Is it Christmas already?

So I was about to reread the review on Copper Jacket (what can I say, it’s my first one) when I noticed that although I still have a 5* average, Copper Jacket hs two reviews. 

The second one lit me up like a Xmas tree! The reviewer, Liam, really seems to know his superhero onions, referencing both the old school Phantom style goodies and Planet Hulk. Verily, I am abashed by such kind words by someone who is obviously a fan of the genre.

Thanks, Liam, you just made my Winter Fesival.

JP

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Copper Jacket

Okay, Copper Jacket is UP!

Yeah, I changed the name (again). Tin Man just seemed a little too Oz and I didn’t fancy writing sequels called Gutless Lion and Dumb Bag of Straw.

Anyway, Here’s the cover:

 

Copper Jack.jpg

It’s currently up for just under a quid at amazon UK here

or just over a buck at amazon US here

I’ll be putting the price up by 50p in about a week, but I figured I can live with letting it go for cheaper than a cup of coffee for a little while. Of course, it’s totally free on Kindle Unlimited.

That’s me done. I’m off to finish the edit on The Shipment.

 

JP

 

That’s Enough of That

I just scrawled ‘The End’ on the second Ryan Stark adventure. Novella length, it deals with how, after being manipulated by an old enemy, Stark is thrust into the gleaming claws of his demonic nemisis from Wood Hollow. I’m pretty pleased with it as is, but we all know that will change when it comes to the re-write.

So what’s next? Obviously I have to finish the edit of Tin Man and think about starting the same on Shipment. I think the big red pen can wait for a bit though. 

Despite having had a list of 12 projects to carry me into next year, I rather fancy churning out another post-apocalyptic Western. I have around 10k of Eel Town sitting on a hard drive, so I’ll possibly take another look at that.

Anyway, I’m busy busy so I’d best get on and do some work.

Sun, Sea & Severed Extremities

I put an estimation on Tin Man (probably the actual title now) being edited by Monday gone. I’m sure not a one of you will be surprised to read that didn’t happen. It’s not that I’ve been being slack, mind. I’ve actually been mega busy.
See, I’m roughly 50% through the first edit of Tin Man. I’d have probably punched a little further through, but I’m also about 66% of the way through another pulp horror thingumy. My two-fisted terror, Ryan Stark, has been back on his boat and up to his old smuggling tricks. Unfortunately for him, the dark deity whose plans he quashed last time he left the house has something of a chip on its shoulder. It also has a congregation of nasty, inbred cannibals looking to do its bidding and get Stark in a position to pay for his hubris.
I’d like to give a (typically sketchy) publication date for Tin Man as the end of next week. From the looks of things though, Orchid and I will be heading back to court in an effort to keep the seedling safe from purulent human filth. It’s going to be tricky seeing as work is rarer than justice in this hell-hole of a country, but it has to be done.
Speaking of Orchid, she’s a creative young hobbit and has offered to help out with Tin Man’s cover art. We’ll be going through some designs when we can get away from paperwork, phone calls and all the other small things that have invaded our blissful forest abode. To be honest, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!
That’s all from me, have fun ’til next time!

And that’s a wrap!

So 3 minutes ago, 20 days after starting the thing, I typed ‘End’ on the Tin Man document. Sure, I’ll need to give it a good seeing-to with the big, red editor’s pen but that’s life. I’ll probably pick it apart next Monday. Give it a good, long week to let it settle in my mind.

It’s Tuesday tomorrow, my uninterrupted days of scrawly glory so for the rest of the evening, I’ll be thinking about what to start tomorrow.

 

Wednesday Rambling

Despite still being lumbered with a dodgy working title, Tin Man is coming along nicely. I had a mega productive day yesterday (Tuesdays are all mine except for dog walking duties and a quick coffee with Orchid) and smashed through the 15k word barrier. Today my count barely scrathed 1000, but for some reason Wednesdays are always a bind.

