Thursday, 26 September 2019

Crossing The Tees 2019 Entry – A Post Mortem

Happy Blog Day Everyone!


So this weeks topic is a bit more...sombre. I felt like it was the right thing to do, meaning a post-mortem on my failed entry to the 2019 Crossing the Tees Short Story contest. It had been my original intention to post the story itself here as well, but given it’s 3000 word length, it would have made this blog even longer then it is now! Anyway, onto the Weekly Briefs.

Weekly Briefs


Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3


We’re now in September, and you know what that means...Volume 3 of Harvey Duckman is round the corner! Yes, Volume 3 launches next month in October, and I’ll of course be sharing pre-order information with you all when I have it. I will tease you all with a five word explanation of the story...

Brennan, Riz, Valarie hate clockworks...Mysterious eh?

Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Brennan and Riz – A Boy and A Rat


With Chapter 26 finished, things are looking a little better for this to be finished before November as the story is virtually writing itself at this point. Which is a good thing as my workload keeps increasing!

Creator Chaos


Good news everyone! We record this coming Sunday! That is if all goes according to plan and we'll be accompanied by a special guest! Wonder who? Well my lips are sealed. Just know they are a wonderful strong person with two excellent books to her name...All with be revealed soon.

A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:

Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…

Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.

Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.

Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War


Did I say September? Silly me, I must have meant October! Finding time to work on this is very difficult at the moment. So I’m just going to go ahead and say, I’ll be working on it, when I’m working on it.

To catch up on the series so far, click here!

Brief Mention


Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!

Looking for newer stuff?

Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’

Click here to find me on Goodreads

And now…time for our main feature presentation…

Crossing The Tees 2019 Entry – A Post Mortem


Have you ever had that cockiness that just because something has gone a certain way two years in a row, that it will a third year? That feeling where you don’t want to say it out loud because you know how much of an idiot it will make you look, but believe it anyway? Yeah, until the other day, that was me and the Crossing the Tees Short Story Competition. Ever since I handed my entry in, I’ve had the deeply rooted belief that I was going to get short listed, and that this year would finally be my year, and I may of actually won the thing.

Well, fate had other plans for me, and like Icarus flying too close to the sun, I came crashing back down to the ground. The email saying I didn’t make the short list devastated me more then I cared to admit. I laughed it off in public but was driven crazy in private.

Unable to see why I wasn’t chosen, I went back to the entry and read it again. This time, it’s flaws were open for all to see and my failings clear. The basic premise was a guy sets off from home one night, planning to kill himself by jumping into the River Tees. Before that though, he does a lap of honour of sorts, going to old locations from his life and seeing ghosts act out scenes. The scenes are childhood memories, forcing him to revisit old events. This has the effect of forcing him to change his mind about ending his life.

This was a very personal matter for me, and as such, the childhood events were ones that are based on my own, and it lays bare my desire, that at one point, I wanted to end my own life. You’d think that based one these factors that the story would have been a must read in the making, something that could life the lid on mental health awareness. Why didn’t it turn out that way?

Let’s break it down shall we:

First off, the draft as it was written, didn’t get a proper time in editing, because that draft was only finished a few hours before deadline. This should not happen. Ideally, you want to have the story finished a fair few days before it’s due to be in, in order to let you edit all the kinks out, and allow it to be the best draft it could possibly be. Would have finishing earlier helped this? No.

Next the story I started writing about a week before the deadline, was not the story I entered, it wasn’t even the second one. My first idea was similar but had a more of a ‘It’s a wonderful life’ vibe, with the main character going through with the plot and ending up in the afterlife were he revisits memories, in the first instances to prove his own points, and then another being using them to counter them, to ultimately prove that he has a life worth living. This would have then sent him back to the moments before he jumped off the bridge, allowing him to go home again. I just couldn’t get a grasp on the story, everything was feeling flat and it was just unworkable.

The next idea is one that I genuinely want to work on at some point, and that’s a story where social media has taken over the world. The problem I had while working on that story was, well, the story. There wasn’t one. This led me to abandon it, and look over the first idea again, but altering it. Of course this is how the story turned into the third draft, and it’s problems set into stone.
So what other problems did I have? Well the story...just isn’t good. Looking back at critically, it was amongst my weakest stories. The pacing is all over the place, the events unconvincing...even considering there’s ghosts involved. The ending as well, was rushed.

End of the day, I admit I wrote it, I’m never going to shy away from it. Instead I’ll keep going forward, and use what I learned doing this and from tearing it apart. This is the only way I’ll learn.

That’s all for this time folks, next time, I’ll have another short story set in the Drache Arm Luna universe, as I work to grow their world. Till then, keep writing!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Drache Arm Luna - Sand and Bone

Happy Blog Day Everyone!


So another fortnight rushes by, but with it, another short story exclusively to this blog. Once again it falls in my fantasy setting. Though elsewhere, I’m probably biting off more then I can chew in terms of how many things I’m working on. Aside from A Boy and A Rat, I’m also working on my Brennan and Riz Christmas story and a new short story for a Short Story competition that my publisher is working on. Then there’s the planning I’m doing for Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 4 and of course NaNaoWriMo, that omnipresent spectre in the background. I have to make sure Valarie is up for that. Am I crazy for working on all these? Possibly, but it keeps me busy, which can never be a bad thing. Anyway, without further ado, let’s move on to the Weekly Briefs.

