August 2020 Blog Post

                Good day to you all. Thanks for coming back and joining me for another blog post.

I hope you are all doing well, and I have some updates and news for you.

                So, my current work in progress is coming along nicely. The first draft is nearly finished, and I think the final thing will be around the 90K word mark, but we shall see. As a Pantzer, I have a lot of tidying up to do at the end of manuscript completion, but this is all part of the (agony) fun of being a writer. I enjoy the process, and as much as a pain it is to go through and edit the part where you kill someone off only to have them resurface again at the end of the story, its all good fun. Sometimes.

I am currently trying my hand at Beta Reading and editing for a writer I started talking too on Twitter, @ANBaker12, with her debut fantasy novel ‘Dreams Of Blood.’ It seems pretty good so far, and I am honored that I am able to give it a read over before all of you fine readers get our paws on it. (Maniacal laughter).

I have finished reading a book by Katerina Diamond @TheVenomousPen called ‘The Promise.’ A great read about a serial killer and a kid with a lot of family issues. It’s dark and get darker, very quickly. I don’t usually read crime novels, so when I picked it up from the charity stand for next to nothing I was pleasantly surprised. I devoured it in four sittings, which is good for me.

                It took me six sittings to devour the neighbours dog.

                I’m only joking. He had a cat….

                So I would defiantly recommend going and having a look at ‘The Promise,’ if you’re into that kind of thing. I would give it a nice 8/10. It was a good read but I felt it was rushed at the end. But then again I’m a moron, so what do I know?

Upcoming News.

                So what’s happening in my little bubble? Well my fourth novel ‘The Everlife Chronicles: Hunted,’ is coming along nicely. A little slow going at the moment as I have other things I am currently committed with: Editing, reading, making sure my child doesn’t starve to death. All the fun things.

                I heard someone explain being a parent to me really well once. They said –

                “So you have a child, and you must care for that child until it becomes an adult. And if you fuck up, or the child dies, you go to prison forever. Enjoy.”

                When you put it like that, kind of makes you think…

                Again, I digress.

                I will be looking to have the wonderful @LucyHowell design my cover for the latest project, so I can’t wait for that, and I hope to have it available for download by Christmas, if not earlier.

                When that happens, I’ll be announcing it on social media, so be sure to click the links at the end of the blog post to stay in the loop.

Audio Book

                Still nothing new to report about The Shadow Man audiobook at this time, but it should be approved and be available soon. I know me and @Stevejonesvoices have both worked hard at getting it produced, and when that is done, I’ll be looking to have the full length novel ‘The Space Between Heaven And Hell,’ transposed for audiobook too.

                One of the reasons I like audiobooks so much is because to sit a read a physical book, you have to ‘make time.’ When you have an audiobook in your ears, you ‘find time.’ Whether its at the gym, walking the dog, driving to work, disembowelling your enemies, it works. The latter obviously being a joke, as to read and disembowel would make the pages awfully mucky.

Writing Advice.

                What’s a writing blog without shedding a little bit of knowledge and advice here and there? I’ve complied a short list. Because, we like lists.

                1 – Write.

                It’s simple, but if you don’t write, you aren’t going to be a writer. I know a few people that say, ‘I’m a writer, but I haven’t written anything.’ Well, you’re not a writer then. You’re a dreamer. It’s like saying ‘I’m a pilot, but I haven’t flown a plane.’

                So, write.

                2 – Little and often.

                As with the above point, you need to write little and often. You need to keep turning up at your desk and doing your part. Put the time in and crunch away at that story. It will be hard, and at times you’ll hate it and at times you’ll love it. But the point is you have to keep turning up and putting the work in.

                I’m not one of these that say ‘write every day,’ because we all have busy lives and it isn’t always possible. But try to show up as often as you can. Make a schedule, a routine, get up earlier, miss out on that tv show. If you want it, you will work for it. Write often, whether its 100 words or 2500 words, just do it.

                3 – Engage with your audience.

                Ever wonder about these people that come out of nowhere, become super famous and then vanish off the face of the earth? Yeah. We all know those kinds of people. They want a fast track to stardom, and it’s called ‘15minutes of fame’ for a reason, and it normally ends in tears.

                Engage with your audience. Do give always. Sneak peaks. Reply to emails and tweets. If a reader likes your work and they reach out to you, try to engage with them. Even if it’s just a ‘Thank you,’ to someone saying they enjoyed your book. It will make their day. Trust me.

                Create a foundation of fans, and look after them. They are your readers, and they are the reason you can keep producing content.

                4 – Say it don’t spray it.

                If you have some dialogue, a scene or a sentence, you want to say it in as little words as possible, while still having the effect you want.

