From The Fishbowl

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Archive for the category “Not Quite Normal”

AGAIN!

Hello.

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!

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I (Sometimes) Keep My Promises

Hello.

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.

The Road

Hello.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog all day. Actually, for the last two. Sorry for my tardiness. (I nearly mis-spelt that ‘tardis’ – I think my inner Doctor Who geek is clawing his way out!) I’ve mostly been panicking about the very thing I’m going to blog about. So maybe this’ll help me vent a little.

Obviously, on Wednesday, I released Not Quite Normal, my short story anthology, at long last. As I write this, it’s actually doing pretty well. The free edition has had 61 downloads and somewhere in the region of 200 page views. That’s a pretty decent return! The actual, paid version, has had one sale. Now, this might not sound like a lot – because technically it, uh, isn’t – but I can’t accuarely put into words how happy that has made me. Someone, out there, has spent actual money on something I’ve made. It just…blows my mind. If the person who bought it reads this, I can’t thank you enough. It’s just incredible. Even if it’s the only copy that gets sold, it’s validated me a little. Made me feel that, with enough hard work, dedication and (more than a little) luck, I can start to make a life of this. I know it’s one sale of $2, and I’m probably overstating it, but it’s how I feel right now. Maybe I’ll feel differently in the morning. Who knows. But thanks.

ANYWAY.

To what I’ve been panicking about. Obviously, I’ve been using a site called Smashwords for my epublishing needs. And great they are too. But there have been some…issues that I want to clear up with y’all.

Firstly,Not Quite Normal is currently exclusive to Smashwords. But Smashwords operates a distribution network which means that it will eventually end up on sites like iTunes and Amazon’s Kindle Marketplace (although I believe they’re having some issues with Amazon at the moment). This process can take a little while, alas. But what’s been worrying me is the fact that my freeNot Quite Normal samples have appeared on Amazon. Seriously. Search Shane Rynhart on either amazon.com or amazon.co.uk. You’ll notice something is a bit…odd.

Amazon are charging for them.

This is a HUGE problem. They are free on purpose. They are samples. I want to make absolutely clear right here and now that, if someone purchased one of them, I would not see a penny of the return. I don’t know who would. Presumably Amazon. Hell, the copy ofMirrors on there doesn’t even have the cover I made! I’ve gotten in touch with Smashwords about it, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet. Which isn’t helping my worry. Obviously talking about it here isn’t going to make any difference either, but it makes me feel happier knowing that it’s out there.

Basically, what I’m saying is that currently if you want to buy or download any of my stories, please do so exclusively through my Smashwords page. I appreciate that that makes it pretty awkward – I’ve had a couple of messages saying that it being on iTunes would make things easier, and I totally accept that – but it’s the only way I know that everything’s alright, if that makes sense. I can keep track of how many people have downloaded things, how many copies of Not Quite Normal have sold and so on. Smashwords does have some information about how one can transfer downloads from their site onto various devices (like the iPad or Kindle) – I highly recommend having a look if you’re interested but concerned. I can also verify that Smashwords is also safe to put card/PayPal details into.

I am looking at other methods of distribution. I can manually put Not Quite Normal on Amazon, but I’d rather not until the whole thing with my ‘free’ eBooks is sorted. And, alas, manually uploading to iTunes is going to be impossible, since you need a US tax ID. You can get one from within in the UK, but with the amount of red tape involved it probably wouldn’t be on iTunes until about Christmas…by which point, I’d like to think, everything is going to have been sorted with Smashwords anyway. But I will look at other ways over the weekend – maybe other eBook distributors or, if it came to it, some sort of manual purchasing system right here. If I could work out how to sort something like that out, o’course.

I’m sure I’m boring you now, so I’ll leave it at that. But please keep reading my stuff and, if you like it, do consider buying a copy of Not Quite Normal. You’d make me the happiest man alive.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Not Quite Normal is Available Now

That is all.

http://bit.ly/NQNfree – Free edition (9 stories)

http://bit.ly/NQNfull – Full edition (19 stories + bonus content)

Thankee, sai.

It Just Ain’t Right

Hello.

