Middlings

I’m currently working on the fourth novel in a series (of which there will be seven). I have been loosely planning the novels in my notebook but mostly they have come together of their own accord. It’s like something I’ve never experienced before and I love it!

I’ve come to the realisation that my weakness (because we all have them) while writing is the middle. Because I have planned the beginning and know where I want it to end up, I know what I’m doing there. However, because I haven’t been putting in a rigid structure or plan throughout my novel I’ve found two things: that my characters have free reign to tell me what they want to do and that I flounder somewhat.

In one way, I like writing like this. My story goes where it should go and the characters seem to know where to take me from one scene to the next. They seem to have a lot of bright ideas. But one thing that I do find is that on the occasion when I sit down to write and I’m not sure where my characters want to go, I’m a bit lost. Sometimes I find myself slogging through the thousand words just to get it down on paper but not really feeling it. Sometimes I’ll sit for ages just wondering (and of course procrastinating) what should happen next.

Of course there are pros and cons of planning and pantsing but I like to adopt an in-the-middle approach that seems to work generally quite well for me. What I do think I’m good at doing is soldiering on through the times when I find it hard to write. I make myself write because I know that when I hit the next scene my fingers will be flying and the characters will be taking over again.

In other news, I’m taking off this weekend for some time with family and my partner as we head to the Harry Potter studio in London. Of course I’m so excited about it being the huge Harry Potter dork that I am (and currently deciding how many Harry Potter themed clothes it would be acceptable to wear!).

Oh and look out this weekend for a cover reveal from Granville, my new co-written novella which is being released on the 17th. If you want to take part here’s the link to the release party on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/464630770410893/

David Owain Hughes will also be attending the party as of course, he is the co-author! Also look out for Eight Deadly Kisses released by Dark Chapters Press, an anthology written by women with strong female characters. All proceeds go to CAMFED.

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Granville

You may remember me chatting about a co-written novella a few weeks ago. This was co-written with David Owain Hughes and came to fruition last year after a lot of early morning Facebook conversations. It grew and grew and gained a life of its own and now, lo and behold, it will be released sooner than I could imagine!

From Stitched Smile Press, you’ll meet Granville. There’s a new killer in town…

 

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Co-editing

Writing something with another author has always baffled me–that’s until I actually did it. I’m the sort of person who worries about the logistics of a thing, who will do what, will it be equal etc. However, when it got down to writing it  we passed it back and forth each adding a little at a time until it was finished and we had a completed novella.

Now we’re at the editing stage after being offered a publishing deal. I worried about the same thing. Thing is, it has gone more smoothly than I thought. My co-writer, David Owain Hughes, did the first round of edits using track & change, I have gone through a second round adding, accepting or rejecting and passed it back for a final read through. Hopefully by April this will be out.

I think co-writing has taught me a lot about compromise, working together and discussion as well as opening me up to ideas and styles of writing that I haven’t tried or possibly have been a little shy to in the past. Often I stop and think, What if someone I know reads this? Often it can put me off writing certain things, making things too gory or erotic for example, but then writing with David has taught me to write like I want to write. I write for me and hopefully someone will enjoy my work. Not everyone will and that’s true of friends and family.

In other news, I’m working on the third novel in the series I’m currently working on. I’m just over 20k in and still going strong although at times it’s a slow write. I think it could have been planned just that little bit better but I’m going to see where it takes me. I want to finish writing them all before going back to edit and doing that it one big, long stint. I think that’ll help with keeping the flow of the piece.

Oh and in other news, I ran over my big toe with a sofa today. If my toe doesn’t drop off then I think that my nail will. All I have to say is OW!

What are you working on at the minute? Or if you’re not an author, what are you reading?

Saying Goodbye to 2015

There’s always something quite nice and refreshing about a new year. I always find myself gearing up ready for exciting things. I make goals for myself and put in plot points to reach them. I relish the idea of starting afresh and while 2015 has not been a particularly arduous year, I feel like 2016 is signalling great new things to come.

