Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The power of the pinky!

My pinky finger hurts. Or aches is probably a more accurate word choice, its not actually sore it just kind of 'protests' when my brain asks it to do things, which in my opinion is happening way too frequently for my liking...

I mean its a weird thing really isn't it? Look at it. Right now. Go on.

Ok? All know what your pinky looks like? Now tell me what you use it for...

Honestly it serves NO purpose. For years it just hung onto the end of my hand threatening to get caught in doors and stuck in holes too small for other fingers...and then came the piano...and now that I've started using it it thinks it runs the show!

I dont know how many times ive had to hit "backspace" today because my over enthusiastic pinky has opted to hit a key (not the piano type for those struggling to keep up!). I actually managed to spell 'Fluke' (one of the main characters) with two P's and an I.

Apart from the protesting pinky finger today has actually been pretty productive all be it ten hours were spent in work. (On a side note, do you know that if the average person works five days a week for fifty years with an average of thirty days holiday a year, a staggering 2/3rds of your life will be spent in the work place? Thats not time spent working, thats ACTUALLY in the building! Really hits home the point...'Find a job you love or learn to love your job...')

EDIT: (Yes the maths does seem a bit strange, but im not basing it on hours you are alive, its based on days of your life. You will have to go to work 2/3rds of every day in that fifty year period. Make more sense? Ok. Moving on swiftly on...)

Made a pretty strong start on the next chapter and a few good ideas crept up on me. The characters are really beginning to take shape now. From a dark and brooding mystery to a sarcastically brilliant genius each character has developed their own personality and it is actually a lot of fun to write. I can feel myself getting inside their head.

Ive always had this OCD like hatred for authors who use dialogue to tell a story:

"Thats a nice blue jumper your wearing. Oh look John, that man is putting a body shaped bag into his 1957 Chevrolet convertible."

"Oh my gosh Gill so he is! Im going to walk briskly towards that phonebooth and dial the police, I hope he doesnt see me..."

Pish. Honestly how it sells baffles me.

Its the same in life, dont tell me how it works, show me! I dont want to get told a story, I want to get involved. I want to love the good guys and loathe the bad guys and I really feel *pats himself on the back* that my characters do this well.

Dialogue is used not to develop a story, but to develop a character. It is an oppurtunity to get a glimpse in to the inner workings of the characters mind and really bring them out into their own.

Ontop of the positive start on the next chapter, im up to four thousand words in the Aeon submission so at the half way mark for that. AND I even started on a synopsis for Empire which will also be my next submission to the GWG. Very productive day.

Re-read the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend over the last few days and found lots of it very disturbing...because it is surprisngly accurate.

I have often heard it said that a man has no chance of understanding what is going on in a females mind...but Sue Townsend knows exactly whats going on in a guys. Is it wrong that I could relate to Adrian Mole as a character? I mean I actually caught myself laughing and thinking, 'been there...".

I definitely went through the 'protentious' and aloof stage in high school. "It wasn't there fault they misunderstood me, they were normal...I was an intellectual because I read the Herald...sometimes, maybe once or twice a year" yup that was once me. Or when he grows up and gets his first flat and has the drawer with unopened credit card bills...yup been there too! Lol!

It kind of got me thinking about some embarassing moments/situations ive found myself in. I've now labelled them my 'Cringe' moments because I genuinely look back on them and physically cringe. "Was I ever that immature? Naive? ...stupid?" 


.......you thought I was actually going to disclose one of them?

.........well, *sigh* I suppose you did read this far...

Picture the scene, it's my 3rd year of high school and I have only recently come to the realisation that members of the opposite sex are not 'stupid and boring' and are infact, quite nice to look at and fun to be around. Infact some of them were so nice to look at I couldnt stop looking at them! I found I could not take my eyes off of one In particulair. She didn't try to be beautiful like alot of the girls, she just was. She was funny and smart and caring and interesting and blah blah blah, you get the picture, I liked her. ALOT!

But 'boys being boys' my advances were about as clever as a fish in the sand. They consisted of the usual. Hair pulling, teasing and general name calling involved in teenage courting rituals (at least my understanding of them at the time). But I reallllllllly liked her. To the point where I would fall over the desks and chairs (yes this happened once) to talk to her in the ten seconds between the bell going and the books getting packed away!

