Behold my shiny new look

Check out the new theme. I liked the old look but I felt that it was a bit bare bones now that more people are visiting and I have multiple pages. I’ve also updated the About page since I think it’s more likely that people will visit it with the new layout.

In other news I sent off another query email. Since that’s almost certain to fail I’ve lined up the next Agent that I will start procrastinating sending a query to just as soon as the current one emails my rejection. It’s important to chain your rejections for maximum damage. I swear this paragraph made sense in my head.

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us and I really haven’t done enough prep. I’m about to spend a couple of days in Edinburgh with my Mother, which is great, but it does get in the way of the traditional last minute scramble of outlining and research. It could turn out to be useful since the story is partly set in Edinburgh. I just have to remember to take lots of photographs.

 

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A request for Zeppelin sightings

It’s an old trope of science fiction that you can always tell if you’ve slipped into an alternative reality because there will be Zeppelins. As I’ve mentioned before I tend to nip outside and do a quick Zeppelin check whenever weird stuff happens. You know, stuff like a reality TV star getting elected president.

Things have been getting so weird recently that I think it’s time to produce a regular Zeppelin forecast. That means I need to collate reports of weirdness. I don’t mean the sort of weirdness I normally look for, like that time a goat was kidnapped from a petting zoo and then returned wearing nail varnish on its hooves. I’m thinking more of the rumours (now denied) that Sinn Fein MPs would be taking up their seats in the Westminster parliament for the first time ever.

I’m asking my readers to send me links to the sort of news stories that make them look to the skies in search of airships. I’m looking for mainstream news stories that are as weird as that time a guy in Florida tried to eat someone’s face but also weirdly mundane like the news that two of the Grenfell Tower victims had been threatened with legal action for campaigning about fire safety. One of the weird trends recently is elected bodies and individuals behaving like pantomime villains. I’m sure that used to be really rare.

So if you, my loyal readers, send me links via Twitter (or Google+ or Facebook if you prefer) I hope to produce a weekly Zeppelin forecast. That way we’ll all know if it’s time to break out the helmets and hide from our new reptilian overlords or whatever else we have to expect when we are all shunted into some strange parallel world.

Good luck.

I don’t have anything to say.

I should have something to say. I normally put something on the blog on a Monday. I’ve usually written in over the weekend. Normally writing something isn’t a problem. I planned to say some more stuff about Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 but I’m really not feeling like it.

I’m worried. The election solved nothing. Brexit still lies ahead and there’s no plan to deal with it. Politics, both globally and in the UK, is still all messed up. I’m still broke. I still don’t know what to do with my novels.

I just want some sort of hint about where to go and what to do. A great big quest marker in the sky. Even it it’s only so I can decide to head in the exact opposite direction because screw quests.

I don’t have anything to say. I don’t know what to do. I’m worried about the future. So instead of doing anything constructive I’m going to blow up some (virtual) tanks.

Pointless filler post.

This post is just to let you all know what kinds of things to expect in the coming weeks. Unfortunate I am currently deep in negative spoons so this might be gibberish. Good luck making sense of it.

I’m going to start a series of posts offering advice to young creatives. The posts are mainly aimed at aspiring writers but I will try to make them useful to people pursuing other arts.

There are more Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 posts coming. Sorry but I am not nearly done with talking about that film. It’s just too good. How dare it be so good.

I also intend to write some stuff about Doctor Who. Because I love Doctor Who, that’s why. It’s my blog and I will blog what I want to. Even exceptionally geeky head canons about peculiarly British scifi.

I will almost certainly continue to whine about how hard it is to get published. Eventually I might try to crowd fund self publishing since I can’t afford to professionally self publish properly.

Also if the Conservative party wins the forthcoming General Election in the UK then you can expect more salt that the dead sea from me. There will be language so foul that if you read my blog while drinking milk it will instantly turn sour.

