Saturday, 31 December 2016

Snail Pace

As another year ends I wanted to write a last blog post for 2016. In a way it’s an apology. Recently, I’ve been asked by a couple of people when the sequel to the Book of Prophecy will be out and I have to confess I don’t know. For this I’m sorry. I’m hoping for the end of spring, but there is no indication that this could be the case, it might be much later.
The Heart of Nature had been scheduled for the latter half of this year, but I’ve not been able to meet that goal. This has mainly been to misjudging the time it would take to get ready. With my health struggles I have to be very careful with how much I do in my life. Anything that takes effort/energy has to be careful regulated or I get very ill. This means with writing I have to only do small bits when I can. Once upon a time I could do a couple of hours a day of slow editing or reading, but now that is often much less. The work gets done, but it just takes a long time.
            As mentioned in the previous post, I have been working on another novel, as I really wanted to get that re-written by the end of the year. I’m glad I achieved this a few weeks ago, but perhaps I should have been working on The Heart of Nature. I am working on it now, well, reading The Book of Prophecy again, in prep for a read through of my latest edit of The Heart of Nature. I’m confident that in time the story will get published, and it will be worth the wait, but once again, I’m sorry that it takes so long.
            2017 is a totally unknown entity at this point, with very little scheduled for book related things like events etc. The main goal will be the publication of The Heart of Nature and I’m excited for when I do finally have it ready for people to read.  

Monday, 10 October 2016

I Have Become Death, Destroyer of Words

As a writer, the general aim of the game tends to be to write words- ‘gasp’ what a revelation. And that’s always how it’s been over the years. However, I have become the antithesis of such a mind-blowing concept. I have spent the last few months killing words.

This all came about when I submitted the sequel to The Book of Prophecy to the publishers and it didn’t go so well. The biggest issue was the waffle and too much time spent inside the mind of characters. It was time to correct this mistake. So I put on my psychopathic clown-face (check me being relevant to the news) and went on a word killing spree.

I slaughtered 30,000 words from the 155,000 and was pretty shocked at how that can occur. I guess I put it down to how I like to be very descriptive of thoughts and emotions. Yet, this just slows down the story and is really tedious and over the top. Lesson learned (I hope). When that killing spree was over I decided to look at some older work and have dropped 14,000 from a 94,000 piece.

It’s tough having the blood of so many innocent words on my hands and it feels counterproductive on the surface, but it's actually so important. The pace and style of a story is paramount and I think I’m finally learning the skills to keep content streamlined by cutting out the ‘ghafla.’ *Dune reference alert*

As always, I guess only time will tell if my massacring is of value.

In other news, I was at Gloucester Comic-Con this weekend selling books for and it was a very enjoyable experience. It was lovely to chat to so many people who were enjoying the Con. To see such happiness and joy in a place where people can be themselves was wonderful. A massive thank you to all those who came and said hello and who purchased books.

The next Con will be Bristol Writers Con on the 29th. Until then, it will be killing more words, mwhahahahaaaaaaa!

(Sobs inside at having to slay them all, but their sacrifice will not be forgotten)

Saturday, 3 September 2016

When Book Promotion Goes Wrong

Back in late July I set up a free promo for The Book of Prophecy. I chose three websites that were renowned for high downloads (see list below). I contacted the publishers and the KDP feature on Amazon was set up and promo scheduled for the 1st-5th of Sept.

The weeks went by in controlled excitement for finally being able to access a wider audience. Two days before the promo I checked Amazon and my book had been removed from KDP and therefore unable to be put as free. After various emails that crossed over into the day before the promo, we were told it was removed because we broke the terms and conditions last time we used it. Now I don’t think we’ve used KDP for BoP as in the past we’ve used the price-match feature i.e putting it free elsewhere and Amazon price-match. Even then, that was like a year ago.

Anyway, I proceeded to email the websites to tell them the bad news. They were brilliant and switched the promo to their 99c/p promo or gave a full refund. I cannot praise them enough for their understanding and support.

So the promo has not been a total waste, as we’ve made some sales, which I'm very thankful for, but at this stage in the game, volume of downloads is the key. This is pretty high if the work is free on such promo sites as I was using. It’s brutal that even after all the effort to create a book it has to be free to get exposure, but that’s the reality. I’m trying hard to not get upset and frustrated, but it’s not easy.

