April 2021 Update

April’s here! That’s… just bizarre.

This is the continuation of the thing I used to call ‘projects and drafts’, but that feels weird and just ‘update’ seems to make more sense so that’s what I’m going with now. Good? Good.

March, then!

It’s still a little slower than previous months – turns out that what I tend to do is go pretty hard on writing a lot of words each day until I’ve got a draft, and then I can’t really keep up that pace so I slow down for a bit. Y’know what? I’m gonna be OK with that.

I’ve also realised that it’s harder to measure progress with editing than it is with drafting, ‘cos you can’t just go oh look 1500 more words or whatever. I am still in fact doing Writing Stuff, of that I’m sure, it’s just trickier to point at and explicitly identify what the stuff is.

Anyway, I’ve made a fair bit of progress on editing Chronicles from the World of Guilt again, so it’s coming close to being done, I think! I got a super sexy cover commissioned for it, too, so keep an eye out in the pretty near future to find out what I’m doing with it. (I actually don’t know myself. It might end up getting queried with an indie publisher, or I might self-pub. We’ll see!)

A couple of new short stories also got written and are being submitted to Things, so with any luck some time soon I might be able to announce that at least one of those is gonna be published. That’d be nice.

Speaking of short stories getting published, the Lost Boys Press anthology Chimera released in March and actually got a banner proclaiming it to be the number one new horror anthology on Amazon! No idea whether that was a particularly hard-fought category, but I’m happy about having contributed to a bestseller nonetheless.

So: April.

Main goal: finish editing World of Guilt. That’d be well good.

Possible other goals: work on a few in-development things with the wonderful folks at Fable Factory, perhaps go back to revise A Taste of Misadventure, and possibly make some strides in arranging the upcoming collection of video games writings!

All good things, and I very much hope to have more concrete things to announce before too long.

And that’s the update. Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books.

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Projects and Drafts, March 2021

We’re into March! Heck.

So: how was February?

The short answer: not a whole lot happened, but I’m kind of OK with it. Honestly, I haven’t really done much writing in 2021 so far for a few reasons, but I’m coming to know myself a bit better and I think this is just a thing I have to go through every now and again before I really feel able to get on it properly.

That said, I have made a bit of progress on revising Chronicles from the World of Guilt, and I feel pretty excited about the prospect of that being done in the next… month or two, I hope. When will it be published so you can read it and scream about how great it is? Not sure, but watch this space.

I’ve also started pulling together some of my old writings on games, with the plan that I’ll release a book of collected articles. Mostly just a vanity thing – I enjoyed writing about games a lot and I’m sad that I don’t have time to do it as much these days, so putting some of it into a book would at least be a cool way of paying tribute to that and remembering it. It should be kinda fun, too, to look back on all those things as I’m putting it together – I’ll be doing some editing and updating, but I’m thinking it shouldn’t actually take too much work, all things considered.

In the background, I’ve also been doing a little bit of work on a couple of other things, but they’re not really anything yet. So just stay tuned for more on that!

So the plan for March is really just to carry on with those things!

Oh, and of course I’ll be continuing to do fun stuff with Skullgate Media – we’re releasing fun things on our YouTube channel, we’ve just released volume 2 of Tales from the Year Between, and very shortly we’ll be looking for submissions for volume 3 as well as for the next Skullgate Media Presents anthology, so I definitely recommend keeping an eye on skullgatemedia.com and yearbetween.com for news on those things. (And @SkullgateMedia on Twitter.)

And that’s the update. Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books.

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Projects and Drafts, February 2021

Well, that’s one month down in 2021. Weird.

I don’t know that anyone actually reads these posts, but I figure it’s useful if only to keep myself accountable, so I’m gonna keep doing them anyway. And you can’t stop me. Hurray!

Right, so where are we and where are we going?

I expected that January would be kind of a quiet month for a few reasons – it’s the start of the new year, which means recovering from Christmas, getting back to work, and still includes a bit of time off and stuff, and it also happens to be the month of my birthday – and I was… right, sort of.

