Tuesday, 20 December 2016

End of Year Round-Up 2/2

Just a little note, before we start, on consistency and the artistic mind...

People seem to romanticise, somewhat, this link between being nuts and being creative. It's there, sure. I wrote a novel in a week, once (BLOOD, DRUGS, TEA). The black dog wasn't visiting, but the mania fairies were flitting around annoyingly while I wrote it. Mania's more like a belligerent one-eyed tabby cat, an upside-down tortoise and three llamas, two of whom are drunk and one, the designated driver, really arsey because, well, he's sober. The point here is that you can reach ridiculous heights...but you can't be consistent. If you want a body of work rather than a footnote in a mental health journal, consistent wins every time.

This year I've been boring, haven't created wildly, but I have, actually, done a ton of work. I didn't think I had until I sat to write this two-part round-up...but I have. So...you know. Ner.

Successes and Failures

I can't say I really consider any of this year's work a success or a failure. To me, it's felt like I've been in a holding pattern. Like I'm a plane, circling, waiting for permission to land. Kind of dull, and I'm impatient, but I do have fuel reserves and others needed to land before me.

Jesus, what a shit analogy.

I did some of what I intended from last year's round-up - I wrote Beneath Rythe, although it's only a first draft and still needs probably up to around a fourth draft before I let anyone see it. I finished PIG with Edward.

Some things I hadn't planned on doing - the short stories which I put out. Some were paid, some I gave away, some I donated (I think? You donate to charity anthologies, right?), but none were wasted.

Some projects and jobs I didn't get around to at all. I haven't moved forward with Rain Clowns or The Temple of Art. I began the sequel to Left to Darkness in November and put it on hold until after I finish Red Ice Run with Ryan C. Thomas (which has moved on, but isn't finished at all...), and issued the paperbacks for the Line of Kings. My head won't be clear until I've done those, and I really suck badly at thinking about more than one thing unless those things are conveniently placed, nice and tidy, on a sequential timeline, preferable going from left to right, left being the past.


Moving on.

To be fair, a few of those 'failures' are because I was without a PC...some was just me. My fingers also kicked the bucket this year, so it took a while to learn to figure out how to get on with that.*

*Reynaud's. My fingers are not actually dead. Do not send tiny caskets.

One success, though - DarkFuse haven't, as yet, taken me round the back of the shed and put me down. Another success, I guess, it that although it's been a quiet year, I am still writing.


Life's part of my writing, I suppose, and it got in the way a bit this year. The Black Dog's big fat head hit me right in the balls. I got some news pills, and I feel better than I have for a long time, and I've been working regularly again - so, half-and-half.

My PC was blown up by lightning in the summer, and I'm still behind from that - a long way behind. I lost a lot of work, too. On the plus side, I got a PC upgrade. So, half-and-half.

I started playing Fallout 4, and like everything I do, I play obsessively. It cuts in to work time, but I really love it...all together now...half-and-half!

Overall? 50% for the year. Not a fail, not a win...just another year. That's a pass mark, I think. If there's a test for years. Which, frankly, there isn't.

Next Year

Hmm. Red Ice Run will be done in 2017 (I'm giving myself a whole year...hardly a stretch...). Highwayman (from DarkFuse) is out in January, which is very nice (I sent the signature sheets for the 52 limited edition hardbacks last week). The Line of Kings will be done.

Aside from that? Normally, I make some kind of tentative work plans for each year...this year I resolutely have done no such thing. I'm just a god-damned Maverick.

Wait, that's not Maverick...


Did the shelf of boasting grow? Yes...but not as much as me. I mean that in the philosophical sense, of course. I didn't get taller.

Learning and growing, dudes.

Love you.

End of Year Round-Up 1/2

Craig! Craig!


What the hell have you been doing all year?

There's a nice way to ask that, you know. And there's a nice way to answer it...which this ain't. It's the...dum-dum-dum...End of Year Round-Up...PART ONE!

(There's a jingle with that. It's inaudible, though...unlike...segueeeee!)


Three are out so far - The Dead Boy, A Home by the Sea, and RAIN. I've received Vigil (Lee David Foreman) and The Love of the Dead (Molly King) for approval, so it won't be much longer until those stories are unleashed. It's interesting to see how well audiobooks sell compared to paperbacks...they sell more, for me. Others, maybe not, but it's added revenue that'll buy a bag of coke every now and then. Erm.


