The Monolith Crumbles!

It’s been a dramatic week. It seems almost ironic now that I called my last post about Monolith was called Plot Twist! My disappointment over my own short story not making the cut is nothing compared to what I felt when I learned, on the 15th, that the anthology project’s future was in dispute.

I wish I could tell you the details of what happened, but I don’t know them all. Even the admins who left the group in the aftermath would agree that there was a lack of communication involved. I also promised to take full responsibility for Monolith’s failure, which is fair enough since it was my project. They were just helping to realise m dream after all, and I was the one who chose them to help me.

It doesn’t matter at the end of the day what others say about me or the project. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, which was one of the main reasons I began the Monolith project in the first place. If it was successful, it would have helped a lot of new authors that don’t feel comfortable with the self-promotion aspect to get their work out there and to receive a fair reward for their work. However, the initial trigger was far less altruistic.

I’d been working on Hermes925 for quite some time, and I was becoming increasingly distracted from actually writing it by the fact that at some point, I would need to publish it. I had very little idea how publishing actually worked, particularly self-publishing, and I didn’t want to risk Hermes925 by doing it badly. An anthology of short stories seemed the ideal solution.

Again, I’d never done anything like this before, but I was sure I could either figure it out as we went or get help from people that either had experience with similar projects or at least had some idea how we might be able to pull it off. What I did know how to do, with all the reading I been doing on social media marketing, combined with the soft skills I’d acquired during nearly 20 years of customer service and sales jobs, was how to get people excited about an idea.

I admit that I avoided proof-reading. I had set a high bar for the quality of work that we would accept. Since I have no experience in editing and proof-reading and hate editing my own work even, it made sense to delegate the task to those whose opinions I held in high regard. If I do anything this again, I need to check that the stories being flagged for acceptance actually clear the bar I’d set.

I doubted my ability to do a good job, not because I have poor self-esteem (I don’t), but because I’m self-aware enough to be aware that stories outside my preferred genre tend to bore me. If I rejected every story that didn’t hold my attention, the book would have contained nothing but fantasy, sci-fi and ghost stories! I wanted the book to have more diversity than that.

Because of my lack of oversight, some stories got accepted that didn’t reach the high standards I was hoping for, so I recruited a few more people to help us clean up the mess we’d made. There was one person in particular that dove right into organising and directing the project with such fervour that I felt like I could finally take a breather and refocus on the parts of running Creative Writers I was best at. Engaging with people.

Sadly, my stepping back and leaving them too it was misconstrued and led some of the team to believe I no longer cared about the project. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered. To a certain extent, they were right. The further along in the project we got, the more it seemed like another set of hurdles for new writers to jump, instead of being any real help. However, I still felt we could stand out from the other writing opportunities out there and provide people with a real shot of getting known and building a sustainable income.

Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to reassure them of this before I was asked to pull the plug on the Monolith project. I made a series of bad calls, including taking a back seat right when I should have been making sure that the plans being made fit with my original mission statement. Perhaps I could have controlled the outcome and kept the project on track.

On the other hand, perhaps this is for the best. Now that the Monolith project isn’t demanding my attention every day, I have more time to write. Theoretically at least! I still have the Creative Writers group to run, along with the associated blog, a story I’m proof-reading and another waiting for my attention when it’s finished, four works-in-progress that all want some of my time, this blog, the games and geekery blog (which I don’t think I’ll have time for anytime soon), and my night-porter job!

I’m choosing to see the demise of Monolith as a good thing. A burden lifted from my shoulders. I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t make it work, but who knows what the future may bring.

 

 

 

Plot Twist!

The last article I wrote got me thinking. I may be getting in my own way.

When I came up with the idea for Monolith, it was to create a high-quality product that would serve as a flagship title for a new era of independently published books that stand out from the crowd of cheap, poorly written stories that have flooded the marketplace.

The story I was originally going to write for the Monolith anthology wasn’t good enough, which is fine. I don’t want the team to compromise the quality of the book by accepting sub-par work just because it was written by the boss. I don’t want to embarrass the Creative Writers’ Press brand.