I actually pretty much took the last ten days or so of January off writing altogether, and I’m glad I did. I love writing, but I basically just took it off the table and gave myself one less thing to worry about. Not that it’s something I worry about, but I think it’s good to sometimes take a break even from things that are super important to you so that you can actually appreciate it a bit more. I got some time to just relax and focus on other life stuff, and that was good.

That said, January certainly wasn’t a completely nothing month: I finished the first draft of A Taste of Misadventure, which is the new working title of the thing that previously had the even-more-working-er title of Friends Close, Enemies in the Toaster. That ended up at around 40,000 words, which I think makes it a reasonably long novella or a very short novel. I quite like it, actually! Not sure when that might see the light of day – it’ll need some revising, and then I guess I’ll either self-publish it or see whether Skullgate would like to take it on. We’ll see.

That brings us to…

… the plan for February!

Honestly, I’m not sure how much I’m gonna be able to do. Work is hectic right now, and I’m in the middle of a qualification for work that’s going to end up taking up some writing time, which is… I mean, I guess it’s a good thing, but it’s also mildly annoying. This is the problem, see: there are Many Good Things, but All Things require Time and as such Time develops a certain paucity. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old (I mean, I’m not, really, but I just turned 27 and aging is weird and I’m always hovering around the borders of an existential crisis anyway), but I’m really feeling a lot of sadness associated with the knowledge that there just isn’t enough time to do all the things I’d like to do. Eh.

Still, I guess I can only do what I can do, and I can only do that by doing one thing at a time. So the thing for February is, I hope, to get a decent chunk of Chronicles from the World of Guilt revised. If I can get that done soon-ish (and then consider publication options for it), those’ll be happy times.

After that, I’ll have the dilemma (good problem to have, I guess) of picking the next thing to do, and I think it’ll be either revising A Taste of Misadventure or beginning A Multitude of Lights in earnest – that’s a progression fantasy series I’ve had knocking around in my brain for a while, but I’ve recently started using World Anvil to properly develop the setting and I’m itching to get going on it.

In the meantime, of course, there are other publications featuring my work! The New Normal released in January, and Bright Neon Futures just came out on the first day of February; there’ll be one more anthology including a story of mine this month, and another in March. I’ve set up a new page here to keep track of those things as they release, so check it out!

And that’s the update. Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books.

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First editorial of 2021! Looking back, looking forward

Right, then. Seems as if I, like the rest of the world, have found myself out of 2020 and zooming (and Zooming, indeed) into 2021. It seems pretty much the same so far.

But hey, not everything about being the same would be a bad thing. Usually at the beginning of the month I take a minute to quickly take stock of the projects and drafts I have underway, and this seems like a good opportunity to do a slightly wider-scale version of that. So let’s do a bit of reflection back on 2020, and perhaps have a bit of a think about what 2021 might bring…!

A Year In Review

So: 2020.

Well, April 30th was the day that marked the start of this journey, I think – or not quite the start, because it took me a lot of time and a lot of work to get there, but it feels like a turning point so we’ll start there.


On April 30th, 2020, I released Each Little Universe! My first novel, it may not be a tightly-plotted masterpiece but I’m really proud to have put it out there, and also extremely proud that it’s had quite a few very nice reviews on its Amazon page and on Goodreads. I imagine that if you’re reading this, you might well be one of the people who’s already given it a review, and I am very grateful!

If you haven’t yet read it… well, keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks for a chance to pick it up for the low, low price of nothing whatsoever.

So that was April, and then I think I spent a fair while wondering what to do next. At some point during that time I tried to get a bit better at using social media, which had mixed success but did at least put me in the network of one Chris Vandyke, who was looking for people to be in a fun little anthology.

