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21 Posts tagged with the self-publishing tag

What next?

Posted by spooks101 Apr 9, 2018

Haldred Chronicles: Anna is out.  2 years of work and book 4 has at last been released.  I am happy with the result and it seems so are my readers!  So, after more than a month of resting, what now?




I’ve already completed one big task, and that was to submit a short story to sci-fi and fantasy publishers Black Library as part of their call for submissions.  With the able help of my wife Deborah, who proofread the submission, I sent off the 500-word extract and summary a couple of days ago.




The second big task now sitting on my to-do list is, of course, book 5.  I have taken some time to look through my various story ideas and have decided to go with ‘Haldred Chronicles: Twig’.  This story will concentrate on the Courier-fey, message passing creatures that have been a staple of Haldred Chronicles since the first book.  Now, with book 5, readers will learn a little more about these creatures.




I have a few other plans as well that I’ll work on when I have time.




I hope to go over my first 3 books and reformat the look of them.  Each of them featured slightly different font and paragraph design so I now want to re-edit them so that they are all the same.  In addition, I hope to use the re-formatted work to create better-printed copies of the books via Kindle Direct Publishing.




I’ve also been working on a synopsis of book 3, ‘Shade’.  Together with a recently completed introduction letter and the first 3 chapters, I hope to use this package as my way to advertise the series to potential publishers and agents.




There is plenty planned for the next few months.  I feel like the Easter holidays have allowed me to get back into writing and make my plans for the future of the series.




Till next time.

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Book 4 release date

Posted by spooks101 Jan 28, 2018

At long last, after 2 years of work, Haldred Chronicles: Anna is finally being released!




My 4th book will be available from the 1st February 2018.  The final proof is being checked over, the cover is ready, and all I have to do is the technical stuff and it will be available on Amazon Kindle.




As a bit of history, the beginnings of this book were in 2012, as it was originally going to be the 2nd book in the series after 'Alyssa'. However, the story didn't quite fit with what I had planned at the time so it was shelved.




Now, after extensive updating to bring it in line with everything that's happened in the previous books, it fits with the series just right.




Without giving too much away, the new book takes the characters to a foreign land and will introduce the reader to several more nations of the Haldred Chronicles world.




I hope all of you will enjoy reading this latest book, just as much as I have enjoyed writing it.




Expect another blog update on the 1st February, announcing the official release and providing a link to purchase :).




One more thing.




I'm making all 3 of the previous books in the series (Alyssa, Kalla and Shade) available free on Amazon Kindle from the 1st February to the 5th February. So if you know anyone who might fancy getting into a new book series, please let them know!




Until the 1st my friends!

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Still good, still writing!

Posted by spooks101 Jul 20, 2017

I seem to be continuing the trend of long periods of time between blog posts, sorry everyone!


I've a good excuse though, as I've been very busy writing and planning.  Book 4 of Haldred Chronicles is progressing along very nicely. I'm onto my 2nd draft now, and the core story and characters are complete.


My plan now is to flesh out descriptions and details, fill in a few more scenes for key characters, and proof the entire book once done. After that, I should have a complete story that I can then confidently pass to a few trusted proof readers.  It looks as if it'll be finished by November as planned (if not before).


At the same time, I've found myself drifting back to the distant past of my writing lifetime. Years before I started Haldred Chronicles, I was writing a massive novel with the tentative title of "Adventure and other bad ideas" (thanks to Saul for the original title suggestion). This novel eventually laid the background work for Haldred Chronicles (it's set in the same time period) but was never finished, despite me writing over 77,000 words for it.


Now, with Book 4 heading toward completion, I'm thinking of giving it another go. It won't be a 5th Haldred Chronicles book, but instead will be a big stand alone novel set in the same place. Rather than concentrating on the Council of Peace and criminal investigations, this new novel will turn it's attention to a group of mercenaries and their adventures. Characters from Haldred Chronicles may pop in from time to time though. Time scale wise, it will be set after the current crop of the novels.


That's the plan anyway. I first have to finish book 4. All being well, the next time I post an update it will be to report book 4 completion!  Wish me luck. Till next time.