Hero of the thing is a young janitor by the name of Aiden Young. Living in the gang-ravaged streets of Hexen City, his hobbies include trying to be invisible, surviving the journey to and from the laboratory where he works and providing fresh sandwiches to a homeless old lady called Aggie. 
It’s all heart-warming stuff, but sweetness a good action romp does not make. When Aiden drops off a sandwich to his mad buddy, he learns of a pair of cops foolish enough to enter Hexen City’s Cauldron district. This is not wise, and although Aiden knows helping them escape is just as dumb, he tries his luck regardless.
Our man is no barbarian swordsman, so saving the coppers puts him in grave peril. He tries to make an escape, but he’s followed by a bunch of goons who want to do more than dance. When they get hold of him, Aiden goes through a pretty nasty experience that leaves him … different
Aiden gets shiny new superpowers and, due to the obligatory bad stuff happening, he realises someone needs to save his city. Of course, he cleans floors for a living, so he’s a little under prepared for his self-imposed quest.
I did get a little snagged around chapter 6, which kinda surprised me considering the extensive chapter-by-chapter breakdown I put together. I finally managed to break the mental deadlock by scrapping all my notes and, using the key scenes I’d figured out as guid posts, sat down and punched out words.
Things have turned out to be exceptionally dark and violent, more so than I’d planned. Aiden does live in a dark and nasty little world and is put through an emotional wringer, so I hope it’s understandable why he’s so savage.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. I’ll post again when I have something to say.
JP

Excuses. An update.

Busy is still my middle name. At this time of year things have usually slowed to a crawl so I can tackle the festive panic with wide eyes and aching heartburn. Not so this year. On top of that, this is also the first year I’ve had to deal with the presence of greedy little ankle biters. At my age, it’s been a steep learning curve.

All this means my 20k splatter extravaganza is coming along slower than I’d hoped (one day I’ll manage a 17.5k run again). The makie-it-up-as-you-go thing still feela kind of slow, but it’s also making my creative brain run on overdrive. I still don’t know much about what’s going to happen, but it turns out my protag is some kind of martial artist (which is handy) and that the action has shifted to a secondary world. I’ve got a rough idea of how things are going to end but that may well change. I’ll see when I get there.

I have to say I’m constantly tempted to grab a pencil and work a quick outline, but I went into this with the intention of writing blind and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. What is interesting is that I’ve crossed off my scheduled minimum daily word count every day since starting. Although some days the words take longer to form than on others, they are coming each and every day.

That’s pretty unprecedented. I have more unfinished manuscripts choking my hard drive than I do extra pounds of fat around my waist. One of them, a fully plotted space oper adventure, was killed well into the 30k mark. I can’t say for sure, but I think the reason for my uninterrupted writing might stem from the face every day is a little voyage of discovery. That said ‘The Story So Far’ (I know, shite working title) is no where near 30k.

I’ve also been reading some stuff by the Realm and Sands guys, which I’d like to go into on a later post. For now though, I have a word count to spit out so have a nice weekend and I’ll catch up later.

Lucky I got ditched

Maaaan, what a weekend!

I’d love to tell you that I finished Working Title between signing off Friday and waking up Monday morning (I didn’t). I’d even settle for regaling you all with tales of excess after being reunited with friends of old (there aren’t any). An epic trip into the Welsh wildernesses would be cool, but all I managed this weekend was to stay in and not write (that much).

That’s not the confession of some incapable wannabe (it probably is). Oh no. Saturday, mid afternoon, I was puller away from the keyboard by a knock on the door. There stands Lady Orchid’s delightful neighbour with a half smile and grim eyes. Turns out my old dad’s van has died on a particularly nasty road in the middle of nowhere. To make matters worse, they’ve got no mobile reception and can’t call for help. They, were their lives a nasty movie involving engine troubles and horribly mutated cannibal-killers, were staring what James Scott Bell would call ‘Trouble Brewing’.

Luckily for the parents, the worst thing that happened (after the breakdown, of course), was a couple hour wait for a tow truck and the nasty flask of coffee I took up to them to tide them over (they’re not so keen on strong coffee).