Weekly Briefs



Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3


We’re now in September, and you know what that means...Volume 3 of Harvey Duckman is round the corner! Yes, Volume 3 launches next month in October, and I’ll of course be sharing pre-order information with you all when I have it. I will tease you all with a five word explanation of the story...

Brennan, Riz, Valarie hate clockworks...Mysterious eh?
Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Brennan and Riz – A Boy and A Rat


Another chapter is finished for this, and by my reckoning (Which could be off by 2 either way) there’s about five chapters left, four for the prequel portion. The ending is insight and I’m terrified by how much from the planning this story had deviated. I let Brennan and Riz loose and this is what happens, they take my careful planning and toss it to the wind. Just to remind every one, it was chapter 25 that was finished, and that I’m a quarter of the way through chapter 26. I just hope everyone enjoys this, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.


Creator Chaos


Wondering when our next episode records? It should be soon, a series of unforeseen circumstances have prevented us from recording as normal the past few weekends, and as a group we feel it better to record when all of us are present, not wanting to leave anyone out or left behind. We’re still together though, and still have plans for the guest writers, you’ll just have to be patient and bear with us a little while longer! It’ll be worth it.
A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:
Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…
Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.
Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.
Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.
Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War


Still on hiatus, but all being well I should be able to resume it September going forward. It’ll probably be a fortnightly release schedule but I do want to see this story finished.

To catch up on the series so far, click here!
 

Brief Mentions


Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!
Looking for newer stuff?
Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’
Click here to find me on Goodreads
And now…time for our main feature presentation…

Drache Arm Luna – Sand and Bone


The desert sun seemed to stretch the land into a mirage of never ending sand. Adarnis led his camel over the dunes, seemingly going forward with no destination in mind, but he knew exactly where he was going. He’d come into this no mans land, for not one of the surrounding countries had claimed it as their land, pretending to squabble over it when other nations looked it over, finding it an oddity that there would be a place unconquered. It had been claimed though. Adarnis placed an open palm around the amulet that hung around his neck, a bone fragment with a crystal filling that glowed with the warmth of sands.

He had travelled this far, following a personal mission, and now he was going to return the amulet to it’s rightful place, as per the rules of the Bone Clan, the true masters of the region. Having hailed from Ar-Zan, he was well aware of the history of the region, the constant struggles to survive in the arid terrain, and how the ancestors survived through the power and protection of the Bone Drache. Then came the Drache Sundering and the region was separated into the three countries, Ar-Zan, Drachen, and Mir-Tain.

The outside world believed that these three nations, would sooner fight each other then look outward, but the truth was much different. Really, the Bone Clan held the reigns of control of the leaders of the countries and kept their homeland uncontested. Adarnis had to suffer many a trial before he was allowed to properly join the Clan, and prove himself worthy. He stopped the camel so he could gain his bearings and watched the mirages in the distance, the sands rising and falling like tides in the ocean. It was almost midday, the time when he would have thought about resting, but he wasn’t far now from the Tomb, his destination. As he got the camel to move, he spotted bones that had been bleached by the constant sunlight, all the flesh long since picked clean by carrion.

He made a sign of respect for the dead, and then examined it closer, traces of clothes clung to the body, but there was no sign of where they poor soul had come from but whoever it was, a motive wasn’t hard to guess. He heard the rumours himself, and chuckled at how outlandish some of them had been. Stories of evil Vizers leading rituals to raise world ending demons, child sacrifices, all manners of stories told be those who wanted nothing more then a reason to hate those from the region. Adarnis’s job as a mercenary for hire didn’t help these fears, and he knew he was walking in the stereotypes of all those in the Bone Clan. Yet this was what his people wanted. As it caused overs to underestimate them. This was evident when people from the other countries came to visit, and found not, savages and blood dealers, but cities and art, a culture whose work had already existed for a thousand years by the end of the Drache Age.

No one seemed to glimpse the reality of the Bone Clan behind fearsome warriors, that they would be capable of artists and poets, of builders and craftsman who had freedom to develop their talents. Adarnis himself was originally destined for a role as a trader, from a wealthy family, but turned his back on it, wanting to do something for fitting within himself. That is what led him to this land all those years ago, before the sand got into his weathered skin and fatigue and horrors of war turned his hair grey. How many times had he done this ritual now, he’d struggled to remember but this trek was always familiar to him.

Another hour passed but he finally stood in the shadows of a great rift in the ground, turning it into a canyon, which hid the most holy place for the Bone Clan. To illustrate this, it had but a simple name. Tomb. Although he had seen no one repeating his voyage or coming back the other way, Tomb was a hive of activity, as thousands prepared for war and praying accordingly. What he would do, like all others who had returned from war previously, would help the C;lan rise even higher. He made his way into the inner sanctum, and stood before colossal doors. He took off the Bone Amulet and held it aloft. The doors started to creak open and he slipped through, taking in the awe and majesty of the sight in front of him. Sitting on a stone throne, chiselled from the bedrock by people more skilled then anyone around today, sat the perfectly preserved bones of the Bone Drache itself. One of his hands reaching out, wanting to reclaim what was once lost.

