Where am I going in 2017?

cdd86cfe83966ea55f47199e5c68402b

Any realistic writing plans for 2017 are dependent on my health.

My multiple sclerosis has entered a vicious, downward spiral with side issues like pulled tendons and swollen legs aggravating the MS. The consequences are that first, I have to cope with constant pain, sometimes bearable but other times excruciating to the point that all I can do is scream. Second, a combination of medication and lack of sleep at night, from the pain, means that I doze for much of the day, or I struggle to stay awake when I need to do anything crucial.

Excuses over, here are my writing targets for 2017 in achievable order:

I fell asleep here at 17.45, I think [Day 1]

[Day 2] Finally, I’ve got a bit more energy to write.

19345344

TARGET 1 – RE-PUBLISH SPIRAL OF HOOVES

My debut novel, Spiral of Hooves was published on December 9th, 2013 and was available for eighteen months. My publisher, Spectacle Publishing Media Group was changing hands, so I chose to terminate our agreement, receiving all my rights back.

As I don’t feel that the novel was promoted effectively, which is clear by the friends who ask if I ever finished writing the book, then a second release is needed. Furthermore, there has never been a paperback version, so that will be part of the publishing plan.

The first step, though, is to check the reviews, that I copied off Amazon and Goodreads, for anything that needs revising and reading the novel again myself. The resulting revision will also allow me to check the foreshadowing for the sequel Tortuous Terrain.

Next, I need to identify the publishing route. I had presumed that it would be impossible to find a publisher that handled previously published books. However, I discovered Fahrenheit Press that publishes ‘Crime Fiction’ and are “not too bothered if the books have been published before”. I need to check them out more, so if anyone knows about them, please let me know.

The other option is the self-publishing route, and the choice seems to be between Create Space and Book Baby, although there may be better options that I’m overlooking. All recommendations are gratefully accepted. This route means formatting the novel for both eBook and paperback, a major task and daunting – but worth getting right. There are also financial implications at a time when health care has to be the priority.

And then I need to promote Spiral of Hooves effectively and widely – having prepared a strategy in advance.

 

16:00 – can I rest now, please?

20:28 – rested and showered so sort of energized.

 

800px-Cloud_in_the_sunlight

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

TARGET 2 – PUBLISH STORMS COMPASS

Storms Compass is the first book in the post-apocalyptic series Gossamer Flames. Books 2 and 3 are partly written already, as I constructed all three around short stories.

One of my critique partners has done an extensive page by page assessment that will be the basis for my final draft. Even though one of my two line-editor friends edited an earlier draft of Storms Compass, I will have made enough substantial changes to run it past the other editor. There are cost implications at this stage as well.

When I have the polished novel, I will attempt to find a publisher – having ensured that I have an excellent synopsis and blurb, that my author profile reflects the ones on social media, and ensured all recommendations for submissions are checked off.

That process could take me into 2018, so I need to be making other plans.

2e73bfe5c0a7d9c35ba7e2ac72c2202c

 

A lot is dependent on (a) the response that I get to the re-release of Spiral of Hooves; (b) my financial situation. If sales are minimal and health care eats away at our savings, I can attempt to finish the re-draft of Fates Maelstrom and doing research for Eagle Crossing.

On the other hand, if both Spiral of Hooves and Storms Compass are well received, I will need to work on their sequels. Is that hopeful thinking?

Have you any advice on this crazy plan, please? Does my strategy make sense?

 

 

Erratic Schedule

cdd86cfe83966ea55f47199e5c68402b

 

This post is an apology for my failings in the weeks and months ahead.

You’ve been warned.

I’ve even got some sneaky excuses that might even be genuine.

First, I have to warn you that my posts will appear erratically. I will attempt some kind of weekly post, but no wild promises lile, “I will post something every Tuesday”. Attempt can mean that nothing will appear.

There will be a few guest posts, like this Friday’s post from Kristina Stanley, whose novel “Blaze” I reviewed recently. Her latest book, “Avalanche”, is released on Saturday.

And there will be the intermittent book reviews, like the one that I should write for my current read, the “Dying for a Living” Box set, by Kory M. Shrum. It feels like a slower read than normal as the set has three books, and I know that there are two more out there. Will I get that far?

Finally, I will try to write my monthly IWSG posts, although that may be a fail come October. That’s because of September 20th.

QM2For those that don’t know, that is the date when we embark on the QM2 and head for the USA, and the next stage in our life-adventure. Yes, we are selling our home in Harlech, North Wales, and by the end of September should be in our new home in Boise, Idaho. There we will have my wife’s family to support us. Bliss.

