Agent Land, at last? Oh, I think so…

Hello!

I know it’s been a while, but there’s a very good reason for this… last year, whilst querying my YA novel Chimera, I managed to snag myself and actual, proper AGENT! So since then, I have been beavering away editing and doing all the stuff I had no idea you did when an agent says that magic word: YES.

 

Watch this space… 😉

Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I’m running. GET OVER IT.

I have a question for you.

I you saw someone trying to make some positive life choices, even though they’re hard to do and they’ve had to overcome some pretty big personal issues to do them, what would you do?

a) Encourage them.

b) Leave them alone – after all, they’re not hurting anyone.

c) Cat call them / shout at them in the street / mutter nasty comments at them as they go by?

If the answer is ‘c’ – congratulations! You’re one of the wankers who likes to pass judgement on me when I go on my morning run. Pat yourself on the back, because you really are quite special.

A bit of background. I’m a big girl. I know I’m a big girl. I’m not huge – a UK size 16-18 – but I don’t kid myself; that’s still bigger than I should be. Lots and lots of people – mostly strangers – like to remind me of this. This is why I don’t do selfies. Hell, I don’t do photos at all if I can help it. I’d much rather have a cartoon representing me than, you know, actually me.

This year, though, I decided I wasn’t going to let the fear of Other People’s Opinions stop me from doing something I wanted to do. I’m also going to be a bridesmaid at the end of May, and that means I won’t be able to avoid the dreaded camera, so I thought ‘to hell with this – I need to do something drastic’.

So I started running.

Literally. One day, I put on my trainers, got an old pair of decorating trousers out of my wardrobe, found an old band shirt, bought a sports bra and ran round the park. Well, not so much ran as ‘ran a few steps, struggled to breath, walked a bit, tried to run a bit more, thought God, whose stupid idea was this?, waked a bit, ran a bit more and then went home’. It wasn’t a huge success, but hell, I’d tried and survived, so I decided to do it again. And again. And again.

After about 5 sessions, I could get round the park without walking, which was a huge boost. Then over the next 2 weeks, I got up to 3 times round the park. After that, I decided to go off piste, and have started running around my estate, going where my feet take me. I can now run, without walking, for about 15-20 minutes. When I started at the end of February, I couldn’t make two minutes.

Now this is all very nice and encouraging – my anxiety is better, I feel more energised, I feel more inspired to write when I come home – but it comes with a downside. Yep, that’s right – other people.

Other runners tend to be fine. If I come across them (they are invariably svelte, lycra-clad paragons of fitness), they often give me a little smile, or a thumbs-up. I appreciate this. I may be six times their size, plodding a long at a pace they could probably walk at, but I like to think that they’ve recognised that everyone has to start somewhere and at least I’m trying. Most other people, to be honest, just ignore me. That’s fine, too. I like that. When I’m doing something that makes my flabby bits wobble and breathe like an angry dragon, I am more than happy for people to ignore me. But some people… some people feel the need to say something. It might be muttered as I jog past – or in the case of the lad riding his moped this morning (oh, the irony!) – yelled as loudly as possible. A few examples: ‘Look at the state of it’. ‘Jeeeeesus…’. ‘God sake’. And my favourite from this morning (and what inspired this blog): ‘WELL. RUN THEN, FAT BITCH!’

Well, run then, fat bitch.

Said by someone riding a moped.

I don’t know why people feel the need to do this. Think it, sure, but yell it? Why? What does it gain you? A feeling of superiority? I know fat-shaming is the new black, but I also thought the ‘eat less, move more FATTY!’ brigade would be all for seeing an overweight person trying their best to actually do something about it. But no… they’d rather yell spiteful things at someone minding their own business, hurting no-one at all.