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I've not been idle

Posted by spooks101 Nov 1, 2016

Well it's true, it's just I've not had much time to write a blog, but I'm taking a bit of time now to redress the balance.   It's been four months since my last blog update, and exactly seven months since my son Logan was born. We've been a busy little family since then, and our 'wee man' has been growing up fast.  On the writing front, I've been busy with the following.  •     I finished the first draft of the Wrathborn wargames background and submitted my writing so far to its creator. We'll be meeting up again soon to expand on the background further.  •     I submitted a short story entry to Black Library publishing house, who produce Warhammer and Warhammer 40k novels. Sadly, my entry was not accepted for publication, but I did get past the first triage so I'm pleased they took a good look at my entry. I'll definitely be trying again next year.  •     Very recently I've been working again on my fourth Haldred Chronicles book 'Anna'. For a long time I've been going back to it but not feeling inspired enough. Now, with an infusion of new ideas, the story is back on track! I'm up to 22,000 words and counting.  •     I'm also writing a synopsis for Haldred Chronicles : Shade. The plan is I will being using Shade as my pitching book to publishers, so I need to write the synopsis very carefully.   •     Finally, I'm taking part in Nanowrimo, the November writing competition, but in a different kind of way. Mantic Games, a local wargaming company, are running a writing competition in celebration of Nanowrimo. They want a couple of short stories written for their Warpath and Kings of War gaming systems. So, I'm going to have a go! Closing date is 1st December so like all those taking part in Nanowrimo proper, I've a deadline to work toward.   Plenty to keep me busy these next few months. Until next time, take

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plans within plans

Posted by spooks101 Jul 22, 2016

It's been a busy few months as Deborah and I adapt to the new arrival in our life. Little Logan is now nearly four months old and doing very well. Our little son is growing up quickly and our current prediction is he will be a mischievous one!


Whilst looking after the wee man has been my top priority, it doesn't mean I have been idle on the writing front.


I have massively expanded my Pinterest account with writing tips and tricks. Everything from story structure to simple grammar has been posted up and I've found it very useful to have this library of knowledge at my disposal. If you're interested, find my pins here:


In turn, I've continued to develop the 4th book in my Haldred Chronicles series. 'Anna' is taking shape nicely and I'm aiming to have the first draft complete in a couple of months. As in my previous blog post, I will see how it progresses but am not going to promise anything just yet.


I've also continued to write background for Wrathborn, a wargame system, as well as keeping my Black Library short story submission up to date.


Finally, just within the last few days I received my copy of "Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2017", which I shall be reading extensively for information on publishers and agents.


Till next time!


PS: this is the first blog post I've written and published completely on my BlackBerry Passport! Next, let's see if I can write a book on it!

PPS: unfortunately in my haste to publish this blog I managed to make a number of grammar errors.  My thanks to those who picked up on them and let me know; corrections have now been made.

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Lots of news and fiction!

Posted by spooks101 Jun 1, 2014

Blog update 1st June 2014




This will probably be my last blog update for a while, as the final preparations for the wedding are falling into place and of course afterwards, our honeymoon J!




In between planning for the great day, I have still been writing away on Haldred Chronicles: Shade and immensely enjoying the experience.




This novel is turning into a more complex plot, but I think readers will enjoy it more as I’m operating with now somewhat established characters. That and I’ve developed my own style to a greater extent.




Whilst blog posts have been few and far between, I’ve continued to be active on the social networking scene.




I now have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, as well as blogspot. For those who are on these accounts, please find my links below!




Twitter =


Facebook =


Pinterest =


LinkedIn =


Tumblr =


Blogspot =




Finally, I thought I would post up the below short piece of fiction. I presented this at my writing group and they liked it, so I submit it now for all of you to see and hopefully enjoy. It is by no means polished but can be considered a stand alone aspect of Haldred Chronicles world.




Take care everyone, I’ll be posting again maybe in a months time. Thank you again for all your support.




* * * * *






The Shopping Trip



* * * * *




“I don’t need to go clothes shopping.” said Victoria again.


Sandra and Katy, walking either side, both turned to look at her at the same time. Their eyes scanned her up and down as if regarding a life sized doll as opposed to a living, breathing and mildly pissed off person.


“Yes you do.” The girls observed in unison.


Victoria wondered for a moment whether the two of them were twins in a previous life.




“Come on, it’ll be fun!” said Sandra, trying to infuse the situation with at least a little enthusiasm. Sandra was one of Katy’s friends, though considering the days activates Victoria was currently labelling her as ‘co-conspirator’. She was a short stylish young girl, Katy’s age, dressed in a fine blue dress with a flower motif across her front, complemented by a same colour tunic of thick winter material. Unlike the blond haired Katy, Sandra had black hair, braided up in a bun at the back of her head. She’d small blue eyes and a very smiley face. Far to smilely as far as Victoria was conserned.




Katy for her part wore a white dress and tunic, her hair as always up in pigtails tied by ribbons and a small fur around her neck for warmth in the still rather chilly winter air.




Victoria looked the most out of place of the three; she wore a burgundy tunic and black leggings, the thick leather belt round her middle bearing a Tornarian rapier and her Council of Peace badge. Her clothing, as far as she was concerned, was perfect for her day to day activates; the girls thought otherwise.




