Think of this as my first quarterly check in of the year.
I’m aware I never published a GDR (Goals, Dreams & Resolutions) list this year, but I can assure you there is one in existence. I designed my list with the express purpose of setting realistic challenges across the board, getting me back on track with my writing, but not placing too much pressure on what order or when these actually got done. In other words, I would just work at getting back to work.
The results are better than I expected after the first three and a half months.
Gatecrash On the Way
GATECRASH has been (heavily) re-worked, re-plotted and is currently being re-written. I went through some major creative trauma getting it to this stage; there were culls, reality checks, tough decisions and inevitably not all of these went where I historically felt they should. This is what’s made the difference: I’ve stopped trying to force this book where I thought it should go, and let it go where it wanted to go. It’s a basic rule of writing that I learnt long ago and obviously forgot, but it’s all lined up correctly now and the reason I know this is simple: I can’t stop writing or thinking about it. I’ve not felt this good about a book since SLICK in 2006, and in my opinion (despite only being two thirds complete) GATECRASH is a far superior novel. There’s even a front cover for it already – long story and I’ll publish it soon – but GATECRASH will definitely be published later this year.
Stella Back Under Control
After a couple of years in the wilderness, I finally managed to get the rights back for STELLA, my first published paranormal book. This meant the book has had to change significantly as far as design and layout goes. It’s also meant a new front cover! I rather like it. I kept it simple and straightforward and then repackaged and repriced it to make it affordable after the previous publisher had it so over-priced it was out the market before it even got going. Nothing I could do about that at the time though – but I can now.
You can now purchase STELLA and its sequel, BACCARA BURNING, in the form of a double-book download. I took the opportunity when relaunching STELLA to bundle it with its successor — It made sense and it was something I always felt should be the case, but alas could do nothing about due to the non-supportive nature of the publisher. It’s normal price will be £4.99 for both books, but for a limited time beginning tomorrow 25 April, you can get it for free. Here’s the link to grab a FREE copy of the STELLA & BACCARA BURNING 2-in-1 Ebook.
Tentative work has begun on a new chapbook. I’m hoping it will incorporate poems from many of my past visits to one of my favourite cities, but I’ve yet to come to any solid conclusions about its format, content, style, the lot. But just being in the pipeline and active is a good thing.
Plans for the next quarter remain on course. I aim to have GATECRASH completed, rested, beta-read, copy edited, and have the marketing prepared by the end of the summer. I also hope to have the new chapbook ready to launch. I’m not short of poems for it, I just need to do some heavy editing on them and spend some dedicated time on it. And I also want to have begun work on turning my debut novel, HUNTING JACK into novel format. It was originally an e-serial but with a whole new audience out there now after SLICK and GREENER IS THE GRASS, I think this is a book that will fit nicely into my back catalogue. There has been some interest already but it’s a case of completing my other commitments first.
And if I can get all of this done, I want to do NaNoWriMo this year. This will hopefully mean a new novel towards the start of next year and then I can start work on a new book afterwards. This is a hopeful though, and not a definite.
Away from the Page
Of the two Dreams on my GDR list, one is to start learning French. My wife and I love going to France and have picked up quite a few conversational phrases, but with plans to visit more of the country, being able to speak the language certainly won’t hurt. Not exactly sure when I’ll start this but it’s sooner rather than later as I sit today.
I have three Resolutions on my list, two of which I am happy to publicly mention. The first is to lose 1.5 stones — I’m 1 stone down from the end of February so only a few pounds to go! By the end of the year I may well have beaten it by more than I envisaged. This had become a priority resolution actually because after returning from Paris, New York and Las Vegas, then of course it was the Christmas and New Year holidays, I’d eaten and drank more then my fair share. What can I say, I’ve become a sucker for a Philly Cheesesteak!
The other Resolution I had was to lessen my social media presence, which by that I meant Facebook. It was a major distraction for me and I knew my writing continuity would suffer so I deleted all the apps and decided to only use it at weekends. In the end, it fell away almost completely and I’m now hardly ever on it. I do visit from time to time and check in on friends and family but that’s all. I can’t say I miss the whining, political spouting about the SNP and the Tories and all the other utter garbage that people post sometimes. I’ll likely only post through my author page when there’s something worthy of being mentioned. I just feel the platform has become too much of a vehicle for people screaming their opinion without any form of reasoned argument and I’d had enough.
Removing distractions has become a priority if the truth be told. All those wee notifications were managing to do was to distract me from what I actually should be doing. So as well as Facebook I’ve cut out other stuff that was getting in the way: I watch less television, write less blogs, do much less procrastinating, etc. and it’s working so far.
The remaining Resolution I’ve not mentioned relates directly to attaining the Dream I also never mentioned. One is reliant on the other and the whole project is private I’m afraid, so I’ll only be publishing news of it if I actually achieve it. It won’t be any time soon though as it’s a a long-term plan so don’t hold your breath.
So all in all, on the writing front and on the life front, it’s looking like being a great 2017!