First post of 2017

I know that, obviously, you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for my first post of 2017… well wait no longer. This is it! (pauses to allow tumbleweed to blow across scene in total silence).

One of the reasons for the delay is simply that there’s not much different going on than at the end of 2016. But, that having been said, let’s lay out what’s ahead for the first months (at least) of 2017.

My current work in progress is The Offspring, the final book in The Szuiltan Trilogy. While sales and response to the first two books has not exactly been overwhelming, I have a story to finish telling so I’m going to tell it! If I was writing to make money, I’d have given up a long time ago. My reasons for writing go far deeper than that.

All drafts of the two novels, Eyes Of The Raven and The Demon Guardian are finished and both are now looking for homes. More news on this as I have it. Keep your fingers (and everything else) crossed.

I have still to make a final decision on whether to self publish The Risen(Book #1 in The Givers Of Life). As it’s a novella I do have that option (see earlier posts and interviews about my children’s despotic ruling on my self publishing activities) but I also keep edging towards the idea of shopping it around. The problem, as I see it, is that, #1, it’s a zombie tale, and there’s a surprising number of publishers (including ones I’ve previously worked with) who won’t even look at anything to do with zombies, and, #2, it’s the first novella in a series that’s not yet written. That’s a lot for a publisher to take on from a small-time author like me.

The situation is similar with Vampire Worms, although as it’s a short story I have put it out there and am currently awaiting a decision. What makes it similar is that, although it is self contained, it certainly has the possibility of being the first in a series. If I do eventually decide to go down that route, and it’s not already been published by that time, I may well look, again, to self publishing for very much the same reasons as with The Risen, although in this case vampires, rather than zombies (they’re not actually vampires as such… you’d need to read the story).

The Offspring marks a return to science fiction, after pretty much a whole year of writing horror. Should I decide to remain in this genre following The Offspring, I do have several ideas with beginnings and basic stories sketched out to choose from. I also have a completed pulp novel, The Frihet Rebellion, to shop around. This was held back almost 18 months by a publisher who, after all that time, decided to reject it, albeit with some positive and nice comments along the way. Now that’s over, I can get on with approaching other publishers and hope to generate some interest. News as it happens, as always.

After releasing the complete novel, A World Of Assassins, for free on Wattpad last year, I will be looking at possibly doing something similar this year. Nothing concrete yet, and I’m partly waiting to see the kind of response A World Of Assassins gets, but it’s a different way of getting some of my older work out there – and possibly newer stuff too. If people enjoy it, they might decide to read more of my work.

In news other than writing – The 1850 Project (the musical collaboration between my son, Jonathan, and myself) remains on hiatus due mainly to recording and financial issues. There’s also an issue with increasing arthritis in my fingers, making prolonged playing of the guitar stupidly painful. Nevertheless, we have songs, we have ideas, and we will return! Talking of songs, I have a large back catalogue of poorly recorded stuff which I would really like to cherry pick from and re-record in good quality, before I’m unable to play anymore. We already have demos of some of the those, and they could be released either under The 1850 Project or as solo projects – that depends on whether Jonathan likes them or not!

After returning to painting at the end of 2016, I am working on a second picture. I’m not rushing these, there’s no need, and tend to do painting in small bursts as a way of relaxing from other things, but I intend to continue precisely because I do find it relaxing and, other than Cathy constantly telling me how she would do it, no pressure.

My real job, of course, is looking after my daughter (whose myriad of conditions and issues are not for this post) but I still have time for creative pursuits – and both things are equally satisfying, in different ways. Both can also lead to serious lack of sleep.

So, that’s it. Hopefully there will be plenty of writing, music and painting ahead for me. Most of all, however, I hope my daughter gets the therapy she needs (we’ve been waiting a long time) and that she improves to the point where she can have a life outside of the safe zone of her bedroom.

Whatever else happens (and despite horrors such as Trump, Brexit, and more Conservative destruction of our society) it has to be better than 2016, doesn’t it? Come on 2017, surely you can manage that!

2016 – Not The Best Of Years

So, 2106 is coming to an end – and good riddance too. It has not been a great year for all sorts of reasons. For a start, we lost a lot of great performers across the arts – people like Victoria Wood, Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Greg Lake, Prince and too many others. Hollywood continues to grind out the retreads and remakes (although Deadpool was good). In politics we had the twin disasters of Brexit and Donald Trump. Far too many wars and acts of terrorism continue to plague the world in general. Religion and political ideology continue to be used as justification for hate, prejudice and bigotry. I could go on (really, I could!), but enough is enough.

