From The Fishbowl

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Archive for the category “NEWS!”

A Note

This blog is now, for the most part, dead. It has been superseded by my Tumblr of the same name:

There you can find lots of stories, occasional blogposts, and – since it’s Tumblr – the occasional funny .gif.

I may still make posts on WordPress occasionally, but for the most part everything is over there now. So check it out, yeah? ūüôā




I didn’t realise that it’d been nearly two months since I last posted here. ‘My bad’. In case you’re unaware, my NaNoWriMo project failed, but I’m planning to carry on with the novel regardless because I think it could be quite good. Eventually. But that’s not really why I’m here today. I’m here because it’s nearly a new year, so I have a few resolutions to make. Whether I’ll keep them or not is another story, but there’s at least one that I wanted to put online for the world to see.

I’m currently trying to plan a list of twelve Books That I Probably Should Have Read But Have Never Gotten Around To Reading. These might either be ‘classics’ or maybe just a book series that I’ve read the first part of but not carried on with. Currently the list isn’t actually twelve books long because I need to think of more. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be most grateful. The list so far is comprised of, in no particular order:

1) Something by Kurt Vonnegut (probably Slaughterhouse-Five but I’ve also been recommended Cat’s Cradle)

2) Life of Pi by Yann Martel

3) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

4) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

5) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

6) To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

7) Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

8) ?

9) ?

10) ?

11) ?

12) ?

I will hopefully read more than just these twelve this year, but I picked 12 because, y’know, there are 12 months. If anyone has any recommendations for the remaining five, please let me know either here or on Twitter or via that there Contact page (link at the top of the page).

I’m hopeful that 2013 will be a good year for me. Frankly, 2012 – with a couple of notable exceptions – has been pretty crappy. I don’t think 2013 could be altogether that much worse, I’ll put it that way. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Thanks for reading.

Ghosts An’ That


As previously mentioned, I’m going to be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year with my story,¬†This Immortal Coil. Since I’ve been planning it out a lot over the past few days, I wanted to talk a little more about it than I previously have done. Obviously without spoilers. Because where would be the fun in that?

So, as I’ve said God knows how many times, the story revolves around death. But it’s not an incredibly morbid and depressing tale. Well, mostly. I mean, people die. It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. It’s also not going to be out-and-out comedy, because that would almost certainly be awful too. It will be darkly comic at times, though. Look at my recent story¬†Jam for an idea of the style I’d like to go for at least some of the time. To be honest, that story was something of a proof-of-concept.

Anyway, the story revolves around three characters. The central character is Ankou, who is, for all intents and purposes, a grim reaper. If you’ve read some of my stories before – including Jam,¬†St. Martin’s Eve and The Helper –¬†there’s a chance you’ve encountered him already. In fact, all of those stories, but particularly¬†The Helper are in some senses a prologue to¬†This Immortal Coil, but they certainly won’t be required reading.

Anyway, the second character is a young woman named Kara. She’s dead, a spirit trapped on Earth seeking to move on. The circumstances surrounding her death form the backbone of the story of¬†This Immortal Coil, so I’m not going to go into it too much. But suffice to say that Ankou is the one tasked with helping her transition to the Great Beyond.

The third and final main character is a vampire called Tom. Tom is based on the vampire in my story¬†Tomahawk but there isn’t really any relation between them except a similar name and, y’know, the fact that they’re vampires. You can assume they’re the same character if you want, but if you don’t want to, that’s cool too. I’m keeping his role close to my chest for the time being.

Basically, they represent three ‘figures’ of death. The ghost – a lost spirit. The vampire – trapped between life and death. A reaper – neither dead nor living but responsible for all. It’s an unholy trinity.

When November starts, I’ll post some instructions on how you can read the project. As I’ll undoubtedly say many,¬†many times, though, the point of NaNo is to write 50,000 words in a month. This is no¬†guarantee¬†of quality. There will be mistakes. Possibly some on-the-go retconning. It will probably not be my best work. But it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be fun. Hopefully it’ll be fun to read. The story’s mapped out for the most part, so I’m confident that, y’know, things will happen at various points and make you keep wanting to come back for more. All I ask for is a little slack.

