This week I am writing mafia, sex, and violence! One of those things is new to me, yes the mafia part lol. I am in the process of finishing up a piece for an anthology. The problem with short stories is that as you create them, you find they take on a life of their own demanding they become a full fledged novel at the very least. So while the short story will be complete in it’s arc these characters will most likely be back at some point in the future.
To research this story I have to say google has been my friend and my enemy, do you know how many hours you can lose doing a google search for gang tattoos…
I can’t show you all the images I saved for inspiration, you will learn about some of them at a later date, if the story makes it to a full book or more.
I also have harassed my friend Jakab for knowledge of his homeland, and I won’t lie his voice inspired my main character Cezar, I swear he sounds just like an 80’s Bond villain. When deciding to write a mafia story I was determined I didn’t want to do Italian Mafia or Russian Bratva, so instead I decided to go with Romanian.
Straight away I hit a snag as most Romanian gangs tended to be more street gangs without a larger infrastructure, however, I got around this by Cezar having being trained and having links to the Bratva. His life, upbringing and parentage are all things that will come into play if the story makes it to a full book or series.
The anthology is available to pre-order on Amazon and I will be back with more details about that next Wednesday!
It is January the first and of course that means that it is time to make a load of resolutions in the hope that we will at least keep one or two. This year however I am doing things a little differently and breaking the year down into three month blocks, basically quarters.
The last few months of last year I switched from using my yearly planning ststem to using a three month Legend planner, this is the one I am using though I am sure others are available…
The link for this one is here. I did begin to find that slowly I was becoming more productive in the last few months so I am going to try this method again this year. So rather than a year of resolutions in one go you will get five at a time, some will continue through the year with smaller milestones.
Resolution One – Write every day!
This seems self explanatory, but previously I have set myself targets and then knowing that I cant hit it I have got disheartened, so this time around the target is only 500 words per day. I really do want to write a lot more than that each day, and to get everything out I want to this year I will need to average out 1500 to 2000 a day but by allowing myself those day where 500 words counts I won’t feel like a failure if I don’t manage more on a busy day.
Resolution Two – Publish Rosie
This book is a third written, it is planned, outlined and complete in my head I just need to get the words on paper and get it out. I have an anthology out next month that needs to be finished in the next week, then it is all systems blazing for this project. I am hoping this book will be out in time to take print copies to Telford in March and the exciting this is this will be my first full length romance.
Resolution Three – Publish Role Of The Dice
Like Rosie this book is planned, outlined and a third written, it even has chapters laid out for the rest of the book it just needs me to focus and get it done. While I would love to get this out for Telford I doubt I will get to a point where I have print copies available for both books. My only hope would be possibly to create a book plate so anyone who wants to buy it from Amazon when it comes out, the ones that can’t get to see my later in the year, can add it. The thing to remember is that you can always order print copies of my books, signed and personalised from Raven’s Rest Press which is the name I have given my print imprint.
Resolution Four – Keep up to date with all scheduled posts.
I pay for a service that allows me to schedule posts to FB, Twitter, Instagram etc and when I first got it I was really good at making sure I arranged for a few posts per day so that even on busy days I had a presence. Then after a while, I became disheartened with my writing, as a result I only posted sporadically. This year I am determined to keep on track. Just 30 minutes each day will enable me to keep up with it all and allow me to share more with my readers.
Resolution Five – Lose Weight
Instead of setting a goal for the year I am aiming to divide it up into more manageable sections. So first this first quarter I am aiming to lose 24lbs, this should be easier as you do tend to lose weight quite quickly at the start. I wasn’t sure if I should share my starting weight but I guess it will make me more accountable to myself if no one else. So my starting weight is 283lbs. I will check in on the first of each month as far as my resolutions go and let you know how it is going.
Now, you know my plans for the next three months I would also like to assure you that you will be seeing me more here more as well and I will be posting at least twice a week plus getting the podcast running again. 2022, watch this space.
The thing about getting older is the people who inspired you, that shaped your dreams start to pass away, and not only can you feel this on a personal level but it also makes you question what your own legacy will be.
