Hello again my old friend, I am here again talking about my life, a small rambling post where i note my lack of progress and the place I would like to be at. The end of this post will be a sweeping statement about change and the road I need to be travelling on. blah blah blah……

All the above is true but this time I sense something more, some hand of fate involved that will bring me out of my decade long slumber… blah blah blah….

All sarcastic comments aside I have been talking to a friend about life the universe and everything… his advice wasn’t 42… (congratulations if you got the reference, you’re officially cool ) this friend has been reading allot of self help books and planning/motivation books. While talking with him I brought up that I am a jack of all hobby’s but master of none, the typical procrastinator, I try a little of everything and as such get nothing done. He told me that I should pick my one goal, the thing I want the most and then everything I am doing from then on needs to move me closer to my goal. If it isn’t something that is getting me closer to the dream then I need to seriously thing about whether I want to be  wasting my time with it. I will need some leisure time but I also need to have structured time for advancing my dream.

Obviously writing is the thing I would like to do the most, it’s the dream. Walking into Waterstones in my town and seeing my book on the shelf. Having a fan message me to thank me or ask when the next instalment is coming out, this is what I would love. So over the next couple of weeks I am going to be doing some serious planning of my writing career and the best way to achieve the “goal”

It’s also Camp Nano in April so I need to have something planned for this, although I have a good idea of what to do for this. A way of getting me to complete nano and at the same time have something that I can use to further my career. There will be a post on this soon.


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Death of the physical book…. or not….

The e-reader is a convenient way to read books without having to carry around heavy physical books. The battery life normally lasts a couple of weeks and as it is purely for reading it is not loaded down with rubbish like tablets.

The e-reader has been around for a long time, the first commercial one was released around 1998 following the development of electronic paper but at that time it was not widely adopted. The e-reader “movement” really took off when Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, over the years there were several design changes in each generation, the earlier ones having keyboards and being quite large. In 2011 the 4th generation was released in the familiar smaller package using an on-screen keyboard. This was the one that persuaded me that the time had come to move into the e-reader market.

At this time the Kindle was hailed as the slayer of the traditional print book and there were all kinds of stats that were showing that the book would be dead in x number of years. now I don’t put stock in claims like this as they rarely end up coming true and ringing in my ears were the claims that the CD would spell the end of the record, and they were still in the shops and showing a bit of a resurgence. The Blu ray would spell the end of the DVD and still films are produced on both formats. So I took no notice and continued to read on. Since having the first kindle I had to buy one of the paper light ones, (I sat on my normal one) this was a good step up as the issue I had with the old one was reading in the dark. The paper light was amazing. So it was safe to say I was a fan of this new form of reading.

But… I love reading physical books, nothing is the same as having a real book in your hands and turning the pages and since getting the kindle I have continued to buy books on both formats. In 2017 the Publisher Association put a post up that showed that e-readers were on a decline (this may just be as people already have the devices) the e-books did show an increase and the traditional print books were on the increase also, bigger than their digital versions. The physical sales were the highest increase since 2012.

Now for me, I only tend to buy books for the Kindle when they are on offer and I can get them for a couple of pounds. Physical books however I have continued to buy. My spending split between Amazon Marketplace, prime purchases and local bookshops. Even though I am trying to save money I still buy from local shops when I could purchase online cheaper, this is because it would be a travesty if traditional books shops closed and we were only left with online. I have lost count of the amount of times I have purchased books because of browsing in these shops, browsing online just isn’t the same and doesn’t have the atmosphere of a real shop. In the last couple of years the amount of physical books I have bought has risen dramatically, my “to read” list is now massive, I wonder how I will get through them. But I love reading so I soldier on.

So I guess what I am saying is the book is here to stay for a long long time. E-books will always have a place but the traditional book is much more satisfying.






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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

From a budding novelist I would say it would be a dream for a book that I wrote to still being read long after i pass, this is the case for many of the classics and today one of them is having a birthday of sorts, so while your celebrating the new year raise a glass to Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. The ripping tale of the monster was published 200 years ago today in 1818.