I’ve never written a blog in advance on this, well, blog before. But I’ll make an exception this time. When this goes up, it will be 29/2/12, the day that I finally bring out Not Quite Normal. A project that’s been a year in the offing and five in the production. I hope that if you’re reading this, you’ll consider buying a copy. When it’s actually been uploaded and formatted, I’ll put a link to it. Once again, there will be a free version and a paid one. That will be $1.99 USD, payable through PayPal (I don’t believe you need an account, you can use their system for a debit or credit card). If necessary, I know of a place where I can sell it outside of PayPal, since I know that’s a point of contention for some people. That’s just how Smashwords, my ‘publishers’, do payments. It’ll be available exclusively through their site for a couple of weeks before they can distribute it to iTunes and Sony and Barnes & Noble and so on. I’m looking into getting it on Amazon’s Kindle store as well. I’ll give an update about that as and when. Frankly, I’ve been focussed more on getting Not Quite Normal completely finished than distribution. But Smashwords are great, and perfectly safe, so there’s no need to worry.

At the tail end of last week, I decided it might be a good idea to make a trailer for the anthology. A little video. I considered a Vlog, and then realised that I’m not very good at talking to actual people, let alone speaking like a loon into my computer screen. So I made a stop-motion animation. Yeah, I know. It took far longer than I had anticipated, but I was very happy with the results. You can check it out here. Pass it on, if you want. That would be nice.

Anyway. To Not Quite Normal. Here is the table of contents. It might give you a bit of a flavour of the stories within. You’ll recognise some of them – the free previews, and maybe one or two more. Items that are bolded are in the Free Edition, everything else (including the bolded items, of course) are in the paid one.

Introduction

The Helper (Part 1)

Red

Not Quite Normal

The Well of Wisdom

Tomahawk

Clacking

Endeavour

Mirrors

The Helper (Part 2)

Genocide by P45

The River

The White Door

Truth or Dare

Late Night TV

Lovely

The Suez Crisis

St. Martin’s Eve

A Perfect Endeavour

The Helper (Part 3)

Appendices:

Notes on the Text

Red (Draft 1)

Image Credits

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Contact

End Note

Essentially, if you download the free version, you’ll get nine stories, plus a little end-matter. (You might have noticed I’ve cheated a little with The Helper – I’m counting it as three stories since they practically are!) This all adds up to about 17,000 words. For free. Don’t say I never get you anything nice.

On the other hand, if you pay $1.99 (around £1.25 Sterling) – which, let’s be honest, in this day and age is barely anything (to send a DVD in the UK First Class is £1.09, let me put it that way) – you’ll get all nineteen stories, plus a lot of extra bonus content. This comes in at around 52,000 words. That’s about six thousand more than The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, incidentally. How good is that?! Some of them are even quite good. I promise.

Making Not Quite Normal has been a great experience. Whether it pays off or not – my aim, if you read my last blog post, is to at least sell enough copies to get paid – I’ve had fun. And it’s certainly not going to be the end. I’ll do it all over again in the future, one way or the other. No doubt. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Almost

Hello.

Today I released the fifth and final preview of my short story anthology Not Quite Normal. As I announced last week, the anthology will be out next Wednesday, 29/2/12. The new preview is called The Helper – Part 1 and I will love you forever if you’d be so kind as to download it and help me spread the word a little.

If you’re wondering, Parts 2 and 3 will be released in Not Quite Normal. All three are – obviously – part of the same tale, but each is also perfectly readable as a standalone story. It’s kind of like Star Wars – they make sense individually, but it works on a new level if they’re read at the same time. I hope you enjoy it. I really like the story (ego alert).

I thought I’d divulge a little more information on Not Quite Normal this evening, since we’re in the home stretch.

As I’ve said numerous times, there will be two different versions of Not Quite Normal released. The first will be totally free. What I haven’t said before is how many stories that will include. Well, I’m going to say now – nine. That’s the five previews plus four new ones. I don’t quite know how many words that will come to, but I’d estimate around 20,000. For free. Nice, yeah?

The paid edition will include all of the free stories, of course, plus ten more. On top of that, there will be some bonus material. There’ll be a section where I explain some of my writing methods and thought processes etc, for one. I’m going to include a first draft of one of the stories in NQN, called Red, because it’s so dramatically different from the finished article and will hopefully give the reader some idea of my editing process. I may or may not even include some poetry that I’ve written, if I’ve got enough balls come publishing time. All in all, I’m estimating that the full version of Not Quite Normal will come to about 50,000 words. Give or take, obviously.

And the price? As promised, it will be low and under a couple of quid. All things being equal, it’ll be $1.99 – according to Google, that’s £1.27 on today’s exchange rate. I think that’s probably a decent price for 50,000 words that I’ve been working on for the past five years, wouldn’t you agree? But I may reduce it for the first few days – Smashwords has a coupon system that I may experiment with – to try and tempt some more people.

