Better than Fiction

This website is going to undergo some changes soon. It was originally intended to be a way to showcase my writing, build my fanbase, and maybe get some freelance writing clients. It didn’t work out though. Every time I tried to get serious about my writing career and get organised and disciplined, it stopped being fun, and I would find myself putting it off.

In the process of putting it off I found myself making friends, starting a local handyman business, and actually having a life away from my computer desk! I was surprised to discover I love the work, and that I’m beginning to like my life.

It’s unlikely that I’ll stop writing. I’ll just stop trying to force my creativity to clock in to a 9 to 5 schedule. I’ll write when I want to. When it’s fun. I know that the writing market is hard to break in to. I know that to get in requires discipline, and I just can’t do it. Yeah, yeah. I know there’s no such thing as can’t if you really want to do something, and apparently I don’t wanna ‘get serious’ about writing and taking all the fun out of it.

I’ve written articles talking about my determination to succeed, but it started to seem like a poor investment of time and effort. Especially since I’ve been able to make money faster by actually getting out into the real world and talking to people. With writing, I would have to spend years writing a book that might not even sell, and then try again, and again. By helping real people (instead of fictional characters) I’m getting instant feedback that people like my work, and it feels great!

I think I’m getting to the point where I’d rather live my own real-life adventure than create fake ones. There are exceptions of course. I love running my roleplay games with cool people. Again, I think it might be the real-time social feedback I get. I love it. I want more interaction. More friends. More real life please!

So, this website may get a makeover at some point. When I feel like it. To change it from being all about me trying to be a professional writer, to be being about whatever the fuck I want to write about that day. Perhaps even run an exclusive rp story-game similar to The City of Gate or The N-Viron Network. Both of which continue to be fun.

I want to get people talking too. Maybe make this our own little social media clubhouse. I want to know what you want this website to be. I hope you want to interact here and make it our little home away from Facebook. I could create pages about topics you want to discuss, or for a game as I previously suggested.

I dunno. I suppose it’s okay if I just continue to use it just to blog mutely into the ether, but the way I’m going, I’m likely to abandon this website altogether if I don’t get to use it to make myself a few more friends. You can challenge me to write about specific subjects, ask me anything about anything you want, and suggest other things I can do to make this page a fun place to be.

I really want to change the name. I’m trying to tone down the self-aggrandisement, and just be myself. Hopefully this will also reduce the number of self-pitying posts too. Failing isn’t something to lament. It’s a lesson. Sometimes it just means you’ve found a better path to walk. Or at least a more fun one anyway. 😉

Sincerely, have a great day. 🙂

 

ADHD Makes Adulting Harder Than It Should Be!

I’m juggling so many thoughts right now I don’t even know where to start, so I’m just going to start writing and see what happens.

I have ADHD. Almost everyone knows that this means I have trouble paying attention, but to say this is an oversimplification is an understatement. If I’m interested in something, not only do I have no trouble paying attention, I become hyper-focused. This can come in handy and help me get things done. Providing nothing breaks my focus.

That’s where it can be a problem. I’m rather easily distracted. Sometimes, I can provide myself with a controlled distraction. Like a fidget toy or a movie playing in the background. Something that can occupy my hyperactive mind without taking too much focus from my primary goal. It doesn’t always work though. Especially if I wasn’t particularly interested in the task to begin with.

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That’s the other not-so-fun part. I have no control over my hyper-focus. Sometimes something I’ve been really into before, doesn’t interest me at all another time. It can be really confusing. A good example of this is self-improvement books and books about living with ADHD. I will go through periods of reading books and listening to audiobooks to better myself and I’ll eagerly absorb every word they say, then suddenly I’ll pick up a book, or press play, and nothing will go in. This can be very frustrating. How can I control my ADHD when my ADHD won’t let me learn how?

Jobs are the hardest though. When I first start any new job, I’m generally fairly eager to learn everything there is to know about the job. Except when I tried car sales. I couldn’t get any product product info to stick because I just don’t care about cars. However, for the most part, I learned quickly and voraciously about how to do the job. I do well, and often hit my targets in the first couple of months. Then I get bored, because I know how to do it and I’m not interested anymore.

