Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Writer's Block

Been a while since I last posted and I apologise for that. In truth there haven't been a major number of advances. I am still writing the sequel to Atlantis and the Game of Time, now on chapter eight. Although, I have encountered a few weeks of writers block which has slowed me down.

There has long been a debate as to whether writer's block exists or not. I, personally, think it depends on your perspective. Writers block, for me, is what I use to describe a period in which the writing doesn't flow or the periods in which I'm too distracted to immerse my self fully in the world I'm creating. Some people say that if you get writers block the it means the characters may not be right or there is some error in the general structure/ plot of the novel. For me that's not the case. I always have more than one project on the go and when I have writer's block, I can't work on any of them. So, for me, at least, it is a state of mind issue.

I usually attribute my writer's block to one of two things: having too much going on in my life, to many stresses and worries which prevent me from detaching from the real world, or my creative batteries have just run out.

I gain my inspiration through watching films, reading books and playing computer games. If I do nothing but write for a few months straight (outside of my day job), which is not uncommon then eventually my inspiration will just dry up, at which point, I just need to take a few weeks out from writing and recharge by doing other things.

For me, writer's block exists, but I can see why some writers don't agree, as writer's block has no real definition other than something that prevents a writer from writing effectively. I could call mine instead symptoms of mild stress or being overworked, but I like the term writer's block because at the end of the day, the results are the same whatever causes it, the person can't write. For me, that means that a more general term is useful.

Let's face it, if someone online messaged me and said 'you know, I haven't seen you post any new stories for a while. How come?' I would much rather say writer's block than go into a full explanation of my personal life and why I just can't seem to focus at present.

Anyway, that's my personal opinion on writer's block and why I haven't posted for a fair while.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A Versatile Blogger

Many thanks to Rosie Canning for nominating me as a versatile blogger. She blogs on a wide range of topics and highlights some worthy subjects as well as blogging on writing events.

I have only just started my blogging journey back in May this year. At this time I attended a very good blogging workshop by Emily Benet. It was a very interesting and informative workshop where she explained the main rules of effective blogging, such as update often, preferably every week. Try to stick to one topic and never run two blogs at the same time as blogging takes up a lot of time.

I apologise Emily, I straight away broke that rule by setting up two blogs. The reason I did it was that I my original intention was to create a creative writing blog about my writing and the process of publication of my novel, but there is also another part of my life which important to me which is my gamer life (computer gaming). The two topics do not go together and yet I gain a lot of inspiration from my gaming and so I still felt it relevant.

The result is the setup you can see here, with my writing blog on the left and my gamer blog link on the right, so readers can switch from one to the other. This gives consistency on each blog and retains the ability for people to know what to expect from both blogs as set out in the title. This has come at a price as neither blog gets updated once a week but I still believe I made the right call.

On my author blog I restrict my blogging to the following topics - Writing, publishing news, book reviews, my digital art projects.

On my gamer blog I restrict to the following topics - Game reviews, online gaming experiences, movie reviews and anything else geeky- anime, comics etc

It is my next task to give seven random things about myself:

1 -I love chocolate, a lot.

2- I still sleep with my teddy bear that I've had since I was born. Sad, I know.

3- My flat is nearly always a mess, as I spend more time on writing and art than cleaning.

4- I have a drawer at work that is kept almost exclusively for chocolate bars and has a selection of about twenty different types.    

5- I never manage to eat my five a day and when that was raised to seven I gave up all hope.

6 - I once laughed in my dentist's face when he suggested I should give up sweets and chocolate. He wasn't impressed.

7 - I resent when asking for a glass of coke being asked if I want the diet version. Seriously, do I look fat and like I need to be on a diet? Don't answer that.

Here is a list of my fellow bloggers whom I nominate:

Sammy H K Smith
Zoe Harris
Emma Latham
Joanne Hall
C N Lesley
Sophie E Talis
Deb E Howell
Kate Coe

Friday, 29 August 2014

Launch Day!

Yes, I'm all excited. I feel like I've been on a sugar rush all morning. *Looks at pile of cakes* Okay, maybe I have been. Brought cakes into work and as it was to celebrate three events, book launch, birthday and final day at work before I start my new job on Monday, I had to bring in a lot.

