Writing is hard work, but I love it

While I was finishing off The Æther Collection sitting deep within stories I’d read and reread so many times they had begun to loose all meaning, trying to polish them into their final shape, I couldn’t wait to wrap everything up so I could get working on something new. 

The idea of working on a fresh, first draft of a new story called to me. To be no longer polishing but just creating, with the excitement of new ideas and possibilities ready to be put onto the page. 

Now, as I struggle to make the third act of my new book work, I remember exactly how hard it is to do a first draft. How sometimes forcing a few interesting idea into a clear narrative can be so frustrating. How wrestling character arcs and plot threads into shape feels like an impossible task. When you just want to get a first draft created to you can have that reassurance that the story works, and you’re not wasting your time of a bad idea that just won’t work. When your word count mocks you, convincing you you’ll never get this thing up to the length of a full novel. 

Now I can’t wait until I’m redrafting again. To have the scaffolding up to work within. 

Sometimes, I have to wonder about how hard it can be to please ourselves. Is it human nature not to be satisfied with the now? Or is it simply that there is so much out there worth doing that even while we’re engaged in one thing we’re thinking about the other things we enjoy but can’t do at the same time? 

But either way, I’m writing. I couldn’t be happier. It’s weird how the things we love are still so fulfilling even when they are hard. 

Appeal: Reviews

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I have a brief appeal for all of you.

Do you know how important reviews are to a self-published author? The answer – if you don’t know – is “very”. When you don’t have a marketing team or publishing house behind you, word of mouth is mana from the gods.

So I just wanted to put out a quick request for those of you who’ve gotten around to reading ‘The Æther Collection’ already. Please take a moment to leave a review – ideally on Goodreads or Amazon, or wherever you purchased it. I will be eternally grateful.

It doesn’t have to be much. Even just a rating is so incredibly useful. While I love to hear what people think, I’m not asking you all to put together a book report 🙂

And for those of you who haven’t gotten around to buying their copy yet, click the links above to order your copy now and catch up.

And then leave a review.

The Æther Collection – OUT NOW!

The Æther Collection is out now!

That’s right, as of today you can now purchase my new horror anthology in both e-book and paperback.

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Æther. The fifth classical element. A theory. A myth. A joke. A fringe theory no scientist in the modern age would ever take seriously.

That is until 1898 when Professor Goldfarn proves its existence and the possibilities it offers. Soon æther permeates every aspect of the of the scientific world, with research providing new technologies in power and communications the likes of the which the world has never seen.

But sometimes… sometimes things happen that can’t be explained by technology. What if æther could be more than simply a power source. What if it played a far greater part in human evolution that anyone has considered? What if is has other properties? What if it could be used to affect human emotion and thought?

What if could it even be a link between this life and the one that comes after?


Those of you lucky enough to be selected as winners in my GoodReads and Twitter giveaways should have already received your copies in the post. I hope you’re all enjoying them.

And for the rest of you, you can get your copies here:

A quick note; currently there is a glitch on Amazon stating that the paperback is temporarily currently out of stock. If you’re looking to buy from here, please ignore and go ahead and order. The warning should be gone soon. 

And please, once you’ve finished it please leave reviews or recommendations on places like Amazon and Goodreads, or any online reading forums you might use. Reviews and word of mouth are the self-published writer’s best friend. The more reviews I have online, the more likely it is people will discover my work. Even if it’s just an anonymous star-rating, every single one helps.

And, of course, I just like to know what you all think.

So go out and spread the word. Word of mouth is my friend, as are you, so let anyone you know who enjoys reading that The Æther Collection is available now.

The Æther Collection – latest draft

So yes, it’s been a while. As I laid out in my last post, I’ve been a little busy recently. Would you like to see what’s been keeping me away?


The Æther Collection - 4th Draft

The Æther Collection – 4th Draft

I present to you the latest draft of The Æther Collection in all its glory. A collection of 13 short stories coming in at just under 80,000 words. I can’t really say what number draft this is, as the redrafting process has been a little haphazard. At the start, when I was posting each story on here as it was completed, I worked on one story until it was done and then moved onto the next. Later I began working on several at a time and the process became more linear. And so this means that different stories at at different levels on completion depending on when they were written. Some of the entries are basically done, while others will still need work. But for the sake of clarity I’m calling this the 4th draft, as it’s the forth version I’ve exported and saved in its entirety.

Now I’ve handed copies of the manuscript over to my usual Alpha Readers to make a start. Hopefully in the New Year they’ll start getting back to me with their notes and I’ll begin the next stage of revisions. Hopefully I won’t get any points back along the lines of “this one is awful, get rid of it”, but we’ll see what they think. Then comes the traditional fooling myself that I only need one more draft…

So what do I do while I wait?

  1. I have several more ideas for short stories than just those that fit into this collection. The problem is when you are focusing on one project you work on any old idea as you’ll never get anything done. But now I finally have the chance to work on these for a change. I have at least one that’s half done and has been sitting on my desk for months waiting redrafting. Hopefully I’ll that one done and still have time to at least get one more into decent shape before I need to get back into the Collection again.

