Friday, 5 December 2014


A few weeks ago I finally joined the writing and reading website Goodreads, and I really wish I had joined sooner. Goodreads is pretty much a giant online book club full of many many groups of smaller book clubs. As a reader you can join the groups that appeal to your tastes and join in the discussions on things you’ve read or are reading. It also provides a platform for authors to share their work.

It took me so long to join because at times I can be a cynical and non-progressive person and I find the bombardment of social media and social websites a struggle. With the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Snap-chat, Instergram etc etc I often wonder how anyone has time to even look out the window. I understand the appeal of these fun and creative ways of interacting, and their benefits for networking too, but from a social point of view I would rather go visit someone or just have a call than get lost in the ether of interacting through the variety of technology available. This is why I tend to stay clear of most of the above mentioned ways of interacting. I just feel if I try to keep on top of more than facebook and my bog I’ll lose myself in the internet.

This is why it has taken me a long time to join up to Goodreads, but it has proven worth wile from a social and marketing point of view. I have already made a couple of new friends on there who are like minded and this is nice. As an author it has also seemed to prove very effective, but it is still early days. On Goodreads there are a number of tools to help authors reach new readers. One of these tools is a book Giveaway. For my birthday I decided to giveaway some copies of The Book of Prophecy that I hadn’t sold yet. In about 48 hours the giveaway had 686 people enter. This is awesome considering I was worried I wouldn’t even get 1 person enter. In a simple book giveaway that’s 686 people who have now seen the cover and know the title of my book. I have sent the copies to those who won and I really hope they enjoy The Book of Prophecy. I do have an idea for a follow up giveaway and promotion and I’ll put a post up of how that goes when I’ve done it.

It appears my fear of some social media needs to be worked through as there are so many opportunities because of the amazing technology we have. It’s just learning to give it a go and if it proves effective stick with it and if not to move on. 

Friday, 31 October 2014


Well, big change is taking place in my life. I am leaving Scotland and moving to England. This is for a number of reasons, but mostly it's to be close to my family and to lean on them during the difficult time of being unemployed and still struggling with various health related issues. Writing has taken a backseat while I’ve tried to figure the details of moving etc, but I wanted to update briefly on a few writing related things.

The Marketing has ground to a halt as I’ve done nothing. I also did not hear back from the local newspaper. When I move I will try again with local papers down there and try to think of other things I can do. I stand by my comments about marketing and how I’ll keep trying in the hope that in time I’m able to get the exposure that allows me to find the people who will enjoy the Book of Prophecy.

I have had some lovely feedback from people I know who have read it since it was published and this is encouraging. I have also had three reviews on Amazon and I’m very thankful for those who have taken the time to leave feedback.

As for actually writing I have nearly finished a novella version of my Frankenstein story. Once it’s done the next main project will be a very different avenue of writing. I have decided to start writing a blog about some of the Mental and Physical health struggles I have. I will still continue trying to promote the Book of Prophecy and writing other fictional stories, but it feels like a change in writing will be good. I’m writing this new blog in the hope others may benefit from the experiences I’ve had and to continue the important growth of awareness that is taken place in our society. Then again maybe the blog will not help anyone in anyway, but I’m going to give it a go. This will be the priority but I have the sequel of the Book of Prophecy waiting for me to go through so I’ll dabble in this as well. There’s a lot to do but I’m trying to juggle it all as best I can. I’ll update this again when there’s news or anything significant to share that relates to my journey of writing stories.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Marketing: A Numbers Game?

The theory is that if you have something for sale i.e a book (imagine that) which has had the seal of approval from honest friends and family, been enjoyed by a few people who have no connections to you, and has had investment by those who have a high skill set in the field of whatever product is being sold, then really making sales is a numbers game, right? When I say numbers game this is what I mean: the art of getting the item for sale to be seen by as many people as possible, because amongst all those people there will be those who enjoy it. Funnily enough this is the point I’m at with my book, and obviously why I am writing about it. The question is, how to you gain sufficient exposure to find those people who will like my book?