Already I have had news that a co-written novella by myself and David Owain Hughes has been accepted for publication. I have a novel in with Dark Chapters Press which I hope to hear about come February and already a couple of short stories lined up to be in anthologies.

I have plans to finish writing a series of novels that I’m working on. This year I wrote two which means I’m challenging myself to write five novels next year in that series. I have another idea brewing that could possible be something in the middle grade/YA range which I’m excited about and of course I’ll try and keep up with short story submissions.

In other things I want to challenge myself to read more. Although the latter half of this year has gotten relatively better, I’ve picked up an actual reading challenge and started compiling a list of books that I want to acquire.

And of course there are those usual personal goals in amongst all of that including being more organised and certainly more assertive. That’s always a hard one, isn’t it?

Whether you’re a goal setter or not, I wish you all the most happy of New Years and hope that 2016 brings everything you could want.

 

 

White Walls and Straitjackets: a Review

I finished reading White Walls and Straitjackets after a copy was given to me from the publisher. I went into the book knowing nothing about it except that I loved the cover art and I was taken by complete surprise.

I met Harry and Crystal, two very devious, manipulative characters who are on the run together. They’re certainly a very toxic mix but they don’t think so and keep on going. When they find a book entitled White Walls and Straitjackets in the glove compartment, Harry begins to read to Crystal as they drive. The first few stories he reads scare them both but as the book winds on they both realise something is happening.

The book contains a lot of gore throughout and some very interesting characters and while gore is not usually something I go for, this I enjoyed. The characters are woven into the main thread until it came out with an ending that left me shocked. The novel itself is written in a different format which I really enjoyed. Having stories within a novel was something I’ve not seen before and I thought it might be distracting but actually, it really worked.

Guest Post: Broken Toy by David Owain Hughes

If you read my last post you’ll see that I mentioned a very talented man that I’ve been co-writing a novella with… well this is the guy! He’s taking time out of his busy schedule to guest post on my blog and talk about why horror works for him.

David Owain Hughes

“Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man; by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”

― Bane

Why Horror, David?

Because I was born of it; grew up living in a world full of it, along with fear and sadness…But hey, the poet needs the pain, right?

Let me explain, but I fear I won’t be able to keep it from sounding like a cliché – I’m not typical of writing or talking about sob stories for attention, drama or any other reason…I just feel as though I have to get this out, as much stuff has been going on in my life lately.

Before I go any further, I just want it to be known that I love my parents, and that how my childhood was, doesn’t change that. In fact, it helped instil in me a love for horror and violence.

Maybe ‘love’ is the wrong word. I certainly love it now, as it’s a world I’ve immersed myself in – I get great joy out of it with my writing, as I strive to become a known and loved author.

But back in my childhood, I think to have called it ‘love’ would be wrong of me. I think the world of horror and violence was my safety blanket…Who knows? But it’s a starting point.

So, ‘Why horror?’

It’s a question I’ve been confronted with on many, many occasions. My answer? That I grew up on pirate, ninja and horror films from a very tender age; a tender age of five or maybe younger; I’m pretty sure I was five…I remember watching “The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf”, so five would have been about right.

That film was probably my first horror flick.

I also remember watching and loving “Flesh and Blood”, but that would have come later in the 80s.

So yeah, the whole I grew up on pirate, ninja and horror films from a very tender age is true. I didn’t make it up for shits and giggles!

Hey, I had older brothers, what can I say? I’m sure many of you were in the same boat, right?!

Anyone remember “Gymkata”? I thought that was the best ninja movie ever…Until “American Ninja” came along, that is. What about that pirate movie with Michael Caine? “The Island” – Cor! now that is an oldie, along with “Who Could Kill a Child?”

My heroes were Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and Michael Meyers as a child, along with the “Garbage Pile Kids”, “Ghoulies”, “Gremlins” and “The Monster Squad”.

Every weekend my parents would go out and leave one of my older brothers to look after me – if it was Richard, then it was sure to be a night filled with blood, guts and carnage; the video shop was our playground…Yeah, I used to pop along with him.

