Thursday, 12 October 2017

Months Vanish In A Blink

I’m a total stuck record, but as ever, things are taking longer than expected. Luckily, I seem to have shed impatience and time rolls forward without me really being aware.

The reformatting of BoP and art will be done when it can. Its worth waiting for as the quality of formatting/typesetting will be worth the wait. I'm waiting until it is finished before asking to move The Heart of Nature forward so I'll keep posts coming when it does.

In other news, I now have a colouring book of my art published! If you want to take a look go to www.stevenjguscott.com

The last update for this post is about my new addiction. I have started my own Dungeons and Dragons campaign. This has been an amazing lesson in world building and paying attention to small details/mechanics of a society. As ever I don't do things by half and have created the world and the four kingdoms in it from scratch, plus Dming it for ten friends. It has become a vast and insane project, but the creative side to it is glorious. I'm having soooooo much fun!!! Although, I have to ration my obsession as ever to make sure I rest and don't do too much.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Unseen Potential

Unseen Potential

Often creative projects like stories, music, art etc spend a lot time as potential energy. It begins as an internal idea and ends in the external world with form of some type. The start and end are usually obvious- I have an idea for a story, and I want it to be a book to share with the world. However, sometimes we don’t see the potential of our work. This has happened to me.

Writing has been my main creative focus, but over the years I have also enjoyed drawing and doing what I call my doodles. They have improved with practice, but to me they were for fun and simply another creative outlet. In the last year or two people have complemented them and suggested it would be fun to colour them in.

This has been suggested again by a number of close friends. This has helped me see there is a lot of potential for fun in my drawings, especially when adult colouring books are so popular right now. I spoke to my publisher, Kristell-Ink, and they have agreed to publish a colouring book. This was decided a month or so ago. Since then I have been working hard to tidy up all my drawings so the quality is as good as it can be. All the pieces are done and I’m looking forward to sharing this creative project with everyone.

Other Projects
The Book of Prophecy is getting some awesome art added and will be re-released over the coming month or two.

The sequel, The Heart of Nature, hasn’t moved forward yet, but I’m content waiting.

Over the years I have had to take lots of rest time because of my health stuff. When doing this I listen to a lot of Dungeons and Dragons podcasts/games. I have finally decided to create my own campaign and this is based around a trilogy of books I will write, probably 10-20 years from now. This has already been a lot of fun. Creating the world and the detail needed has been a great learning curve and I can’t wait to see the potential of this story/adventure come together over the coming years.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Politics- My Thoughts and Feelings

Not related to my books, but something I wanted to put into the universe.

Introduction

We live in a mostly physical reality, where such related things (wealth, physical strength etc) are prioritised and praised. However, there is clearly more to this life than just the physical. Yet, because it dominates our senses it is difficult to tune into the spiritual* and connected compassionate ideologies.

That said, it is clear that the physical and spiritual are linked i.e. it is difficult to focus on the spiritual and compassionate without our basic physical needs being met. Furthermore, physical emotions of happiness, joy and love are linked to the spiritual and very much the bridge between the two parts of what is actually a whole.

Main Body

The truth (I often avoid that word these days due to ambiguity but it is right to use it here) is that we in the west are often fortunate to have our basic needs met but are not content. We then get lost in ambitions of wanting more and more and prioritise gain for the self (I fall into this trap often). We lose sight of the spiritual and compassionate, and become selfish. We need to learn to be at peace with our circumstance- not easy in the slightest, but possible. We can still aim for achievements, but perhaps prioritise them better, or think about WHY we are trying to do something, and what happiness it actually gives us.

I rarely comment on politics because I very much have my own personal views and will vote how I see fit. I do not believe the continual arguments and debates that occur are very beneficial to my goals in life. I am an advocate of choice and have a huge respect for our freedoms to choose- it is very much the core of my own belief system. Often I sit back because I think, ‘who am I to try and influence anyone’s choice.’ Recently I have struggled to know the right thing to do on such subjects as governance and government. I don’t know whether to share my opinions or stay quiet. There is so much turmoil and upheaval and fear about the future that I finally feel I should at the least share some thoughts and feelings. I have always acted the best I can to mirror my beliefs, but often words have to be used as actions are often missed. This is why I have written this.

The definition of governance and government is very important when trying to explain my position on politics. My personal view is that you can measure good governance by how they/we prioritise the poor, weak, innocent, and ill. Your definition may vary, but what goal is more important than the happiness and safety of an individual who is in need of help? As a country we have lost sight of what is important. The leniency towards crimes that take away choice, such as abuse, theft, rape and murder is shocking and breaks my heart each day. Obviously rehabilitation and second chances are important, but never at the cost of the victim. Those in power and who govern have forgotten this.

It is also clear from cut backs to health, and especially mental health and addiction that those in power are not for the people. They do not care for people. Thousands have died from neglect, and many have committed suicide because they have been lost hope- I was nearly one of those people. It took years to finally be taken seriously and get the help I needed.

I don’t know how to actively change such things, but I know it starts with me and how I live my life. It continues with me speaking up and having courage not to be indifferent- the whole evil wins when good people do nothing quote. When I vote I will do so with all the above things as my motivations. I ask humbly and with tears in my eyes that you perhaps decide to do the same.

Conclusion

You may think what I have said is idealistic and na├»ve but it’s because of that thought pattern that such things don’t come about. If we have hope, if we do believe, if we focus on those who truly have our best intentions at heart, then a happy, healthy, loving society can be achieved in time. It starts with us and what choices we make. If we already are trying our hardest to bring about happiness and love then don’t give up. Keep fighting for this in any little way you can until your last breath. Look out for those who need to be loved. Prioritise the spiritual and compassionate over the physical. But most importantly learn to love yourself and who you are. If you do this you will be happier and able to love others even more.


*My own personal understanding- serenity of the soul, calm consciousness, at peace with ones place in the universe and love for all humanity.

Monday, 6 March 2017

March 2017 Already!

Well, there goes my waaay overly optimistic goal of April for The Heart of Nature. Can’t believe we are in March! I do love how my perception of time and how long it takes to do things can still be so distorted even after all these years. I really shouldn’t make such goals as no matter how ‘realistic’ I think I’m being I’m always so far off. The phrase ‘it will get done when it gets done’ has wisdom in it, but I’ve never been that wise, so my new time related goal is to have The Heart of Nature published by the end of the year.

The wait is good though as timing is a very important thing. This has become clear many times over the years and once again I see it in this situation. I’ve been doing some writing/editing that I see now was important to get done before the ball gets rolling on The Heart of Nature. I can’t say what it is right now, but it’s vital in making my work the best it can be for readers.

I’ll keep posting when I have any news or discussion points I want to write about. In the mean time if you are reading this and have read one of my stories please do leave a review on Amazon as each review is very helpful. All links can be found on my website www.stevenjguscott.com Thanks in advance if you do leave a review.

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 http://www.grimboldbooks.com/ 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:

Freebooksy
Manybooks.net
Booksbutterfly