Anyway, the copies of my novel arrived on Wednesday. I took one box home and locked the other up at work ready for launch day. I was included on the last staff newsletter so there has been quite the buzz at work about it. I've already sold a fair few copies this morning, at knife point. I've been getting photos of people with the book to make into a collage when I get home. I'll add it here when it's ready.

Here is the book trailer, although I have already linked it here before, it's good to have everything in one place.

And, for people wanting to buy a copy it is available from the following links:



Or you can order it from your friendly local high street bookshop using the paperback ISBN : 978-1-909845-59-6

Anyway, I'm very excited. This really is an amazing moment. I've been writing novels since I was 16 and finally here is one in print. Although, I will admit that I never sent the first two novels I wrote for publication owing to getting stuck in the continuous rewrite loop.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Editing Complete and Kickstarter Project

The editing is now complete on my novel Atlantis and the Game Time. My thanks goes to Caro for all her hard work, despite having a number of family issues during the process to cope with. Half of the novel was written as part of NaNoWriMo, so there were a lot of mistakes to find. Anyone who spots one in the final version, don't blame Caro, blame me.

Anyway, how did I find the editing process? To be honest, I was dreading it to start. I had all these visions of receiving a document longer the the manuscript with all the mistakes in it which needed correcting. It actually wasn't that bad. I did try to catch as many of the mistakes as I could, in my own editing phase, but spotting mistakes in your own work is ten times harder than spotting them in someones else, as you tend to skim read sentences as you intended them and end up completely blind to many mistakes.

Caro broke the editing down, sending it chapter by chapter and each chapter was easily correctable within my one hour lunch break. I'm not going to deny that she found some very stupid mistakes in there which I am quite mortified at not spotting before hand but at least I know those particular mistakes won't be in the final version.

As well as the editing, I have also handed over the final digital version of the cover so that is also now with Sammy and Kristell Ink ready for publishing. I was a little concerned with how close we were getting to the launch date but I am very happy now everything seems to be read, on my end at least. I'm sure poor Sammy will be stressing for a few weeks in my place.

Also, Kristell Ink is running a Kickstarter project to raise funds for 2015's releases. This publisher has helped a number of  first time authors, including myself, and with the Kickstarter funding could help many more. So please, if you can spare even just a pound or two then do pledge as there are many more authors out there. There are also some very nice hoodies as rewards for pledgers, one of which is already earmarked for me, and a host of other rewards; so you can get more than just that warm fuzzy feeling of donating- which is obviously very good on its own but... hoodies!

Really, I'm not obsessed with the hoodies... okay I am. I really want one. Please pledge as if we don't hit target then I won't get my hoodie and I will  cry myself to sleep in disappointment. Nobody wants that right? Yeah, okay, probably the answer to that is a yes. But I still want my hoodie!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Back Writing Again: Atlantis Sequel

Now the trailer for my novel is complete, I have finally been able to get back to writing. I've done pretty much no writing so far this year, with the time sapped by doing my book cover and helping out with the Finchley Literary Festival and then my book trailer. It's been a real busy year. And, you know, I have enjoyed doing all those things, but there were so many time when I just wanted to sit down and write. Last Saturday that time finally came and I started on a new novel. Yes, I do have plenty of other novels that need completing and should probably be finishing one of those but with the editing work I've been doing on 'Atlantis and the Game of Time' it left me really hankering after another time travelling adventure.

I've been planning the sequel in my mind for over a year now. The reason I haven't started writing before is that I only have the first half of the novel planned with little idea where the second half is going, but I guess that's fine. When I started the first novel, I had pretty much no idea where that one was going and it somehow managed to organise itself. After all, in writing, I find that discovering is half the fun. Just so long as it's not discovering a problem that means you have rewrite the whole novel, that is... Anyway, hoping that's not going to happen.

So, here comes the big question; how much can I reveal here on the sequel? Well, this novel is set not just in the past and present but also the future (relative to the book timeline not our own). There will be more pranks, popes beware, and more time travelling, back to the Aztecs, Babylon and some new time periods...spoilers! I will also reveal the title which is 'Atlantis and the Daughter of Chaos'.

