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Oops, I did it again…

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Not in the Britney Spears way, more I got sidetracked from what I was going to write by a new story idea.

I was going to work on the short story idea I had called “The Redaction of Vernon Reid”, but due to some early morning brainwaves over the weekend coupled with copious amounts of coffee I’ve come up with a new idea that is just begging me to write it.

What is it?

Hmm, it’s still early days, but it’ll be a young adult novel set some time in the future where the Earth has been completely flooded. No landmasses anywhere, now just a complete ocean world.

A story of the survivors, and a starling discovery they find beneath the waves.

That’s all I’ll give away for the moment. I have knocked out a little over 1400 words since fleshing out the plot lines though, so it’s off to a great start. I’ll post more about it as it progresses, so check back regularly as always.

No news yet on “The Second Coming” except for a text message from my beta saying she’d got a few chuckles out of it already. So it’s always good to know it’s not just me that thinks I can be funny.


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My most recent novel

The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

Is available exclusively through Amazon.

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██ Redacted ██

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I handed off my most recent work – The Second Coming – to my beta reader over the weekend so the publication date of that one is drawing ever closer. Obviously I can’t give a firm date yet until I’ve checked over whatever notes she leaves for me while reading it, but my hope is mid to late November.

I’ve not had any other thoughts about cover design, which is kind of weird for me. Normally I’ve got a few different versions I want to check out, but I’m still happy with the one I’ve made so at this stage it looks like it’s the one I’ll publish with.

The blurb has had a few little tweaks since last time I posted about it.

Skylar, the wayward daughter of Stan (better known as Satan thanks to a typo in a first edition) is desperate to escape the ethereal planes of Hell and become a bounty hunter.

Sapphire, God’s forgotten second child, is oblivious of her divine heritage. Archangel Gabriel was to deliver the news on the night of her conception, but wound up bleeding and left for dead behind a seedy strip club.

So instead of delivering God’s latest and overriding commandment of “Don’t be a dick” to the people of Earth, Sapphire gets sucked into Skylar’s quest of hunting down an escaped soul from Hell that’s causing mayhem in Las Vegas.

The Second Coming is a wickedly funny urban fantasy crossed with comedic blasphemy, and laughing along with this book may land you in Hell.

I’m about 99% on that one. I might change a word or two, but for the most part I’m happy.

While The Second Coming is out of my hands I’ve been poking through my ideas folder for what to write next. One in particular keeps nagging at me to be written, a short story I’ve titled “The Redaction of Vernon Reid”.

The idea for this one came about while I was mucking about designing a cover for another book I wrote. I had the idea of a “Classified” document type design with various words blacked out. I quickly knocked out an example, and it became the inspiration for the rest of the story.

It’s the story of an ordinary NSA analyst named Vernon Reid, a sentient and very intelligent bomb that has developed a conscience, and an invading alien race hell bent on the annihilation of Earth.

When Reid accidentally designs a weapon possessing war-ending potential, the aliens deploy the bomb against him to erase him from history. All memory of him to be redacted until he never was.

Things don’t go to plan when the bomb has second thoughts about killing Reid, and the more it tries not to the bigger the paradox becomes.

Even though the cover exists, this is still in the very early stages of outlining so will be a few months away at the least. Check back soon for updates!


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My most recent novel

The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

Is available exclusively through Amazon.

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Book Review | 4 Shorts by Robert Bevan

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Four short stories I’ve been waiting to read finally made it into Kindle Unlimited. I grabbed all of them as part of Robert Bevan’s 5D6 release where he rolls up 6 shorts into one book (the first two reviewed here).

As usual, Mister Bevan proves himself the master of low brow humour. In these final four he delivers an astounding array of disgusting and hilarious scenarios for our hapless heroes to fight their way out of.

Tossing the Salaad – Deftly sidestepping any possible copyright infringements by a subtle renaming of the monsters, this book sees everyone’s favourite Cooper impregnated by the amphibious Salaad after what first could be mistaken as a prostate exam. From there things get decidedly more gross.

Pixie Dicks – Magical memory loss leads Tim to be a lot less of an asshole for the bulk of this story, a side some of his friends may prefer. Sent on a mission by a bunch of pixies, the boys prove they are capable of rising above all, especially when the pixies have been such dicks to them.

Fistin’ the Furious – One of the more confusing of the bunch, the team hook up with an attractive woman for a mission to kill her siblings. A mind/body swapping spray swaps the guys with the grotesquely deformed siblings, which is where some of the confusion came in. It was a little hard to follow in places and made more sense the second time through.

The Fuccubus – By the title it should be obvious what this one is about. The boys are “tricked” into wanting to have group sex with a half-elf who is really a succubus and wants to suck our their souls via… well, you get the idea.. This one had me howling with laughter, easily the funniest short that Mister Bevan has put out in a while. The others were funny, no doubt, but this one really took it to the next level.