Well, that would be marketing... ‘sigh.’ I both love and hate marketing. I think marketing can be fun, as it’s another way to be creative, but I also hate it as being an introvert those initial steps of selling yourself and the product are very difficult. I have thought about door to door sales with the book, as I think it could be pretty productive, but due to nearly giving myself a panic attack when I was about to try this I’ve had to come up with a happy medium. So thanks to the help of my good friend Vix I had some posters designed and printed; I’m no good with computer type stuff but having a friend to help to make a poster was awesome, so thank you Vix.
The posters were printed yesterday and I put some at the University where I studied and still have friends. Then today I asked a number shops in Stirling’s town center if they would allow me to put one in their windows. A huge thank you to all the shops that did, your support is immensely appreciated. Obviously, some of the shops I picked intentionally as they relate to the target audience of those who like reading and enjoy a fantasy story, but having posters in as many places as I can sticks to the theory this blog update addressed at the start.

I also went into the local newspaper’s offices, the Stirling Observer, to hopefully rely on their kindness and support once again. I left them a copy and my details so I’m hoping they do a review.

Now that I’ve done some marketing it is time to see if the above theory plays out or not. So I guess I’ll keep an eye on sales. If you are reading this because of the posters then thank you for taking the time to see if my story the Book of Prophecy might be something you would like to read. I hope it is and if you haven’t done so feel free to read the first three chapters via the Amazon link on my website and then clicking ‘look inside.’ If you do buy it I hope you enjoy the story and thank you very very much.

I guess the next update will probably be how well putting up posters did, and if it didn’t help what I will try next to help people know the Book of Prophecy exists for their reading delight.   

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Happy Book Birthday To Me

Today is the day!! The Book of Prophecy is for sale and published. I can’t express how wonderful it is to be able to write that. It’s been a long journey, but I'm so thankful to all those who have supported me a long the way. I should have paperback copies on Monday and I cannot wait to hold a copy in my hands. To take a look at the book or buy it you can follow the link below. 

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Permission Granted

As the titles suggests there has been some good news. Frank Herbert's estate has given permission for my book to have the Dune quote at the front! Words cannot express how super special awesome this is to me so as you can imagine I'm very happy we are able to use it. A big thank you to those involved and for the estate letting us use the quote.
  I'm also very happy because I've just given the Book of Prophecy one last read through. It's looking wonderful and it can't be too long now before everything is sorted and this book is given tangible life.  

Friday, 1 August 2014


Well, it's looking likely that today is not the day of publication :( There's still five hours left...maybe it will happen, but it's not looking likely. It's okay though!!! :D I'm always a fan of opportunities to see if I've learned something from my life, and I think I can be proud of myself for being relatively sound minded with having to wait.
  So, what's going on you ask. Well, as always things just happen, but to put it blunt, the book just wasn't up to the standard it should have been. Ultimately, that's my fault, and I really need to up my game with the technical side of my writing. The minor mistakes have now been corrected so I believe we're almost there. There was also an issue with the Blurb and me being an idiot as to which it should be, but thankfully I was proved wrong. Another issue was the wrongly titled prologue (actually a preface) needed improving and after some debate a quote from my favourite book, Frank Herbert's, Dune, actually worked really well to replace the weak preface I had written. So, we're currently waiting to hear back from Frank Herbert's estate if we have permission to use it.
  And that's where we're at with it all. Not ideal, but I'm a believer in order out of chaos (a phrase I didn't know was actually coined by the Masons until recently), and, positives often come from negatives. As always, only time will tell how things turn out, but when the Book of Prophecy does get published in the next few days or so I will be a very very happy person. I just can't wait to share it with everyone!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Twelve Days and Counting

Yep, only twelve days!!! I really thought I would have more news about what's going on, but I don't. That's mainly because I've decided to sit back and watch things unfold until the book is actually out. Once that happens I'll jump into action and hopefully have more to report. I'll update as things unfold, but until then it's kick back and let the publishers do their thing.  

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Call me paranoid, but...

About three months ago I got bored and decided to pitch my story, Empiphany, to American agents. I expected rejections on every front, and wasn't disappointed. However, this email came through this morning, and fed the paranoia that almost all who have created something would have when reading it... 'THEY'RE GOING TO STEAL MY IDEAS!!!' (They're not really, well, maybe a one percent chance they are, but I can't help but worry a little).

Here's the email.

'Dear Stephen,

Thank you so much for sending us your query and especially for your patience in waiting for a resoponse. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed reading your first few pages and see a lot of potential in your writing and style. I found however, that your descriptions lack a certain touch of detail that prevented me from connecting or envisioning the sorroundings and connecting with Blair. The story also has aspects that are too similar to another project I'm currently pitching, and so I'm going to have to pass on further consideration. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to the opportunity to read more of your work in the future.