I also have an idea for some stuff I want to write on modern witchcraft. Not airy fairy new agey kind of witchcraft and not the ‘I don’t actually know the difference between witchcraft and satanism’ stuff either.

I may even get my finger out and finally write some steampunk psychiatry stuff.

Anyway. If any of that seems interesting or intriguing to you then leave a comment. Preferably on the actual blog rather than via twitter or Facebook or Tumblr. If you comment on the blog then other people who read the blog will see it. If you comment via social media the only person guaranteed to see it is me. Which is great for me but less likely to start a conversation.

Writer’s guilt

This week I have not been a good writer. I wasn’t a good writer last week either. I have not been working towards my writing goals. I’ve only done a couple of proper writing sessions. I haven’t queried the existing finished novel. I feel like I’m not going anywhere.

On the other hand I’ve written a few blog posts and played a lot of World of Tanks. I had fun doing both but they don’t really take me anywhere.

I feel guilty about the lack of progress. But I also feel like there’s no point in working towards those goals. What’s the point in querying if rejection is guaranteed and the rejection just makes me depressed? What’s the point in pushing myself to write when no-one else is going to read what I’ve written? If I’m only writing for myself then there’s no hurry.

Is rejection guaranteed? I don’t know if it is but it certainly feels that way. It feels like I’ve already been turned down by the agents most likely to actually want it. If getting a deal is a 1 in 100 chance then I don’t feel like I’m working through the 99. I feel like I’ve already tried the agents that were a 0.5% chance and a 0.3% chance and a 0.1% change and with each new agent I try I’m just adding zeros before the final digit.

It’s hard enough to motivate yourself to face rejection when you know that your chances are slim but when your chance of failure only increases every time you try it does make the whole thing feel kind of pointless.

I try to tell myself that it’s not hopeless. People get agents all the time. Novels get published. Readers buy books. Writers make a living. These are things which happen. There’s no reason they couldn’t happen to me. Well, no reason apart from that it’s me. And when good things happen to me it’s only because life is setting me up for a kick in the teeth.

So I might be feeling guilty but as soon as I’m done here I’m probably going back to shooting at virtual tanks.

Something weird is happening to this blog

For the last three days this blog has experienced a massive uptick in page views and possibly a very small uptick in visitors. It seems like one or two (possibly new) readers a day are each viewing a huge number of pages.

I have no idea what this means, if anything. If you’re reading this and you’re new to the blog and have a strong desire to read loads of posts please drop me a comment and say hi. If you have a blog that is currently experiencing the same weirdness then please let me know. And if you know anything that might be causing this, or have any theories about it, please share that in the comments too.

It’s probably not actual people… Right? It’s probably bots. It’s probably Google or some similar internet leviathan doing something really technical.

Is it that time already?

I logged on to WordPress to be greeted by an alert wishing me a happy anniversary. Apparently it’s been eight years since I first signed up. Eight years – that’s a lot of whining.

I didn’t start with this blog though. That was at least two blogs ago. I’m not sure I want to go back and look at my older blogs. Just like I rarely go and look at my old diaries unless I’m already pretty depressed and looking for an excuse to wallow. It’s always alarming to be reminded just how successfully I’ve sought out and plumbed new depths of misery and pain.

But I’m still here. Still the undefeated champion of me.

It made me think about just how much writing I’ve done online over the years. I’ve been on the internet regularly since 1994. I caught the tail end of usenet. I’ve been on a lot of forums (or is it fora) and I’ve been pretty active on some of them. My first WordPress blog wasn’t my first blog.  That’s a lot of words.

Someone told me that Neil Gaiman once said that you have to write a million words of shit before you get to the good stuff. I sincerely hope that blog posts and forum posts and social media all count because between them I have definitely written several million words worth of shit.

I’d be tempted to say that I’m owed some good stuff but I’m old enough to know that the world doesn’t work like that. Perhaps it’s enough to hope that I’ve exorcised some of the shit for good.

