Saturday, 27 October 2012

What do you do when the wife's away?

Evening folks,

I'll start on a positive. I've just this minute finished the first draft of a book from my back catalogue. Originally written in 2006 it has been sitting quietly waiting for me to pick it up again. So far all I've done is a read through and then a sweep of obvious typo errors, changed a few names and tweaked some layout stuff, as well as confirming there's enough there to work on with a view to publishing it.

As things stand I now have two books at this stage, the other being the sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. I haven't decided which to work on first but it's a great position to find myself in. Also great was the unexpected entry of my short story The Storyteller into the top 10 in it's category on Amazon UK this week. I rarely promote this story and yet it continues to sell. Thanks to those who bought it.

As you might have guessed the above partly answers the post title. The wife has been away since Thursday so I've had plenty of time to write. I've also been staying up late, drinking beer, watching films, football and playing on the Xbox. So essentially, the answer to the question in my case seems to be: I revert to behaving like a teenager.

Incidentally the film I watched last night is called Will. It's about a kid who loses both parents so he hitchhikes to Istanbul to watch Liverpool in the Champions League final because he's a huge fan. It was pretty awful to be honest and I was expecting a lot since Damian Lewis is in it and I'm a big Liverpool fan. Lewis dies early on, it's really a bit part. The story is lightweight and unbelievable and I only sat through it in case they showed any of the final itself. They didn't.

By the way, I may or may not have mentioned that I've got tickets to see The Rolling Stones next month as the O2. We're all very excited but I was a little concerned at the footage released of the Stones warm up gig in Paris. Admittedly the clip was very short but the sound was poor and the tempo slow. Fingers crossed they pull it out of the bag on the night.

And that's the news. Two books nearing publication, Barcelona on the tele and winning 4-0 and the merseyside derby on tomorrow lunchtime before the return of the wife later on.

As ever, thanks for buying, reading and hopefully enjoying my books. When the new stuff is ready to go I'll announce it here first.

Beer time I think.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

How do you deal with rejection?

Evening folks,

You might remember that I submitted an extract of The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe to Blake Friedmann a while ago. Of course you'd be forgiven for not remembering since this happened on the 8th July. Anyway, last night I finally decided to send a tweet to Carole Blake asking for an update.

Good news! I recieved a response today. Sadly it was, rather predictably, a standard rejection. Now I'm not new to this and I was pretty much expecting it but whenever I recieve another rejection it makes me think about failure etc. So how do you deal with rejection? Particularly with something so personal as a book. I spend months and years writing these stories and they are generally rejected with a few lines in an email.

It used to really get to me. This latest one has not really registered, aside from prompting me to write this blog post. It's not affecting me writing more material and I'm not sulking. In fact I'm about to go to the pub for tea and a few ales. Hurrah!

Anyway, that's all for now. Progress on the editing is going well and the initial revisions should be complete by the weekend.

Carry on.

Friday, 19 October 2012

How do you measure success?

Evening folks,

It's been a week since my last post which isn't like me. That's how busy I've been this week.

The day job has been a bit lively this week which is always frustrating but I should finally be leaving to begin my new role within the next two-three weeks. It can't come soon enough.

On the plus side I finished the read through of the manuscript and have done initial edits of more than sixty pages. The weekend plan is to plough on with it. Certainly the plot is good, better than I realised at the time and still very, very topical given that one of the main plot lines was featured on the news just this week. I'm being a bit cryptic but I'll start telling you all about it when it's ready to publish.

I've done less than expected, partly because of work but also because I went to see Crossfire Hurricane, the new Rolling Stones film, on Thursday evening. To be honest I didn't learn anything I didn't already know but the music was great. I also managed to get tickets for one of their upcoming shows at the O2 in London. Very expensive but we're very excited. The wife has never seen the Stones before so she has no idea what to expect.

I've just seen tonight that there was trouble at the Leeds - Sheffield Weds match. Fans chanting, fans on the pitch, goalkeeper punched. On the back of the Olympics the nation came together. It's taken football mere weeks to undo a lot of that with the racism rows and now this latest mess. In the 80's British clubs were banned from European competition for years because of fan trouble. So why not hit offenders, anywhere in the world, where is hurts? Fines don't work with the very rich. Stopping then participating hurts a lot.

But the title of this post is about success. Footballers are paid fortunes. Are they successful whether they win or lose? Does a higher salary make you more successful? I used to think so. What about having a happy marriage and healthy kids?

Hard to say. But lately I've come to believe that if you can wake up each day and do the thing you love then that must make you pretty successful. My goal, as you all know, is to be a successful writer. So how do I define that? Well, I used to want the massive advance, to be Stephen King etc.

Now that's changed. I want to sell enough books to make a living, so that I can get up each day and write more stories. Easy thing to say and write down, very hard to make it happen. But that's where ambition comes in. Success comes from drive, talent, ambition etc. You don't get anything in any field without trying and trying. Whether it's sport, music, writing. So I keep going, keep writing, squeezing in a bit of promo where I can and I'm grateful for every sale and every review. Each sale is a success. The trick now is to increase the success to achieve the goal.

