Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Not a lot I can follow that title with, except to thank all involved in getting me there again.

The first was unexpected and a badly needed hint that I was going in the right direction.

This? This is phenomenal. Thank you.

Please, 'stay tuned'. There's a lot more to come. The next highlight being the seventh volume of my annual flash and short fiction anthologies, 'Six Degrees of Sky', which will be published worldwide before Christmas. For those keeping track, today's DD 'About Time' will feature in the eighth volume (next year), but my first DD 'Run Run Run' is included.
I have known for many years that I am fundamentally antisocial. Great for writing, bad for interacting. Yes, choosing to attend WynterCon was a test on many levels. :)

Anyway, the 'con is done, books were sold, many fine people were chatted with, some have even promised to look me up on here, which will be nice and more than a little humbling.

SimonJM did the 'sidekick' gig, and I caught him out with the 'cover artist in residence' gig too - wish I'd had a camera for the first time I did that. :D In both capacities, he fared with commendable aplomb.

The pitch was moved a couple of times, the disdain evidenced for books by a minority was disappointing, the interest from RPGers in Gallant (my role-playing system) was refreshing - if shaded with a couple of evil looks from those with RPGs to sell (as Gallant is free). I've noted a few changes in presentation and marketing that will be actioned (subject to cost) prior to/for the next event, I've met people I liked and seen things that made me smile. I had a chance to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for nearly three years, and to make a few new friends.

It's fun being a full-time author, even if I only got to do it for three days and on a shoestring budget. But yes, it is a start. Pardon me if I riposte in advance with "yes, ANOTHER start". Dogged determination will out, but getting one's work out to the potential readers out there is damn hard, and the need grates constantly against every other thing I need to do. Self-badgering about needing to be marketing has to be reined against the fine balance between 'promotion' and 'irritating the living spit out of people' - which while useful, would eventually be pyhrric.

So...

Come one, come all,
to the storyman's call
I have tales to make your day
To lift your view
or life to renew -
Let some prose take you away.

:)
It's the night before the set-up day before the opening day of what I hope to be a fun convention.

I have just completed updating every tale on here to it's published version (if applicable), adding book links for ebooks and paperbacks, correcting things occasionally, and generally cleaning Gallery.

If you can't teleport yourself to WynterCon, do have a (re)browse. I'd love to be able to fly you lot over/in, but that'll have to wait until this author thing generates a bit more revenue. *chuckle*

But, in addition, 'tis Halloween - or Samhain, if you come from my neck of the woods. A time to be marked by something special, especially as we have just completed an Aztec calendar round (52 year cycle). Light a fire: candle - or city - is fine. :D Settle within that warm glow: read, relax; if you have no loved ones nearby, do the friend thing if the mood takes you. Raise a glass or four to your ancestors this Samhain.

Blessed Be.
I've been doing this writing thing seriously for three and a half years now (backed by thirty years of scribbled notes). Nine books have gone forth, plans have risen and fallen, optimism has turned to dogged determination.

With my tenth book approaching publication, it's time to take several deep breaths and sort out the logistics.

To that end, over the coming month, every work of mine on deviantART (that can be) will be updated with the version from the book it appears in. Only the unpublished stuff will be remain draft form. Along with the 'proper' version of the tale/poem, there will be links to the paperback and ebook versions of the book, and a link to the books homepage on my website too.

Because clicky fingers are lazy fingers, apparently. In a world of 'have it all immediately', patience has eroded to the point where it is a sad fact that not having direct links can lose you traffic, and thus potential sales.

So, please forgive the self-advertisement stuff. I'm not trying to gouge, I'm trying to get closer to being able to write for a living - and like all arduous treks, it starts with having everything you can prepare for dealt with.

But on the upside: new versions of many things for you to peruse. Plus some new stuff, as things I have been meaning to do get done so I can move on to new stories.
It's so simple, the implications of those two words. The fact that I forget it so easily is a symptom of the world we all make our way through, I guess.

No matter what happens: the impediments, setbacks, ongoing frustrations and disappointments that beset me, or the knock-on effects of sympathising with my friend's less fortunate moments, I can turn grey to gold by setting fingers to keyboard and converting the strife into words.

A poem to burn my loneliness down, a story to make me smile and take the sting from an upset. It does not matter. Nothing can touch me while I write. A million wonderlands lurk at the back of my brain and all I have to do is hold still and let 'em out.

