Monday, 28 October 2013

A post before the battle...

Well, November is almost here and with it, the November writing competition at  Preparations are being made.

First, sadly, I’ll have to suspend this Blog to give me time to write.  I’ll need to write around 1,500 words a day if I am to get anywhere near my goal of finishing a novel by the end of the month, so unfortunately I will probably only post about once in the next month; just to let people know I am still writing and how far I’ve got.  This will probably be in the middle of the month.

Secondly, I will of course suspend work on Tales of Larrick City.  I hope in the next few days to get it up to 10,000 words at least (at 7,600 now) and leave it in good form but we’ll see what time I get.  The plan is still to be in December with the 1st Draft’s of 2 books; it would be fantastic if I manage to do that.  I like a challenge!

Finally, I just want to wish all the very best to everyone doing Nanowrimo this year.  Friends, family and fellow writers, good luck to you all and successful writing!

Until the next Blog post, all the best.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Other people's blog's...again!

As I’ve been working away on Tales of Larrick City (now up to 7500 words) I’ve again been taking a look at a lot of Blog’s out there.  Here are 4 posts in particular that I found very interesting.

First up, a post up by Toddi Gutner on the Entrepreneur site.  This post is all about your LinkedIn profile and gave me a lot to think about regards my own presence on the network.  It has a lot of hints and tips about improving how you as individual can present yourself on the network, although it is primarily aimed at company profiles.

Second, another ‘how to’ post, on, well, how to Blog!  It lays out in concise and practical terms just how to Blog properly and I’m already reading through it and thinking ‘yeah, I missed that step’.  Very useful for putting you on the straight and narrow and making yours updates not only more relevant to what you do, but also more interesting in general.  I hope to implement the suggestions in future posts.

Next, a more writing centred post by Diane Mae Robinson on the Imogen Knight Blog. It’s about how to write a good children’s story.  Although only aspects of the post were relevant to what I’m doing (my stories are primarily directed toward teenager / adult level) it’s very well laid out and provides excellent advise.  Well worth the read for any writer of fiction.

Finally, if you’ve had enough of ‘advise’ post’s, here’s a fantastically funny post by the legendary Conan O’Brien, who has recently become an influencer on LinkedIn.  Yes, I’m scared too!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My writing space

A slightly late blog this time (I normally try to post on Mondays and Fridays) so apologies.

At the weekend I did something that I don’t get to do often; type up my novel seated at my ‘writing space’; my specific little area that I’ve cleared for writing.  It was…liberating.

Normally, I just write where-ever I have somewhere I can put the laptop down or make a note on, but I have also set aside a place in my house specifically for writing.  I’ve set up my perch in the spare bedroom, opposite the window on a nice big table, with plenty of room for the laptop and notes.  I managed to bring my word count up to 5,000 for Tales of Larrick City as well as making a few more notes on the future.

To describe it further, I’ll go through what I see when I sit down.  On my left is the Google Chrome book laptop that I use to check out forums / blogs etc.  Beside it are some of my reference book’s (Forensics’ for dummies for example, very good book) and my note books too.  In the corner are more note books and previous book drafts for easy access.

Directly in front of me at the end of the table is a pile of RPG source books and rulebooks from various gaming systems.  Good for inspiration and visual reference.

Moving on to my right hand side I find my main laptop: a small Dell Latitude D430.  This is where I actually do my writing, hammering away on the keyboard which is nice and clickly (I don’t like the new silent keyboards, no response!).

Everything at the table is nice and spaced out, with stationary in the drawers out of the way and space to place a cup of tea or coffee without it being in danger of spilling over a keyboard.

This blog isn’t so much an instruction on how to create your own writing space, it’s just a comment on how I’ve organized mine.  If you’re a writer, how do you organize your writing area?  Do you even have a writing area or just write where-ever there is room?

Meanwhile, like I said, I’ve made good progress on Tales of Larrick City as we are up to 5,000 words and climbing.  November is getting closer which is prompting more work in that regard as I want to have a solid, 1st Draft for Tales of Larrick City before I hammer into Nanowrimo and start on the 4th book properly.  It will be an intense November; the writing space will be a critical battleground!