I know I might be setting myself up for a shit load of backlash for this (fat girl trying to better herself – quick! Join the queue!), but I’m fed up of it. I’m not going to stop running. I’ve actually discovered that I like it. I now go 4-5 times a week, out of choice. So, wankers, you can shout yourself hoarse for all I care. I’ve got my swearing fingers out, ready to give you a big ‘fuck you’.

Saying that, if you ever are in Pompey and you see a short, round, ginger woman in bright blue trainers wearing a NIN band shirt looking incredibly pink pounding the streets with a big grin on her face, feel free to wave. 🙂

Nine Eyes is currently 99p/99c… but be quick!!

My newest novel, Nine Eyes, is currently on a Kindle deal for 99p/99c!

NINE EYES UK LINK

NINE EYES US LINK

Get it while you can!

9eyes

Welcome To Sinner’s Wake…
When a group of five documentary film makers go to the Highlands of Scotland to investigate the legendary Bèist an t-Sluic – the Beast of the Hollow – they think they’re made. A drowned church, tales of a water demon that inhabits it, rumours of human sacrifice… it’s almost too good to be true.
It doesn’t take them too long to realise that it is. Because the God of Nine Eyes is waiting.
And it is hungry.

The Fear (Or How I Can’t Stop Worrying and Love Publishing)

It’s that time, folks.

Time for a new book.

giphy-facebook_s.jpg

(With any luck, a couple of people reading this might be feeling something that approximates this)

And with it, comes dun dun duuuuuuuun… THE FEAR

grimance_narrowweb__200x225

This is me. Second book jitters have now bedded in, and the thought of letting this new book out to gambol amongst the daffodils is making me feel rather ill. Mainly because if you looked up a definition of ‘Neurotic’ in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of me (or at least a cartoon of me, because I don’t like having my photo taken… which makes me sound *even more neurotic*, if that was ever possible), but also because Second Book Syndrome is a Thing and whilst I ended up enjoying writing it enormously (come on, it has lake monster legends AND occult weirdiness AND life is pointless, so why bother in it… seriously, it’s one shoggoth short of everything I love to write about), the Fear of Being Judged is raising its ugly head yet again. One of these days I’m hoping I might be able to do this with pride rather than with a sinking feeling, but until then, goodbye innocent scribbling, hello fretting.

What makes this even more stupid is Predator X was, dare I say it, a success. Oh, sure, not everyone liked it (some even hated it with a fervour I’m not sure if I should fear or be proud of), but it did reach number 1 in the horror charts on Amazon.com (number 6 in the UK), I was the 4th best selling horror author for a day (I have screenshots to prove it!) and it has just made the Preliminary Ballot of the Stoker Awards (yeah… I probably should have written a blog post about that, but I was so overwhelmed by it all I had a massive brain fart and didn’t) – I’ll find out soon if it’s made it to the shortlist. But that also makes it very hard, too. One of my biggest fears (apart from absolutely everyone hating it) is that the people who liked Pred X won’t like this one (and it’s bound to happen, because it just is), and in that, I’ve let them down.

So, before I write my ‘official’ page about the new book, here it is: I hope you like it. And if you don’t, I didn’t deliberately set out to write something you don’t like. Oh, and it’s called Sinner’s Wake (it was Canter’s Leap, but I changed it. I like this title more. I think it fits better 🙂 ) and it’s about a bunch of documentary filmmakers investigating the legend of lake monster in a loch near a little Scottish village called Duisg a’ Pheacaich (which roughly translates as Sinner’s Wake), the home town of their cameraman, a man called Brandon Decker, who left after his father died when he was 7.

So… yeah. That’s it. Sinner’s Wake, out soon.

Very soon.

Anyone got any wine?!

