Tag Archives: books

Stop contributing to suppression

I am falling down a rabbit hole lately; I feel like I am chasing approval, because there are many issues being raised within the book review and writing community which state certain likes and dislikes regarding various ideologies or classic works of the past – that seem to clash with my own work.

What I mean to say is, I am discovering as time is going on that the Western World is becoming increasingly intolerant to many subjects that is severely stifling not only personal freedoms of speech, but creativity – society is going on a big ban of almost everything collective mind-set, which is dangerous because, intolerance is suffocating the world.

Yes, OK, I understand that certain subjects in literature can be triggering, but you can’t keep sweeping things under the carpet – these things go on in the world and did go on in the world, yes the world changed, but to lock it all away and forget it is dangerous – dangerous because history will repeat itself if it is forgotten.

Yes certain subjects like suicide, rape and violence are horrific and should never ever be glorified, but to ban literature for having those themes will simply make these things manifest further underground and we really don’t want to make things go more underground – these things need to be exposed and these things need to be remembered.

For me personally, my rape and sexual abuse was absolutely horrible and I don’t think I could ever have got over it, if I had not have read other people’s biographical accounts of what happened to them!  It made me feel less alone and understood, before I read those books, I felt like nobody really understands what it is like to be a rape victim.

Same with suicide, if the literary works that contained suicide scenes and biographies of those going through that dark mental state had been banned, I would never have learned to cope with my own dark thoughts – I would have literally have been left in the dark…

Books such as Mein Kampf have been banned in many countries over the years and I have read this book, because I wanted to know why he hated certain people so much.  It did not make me sympathise with him in anyway whatsoever, but it enlightened me to the true horrors of the war with its depths and behind the scene snippets.

There is another book I read called The Women of Hitler, which again, mentioned events that I had no idea went on during the war – it is an eye opener and the scariest thing I have ever read.  The idea that a woman could do the things that they did to babies, it goes against feminine nature.  Absolutely no words can describe how this book made me feel… more than just shocking… I really don’t know what word can describe more than shock for the description of how I felt reading this book!  It is more than horror, for no horror book could ever top what is mentioned and described in this book!

Having very close Jewish blood, it makes me understand why over half the members of my family in my great grandmothers generation decided to become Catholic and pretend that they were never Jewish – this startled many Jewish families into going into hiding on a permanent basis. 

My mother is still terrified about anti-Semitism still existing in the world today, that she begs that I never mention my ancestral past, but I won’t do that.  I am not ashamed of it, I defy the haters.  Paul my partner, is also scared about me getting too involved in my Jewish roots and teaching my son of them – but why?  Why has the world still not accepted a culture that has been around for millennia?

Why are some people still terrified to the extent they deny their roots and urge their friends of those cultures, to abandon those roots too for their own safety sake?

I did not enjoy reading what I read, but it helped me learn a lot about humanity.

It is vital that no area of life and events should ever be banned in literature – the world needs to know – it has a right to know!  And I for one will fight hard and true to ensure that nothing is swept under the carpet and hidden – for those who don’t like it, all I can say is… this shit happens, stop living in cloud cuckoo land!

I am learning more and more classical literature is becoming out of print because it upsets people.  The world shouldn’t be pandered to regarding this, they need to learn!  Future generations need to learn!

If we don’t get a handle on this soon, book burnings are going to be so commonplace, that it will revert society back to the dark ages!  That’s a scarier place to be than those offensive books!

Please, please, please… think about this!

You don’t have to like it, you don’t ever have to give the books a stunning review, in fact do the opposite if it upsets you – but never, ever vouch to hide it!

I said in a recent post – you can tell a lot about an author based on what they write… you don’t have to like them, but you need to know those people still exist, they need to be exposed and they need to be watched.

I don’t mean stalked – just watched, carefully… watch their fans more so… only then will the world stamp out such things.  But do it mindfully, carefully, never with hate and malice and certainly don’t try to supress it… because what happens when people try to suppress others?  It causes anger and anger causes violence and violence turns into bloodshed and war that is what we as a species are trying to prevent.  We are trying to bring peace to Earth; no negativity is going to do that, even if it is so-called positive negativity!  No negativity is ever positive!

So where was I going with this post?

I became a writer because I want to write mostly movies – my second motivation is healing from the crap I have experienced in my own life… so that does that mean?

It means in order for me to heal from what has happened to me, I need to write similar scenes in my stories to get it out there – off my chest, but also into the open to let people understand how certain people think and work…

I have a lot of very useful and needful information to share with the world through my fiction, but I feel as though I can’t do that anymore, because it might upset people.  It is actually damaging my mental health a lot more, because of this feeling of more suppression… a thing I have been fighting against most of my life!

Isolation and suppression!

I had hoped that my descriptions of scenes, though they will be horrible, will also help others who have experienced similar things.  Helped some isolated and supressed people learn how to get away from it and heal – but if my books are going to be rejected by agents and publishers because of awful and ban-able content, how can I do that?  How can I help those people?

How can I heal myself?

It’s fine to be all righteous about taboo subjects in literature when you have never experienced such horrors, but please learn to understand that the world isn’t all about you – it’s about all of us and the whole world! 

