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Weekly Update: Getting back on track


Untitled Cozy Catastrophe

I am currently at 44,000 words on the first draft of this, which I started at the beginning of November for Nanowrimo. That’s around about 70% on the first draft.

Hell Hole

This was about 95% written when I stopped work on it, due to things going on in my life. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to ever work on it again, but things change and it’s probably what I will be doing when I finish work on the Cozy Catastrophe.

The Ladies Adventure Society

This is about 50% done. Not sure when I will get back to work on it, but it’s still on my list.


I am less sure that I will work on this, but I still really like the story. I am keeping it on the list for now.


Still working through the re-masters and making good progress. There are some new titles which have never been published before that I am going to start working on soon, and that’s more exciting and unexpected.


I have published quite a lot of remasters now. I’m not sure which ones I have written about here before, so I will just give a list of all the ones that are available:


Short Stories

And I think that brings us about up to date. I’m trying to post more regularly to my blog now, so check back again on Monday.

Heinlein’s Rules

Last week I put an index card on my desk, which I see every time I sit down to work. On it are Heinlein’s five rules for the business of writing:

  1. You must write
  2. You must finish what you start
  3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order
  4. You must put it on the market
  5. You must keep it on the market until sold

I first became aware of these rules on Dean Wesley Smith‘s website. He has a lot of great thoughts on them.

Yesterday I wrote about rule four, but the only one of those rules that I have consistently stuck to is rule 1: You must write.

In recent years, I have found finishing what I start to be a challenge. My computer is littered with incomplete manuscripts.

When I put index card on my desk, I made the commitment to follow those rules. I didn’t think that it could make much difference, but I am glad that it has. My current story went through a challenging period, and I was beginning to convince myself that I needed to start it again, or give up on it completely.

Having the rules as a constant reminder helped me push through those doubts and once again the story is flying. I wrote over 3,000 words on it today.

I have a lot more thoughts on these rules, and how I intend to apply them, but right now my focus is on sticking to rule 2 and finishing everything I start.

Heinlein’s Fourth Rule

Heinlein’s 4th rule states that “you must put it on the market” and that is something that I haven’t always done. I have been writing for publication for more than ten years now and have only published about 50% of what I started writing.

Some of those projects are lost forever, started in some random notebook when I thought writing longhand would solve all my problems. I can’t do anything about those. Others were written on a computer but abandoned halfway through a first draft, they will be tricky, but not impossible, to get back into.

I can do something about the rest though and I spent a pleasant half hour this morning trawling through Dropbox and downloading stories that I never got around to publishing.

They range from short stories to trilogies across multiple genres. One series I got as far as having covers made, but never quite got around to publishing. That one didn’t get published because I came up with a new plan for the series and they weren’t compatible. I nevere got around to writing that series, so now I can publish what I originally wrote.

I am trying to get better about finishing what I start. In the middle of the process, when the excitement of starting something new has worn out, it is easy to convince myself that a project isn’t going anywhere, or that it’s no good. The thing is that I know that is the worst time to actually judge a story. And even when it’s done, I don’t think writers can really judge the quality of their own work.

There are some new projects on my list that I’m really excited about. Maybe I will even get around to continuing the series that almost, but never quite, made it to publication. Either way, I am excited for people to finally read them.

Follow Up on A.I. Audiobooks as Accessibility Tools

After writing yesterdays blog post I was listening to episode 501 of the Sell More Books Show where they were discussing a recently announced KDP plan to allow authors to create A.I. audiobooks. If yesterdays post was interesting then you might want to give it a listen.

I hadn’t heard about Amazon’s plans to release AI narrator tools, but I assume it will work in a similar way to the Draft2Digital / Apple Books system. With the added benefit that the books will be available on Audible as well, which is by far the biggest market for audiobooks.

It does lead me to wonder whether I will need to pick one store or the other. A brief look at the terms and conditions for the audiobook program suggests that for the term of the contract, you can’t create additional versions. That is likely how it works with traditionally narrated books as well, so I’m not too surprised about it. Fortunately, the contract is only for 6 months, so if the KDP program is fully up and running by May / June next year, I should be able to move things over.

A.I. Audiobooks as Accessibility Tools

It has always been my intention to start releasing my stories in audiobook format but I didn’t think I would get around to it as soon as I have done. Originally, I was thinking it would be when I started releasing the new books that I am working from, and that the older titles would not be converted over.

As you might know I am currently doing re-releases of all my back catalog titles. I publish direct to Kindle, but use Draft2Digital to get my titles on the other stores. I like D2D because I can upload everything once and they handle all the distribution and that makes it a lot easier. They are also really good at trialling new services.

When I was loading up the new version of Unhallowed Ground I got a pop-up suggesting I start an audiobook version. As well as the Findaway Voices option, there was a new option to create an audiobook on Apple Books using A.I. voice generation.

The process couldn’t have been more straightforward and I set everything up. But I did feel conflicted about it.

As a writer, I am keeping an eye on the A.I. business, because one of the things it does is write. There have been whole books created using ChatGPT. So I was worried that I was contributing to the problem by using A.I. rather than a human narrator.

