Calm after the storm

Hey everyone. A very (belated) Merry Christmas to you all, hope it went well for those of you that celebrate. And for those of you that don’t, I hope you had a nice day off.

Not had time to do much over the last week or so other than eat, work (at day job, sadly) and sleep, but I did manage to produce the attached as a treat to myself for getting all my chores done last Friday. Thought I’d share.

Happy Holidays people, chat to you probably in the New Year.


Paul on bike with Scorch


Festive Hyper Space

Like normal hyper space, only sparkly (possibly with tinsel).

Also vexing, in that once you enter the warp, you’re tied there until Christmas Day, or even beyond, depending on how hectic your New Year proves to be.

I should know better by now than to plan to do anything between roughly the 27th of November (auspicious for me, as it is a friend’s Birthday) and somewhere around the 2nd of January. Attempts/plans to do anything even vaguely productive between those dates tend to fall away into the slipstream, diminishing into the past with startling rapidity as the nexus of conscious energy that is Christmas approaches.

All this is a very roundabout way for me to say: book’s probably not going to see the light of day before the New Year.

I console myself with the fact that several of my favourite authors have put publishing dates back (by considerable timespans in some cases – I’ll mention no names, but you know who you are…). So many apologies, but I’m afraid I will have to rely on your patience for just a little longer.

Thank you.

(PS. Apologies to any physicists reading this.)

Today is my day.

So, it’s my birthday today. It was also our first snow of the year here in sunny Manchester (as far as I’m aware).

Have spent the morning redoing the art work for the front cover, whilst catching up with a bit of Being Human (third series), and then the cats ‘helped’ me clean my bike out in the back garden (they went in before it started snowing, leading me to suspect they knew something I didn’t…)

Anyway, I was going to produce something arty and birthday oriented, but haven’t had the chance to sit down and draw properly yet this week, so in lieu of a new piece (and in the best tradition of Tony Hart, one of my childhood heros), here’s one I prepared earlier. Drew it for my next youngest brother Simon’s card this year, as I was getting him a set of H.P Lovecraft’s stories.

Have a good day all x

Cthulhu Birthday Cake

‘All the cats in Paris are wearing them…’

Just a quick personal aside:

I’m currently playing host to two very disgruntled kits, who were taken to be spade on Wednesday (part of the agreement with the rescue centre we got them from). Both are currently modelling those cone shaped hats designed to stop them from pulling at their stitches. With very poor grace. Said cones also restrict their movements, meaning that any clambering onto laps etc requires slightly more claw-work than it used to (though I’m of the opinion they’re milking this handicap a little more than necessary, as a means of getting back at us).

Affirmations of how lovely they look seem to meet with a sullen glare, and scratching behind their ears seems to be the only thing that will restore me or my other half to feline good books.

Roll on Tuesday, when the collars can come off.

The story so far

Morning all.

I’d like to begin by with a quick (belated) ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to all those stateside. I didn’t realise until that evening that I’d actually organised my own impromptu thanksgiving dinner – had some friends round for food and wine (and vodka, and Guinness with champagne…).

Anyway, I digress.

I wanted to explain where I’ve got to at the moment, and how I got here, for those of you who may have missed my earlier posts. A ‘Story so far’ if you will. As with any burgeoning author, my work originally began (as I mention in my Bio) as something of a hobby, but has grown steadily to the point where I set out on the current project with the very definite intent of putting my stuff out there, for others to read and enjoy. As such, what I’ve written this time has been produced with greater self-awareness, perhaps, than my previous efforts, and also with an eye on its commerciality. I’ve tried to write something that will sell, that is relevant, but that brings something new to the table. I think it was Stravinsky (a musician, yes, but the principals still apply) who started each new round of composition by limiting himself, applying rules that the work must adhere to, as he recognised that truly great art cannot encompass everything at once. Some of you may disagree with that, but I’ve always found it to be a useful maxim. Certainly, it’s one of the things I took away from my degree.

So, I won’t bore you with the actual ins and outs of the creative process here. I’ll perhaps look at publishing those at a later date, if it seems appropriate (read: if my book actually proves itself, and therefore the process, to have been worthwhile. No point shouting about something that’s a flop). But suffice to say, two years and change later I’m sat here, with a novel on my hard drive and nowhere to go.

Now, I’ve been down this road once before, back at the start of the current millennium. Didn’t go well for me then, despite doing all the things that I’d read an author should do: spending hours pouring over the ‘Writers Handbook’, carefully picking out likely looking agencies and publishers to send copies of my work to (some of the refusal letters I received were priceless. One in particular I wish I’d framed – still makes me laugh to this day).

There are two positive things I took away from that experience. One was knowledge: how the process worked, how to present myself etc. The second was a phone call from a publisher whose name I sadly can’t remember, who took the time to call me and, after apologising for the fact he wasn’t publishing at the time due to personal troubles, told me to keep going, and not to give up. Without that little ray of sunshine through the clouds, I think I would have given up long ago.

Sadly this time, as above, I’ve had no luck with the wonderful people of the UK publishing world, due in some part (I tell myself) to the current fiscal problems that grip the world. There was one voice of interest, but it was from a publisher named Austin and Macauley, asking for about £3K to put my work out there. A couple of trawls of the internet confirmed my suspicions that they were not to be relied upon, so I have politely declined their help.

So I found myself washed up on the shores of self publishing. Not a bad place to be, as I’ve seen from several of the people I’ve crossed paths with over the last month or two on various social forums. And realistically, several people seem to be positing, the way things are going to go, in the long run. Now I, for one, will never be weaned of my need for actual, physical books. I do, yes, plan to avail myself of a Kindle in the new year (other e-readers are, of course, available). But I fully intend to make the odd exception. At present, I only buy myself paperbacks; hardbacks may only be acquired as gifts (its a financial choice as much as anything). I do think books will eventually become the rare treasures they once were again, to be cherished as such. Stories – novels – will never die, but the form they wear will change. So I look at the position I am now in as simply ‘joining the revolution’.

So there you have it. A brief history of The Orphans Revolt, complete with annotations and asides. As mentioned in my Lit Ped, I’m hoping to bring it out into the light at some point next month. Will keep you posted.

Have a good weekend everyone.