So, when life kicks you in the teeth, heart or groin, let your creative streak blaze. Take the things that would drag you down and let them feed the fire of inspiration. Strange and beautiful things may result. At worst, you have produced another piece and your soul has shed some of its burdens. At best, you may create something that will give others a shot of wonderment at a time when they badly need it.

Try some alchemy of the mind; and may your gods smile upon your endeavours.

Just create.

Blessed Be.
  There are times when life conspires against you, although not out of malice. Events occur with such baffling adjacency, commonality and such that they give rise to urban myths like the 'law of three' and similar.

  And so, let us step into the mind's TARDIS and scroll back to very early last Saturday morning...

  It's stupid o'clock and my backup marathon has finished - more fool me for starting it after a Friday evening of film watching with a mate. I notice, for the second time since 'stack charging' recovery, that my PlayBook (lovely tablet, shame about the marketing) is not charging, nor is it showing charge lights - regardless of whether attached to USB charger or dock. This does not look good.

  Sunday: PlayBook is definately FUBAR. The charge problem is a known error, but - oh joy - mine has the unfixable variant. With reluctance but mandated, I security wipe the platform before it becomes a paperweight with my data on it. The day continues as usual and I close the lid on the laptop around midnight. About a half-hour later, I remember something I need to do. I open up the laptop and the screen does not light up. Checking the activity lights, I see that the beast seems to be in 'standby' mode. I press the 'go' button. Lights flicker. Screen remains blank. Odd.

  Fifteen minutes later, 'odd' has become several words of dubious character and great utility. My laptop respondeth not, neither to the wiles of IT trickery nor to brute bad language.

  Monday: Errr. Arsebuckets. I am without device bar mobile phone, something entirely unsuited to crap eyes doing complex online things. Not to mention it would chew through my scant credit. So, five miles of traipsing, two smokes, one bar of chocolate and a sense of humour failure later, my laptop is confirmed dead. The GPU is toast, the CPU is suspect and the motherboard likewise.

  So I dig into the funds 'reserved' for publishing my next book, sell my soul to Santa (again) and negotiate hard with the rather nice chaps at the local PC repair shop. It's a laptop, Jim, but not as we knew it. Smaller brother of the deceased and inheritor of said's RAM, the new beast on my table is actually functional and, handily, 64-bit like it's predecessor, so all my reinstall sets work without having to troll for 32-bit versions.

  Now, I bought the tablet from ebay, and the seller even transferred his fancy device insurance - and we all know what that's worth, don't we? Actually, I had no feckin' clue. Walk into local branch of retail chain, produce proof of entitlement, and...
  "We don't stock PlayBooks anymore, sir. So please browse our selection of tablets and pick one around the retail price of the PlayBook."
  "But I paid a lot less than that."
  "The seller's loss is your gain, sir."
  Just like that. Twenty minutes later, I have a brand-new Galaxy Tab 3.

  Which is going on Ebay. With the fancy (and still valid) warranty. Because the proceeds from that will cover the core cost of the replacement laptop. Add the profit from flogging the PlayBook accessories and I might - just - break even.

  Oh, all my writing and stuff? I'm an advocate of strict backup discipline. The complete loss of two devices caused me a total data loss of two days email and my browser bookmarks - and it only got my bookmarks because, quite frankly, I forget to back 'em up.

  Backups: converting catastrophes into logistics since people started paying attention.

  So when did you last do yours?

 
 
Even now, after three years of 'serious' writing, I am astounded at the storymaking symbiote that lives in my head.

I get an idea, either a vision like a photograph or a few lines of prose, then sit down and open a document. Over the next little while - which can vary between thirty minutes and nine hours - a story will arrive. There is no conscious plot development, nor any careful mapping of the way the story will evolve. Occasionally I have to leap onto the net to check a detail or find a technical expression, to verify dates when things were invented and similar. But apart from that, if I am 'on track', the words keep coming.

Then there are the moments where the words start and taper off. I will potter about while I mull over the problem, then return to the keyboard, either with a redirection in mind - from the point where things dried up, or by significant edit - or I will save the file and move it to the folder for another set of tales, safe in the knowledge that I've been sidetracked into writing the beginning of a story for a different work entirely.

