Williamson story ideas has about a dozen or more outlined. One I can remember goes by the title this World is Wrong.

When I get into writing a Ben Williamson story I can usually get the first draft done in about 2-3 weeks. They are so much fun to do so am hoping these first two do well enough that the publisher wants to put out more. Fingers crossed.

With regards other writing I have made a couple of submissions to publishers - one for the Patternmaker's Daughter and one for No Man's Land. The first would see me have to commit to writing several more books - it is just a book one of what could become a five book series. I'd welcome the chance to see how it goes. I have the whole series plotted out, in an outline at the very least. I want to know how the characters are going to get to where I want them to go.

Hopefully I will have more news on all this soon; and a cover shot for the Intersection (and maybe for a Parallel Life).

And then there is the final issue and that is this blog. I don't post to this blog as often as I should. I know that. But there is reason, or rather reasons. For one thing if I'm typing here I'm not writing. For another the last few weeks...we'll not go into it again. But the main reason is I'm not sure how much good writing these blog entries is doing me.

They take time and get limited screen views. In the past month there have been just 511 views. My last posting, from the 28th January has been seen just 12 times and I think one of them was me getting the URL to post to my twitter feed.

Add to this there's the fact I'm not sure words only blogging has a future. YouTube and the vlogs you'll find there have really replaced this as a medium. Before you ask I have no desire to create a vlog. Being in front of a camera is something I would rather avoid. So I have no ideal replacement for it but does that alone mean I should continue?

I think the blog has survived this far because there are times when I'm fictioned out. I have time to sit here at the keyboard and type but no inclination to create fiction. Today is one of those days. I've spent the whole afternoon on the revision of a Parallel Life and I'm spent. So I turned to blogging as I had time left. But I know I could be spending that time at least as productively doing other things. For one thing I could be trying to find more places to submit my novels. After all they're not going to see if they remain only on my hard drive.

So I'm going to spend a little time contemplating whether I want to keep blogging. If you have any opinions either way I would like to hear them - either by leaving a comment here of on my twitter feed @ielester.

Thanks for getting this far

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