TL;DR Version

Funny as hell, but not for the easily offended. Check out the sample at Amazon!

 

Blurbing

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I’ve been busy over the weekend doing the first round of self-editing on “The Second Coming” and I’m almost done.

Listening to a robotic voice read back the words is monotonous but highly effective way of catching out typos.

Missed words or wrong words (like using “and” instead of “an”, or “in” instead of “it”) stand out like the proverbial, so when they show up I can run the red pen through them to correct later.

I’ve also been working on that most hated of tasks: writing the blurb. What I’ve got so far is below, and I’m pretty happy with it. Like always I’ll sit on it for a while and come back to it later.

The Blurb:

Skylar, the wayward daughter of Stan (better known as Satan thanks to a typo in a first edition) is desperate to escape the ethereal planes of Hell and become a bounty hunter.

Sapphire, God’s forgotten second scion, is oblivious of her divine heritage. Archangel Gabriel was to deliver the news on the night of her conception, but wound up bleeding and left for dead behind a seedy strip club.

So instead of delivering God’s latest and overriding commandment of “Don’t be a dick” to the people of Earth, Sapphire gets sucked into Skylar’s quest of hunting down an escaped soul from Hell that’s causing mayhem in Las Vegas.

The Second Coming is a wickedly funny urban fantasy crossed with comedic blasphemy, and laughing along with this book may get you a visit from Stan.

So hopefully it does what a good blurb is supposed to do. That is, suck you in and make you want to read the book. What do you think? Opinions are always welcome. 🙂

In other news, I’ve picked up a couple of nice 4 and 5 star ratings for The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior. A 4-star on Amazon.com, a 5-star on Amazon.co.uk and 2 x 5-stars over on Goodreads! (There’s also a 2-star on Goodreads, but I’ll ignore that. Can’t please everyone, and they’re obviously in the minority of people without a sense of humour… hehe).


 

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The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

Is available exclusively through Amazon.

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First Draft in the Bag!

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Woo! First draft of “The Second Coming” is finally done and clocked in at just over 33,000 words, so a little more than I originally estimated (guessed 30k). Not far off as guesses go.

Now the (not so) fun bit begins. First round of self-editing, which basically means pushing the whole through thing ProWritingAid which I find is immensely useful. It points out stuff like crappy comma placements, grammatical errors, passive phrasing, repetition and a bunch of other stuff that you become blind to because it’s your writing.

After that I’ll print it out and put the text through a text-to-speech program. This reads my story back in a robotic monotone which is useful for picking up awkward phrasing and other misspellings. I mark-up the print out and then makes the changes to the file.

When all that’s done it’s off to my beta readers who find even more stuff I’ve missed and give me excellent feedback on the parts of the book. And once those changes are made, it’ll be ready for export to Kindle and Paperback!

So all that considered I’m still quite a few weeks away from being ready to release it to the world. I’ll also need to bash out a blurb for it, which is probably the part I hate the most. Trying to come up with a few sentences to make people want to buy the book is rather difficult.

What comes next? I’m not 100% sure at the moment. I’ve got a few things I’m working, including an app to help kids learn to read and a website to support it. It’s been neglected for the past few weeks while I finished “The Second Coming”, so I need to get back to that.

Also kicking around inside my head is an idea for a second adventure for Gustav Gustavson. It’s rudimentary at the moment so needs a lot of fleshing out… so we’ll see where that goes.

I’ve also got a few ideas for a couple of kids books I wouldn’t mind looking at. By a wide margin they aren’t my biggest sellers, but I like being able to write and illustrate stories for my kids.

I price them as low as I possibly can so they don’t make me any money when they sell but it does give me a smile to know someone out there is laughing along with their kids because of something I wrote.


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Check out my most recently published novel

The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

Available exclusively through Amazon.

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I Was a Teenage Washout

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This piece was written by a guy I went to school with, but scarcely seen since. I rarely have the time to catch up with people from my present, let alone my past to see how they’re doing, even those I was close to. Every now and then a few of us catch up, but years can elapse between these.

Like everyone, there never seems to be enough time in the day. Facebook comes to the rescue in most regards. I tend to keep my opinions to myself though, so I mostly read but not comment. It’s something I’m working on trying to fix about myself. My wife will attest that I’m not the most communicative of people you’ll ever meet.

All that aside, I’m glad to see he’s kicking butt and taking names though. I think there’s a lesson in this for all of us. Don’t let a single result from your life define you. Always strive to reinvent yourself because you never know where it might take you.

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Every student at UON has a story.

The paths we travel to arrive here are as diverse as we are. For every high school high achiever, for whom university study was an expected next step, an accepted reality, there is a student who greets university life as something of an anomaly. UON has an inordinate number of students who are the first in their family to attend university. People from working class, marginalised and disadvantaged backgrounds mingle happily with the more traditional student body, largely due to UON’s hugely successful foundation studies programs: Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug.