And then I hit the jackpot. Modern Studies, Mr Beattie and a seat right next to the girl I was in love with! What could possibly go wrong? *cringe*

The first few days were tense as I gathered my nerve and tried to work out the perfect opening line and finally I decided I would ask to borrow a pencil. (Real smooth Phoenix...)

Then Mr Beattie beat me to it! He asked her a question that she couldnt answer, I stepped in to save the day and then...

Mr Beattie: I didn't ask you Phoenix, I asked her...you know...(he leans back in his seat arms crossed)...you know...I can see a future between you two...(a big stupid grin on his face as he looks first to me then to her).

The class is silent. My heart is thumping. I need to say something, something funny. Quick, quick, use that intellectual wit, QUICK!!!

Phoenix: Ha...I've got standards!

The class takes a breath as one, the girls face actually falls, just about as fast as my thumping heart falls through the floor. *CRINGE*

To make matters worse, I tried to apologise for this on several occasions:

1) The first time I tripped as I approached her table, succesfully falling into my coca cola in the middle of the dinner hall.

2) The second time we were talking away in the dinner queue and a random jet of water/saliva sprung forth from my mouth (the tiniest amount and I swear this has never happened since) but it landed on her cheek... and I laughed (c'mon it was an awkward moment, how do you recover from that?!?!)

3) And the third happened many years later when I was eighteen and well on my way to being a mature adult. I was rather worse for wear on the Cheers dance floor, throwing shapes like no ones business and mixing champagne and tequila like it was water and ice...and there she was...still as gorgeous as ever...so I..*CRINGE*...CHASED! (Yes C.H.A.S.E.D) her around the dancefloor, as in she was runniny away. I fell. Twice.


Ever just think it wasnt meant to be LOL? At least I can laugh at it, and do laugh at it...after I cringe of course.

That is just one of many folks, im sure you have them too.

But if you can top that one however id be impressed!#

Anyways, my pinky is starting to hit the enter key a little too often for my liking so I will say goodnight!

Thanks for






Sunday, 26 February 2012

Another weekend come and gone...

Two months into the year already, who would believe it?

I was going to write 'this weekend sure did pass quickly' and then I realised the date and thought it more appropriate to note that there is only ten more months until Christmas...

Notice anyone different about the site...*surreptitiously points to the side of the screen ------------------->*
For anyone that cares...that took me ages!

It has been a busy weekend. Noel Gallagher was great, he did loads of Oasis covers which was just aswell because I only know two High Flying Birds songs lol! No hangover on Saturday which was grand however my throat and my leg were killing me due to excessive singing and standing too much.

It was also a good weekend for writing, I managed another chapter which I am happy with, it is about 800 words less than the others but Brent Weeks told me a chapter should only be aslong as it has to be to serve its purpose so I dont see the need to extend it.

Its all kicking off now, theres a rescue, a murder, a betrayal and the conclusion to cover so I can get about another 30-40k words out of it. Well on track to be finished for the 16th of April.

On another note, in a project I haven't hinted at yet, I made some head way. This is a big project, and one that relies on alot of other pieces falling into place in order for it to come into full effect but the jist of it is 'to help people'

I know that sounds exceptionally simple and easy to do and I suppose in essence it is, but to be able to do it on the scale I intend on doing it will take a lot of time, a lot of effort and ALOT of money. That being said I took a small step towards that goal this weekend, I think.

The reason I say I think is that there is only so much I can do. The rest of it relies on the commitment of the other person. Hopefully she takes her chances and at least has a go at it. If not at least I can say I tried, but I sincerely think that if she plays her part and works as hard as she will have to that she will not  regret it, and that because of this oppurtunity she will lead a better life...

...well that's the basic idea, she may just thank me and put the plan on a pile of other plans that she will never embark on, but like I said, there is only so much I can do.

Anyways, my head is pounding my fingers are sore and my brain is tired.

Bed time.

Good Night Folks.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

"Your mama don't dance and your daddy don't rock and roll!"

Music really is the spice of life, it's my other guilty pleasure :D

I remember delving into my Granddad's 'forbidden' record collection when I was left in the house alone and just sitting there listening to it. Before I was eight I knew all the words to Don McLean's 'American Pie' by heart (note that I didn't say "I could sing..." lol!). Then in high school I discovered that ordinary people could play music too, not just famous ones (yes I really was that naive once) and I fell in love with the guitar.