I’ve already started the rewrite, but since we’re short on Sci-Fi, I’ve also started another short story that I don’t feel great about. The way I’m going about this is starting to feel like a bad return on the time and effort I invest. Almost as bad as when I was trawling the internet looking for writing opportunities that didn’t suck. It will be even worse if Monolith fails to sell.

I may not like the fact that Candace writes to the market instead of writing from her heart, but I can’t deny that it gets results. Her advice, along with the video she recommended, made me wonder if I could self-publish some of the rejects, many of which were always intended to be the first in a series, and build up an income from it.

With that in mind, I’ve removed The Haunted Story from this website but left the place-holder open so that I can share the links to each story as they go live on Amazon. If it seems to be going well, I’ll do the same with The War on Magic. If I manage to actually build up an audience, I may even sell Hermes925 this way too. Despite my passion for the story, I still don’t feel like it’s ‘good enough’ for Creative Writers’ Press.

This is a sharp change of direction for me, but if it actually leads me to my goal of becoming a full-time writer, I’m willing to explore it.

 

New Plan!!

Before I can really explain what the new plan is and why it’s necessary, I should catch you all up on what’s been going on.

As you may be aware, I’ve been spending rather a lot of time building up the Creative Writers group and managing the incoming short story submissions. So much so that I was neglecting my girlfriend, who then left me. Despite my self-assurance that I want a partner that will like me as I am, I found myself revisiting painful memories associated with previous experiences.

I was still recovering from this attack of depression when one of my favourite singers died. The resulting article will soon have a follow-up show-casing my manic counter-balance.

I also had some issues with a used MacBook I bought recently. I had hoped it would replace the tired old laptop I’m currently using, and allow it to retire from ‘work’. It seems this is not to be. I had originally planned to try and save up for a hardwearing and portable laptop, but the one I want is about £1400. Not going to happen.

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It hasn’t all been bad. I also met someone, online, who seems terrifyingly perfect. We have an impossible amount of common interests, perceptions, motives and ideas. The only real problem is that she lives in Italy, and I don’t. We’ve been talking every day, and she’s wonderful, and I can’t wait to meet her and see if this is the real thing this time.

Which brings me to the first part of the plan. Find a way to fly cheaply to Italy. To visit her for a few days and see if we have the same chemistry in person that we do online. If I don’t do this I’ll regret it.

When I was a kid, my parents told me that there’s one true love in the world meant just for you. I thought this was a bad plan because if that one person in the world meant just for you lived on the other side of the world, you might never meet them.

I met the woman I would marry in University, and she was from America, and I convinced myself that she was the one. Needless to say, I was wrong. Neither one of us got what we thought we were signing up for, and I’ve had a jaded view of love ever since.

However, this wonderful English girl that lives in Italy reminds me of that moment when I decided that, if there is only one, then it must be possible to meet them. I may be about to make the same mistake twice, but I don’t think so. This is different. I’ll only really know though if I go see her.

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I did worry that, if I allowed myself to fall head over heels in love with her, it would mean starting over all over again. When I moved to America I brought one suitcase. I had some stuff sent afterwards, but there was a lot of beloved items I had to say goodbye to forever. Some of which I should have brought with me in the first place, but I never thought she would accept.

That was my first mistake right there. Deciding not to be myself and leave all of my gothic clothing, jewelry and decor. Leaving behind my Warhammer collection too. I chose to take my stories with me though. I’d forgotten that until now. I’d forgotten that I was trying to be a writer at that point in my life.

When I came back to England twelve and a half years later, I brought one suitcase. I sold off the Warhammer 40k collection I’d accumulated, and also the Magic: the Gathering, Munchkin card collection, Card Against Humanity, and many precious graphic novels, including a signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Endless Nights’. Again though, I brought all of my writing with me.

I’m finally building up a life again and I’ve been dreading the idea that I may have to abandon everything again for the sake of love. However, my Mum reminded me that I could get to Italy by car if I decide to move there! If I went by car I could get to see some of the rest of Europe. Perhaps even meet up with some of the other members of the Creative Writers group on my way.