Anyway, I'm currently one and a half chapters in and I'm having fun already. Here's hoping that fun continues.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Review - In Search of Gods and Heroes - Sammy HK Smith

I have just completed reading In Search of Gods and Heroes written by Sammy HK Smith, and I have to confess I would have finished it sooner had I not started to ration it when I realised I was nearing the end. I've never seen fit to ration a book before but just couldn't bear to finish this one and be faced with the realisation there was no more left to read. I have to say, I'm impressed with my self control that I managed to stretch it out the extra week. 

Anyway, on to the actual review. I really enjoyed this novel. It has a real air of mysticism and a feel of Greek mythology, with the kingdom of the Gods and the underworld battling against each other. The world is vividly painted both in description and in its history, with detail lavished in all the right areas. I’ve read many books before where the richness of the world is created at the expense of pacing. I glad to say this is not a problem here, which is one of the aspects I admire most about the book, as the detail is carefully woven in with the action and kept relevant to the current scene/ character. I never once found my attention wandering, and that really is something for me as numerous times I’ve sat down to read a book and flipped several pages then suddenly realised I had no clue what had happened in them as my mind was on something else completely while reading them. My attention span isn’t so bad that I blame myself, as when I rescan the pages I usually find that nothing much happened anyway. But this book does not hit that snag and I have to say I found that massively refreshing as I’m so used to my attention wandering at least once during a book.

The characters are strong and match well with the world they live in. I really enjoyed the contrast between Adley and Nathan, and the way the two personalities managed to enrich and draw the other out. There are a lot of threads to the story, all held together with sometimes rather tenuous interactions, and yet the overarching plot manages to keep all these threads ordered and coherent, which shows real skill from the author as the more threads a plot has, the more likely it is to unravel. I can’t really say too much more without releasing spoilers, but I will say that I found this an absorbing and exciting read. I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy read. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Novel Editing and Trailer Update

I'm now a few weeks into the editing process of my novel, and it's going well. My editor, Caro, is really nice and due to the fact that my novel is mainly a NaNoWriMo novel, there are plenty of mistakes for her to sink her teeth into. I have to confess the volume of mistakes is no where near as bad I had predicted. We're going through it chapter by chapter, and I'm easily able to do the corrections within my hour lunch break. So all is good.

Due to Kristell Ink instating new publishing guidelines, it has been necessary to go through the whole manuscript and change the formatting around. All the dialogue tags have all had to be changed which is quite the task and that did set us back a bit with the editing but things are picking up speed again now.

As for my book trailer the model of the eternal library is almost complete. Here is the most recent render:

Just missing the spiral staircase down the center and a few things on the ground floor then I can render out the video. This is only part of the trailer. There are a number of other scenes I will be modeling.

Anyway, all in all, this is a very exciting time. I'm looking forward to sharing first the trailer and then the book with everyone.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Book Trailer Update

I've been working really hard on the new models for the trailer for my upcoming novel. Not really made a whole lot of progress to be fair. I've been working on a model of the eternal library.

I started by modelling the skylight window. The eternal library is circular, which I regret now as circular things are always more a pain to model, and is spread over three levels. The only window is the skylight, the rest is lit by gas lamps. Here is my first render:

Yes, it's dark and it really isn't much but it was a start. As of now, I have the confines of the top floor modeled with a quarter of the books in place and the lights are modeled and have the relevant lighting/glow effects. I'll have to confess that texturing the book was a pain as it involved unwrapping and arranging the textures the same way 15 times in a row. I didn't make all the books the same out of laziness or to conserve texture space but because this the main library of an official organisation and they would have a certain uniformity in their book binding. There will be different colours for different sections but all the books in one section will be the same with the exception of the thickness of course.

Anyway, here is my latest render:

Anyway, true there is still along way to go, but I think it's heading in the right direction. I'm slightly worried as to if my computer will be able to handle all the books once they are arrange across the three floors, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I think once all the other items are in the scene it should look fairly decent. Here's hoping, anyway.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Atlantis City Model - Areas Cut

With two months left until the release of my novel I have just started on the process of creating a trailer for it. Unfortunately, I have decided that the majority of the areas of the city I had planned to feature will now not be included. This is due to a few considerations, the aim being the need to create a gripping not to show off all the work I put into the model for the back cover of the book. Also, because I ended up modelling such a large area, I had to compromise on quality, due to time constraints and the processing capabilities of my hardware.