Heart Over Hurt

So much truth here… must remember this next time the doubts raise their ugly heads 😉

Jody Klaire .com

That title pretty much sums up a lot of the human qualities that draw us to each other. It’s funny how anyone who doesn’t appear ‘human enough’ is often seen as cold, indifferent, arrogant or ignorant. Either this extreme sense of isolation or even the opposite when some is elaborately expressive seems to cause negative reactions that fascinate me.
With elite sports people seems to come an in built belief that carries an amount of arrogance. I would guess it’s essential to believe they are better in order to mentally drive them to become a champion. A fire and an intensity that lights up their eyes, makes them stutter, shake, doubt but ultimately drives them to conquer. When I watch a sportsperson, I am always fascinated by their eyes. The highly successful ones seem to possess a steely passion in their eyes that sets them apart.
In a sense, I…

View original post 1,084 more words

Predator X vs the Parentals.

It’s a Saturday. I have wine and a bar of Galaxy Caramel (seriously, I know how to party. And yes, that is me using the word ‘party’ as a verb in this shop). Therefore, I am in a whimsical mood and wish to tell you a story.

A story about my Mum (who hates the internet and would probably frown at me if she read this, but since she hates the internet, I win. Sort of. If anyone could ever win against my Mum, that is. I dreading her turning into a little old lady. She’ll make Father Jack look like a kindly old man, I’m sure of it).

Anyway. A little while ago, I had a book published. It was a little book, full of bonkerness and it sold rather well, which both thrills and terrifies me (and has been discussed in other blogs and shall not be uttered here again). My Mum, as mums are wont to, bought a copy, even though she hates horror, and hates swearing even more.

So, a few days after publication, I get a phone call. “I’m not happy with you,” she says.

Now, this is familiar territory, and about a million minor transgressions are flitting through my mind when she says this. Have I forgotten an obscure birthday? Said something on Facebook that my Mynah-Birdbrained little sister has parroted back to her? Been in a pub where one of her myriad spies (EVERYONE knows my Mum) has seen me, despite me being 37 and a mother of two and therefore entitled to get off my tits on cider and my mate John’s jokes every now and again?

Nope, it was none of these things.

“I did NOT bring you up to use language like that!”

….Aaaahhhhhhh. So, she’s read it.

Oh crap…

Yes, there is swearing in PredX. Yes, I know some people didn’t like it. I promise, there’s much less in Canter’s Leap, simply because Canter’s Leap is structurally very different, in that it is a 3rd person past tale, as opposed to a stream-of-consciousness 1st person present tale. And the thing with stream of consciousness is that everything that goes on in that character’s head gets written down, so everything Meg thought, I wrote – and since I swear like a Navvy on a rum bender when I’m scared, so does Meg.

“Mum – they were going insane 3 miles underground, trapped between a ravenous ancient marine reptile and a millions-of-years-old alien entity of indeterminate motive. I think anyone would swear a bit in that situation.” A bit like Dad says ‘cunt’ when he’s in the garage, but says it quietly just in case you might be within earshot.

“Well, I don’t like it. You don’t know language like that,” (ummm… yeah… okay…) “why couldn’t they say something else?”

“What, like ‘oh deary me, my friend seems to have been eaten. What a bother’?”

“Don’t be facetious.” (That’s Mum’s favourite word).

Upshot is, I had to go round and write a formal apology in her copy. I bet Stephen King never had to do that for his mum…

o0o

Her latest one? “I won’t really be proud until you win the Booker.”

“Umm… the don’t give the Booker to people who write pulp scifi horror and fantasy, Mum.”

“Well, they gave it to The Goldfinch, and that was the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever been forced to read, and if that can win it, so can you.”

… Sometimes, my Mum is awesome, too.

I think I think I’m going to write some hardcore erotica next, just to see what she does…

^^D

(PS: I am in so much trouble if she ever reads this. Good job she hates the internet, really. Just, no one ever buy her a tablet. She might like fondling that slab, and then I’m in BIG fucking trouble…)

A Steep Learning Curve

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a proper blog here, which is bad of me. I should be posting regularly and doing all those professional things indie writers are supposed to do, but instead, I suppose you could say I’ve been hiding. Yep – I’m admitting it here and I’m admitting it now: I am a Grade A Coward.

