Like a lot of times when you reach a milestone, it’s time to celebrate and take stock. I sat down this evening and felt like I haven’t done anything.
But that’s not true.
Over January, I completed an editing commission, I finished editing my own latest novel, and I completed dry January, though in all honesty, I’m also looking forward to having a drink next week.
But I also managed to read seven books. I don’t think I’ve every read that many books in a month before.
I’ve also achieved a fair bit this weekend. I read one whole book in the last two days. Ata 225 pages, okay, not the longest, but still a whole book. I also managed to read the first “Book” of the Iliad. That is one dense read! There are 24 books within the Iliad, doubt I’ll get through that whole tome in a month let alone a weekend.
I also did two things this weekend that have really helped my mental health. Firstly, I dressed properly, not just dressed – I do that every day. But it was that I dressed in smart(ish) clothes. Including an actual skirt. I can’t remember the last time I wore an actual skirt.
The second thing I did, yesterday, was that I started writing a new book. I had got out a new notebook, and I started writing. I got the notebook because I was in pain in my left hand and I couldn’t face typing then (clearly better today). So I wrote, and I wrote 21 pages long hand, more than that – I am LOVING this story.
Today, I also spent a far amount of time tidying up my website and my blogs, yes, blogs, not just this one, by my crime writing blog, too. I put out a call to other crime writers, and many of them have agreed to do blogs for me, which is fabulous, and I can’t wait to learn more of my follow wordsmiths.
So yeah, a good month, I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished and I’m hoping that it’s a sign of how the rest of the year will go.
Been a meh day here. Can’t seem to propel myself into anything. I feel I should be doing something more active to help myself, but just can’t seem to find the oomph to do anything.
I’ve kept hydrated, I’ve taken the multivitamins, and done little else. Even getting the laptop out to do this felt like a major undertaking.
I’m a writer, crime or steampunk depending on what I’m doing. But I’ve always written, always made up stories. Right now, I can’t. Can’t even face editing a script I know I need to work on for production later this year. This is doubtless part and parcel of the depression, the lethargy and lack of motivation, but it’s odd. For me not to have any interest in writing is odd. Oh I have times of not writing because I can’t come up with anything decent, but this isn’t that. This is not caring to write, not really had that before. Not really liking it.
Well that’s, about all I’ve got to say tonight. Will blog again tomorrow.
I’ve been quite quiet on social media and blogging through June because I have been absolutely up to my eyeballs with stuff – more over stuff I wasn’t expecting to have to do.
If you’ve read previous blogs, you will have seen that I said I had a contract for my steam punk novel – well I had a verbal contract but we all know that they aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on, right? Well, finally I got the real contract through. While there was nothing actually wrong with the contract – the publisher had been fair and clear in all the clauses, but there was a tie in factor I was a long way short of being comfortable with, and a get out clause that was unnecessarily punitive. When I saw everything set out in black and white I saw that actually it wasn’t the contract for me.
So after a sleepless night, because I didn’t want to let the publisher down (she’s a lovely lady and I’d be happy to contribute more short stories to their anthologies), I knew I had to do something I never thought I would – I refused a publishing contract. This was even weirder and riskier than when I broke with my agent. I hated doing it – really did – but my gut was telling me that it was the right way to go and sometimes you just have to listen to the gut.
The result of which is that I am now going to self-publish Shades of Aether. <<Bites nails to the quick with nerves>> Luckily all the hard work was already done, structural and line edits, only the proofreading to go.
So June has been a whirlwind of finding a proofreader – thankfully Jefferson Franklin Editing made room for me – by bumping another job I had booked with them. Then there’s the cover to think about – luckily another friend of my is a publisher (very different genre so she wouldn’t publish a steampunk book) and she gave me recommendation of a cover design company she uses. Got in touch with them – explained what had happened and why I needed a quick turn around – and they said – we’re on holiday for two weeks so not sure, what’s your design brief? Luckily I had one, we exchanged a few emails and they’ve stepped up to the plate with an agreement to get me draft design by end of July which should just about give me time to get it all set up for a decent print run in time to take copies to The Asylum – the Lincoln steampunk convention – not medical institution!
So – phew!
Then there’s my debut crime novel to think about – more on that later
I’ve been a writer all my life. I’ve tried all sorts and come to settle on crime (mostly). But I also came to settle on the idea that I just couldn’t get published, I was ready to give up my dream. Then one day I heard about this call for short stories for an upcoming anthology, the theme being “The Strange Island of…”
I was instantly inspired, dreamed a new story, so I wrote a piece. It took some changes to my thinking of how to write because it was a very different genre to the one I was used to. The piece, The Steel Inside, still had mystery and suspense, like my crime writing, but there wasn’t a crime, well not in the illegal sense. The whole island isolation helped. The fact that I had read a few steampunk books helped too. But mostly what helped was having a good story idea and then twisting it.
So I finished the story – all 10,000 words – and sent it off.
Then promptly forgot about it.
I try to do that. Remembering that I’ve sent something off for consideration always leads to painful worrying. Will it be okay? Will they like it? Will I tie myself up in knots wondering? The only question I ever answer yes to is that last one. I guarantee I tie myself in knots waiting to hear.
Then I heard. I really thought that it was going to be another thanks but no thanks, but – stunningly – they loved it. I was accepted!
My first ever piece of steampunk and it won through. Amazing.
The Steel Inside, is now the last entry in Steel & Bone from Xchyler Publications.
The real point of all this isn’t blowing my own trumpet, though that’s quite nice too. The point is the effect that it had on me. I was just about ready to give up on the idea of ever being published, and finally a proper bona fide publishing house was going to print one of my stories. It renewed my belief that I really can write.
Renewed belief allowed me to carry on, and I have since managed to secure an agent in Ian Drury of Sheil Land Associates. I have also published a collection of short crime stories, Last Cut Casebook. The Steel Inside also inspired me to write a whole new steampunk series, but I’ll tell you more of that later in the month.
Without steampunk I wouldn’t still be writing, so thank you Steampunk, you saved my writing life.
Say hello to the murderer next-door. Outsmart a mad bomber. Take on The Preacher, and pray for your life. Feel a gun to your head, the knife at your belly. Welcome to the Last Cut Casebook.
This collection of crime stories comes from CWA shortlisted author GB Williams, brings you police procedurals, amateur sleuths, vigilantes, private eyes and bomb disposal experts. Thirteen stories with a combined body count over thirty. Edgy or noir, domestic or international, these are stories that explore the darker side of life, and the true meaning of justice.
That is the blurb from Last Cut Casebook.
It’s out! I have finally launched my first self published book.
It took a while and I genuinely thought at one point that this was never going to happen. My confidence faltered time and time again. Only half the stories that made the cut were in the original draft, which means half as many again got pulled out. I arranged for a cover artist – who had to pull out of the job. Then I grasped a straw and to be honest I accidentally found a fantastic artist – Linh Doung. Linh is 18, studying Graphic Design and is very talented. I love the cover of my book. It’s just brilliant, better than anything I was imagining.
I’m very proud of the stories that have been collected into this one place. And I hope very much that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.