Some people need to read it – others don’t, so please don’t suppress those who need it, for your own selfish reasons! 

Because, ultimately, you will be contributing to a world where individualism and freedom becomes rarer and that’s terrifying!

Happy reading…

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Do you show yourself up?

I have started my writer’s journal yesterday (6th June 2022) and I was finding it insightful rethinking how my projects developed over the years and how I have grown as a writer.

Because I get so wrapped up in my projects I often forget to post on my blog, so I often do blog posts around two weeks in advance, just to help maintain activity here – because if I don’t, the blog goes quiet for three months at a time and I don’t like to do that!

Anyway, going back to my first paragraph of this post, I discovered that certain projects were bland when I originally started them – but over time, they fleshed out really well and morphed into something completely different, even character names changed to suit the new situations that ensued.

For example, I had a young child protagonist who was originally seven years old, she then became twelve and now the character is going to be fifteen.  Simply because of how the story developed into something much different and my goals are very different today than they were back then!

I also only had around five characters that were friends of the hero and helped her on her journey; this grew to become nine solid friends and a small number of fly by helpful friends.

I decided the villain dies in the end and that so does the heroine too, but this changed, I leave no spoilers as to my current decision or you’d be looking for it in any book that sounds alike, when it gets published.

But what threw me was the fact that the book developed when I developed – I don’t mean creatively developed, I mean, its subjects developed with what was going on in my life at the time of writing…

The heroine was a runaway –then she was not.

I was a runaway at the same time this story originated in my mind, the characters plot of running away changed, when I no longer felt the need to run away in my real life. 

This is a development I didn’t notice until I revisited the writing process to add to my current projects journal – it is interesting.  I used to pooh-pooh the idea about creative people subconsciously putting their lives into print and that people psychoanalysed everything that wasn’t really there, but, you know… I think there is something about all of that!

If you write a certain theme, it’s because you think or feel or have experienced it in the past or at the present and it is coming out in your writing. 

So be careful at what you are writing out there, I know a lot of real life bitches who tend to write a lot of romantic dramas where there are mega bitches and they just think, their work is set apart from themselves… but… hey… what will literary psychoanalysts say about you in the future, what will they see in you through your work?

It does reveal a lot – I have a writer friend who writes a lot of childish roles in her stories that are not entirely based around children and she struggles a lot with her inner child, she is trying to be mature, but she just can’t hack it and she doesn’t mind I am writing this, I asked her!  But she found it amusing about how accurate this seems to be even with her!

I know another writer who always wanted to be a rock star or a Goth, but was always nervous to do so because of societal stigma, particularly within the Jewish community – so, they write those kinds of characters.  Sorry I didn’t ask them about this, but being that they aren’t named… do they really mind?  I hope not!

You don’t know it until you see it!

But you write yourself in everything!

Since learning this, it has kind of made me paranoid about what people will think about me… but then again… I am happy with who I have become and I am happy I am not who I used to be anymore, so I won’t stress too much!

I just don’t want the analysts to harp on about my mental illness all the time and look back on me with pity!  I don’t like that.

The journal has been a revelation.

What is included in the journal is my journey and thought processes about what is happening in the book – any movies or books that influenced those pivotal scenes, are my characters actually a mock-up of say, my favourite movie characters?  Yes, actually, I can see that a lot in my work!  But it is unique enough to not come across as a total rip off!  That’s very important!

I have even included lyrics which also helped me think of scenes, with references to the singer and the song name. 

Why am I doing this?

Because these journals are on a work by work basis, when I get a piece of work published I have this goal that if I sell ten thousand books, I will send out to publish these snippets from my writers journal to show my readers how I got it done and what influenced me, because I don’t know about you – but I am a very nosy reader!  When I read an author’s book, I want to know more about them as a person, what they think and what they like so I can see who influenced them!  Because I love evolution!

Being a creative, whether you are a writer, song writer, musician, artist etc; you are going through an evolution which will influence and inspire other creatives in the future.  This is exciting and I love this sort of thing!  I am obsessed with evolution, particularly the evolution of the mind, culture and society!

At this point in time, there are hundreds of works by other people who have influenced all seventy nine of my nearly finished works, yes, seventy nine!  There have been many things which have influenced me several times over in most of my works and those are;

Nox Arcana music, art and lyrics

Neil Gaiman’s works, particularly his prose and comics

Colleen Doran’s Raphaelite style artworks

Various wrestling shows with their gimmicks and storylines

Aurora Aksnes lyrics and music videos

Anne Rice vampires

Vampire movies in general

Modern gothic art, particularly by Anne Stokes

Tim Burton’s movies and artworks

Ancient myth and legends worldwide

Roald Dahl’s works and movie adaptions

Lady Gaga’s music videos and lyrics

Stephen King’s works and movie adaptions

Brian Froud and the Froud families’ artworks and puppet movies

The Mad Max series and franchise

Mafia movies and history

Max Brooks works and movie adaptions

Children’s classic bedtime fairy-tales

Marilyn Manson music videos

Queen music and music videos and adaptions

The Rocky horror picture show and its adaptions

Suzanne Collins works and adaptions

The Animals of Farthing wood

Watership down and its adaptions

Wind in the willows and its adaptions

Monty Python TV shows and movies

Terry Pratchett’s works and adaptions

Johnny Depp’s characters

Robert Downy Jr’s characters

Gabriel Byrne’s characters

Al Pacino’s characters

Bette Midler characters

Kathleen Turner characters

Pam Ferris characters

James Earl Jones characters

Bon Jovi lyrics

To name but a few, I know it’s really a lot, but its few in the real number of influences I have had over the years!