That fun little anthology turned out to be one of the coolest, most creatively brilliant things I’ve ever even heard of, and by August 2020 we had published Achten Tan: Land of Dust and Bone, the first volume of what will be a twice-yearly series called Tales from the Year Between. Not only that, though…

Skullgate Media

… somehow in the process of creating that volume, we also ended up creating Skullgate Media, an independent writers’ collective slash indie publishing company. Since August, we’ve got most of the way through creating TFYB volume 2, started up a podcast, signed an author whose novels we’ll be publishing sometime soon, and edited Loathsome Voyages, a completely different anthology that’s out tomorrow! (So a full post about that is coming then.)

But… yeah, holy heck. If you’d told me eight months ago when I’d just released ELU that it would lead to me becoming a founding member of a publishing company doing some seriously amazing work, I’d have chuckled all the way home. (Which wouldn’t have been a very long way, ‘cos lockdown.)

I’m basically just very grateful to have had the chance to meet and work with some really awesome people. It’s an unexpected, but really tip-top, part of this weird little adventure.

Putting More Work Out There

Towards the end of the year, I also started writing some more short stories to submit to anthologies and magazines and that sort of thing, since it seemed like a good way of being productive in a more immediate way than writing novels, and of course would be a great addition to my writing credits. In 2020 I submitted pieces to six publications; I’ve had one rejection, three acceptances, and the other two I’m still waiting to hear back from. What this means, of course, is that you’ll be able to read my work in at least three new publications some time early this year, I hope!

Things Begun But Not Completed

Ah, yes. This is always gonna be the category with the highest number of things in it for me, I fear.

Back in June I did a little audit of things I hoped to get onto writing next, now that ELU was out, and I am amused to report that that list is pretty much unchanged, to be honest. None of the things on there are finished yet, and there are even some additions. I was wondering whether it would be worth trying to plan out which things to focus on in which order now, at the start of this year, but looking back I realise that a lot of stuff appeared out of nowhere and took up my time and focus. I wouldn’t change any of that, because it was all great, but I think basically I have to admit that trying to rigidly plan is unlikely to work, just pick things to work on, try to finish them without moving onto something else, and hope for the best.

So, look, there’s a lot of stuff in here, but perhaps the best way to talk about it isn’t in terms of what wasn’t done in 2020, but what might be done in 2021.

Looking Forward

As I say, this isn’t a plan or a roadmap so much as it is a brainstorm, but with any luck at least one or two of these things will come to fruition this year and I’ll be happy with that!

Untitled Achten Tan Story (with the appalling working title of Friends Close, Enemies in the Toaster) is a novella set in the world of Achten Tan a few years before the TFYB volume about that world. I’m 32k words or so in, and expect it to be wrapped up by 40k, so the hope is to finish it in January and then put it out to other Achten Tanians for a bit of feedback before polishing and probably self-publishing a few months down the line.

Chronicles from the World of Guilt is still out with beta readers; I’ve had some feedback, but not a lot. Still, it’s probably enough for me to be getting along with the second draft, and then I plan to query it with an indie publisher I’ve got to know a little bit (not Skullgate, partly because we already have a lot on and partly because the title’s very similar to Tales from the Year Between – not deliberate, as I’d titled this one before I was ever involved with that!).

Project ANALOG HORIZON // DIGITAL SKY is a multimedia storytelling project underway with friends from the Fable Factory, and I’m hugely excited about it. We’ve done a lot of work on it already, and I’m hoping it’ll be going properly into production soon. When it does, I’ll be yelling about it, because it has the potential to be reeeeeaaally cool.

Untitled Games Writing Collection is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while: just collecting a bunch of the non-fiction stuff I’ve written in various places about video games and releasing it as a volume. Seems like a fun and relatively lower-effort way to get another book to my name, so may as well!

I Am The Chosen One is a novel adaptation of a play a friend and I wrote back in uni – we got started on this way back in, like, March or something and just dropped it. I really want to be able to release the novel and the original stage play script together at some point, though!

Wrestlers vs Cthulhu is the working title of an audio drama I was working on, like, all the way back in 2019 with another friend. It’s another thing I just sort of still want to make a thing at some point but haven’t worked out quite how yet. Maybe I’ll be able to enlist some help from my new multimedia-talented friends… hmm.

