Indie author laments self-imposed deadline…

Blog_thinkingBack in September 2016 I published my first novel. It had taken me a long time to write Red Season Rising (henceforth known as RSR because I can’t be arsed typing it all). Nothing of that wailing mess made it through to the final product, barring a name here and there. Ultimately, I kicked off writing RSR in earnest in 2005, not long after leaving University, and whilst trying to forge a career in the world of the ‘day-job’ at the same time.

Over the course of eleven years, three companies, six jobs, three house moves, one engagement and one wedding, I somehow managed to string together enough combined time to write, edit, re-write, throw a tantrum, throw away chapters, and finally complete RSR. With cover art, formatting, and all the other administration that surrounds being an independent author completed, I got ready to pull the pin and toss my book-baby into the world.

But not before I got (understandably) whipped up in excitement at being about to publish!

Riding that sweet, giddy high, I decided, starting in October 2016, to give myself the ambitious target of writing and publishing the follow-up book by June 2017. Nine months. Loads of time. In fact, the most acceptable gestation period we as humans recognise.

It is, however, in looking back at RSR’s development, that I realise the howling error in my ambition! Sure, I was never going to take another 11 years to write book 2 (he says with a slight tremor of fear), but perhaps, nine months was a tad foolhardy!

The market share for indie fiction continues to grow, and is holding its own against ‘traditional’ publishing. This is down to the hard work of many excellent authors, who drum away on their keyboards or wield their pens in the moments harvested between full-time careers, family, and other life commitments. There is a colossal effort applied in continually feeding the beast – the need to write.

The great thing about the indie fiction community is that there is a real sense of camaraderie, and helpfulness about it. Many other authors have spoken openly about setting themselves deadlines, only to find that date slip by and fade off into the distance. But at the end of the day, as indies, we set our own deadline, and work our asses off to meet it. But as I said, sometimes, the deadline reluctantly comes and goes.

I am perpetually frustrated by the lack of time I believe I have to write. Working sixty hours a week leaves me with 108 hours. Factor in sleep (God, I love sleep), leaves me with 59 hours. Hudson needs walking, so I lose 14 hours, leaving 45 hours. Cooking, eating, cleaning (home and my decrepit carcass), exercise, reading, and most importantly of all, spending time with my beautiful and patient wife, leaves me with, urm, around about an hour(ish) a day. By that rough calculation, I should write every day. Shave off a few hours of sleep (*slaps face* don’t be silly), and I could even have more time to write.

So why then am I likely to miss my June deadline? Well, sometimes, you’ve just got to take the foot off the pedal, and ease up. I’m often reminded that I can be quite hard on myself, and sometimes take on too much. Over the course of the last couple of years, I realised that I yield no benefit from staring at a screen, lamenting my inability to join up words and make sentences. I just end up getting wound up and giving myself a hard time. So, with that in mind, I decided to have patience (not 11 years of patience), and let book 2 find its own way.

I’m not a neglectful or inattentive book-daddy, but instead, I have created the skeleton, and when the book is ready to apply flesh to the bones, then I sit down, and I write. That has resulted in fewer writing session, but with a much greater yield. Ultimately, a hectic work schedule and a busy home life, has meant I’m moving at a slower pace than I’d like, but casting my mind back to the development of RSR, reducing my book writing time from 11 years to anything close to 9 months is nothing short of a miracle!

At this point, book 2 is in the final furlong of its first draft, and is likely to clock in around the 150,000 words mark. Cover art will soon be developed, and before long, I hope to have a polished draft off to the editor. But it ain’t making it for June, that’s for sure! For those who may be awaiting book 2 (I hope I’m not speaking into the void here), my apologies for any delay!

I suppose in summary, this post has been me offering up excuses for missing my self-imposed deadline. But in writing it, what I have reminded myself of is how good it feels to be part of the indie author community, in that there are so many quality authors, with outstanding books out there, all of whom are supportive of their fellow authors, and offering wise words. Thanks to the motivation I yield from readers and other writers, I am now pretty comfortable with  saying that book 2 will not be with you in June, but it will be with you as soon as possible afterwards.

Now, time to get that scene written…what’s that Hudson? You need a walk?


Mythbusters: Paternus, by Dyrk Ashton

At long last I’m finally getting around to writing some reviews of books I’ve read over the recent months.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, due to the fact that I, urm, don’t read so good (I jest, it’s my writing that lets me down), this particular book entered my consciousness via my ear-holes, courtesy of Dyrk Ashton’s audio version of Paternus.