Once upon a time, having a book published was a big ol’ pipe dream. Now, to put it bluntly, it isn’t. Predator X has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams; I thought a handful of people might read it and that would be that, but instead it has reached the dizzying heights of the #1 horror spot on Amazon.com, #74 in ebooks overall, and#6 in horror on Amazon.co.uk. It still sells well to this day, and to say that baffles me is a bit of an understatement.

It’s also pretty terrifying. Before this happened, I’d never really given the actual reality of having a book out there in the big, wide world a second thought. It turns out, though, that suffering from clinical anxiety issues is not hugely compatible with doing public stuff (I know, who would’ve thunk it, eh?!), and the curve in learning how to deal with this is hugely steep. I know there’s a lot of people out there who will be thinking ‘wtf? You’re published, I’m not – stop whinging!’, and yep, I get that – but take it from me, it isn’t all roses and Maltesers. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I’m not joking when I say the old heart from goes from ten-to-the-dozen each and every time I even think about checking rankings and reviews. I know some people relish in it all, but I personally find it very hard. Not because I can’t handle what is being said (I was a teacher – believe me, I’ve heard it all before, in glorious technicolor!), but simply because it makes me feel incredibly exposed. I struggle with the whole ‘putting yourself out there’ thing; not because I’m lazy or arrogant, but simply because it’s scary to open yourself up publicly like this (seriously, if anyone has any techniques in how to deal with all of this without going insane, please let me know!).

PredX is now public property. Some people liked it. Some didn’t. Some even loved it. Others completely loathed it. And I’m actually all right with that, because people are all different and are allowed to have different opinions. As it happens, I have learned *loads* from all of these people, from all sides of all the fences, and I am grateful for that. One of the most fundamental things I have learned is people don’t know me. In the past, I wrote for pretty tight-knit communities, where everyone knew me as the Lovecraft-inspired SFF nut who will shoehorn a shoggoth into everything if she gets half a chance, and so my twists off into the realms of cosmic horror/scifi silliness didn’t come as a surprise. I’ve now learned that when it comes to wider audiences, I really have to make that clearer. I have also learned that what writers like, readers don’t necessarily get on with. That came as bit of a shock – after spending years being told overwrite, I spent ages paring back the writing, getting rid of backstory, getting rid of all but the most necessary descriptions… only to find that’s what a lot of readers want. Which only goes to show that no one, no matter how confident they seem to be, no matter how loud they shout about the so-called ‘rules’, they aren’t necessarily right.

So, what next? I’m currently writing my next book for Severed Press, an occult / horror called Canter’s Leap. It’s different from PredX despite the lake monster theme (which is why they commissioned me), and that’s both a joy and a worry. Because now I’m a known entity, and I have everything to lose… but also everything to gain. I just hope those of you who enjoyed PredX like Canter’s Leap. I’m enjoying writing it (just about to write a good old body-horror scene – got to love a good bit of body-horror), and I hope that you do, too. Because the thought of disappointing you lot… yeah, that’s heartbreaking (and terrifying. Like I said, I’m a coward… ^^D).

How to write when there’s no time to write – part two

Some absolutely sterling advice about finding time to write (and some I need to follow myself!)

The house of crooked sisters

Oh, the irony in taking my time to post the second part in my series about how to write when there’s not time to write. My only reason has been, yes, really, lack of time. In my defence I’ve just been through some icky personally stuff I won’t boar you with, but this does, in away, lead onto the start of part two of by blog.

Don’t be guilty.

When you’re trying to find time to write, the wist thing you can do, or one of them, is to blame yourself when you don’t. Yes, I am going to go on to describe ways to keep the momentum going, but leaving all those aside, if you don’t keep to your schedule, if you find you miss writing sessions and so forth, whatever else you do, don’t beat yourself up about it. I say this, because blame and guilt leads to…

View original post 1,046 more words