In 1818 the novel was published anonymously and then in 1823 was republished under her own name. The idea for the novel came from Mary and Percy Shelley were in Switzerland visiting Lord Byron and Jane Clairemont, it was a competition to see who could write the best horror story.

The novel takes the name of Victor Frankenstein who created the monster and it is one of the common misconceptions that the monsters name is Frankenstein. In fact in the book the creature is not actually given a name, it is referred to as Creature, Monster, Fiend, Wretch, Demon, Vile Insect or Being.

Mary Shelley was travelling through Europe in 1814 near Frankenstein castle where it was rumoured that experiments had taken place centuries ago by Conrad Dippel in the early 18th century, she had also visited the Geneva region where the story takes place.

Its not surprising at the time of publishing the novel that Mary decided to publish anonymously given her young age, it was only after gaining some notice that she then republished under her own name. It just goes to show when you meet with fellow creatives and set challenges and have some fun something truly amazing can be born from it that will endure for more than two centuries.

I can only hope that someday soon I start working on the novel that will gain me that level of fame, I can dream.

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Vatta’s War – SF Series I have just finished

Book 5, Victory Conditions, Elizabeth Moon

Warning Spoilers ahead… you have been warned!

Vatta’s War is a military SF series that is comprised of 5 books. This one being the last.

I will be the first to admit that I am easy to please when it comes to films or books. Its not often I have to stop watching/reading something. This book was definitely not one of these times. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books in this series and this last volume pulls together the threads that have been woven throughout the series quite well. Its generally what you would expect from a military SF series. I liked the character development and the way the plot grew throughout. The way the battles were told was really good and managed to get the ideas across without the need fo endless techno babble.

I will say that I did find some of the last parts of the book seemed to be glossed over when she was tying up loose ends. Casually mentioning that Toby’s parents had been found, and that he and Zori were going to live with them and go to school. This was a bit like telling for the sake of tying up that sub plot. It was also frustrating that she didn’t explain much of why Lew Parmina and Gammis Turek did what they did, some kind of motivation other than power would have been good. I think had she done some chapters from the antagonists point of view she could have expanded on this without losing anything else.

I have seen some people mocking Rafe and Ky’s love story but despite the distances and the time apart I didn’t find it hard to believe that they could declare their love for each other when they were not in contact, it was a result of the feelings growing and the feeling of missing each other that brought this on and I thought it was handled well. I have also seen people mocking Ky’s grasp of tactics at such a young age. Again, I don’t understand this as the books made it quite clear she was an honour student who was near the end of her time at the academy and would have finished top of her class. So, given she had all of the training and was close to leaving it isn’t really surprising that she was so good at tactics (also in this universe the implants assist with all aspects of this).

All in all the writing was really good and the structure and storytelling were really good. I powered through this series and will re-read them again at some point so if your looking for a good SF series I would recommend this one.

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2 Months

I realised today that its been 2 months since I posted on this blog, this is not the way to run something that I want people return to.

NaNo was a bit of a flop this year, for a change I had planned it out enough and was clear on the direction but I had been extremely busy with work and at the end of the day was not in a place where I could maintain the pace. Maybe next year.

I have an idea for next year using prompts from the Writing Magazine that I subscribe to. This should give me enough topics to cover during each month for a steady stream of interesting posts.

Nearly 2018, looking forward to Christmas. Today is my last day at work for 11 days so looking forward to finish time.

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It’s in the name

The last post I did was around a month ago and was around NaNoWriMo prep. You will probably not be surprised to hear that one month on I have done…….. almost no prep. I am my own worst enemy.

I even stopped checking Facebook on my main account and this was successful, but that extra time was used with watching more TV. I think as well as doing this I need to have a strict ban on TV in the office now unless I am watching something specific, like today. Formula 1 time soon.

So from the last post I still need to finish up some Character sketches and a little bit more world building. Then my outline, I have my beginning and end. I have some sub plots, I need to weave them together and track how I am going to get from the beginning to the end so I don’t run out of steam.

I think I need to get out of my own way, I spend allot of time worrying about how far it is from A to B in my world and how long to travel, when I am stuck like this I seem to grind to a halt. I don’t know why?

