Composing Mr. Composure


Well, isn’t today an exciting day?

Why?  Because it’s a Tuesday!  
Is that not a good enough reason?  You want to know more?

Well (again)…

Last year, my novel Sin was serialised on Wattpad – the YouTube of books with over 14 million unique hits per month.  I’d posted samples before this point and was surprised and delighted to be asked to put the whole book up there.  Of course this was a risk.  If people could read it, why would they buy it?  In the end, however, this hasn’t mattered.  At the point of writing, Sin has had over 607,200 reads and some very humbling comments.  The fact i now have such a large fanbase wipes out any concerns I had about book sales.  I’d much rather have someone tell me they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written than have a couple of quid and not hear anything.

Anywho-de-do.

Earlier this year, my wife and I watched a movie.  The premise of the film was that all crime, for twelve hours, would be legal.  The movie was called The Purge.  It was a little disturbing, to be honest, as it showed what some people might possibly do just because they could.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by the lovely Caitlin at Wattpad with another opportunity, one she wondered if I’d be interested in.

It seemed NBC Universal were bringing out the sequel, this time called The Purge: Anarchy.  It also seemed Wattpad were involved in the promotion of the film and had contacted their “top writers” (!) to ask if they’d like to write a story, based on the premise of the film, to coincide with the release of the film.

Would I be interested?  WOULD I??

That’ll be a yes!

Now, I admit to a little concern about this.  Not only was the story going to be tied in to the release of what I don’t doubt will be a successful film, but it was also outside my comfort zone.  I generally write paranormal thrillers.  Yes, I’ve dipped my toe in the waters of children’s poetry and erotica, but mainly it has a supernatural side.  For this, I figured ghosts or Death would be a little out of place.  Wattpad had said they wouldn’t mind a paranormal twist, so I set about writing.

I surprised myself.  The story seemed to come quite naturally, and I’d taken a different, hopefully original, path to tell the tale while still keeping it true to the premise.

It wasn’t easy going, to be honest.  I desperately needed a new computer at home so thought this was the perfect time, and excuse, to buy one.  It turned out my new PC didn’t want to download anything on Windows Update.  I spent two nights, when I should have been writing, trying to solve this issue.  Once I did, I then spent time getting the machine all set up.  Then I began to write.  Then the wireless keyboard decided to not want to play.  Then the helpdesk warranty people instructed me to do a system restore – back to just before I’d installed all the software.  Then I had to mess about doing it all again.

But…

The story is to be written in four parts.  The first part of my work, Mr. Composure, will be going live today – 24th June – with subsequent parts being uploaded weekly.  Not only will it be going up on my own page, but NBC Universal will be featuring it on their page too.

And it will be used, over the course of the year, to promote the film!

Can I just say WOW!?!

So, please drop by and take a peek.  I hope you enjoy it!  And, watch out for the release of the film next month!

My Wattpad page is here.  You’ll find Sin, along with lots of other stories by me and, now, part one of Mr. Composure!

NBC Universal’s page is here, where you’ll find my story plus others and a whole lot more!

Have a look at the trailer for The Purge: Anarchy.  Looking good!

Update!  As of 10:33am (UK time) on 28th June, Mr. Composure has had a massive 21,565 reads!  It’s also been called ‘the best story on Wattpad’ and ‘simply stunning’!
Wow!
Update 2!  As of 07:55am (UK time) on 30th June, we’re at 27,146 reads!  That’s unbelievable!  Thank you so much to everyone who’s dropped by.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and so many of you have left incredible comments!  Part two will be uploaded tomorrow (Tuesday).
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It’s an ePODemic

Print on Demand.  There’s so many options, it’s difficult to know where to turn.

 

And that’s my problem.  I don’t know where to turn.  A veritable plethora of PODs to pick from.  But which is the best?

 

Everyone seems to have their own opinions and pertinent points.  One offers free alterations, another has lower shipping costs, another better distribution.  But one might insist on a larger wholesale discount and another has greater printing costs.  It’s a conundrum which has my head spinning.

 

I’m looking from a UK point of view, remember.  I don’t know how these companies work in your respective countries, but the main options here include:

 

CreateSpace

Lulu

FeedARead

Lightning Source

Ingram Spark

 

FeedARead is sponsored by the UK Arts Council, I believe, and Ingram Spark is essentially Lightning Source for people with less than 30 books – which removes Lightning Source from the options anyway.  CreateSpace doesn’t actually print in the UK (I could be wrong) and I’m worried about shipping costs.  Lulu is OK (I’ve used them before), but the shipping costs aren’t cheap and others have less production costs too.

 

Then there’s ‘Global Marketing’ or ‘Extended Distribution’ or whatever each company wants to call their particular flavour of getting your book out into the big wide world.  They don’t all take returns, which could rule out independent bookstores taking on copies.

 

CreateSpace are part of Amazon, so your books will be on there, which is great, but they all, pretty much, get your book on the Mighty A.  With CS, your book will always be in stock, whereas with others it could say it’s normally 3 weeks delivery.  Or 6 weeks, even.