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It also means I can take my stuff, and that I don’t have to have a laptop for easy packing! I can build the computer I want, to whatever specs I want for way cheaper than the next closest laptop. I’d be able to pack it in the car with me! Which leads me to parts 2 & 3 (or more accurately, 2, 3a & 3b).

Start with buying myself computer bits to build a professional computer I can’t use both for my creative writing, and to help me manage the Creative Writers’ Press brand, the royalties and marketing/selling the books.

I’m also going to need to save up for driving tests and an affordable, reliable, and, preferably, a fuel-efficient little vehicle I can tootle off to Italy in containing almost all of the contents of this little room barring the furniture.

I’d also need to save up money to occasionally stay in a hotel with a shower and proper bathrooms (I can’t sleep in the car or a tent all the time), buy food and drinks and possibly pay for repairs, healthcare and tolls on the way.

I will, of course, be writing about my adventures and sharing pictures of various European landscapes, buildings and people. If this sounds like something you’d like to see, all I’m asking for is encouragement. I’ve already put more hours in at the day job to save up faster, and I’m putting a lot of my time and energy (when not at the hotel or travelling there and back) into making a financial success of Monolith.

I’ve learned that crowd-funding for big personal goals, or even expensive computers, doesn’t work. Thankfully, I have had a few people donate to the Monolith project to help cover the costs of final editing and marketing. If there’s anything left over from that fund, It’s going back to those who contributed.

I’m not dipping into any of it for my personal stuff. It is, however, likely I’ll end up adding my savings intended for plane tickets, or a car, or the computer, toward the monolith project instead. It’ll keep me motivated to try and make more money, both at the day job and by selling more books. No crowd-funding necessary! 🙂

I’m not even going to try and sell ad space on the car to pay for it and covered in brand decals from the various sponsors (though that is an idea I’ve been playing with for years and now would seem an appropriate time to see if I could actually do it).

So that’s the new plan. What do you think?

Grinning Again :)

If any of my family and friends were worried about my last article, Grateful Gardening, fear not I’m feeling much better. This is in large part to being able to work in the garden with Grandad again yesterday evening. Mostly we were just re-gravelling the pathways and adding decorative stones, but it felt good. Not only to be useful but to be able to reconnect with my Grandad.

He didn’t realise how much I liked gardening. Grandad seemed just as excited as I was at my enthusiasm, and happily showed me his plans for the garden. He also showed me what he had grown in his hidden vegetable plot next to his decorative garden. He has lettuces that you can just pull leaves off and eat. He also has rhubarb, leeks, raspberries, mint, and gooseberries.

I’m not a huge fan of gooseberries, but I’m looking forward to eating fresh home grown salads and drinking mint and raspberry leaf tea. He has a couple of potato plant growing too. Having a garden had been a dream of mine since childhood. It was a big part of my ‘happily ever after’ dream of adulthood. It’s rained hard today, so no gardening for us tonight, but I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to get my hands dirty.

I’ve also gotten to talk to Grandma a little more than I had. Perhaps Grandad and the Doctors have finally got her meds balanced correctly, or perhaps I just didn’t see her enough while I was preoccupied to make an accurate assessment before. She’s a lot more with it than I thought she was. This makes me happy too. I’m glad I still have the opportunity to chat with her and get Grandma cuddles.

Even chatting with my ex at work today has been positive. Despite our separation, I still have the same reaction I’ve always had in her presence. I smiled. It looks like we might be able to pull off this ‘just friends’ thing after all. She even said she misses me, which boosted my ego somewhat. 🙂

I’m finding my urge to write again too. Not just talking about it in the Creative Writers group, but actually write too. This article is just the start. I’m also going to type up and proof-read the story I’m working on for Monolith, and then begin revising my narrative for Hermes925 to fix any inconsistencies and strengthen its connections to the UbiquiCity universe.