I have a few tricks to get around this. I fold origami at my desk, or fiddle with magnet puzzles, or Transformers (the ones with lots of steps). Most managers will consider these activities distracting and assume that they’re to blame for my low-productivity, when in fact it’s the only thing keeping me working at all.

That’s why I thought a writing career would be better. No bosses telling me how to do a job I already know how to do in my sleep. No trying to sell products that I don’t believe in. No boring. Or so I thought. It turns out that writing a story can get really boring. Especially if it’s a formulaic narrative that a client wants you to write because it hits all the bullet points that the marketing tells them it should.

Even the stories I’m writing for myself. If I already know how it ends, then trying to put it into detailed words that allow other people to see the direction the story takes can be a little tedious. Admittedly, I often find that the characters add interesting details to the narrative that I hadn’t originally anticipated, but getting to those ‘wow’ moments can be a slog. Then there’s re-writes! Sometimes I don’t want to write another word simply because, once I’ve finished, I need to rewrite the whole fucking thing to check for errors and tighten up the plot. Boring!!

I had these big ambitions of writing everyday, like it was my full-time job (because it would be). Being the next J. K. Rowling and living in luxury. In reality I sometime go for days without writing anything, and even then it’s only because of ‘The City of Gate‘ and ‘The N-Viron Network‘.

Speaking of which, I love writing those stories and if I could somehow make a living running those RP groups, I think I’d be in heaven. I’ve had the idea of selling merch, but I don’t think my audience much cares about ‘The City of Gate’ t-shirts and miniatures. The minis will be a particularly hard sell, just because they’re so expensive. Particularly if I want to make a profit selling them. More on that later.

At the moment I don’t make a lot of money. None, in fact, from the writing. I can, however, make up to about £120 per week doing odd-jobs. I like doing the odd-jobs. I get to help people, do something physical, get some fresh air, meet new people, and make a little money. Since I’m not a fully licensed and insured handyman, I only charge £10 per hour and generally only work in two hour shifts for each client. If I can work my way up to two clients per day, Monday thru Friday, I could make £800 per month.

This would be fine if the plan was still to stay with my parents for as long as I could, save up £1000 of ‘oh shit’ money, and then start working on getting a car and a place of my own. However, I now have a girlfriend. My parents house has no soundproofing whatsoever. If my parents are in the living room (directly above my room) I can hear everything they say and every footstep they take. There are occasions when my gf and I would like some privacy.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking into the cost of renting a flat. I’m pricing it up as if it was just me since, understandably, my gf doesn’t want to commit to moving in with me just yet. We’ve only been a couple for just over a month. Kidwelly, the town I live and work in, doesn’t have any one-bedroom flats available at the moment, according to my Google search results. However, the nearby city of Carmarthen has a few places available in the £300 – £400 per month range.

On top of that I’d need to pay council tax (about £60), utilities (included with some places but up to £120 on top otherwise), a monthly bus card so I can still do my odd-job gigs in Kidwelly and get around in general (£21, I think), handyman insurance so I can take gigs from the council or businesses (a little under £100), and food (both to cook at home and to grab on the go, about £280 per month). Altogether that’s £980 per month, which is way more than I can afford right now.

If I also take into account that there’s going to be additional surprise expenses, like new tools, dates, the occasional gift, a sudden pet, and it’s clear that I have to modify my plan. Hence why I’ve been seriously thinking about other ways I could make money, such as selling ‘The City of Gate’ merchandise.

I’ve designed some pretty awesome miniatures through a website called HeroForge. The ‘premium plastic’ versions of each mini cost £29.99 to 3D print (about £20), which is fairly reasonable for a custom-made miniature. The bit that makes me nervous is marking up the price so that I can make a profit.

Most of the books I’ve read on starting up a business point of that the biggest mistake new businesses make is undervaluing their product. They set the price too low, and end up making a loss when people ask for a discount. At least on of them recommended an 800% markup. That way you can offer them a 50% discount, it looks like they’re getting and amazing deal, and you’re still in profit.

If I did that then each mini would be $239.92, marked down to $119.96. In GBP that’s £159.95 marked down to £79.97 (roughly). Tell me honestly, as awesome as these minis are, would you pay nearly 80 quid for it, even if the ‘full price’ was £160?