I decided right then I was going to be a rock god, platinum album selling, singer songwriter, selling out stadiums and arenas worldwide...after lunch I realised that probably wasn't going to happen anytime soon and decided to just enjoy the music, and I've never looked back.

Over the years I've fell in and out of love with various instrument's and styles of music. I'm a pretty good violinist (though I play more up beat stuff...but it sounds so wrong if I write "I'm a good fiddler" :S ), a competent drummer, I can hold a decent baseline and I'm a damned good guitarist...the vocals aren't too bad either. I'm definitely not 'rock god' material, but that's not what music is about.

I recently endeavoured to conquer the piano and it's going pretty well, I forgot how slow (and how awful) learning or re-acquainting with an instrument can be, but it's also lots of fun.

Now go on, take a bow. Ten points if you recognised the song title in the heading :P Kudos to you!

I typed "rock 'n' roll" into the genre tab in Itunes with the intention of creating a playlist to listen to while writing and was initially confused and then genuinely concerned about what it brought up. Honestly, when did Katy Perry become "rock 'n' roll"? Not that I don't like a bit of Katy Perry, infact I like lots of bits of Katy Perry, and Rihanna and Lady GaGa...but thats going off on a tangent lol!

But seriously, I'm not against 'pop' music, or dance, or RnB I love it all! I can go from a bit of 'Oasis' to some 'Sinatra' followed by 'Canon in D' without blinking an eye. But my all time favourite type of music is 'Classic' rock and roll and yes folks that's Classic with a capital C!

Bob Seger, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard...GOD I LOVE IT!!! The twelve bar blues in the left hand, the right hand shuffling between chord progressions and scale sequences and the music just SPEAKS to you!....Absolutely fantastic, I just love that "old time rock n roll"...


*Looks back at what's been written*

...I really should stop coming onto Blogspot and typing what's on my mind lol. Anyways, before I totally digress from the subject of writing, today was productive, met my quota of 1500 words easily. I made a really positive start on my Aeon One submission which is actually going to be the first three chapters of another novel in the Empire series *sigh* this may need some explanation but stick with it...my fingers are tired so you wont have to read much more :D. You see the way the first book works is:

Part 1: Introduces the characters, the main ones Keira and Fluke are children, ten or eleven years old and they see the world through the eyes of a child, their perceptions their Ideas, their understandings of life etc etc.  However at the end of Part 1 tragedy strikes and both children's lives change forever.

Part 2: At the end of part one  both children are seperated and the story skips forward ten years with very little explanation of what has occured in the space between. Both children have had a very different 'upbringing', one sees life from the view at the top of high society, the other from the dregs of the gutter...

See that wasn't too bad...bet you want to know more about the book now though don't you? Well that can come later.

Basically the Aeon One submission falls between that ten year gap. There will be two books which go into detail about the 'missing years': "Fluke -A Mercenaries Tale-" & "Keira -Wielder of Ice and Flame-" which explains everything the first book in the series doesn't (But its confusing becuase the 'missing years' books are actually books 3 and 4 of the series which you dont get to read until after you know whats happened in books 1 and 2 and they are totally inconsequential to book 5. But dont panic, all you need to do is get a flux capacitor and crank her up to eighty-eight  miles an hour and before you know it, GREAT SCOT! It all makes sense :D ).

For the competition I am submitting the first three chapters (roughly 8000 words) of "A Mercenaries Tale". I started writing it today (on my break) and my fingers just flew across the keyboard. The story has been in my head for months and today my brain went into overdrive. 2700 words in 45 minutes, I dont care who you are, those are some impressive numbers! Particularly liked the opening paragraph:

"The arena sands burned through the soft soles of his boots as he stood in the centre of the pit. They were slaves boots, the same ones he had been given when he was bought years before. They were boots without buckle or fancy lace trim, void of colour save dirt, blood and grime and no fancy design was marked in the heel. They were boots bought for men expected to die...and Fluke was such a man."