On the 11th of December 2021 Anne Rice, the woman who taught me to create whole worlds in my head passed away. She wasn’t the first ‘grown up’ author I read, like so many of my generation Stephen King was the natural progression from teenage books and Tolkien, but Anne Rice took it to a whole new level for me.
When I first read Interview With a Vampire I feel in love with the characters but more than that I became totally immersed in the world. Anne had a gift for bringing history to life in a way which was visceral, you could close your eyes and smell the odour from the Mississippi, hear the sounds of New Orleans. She was the one who made me want to be a writer and to be able to create those same emotions in my readers.
Amongst my most treasured possessions are signed book plates that I sent off to receive from her, it was an example of her generosity to her fans. She knew there was no way that every person would ever get to meet her to get a book signed so she arranged for her fans to be able to send a SAE and in return each was supposed to get two signed book plates but I know many like myself received more.
It is hard to accept I will never get a chance to meet her, never get one of those books I love so much personalised. It is even harder to accept that there is a good chance I will never have that thrill of excitement knowing a new instalment of The Vampire Chronicles is on its way.
There is a slim chance that there may be books she has written, that her son Christopher may complete, but it will not be the same. And if there is a full book somewhere I think it will probably be a little like when Terry Pratchett passed, reading that final book makes it just that, final.
But that leads me to the final thought of what do I leave behind, while I am proud of the books I have written I have so many more in my head, so much more I want to share. I will probably never have to sort of following Anne had, in fact that will only ever happen in my dreams lol, but I do have the chance to leave behind a body of work that I can be proud of.
The only person holding me back right now is me, and ironically the loss of my first ever muse is the kick up the backside I need.
Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.
The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.
What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?
As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.
The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?
I started reading this in print form but then swapped to listening to it on audiobook, and I have to say this book really lends itself to that format really well. I love that the main character in this book is a flawed female, she is not ‘strong’ she is human, she can be strong but she also is broken and vulnerable, that makes her more relatable than some of the strong female characters you often find in police procedurals.
The overall story line is good, and plays with the idea that if you have enough money you can get away with anything, the characters are well written, as are the descriptive passages, you can visualise the scenes set for you.
Because I did listen to it on audio book I do have to also comment on the fact that the narrator nailed it, I completely loved her voice and the way she told the story.
I am so far behind and writing these reviews he has written a full series and is onto a second crime thriller series, and I am going to be honest I was unsure what to expect from this book when I first read it when it came out. I have read and loved Robert’s Romcom series following the exploits Coco Pinchard but I think it may be fair to say that he has now found his true genre.
I give this an outstanding 5 out of five stars and highly recommend checking this series out.
A new year means a new start, and of course, resolutions about making the new year better than the previous, and I am no different. Last year I allowed events in both my personal life and the world in general distract me and wear me down until I lost my writing mojo. I made an attempt to rally however, I failed there after a couple of good weeks it all went back downhill, but I took a different approach and decided to prepare to make 2021 my best year yet. So here we go with this years writing resolutions…
I will blog at least five times a week. I previously had quite a good following on here and plenty of interactions, I will work on regaining that audience and rewarding those who have stood by me for whom I have the greatest respect and affection.
I will publish a minimum of four books this year, I have a couple already well under way and want to get the rest of the Queen Of Ages Trilogy published so I can move on to the two other series that I have floating around in my head.
I will make sure all pries are posted out within two weeks of them being won unless I am waiting for a postal address.
I will get the podcast back up and running and be consistent at that, I will also arrange for interviews with author friends as part of that.
I will get the Raven’s Rest Press website set up to allow readers to order print copies of my books, which can be signed and shipped to them if they cannot attend signings.
Once the trilogy is finished I will look at creating the special hard back trilogy version.
So just half a dozen resolutions to get by backside back on track, let me know in comments, do you make resolutions? If so, what are they?
The week started off so well, I was writing every day and even though I wasn’t quite hitting the targets I wasn’t far off. The life happened, or more specifically combination of incidents at the day job, I was left emotionally and physically drained and missed several days, In previous years this would be the point I would have just thrown the towel in, life was against me, what was the point.
