2015: A Year in Review

Engagement RingSince re-launching this website way back in January, I have written forty-seven blog posts (including this one). That’s way more than I’ve written, across the three separate blogs I used to run, in the last few years combined.

Also this year, I’ve written just over ninety thousand words of fan fiction, and a totally unknown amount of other words in poetry, and novels, short stories etc (the fanfic word count is a lot easier to keep track of).

With regards reading, my final stats for the year sit at a total of forty-six books read off a forty-book target.

In the month of December, I listened to one audiobook (You’re Never Weird on the Internet… Almost, by Felicia Day), read two novel-length fanfics, finished a third, finished The Horologicon, and read Where She Went cover to cover.

In 2015, I re-released Wake as a second edition, released Four Season Summer and Season’s End in a combined paperback edition, had a book launch for that paperback, received awards for my fan fiction, entered writing competitions, re-launched my YouTube channel, took part in April’s CampNaNoWriMo, July’s Camp NaNo, and the official National Novel Writing month in November.

Meanwhile, in my personal life, I took a few more trips to England, met the love of my life, and got engaged. All that considered, I think it’s been a pretty great year. Roll on 2016!

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Look-See (Flash fiction)

Below is a flash fic, entitled Look-See, that I wrote the other day. It should become clear by the end what it’s about.

Sally’s head hurt. It hurt so bad it was as if she’d been drinking solidly for a week to only then stop suddenly, but she hadn’t touched a drop – ever! The first thing she was aware of that morning, aside from the mother of all migraines, was her father yelling about how late she was for… what was it she was supposed to be doing again? Honestly, she felt so ill she could barely remember her name, let alone anything else.

Her dad threw back the sheet she’d hidden her face under, and she screeched as the indirect sunlight streaming in from the window hit her darkened, balmy flesh.

“Look at yourself!” her father exclaimed. “How did you get yourself in this state?!” His ranting continued but, no matter how incessantly he posed his questions, Sally had no recollection of how she got so ill. She was sure it hadn’t been her fault, though.

“Look at yourself!” her dad said again.

In response, she opened a blearily eye to him, at which he made a noise that eloquently portrayed his horror as much as his disapproval at the sight.

His next move was to enable Sally to complete the task he was demanding of her – thus, he tugged her by the arm until she was out of bed and following him on dead feet across the hall to the bathroom. Once there, he pushed her forward a step, so she was directly in front of the mirror.

“Just look!” he wrung his hands as he listed off aspects of her appearance: bloodshot eyes, a strange skin tone, dry lips. All the while, Sally looked.

She rubbed her eyes.

She looked again.

In the mirror, she could see her dad pacing on the floor behind her, his gaze focused on his hands.

“Look,” she said to him, instead.

His head came up, his eyes switching back and forth between Sally and the mirror a few times before his skin darkened, too, at the non-sight.

Now she’d had such a sobering shock, Sally remembered exactly what had happened to her. Instinctively, her hand reached for the bite marks she could feel on her neck.

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Lulu Junior, but for Adults?

Comic Book Front CoverApparently it’s been around since February 2014, but I’ve only just heard about this thing called Lulu Jr.

Lulu.com (the parent company), for those who don’t already know, allows people to self publish using the print on demand model, meaning there’s very few overhead costs to releasing a book. As a big fan of this M.O., I’ve used Lulu to create the paperback versions of all of my books.

So now there’s this new thing – essentially Lulu for kids – and it sounds so cool! (No, I’m not getting paid to say this.) Lulu Jr’s book making kits come with everything needed for a child to draw out pages of a book, which they then send to Lulu via the included envelope, and then Lulu compiles the pages into a proper printed masterpiece and sends it back. I told you it sounded cool! WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS A KID?!

Ahem.

Don’t judge me, but I find this so awesome that I’m tempted to do it myself. Yes, the kid’s version and, no, I’m not joking.

As and adult that shamelessly reads children’s books, and enjoys a good spot of coloring in, this is right up my street. But here’s what I’m wondering: why isn’t there a Lulu Jr, but for adults?

Okay, okay, I can practically hear you rolling your eyes at the screen. There’s already the main Lulu service, I’ve already said that, I know. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a third option, in which adults who are not professional artists but who like to doodle as well as write can, not only self publish a book, but can illustrate one too.

In 2014 I made a comic for 24 Hour Comic day, and that resulting comic is available through Lulu’s main site. But let me tell you, it was not easy getting it there – I fought with my printer/scanner for three hours straight!

What I’m essentially saying here, in my perhaps not so humble opinion, is that Lulu is great, and Lulu Jr is a stroke of genius, but I want more. I want to be able to draw out pages to accompany my text, and then have Lulu put them into a book for me, no stress of misbehaving scanners whatsoever. Now, wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas gift?

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