"Why the hell are we learning about his boots?" I hear you cry! Do not fear, I'm not trying to be the next Gok Wan (or maybe he's the food guy?) I am trying to apply a 'hook' which I think this does effectively. It's a writing technique I read about where the writer basically switches the importance of what he's describing. Here I describe in detail the mundaneness of his boots, and gloss over  the important point which is obviously "Why is he expected to die?" In theory it encourages the reader to continue reading and draws them into the story, they are often used at the beginning and end of chapters, which is why you often find yourself getting to the end of a chapter and uttering the words "...just one more..."

The difficult part of the part I am submitting is that it has to be short enough to be an independent story which means a beginning a middle and an end...but I also have to leave the ending open so I can expand it into a full book. Im leaning towards the idea of solely focusing on him gaining his freedom from the pit fights by fighting his way through the 'Deca Games' a once in a decade (you see what I done there?) event whereby the sole survivor and champion is granted their freedom.

Didn't I say my fingers were tired? I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere...anyways, that is the general idea with the Aeon One submission. It runs until November so it's not on my 'priority' list but it is on the list! Ill spend a good portion of the weekend working on Empire, hopefully I can knock out a couple of chapters which would be great...that being said I am indulging in my other guilty pleasure (*points to the top of the page*) on Friday night and going to see "Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds", hopefully be a good night and Saturday's hangover will be a gentle one!


My fingers are now making rude gestures at me so it's time to call it a night.

If you read all this...WoW! THANKS!

Comment, Subscribe Follow and all that jazz (or just check back occasionally for more writing updates and a little glimpse at the mess that is my mind)


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Im on to them!!!

With 'them' referring to the authors of 'The Writers Handbook' and the creators of social media (yes I know thats a big group to hold a grudge against...)

But it is incredibly difficult to do both. As you or may not have noticed the site looks a bit different, spent about an hour and a half messing about with the blogger interface to make it a bit more 'phoenixey'. Not that im not happy with how it looks, but that was an hour and a half that could have been spent writing, instead it was spent maintaining a website that im told (by them) that I have to have.

Time is just about the most precious thing any of us will ever have (its the only thing they're not making more of!) and how we spend it determines a lot in life. In a world where deadlines and time limits are the be all and end all its hard enough already to find time to ourselves, let alone manage a Facebook, Twitter and personal blog, all supposedly to the benefit of my writing...which tonight I didnt manage to do any of because I was updating above mentioned social mediums.

Not that im moaning. I love FB and Twitter, and even enjoy updating this thing. I think im just feeling the pressure of the first 'real' deadline I've set myself for writing...

54 days until I submit to angry robot and I need to finish and proof read a book. Granted there are only eight more chapters to go, but thats a chapter a week, a thousand words a night and if I stick to that maths then it leaves NO time at all for proof reading.

So...starting from tomorrow im aiming for 1500 words a night which should leave me a large enough cushion of time to proof read the manuscript, need to start spending my time a bit better. I have no intention of sitting behind the desk of a dead end nine to five in ten years time and looking back to realise I could have had a better life...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Nothing more infectious...than an idea

Isn't it funny how sometimes they just stick!

For years I have been a writer, and ive tried a little bit of everything. From flash fiction to erotic prose ive dabbled and scribbled and written and edited and read and re-read and then enevitably fogotten about or disgarded.

With my first day back at work looming before me I knew it would be wise to get an early night last night. So I did everything right, no coffee after eight, no heavy foods, no loud music, stuck on the chilled out piano stuff on youtube and lay down to drift off into peaceful slumber...and I lay...and I lay...then just to mix things up, I lay some more. Sleep would not come.

What did come though was an idea. This tiny thing from the dark recesses of my brain that I could just not shake, an idea for a screenplay, one of the few types of writing I haven't had a go at. As I lay there the movie played out in my head and I knew I had to get this down on paper so turned disparingly to glance at the clock and see it was 1am. Thinking better of it I rolled back over to go to sleep. Then gave up five minutes later and downloaded Celtx screenwriting software.

Now at this point, the intention was to download the software and do maybe a paragraph worth of notes to jog my memory when I had time to come back to it. Before I knew it I was forty pages in with twists and turns I didnt even see coming! But the time was fastly approaching 3am so time for bed.

Ill just finish this page...

