Thursday, 11 October 2012

A quote for writing

I found a quote that I think it apt for a writing career. Or any sort of career in the arts.

"Its impossible," said Pride. "Its risky," said Experience. "Its pointless," said Reason. "Give it a try," whispered the heart.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Born in the Mouth of an Angel

I've recently taken another look at a short story I published at the beginning of the year: Born in the Mouth of  an Angel. It spent some time on the blog up for free and it had been selling on sites for a while. But I wasn't happy with what it was. I've taken another look at the story idea and decided to develop it further.

It's become a four book series. I tried serializing the first book but it wasn't working out the way I'd intended so while you can find the first section of the first book free on some retailer sites, the series is published as four normal novels.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


I think we like to complicate things when really it's quite simple. Find what makes you happy and who makes you happy and you're set.

This is my thought of the week. When you boil it down to this, life really doesn't seem as complicated. Sure, all the goals and worries and milestones you're waiting for are still there but taking a quick snapshot of your life in black and white can help put things in perspective. It certainly brightened up my perspective!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Swamp Witches

Left by parents she can't remember, Maga is given to the swamp witch to live a life of safe isolation. 

Maga's story is finished, or potentially just started. The Swamp Witches is a series of short stories featuring Maga as she grows up. The free short, Swamp Familiars is part of The Swamp Witches so if you aren't sure, go ahead and click on the tab at the top or head to one of the ebook stores for a free taster of Maga!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Publishing is Broken

Forbes has just published an interesting article on Publishing, both the Traditional side and the Indie side. You should definitely have a look. Essentially, David Vinjamuri is coming down on the side of Indie Publishing, seeing it as a positive growth in Publishing instead of a nasty phenomenon that's destroying books. With viewpoints from both traditional and indie authors, Vinjamuri notes the pros and cons of each and decides that Indie is only here to stay, and get better. He makes some interesting predictions for the future, some of which I can definitely see coming true.

What I really find interesting is how legitimate Indie Publishing is becoming in mainstream culture. Some Indie authors are leading the way, making it cool instead of pathetic and people have definitely noticed. While it isn't entirely respectable to some people, I can see it only growing more so, the way it did in music.

It was an interesting read at the very least and thanks to Dean Wesley Smith for pointing it out!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

It's Not What You Say...

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. In life this can be so true. You don’t have to have lived much to know that an argument can start with someone just over the tone of their words. But I’m not sure how true that is for books.
Granted, a nonfiction book poorly written, doesn’t fill me with confidence in what they’re saying. They could be giving me the best advice of my life, but filled with spelling and grammatical errors, I probably won’t listen. But I think that while an author’s style and voice are important, but just as important is what they’re saying. One of my favorite authors just released a new book and I bought the 30$ hardcover, excited to read it. When I finished, however, I was disappointed. There was no story and she hadn’t had much to say.
So while how you say something might be important, equally, what you have to say needs to match. Voice is unique but it can’t carry a story that’s limping along behind it. Voice is just an element of the many things you need for a successful and interesting story.
That being said, for the first time ever, I’ve bought a book purely because of the author’s voice. Chuck Wendig posts hilarious lists that I read, no matter what he’s writing about, just because I know it will be funny.  Even though a lot of these lists (that I’ve already read) are also included in the book, I bought it anyway. I’m not sure if, by the end, I’ll even care what he told me. I just know that there has to be an exception to every rule and this one’s pretty great.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A Swamp of Souls: Published!

Jack's been back in the swamp for over a year with no sign of his siblings. Then, in one afternoon, that all changes when he learns Owen's been captured and taken to the citadel. His quest to reunite the family faces more obstacles than the King who seeks to collect them all as more questions are raised about the family they grew up in and the powers they possess.

The second book in the Swamp Children series has just been published online. I'll be working on the rest of Maga's shorts and then the third book 'A Swamp of Lies' so it should all be done before the new year comes back around. Enjoy!

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Mountain of Dreams

Sometimes decisions in life are hard. More often than they are easy, they are hard. Life seems to get grayer the older you get. More shades of rightness and wrongness and it is difficult to decide which is which.

For me, the decisions that revolve around writing are like this. Until recently. I've struggled to see what's right and what's wrong in each decision, each option I stand in front of but an amazing speech by Neil Gaiman gave me an idea of how to start.

In a commencement speech at an Art school, Gaiman tells a little of his own journey through the arts and some of the decisions he made that resulted in bringing him to where he is now. The biggest thing I took from it was a visual he described.