So you see – you are what you are and you can’t hide it!

Happy reading everybody!

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Tropes and scenes loved and hated

Some writer friends have asked me to list what I definitely will not include in my stories and what I am likely to include in my stories in regards to themes and tropes and just general stuff.

Apparently it is a thing that’s going around where writers are starting to share that sort of thing?  Ok, here goes…

Too many romance scenes (sex scenes in my adult works possibly but not romance, gooey eye rolling load of old trollop nah huh ) – this is not for me and won’t be in my stories much if at all!  But do expect sex scenes frequenting some of my adult works! 

Unless the story has historical scenes, it is unlikely there will be silly gossiping women, I hate gossip!  The only time this is acceptable in my works is at the ladies cream tea afternoons in a Victoriana setting, but I do find writing these things cringe worthy, being a gossip is generally cringe worthy as it is! 

Technological explanations and scientific terminologies – I don’t have the brain for it – it will be basic stuff!  Oh this big blue square button does that and this round yellow one does this, character pushes said button and hey presto, that’s as nerdy as I get! 

Helpless women who lose their mind over men and forget to defend themselves because their love is in danger – the women in my stories generally have their heads together!  I mean I know for sure if I was a character in some of these books I have read, my reaction would be “I have my own problems, wait you wuss”!

Stereotypical monsters that just do evil because… hey… they’re monsters!  So overdone and totally unfair!  Not to mention, highly discriminating and endorsing discrimination… just saying! 

Emotionally bland or emotionally devoid scripts – I have read hundreds of pages of emotionally dead characters who keep on telling me about why they need to do something and get somewhere, but there is no real descriptive emotional output at all – it’s like, it’s their duty to have to think this way because it is expected, but generally there is no real feeling behind the words… you get me?  If you get me, you’ll see that I mean to say, that the character makes you feel like they are lying to both themselves and you as a reader! 

Mindless barbarians bonking heads for no other reason than they’re simply bored or want to be barbaric.  There is always a motive behind an action, tell me about it… not just the mindless violence! 

Slow paced stories, there has been books I have read where nothing at all moves the plot forward more than six pages at a time and that’s being optimistic!  I need something to happen on every page, it’s not hard to do!  No one wants the second scene to happen fifteen minutes later!

Repeating scenes already seen in the story or having characters lull over past memories again and again – yawns, boring!

Constantly reminding the readers how emotionally affected the person is about so and so, it is OK to mention it around three maybe four times in the whole book but please don’t take us back there in every single chapter!  We know, we read and understood it – doing this makes your readers feel like you think they are idiots who just do not understand – don’t do that to them!

Other than generalising height as short, tall etc and the build of the person as well as the colour of the hair or skin, please leave other things to the imagination unless those other features deeply affect the story in some way – like an eye patch or a scar on the chin which is why there is a revenge plot or something – but generally, let people use their own imaginations about who they want to play the part in their heads based on who they know with general outlines.

I love to write very descriptive body horror scenes because I love grossing people out, I understand this is not everyone’s cup of tea – but it’s what I do in my adult horror stories!

I love found family tropes and close family tropes, I love tropes where there is a small team working together towards the same goal!

I like write historical scenes and be descriptive about the environment and landscape around the character!

I write a lot about isolation and abuse, because it is something I have experienced a lot over the years, therefore I feel it is easy to write in a believable way.

I am very good at understanding the hidden aspects of society, the things that people can hide from others, the secrets, the lies, the behind closed doors of Mr and Mrs Ideal-Citizen, the underground stuff, the dirty nitty gritty aspects of life.

I am very good at writing different points of view because I have had a very rich life regards to socialising with different classes and types of people just by being moved from relative to relative.  I have lived with rich aunts and certain members of the aristocracy because on one side of my family we have a very old family – on another side of my family they are gypsies and farmers – another side were refugees, lots of different religions and class systems.  The list goes on! 

I find it easy to write from the perspective of a social worker and a teacher who is worried about their abused pupil/client and then write from the perspective of a junkie about to lose their child – I have seen these things unfold right before my eyes time and time again growing up!

One thing I have experienced time and time again from lots of different people and classes is suicide and sudden loss due to murder.

I have a huge interest in environmentalism, so pollution and innovation is something I like to put in most of my books.

Because I love comedy and prefer books and movies with comedy aspects, I do tend to like to throw in humour whenever I can, including in my darkest horror stories – I can’t help it; it always gets in there somehow!

I do love vampires and I have to say at least a third of my work will have some kind of vampire in there!

