A Book’s Words

There is so much more to a book than mere words. Of course, the pages and the ink, the individual characters and their profiles, the twists and turns, and plot overall, are some of the most obvious elements, but, essentially, each one of these needs to be written. In terms of more tangible aspects, there is cover design. Then there is the inclusion, fashioning of and consideration to countless other factors, such as marketing and advertising, and the overall brand image of the author. Today, however, I have directed my attention towards one of the more obvious aspects of book writing and publication—that of cover design.

The decision to halt work on my up-and-coming work was a difficult one, but ultimately it was necessary—although, in some way, I had no choice: at this time, at this point on my path, there is no way forward; it’s almost like there is a barrier, with no access granted either side, nor above or beneath. But sometimes, the best thing is not to fight against what can’t be or what isn’t possible in that moment, but rather accept it and direct attention to another sphere.

This afternoon, I have asked my graphics designer—whom I have worked alongside for several years—to begin work on the cover for the G72 project. Terminating all progress on this work was painful—is painful—and so it makes sense perhaps to continue with the elements that require attention but that don’t conflict with where I am in my life. Cover design and other more marketing- and PR-related elements all deserve to be a focus. Just because writing can’t be a part of my world for now, that doesn’t mean I should neglect my writing career completely.

And so today brings me to a brighter place—a place where G72 is still a part of my immediate future, and not so far away it sits in darkness. Hopefully soon I will see my work take on a more tangible, real-life form through cover design, and even if it does little more than reassure me that all of my efforts up until this point weren’t in vain, maybe that’s enough. A little progress in one small aspect of the whole picture surely is better than nothing, and so I’ll try, from now, to adopt that perspective, rather than thinking that G72 has had so much of my love, heart, passion and dedication, only to be discarded.

The G72 Project will sit in a little cupboard, filed away in a secret compartment in my Writer’s Mind. There is a light on, so I won’t forget it’s there. And my wonderful, amazingly talented graphics designer will keep me on this rocky path towards G72, steering me back in the right direction with each design he devises and each tweak he implements. It is my hope that, as these snippets of wonder reach me—and, in turn, are communicated to my social media audience—that we’ll gain more momentum and more companions on our journey. G72, without question, will become a reality. It isn’t even a question of When? because already I know: When the right time presents itself.

Setbacks and the Importance of Timing

The months have flown since my last update, with my efforts and attention focused on finalising my up-and-coming work of fiction (as discussed in my previous entry). Never before have I felt so excited by a project whilst also fearful and wary; each chapter and the unfoldings of the story have all been so unfamiliar and so unlike anything I’ve ever undertaken before, and I have found myself uncertain and in unknown territory throughout the process. But nonetheless, I allowed myself to become immersed in every single stage; I have valued the individual moments spent crafting the spells and allowing the manuscript to work its magic, and not at any point have I felt less than completely passionate and dedicated.

And all of this is only thus far… The journey is far from over.

However, there have been circumstances that have arisen in recent weeks that have meant a halt in my progress, and, due to the genre and twists of the book, which are too closely aligned with my personal life and create the most significant, deeply painful conflict, I am having to cast aside the idea of completing this work—at least for now. To continue on with this feels like an impossibility in this moment, if only from an emotional perspective, and I can’t see that I could do any justice to the ideas I have stored away and nurtured for so long. If I were to continue, the end result would be a half-effort, and publication would hurt my heart when I reflect on what is happening in my life. But ultimately, I can’t see that writing even another word is possible; my stomach twists at the thought.

The G72 project is something I have been desperate to undertake and complete for more than a year; it deeply saddens me to realise it will remain a half-form until my mind is strong enough to venture back to dark places. But timing is pivotal and all-important, and although it pains me to admit it, perhaps now just isn’t the right time.

Everything happens for a reason. Life unfolds and turns and spins, and we can’t predict what’s waiting around the corner. And, although we have to take control and seize the moment, sometimes we also need to go with the flow of a situation and not try to swim against the tide. For now, I’m just going to give myself up to where the current decides to take me.

I know a rainbow will follow the storm. And perhaps then I’ll feel able to pick up my pen and continue on with what I am sure will be a better version of itself after being permitted to take the necessary time to grow.

Published: ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’ (Lost in Wonderland #1)

November 22, 2015 marked the official release of my most anticipated project, ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’. The first in the Lost in Wonderland series, this book has been a little seedling sprouting and growing in my imagination for the longest time—and now it’s a real, finalised, hardback book. The realisation is surreal and humbling, and even leaves me feeling a little lost myself…

Yesterday, on Publication Day, the status of the book on Amazon UK went from Available to Temporarily Out of Stock, which was a moment filled with both happiness and despair: whilst I’m delighted to know the book is causing an excited stir amongst Alice fans, I also look forward to when Amazon has replenished its stock! (The book can still be purchased from Amazon.com, with thousands of distributors and retailers picking up the book in the next coming days/weeks).