My aims for the project are modest and – I like to think – realistic. I have no idea how many people are going to download Not Quite Normal, but I’m hoping for a handful. I’ll be blunt – I need to have sold $10 worth of product to get paid by Smashwords. That’s 6 copies at $1.99 in order to push it over the limit. That’s translating approximately 10% of the people who’ve downloaded previews into full purchases. I think that’s achieveable. Maybe. If I can get that then I’ll be a happy man. If more people than that buy it, I’ll be ecstatic. I’ll be honest, though, I’m nervous.

Anyway. If you want to help (God knows I need it!), please retweet, share on Facebook, download the previews and generally help me to get the word out. If you do something for me, even a retweet of one of my plugs, email me – srynhart@gmail.com is what you need – and I’ll shower you with praise and perhaps some sort of reward. I really want this to work and, as I said, all it will take is six people paying less than $2 to make me the happiest man on the planet.

I’ll leave before I start to sound desperate. I don’t mean to, but I do genuinely care about this project and want it to work. Hopefully, you know that.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Makes Sense

Hello.

Today I have a few announcements related to Not Quite Normal, the short story anthology that I’ve been trying to big up for the last few weeks.

The first is that the fourth preview story, entitled The Well of Wisdom, is available to download now, in all manner of eBook formats (like .epub for iOS/many things and .mobi for Kindle, as well as in .pdf and a simple HTML version). It’s a bit of a change of pace, it being more like a fairy-tale and pretty close to being high fantasy. And it is, as with all of the NQN previews to date, completely and utterly free. Please check it out and pass the good word onto as many friends/relatives/crazy people on the bus as possible.

The second announcement is that there will be just one more Not Quite Normal preview story. It will be out sometime next week, probably Wednesday. I have a choice of two, and haven’t quite decided which one I want to pass out first. But, basically, the important part of this notice is that there will be just one more.

The fact that there will be only one more should tell you something. That the release date of Not Quite Normal is approaching as rapidly as the stampede that killed Mufasa. And you’d be quite right in that assumption. Not Quite Normal will be released, fully, very soon indeed. On 29/2/12, to be precise. The most unusual, strange and, indeed, not quite normal day of the year, being that it doesn’t exist 75% of the time. As I promised, there will be a free version and a premium one. I don’t want to announce the price of the premium anthology yet, but, again, I want to stress that it will not cost much at all.

Please help me to get the word out. The response I’ve had so far has been fantastic. But I’d love it to be even more fantasticer, and the only way that’s going to happen is with your help.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say right now. Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Beyond

I wrote in an earlier post about a couple of dreams I’d had. That was partly inspired by the fact that I’d recently been reading The Sandman collection graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. Since then, I’ve been (very slowly) reading his prose novel American Gods. Which is really good. And it’s inspired me to write something else. Which is neat.

Today I’m going to blog about God.

Now, I did this before, on one of my old blogs. It’s around in cyberspace somewhere, but it’s such a huge part of my life as a writer that it’s probably beneficial to write something similar.

I want to begin by giving you my personal views on the subject. Let me start by saying that I’m not religious. I do not go to any kind of church or place of worship, I have no intention of doing so either. But if you do, well, knock yourself out. I ain’t gonna stop you.

But just because I’m not ‘religious’ doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in God. Which I do. Sort of. I believe that there’s something else, that there’s more than just this physical realm. I can’t say for sure quite why I feel that way, it’s just an instinct. Maybe whatever it was had a hand in the universe’s creation and just left us alone. Maybe it genuinely does have a hand in the everyday life of every man, woman and child on Earth. I don’t know. But I do think there’s something. I like to think there’s an afterlife as well, if only because the alternative – that these 80-odd years are all there is and once you’re done, you’re done – is terrifying to me. Like, possibly-my-biggest-fear level of terrifying. Well, either that or heights.

As I’ve said, I don’t attend church or consider myself religious. But I use religion as the basis of stories very regularly. It’s not really on purpose, but characters in my writing often tend to be religious, or at least bear sort of relationship to religious myths. Angels and demons often show up, and more often than not the main character has some kind of messianic significance. It’s all very cliché, of course, but that’s just how I tend to lean.

But American Gods has made me look into branching out a bit. The majority of the religious subtext that I infuse – if it’s there at all, of course – is Christianity-based. I guess that’s just because of the culture I’ve grown up in. Despite what the Daily Mail might say, Christianity is still a huge part of British culture, even if certain events are getting more and more secular by the year. (Tesco selling Easter eggs on Christmas Eve being a prime example.) We still perform Nativity plays at Christmastime, we still have Songs of Praise on a Sunday evening and we still have churches within easy reach of our front doors. We’re taught Christian mythology at school, whether we want to hear it or not, and religious symbols are all over the place. It’s what we know most about – hence it transpires into writing.