Adarnis walked to the hand, and took off his amulet, and carefully placed it within one of the crevice inside the bony hand. There was a light and a surge that ran the length of the giant skeleton, and a pair of eyes that seemed to flash into life, before flickering off again. Adarnis had completely the task of returning each Amulet that is lent out, each one being part of the Bone Drache, and being integral to it’s resurrection. Adarnis then handed over all his treasure that he had accumulated, so that the elixir could be finally finished, and the Bone Drache could live again. What would seem like a tall story to most people, was a way of life here, and hence why so many heard the call to battle and threw themselves in to the fight, wanting to work towards their Drache, helping to secure a resurrection.

That’s what many people never realised about this land, and why so many died trying to uncover it. Just like the shifting sands, the people who lived here have done so for longer then any one knew possible. They had belittled the sand, thinking nothing of the hardships ahead, assuming everything is as it first appears. Yet, the sand was able to overcome the biggest obstacles, and hide entrances. Adarnis then made the offering of sand, pouring it the Bone Amulets. Like the sand, he would be back here soon, he could still fight, and there was much to do in order to win.
---
Well that’s all for this week, I don’;t know yet if we’ll be back on a weekly schedule net time or if it will be fortnightly but either way, have a good time and keep writing!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Drache Arm Luna – A Tale

Happy Blog Day Everyone!

While here I would normally talk about what...I’m talking about today...I thought it be best to explain last weeks absence and why this is going up on a Friday and totally not a Wednesday like I’ve lead you all to believe is the normal blog day. First off, I’m alive and this blog is alive so any talk (even if it is the hushed whisper of that nagging feeling that you should of read something on a Wednesday but didn’t) of me giving up the blog or shuffling off my mortal coil is scandalous lies. Instead I didn’t blog last week as I took a holiday, not a literal one as my personal life is a bit too hectic for that, but one where I sat back and enjoyed the chaos of the last week of the school holidays.

Now as for why this one is going up later, well it should have been up on the usual day but I had to go and have a panic attack which meant my better half sent me to hospital worried about how bad my breathing had gotten, so yeah...Rest assured I’ll be back up to full speed soon (or what passes for my full speed) There may be weeks where I won’t post a blog but that’ll either be due to my poor time management skills or because I’m nearing the end of a Boy and a Rat, and I really want that finished before NaNoWriMo turns up, as I’ve got a dozy of a project lined up this year...

Anyway, I’ve done something special for this weeks blog, I’ve written a short (emphasis on the short) story set in my Drache Arm Luna story setting, marking it as the first piece of fiction I’ve ever wrote for it (barring a couple of tweets), of course, we need to get the Weekly Briefs out of the way.

Weekly Briefs


Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3


We’re now in September, and you know what that means...Volume 3 of Harvey Duckman is round the corner! Yes, Volume 3 launches next month in October, and I’ll of course be sharing pre-order information with you all when I have it. I will tease you all with a five word explanation of the story...
Brennan, Riz, Valarie hate clockworks...Mysterious eh?
Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Creator Chaos


So the new All About Me featuring Kelvin has been released and it seems to have done really well! If you haven’t listened to it yet then what are you waiting for?
Guest Writers have already been contacted to star in forthcoming normal podcasts, so you’ve got some great content to look forward to, we just need to sit down and record them!

A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:

Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…

Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.

Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.

Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War

Still on hiatus, but all being well I should be able to resume it September going forward. It’ll probably be a fortnightly release schedule but I do want to see this story finished.
To catch up on the series so far, click here!

Brief Mentions


Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!
Looking for newer stuff?

Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’

Click here to find me on Goodreads

And now…time for our main feature presentation…

Drache Arm Luna – A Tale


The climb had been difficult but Noire had to see it to the end. He’d left his supply bag a few branches back, in the hopes that no wild beast nabbed it, so unburdened, he made his way further up. He couldn’t have told anyone why he decided to climb that tree today, he just saw how high it went through the canopy, and knew he had to see the view. Daring to look down, he gulped at seeing the speck that had been the foxes burrow, what first drew attention to the tree, it was barely visible through the foliage but there it was. He steeled himself and started again. Today was supposed to have been his Lunar Ascension ceremony, where all the village would come and honour the fifteenth anniversary of his birth, and mark his first step in understanding the Luna Drache, the patron dragon of his nation. He had blown it off though, as it had been forgotten in the rush of the news that the Prime Minster and his council were passing through, on their pilgrimage to the Crucible mountain range, supposedly the site where the Luna Drache first made contact with the native people of this land.

When the leaders arrived, everything else was to be forgotten and their needs attended to. It was their solution to just push his ceremony back to whenever it could land. Noire didn’t want to wait around and pretend to fawn over his erstwhile peers, so he came out to the forest north of his village, where he felt at ease, and knew he could shout out his anger. In deed there was a lot of shouting in the time between his arrival in the forest and him deciding to climb the tree.

