Solstice Writing Schedule

My next novel is set to be a portmanteau series of stand-alone, yet interlinked, Christmas ghost stories.

I have given myself a lot more breathing space with this project so that I can devote more time to some of my non-literary projects, which I have been forced to neglect of late due to my tight writing deadlines.

The book itself will feature four ghost stories. The first story in this series has already been roughly plotted and I have made a very tentative start in its writing. I hope to finish this first story by the end of 2021 and to get it published as a stand-alone entity whilst I continue with the next short story in the series. 

I want the second story completed by the same time the following year and the third tale completed by the end of the year following that. Again, I hope to get these stories published independently of one another as I continue to work on the larger novel as a whole.

Planning out the writing schedule for my next book
My intention is to have the first three ghost stories interlinked in a way that does not interfere with the independence of each tale. But as the reader explores the next tale in the final book, they will learn something more about the preceding tale, glimpse some extra nugget of information that adds to the earlier story that impacts upon both the current tale and the tale(s) that are to follow.

The fourth and final story will be the only tale in the book that will not be a stand-alone publication title. It will knit the prior three ghost stories together as a complete entity and will act as an additional denouement to each of the tales told before it. The setting and rough outline of this fourth ghost story is already starting to form in my mind, even though I do not envision writing this closing segment of the book for quite a long while yet!

The plotting device of this new book is more complicated than my earlier works, although I did use a stories-within-a-story plotting technique in my third novel, Lore. This next book, however, is going to be a bit of a more complex beast to pull together.

Please, wish me luck...

My Yule Goat Mug

I purchased this great little festive mug from IKEA a few weeks again. It features Santa feeding the Christmas Yule Goat and I have grown rather fond of it.


Merry Christmas From My Christmas Gang


Christmas Morning 2019

God only knows what was kicking off outside my house on Christmas morning. The sound of screaming gulls, crows and barking dogs was enough to wake the dead and it certainly stirred me from my bed. Looking out from our bedroom window into the early morning darkness, I could not see any disturbance. Still, the kerfuffle went on long enough for me to capture a brief recording of it all:

 

More Plotting...


Berserker! Mission Accomplished!

Buy now! A heavy metal band travels north to explore a seemingly uninhabited island, hoping for some atmospheric locations for their next album's photo-shoot. Made infamous after the Vikings marooned their most vicious Berserker warrior there, the band soon discover the truth behind the island's dark reputation as being a place to shun and fear...


Cracking On At Christmas

With Berserk now off at the publishers, it's time to crack on with my 2020 writing project - a Christmas ghost story...



Berserk! Off to be published!

After 9 month's hard work, my 5th novel (and 6th book) has been submitted for publication :) For those interested, it should be available for purchase in both paperback and ebook formats by the end of the week :)


Christmas Ghost Stories Review (2019)

With the writing of my novella, Berserk!, completed a short while ago, I have finally been afforded the opportunity to catch up on on some reading. To get into the festive spirit, whilst also accomplishing some prep work for my major writing project for 2020, I have been reading a fair few ghost stories in the build up to Christmas, concentrating on the books published in the Seth's range, by Bibliosis.

These are nicely designed books, with some decent graphic art by the cartoonist Seth. Unfortunately, they were not all the most inspiring of tales. For this Christmas, I read:

The Signalman by Charles Dickens
The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood
Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk by Frank Cowper
One Who Saw by A.M. Burrage
The Red Lodge by H. Russell Wakefield
Afterward by Edith Wharton
The Green Room by Walter de la Mare

Out of those fair few titles, only two were of any real worth and only one really struck a decent chord with me.

The final book in this Christmas' ghostly reading list
Dicken's short story was a good read, but I found both the play and the classic BBC version of the work vastly superior and more atmospheric to the original tale.

Only Frank Cowper's Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk ticked all my boxes for a good ghost story and I thoroughly recommend that title to anyone looking for an interesting and out-of-the-ordinary read.

I had planned to buy more of the books in this series (more seem to be published to the list of titles each year), but given only one out of the seven of them raised any real frisson in me, I am unsure where I will actually stick to this plan.

I have a busy weekend now, as I need to typeset Berserk!, adjust its cover to fit the dimensions of the book and get the little beast published. Hopefully, the book will be available to purchase sometime during the coming week :) ...

Christmas Ghost Stories

Whiling away the days to Christmas with some festive reading:

The Green Room by Walter de la Mare

The Green Room ~ Walter de la Mare




Thunder and Lightning

Thunder, lightning, Very, very, frightening...

Well, not really as I love thunder and lightning. And tonight's storm was one of the finest I can remember for this neck of the UK :)

 

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

Our Christmas tree went up today :) And feeling in the Christmas spirit,  I spent the wee small of this night watching old BBC Ghost Stories for Christmas, whilst outside a gale and icy showers did their best to add to the atmosphere :)


One Who Saw ~ A.M. Burrage

Continuing my Christmas ghost story reads with this little title:


Windy Lifts

'Twas a bit windy today.So much so that it howled all the way through the lift shaft at my office. Take a listen - spooky, eh?

 

Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk

I spent this afternoon reading Frank Cowper's 'Christmas Even on a Haunted Hulk'. This was definitely the best story out of my first batch of Christmas ghost stories to read, followed closely by M.R. James'classic 'The Signalman'. Out of the three books, only one disappointed, that being Algernon Blackwood's 'The Empty House'.

