WIP – A soundtrack

I have been working on this manuscript on and off for almost three years now, and as you can notice, the little bar at the right side of the blog is progressing a little.

I thought I would set the mood with the playlist I use when writing the story of Meira, Aidan, Niall and co. Dark fantasy calls for a lot of Zola Jesus and a little bit of The National, in my opinion.

Blurb and finished draft celebration soon, I promise. Before the end of the year at least.

Maybe.

Enjoy.

I Will Never Write an Obligatory Post About Turning 30 and Losing It Big Time

20-year old me.

20 years old, flash at 2 in the morning.

29 years old and 51 weeks me

29 years old and 51 weeks, soothing lights, 1.30 am.

 

I turn 30 next Sunday.

This is what I could tell you: It’s exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the new decade has in store for me. (off-topic, this is weird to think of what us, eighties babies, have seen during the last 30 years: the birth of the Euro; the fall of the Berlin wall; 9/11; terror everywhere; the rise and fall of boys bands; social media; Britney Spears.)

Except that it’s not true. Yes I want to see the other side. But the truth is, I am absolutely terrified.

In my head, turning 30 means that I should have accomplished a lot of things in my twenties, things that I won’t be able to do after kissing my twenties goodbye. Thanks to the general message in the media and in collective minds that if you’re over 25 and haven’t been published/youtuber/entrepreneur/top of the promotion at some point between age 12 and 20, you’re nothing and it won’t get any better once you reach another decade.

But let’s face it, my fears have a lot to do with the way I have been raised: traditional values mixed with the silent pressure of doing greater things than my family. Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids; a path dictated by people who have fled from abusive families, who married too young, for the wrong reasons, who didn’t finish school, who still struggle to get a job. People who suddenly got this kid from nowhere, a weird child who grew up reading entire books in a day and saw herself as a writer; a kid who learnt to speak languages; an awkward, scared girl who didn’t date anyone until her early twenties.

This part of me, the part who wants to make the aforementioned people proud, this part thinks that her life right now is not enough, that she wasted her twenties seeking things she couldn’t get, instead of working on a career that could have saved her a lot of worries and hurtful comments.  And I think this part is still loud enough for me not to see the other side of the story: that I am more at peace now than I have ever been in my entire life. That, during these ten years, I have written a lot of words; a lot of articles have been published, short stories have been created; one of them won a contest. Works have been completed. I went on tours, sometimes as a merch-girl, most of the time as a passionate fan; I went to Sweden on an impulse trip when I found out I was made redundant. I went on music video sets and helped with casting calls. I went to see some of the best gigs of my  life.  I met amazing talents through interviews and random after shows. I have made friends for life. I dreamt of moving to the UK and I did it. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I’ve made it. I went from self-medicated rape victim to proud survivor. I am in love, and loved – something I could have never thought possible until it happened.

This is for the part of me that always screams about all this being not enough:

Shut up, because you never understood that we have lived far more than the rest of our blood combined. (And that’s a lot of people, trust me.)

There will be more. There will be travels, there will be more words. There will be teaching abroad later in life if I want to, or food related ventures if I’m up for it, as well as adventures, right here, right now. There will be songs, because I still have time for it. Who cares if I record them in the bedroom. There will be more love to give and be surrounded with; there will be new things to try even if it doesn’t work (looking at you, crochet).

But no more trying to please the far away crowd of unsatisfied dreams.

I’m glad I wrote this. I’m less terrified now. And I have an excellent birthday surprise to look forward to.

Let’s raise a fucking glass. Onwards.

xx

 

 

Long time No see

Six months without posting might be a new (and sad) record!

I’m going to keep this short: I’m still working on my beloved story (Two years. It has been two years, from the initial idea to…well, to now, chapter 7), I’m studying (British & American Studies, good to see you again!), I’m running (first 10k ever in 2016!), I’m working (and scored a pretty sweet promotion over the summer).

I still have crazy ideas all the time, though.

I set myself a long list of writing goals for next year.

I will only post here when I have something interesting to say, or when I finally finish and edit Lights (the WIP you keep reading about, yup, that one)

Watch this space….

Look at me, I am a new post!

Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

Yes, I am alive. I haven’t posted in two months, which is not very surprising; I am not a blogger – I would love to, sticking to weekly posts and all, but I feel like all I’d be able to talk about is “Work in Progress still in Progress”; “Real life vs Writer Life: I am Frustrated” or “OMG I made pancakes!”. And I don’t have cute pictures to share. So you lovely people are clearly the winners in this story.

I have a few things to share though, so here’s the comeback of The List! (was it really a thing, The List? Did I call it “The List”? see, not a blogger. *sigh*)

  • You may have seen his name around the internet. Matt Haig is one of my new favourite authors ever. If you had to read only one  book this year Reasons to Stay Alive would be this one.  We always talk about life changing stories and this is a read that will change you, help you or someone close to you.
  • Best Tabletop in ages!!! Wil Wheaton, you perfect storyteller.
  • Speaking of team Geek & Sundry, the one and only Felicia Day (aka my work icon; my not so secret dream is to work on a project with her. Here I said it) wrote a memoir! You’re Never Weird on The Internet (almost) is available in August, my heart is happy, so should be yours.
  • In Greg Berlanti we trust (I didn’t realise it was him behind Everwood. I loved Everwood!)
  • I have a new Punk crush
  • Loved Mad Max? Meet Stephanie Hans

That’s all for today, see you next month?