It had started out as an innocent enough suggestion. Sandra and Katy had visited on one of Victoria’s rare days off and suggested going out for a ‘girly day’. Victoria had at first, naturally, suggested she would rather have her brains smashed in by an Ogre. She had eventually consented, cautiously, to such an arrangement when the girl’s had accepted that a trip out would include visiting the Larrick City Militia shooting club, as well as passing by the National Museum’s newly opened ‘Warrior maidens of the Six Nations War’ exhibition.




However, as they were making their way into town the girls had leaned more and more toward ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ territory.  Wouldn't it be nice swiftly followed by ‘clothes shopping’. Victoria had valiantly resisted, but with two teenagers using both charm (“but you've got the body for it”) and manipulation (“wouldn't harm to take a look surely?”) eventually her mental defenses had been cunning breached and the teenagers had succeeded in convincing her to accompany them to parts-I’d-rather-not-go; namely the more trendy section of Larrick cities central market place.




“I’m not that kind of woman.” Victoria grumbled, crossing her arms and attempting to look as uncomfortable with the entire arrangement as she was feeling.




Now, much as a prisoner facing death row, she was being marched toward a foreboding looking (at least to her eyes) clothes shop. Complete with clean clear glass windows, finely painted shutters and door and, most worrying of all, displays of pink and white dresses in the window. Victoria’s stomach curled in disgust.




The sign on the door read “Madam Hendricks best flowers and ladies fashions.”




Oh just kill me now.




* * * * *




“This one’s nice. I think it would show off your curves nicely!”


Sandra, sadly, didn’t catch Katy’s frantic ‘No! No! No!’ hand gestures from behind Victoria. Sandra immediately shrunk from the look that Victoria shot at her, as sure as a sniper crossbow bolt.


“I do not need to show off anything.” Victoria growled, eyes having already narrowed.  The young girl took the hint, quickly placing the leggings back when she found them and backing away, so as not to antagonize the Council of Peace investigator further.




Katy, more used to the lioness’s methods of conversation and opinion, was more careful.


“What about this?” she held up a light blue ladies tunic. “It’s not pink.”


Despite the rather simple statement, this was a fine endorsement for Victoria; especially considering most of the clothing in the shop was various shades of the same off putting colour.


Victoria nodded, keeping a none-committal face but looking the garment over


“I think it would be quite pretty on you.”


Katy caught herself too late. Victoria’s glare returned.


“I mean in a ‘don’t touch’ kind of way.” Katy hurriedly added.




Sighing, Victoria put the garment onto the rather sparse ‘maybe’ pile and returned to casting her head around the disgustingly cutesy shop and keeping a hand on her stomach in a vain attempt to prevent herself throwing up.




This is just too much she thought, observing the interior and fellow customers. Dresses that were far too short, leggings that were practically see through and the whole **** facade for the most part edged or coloured in damnable pink, or variations on. She had, up until entering this store, never thought that there could be so many shades of that particular colour but apparently, there were. And they were all here, paraded before her for her despair. Whilst she was a woman and was more than happy to dress stylishly this…well this was just wasn’t right.




The customers were, for the most part, no better. A variety of young girls clucking to each other in clandestine groups, looking over cloths with shop sell’s people fretting round them and observing how ‘pretty’ they all looked no matter what they tried on. Nearby, worried looking mothers and fathers in what Victoria considered normal looking clothing, observed from the side lines wearing expressions similar to Victoria’s, looking around the shop trying to disguise their horror.




Kids these days. **** who am I kidding, adults these days!




There were indeed several trendy adults about the place, cooing at various garments in overly excited manners and grinning too widely once they tried them on.




Whilst Victoria’s brain may have been offended by pretty much everything on offer, it was still a Larrick City Militia trained brain. One more than capable of noticing things that appeared a little out of place.




Such as a very out of place looking bearkin.




Victoria frowned. Yes, that was a bearkin, hard not to miss a 8 foot tall furry combat monster, it’s back to her and slightly hunched over; apparently looking over a variety of women’s dresses. This was doubly odd as it appeared to be male. Her curiosity raised Victoria started to wonder over, Katy and Sandra otherwise engaged in complementing each other’s dress choices, apparently having forgotten that Victoria was even there.




As she drew closer, she got a better look at the creature. The bearkin was clad in leather utility battle plate, one of the few types of armour capable of being fitted to such large creatures. This would have looked out of place for any other creature in a cloths shop but then bearkin tended to walk around armed and armoured all the time.




