I may still be an author working a convenience store job to get by, but there’s plenty to celebrate about November. And at least I had the pocket money to buy the bottle in that picture. I’ll get another ranger job eventually (and actually I did get some paid countryside work this month on the side) and my books will eventually get that wide audience I’m sowing the seeds of right now. But those are promises. November’s actions are down to one thing. Just WRITE.

First of all though:


Let’s thank some reviewers


Shadow’s Talent picked up three more reviews this month, two on Amazon and one on Goodreads. Cheers everyone, this glass of the dark gold is for you as well. I’ve had a few reviewers I sent the book out to via WordPress write me back and add me to their reading list, which is worth saying thanks for as well. I’ve previously said that writing is a bit like tree felling, so I guess reviewers are sometimes like planting a new tree. Nurture it and you might get apples later. Just don’t kill the tree because you get impatient and overwater it.

Let’s have a quote. I liked the guy who said the book had ‘more twists than a bowl of fusili (that’s a kind of pasta for those who don’t know.)’ In fact, I liked it so much that I ate a whole bowl of it before writing this. I really, actually did. Perhaps I like it because pasta is such an easy writer-food when you don’t want to spend your wordcount time in the kitchen.

If Shadow’s Talent is the fusili then I promise Ghost of the Navigator will be….erm…okay, the metaphor machine fails me. I think the good Captain temporarily disabled the wheel. Is there a dessert that’s twisted in any way? You get the idea. GOTN has perhaps the most elaborate plot twist of my writing life so far. Which brings me to:


Thanks to Avikuro – my first beta reader  


Avikuro met me in a bar in Bristol during my first NaNoWriMo last year. I met him again during this years (Starbucks this time) just after he became the first person to finish my second novel. All the notes were appreciated. I did particularly like how he pointed out I’d killed a character off but only four pages ago put him in a location which made the killing impossible. And the part where I deleted the introduction of one character completely, and his name appeared out of nowhere as if he’d been there all along. Not to mention some of what happens with the mind powers does become a little bit baffling for anyone who isn’t me. Time to go back to school on my own notes.

What I’m most thankful for? The email I got from him telling me he’d finished it and ‘just WOW’ being in there. A book that’s 210,000 words in length always carries a burnout risk, and I was delighted that Avikuro, in his own words, ‘binged’ the second half of it. Perhaps the hardest part of my job is already done.

And my massive plot reveal works. We both think. Only release in March next year will prove if we’re right.


Thanks to everyone who put up with me talking about NaNoWriMo


I got my 50,000 words finished this morning, a couple of hours before today’s shift. Wasn’t expecting to get there until tomorrow, but the backstory behind how Captain Dakota Silverwood became an elite smuggler took off and gave me my last 3.5k in one sitting. Not to mention a new angle I hadn’t bargained for in The Talent Show series. I already enjoyed his part in GOTN, and now I have high hopes for his ‘maturity.’ Or perhaps his secret lack of it behind closed doors…

Book 3 is now under the working title of ‘The Changemaker’s Crossing.’ Okay, so that’s a bit of a long middle word to put on a book cover, but for now that does matter. Changemaker is a space ship. There’s also one character who can literally change form introduced in this book. The series has gone from the story of Shadow’s ‘Talent’ mind power to full on operatic space territory. This, in a nutshell, is why I like discovery writing so much. Steve King says that some writing is small fossils and some is akin to dinosaurs. Or something like this. HELP ME Steve, this series is my fuckin’ T-rex!

It’s also why I’ve had to teach my brain to walk again when it comes to writing in the third person past. It really felt like I’d lost something when I got started on the 1st November. Three years of writing almost exclusively from Shadow’s POV was a bit like three years of driving nothing but an HGV and then wondering how the humble car works again (I always used to say 3rd person was easier. Now I’m really not so sure.) Now I’m on planets he can’t reach and people he doesn’t know about yet. I’m thinking this is now a five book series instead of the trilogy I originally thought. What HAVE I done?

Anyway, time for another glass. No more brain-dump writing for the rest of this month. Tomorrow I’ll pick up someone else’s book.