Imagine your goals and dreams as a mountain. Whenever you come to a crossroads in your life, and there always seems to be one after another, imagine that mountain. Imagine each option that you face. Whichever one brings you closer to that mountain is the road you need to take.

I can think of when decisions aren't even that easy but right now, for where I am and what I'm doing, that's enough. Am I walking towards it, or away from it? Which way are you going? Towards or away from your mountain of dreams?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Everything Happens for a Reason...

I'm a big believer in 'everything happens for a reason'. It's what gets me through some days and helps me look past things I might otherwise turn into regrets.

This last year has been decision after decision for me and not just what will I have for breakfast. I'm talking about big, life-changing decisions. I hate those kinds. I'm an indecisive person to start off with and putting these things in my path is pretty much a recipe for a nervous breakdown.

And just when I thought I'd finally figured it out (at least for the time being), another whopper of a decision makes itself known. My response: everything happens for a reason.

Whenever I say this to myself, it usually means I'm about to make a potentially bad decision that I'll regret and try to squirm out of later. But....everything happens for a reason! Then, I was scrolling through Pinterest, as is my wont when I'm feeling senseless and just want to see pretty pictures, and I found this saying.

Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes the reason is that you're stupid and you make bad decisions.

It sums up what I'm feeling about this decision. I'm on the verge of making a bad decision just because I think an option has opened up for a reason. But maybe it's just opened up because it has and going through with that option just because it's there would be more about my stupidity than anything else.

Friday, 11 May 2012


I know reviews, good, honest reviews are hard to come by. I've heard a lot about how people work extremely hard to get those first reviews that can be so necessary. I've not been as proactive as I could be and it's something I'll have to look into in the future but having a promotional short story out for my Swamp Children series has proven a boon! I've received three reviews on Smashwords and while that may not sound like a lot, it's big for me. Not a single one was five stars and but I'm thrilled with all three! They're great for telling you what works and what doesn't and while they can be discouraging they can also provide a needed lift. Proof that the words aren't just written into a vacuum.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Novella: Published

I've finally gotten my act together and finished up the Swamp novella I've had sitting around. It feels like a big relief, one less thing I need to think about! Being on holiday for three weeks has drastically cut down my writing time but I've surprisingly pulled myself together for editing and redrafting. At least I've gotten something done!

On the run, not from the zombie heads that infest the swamp, but from the people who live there, Owen stumbles into the lives of a single mother and her child. Unused to human company, Owen is torn between delight and fear that they will discover his secret.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Life Collides

I'm in the middle of a short story collection and struggling to make the edits on the novella waiting in the wings. I hoped to have a lot more done than I've managed recently but life has stepped in. No longer can I manage the chunks of words I was powering through merely weeks ago! Now it's a happy day if I break into the hundreds! I have updated the free story you can find under the tab 'Free Story'. It's gone through some edits since I first posted it so it should be improved ;)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Free Short

I decided to make today focused on getting some editing done instead of trying for my word quota. I've gone through one of the promotional shorts for the 'Swamp Children' series that I'm working on. It's free up on the blog, under it's own little tab! All you have to do is click on 'Free Story' and it'll take you right to it. I'm also going to have it up on all the usual sites for free for anyone interested.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday the 13th

Happy Spooky Day!

I'd forgotten all about it until I got on the internet this morning so I thought I'd share the well-wishes. My day has actually been lucky so far. I've been chapters into the sequel of 'A Swamp of Bones' and really unhappy with it. I didn't manage many words on it yesterday at all despite deciding that was where I needed to focus my time. Instead I wrote another short story, letting the ideas run wild. This morning it's been a struggle to get even 500 words down on it. But then I scrapped it all and I've started it over. Normally I hate doing that but these first 400 words on the new book have been easier than any of the other thousands I'd had written for 'A Swamp of Blood'. Finally it's kicking off and maybe I'll actually manage my 5000 words today despite the glorious sunshine and the sadly frozen fingers. After a breakfast (brunch?) of champions (half a box of strawberries and some slices of turkey) what could go wrong on this unluckiest of days?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

April 12th

Finally back on the horse after an extended Easter break. Managed my 5,000 words yesterday, a minor miracle since I finished 'A Swamp of Bones'. I've also managed to write the promotional short story for the series and started up the second book. So much going on but struggling to keep focused, the sun's finally out and it's so hard to resist! And there's always a mind melt over how much editing happened in the last novel. I can hardly face it so I haven't touched the novella I've been done with for almost a week. It's scary knowing that's waiting in the wings!