Now that the writing process is complete, I must admit I feel at a loss. I have spent so much time venturing and exploring Wonderland with Alice that, now the tick-tocking of the white rabbit’s watch has ceased to sound, I feel like I am wandering alone, with neither direction nor destination. And although I will enjoy focusing on other areas for a little while—marketing, book signings, brainstorming, outlining Lost in Wonderland #2, and also enjoying a much-needed break away in Cyprus (lost in the works of other authors: it has been such a long time since I’ve sat down and indulged in reading a book!)—I will miss Alice and the times spent dancing across pink stepping stones. It has been a beautiful and memorable journey, filled with magic, surprising twists and turns, and countless dark nights spent writing by candlelight. This part of the story has now come to an end, but Alice’s story is far from over.

The wisp of more magic still spirals in the air…

 

‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’ Now Available for Preorder

Alice Cover Final

Past articles published on my website have spoken of the passion I have for ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’—passion that never has dwindled in the years since I first imagined taking my favourite fairytale and completing a dark, fantastical reworking. This project has been unlike any other endeavour in my professional life. But now, the hard work, years of worry and countless hours writing deep into the candle-lit night (literally speaking!) have reached their conclusion…

Alice: Queen of Hearts is now available for pre-order, with November 22, 2015 marking its official publication!

No words can ever describe how it feels to reach such an incredible stage in this journey; it is overwhelming, with emotions ranging across all points in the positive–negative spectrum. I am, of course, over the moon to see what was once just a seedling of an idea burst to life and become a physical, tangible product, soon to line bookshelves in my favourite stores. But conversely, I will miss Alice—at least until it is time for me to tackle the sequel!

From Sunday, Alice will be free to wander across the globe and venture into the hands of her fans everywhere. I am sure she will be made to spend her hours held long into the night… Maybe some will choose to enjoy her on a train, on a plane, in a car or maybe even just on a soft sofa, cuddled into a corner as the fire blazes. Regardless of where she is taken, however, I have only one hope: that she keeps you turning her pages.

I know nerves will follow me like dark shadows every step of the way as I find myself far from the safety of my own writing retreat and out there in the vast world, where my words will be put under the microscope, examined and  analysed. But nonetheless, I will look forward to people’s comments and reviews.

I’ll see you in Wonderland…

[The first in the Lost in Wonderland series, ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts‘, can be ordered here.]

‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’: Cover Revealed

One of the most exciting and exhilarating milestones to reach in the writing and publication of a book is the moment the book cover, in its final detail and glory, is revealed. That moment of seeing your work spring to life—something that has, up until that point, been intangible—is indescribable. It inspires a wave of emotions and the recognition that, in some small way, you are fast on your way to leaving your mark on the world.

As discussed in the revealing of Alice: Queen of Hearts, this work has been the most important and passionate undertaking of my life. For years it has been at the very core and heart of my life’s aspirations, and so the cover coming together and laying yet another stepping stone towards the conclusion of this journey is both overwhelming and humbling. It is around Alice that my writing life currently pivots, and so I am taking time to bask in the moment.

Sharing the cover with my reading audience is another exciting but also nerve-racking part of the process, and so I present, admittedly with slight anxiety but mainly overwhelming passion and adoration, the book cover for the first in what will be a two-part series:

Dark and enticing fantasy… All I have wanted Alice: Queen of Hearts to be. I am so beyond thrilled.

The AQH Project Revealed: ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’

The AQH Project is a writing endeavour that has been close to my heart for several years, but is one that, ultimately, I have been too frightened and overwhelmed to undertake: the pressure of such an eagerly anticipated project and the potential to fail at something so close to my heart has kept my pen far from paper, and despite the years passing and the constant nagging voice in my mind chastising me for letting yet another 365 days pass without progress, thus far, I have remained cemented to the spot, too scared to begin.

This past year, however, has changed all of that.

A heartbreak I suffered in 2014 changed everything; changed my world, my future, my perspective on life and love. And with that experience came the courage to write, to finally make my dreams a reality, and, unexpectedly, to embark on what has turned out to be a cathartic journey.

It is finally time to reveal the AQH project. It is finally time to throw caution to one side and focus on achieving something that has been such a huge goal; the brightest star twinkling in my professional sky.

Alice: Queen of Hearts.