Marisa Corvisiero
Literary Agent
Corvisiero Literary Agency'

I know I'm over reacting, as of course someone else in the would could have had the same or very similar ideas as me, I'm not that unique, and why would the agent bother to reply if they were stealing my ideas, but there's a part of me that will always get irrationally protective of my work. When you spend thousands of hours on something you can't help but be a little paranoid at times like these.

Ultimately, there's no way of knowing what the circumstance are around this situation, and I'll just have to forget about it. However, I wanted to do a little blog about this just for the fun of it as it's another experience on the journey.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Review Time: In Search of Gods and Heroes, by Sammy HK Smith

As always I've used the review set up that I've adopted. This is me giving my thoughts and opinions on the Pace, World/Environment, Themes, Characters and Originality of a story. I've decided to change this set up a little and put the Characters section first as it feels better that way.


In Search of Gods and Heroes is a story that I'm honoured to finally review. A few years ago I stumbled across the writer’s forum called Authonomy. There I became friends with Sammy HK Smith and we shared our stories. This was when I first had the chance to read this story and enjoyed it from the start. I am so glad to see In search of Gods and Heroes finally published and have the opportunity to share my thoughts on it.
Below is my review and please feel free to take a look at the description of this story, and if it appeals to you buy it- How else will you enjoy the creativity, the epic scale and scope, and the vast number of unique characters that In Search of Gods and Heroes has to offer? Okay, enough jibber jabber- on with the review!!!


I.S.O.G.A.H. follows Chaeli as her life is thrown into chaos. Chaeli lives in a medieval style world where a number of Gods, aka Immortal deity's, are worshiped (not unlike the Ancient Greek Gods).The catalyst for her journey is the appearance of a demon who attacks Chaeli. She manages to flee but this revelation that the forces of the underworld are after her turns her world upside down. As things unfold we quickly see that the forces of good are trying to help her, but because of their rules of minimal intervention they struggle to do so. Chaeli then begins an epic journey that balances between good and evil as she tries to discover her role in the events that are happening around her.
Chaeli is certainly an interesting character with many strengths and flaws that make her interesting to follow and share this journey with. She is not one I personally had complete empathetic attachment too, but as always this is subjective. Being a man does put me at a disadvantage from the start because Chaeli’s character and the events that happen to her do make her more suited to female readers. This, however, does not make the story any less enjoyable for male readers as Chaeli is interesting to follow and there are so many reasons this story is enjoyable, i.e. the concepts, the epicness, and the fact there are male characters to become attached to, such as Nathan, Adely, Daro and Eli.
  There are so many other unique characters, which would fill up several pages to write about, so I’ll just say I believe most female readers will be able to relate to some of Chaeli’s struggles and other reader’s will still be able to find at least one of those character’s to side with. For a story to be able to do that is very impressive, as so many characters could make the story a bit to chaotic but I didn't feel that at all with I.S.O.G.A.H.


Although this story is reasonably long it does not feel so. The pace of the overall story, the character development, and the action is well balanced and structured so I never became bored, which can happen easily if, like me, you have the attention span of a four year old. The wide selection of character perspectives that are followed in this story also helps the pace as it gives an ever changing and fresh feel to the story.


Out of all the reviews I’ve done so far this certainly has the most scope and grandness to the plot and world. The world focuses on the land of Ibea, which itself is well detailed to make it believable, but we also get to see and visit the underworld and divine home of the gods, which adds to the flavour of the environment in this story.


Good versus Evil: This comes in the familiar form of the mortal struggle between the two opposing forces. This intertwines with the other obvious theme of Choice, Inaction and Consequence, which I’ll touch on in a second. The contrasting philosophies of good and evil are developed well by using the formula of the evil side trying to force situations and take control, while the good being inclined to sit back and give choice to the mortals so they have a chance to prove themselves. The interesting element to this is that the immortals are fallible and subject to choice too and this adds an interesting layer to the story.

Choice: As mentioned choice is a common theme. ISOGAH explores the nature of choice making, doing nothing, and being overly controlling. This is done in way that is thought provoking but easy on the brain-cells too.