The other thing I decided to do was to pull all my old notes together and re write them as I have changed elements of the plot and I need to be clear moving forward.

So I have 2 hours until it’s time for F1, time to brew up and do some NaNo work.

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep post

It’s that time of the year again when I make all these positive and “achievable” goals, a part of my writing journey whether I “win” or “lose” I love taking part. NaNoWriMo, the principal being, write! Don’t edit, don’t fact check, don’t let that pesky inner editor get a look in.

Now depending on the type of writer you are you will either wait until the last minute and then “pants” it all the way, writing with abandon until you are left with a 50k+ masterpiece, ready to be ripped apart and redrafted within an inch of it’s life.

Or if you are like me you will be a “plotter” and now be starting to plan, 2015 saw me finally complete my NaNo journey and finish a project. 13th Earth – Before the Dawn. I still haven’t picked it up to start redrafting since just after I had it printed to have something solid to read. 2016 I started with hope that I could repeat the year before, but alas I left it too late to get all of my planning done and back to the previous years I ran out of steam. So here we are half way through September and I have started flushing out the story I want to tell in November.

This time I am going to write something in the Fantasy universe I have been creating. Dragon Lords – The Return is the name of the title and I have started this previously in NaNo’s although I have changed the story quite a bit since then. Main tasks for the rest of this month are:

  • Flesh out the cast and do character profiles
  • Finish world building
  • Finish timeline
  • Finish the Magic System and get some friend to check it for viability 🙂

I hope to have the above completed ready for the beginning of October, then the rest of the time before start I can devote to outlining. This time I plan on not running out of steam by having a full chapter outline, something to start with so I can relax and tell the story I have been waiting years to tell.

There we go, a more in depth statement of intent than normal, lets hope this enthusiasm carries on throughout October and through to the end of November when I will be able to hold up the second NaNo novel.

Then maybe I should do some serious redrafting and get something published 🙂

Until next time…


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Writing group and accountability update

The writing group that I started with a friend had its second meeting a few weeks ago. It was good to get together and talk about writing with like minded people. One of the ideas a member came up with was to set our own targets and then be held to them in the group, sort of a metaphorical kick up the butt.

I liked the idea and I set myself a target, this has had two effects, I have actually sat down to write and am about half way through the first draft of the story. The second point however is that I haven’t kept to the target. Now although I would have liked to stick to what I said I would do I am at least glad that this has got me doing some proper writing.  Although I cannot go to the next meeting I am going to put up the post for the targets for the next meeting and this time I am going to put more effort into meeting it.

All in all it was good to get together with some other writers even though in that actual group we didn’t do much writing, it was more a meet and greet.

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Technology vs Procrastination

I have posted quite a few times about how I procrastinate and in the writing magazines I often look at where other writers work, some in cafes, on the couch, in the garden some in offices I have tried a little of all of them with different results depending on situation.

I have an office to myself at home so you would think I would get lots of work done there. This could be the case if I didn’t watch too much TV in there, or browse the internet, or play games… you see a theme here. I have too much in there. Many computers and screens, tv, books etc. So although I am in there allot I don’t get much writing done.

We recently had a writing meetup for the group I am part of and in that couple of hours I got more actual writing done than in the last few months, looking forward to the next one but I also need to get myself int a routine of getting some actual writing done. Not just planning all of the time like I normally do.


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Writing Meetup

I have joined a few writing groups over the years and they all end up where no one talks for weeks on end and nothing seems to happen.

So, this year I started a writing group with a fellow writer from one of the other groups. Called Northern Writers, I didn’t want to have something that was limited to one town, at the moment there are 8 members and although quite quiet there is some participation.

Sunday 4th we had our first meeting, there was only three of us due to availability but it was good to have a writing meetup. We met in William Steads in Darlington from 09:30 until around 1pm and I have to say I was more productive in those few hours than I have been in the last few months. Something about being in a place with people that like to do the same thing as me and being away from distractions made me focus on what i was doing.

We are already planning the next official meetup and I am planning on maybe going back there myself to do some writing. As I have said in the past it seems daft to have an office to myself and still need to leave the house to do some work without distraction.

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