His grip slipped and he fell backwards, but was saved by luck, his leg getting caught between two thick branches, he was in incredible pain, but he was alive at least. He just hung there for a moment, testing fate to see if his fortune was just momentarily but the branches held. He didn’t know how long it took for him to right himself and get back to where he fell, but the sun had shifted in the sky, getting lower to the west. It wasn’t quite sunset yet though. Keeping a better eye on his climb, he continued upwards till he reached the roof of the canopy, and pressed on beyond. The view had been worth it. He wasn’t fully clear yet of the other trees, but already he could see a carpet of green spread out around him, leading into the growing hills and the mountains beyond.

He steadied himself and looked around, a flock of small dragonlings flew past on their way to their roosting grounds in the peaks. He turned his gaze back to the south, towards his village, and spotted it easily enough, with smoke coming from the many chimneys, next to it, he saw the farming fields, barren from the recent harvest. This was his home, despite his parents claim that the nation of Lunaris was his home, no matter which house he lived in. Everyone he knew back in the village had settled there from some where else, and then expecting their kids to move on, spreading their community and linking the whole nation to each other. Strength through unity, that was the Lunar Clan’s motto, and was emblazoned on every town hall in every village as far as Noire knew. The tall steeple of the hall overshadowed all the other buildings, making it a beacon for those looking for a home.

Noire could have spent the whole night looking over the serene views but with Sunset imminent, it meant the temperature was also going to drop, and he hadn’t prepared for that, he thought he’d be home already. Taking one last look as the sun’s rays added an ethereal glow to the surroundings, he started to climb back down the tree, finding the decent to be just as tricky. By the time he retrieved his still intact bag, night was drawing near, and he remembered the old stories that his grandfather had told him, to make sure he didn’t play out too late, that of the Dusk Drache Gott, a dragon of night that brought darkness wherever it flew. His grandfather said that it lived as the shadows of the mountains during the day, taking flight when the sun moved. Dusk’s powers waned as the days got longer and it’s power grew in the reverse.

The stories often revolved around some unlucky hunter or cocky teenager, that dared stay out, wanting to see the Dusk Drache Gott, and were driven crazy by it. Being older now, Noire knew better then to believe in the tall tales that he had been told. He knew now why night came, and it wasn’t because of some legendary dragon that pretended to be made of shadows. Still, if ever he was out at this time, he couldn’t help but look in the direction of the mountains, always relieved that he didn’t see movement within the sky. He also knew better then to stay in the forest after dark, besides the crippling cold, as there was a few predators who adapted to the cold nights with thick fur and eyes that glowed in the dark to mesmerise and entrap their prey. Noire cut quickly down the path he trod to enter, keeping a vigilant eye behind him, not wanting to be surprised. He was almost out of the forest when there was movement behind him and golden eyes appeared, multiple sets.

He froze, and he tried to hold his breath otherwise he knew he would be panicking. The beasts got closer, he heard the thundering of their paws as they raced towards him, and then as they raced away from him. His would be predators had ignored him as they raced to get away. From what, Noire didn’t know, what he did know, was that he should probably be running as well. He was still frozen with fear though, especially when he heard the sound, a beating of wings and what light remained was drowned out by the shadow of something...something massive. The temperature drop was quick and he Noire’s body broke his fear as he hugged himself, to get some warmth. Then he looked up, and stared in to the face of something ancient, with large uncaring eyes that didn’t acknowledge Noire or his existence or probably, any existence other then it’s own.

The being then flew on, a strong wind in it’s wake. Noire fell to his knees, the enormity of what he had just seen, it had numbed him more then the cold. It was another hour before he collapsed inside his home, his parents getting ready to organise a search party of their own. Any sense they had of punishing him was forgotten as they looked at him and recognised a primal fear, one that few ever admitted to.

Noire didn’t say anything for the rest of the night, hoping sleep would rid him of the image of that visage looking down, looking through him. The Lunar Ascension ceremony was designed to help move the individual past their childhood, have them lose that innocence, if they hadn’t already, and bring them on the path to adulthood. Noire though, had lost that without needing the ceremony, whatever he’d seen took it and crushed it. Once more the tale of the Dusk Drache Gott came to his mind, and he knew his grandfather hadn’t been spinning a tale, he was warning him, and he also remembered the look on his face, something the young Noire had never taken into consideration before, that fear about the cosmic, about the powers they shared the world with, and how it was now etched on his own face. How could he have forgotten such a look? He knew well how, he didn’t want to see it in the first place.
-
Hope you enjoyed that, is this the start of something for my little fantasy universe? Maybe, I noticed that out of all my blog posts, they were very well received, more so then a lot of my other posts...Aside from my Yeti one...Till next time, keep writing!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Folklore Of Our Time

Happy Blog Day Everyone!

Today’s post is part of something I muse about a lot, and certainly something I’ll be putting together with other thoughts in the near future. What am I talking about? My thoughts on how I approach Urban Legends and Creepy Pastas as Folklore of the future. Well let’s move on to the Weekly Briefs!

Weekly Briefs

#IndieAugust

It’s Indie August! Another month dedicated to the independent and small published authors of the world. If you follow the tag on Twitter, you may just find your next favourite read! Give it a go! Remember, all writers have to start somewhere.

Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3

You didn’t think that just because Volume 2 was out and getting stellar reviews that this would be the end of it did you? Volume 3 is set for an October release, in what is proving to be a very packed month for my publisher. It will of course include a exclusive Brennan and Riz story, one that I’ll talk about that in detail after the book releases, in the coming weeks I may even share the title with you, and possibly moan about writing for a special Harvey Duckman release, but that’s all I’ll say for now.
Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Creator Chaos

This week the All About Me starring unlucky...I mean, lucky participant, Kelvin Rodriguez should be hitting the air waves, letting you know the answers to questions you didn’t know you’d asked. Haskins and the Commander fans should not miss this! If you don’t know who they are then you’ve lived a very sheltered life...Seriously check out Kelvin’s #vss365 tweets, you won’t regret it...Unless word based puns aren’t your cup of tea of course.
Guest Writers have already been contacted to star in forthcoming normal podcasts, so you’ve got some great content to look forward to, we just need to sit down and record them!
A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:
Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…
Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.
Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.
Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.
Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War

Still on hiatus, but all being well I should be able to resume it September going forward. It’ll probably be a fortnightly release schedule but I do want to see this story finished.
To catch up on the series so far, click here!
 

Brief Mentions

Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!
Looking for newer stuff?
Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’
Click here to find me on Goodreads
And now…time for our main feature presentation…

Folklore Of Our Times

Let’s start off with a statement that many have made: comics, especially superhero comics are the Greek myths of today. You can see why, given how the medium is used to bring the characters to life and refine their stories over time, adding to their epics while pruning parts that people feel no longer work. The ancient Greeks (and later the Romans) would retell their myths time and time again in a similar manner, just not on printed paper of course. So following this, I’ve come to the conclusion that Folklore has a modern form as well. Actually I think it’s got two forms, one developing off the back of the other.
To start with, let’s talk Urban Legends...Not the movie, the type of stories that people tell to scare each other. These normally involve either an action that you do (like making a face while the wind changes, or reciting Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror) to places (Area 51, Rosewell in New Mexico). Sound familiar? Folklore covered the same kinds of stories, and were used to either explain natural events or tell stories with morals that were relevant at the time.

One interesting thing to note is that some people have noted the links between folklore of the past, and some urban legends of the now era (well the link was made back in the nineties when UFOs were in vogue again after their initial big flutter in the 1950s.) The Link was the similarity of tales involving alien abduction stories to that of encounters with the Fae in the distant past. Lights in the sky, strange unearthly beings, missing time or strange relationship with time (i.e. Time moving faster in one place then another.) Some old descriptions of Fairies even sound like what some witnesses have described as aliens. Of course, Fairies aren’t the old denizens of Folklore that have been mixed up with this, demons have been linked as well.

This is more the similarities between night time visitations of aliens, where abductees have reported being unable to move and the feelings of apprehension and dread, to encounters with Inncubi and Succubi, demons that came to good folk while they slept to have their wicked way with them. Just as some abductions took on a sexual aspect before turning and focusing on hybrid efforts, so did the stories of the demons, with it being said that the Inncubi would make a woman pregnant with a child destined to become a warlock or witch, and the same for the Succubi.
What these show is that words may change but the story itself, and it’s structure doesn’t.

I believe there’s more cases out there like this, and that we really just love telling a good story, hence why we create these Urban Legends, like the friend of a friend story about the vanishing hitchhiker (which I touched up on in my Brennan and Riz story, The Wild Hunt on the Road) or the tale of the serial killer that hides in the backseat of a car, which a good Samaritan spots and scares the heck out of the woman driver, making her think he wants to catch her! Another infamous one of course is the story of the lone babysitter, terrorised by phone calls which get traced back to the house... As is often the case, more times then not, a real being is the antagonist in A Friend of a Friend told me type tales, a sub-class of Urban Legends.

These are passed on with even greater frequency thanks to the internet, which is where they have evolved into another form which I think is a look at Folklore for the digital age. This one is called Creepy Pasta...While at this time I don’t know the origins of the name, I think I can name one story that everyone will have heard something of, either through internet memes or, sadly, stories from real life news sources. Slenderman. This was the creature thought up for a contest in 2009 that became so popular that he spread like wildfire. Everyone added to him, with some people starting to believe that he had always existed, forgetting that his origins were rather mundane.

 In a few more years or more, I have no problem believing that he will grow and operate in the spaces of what used to Folklore. It’s a testament that his design struck such a cord with people. Of course there is other examples, like the Rake, another creature that’s taken a life, with many people now claiming to have seen the monster in the real world, and won’t believe when the truth is revealed that he’d never existed before. Another one, which was the first story of this type I’d ever read was surrounding a haunted N64 Legend of Zelada Majora’s Mask game.

In fact, most Creepy Pastas share story structures from the stories that came before it, most notably where the source of the stories, always being a friend of a narrator, or a mutual friend. These stories reflect the youth of today who write them.
That’s all the time we have for this week, but I’ve hoped you enjoyed a sneak look at what goes on in my head sometimes. As I said in the intro, I hope to work all this and my other musings into a well researched essay on Folklore, it’s past and it’s future. When I’ll get around to this though, is another matter entirely!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

A Boy and a Rat: Update Part Deux

Happy Blog Day Everyone!