Not everything was bad. There was some great music released (including albums from Dream Theater, Babymetal, Ana Popovic, Roxette, The Monkeys, Epica and Green Day), small publishers continued to release the books that the traditional publishers are too afraid to, there were a few good tv shows starting or continuing (The Good Place, No Tomorrow, People Of Earth, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Crazyhead, Frequency, Sweet Vicious, Lucifer) among the almost overwhelming mass of mediocre and just plain bad, and my wife finally dumped her too stressful job for an altogether pleasanter one.

But the main reason for this blog is to look at what I’ve been up to this year, in terms of writing anyway.

I have had no books published in 2016. This is a depressing but true statistic. However, this does not mean I’ve been doing nothing.

My short stories Assassin On The Seventy-Fourth Floor (Crimson Streets), The Light Ship (Electric Spec) and Young At Heart (reprint in Red Fez) made an appearance, and two more (Castle Ruins and The Great Prophecy) have been accepted but not yet released. I also had a story, Locusts – The Return, included in a special tribute book for Guy N Smith (Hell Of A Guy) which is not on general sale. Permission has been given for the story to appear elsewhere, but I haven’t decided whether I want to do that just yet.

I wrote a novelette (Vampire Worms), a novel (Eyes Of The Raven) and am currently finishing off the final draft of another novel that still doesn’t have a title! And as soon as this draft is done, I’m finally starting on the third and final novel in The Szuiltan Trilogy, The Offspring.

In terms of works that are out there waiting for responses, I have three short stories, a novelette, a novella, and two novels. This is not a lot compared to some writers, but it’s pretty good for me.

The other thing I’ve done in writing is sign up (again) to Wattpad, and this time I’m determined to make use of it. There are already several short stories, the whole of The Ant Man, and samples of currently unpublished work up there. My main project on it is to, gradually, put the whole of my science fiction thriller novel A World Of Assassins on there. Everything is free to read, and it seems a good place to spread the word 🙂

As far as my other creative outlets are concerned…

The 1850 Project (the collaboration between my son and me) is far from dead, it’s just resting. Mainly because our home studio (or Jonathan’s bedroom as it’s sometimes known) is in complete disarray, and we can’t afford the studio time we would need in our regular place (Whitby Studios) or anywhere else at the moment.

Art. It’s a very long time since I attempted any serious drawing or painting, but my wife was determined to get me to paint something for her. It’s taken her a long time, but she finally won, and I have taken up the brush and the acrylics again, after many years, to produce the painting you see below, which she seems to like (thankfully). I suspect that, now that I’ve started, I will probably continue in 2017. It was fun and quite relaxing to do.

painting-2016

That’s about it. I won’t be sorry to see 2016 go, and can only hope that 2017 will be a better year for all of us. The one thing I can promise is that I’ll continue to write, successfully or otherwise. I hope some of you will continue to read, too.

Thank you for reading.

Still writing… slowly

Long time since my last blog post I think.

Despite the lack of contact, I am still writing, albeit very slowly. My main WIP is fighting me every step of the way, and my complete mastery of procrastination isn’t helping. But I know if I keep working at it, and accept that a lot of what I’ve written might need to be thrown away and the plot rethought, I will reach the breakthrough it needs.

It’s not the first time a book has proved difficult. In fact, most of my books hit that wall at some point – The Village Witch (published last year by Omnium Gatherum) hit the wall numerous times during its creation. Plot lines changed, characters came and went, thousands of words were written, dumped and then rewritten. It’s all par for the course. The one exception was Hard Winter: The Novel (also from Omnium Gatherum) – that one just flowed. But it’s unusual for it to be that easy.

I still write the occasional short story, because it’s nice to see something completed in a relatively short time. I’ve about 10 or 11 out at the moment, waiting for acceptance or rejection (mostly rejection based on experience) and I keep an eye on upcoming themed anthologies in case one just catches my interest. But I can’t deny that my main focus is on the longer pieces of fiction – novellas and novels. That’s where I get the chance to develop characters and more complex storylines. It’s the type of writing I enjoy the most.