 

Ingram Spark are, as the name suggests (and by association Lightning Source), part of Ingrams.  This means your book is automatically on the Ingrams catalogue, a very useful thing to have.  FeedARead apparently make sure you’re listed on Bertrms and Gardners, again, very useful when you want your baby in bricks’n’mortar stores.  In the UK, some of these list on Waterstones too.

 

I’m heard the CreateSpace interface for adding your book is fantastic, a real breeze.  Lightning Source, on the other hand, is meant to a real pain.  Lulu isn’t too bad but is somewhat awkward.

 

Who do you use?  And why?  And why not one of the others?  Of course, it’s each to their own.  It could come down to the toss of a coin, but I’d be interested in views.

 

It’ll help me make my own mind up!

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Stealing Moments…

Some ideas come from nowhere you can properly our your finger on. They seem to leap into your mind as if they were hiding behind that door wanting to make you jump. Or they feel like they’ve always been there, sneaking into your thoughts to the point where you can’t actually remember not having the idea in your head at all.
Then there’s the idea which comes from a word or a phrase or a picture or TV show. One that pops like a lightbulb and gets it’s claws into your brain and refusing to shake its grip. 
Last year, I went to the Manchester Ethiad stadium to see Bon Jovi.  It was a concert is wanted to go to for years and I have to admit I wish I’d done it years before as it didn’t live up to expectations. But that’s as may be. 
One if the support acts was excellent. James Walsh, ex of Starsailor, was grey and a pleasure to watch and listen to. One of his songs was Precious Stolen Moments, and an idea formed. 
Or the hint of an idea, at least. 
In fact, I don’t think it was even that. I think it was more like the title dug in for the winter, hibernating until the spring came and it could germinate into something much more. 
Well, spring is here. 
And the idea is germination and blossoming. 
Only the other day something was said about ‘stolen moments’ in a conversation with my wife, and that became the fertiliser I needed. 
Last week, I finished my story Secrets, the latest entry for my Darker Places collection – the follow up to Dark Places. My intention was to finish off Puddlebrain and continue to work on Mortal Sin, the sequel to Sin
Things don’t always happen as I intend, and I felt the need to finally begin the story about these ‘stolen moments’. 
And so it begins. I keep writing little bits as time allows, thankful for finally discovering OneNote on my iphone to let me keep track of such scribblings. 
Here it is so far. It’s not much but, and this is something which happens very rarely, I know where it’s going. I’ve even, after a fashion, written the ending. 
Stolen Moments
 
I help people. I help them. 
 
I don’t kill them. I… I help them. I…
When they have nowhere to go except into the hearafter, I bring the hand of Death and theirs together, to be led peacefully wherever they would be taken.  
When the edge of night threatens to darken their day, I bring a torch with which to guide them on.
I don’t kill them. 
I don’t…
It started…  Oh God, when did it start?  It seems so long ago. Another lifetime. Another me. Another town. Another…
Well. Just ‘another’ everything.
Then things changed. Things changed so much. It was as if space and time were spinning about their singularity and one dipped its toe into the chaotic waters and I was one of the ripples. 
The crow, I think. 
It started with the crow.
I hope it shows promise. I think it does. It has its claws in me anywho, so I’m stuck with finishing it. I’ll let you know when we’re done! 
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A Special Event

The game is a foot.  Hold on…  A foot?  Left or right?  Does it have one of those toes next to the big toe that super long and pokes out past its plumper sibling?  Erm…
 
No, the game is afoot.  That’s better.
 
I have to admit to being a massive Sherlock Holmes fan.  I always have enjoyed the character – though I’ve yet to actually read one of the books…  But, from Basil Rathbone through Jeremy Brett, via Robert Downey Jr. to the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch (well done on your NTA award!) I’ve watched the shows and films.  I even have the Sherlock Network mobile game.
 
Anywho.  What was I going on about?  Feet.  No.  Games.  Ah, I know – Author Days.
 
Yes, I know that was a bit random, but the connection, however tenuous, was right there in my head.
 
Author Days.  Or, rather, Day.  Singular.
 
Book signings are pretty cool, I think.  I enjoy them, personally, and I think those that come to meet, greet and grab a signed copy of one of my books like them too.  It’s a chance, not just to hand over cash for what I hope is a good read, it’s a chance to get inside the head of the person who created this world you’re going to be venturing into.  Granted, there aren’t that many who actually ask questions or sit awhile and chat, but those that do add a great deal to the day.  I’ve been asked about the locations in Sin.  I’ve been quizzed on the connections between the book, the Prologue and Sin’s blog, his ‘Diary of a Madman’.
 
Being able to talk to potential fans about such things often prompts thoughts and realisations about my writing.  It helps me see insights about the characters and myself I, perhaps, didn’t actually see beforehand.
 
So.  Soon, I’ll be joining local authors Lynette Creswell and A.E. Murphy (Alex) to lay ourselves open for just such in-depth chats.  Well, not just that – there’s a whole lot more too.
 
On Saturday, 15th March, from 10am to 3pm, we’ll be holding an Author Day.
 