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If so, that’s awesome, but I’m thinking that a $15 (£10) profit per mini is more reasonable. This would make the premium plastic versions $44.99 (about £30) and the standard plastic $34.99 (about 20). The difference being that the premium plastic is design to be paintable. People are still welcome to cut out the middleman and design their own HeroForge minis, but if they want the characters designed by me and the players of ‘The City of Gate’ then they can pay the extra.

I’m open to other ideas though. I’m even willing to consider going back to working full time if a) I can find full-time work in Carmarthen so I don’t have to commute so much and b) I can find a role that won’t bore me stupid within three months. I’d also still like to become a full-time writer, but I may have to get a better handle on my ADHD before I can seriously consider that a career.

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I have (finally) registered with a local doctor’s office. So soon I will get to see if a British Doctor will agree with my American Doctor about it being ADHD, or if it’s something else (I’ve noticed a few autistic behaviours, particularly when I’m stressed). Maybe there’s even some sort of benefit I’m eligible for.

I’m going to the Job Centre in Carmarthen tomorrow anyway for the next step in the process of Job-Seekers allowance. I looked into it because my Mother suggested it and found out that if I drop below 16 hours work a week, I can get a little help. It won’t be anywhere near enough to reach my monthly target, but it will help when the gardening gigs drop off and I’m begging people to let me hang shelves or organise their junk room.

I think that covers everything I’m stressing out about at the moment. Oh, wait! There’s also the fact that I have recently started a Games and Geekery group in Kidwelly, and that most of my friends and odd-job clients are in Kidwelly, so even if I did have a place of my own in Carmarthen, I’d still be spending most of my time in Kidwelly anyway!

I may need to think this through some more. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated. I know there was something else I wanted to bring up, but it’s gone.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

Really?!

I was going to try and write an article for the Games & Geekery website this morning. Actually I was going to write it last night, I was super tired and ended up falling asleep instead. I knew I only had one odd-job client scheduled for today though. I could get the article written in the morning and then go paint garden furniture in the afternoon.

However, I got a message from one of my Facebook contacts who happens to also be interested in participating in my sci-fi RP group, The N-Viron Network. He seemed determined to talk despite telling him how busy I was. However, one of the things I was busying myself with was playing with Heroforge.com (it occured to me that I could create custom minis for the characters in The City of Gate), and that I should always be available to help the players.

In general I like to help people. It makes my day to brighten someone else’s. It’s part of the reason I like doing odd-jobs so much. I also love talking about the rp games I run, and writing in general. So when he started the conversation, not with ‘Hi’ or ‘Do you have a minute’, but ‘Do you like Campbell?’ (as in Joseph Campbell, the author of ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces‘) it seemed like it might be an informed discussion about character creation.

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One of the Knights of H’Vannah, from The City of Gate

I made myself available. I’d been looking forward to seeing what kind of character he might come up anyway based on our previous discussions. He seemed to be leaning towards creating an antagonistic player character determined to tear down the infrastructure of the N-Viron Network last time we talked, which would have made things challenging, but interesting.

However, he quickly stopped talking about The Hero’s Journey and claimed he just wanted to chat and develop our friendship. In my experience people on Facebook who say they ‘just want to be friends’ are selling something. I explained that I prefer having a specific topic of conversation because I’m a bit of an introvert. Conversations need to have a point to reduce the risk of awkward gaps in which you don’t know what to talk about. He claimed to be an introvert too, and that’s why it’s easy for him to listen. He proceeded to dominate the conversation at every opportunity!

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Majister, and Elder Draconic Vampire from The City of Gate

He began by saying that he prefers to dig deep into topics that make people feel vulnerable. ‘Like dreams, desires, wishes, fears, etc.’. I agreed that being upfront about your weird stuff is a good way to find out whether or not you can really consider someone a friend. What I didn’t tell him is that I also recognised this as a sales technique. People are easier to convince when they’re vulnerable.

The conversation became a series of soundbites about success and motivation, whilst also criticising my writing style and undermining my confidence. If he’s kept going until I was utterly crushed, I might have been desperate enough to buy what he offered, but he got frustrated with me and quit talking to me first.