Update

I’m still deep in the process of trying to get an agent so there’s not a lot to update. I’m not even doing the slightly interesting bit of trying to get an agent. I’m doing the incredibly boring bit where I read lots of failed query letters in an effort to find out what a successful one might look like so I can write one.

I’m also writing a new story. This one started out as a short story but it seems to be turning into a novella. The story was inspired but a promising, but ultimately annoying and unsatisfying, episode of one of my favourite TV programs. It’s interesting to watch the way the tiny germ of an idea is growing into something that’s much wider and deeper.

I’m sure none of that is interesting to anyone else however I do have a plan to talk about.

I plan to soon re-launch the website of the fictional Government agency known as Department Y. The website will be a repository for short fiction based around the Department. There will be in-character blogs from some of the characters from the novels I’ve been writing. There will be gossip. There will be links to other conspiratorial/supernatural/fantastical fictional websites.  And there will be slightly alternative takes on both historical and current events.

I have no idea how long this re-launch will take. I have some more horrible crap going on in my real life so it’s entirely possible I’ll have some sort of break down and nothing will get done at all. Wish me luck.

Nothing to say

I’ve been trying and failing to write a blog post for over a week now. This isn’t that post. In that imagined post I had something to say. I don’t know what it was but I’m sure it was interesting. I’m usually pretty interesting. Or so I like to think in my rare moments of positive self esteem.

This is not that post. This is a post to say sorry for not posting because I couldn’t think of anything to post about and I don’t like to say anything if I have nothing to say.

I don’t have any news. I did tweet some pitches for a tweet pitch event (yes that’s a thing and not a euphemism). I haven’t heard anything back and I don’t really expect to. I’m starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with my novel because I can’t easily boil it down to less than 140 characters. I’m pretty sure that I could describe Lord of the Rings in less than 140 characters – Heirloom inspires epic journey and much soul seeking, also eagles – There, did it. Why is it so much harder for something I wrote?

Also still wrestling with the difficulty of finding an agent/publisher that likes the kind of things that I write. I actually left the house to go to the Library to consult a copy of The Writers and Artists Yearbook 2017 so I could create a list. Shockingly there are no agents with entries that read “Seeking 100,000 plus words of horror/detective/sci-fi/occult story set in modern day London, must include demon sex and artificial intelligence.” Mind you the entries are in quite small print. Maybe I just need new glasses.

But at least I got round to cleaning the kitchen so that’s something.

Obligatory New Year Post

As we bid farewell to what has been a shit show of a year it’s time to look back on the year that’s gone and look forward to the year yet to be. Simultaneously. Which makes for a sort of temporal cross-eyed squint.

My year has been fairly shitty in every respect except for my writing. It was a year of mental and physical illness for me and mine. We’re facing a worsening financial situation that is unlikely to get better over the next couple of years. The ongoing horribleness continues to be both horrible and not something I can talk about here.

But I finished a novel and some people seemed to like it and I managed to send it to Agents. Ok so none of them liked it but that’s still better than last year. I worked on a couple of older novels and wrote a new first draft. The Fife NaNoWriMo group finished in the global top 50 for average word count and was the top UK region.

I’m not going to talk about the continuing midden fire that is global politics. But I might write about my confusion about Donald Trump in a future post. I’m not going to talk about all the talented people we’ve lost this year because it’s just too sad. The world is poorer for their passing.

What worries me is that there’s no evidence that 2017 is going to be any better. Most of the things that are wrong will continue to be wrong or get worse. About the only thing I can say in its favour is that it’s one year closer to the day when theses times will be a curiosity for the history books. Always assuming that there are still books.

No resolutions for me. I don’t trust resolutions. I am renewing my commitment to get something published but that’s no resolution. I’ve started the year as I mean to go on. I tried a new craft beer, I started to crochet a baby blanket for my husband’s sister, I’ve written a blog post and I’m listening to some great music.

I’m not going to make any predictions for next year. But I will say that eventually things will get better. Even if that eventually is measured on a geological time scale.