But this year is different, this year I am not letting others drain my dreams and destroy my future, today I take control of my life again and get back to the writing. Before it all went wrong I did hit another milestone…
Of course most people have hit that by the end of day three and buy day seven should have doubled it and added some, but for me it is a spur to push me to up those stats and get those words down, so let’s see where my restart is beginning…
5309 / 50000 total words
On average, you write 663 words per day!
At this rate you’ll be done on January 14, 2021!
I guarantee this story will be finished long before that but in order to do so I must not let myself be distracted and let other people determine my actions and my life. Hopefully by Wednesday I will have much better numbers to discuss.
I am writing this first thing in the morning before I start Nano for today. So how is it going I hear you ask! Well there are positives and negatives, let’s start with a huge positive…
Yes, I have written three days running, this has been something I have struggled with in the past, last year I set up Nano and I didn’t even start, and this is something I do tell people who think they will fail Nano, I at the end of the month you have written more than you had the month before then it has been a success even if you don’t get a winners badge, speaking of badges I got the next one on the second day rather than the first…
Yes, that is the amount we are supposed to write each day but life gets in the way and the first day I was almost there, but the other two I only wrote about half the required amount so my stats right now are…
3040 / 50000 total words
On average, you write 1,013 words per day!
At this rate you’ll be done on December 20, 2020!
I am happy at this point with my numbers, I am just over a day behind but as well as that three day streak I am in the process of getting myself back into the discipline of knowing I need to write a set amount each day and working out what works best for me.
Previously I wrote most late at night but that is no longer an option, I take tablets at 10 pm and then I am out for the count. I cant really push them back any later because of the time I need to take them on a morning, so everything is about adjusting my life and therefore my writing to fit in with this new routine and with being back at work.
I work in a supermarket so there will be now furlough and staying at home for me to work for me, and I know there are arguments both ways that I am lucky to have a job when others face losing theirs including some of my friends but I will also be honest that the last lockdown here in the UK really damaged my mental health with the stress placed on us.
There will be another Nano Update on Sunday so hopefully by then that finish date will be back down to the official date of 30th November.
It is half past seven, on Sunday morning the 1st of November and I am about to start my Nano campaign for this year, now to be honest every time start this something happens, but this year everything has happened already.
I have actually planned ahead, I have two projects I intend to get finished during Nano. one only needs a couple of thousand words, the other is a project I am really excited about though I have set myself really strict timelines.
I had picked the start of November for a mental reboot, I have bought myself a nice new productivity planner, bought some Slimfast to replace the toast dripping in best butter that I had been having since my back went. The first couple of weeks after my sciatic nerve went with a ping I lost weight, to be fair I was barely conscious and drugged up on morphine, then of course being unable to move tends to lend to self pity and also eating a lot of crap, especially when you have no appetite but have to eat to take the painkillers to get you moving again.
I know a lot of people wait for new year to make a fresh start but this is more getting back into habits that I have settled into on and off the last year, now is the time to pull it all together and get some books out.
I will update you on my progress twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays, Wednesdays I will talk about the projects themselves and Sunday will be more about the numbers. Right I need to go, I have the family coming for Sunday Dinner before we go back into lockdown as I need some furniture moving, and I need to get some words down first!
Time is running out to grab your copy, this book is only available until the end of this month after that it is gone forever, although you may be able to get continued versions of some stories, I confess I am undecided at this point what to do about mine, but it will definitely be the last time you will be able to get all the stories in their original format together,
And if you need another reason to stick your hand in your pocket and buy then remember it is raising money for #AutismUK, as you all know my son is autistic and even though he is high functioning the last six months have been hard. I am lucky that I can manage his issues and we have coping strategies in place, I managed to get help when it was needed but for many others this charity is a lifeline, and we all know that in times where everyone is struggling charities are hit hard as no one has that spare cash to donate.
So don’t just donate, but a book, get it on kindle, read it on Kindle Unlimited and you get a great read and somewhere out there a family gets a helping hand.