Awards Season?!

A heartfelt thank you to Monica from TinyTotsPoetry for nominating me for the Liebster Award, which is a badge of honour for up and coming Bloggers. She’s been nominated herself and congratulations to her! πŸ™‚

Part of the Award Rules are to answer a series of questions and nominate twelve other Bloggers – this is all to try and increase their exposure and broaden the scope of their reach within the Blogosphere, and I get that completely (and it was wonderful of Monica to nominate me, thank you!) but I have one tiny problem…

No, it’s not whatever you’re thinking, you naughty reader!

Regular followers will know I use a Pseudonym, and unfortunately if I answer the twelve questions it can give a little too much away. I know I’ve dropped a few bits and bobs in the past, but this Blog is meant to be about the work and my struggles with it (and the few and random successes). And as much as I want to nominate others, the pool of Adventurers I have to pick from is small, as a goodly number of my ‘followers’ are veteran Bloggers themselves.

In the spirit of the Award though, I’ll answer a few of the proposed queries:

  • Are you a horror or an action fan?

Both – although Action primarily, this makes me more of a Predator fan, than Aliens.

  • What inspired you to start a blog?

I wanted to build an Author platform when I decided to try my hand at being a professional writer.

  • Are the topics you write about difficult to come by?

No, there are lots of Author Blogs, Writers’ Pages, Poetry Bards and the like. It’s a creative world, and the Blogosphere reflects that.

  • Which do you prefer, sunny day or stormy night?

Either and both – depends on what my Protagonist is up to πŸ˜‰ and if I’m on a boat/aircraft. Sunshine and gentle surf then, please!

  • What’s the best book you’ve read?

Is that a leading question? If you’re asking me as an Author, it’s The Successful Novelist, by David Morrell. As a Reader, it’s Audie Murphy‘s To Hell and Back.

And that’s your lot, gang πŸ˜‰

One thing the nomination has done, is motivate me to write something today – even if it is this Blog – I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the past week and have managed only 1,500 in nine days. That’s horrendous. It isn’t Writers’ Block, as I think that is an impostor, but I am getting discouraged and it’s hammering my mood, so this award was a great tonic for that.

In that vein, if you are a collector/lover of the Haiku, please do check out Monica‘s site, each is well written and accompanied by a slew of pretty images to enhance the mood of the piece – and they’re fast and easy to digest without holding up your day.

So thank you everyone old and new who follows this blog and puts up with crap, I regret it’s time to retire to the Chaises-Longues as the artiste tires quickly and doesn’t want to outstay his welcoming audience. That ennui isn’t going to dwell on itself… πŸ˜‰

Have a great day Adventurers! πŸ™‚

Dried Up

I’ve finished the Synopsis for The Ares Gambit and it’s a whopper – these should only be 500 -1000 so I’m told, or ‘a couple of pages’. Well, I’ve got a 1,600 word monstrosity I need to pare back, shaping and trimming it into something that will appeal to an agent.

And yet.

I’ve been reading more than writing – albeit out of my genre – a couple of crime fiction novels, police procedurals. If you ever wanted to brush up on sharp dialogue and character wit, it’s here. It’s a reminder, that all writers should read, all the time when they’re not writing – and writing I ain’t.

Some people might call it ‘Writer’s Block’, but I don’t subscribe to that. I’m just not having ideas pop into my head. So full of scenes or repartee usually, my head is just a gutted watermelon, the pink slush leaking and slopped out all over the keyboard. It will likely stain.

I’m wondering if I’ve had it – and that is another of my fears – apart from not having enough time to sort everything out, it’s the fear I will have nothing to sort out. Orson Scott Card advises that a good writer has at least six ideas a day. I haven’t had one for a few days – hence the dip in my posts, although my blog is usually what I go to when I want to explore a work idea, such as character or to vent.

So here I am, sitting on the old Chaises-Longues, navel gazing and combating ennui and the finite nature of plots in my bankrupt vault of ideas.

But that’s something only an writer would say.

An author gets off his duff and works.

Back to the boulder – even if it’s to stare at it! Have a good day adventurers! πŸ™‚

Long Story Short

If you’re going to try for traditional publishing, you need to try and snag an Agent. I am primarily an Indie author, and this can cause a bit of trouble, because if you go to an Agent they can be left unimpressed – and with good reason.

However, even with my heart in my mouth I’m going forward with a Synopsis for The Ares Gambit, (an unpublished project – which is a better shout than one already in the wild) in addition to having it polished and test-read. It’s fairly slow going, mainly because I know what happens and it’s going on and on and on.

The reason it’s huge is because I write my stuff in the method known as “Pantsing” where I just sit down and the words come out (writing by the seat of my pants) which means I have no plot structure or plan to work from. This invariably leads to more re-writing, but I will put up with that because that’s the way I work and I call it work, because as long-haul blog readers will know, I dislike the term craft immensely. But I digress.