Although the IWSG post for October is on Wednesday 5th, our computers will still be in a container between Wales and Idaho. In fact, our possessions may not arrive until sometime in November. Okay, we have a small HP Stream notebook for travel, but I’m still adapting to it.

The HP Stream will get its second outing next week, when we head to London for my interview with US Immigration on Wednesday June 29th. Checking emails is probably the most that I will achieve, but don’t expect any comments on your blogs or here.

In fact, with all the preparations prior to the move, I’m already commenting less, visiting fewer blogs, even writing less. That is likely to become the norm as time sails on. Cruising on the QM2 will be a kind of luxury, but connecting with the cyber-world will be off the menu. Just seven days pampering ourselves perhaps. As for the dogs, they travel first class, with their own cabin/kennel, steward, bedtime biscuits, poop deck, designer jackets, and more.

queenmaryNot looking forward to the road trip though. Getting from New York to Boise will be a challenge for all of us. At least, Juanita’s son Jason will be driving across to collect us.

Anyway, by October – maybe November – there will be a large backlog to catch up. Or should that be a Backblog?

I’ve deliberately evaded any reference to aggravating health issues, but they seem to be growing. The niggling bladder, the stabbing spasms, rebellious limbs, the depression, the exhaustion, and the frustration never go away. Sometimes I can escape into another world, either one of my own creation, or a book I’m reading, or a game that takes me to a ‘a galaxy far, far away’. But never for long. Too soon I get interrupted by the MaelStrom or MonSter.

I’m praying that a change of climate, from the dampness of Wales to the dry warmth of Idaho, will be the healing touch; along with the loving support of family.

Hopefully, by December and the holiday season normal service will be resumed.

 

 

Why comment?

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

During April I read more blog posts than usual, mainly as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. However, I didn’t comment on as many of them as I should have done, judging by some amazing people like the Ninja Captain. How does he do it?

I know that it is common courtesy to acknowledge the effort someone has made writing a post. So I tried to tweet most of them. But that’s another insecurity: how to thanks all my own re-tweeters like others do.

Anyway back to the comments. I made a few, even trying to stick to the letter of the day – expressing enthusiastic enchantment OR waxing weighty worded warnings.

Quality not quantity?

And when a post already has 96 comments, I hesitate to add another one aping others – unless I have a unique perspective that is worth sharing. But that’s unlikely.

Does my reluctance mean anything? Never that I disliked the post, even when some were long articles although erudite ones.

But I suspect making few comments reduces the traffic to my site. The figures support that fact – 96:3.

What do you think? Or is it a matter of “No Comment”?

 

NOTE: I won’t comment on any posts for a few days as I’m travelling = a better excuse than the gerbil chewed my thoughts. How about the monster maelstrom sucks?

Maybe sometimes, monster shark munches severely, meaning stressed mind spasms. Maelstrom swamps my serenity.

*

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group –https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

The awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! 

A Day Late and Dollars Short

cdd86cfe83966ea55f47199e5c68402b

This should have been posted yesterday, but I forgot what day it was. In fact, on Sunday I still thought it was Saturday. So, I lost a day somewhere.

If you find that missing day, please let me have it back. I’m missing it terribly. 😉

As for the mislaid dollars, well my brother did give me some money. However, his version of money is limited – by some camel with a needle aversion. I can’t really complain as I got enough to cover Christmas, or whatever holiday we choose to celebrate in wet and windy Wales.

As I warned my not-so-wise sibling, the price of everything is going up, and January will probably bring bigger price-hikes. Meridian, the place we are trying to move to, just got voted the Best Place to Live in America,  by 24/7 Wall St., an online financial news corporation. Already, suitable wheelchair-accessible houses are selling within 48 hours of going on the market. And the price will have a knock-on effect in the Treasure Valley area.

His excuses for not advancing the money to buy, are getting lamer every time we talk. The property to finance this has sold, for a considerable amount – millions – and my share covers my requests, and more. But he can always justify dragging his knuckles.

Maybe, after Christmas, there might be real news – or NOT.

ba377b97d389d50ac8585d2bb4bd3e43

There are also things missing on the writing front. Not exactly days – although the timeline of the story is a challenge – nor dollars, or pounds; could do with the Royalties though. Instead, having been a 2015 NaNoWriMo winner, the wheels are spinning.

I was working to an outline, but then I killed off a second character. Now, my detectives are all over the place, searching for evidence and scenes. Which means that the outline has to be re-thought before the Chief Constable closes down the investigation, and I’m left with a cold case. Or should that be a cold novel?

So great is my stressed-out confusion, that I’ve even re-installed Scrivener, believing that I missed a trick or two by abandoning it. Well, it did lose another novel – but I had an RTF backup for that.

