Sunday, 7 April 2013

The TBR List vs The TBW List

Like majority of you, I've steadily been increasing my To-Be-Read list over the years.

The books broadly fall into three categories:

1)  Books I need to read for research purposed, to see what's current, what works well in terms if style, and pace, etc.  (Admittedly, this also falls under the pleasure category too, but If I'm honest about it, then all books fall under the pleasure category.)

2)  Books  that help me with my craft.  Editing, etc.

3)  Books that I want to read because they are calling out to me to be read.  They aren't in the MG/YA range, but (as you know) just need to be read.

I know you're all probably rolling your eyes about now, and thinking 'Tell us something we don't already know about a TBR list.' and I don't blame you.  I'd be rolling my eyes too if I was you.

If you're still with me, here's the point where I get to the real reason for this post.  This morning, I woke up with a new book idea firmly planted in my head.  The main points are there, and all it needs is a bit of work to tease the details out.  On the whole, the story is there waiting to be written.

Obviously, I jumped out of bed and noted it all down to ensure that nothing is lost.  It then occurred to me that this is one of a few ideas that I have sitting in a virtual pile waiting to be fleshed out and written.  A To-Be-Written list of you like.  It turns out that there are nine books on the list.  These are (imho) strong stories that have outlines written down, and just need to be filled out and given life.  There are also a further two that are hints of ideas that, given a bit of thought could also end up on the TBW pile. 

All I need now is someone to volunteer to go to work for me, do the household chores, and invent a pc that turns thoughts into typed words so I can get the pile into a manageable state. Any offers?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Exciting Times

So, I’ve been working on two projects simultaneously for the last couple of months.  Firstly, I’ve been doing the final final edits on my MS.  I wasn’t going to do another round of edits, but I discovered a few flaws just before I sent the first three chapters out to a few carefully selected agents.  After making the first three chapters even more sparkly, I have been slowly going through the rest of the MS, just in case I get a request for the rest of the book. 

In between doing these remaining edits, I’ve been working on the first draft of the new book. 

When I originally came up with the idea and mapped it out, I was really excited.  But, when it came to writing the story out in full, I seem to have struggled in the excitement department.  All sorts of doubts have nagged away at me, and I started to wonder whether the story should be allowed to see the light of day, or whether it would be better for it to stay trapped inside my head, free from the harsh glare of potential readers.

That was up until yesterday.

Ysterday, I finally completed round 10 of edits, and I know that without the help of an editor, I cannot make it any better than it now is.  I have finally laid the story to rest.  Having reached this conclusion, I picked up the new WIP and started to write the next bit.  And then I realised, I LOVE THIS STORY!  Having finally stepped away from the two years of being immersed in the finished book, I can now let the new one take centre stage. 

The problem was that I knew the old book inside out.  I knew how every character felt, how they talked, moved, racted, and generally lived.  The new book and characters are only just starting out.  Although I know what happens in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t been through the experience with them yet.  How could they compete with the old ones?

With the added bonus of getting my old writing routine back on track, I’m really looking forward to the new journey ahead.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

It's finally here! - Strength by Carrie Butler

It feels like I've been waiting for this day for ever.  Carrie Butler's d├ębut NA novel Strength is released today.

I was lucky enough to play a small part in Carrie's journey when I offered to do a critique while she was in the final stages of completing her work.  Since then, apart from offering words of encouragement, and doing the excited bit to counter her worrying bit, I've sat back and watched her journey from querying to getting her book deal, and now finally it's release.

Usually, I tend to keep my opinions about books to myself, as there are people out there who are far better at extolling the wonders of a novel than I am, and unless I know your tastes, what I may find exciting may not be your cup of tea.  Today, however, I'm not keeping quiet.  Having been privileged to have read this book already, I am so fired up about the excellent characters, and the intriguing plot that keeps you guessing all the way through, that all I have to say is: YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK!

Yes!  It is that good.  Let's face it, I'm a bloke, and paranormal romance is not really where my taste's lie, but there is so much depth to the whole package that it kept me riveted.  A year on from reading it, and the Rena and Wallace are still with me.