Through All Things A River is the next, like, full-on novel I want to do. I did 50K words on it for NaNoWriMo in 2018, but I’m gonna need to start again because I’ve had a lot of thoughts about it since then. If I get this right, I think it could be really good: a sort of His Dark Materials style reflection on identity, but for twentysomethings rather than adolescents.

Solarpunk Progression Fantasy Series is, like, partly planned. I have a world and a magic system and a vague idea of the first book or two, and that’s it. But I feel like doing a series would be a really good thing, so it’s actually quite high up in my mental priority list. Will it get done? We’ll see!

Not mentioned because they’re still gestating are at least three collaborative projects with other writers, none of which will probably be anything in 2021 but are potentially exciting a bit further down the line!

And… that’s me, I guess.

Taking the time to reflect like this makes me feel really astonished at how much has happened in the last eight months since April 2020, and the momentum’s only building. I don’t expect to suddenly be a super big-shot author in 2021, or ever, but I do think I’m going to keep having the opportunity to do lots of incredibly cool things I’d never have imagined being able to do only a year ago. So that’s pretty great.

If you’ve been part of this journey to date, I am really ridiculously grateful. It’s been the support of a lot of friends old and new – and, always, my other half Hannah – that’s made most of the best bits of the year happen, so thank you.

Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books. Love to all of ya.

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Projects and Drafts, December 2020

November has come and gone, which was far too fast and is slightly terrifying.

With that, we’re into December, and very nearly at the end of 2020. Much as it’d be nice to think that 2021 will be Generally Better, it’s not as if all the world’s problems are gonna disappear the moment the clock strikes midnight on January 1st 2021, but… hey, we truck on.

So how did November go?

Well, Chronicles from the World of Guilt is still with beta readers (whom I ought to chase, really). I have a bit of very useful feedback already, and I’ll be looking at that and revising this collection of dark fantasy post-apocalyptic short stories as my next project after I’m done with…

Friends Close, Enemies In The Toaster is an extremely work-in-progress title for a story set in Achten Tan. I mentioned in the last update that I’d be doing this for National Novel Writing Month, and I’m pleased to say that I managed to write my targeted 25,000 words in November and aim to finish the story at around 35-40K by the end of the year. Then that’ll go out for feedback of its own, and who knows what’ll happen then?

I’ve also been editing Loathsome Voyages, an upcoming weird fiction anthology by Skullgate Media. CD Storiz and I are teaming up as editors on this one, and it’s going really well! Expect to see that releasing in early 2021: it’s filled with 14 awesome pieces ranging from truly unsettling to sort of hilariously shocking, uncanny to bizarre and everything in between. (Including one of my own!)

To December!

The plan is just to be happy with whatever I can get done, since December is likely to be a busy month at work and also one for hopefully enjoying a little bit of chilled-out time, and perhaps even some family time (while staying safe and adhering to restrictions, of course).

My hope is to be able to finish Friends Close, Enemies in the Toaster (and ideally come up with a better title) and write at least one or two shorts for submitting to magazines and anthologies and such. Those are my modest goals, and I’ll be thrilled if I can do all of those things.

There’ll also be trucking-along progress on EDGE/CRASH, the fancy multimedia project I mentioned last month (oh, and I got to make my first appearance on a livestream for something to do with that in November!), and I’m sure I’ll just generally be thinking about all kinds of other stuff too.

And that’s the update. Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books. Whatever you do or don’t do in December, I hope it’s everything you hope it’ll be.

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Projects and Drafts, November 2020

Oooh. New month. That means updates.

November is, as you might know, a fairly auspicious month for many writers, what with being National Novel Writing Month. Each Little Universe started as a NaNoWriMo thing, so NaNo does have a place in my heart. But what will I be spending the month doing, I wonder…?

First, though, updates on how October went.