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Skritter, the last of the Ratkin. Another NPC from The City of Gate.

His first attack on my self-esteem came by asking why I still lived my parents. This put me on the defensive immediately. I don’t still live my parents. I moved back in with my parents after over a decade of living in the US, because I was feeling emotionally vulnerable and financially desperate following my divorce. He then told me about his string of failed relationships, mentioning that he would sometimes ‘get all bipolar on people’.

Then he asked me when I was going to move on, ‘you’re not going to live with your parents forever are you?’ I was expecting a pitch at this point, some magic way that I could make money and regain independence. Surprisingly he said, ‘I don’t know how you can earn money to get out of this’, and that’s when the self-help quotes started up like, ‘what you fear most is the thing you must do.’

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Myche, a magically modified elf from The City of Gate

I happen to agree with him. Sometimes doing what must be done is scary, but you have to make the leap. I found the prospect of quitting the day job to write for a living terrifyingly intimidating, but I did it. In fact I find most regular obs intolerable now that I’ve become used to working for myself. I’ve put myself out there and invited constructive criticism and feedback, despite how vulnerable this makes me.

He also said, ‘If you hit your lowest, you can start anew’. This too I agree with, and I told him all about hitting my low point and using it as an opportunity to explore my psyche and figure out what had brought me to this point and why I was getting in my own way. That by doing so I identified several learned behaviours that were holding me back. He then told me that what I had done was impossible and that I was fooling myself, and seeing only what I wanted to see, while continuing to tell me (just like my ex-wife did) that I just had to cut the bullshit and be myself!

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Greta, from The City of Gate

Apparently I should only be myself if I do it the way he approves of.  ‘Tap into your emotions and your subconscious mind’. I’m pretty sure I had just told him that I did that very thing. I had been using a computer analogy, telling him that I was basically using meditation to edit my source code. He didn’t like that. Computers are logical (though anyone who’s ever used a computer might disagree), while emotions are not. While I agree that ‘logical’ isn’t necessarily the correct word, I do find that emotional reactions make more sense than they’re given credit for.

Regardless of his insistence that I was wrong, I tried to use a different metaphor, that of the mind-palace, to explain how you might choose to navigate and organise your thoughts and emotions. He seemed interested in this concept, but quickly moved on to expressing his opinion that the key to happiness is being aware of, and in touch with, your emotions. At this point he was beginning to sound like a broken record.

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Lynn, from The City of Gate

I suggested he write a self-help book, which is when he said there being easier ways to make money than writing, and bragged about having lived in one of the most expensive apartments in Romania, and how he’s very good at selling online. Once again I was expecting a sales pitch, but got none. Since he didn’t, I did. I told him about my Patreon campaign and invited him, since he was so affluent and successful, to help support my writing.

He said no. I wasn’t terribly surprised. Usually when people have to tell you how rich they are, they aren’t. They are just trying to convince you they are so that you buy their money-making scheme. I’m also aware that only about 10% of pitches result in a solid sale, because I’ve actually studied sales and marketing back when I worked in sales and marketing!

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Granma, from The City of Gate

He went on to tell me that he’d be more interested in reading a book like ‘The Grey Man‘ than my work. Which is fair enough. I’m aware that not everyone is going to like my writing style. My main goal at the moment is to expand my audience and find more people that do. Pitching to people that don’t like my stories is just a waste of time. I made the foolish mistake of asking him how he gained an audience large enough to make him wealthy.

He told me I had to tap into my ‘real, real, real self’ and put myself ‘at risk of being judged’. To risk ‘being considered weird’ and having ‘people make fun of you’. All things I already do, as anyone who subscribes to my WordPress blog already knows. I told him that I already do this and he claims that I’m not really being vulnerable. He read some of the blog and said I write like a scientist.

He cited his own articles as an example of how to write authentically, deeply and with vulnerability, and found almost all of his articles to be about how to get rich (no surprise there) and lists of the things he’s grateful for. The same generic shit I’ve seen on countless blogs that make money through affiliate marketing.

He called me a brat at this point and I called him condescending, and he decided we should never talk again. However, his assessment that I don’t write with emotion or vulnerability bothered me. I feel like I’ve bared my soul in this blog, but what if he’s right? What if the reason why I don’t have a huge following already is because I don’t make people care?