It’s fur was dark grey, and well groomed. Evidently a bearkin who took care of it’s appearance. He’d broad shoulders and muscular arms, confirming that he was indeed a fighter. A long sword was attached to his back on what looked like a custom sheath. The sword was very familiar looking.




No, it couldn’t be.




“Ralgar?” she inquired hesitantly.


If bearkin could look scared, Ralgar’s expression as he spun round at Victoria’s voice, nearly knocking several dress display’s over, could definitely be read, across the span of race, creed and simple biological makeup, as utterly terrified.


“Victoria!” he exclaimed, his black beady eye’s having widened extensively. “Wah…what are you doing here?”




Ralgar was a mercenary bearkin, often found in Council of Peace employ and one Victoria was familiar with; he was known as an effective tracker and formidable warrior; not exactly the type to be found in a woman’s clothing shop.


“I’m shopping.” Victoria replied, coyly. She cocked her head to one side, studying Ralgar with a practiced eye. “And you?” she asked after a deliberate pause.


“Ah…nothing.” he replied lamely.


Oh come on Ralgar you can do better than that. Victoria didn’t say.


“Nothing at all?” she pressed further. The detective part of her brain was taking over, relishing the distraction Ralgar had unwittingly provided.


“Yes, nothing at all.” Agreed Ralgar. Unfortunately for him, Victoria was not so easily taken in by blindingly obvious lies.


“So what’s that in your paw then?” she enquired innocently.


“There’s nothing in my paw.” Ralgar replied a fraction too slowly.


He held up his left paw as if to emphasis his innocence.


“The other one.” Victoria ordered.


Ralgar, hands behind his back rather too blatantly transferred what was in his paw from right to left, before raising his right paw.


Victoria shook her head, hands moving to her hips.




“Alright fine it’s…” the Bearkin paused. “It’s a handkerchief.” He added as a last ditch effort to conceal the truth. Victoria was ahead of him.


“Handkerchief in the shape of a woman’s dress?”




Ralgar, defeated, just glared at Victoria. It was an action that would have caused a fight or flee response in anyone else. For Victoria, it was just a confirmation of her vindication; that and mildly amusing.


“Great ancestors I do hate you woman” he growled.


Victoria smirked just a little.


“Do tell us your tale Ralgar.”


“It’s my eldest.” He said in a lamentable tone. “She…she wants to look pret-tay.”


“Pret-tay?” queried Victoria, frowning.




“Pretty” Victoria corrected him.


“Whatever. She’s been attending a new private school that’s been opened to select bearkin.”


“How select?” enquired Victoria, crossing her arms business like; the distraction had turned very interesting.


“Best I can determine that involves bearkin with money. So, my mate has indicated that our eldest join up. Four months later and her head’s filled with all sorts of modern…things…”


He practically spat the last word.


“I know what you mean.” Agreed Victoria, looking around at the parade of, to her eyes, awful dress sense that continued to exist across the shop displays.




“There you are.” Said Sandra, coming up behind Victoria. “oh, and you met a friend!”


“Friend?” queried Katy as she followed Sandra. She stopped dead, eye’s immediately widening.


“Oh dear.” She managed in a tiny voice as she regarded Ralgar with a look of simple, complete terror.


“Oh come on Katy.” Victoria remarked, seeing the youngster immediate reaction when being confronted with a bearkin. “you know Ralgar.”


Ralgar was indeed one of the few bearkin Katy was familiar with; he was a friend of Gretna the dwarf’s and hence one of the few bearkin known at the Elks Horn tavern where Katy worked. This, however, didn’t seem to help her primal fear of the race as a whole.


“That’s why I’m not screaming.” Katy replied slowly. “But you’ll have to accept me still being…” she trailed off.


“Believe me.” Victoria replied. “Ralgar and I are the terrified ones,”


“Got that right.” Agreed Ralgar, not bothering to hide his shudder as he looked around the shop again and let out an audible grown of discontent.




“What?” Sandra asked but Victoria waved her query away, knowing better than to try and explain.


“Ralgar is here to get a dress for his daughter.” Victoria indicated.


“She wants to be pret-tay.” Ralgar added by way of explanation.


“Pretty?” queried Sandra


You’re going to get a lot of that Ralgar Victoria didn’t put in.




“We’re trying to make Victoria pretty too!” Sandra said absentmindedly.


Katy snapped out of her shock, and accurately jabbed Sandra in the ribs, making the girl at once winch and realise her mistake.


“I mean ah, prettier.”


Katy, forgetting Ralgar for a moment, just turned to look at Sandra with an expression that could be read as saying the word ‘seriously?’ without the need to vocalize it.