Chronicles from the World of Guilt is now, I’m very happy to say, out with several very kind beta readers. Hopefully I’ll get some feedback on that first draft before too long, and then it’ll be a case of revising and editing until it’s ready to go out into the world!

Something called EDGE/CRASH, which is going to be part of something called ANALOG HORIZON // DIGITAL SKY, is progressing very well. It’s not much of a secret at this point that I’m working with a couple of the wonderful folks over at Fable Factory (hey, look, there’s an awesome portrait of me on their website!) on what is hopefully going to be a really awesome multimedia storytelling project, but we still don’t quite have enough put together that we can properly talk about it. It deserves a proper, banging announcement when we’re all good and ready, so keep an eye out for that and just know that it is coming.

I also wrote a few shorts in October for various things; I’m getting more in the habit of writing pieces to submit to journals and anthologies and whatnot. It’s a lot of fun, and the more places I can get my writing into the better, so with any luck I’ll be able to announce that I’ll be in more upcoming things soon.

So: November!

I am… kind of doing NaNoWriMo. I say kind of because I’m not shooting for 50,000 words – I’m sort of hopeful I might get that much done in total across various projects (I reckon I’m not averaging too far off that each month at the moment, actually, which is kind of a cool thing to realise), but because there are various projects I don’t want to aim for 50,000 on a single one.

Anyway, a few of us who were involved in Achten Tan have taken it upon ourselves to do ‘AchtenWriMo’: NaNo projects all set within the world of Achten Tan. That world, of course, already has a lot of stories, but why not add more? Some people are expanding on their existing pieces; I’m doing something… related, but different. It’s vaguely outlined, so I’m excited to make a new Achten Tan tale!

I’ll also be working very hard behind the scenes at Skullgate Media, helping to put together the second volume of Tales from the Year Between (of which Achten Tan was, of course, the first volume) and just generally doing cool stuff.

There’s more work to do on EDGE/CRASH, and more shorts to work on for various things. So it’s all good fun!

I believe, but I’ve lost the note, that this is also the month that Project Nightdrive comes out. That’s an anthology of ‘wholesome cyberpunk’ stories, in which I make an appearance. I’ll make sure to post an update when that’s released!

And that’s the update. Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books.

To hear about what I’m up to more than just once a month, sign up for emails below. I actually haven’t sent any out yet, so you need have absolutely no concerns about getting spammed. Or follow me on Twitter!

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Each Little Universe Sale and Playlist

It’s been six whole months since Each Little Universe launched, which just feels… ridiculous. A lot’s happened in that time, most of it really cool – plus a lot of stuff’s kind of started happening, so there should be more to share soon!

Anyway, to celebrate ELU‘s six-month-iversary, I’m doing two things.

First off is a sale on the ebook: £0.99 or $0.99, starting on Sunday 1st November and running for one week. US people, get it here; UK people, get it here. (I think those are the only two places I’m able to set up the discount in, so I’m very sorry if you’re elsewhere and it doesn’t get discounted for you.)

If you haven’t read it, this is your chance to pick it up super-cheap! And if you have read it, this is your chance to recommend it to someone else who likes cheap books about life and the universe and philosophy and wrestling and true friendship and heists and punk rock.

And second, I’ve made an ELU playlist, which you can listen to on Spotify! Click here or use the (hopefully working) embedded thingy below…

There’s one song per chapter; I make no claims that this is, like, the definitive best playlist to listen to while reading ELU, but I’ve just picked the first song that each chapter makes me think of, and I figured that would be, like, the most authentic way of doing it. So, yeah. Enjoy!

I’ll leave you with a few excerpts from reviews, just to help you decide that yes, you really do want to buy the book. (And if you’ve read it but not left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please do. It means the world to me.)

A wildly entertaining ride replete with lighthearted geeky humour, casual diversity (oh, how I love the casual diversity!), and lovable quirky characters which every so often slips in moments of sincerity, tenderness and profound sadness. Beneath all the outrageous, colourful, sparkly fun stuff, this is really a heartfelt story of friendship, love, and being human. A wonderful and very promising debut.