Till next time.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Story time

I’ve not posted up a short story in a long time so for today’s Blog, why not?

This was a short story done a while back with Katrina and Matt.  It was an experiment in different language styles and a more ‘action’ orientated style of writing.  It’s a break from the norm I must admit and didn’t quite work out how I wanted, but it was a good excuse to try something new. 

The original writing challenge was to write an alternative take on a Fairytale.  This is my attempt.  Please excuse the rather unoriginal names of the characters.

Hope it entertains at any rate :).

* * * * *

“Big Dog this is Wolf Pack!  We’re falling back!”
“Big Dog to Wolf Pack, say again, what do you mean falling back?”

A massive explosion answered the question for Captain John Spartan, making everyone around him duck for cover as a plume of black smoke bellowed up from behind the house his SWAT team had been assaulting.  Seconds later, members of the SWAT team came dashing round the battered wooden residence.  They were carrying one of their own in a casualty tarpaulin; others appeared wounded or in shock, face’s blackened.

“Get those men behind the line!” barked the Captain, bringing the stunned police men and women around him out of there shock.  Uniformed officers rushed to the SWAT team’s aid, escorting them back behind the protective line of security tape and police cruisers.  No sooner had they gotten the injured officers to the ambulances than gunfire started from the house, huge muzzle flashes erupting from the windows.

Officers, civilians and TV-crews dived for cover as bullets tore apart the police cruisers for a third time, peppering them with bullet holes.  Mercifully no-one was hurt but John didn’t want to think about the bill for repairing all the damage the ‘Pig Skin’s Brothers’ had inflicted.

They were only 3 men, but from the looks of the damage inflicted and the harsh treatment they had given the SWAT team they had enough explosives and firepower to continue the siege for a long time.

“Captain Sparta!” yelled a disheveled looking reporter as she scrambled over to where John was kneeling by the side of the one of the battered cruisers, followed by her equally disheveled looking camera-man. 
“Kate Appleton, Channel 9 news.  What’s your assessment of the situation?”
John paused, making sure to give Kate as confused as expression as possible. 
“Well the situation is I’ve got armed criminals shooting at me and reporters asking me stupid questions.”
“Sir, we’re live on air.”
John smiled at the accompanying camera.  “I know.” He said. 
“Riddick!” John yelled over his shoulder, ignoring Kate as she opened her mouth to continue questioning; she sensibility shuffled off.

“Sir!” bellowed a gruff formidable looking uniformed sergeant, who quickly sprinted over to the Captain’s side.
“I think it’s time.”
Riddick gave his commander a confused expression behind his black aviator glasses.  “You sure?  Hell of a lot of people around.”
“I know, but considering what the Pigs are packing I don’t want to risk any more lives.”

“Send in the Lupin.” ordered the Captain.

* * * * *

“Ha ha! Yeah!” screamed Stray Hat Willie, punching the air with one hand.  “Did yah see that bro?  Look at them cops a’ running!”
“It’s a beau-ta-ful thin’.” Agreed his brother, Two-by-four Tommy, shouldering a plank of wood.  “No way is we go’in back to the big house now, no way!  They aien’t getting us out fo’ a lo’arong time!”

“Yeah got that right!” declared the final member of the trio, Stone Wall Freddy, the mountain a man slapping a fresh box magazine into his M60 machinegun and grinning toward his brothers.  “Cops ‘ill fuss and fetch out there till they’s gone stupid.  By then, we’ll have dug the tunnel and be away out in’ta the swamps.  Old daddy would ah been proud!”

The brothers briefly took their hats off at the thought of their dearly departed ‘Pa’. 
“Now.” Freddy said next, looking over toward Willie.  “Willie, it’s your turn down in the hole.”
“Ah come on Freddy!” whined the younger brother.  “I wants ta throw more grenades!”
“You’ll get your chance.” Freddy assured his concerned cohort.  “But we all take’s our turn, you know that.”
“I guess so.” agreed Willie reluctantly.  “But yeah’s better keep’s me a few cops ta explode!”
“Hell yeah!” shouted both of the other brothers.