Whilst the two young girls were preoccupied, Victoria leaned in, or more accurately up considering Ralgar’s height, to whisper in his ear.


“Want to get out of here fast?”




“Me too.” Victoria confirmed. “Follow my lead and you’ll get a dress for your daughter quickly and we’ll both get out of here.”




“Ladies.” Victoria timely interrupted. “perhaps, we should continue?”




Victoria’s plan was rather devious. She had accurately determined that the primary reason for the girls entering the cutesy shop was not to get Victoria a variety of new cloths, but actually to get themselves a variety of new cloths. Having studied their habits, she had determined a cunning plan of action that hopefully, would result in her leaving the shop quicker than originally intended and with her wallet not quite as light as she feared.




She had, likewise, a very specific task for Ralgar.




The opportunity to advance came quickly.


“Oh Sandra, that looks lovely.” Victoria commented on seeing the girl examining a nearby dress. Sandra was surprised.


“Oh? You really think so?”


“Oh yes, very flattering and you’ve the figure to pull it off.”


The statement was accurately constructed to immediately entice the girls interest. Sandra wasn’t stupid, indeed far from it; but she was predictable.


“Oh, thank you.” Beamed the girl, looking over the garment. “Katy, what do you think?”


Katy wondered over and almost immediately adapted a concerned expression. “Oh Sandra, I…”


“I think it looks just lovely.” Said Ralgar’s voice, appearing behind Katy at the most opportune time and with the most appropriately menacing tone.


Oh nicely done remarked Victoria to herself.


Katy had the predicted reaction, going completely pale and stiff as board at the bearkin’s unexpected close proximity. It was a cruel and hideously unkind action, and Victoria surmised Katy would probably be giving her an earful later. But, if the rest of the plan went well, it would result in leaving the shop; a stated and much required objective.




“What was that Katy?” asked Victoria. “You thought it was nice too didn’t you?”


Katy managed to look over to Victoria. The sharp little youngster knew exactly what was happening but wasn’t really in a position to argue. She nodded slowly, defeated, trying to glare at Victoria but unable to effectively with a bearkin uncomfortably close.




“Well, that really saved some time.” Sandra agreed. “I’ll get this then. Victoria, what about…”


“Oh I’ve got what I need.” Victoria held up several winter leggings and the only practical tunic she’d been able to find in the store; they were easily the least cutesy looking garments. They were a small price to pay considering the amount of time and patience saved.




Sandra wasn’t completely taken in Victoria could see, but with Katy’s opinion effectively neutralized and no shop sale’s people about, Sandra had no choice but to take what she had purchased and conclude business; just as Victoria had planned.




All of them headed toward the nearest purchase point, Sandra leading the way confidently with Katy in toll and Ralgar keeping is position just behind the blond haired youngster; just close enough to keep her quiet.




As part of the deal, Victoria whispered in Ralgar’s ear her instructions from behind him.


“Extra large shoulder width, two twenty four, that one over there. You’ll need to modify for her hips I’d say but play your cards right and you’ll be on her right side and your lady’s for a long time.”


“Nicely done Victoria, appreciated.” Concurred Ralgar


“All in a days work Ralgar.”




Sandra and Katy were waiting for her at the door, disappointed expressions prepared and hands already on their hips.


“That was so mean!” Sandra declared, glaring as best she could at Victoria. “Poor Katy told me what you did.”


“I didn’t do anything.” Victoria replied innocently. Katy was glaring at her as well but sadly the two youngsters were not yet skilled in that particular regard; the glare from Katy in particular looked down right adorable.


“That wasn’t very nice.” Katy settled on, crossing her hands and seeming to huff.


“Look, no harm was done.” Victoria advised. “I got my cloths, Sandra got hers. Everyone wins.”


The girls remained silent. They’d probably be huffing with her for a few weeks.




“Anyway, I’m off.” Victoria said, her adventure done for the day. Or so she thought.


“Where do you think you’re going?” asked Katy rather suddenly. Victoria turned, frowning.


“Well, home. We’ve been cloths shopping.”


Both Sandra and Katy suddenly adapted the most devilish looking smiles Victoria had ever observed. She actually found herself stepping back as the two youngsters approached and with a speed that took Victoria completely off guard, hooked their arms into Victoria’s.




It was Katy who indicated why the change in attitude


“We’ve been to one shop yes.” She said, grinning. “Let’s see what’s next!”


Victoria gave herself a very serious mental kick as she was lead away.




What a brilliant start to the day…

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Other peoples blogs!

Posted by spooks101 Dec 21, 2013

A quick little blog post to get another aspect to this blog going.  That of blogging about other peoples blog’s!