Love/Lust: This theme is tackled in a very interesting way as there are often blurred lines between love and lust in this story. These blurred lines are good to explore as often what is lust, and what is love, isn’t always clear, and sometimes it is. (The way it is explored isn’t explicit by any means, but some more conservative readers may not find this theme to their taste).
  There is also a love triangle, which I think Twilight  has killed, but I have it on good authority that the reason love triangles are so popular to female readers is because they are a frequent dilemma for the fairer sex. I personally hate them (love triangles, not the fairer sex) and am bored of them, but I acknowledge the appeal. If I put my own feelings aside on this matter then the love/lust triangle in ISOGAH is an interesting one as each individual’s feelings and desires are explored in detail. This gives the reader a good insight into the characters motives and personalities. Some of the circumstances that do unfold are enjoyable because it is always good to have complex subjects explored.    

There are obviously other themes but these are the three main ones that stood out to me.


This is subjective, as I’ve clearly not read every story this world has to offer, but I like to give my little opinion on whether I felt the story was original, especially as originality is something I crave. I am happy to say that ISOGAH was very original to me. Yes, it follows some very familiar themes as all books do, but if a story can weave them in a new way it makes me a very happy reader. I love the original feel to the world and scale of this story; and along with the unique characters and verity of perspectives, ISOGAH has a very fresh and new feel.

Last Thoughts:

As you can tell I’m a fan of In Search Of Gods and Heroes and anyone looking for something that is a quick paced adventure and layered deeply to provoke thought then this is the book for you.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Life Just Keeps Getting In The Way, Or Should I Just Get A Life?

The problem with writing stories is that I can get frustrated, and perhaps selfish at times because it’s what I want my paid job to be. I’ve come a long way in four years since naively and innocently thinking that this was going to be easy. However, knowing how difficult this path is doesn't stop me wanting it more than anything. I know people will think I'm arrogant, but I still believe my stories are good enough to accomplish this goal- I guess when The Book of Prophecy is released it will be an indicator if I'm right or not. However, it can just be a bit of a struggle waiting and trying to do what's right for my life and the goals I want to achieve. Especially at the moment when there's so much change going on in my life.
The main change that effects my writing is my job situation. As mentioned in previous updates my job has been a miracle and allowed me to write while on the nightshift when it’s quiet and I’ve also had a lot of time during the day to write as well. There are some limitations to how much I can write, as I’ve also previously mentioned, but I’ve done well at balancing it all.
Now, however, I’m changing jobs and this luxury of time to write is possibly going to vanish. (Some reading this might say, ‘Wow, go get some real problems,’ and in a way they’d be correct in saying that, but I have those real problems too, but writing about those is not what this blog was for. This blog was to do with writing and so that’s what I’m sticking to). Ultimately, it could be my choice if I get to have the time to write or not, depending on what hours I choose to work. (Yes, I am grateful that I actually have a job, but trying to achieve what I am I have to be willing to sacrifice, but it’s hard to know what is okay to sacrifice and when to do so). I’m just unsure whether to throw myself into the new job to earn the money I need to pay off my debts, or for maybe another six months just work the minimal I need to so I can survive and get another writing project finished. I have one in mind and would be a straight forward project of four novella’s to make into a collection of my writing diversity and creativity.
I am swinging towards just doing the latter as I’m too stubborn to take even a slight step back from my goal just yet. It may be the wrong choice and continue to make me struggle financially, but without great risk there will be no great reward. Plus, The Book of Prophecy is due out the first of August and I want to throw myself into marketing that when I can. So I may just keep my focus on writing and see what happens. It’s just annoying that I couldn’t stick with my other job for another six months or a year, but the night-shift was taking its toll on some of my health struggles and going to a job that is day-shift should be better for me.
Everything is pretty uncertain to how it’s all going to work out, but isn’t it always? As ever I’ll do my best to adapt and accomplish the goals I have and then see what happens. Maybe that’s selfish of me, but if I achieve my goals, my life, and more importantly the lives of those I love could be improved. It’s a risk I have to take, at least for a little while longer.

The next blog update in two months will no doubt cover what choices I made and how things are unfolding with how much I’m writing. After that update it will only be a week and a half until The Book of Prophecy is published J.

In Other Writing News

Cat Story

My five hundred word cat story, The Caterpillar of Catastrophe and the Catatonically Drunk Cat, was published in the collection titled Felinity. The link below will take you to where it can be purchased.

Book Two of the Chronicles of Elementary

Due to the job change and other distractions this had to be put to one side. The massive re-write that occurred was very productive and although there is still a lot to sort out and things to add, I’m glad to have such a significant amount done. When I do go back to finishing it off it will be seven months less work if I hadn’t done what I’ve done.