Once Hermes925 is finished, I’ll release it under the CWP brand, and add a page telling readers about other titles for Creative Writers’ Press, including Monolith, Mosaic, and anything else we have out or in the pipeline by then. I’ve had several members of the Creative Writers group ask me to help them publish their work. The stories will have to be awesome. I’m holding Hermes925 to the same standards. If the team doesn’t think it’s good enough for a CWP label, then we’re not printing it until it is.

I’m not going to announce it just yet. I want to get my new work-life balance figured out to be sure I’ll have the time, though I’m fairly certain I’ll make the time. I’m also considering taking more hours at work, to help save up more capital to invest in this venture. I also think I’m more likely to find interesting characters and possibly even people I can network with.

There may be a supervisor position available soon at Whitewater hotel. It would allow me to apply my group-tested leadership skills in a real-world environment, and it would be a much better rate of pay. I’ve already let the hotel manager know I’m interested and reminded him of my experience and credentials. We’ll see what happens. If it doesn’t happen, I have contingency plans.

This is a 360 flip of my previous goal which was to dump the day-job entirely in favour of becoming a full-time writer. However, the structure of a working day keeps me writing, and I gain the resources to produce, market and sell books faster than my current strategy is. I’m going to work my ass off!

😀

 

Grateful Gardening

I’ve been nursing a bruised ego for nearly a week now. I’ve been telling myself that I just need to immerse myself in my writing, use the emotions I’m experiencing to give my characters more realism. It’s the same advice I’d give anyone else, but I can’t seem to focus.

I would try to read, but my thoughts were too distracting to be able to see the marks on the page as words. I’d try to write an article for Creative Writers and end up writing about the pointlessness of existence instead.

Yesterday, I had every intention of writing some more of my short story for Monolith and found myself turning on the Xbox and playing Diablo 3 all day instead.

This morning something rather wonderful happened. My Grandad asked me to help him paint the deck in the garden. At first, the thoughts of hopelessness and failure were still trying to get my attention, but soon the work took over.

It helped a lot that Grandad and I were chatting as we worked. He’d noticed all the Amazon packages that had been arriving lately, and I told him I was researching police procedures. He told me about two relatives that would be able to help with my research, and I hadn’t known either of them had been involved in police work.

It was also great to be out in the garden, feeling useful, instead of being shut up in my room feeling sorry for myself and punishing myself for not writing.

I started to form a better idea for my Creative Writers article too. I may go back to the other topic when I can trust myself to be less existential about it. It’s hard to feel motivated to do anything right now, but the story submissions for Monolith are piling up. Luckily I’m not the only one working on it. I’ve got a great team and we’ve just added another admin who’s very enthusiastic about the project.

Since I’m currently lacking any enthusiasm to do anything, this couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m forcing myself to write this so I can work through this funk brought on by a compounding list of minor disappointments and listening too much to a self-proclaimed nihilist.

I’ve been trying to listen to self-empowering music, soliciting pep-talks from friends, and anything else that usually helps me ignore the very thing that this man seemed intent on reminding me. Even if I do succeed in becoming a successful author, helping many others to become successful in the process, and leave a small library of books after I’m gone, it won’t matter.

I’m going to die. The people I’ve helped are all going to die. My family, friends, exes and enemies, and anyone else who knew me, at least in passing, are going to die. The books themselves will fade, decompose, burn, or otherwise be deleted from existence. The entire planet could be destroyed, and the rest of the universe would keep spinning regardless until it doesn’t anymore.

 

It’s almost enough to make me adopt a religion, or become a flat-earther, but I’m aware that it would be just a desperate attempt to pretend my life had real meaning. Which it doesn’t. Don’t worry though, I’m aware that even dying is a futile gesture. At least while you’re alive you can enjoy the ride. Live for the small stuff. Make the most of it.

That thought hadn’t occurred to me until after I was outside painting. I was in full no-hope mope. I’m very grateful to my Grandad for giving me something practical to do, getting me out in the sun, and just talking to me. He even got me chicken and chips from the local chippy.