I’ll try and do this every so often, just to high-light some posts I think are interesting or useful (or both!)




First up, this post about using LinkedIn.  I have to admit, I’ve not yet followed the advise on this one but it definitely has some very good tips.  Hope it proves useful for my fellow authors in particular.




Books and such provides this handy little guide, which was particularly useful when I was first starting out my Nanowrimo experiences but still rings true now.  It’s all about first drafts and not to worry about them!




Finally, something a little different for both mystery authors and those just interested in running a mystery themed RPG.  This gem was passed to me by my fellow Nanowrimo writing buddy Daireen and is an excellent article on the fine particulars of writing mystery fiction.




Hope everyone enjoys.  Meantime, I have been writing away on both Tales of Larrick City and Book 4.  Tales of Larrick City has hit 10,000 words and Book 4 is coming together nicely with a lot of little modifications.  I’ll be taking a rest over Christmas, obviously, but will be back at things come 2014.




Just in case I don’t get posting up before then, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy new year.




Till next time.

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My Nanowrimo experience

Posted by spooks101 Dec 10, 2013

Hello everyone.  Yes, I know it’s been a while.  But I have lots to tell I’m glad to report.




As I reported in my last blog post way back at the end of October, my plan was to take part in the National Novel writing month run by  An event known on Facebook and Twitter as #nanowrimo.  I am glad to report that I took part in the event throughout November, though I did not complete it as intended.  The plan was to write 50,000 words but I only managed 26,000.




Still, the entire experience was one I would definitely recommend to any budding writer or current writer looking to boost there creativity.  The event forces you to concentrate on writing, even writing for the sake of writing.  Quantity is better than quality, the idea being that you complete a 1st draft then spend the next while perfecting what you manage to write in the tight time scale.




26,000 words was not what was required to ‘win’, but it certainly gave me a lot to think about and has set a solid foundation for Haldred Chronicles book 4.  The main characters, major plot points and scenes have all been formed in one way or another.  What is needed now is some time to properly connect them all together and fill in the details, particularly regards the descriptions.




A lot of the writing was often just dialogue between characters, to be filled in at a later date.  But that’s part of the fun!  Letting you set things up so that later you can go back and fill out the details; updating descriptions and making the scenes truly breath.




I had a lot of positive experiences during November as the challenge went ahead.  For example, I noticed certain activates I’d been doing in my life influenced my writing.  Obviously every writer will take some kind of small influence from there own life in writing, but during Nanowrimo this seemed to be heightened due to the challenge to put words on the page.  One example was my experience with the boxed set of all the seasons of the TV comedy series Frazier in my DVD collection that played in the background whenever I was writing.  I have found that some of the humour in book four has been influenced by the Frazier style of comedy; that unique sort of dry sarcastic wit.  Indeed, one of the characters I can say with confidence is definitely my own take on Frazier Crane, though given the setting he is sufficiently different not to just be a direct copy.




It was a fantastic experience as well due to the community involvement.  The multiple forums on the nanowrimo website were highly active during November and before, offering help and tips as well as places to brag / encourage.  The topic posts were a treasure trove of helpful material from ‘how do you escape a burning building’ to ‘dress sense of the 17th century’.  Anything and everything could be covered and when you asked a question, however obscure, someone somewhere on the boards would be able to answer it for you, often very quickly.  For those interested, the forums are still up and the community still very active.  Go take a look!




The experience was further enhanced by the writing buddies system.




Before the event began, I was able to connect with a number of like minded individuals in order to encourage each other, share work and comment.  This provided a more personal connection for developing the story and putting words on the page.  Constantly these writing buddies encouraged me to ‘keep writing!’.  They were part of the reason I got as far as I did.




I must send a particular big congrats to my writing buddies BriegeH, Daireen, Eimi111, Erin Funk, GabzWritez and ValkyrieMist who did successfully complete the challenge.  Good job all of you!  I assure you, I am immensely jealous J.




I may not have completed the Nanowrimo challenge, but I have certainly benefited from the event and now, the future is clear for books 3 and 4 to grow.  The plan will be to return to book 3 in about a months time and finish it.  Before that, I will continue for another month on book 4 and fill in a few more of the scenes.  I want to leave book 4 in at least draft 2 form.




Book 3, ‘Tales of Larrick City’ will then be finished and I will look to release it in the first quarter of 2014.




Once again, my thanks to all my writing buddies on Nanowrimo and everyone who encouraged me in completing the challenge.  Thank you so much!  Good luck with your own endeavours.




Till next time.

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Other people's blog's...again!