But there are so many other religions out there. Of course, there are mainstream ones – Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Scientology (lol) – but there are so many littler ones as well, that are either still going or have been banished to the depths of time. I find that scenario incredibly interesting. Who says that any of the religions going today have any more merit than the ones that have now gone? Do we have any right to think that Jesus as an icon is more important and will live in the world’s collective mind for longer than Odin? Or Horus? Or Heracles? Or Anansi? I could go on. All of these gods were once incredibly important to the people who worshipped them.

Why am I bringing all this up? Well, a couple of the stories in Not Quite Normal have a minor, ancient god in them. Call it branching out, but I’m doing my research and trying to make him noticed again. Or at least bring him to a few modern people. I’m going to be a tease now and not say what he’s called, but I promise you that he is/was real. You’ll be able to look online and in books (and even in real world places). And I really like him. Really like him. So much that I want to create many more tales featuring him. Just taking a step or two off the beaten track might have led me to an even greater path.

He’ll be featured in the final Not Quite Normal preview, which will be live in a couple of weeks. I’ll undoubtedly be back before then. Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Rosetinted

Hello.

Well, this is later than I expected. I’ve been trying to blog over the past few days, but I haven’t really found anything interesting to say. That’s probably just because I’m boring. And I don’t want to seem like this blog is just here to pimp Not Quite Normal (I will be talking about that shortly, but only for a second, promise!). So this post is going to be about something very close to my heart: myself.

See, recently, I’ve been getting all nostalgic. I posted previously about my love affair with the Harry Potter series. But what I didn’t mention was that since I did all that thinking on the series, my mind has turned to my childhood a little. Call it a quarter-life crisis, if you want. Without the crisis bit. Anyway…

It came to a head earlier this week, when I was instructed to sort through some of my old stuff, which was just sat in the loft, gathering dust and broken bits of ceiling insulation. Since my room was redecorated and ‘modernised’ last year, I just haven’t had the space for it. And man, it was a blast from the past. Especially when I found my Game Boy collection.

I’ve always said that games and gaming  – Nintendo, specifically – have been a huge part of my life since I was tiny. A lot of people grow up with music – they can relate certain periods of their life to songs that were about at the time, that sort of thing. Exactly how old they were, exactly where they were when the first heard the song etc. Well, I can do that with games. (For the record, the following is being written without resorting to Wikipedia or any other site to check facts about dates and the like, just so that you know. Hopefully I won’t fail miserably.)

For instance. The oldest Game Boy I found was a clear-plastic original Game Boy, which cost my parents a small fortune back in the day. It needed new batteries, but otherwise worked perfectly. The game that was in the slot was Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. I got that from a second hand shop in Boscombe (a suburb of Bournemouth) when I was approximately seven years old. I distinctly remember the cart being a bit dodgy and, sure enough, it didn’t quite load properly.

Another original Game Boy cart was a pirate, multi-game pak. I know, naughty. I got it on my one foreign holiday, in Benidorm, Spain, in August 1999. I was, uh, very ill shortly after because I drank too many Slush Puppies. We’d been careful about not drinking tap water, but – d’oh! – the ice for the drinks came from the tap. British people may also remember this month because it was the date of the total solar eclipse. Yep, the one time something monumental happens in my country, and my family takes me to bloody Spain to get the runs. Typical.

And then the Game Boy Color. That I got for Christmas, 1998. The main reason I remember that is because my former favourite game of all time (now reduced to second because of the blisteringly brilliant Mass Effect 2), The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, came out a few weeks before it. I had a choice: I could either get Zelda or the GBC at launch, and get the other for Christmas. I think I probably made the right choice.

Exactly one year later, I got a badge from N64 Magazine (which is still going – sort of – as NGamer) because I sent in a gameplay variant (which is still good ‘fun’ – try and hookshot onto every roof in Kakariko Village without touching the floor!) which got published. It was also the week that my mate and his mum had to sleep in our living room because her partner was being a bit of a bastard.

The original Game Boy Advance was up next. That was clear blue plastic. I got that on launch day, after failing to win a competition from Nintendo Official Magazine to win a pre-launch one (I’m still bitter about that). I unfortunately can’t quite remember the year – it was perhaps 2001? – but I know that I got F-Zero Advance with it. It also notably began my launch-day Nintendo streak – since that day, I’ve bought every single major Nintendo console release on launch day. It also began my streak of playing said consoles for about three days before getting bored and playing something else. Yeah, I’m kind of mad like that.