I’m still not all the way out of my slump. I want to sleep until it’s all over and the bad feelings go away, but I can’t. On the plus side, I had been aware, prior to being hit with an emotional building, that I was spending way too much time engaging with people in the Creative Writers group, and not enough time actually writing. I’ve been forced to take a step back, let the other admins take the wheel for a bit because I just couldn’t be bothered.

It’s a great group, but as an admin, you have to deal with complaints, fights, and intolerant behaviour and do it all with a smile. I couldn’t face it. I’ve still had to respond to a could of issues that I was tagged in, but I haven’t been looking for more. I need to make more time to write.

Working in the garden today reminded me that some of the best ideas come to you when you’re doing physical work. I need to do more. I also need to follow up on the research leads Grandad gave me, and find some others, to help me do the ideas justice.

I need to regain my defiance. I can already feel it returning. The next time a voice in my head tells me “It’s all pointless. You’re going to die alone and be forgotten.” I’ll be able to say, with conviction “Oh yeah? Watch this!” instead of my current “So?”.

I’m tempted to scrap this article and start over. As I’m looking over it to do editing, links, images, etc. I find that I’m not really upset about the recent stuff. My brain is still replaying the day I let everyone down. The day my life fell apart. The day the doctor told me I couldn’t have kids.

In that moment the fantasy died. Up until then, the marriage had had some hiccups, but we’d always worked through it. An absolute certainty that the two of you are meant to be together and have a family together (a girl and two boys, we named them) can help keep you motivated. In that one moment, it was all gone.

I’ve been painting her as the villain in all this, but honestly, I think I started pushing her away after that. Outwardly, I kept trying to make the best of it, but inside it, all seemed so pointless. Maybe if I’d talked to her about this, instead of trying to put a brave face on things, we’d still together. Yep, that’s definitely the button. I’m bawling my eyes out as I’m writing this.

I’d still have the big house, and a garden, and my cats (and probably a few more animals), and my wife if I hadn’t given up. We might even have adopted. Obviously, there’s nothing I could have done about being infertile, or even the likely complications if she ever got pregnant (she has scoliosis). We might have been happy if I hadn’t let my disappointment poison the relationship.

I’ve been my own worst enemy for a long time. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m worried that if I don’t overcome this habit, everything I attempt will likely fail due to my own sabotage. If I have to exist I may as well enjoy it, but that’s not going to happen if I keep pushing everything that’s good away from me.

I need to get back on track and finish writing Hermes925. Stepping back from Monolith and allowing more experienced writers to take over the project may provide me with the perfect opportunity to do so, and reduce the risk of me sabotaging it. In the meantime, Grandad hinted that he might have something else that needs doing. I’m looking forward to it.

Kick Start

My fancy upgrade on this page was up for renewal in July, but I decided to cancel it since this website hasn’t been my primary focus lately. That doesn’t mean the blog is disappearing. It’s just getting a downgrade to the free version. This will allow me to focus my marketing budget on getting Monolith of the ground.

Speaking of which, with the help of Sydnie Beaupre, and several other Creative Writers, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the marketing and production costs for Monolith. We’re up to £59 so far. Here’s the link, I’d be very grateful if you sent some potential backers for this project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/creativewriters/monolith-the-creative-writers-anthology-series/

If you haven’t been following along and don’t know what Monolith is yet, I’d be happy to bring you up to speed. I’ve been rather thoroughly involved in running a Facebook group called ‘Creative Writers‘. I got a notification back in February that the group was about to be closed down because it had no admin and only 32 members. Something in my gut told me to run with it, so I did.

By promoting collaboration, support, and offering them the Monolith opportunity, the admins and I have been able to grow the group to 8,745 members. Monolith volume one: New Beginnings, will be the first in a new series of anthologies. Each short story collected within are written by members of the Creative Writers group.

Since I want the Monolith collection to be impressive, my fellow admins and I read every story submitted to make sure they’re nothing less than excellent. Even my own story will have to meet our high standards. Every story we reject receives feedback and help to improve the story, and we tell them in plenty of time to re-write and re-submit.