Rant over. Off to plot another brutal murder – MUAHAHAHAHA.

2e73bfe5c0a7d9c35ba7e2ac72c2202c

http://epicpix.com/brutus-is-at-it-again/

 

 

 

Mal Sumnor: Bloodhound or Genius?

 

After learning something about Twyla Locke, Brogan Keyes, and about Sparkle Anwyl, one of the detectives, it’s time to meet the other key detective in “Fates Maelstrom”, my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel.

716c5a642fd02d6d21c2d768a4b0c061

Tom Hiddleston would make a good Mal Sumnor.

Detective Sergeant Mal Sumnor is with Bangor CID, part of the North Wales Police or Heddlu Gogledd Cymru, and he’s the senior officer investigating the suspected murder of Aubrey Locke.

Bangor is not exactly round the corner from Craig-o-Niwl. Weren’t there any closer officers?

Not ones that had the expertise to handle a murder investigation, and as you must be aware, the force is stretched at this time of austerity. Of course, the local uniform boys were first on the scene, but the case was passed to my team, as soon as the victim was identified. Aubrey Locke was a member of a wealthy and influential landed family.

So you must be concerned about the case. There must be a great deal riding on this, not least your reputation? What do you think is going to happen next?

The correct resolution is paramount, but I’m confident that I can attain that speedily. Restoring calm in the community, and demonstrating the abilities of the Heddlu Gogledd Cymru is essential.

I am pleased to say that the forensic team have gathered considerable evidence, and a key suspect was arrested. We have some reliable witnesses, so the case is straightforward, and I anticipate an early conclusion.

Straightforward? Why have you brought in an officer from another area?

A formality. My Detective Inspector suggested that we talk to the suspect, Twyla Locke, in her native language, although she speaks Welsh and English – as I do.

However, Detective Constable Meinwen Anwyl has been assigned as she is a Romani speaker, and as she knows the village. But I will show her how to run a flawless investigation. She has to realise that I’m the one with the Criminal Justice BA – with Honours – from Bangor University.

Don’t get me wrong. I like having a female partner, and I don’t mind that she’s a Goth, or even Welsh. But there has to be an understanding – a rapport.

So a University Education is essential to the police force? Not grassroots experience. Doesn’t policing start on the streets?

Both are needed, but, and I quote the College of Policing, the body responsible for setting the standards for police training – ‘all officers should have degrees’ as the job is now of ‘degree-level complexity.’ Times have changed, this is the 21st century and the world is now very hi-tech. We need a police force that can deal with anything – from tackling cyber-crime one day, dealing with child sexual exploitation the next. That demands something that only a degree can bring.

Won’t the cuts to services make that even harder?

At the moment, the situation might well get worse. Lesser crimes, like burglaries, will not be investigated, unless they are high-profile. Therefore, long-term the cuts will make the ability to detect crime more demanding. That is why we need more multi-skilled officers – trained to degree level. That might require more surveillance, but that might be preferable to more crime.

Is there something that makes you a good detective?

The ability to speedily separate evidence into obscure, circumstantial, misleading, and suspicious – and then knowing what to discard, starting with the obscure. It takes intelligence – and yes, that university degree. That education gives me access to invaluable techniques and experts. Despite what the media panics us into believing, the serious crimes don’t happen on the streets, but in that cyber world that we so readily accept. If a criminal runs from me, I can find him using those hi-tech tools – wherever he or she hides.

That is scary, and a reason to stay the right side of you. But why should we care about you?

Apologies, I’m coming over as the tough-no nonsense guy. I probably take my job too seriously, but then I aim to protect and serve the people. But off-duty, down the pub, or over a delicious meal, I can relax, smile, and tell a few jokes. Should I lie and say I have a dog? That’s not me. Give me a chance to prove that I am just a humble man with dreams.

Does that mean people misunderstand you? If so, what do they get wrong?

They see me as a humourless obsessive, who behaves like an authoritarian bully – even if I rarely wear a uniform. But fighting crime is serious work, and there is very little to laugh about. Once the crime is solved, the other side can come out to play – if you let me. Then I can drink with the best of you, and take off the suit and tie.

What about your parents? Do they support you in this dangerous line of work?

Very much so, since they are in the force. My mother is a Chief Constable in another Constabulary, and my father is a Detective Superintendent. Therefore, I was born to the force – yes, I realise that sounds like Star Wars, but isn’t that a plus point. Anyway, they have supported my career at every stage – and they have provided me with some invaluable contacts, as required.

Are you going to die in this story? Should you?

