JRV Press

As of last night I officially own the domain name JRVPress.com

This is the name for the company that I will be using to publish my books going forward.

The name stands for Jude Robert Victor. This is the name of my oldest son.

Jude was born on 12th July 2013 and he died suddenly and unexpectedly on 1st June 2021.

I haven’t written about Jude’s death here yet and now does not feel like the time to do so. What I will say is that Jude loved books. He devoured them, both metaphorically and literally. We have dozens (hundreds?) of books that still have his tooth marks in them.

It seems like a suitable name for a publishing company. I think he would have appreciated it.

The War Against Distraction

There is a lot of money in distraction. A lot of time and effort goes in to ways to make us spend more time on social media, browsing websites, checking our messages. There is a lot of money on the table for the companies that can convince us to spend the most time on their products and services.

I struggle a lot with distraction.

Last week when I was sick, I spent a lot of time online. Enough to make me sick of checking the same websites repeatedly. Enough that I felt as if I’d read everything worth reading (and plenty of things that weren’t) on Reddit. I didn’t have the energy to do much more. I was distracting myself because I felt unwell.

On Monday, I went out for lunch with my mum. We were talking about reading and she told me she used to read two or three books a week but now can’t concentrate for long enough to read books at all. I told her it was because she had Facebook on her phone. She then told me she’d read they were going to charge for Facebook, which I explained would never happen, but I realized she was waiting for something like that to save her from the distraction.

When the Reddit blackout was happening to protest the API changes, I saw a few posts of a similar nature. People saying it was a good thing because if they couldn’t use their favorite app, they wouldn’t want to use the service at all. There seems to be a similar sentiment regarding the destruction of Twitter / X that is currently happening.

We recognize that these services, and the way we are using them, are problematic, but we are also waiting for someone else to come along and save us from them. Whether that be the hoax of Facebook charging users for the service, or a service becoming less appealing. I don’t see many people taking a stand and making changes because they know it is beneficial for them.

Like I said at the start, there’s a lot of money at stake for these companies. Even if the current ones became unusable, there will be others to take their place. Distraction is big business, and it’s going to be even bigger once companies convince us to walk around with headsets strapped to us all day long. I just don’t see a world in which someone else comes along and saves us from these distractions.

If businesses are going to put in so much money and effort into keeping us distracted, it seems reasonable that we might need to do the same to avoid or escape from them. That’s where I have ended up. It has meant getting over the nagging voice in my mind that says things like ‘just stop using it’ and ‘that’s overkill for avoiding looking at your phone too much’. It has meant accepting that I have to invest a fraction of the time and effort being used to distract me, to escape.

I am typing this blog post (at least the first draft) on an e-ink screen. The first draft fiction that I wrote this morning way typed on the same screen. It is not as quick as a computer monitor, and everything is in black and white, but it doesn’t distract me. There is no part of me that thinks I could do a quick command-tab over to check Reddit, or whatever. My phone (an iPhone, for now) has nothing much on it. If I am at home and want to listen to music, I will use my record player. If I am out and about, then I have an old MP3 player.

There are other things as well, but I think you get the point.

I do not think this is a one and done situation. Technology keeps changing, more money keeps being invested and new systems for distraction keep coming. There will be temptations ahead, and it may cost me more money, and more convenience, to fight back against it. I do not think there is anyone else coming to save me from these distractions, so I am going to have to keep saving myself.

Another Day in Isolation

It’s no fun being sick. It’s even less fun not feeling sick but not being able to do anything because you might still be infectious.

I woke up yesterday feeling a lot better but when I took a Covid test it quickly showed that I am still positive and that meant back to my chamber of isolation. It came up so quickly and the line was so strong that I think I have a lot of the virus still in my system.

So here I am, sitting in my office while Tamzin and Oscar are out doing something fun in town and I can’t join them.

I don’t think I’m totally recovered yet. Still have that virus feeling of hot skin and I don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m sick of being on my own. Yesterday I watched a couple more films and lots of The Simpsons and Family Guy episodes.

It’s the last full week of Oscar’s summer holiday and I haven’t been able to enjoy it with him.

On the bright side though, neither he nor Tamzin seem to have gotten Covid. That’s good. Also no reports from the people who I saw at the weekend coming down with it. I guess I have taken this one for the team. But it’s still frustrating.

Remastered Editions

It’s pretty common for movies to be re-released as ‘remastered editions’ or ‘directors cuts’. It’s less common for it to happen with books. And I’m not sure why that’s the case.

I started publishing about ten years ago, and I have learned a lot during that time. I have gotten better at writing and publishing and I want my work to reflect that. 

A lot of the stories that I have published haven’t sold particularly well, despite getting some reasonable reviews. Part of the reason for that is that I have done no promotion. One reason I haven’t done is because I don’t feel confident in the books themselves. I wouldn’t say there is anything wrong with them, although I suspect they read amateurishly and don’t represent the best I can produce.

