Thursday, 28 February 2008
with a special sale and Take a Leap Giveaway, with two ways to win!
All through Leap Day, 2.29.08, you can get 29% off all eBooks in our store
using the checkout code LEAP2008. When you purchase a title from the
Phaze.com catalog on Leap Day you will be eligible to win one of TWO
Phaze.com gift certificates valued at $29 each.
You can also enter the drawing by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
with your Name, E-Mail Address, and one sentence describing the best way
to "take a leap" on this extra day.
How would spend your Leap Day: an actual "leap" with a bungee cord
attached your ankles, or a metaphorical "leap" toward an exciting new job
or romance? Let us know; we'll post the answers we like best on our blog.
All entries for the giveaway must be in by midnight, 2.29.08 to be
eligible. No purchase necessary to win!
Until then, stay Phazed and Enthused!
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Which is pretty accurate. On the new the morning, there were terrible scenes of houses whose chimney had fallen from the roof. There were bricks in the street for god's sake! Some even landed on cars! Oh, I've never seen such horror.
Of course, I jest. Yes, it's terrible for the insurance industry who'll have to pay to make good the minor damage across a small area, and for those people whose premiums will go up as a result, but the way the media are reporting it you'd think it was the Great San Francisco quake of 1906. I mean - get a grip people, there (according to Wikipedia) around 800 of this size quakes a year. And almost 200 more powerful.
One VoxPops said "I was watching TV in the lounge when I heard a big bang and a the house started to shake. I rushed outside and other people felt it too. We thought it was an earthquake. I checked the house but it was okay. I thought it might have been a terrorist attack at first."
WHAT??? Firstly, what were you watching at 1am. There's bugger all on except for XXXHousewives. And secondly, a terrorist attack? You're in Hull. No offence to anyone from Hull, but a residential street in a small provincial town on the east coast of England at one in the morning is hardly the sort of high profile target that today's terrorists look for, is it?
It's media hype gone mad. I blame Climate Change.
As for me, did I feel it? I'll admit that I didn't. I was tucked up in bed sound asleep-until Mrs Nobbs woke me to tell me she thought the next door neighbours were going at it a bit too vigorously because the floor was shaking. I think it was a hint. I went back to sleep.
Friday, 22 February 2008
Now, the first year we did this I won. And was accused of cheating since I ran the thing. The second year, I proved I wasn't cheating by finishing last. And finishing last the year after that.
This year, after two rounds of matches, I'm not last - which is nice. But the top four, at the moment, are all women. Which for an office full of so-called Rugby Experts (not me, but all the other men) this has caused no small amount of embrassement. There's another round of matches this weekend. So who know's what will happen.
I'm hoping I can get up the allotment again this weekend. I've still got half the plot to dig over. But I'd also like to find some time to do some writing. I probably won't get to do either of these things, but I live in hope.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Am I the only one who doesn’t like texting on a mobile phone? I’ve just sent a message to a friend and it took nearly 10 mins to key in a few words. I much prefer e-mail. I do like a proper keyboard.
I saw something on the local news last night and it got me thinking. It was about a couple of friends who’d met up after a long time apart. Real sappy stuff – you know what I mean. Anyway, I figured it was time I actually paid for the sub to Friends Reunited and get in touch with some of the many, many names I recognise on there.
Now, how’s about this for a co-incidence, I get an e-mail from FR a few hours later (after I’d forgotten about buying the sub) telling me someone had sent me a message. Well blow me down with a tickling stick. And no, she hadn’t seen the same news item as she live in a different part of the country and gets different local news. It was just one of those funny things.
Anyway, I bought the sub, mailed her back and we had a bit of a e-natter. Quite cool really. I mailed a few other old friends too, but none of them have got back to me yet. I hope they will though.
On the writing front, I’ve started a new story. Well, actually, I’ve had an idea to combine a couple of older stories that I started but never got very far with. The idea isn’t bad. At least, I don’t think it is. Here’s the outline as I see it right now.
Sound good? Just need a good ending. Any suggestions?
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Last week I blogged some questions I answered during an all day chat session. Here is the second lot of answers.
Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
I started writing about ten years ago now. I was unemployed at the time and spent a lot of time online. I read a lot of the stories you get in newsgroups like a.s.s.m. and figured I could do that too. So I did. Except it wasn’t very good. About four years ago I joined a writers group called Desdmona’s Fishtank, and I learnt all about things like plot structure, conflict, grammar, style, you name it. I learnt tons. I’ve not looked back since.
Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer?
The Guys at the Fishtank. They really are great. I owe them so much.
Your work is very popular with readers and reviewers; how does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
Well… My first Phaze release isn’t out until April so I can’t say if it’s popular or not. I’ve had work go down well on StoriesOnline, but I’m hardly a star there – I’m not prolific enough for that. It seems that SOL readers prefer quantity over quality. And I get hardly any feedback from Ruthie’s Club, I don’t think many people do.