Today isn’t a long post and I apologise for that, but real life has thrown a few things at me, which has meant this week has been really busy. That and I’m heading for the finish line on A Boy and A Rat, speaking of which, I’ll be offering a update on that, but before then, let’s move on to the Weekly Briefs.

Weekly Briefs


#IndieAugust


It’s Indie August! Another month dedicated to the independent and small published authors of the world. If you follow the tag on Twitter, you may just find your next favourite read! Give it a go! Remember, all writers have to start somewhere.

Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3


You didn’t think that just because Volume 2 was out and getting stellar reviews that this would be the end of it did you? Volume 3 is set for an October release, in what is proving to be a very packed month for my publisher. It will of course include a exclusive Brennan and Riz story, one that I’ll talk about that in detail after the book releases, in the coming weeks I may even share the title with you, and possibly moan about writing for a special Harvey Duckman release, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Creator Chaos


Well this past Sunday we recorded Kelvin’s All About Me interview, and it was a doozy. Secrets were spilled and laughs were had. Hopefully it will be online soon for you all to hear.

Guest Writers have already been contacted  to star in forthcoming normal podcasts, so you’ve got some great content to look forward to.

A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:

Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…

Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.

Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.

Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War


Still on hiatus, but all being well I should be able to resume it September going forward. It’ll probably be a fortnightly release schedule but I do want to see this story finished.
To catch up on the series so far, click here!

Brief Mentions


Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!
Looking for newer stuff?

Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’

Click here to find me on Goodreads

And now…time for our main feature presentation…

A Boy and A Rat: Update Part Deux 


It’s been a fair few weeks since I last talked about the Brennan and Riz prequel story, but I’m happy to say the finish line is in sight. Currently I’m on chapter 23 but this is part of the last arc in the story, as I move to wrap certain plot points up. Valarie has really come into her own in the last few chapters and I even saw fit to drop more details about the woman who basically owns all of Brennan and Riz’s money, the lady mentioned in the ‘Violin in the Basement’ story in the first collection. As a tease, I can reveal that her name is Alice, and yes, she is not someone you should be doing business with.

Figuring out how to end this was very tricky. I mean, I knew how the final chapter was going to play out, as that’s the bookend to the opening, which are the only chapters set in the present day, compared to 2001 like the rest of the book. If this book was ever turned into a film, you can bet that they’d make every effort to remind you that this was the year it took place in, with a soundtrack to match. So when can you expect to see this book? Hopefully soon, it all depends on the edits that are needed, and on when my publisher can get the work done. I had originally wanted it out by October, but that was back in May time when I was blissfully unaware at exactly how much time I was going to have to take out to get my short story commitments done. That and bad cases of writers block of course.

As it stands, Chapter 23 is one page of being done, and then it should hopefully be a whirlwind of writing, but I’ve got a lot on my plate so, it’s going to be a race.
Sorry for the very short blog today, hopefully I’ll have something more interesting next week!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Paths to Publishing

Happy Blog Day Everyone!


Today, I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about this week. Publishing pathways and what they mean. Before we get to that though, it’s of course, time for the Weekly Briefs.

Weekly Briefs


#IndieAugust


It’s Indie August! Another month dedicated to the independent and small published authors of the world. If you follow the tag on Twitter, you may just find your next favourite read! Give it a go! Remember, all writers have to start somewhere.

Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3


You didn’t think that just because Volume 2 was out and getting stellar reviews that this would be the end of it did you? Volume 3 is set for an October release, in what is proving to be a very packed month for my publisher. It will of course include a exclusive Brennan and Riz story, one that I’ll talk about that in detail after the book releases, in the coming weeks I may even share the title with you, and possibly moan about writing for a special Harvey Duckman release, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Creator Chaos


The next in our, All About Me, series is lined up, and it’s everyone’s favorite #vss365 tweeter, Kelvin Rodriguez! He will be at the mercy of whatever questions you want to ask, so please throw some good ones our way…

We will be recording soon I promise, life has a habit of getting in the way this summer. Guest Writers have already been contacted though! You’ve got some great content to look forward to.

A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:

Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…

Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.

Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.

Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War


Still on hiatus, but all being well I should be able to resume it September going forward. It’ll probably be a fortnightly release schedule but I do want to see this story finished.
To catch up on the series so far, click here!

Brief Mentions


Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!
Looking for newer stuff?

Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’

Click here to find me on Goodreads

And now…time for our main feature presentation…

Paths to Publishing


I am a published author, though my publisher, 6e, is a small operation. Why am I mentioning this? Because I see some people questioning which is the best way forward, and others doubting the method they have chosen. What I will write here, isn’t the universal truth, just my opinion, from what I gathered. You may not agree with it, but that’s fine. To begin with though, let’s look at the major types.

Traditional Publishing. 