I could go on. Playing Ocarina of Time after my grandad’s funeral is one that always comes up in my mind. 21st September, 2001. Getting my N64 in Year 4  – Feburary 13th, 1998, if you want me to be specific – at Winton Primary School (I was in Mr. V’s class) from Toys R Us. My Granny from Ireland being in the UK when my parents got my my Super Nintendo in 1993 (packed with Super Street Fighter II Turbo, if you were wondering). I don’t have a specific date for that one. Consider me a failure if you must. I got my first Xbox 360 on 20th April 2006, and my second on 8th March 2009. Which, if the parttern repeats itself, probably means I’m due another one this month. Oh crap.

And even more recently. I’ve always been an attentive student at school, college and University. Indeed, I didn’t even miss a class through illness from September 2005 right up until October 2009. However, I did – without a hint of regret, I might add – skip my final poetry class of my first year of University – 23rd May, 2008 – because that was the day Rock Band came out. I like music games that much.

(If you know me you will undoubtedly have heard me say this before, but if you’re a new reader, you may want to know that I despise 99% of the poetry ever written throughout human history. Naturally, having to take a mandatory, 12-week class on poetry in my already-horrid first year at Uni made me want to slit my wrists. That’s probably quite bad of me, especially since I like to think of myself as a writer, but I’m being totally serious. I can count the amount of poems I even vaguely like on one hand, and they’re all either by Shakespeare, Seamus Heaney or…no wait, that’s it.)

So yeah, I quite like games. I kind of feel like they’re a huge part of me. They are, as I said earlier, ‘my music’. Although The Beatles are/were pretty damn good.

Anyway, allow me to completely change the subject.

Today – well, yesterday – I released the newest preview of Not Quite Normal, called Mirrors. I’m not going to plug it that much, but you can get it in a multitude of eBook formats for the low, low price of free by clicking this thingy, which I suggest you do with reckless abandon. Hopefully it’ll go down as well as Tomahawk and Endeavour have done. Fun fact: it was the first story I ever wrote for a piece of University coursework. It’s actually quite humorous to see how far my style has come on in the four years since then. Let me know what you think – I’ve updated the Contact page with some places you can, uh, ‘hit me up’.

As ever, many many thanks for reading. You can’t possibly know how much this means to me. Back soon.

Onwards!

Hello.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support – or, at the very least, interest – that Not Quite Normal has been getting. (If you don’t know what NQN is, I recommend you check out this previous post, which should explain everything.) If you’re one of the people who downloaded Tomahawk, viewed this blog for the first time or just posted and RTed links, then thank you so much. It means a lot to me. I hope I can keep your attention for the next few weeks at least.

With that in mind, I now have a strategy for the release of Not Quite Normal. I uploaded a new story today, the second official preview. Well, the first preview, technically, since Tomahawk was only a test, but you get the gist.

The new story is called Endeavour and can be downloaded from Smashwords right now for the low, low price of free. This one has a cover and legal bits at the front and everything.

(Speaking of the cover, the image is from Flickr and used under a Creative Commons Attribution license. It’s properly credited in the book, but I’ll credit it here too. It’s from Flickr user ‘sensechange’, and you can find the original right here. It just caught my eye.)

Endeavour is a story I wrote at University, and it’s intended to be a cross between the theme of Frankenstein with the narrative format of Dracula. Both great books, incidentally, although you probably don’t need me to tell you that. I won’t say much else about the story since it’s pretty short (it is, after all a SHORT STORY) and I don’t want to spoil it. But it’s one of my favourite pieces and – I must say – one of the highest-marked stories I wrote at Uni. So it must do something right (write?).

Anyway, strategy. I have a release date for the final version of Not Quite Normal, though I’m keeping that to myself for the time being in case of unexpected circumstances. But it’s relatively soon and perhaps quite obvious. I’ve also decided to put up a new sample story every ten days or so. Obviously, since Endeavour is up today, you’ll be able to get the next one towards the end of next week (or maybe the weekend).

Announcing the anthology the other day has given me a huge kick up the backside. I’m being more productive than I have been for a long while. I’ve already gotten first drafts of two new short stories in the books (HA HA I MADE A TERRIBLE PUN) and ideas niggling me like a mosquito bite to my frontal lobe for more.

Things are going great, basically. So thank you again. Even if this whole project ends up falling flat on its face come the release of the actual anthology, I’ll know that I’ve tried my damndest to get it right, to get it perfect. And I know that there are some people out there who are interested in what little ol’ me is up to. It’s so nice.

Until next time!

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