All nighter folks. 90 pages of a screenplay written in a night (a two hour movie is roughly 120). No doubt it will require a big amount of editing as I dont know much about formatting screenplays but the story is great! Its gripping and exciting and for the first time in a loooooooooong time, I drew myself into my writing.

Only when my mobile alarm went off did I realise that I was not infact a kick ass, yet subtlely cool assassin dating hollywood's prom queen and saving the world from a big bad political coup! I was infact a hobbling young man with a yellow belt in karate who has been single so long im scared they might have changed  sex and no one has told me about it who is going to find work excessively long and boring today...

And yet I survived work. It actually wasn't too bad. I hit the hay as soon as I got home and woke up around midnight...and here in lies the problem, its going to be the same tomorrow! Why couldnt my brain have done this to me when I had three weeks off with nothing to do?

So just to re-iterate my point here: There is nothing more infectious...or more persistently annoying than an idea that wont leave you alone!

That is all.


Saturday, 18 February 2012


This is somewhat overdue, particularly since the last two posts have been somewhat short!

Back to 'work' on Monday. The day job. Uck. Although I know in a weeks time ill be cursing the place and wondering what the hell I am doing there, I am actually looking forward to going back. Four weeks off may sound like hitting the jackpot but the reality is somewhat different, especially since ive been housebound and even if I could get out and walk about, there is no way I am fit to drive so I would be somewhat limited to where I could go...'Oh look, the front garden......again!'

That being said, the time off has been spent 'somewhat' productively. I say somewhat because no doubt I could have done more writing, or more learning or more...more lots of things. Instead I spent an absurd amount of time playing Skyrim and watching Friends (I love that show). But I did get some writing done. I managed to finish two chapters which I am happy with and also wrote a competition piece based on 'identity' for Bloomsbury. The piece is entitled "The Perception of Appearance" and I am really happy with it, even if it doesn't win.

It takes the stance that our identity comes from our appearance, which in itself is ridiculous. "What I look like is not who I am." But it is the very first thing we show people, and whether we like to admit it or not, the way we look does say alot about who we are. I wrote it from the perspective of an unnamed girl in her twenties who was born with a similar birth condition to my own. I felt that by not giving the girl a name the reader would be forced to focus on the way she looked and kind of drive home the importance of the point I was trying to make. She has a med interview that she is preparing for and it is about what she sees and how she is seen. I must have read it a hundred times already but still I keep going back to it, honestly one of the best pieces I have ever written...at least in my opinion, hopefully the judges feel the same.

I enjoyed the chapters that I have written in the Empire series but feel I really REALLY have to develop Keira's character more. She just seems a bit...emotionally detached. I think I will need to go back and put in a bit more about how she's feeling or what is going on in her head at certain parts of the story. I want the reader to understand her, to get involved in her as a person and to understand her thought process behind the decisions she makes without having to spoon feed them.

So that's me upto chapter 11, word count of just over 63k (Standard for fantasy fiction is anywhere between 90 and 140 thousand so nearly there!) I have opted to split the original story I had in my head into three parts of which the final part will be a seperate book. Part one is too small to be an independent novel, part two wouldnt make sense to be without part one and part three is too large to include with the other two.

Angry Robot publishing house is doing an 'open submissions' fortnight in April and they are focusing on the Classic Fantasy genre. I feel the book falls into this category, it deals with sword fights, magic, mystery, politics, love/loss and everything in between. But its not exactly Merlin and the Knights of the round table so hopefully they dont mean 'that' kind of classic fantasy. So thats my dead line. 16th of April is the first day of the submissions so I want to have it done and proof read by then.

In other non-writing news I have dived back into the world of music by deciding to get back into piano. My wrists are protesting and I fear at times my eyes have crossed from reading sheet music but im getting there. Can bang out the base line for "Old time rock and roll" and the first couple of pages of "Walking in Memphis". Still very out of practice though, reading sheet music never used to be so tough.

Recovery from the operation is going slowly, my face is fine but my leg is a pain, not that its in pain, it just is one. I will never again take it for granted just how capable I am.

Anyways, thats me pretty much up to date, no night out stories or drunken tales to regale you with as I have not been out or got drunk, but dont panic, the year is still young :P

Hope all is well whoever you are and whatever you are doing.

Thanks for reading,