The Book of Prophecy

I am currently getting edits back from a wonderful and very talented editor. We are over halfway through. The book is shaping up nicely and next time I blog it will almost be for sale in beautiful paperback and ebook format. At some point before then the marketing is going to have to be worked out, but we’ll build that bridge when we get there. No matter what happens with my job situation, and how much effort I can put into this, it will be a very happy and exciting time.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A Special Date Made More Special, Update and...Cats??

Special Date Made More Special

The Book of Prophecy: Book 1 in The Chronicles of Elementary. Cover Reveal!!!

Some of what I’m about to say won’t make much sense to most people, but it needs to be recorded. 16-2-14 is an important day and made more so by becoming the day my book cover was revealed to the world. It was a lovely, selfless gift to be revealed on that day and I’m thankful that the 16-2-14 has two reasons to be memorable.

As for the book cover I absolutely love it. The artist employed by the Kristell-Ink (, Ken Dawson (, brought my ideas to life and I’m thankful for all the hard work he put in to the cover for The Book of Prophecy. I really feel this cover stands out and will draw people to it, but I guess only time will tell. A publication date has also been given and this is 01-8-14. Does anyone have a time machine so we can skip to that date already :).


Nurture Fails, Nature Remains: Book 2 in The Chronicles of Elementary. Update.

Book 2 is now 151,000 words and I have one chapter and an epilogue left to do. Once that’s done it will be going back and adding the dates. This will be tedious, but I like having the dates and I think it adds a little realism to the story. After the dates are done there are 19, ‘things to add or check,’ and after this a chapter by chapter read, focusing on some world building, will take place. Then a final read all the way through and hopefully it will be done and ready to show to a few people to get feedback. All of this may take another month or two, but that's good as it keeps me busy. It has taken a lot longer than I thought to do this re-write but I’m so happy with how book 2 will be when it’s done.  


A few weeks ago I was asked to do a flash fiction of 500 words for an anthology called, ‘Felinity.’ The theme was a sci-fi or fantasy story that had some link to cats. After an hour I had constructed a piece called, ‘The Caterpillar of Catastrophe and The Catatonically Drunk Cat.’ It was very fun to write this story and for once not be overly serious. I believe Felinity is currently being formatted, but the collection will be on sale shortly.

Monday, 20 January 2014

4Y, 3Y, 2M, 1C.W/Dodging Plot Holes In The Road

4Y, 3Y, 2M, 1C.W.

4 YEARS! Yep, it’s been that long since this journey began. It’s also been: 3 years of writing this blog, 2 months since the last update, and still one crazy writer who hopes for the fourth time that this will be his year.

Dodging Plot Holes In The Road

In the last couple of blogs I think I mentioned how it was hard to know what choice to make in terms of reviewing, or doing my own writing. I chose to focus on book two in the Chronicles of Elementary as I hoped it would make time go by fast, which it certainly has. It also turns out it was the right choice because I found a plot flaw in the Book of Prophecy when I went back to check something that was mentioned in book two. It was only a small thing, and only a few lines of information, which was easy to clear up, but it was a case of too much plot revealed to early. So it was taken out and all is well. I’m very glad I was able to put it write as especially as BoP will be out this year.
Furthermore, as I’ve written the second book, which is now 110,000 words and counting, I’ve seen a few plot holes (weaknesses) in it and been able to strengthen them dramatically. It’s so good to see how far I’ve come over these four years and I'm very happy that I can now spot the weaknesses and change them to make my stories more organic and realistic. It’s exhausting though, as there’s so much to try and remember about the plots of two books, and the others that are to come, but then I guess that’s one of the skills a writer should have. I'm thankful for those who have helped me with editing as each person has shown me what to look for and how to improve; I couldn't have become a better writer without their wisdom.


I actually don’t have much else to say except that 2014 should be an incredible year. As far as I’m aware people are working behind the scenes to make the Book of Prophecy the best it can be and I want to thank them with all my heart- THANK YOU! You all know who you are and I’m looking forward to thanking you all in person one day.

I just can’t believe it’s been four years. I have four years of built up energy, and four years of love and hate for this journey, but in the end both the positive and negatives are just fuel for what is to come. I’m ready to share BoP with the world, but until then I must be patient for a little while longer. Hopefully in another two months, when I blog again, there will be more news on what is happening with BoP. Book two’s re-write should hopefully be finished as well.