Friday, 29 April 2011

Dancing With Myself

I'm thrilled to have been included in Nigel Bird's excellent Dancing With Myself interview series over at Sea Minor. Great fun - thank you, Nigel!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Gone Bad at Criminal-E

I'm absolutely delighted to have been interviewed by Al Guthrie  for Criminal-E. Read it here if you are so inclined. Thanks Al!

Why I love harsh editing

Okay, I maybe don't love it. And maybe 'harsh' is too harsh a word. But there's a lot to be said for having your stuff read by someone who refuses to pander to your ego, someone who will tell you where you've gone wrong and where your jokes aren't making anybody but you laugh. I'm going through that process now - literally, as I write this - and it's not a comfortable experience. Bizarrely, it's not an entirely unpleasant one either. Because I know as a result of it I will end up with a better story to share with readers, I will have had the boils and carbuncles pointed out and they will have been smoothed and polished before my tale hits a wider audience. And that's better for everybody.

I've just received the email with the final comments and edits in it. I'm keen to read it and to start work on the next phase of 'the novel that has no name'. But I'm going to leave it until tomorrow, which looks like being another very busy day.

I can hardly wait!

Monday, 18 April 2011

I love writing

I do. I really love to write. For years now it's been the cornerstone of how I've made my living. At the moment, I'm finishing off some things and planning to start others so that I can offer more stories plus some business information as e-books. It's exciting, I have big plans for this. It'll make me some pennies, offer readers a better deal, and save trees.

So why am I behind on my writing schedule?

Partly because I've been ill. There's no doubt that put a crimp in my output. But even taking that into account, I feel I should have done more. Take this morning, for instance: I attended to the other things I needed to do pretty quickly so that my time could be devoted to finishing off a nearly-there novel, but I've spent the past hour doing non-essential stuff and putting off writing. It makes no sense whatsoever. (And now I'm writing this! As important as my blogs are to me, right now the book takes precedence. Or at least it should.)

If I was working on a new project, I might be able to claim acedia, a variant of which one writer reckons is a natural part of the creative process. We dust the computer screen, clean the keyboard, tidy the desk, generally potter rather than make a start not because we're lazy, but because there's creative stuff going on in our subconscious that has to happen for the good stuff to come through. Can I claim that for writing a scene that's part of the narrative in a work that's well underway? Well, it is a new scene and it's the first good look we get at a key character, so maybe. Do you think?

One thing's for sure: I need to leave you good people in peace and get back to the folk currently sitting round the kitchen table at the church retreat in Otterburn. One of them is more than he seems to be. But is he a villain or a victim?

Right - I think I've finally caught the mood of the piece. Off to write it before I lose it again.  Meantime, if spelling errors drive you nuts, you might like this. Enjoy!

EDIT: By George, she's got it! The last piece of the jigsaw just fell into place. I'll have to go back and seed this throughout the story, but for now - writing like a demon toward the finish line. I love it when it's like this - yay! :D

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Caffeine Nights, Gone Bad, and The Journal

Good things are happening, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of them here.

I've mentioned Caffeine Nights Publishing in a few posts on here, usually in connection with Nick Quantrill, author of BROKEN DREAMS and the forthcoming THE LATE GREATS, and Ian Ayris and his keenly-anticipated debut novel ABIDE WITH ME. Well, in addition to those good things, Darren Laws at Caffeine Nights has given me a very welcome job as part of his editorial team. I'm absolutely delighted about this and thoroughly enjoying working with such an innovative, forward-looking and dynamic business.

My debut e-book, GONE BAD, has started to attract reviews and - so far - they've been favourable. (I have no doubt that will change. I'll post a link to my first one star review here, when I get it. And no, I'm not encouragng anyone to go and write it!)

Sales of GONE BAD are modest but in line with targets (more on this soon). I'm hoping for a wee boost this month, though, because thanks to the hard work of the very generous Mr Laws at Caffeine Nights, I have some publicity. Ian Robson of THE JOURNAL newspaper interviewed me last week and wrote this feature. Thanks to Darren, Ian and Andy the photographer.Much appreciated!

So, if you are inclined to read GONE BAD, you can find it at Amazon UK, Amazon US and Smashwords for less than a pound.

And if you don't have anything to read it on, you can download something that will do the job free of charge from here. Which will also mean you can get lots of other e-books to read, including the ones published by Caffeine Nights. Can't be bad!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Busy busy busy

Well, a post here is long overdue but I have a pocketful of excuses, all of which boil down to one thing - like everyone else out there, I've been very busy.

I'm not complaining, far from it. But a couple of things at the weekend did make me stop and think. The first was on Saturday night, when a concerned voice said to me, 'It's almost eight o'clock on a Saturday. Aren't you going to pack in?' On Sunday, when I mentioned that I had taken a bit of time out to play a daft wee computer game for a while but had to stop skiving and get back to work, the same voice asked, 'Aren't writers allowed to relax on a Sunday?'

All of which made me wonder: how do those of you who work for yourself manage the split between work and not work? For those of you with a 'proper' job who are also writers, editors, publishers or whatever, it must be even worse. Do you actually have any kind of work-life balance? And how much does it matter, to you, to the people in your life?

For me, one of the biggest advantages of freelancing is being able to manage my own time. A short while ago I popped out to the shops for some odds and ends. (Cold remedies - blergh!) I was able to go before the lunchtime rush, which made it much less of a chore. Sure, I started early this morning and may well do some work this evening, but so what? If I do, I'll very likely be writing and that's more fun than anything else. That's what I did in the evenings when I had a 'proper' job, so it's no real change.

One of the things I miss is being paid regardless - sick pay, holiday pay, Bank Holidays, just being there and skiving. Would I go back? I might have to, at some point. It seems the things I am best at don't pay terribly well. But unless I'm obliged to, it would take one hell of an inducement to get me back into a 'real' job. (And I'll never have as good a boss as I do now! ;p)

This week's biggest regret: my observation that eating dried apricots is like eating tongues. Oh how we laughed - until the next time we each popped one into our mouths. Eeewww!!!