Why Do I Write #4 – Elizabeth Barone

Four Weeks. Four Mondays. Four Authors. Why Do I Write is a series of thoughts written by indie authors I read, like and admire. 

This is the last instalment in the Why Do I Write series, and I wanted to close it in style. Elizabeth Barone is a huge influence on my own writing journey, and it was impossible not to invite her. We met forever ago, when we were both writing for ourselves and trying to figure this whole thing out. A few years later, Elizabeth is an established indie writer; her love for New Adult shines through her books,  moving, witty stories you can relate to. Her new novel,The Nanny With The Skull Tattoos, is out now. Thank you very much Liz for sharing your journey.

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Writing to Outrun My Demons
Life isn’t pretty, but art reminds us that we are alive and can make a comeback.
I started writing to save my own life. Years of struggling with depression and anxiety brought me back to the page, pen in hand. Slowly, I began channeling that energy into stories. Here was a place that I could build my own sanctuary, word by word. I fell in love. My stories were my private therapy sessions, a judgment-free zone where I could figure out the things that poked at my heart like thorns.
For a long time, I kept my stories to myself. Little by little, I shared them with close, trusted friends. When I realized that I could use my words to build worlds that encouraged people to keep fighting no matter what, I knew that this was what I wanted to do forever.
I’ve been to the bottom and back, and I know one thing for sure: I’ll use my last dollar and, someday, my last breath to put what’s in my heart onto the page. Life may cover us in bruises, but there is always hope.  My mission is to keep that message alive.

 

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Elizabeth Barone is an American writer. Based in Connecticut, she writes New adult and romance stories with a grit. She is the author of over a dozen books, including The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos and the South of Forever series. You can support and learn more about Liz here

 

 

Why Do I Write #3 – Owen Elgie

Four Weeks. Four Mondays. Four Authors. Why Do I Write is a series of thoughts written by indie authors I read, like and admire. 

This week, fellow sci-fi enthusiast Owen Elgie about his writing journey. Owen and I met during a convention and I later found out he was consumed with words, just like the rest of us. His first book, The Circle of Fire, is out now and contains everything fantasy fans ask for. Thank you Owen, and enjoy the ride.

 

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I’m a nerd.

But I’m also not.

For all time, I’ve been a massive fan or Star Wars, Star Trek and the like. But I’ve always been a keen sportsman and have played many sports to representative levels.

On paper, I have interests at opposite ends of the continuum. On paper, I am a maelstrom of contradictions. I’m the nerd and the jock at the same time.

For the longest time I worked in an industry which was closer to the ‘jock’. I spent my time working with the public, all based around the physical results they could achieve. And you know what, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with all the people who wanted and needed to make changes to themselves but I enjoyed being a part of all of the journeys. All my qualifications and free time was aimed at this end of the spectrum, relegating my love of sci-fi, fantasy et al to nothing more than a whispered hobby. I enjoyed creative writing and studied English Literature to A-Level but there was never any drive to treat that as anything more than just the less dominant side of me.

But in 2009, things changed.

Life conspired against me and I was left to stare at the fact that my enjoyment had gone.

At a very dark point in my life, a book turned on the light.

My wife gave me a copy of Storm Front by Jim Butcher to read. We were abroad for two weeks trying to rest and recoup. Holiday reading just meant to relax with by the pool. Jim and his creation Harry Dresden have a lot to answer for.

I hammered through the pages of the first book in the Dresden Files series and in what felt like minutes, was through the next six as well. They were the perfect fit to me. They each felt as if they’d been written with me in mind, the perfect story that I wanted to read.

And it blew air on an ember I’d had in my mind for several years.

I’d been playing with an idea for years. One that dealt with Dragons and magic in the modern era where the Dragons were the good guys. Dreams seemed to add snippets to the growing narrative I kept locked away in the back of my mind. Drunken ramblings built onto it further. It had been bubbling away for years, nothing more than the story that I would love to read. I’d always felt that Dragons could be so much more than they had been seen as up to this point.

Dragons didn’t immediately have to be cast as the bad guys of the piece. In the research I slogged through for my first book, it was clear to see that the Dragon represented the devil. The Dragon was the representation of purest evil. I always felt they were more than that. I also saw them more than being just animals, beasts of burden. My Dragons had deep intellect. The Dresden Files also showed that the mythically magical can take place within the modern era. Dragon tales in times of yore didn’t quite do it for me but the wonders of the realms of Urban Fantasy were beautifully compelling.

The Dresden Files showed me that my story, the one that I was writing for myself in my head, wasn’t quite so isolated. And I realised that my inner nerd wasn’t quite so isolated either. Maybe my story was worth spending some real time on. Maybe my story was worth some proper work.