Also, went to Hunger Games movie over the weekend. I fully expected to dislike it and chose it only because everything else was an hour away. Loved it. Loved the movie and spent all of tuesday reading the second and third book. They were so amazing and most amazing of all, they didn't frighten me into stopping my writing. Everyone get intimidated by the amazing authors out there and sometimes that can really slow me down. Not this week though! Maybe sunshine has magical powers....maybe there's a story hidden in there...

Monday, 2 April 2012

A Swamp of Bones: Published!

A Swamp of Bones is now available online! It's taken a while but the first YA paranormal Swamp Children book is finally out.

Makani, 19, lives in the northern swamps, the last stronghold of humanity. Separated from her family, she wanders, searching for them. When a Seer warns her that her little brother and sister are being held ransom in the southern citadel, Makani’s desperate to get there before something happens to them. However, she’s never ventured that far and with her limitations she isn’t sure she’ll make it or what she’ll find when she gets there. 

In other news, I've started the sequel, A Swamp of Lies, but because that'll take a while to get through, I'm also writing a novella, Things in the Swamp, featuring one of the characters from A Swamp of Bones. I'm hoping that will be finished and ready to go in the next couple of weeks but no promises!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Social Media and a Novella

While my edits are being passed through the strainer for 'A Swamp of Bones,' I've taken a day off to look at my social media. Sadly, it's a struggle and I don't know why but I'm reluctant to put myself out there. I've only recently started being active on twitter and this blog is still so new! But if I'm serious about writing I know it's something I'm going to have to suck up and do.

Goodreads is a site I've heard bandied about, an addictive site where you can grade all the books you've read. It's been fun rediscovering some I'd forgotten about! I don't quite understand how the interfacing works yet but since I'm still trying to get my author page set up I've resigned myself to waiting this one out before it bears fruit!

Kindleboards, another one I've known about, though only vaguely. It's a great community though I know I've only scratched the surface of what everyone has to offer there! I was initially worried it was some big marketing spam site and there is that but there's much more going on as well.

CritiqueCircle. I came across this one purely by accident, clicking through someone's blog. It's not a social media group but I think it will potentially be even more valuable. It's a website dedicated to providing detailed critiques. It has a great system set up so that everyone participates equally. I'm looking forward to seeing what more can come of this site since I've already read and critiqued some absolute gems!

While this has all been going on, I've been planning my next stories. There are a few shorts on the go and another novel but I've been most interested in a novella I've just thought up. There are characters in 'A Swamp of Bones' who don't get as much time as I'd like them too. I know that must sound funny since I'm the one writing it but side characters are just that, on the side. And there's one who's story I really want to delve into so I'm hoping to get that written and out in another month or so, life willing!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Swamp of Bones

Still working away on the first novel. I have the ending fixed in my head which is a big step closer to finishing it! It's taken so many twists and turns from its conception. Has also turned into a zombie novel... I've never been too big on zombies before but it's been fun mucking around with them, especially since they're more harmless than some other varieties I've read! Hoping to have the whole thing up before April 1st.

Friday, 16 March 2012

17th of March

In honor of my dad's birthday, I'm putting up a free story to celebrare someone with no Irish blood in him at all. It will only be free until the 18th of March. Essentially it's a St. Patrick's day freebie. Because it takes so long to get things going on Amazon, especially freebies, it will only be free on Smashwords. You can download it from there or just read it from the site. Clicking on my Smashwords link on the right side of the blog will take you there. It should be easy to spot!

A St. Patrick's story where one good coat and the revenge of a flower cause misery to a prankster in the hills of Ireland. The story is called Leipreachán and I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Goals 2012

I know I've missed New Year's Resolutions by a couple of months but having goals is a concrete way of measuring my progress. There are two writing goals which I've been thinking a lot about recently. The 10,000 hour mastery and the 1,000,000 word wall. The first is simply impossible to do in the space of a year so I can't really set that goal and I'm not actually too certain how I'll measure it. I did think to try to measure it by word count per hour but I've just discovered my word count per hour is very fluid at the moment. So I've aimed for the latter as something that I hope is reasonable enough to be able to do but also challenging enough to make it a worthwhile goal.

50 short stories is a totally arbitrary number I've pulled from the sky. But it is roughly 1 short story a week which I would hope to be doing anyway. However, as I've been delving into the heart of 'Swamp of Bones', which is getting longer and longer and looking to end up being even longer still, short stories are a struggle. I've had to fit them around the chunk of my writing day almost like a hobby. It's a peculiar feeling but it means that less is getting done and I'm not 100% sure I can make 50 short stories this year. I've only got 7 up now and its the middle of March.