I love animal companions and so that will be a thing – particularly fond of anthropomorphic animals pretending to be human or whatever.

I like over the top comic hero and villain tropes, so that is another thing that will be seen a bit in my works.

There is likely to be someone who is rather off key in my stories, a batty old aunt, a batty young aunt, the green juice hippy weirdo and the generally bonkers type of person – or the harsh out of touch with their emotions type who is learning to soften themselves down a bit.

There will be women who save themselves and maybe even male characters! 

There will be lots of free range children living independently and causing chaos or massive changes in their communities.

There will be a lot of subterranean places too; in fact this is something that is seen in half of my stories so far!

People who are incredibly lucky when things aren’t really going for them!

Also, I will always end up being just ever so slightly corny…

So that’s what you can expect from me… I won’t say anything else on the matter, so please stop poking around…

Thanks for reading! 

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Space travel and cyberpunk update

Recent reading lists have included both cyberpunk and space travel, which is interesting because I normally don’t have much interest in space travel, but I generally do have an interest in cyber-dystopian lifestyle. 

I was surprised that I liked the novel “The Martian” by Andy Weir enough to rate it five stars on Goodreads.com it is not usually a subject I would love enough to rate highly and I am actually surprised at the quality of writing from the author which self-published this book originally – as I don’t have a high opinion of those who self-publish, generally because I spent a lot of money a few years ago on downloads of promising blurbs in fantasy and horror on my kindle to find it was mostly all a bunch of rubbish that was poorly edited and way too corny.  But then again, I chose books that were cheap and never heard of outside of the kindle shop, so I guess I got what I paid for!

But to me Andy Weir’s “The Martian” was excellent and on par with one of my favourite authors Max Brooks, which is actually one of my top three favorite horror authors at the moment.

I have no personal interest in writing anything regarding space travel or anything that talks in depth about technology, despite my reading interest recently; I am just taking advice from a friend who said that I really should read more broadly outside of my normal chosen genres in order to get a feel about what’s out there and finding different styles that I could maybe work with in my own writing.

I usually stick with comedy, comics, graphic novels, fantasy and horror – but I have an interest occasionally in mystery and crime fiction too – but they said I need to broaden my scope further – I won’t pick up romance though, I had enough of Mills and Boon bedtime stories growing up from my mother!

I may pick up a couple more space novels by the end of the year as I have heard some good reviews and blurbs from a couple of them recently.

I think my interest in Cyberpunk was started because of the trilogy “arc of a scythe” by Neal Shusterman, after I read those I read 1984 and then started looking around for more and found recommendations on YouTube namely by YouTubers FIT 2B READ and TheShadesOfOrange, though generally I don’t usually let YouTubers influence what I read, they just sometimes help me research areas of interest better.

I personally started my interest in Cyberpunk because of a story idea I have around a dystopian world where technology really starts to save the day for my characters, with their new inventions and survival innovations, this idea was started Spring of 2021 but I hadn’t really thought about it too much until Christmas time and it is starting to dominate my ideas entirely recently. 

I have to admit though, this story was originally thought to be steampunk, but the more I learned about cyberpunk the more I realised I would have categorised the book wrong entirely. 

It was almost like a push from the universe when I decided that my story wasn’t going to be steampunk but cyberpunk when my favorite YouTube channel FIT 2B READ started cyberpunk week – I just had to believe that it was the universe telling me I was absolutely right about my hunches – too much of a coincidence otherwise!

This is when I decided to make summer of this year a cyberpunk reading bonanza – if I am going to write this as a cyberpunk, I had better get to know what the fans of that genre expect!

You know looking back I find it rather amusing I thought it was originally steampunk but with a few additional neon lights and tubing, it seems foolish now to think that!  But we live and we learn, don’t we?

Happy reading everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Combat sports and feminine culture

Combat sports is another big influence in my stories; being a former judoka from the age of ten, I was just six weeks shy of the Commonwealth games trials of 1998 when I was rushed into A&E with a serious mastoid infection that literally ended my career before it could even begin, because I couldn’t do any kind of self-care for two years after the life-saving surgery I had to undergo.

This devastated me totally on a mental health level, because I used judo as a means to train my body for the hard knocks I was preparing it for as a professional wrestler, when I left school for college.  My grandfather was a backyard wrestler in the early 40s and 50s and he was a huge wrestling fan and I wanted to make him proud of me as he looked down from heaven and saw his “little cocker” as he called me, as world women’s champion!

But that was never meant to be, because my surgery meant that I had lost certain bones at the back of the right side of my head, which meant any future impact could be life threatening, so all dreams of combative sports had to end right there and then!

I love combat sports of all kinds, judo, karate, cage fighting, boxing, you name it, and I love it.

A lot of the various gimmicks in professional wrestling and other forms of fighting, whether it is combative entertainment or real, had influenced a lot of my characters and sceneries in some of my books – particularly those of the dystopian and cyberpunk genres.

I have a lot of background knowledge in fighting terminologies that can help with understanding the jargon, but I do know that a lot of my readers will not be au fait with the sport jargon that could be in the books, so I have honed in my skills as a very good describer of action scenes – of which a former English tutor is rather impressed with and says is a rare talent.