                “Gerrard opened the door with his left hand and stepped into the dark room with his right foot. He saw the cotton bedsheets rising and falling and heard the sound of breathing coming from his father. He knew he shouldn’t be in here after hours, but he needed the car keys to go and see Cynthia. He closed the door and took three paces slowly – “ BORING. GET TO THE POINT.

                “Gerrard held his breath as he slipped into his father’s bedroom. He listened, making sure he was asleep, before taking the car keys from the bedside table.”

                Same thing, but more to the point. Don’t waste time with useless rabble. Say it, don’t spray it.

                5 – Beta readers.

                You may not like this, but someone is going to read your work, and they are going to pull it apart. But this is good. You need it. You need to be told when something doesn’t work in your story. Fuck your feelings, get some thicker skin.

                If everyone tells you are good all the time, then when you realise that nobody likes your book you will be even more upset. Take the criticism and let someone read your work. It’s the only way we grow and develop is when we know we have made mistakes.

                6 – Don’t skimp on the cover.

                Contrary to popular belief, people DO judge a book by its cover. And in the business we are in, there is a lot of competition. Invest in a good cover designer to make the book look the shit. Don’t spend next to nothing on something you have spent so long in creating. I learnt the hard way with this.

                Invest the money, and you might see some returns. Don’t invest the money, and you’ll get nothing.

                People eat with their eyes first. Remember that.

                7 – Read out loud.

                A great way to find if the flow of the story is working is to read it out loud. You will feel sick from it, and it’s agony, but necessary.

Word Count advice.

                Just a little tip to anyone that is struggling with getting their words down on a page. Hey, it happens. Stop being hard on yourself. Sometimes the words don’t flow, other days you can’t stop them coming. It’s the joys of creation.

                I have recently started marking down my word progress on a piece of paper every time I complete a session. It’s really incentive and you get into a competition with yourself. If I wrote 500 words one day, I must write 501 the day after, and so on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s a fun game to play with yourself.

                I got this tip from Keith C Blackmore, author of the Mountain Man zombie series. Go check him out. He’s amazing and full of good advice. He’s an indie author too, and a damn fine one at that.

Future works

                When I have completed the first draft of Hunted, I’m probably going to take sometime away from the project for a couple of weeks. This doesn’t mean that I will sit around and no nothing, it means I’ll be working on something else.

                I have an idea for a stalker story, which may feature in the next instalment of Tales From The Inferno, but then again, it might be its own thing entirely. I’m not sure yet, and knowing me, it will start as one thing and then end as another. But again, that’s the joys of creation.

                Still no joy with podcasting at the moment. I’m far too involved with everything else I have going on!

Mailing List and Give Away’s.

                My mailing is growing slowly. And I thank you for singing up to it to receive updates on what I am doing. It means the world to me and again I say thank you.

                 I have ordered some author copies of my current books, and I will be doing a giveaway with the UK members of the mailing list, and when the Audio book is produced, I will be giving away a code for a free download to everyone. I like giving things away. Makes me feel all fuzzy inside!

                If you haven’t yet signed up for the mailing list, please take two seconds out of your day to do so. It would mean a lot to me.

Crazy times.

                “I don’t need to tell you things are bad, everybody knows things are bad,” Network 1976. Possibly the best movie speech ever. If you haven’t seen it, you need to YouTube ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

                Quiet poignant at the minute. Things are a little crazy, but its so easy to be consumed by the negativity. Please don’t. Remember, the news channels are there to make money and survive. They’re businesses first and foremost. With all the alternate news sources these days, social media etc, the news channels have to report the most extreme, eye catching and foul things imaginable to capture your attention.

                It’s sole purpose is to make you engage, and its done through crating outrage.

                Just remember that.

                “I woke up this morning, so I am having a good day. Good or bad, it could be worse.”

Take a breather.

                Anyone who knows me, will know I am a big advocate for meditation and its benefits. If you don’t believe me, just google it.

                When you can’t sleep, can’t write, can’t eat because that hamster in your mind won’t get off the damn wheel, try a simple guided meditation on either YouTube, Calm, Headspace or my favourite (because it’s free), insight timer.

                So many wonderful and useful tools out there to get you to be still for a moment. It’s worth it, trust me.

Anyway. That’s enough from me for another month.

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and as always, thanks for reading.

Below are the links to my pages, email and work.

A final question to you all, and feel free to email me about this.

Do you have a ritual when you are writing? Do you walk the dog first? Make a cup of coffee and put on some music? Or is it when the kids have gone to sleep and you open that bottle of wine?

I’d love to hear from you.

Take care –

  • J

I’ve been told that the links aren’t showing up for some reason. But they are there, so if you click next to the desired place, it should take you there.

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August 2020 Blog Post