4 novels is also potentially a failure waiting to happen. While I'm doing well enough on that goal at the moment, life is an interesting and untamable beast. So much has changed in the last six months that I can't even hope to predict what might happen in the coming six. But having four novels out by the end of the year seems like a good thing to do. If only I could tear myself away from the internet to do it.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Nameless Characters

I'm trying a new writing style in short stories which has always fascinated me. Characters with no names. The next collection I put out will be made up of six stories where none of the characters have names. Can people connect with them if they don't have names? I think people can. It also adds something to the story, trying to create someone or something that the readers can empathize with or at least be interested in. I'm also surprised by the amount of interest readers are showing in these stories.

While I say I'm writing a 'new' style, when I look back over my work, I've realized it's something I've been doing for a while. This is just the first time I'm actively and consciously deciding to leave names out and it's an interesting challenge. And it's a lot of fun.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Hater's Gonna Hate

Since I’ve started writing and indie publishing, I’ve spent most of my time around people who are excited for me. It was a big decision to make, to leave the 9-to-5 behind and take a risk. But the support has been amazing and slightly unexpected. I’ve also spent a lot of time researching indie publishing and because of that, reading a lot of material which sheds a favorable light on it. So I thought it had become widely accepted.

But since I emerged from that cocoon of people who care and support me, I’ve seen that this isn’t the case. There are people who are interested and excited but more commonly I’ve spoken to people who are condescending and rude about it. They laugh or mock or question me relentless about my life choices, eagerly waiting to hear me try to defend myself.

 All too often, I do try to defend myself. The first time it happened, I was upset about the reaction I got to my harmless answer about ‘What are you up to?’ I spent half an hour explaining why it was viable but still couldn’t convince the skeptic. Since then, I’ve learned it’s easier to avoid these horrible conversations altogether.

 Instead of my previous attempts to answer with some honesty, I’ve now taken to saying ‘nothing’ when asked what I’m doing now with myself. Surprisingly no one’s asked me to defend that answer. It seems that me lazing around and doing nothing is better than focusing my attention on something I care about.

 And while I do still get upset when people think they’re in a position to judge, it dwindles with each occasion. I’m not about to question people's decision to take a nine-to-five or the degree they chose to do in college or their life choices if they're harming no one. So it's hard to have to stand and listen while they think they can question me. But as a friend told me in response to my bewildered anger, 'Hater's gonna hate.' Indeed.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Writer's Block

Reposted as something that can be reblogged. ON WRITER’S BLOCK.

I’ve seem to be hitting writer’s block far too often now. My grade in my creative writing class is suffering because i don’t turn in anything because i’m never really satisfied with anything i do. all my good ideas seem to turn into bad ones once i write it down. How do you get pass writers block?
You turn off your inner critic. You do not listen to your inner police force. You ignore the little voices that tell you that it’s all stupid, and you keep going.
Your grade isn’t suffering because your writing is bad, it’s suffering because you aren’t finishing things and handing them in. 
So, finish them and hand them in. Even if a story’s lousy, you’ll learn something from it that will be useful as a writer, even if it’s just “don’t do that again”.
You’re always going to be dissatisfied with what you write. That’s part of being human. In our heads, stories are perfect, flawless, glittering, magical. Then we start to put them down on paper, one unsatisfactory word at a time. And each time our inner critics tell us that it’s a rotten idea and we should abandon it.
If you’re going to write, ignore your inner critic, while you’re writing. Do whatever you can to finish. Know that anything can be fixed later.
Remember: you don’t have to brilliant when you start out. You just have to write. Every story you finish puts you closer to being a writer, and makes you a better writer.
Blaming “Writer’s Block” is wonderful. It removes any responsibility from the person with the “block”. It gives you something to blame, and it sounds fancy.
But it’s probably more honest to think of it as a combination of laziness, perfectionism and Getting Stuck. If you’re being lazy, don’t be. If you’re being a perfectionist, don’t be. And if you’re stuck, figure out where the story went off the rails, or what you got wrong, or where you need to go deeper, or what you need to add to make it work, and then start writing again.