Along with my love for combat sports, I have a massive love for war history and battle games such as Rome total war, Warhammer, Medal of Honour and such the likes.

Back in 2004 I became an online player of Rome Total War’s original game that was based on my favourite TV show “Time Commanders”, as an avid devourer of history books, this was a massive thing for me and I soon became one the top five best generals in the world on their game leader board for two years!  Under the name Raven Warrior!

More recently I follow the artist Jazza which lead me to finding his brother’s channel of which I enjoy immensely “Shadiversity” which talks about the history of weapons and how good they are or not.  This is another tool which has helped me a lot in writing action scenes and accurate war scenes in my books.

You will find that there is a lot of fighting in my stories usually, but it is not constant mindless violence, I hope you will agree someday.

I’ve never been a girly girl and seeing ultra-feminine and helpless women in fiction is rather irritating for me, my characters tend to be female lead, strong-minded and independent women that save themselves because of hard times dragging them through into survival mode; usually they don’t have time to sit back and daydream of their perfect love life, they are usually dreaming about freedom and where the next meal is coming from! 

Thanks for reading!

Leave a comment

Filed under What inspired me?

Summer of cyberpunk potentially

I decided in January that my reading year will contain less non-fiction in an effort to at least read twenty five full-length fiction books instead; this has failed miserably so far, because I am always in research mode. 

So far this year I have read thirty two books and of those there has only been seven books of fiction and five of those were children’s novels or comics, one was a chunky novel of five hundred and twelve pages and the other was an anthology of horror.

Basically I am trying to be like how I used to be, I used to read one or two novels a week with two or three non-fiction books, but in the last decade I haven’t kept to that, due to only having approximately three hours late in the early hours of the night undisturbed for myself. 

My Goodreads goal is fifty two books, I know I will reach my goal a few weeks earlier than the end of the year, but I would be disappointed in myself if I were to reach the end of the year and I hadn’t read at least twenty full sized novels.

So, with that being said I decided last night (Friday) to pick up some old classics I haven’t read before and I have started to read “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.  I have to say, as a slow reader of fiction, I am only fifteen pages in and it has hooked me already!  But I have attention span problems and fifteen pages take half an hour and I needed a break.  I have never been able to do anymore in more than half hour bursts!

I know the next planned book is not a classic yet, but I know I will need to finish up all the currently reading non-fiction books this month before I get this one from the library “Empire of the vampire” by Jay Kristoff, I heard its some seven hundred pages in length, which at my reading speed of thirty pages a day will take me around three weeks to get through!

Funny, but I read non-fiction faster; I can get through around eighty pages a day on average with non-fiction and still retain a lot of memory about what’s in the book!  I think I over imagine scenes in fiction, that’s what it is!

So, I know that I am currently reading in some seriousness right now “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick, that’s my fiction for the week!  My non-fiction reads for the week are “Danse Macabre” by Stephen King and “The running hare” by John Lewis-Stemple.

I think after Empire of the vampire, around the beginning of July, I will think about picking up some more cyberpunk fiction, not sure what yet, but Snow Crash is kind of calling out to me a bit, I do like mafia characters.

So that’s what I think my reading summer is going to look like!

Happy reading everyone! 

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

A wry smile to judgemental people

How many stories did you choose not to write because you felt you weren’t original enough, because you have found something similar during writing your story?

I wager it happens almost on a constant basis and you feel you can’t win, you can’t be original and guess what… you’re partly right… you can’t!

But then again no one can, all stories, movies etc are from borrowed ideas, the thing is, they were not written by you, in the exact way you want to write it, so in a roundabout way, it is original.

There have been hundreds of stories I gave up over the years because I felt defeated over their content, it was like the world was taunting me with “it’s already been done you fraud”. 

But if you read a lot of non-fiction, particularly biographies of other writers and even book and film reviews etc, you will find that you are not alone and you are not a fraud.  Around 2015 I nearly gave up writing altogether, because I had a hundred ideas and all of them were taking several times over in some way or another.

Even Harry Potter has been done multiple times and there are two similar stories where the main character is called Harry Potter!  A very low budget 1980s horror movie called Troll had a main character called Harry Potter who didn’t realise that his neighbour was a witch battling an evil wizard who kidnapped and possessed his sister in the basement after turning into a troll.

Even if you want to be so unique writing fantasy, the chances are, your unique conglomerate of a name may have already been done somewhere, either as fiction or a foreign cultural mythos.  I was caught with this a few years ago, I thought I had a wonderfully unique name for two characters in my fantasy story, Shannara and Melissandra… two of the biggest fantasy works out there had already used those names and I didn’t know until a friend asked me who I was trying to kid!

I thought nobody would be silly enough to write about man-eating rabbits and guess what they have and from what I read in Danse Macabre by Stephen King it was a jolly good horror movie as well!  Then, I felt the world was testing me again, because a year after my idea the movie “Curse of the were-rabbit” came out, but thankfully it was nothing like the thing I wanted to write (which for your information I decided against).