Which is where these remastered editions come in. I am going through all my backlist titles and re-editing them and making them as good as I can today. Once I have done that, I think I’m going to feel a lot happier promoting them to people.

Avoiding the Star Wars Problem

I was born in 1983, just before Return of the Jedi came out. There were no new films produced until I was almost an adult. Star Wars was something I was always aware of and when the original films were re-released, I saw them at the cinema. Star Wars was cultural background, so I heard all about the problems with the new editions.

Although my backlist is not Star Wars, I am keen to avoid changing things that change the stories. I don’t want to have a Greedo shooting first moment. So I am limiting the changes I can make.

These remasters are a spit and polish. They are an attempt to improve what is already there and make it as good as they should have been in the first place. That’s why I’m looking at grammar and spelling and making things clearer where they aren’t already clear.

This is also a question of time. I believe that the best thing I can do to get more readers is to write new stories, and that is what I am using most of my time for. But if those readers want to delve into what I have written previously, I want them to enjoy the experience, not give up and say that my past work is terrible.

The First Remaster

I have gone back and forth on what the first release should be. If I was further ahead, then I would go with the zombie books, which are by far the most popular titles. I have, in fact, already remastered the first book in the trilogy and started work on the second. But then we have Halloween coming up and I thought it would be good to have something ready for that.

The first remaster that I will release is Abomination. It’s a haunted house story. It’s a standalone title. My plan is to have it ready and published in October so that I can promote it for the spooky season.


I have Covid again. It’s my second time. Not sure how I got it. I had a great weekend and felt fine, but on Monday I woke up at 4:30 in the morning feeling terrible and the thought popped into my head that it was Covid. I went back to sleep, but when I woke up, I took a test and here I am on Wednesday.

Luckily Tamzin and Oscar don’t have it. Although that means that I am in isolation, stuck in a bedroom, feeling sorry for myself.

It’s not as bad as the first time I got it, which was about a year ago.

Still not sure how I could have got it. When we went to London a week ago, we were the only ones on the underground wearing masks. It seems like that was too long ago to be the time. It also seems like too little time between seeing people on Friday and getting it on Monday. The line on my test was really strong, so I guess I’d had it for a few days before showing any symptoms.

I am still doing some things. I got a bit of writing done yesterday, although I didn’t feel like I could write a blog post afterwards, which is my usual way of doing things.

As well as reading, I have watched some films and TV. Yesterday I watched a few episodes of For All Mankind, the new episode of Futurama and Ready Player One. I started watching The Man of Steel in the evening but fell asleep halfway through.

Today I am writing this blog post first. Later on, I will do some more writing. At the moment, I am only aiming for 1,000 words a day to keep my head in the story. It’s slow progress this way, but things will pick up when I feel better and Oscar goes back to school.

This is all to explain why there hasn’t been a new blog post from me for a few days.

Who Owns The Internet?

I wrote a post a few weeks ago during the whole thing with Reddit changing the API rules. I never posted it and it’s not relevant anymore, but it made me think about the digital tools I use.

It’s not as if anyone ever thought that Reddit was a not-for-profit, but the sudden change of rules still caught everyone off guard. In the weeks since things have settled down and if you go on Reddit now, it’s like nothing ever happened. I don’t know if you can say the same about Twitter / X because I haven’t been back since I deleted my account.

The thing is, these places are social media platforms and there is an unspoken agreement that we give them content in exchange for a mechanism which allows other people to view that content. I’m kind of uncomfortable with that agreement for several reasons, but it is what it is. We accept they are going to make money from our content, so the fact that Reddit and X have done so, in a way that has upset a bunch of people, is annoying but understandable.

What about places that aren’t social media platforms?

This is the one that really gets me because there are a lot of places online where we put important things on the assumption that it is going to remain there. Or that we are going to be able to continue accessing it. I used to do it and sometimes I still do. But it makes me uncomfortable because they can change the rules at any moment.

It’s not entirely clear to me what the answer is to any of this. I try to do as much of my writing as I can in plain text and use local storage. I started this blog back up again. I am still looking at ways I can manage the content I create and keep ownership of it. If the changes at Reddit have shown us anything, it is that building a business on someone else’s platform is precarious.

Consider This A First Draft

Or why perfection is the enemy of trying

It’s commonly accepted that the first draft of every story is going to be rough. There will be spelling mistakes, grammar errors and, even if you are a planner like me, there will be plot-holes you hadn’t considered. It’s something you know going in, but you know you will get a chance to work on it later to fix those things.

If you thought you had one chance to write the story, only a single pass to make it perfect, that would be scary. Aiming for that level of perfection would make it hard to even start.

So why do I let it stop me with other things? Why have I waited until now to start blogging again? Because I wanted everything to be perfect before I started. I didn’t consider the fact I would learn much faster by writing and publishing these blog posts than I would by just thinking about it.