I am a graduate of Open Foundation, considered one of the more successful foundation studies program in the country. Applying for Open Foundation was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and I’ve been asked to share my story. Open Foundation’s intensive program is a lesson in…

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Almost Done!

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The first draft of my current work in progress is almost done. I’m at about 80% of my 30,000 word goal for this one, so I’m sitting on a little over 24,000 words.

Once that’s done though the real work begins.

By real work I’m talking about going back and reading through the whole thing. Adding where necessary (I tend to gloss over parts on my first run through, so need to add in parts for it to make sense) and deleting where necessary to tighten up the story where it’s messy. And then going back to fix grammar and typos I introduced by adding new bits.

I’m happy with the current cover design I’m using, the Heaven / Hell split you can see at the top of this post. My name is smack bang in the middle of the Hell section. I’ve no doubt the subject matter of this one might make me a target of religious nut bags who can’t see the funny side of life, so at least I’ve got a head start on them.

I’ve also been actively avoiding thinking about the blurb, since that’s one of my most hated parts of the process. Trying to condense the novel into a couple hundred words that makes people want to click the “Buy Now!” button.

But these are the evils one must accept when trying to carve out a life as an author, especially a self-publishing one.

Sale Update

Last week I ran a 0.99 sale on The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior. I’m happy to say it was a huge success, and as it happens, it was my most successful sale I’ve ever run, with heaps of people grabbing a copy to read.

I’m quietly hopeful that some of these will turn into Amazon reviews. They’re one thing I’ve never had much luck at getting. I’ve read somewhere that only like one out of every hundred or more readers will leave a review, so I would have thought I’d have seen a few more by now. Perhaps the 1 in 100 is actually much higher.


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Check out my most recently published novel

The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

Available exclusively through Amazon.

•••


0.99 Sale for Gustav Gustavson!

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Quick announcement for today. The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior is on sale at Amazon and Amazon.co.uk for only 0.99 for the next week.

To celebrate I’ve made a little video for the occasion.

 

Edit: Apparently embedding a video from Facebook isn’t as straight forward as I thought. Moved it to Vimeo 🙂

Book Review | The Totally Legend of Brandon Thighmaster by Steve Wetherell

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My plans for the weekend went out the window the second I received an email from Amazon telling me about new releases from authors I love. This one in particular is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time. I immediately jumped onto Kindle Unlimited and grabbed my copy.

Brandon Thighmaster, sexually attractive monk from the Temple of the Many Fists, ab-crunched his way into my world when he joined the Authors and Dragons podcast which I’ve been listening to since its inception. I remember his debut episode like I listened to it yesterday, mainly because I almost died from laughing. All that said, you don’t need to have listened to the podcast to enjoy this story.

The Blurb:

“Hi. I am Brandon Thighmaster. Monk. Hero. Inspiration. I enjoy crunching, squats, looking at myself, looking at other people looking at myself, and long walks on the beach. I also do adventures and stuff, and I guess you can read about them here. But enough about you, let’s talk about me. Brandon Thighmaster.”

This tale set in the same universe as the podcast, follows the embodiment of ultimate physical perfection as he embarks on his quest to leave the monastery where he has spent his entire life honing his fighting prowess, and punch his way through the entire back catalogue of fauna and occasionally the flora the world provides.

His character wanders thoughtlessly and aimlessly, always seeing opportunities to look at himself or work on his cardio routine, until he stumbles upon a rouge, Pritti Brightblade, in dire need of rescuing from a group of orcs. After a successful intimidation which is misunderstood by the orcs, he joins his first party of adventurers and joins the good fight to save a nearby settlement.

Written with the same humour Steve delivers each fortnight during the podcast, this was an entertaining read from start to finish. Set in the Pathfinder universe (that the Authors and Dragons podcast is played in) meant I didn’t need to try to understand the world mechanics (like the magical healing abilities of clerics, etc). I already knew the systems of that world so it felt like home.

Hopefully this is the first in a long series, not only by Mister Wetherell but also by the other authors of the podcast. I’d love to read more from this universe.

TL;DR Version

We have a saying at the Temple of the Many Fists. Read this story or get punched in the face. Check out the sample on Amazon!

The difference a few days makes

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A minor update today on my current work in progress – The Second Coming. I wasn’t fully in love with the previous cover I’d designed, and after showing it around neither were other people so I went back to the drawing board.

I ditched basically everything except part of the title font and the little horns, and came at it from a different angle, the end result being what you see here.

Sitting at a little shy of 14,000 words, the work in progress is progressing really well. The words and plot are flowing nicely.

No guesses on when the first draft will be done yet though. It really depends on how much time I can find each day to write. I’ve got out a few thousand in the last few days though which has been really good progress.

That’s all for now. The kids are being quiet for the moment so I should try to bash out a few more words into the draft. 🙂


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Check out my most recently published novel

The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

Available exclusively through Amazon.

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