I also felt like a fraud when I wanted to put pen to paper to write a story where all the childhood heroes, Santa, Easter Bunny etc would team up together in another world because something happened to the children on Earth – but again I gave up that idea because of a movie which came out that was similar – a movie by the way that I love and is a family favourite nowadays!

I had this idea of a post-apocalyptic world where the only survivors lived on a permanently mobile train to survive because leaving the train was too dangerous… Hello snowpiercer!  I worked on this novel for five years whilst I was learning the science behind the stuff I wanted to do in this book – after seeing the movie I had a three year sulk, the book may still get written but it definitely won’t be because of climate change now!

The main heartbreaks happen when you realise that you don’t know your subject well enough that this and that has happened before – vampires my dears, my vampires have been done so much before the world has become bored and complacent over them – that is heart wrenching, but when you discover you worked hard for three decades on something and find a big corporation older than you have done half of your ideas, you get to feel like you shouldn’t bother anymore!

I got to the point about a year ago where even a novel title would get my heart racing for all the wrong reasons, because oh my god, it is another thing that is going to prove to me I am wasting my time as a writer!

I force myself to read and watch reviews of similar things lately and even read or watch them, just to make sure if I am panicking for no reason… Paul assures me my ideas are similar but so far removed that it won’t be considered a copycat.  I am still nervous nonetheless.

I am also nervous about the fact that around a third of my books I consider comedy, not all of them, just around a third and that some of my ideas may come across as cameos of works that have already been done by other people and may be received with criticism, because they think I am being critical of them!  Yes, I know I am a worry wart, but it is something to consider!

The thing about me is that I like comedy, but I also like to be considered serious in other works.  I don’t know how to balance that out if I were to become a published and known author.

I have thought about making it uniquely refined by choosing two pseudonyms, one which concentrates on family comedic fantasy and the other which is for my darker and more serious themes in horror and dystopian fiction.

But as the world grows ever more sensitive to the content of fiction, it also raises concerns in whether or not I might actually be too taboo for my readers?  I worry about the state of the world in that people are developing such horrific sensitivities about bad things in life, that they want to hide it all, thus making it go further underground and making it lost to history so that history will eventually and inevitably repeat itself, because it is just too god awful to be shown and be remembered!

Rape, suicide, racism etc are really awful things and I do nothing to glamorise it, but because I write it, it doesn’t mean I enjoy or partake in those things, it just shows my experiences in life and that this is life in all its cold and horrifying ways!  Why hide it?  Why criticise it to the extent it can’t be written anymore?  Most of my novels are not set in contemporary times; they are set in the past or the distant post-apocalyptic future.  You want realism and yet you can’t stomach it?

Grow a thicker skin for the sake of your children, because they need to know this stuff goes on eventually, so they don’t repeat the horrors of the past!

For me, writers block doesn’t exist – what throws me off writing is all the judgemental ass-hats out there who think that uniqueness comes ten a penny, when in actuality, it doesn’t exist!  What throws me off, is trying to please the masses by making my writing so passive and politically correct, you won’t want to read it because it’s too damned boring and unrealistic!  We can’t all skip around in daisy fields, kissing strangers and pretending we’re all care bears my dears, if we did that, you’d say we’re all a load of pot heads!

I have offended so many people with this post, no doubt you’re going to sweep me under the carpet and forget me and unsubscribe because I hit a nerve or I caused some kind of trigger in you… but hey, that’s life, trying to go around all the time pleasing everyone will send you mad and I am not even going to try anymore!

I am what I am and I write what I write, like it or dump it!

But know that regardless of what you choose to do right now, I love you, because we’re all cousins and you stood up for what you believed in by unsubscribing from this awfully mislead and evil person!

Happy reading!

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Formatting my life

I have concocted a plan (it is not a resolution for the New Year, I never go in for that sort of commitment each year, it can be demoralising at times), but the plan is a sort of schedule of a kind of commitment to my writing; specific writing, not just any old writing – this is a new technique I am starting as from the 1st February 2022.

From the 1st of February 2022 I will allocate Friday and Saturday as a weekend for me, as those days work best as a weekend for me than any other day, because those are my busiest family and shopping days, when I could get out and about.  I have also allocated the time slot between Sunday and Thursday where I know I am least likely to be interrupted by the household on a day to day basis, which is 1pm to 3pm.  This 1pm to 3pm time slot is my time block for working solely on one specific novel only.

I have chosen to write a minimum of 1k words during this time per day, with the goal to finish 5k words in one week and 20k words in one month.  If I do not manage to write 1k in two hours of writing (which will be very unlikely), then I will work over that time until I do!

Normally, when I set out to write my stories, I tend to write an average of 500 to 750 words every fifteen minutes, if the story has been rigorous planned beforehand.

By forcing myself to use the regular time slot of 1 to 3pm each day, I hope to eventually build a habit, where my mind will trick itself into focusing on one single project at that particular time of the day and therefore I should become more productive.

I am doing this because I would like to be the sort of author that can finish at least three books per year.  I have always worked best with a schedule and deadline and unfortunately Paul is not very good at keeping to timetables and so forth, so he is not the person who will help push me… I have to learn to figure it out for myself until I develop professional relationships that will do that for me eventually.

