All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Tuesday 30 June 2015


Recently I've been having a hard time coming up with new ideas. I've had trouble getting motivated to write. I've struggled for inspiration. It's been bothering me for some time now that Maybe I'd lost the ability. My friends say I havent and that it's not possible, btu it genuinely worries me.
I havent really writen anything cool or interesting or even jus fun in a long time. a year or more.
And I still havent. I don't see any way of fixing that.
But I have decided to go back to an old project that I always liked and never finished.
Do you remember Hunter?
You do? good. that makes this easier.

I finished the first book and started sending it out to agents but at the same time I started working on a second book. Originally it was a Nanowrimo but it had a lot of potential so I've gone back to it. The funny thing is I've noticed a bunch of plot points, sub plots, that I started but I have absolutely no idea where they go.
For example;
“Hm?” She stops turning around to look at me. “Oh, fine. Just a little tired.”
“I haven’t been sleeping well.” She sighs. “I think-”
“Hello?” a voice comes from out in the waiting room.
“Ah, this will be your nine-thirty.” she says, happy to change the subject. “Excuse me.”
“Okay.” I say, frowning as she walks to the door. “If you need to talk about… whatever is giving you sleepless nights, you can come to me any time.”
She smiles a little. “Thank you. I will think about it.”

I am absolutely certain that this was goign somewhere. I know for a fact that at some point I was supposed to come back to it and find out why she doesnt sleep. But what exactly it is thats wrong. Whatever is keeping her awake... I havent got a clue.
Is she having nightmares about her abusive childhood? Is there a neighbour blaring music all night? does she secretly have a crush on the author? who knows.
I have to decide whether I want to cut it or figure something out. Its so minor, and the book is already bloated with plots - who killed the victim, who stole the painting, why is hunter such a child about meeting his girlfriends parents, is he going to ruin the relationship, who ordered the art theft, whats wrong with his daughter, hows his relationship with his sister developing, whats going on with Tony Dimarco, and a half dozen other plots that in the end are supposed to fold back into one - I might aswell cut it, but I feel like it was important. Or like it was going to be important eventually.

It's also quite fun to read something you wrote 2 years ago and be impressed wiht how you wrote a section, or think 'actually, it would work SUPER well if this thing happened' only to realise that I'd writen this thing in the next sentence.
Quite funny to read my comments to myself aswell, things like "Isn't this reversed?" and "This but well written, James."
I like hunter, and I'm going to keep going, but I'm still worried abotu my writing abilities.

- James

Friday 5 June 2015


So I realised recently that most of my good projects come from writing exercises, from experiments. For example When I wrote Hunter I wanted to write a story all about magic, but never let the main character use it. When I wrote Exile I wanted to write a story all about a war, but never have the characters fight in it. When I wrote Dark Prince I wanted to write a story about a character with tons of social power but minimal magical power and a character with minimal social power but massive amounts of magical power and how they work together.
And so I wanted to talk to you about my latest short story, it's called the Receiving Room. The premise is that the main character is a room in the house of a lord in a mythical kingdom not unlike Victorian london. The room - the receiving room - is where the majority of things in the house happens. Its where the lord greets his guests, where he talks to his business interests, and with the back of the room opening up onto hte ballroom it is where things like weddings and wakes happen. I want to tell a story from the perspective of this one room. It will be a story of love and loss, war and peace, betrayal and business.
The reason I want to do it is because I think it'll be very interesting to write, and hopefully interesting to read.

I dont have much so far. Only the first scene and a bit of the second or third scene, but I thouhgt I'd share it with you. The first pass at least.

“And this is the receiving room, where one greets and entertains the more formal of their guests. The room is twenty feet by twenty-five feet.” Garrett explained as he stepped into the final room of the house, moving aside so that the latest husband and wife couple could step in behind him. With most homes the receiving room, as the first room any guest would see - other than the entrance hallway of course - would be the first room shown to prospective buyers, but whenever the agents of the estate showed the Ravenwood Estate they showed the room last.
The receiving room of the Ravenwood estate was a masterpiece. Garrett had known people to hate the entire rest of the house, only to turn around and swear that they would get the money to purchase it somehow.
“The floor is the original dark oak hardwood, over solid stone to block any sort of infestation that might arise in any other home.” He explained, turning to the couple as they looked around the room. The man was tall and quite severe looking, one of the wealthier business owners in the City. Garrett knew that he would have no hold over him. The beauty of the room would not sway him and his cold demeanor. The young woman, however, she was a different matter. She was beautiful and seemed sweet, excitable, passionate and all the positive adjectives that were appropriate to use for some other man’s wife.
What she saw in the cold man, Garrett had no idea. His wallet, perhaps? It didn’t matter. She was his in. While the man appeared unmoving and unemotional it did appear that he cared for the woman, loved her even. There was a moment at the bedrooms that she had become excited by the curtains and the wall murals when he had almost certainly smiled. Garrett knew that if he convinced her then he would have the sale he needed. “The hip level wood panelling of the walls is a lovely rosewood that matches the rest of the ground floor. notice the engravings all along the top that line up perfectly with the murals above? These were both created by master artisan Darrin Go’Hall.”
“Genuine Go’Hall work?” The young woman exclaimed, gasping. “The Go’hall? who painted the walls of the Clairmont Citadel?”
Garrett smiled, concealing the surprise at the woman’s knowledge of classical art. “The very same.” He sad. “He also sculpted the fireplace. Note the exquisite workmanship, how the rosewood blends with the dark colours of the fireplace stone and metal grate? You can hardly tell where one begins and the other ends, thanks to the carving on the wood and the stone.”
“Wow.” She exclaimed, taking in every intricate detail of the floral carvings, the vines and the small animals that looked so real that they might burst from the wood at any moment.
“Now; if I could draw your attention to the rest of the room.” Garrett continued, waving an arm around the room, focusing on the furniture. In one corner was a personal bar, already stocked with fine whiskies and wines. In the centre were various seats. An armchair, a three seater sofa and a chaise longue with matching off white, green and red floral pattern. The sofa and the chaise longue faced each other, about four feet apart with the armchair blocking the end furthest from the door to the room leaving a gap at one end to allow people to walk into the island of seating without having to squeeze through an inappropriately small gap. Between each chair was a small identical table, topped with small circles of varnished wood for those seated to place their drinks glasses upon.
The walls were as uncluttered as possible, to allow important visitors to have a man-servant or two standing at the ready. There were three slightly larger tables, made with the same wood and carved with the same patterns as the smaller tables and the wood panelling.
“It’s beautiful.” The young woman said to her cold man, almost involuntarily.
“The furniture will be remaining when the current owners vacate.” Garrett added. “Some of it is fine work, you can keep it or sell it if you have furniture of your own.”
“I love it.” The young woman said, and Garrett’s greed drank in the meaning.
His gaze turned to the cold man and a crinkle appeared at the corners of the cold man's lips and eyes. A smile. He nodded slightly and turned to Garrett. “We’ll take it.” He said. “Lord Victor McAdams and Lady Amelia McAdams.”