In a potentially soul destroying decision, I’ve engaged the services of my son and his English Literature degree to rip my writing apart – which is something he takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in doing. The hope is it will improve my overall writing, if my ego allows me to survive it! Through working with the excellent editing skills of Omnium Gatherum’s Kate Jonez, I have become completely convinced in the usefulness of having someone who knows what they’re talking about look at my writing. A good editor, and I’ve been mostly fortunate, can really help improve the writing and the flow of a story (I’ll ignore the bad ones who think editing means rewriting – they can crawl away and die). Both my wife and my son are very good at improving the readability of a story, finding those lines that are clumsy or just suck! But my son currently has the time, and can bring the skills he picked up doing his degree to the task. If nothing else, it should be interesting.

If you’ve liked some of the books I’ve written so far, stick with me. More are on the way. It just takes time…

Anthologies

I have never been one to attempt inclusion in any and every anthology going. On the whole, I don’t write that many short stories anyway, and they tend to be stories that interest me at the time, rather than aiming for a particular market. Having said that, over the last few years I have taken to browsing the upcoming anthology list on Duotrope and, if any really catch my interest, I’ll have a go.

Needless to say, many rejections ensue, but just occasionally I get an acceptance, and below is my short list of those acceptances. I can also say, with complete honesty, that in each case the story was written with that particular anthology in mind (which somehow makes the acceptance even sweeter – it means I got something right!).

Even ignoring my contributions, these anthologies are all excellent collections and well worth checking out if you like the shorter story form.

Detritus._SL250_

Detritus (2012)

Includes my story Candy Lady – written during a family vacation in Essex and set in that location. Dennis Wells watches a woman he has nicknamed Candy Lady. But is his interest really in her, or in the other man who also watches?

The Real Story

Lost Worlds, Retraced (2013)

Includes my story The Real Story, in which TV adventurer Jim Malpas, star of Malpas’s World and used to the staged incidents in his show, finds himself stranded among a real lost tribe in a real lost world. Written with tongue firmly in cheek and a knowing nod to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Abandoned

Undead Of Winter (2013)

Includes my story Abandoned. Gunnar returns to his village from university and finds there are strange things going on in the woods, the old superstitious ways have a strong hold, and his own family hide a terrible secret.

No Place For Us

No Place For Us (2015)

Includes my story Subs. A dystopian future where, on the edge of the city, outside the barrier, there exists a shanty town occupied by Subs – people who do not sit well with the beliefs or match the ideal image required by the city elders. People who do not fit. They survive with the aid of a charitable few who bring food and clothing out to them, through the barrier. When Jansen Levert, a Sub, overhears a plot against Denby, one of the charity givers, he decides to act, leading to violence, an escape into the Wilds, and a declaration of love forbidden by the city elders.

in the trenches

In The Trenches (2015)

Includes my story The Ten Year Anniversary. Harry Dixon is a hero, a survivor of the British defeat at the hands of the Zulu at Isandlwana. But Harry hides a secret guilt and is haunted by the sights and sounds of the battle. And perhaps by other things as well.

Slave to distraction

You have no idea how many times I’ve intended to update this blog, only to be distracted by something else I must do at that precise moment. Even now I minimized this window and went and did something else, having to force myself back here to write this. Distraction is my enemy, particularly when it comes time to write. There seems to be no end to the previously unimportant things that suddenly must be done NOW when I’m sitting down to write. Annoying!

Anyway, I’m here and I thought I’d bring things up to date, since it’s been a while. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (or LinkedIn or Google+ etc.) you probably know a lot of this stuff already, but for everyone else, here’s a round up of where I’m at.


THE VILLAGE WITCH – my latest horror novel, published by Omnium Gatherum, is available for pre-order on the kindle right now. The actual release date (kindle and paperback) is June 8. I’m proud of this one. I really hope you like it.

The Village Witch

She sits on the headstone, claws flexing, wings furled, as she has for almost four centuries.

The people of Byre live in fear. A centuries-old evil that grows stronger with each human sacrifice threatens their village. If all goes according to her plan, the Village Witch will unleash almost four hundred years of resentment, hatred and homicidal rage on the town. Tim Galton, an ex-special forces soldier, Professor Alexander Hall and his daughter Susan, paranormal investigators, and a few, brave villagers are all that stand in her way. Can they prevent the Village Witch from setting the evil free? Or will it destroy them and everyone else in Byre?

Pre-order on Amazon.com

Pre-order on Amazon.co.uk


Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine Spring 2015

My short story THE FAILURE appears in the latest Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine – Spring 2015.