Or maybe he’s just a douchebag. Let me know what you think, I’d appreciate the feedback, no matter how much it may hurt.

By the way, do you like the minis?

So Much to Do!

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Not just here, but on the Patreon page also. I’m trying to get into a regular writing routine, but it’s been difficult while I’ve been distracted by various worries.

My chief recurring worry seems to be money, and I know I’m not alone in this. Most of my followers and fans are fellow writers and bloggers. Every single one on you reading this article is struggling to generate a stable income also. I’d like to think that if this were not the case, my own writing skills would have convinced at least some of you that I’m worth the investment by now.

Instead of begging then, I’m going to try and help you, anyway I can, and hope that karma takes care of me. I’ve been trying to build an audience the way I’ve been told works by other successful authors. Posting my writing publicly to get the word out and promote my talents, an sharing those posts via social media to reach an even wider audience.

I know that this method will take about 2-3 years to generate a decent income this way, and the first time I tried it with the Hermes925 story I focused mostly on Facebook and didn’t really give it time to germinate before getting distracted and switched the Patreon campaign to an anthology project.

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Do you ever feel like something is watching?

 

This time around I’m trying to stick to my guns and continue to update the Patreon page as I work on The Haunted Story, and to share those posts on multiple sites, including Reddit. I’m still trying to figure Reddit out, but I’m hoping that if I keep sharing the content, someone will see it and share it. If any of you successfully use Reddit and know some good horror/crime genre subreddits I can get some traction on, I’d appreciate it.

In the meantime I’m also doing things the hard way. Participating in writers groups on Facebook and keeping a particularly watchful eye out for people looking for writers. Doing this has gotten me a few gigs. A couple of them were ghostwriting gigs. In each case I try to do a good job hoping that they will give me more work and/or recommend me to others.

Currently I’m working on a psycho-killer investigation story for a client. He’s asked for a script for a podcast show. He wants three episodes and each episode is supposed to be 45 minutes long, but he’s only paid me enough for 3000 words, which will probably take all of 30 minutes to perform. I’m hoping he’ll like what I write, but that I’ll also be able to convince him that the story has a lot of room for development and is worth putting more money into.

I need to keep up on this blog, the facebook groups, the Patreon page, and curate the posts on the other social media pages too if I’m going to successfully build my audience and continue to generate short-term freelance work and long-term passion projects. Part of the marketing has to be face-to-face. Word of mouth is still the best way to get yourself known, and a personal conversation is still the best way to get people to like you.

I’ve also been trying to make some friends in the area for the sake of my own mental health, and I’m doing so fully aware that I’m not only looking for people that I can hang out with, I’m also looking for people that would appreciate my writing style and either help me find a wider audience, or become patrons themselves. If my friends are also fans, they’re more likely me to encourage me to write more, rather than distract me from it.

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I should probably update the Games and Geekery blog too!!

I’ve increased my chances of finding both by organising a monthly meeting for local geeks and gamers. The first meeting took place earlier this month, and it was very successful. We had a lot of fun together and they’re already asking me to make it bi-weekly instead of monthly! One of my new friends has already helped me edit The Haunted Story: Investigation!

So I’ll have to keep ‘Games & Geekery in Kidwelly‘ going, along with making time to spend with my new friends. My hope is that I’ll end up with so much to do that I’ll end up with a solid schedule. It’s a lot easier to let a project drag on unfinished if you have all the time in the world to write it and nothing else going on all week. I’ll be more motivated to get writing if I only have set times slots available for each project.

As you may know, I’m also doing odd-jobs to help supplement my writing income. So far it’s mostly been gardening jobs, though I did get to help someone with their computer this week! Doing a little physical work helps to keep me fit, gets me out of the house, lets me help people in the local community, and I get paid for it. It doesn’t help with my writing goals directly, but it does help me to eat while I work on the writing.

Tomorrow night I have a trial shift at a local pub. The hourly rate would be less than I make from the odd-jobs, but it would give me the opportunity to meet more locals who may be interested in hiring me for odd-jobs! Some of them might even be readers! I’m also going to bring a notebook so that if it’s dead, I can get some more writing done!