Posted by spooks101 Oct 25, 2013

As I’ve been working away on Tales of Larrick City (now up to 7500 words) I’ve again been taking a look at a lot of Blog’s out there.  Here are 4 posts in particular that I found very interesting.




First up, a post up by Toddi Gutner on the Entrepreneur site.  This post is all about your LinkedIn profile and gave me a lot to think about regards my own presence on the network.  It has a lot of hints and tips about improving how you as individual can present yourself on the network, although it is primarily aimed at company profiles.




Second, another ‘how to’ post, on, well, how to Blog!  It lays out in concise and practical terms just how to Blog properly and I’m already reading through it and thinking ‘yeah, I missed that step’.  Very useful for putting you on the straight and narrow and making yours updates not only more relevant to what you do, but also more interesting in general.  I hope to implement the suggestions in future posts.




Next, a more writing centred post by Diane Mae Robinson on the Imogen Knight Blog. It’s about how to write a good children’s story.  Although only aspects of the post were relevant to what I’m doing (my stories are primarily directed toward teenager / adult level) it’s very well laid out and provides excellent advise.  Well worth the read for any writer of fiction.




Finally, if you’ve had enough of ‘advise’ post’s, here’s a fantastically funny post by the legendary Conan O’Brien, who has recently become an influencer on LinkedIn.  Yes, I’m scared too!

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Good days and bad

Posted by spooks101 Oct 14, 2013

Don’t be worried by the title, JG’s not having a bad day.  I am just reflecting on the tendency with writing to have your good days and bad.




A good day is when you get a lot of writing done, obviously.  My Sunday yesterday was such a day, were I was able to sit down and make a lot of good progress on not only ‘Tales of Larrick City’ but also on a number of other little projects; that’s a good writing day.




A bad writing day is just a day were either you’ve set time aside for writing and get nothing done, or a day where you just don’t have the time to get anything done in the first place!  How does one overcome such obstacles?




For me, half the battle is fought and won when you have set some time aside.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a strict routine thing (e.g. 1 hour every day).  Just means that if you’re planning your week you make sure that you’ve set some time aside to write.  Secondly, to defeat the problem of having nothing to write during those times, taking quick notes is a must.




Inspiration, after all, can come at any time but you might not be in a position to elaborate on something you thought off at the time.  So, instead, quickly jot it down or make a note on a phone.  Then, when it comes to your ‘writing’ time, you can bring out the note / phone and properly write up the idea, which might possibly cascade into further ideas.




Now as I said in my previous blog, I don’t think I’ve been in the game long enough to be dispensing advice, so veterans may consider this just ‘what I do’ as apposed to definitive directions on how to write up your story.  Just a little thought J.




Meanwhile, as I said, I made very good progress on Tales of Larrick City and have now got a lot of the ground work done.  However, the middle of the mouth is coming soon so I really need to kick it up a gear if I am to finish the 1st draft by the end of the month and be ready for Nanowrimo.  Hopefully over this week I will grab some ‘writing time’ as intended and get more done.  I also now have 6 reviews on for Kalla which is fantastic.  My thanks again to everyone who has been reviewing my book, it really helps!




Till next time all.

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Posted by spooks101 Oct 7, 2013

This weekend past I was in Scotland, visiting friends and family with Debs. It was a fantastic trip, a proper catchup and an opportunity to visit some beautiful and interesting place’s. Place’s such as the Macintosh museum in Glasgow (Macintosh was a noted and highly regarded designer from the very early 20th century), and a little walk round the park there, as well as a trip to Edinburgh.


Perfect places for inspiration to strike. Which it did! I now have two more book ideas from this little trip alone. One was inspired by the Macintosh museum, particularly because Macintoshs designs were so modern for the 1900?s. It got me thinking about how a Macintosh-like individual would be treated in the world of Haldred Chronicles.


The second idea, was from a chat with a good friend we visited about his latest design projects and his…’Mad scientist ‘ aspirations shall we say.


For those of the writing type, I ask you. Where does your inspiration and ideas come from? Is it from a place or person you visit? A sudden random thought triggered by anything from a song you hear or just a text message? Just curious :-) .


News wise, I’m making good progress with Tales of Larrick City and enjoying the writing immensely. I have also been making preparations for the November writing challenge, as i’ve now signed up with Nanowrimo officially. Also seen a big increase in likes on Facebook again; once more a big thank you to my fellow authors for the interest and support.


And finally, I now have 5 reviews of Haldred Chronicles: Kalla on Amazon which is just fantastic! Thanks so much to everyone who has been reviewing and passing on encouragement. You guys and gals are great, keep them coming.


Till next time.


PS: this blog update was created solely on my Z10 blackberry. So yes, I have confirmed I can email-blog now as well!