The trailer will now feature only one outside area of the city, possibly, the main dock. As they have been cut I have rendered out some images of the areas cut as they are, many were not full completed anyway, due to lack of trees and in the case of the university. no door, with a window left in its place as a temporary holder.

Here are some renders of areas not in the trailer:

Here is a full city render, so you can see the size and structure of the whole thing:

Anyway, it was all good practice in getting to know a new modelling package, seeing as I trained in another at uni and hadn't touched this one. I'm not too upset. Onward and upward!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Blog Hop - Three Things I Don't Write and Three I do

I have been tagged by Joanne Hall, author of the Art of Forgetting books –Art of Forgetting: Nomad and Art of Forgetting: Rider, in a blog hop. They are both fantastic novels so check them out if you haven’t already, you will not be disappointed.

As for the topic, I have to confess the don’ts have taken me a lot more thinking of than the dos. I had to think long and hard on what I actually don’t write. There are plenty of things that I haven’t written but very few that I never would write. I am a great believer that in order to be a better writer, a person should explore as many genres and types as possible, as each will teach you to look at writing from a slightly different perspective and will strength your skills. One did immediately jump to mind, though:

I don’t write Erotica – This is a genre I have never had an interest in and, quite frankly, I usually find them offensive or demeaning. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t any deep and meaningful Erotica novels, there could well be but I’ve never come across one to date. I would never seek to write a genre that I don’t enjoy reading, and those are actually few and far between, but this is one of them. I derive no pleasure from reading about another’s perverse sexual fetishes and would derive even less pleasure from writing about them. So let’s move on.

I don’t write Mills and Boon – First, I would like to say that I have no issues with romance in general. Let’s face it, Pride and Prejudice is a romance along many other classics. My issue is with Mills and Boon specifically. I dislike the fact that every Mills and Boon book has to have shallow characters and a simple and unrealistic plot or they get rejected. I just can’t respect a writing style that forces good writers into bad practices. I feel all genres should be something to aspire to and force those who seek to write them into raising their game rather than lowering. Anyway, I could go forever on this topic but I will stop here.

I don’t write Autobiography/ Memoir/ anything else in this genre – I have long made the decision that I will never, ever write an autobiography or Memoir; the reason being there is nothing that has happened in my life that merits it and even if I one day became an author of J K Rowling status, unlikely, I still wouldn’t, as I don’t consider fame and wealth to merit an autobiography.
I believe only those who have endured real dramas/ adversity and upheavals should write their life stories. I really have no interest in what Katie Price was like as child or any other celebrity and I would not expect others to care about mine. However, I would like to know the story of say, veterans of the first and second war. Survivors of political persecution, Scientists who have struggled to make their work known and further human knowledge.  I think this is a good genre, I just think a large proportion of it is tat with the real gems too hard to find. I would never write in this genre as I would only be adding to that tat.

What I do write is also quite a hard choice as there are just so many types/ genres of writing that I do write in. Here are the three that I have chosen:

I do write Fan Fiction – For a very long time I looked down on fan fiction as something only amateurs and obsessed fans do, then I came across a writing competition on – In the Manner of – which asked authors to writing in the style of an author from the previous century. For the first time ever, I decided to write as another author in this case as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I approached the project with a feeling of dread, expecting it to be a total disaster but I emerged with not only a decent Sherlock Holmes story but also a greater appreciation of fan fiction in general.

Without a doubt, the majority of fan fiction is badly written usually involving ridiculous events/ behaviour of characters, for example, Voldermort and Dumbledoor having a gay relationship etc. I can see why fan fiction has a bad reputation but to write really good fan fiction, indistinguishable from the real works that takes true skill and involves breaking down the author’s work, analysing the tone/ style and language they use, and then using the same ingredients to create a new, original work that matches.

I would encourage even established authors to give it try, even just once, to realise just how difficult it really is to write fiction in the style of another author. I feel writing this one piece strengthened my writing more than any other, as it taught me how to analyse my work fully and to break it down into its base components, thereby allowing me to see things that I otherwise wouldn’t notice and to dig out issues and inconsistences that I otherwise would have missed.