Aye, for a shaggy, blond-headed five-year-old, I was made of pretty stern stuff. I loved the gore and monsters, but my nightmares were horrific, if you listen to my brother talk about those long ago Saturday nights…

‘The bloodier the better,’ Richard has told me I was said, whenever I ask him about my film likes back then.

Richard was also underage at the time, but only by three or four years.

You’re probably wondering where the ‘sob story’ come into all this?

Well, we’ve pretty much discovered where my love for horror has come from, and why I write what I write.

But why was it my ‘safety blanket’ as a small child?

The answer is simple – my parents had a very unhealthy relationship when I was a child. It was filled with drunken rage and violence; the things that went on, were the sort of things a small child should never bare witness to. I’ve never spoken about this before, only to close friends and past/current girlfriends.

I guess it’s not the type of stuff you just throw into conversations?

I’m not going to dwell on this part too much, but I am going to recant a tale that will never leave my memory.

Again, I was still very young at this point – no older than five or six.

My parents returned from a night out, very drunk I may add, and started arguing. I was upstairs asleep when they come home, but their loud shouts and my mother’s screams of pain woke me.

When I went downstairs, scared witless, I’d never seen a scene in real-life like it – nor to this day, in fact. The living room was a complete bombsite – furniture had been smashed and thrown around the place, with broken glass everywhere.

My fear turned to sobs of distress and panic, as you can imagine.

Running into the kitchen, I saw the walls were covered in blood – and I mean covered. They were running red, just like my mother’s face.

A shocking moment, believe you me; this behaviour of theirs continued throughout my childhood, causing me to live in constant fear.

Fear for myself and my mother.

Film and TV were my friends – I found a world in which I belonged.

Maybe I knew no different?

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though, as I was very much loved for by both my parents. Still am. It’s something that will never change, as I love them, too.

We only get one set of parents in our life…

My type of past would be seen as a negative by most who have suffered in such ways, or worse, I’m sure – but I’ve taken it and used it for a gain, and boy is it working, as I strive to reach my goals within my writing.

I wrote this post after I discovered a batch of old photos of myself as a young boy – the images of me playing brought a smile to my face, as I thought back. There were a lot of good times, especially the ones spent with my brother.

I have a son of my own now, and when I look at him sometimes, I think of myself at that age, as he’s spiting image of me at that age. His innocence makes me laugh, as he hates anything scary.

‘Not like your dad,’ I’ve heard my mother tell him…

Bio:

David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly install in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had several short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novel “Walled In” (2014), along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and “Choice Cuts” (2015). After discovering Richard Laymon, David set out on a path to become the best writer he could, holding a BA and MA in creative writing.

Choice Cuts’ blurb:

Choice Cuts: A collection of one of the finest splatter-fuelled horror the genre holds, an unflinching set of short stories that will stay with you, horrors that set root into the back of your psyche & taunt your sanity to its limits.

Here lies fourteen tales of all that is baneful & bloodthirsty from David Owain Hughes, an author with an unflinching love for all things close-to-the-bone, grim & grotesque. Once you delve into these pages you will come face to face with an unstoppable force of pure gore. Readers of a delicate disposition may want to put this tome back on the shelf, while those of you who feel ready to be dragged along into the minds of the deranged & disturbed, the murderous & malignant who watch & wait…

Packed with fast-paced thrills & many, many spills. You’ll come face to face with what lies beneath the surface of the mundane & ordinary, step foot into the maze of murder, mania & madness…just be sure to come out in one piece, not just another choice cut.

We had the disquieting dioramas of stealth-like shocks & spills of Laymon…now we present you with Hughes’ own approach towards the antagonistic execution in the realms of the fear & mayhem that can strike when you least expect it. If you’re a fan of Laymon & Lee, you’ll devour Choice Cuts.

Choice Cuts

Choice Cuts

Buy link for Amazon: Choice Cuts