The really funny thing is though, if I could get paid for running my Facebook RP groups, The City of Gate and The N-Viron Network, I probably wouldn’t bother with the rest! I love running those games. I get to tell my stories to an audience eager for the next part, and they respond by commenting as a character in the story! They often come up with solutions to scenarios I didn’t expect, and make the ongoing story more interesting. It’s awesome!

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Designed by Heather Montgomery, aka Ann Snizek. She also design the Dead Letter cover.

One of my new friends has suggested I create premium versions, subscription only. It’s a thought that might be worth exploring. Especially if I get more players. If any of you know of any suitable sites for hosting such a thing, I’d love to hear it. I’d also need to know how to find an audience, or it’ll be a total ghost town. I can just ‘Field of Dreams’ it. People need to know it exists and how to find it, and I need to be targeting the people that would care about fantasy roleplay gaming.

If I had mastered social media marketing already, I wouldn’t still be struggling though. I know how it works in theory, but I have trouble putting it into practice. Especially when it come to videos. I’m something of an introvert and I don’t actually like doing videos, plus the quality is crappy because I don’t have good lighting, a decent webcam, or a good microphone. My crappy videos are unlikely to get any traction among the the thousands of beautifully edited masterpieces on YouTube.

Something will happen if I keep working at it. I’ll just keep putting myself out there and eventually I’ll catch the attention of someone who likes my work and has the means, knowledge and resources to help me make my dreams a reality. I just hope it’s soon. I really don’t like that my Dad is having to support my Mum and I. My sister is bringing in an income at least, but she’s moving out soon. I’d love to be able to catch Dad if he falls. Right now I can’t

I realise that what I intended to be helpful suggestions didn’t end up as such. If you did find any of this useful please let me know. If you have any suggestions that would help me get more patrons, freelance gigs, or game players please let me know.

Thank you for reading my babble.

Have a great day 🙂

 

Is Anyone Listening?

Every so often I write another post declaring that I’m going to get organised and start writing like it’s my full time job, and yet I still find myself procrastinating. Even my attempts to identify and eliminate whatever it is holding me back has just become another way to procrastinate.

I can’t blame relationship stress, because I’m not in one. I can’t blame trying to find time to time write while working a full-time job, because I don’t have a job right now except writing. I can’t even use the fact that I don’t have a steady income as an excuse, because I’m living with family who support my desire to write full time. I can’t blame loneliness or homesickness either, because I’m home with my family.

I really have no excuse. I just need to develop the discipline. What I’d like ideally is for people who like my stories to let me know they like them, and pester me for more. I know this sounds egotistical, but I also know it works. My parents have read The Haunted Story: Dead Letter and they want to know what happens next, but they also don’t want to read it until it’s finished.

As a result, I’ve been making myself write more of The Haunted Story: Investigation every day. Sometimes I miss a day or two, but for the most part I’m making progress.

Would you be willing to help me?

I used to do weekly updates to Hermes925. I’d be willing to do something similar for The Haunted Story, and perhaps even start doing Hermes925 updates again, if I was getting some encouragement from my audience. Some reassurance that people want what I’m writing. While it’s true that I’m writing these stories for me, I’d also like to know that I’m not wasting my time.

Everyone likes to feel good about what they’ve chosen to do with their lives, or at least know that people are listening when they speak.

Do you ever feel like no-one is listening?

If I’m being ignored, does that mean I’m not good enough?

Despite feeling happier than I have in years, I can feel the depression still lingering beneath the surface. Telling me that all of this is futile. That whining about it won’t help. That I’m deluding myself.

However, I’m also running an RP group on Facebook called The City of Gate that’s been going for years because the players are genuinely interested in what happens next. I know I’m never going to get the same level of participation and feedback from my stories as I do from my roleplay games, but a little would be nice!

I also know I won’t get any feedback if I don’t post anything, so I’m going to start posting my work-in-progress again. If you like the story, please tell me, so I don’t have to rely purely on empty hope and my own unreliable discipline. Talk to me. Please.

Thank you.

Have a great day 🙂

Viva Fractopia!

Yay! I get to work on UbiquiCity 2!