I liked this story a lot because of its near-ness to reality. It felt as if it were actually happening, but with a small piece askew. The piece wasn’t a fault, but rather a perspective, and it was interesting viewing it that way.

The characters were fleshed out really well, and I identified with them strongly, like different parts of a personality.

A very enjoyable read. It gave me a comfortable feeling inside, like when you see friends for the first time in a long time, if that makes sense. The characters all felt like actual people I’ve known in my life, which was refreshing. The story was unique and kept me guessing, and when it was over, I felt a little sad to say goodbye to the characters. A great mix of fantasy and realism that allows for some real humor, as well as cleverly subtle thought-provoking questions.

The two main characters, TM and Veggie, are two of the most real and endearing characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Through effortlessly flowing dialogue, these two absolute gems are possibly now two of my favourite people in the world.
The plot is possibly one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever read. This is not a bad thing.
As the story becomes more and more gloriously bizarre, I honestly couldn’t have guessed where it was going to end up.
In conclusion. I would give the story itself a 3 star (perhaps the excessive D&D or perhaps that it doesn’t follow a traditional story arc) but the characters and the writing style are so bloomin’ amazing *I can not stress this enough*, I would give it 5 stars. So we’ll meet in that warm squishy middle place of a solid 4.
If you want to meet some characters that will stay with you for, quite possibly, the rest of your life, I highly recommend this gem of a book.

There ya have it. Go buy Each Little Universe, because you might really like it and it would also bring me much joyousness. Cheers.

Projects and Drafts, October 2020

It’s a new month, which means it’s time for a new update on the ol’ WIPs. Good news this time!

Chronicles from the World of Guilt is Pretty Much Done! All the stories are written, the first draft has been put into something resembling an order, and I’ve done a round of edits on each story.

For those who might not remember, this is the collection of stories spanning a few thousand years after the day the world ends, which happens courtesy of a giant space whale in whose shadow things become somewhat horrific. The setting, I guess, is kind of post-apocalyptic dark fantasy, but the stories themselves range from horror-esque to hopeful to just sort of vaguely whimsical. It’d still be a big world with lots of different things going on, after all.

I’m just reading through to make sure nothing’s horrendously wrong with the book as a whole, and then…

I need beta readers!

If you are the sort of wonderful and kind person who would like to read about 60,000 words, distributed among 25 or so short stories, and give me some invaluable feedback on how I can make it all more better before publishing, please let me know. I’d be exceptionally grateful, and would of course be happy to read your own stuff in return if I can.

The rest of September was spent:

  • helping out behind the scenes with Skullgate Media’s Kickstarter campaign for the second volume of Tales from the Year Between (which you can still back for cool rewards, by the way)
  • beta reading a couple of things for some friends, which I very much enjoyed doing
  • being super busy at work (I’m now also doing a marketing qualification, which is taking up some of that elusive free time)
  • writing, editing, and submitting a short story for consideration in an upcoming anthology

Oh, and I also wrote 30,000 words on, uh, Something Else Entirely. So, y’know, that took up a fair bit of time.

It’s not that I can’t talk about that yet, but it’s still very much pre-production and I have no idea what it’ll look like when it does come to fruition, but… it involves a few extremely talented people, it’s going to be a multimedia project like nothing I’ve ever done before, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be amazing. Right now, all I’m writing is the bare bones of the story, but that story’s gonna be told in cool ways I would never have been able to do on my own.

What next, then?

Well, once I’ve hopefully found a few spectacularly cool beta readers and sent Chronicles from the World of Guilt out to them, I’d really like to finish up f.utility next (the sci-fi novella exploring different ideas around what it means to create an ‘optimal’ society). Then I’ll need betas for that, too, and hopefully at some point I’ll then have feedback with which to work on Chronicles version 2!