At least we are right now. The sooner we get the story, the more time you’ll have to re-write. However, you could also use the time to write it really well, and then you won’t need our feedback. 🙂 If you’d like to know more about the Monolith project as a writer, join the Creative Writers group and ask. If it sounds like a project you’d like to support, then please become a backer on Kickstarter.

So far we’ve had about 30 submissions and accepted 12 of them, and the deadline isn’t until August 31st. This is going to be a big book, of impressive stories, and it’s going to priced high to reflect the high quality of the writing. This also means we’ll be able to pay the writers better than most other small publishers. We’re Independently Traditional.

At the moment we’re not a registered business so the money we raise on Kickstarter will be used to jump all the hurdles necessary to make this legit. We have members from all over the world, so there’s going to be a lot to figure out and overcome. It’ll be a great experience though and the more obstacles in our path the more we’ll learn. So far though, the development of the idea into a real anthology series is going pretty smoothly.

There have been a few issues in the group. Minor squabbles and trolling, but far less than I’ve observed in other writing groups. I think the questions we designed for member requests help with that, and the atmosphere of community and support. I also couldn’t do it with my admin team. Irene, Jessica, Prawal, Sydnie and Anya. They share the responsibility of keeping people talking, putting out fires, decided who gets to join, and reading through the story submissions, and they do an amazing job.

Sydnie also made us this:

If you’re a bookseller and want to skip the middle-man, I’m also selling pre-orders of the Monolith anthology. TheRRP for the finished paperback will be £29.99. You can pre-order copies of the Monolith anthology in bulk for £10 each, with a minimum order of £100.

The price is set high to reflect the quality of the writing and the value of the book. Feel free to sell it at a discount, £10 off, 50% off, and still make a profit. 🙂

In other news, since I’m spending so much time on the Monolith project, my girlfriend has decided to move out. We’re still friends, but she’s feeling neglected. Understandable really since I’ve been fairly obsessed. Not many women are going to tolerate being put second to my writing career unless they have something to be obsessed about themselves.

I’m in no hurry to get into another relationship. Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know that I agonised over the writing or dating debate, sure that I would spend all my time maintaining the relationship and I’d be forced to sacrifice my writing. At the time I had no idea that the Creative Writers group and the Monolith project would demand so much of my time that my partner would be neglected.

Now I know that I would sacrifice romantic love for my love of writing, it would be unfair and unreasonable to attempt a relationship again until Creative Writers’ Press has matured to self-sufficiency. I have no intention of retreating from the world though. The best way to write believable characters is to observe and interact with real people. I’m actually going to try and get out more. I can write anywhere.

She’s already collected all her stuff. It stings a little to look at the room without any trace of her left in it, but at least we’re breaking up on good terms.

I’m going to wrap this up because I’ve just had an idea for writing prompt generator cards that I need to play around with. Maybe I’ll ask the group to help. 🙂 I do this while realising that it’s exactly this tendency to be thinking about the writing business by default now that drove Laura away. This is who I am and I like it.

Have a great day. 🙂

 

 

Target Acquired!

I didn’t share my last article much. It was a rant really. An emotional outburst and not really worth sharing. However, it inspired be to have a chat with my girlfriend and start a GoFundMe campaign to help us get our own place.

It occurred to me that one of the reasons I had been feeling down lately was that I missed my family in Wales. In particular my nieces, Imogen and Bethany. They’re my sister’s girls. I came back to the UK to be with them and be a part of their lives again, which I’m not doing. I’m in Dalton, they’re in Kidwelly. So the new plan is to save up for a place in either Kidwelly or Carmarthen.

We already sort of had this plan, but we were aiming for a place in Dalton together, my girlfriend and I. The place we were sort of aiming for was rented to someone, which is only right because we have not saved up for it yet, but it was still a little disappointing. It was also disappointing to discover that the money that I thought we did have saved up towards our own place had vanished to pay a credit card bill.