It's only a first pass, but I'mhopeful that I'll be able to write this story. I like it. Or I like the idea.
I find it interesting.


Wednesday 3 June 2015

The most influential five books I ever read

I've been thinking about the books I've read over the years and which ones meant the most to me. Not necessarily the ones that I liked the most or that I felt were written best, but the ones that influenced me the most.
I came up with a list of five. They're not the types of books that most people think of when they say it means a lot to them, they're mostly the kind of books that people talk about in throwaway conversations, but they meant a lot to me.

5. Hard Contact by Karren Traviss
This is a star wars book in the republic commando series. It's basically fan-fiction that someone got paid to write. It's about a group of clones and a Jedi during the clone wars who were trained as a commando strike team. The first book follows their infiltration of a hostile world. That book in general isn't the best in the series, there are a ton later on that are fantastic, but it was the first book military book that I've ever read that I enjoyed. I don't mean books about war. Most fantasy books are about war, but it's always from the perspective of the guy at the top or a guy on the side, people not really in the military structure. This was about the guys nobody cares about. The guys who are expendable, and I really loved it. So much so that when Lucas arts ret-conned the Mandalorian people to be peaceful and the series got cancelled without an ending it legitimately pissed me off.

4. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Storm front is a book about a wizard Private detective in Chicago who occasionally works with the police on murder investigations. Think Harry Potter if he was a homicide detective. This book revolves around Dresden (the detective) as he attempts to unravel the mystery of a mobster and an escort whose hearts exploded from their chests in the midst of a tryst.
Storm front was the first crime book I managed to read from start to finish. It was the first book that showed me that you can mix genres. High Fantasy mixes eloquently with murder mystery and it only gets better with every book. It's also the first and only book series that I listen to as an audio book.

3. Snow White and the Seven Samurai by Tom Holt
Snow White and the Seven Samurai was a comedy adventure set in the world of Fairy Tale. The basic plot is that two kids hack into the Wicked Witch's Mirrors 3.0 desktop and accidentally break the world, flipping it on its head. making damsels rescue knights from dragons, having the three little pigs try and kill the Wolf with Uzis and having Snow white try to take control of the world with her seven samurai henchmen.
It was the first comedy book I ever read, the first book I ever read that made me laugh and I couldn't stop grinning the entire time as I read through it.

2. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The mist born books, are about a group of people with metal based magic trying to overthrow an empire, then trying to maintain an empire, and then trying to defeat a god. I'd read a lot of fantasy novels before this book, but they'd all been some variation of the same magic. This was the first book that showed me that you can make up your own magic. You don’t have to just use witchcraft or elemental magic, or telekinesis, etc... You can say 'screw it, eating metal turns you into a magnet!'. And you can turn that into pure awesomeness.

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
You know the harry potter books. Don't even pretend you don't. It's the story of a boy who's living with abusive relatives only to discover that he's a wizard, the attempted victim of a mass murdering psycho, and off to wizard school. The books follow Harry through the years at school as he contends with dark wizards, monstrous beasts, a terrible education system and 'teenage stuff'.
I loved the harry potter books, when they were coming out I was in the same year as Harry (until that year that they didn't release one anyway). I grew up with him and it really helped me a lot, to the point that when I have kids I want to withold the books from the kind until they reach the year that Harry is in and give the child the book on the day they start school.
The harry potter books, the first one at the very least, are the books that got me into writing and reading. Until the harry potter books came along I was that kid that thought reading was boring. I absolutely hated it, then on the recommendation of my English teacher, I gave Harry potter a read and now I spend all my time reading, writing or listening to audio books. This book more than any other made me fall in love with words and without it... I don't even know. Harry potter made me who I am today. That’s something I can say about that book that I can't say about any other.

So thats that. Those are my 5 most influential books. There are other books that I really like. Books that aren't all fantasy and sci-fi. Other books that I enjoyed more, and maybe I'll list them out at some point. But these books meant the most to me.