All stories which reverted to me are out again, with new covers. All the ones I want in paperback are done, too, and all those I want in audio are either done, or contracted to be done. The only paperbacks I still want to issue are the fantasy books, and that's just taking so long it's a downer, man. Let's talk about upbeat stuff instead, shall we?


This is, I guess, part of 'the craft' now. I'm not an artist, but I'm improving, and I'm happy with the covers I have (apart from the Rythe Quadrilogy, but I'm not ready to release the fourth book yet anyway, and when I do I want everything right - paperbacks, too, so I can draw a line under this saga). If you want to have a look at the covers as they stand (and I ain't changing 'em n'more), they're all updated in the 'sample' section above.

If you don't want to look at my spiffing covers, here's a picture of a squirrel:

New work

I released The Dead Boy at the start of the year. UNIT 731 (a novella) came out from DarkFuse earlier in the year, too, but mostly it's been about short stories, getting older work sorted so I can move onto greener (newer) pastures, and learning some new (boring but essential) skills.

A few people asked me for shorts for anthologies, and I wrote a lot for charity - 'Pigs in Blankets' and 'To Knit a World, to Darn a Life'.

Also published: 'Another Painted Bauble Falling from a Dead Tree' on Meghan Hyden's blog, because she asked and I like her enough to write a story for her.

I've a few more coming out which I can't talk about, because the publisher will announce the line-up nearer the time.

Bad Apples came out, with my story 'October's End'. So, that was nice. Ooh, and 'Those Borrowed Faces' came out in 'What Goes Around'. Ooh, and 'The House of Oak' was published by DarkFuse, online.

I think I might have been paid for those. I might have bought some new socks. I needed socks, so that's possibly true.


Loads - mostly, it's been a tedious year - one I needed, but nonetheless...zzzzzz.

I hate editing old work, but some needed doing so I could get the paperbacks shipshape. Bookshape. Whatever. Shut up.

And, because of this (learning how to format a paperback) Iain Rob Wright's A-Z of Publishing (an online, subscription-based resource) proved invaluable this year. Good man, and a very useful place to learn what you're doing, even if you've been doing a while (like me) - there's a whole hell of a lot I didn't know I didn't know...

Rejections and Acceptances

I didn't get rejected at all this year. I had an acceptance or two, and a few people asked me for short stories, which is a lovely thing indeed.

Why didn't I get rejected? Because I barely sent anything out...

Good trick, that.

Finished Work

PIG, with Edward Lorn. Moved on a very little with novels, but I did write a shit ton...just not on anything new. Insert squiggly non-committal emoji here.

The Business

I'm out of Kindle Unlimited. I'm making roughly the same amount as I was before, and to be honest, I don't miss farting around with free/99p promotions at all. As I mentioned earlier, Iain Rob Wright's 'A-Z of Publishing' has been a massive boon to me this year, with regard to learning more of the 'back end' of self-publishing (yes, yes, pfnarr pfnarr).

Out and About

Only got to one convention - Horror in the East. A cosy, small affair, but it was nice as I had a good natter with David Moody and met the actual, incomparable Simon Coleby.

The Craft

Don't write 'he thought to himself'...for fuck's sake. Repetition and redundancy are on my mental checklist for second drafts, as is passive voice - but I didn't have a mental checklist when I wrote the earlier fantasy work. Wish I had. Would've saved a ton of time. Also, on my mental checklist for future work, I've added, 'Don't fuck it up.'

In part two, I'll write about successes and failures and my plans for next year. I think. I don't actually know what I'm going to write, or say, until it's too late.

Love you. x

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

For Christmas, Craigy gave to me; two short stories and an audiobook...er...*something...rhyme...something.*

Couple of bits and bobs before my yearly 'Yearly Round-up', for which I still have no catchy name.


Audiobook of 'The Dead Boy', read by the wonderful Molly King, is available now on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.



I have a short story, 'Pigs in Blankets' in this, the 12 DAYS Anthology. All proceeds from the sale go to Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and all of the authors involved donated their work for the charity. Share if you can, buy if you're flush. Edited and compiled by Matthew Cash. It's a good read, too, and there's a short story and a nice introduction from Graham Masterton, who is a lovely gentleman. I won't put the contents or list all the authors in this blog, because it's a hefty anthology and very reasonably priced. 



Last, but not in the slightest least, an entirely free read from me, 'Another Painted Bauble Falling from a Dead Tree'. Available on Meghan Shena Hyden's blog, 'The Gal in the Blue Mask'. She asked if I'd write a short for her annual Christmas Takeover, and this is it.

That's all folks. 

Love you. x