Just as Willie was about to open the attic hatch and descend to the tunnel digging area, a strange humming sound started to build up from outside the house.
“What the heck is that?” asked Freddy, frowning and heading back to the window, machine gun in hand.
“Hey, yeah should see this boy’s.  Them cops got some kind ah ray-dar thing out there!” he declared, beckoning his two comrades over. 

The brothers took a window each, peering carefully out of the shattered glass.  Sure enough, an armored vehicle painted in police blue and white was parked up by the perimeter.  Atop it was what looked very much like a radar dish, pointed at the house.  The humming seemed to be coming from the vehicle.
“Ah!” said Tommy, grinning.  “If they’s trying that old psycho-ma-logical warfare on us they going ta be disappointed.  I could go fur some of that Rock-in-Roll!”
“I hear that!” agreed Willie. 
Freddy, considered a little smarter than the other two, wasn’t so sure.  He was particularly concerned by that fact that everyone he could see at the police perimeter had there hands over their ears. 
“Boys.” He said, as the humming from outside seemed to intensify.  “I think we should maybe all get digging, just this once.”
His brothers looked over.  “Why’s that Freddy?”

Freddy didn’t get a chance to answer; he was interrupted by the house falling down.

* * * * *

Kate Appleton was beaming at the camera.  The makeup boys had cleaned her up and she had an exclusive interview with Captain Spartan.  This would be a perfect boost to her career, even if Captain Spartan wasn’t known for his media appearances.

“Captain Spartan.” She said, microphone in hand, flashing a toothy smile.  “can you tell us just what has occurred here.”
“Lupin.” said John, eyeing the reporter and wondering why the hell he had agreed to the damn interview.
“Ah…can you elaborate for our viewers?” Kate asked, trying to maintain her fake smile and resisting the urge to beg the good Captain to act like a normal human being for once.
“Fine.” John relented, producing a slip of paper from his back pocket and rather obviously reading from it.

“Lupin is the latest weapon in the fight against crime.  This highly specialist police armoured vehicle is equipped with a turret mounted sonic non-lethal weapon designed to collapse constructs under controlled circumstances.  Given the danger faced here at Brick Street we decided to deploy Lupin to prevent lose of life.”
Trying his best to look a little bit more interested, John addressed the camera.
“Basically folks.” He said, actually managing to crack a smile.  “We huffed and we puffed and we blew there house in.”

The camera just happened to pan past the Captains head to the scene of the 3 Pig brothers being lead away in handcuff’s.  Each of them was covered in the dust of fallen masonry and still had shocked expressions plastered over there faces.

“So remember.” John declared, face serious as he pointed at finger at the camera.  “Crime doesn’t pay.  Commit a crime…”
He thumbed back toward where the Lupin vehicle was parked.
“…And the Big Bad Wolf will come knocking at your door!”

Monday, 14 October 2013

Good days and bad

Don’t be worried by the title, JG’s not having a bad day.  I am just reflecting on the tendency with writing to have your good days and bad.

A good day is when you get a lot of writing done, obviously.  My Sunday yesterday was such a day, were I was able to sit down and make a lot of good progress on not only ‘Tales of Larrick City’ but also on a number of other little projects; that’s a good writing day.

A bad writing day is just a day were either you’ve set time aside for writing and get nothing done, or a day where you just don’t have the time to get anything done in the first place!  How does one overcome such obstacles?

For me, half the battle is fought and won when you have set some time aside.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a strict routine thing (e.g. 1 hour every day).  Just means that if you’re planning your week you make sure that you’ve set some time aside to write.  Secondly, to defeat the problem of having nothing to write during those times, taking quick notes is a must.

Inspiration, after all, can come at any time but you might not be in a position to elaborate on something you thought off at the time.  So, instead, quickly jot it down or make a note on a phone.  Then, when it comes to your ‘writing’ time, you can bring out the note / phone and properly write up the idea, which might possibly cascade into further ideas.