October is also likely to be quite busy on the Skullgate front, because Tales from the Year Between‘s second volume may well be kicking off this month. I’ve decided to step back from this one as an actual contributor; although I’ll still be helping to produce and edit the volume, I’m not going to be taking part in the game or writing any pieces.

There’s also an anthology I’ve been invited to join for which I need to write a 5,000 word contribution in the next couple of months, plus a collaboration with some cool people for which I’d ideally like to do a short or two fairly soon.

Plus, of course, there are all the Just Chris’s Things I’d really like to get to! I’m not sure what to do after Chronicles and f.utility are drafted; part of me thinks I ought to start planning and outlining the solarpunk progression fantasy series I’ve been considering for a while and the other part really wants to finish drafting Through All Things A River, which started as my NaNoWriMo 2018 thing and in my head is now going to be something bigger and more important. So… I’ll just have to actually write it into that, which is generally the hard part.

And I still have I Am The Chosen One to come back to, and… oh, dear.

Oh, and there are two other novellas I kind of wanna do at some point as well.

So, uh… yeah. Time management is this big part of adulting that nobody warns you about, eh? I’ve definitely got enough to be getting along with, so I’m not gonna put too much pressure on myself to have anything in particular done by the end of October, but… well, we’ll see how it ends up going!

And that’s the update. Stay safe, be kind, and review indie books.

To hear about what I’m up to more than just once a month, sign up for emails below. I actually haven’t sent any out yet, so you need have absolutely no concerns about getting spammed. Or follow me on Twitter!

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Projects and Drafts, September 2020

Right, then – what’m I up to this month?

Er… well, ‘a lot’ seems to be the short answer, but the point of this new monthly update thingy is to go into at least a bit more detail than that, so here we go.

Chronicles from the World of Guilt is still in progress, and… not all that much further advanced than it was in last month’s update, to be honest. It’s still only a couple of stories and a fair bit of bashing around away from being a completed first draft, but August is a busy month just on a personal level so I’ve not got around to doing much with it.

If I haven’t got a first draft of this book by the end of this month… I’ll hopefully have a good excuse. ‘Cos it really should be doable.

f.utility is exactly where it was in last month’s update, with the main story bits done but the vignettes that make up much of the point not really anywhere near completion yet.

I don’t think this one should take that long, to be honest. Just gotta get around to it.

I’ve actually spent most of my writing time this month writing and revising a single piece that I’m hoping to submit to a particular literary magazine, so that’s taken up a lot of Writey Headspace. I really like it, though, so hopefully it’ll be available to read either in that magazine or somewhere else in the near future!

On the side, I have… one creative collaboration going just for fun, one more that’s probably going to yield some sort of published thing, and one other that is definitely going to be extremely cool but that I can’t say much about right now. Put it this way, though: so far I’ve only really written stuff designed to be read as, y’know, words. This… is gonna be more exciting than that.

If you’ve read Each Little Universe, you might find the cast pictures I just knocked up on Picrew of some interest, so check that out.

And if you were interested in Achten Tan, volume one of Tales from the Year Between, then you may well want to head to skullgatemedia.com to sign up for news about the second volume. We’ll be looking for contributors pretty soon, so this could be your chance to be part of a very cool collaborative project! (Plus we started a podcast about it, so check that out on the Skullgate site too.)

Think that’s it for now. Hope you’re all keeping well!

To hear about what I’m up to more than just once a month, sign up for emails below. I actually haven’t sent any out yet, so you need have absolutely no concerns about getting spammed. Or follow me on Twitter!

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Projects and Drafts, August 2020

I figured it might be a good idea to start doing a monthly check-in on what’s currently in progress, since things seem to change all the bloody time. Good news this month, though: I have one draft very near completion and another about two-thirds of the way there, so – after finishing those up and spending some time on rewrites and edits – I will be looking for beta readers.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a beta reader is someone who kind of test-drives an unreleased work. You’d get to read stuff before anyone else, and in return you’d give some feedback about what you thought of it and how it might be improved before publication. So if you’re interested, feel free to raise your hand now; I’ll put the call out again when things are actually ready to be shared.