  2. I need to start working on designs. I’ve already got Emily – my sister and designer – to put together the first version of the cover image for The Æther Collection, and it looks awesome. When I’m at home over Christmas we’ll go over this and start working on the final versions. This time I have a far better idea of what I’ll need. One of the problems I had with The Serpent’s Eye – it being my first self published bookwas that I didn’t know what I needed until I needed it. This meant that every time I wanted to put the cover image on a new website I had to go back to Emily and get her to work on it fresh and send me a new version in a different layout or resolution or some other strange variation. This time around I can make a full list of everything I used last time and get her to create everything (hopefully) in one go.

  3. In preparation for book completion I need to start working on my Scrivener-foo. I absolutely love the programme for writing, and I know that in theory it’s great for laying out a manuscript and exporting it however you need. However, at the moment my abilities are pretty much limited to trial and error, which leads to hours of frustration as I desperately try to work out how to make it do what I want. I’ll definitely be spending some lunch hours watching online How-To guides.

  4. I’ve spoken on here before about how advertising and promotion are not my strong suits. However project management is. Therefor I’m intending to make my promotional efforts far more of a structured project this time around. This one is the hardest, as (a) it’s not directly linked to the creation of the book, and (b) I don’t enjoy it. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean I shouldn’t put the effort in if I want to get my work out there. So, time to start thinking in advance about these things.

I think that’s probably enough to be getting on with. I’m also hoping to give my social media a bit of a kick and get connecting with people again. Focusing on redrafting does tend to put you in a very inwardly focused world. But then I suppose writing as a whole does that. I just have to get my head around the culture shock of wrapping up the writing side of things and focusing on the other aspects of life.


New Æther Collection story up: Echoes

For the last twenty years, æther-powered telephones has been keeping the entire world connected. The greatest leap forward in communication in recent history, ‘Ashphones’ have given people the ability to talk directly to anyone, anywhere in the world.

But the world has once again plunged itself into war, and every Ashphone in the world has stopped working.

Bernard Galbraith is one of the leading experts on æther-communication. He was part of the team that first developed the technology, and now it is his responsibility to get them working. As the British Army struggles to adapt to wired communication, Bernard has to solve this riddle before the Germans do, or the Allies hopes in the war could be over.

But as the years move on, Bernard and his team stumble on a discovery that might well change how people think about the æther forever.

(Go here for the full story)

Well, I know I said I would be aiming for a new story at least each fortnight, so I’m afraid all I can do is apologise for this six week gap. This was party due to Christmas, and partly down to the size of this one. Coming in at just under 10,000 words, it’s the longest piece of the collection to date, and straining the word-limit of the short story format.

Hopefully none of the other stories I have planned will reach a similar size, as I personally prefer them that way, but this story simply needed more time to tell. It marks a turning point in the history of æther, and one I wasn’t planning when I began the collection.I had to spend some time thinking it through in my head, making sure that the direction I was taking it both fitted with the previous tales, and how it would affect future stories.

The stories that follow on from this one are going to start taking a slightly different feel, as the characters start to unravel more of the nature of the æther, but I will hopefully be able to keep the same feel as the previous entries.

Have a look. I hope you all enjoy it.

Where I’ve Been

So it’s been a little while since I’ve updated. OK, a long while. I’m sorry. I really didn’t want that to happen, I wanted to make sure I always posted something new at least once a week. This ambition hasn’t quite worked.

The thing is, there is only ever a certain amount of time in the day and I have to be honest with myself about how best to spend it.

I heard a valuable piece of advice once; If you think there isn’t ever enough time in the day to get something done, you are wrong; you just spent that time doing something else.

This was phrased as a piece of advice for writers with real lives and jobs that got in the way of their writing dreams. Essentially, if you find you don’t have time to write, then you need to make time by cutting out something else. If you need to cut out computer games or television time, then so be it. If you find you need to cut out family time then that might be harder, but you have to decide how much you want to write.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I have a reason I haven’t posted in a while. I have various projects I’m working on, as well as real life, and I have been dedicating my writing time on these, rather than the blog.

So what am I working on. It’s probably only polite to tell you.

My main project over the last couple of months has been my novella; The Serpent’s Eye. I’ve been working on this for about six months now, and I’ve got to the point where I’m sending it out to Alpha Readers to get outside opinions. But at the point when I last posted, I decided to concentrate my time on pushing out the latest draft. I didn’t want to spread out my time on various projects for a while.

Hopefully I’ll get the final draft done by the end of this year. I’m looking to e-publish this one myself, rather than attempt to go the traditional route. I wasn’t confident to do this with The Breaking Land as it was such a big project, but with the smaller scale of The Serpent’s Eye I am more confident of judging the final quality myself. I will post updates as I go.

My other current project is a selection of short stories, which I’m tentatively entitling The Æther Collection. It’s a collection of horror tales, with a slight sci-fi twist, based around the central theme of the fictional element of æther. I say fictional; there were various different ideas of what æther was in classical science. What I have done is take various ideas I’ve found and formed them into something to play with. I’ve been having great fun with this, and so it kind of distracted me from blogging for a while.

My plan for these is to get them put up on here, and then published as a collection once they’re all done. I’m aiming to try and get at least one story completed a month. Hopefully this a self imposed deadline will stop the project slowing or faltering. The first couple of stories will likely go up soon, so keep checking in.

I also have real life issues to deal with. As much as I enjoy writing, until it can support me financially I have to find a job, and so that search has had to occupy me. There are also some health issues occurring in my family right now, and so sometimes I just don’t have the energy to expand into writing

But I am going to try and be less rubbish in the immediate future. I will try to keep people updated, and to start posting more regularly.