I enjoy a good book when on long drives, and can very quickly determine if I’ll make it all the way to the end. In the case of Paternus, it does start a little slowly, but it builds, and it builds, and it builds. So stick with it!

I normally don’t read contemporary or urban fantasy, and have a pathological aversion to anything that sparkles, or even hints at being a Twilight type affair. Fortunately, Paternus kicks that notion into the long grass, and forges ahead as a thoroughly entertaining  mytho-fantastical romp.

From the depth and complexity of the cast, it’s clear that Ashton spent a considerable amount of time researching Paternus (probably the understatement of the age). He has cleverly woven together myths and legends from across the globe into one single tapestry, and so vividly realised. After a bit of  a slow start, things really start to come together for this story, and before long, legendary creatures, heroes and gods all make their way into the piece, causing mayhem for our protagonists. In particular, the hospital scene is excellently realised! Throughout the course of the story, there are some excellent reveals of familiar heroes (and villains) of ages past, and I found myself at several times giddy with happiness at their appearance!

There are bits and pieces about this book that would normally put me off, for example, the first person omniscient point of view took a little getting used to. But in audio, it made things easier to transition for my peanut brain courtesy of the excellent performance by Nik Magill. One other aspect that slightly bothered me was that Zeke didn’t quite fill out as much as I’d have liked, instead becoming something of a six-foot Wikipedia page of every mythical being that came to life before the eyes of our protagonist. But these are small concerns, and they are consumed and forgotten by the expanse of the story.

On the whole, I found Paternus to be a triumphant act of imagination, research and adventure, in which Ashton kicks off what promises to be a very innovative series.

For the sheer breadth of imagination, Paternus merits its place as a SPFBO 2016 Finalist. I tip my hat to Ashton on an excellent advertisement of all that is good in the world of Independent Fiction.

The Roast of Red Season Rising

Tonight over on r/fantasy, the good folks have set up a post wherein authors can roast their own books.


The repressed catholic in me couldn’t resist. If you want to check out the full thread, follow this link:

So without further preamble, here it is:
Yay! An opportunity to self-flagellate! Lemme at it…

Red Season Rising is a total TURD of a book. No, not Red Rising by Pierce Brown, by all accounts that is the sh*t! No, this roast is directed to Red Season Rising, by that turd-peddling, trope-churning hack D.M. Murray.

By my understanding, this guy spent the best part of 11 years writing this ‘book’. What a lazy b*stard he must be. I bet he sat about in a dark study, listening to Enya, and pretending he was a tortured (f)artist, whilst celebrating every scene he managed to club to death with his crushing lack of imagination and poise as if it were the most innovative work since [insert innovative work of choice] (told you, crushing lack of imagination).

So, speaking of lack of imagination, Red Season Rising starts well, in that it has a beginning. It farts its way through the usual tortured hero crap, in the much abused winter landscape, with nightswatchy types being all beardy and gruff (this Murray chap seems to think GRR hacked his dodgy old Toshiba from eons back and copied the Jon Snow character, and you know, he would say that. Just to drum up attention). 

These gruff bearded types seem to be gruff and beardy for about one-third of the book, and then, FINALLY, a female shows up. What a sausage party. It’s as if this guy can’t identify with women or something… Ahm…”what’s that, honey?”

There appears to be the usual questing type of events going on, for some mcguffin or another. I dunno, really, I sleep read it, as the voice in my head was that of the author, and it was really monotone. Zzzzzzzzz.

The multiple POV made for a varied sense of time and place, but it may also have been the copious amounts of caffeine and sugar I had to consume to make it past the first act, in order to get to the POV split. 

Speaking of which, I couldn’t wait to get past the lead character’s scenes. That guy is a d*ck. I wanted to slap him a bit. My favourite character is that one that died after 30 pages, he was the lucky one. Unlike me having to read on to THAT ending. I mean, COME ON!

All in all, if you liked reading classic old fantasy, and are a fan of greats like Eddings and Feist, then go and read Eddings and Feist. This guy has just ripped them off, and then took the ripped off turd of a story and smashed it into the face of the Grimdark sub-genre in the hope it would come out looking grizzled and warry (it’s a word) as f**k. Instead, it just reeks of someone who just wants to get their Fantasy works finished so he can write Scottish romantic fiction, and dino-erotica, and basically adds up all the tropes he can get his grasping hands onto.

Ahhhhhhhhhh – that was great! *Pats self down looking for a cigarette*

Well, if that doesn’t kill the sales, I dunno what will!