There’s a lot that falls under this umbrella as it covers anything where someone else takes your manuscript, polishes it up, then pays to have printers print it out and send it to shops and marketplaces. What varies is their reach, what services they provide for free (and which ones they expect you to do as the Author) and the rights of the work. The last part is the most important. In any given deal, you need to make sure that the rights stay with you the author, no matter what. Unless of course you’re working on an already established property, in which case the rights won’t matter that much.

Anyway... In most instances (unless you get lucky and get published by the big four, you’re going to be responsible for your own marketing (be it something you actively do yourself, or pay someone else to do). If you’re publisher has it’s own marketing department, then great, but that might just mean you’re paying them extra...
Traditional Publishing is also where Advances come into play. These are cash sums often given on the advance of books sales, which is something very important to keep in mind.

If you get an advance, and your book fails to sell to target, then they’ll be coming back for their money. That’s why it’s called an Advance. Similarly, royalty payments only start once the publisher has gotten back their money (the Advance). If you don’t get an advance then the royalty payments will start straight away-ish, being forwarded to you on the agreed statements. So basically every so often, they’ll pay you what they owe you.

Getting traditionally published is the hardest on the path, so few publishers accept unsolicited submissions these days, often because of the volume of submissions they got before. So this means you need to represented. This means, you need an agent. This is what querying is all about. I’ve tried to do this in the past with my Daemon Soul series and it’s a hard process that requires you to research agents that are compatible with your idea and pitch. There’s no use trying to get the attention of an Agent that deals with romance fiction, if you only write hard boiled crime. Getting an agent is just the first step, and most times, they’ll take their fee from you when they land you a deal, with them taking a cut, though I’ve seen the rare one charge up front for their time, something that isn’t cheap.

Some consider traditional publishing the only way to do it, as for so long, it was the only way of doing it, making the powerful publishers gatekeepers of sorts, deciding what and didn’t get published. I don’t agree though, especially with the notion that only traditional publishing gives you legitimacy, that’s just what they want you to believe, so you don’t look elsewhere for your reading.

Let’s move on to the next type.

Hybrid Publishing and Vanity Publishing.


Both of these require you to pay in order to publish, but they’ll do most of what you need. How they operate though, is vastly different. Hybrid Publishing is very upfront with what they do and how much it will cost, stating plainly on the website their costs and packages. Vanity Publishing on the other hand, will lure you in with the ‘maybe’ notion that you’ll get a traditional publishing deal. Once your hooked, they’ll flatter you into signing up to them and tell you that because you’re an unknown Author (despite them all loving your work to pieces and being really positive about it) that they can only publish your work, if you pay for all the up front costs. Not only that, but in these cases, they may keep your rights as well during the whole process and afterwards depending on what happens.

 In certain scenarios, they can keep your rights forever, keeping them in limbo with you unable to do anything, unless you get legal consul. What’s worse is, that with Vanity Publishing, you still may never see the print run you were dreaming of, and it’ll be down to you to get your books in shops.

Why go for one of these? If you have the money and want to keep a certain level of control and are sick and tired of the process to get traditional published. You may not have all the time you’d need to go full indy, then going through a hybrid may be for you. Just watch your rights and read through everything before signing up.

Independent Publishing.


As you may already be aware, two of my fellow Creator Chaos comrades are independently published authors. Both Zack Brooks and Peter Hartog have put themselves out there, off their own backs. As long as you can afford it, and have the time, this is the pathway that gives you the most control over everything. This also means you can be flexible with sales as you have all the tools at your disposal to make your work a bestseller. Problem is that left alone, it’ll be hard for your work to be noticed amongst the sea of other Indy authors, this is where marketing is even more of a pressing concern.

It’s also advisable to get an editor in to look at your work and proof read it. You can use services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, allowing your work to go directly to the kindle store and allows for a print on demand services. This means that any fans who want a physical copy of your book can order from amazon. Amazon have invested a lot into their KDP program, and you can see that they want to shake up the industry.

Through all of this though, which is the better pathway? Which is the one I would most recommend to people. It is genuinely hard to say without knowing what people’s predicaments are. If someone has their heart set on getting published at Random House then so be it, I wish them the best of luck. If I’m being honest though, I would urge people to either go independent, as overall it’s the best deal in terms of rights. One thing I must add though is that no matter what method you choose, if your work is out there, either on a shop’s shelve, or on an online shop front, you are a legitimate Author. It doesn’t matter how the writing got there, it just matters that it’s there.

Thank you for indulging me in this little topic, I’m not sure what time or even what topic next weeks blog will take, but till then: Keep on writing!


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Why We Write

Happy Blog Day Everyone!


Today, I want to spare a few words on why we write and what we hope to gain. I’ve been thinking about it the last couple of days. Before that though, it’s time for the weekly briefs.

Weekly Briefs


Harvey Duckman Presents…Volume 3

You didn’t think that just because Volume 2 was out and getting stellar reviews that this would be the end of it did you? Volume 3 is set for an October release, in what is proving to be a very packed month for my publisher. It will of course include a exclusive Brennan and Riz story, one that I’ll talk about that in detail after the book releases, in the coming weeks I may even share the title with you, and possibly moan about writing for a special Harvey Duckman release, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

Don’t forget, if you write Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci Fi or Horror (or a mix of the genres), then feel free to submit your work to this growing anthology! Click here for submission guidelines.