Next time I post, we’ll begin. Sit comfortably. Take care.



I haven’t written an actual blog post in a little while, so I thought I’d write down where I stand with a number of things. As you’ve noticed, neither¬†This Immortal Coil or¬†The Galaxy have made any kind of appearance of late. This is for all sorts of reasons which I can’t be bothered to go into. However. A new plan approaches!

Next month is NaNoWriMo. I expect you already know what it is, at least vaguely – write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I did it two years ago, completing¬†A Friend of Mine on the 28th November. I was very proud of it, even though it was shit. I tried to write a project last year called You Killed Me, but it never really got off the ground.¬†This year, I’m going to write¬†This Immortal Coil.

The main reason that you haven’t seen any updates from it – well,¬†Jam is part of the series, really, but it’s not the ‘core’ story – is because the story was both too complex and not complex enough. I was adding lots of different ideas, which I’ve now trimmed down. This will hopefully make the actual writing of the project much easier. It will also feature many¬†many less driving scenes than the previous version had. Seriously, it was meant to be a ghost story, but there was more driving down the motorway than there were ghosts. Simplification, but expansion, is the way forward. Less is more.

In addition, because I work better with firm targets – if I hadn’t set a release date for Not Quite Normal¬†it’d probably still be sat on my computer – I’m going to be updating the story ‘live’. Thanks to Smashwords, the wonderful distributors of¬†Not Quite Normal, I’m able to upload new versions of the story as often as I want as I write it. So I’ll be posting a new chunk every day. Which will be nice. And then I’ll get to 50k easily! In theory. As long as Life doesn’t get in the way.

That’s about it. Thanks for reading, if, indeed, you are. Most of the views on this blog are from bots, I’m well aware of that, but I live in hope that there are at least a couple of real people out there who at least vaguely care about all this nonsense. Take care.



A few months back, I launched¬†Not Quite Normal, my first short story anthology. It’s done moderately well, probably about as well as I expected, but I don’t think it’s quite lived up to its potential yet. This morning, I had a radical idea which may or may not work.

On this coming Wednesday, 1/8/12, I will be launching a third and final version of Not Quite Normal to go along with the previously released full and free editions. This new version will be called the Abridged Edition. It will contain a new introduction, a new cover, and ten Not Quite Normal tales, as well as a discount code for the full edition. Four of the ten stories were previously exclusive to the full edition.

In essence, the¬†Abridged Edition contains my ten favourite stories from¬†Not Quite Normal and should therefore, I hope, be the ‘tightest’ edition. Its extent is approximately half that of the full¬†Not Quite Normal. It will be available on Smashwords for 99 US cents from Wednesday, and on all other good eBook retailers soon after that, as well as probably some of the bad ones.

So, these are the editions of Not Quite Normal as of this week and their contents:

Full Edition:

19 short stories, plus bonus content for $1.99.

Abridged Edition:

10 short stories, plus a discount code for the Full Edition, for 99 cents.

Free Edition:

9 short stories, free of charge.

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done on¬†Not Quite Normal, and I’ve had some positive feedback about it. If you haven’t yet checked out any of the editions, please do, it really does mean a lot to me. After Wednesday, though, I’m putting it to bed. I don’t want to be accused of constantly recycling the same content, so I will be devoted to my other projects from now on. But this is one last throw of the dice, one last option for potential buyers, and hopefully it’ll be a good one. Time will tell.

While I’m on the subject, until the Abridged Edition comes out (i.e. until tomorrow), you can still download the full version of Not Quite Normal from Smashwords for just 99 cents. Follow this link to buy – because of the Abridged Edition‘s release it’s unlikely I’ll be discounting the full edition for everyone for quite some time, so this is your best chance to get it on the cheap!

I (Sometimes) Keep My Promises


I said yesterday that I would have EXCITING NEWS. I said that it would be exciting to me and probably no-one else, and that remains the case. But I want to say it. I figure that it worked with Not Quite Normal, it’ll work with this.