I do write mixed genres  - What I really enjoy doing, as a writer, is merging genres. Some genres like steampunk come already merged, period/ sci-fi but others are left open. I like taking two genres that you wouldn’t usually think of as compatible and merging them; and with the number of unique storyline/plots in pure genres decreasing with the volume of novels released, I think it is becoming more and more necessary to do this. I am of the belief that for a truly talented writer no genres are ever incompatible and I find it exciting to mix and match as you can nearly always guarantee an original outcome.

I do write what I love – For me, the most important thing about writing is to write what you enjoy. Writing, for me, is all about the journey and not the outcome. I don’t care if someone offered me two million to write something in a genre I didn’t like, I wouldn’t do it. The day I start writing purely for money is the day I give writing up; because I feel that to write a truly strong, engaging story, the author has to want to be there, has to connect to characters and the events and has to love it. End of.  

I am passing the baton on to Kate Coe, fantasy writer and  Kat Hawthorne,  artist, writer and mistress of all things dark and scary - child scary and adult scary - we all know which is scarier don't we kids? and one more coming soon. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

In Search of Gods and Heroes - Launch

This is an event I had been looking forward to for a while, partly due to the cats, admittedly but mainly because I've been looking forward to meeting Sammy and the Grimbold team for a while. This was a nice relaxed meet up. We met at All Bar One for a meal before the main launch event and had some very important and in depth debates on  serious topics such as um... Doctor Who and Harry Potter. Hey! I think those subjects are important.

Anyway, we had a great chat and then moved on to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium and yes, I will admit, I have been really wanting to go here. I am a bit of a cat lover. I just really think that cat cafes are a fantastic idea and I think there should be more of them, so long as the cats are well looked after, that is. I can confirm that the cats at Lady Dinah's are well pampered and very happy little kitties.

Anyway, getting off topic here. It was great to talk to other Kristell Ink and Grimbold authors and to find out what the next stage of the publication process is like as my novel has just been handed over the editor. Nervous times.

Of course, the main focus of the event is Sammy's book - In Search of Gods and Heroes. Which I have a copy of and as soon as I've read it, I will do a review, right here on this blog. She read out a section which really whetted my appetite but, unfortunately, I can't read iut right away as I'm current embroiled in a battle to level 50 in Wildstar, so I can post a review of that but right after I will be hitting the book and looking forward to it. Might take a while, though as Wildstar is proving a time sink. I'll comment further on this in the review on my Gamer Blog.

This was a really good event. It was great meeting everyone and, of course, I got a signed copy of Sammy's book. No you can't have it! Mine!

Here is a photo taken at the end of the evening of the Grimbolders left after 11pm. Yes it was a late one:

Joel actually looks quite scary. I think it's the shadows. He's not, though, really.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Cover Confirmed

The cover for my up coming novel "Atlantis and the Game of Time" has been confirmed:

This is very exciting as, being an artist, I created the cover myself. I would just like to say that I didn't do this because I thought the publisher would do a bad job of it. In fact, I greatly admire the skill of the artists who do their covers. The quality of the covers really are fantastic. I chose to do my own because, being an artist myself, I would have been a very tricky customer. I have a vision already in my head of how things look and it would have been very difficult for another artist to match it. In fact, I usually struggle to match it myself. To give this job to someone else would have been a cruelty, to them and me. I couldn't bear the guilt of that. Saying that, there were a few points, during its construction, where I regretted that decision.

It was a lot of hard work and took up nearly every hour of my spare time for two months as I modeled every building, lamppost, bench etc. You can't see it on the cover, but I intend to render out a fly through as a promotional video, sometime in the near future, which makes this level of detail necessary, as I will be able to take people through the streets and parks. Want to see it now? Sorry you'll have to wait, but the title image of my blog is a very small section of it.

Part of the reason I chose to submit to Kristell Ink is because a number of the authors, signed, are artists as well. I see art and writing as being two sides of the same coin, both deal with creating worlds, it's just that one achieves that through words and the other through images. I don't see myself as a writer and and artist, I see myself as a writer-artist.