I will do my best to try and branch out the marketing of this promo but the biggest problem is I’m marketing to the same people via facebook and these are friends and family. They’ve had to put up with promotion etc for years and been beyond supportive. These promo sites were going to hit new audiences, but also get a good volume of downloads, and that was exciting.

As always, I’ll bounce back, but needed to vent a little about this situation and wanted to add this experience to the annals. There’s still exciting news in the pipeline for other works, and I have two events in October and because of the people I will be with it will be a lot of fun. I'll always take the bad with the good, because there is so much good too :)

Promo Sites:


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Event Cancellation

The Steampunk Ball at Cogsbar in Birmingham, which was mentioned in previous posts, was meant to take place this coming weekend. Unfortunately it has been cancelled.
The other events in Oct are still going ahead.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Interview With Sheffield Uni Gothic Society, Post Re-imagining Event

A few months ago I went to Sheffield Uni for a Gothic-Lit event to launch The Diary of V. Frankenstein and give a presentation on it. I was interviewed via skype recently by one of the organisers. We got to have a more in depth discussion about the story and its themes. The interview has been transcribed and put on the Sheffield Gothic Blog so feel free to have a look.

Just forgive the couple of question I ramble on and don't actually answer. Nerves got the best of me.

A Quick General Update

This latter half of 2016 is going to be busy. As mentioned in a couple of posts ago, there are a number of events coming up.

This post is simply a quick bullet point run down of what writing things I'm working on the moment.

-The main project at the moment is The Heart of Nature. This is the second book in The Chronicles of Elementary and my own editing is going well. I have about 100 of 485 pages left to work through and then it will be sent to the publisher to see what they think.

-After the lessons of the one star for the Diary of  V. Frankenstein I have moved on and focusing on the positive things ahead. I've had a number of really nice things said about DoVF said since, so that's helped restore a little bit of faith in the story.

-I've been working on some cosplay for two conventions in October and the copsplay is a character from DoVF. Its been a lot of fun so far and I can't wait to finish. Although, I must remind people to spray paint in a well ventilated area ;) lol

-There is another bit of cool DoVF news, but I don't know if I'm allowed to share it yet so will wait just now.

-The rest of my time is spent making sure I'm organised for events that I have going on. I have a small little book signing on this weekend (16th of July) in Gloucester and that's looking to be fun

And that's about it really at the moment for book news. I'm working as hard as my health will let me and will continue to update and keep a record as and when things happen.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

1 Star Review: My Mistakes, Honesty, Candour, Naivety, Innocence and Ignorance.

Getting a harsh, but obviously trolling review is easy for me to move passed. Getting a harsh, but justified review- not so much.

Long story short, my latest novella, The Diary of V. Frankenstein has had a review that rips it to shreds and says the story does the opposite of following feminist themes and is actually condescending, patronizing and anti-feminist (the review contains a lot of spoilers but it’s on goodreads if you want to look). The reviewer didn’t know there was a gender swapped version, and has agreed to read it, but at the end of the day she may still not like it. I totally accept this, but I’ve felt it important to write about this experience and how to move forward from the review.

For a number of reasons, the harsh review hurts a lot and is a bitter pill to swallow. As mentioned in a previous post, I did swallow this pill 3-4 months ago, when I was told the story could be interpreted negatively. After re-writes, and the creation of the alternate gender swap version, I thought we had got it right; that hand in hand the two versions of the story were a fascinating duality on the themes and plot. In part this is what has happened, but mistakes have been made on the way. This is partly due to me and my weaknesses, but also due to not providing both versions equally- oh the irony!

The best way to begin this discussion is to talk about how I write a story. I don’t often think when writing a story. I usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and some themes to play with, and then I just write. The story tends to evolve by itself. I don’t really think about the characters, a target audience, marketability, or how it will all be interpreted etc. In hindsight this is very naïve, innocent and ignorant of me. In my defence it is a much more organic process, but I see now it can lead to problems if I don’t think enough about who will read this story and the perspective they might take on it.