Crossing the Tees 2019


You’re probably tired of me going on about this, but I just want to bring as much attention to it as humanly possible, after all I owe everything to this competition. I promise that this will be the last time I mention it...till next year at least.

At the time I’m writing this, the final hours are ticking away to the competition deadline of Midnight 31st July, if you’re entering and haven’t handed in your entry yet, then don’t delay! If you’re reading this on August 1st...then better luck next year!
I finished my entry, going back to my original idea after having a moment of inspiration, though it was dwelling on it that led me to think of todays main presentation.

Creator Chaos


The next in our, All About Me, series is lined up, and it’s everyone’s favorite #vss365 tweeter, Kelvin Rodriguez! He will be at the mercy of whatever questions you want to ask, so please throw some good ones our way…

The latest episode of Creator Chaos is up now! Find it and please listen to it! I apologise if I kill your hearing with my version of Fly Me to the Moon... Coming soon, we’re hoping to do the first of our Guest Writer episodes featuring  some of the great writers out there!

A reminder of who the rest of Creator Chaos are:

Me – I don’t think I need to explain myself…

Kelvin Rodriguez – Fans and followers of the #vss365 tag will recognize this fellow and his creations, a master of the pun. He also has a mighty fine singing voice.

Zack Brooks – Author of the ‘Charlie the Cupid’ shorts and ‘The Trials of Amaford” novellas, the audio book version of ‘How Not To Be A Rogue’ is out now! This is a perfect chance to get in on this series, with a great narrator. A great guy and the defacto leader of our rabble.

Pete Hartog – Author of the novel Bloodlines, and currently working on its sequel. A great guy with a great taste in music and a fantastic name. He also has a blog you can find here, give it a read! He’s currently working on a sequel to Bloodlines.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts so far and look out for us on Spotify and Apples Music Service!

Vector Unit Regen Orphan’s War


Still on hiatus, but all being well I should be able to resume it September going forward. It’ll probably be a fortnightly release schedule but I do want to see this story finished.

To catch up on the series so far, click here!

Brief Mentions


Liking what you’re hearing about Brennan and Riz? Click here to look at the short story collection of their adventures so far!
Looking for newer stuff?

Click here to order ‘The Yeti in the Snow’, the standalone Brennan and Riz Christmas story. Only available on Kindle. It may be collected in a paperback version in the future.

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 1 which includes ‘A Walk Through The Pleasure Gardens’

Click here to order Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 2 which includes ‘The Black Cat on the Prowl’

Click here to find me on Goodreads

And now…time for our main feature presentation…

Why We Write


It’s a simple question isn’t it? Depending on the person who answers, it can also be a simple answer. I’ve seen questions like it doing the rounds on Twitter and other social media sites, and it’s used as a way to break the ice. So why am I talking about this? This week (as noted above) I finished my Crossing the Tees Short Story Contest 2019 entry, after a lot of deliberation on it. I had a plan that formed the first idea but during writing, it seemed to fall apart barely three hundred words in. I pressed on, trying the first tactic in my utility belt, blunt force writing. This is where I force myself to write, in the hopes that I either push aside whatever is blocking me, or find a groove where everything fits together. This, as you probably guessed, didn’t work.

Seeing that it wasn’t working and that what I was writing was terrible, I turned to my back up plan and started over. This quickly went the same way. I sat down and thought about why nothing was working. I looked again and realised I wasn’t feeling anything with what I had written down, and I was doing it simply because I had set myself the deadline to get the voluntary contest entry in. This was a commitment that I had taken on myself, on top of writing the Harvey Duckman shorts, and on top of writing A Boy and A Rat. The latter which is the highest priority of anything I should be working on.

The conclusion I drew was that the two previous ideas weren’t working for me because they weren’t me, not entirely.
This brings me back to the topic here, as I forcing these stories conflicted with why I write. I write to give life to the ideas in my head, letting them grow and develop. Writing also helps me deal with internal issues I have, as I’ve spoken about before in my post about comfort zones. By forcing myself to write these ideas, they clashed with my style and dragged my creativity down an abyss. This was proved when I switched gears and went to work on a chapter of A Boy and A Rat, where I was struggling to fill a page with the contest entries, with A Boy and A Rat, I blew through three pages in no short order.

I’ve seen some people who’s motivation to write seems to boil down to ‘make money’ believing themselves to be the next J.K. Rowling, who’ll get advances worth millions based on their first novel. Here’s something I learned, they’re called advances for a reason, they’re advances based on the books sales, and if the sales total to less then the advance....Well someone’s paying that back. I’m waffling off again.

Point is, write because you love writing, write because you want to share your story with the world. Doesn’t make a difference if you’re published or not, write what you want and nothing else. If you’re not having fun writing, then you’re doing it wrong. I did it wrong, and luckily because I realised it, I was able to come at one of the ideas from a different angle, making it more in line with me and what I want to write.

That’s all for this week, but I’ll be back again next time with more Folklore Tales. Till then, think abut why you write, and embrace it. Keep writing, your stories are important.