The same was true of publishing. I haven’t done much recently for reasons that I will write about one day, but ten years ago I just started putting things out, trying different platforms and methods and I learned a lot in the process. But I never felt like I could do the same with the other aspects of publishing and marketing and all that fun business stuff.

I think that for me, part of it was worrying that people wouldn’t forget. That I would make one mistake and never get a second chance. Which is pretty crazy. I’m a normal person, I’m not going to do anything that would upset people. Realistically it’s far more likely that no one would notice what I’m doing.

Which is why I’m trying this new thing. Considering everything a draft that I can work on and improve and get better at. It’s going to be better for me to try stuff and fail than to never try because I don’t think it’s going to be perfect.

I am now a full-time Author

I didn’t really expect it to happen like this. If I’m honest, I never really expected it to happen at all. It has always been my ambition to be a full-time writer, but it always seemed just out of reach. Something that I was always working towards but never seeming to get closer to. Then one day it happened but, like I said, not the way I expected it to.

At the end of May I was made redundant from my day job. It was a shock. I had been with the company for something like 14 years. There’s no hard feelings though. I don’t think it was ever the right fit for me. It was something to do while I waited for my writing career to take off. It was convenient because I could work from home and it paid reasonably well.

Then it was gone and I had to figure out what to do next. I considered various options but none of them was right. I didn’t want to have to go into an office. I didn’t want to have to get another “job”. And all the while I was thinking and looking into what I was going to do to make money, I was continuing to write fiction, as I have always done.

One day, I was talking to Tamzin and she asked me if I thought I could make money from fiction. I’m already making money, I told her, just nowhere near enough. But, if I could focus on that and start doing the “business” side of things as well, there was a pretty good chance that I could make more. So she told me to do it. And here I am.

I’m not starting from scratch. I have a decent back catalogue to work with. I have been publishing for more than ten years. The main problem is that I haven’t actually told anyone about it. There are people who don’t even know I am a writer.

Since that conversation I have spent a while learning more about the business side of publishing and working out what I need to do. This is an ongoing process. Nothing is set in stone. But I have ideas and I am starting to build up the things that I need. You will be hearing a lot more from me.

Cat Update

Pixel and Cody are doing well and getting more confident. Pixel has let us stroke her and was really interested in the smells on my trainers when I came back from running.

Bonus Cat Content

Not What I am Writing About Today

There are some things that we never “get over”. They are things that we carry with us our whole lives. Things that become part of who we are.

That is not what this blog post is about.

At some point I will write about what that thing is for me, but I can’t do it right now. I can’t climb that wall yet and, if I don’t go around it to write this, then I guess I will stand there looking at it forever.

Just because I am not talking about it now, doesn’t mean that it’s not still important. It doesn’t mean that I am not thinking about it constantly. It only means that I can’t write about it. Yet.

As long as we understand each other on that front, I can carry on.

The Cats

Yesterday we picked up two new kittens. They are a brother and sister. Oscar named the boy Cody after a character in Total Dramarama, and the girl Pixel after a character in Ninjago.

Pixel the cat

Pixel was the first one out of the crate we brought them home in, immediatly marking her out as the brave one. She was also the first one to use the litter tray. When Cody gets scared he runs over and hides behind her, so I guess he thinks she’s the brave one as well.

Cody was the first one to eat. We gave them some wet food as a treat last night and he was the only one to eat it. I guess that makes him the hungry one?

It’s nice to have animals in the house again.


This morning I found myself starting to doubt the story I’m working on. I began asking myself whether it was really the best thing I could be doing, whether I wanted to spend so much time writing it.

Resistance is part of any project worth taking on and I am used to coming up against it. Sometimes I win the battle and sometimes I lose. Quite often, the battles that I lose, end up being projects that I look back on and wish I had finished.

“Resistance in my experience always kicks in when you’re trying to move from a lower level to a higher level or to identify with a braver part of yourself or your higher nature. So it’s that negative repelling force. It’s kind of the dragon that we have to slay every day if we’re artists or entrepreneurs.”
– Steven Pressfield

Even now there are stories sitting half-finished that I think I might return to one day but that I wish I had never abandoned. They are stories that I think would have been really good. Perhaps they were stories which could have pushed my skill to a new level.

So the question becomes; how is it best to handle resistance?

“Don’t prepare. Begin. Our enemy is not lack of preparation. The enemy is resistance, our chattering brain producing excuses. Start before you are ready.”
– Steven Pressfield

Which is where I find myself now.

There is always the possibility that what I am working on isn’t worth persevering with, but I won’t know that until I have some perspective. The only thing I know for sure right now is that most of the projects I have abandoned would have been woth persevering with.

I don’t know if I’m ready to start yet, but maybe I should take the resistance I’m feeling as a sign that I should. There are reasons to wait, good one’s, but there might be better ones to start.