The fact that The Diary of V. Frankenstein can be read as the opposite of what I tried to make it has happened for a number of reasons- mostly because of the above. The review is harsh and contains many spoilers, but the reality is that many people will agree with this negative review, yet at the same time many people won’t even think about the things she’s highlighted. And this is the difficulty of subjectivity and with right and wrong a lot of the time- it is us as individuals who define our reality/how we perceive something. Because of how subjective things like interpretation of stories can be, such a review wouldn’t usually create this level discussion from me, but as I’ve said, the review is totally valid and important for me to listen to.

Let’s go back in time for a minute. When it was brought to my attention by my editor and publisher of how certain aspects to the story can be seen as the opposite of what I was trying to do I struggled to accept it. However, that was my naïve perspective and my ignorance. For one who has a very high emotional level at times and who can be very empathic and compassionate, I seriously failed these wonderful aspects of my personality. I did not put enough weight on how readers could perceive the plot of the story.

Fortunately, great things came from my naivety and we developed the alternative version I’ve discussed in previous posts: a version that is, ultimately what I should have written in the first place. But I am human, and therefore prone to mistakes and weaknesses. Another mistake I make is that I often think people will take the positive interpretation and not the negative- once again, I am so innocent and ignorant at times, which is no excuse. I need to do better. I need to apply empathy and understanding to my readers, especially with such important themes and subject matters that mean everything to me.

In hindsight I wish we had published the Victoria Frankenstein version as the primary version. We were so close in doing so, but an attitude of, ‘it will be okay, and once we’ve had sales and sold the hardbacks special editions of the female version, we can sort out the female paperbacks and ebooks.’ It was clearly not okay. Actually, the truth is they should have all been equal.

The nature of time is that we can’t go back and can only move forward. The wonderful part of life is that we are humans and have the capacity to adapt, learn and grow. It can be painful and hard, but is so worth it. Out of negatives, positives can be created. For this specific situation, the positivity is that the two stories are going to be published together in one book. It is a wonderful combining of two fascinating versions of the same story, and both can be seen from multiple points of view, but with them together readers will know there are two halves to a whole. Hopefully, with the stories together it will be something fun to read, but I also hope it will be something that has layers and provokes thought on personal perception, and the importance of empathy and understanding of all perspectives.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Events and Book Signings

After the success of the 'Re-imagining the Gothic' event I'm excited to announce a number of other events coming up. Here's a list of the events I will be attending in the next few months:

Book Signing in Gloucester, UK. 16th July 2016

Cogs Bar, Charity Ball Book Signing, Birmingham, UK. 13th August 2016

Gloucester Comic-Con Trade Stall, UK. 8th-9th October 2016

Bristol Con, Trade Stall, UK. 29th October 2016.

I'm really looking forward to these events and meeting new people at them. If you're close to any of them, make sure you come say hello :)

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Re-Imagining the Gothic May 2016

On May the 7th I had the joy of attending and showcasing my work at Sheffield University's event, Re-Imagining the Gothic: Monsters and Monstrosities.

At the beginning of the year I submitted my current novella, The Diary of V. Frankenstein in the hope they would be willing to have it, and me, as part of the event. They read the story and invited me to attend the event and give a presentation about the creative process of re-imaging a classic such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

I arrived at the event, held at Sheffield Universities Humanities Research Institute building, and the organisers were incredibly welcoming. I set up the stall for the showcasing and had a chance to chat to a number of those running the event and those who were interested in The Diary of V. Frankenstein. I also got a chance to look at the other showcases and there was a lot much creativity and talent on display. For full list of all showcases, presentations and information on the event click the link at the bottom to Sheffield’s Gothic Reading Group blog. The blog will also have a post about the event and all that went on shortly so keep an eye out for that.

Throughout the day there were a number of other presentations on the events theme and I enjoyed every single one. I shouldn’t pick favourites, as they were all wonderful presentations on re-imaging the gothic, but I can’t help but give praise to the reading of Greg Flynn’s, ‘Humans of New Britain.’ The piece that was read was exceptionally well written and very passionate about current political, social and economic state of Britain at this time.

At 3pm I got the chance to give a presentation on the creative process of re-imagining the gothic and how it relates to the year’s theme of Monsters and monstrosities. To begin with I focused on what the theme monsters and monstrosities meant to me personally and how such ideas have bled into the creative process of writing, The Diary of V. Frankenstein. I then discussed how such a fantastic story as Frankenstein has sparked a thousand adaptations, and that to me it is the themes of holding a mirror up to ourselves and society that make people keep coming back to Frankenstein.