Is there a reason you ask? My intelligence has kept me alive this far. It helps to be able to detect things in advance of the criminals. Staying ahead of them is a challenge, and I don’t intend to be caught out in such a way that I get killed. Don’t forget, in Great Britain, the police rarely carry firearms, so gun crimes are far less than in other countries. And I wear a stab-proof vest.

What is your worst fear?

I try not to focus on fear as it impinges on my effectiveness. Nothing in my profession scares me to that degree. Yes, my adrenalin pumps when I have to deal with dangerous criminals – and some of my colleagues’ driving.

Perhaps, I have a fear of flying – or handing control to a pilot. But then, I know he’s trained so I ignore the sensation. Anyway, I never go abroad as there are so many great places in Great Britain, especially in North Wales. Next time you want to go somewhere special, come to Snowdonia.

Many thanks for your time, detective. I wish you success with the case and your career.

11fdb57492e7757e58f98bcf5c62d8c1

The Fall

Autumn Forest (via whispering-n-winds)

Autumn Forest
(via whispering-n-winds)

Autumn is not here yet, and the leaves are hardly turning, so I had no reason to shout “Timber” as I hit the ground. Well, the floor of the bathroom – and my head and shoulders hit the shower.

Getting to the toilet is never easy, especially at night – or in this case at 7 a.m. in the morning, when it involves two wheelchair transfers. Multiple sclerosis drives me crazy. My body cramps up in bed, so I need to push, roll, and force my un-cooperative legs onto the floor. Then I have to push myself up off the bed and, using the bedside cupboard for extra support, swing into my wheelchair without falling. Stage One complete.

But then I need to reach the toilet before my bladder gives up on me – and it has a couple of times. And I need to do this without my legs going into a spasm, which makes it hard to turn the wheelchair through the bathroom door. The transfer onto the toilet relies on me getting the chair near enough to the grab bars on either side of the toilet. And then I have to swing myself across = Stage Two.

Multiple Sclerosis Fact #3 Spasticity

Multiple Sclerosis Fact #3 Spasticity

Except at 7 a.m. I failed to make it onto the toilet. I crashed to the ground lie a tree and screamed something. Fortunately, Juanita, my wife, woke up – as did the dogs – and tried to help the rigid body jammed between the shower and the radiator.

At least there were no canine surprises on the ground, and my bladder didn’t decide that this was the moment to use the floor.

However, we had major problems getting me up off the ground. Juanita tried helping, but at first she only strained her back and stomach. I only had the strength to struggle onto my knees with her help. But then getting up further proved impossible – until she manoeuvred a commode for me to climb onto.

Yes, a commode. Provided by the NHS back when it was impossible to get the wheelchair beside the bed. It had proved to have one major drawback though – it was a tight fit getting my personal bits inserted. Enough said. Move on.

Finally I moved onto the toilet, but by then my bladder had gone back to retaining everything, so couldn’t perform. Back to bed, but by then everyone was awake and sleep proved impossible.

Eventually, after an hour, I went to the toilet as needed. Then a few hours later, we rested our aching bodies. And yes I feel battered, but I’m glad that I didn’t break anything – hopefully not.

That was not the first fall, just the latest of many. My legs collapsed about a month ago and I needed the bed and Juanita to get back up. But I’m worrying about what will happen when I go down harder. Do we call the paramedics? There are no neighbours that could help.

And what happens when I’m taken to hospital. Juanita doesn’t have a UK driving licence, although we have one friend that might help there. That is one key reason why we are heading for the US where we have family – strong sons that can pick me up.

This Omar manufactured Park Home has serious design flaws, even though it was meant to have been built around my wheelchair. With toilets that had just one grab handle each? A shower with inaccessible taps? Basins that can’t be reached from a wheelchair? A cupboard blocking wheelchair access in the bedroom? We have had modifications made by another cowboy firm – modifications that needed more repair work. Don’t think we’ll be going the rebuild route next time.

So on the US front, we need to find somewhere that has the correct modifications, as well as great views, sociable neighbours, and a garden the dogs can dash around and around.

Except that brings us to the ongoing problem: when will my brother ever see the urgency of the situation? When it’s too late? My grand-mother died from complications caused by a fall. My mother had two severe falls before she died. How many does it take?

Will he continue with the blinkers?

Therefore, I may not be commenting on anyone’s blog today, but I have decided to post this today, as this has to be breaking news. Well, hopefully nothing is broken – and this is not going to make headlines or go viral. When did MS ever make the headlines? We are only pretending to be sick.

There are worse problems to report on – like the gossip about Kim Kardashian.

Now, have you heard about…

cdd86cfe83966ea55f47199e5c68402b