I feel my art skills make my writing stronger, allowing me to visualise my worlds, cities and scenes more vividly and adds a richness and grounding that some writers struggle with. I also feel that my writing makes my art stronger, as it allows me to look beyond the visuals of a scene and look at the people, civilisations and communities that inhabit these worlds, thereby adding depth to the images.

If I was ever asked to give up either writing or art and focus on just one, I would say that it is impossible as, for me, both those skills are joined and necessary to the other and cannot exist, in full form, without the other. Anyway, I'll stop here or I might as well do a thesis.  

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

London Wetland Centre

Well with my dad still here for the day, I had to find something to do so we went to the London Wetlands Centre. I have to say that it is a wonderful place and it is deceptively large. From inside it is easy to forget that you're at the centre of a capital city, with the exception of the odd Lesser Spotted Bowing 747 flying overhead. We were really lucky with the weather too. It was bright and sunny, a little too sunny, actually, as I came back with some sunburn.

My only regret with the visit is that I couldn't get close enough to one of the herons to get a nice photo but I took plenty of other photos, 74 overall. Here are a couple of my favourites:

It is a wonderfully tranquil place, and I would love to take my laptop there, one day, and do some writing. Unfortunately, my laptop is six years old and has a battery that lasts less than an hour, so I don't think it is practical at the moment.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Finchley Literary Festival - Main Event

My dad came all the way over from Bristol to hear my reading at this main event. I don't think that did my nerves any good. In addition to that, I'd been up a 6.30 that morning to clean my flat top to bottom, minus the vacuuming, of course, which I would never do at that time in morning out of consideration to my neighbors. I finished the cleaning just before 8am which is when the Wildstar head start went live. To fix the tiredness, I started with the caffeinated fizzy drinks which seeing as I'm caffeine intolerant always come back to bite me later in the day.

Anyway, the main festival was really interesting. The other authors reading told some very good story, not just from their fictional works but with stories about their real lives, growing up, and about the research they did for their novels. I'm a bit of a history junky, which I think shows in my own novel, so I love all this extra detail. I find the story behind writing a novel is quite often just as interesting as the novel itself. The downside all these interesting lives the other speakers talk of it that it highlighted just how boring mine is.

During the break halfway though, we had tea and pastries. Yes, I had caffeinated tea to add to fizzy drink consumed earlier. I could have had decaff coffee but I was in a tea mood so thought, to hell with it.

During the break the museum room, for the venue, was open. I really enjoyed walking around it a learning yet more history, this time local history. I even tried out the quill with the ink well. Then it was back to event and the looming shadow of my imminent reading.

My reading did not go the best it could. A note was passed to me just before my turn saying "Speak slowly" as I clearly must have read a little too quickly at the anthology launch the previous week. I started slow but made a few mistakes, so after the first page I just sped back up again and, strangely enough, I made less mistakes. How that works, I have no idea. I stopped earlier than planned as, to me, it felt like my reading was taking a long time, but that was probably just nerves warping my perception. Anyway, once that was done, I breathed a sigh of relief. There was only one reader left after me and then the panel discussion which was also enjoyable. Then I made a quick exit, relieved my ordeal was over.

Finchley Literary Festival - Blog Workshop

So, a fresh and wonderful Saturday morning. It started with the launch of the Wildstar head start, but that will be listed in a separate blog as I've decided to keep separate blogs for writing and art, and gaming. So, after a hasty Wildstar session I left, later than planned for my booked blogging workshop, part of the Finchley Literary Festival. To get there on time, I started at a jog.

I have to confess, I've long had an intention to, one day, do a marathon run. I've always considered myself a fit person. I walk over five miles per office day to work and back, rather than take the train or bus. This brief jog killed that hope. My calf muscles started burning before I even hit the end of my street, about a sixth of the way. Really doesn't bode well. If it takes less than 500 meters to cause that then running 26 miles is clearly out of the question. Anyway, back to topic.

I reached the venue, a little out of breath but still on my feet. I was, thankfully,just on time. I have to confess to grinning a little when a couple of people arrived late, disrupting the session, with the thought, glad it's not me, in my head.