So I gave it a go.

Research that I didn’t like followed by writing that I did. Page after page built up and the story began to take shape. It grew in some ways that I wasn’t expecting, adding in some details and removing others but they did add to the whole. My book was starting to develop.

But the ideas didn’t stop coming.

Now I’d taken the brake off my mind, all manner of thoughts were bursting forth. So I wrote them down as well and within the blink of an eye, I’d created a little pot of short stories as well. I’d been able to create the odd worlds and situations but I’d been putting thoughts that went through my head into the mix trying to keep the stories as real as possible.

My first book, The Circle of Fire, has just been published and it’s the story that I had in my head for all those years until The Dresden Files happened to me. I read that series and it showed me that other people could feel the same way I did about the stories that were out there. Other people could be looking for the story that I had been hiding in my head for all the previous years.

All I needed to do was stop putting things off and actually write the thing.

Since 2009, I’ve changed who I am. I’ve brought forward the parts of me that are the nerd. I’m still obsessed with sports but I don’t play anymore. Now I go to sci-fi conventions regularly and spend a great deal of time messing about with ideas for future literary work. I’m currently finishing off the first draft of the second book in my Dragon series and there are at least four other books I have set up to work on when the Dragons are finished with.

I’m loving the writing. It’s something that was always there in me, the need to tell a story but having started to actually do it, I’m sad it took me this long.

Better late than never though.

 

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Owen Elgie is a British fantasy author; his first novel The Circle of  Fire, was released earlier this year, and the second instalment of the series is in the works. You can read more about Owen here and support his work here

Why do I Write #2 – Allie Burke

Four Weeks. Four Mondays. Four Authors. Why Do I Write is a series of thoughts written by indie authors I read, like and admire. 

Allie Burke is a fellow book critic I first read during my Geeks Unleashed days. I liked her words, so I decided to read more. She writes smart Young Adult stories, which is good, because 1) the world needs it, 2)I love it. Paper Souls, her latest effort is painfully honest and beautiful and an essential part of every book shelf on Earth. Here’s why Allie writes. Enjoy, and thanks Ms Burke.

 

paper soulsviolet midnight

I write to make money.

I am a terrible person. All of my writer friends are going to kill me.

But it’s true, right? Sort of?

My first book, Violet Midnight, was written because I was bored. I was bored of being married and I was bored of books. There was no balance between Young Adult and Contemporary Romance and I was really bored.

So I wrote a book. I’d read hundreds of them, so it couldn’t be that hard, right? I hadn’t ever written anything except for grocery lists, but if it was a botched effort, whatever. It was something to do. It took me a little less than a year to get a first draft down and a little more than another year to edit, proof, design a cover, and get it out in the world in an independent fashion, but I did it. And I wrote another one and another one after that.

I’ve met so many people since then and have been blessed with riches of talented, artistic friends.  Twitter was the place to be for writers five years ago, and the first person I met who introduced me to the next person there was to know basically brought me where I am today. Since my debut, writing books has always and will always be my passion, but that passion for writing has brought me so much more than that. Because of the connections I’ve made I’ve been lucky enough to get involved with Geeks Unleashed, Stigma Fighters, Booktrope, and so much more, leading me to a writing world on a completely different level. Don’t get me wrong, when I feel it is a good time to get a literary novel out there (I have one published), there is no other feeling, but the genre works I do are, mostly, for money. Art is expression and living is not being homeless. I would have never copped to this specific revelation two years ago or even six months ago, but if any of us ever want to do what we love, we have to find an organic way to get paid for it.

Like my fiction writing, the blogs, articles, and stories I write for various entities have morphed me as a writer over the years, and I have found that I enjoy writing them most. I don’t currently get paid for most of that stuff, but it’s really a no-brainer. Literary or not, I have always been the kind of artistic writer who leaves the story up to the reader to figure out, which is a huge risk in today’s culture of The Rules and Regulations of a Successful Book. There are high-volume bloggers out there that won’t even read a book if it’s not exactly what they want, let alone review it. The things that I do with literature are very risky, and I do the exact same things with my blogs. The difference is that no one reviews blogs, really. I mean, I guess someone could comment on a piece I write with ‘you suck’, but they haven’t done that yet, and I don’t see that happening any time soon. Non-fiction ‘long reads’ are the ultimate artistic expression for me, because they don’t have to be categorized or meet any specific set of standards a reader may have. No one is really going to get pissed off if a blog goes a certain way (unless it’s super offensive), because who cares? They didn’t pay for it. There is no pressure involved when expressing myself on my own space. There is no editor to tell me I have to write this way or that. I can just be me. And that is the difference between writing for art and writing for money. The balance we seek is to do both.

The ultimate answer to the question is that I write for the people who embrace the ability to think for themselves. Specifically, me. And sometimes I write for money.

 

 

allie

Allie Burke is an An American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California, who writes books she can’t find in the bookstore.

Visit Allie at http://wordsbyallieburke.com.