Right, I'm going to have a late Friday night ale, a pizza and who knows what else.

Until next time, thanks for reading this blog, the traffic is pretty impressive. Hopefully I'll have more books for you enjoy very soon.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A timely reminder of my goals...

Evening gang,

On the back of completing the first draft of the new Jazz Cafe book I have begun revisions/editing of a book from my back catalogue which, at the time of writing, I called The Trust. I have so far read and made revisions to over 160 pages and I can honestly say that parts of the first 100 pages are as good as anything I've written. I remember thinking at the time that the intro was particularly good and now, years later (the book was written in 2006) I still think that.

The story holds together well and the characters, particularly the two central players, are solid and well formed. One surprise has been the emergence of one of the peripheral characters. I now see him in a more pivotal role and even appearing in future books along with his colleague from The Trust.

That said there are plenty of areas for revision. I've been a bit quick with my pacing and a bit too keen with my murder scenes and I think now I'm going to introduce some first person elements to the book in the style of Jo Nesbo. We shall see. All being well, it will be finished and published in time for Christmas.

In other news I met a fan today! Regular readers may recall I mentioned that a lady who works with my wife had bought a paperback copy of The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. She has read it and loved it and today asked my wife if she could meet me. So when I pulled up to collect her the lady trotted out and said hello. It was a bizarre but wonderful moment which I could very much get used to. In addition, a work colleague of my own enjoyed Playground Cool enough to buy The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe and today he said he has yet to read it because his own wife cannot put it down. Big smile on my face!

These two events more than made up for being back at work. It's been two days now and it's as miserable as ever and, as the post title suggests, has served as a timely reminder that there is so much more in this world than clocking in for the benefit of someone else. I've said it before and I stand by it. My last day cannot come soon enough.

But until then, the plan remains unchanged. Keep writing, keep doing promo when I can and make sure I appreciate every sale and all the great feedback I receive.

I'd best go. There's a gin on the bedside cabinet that requires my attention.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

It's finished!

Afternoon folks,

As the title suggests the first draft of my new book is complete. I finished it about ten minutes ago, it's currently 83,560 words long and has more plot holes in it than a well worn vest. But that's what the second draft is for.

For now I'm going to bask in the feeling of getting there in what, for me, is a short space of time (about six months). I'll ignore it for a while now as I'm planning to start editing a book from my back catalogue for publication. When that's done I'll return for a second draft and hopefully have it out in time for Christmas.

In other news one of my Goodreads chums has a new blog which I've included links for. She's a big supporter of Indie Authors in terms of reviews so check it out. I'm deighted to say that a review of one of my books is featured on the blog too. Yay!

Finally, and in relation to nothing. I received my new mobile today. It's the one James Bond will be using in the upcoming 007 movie Skyfall and, being a bit of a geek, I bloody love it. Not least because the ringtone is the Bond theme.

Right that's it for today. I'm having Indian for tea and then hitting the ale. It's been a very, very good day.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How long does it take to write a book?

Evening folks,

Italy was awesome thanks for asking. I'd recommend seeing more than one city in a trip as you get a great opportunity to compare and contrast different places. Venice is lovely but so different to Rome. Also, despite what everyone had told us, the wife and I both preferred Rome, although we would definitely return to both places. By the way, the pic below is the view of the grand canal from one of our windows. Needless to say one of the better rooms I've stayed in.

I'd also recommend the cross Europe sleeper as an option if you can afford it and don't like flying. It's a fun experience although not exactly the height of luxury. I've attached a couple of links so you can see for yourself. Bottom line is, you get a bed, decent tea, there's a bar and you see all sorts out of the window. It was slightly surreal being in Dijon station at half ten at night, but pretty cool. Either way, we didn't sleep great but enough to arrive in Venice at breakfast time (we had breakfast on the train too), check in to our hotel (with the above view) and spend the day sight seeing.

But the point of this post is the writing. I wrote thousands of words while I was away including a 2000 word session on the train from Venice to Italy which was super. There's a lot to be said for typing away with a glass of wine while the grand canal is only a few feet away. Again, strange but very cool. I also sold plenty of books last month which was very encouraging.

So where am I up to? As of today I've written over 82,000 words of the new book and should have a completed draft tomorrow. Needless to say I'll announce something when it's done. Which brings me to the title of this post. How long does it take to write a book? Well, assuming I finish it tomorrow this book will have taken just over six months which doesn't feel like long at all.

In other news I've had some lovely reviews lately as well. Here's a few words from someone who finished reading All the fun of the Fair this week:

"Just finished All the Fun of the Fair. Gutted it ended!! Absolutely loved Alfie from the moment I met him, tania was fantastic, reminded me a lot of myself in my youth lol, and as for lee I hope he gets an incurable STD."

This person has since purchased a copy of The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe so fingers crossed they enjoy that too.

Anyway, I'm having an easy night tonight since I'm still off work and I've been writing all day. Tele and ale is the plan. Hopefully I'll have a finished novel to tell you about tomorrow along with a couple of other developments.