Now as I said in my previous blog, I don’t think I’ve been in the game long enough to be dispensing advice, so veterans may consider this just ‘what I do’ as apposed to definitive directions on how to write up your story.  Just a little thought J.

Meanwhile, as I said, I made very good progress on Tales of Larrick City and have now got a lot of the ground work done.  However, the middle of the mouth is coming soon so I really need to kick it up a gear if I am to finish the 1st draft by the end of the month and be ready for Nanowrimo.  Hopefully over this week I will grab some ‘writing time’ as intended and get more done.  I also now have 6 reviews on for Kalla which is fantastic.  My thanks again to everyone who has been reviewing my book, it really helps!

Till next time all.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Other peoples blog's

I am glad to report, I have been working away on Tales of Larrick City this week as planned.  In the process, I’ve also been reading a lot of other peoples blog’s.  This is both an educational experience but also very interesting to see the different styles, different advise and just the different things people post about.

Take this update for example from one of my favourite authors, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, talking about the writing of his latest novel.  The post is entitled “Lets talk about Abaddon”.  For Warhammer 40K players you’ll know what he’s talking about.

The post is humourous, as well as being very insightful into the world he is writing on and the amount of research he’s been doing.  And like I said, it’s just damn funny.  It’s the kind of blog I wish I could write.  Interesting, informative and funny.

Then there’s this blog from Randy Ross

This one is more of an insight into the writers experiences with social media.  Which, sadly, seem to have been not the very best particularly regards Facebook and Twitter.  Read carefully and you see plenty of hints and tips on how to maximize their effect, as well as pitfalls to avoid; a very informative blog post.

Finally, from Bob Mayer.

This post is all about writing marathons and I thought quite useful due to my intention to run with Nanowrimo in November.  Again, its an advise blog with plenty of very good information.

These blogs and more have greatly encouraged me in my writing and I hope they do the same for you.  I still consider myself a complete novice in the world of the writer so I don’t feel I’m in a position to write ‘advise’ blogs just yet.  But I think I can still make my posts interesting to the reader and I hope this one has been interesting for you, if only just to direct you to other peoples sites.

It will be a learning experience as I continue to experiment with my online presence.  In particular this week I have seen a massive increase in my activates on  Come visit me if you are on the site yourself J

Till next time everyone, have a good weekend.

Monday, 7 October 2013


This weekend past I was in Scotland, visiting friends and family with Debs. It was a fantastic trip, a proper catchup and an opportunity to visit some beautiful and interesting place's. Place's such as the Macintosh museum in Glasgow (Macintosh was a noted and highly regarded designer from the very early 20th century), and a little walk round the park there, as well as a trip to Edinburgh. 

Perfect places for inspiration to strike. Which it did! I now have two more book ideas from this little trip alone. One was inspired by the Macintosh museum, particularly because Macintoshs designs were so modern for the 1900's. It got me thinking about how a Macintosh-like individual would be treated in the world of Haldred Chronicles. 

The second idea, was from a chat with a good friend we visited about his latest design projects and his...'Mad scientist ' aspirations shall we say. 

For those of the writing type, I ask you. Where does your inspiration and ideas come from? Is it from a place or person you visit? A sudden random thought triggered by anything from a song you hear or just a text message? Just curious :-).

News wise, I'm making good progress with Tales of Larrick City and enjoying the writing immensely. I have also been making preparations for the November writing challenge, as i've now signed up with Nanowrimo officially. Also seen a big increase in likes on Facebook again; once more a big thank you to my fellow authors for the interest and support.

And finally, I now have 5 reviews of Haldred Chronicles: Kalla on Amazon which is just fantastic! Thanks so much to everyone who has been reviewing and passing on encouragement. You guys and gals are great, keep them coming.

Till next time.

PS: this blog update was created solely on my Z10 blackberry. So yes, I have confirmed I can email-blog now as well! ‎

Friday, 4 October 2013

Book covers

On Wednesday of this week I met up with my fantastic cover artist Mat and we talked book covers.  Specifically, ideas for the book covers of ‘Tales of Larrick City’ (my next book that I’m currently drafting) and my as-yet-unnamed 4th book. 