Buy the kindle version here:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Buy the paperback here:

Createspace


No Place For Us

My short story SUBS appears in the anthology No Place For Us

Kindle and paperback available

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


In The Trenches

My short story THE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY is placed with the anthology In The Trenches.

I don’t have a publication date for this yet, but it’s coming soon. I’ll let you know as soon as I know.


Other short stories are out there and I’m just waiting to hear back from the various publications. The waiting is always the worst part!

I also have a short novel awaiting a response – it’s a space adventure, but I don’t like to tell titles until work is accepted.

I’ve got plenty of short story and longer works waiting to be written (including, of course, the concluding part of The Szuiltan Trilogy – The Offspring) and several are already underway. Keep watching. There’s more coming soon.

If you want to view my full bibliography then CLICK HERE or on the menu button at the top of the page.

Thanks for your ongoing support. Bye for now.

Getting going again

It’s been a strange difficult time for my writing, but I’m proud that I never actually stopped putting words into the computer… even if I might go back and change most of them at a later date 🙂

Then the other day I realised I had four short stories just sitting there doing nothing! This is not allowed. I’d just got forgetful and, well, lazy I guess. So, some research on the excellent ralan.com (if you’re a genre writer and you don’t go to Ralan for potential markets… well, why not? You should.) and all four stories are back out there in the world looking for an editor who likes them. Rejections will no doubt follow, but that’s the way the game goes – accept the rejection in good grace and turn the story round and send it right back out again to someone else. Don’t stop. Never give in. Just keep them out there, circulating, until they find the right home.

It feels good to be getting going again with this whole thing. After all, if I don’t push my own writing, why should anyone else?

I’ll let you know if and when any of the stories find a friendly and interested editor.

Keep sticking with me. I’ll come out of this slump and get the words working again. More stories and books are on the way, they’re all lining up in my mind, waiting their turn!

Current WIP and probable next release… maybe… and it’s about vampires… probably…

Welcome to 2014 – thought I’d give you an idea of what I’m up to.

I’m not overly inclined to talk about stuff I’m still working on, at least not with any certainty, because I know my amazing ability to abandon projects for a long time when they’re almost complete. But I think this is safe… I think.

I am currently mid way through the second draft of a new novella and, like The Lion On Androcles last year, this is based on an old story by my brother, Colin P Davies. However, whereas TLOA was very much a joint effort (in that I was able to use most of the incidents and characters from the original story, add some of my own and concentrate on the writing), this one uses some major plot points and versions of the original characters but is much more my own story – in other words if you hate it, blame me not my brother!

The original story was called The Evil Incantation and this may yet be the title of the new novella too, I haven’t decided. The original, not surprisingly, was very much a product of its time (early to mid 70’s) and of my brother’s interests back then – Martial Arts and classic Horror movies, such as those made by Hammer in particular. Indeed his story involved a Martial Artist taking on Dracula, as in the Shaw Brothers/Hammer co-production The Seven Golden Vampires (a must see for any lovers of the two genres like me!). It was very much kung fu meets Hammer’s Dracula and there was nothing wrong with that (back then or now for that matter). It even had a Van Helsing character in “The Professor”. What I wanted to do was try and update it without losing its classic horror and action roots.

Now, an admission… I had already “stolen” the two main characters for a novel (that I’m still writing), although I had fleshed them out and made a few changes – gave the Professor a family life and changed the Martial Artist to an ex-Special Forces soldier for example. The novel originally started as a kind of prequel to The Evil Incantation (with my brother’s permission I might add) and shows how the Professor and Tim Galton meet and why they end up travelling together. I’m a good two thirds through the first draft of the novel and hope to finish it before too long. However, I got distracted by the idea of taking that original story, The Evil Incantation, and using my variations on the characters to rewrite it. First draft was finished just after Christmas and now I’m working on the second draft. It can be read as a standalone novella, but it does drop occasional hints towards events from the novel. I hope it will serve as a nice short introduction to these two main characters and that readers will be intrigued enough to want to learn how they met – when the novel is finally finished. It may seem a back-to-front way of doing it but I think it works.

No final decision has been taken on it yet but I am considering combining the novella with some of the vampire-based short stories I’ve written over the years and making a vampire themed collection out of it. That way the reader gets more for their money.

Anyway, that’s where I’m up to. As things become more finalised I will let you know.

Hope 2014 turns out to be a good one for all of us.