A Perfect Winter's Afternoon Read

Feet Up, Reading 'Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk'
I now just have four more books in the Seth's Christmas Ghost Stories range to read. I wonder which one will temp me into opening its pages first...


These are great little books,which can be read in about half an hour each. The are feature some pretty cool graphic art by the cartoonist Seth. I will definitely be purchasing more of the titles in that range to read for Christmas 2020!

Christmas Ghost Stories...

My main writing project for 2020 will be a Christmas Story titled 'Solstice'. To get in the mood for writing that, as well as the festive season itself, I am going to start December off  by reading these little fellas :) I think I know which book I'll read first...


The Creeper

'Tis the season of Winter - the time of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. I honestly could not think of anything better to arrive in the post to herald the darkest month of the year than this new figure - the latest addition to my horror Pop Funko collection - The Creeper from the scary Jeepers Creepers movie:

The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers

Typing Up Edits

Typing up the edits of Chapter 3 of Berserk! with this one:





Thwarted

I had been planning to make a start on typing up the final draft of Berserk tonight. But this attention seeker put a stop to that:




Berserk! Final Draft Complete :)

The third and final draft of my next novel is now complete. 😊 I just have to type the whole thing up again now, typeset it and get the book cover formatted. The New Year deadline for getting this beast published is looking promising 👌


Billy Connolly - Tall Tales and wee stories

A nice new signed copy of Billy Conolly's latest book to add to my bookshelves :) I am looking forward to raising a smile with this particular book, one of only a few light-hearted reads in my personal library  :)



Berserk! Final Draft. Chapter 12.


Penarth Pier

I took a stroll along Penarth Beach today. 

Penarth Pavilion
Whilst Penarth has a stunning beach, I did not linger there long as the icy fingers of the approaching winter had a bit of a punch to them this afternoon :( I did, however, muster up the fortitude to take a trio of snaps of the place, including a long-distance selfie!

Beneath Penarth Pier, with the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm in view

Yours truly 'neath Penarth Pier

Fluttering Polythene #1

God only knows why, but I seem to have developed a thing for raggedy bits of polythene fluttering from barbed wire fences lately. I see them virtually everywhere these days and they always catch my eye. They are usually black or clear in colour, but sometimes, like in this instance, which I photographed less than a hundred metres from my house, they are found in more attractive shades.  Perhaps there is a future photography project waiting for me to take the initiative. If so, then it has already begun:


Black Rock Sands, North Wales

Given the unexpected sunshine, I couldn't resist spending the morning on Black Rock Sands before heading home from North Wales. 

The immense and quiet Black Rock Sands 
Despite the lateness of the year, I had expected the beach to be quite busy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that we pretty much had the wide expanse of sand to ourselves :)

Me and my wife, Black Rock Sands
Stretching our legs a little and taking in the fresh and salty air, we finally returned to our car refreshed and ready for our long drive home...

Farmyard Pwscat

I made a little friend whilst holidaying in North Wales - a lovely farmyard pwscat:



I absolutely love cats and am over the moon that the feeling seems reciprocated whenever I meet one :)

Berserk! Final Draft. Chapter 10 Completed.

Ever vigilant of the impending deadline for the completion of Berkerk!, I awoke early whilst on holiday in North Wales to crack on with the final draft of Chapter 10:

Pre-dawn writing

As dawn broke over our holiday cottage, the rising sun startled me as it blazed directly through the kitchen window!

I think this must have been the first time in my life
that sunrise has actually made me jump
After a couple of hours of writing, I completed the chapter just as my wife awoke and came downstairs, in time for her promised breakfast :)


Berserk! Final Draft. Chapter 10.



Here We Go...

Heading up to North Wales for the weekend...


Local Bus Field Recording

Philip K Dick ~ The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

I have been doing a lot of reading these past two weeks and have recently completed both George Orwell's '1984' (last week) and Stephen King's 'Misery' (today). This was to clear time for the mammoth push required in December to complete my novel Berserk! Unfortunately, I then saw this Philip K Dick book on sale in HMV in their buy 2 for £5 offers: 

Philip K Dick ~ The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
I can tell you now, with a blurb as intriguing and exciting as the one on the back of this book, I will not be able to resist tucking myself between its pages within the net few hours. And, as usual with Philip  Dick, my mind will then be imprisoned within that dystopian world until I have served my time and devoured every last word of the novel:

The Blurb
Oh well, I guess the deadline of December 31 for the completion of Berserk! is going to be every bit the battle I envisioned it to be (which is quite apt given the subject of the book).

Berserk! Chapter 8. Final Draft.


Thunderclap

The whole house (and probably our whole street) were awoken last night by the loudest and longest thunderclap I have ever heard. I have never been one to be afraid of thunder and lightning, indeed I love a good storm, but the ferocity of this particular thunderclap was startling, to say the least. Racing from my bed to find my audio-recorder, I managed to set it up with only seconds to spare before the second and final crash of thunder rolled across the heavens above me. Unfortunately, this second thunderclap was more distant and quieter than the first but I am happy to have been able to add the following recording of it to my portfolio of field recordings:

 

Halloween Theme 2019 ~ Pop Funko #13

I could not think of a better way to complete this year's Halloween Pop Funko theme than by photographing the infamous Michael Myer's from John Carpenter's classic horror film - Halloween:

All they took was some Halloween masks, a rope and a couple of knives.
Who do you think it was?"

"He came home!"