I have pinned messages on walls around the house to remind me on what I should be focusing on.  All of this was advice from a book I borrowed from the local library called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller; the messages I have pinned around the house are “UNTIL MY WRITING IS DONE… EVERYTHING ELSE IS A DISTRACTION!” and I have also made another message which says “1K WORDS PER DAY IS 5 BOOKS A YEAR”!

1k words per day are very doable, but it wasn’t focused on anything in particular. 

I spent the whole of January trying to figure out my writing habits and typing them up on a spreadsheet to see what projects and things I am likely to write day to day, how many words per project I do each time and how long each time I spend writing towards them;  The spreadsheet was a revelation.

I spread myself around nine different projects and most of those projects are years old!  I write an average of 1500 words per subject and approximately 90 minutes per day.  However, I mostly focus on future blog writing, diary entries, journal entries and research notes, more than I do my actual novel writing.  Using a pie chart, I learned that the average time I spent adding towards a novel was around 20 minutes every 3 days and just under 1500 words each time.  In other words, I spent a lot of my writing time, not writing towards stories, but just playing around with ideas.

I felt there has to be a change in order for me to become productive.

As from the 1st February 2022 I will use the time slot of 1pm to 3pm to write towards one specific project daily until it is complete, then I will store it away for six weeks and look at it with fresh eyes to edit.  But during the maturing process as I will call it, I will immediately start on a new piece of work and so on and so on.

Any research papers, journaling, diary entries and blogging must be done outside of the hours of 1pm and 3pm, or else things will never change.

During writing the story, I will not interject ideas into the story as I am doing the first drafts either, it should be following the direction of the plan that I have laid out beforehand.  If my brain does another direction, then so be it, but it must be written like it is intended to be the final draft, though it won’t be.

I feel this is how I am going to get things done.

I am so dedicated to this new system starting on the 1st February, that I am not even making myself feel bad about not completing anything right now.  I seeing it as a sort of holiday – Paul thinks I need to do this too, he felt that I needed to have days off and I was always very angry at the idea of that – primarily because my imagination has never had a day off in its entire existence.  But I think, doing the actual work, does need to have days where I can allow myself time to relax from it.

I have made a holiday schedule for myself of days I won’t force myself to write at all, those weekend days, Friday and Saturday, but also bigger blocks of time where I can guiltlessly do other things if I want to.  I have allowed myself time blocks for Henry’s school holidays and other days in the year which are typically busy for me, though the six weeks summer holiday I have only blocked out three weeks, because I feel six weeks is just too long a time.

I can write if I want to, outside of those hours, but I am not going to be unkind to myself if I don’t!

I know all told I have blocked out 136 days a year, more than anyone would in normal jobs, but I do know that I push myself when I know I am expected to and I know I tend to do so much all at once that I easily burn out. 

I don’t know if any of you remember that a few years ago, I think it was 2017, not sure, that I did NaNoWriMo and I did 60k words by the 19th November and I completely wore myself out creatively for over two years because of it.  I came to the computer with dread of revisiting the project and writing any novel at all.  It was a really hard hurdle to get over.

I can’t go there again.

But I do know, at my writing speed and rigorous planning habit, that I will be able to produce three books per year by doing this new method.

I never said it is going to be easy, but I do know my limitations and I understand that keeping to two hours per day will be a doddle for me.  But, I do know this is not a perfect world and most of my hospital appointments are usually around 12 to 2pm, on those particular days I will have to force myself to do my 2 hours later in the day or try to reschedule the appointments.

Happy reading everyone!

P.S I know I said 1k per day is 5 books per year, but my aim is only 3 and I won’t be working every single one of the 365 days of the year!

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

The fear is lifted

I am glad I have spoken to certain people via DM on twitter recently and I have been taught few things about the writing industry that I was oblivious to before now.

November right through till the second week in January is really not an ideal time to go looking for an agent for representation because it is their busiest time of the year, let’s just get that out there right now!

But the main thing that I was taught is the thing that has given me the most confidence to get on with my work and this little revelation has actually lifted me out of depression by at least 50% since learning of it.

I have been often attacked verbally by people who proclaim that my ideas are not original, in fact in some cases they feel that it is a plagiarism, even though the stories are not actually a direct rip off of other people’s work.  Fan fiction is in fact perfectly fine to write on your blog as long as you haven’t ripped off too much from the originator.  What cannot be copyrighted are the names of characters and ideas.  But don’t let that get to your head, because there is one thing that professional and successful writers have in common and that is a deep respect and understanding for those who wrote before them!

A person is perfectly within their right to include characters from other people’s work, such as Mina from Dracula mingling with the invisible man in the league of extraordinary gentlemen comics, if their story comes across as unique!