On occasion I may draft up a little storyboard, but other than that, I sit down and the characters come to me and say:

“And then this happened….”

I’m doing a long draft of the Synopsis first, then editing it down, the same way as I’d write the MS. This does a couple of things:

Firstly it reminds me of everything.

Secondly it roots out all those little bits of jarring narrative.

It’s a good exercise all-in-all, that maybe a “Plotter” doesn’t have to go through, but I’d do it anyway for an Agent, because it seems they’re a damn hard audience. Almost as bad as Editors and I warn you, an Agent may just give their rebuttal as damning silence or a “no thanks, amateur”, but a good Editor will tear your arse off with the most beautiful language.

And you’ll still pay them.

So, even though I have managed to please four editors with my writing and have gained great advice in the process, I’m worried. I have researched the Agents I’m going to Query, so hopefully I might be able to pitch with a bit of spin, but this is the one time I really feel like I’m flying the seat of my pants.

And maybe they’re on fire.

And we’re about to crash.

Well, nothing has stopped me before, so I have nothing to lose in going forwards.

Back to the boulder, have a good day Adventurers! πŸ˜€

Filler Inner

Saw a discussion crop up on twitter as I was fiddling with my profile page there – do not worry, fellow adventurers, this blog is my primary channel as I can get more wordspace here to discuss the meanderings from my Chaises-longues!

To the point of the post – a writer was asking others in the writing community about word choices for his work, which is fine, but he was advised by someone else to use a form of words that would inflate his wordcount.

In my opinion, (as a terrible indie-self-pub-amateur-don’t-you-know) you should never do this.

If writing has taught me anything, it’s that bloat is bad. If your book is shy of a word count, go back and find a place which will benefit from additional description. You want to add meat, not fat, as you’re trying to trim your MS as much as you can when you edit (second draft anyone?) – and you will drop blocks of thousands of words.

You have to be ready for that. In my mind, this is what makes the difference between a writer and an author.

“When you first write, you’re telling yourself the story, when you edit, you take out all the parts that are not the story.”

– Stephen King

And if it’s better for it, you have succeeded. If not?

Ctrl+Z and do it differently!

Aim for word count by all means, if you need a measure, but if your story/work/thesis/diatribe (hey that’s me!) has to be stretched, there’s not enough meat. Go and make some more – it’ll amaze you how much your word count bounces back up when you just add a few lines of worthwhile description here and there.

Anyway you do it adventurers, keep at it. πŸ™‚

Traction

No, I’m not injured from my recent grumblings with the Dauntless Crew – although I think some of them would bust me if I carried on with my whining about how I’m a terrible poseur, ‘cosplaying’ at being a writer and insisting I’m ne’er-do-well.

Anyway, moving on – hastily – I’ve been running a lot of ads on Amazon in bursts of ten days. If you’re an Indie Author you have to get the word out somehow and you have to be prepared to pay for the privilege. I’m not a millionaire, so I have to mind my tiny budget and it’s about being effective in the application, so I’ve been tweaking the targeted ad sources and I’ve managed to catch a few eyes.

This hasn’t been translated into sales though – I think mainly because I have no reviews to go on – these are being collected slowly, and I’m hoping a few kind people will finish the book and tap out a few words. I managed to convince a handful of people to give me reviews for the Azhov stuff and I have two 5 Stars and a four for Warlord, which is nice. I know who the reviewers are and I’m grateful to them.

Let’s put this into perspective.

My book, Children of The Glyph, (which regulars will know is about a Welsh Death Cult, who kill things with machine-guns and jet-packs on a future Mars), has been available now for one month. It has been advertised on Kindle Lock Screens and “Similar product targeting” 3,702 instances as of writing, with 2,973 of those instances in the three weeks in May after launch.

I’ve been peppering Twitter and this blog with free book giveaways and promotion of the product and this has netted me seven clicks.

Seven.

I didn’t expect to be an overnight wonder – hope does spring eternal and all that, but reality likes to wax Brazilian on you sometimes, (ouch!) so this was a shot in the arm when I was at a very low ebb and wondering if I should even carry on.

So I am going to keep moving mountains as best I can.

One boulder at a time.

Keep plodding/plotting/roaming Adventurers! πŸ™‚

Dead Horse

Nearly quit.

I was ready to throw the towel in and then the Dauntless Crew threatened Rebellion! (Gasp) They said I couldn’t stop now, so I agreed – or face their terrible wrath and I am but one humble scribbler. I had to retire to my Chaises-Longue.

Then, you lovely people decided you were going to take up the offer of free books, and 12 have gone in three days. πŸ˜€ I’d like to thank everyone who picked up a copy of the Azhov novellas and just to let anyone know who is undecided, they are still free and will be until tonight some time – mind your time zones!

My author page here.

I’m still going to ask you all to consider bashing out a review. I can’t fix what wrong if I don’t know what’s broken, so please spare a few minutes of your time – it takes the same amount of time to write a review on amazon as it does to smash a blog or punch a tweet and I could put that time to good use, so please think about it.