It got me thinking; what makes a good book cover?

The ‘Lost Fleet’ series by Jack Campbell uses a lot of very impressive covers, most involving space craft of one type or another which immediately draw the eye.  George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels more recent covers go for simpler but no less intriguing covers with medieval designs.

For my own books, Mat proposed the idea of having the main characters on the front cover so that the readers have a visual reference.  In the case of Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa, you have Alyssa (the main character) on the front cover with Malak    For Haldred Chronicles: Kalla, Victoria Haldred herself and Kalla appear on the front cover. 

Main characters on the cover’s of novels is nothing new; J K Rowling’s series Harry Potter traditionally had Harry himself on the front cover in some scene from the book itself. 

My question is, what works for you?  What kind of book cover designs do you like?  Those that depict scenes from the book or characters there-in?  Or just more simple designs with prehapes book specific symbols or locations?  What, for you, makes a good book cover?  Please comment and share.

Meanwhile, progress has been good with me and book 3.  ‘Tales of Larrick City’ sits at 3500 words so far and is steadily growing.  Likewise, having signed up with Goodreads, LinkedIn etc I am starting to become better integrated with the writing community on the internet and have seen an extensive increase in likes on my Facebook page!  Big thanks to all my fellow writers who have welcomed me into the fold.

Till next time everyone

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The need to blog more often

Well, tonight I’m not feeling the best.  I had to cancel some gaming I was hosting, which sucks as I was really looking forward to it.  However, I have managed to write up this blog and do some profile updates whilst the meds hopefully do there work to convince my guts that being sick is not a good career path.

As the title says, I need to blog more often.  I’ve started to realize the potential of blogging.

Blogging is supposed to inform people of what I’m up to; that bit I’ve gotten right.  Via this blog in its various forms across websites and forums, I’ve kept everyone up to date on what I’ve been doing on the writing front; word counts, plot plans, book plans, character interactions and all that other good stuff.

I’ve also occasionally posted up short stories to give you a little something extra to take a look through and get a glimpse of just what goes on in this dangerous mind of mine.

What I haven’t done is promoted any particular discussion, or informed on techniques used in my writing.  I’ve been talking about writing stories but not prompted anyone’s individual thoughts on writing.  I’ve proposed characters but not encouraged any engagement on them.  In essence, I need to get people talking instead of just reading a blog post and forgetting about it.

Fortunately, a lot of very talented ebook writers and bloggers have helped immensely in advising on just how to do this and get more from book blogging.  That, and they’ve been a great help in improving my various internet profiles.

An example of good blogging is this post from an interview with the author of ‘Wool’, currently one of the most popular ebooks ever.

Then there’s the advise I got from members of the Createspace community.  I’d like to publicly thank Eric from the createspace forums / blogs for helping me improve the next few links to my profiles (his own link is please visit!)

My LinkedIn profile is now =
Much easier to remember I think you’ll agree.

My good reads profile is now =
Again, much easier to remember and quote.

And he even helped me update my Author pages on Amazon too!

They now look a lot tidier and go directly to my internet pages on these sites.  Thanks again Eric!

Now for some news.  As of today I have officially started writing ‘Tales of Larrick City’.  It’s format will be a departure from the last two Haldred Chronicles books as this one is going to be a short story compendium and glossary of the series.  It’s also going to be a departure from a price point of view too, because when it’s released it will be free!  It will give me an excuse to try a few different writing styles and experiment more, as well as filling in some nice additional detail on characters and the Haldred Chronicle’s background.

In addition, I have decided that I will write book 4 as part of the November Novel Writing Month competition held by The Office of Letters and Light (  This competition is the reason ‘Alyssa’ was finished and published in the first instance, so it will be good to get back to it.

This should mean that I will have at least the first drafts of my next 2 books done by the end of November.  It’s ambitious but I’m going to try as a little extra work at the start of the process makes all the difference.

So there we have it.  New ideas about blogging, new internet profiles on websites across the board and new plans for the future.  Lots happening!  Till next time everyone (when I hope to be updating as a much healthier individual).