Ask me this again in a year’s time and we’ll see if my Phaze work is popular or not with paying customers. If it is, I’ll answer it. If it isn’t, I’ll cry.
What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Great Characters. Great conflict. Great resolution. Simple really. Oh, and great sex, if it’s a sex story. ;-)
Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Ahh. That’s easy. The Colonel from “Lost & Found”. He started out as a secondary character. Just an obstacle in the way of my lovers. But as I fleshed him out, he started talking to me. He told me what drove him. He’s an honorable man and a proud man, but I didn’t realize it until I got into his head. My editor says that through the various drafts of the story, he earned my respect. And she’s right. He did.
I think that these characters that start out as one thing and evolve into something else are my favorite to write – you’re never quite sure what they are going to do until they do it.
Another character I really enjoyed writing was Kelly from
Please tell us about the projects you are currently working on; what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
I’ve been writing a story which has had all sorts of draft titles, but is currently called “Chloe’s Education.” It’s a long way from finished, but hopefully, it’ll be worth the effort.
April sees “
Ruthie’s have accepted a story called “Extended Family” about a woman who asks her husband to ‘help out’ her twin sister. I’ve also nearly finished a forth Ladz ‘Local Lovelies’ story, and I’m sort of working on two more.
Finally, I’d like to go back at some point in the future and rewrite
Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?
My new email a should work, but it’s not really been tested. email@example.com If someone wants to test it for me…..
Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I wish. I’ve got a two year old son and he demands a lot of my attention. My wife says it’s because he loves me. But I don’t get a chance to write while he’s awake. He keeps trying to ‘help’. Trouble is, “fhgfe rag fg js” doesn’t mean an awful lot to most people.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
The guys at the Fishtank. I wouldn’t be the writer I am without them. Special shout outs should go to : Cassie Exline, Mat Twassel, Jenny Mount, H.L. Berry. All have guided me in the right direction.
Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced you work?
My favorite author would be a chap by the name of Terry Pratchett. If you’ve never heard of him, look him up. Once you get past the wizards, witches, trolls, dwarfs and other customary fantasy shit – you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.
Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
The best fiction is driven by character, because interesting characters drive the plot by their actions. Two characters would react differently in the same situation resulting in different plots.
For example, if I could replace
It’s always about character. Always.
Monday, 18 February 2008
I spent much of yesterday down my new allotment, digging the soil in preparation for the planting season and putting my hardy fruit bushes in. The allotment is new for us this year, so there’s a lot of work that needs doing before we can start the real job of growing some fruit & veg.
It’s a big old plot, as you can see below, and I don’t yet know if it’s going to be too much for me and Mrs Nobbs or not. I’ve got to lay some paving slabs so I can erect a shed (which we haven’t yet brought), and the whole plot needs digging over. The guy on the plot next to us has covered his whole plot with fresh farmyard manure (Lovely smell) but we’re planning to use some good quality compost only where we need it as we don’t know any friendly farmers (or any farmers at all come to think of it) who can supply us with a lorry load of cow shit.
We didn’t do badly yesterday. Even with Nobby Jr running around the plot and pulling up my raspberry canes as fast as I could plant them. Here is a pic of my little fruit section – 10 raspberry canes, a loganberry bush and a tayberry bush. They're not much yet - but I'm expecting lots of lovely summer fruit.
It’s Phaze week at the Romance Excerpts Only yahoo group this week. You’ll be able to read lots of excerpts from upcoming Phaze releases, including my very own “
Friday, 15 February 2008
It was, as you probably know, Valentine’s Day yesterday. I know that in recent years it’s become more of a marketing gimmick for florists, card companies and supermarkets, but hey ho, trust me on this, it’s not worth a married man’s life to ignore it. I didn’t buy Mrs Nobbs a card on principle—that principle being they are a waste of money. I did by her a lovely purple orchid though. It was a very reasonable price too from the local independent florist. It even came with a pot. I just hope Mrs Nobbs doesn’t kill it. Here’s a couple of photos of said orchid. And yes, that is a photo from our wedding next to it.
Valentine’s evening was a bit of a washout. Mr Nobbs is a teacher, and the school, with the collective wisdom of any good committee, scheduled a Parent’s evening for last night. So instead of spending time with me, she spent two and a half hours talking with parents of her year 7 pupils. She got in quite late, but I had a nice meal waiting on the table for her. Nothing too fancy, just a chicken & bacon pasta in four cheese sauce. I did do a nice starter though. I baked some asparagus in the same cheese sauce. That was very nice.