With this foundation built, I went on to discuss how my re-imagining began in 2010 with a simple thought of ‘What would happen if?’ at a certain point in the Frankenstein story. A year later my publishers helped me have the confidence to explore my ideas for their short story steampunk anthology, Strange Tales from the Scriptorian Vaults. Writing something that pays tribute to such an epic story is daunting, but we managed to piece it all together.

The short story gained some interest from readers and a friend of mine said she would love to see more about one of the characters. Another year later, while thinking what to write, I decided to turn the short story into a novella and explore that character and themes of monsters, equality and feminism more.

In my presentation I talked about how the publishers read it at the end of 2015 and agreed to publish it. It was a wonderful creative process with much learning on my part. During the editing process we came up with an extra layer to The Diary of V. Frankenstein and made two versions; one with the original Victor Frankenstein and one with Victoria Frankenstein- with all the male characters swapped with female and vice versa. I concluded with this and how the publishers had published the paperbacks and ebooks, but also the limited edition hardbacks where one set was the Victor version, and one the Victoria version. Lastly, I invited everyone to come speak to me about The Diary of V. Frankenstein if they wanted to know more.

There were a few more presentations after mine and for the rest of the event I chatted to people and got to relax a little now my presentation was over. The event was wonderful and a great way of mixing academic perspectives with a public audience. I really look forward to seeing what they do next year and returning as a member of the public and not showcasing/presenter. I highly recommend everyone keeping an eye on the gothic-lit blog and attending next year’s event. It was well organised and well presented event, so many thanks to Sheffield University Goth-Lit department for organising it.


I was interviewed for a post-event discussion by one of the event organisers a few days ago. This interview was fun as we discussed The Diary of V. Frankenstein in a bit more detail. The interview will be posted soon.

Grimbold Publishing: A wide range of Fantasy and Sci-Fi Stories

Event blog:

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Diary of V. Frankenstein

It is nearly time to share The Diary of V. Frankenstein with the world! The official release date is May the 7th. Words cannot describe how excited I am to have this story available for people to read. What I have written below are some updates on the last six weeks. The blurb, front-cover, links to pre-order/buy the book, can be found at or at the link at the end of this blog post.

As an intro I guess I better quickly describe what type of story The Diary of V. Frankenstein is: it is an Alternate-Reality/Gothic-Horror/Steampunk/Sci-Fi novella with themes of feminism and equality. That’s the genres and themes, but for more into and the blurb follow the website link to

So, a couple of months ago the final edits began and there was lots of debate about the characters. This story has feminism and equality themes and without realising it my female characters weren’t as strong as they should have been. Once this was pointed out to me by the editors, and some other ideas discussed, my unintentional mistake was corrected. My mistake and the discussion following it birthed a really fun idea for this story. The idea was to have two versions of the story: one as it was originally written (with said character strengthening), and one with all the male characters as female, and female as male. I love the two versions and hope people love them too.

The Diary of V. Frankenstein now comes in many forms. There is the original story as a paperback and ebook, but we also have two limited edition hardback versions. Thirty hardbacks are the original version and thirty the gender swap version. The hardbacks also come with a cool bookmark, the ebook of the story, and art work by Snow Wulf (who can be found by that name via facebook and the name ChaosWinter on

And there you have it! The Diary of V. Frankenstein has life and it will be shown to the world on the 7th of May. It will be a busy day as this is when I’m showcasing the story at the event ‘Re-Imagining the Gothic: Monsters and Monstrosities’ in Sheffield, England, UK. My presentation is nearly ready, I have to print out some posters for my stall and I have some little Steampunk cosplay to make. I will write a blog update with how it all goes sometime in May.

UK link

USA link

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Thoughts/Experiences on Writing a Book and Publishing

A friend of mine is going to write their first story soon and asked me to write down my thoughts and experiences on writing a book and the publishing world. What I've constructed is not perfect by any means, but I hope it gives a good overview for anyone interested in writing a book.


There seems to be two motivations for writing a book.
One is to have a fun story you can share with friends and feel the joy that comes from creating a story.
The second is writing a book to be published and try to make writing a career.