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Updating my internet profile!

Posted by spooks101 Sep 27, 2013

The last week has been a whirlwind of activity.  Mostly to improve my internet profile :).




To start with, I am now officially registered on LinkedIn as an Author.  I have also taken the time to register with a few groups on LinkedIn as well which is already bearing fruit.  A lot of very good bloggers are on the network site, so I’m already learning a lot from fellow writers.




Next update, the good people at have registered me as an official author!  This fantastic website lists thousands of books and details on the authors, as well as customer reviews.  As such I have made sure that Alyssa and Kalla are both listed, along with info about myself.  As with LinkedIn I have registered with a few groups and blogs.  You can find Goodreads at the link below.




Finally, I made sure to update my author central pages on both and  They now have proper Bio’s and links set up.  You can find them at the links below.




I’ve been active on a lot of other sites and forums too but I’m taking my time with things, getting used to interactions and posting.




I also hope to blog a bit more often in the next while, and not just with book updates.  Should hopefully offer a more varied reading experience!  We’ll see how it goes.




Till the next update everyone.

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Plans within plans...

Posted by spooks101 Sep 21, 2013

It’s been over twenty days since the release of the second book in my fantasy detective series ‘Haldred Chronicles’.  I am very happy with the response.




So far, I have two five-star reviews on Amazon for ‘Haldred Chronicles: Kalla’, which is just fantastic.  As well as this lots of people are now reading the second book and thoroughly enjoying.  Likewise, I have seen a further uptake on book one so the ‘cascade’ effect is taking shape.  I hope this continues.




Here’s the link on Amazon for book two, if anyone is feeling very kind and wishes to purchase or even better, review!




Looking to the future now, I hope to start ‘official’ work on ‘Tales of Larrick City’ very soon.  My original intention was to leave Haldred Chronicles writing for about a month, then start into it again, but I have found myself already writing little scenes here and there.  That and I’ve been writing other stories as well.




One of which you can catch over at the Aeronautica ‘Airspace’ forum (




I warn you, this one is written in haste and not as well polished as my published work but I hope you enjoy.  As before (from last year), it is a companion to the wargaming campaign currently ongoing over at the forum, and is of a different style to that found in Haldred Chronicles.




Other plans afoot are more work on the various websites and networks that I am now part of.  The likes of Authonomy (, The Indie Writers Network ( and the Kindle Boards (  I hope to take a more active part in these internet sites over the next while, as well as many others.  This should increase exposure for the books (and the insanity of them of course!)




The ultimate objective is to be published by an official company.  As such, my other big project for the next few months is to prepare a basic synopsis and detailed synopsis for submission to publishers.  The intention is to write them up for both books and so I have a good variety to send on.




So I’ve lots going on and I hope you will all continue to enjoy the fruits of my labour.  Thanks again to everyone for there fantastic support and encouragement over the last while.  Thank you all of you.




Until next time, lots more to come!

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Lots of updates!

Posted by spooks101 Sep 7, 2013

Blog update 7th September 2013




Well it has been a whirlwind of activity here so I have lots to update you all on!




First, those who have been visiting the blog should notice a bit of a facelift.  With the assistance of the fantastic photography of Ricky Parker I now have proper background images and a better layout.  I hope people will find the blog more interesting and easier to read now.  For those viewing this update on one of the other blog sites ( or ) the link for the main site is below.




Secondly, the Facebook page has had a massive update, namely the photographs from the launch party of the 31st August 2013!




It took place at the ‘Cabin’ Hall at Windsor Baptist Church, Belfast, and was very well attended.  There, I had an author interview with the fantastic Vic and then a dramatic reading from the Haldred Chronicles: Kalla performed by Vic (playing Victoria), Joanne (playing Gretna), Carson (playing Malak) and Hayley (playing Katy).  All of whom did an exception job of bringing the Haldred Chronicles to life.  The night was rounded off with a free raffle that included a signed copy of a Haldred Chronicles poster!  Everyone had a fantastic time.




You can see some of the photographs of the event at the below link:




Thirdly, my twitter account has had a facelift as well, again due to Ricky’s excellent photos.  To keep up with my random musings, check out the link below.  Of particular note is the new photo of me!




For anyone interested in Ricky the photographer, please visit his site below.  He does exceptional work, I hope you’ll agree.




All that remains is to remind people that all of the above crazy-ness is due to the release of my latest book, Haldred Chronicles: Kalla.  Available for both the Kindle and Kobo books!  Check out the links below for the UK edition




Kobo books =




US Edition =




Thanks again everyone, hope you all enjoy

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The wait is over...

Posted by spooks101 Aug 31, 2013
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