On a different front, I heard yesterday that Ruthie’s have accepted my short “Extended Family” for publication. Don’t know when it’ll appear yet, but when I do know, I’ll be sure to let you know.
I’ve got the second part of those author questions from my last entry to post. I haven’t forgotten – I’m just saving them for later.
Must go now, being hassled to do some damn work.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
On Monday I was hanging around for a yahoo group chat, promoting the two books etc. As part of the day, I answered some questions for authors that had been posed by the group moderator. Here are my answers to the first set of questions.
Tell us about your newest book and what you hope readers will enjoy about it.
I have two books coming out soon, “
If you could visit any time and place, where and when would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a toughie. I guess I’d like to have been alive in the summer of ’66. Ideally, I’d have been a Wembly to seeIf you could be a shapeshifter, what form would you take and why?
lift the world cup – but just being anywhere in the country would do. England
Who thinks of these questions? I reckon I’d be… I don’t know. I bird of some kind. It’d be cool to soar above people’s heads. Lame answer. Sorry.What's number one on your list of things you hope to do before you die?
I want to see my son grow into the man I know he can be.Describe your idea of the perfect mate.
My wife. She’s the best.What do you wish men understood about women?
Speaking from a man’s point of view - Anything at all. If I could understand one tiny thing, it’d be a start.What is your favorite thing to put in your mouth?
Chocolate – of course.Besides your significant other, what celebrity makes your heart beat fast and why?
Kiera Knightly. Ohh, you would. Well, I would.What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I hate to say it, but it’s all there in the books. My heart and soul. Guess you’ll just have to read them? ;-)
Who's more fun t write about, bad boys/girls or perfect gentlemen/women and why?
They can both be fun – it just depends what they’re up to.
Monday, 11 February 2008
I’ve had a funny old weekend. My little boy has been under the weather for a few days and it seems as if the only time he’ll sleep at the moment is when he’s resting his head on my chest. And even if he does fall asleep like that, he wakes up screaming if I try and put him in his bed. Hopefully, this won’t last long – or I might go nuts!
I’ve been updating the covers for all my downloadable books at Lulu. I’ll also be adding a few new downloads before I’m through. This is all to coincide with “
Just a short entry today – I’m on computer duty again at work. Man, I hate computers!
Thursday, 7 February 2008
After reading Mat’s blog yesterday telling us who he’d gone for on Super Tuesday, I got to thinking about who I’d have voted for. I know, I know, I’m a Brit and it’s none of my business, right? I should keep my lame opinions to myself.
But the thing is, whoever makes it to the White House in November affects the whole damn world, not just those within the
So, who would I vote for? Truth is, I don’t know. The problem I have is that I only ever see the snippets of them speaking (or crying in Hillary’s case) on the news. I have no idea what any of them actually stand for. Even watching ‘Newsnight’ (which is great) doesn’t help, cause what you get is the filtered opinions of the few American commentators who could be bothered to talk to the foreign press.
Perhaps I should find out who Gordon Brown would vote for and pick their opponent as my favourite? I do find it odd though that you can vote for who you want to be the candidates, and then vote again to decide which of the two chosen gets the big prize. I guess I’m just not used to it. It looks set to run and run though – so by the time the real election takes place, I’m sure I’m not going to be the only one who’s sick to death of it.
On a different note – I’ve made some changes to my website. All cosmetic – the content hasn’t changed. Take a look.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
I submitted “Extended Family” to Ruthie’s yesterday. You might remember this as a story I mentioned that I didn’t know if it was finished or not. I sent it to the fishtank for their opinion and (as I knew I would) got conflicting views. Roughly half the people said it was fine to stop where I had, the other half thought there was more to come. Much more. So I still didn’t know what to do.
Anyways. In the end, I decided to let the publishers have their say. Naturally, I made a few changes based on the comments from the fishies, but I didn’t extend the story. I’ve sent it off in its “Am I finished or Not” state. If Ruthie’s decide to accept it (which, as I always say, is by no means guaranteed) then all’s well. If it comes back to me, then I guess I’ll have to write more.
But that’s not the end of it. If it’s accepted by Ruthie’s, they ask for a six-month exclusivity period. What I’m thinking is that in those six months, I could extend the story. I know there is more that these characters have to say, but right now I don’t have the energy or time to sit and listen to them. But in six months I might. Is this a cop out? I don’t think it is. I think this is a better solution than having the story sit on my hard drive for an extended period. It will allow the story to be read, and give me chance to work out what the rest of the story is.
I’ve also completed a first draft of a new Ladz ‘Local Lovelies’ story. I’m hoping I can review that in the next few days and get that submitted too.
I’ve got a proof of “
To coincide with the release of
"But… If you were… Why didn't you? You must have known…"
Monday, 4 February 2008
Today I’m taking part in an all day chat over at the PhazeChatters yahoo group. Why not pop over there and say hi? There’ll be tons of other great Phaze authors there too.