When I started I had both motivations and it was the joy of writing that got me through the tough times. I think if you’re only motivation is to make a career out of writing it won’t work. I believe this because it takes a lot of time to do so and most don’t actually achieve this goal (I’m into my 7th year and not my career…yet lol). At your core you really need to write for the love of writing, otherwise you’ll most likely give up on this long journey.

I’ve broken this discussion into two sections. The first is things to do with writing a book itself. The second is about publishing said book. It might be an idea to read the first part but not the second until your book is finished. It’s up to you.

Writing a Book

When it comes to writing a book it’s very important not to get ahead of yourself (a lesson I learned the hard way). When I had my first draft done I was very excited and edited a little and got the story to what I felt was a good stage. I just wanted people to read it. I then self published so friends and family could read it. They brought the book but it wasn’t up to a good enough technical standard in terms of storytelling. The concepts, characters etc were fine but there is a difference between writing a book and telling a story.

Now I’m not saying this will be your problem, but hopefully you see the overall idea of making sure the story is at its best it can be before putting the story out there to friends or as a published book.

Writing Skills

When writing you can either get the whole story out then check it over, or write it bit by bit and check it for quality as you go. What I’ve written in this section applies to both ways.

Some important skills you may want to think about is Pacing, World-Building, Plot, Character Development, Themes, and Originality.

Trying to figure out if what you’ve written is going to grip readers with tension, twists etc is hard. This is mainly because everyone is different and responds to things differently. I’ve had one or two people hate my book for all the reasons most love it. It’s just the nature of the beast.

The best thing I could advise is find five loyal and honest friends, who would likely fit into the marketing bracket, and ask for their honest and brutal opinion on the story. This way you can get a relatively good look at what people think of it. Of course some of the opinions will be things you will have to ignore, but some will be very good points that will help you develop as a writer. You just have to discern which are which. If the feedback is very similar, both negative and positive, then that’s a good indicator, but then again, might still not be right.
With that done, find some beta readers who do not know you. can be a good community for help on these things. Again, it’s just their opinions so take them lightly but look for patterns in feedback and things you might have missed.


Thinking your story is worse than it is:

It is important not to be too harsh on yourself!!! Enjoy the writing process and don’t over think the technical things. Get it all out on paper if that’s what you feel is best. Set yourself reasonable word count goals if you’re struggling to get things on paper. A little every day for a long period of time tends to be more effective than an explosion of words for a week and then nothing for ages. Again, everyone’s different so find what works best for you.

Once it’s all written it can be tidied up and it’s important to have a fresh pair of eyes from people you trust and have some capacity to critique the story. Other writers are always an idea but make sure you state what you want help with. Things like pacing, world building etc are what should be looked at and any plot holes. But make sure no one tries to change anything they shouldn’t. This is your creation. It requires wisdom and objectivity to see what points are good from people and what points can be ignored.

Thinking your story is better than it is:

For the first few years of writing I struggled with thinking my story was better than it was. Here’s a couple of possible reasons for this.

One is that in your head most things look better, at least they do in mine- if you leave any writing piece for a period of time it’s easy to mentally go over it and over it while away, and then when you go back to what you have you project that image in your mind, not the image of how it looked previously, and it can be confusing.

In time this can actually change to the opposite. I now write stuff and go back to it and it’s better than I remembered it, still has errors etc, but often I get surprised. I think this is a time thing. When you start writing your first story it’s so exciting, and all that energy and enthusiasm is great, but it can distort our view on the reality of the writing as we get wrapped in the potential of the story, not the actual written story itself. In time it will reach that potential but putting that from mind to paper can be a tough journey. At least that was my own personal experience. In time it can balance out.

Another point is it can help to take little breaks and go back over things, but that’s better left to the editing stage (in my opinion). We all write differently and have different style, I prefer to get the whole story out in about 6 months (depends on the word count, life etc as to length of time) and add rough chapter breaks as I go.

Once that’s done I take a short break. Then read back over it and see if I've missed any plot stuff, and I add it if so. Then go through each chapter and make sure they are a natural length and good exciting cut off points. Then I take each chapter into a separate word doc and go through it very detailed. Eventually, all the chaps go back together one by one and at that point it should be a good first draft. I then read through it again and find any spelling mistakes, punctuation etc that has been missed (I always miss loads even after this, but that's what an editor is for lol). Then I read it again.