This has made me feel a lot better about some of my work, because there were times where I was struggling to find the name of a nightclub that didn’t actually exist to include it in my story, through the sheer fear that I might end up in a lawsuit somewhere down the line.  I was worried that if I named a character something completely different but gave them the exact description and personality of a known character such as Sauron from the lord of the rings, that this would be frowned upon heavily, even though a person like Sauron has been depicted a hundred times in as many novels by as many other authors already!  For some reason or another I believed there was this niche little club where people could only get away with that sort of thing, if they were part of this little club or something – but no! 

You can get away with this, there is no law against creativity and ideas and so therefore, as long as you don’t completely rewrite the lord of the rings with this character and make your own story and stance to a similar idea, you should be fine!

Saying that you need to understand that all readers are smart and they read a genre and they will know it very, very well and if your idea is not fresh and new, you will bore them with what they feel is a repeat story but done in a different style, if this makes sense?

It is impossible to be completely original, but at least try to be as unique as you can and experiment with ideas.

It is vital that if you want to write a genre, you need to first read a lot in that genre or at least the top fifty recommendations of that genre to get a taste of what might have already have been done or overdone in that genre first!

I read mostly horror, fantasy and science fiction.

I read a huge amount of short story anthologies in those genres, and in fact I am more likely to read short stories than lengthy novels; because in my opinion, reading condensed stories like this teaches me how to compose a novel in an interesting fast pace way, without the risk of coming into too many digressions and needless descriptive waffle.

I am now more confident to pursue some of my older ideas, because I was afraid that mentioning Dracula in some of my vampire novels as a passing conversation could get me into a lawsuit, that having a scene where a character collects Hellraiser novelties could be jumped on and that sort of thing and when you live in fear of this sort of thing, you find that your creativity gets crushed.

You find it hard to move on from the scene in your head, because you are sitting there worried that some boogie man lawyer is going to jump out at you from the ether and start suing your poverty ridden pants off!

Well it was like that for me.  I never used to care and when I started to care – because I had so-called helpful people advising me, that I became stunted creatively. 

Funnily enough I had learned that those so-called advisors were not actually successful in their ventures themselves, in fact some of them had no intention of being more than just a hobby writer – so do make sure that whoever you listen to, have had professional experience in the industry first or have spoken to real people that they know in the industry, before you listen to them!

I have learned what I have learned recently through a real literary agent on twitter and a successful writer friend.

I do not currently have a literary agent, because I have no intention of publishing a book until the end of next year, due to personal reasons.  This following year is going to be quite full of hospital appointments for me and I am tired easily because of my illness, so until the appointments wane off a bit, I can’t dedicate myself to the professional side of my craft just yet!

When the medications that I need are assessed properly and decided, perhaps this will help with my problems a lot more and I can function a bit better, but until then, I can’t waste peoples time in the industry until I am sure that – A I am going to be alive this time next year and B that I have a name for the neurological problem that I seem to have.

Until then, happy reading everyone and if you too are a writer, happy writing and write with confidence now you know what I know!

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Oh to Hell with it…

Even though I have said I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year, I have joined it anyway for the community spirit; I have joined the UK, Leicester region there, let me know if you are in that region and maybe we can say hi to each other?

My personal goal is to finish six novels by 1st November 2022 to be sent for the first time ever to a literary agent – this is a goal and it may very well be unrealistic, but I am hoping it can be achieved!  The writing of six books is very realistic for me, because I tend to always be in writing mode anyway – the writing I have shared with my blog, or at least my word counts are not accurate according to Paul, who realised that I have not been sharing my handwritten notes in those word counts and I write more by hand than by computer!

What I meant about being unrealistic was my idea that an agent would take on all six projects in such short notice!

I understand no literary agent will take six books at once, I am not dense, they will be sent with reasonable gaps between each book!

I am a perfectionist and my own worst enemy regarding my writing – I was often told by tutors in my past that I overwork things and rewrite when it is not necessary, this is something I have never really learned to stop doing!

I do have OCD in many things in my life; this is another difficulty I am trying to overcome.  The OCD with my novel writing has got a lot worse since seven years ago it was suggested to me that I need to redraft some work, a notion that was alien to me at the time and now I redraft each novel at least three times a year and when you think I have over ten near complete works, this is nightmarish to some people – who may even find what I say unbelievable!

Paul has told me this is why it is important to send my work out there, so people know just how manically I do write and how it is part of the fibre of who I am!  I am never not thinking about writing, I am constantly in creative mode!

My brain cannot switch off from work of any creative type! 

When I am not writing, I am thinking about writing.

When I am not doing that I am drawing pictures or painting or planning art projects; then when I am not doing any of those things I am crocheting or knitting!  My mind is constantly creating something – it is not work for me, I don’t regard this as work and Paul finds that irritating, because to me, this is a lifestyle!  I can’t feel pressured doing any of this, because it is a lifestyle for me!  What I do feel pressured about is other people’s expectations of me when they know that I am working on something!

I don’t fear the blank page because of lack of ideas; I fear the blank page because my brain will fill it up with unplanned stuff before I can write down what I wanted to in the first place!

I don’t struggle with ideas for new projects, I am drowning in them!

So with that said,  I am now going to get back to my novel which is a steampunk adventure with an adult female main character – a novel of which has caused me to only have fourteen hours sleep in four days!

Happy reading!

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work