Original found here:

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Swamp of Bones

Once I started getting into 'A Swamp of Bones' I remembered my favorite thing about indie publishing so far. I intended it to be a short story but as I got writing I was interested to explore where else it could go. So instead of keeping it short, I'm going to spend longer with it and see where it goes and how long it ends up being. It's great not to have to aim for a word count or keep it within a length. A story can be short story, novelette, novella or novel length and it'll be interesting to see where this ends up.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Excerpt: A Swamp of Bones

      Excerpt from my next short story 'A Swamp of Bones'

   She stood in the middle of the swamp, her bare feet squishing through the ooze and slime that water had made from the dirt and earth and blood. She was blindfolded and holding a stave, the hood of her sweatshirt pushed back so she could hear. She never knew where they would come from but she always knew where they would end up.
      There were different kinds of them and some were more dangerous than others. A wicked blade was attached to one end of the stave and it had taken her a while to learn how to use it without cutting herself. They didn’t believe in easy training. There was no training but the fight.
      Which is why she was standing in the swamp, her muscles tensed and her ears straining. In the swamp there was only one enemy and it was best not to look on their faces, or what was left of their faces. She was protecting the band while they foraged. Guards were posted, some sweating nervously. It didn’t take much to be promoted to guard, too many died for the leader to be picky. She wasn’t even the youngest though she’d been guarding the longest.
      Many of the survivors who ended up in the camp survived by accident. She had survived due to design. She was born after it had started and the world had broken into feral bands and camps, struggling to stay alive. She was born a survivor and she’d been raised on blood and violence. 

Some great places to start

As a writer who has only recently started going indie, there was a lot of research to do and I'm still at the bottom of a big learning curve looking up. So advice or opinions coming from me aren't the best place to start if you're thinking of going indie. There are a lot of long term writers who have helpful blogs. What I've found best is to sample all of them, look over their own advice and then decide what will work best for you.

Smashwords has a great article on marketing with the e-book:

And there are several big blogs that can help you find your own success: - Dean's blog had several great and I mean excellent series about going indie. He teaches you how to do it smart and also spends a long time debunking writers' myths which is a big eye opener. Or at least it was for me! - Konrath's blog is big in the media and it's name alone says a lot: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. A lot of people don't like his irreverent tone but he does have some good stuff to say. Regardless, I've personally found it less helpful than Dean's blog. - Kris' blog has two running series worth a look. She has a surviving freelancing series for those interested in being a freelancer, not just a writer, and a business series which I admit I haven't delved too much into just yet.

I'm sure there are many other blogs and sites out there but these are the three I've found helpful so far on the new phenomena of e-books.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Indie Publishing

I've been reading a lot about indie publishing from personal interest. There are a lot of naysayers and a lot of yaysayers and it's easy to get demotivated. In one day I can go from the extreme of wanting to finish the book or the story that I'm working on to deciding I just might not be good enough.

But as everyone does keep saying, or at least the people I'm listening to, every person's journey is different and you need to find what works for you. What works for me is reading less of Konrath and Hocking's blogs, maybe a bit more of Dean Wesley Smith's but only because he's encouraging slow growth. We don't all need to be overnight successes. And those of us without extensive backlists broken over legacy publishing, it'll take a bit longer but if you focus and write, eventually it will come. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway!

Monday, 27 February 2012

First sale on! A momentous moment so I just had to comment!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Problem of Carl and Louie

My third short story, called 'The Problem of Carl and Louie' is now up! It's one of the funnier stories I've ever written so it's a bit different to the last two. My fourth one shouldn't be too far behind and eventually you'll see a collection with all these stories in them as well. In each collection I'll be adding something to make it a bit more worth you're while!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Just Another Shop

As I work on my book, I've been writing short stories and this is the first to come out! It's also available on Amazon. My next short story is going through the ringer now and should be out the other end soon so stick around.

TriSickle Article

It turns out that I've had an article published with TriSickle Magazine. Yay! Except that they didn't really tell me. Oh well. Good thing I tried Googling myself today! If you have time, check it out. It's about fairytales because I love fairytales.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


The Beast's Beauty
I've been working on cover art for a debut novel which should be available on Kindle soon. That was its own form of challenge. There was a specific style necessary that I haven't too much experience with. Hopefully, the rule of threes should apply and this third cover attempt will be the one to stick!

Sunday, 19 February 2012


It's another week where my interest can't settle on drawing or writing. I've been trying to write 5,000 words a day and while some days are easy, others are a struggle and I want to leave the book to work on my portfolio. I'm still trying to find the style in my artwork as you can tell by looking at my gallery. This new piece is more experimentation on a slightly less colourful and childish style. I'm not sure how long it'll last but there should be a few more good pictures out of it.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


I've begun my journey of living my life as I once imagined it might be. As people do, I got bogged down in living the daily life and it's taken a wrench to get myself back on track. With my second book on the go and my illustration finally getting under control with practice and tuition, I have hope that this is it.