So what differentiates an Author Day from a simple book signing?  Well, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to purchase our books, but we’ll also be there to talk about writing.
 
None of us are saying we’re experts – far from it.  In fact, if we did, I’d hope you’d turn and walk away!  No.  What we are is experienced.  For aspiring writers and the like, we would like to take the time to share what we’ve learned.  If you’re wishing you could write that book, let us help with prompts and tips.  If you’ve written a book and want to publish, we’ll give advice on ways to self-publish and recommendations on queries and synopses.
 
We’ll also have with us handouts with copies of successful query letters and other information.  Added to this there’ll be sample chapters from our books as tasters and even as examples of writing methods.
 
And, all this advice will be completely free.  Each of the three of us had to start somewhere.  Each of us is still learning, too.  We genuinely do know what it’s like to feel afloat in a sea of possibilities.  If we can throw you a rope and help guide you to shore, it will be our pleasure.
 
Of course, you will be able, if you so choose, to buy our books.  Lynette and I have our books in both paperback and ebook, and Alex’s wonderful series is available in ebook form.
 
Buying a book, however, is not a prerequisite to asking for our help.  If you simply want to chat, be our guest.

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Just Keep Swimming…

So much to do and so little time.
 
I admit, I’ve been a little (a lot) lax in my postings of late.  Sin has been too.  I’m trying to dedicate some time to writing so blog posts get left behind in the wake, bobbing about on the surface of my musings without being able to put their feet down and gain purchase.
 
There’s a number of things I want to blog about.  A fab meal I had at the Spice Hut in Cleethorpes.  My trip to Disneyland Paris last week (great trip apart from a few incidents with the coach).  Watching the excellent Captain Phillips.  More!
 
But, I’m not getting round to it.  I need a PA or something, it seems.  Or a clone.  Maybe I should talk to the producers of Orphan Black (worthy of a blog post in itself – brilliant show) to see if they have a spare.
 
Anywho.  I haven’t forgotten you.  I’m just trying, and I mean trying, to write.  I’m working on the sequel to Sin, but he’s gone and gotten himself arrested.  I wasn’t expecting that, so I’m a bit stumped as to what’s going to happen next.  I’ve got Puddlebrain, my children’s book.  I know exactly what’s going to happen (a first for me, I think), but I have to get to finishing it.  Perhaps it’s because I know it needs a good edit.  I used a few too many ‘big’ words for the age range, for a start.  But I’ll get there.  Puddlebrain is the story I began whilst writing Sin.  I’d written about 40,000 words and forgotten about them.  I do like what I’ve written, I just need to refine it.
 
Then there’s my current story, ‘Home’.  With inspiration coming from the same place as The Lake and Summer Loving, it’s sort of tied me up.  I’m revisiting an alternative version of my youth, and it won’t be pretty.  I expected this to be a short story of, perhaps, a couple of thousand words.  I’m at 3,000 already and still scope for more.
 
Excerpt from ‘Home’
The trip to school seemed to take all day.  I could imagine getting there just in time to turn around and go back home.  Unfortunately, the minutes were just taking their time, spacing out the seconds in between like a trail of sweets, with me as Hansel following politely and hungrily along.  I arrived at the school gates with just enough time to spare for my friends to semi-playfully make fun of my fainting episode.  I took the brunt of the jibes and jokes with a facade of smiles.  I’d do the same if I were them.  Cracking jokes, poking ribs.  It was part of being at school.
 
Of course, when I saw the blood dripping off my desk in English later that morning, not quite coagulating but thick enough to look like crimson snot dangling off the edge of the desk lid, the teasing ceased.  I didn’t scream.  I didn’t faint.  I simply stopped.  My feet no longer worked.  My eyes no longer blinked.  I suppose my lungs alternatively inflated and deflated and my heart continued to pump, though maybe a little faster, but I couldn’t tell.  I couldn’t hear the teacher or the pupils talking to me nor could I feel them pulling at me to make me move.
 
My world had disappeared and all I could see was the blood.
 
Then, I think, I did faint.
 
At least it would give my friends something more to take the Mickey out of me for.
 
So.  I’ll be back.  How many of you just said that in an Arnie-style voice?  I know I did when I wrote it.
 
Bear with me.  Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.  Just keep swimming, as the epic Dory would say, and I will too.
UPDATE:  Home, a ‘short story’ was finished a couple of days ago, to the tune of a smidgen over 9,500 words.  I quite like it.  You’ll, hopefully, see it in Darker Places…
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Win With Sin…

Wow! I’m delighted to have just passed 16000 Twitter followers! I feel a giveaway coming on!
The question: Name Sin’s sister.
If you haven’t read Sin, there’s info on my website, in interviews and she has her own story (the last one) in Dark Places.  And she’s the ‘opposite’ to Sin.
The prize? A compendium of ebooks, including Sin, Dark Places, Zits’n’Bits and Rudolph Saves Christmas.
 
Closing date end of August!
Either post your answer to my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/singularityspoint or tweet me @singularityspnt with the hashtag #WinWithSin
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