Since it’s not Thursday and I saved this post to drafts on Monday, I reckon the mental mickey pace of my week is quite clear. Work has picked up again (posh customers never make life dull, just infuriating) and apparently there’s some tiny little winter fest around the corner that needs attending to. Anyway, I’ve not had a lot of time to work on Working Title. It is creeping along, just not at the 20k-in-one-day rate I’d envisioned. Still, I’ll hopefully finish this one up (before the aforementioned winter bash) and that’ll free me up for something else.

Okay, I admit that was a bit of a nothing post, but I didn’t want you lovely people to think I’d dropped off the earth without letting you know how things go.

Right, I have to extract this cat from me chest. I’ll see you in a couple of days.

So I got a little side tracked…

I said I’d walk the Howling Horrors then jump straight back into the story. That didn’t happen.  I took my pooches for a stroll through the lovely woodland in where I live, but my keyboard had a little break. The delightful Lady Orchid lives on the route I amble with the animals. I popped in for hot chocolate and a chat that lasted more than a few hours. That’s no bad thing, because enjoying romance and friendship is at least as important as hurling words.

It’s Friday, usually a day of held breath and excitement. Actually, I guess it still is because although I’m client free again (long, boring story that’s not as bad as it sounds), I’ve got the rest of the day to smash my way through some more words. Yes, I’ve had to lower my word count expectations, because writing on the fly is slow, but I’ve also seen some interesting differences between plotting and going organic (I’ve not no love for the term ‘panster’).

My as-yet-unnamed protagonist is a guy (Scav is heroed by a young woman, plus I’m not keen putting a lady through a splatter punk scenario because I couldn’t condone certain behaviour, even in fiction). From one sentence, I know he’s likely to be in his early-to-mid-thirties and knows how to dance fox trot (albeit not very well). He has shaggy black hair and works as a courier. He has also been terrified of caves since childhood.

Although I have some ideas, I don’t know why he has these attributes. They’re the interesting little character quirks that would make a real person interesting and also the kind of minutiae I’d never though of for Mona Kit (hero of Scavenger Hunt). Yes, I can tell you that Mona is a certain height with red hair, that her mother died in a fire and her father is an unknown, but I’d never thought that maybe she learned to toss knives to impress a wasteland guard who absolutely made her knees quiver or that she can’t stand the taste of  cranberries because a mean-spirited kid from the shelter fed her the fruit for kicks when she was very young.

In Smith’s writing into the dark, he mentions that plotting comes from the brain’s left hemisphere and in the land of order and logic, the tried and tested are true. I found this interesting because, when plotting, there’s invariably a scene or seventy that are almost carbon copies of previous work. The scenes frustrate the hell out of me and invariably lead me to reach for my Perl IDE and run the programme again. I repeat this process a lot.

The right hemisphere is where the goblins live, stirring their big cauldron of ideas and throwing them willy nilly (sorry, love that phrase) out into the brain. According to Smith, writing into the dark (as he calls it) harnesses the right hemisphere, leading to greater creativity. I’m no neuroscientist, and I only have personal experience to back up his claim, but I can see the next chapter of Working Title in my mind, where things are possibly going to head and how I can dig my protagonist even deeper into the brown and smelly.

Strangely, I can also see exactly where I’d take this had I reached this point on an outline. The story would go in the same tried-and-tested direction that much of my other (unfinished) work has gone and I’d become deflated by the sameness of it all. I’d reach for the IDE and start the process again.

Let me be clear; I’m not saying that writing into the dark is the ‘One True Way’. With everything in life, we’re all our own individual bags of meat. I’ve probably failed as often going organic as I have plotting, it’s just at this point in time going in blind is working for me.

Anyway, I have an empty mug and an unlikable cop to inflict bad things upon. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on the WordPress.

TL;DR?
If writing’s your thing and you enjoy doing it, sit down grab your tools of choice and just crack on and enjoy.