For me it is now be time to show people at that point i.e a few beta readers. See what they think. They might highlight things I haven’t seen. If so I either change things, or ignore them if the changes aren't needed. Then it’s time to send to publishers etc.

This is the process now, but when I first started I had a lot of help so lots of people saw it at various points and helped me- I think doing this is important with a first book as how else do you know if it’s right. I’m confident enough to do it the above way now, but it took 4/5 years to get to that stage where I can do most of it myself and be happy with the end result- knowing not as many changes will be needed.


I would also suggest building a thick skin. It can be instinctive to defend our work but sometimes we have to separate ourselves emotionally from our creation. It is part of the learning process. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s especially good preparation for when you get someone who is very critical. It helps to start making sure you can discern what is good criticism, what is bad criticism, and what is outright stupid mean people.

Making sure you don’t lose your updated work

It’s always important to email each edit to another account of yours so that it’s always there in cyberspace. This way you can download it if you happen to lose other copies, which should be your own computer hard-drive and a usb stick. That’s just what I do and has helped over the years when I think I’m not on the right version.


I was very worried about intellectual theft at the start etc, but don’t worry about it too much. Send copies of your work to another email account you have and that digitally backs it up. Plus, every document you save has original date of file creation so that pretty much covers your back. There are standard copyright terminology you can use i.e.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven J. Guscott
Steven J. Guscott asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of the works on this website All rights reserved. All work written and drawn by the author, or any portion thereof, may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

You can copy and paste that to any work you do and change the details and that also covers you I guess.

Publishing a Book

The great thing about publishing ‎is there are many options available. The bad thing about publishing, exactly the same thing! With so many options the book market is swamped with writers. When it comes to basic economics and the whole supply and demand thing, it is a challenge as the ‘supply’ is far far greater than the demand.

However, with patience, hard work, help from loved ones, help from those in the same boat, a lot of progress can be made.

The traditional publishing method is to get an Agent to represent you and then they will send your solid manuscript to mainstream publishers. This is the best option for quick(ish) success (i.e finding and audience and money) but very difficult to actually get an agent as it is very subjective industry and at any point the market can change and what is ‘popular’ can be completely different. Once again, this requires your story to be as good as you can get it before sending it to agents.

Make sure you research each agent you submit to and follow their requirements. The submitting process can be long and difficult but worth giving a try. At the end of the day agents are very subjective and I hate the whole process and structure, but it actually can be a good way to break the market and get the exposure. Also remember if agents do end up wanting to represent you, you can just say no if you want to go down another path.

One of the traps writers fall into is thinking agents are super special awesome, but actually they represent you, not the other way around. The problem is there are 100,000’s of writers so the agents can pick and choose, unless your story is a unicorn and exceptional, and you have a number of agents fighting over it (very very very very rare). If that’s not the case, unfortunately the power is in their hands to begin with, but in time once established it will be the other way around.

This is why other options should always be considered.

Self Publishing

Because it is so difficult to get an agent, self publishing has emerged and it has become possible to achieve financial success this way. There are different ways to self publish but always be patient and think about quality and risk. It can be easy to fall into the trap of investing money but get little back. It all depends on what you’re willing to do, but make sure you research options first.

Indie Publishers

Research smaller publishers and learn about them. If you find a good one it can become a family. I have been lucky to have my work published this way by a wonderful growing publishing house that is a family. It is a good way to begin work within the writing world and you learn a lot from all those you come into contact with.


As I have stated, all this information is just my own thoughts and experiences, but will hopefully give you a general view on writing a book and what it takes to get it published if that’s what you want. All the best with your own journey! Any questions just ask me.

Steven J. Guscott

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Going Goth!

It’s wonderful to be able to share the following good news with you all. My soon to be published novella, The Diary of V. Frankenstein (approx 30,000 words), has been given some high praise.

It all began about a month ago when I saw an event posted on Facebook. The event is called ‘Re-imagining the Gothic 2016: Monsters and Monstrosities’ and takes place in Sheffield. It will be held in May (details can be found via the link at the bottom of this update).