It's a fun ride. A little scary at times, but while the words continue to spill out, I'll type 'em up. My days are split between job hunting, the requirements of real life, sleeping and writing. None of them occur to any routine. Shopping at six in the morning or cleaning home at eleven in the evening: I do other things when the writing tide ebbs.

Of course, it's not all creative wonderland, but in the last three years I have had a maximum of ten days where I didn't write a story or a piece of poetry.

Long may it continue, and here's hoping you like some of the output. My next book will be published in April, the one after that around August. The final one for the year should be out just before Christmas.

Do come and join the journey.
  I recently joined a UK science fantasy forum. After getting so much of my work in print, it was time to reach out to fellow travellers and get their input, learn a few new tricks and similar.

  Their reaction was muted. Obviously because they get fly-by-night promotion seekers all the time, I thought. So I join in, write a couple of short pieces for their competitions, try and make my way in the community. The continuing -total- lack of interest in my work was... strange. After all, we're all writers and readers, aren't we?

  Today I picked up on a thread regarding self publishing. About if anyone bothers reading self-published work. Ah-ha! I think. Time to get the lowdown on preferences and new places to visit, etc.

  What followed was unexpected. Chilling, even.

  Comments like: "I don't bother. Why should I waste my time with stuff the publishers have rejected?" And "Most of it's drek. And if they give away their ebook for free, it's only vanity publishing without serious intent."

  The general theme was that self-published work was sub standard, and not just in editing or grammar. Apparently, the reason why I self-publish is because I'm deluded over the quality of my -actually useless- writing.

  This is how people think? I know the big publishing houses are in chaos over the new avenues for authors to get their work to the masses. But for a knowledgeable subset of those masses, who pride themselves on being cognoscenti, to dismiss the efforts of authors like me out of hand is maddening. Pig ignorance at it's worst.

  I want to offer my work to readers who want it without the gouging imposed by layers of parasitic middlemen. I want to produce quality books, in content, layout and materials. Books of a quality on par with those I have enjoyed over the years. A good book should feel good in hand as well as appealing to the eye, mind and imagination.

  My books. My way. If they're not for you, tell me why. If they've got errors, tell me. If you love them, tell me. Because I can only improve if I know what works and what doesn't, and I write a lot with very little input, it's maddening. I always have time for anyone who wants to contact me. I'm a writer. I can't stop, but knowing there are a few people out there who care enough to comment for or against or help me get better is a wonderful thing.

  Thank you.

 

 

 
Earlier this year I set out my dissatisfaction with my writing and listed some objectives.

Today, stock of my seventh book (and first novel) arrived from the printers.

I still have no money. I still have no job after 3 years - the latest interview was successful but they redefined the job role and deleted the one I interviewed for before I even signed the paperwork. So I am still selling stuff to live.

But I have become a UK registered publisher and have seven books in print with two more completed, for publication in 2014. I have started work on my fifth science fantasy anthology, for publication in 2015 (!). Plus a half dozen other books in varying stages of completion.

I decided to collate my poetry and 'do a book' on January 5th 2011. On January 26th, I had that book. One of my first releases as a UK publisher was a second edition of that with 30% more content.

Nine books. Two and a half years. It's been fast, ridiculously so at times.

All I need now is a job to pay the tab while I write, or for one of my books to achieve significant sales. I've always said that I'd rather be a cult author than a top twenty one, the market lasts longer.

But until then, I shall continue. To all who have viewed, commented, recommended me to their friends or just thought kind things about my work, thank you.

Direct sales should be enabled on www.lothp.co.uk soon (and my ebooks are all linked from there already).

You can keep an eye on what I'm up to at www.lizardsofthehost.co.uk
  • Listening to: 5FDP, Motorhead, Talon, Amaranthe
  • Reading: Moorcock, Farren and Cole
  • Watching: Strike Back and Psycho Pass
  • Playing: Tetris or Solitaire
  • Eating: Not enough of the right things
  • Drinking: Coffee and Diet Coke
My drawing and painting skills are abysmal. So for my book covers, I depend on talented friends and sympathetic artists to allow me to use their works as the basis for covers.

I am currently completing a space war saga for publication in 2014. It features some interesting protagonists and is also told in flash and short fiction stories, rather than a single piece with chapters.

The problem is that what I want for this book's cover falls outside the topics and styles of my usual 'goto' artists.

