September Blog Post 2020

‘It’s nearly Christmas,’ has to be the biggest horror story of all.

                I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t stand Christmas. But! Before you all start screaming at me, let me explain.

                I can’t stand what Christmas has become, in that, it has lost its original meaning and is now a case of greed and gluttony, which is quite ironic when you consider that two of the seven deadly sins have overridden what was once the most important Christian holiday of all. Go figure.

                I don’t like the pressure of how we are supposed to act, to dig deep in pockets that are shallow, to get into debt, to spend money we don’t have for things we don’t need for people that don’t want them. It’s a ludicrous affair and I don’t like to partake.

                Christmas is a wonderful time, but I don’t like all the songs, the tinsel, the lights and the cold nights. Most people say I’m miserable, and that’s true, but I have always felt with this time a year that ‘less’ is often ‘more.’ A Christmas tree with a few lights and bulbuls, not showered in fake snow and dazzling tinsel. A home with a few decorations to keep the mind clear and not cluttered. One’s home is a reflection of their own lives. If it is cluttered and chaotic, that says a lot about the person living there.

                Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) is about those you have time to spend it with. I like to do a lot of reflection at Christmas time and birthdays. I like to see how I have grown, what I have achieved, who has come into my life over the last twelve months and who has exited it, for whatever reason.

                I think what I’m trying to get at is, treasure your family and use these holidays to spend time making memories, not spending money. Because in the long run, that’s what counts. On your death bed, your children will wish they had spent more time with you, and not that you had bought them that expensive toy when they were five or six years old.

                Try purging at Christmas time (put the axe down, not like that.)

                Go through your old clothes, cupboards, toys etc, and try to get rid of one thingin every five. You feel amazing after it, trust me. If you don’t want o throw the items away, give them to charity or re gift them. It’s good to help others.

                Here’s a wonderful video of a Christmas tree spreading the joy amongst others. Caution, viewer discretion s advised…  

Books and other bits.

                If you have signed up to my mailing list, you will have seen that I have recently sent out free promotional codes to my Audiobook, ‘The Shadow Man,’ narrated by Steve Jones from ACX, a dark tale of betrayal, entrapment and possession.

If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, click the link here.

                As of this time, I am currently just under 90K on the first draft of my latest work ‘The Everlife Chronicles – Hunted.’ I must say, it’s coming along very well and I am loving the journey. Which brings me to my next segment –

Tips for writing

                As mentioned in earlier blogs, I have some tips which I like to use for writing. By no means is this an exhaustive list, and by no means by following these tips will it make you an overnight success. Writing is a slow burner (with some exceptions) and it is incredibly rare that you will release one book, and be able to retire. It doesn’t work like that, and if it does for that tiny percentage of people, then they got lucky. Very, very lucky.  

                The main tip, is just write.

It will be hard, you will contradict yourself, not be able to finish, hell think your entire novel isn’t worth using as toilet paper. But a terrible draft is easier to edit than a blank sheet of paper, so tell that inner critic in your head to shut up for the time being, and finish to damn draft. Your time for cleaning up and polishing will come, but it isn’t when you are writing the story.

Break The characters legs.

Stephen King says that to make an interesting plot, you need to make interesting characters an put them in difficult situations. As a fellow pantzer, I can empathise with this. I don’t know how my books will end, I never know. I start with one idea and it always turns out completely different, often the story changing directions several times during the course of the plot, which is frustrating, but I like it. It means that the characters are driving the plot, making them more believable, more 3D, and more likable (or hateable, which ever!).


                Speaking of characters, our little puppets at the mercy of our fingertips. The characters make the story, they are the ones that move the story along. Characters need to be realistic, be 3D, have something your reader can relate too. Not necessarily in the aesthetic sense, (I don’t have size DD breasts or ride a motorbike) but something your reader can believe. Be it a struggle, falling in love, a conflict with another person. Something which lets the reader step pout of their own shoes, and walk in your characters.

Make your characters believable.

Don’t overdo the speech!

I know that we all want our characters to talk about everything, how their feeling, what they are thinking, who the person is they are interacting with. Don’t. Trust me on this one. Less is more, and less makes more. Let the character suggest something. Let the reader try to figure out what is happening. Let the character show the reader that they cant stand their friends new girlfriend, instead of simply telling the reader.

I would rather read of Candice throwing her milkshake over Jenna’s new dress, than simply saying ‘I don’t like Jenna.’

We like seeing conflict. We like seeing our character’s struggle. It makes them real, relatable and 3D. Less is more. Show don’t tell.

Too many characters make a bad plot.

It’s easy to get sucked into having too many characters, whether you’re doing a YA book set in a high school or doing fantasy, horror etc. Whatever the genre, it’s easy to make too many characters. When I introduce a new character to my story, I think to myself, ‘Are they necessary? Could their input be done by an already existing character, giving that character more depth to them? Does what the character bring to the story need to happen?’

In my first novel, The Space Between Heaven And Hell, I started with around fifteen characters. After a lot of revising, revisions, merging plot lines and character conflicts into single characters, condensing, cutting, chopping, trying on new shoes and a couple of back flips and bottles of whisky later, I brought it down to eight (maybe nine.) That means, that six characters didn’t need to be in there. So I went from fifteen 2D, shallow, unrealistic characters, to having eight solid, well rounded characters with loves, fears, wants and desires.

Again, less is more. Remember that.

In other news –

                I hope everyone is happy and well and your children are settling in back to school after having nearly six months off. I wish them all well, I know that my son has had a great first week back seeing his friends again. It’s amazing to see your children smile and be excited.

                I hope to have the final draft of ‘Hunted,’ completed soon, and to have the final thing out for sale before the year is out. Fingers crossed, depending on my editor and my cover designer, and other commitments etc. But I ill get there, because I’ll kick myself if I don’t.

Beta Reading –

                I am currently Beta Reading an epic fantasy novel by A.N Baker who I reached out to on Twitter. She was looking for support in the Writing Community and I happy obliged. I get a free read, she gets feedback and has very kindly promised to read over my final draft of ‘Hunted,’ in return.

                If anyone would like to reach out and speak to me about their own project and if they are wanting any feedback, or hell, even just to say hello, feel free to do so on an email or social media.

                I feel fan interaction is very important, and I do as much as I can.

                Anyway, that’s enough for me rabbling on for now.

                It’s been a pleasure as always.

                Thanks for stopping by. While you’re here, why not sign up to the mailing list and follow me on social media? I do give always a few times a year, and I would hate for you to miss out!

                One thing before I go, I heard a little bud of wisdom today –

                “Don’t make decisions when you’re angry, you’ll regret it later.”

                I found that quite poignant to be honest.

  • J

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September Blog Post 2020