Basically, I want to tell you what I’m up to.

A little while back, I said that I had several projects to work on. One of these is something only a handful of people will care about. As you may or may not know, I’ve been playing pen and paper RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons for the past few years. One of the stories in Not Quite Normal, The Well of Wisdom came about through a campaign that I was DMing (Dungeon Mastering) and, basically, making up as I went along. Since then, some of the members of my group and I have been playing a different RPG called Pathfinder. It’s excellent, but it would be hard for me to explain why unless you know the intricacies of the D20 system. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that you’re probably not.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I started creating a new fantasy world for it, completely of my own doing. And as I started to work on it, I realised that it had a lot of potential for all sorts of things. So one of my projects is thus: I am creating an open source fantasy world.

By that, I mean that I am going to create the world in as much detail as I can. But at the same time, a lot of history and so on will be left blank. The world will, in essence, be half-finished. And anyone who chooses to use the world, be it as a campaign setting for an RPG, as a location for short stories, or just to help make it, whatever, all of this will help to build it. In short, the history of that world will be etched by the people of this one. And it will all be available for free under a creative commons licence. I think it’s a cool idea. Whether it’ll work or not is another matter, but I think it can. I don’t have a timeframe on it, it is a massive undertaking, and at some stage I will likely need help with it, but it is still a project I’m determined to see to the end.

Another project I’m working on is slightly more outside my expertise. A little while ago, a friend of mine approached me with an idea for…actually, I’m not too comfortable talking about this one. But it involves scripts and actors and cameras and stuff. The central idea is cool, and we’re hoping to kick it into top gear over the summer. This is probably the shortest-term project, although it still won’t see an end until later in the year at the earliest. Watch this space I guess!

Last but not least is what I’ve been spending most time on over the past couple of weeks. Obviously, it cannot have escaped your notice, that I wrote a short story collection called Not Quite Normal, and released it. It’s gone down pretty well (two copies sold, well over a hundred free downloads thus far – I wouldn’t object to more, mind you, see the Not Quite Normal page on this blog for more info!). I mentioned that in the making of it there was a character that I took a shine to. If you’ve bought Not Quite Normal, you should recognise his name. It’s Ankou.

Ankou is based on a real-life Celtic demi-god who was, essentially, a grim reaper. And that’s what he remains in the two stories that feature him – St. Martin’s Eve and The Helper. As I wrote him, I realised how much potential he had as a character. And an idea started to bubble in the cauldron of my mind. An idea for a novel. My novel. Note the emphasis. The novel that I can shop around, show to publishers in the hope of, well, publication. A pipe dream, sure, but the world would be boring without dreams, right?

The world would be equally be boring without death…

This being me, I’m not going to write it in secret. I want to talk you through every gory detail on this blog, keep a diary of my progress, and generally tell people how it’s all going. For now it is the tale of three characters – Ankou, Kara and Tom – and the devastating impact that death and all its forms plays on their lives, currently called This Immortal Coil. Fantasy world aside, it’s the most ambitious thing I’ve ever even thought about writing. I’m sure, well, I hope, I can do the story justice. I won’t be publishing it as a complete eBook, but I might put snippets up now and then as tasters. It’ll take a while to get done to a decent standard – again, if you’ve bought Not Quite Normal you’ll see how much I draft and re-draft – but it’ll be done. And I hope you’ll join me along the way. That would be nice.

So. A fantasy world. A script. And a novel. Three completely different chunks of creative projects that will earn me absolutely no money (at first, anyway!) but will certainly keep me occupied. Does that make me a proper writer? That would be nice.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Procrastinating from Procrastination


I meant to write a blog post tonight in order to procrastinate from doing what (I decided) I was meant to be doing. But then I got distracted. Is that possible? I guess it must be, since I’ve just done it.

Anyway. I will tomorrow. I have NEWS. EXCITING news. Well, I think it’s exciting. It’s probably not surprising, but definitely exciting. For me.

I’ll shut up now.

Back tomorrow. Maybe. Hopefully. Sort of.


Thanks, as ever, for reading (even if this one was incredibly short).

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