Anyway, the boulder awaits and it won’t push uphill all by itself!

Have a good day Adventurers! πŸ™‚

Free Reads!

Just a quick reminder and notification my three novellas are now up for grabs in the Kindle Store on Amazon:

Wings of Azhov, Warlord of Azhov and Tides of Azhov.

These are the US links, but I am sure you’ll find your way to the respective countries if you’re interested.

They’re Life on Mars (the TV Show) meets all kinds, like Sahara, Biggles, and a smidgen of North Sea Hijack (film), while keeping a sense of Gallows Humour.

Please check them out, I hope you enjoy them and as before, consider leaving a review.

Thanks and happy reading Adventurers! πŸ™‚

Century

Welcome again to everyone new and old who travels on the adventures of this blog. Today we celebrate 100 posts! πŸ˜€

I was hoping to save this for the release of The Ares Gambit, but as sometimes said:

Everything in Siam, has its own time.

The King and I/Anna and the King

Well, I’m not in Siam, but you get the point πŸ˜‰

Instead, I have as promised, tidied up all of the Azhov Novellas over the past couple of days, that’s 95,000 words give or take. Which is fine, as we have 95 fellow adventurers on this blog and toddling along on twitter with us. Not bad eh?

My first published work, Warlord of Azhov will also be a year old this month, and marks my first, professional (I got paid for it!) release, which means I have almost been doing this for a year now. That’s both depressing and heartening at the same time, in fact so much so, I will have to have a lie down on the Chaises-longues to recuperate.

To mark all these occasions, I have put Warlord and Wings up for a free book deal, I regret only on Kindle, as they have to be in KDP Select and I can’t scatter them to B&N, Kobo or etc.

I did say that I would never release Tides as a free book deal, but we are living in exceptional times and people need distraction – even if Tides deals with heavy stuff, it provides uplift for the spirit. I hope. So that will be on the free book deal as well for the first and last time.

So, that’s a thousand words for each of you. Read them! πŸ˜€

All these books/novellas will be free for five days from 08 June 2020 until 12 June 2020, but please mind your time-zones as people have been caught out!

It is against KDP T&C to ask for reviews, so I will say this – if you do pick up the books, please, please *consider* leaving a review – an honest one, I’m not asking for favouritism! It helps me grow both as a writer and a channel and it is totally not that I crave validation and need your adoration – er…I digress.

Everyone that already owns the kindle versions of these books will get the updated ones. They are better, and the revamp was long overdue, nothing is radically changed, just a few things cleaned up etc, so no-one loses anything. The cleanup marks an improvement in my writing and the progress from Journeyman to Author. They’re not perfect, no book is, but I’m happier and that means I’m better at the job.

I really don’t like using the word ‘craft’.

Anyway, that’s it for today adventurers, I hope you enjoyed our 100 posts and I hope there’s another few in us yet! πŸ™‚

Would you like to Know More?

Everyone fights! No-one quits!

– Captain Juan “Jonny” Rico – Starship Troopers.

I’ve been working hard on The Ares Gambit, and I think today it’s ready for test reading and proofing, so will be going to Amazon first for Kindle mastication, then my tried and trusted gang to tell me how crud it is.

I had a bit of an experience finishing it off, with Children of The Glyph it kind of turned into an Adam and Eve subtext and with Wings of Azhov, it morphed into Moby Dick but with aeroplanes. I need to use that when I redo all the blurb for them…

With TAG, (we authors and military brats love our TLA’s or Three Letter Abbreviations, don’t you know), I came to the shocking conclusion that not only is it heavily chess based, it’s almost Macbeth, but everyone is from Starship Troopers.

The book, not the film…but I loved the soundtrack. Gets me fired every time.

I just need to polish the ending a little more, but I’m a lot happier with it now and maybe my editor and proof/copyeditor, will like it too.

Have a good day Adventurers! πŸ™‚

Tighten Up

Got the Blurb for The Ares Gambit into shape. It sits at 150 exactly.

That’s bingo from where I’m sitting. Just a couple of tweaks here and there…

3025.  The Protectorate is on the brink of economic collapse.  In this fractious time, Captain Sean Egan is a disgraced soldier, chasing pirates out on the fringes of the Solar System, forgotten and ignored by his superiors.

When Mars leads the charge for Independence, orchestrated from behind the scenes by a political and militia leader with his own reasons for seeing the Red Planet freed. the Protectorate is challenged, and sensing opportunity to cement his position by making an example, the Regent of Terra proposes a daring raid, led by someone not afraid to dirty their hands…someone expendable.

Promised redemption, Egan volunteers, yet he discovers that someone else is playing another game, which will determine the future of all Nine Worlds.  Haunted by his past, and with enemies on all sides, Egan must cross a lethal chessboard, hoping he can force the checkmate – before he is removed altogether.

That’s it for now, happy adventuring! πŸ™‚