There’s still a big chunk, £500 last time I checked, that needs to be paid off. We both agreed that we should pay this off before saving up for anything else. As I’ve already said in the GoFundMe campaign description, we’ll be saving too. I don’t expect to get something for nothing. In fact, we might end up reaching the goal all on our own. Really the GoFundMe page is a declaration of my intent to the universe. If no-one helps it won’t really matter, at least I’ve put it out there. It gives me a target I really want to hit.

Having a goal will help keep me motivated to write as I continue to explore ways to make money doing it, working on short stories for magazines and other publications, adding to and promoting Hermes925, and building on the progress I’ve already made. I like working at the Whitewater Hotel, and I’m clearly doing well and impressing people. I have no intention of being sucked into a career there.  My writing is my career, the part-time job is just to help support me while I write, and help me save up.

The advantage of saving up slowly would be that I’ll have more time to hone my craft and more time to build up passive income sources. With luck, by the time I’ve saved up the £5000 minimum I’m aiming for, I’ll be able to rely on my writing to provide us with an income, and any extra savings will help support us while Laura looks for work.

We could also thoroughly research the job market and rental properties in advance so that when the time comes to move we’ll have both a great rental property and work lined up when we get there.  If we do get help and manage to do it all with money left over, the remainder will be reinvested toward our next goal. The next goal will probably be some sort of self-published anthology working in collaboration with the writers I’ve made contact with on Facebook and other social media sources.

I have already found that writing is coming easier having had this mini-revelation. In addition to this article, and the GoFundMe campaign, I’ve also finally written the Hermes update that I haven’t been able to get out on paper for weeks. You can check it out here: 13/14 Infestation.

It can be a little frustrating finding Hermes pictures. I like to have a picture for each update. It looks prettier on the website and Facebook that way. The problem is that I can’t find the pictures I want because the scenarios I want to illustrate don’t exist yet. This time I was looking for a Ratkin that looked like it was diseased, plagued or blighted. It’s hard enough finding pictures of rat-men that look right, nevermind ones that look sick.

I tried looking for a picture of a Ratkin fighting a Nymph again. Once more finding a picture of a giant bug fighting a bi-pedal rat was impossible. I even tried just finding an image of the ‘library’ described in the update, but it’s hard to find a picture of a library, study or desk that looks like it was made by evolved rats from materials found on a spacecraft, in a room tunnelled out of mycelial foam insulation. I setteld for this one, but it doesn’t really do the job.

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That book doesn’t look like rats made it. They will have had 3D printed books supplied by the AI, but I doubt the Ratkin’s primitive attempts to reverse engineer the craft of bookmaking would have such classic fantasy results. I feel like the scrolls would more likely be a papyrus-like substance made from the roots of plants. The Tunneler Ratkin live mostly in the bulkheads of the ship, so they would only have easy access to plants that have grown tendrils between the panels. And perhaps some that have taken root in the insulation burrows. Certainly nothing very tree/wood like. The desk itself is wrong, as is the weapon that would probably be made from chipped ‘scrap’ or crude iron.

The Tunneler Ratkin live mostly in the bulkheads of the ship, so they would only have easy access to plants that have grown tendrils between the panels. And perhaps some that have taken root in the insulation burrows. Certainly nothing very tree/wood like. The desk itself is wrong, as is the weapon that would probably be made from chipped ‘scrap’ or crude iron.

The deeper I go into the story, the more I need to find an artist willing to collaborate with me. Not only by creating original work inspired by each entry, but by co-administrating the Hermes925 pages on Facebook and Patreon, and help me with marketing and promotion. Such an artist would be entitled to a share of any profits. There’s only going to be any profit if everyone involved in the project works their arses off to make sure the project is successful.

If you’re interested in collaboration, please contact me. If you’d like to help my girlfriend and I get our own place and start a new life together, please contribute to the GoFundMe campaign. If you’d rather support my writing career by paying just a little each month, and in return, getting notified when I write anything, check out my Patreon Page. You can also subscribe (below) or donate via paypal.

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