So, here on a community that never ceases to astonish me with the talent showcased upon it, I was wondering if anyone could point me toward an artist who has echoes of Tim White, Rodney Matthews, possibly with anime topic awareness as well. A love for the science fantasy and especiallly space warfare tales, and a stunning ability to draw tentacles, beautiful women, menacing space warships, evolved feline mecha, shark-like interceptors, soldiers in powered armour (that Ultramarines and Starship Troopers would sacrifice limbs to possess) would also be handy. Also, I don't expect you to draw 'blind'. I'll provide a first draft of the book for your to read and draw inspiration, subject/s and nuance from.

I know it's a big ask as I'm busted. I'd love to be able to commission art, but eating comes first.

All I can offer is full name and link credits in the book and ebook. Plus a share of any profits that may arrive (seriously, I'd love it to happen but realistically, don't expect anything bar loose change for a while). But you will get a copy of the book and ebook :D

Of course, I do have a graphic novel idea with a lose backstory lingering, waiting for the time to be developed and for me to find an artist to work with. So maybe the cover could be a start of fun things.

Thank you for any help.

Jae.
A dear friend said that to me at the end of 2010. Within a month our roads had parted as she went her way, leaving me with a gift that I will never be able to equal.

I'm not a professional writer. The nearest I qualify for is 'impoverished author' and I'm doing really well at that, especially the 'impoverished' bit. :D

So, I am now a UK registered publisher, putting the results of a years scraping cash together into getting my first five books printed, hopefully the funds from them will allow me to get my sixth book printed come September. The seventh is scheduled for October 31st, it being a vampire novel. All being well it will see print and mark a milestone for me, being my first scheduled publication and my first novel.

A few people have commented that my stuff seems professional and polished. Thank you! It seems that my efforts to do this properly by my own standards are nearer to what people expect from a 'real writer' than I thought. I shall endeavour to continue in that vein.

Please feel free to drop me a line or comment on my work or journal posts. It's a strangely insular life being an unemployed chap who aspires to be an author in amongst the job hunting (the author thing is going better, if you need a gauge). As I said at the end of my previous post: "If you drop by and read a little, take time to comment. Nothing improves without feedback and I'd value yours." Which is true. Interaction is good.

Oh, do tell your friends. Visit my website www.lizardsofthehost.co.uk to see what's going on and keep in touch. In fact, tell everyone. Really. Sufficient people have commented upon my scribblings now that I am just about satisfied that what I write is not crap under the delusion of competence. So all I need now is to find a few more fans. You know, a couple of million or so. :D

The flyer for 'A Place in the Dark' in my gallery is downloadable. Please do so and inundate your vampire-nutter friends (I think we all have them, these days).

Thank you for your help. Or good wishes. Or both.

May your gods go with you, or ignore you when you need to pull a fast one.

Cheers,

Jae
When one has a surfeit of it to spare, or so it seems. In between searching for work I've been writing and prevaricating and just getting on with life and family issues, but the end result of another year unemployed is quite dissatisfying. Apart from 36 flash fiction pieces on 365 Tomorrows and a few on here, I have produced only one book. Even allowing for the fact that in 2011 I started to realise my intention to write with a flood of work leading to 3 publications, I find myself deeply displeased with myself. Not enough focus.

Time to put in writing the intentions so I cannot dodge, demur or deny:

A) This year I will be publishing at least 3 books, one of which is ready bar final formatting and final edit, the second of which is done bar a cover and two stories (one of which being the cover story, so there's a small dependency-driven delay there).

B) I will also complete and publish at least one of my non science-fantasy works, but I am aiming to publish two if inspiration falls into line with available time. I will also progress my second volume of pagan/magical tales, my Mythos anthologies and continue the long process of getting my story fragments in order.

C) I shall become a UK registered publisher.

I will continue to drop draft works on deviantART for your enjoyment, puzzlement or critique. If you drop by and read a little, take time to comment. Nothing improves without feedback and I'd value yours.

Have a productive year doing what you love.
Welcome to another little corner of my internet presence...

Should you fancy some more of my stories and poetry, plus real hardcopy books, do have a browse through my site www.lizardsofthehost.co.uk/

For those who prefer commentary, do visit my blog thesilentjudge.wordpress.com/

Finally, I have the distinct pleasure of being one of the staff writers at 365tomorrows.com/ still the web's finest sci-fi & speculative flash fiction site, now in it's seventh year.

Wherever you go & whichever of my scribblings you read, I sincerely hope you enjoy them.