So what are those things?

Chronicles from the World of Guilt, the collection of short stories set within a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy world, is very near completion. There are about twenty-five pieces, all examining some aspect of, tale from, or event within the world.

It begins as our own world, but things are quickly derailed when a colossal whale-like creature appears and begins flying around the planet. In its shadow, things are warped, or creatures appear, or people find themselves corrupted. The collection spans thousands of years from the time of the creature’s appearance, so by the later tales the world has become much less like the one we live in now.

(The featured image for this post, by the way, is a snippet of a rough mock-up I made for what the cover of this book might look like. Nothing fixed as yet, but I quite like the image concept, so we’ll see!)

f.utility (or, Humanism for Machines) is a novella (somewhere between a short story and a novel) about a company doing their best to develop an ‘optimised’ society. A new employee tasked to test their super-AI and make sure it’s functioning correctly finds that defining the best kind of life for humans is a tricky prospect even for a hyperintelligent computer; a few simulated scenarios explore different philosophies on what it might mean to make a perfect society.

This one’s probably a bit over half-done. I have the whole structure laid out and pretty much the entirety of the framing sections done (emails and text chats between the people who work for the company), so now I just need to write those all-important vignettes. I know what each of them is going to explore, so just gotta get them done.

So those are the two things I’ll be needing readers for in the pretty near future!

On other projects… well. Everything I named in this post a while back is still technically in-progress, albeit most of it hasn’t progressed beyond where it was back then. But it’s all still happening, I’m almost convinced of that!

Volume One of Tales from the Year Between is out veeery very shortly. Look – a physical copy as held by the editor-in-chief! I’m thrilled to have been a part of this, and extremely excited that this ridiculous group of people is going to continue working together. We’ll see what happens, but it’s bound to be ludicrous and great. Pre-order a digital copy on Amazon or Smashwords now! (Or wait for the physical edition, because the maps are gorgeous.)

I also mentioned another anthology project, and I’m pretty sure I’m now allowed to talk about that because they’ve started revealing the authors over on Twitter, so I’m very happy to be able to say that a piece of mine is going to be included in Project Nightdrive: a collection of wholesome cyberpunk stories. ‘Wholesome cyberpunk’ means neon futurescape worlds, but instead of being typically bleak there’s a focus on hope. Stories about love finding a way to blossom, people making little pockets of happiness, that sort of thing. That’ll be out some time in 2020, I think!

And then there’s the other stuff. Here’s the thing: the internet is a very fun place to indulge in whims. I mean, my adventures so far have basically been that I decided in April to publish a book (having really done nothing else writerish of note to that point), did that, and then just kind of hung around in writing spaces on Twitter and stuff and said yes to a few ideas that people were just tossing around but that sounded fun. That’s got me in two anthologies so far, one of which I think I’m pretty much committed to now being involved with for the rest of my life, and it’s also sparked two other collaborative projects that are currently in the planning stages but are potentially really awesome.

I don’t think either of those will come to any sort of fruition this year, but I figure if I keep doing monthly updates like this one then you’ll know about it when things are sufficiently happening to be noteworthy, and I’ll feel more accountable to get stuff done!

So the plan for August basically looks like this:

  1. Finish the first draft of Chronicles from the World of Guilt.
  2. Finish the first draft of f.utility.
  3. Get started on rewriting/redrafting/editing both of the above.
  4. On the side, keep planning Currently Secret Other Projects.

Hopefully by the time the next one of these monthly updates rolls around, I might have a better idea of when I’ll need readers to help with feedback! Like I said, though, feel free to register your interest now. It’s always appreciated.

And speaking of things that are always appreciated: if you’ve not read Each Little Universe yet, why not? Go buy it!

If you have read ELU and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads. Every single one means an awful lot to me, so a huge thank you to everyone who’s already done so.

And I think that’s that for now!

Take care of yourselves, and if you feel a whim to do something bizarre and creative, just do it.

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