The workshop was very interesting. There was one guy who really got on my nerves asking questions every three seconds. Mostly irrelevant questions or ones which you only needed a scrap of common sense to know the answer to, but I'm guessing that wasn't an entry requirement.

I learnt a great deal about how to layout and use a blog, which I'm hoping shows on this very blog. Including the links to Facebook, Twitter etc which, by the way, I'm not all that good a using either. A main theme of the workshop seemed to be in creating an original blog with the aim of getting it published. This is not, in anyway my intention. I write speculative fiction and write to escape the real world. I will never be writing memoir or anything similar. If anyone wants that level of detail on my life they can get it here for free.

Anyway, this post is becoming an essay on its own, so I'm going to stop here.

Lesson learned - Don't leave preparation to the last minute.

I had a really busy weekend and to avoid creating an essay long post, I've broken it down into multiple posts.

I was really disorganized preparing for the Finchley Literary Festival, even for me. I left it until final evening to choose what piece of the novel to read out at the festival. I had eight minutes to fill and when I did a test reading I noticed the piece I had intended, from chapter three, wouldn't fit. I tried abridging it, but even that came out to0 long. By 10pm I was starting to panic so I chose to just start from chapter one. This meant throwing out all the work I'd done trying to squeeze in the section of chapter three. I'm not going to deny that hurt.

I really didn't want to read out the start of the novel as it has a prank being played on the Pope. I was a little worried that someone in the audience might take offence. It is lighthearted and clearly not meant to be taken as an insult to the religion but there are plenty of oversensitive people about and I didn't want to put a stain on the festival by causing any bad feeling. However, I had to admit there was little choice. I need a self contained section that would make sense and also have a small sense of conclusion or natural stopping point.

Anyway, by the time I'd finished going through this next section, deleting areas not relevant for a short reading and giving it a final edit, as the professionally edited version is not available yet, it was midnight. I have to confess I was not feeling confident about the reading but that really was my own fault.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Anthology Launch

Okay, reporting back as promised and thankfully it all went fine. There is hope for the festival main event yet. Last year, despite reading my piece out really well, I got the shakes very badly and had to stop short. I explored different ways to cope with this. A few people suggested dutch courage. After careful consideration I decided not to go with that. It would have worked, to be fair, but it would also have only treated the symptom rather than the cause. I decided the best way was to conquer the fear itself.

My solution is going to strike most people as rather strange, and I'm not saying it will work for everyone, but I beat my fear by watching documentaries on D-day before I left. It gives a person a certain sense of perspective and quite frankly the task of reading a short piece of writing in front of few dozen people pales in comparison and makes the whole fear feel quite foolish. I guess the aim of this usual activity was to get myself to uh man up and realize what is actually important in life and worth worrying about and that this situation really was not it. I'm hoping it will stick. Anyway, drama over and back to life, or Wildstar if the servers were up but they're not so I'm going to play The Binding of Issac.

To start

Well as this is my first post I'll start off by getting the boring introduction out of the way. I'm sure I can be forgiven for telling and not showing this piece back story. So, I'm an artist and writer. I write novels and short stories, mainly sci-fi, fantasy and steampunk. I have a number of short stories published in anthologies and one novel due for publication end of august. Link here if you're interested.

There are a lot of things going on at the moment. This afternoon, I'm due to attend the launch of the third volume of the Greenacre Wrtiers Anthology, which I have a story in. In all likelihood, I'll have to read a piece out, which I'm dreading because I'm really not a good public speaker. There's worse to come next week, though, as I'm due to read out a chapter of my novel at the Finchley Literary Festival main event, along with a number of other authors. I managed to wriggle out of last year's event on the understanding that I would practice my public reading and definitely do this year's. The practice didn't happen... I'm doomed. But lets try and keep this post on a positive track.Okay, I'm trying to think of something else to write... I'm doomed.

Oh well. If this were a novel then this is where I would put a chapter break. It's an excellent cliffhanger. Will our hero be tongue tied on the day and humiliate herself in public? Most likely. I'll check in later and update on how the anthology launch goes. Fingers crossed they'll forget to call me up. Or maybe I could pay someone to pretend to be me... But I think Rosie might notice. I'm doomed...