Well, enough of me bleating on, here's what you all really need to know:

Series: Mark of Nexus - Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013
Formats: E-Book & Paperback
Paperback ISBN: 9781938404351
E-book ISBN: 9781938404368

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

I would like to stay and chat a bit longer, but I know you need to dash to the shops to pick up your copy.  Also, I need to get ready for the virtual release party.  Hopefully there's cake :o)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Once More Into The Breach...

I've finally done it.  I've taken the plunge and submitted Odd Squad to some Lit Agencies.

For the past few weeks I've been compiling my list of agents.  I've spent an absolute age trawling through their websites, searching for interviews they may have given elsewhere, and narrowing my list down the ones that I feel will suit my needs in an agent.

Feeling rather smug about the preparation work now behind me, and bracing myself to take the plunge, I gave my MS a final read through.  All I can say is , I'm so glad I did.  In making the story closer to my MC's point of view, I seem to have gained some new favourite words! 

In the first two paragraphs I had used the word "very" 3 times, and "every" twice.  What kind of impression would that have given to my prospective new agent?  OK, that was a poor question.  We all know what impression it would have given, and it would have been a wasted opportunity for me. 

So... after another round of revisions - that makes ten in total - I took the plunge this afternoon and fired off four test submissions.

All I need to do now is try and bury myself into a new project instead of my current adopted pose of staring at the screen thinking: Oh My God, What have I just done? and trying to hold my breath.

How are your projects coming along?

Monday, 18 February 2013


It was brought to my attention recently that I haven't posted for a few months.  All I can do is apologise.  If it would help, I could provide a rather feeble excuse combined with some outlandish story about the dog eating my laptop, or something, but somehow I don't think you would believe me.

So, what has really been happening?  I've been writing!

Last summer the drama group that I belong to performed some medieval plays at a couple of medieval festivals.  Being on the inside looking out was an interesting experience.  The surrealest part was when I was wandering around the castle grounds and catching people taking photo's out of the corner of your eye.  The immediate reaction is to think you need to get out of their way so you don't spoil the photo, and then you realise that you are the photo!

The performances were of a good enough level, that we have been invited back to the England Medieval Festival to perform again.  Realising that we need some new material, I have managed to write a short medieval play based on a legend called The Lambton Worm.  Rehearsals start next week. 
It's quite a rush thinking that people are going to be watching, and reacting to my work.

We've also started production meetings for the Pantomime Cinderella that I've written for this years main production.  The publicity has already started, and I was jumping up and down when I saw that the drama website is already naming me as the author :o)

At the risk of getting boring, there's more to tell you...  

I've been writing the new book, Ghost School, and I'm about half way through the first draft.  It's been slow going, but I'm pleased with how it's going.
I've also finally produced a list of agents for me to start sending Odd Squad to.  Hopefully next week I'll get the first batch sent.

What have you guys been up to?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Late to the Party

I’m a bit late to the party with this years NanoReviMo. 

For those of you who aren’t aware, last year, a bunch of us decided that we weren’t in a position to do the NanoWriMo, as we were knee deep in revisions.   This prompted Peggy to spearhead the Revision month as an alternative.

To have everyone giving inspiring updates, and posting the last lines that they edited, it spurred me (and hopefully the rest of the group) on to work harder than I probably would have at the time.

This year, Jessie has volunteered to put her head above the parapet and lead us all in our revision quests.  At the start of the month, I was already testing the water with querying my MS, and had started the first draft of a new project, and decided to be a fly on the wall and be inspired by everyone else.

This morning, I re-read the first page of Odd Squad, the MS I’ve been sending out. And didn’t feel draw into the story.  It felt like it was a series of statements than a story.

So... I’m throwing myself into the revisions group as a participant after all.  My goal is to make the story flow more smoothly before the end of the month.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Surprise progress

I've felt for the last six to nine months that I've struggled with my writing.  That the mucked up routine, and general 'ups and down' that life threw at me, slowed me down.

Last night, I caught up with a friend whom I hadn't seen for ages.  I mentioned that I had an MS out with a handful of Lit Agencies, and she asked if it was a couple of chapters, or a whole book.  I explained that the book had been through 8 revision/edits, and was as polished as I could get it.

I then remembered that so far this year I've written a pantomime (including two revisions), a radio play, and I'm a quarter of the way through the first draft of my new book.

It turns out that I'm doing a lot better than I originally thought.

How are you guys doing with your projects?