A Reader again (if only for a while!)

I’ve been away on holiday the past week. No laptop. Limited internet access. No blogs to write and not much chance to promote Wolf’s Head (although I tried my best!).

Instead, I spent the week relaxing with my family and, when I got the chance I had some quality time with a couple of books. For the first time in a while, I was able to sit down and completely lose myself in someone else’s creation with no distractions.

I still don’t¬†really¬†think of myself as a “writer” –¬†Wolf’s Head¬†has only been available for three weeks after all – but it was nice to become a simple¬†reader again, with nothing to worry about other than my enjoyment of the books I’d chosen for the week.

Douglas Jackson’s hardback¬†Avenger of Rome, the third in a truly fantastic series from a fellow Scotsman was my first pick, while new young author Jeremy Han’s¬†The Emperor’s Prey¬†was the second, on my Kindle app. I would read Doug’s until the wife and daughter said it was time to put the lights out, then I’d fire up the Kindle and read Jeremy’s in the dark until I fell asleep.

I said earlier it was nice to just be a reader again, rather than a writer, but even as I lost myself – first on Doug’s endangered Roman ship, and then in Jeremy’s 15th century China – my mind was working out how to write reviews for these two cracking books…

So much for being purely a reader. Maybe I can’t escape the writer’s mindset after all, but it’ll be nice to write about someone else’s world for a change!

Jeremy Han’s¬†The Emperor’s Prey:¬†http://www.amazon.com/The-Emperors-Prey-ebook/dp/B009HJBR3Y

Douglas Jackson’s¬†Avenger of Rome:¬†http://www.amazon.co.uk/Avenger-Gaius-Valerius-Verrens-ebook/dp/B0088474QS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374960750&sr=1-1&keywords=avenger+of+rome

Writing music

Do authors write in silence? Maybe some do, but I think most need some kind of sound in the background as they type. Silence is deafening after all.

I’m a lifelong heavy metal fan – if I wasn’t quite bald and my wife would let me grow my hair I’d probably look like Lemmy. Only uglier.

Yet even Motorhead is, for me, useless as writing music. The problem is, anything with a simple beat and a catchy melody soon detracts from your muse – I end up wanting to pick up a guitar or a bass and sing along to “Ace of Spades”, Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” or even Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” rather than write about Robin Hood and the Hospitaller knights.

I figured it out when I was studying for my Bachelor of Arts degree – simple 4/4 music is distracting: what you need is almost white noise.

I finished my degree, and completed¬†Wolf’s Head by listening to what most people would consider un-listenable bollocks. It’s not catchy, it doesn’t have layered choruses or big hooks. It’s not “Livin’ On A Prayer” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. But if you’re a writer, it’ll keep your mind nicely engaged, while allowing you to get on with the task at hand!

Here’s some examples of what I’ve been listening to – click, and WRITE!




Thanks, and an update on the sequel

I just wanted to thank everyone who’s bought the ebook or paperback versions of¬†Wolf’s Head since it came out recently, I truly appreciate it and I hope you’re all enjoying it!

I managed to write around 1000 words of the sequel tonight – passed the 40,000 words mark so ALMOST halfway through, it’s going well. The two Hospitallers play much bigger parts this time around while some of the other characters from WH¬†are taking a backseat…permanently in the case of the scene I’ve just written…

I hope you’re all looking forward to it!

Want to win a copy of Wolf’s Head?

I thought I’d try running another competition, this time with the ebook version of Wolf’s Head as the prize. You can have it on Kindle etc from Smashwords, and all you have to do is SHARE this post on your Facebook page.

Please, TELL ME when you share, either as a reply to the post or as a Private Message or whatever, as Facebook doesn’t always show who shares things so I might not know you’ve done it unless you actually say so. I’ll put the names in a hat and ask Freya to draw a winner next week.

Thanks everyone!


EDIT – I’ve just found out Amazon UK doesn’t allow gifting of books, so I will have to do it with Smashwords. You can still get the Kindle file from them though, along with the other formats, so it’s not a problem.

Why Amazon.com allows gifting but Amazon.co.uk doesn’t, I have no idea.

Q&A about Wolf’s Head/Robin Hood/Whatever

I’m doing a little Q&A thing over at Goodreads, where people can ask me about my book Wolf’s Head, Robin Hood or whatever else they like. You don’t need to have read the book to join in, some of the questions are more general but I’m enjoying answering them all.

Pop over and join in (I’m not sure if it’s open, but if you want to join in send me a message on Goodreads and I’ll add you to the list).