A few months ago, I remember reading about a guy who used A.I. to create the images for a children’s book and there was a lot of backlash about that because he was taking work away from an actual artist. Which I can sympathise with. I didn’t want to go down that route, not only because I didn’t want to deal with the hate, but because I respect the art of audiobook narration.

I was close to pulling the title from audio, but then I had a conversation with Tamzin and she helped me realise that I’m not taking work away from a human narrator by doing this. First of all, I had no intention of creating audiobooks for these stories. So this wasn’t a case of choosing an A.I. narrator over a human one, it was choosing an A.I. narrator over no narrator at all.

Secondly, and this is something that rarely gets spoken about, there is a whole group of people who enjoy reading, but because of vision problems, can’t. When you think about it like that, creating audiobooks is creating an accessibility tool.

Thinking about it that way helped and I have created a couple more audiobooks the same way.

Once I start releasing new stories, I fully intend to use human narrators. However, having done a couple of audiobooks this way now, I’ve got to say, I’m really impressed by the quality of them. There are some rough edges that you wouldn’t get with a person, but for what they are, they’re really good. Certainly something you could comfortably listen to.

If you’re interested in checking them out you can find my current releases here:

Visible Monsters Cover

The remastered edition of The Ghouls is now called Visible Monsters. Got the cover back last week.

Weekly Update: Friday 13th

This week has been a bit of a struggle with some changes to my routine. But these things are going to happen and the most important thing is that I am still here and work is still getting done. This blog is one of the things that has suffered a bit, but planning to get back on it next week. Anyway, on with the updates.

The Ladies Adventure Society: Book One

Progress is continuing. It currently stands at 54,055 words. That is 10,823 words written this week. At the moment, I am thinking this will be released in June 2024.

Horror Shorts Remastered

Two more short stories to go and the remastering edit will be finished. Not sure what I am going to do with these stories, other than update the files for download in the EBook stores. A horror short story collection seems like the logical thing to do.

Unhallowed Ground

The promotion for this remaster is winding down now, and I have been pleased with the response it has received. Hopefully it will continue to sell once the price goes back up and the reviews will start coming in.

Visible Monsters

This is the new title for the remaster of The Ghouls. I have the cover back now and am very pleased with that. It’s quite different to the Unhallowed Ground cover, but I think they will look good next to each other on the shelf. My current plan for this is to upload the new files next week, and start promoting it in November.

On Hold

  • City in the Fire: Remastered
  • The Vampire Next Door: Remastered
  • The Shadow Walker
  • Discordia

That’s all from me this week. I will check in on social media this evening, so if you’ve got anything you want me to know about send a message. Enjoy your weekend.

Weekly Update: Moving Right Along

Making steady progress on everything. There are a ton of plates spinning at the moment, but I think it’s all under control. Time will tell, I guess.

The Ladies Adventure Society Book 1

Status: First Draft WIP

The first draft is going well. Current draft stands at 43,000 words and not quite half-way through.

Unhallowed Ground: Remastered

Status: On Sale

The remastered edition is now on sale. At the time of writing, it is on sale for $0.99

It’s available as an EBook, a paperback and as of yesterday, it’s a an audiobook on Apple Books.

Horror Shorts: Remastered

Status: Editing

This week I started work on the remastered editions. They were some of the first things I wrote for publication, so there is a lot of work to do on them.

On Hold

  • The Ghouls: Remastered
  • City in the Fire: Remastered
  • The Vampire Next Door: Remastered
  • The Shadow Walker

Making Movies

It seems like a long time ago now, and, in fact, it is twenty-years or so, but once upon a time, I wanted to be a filmmaker. Or, to be more precise, I wanted to be a screenwriter.

The ambition was a logical extension from my early years of writing stories in notebooks. Back then, there was no independent publishing the way we have it now. If you wanted to be a novelist, you either had to work with a traditional publisher, or vanity publishing. Neither of which were things that I particularly wanted to do.

My first alternative was writing plays. I was in year eleven of secondary school, when I wrote my first (and so far, only) play. It was called Walking in Shadows and maybe I will tell you about it some other time. Although my career as a playwright was short-lived, the script was enough to get me onto a new course called Moving Image at the local college.

I stayed at the college for four years, getting a National Diploma, followed by a Higher National Diploma. During that time, I wrote a lot of short screenplays, several of which were filmed, and there may have been one or two feature length scripts as well.

The course was not specifically in screenwriting, however. As well as writing scripts, I had to film things, both fiction and non-fiction, and edit them. Editing was my least favorite part of the course. Perhaps it was because the computers were slow and it took ages to do everything, but I think it is something more fundamental than that. Even today, editing is my least favorite part of making books. I much prefer having the ideas in the first place.

Fast forward to today, and I am an independent author trying to get the word out about my books and I thought one way I could do that was by making a short video trailer. Imagine my surprise when I discover how much I enjoy cutting images together with music.

It was not what I’d expected at all. I’d expected the work to be dull but worthwhile. Now here I am thinking of all the cool things I could do with a thirty-second teaser trailer for a book.

The trailer is basic. I am cutting it together using iMovie (at college we used Final Cut) but this might just be the start. The hours spent huddled with friends in the editing suites are coming back to me and I’m enjoying it immensely.

I should finish the trailer this week, and I should have it on YouTube next week. Who knows what I am going to make next?