I saw that they showcase re-imaginings of Gothic tales at the event. The Diary of V. Frankenstein is a re-imagining of Mary Shelly’s classic so it seemed to fit the criteria. I emailed the event organisers and asked if they would like to read the story and showcase it. They said they would read it and I waited with nervous excitement.

Yesterday I got a nice email from Lauren, one of the event organisers. Here is part of that email,

‘I've discussed The Diary of V. Frankenstein with Kathleen, who leads Sheffield Gothic with me, and we'd like to include it in our showcase; it certainly fits very well with this years theme! I felt on reading that you'd manage to capture something of the original text whilst also creating something new- that you'd carefully considered Shelley's style and themes, working to recreate but also 'reimagine' (sorry, had to get the buzzword in there haha) the text to expand on it.

We're planning on having scheduled talks, multimedia presentations and performances throughout the showcase, so what we would like to do is feature you as one of these speakers. It would be 20 to 25 minutes, and it would be wonderful if you could speak about your creative process and what monstrousness means to you as a writer in this context. This could potentially also include a short reading, maybe 5 minutes, of an extract from your novella. If you'd like, we'd set you up with a stall/stand…’ (for selling copies)- ‘…some presenters will be putting up posters, mood boards, extracts of their prose or poetry blown up onto A3 so that visitors throughout the day can look at their work and their processes.’

To receive such words and be invited to the event is humbling and a great confidence boost. After a really tough week I can’t tell you how much I needed that confidence boost. I’m beyond excited to be a part of this! I’m totally nervous, but so so excited to have The Diary of V. Frankenstein published and be able to present it at this event.

The original short-story (approx 8,000 words) can be found in the Charity Anthology ‘Strange Tales from the Scriptorian Vaults.’ Here is the link to it:

As I often do, I’ll end with some thank-yous as I really do appreciate people acknowledging my writing. It’s important to remember this is a tough industry and with so many authors out there looking for people’s time and reviews etc I appreciate the time people do give. It then allows them to read awesome stories *cringes as I can’t do self-praise*, so it’s a win-win, but I like to remember my ‘pleases’ and ‘thank-yous.’

So first up, thank you Lauren and Kathleen for inviting me to this event. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Thank you to my publisher’s Kristell-Ink for believing in me and putting so much time and effort into helping me with my stories- Thank you Sammy and Zoe! Another thank you must go to Daniel Chipperfield at my local paper, The Gloucestershire Citizen. He contacted me yesterday and another article about my writing, and the writing/social group I’ve started in the area, was featured today.

Lastly, thank you to all of you for supporting me through this journey. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Thank you for all your feedback on my writing as it is so wonderful to know what you think of my stories.

Keep your eyes open for further updates,


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

6 Years of Writing Stories

I guess to begin with it’s time to make the big announcement for 2016:

My publishers, Kristell Ink Publishing are going to publish my story, ‘The Diary of V. Frankenstein’ (no date yet) and then the follow up to, ‘The Book of Prophecy’

...Drum Roll Please!!...

‘The Heart of Nature.’

‘The Heart of Nature,’ is going to need some work so the publishers have agreed to release TDoVF (Novella, so only 30,000 words) to give you something while you wait. Aren’t they awesome and super kind!!!! TDoVF is very dear to my heart as it was inspired by a dear friend who created the original concept and let me run (fly) with it.

I won't give away too much info on the story except that it's a Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Feminist, Sci-Fi, Alternate Reality take on the original story. So expect the traditional and not so traditional. There's even a big shout-out to Scotland and how much I love it and its people.

So, that’s the first bit of news, but there is more…

I have begun writing book 3! For a number of reasons it’s the perfect time to do it. There is a massive part of me that is terrified to start this, but I did my best to fight this, and a few weeks ago I wrote 2000 words of a detailed plot skeleton for the first half of the story. This was the positive catalyst I needed to get my mind set for beginning this project.

It is going to be slow going though. A few years ago I could do 2-3 thousand words a day if I focused. A year ago I could do 1-2 thousand but now I’m looking at 500 to 1 thousand a day. That’s still a good amount, if consistent, but it’s hard with the CFS and how much more I need to rest these days. I’m grateful that I can still do some writing though and irrational fears to one side, I’m looking forward to getting this project underway.

There are a few other things currently in the making, but I’ll save that exciting news for another time.