In case you can’t make it, here’s an extract from “
978-1-59426-872-4 - Price $3
David put the phone down and wondered what could be so urgent that
would take this kind of risk. He daren’t think what would happen if Susie caught them together. His train of thought was distracted when Ben snored gently. So often the little boy fell asleep in David’s arms. He studied him as he slept. His face was subtle mixture of pleasure and contentment. People often said that Ben had David’s eyes or his ears, or mouth, or any other feature they could think of, but David couldn’t see it. He thought that the boy shared his eyes with his mother and aunt, but they were the only features he recognised. He certainly couldn’t see himself in him--but he loved him just the same. Charlotte
Ben stirred at the knock at the door but didn’t wake. David opened the door with one hand while clutching Ben to his chest with the other.
stood in the doorway, looking as radiant as always. He put his finger to lips to silence her before she spoke. He nodded for her to come inside. “I’ll just take him up to bed,” he whispered. “Then we can talk, okay?” Charlotte
nodded. David could feel her watching him as he carried Ben upstairs. When he returned, she was still in the hallway, waiting for him. He took her into the kitchen and offered her a glass of wine. Charlotte
“What if Susie finds lipstick on the glass?”
“She won’t. I’ll have time to clean it before she gets back. After all, how long can it take you to warn me not to come to the shop again?”
“Warn you… What?”
“That’s why you’re here isn’t it. To warn me off. I’ll understand if it is. It means you felt it too.”
“What? Felt what?”
“The spark. It never went away, did it? The spark between you and me. I could feel it the moment I stepped into the shop, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I came in to talk to you about Susie and… I’m sorry, Charlie. I’m so sorry. I know what we did was wrong. But you can’t tell me it didn’t feel right. You can’t tell me that it didn’t feel as good as before--better even because we’d been denied each other for too long.” He looked at the floor. The silence lasted for a few awkward seconds but seemed much longer.
Friday, 1 February 2008
I was talking with some colleagues yesterday over coffee and the subject was brought up of “it’s been x years since…”
This got me thinking. This summer it will have been 15 years since I left secondary school with a bag full of ‘A’ levels and got ready to start university. I was a fresh faced (but slightly spotty), floppy haired virgin with not particularly stylish glasses. Yep, you heard right, I was a virgin when I started uni. That soon changed though (wiggles eyebrows) as I ‘enjoyed myself’ at uni—living away from the prying eyes of my parents for the first time, drinking too much, working too little and enjoying the company of one or two select young ladies. Ah, the memories.
It’s also been ten years since I started writing ‘erotica’—although I think the label ‘porn’ would be better for my very early work. Ten years, off and on—I had a couple of sabbaticals, one of them for a few years. Ten years.
It’s been four years this spring since I joined the Fishtank and two years since sold my first story for cold hard cash. I think I’ve come a long way when I look back. When I started writing, I was still floppy haired, but sported a dodgy goatee. And I was a teacher—or at least, I was trying to be. Ten years on and the goatee is gone, the hair is no longer floppy (in fact, it’s starting to recede), and I’m an accounts manager and a father. I do wonder what the next ten years will hold.
Looking back on the ‘way’ I used to write compared to the way I go about things now is interesting. Not so much the process of writing, which I’ve spoken about before on this blog, but rather what I’m writing about.
Those early stories were very much based on my fantasies, memories and a combination of the two. The story “Claire” was a ode to a girl I went to school and fancied like mad, but never got the opportunity to get close to.
The male characters were basically me, or idealised versions of me. The girls in the stories were based on old girlfriends, people I wished had been girlfriends or fantasy girls. The other characters were all unimportant to me—set decoration mostly.
And yet, as time has gone on, my characters have become less versions of real people so much as real people in themselves. Real people that influence me and the story they are in.
Take my June release from Phaze, “Lost & Found”. In the original version of the story, the character of “The Colonel” was merely an obstacle for the two lovers, Beth and Chris, to overcome. He was in their way. He wasn’t a particularly interesting or well rounded character. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he was a stereotype. But as the story has developed in the editing, he’s become much more interesting. I was able to write a few scenes from his point of view. To get ‘in his head’ and really understand what he’s about and what his motivations are. In short, he demanded that I listen to him and put his side of the story across. To paraphrase my editor, he earned my respect. Now, I think he’s probably the most interesting character in the whole piece. In fact, I’m considering writing his back story at some point in the future.
And such is the way my mind is working ten years on. The side characters are becoming as interesting, if not more so, than the leads. The leads are no longer ‘me’ – they are their own people. I’d say I’ve matured. Not just as a writer, but as a person. I understand why I write now—and that can only bode well for the future.