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I collaborated with several other writers a while back to create an anthology called UbiquiCity. I was approached by Tod Foley to help with the project after he read my WIP, Hermes925. What followed were several video conference calls in which the writers developed a world together, and then came up with characters and short stories within that world.

As you may have gathered from the images on this post, the stories all take place in a futuristic ‘smart city’, or UbiquiCity (a city in which smart technology is fully integrated and ubiquitous), populated not only with people, but also countless drones flying overhead, and AI’s moving wirelessly and invisibly across the city.

This is similar to Hermes925 in many respects, but it takes place about 20 years earlier. People use various smart devices from several manufacturers using different operating systems and carriers. This can cause compatibility issues, and gaping exploits for hackers.

There are also some parts of Union City, as we called it, that are not so shiny. Run down slums where the people can’t afford the technology to keep up, though some come up with inventive, and not precisely legal, ways to circumvent the system. These people are known as ‘Scrumblies’ or ‘Discons’ by the connected majority.

The result is a culture that is utopian for some and dystopian for others. Tod came up with the term ‘Fractopia’ to describe it, allowing us to differentiate from cyberpunk and grimdark sci-fi, though there are elements in common. Tod not only hope to establish Fractopian fiction as a genre in it’s own right, but to develop UbiquiCity into a roleplay gaming system.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the depth and scope of the world we’ve created. If I’ve whet your appetite and you’d like to know more about the project, you can learn more on the UbiquiCity website and support the development of more books, and the gaming system, by becoming a Patreon subscriber and/or buying the book from Amazon:

We’d all be very grateful to you if you did.

Thank you and have a great day 🙂

Back on the ‘Write’ Track

It’s been a good week. The client that hired me to ghostwrite some posts for his Cast Iron forum contacted me again to do three times as many comments for his new Reef Tank forum. I’ve only got ten of them written so far, but I’ll have the rest done by the end of the week.

If you happen to be a reefer yourself (yes, that’s really what reef tank hobbyists call themselves) by all means check the fledgling website out and supplement my ghostwritten comments with some genuine expertise. I knew nothing about the hobby when he asked me. I’ve had to watch a ton of YouTube videos and make lots of notes to get my head around it. It’s a pretty cool hobby.

Also, a local pub that’s been closed for a while is getting new owners. They announced on Facebook that they needed some help moving in, so I volunteered! They were really nice people and even gave me £30 for doing it! So I bought myself this:

DarkCrystalGame

I saw a post about it on Facebook and I had to get it. For those that don’t know, The Dark Crystal is one of the best fantasy movies of all time. Every character in the movie, as well as all the plants and animals, is a creation of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.  I’m really looking forward to playing it.

I’m keeping it sealed until I can do an unboxing video. Then after that, my family and I are going to play it. There’ll be a review article written on GamesNGeekery shortly after that. I haven’t been keeping it up to date, but maybe this will help me get back into the habit. Though it may end up just being and occasional whim rather than a regular thing because…

The best part of the week though was going to the Kidwelly Writers group. I was putting it off because the last writing group I was a little depressing. They didn’t seem to talk much about their own writing, or at all. The sessions involved doing writing exercises that the organiser got from a book.

The Kidwelly group, however, was awesome! They were very talkative and friendly, and they seem to actually have ambition! One of them already has a novel out called ‘Not Thomas’ and another of them is writing full-time, publishing his ‘Deathworlders’ series on Reddit. Apparently his fans insisted he set up a Patreon page so they could sponsor him. It took him three years, but now he doesn’t have to do anything but write.

It reassured me that it was possible to build up a full-time income just from writing stories. I had the right idea back when I was writing a new Hermes925 entry every week, but instead of sharing it on Facebook and Twitter, I should have been using Reddit! This is going to take some studying up because I’m not familiar with Reddit at all. In fact the few times I have checked it out it seems like a confusing mess of categories that I’m not even sure how to navigate. Yet.

I’ve already committed to making The Haunted Story: Investigation and Hermes925 into books (I promised the artist that made the book cover for The Haunted Story: Dead Letter that she could do the next few books as well), but maybe I can turn The War on Magic into a Reddit series after I’ve got the knack of Reddit and tweaked my Patreon page.