This project is a reworking of my favourite classic fairytale, Alice in Wonderland. With dark twists and a world far removed from the Wonderland we have come to know and love, Alice: Queen of Hearts is a different take on the story; told through a different lens and with a completely different conclusion.

Alice will come to life on November 22, at which time the book will be published and made available for purchase worldwide in hardback format. This date marks a very special time in my life, both professionally and personally, and it is my hope that the publication of this work—which has my heart and soul ingrained in its pages—will give Alice fans across the globe the opportunity to view one of our most-loved characters through darker eyes.

Alice is, and forever has been, so close to my heart. It is my hope that Alice: Queen of Hearts will take my passion and admiration to a greater level, and will provide my readers with an exciting page-turning experience.

Join me in Wonderland on November 22, 2015. Alice and I will be waiting.

If, however, you find you cannot wait until then, you can sign up to WattPad and review both the Prologue and Chapter 1; giving just enough of a glimpse into Alice and her life to tempt you to journey down the rabbit hole…

A Book Without Pictures

The writing of a book is one of the most complex, colourful, brimming-with-twists-and-turns projects a person can undertake, but the many different challenges and obstacles encountered during the writing period—which, in some cases, can span years—are quickly forgotten when the time comes for publication. At this stage begins an exhilarating, indescribable journey towards that pivotal end moment of holding the book, in its physical form, in your hands. The tangible outcome of intangible investment; emotions, time, ideas and imaginative scenarios. Flicking through the finished book, skim-reading page after page of black letters on white pages, is such a humbling moment.

Next time, however, I want more. I want pictures; not only printed words. Pictures. I want to flick through the complete book and see flashes of difference, a break in the text, something else to further separate this book from countless millions of others.

This is one element that sets aside the AQH project from anything else I have tackled and considered so far.

The AQH project is something that has been close to my heart, burning deep in my soul, for years, and is a work I still find daunting to tackle. My desperation to make it something memorable and inspiring, distinct from others of its kind, weighs on my shoulders every time I try to pick up the metaphorical pen. The weight emphasises the fear of not making this book as special as I need it to be. But I know my fears will subside when this part of the journey is complete. Until then, a welcome distraction from my reservations and contemplations is pictures. After all, what is the use of a book without pictures?

I have a friend who I first met 18 years ago, who is so much of an inspiration to me in the way she lives her life and how she approaches all goals in her life. She has recognised my love for all things related to my AQH project, and often surprises me with little gifts and thoughts to brighten my day. She is also a talented illustrator (I prefer doodler!), her imagination pulling little sketchings from a place I could never dream of accessing! And so, with all of this in mind, I have asked for her expertise and input with the AQH project.

The third little snippet for the project arrived in my Inbox last night, and, as with any time I receive an email from her, I opened it up with excitement and anticipation, and was not disappointed when I saw the beginnings of her latest creation. She is incredible, and I feel her parchment inkings will give this huge project an additional little sparkle; something special and magical to give this work that extra definition.

The daunting weight of writing seems to lighten when, as an author, I gain a little bit of insight, a glimmer of perspective, into the finished article; how it will unfold, how it will look, the emotions it will inspire. All of this keeps me motivated and focused on maintaining momentum in fulfilling what is one of my biggest ever goals. I only hope that the outcome will create the reaction I am hoping to garner, and that I can feel I have done justice to the many years and countless imaginings directed towards achieving this dream.

G72

The G72 project was an idea that struck suddenly, like a bolt of lightning across a night sky. I remember reading the news, and suddenly it was there; it was one of my first real light-bulb moments. Immediately, I wrote a one-page abstract (adhering to one of my book-writing principles: quickly detailing ideas before they become lost in my hectic mind!), and, suddenly, G72 was born.

This project is unlike anything I have ever considered writing before; nonetheless, I feel it has the potential to leave a deep imprint; dark and scar-like. Even before writing, I feel a book of this genre—a thriller tackling some close-to-the-bone, genuinely worrying phenomena—will leave a bad taste in the mouths of my readers, and quite possibly could become either a loved or hated read. But isn’t that the whole purpose behind writing and making books: to leave an impression, to create something that induces emotions and thoughts, to spark discussion?

Although work has already begun, unfortunately, publication will have to wait: I plan for this to be made available ready for sale in Autumn 2016. These things can’t be rushed!

The Book Creatives Series

The Book Creatives is a non-fiction series centred on teaching skills and techniques, and providing the tools necessary, to facilitate a career in some aspect of the book scene, such as writing, editing, and publishing, for example.

The first in the series, ‘Writing Course: Teaching the Time-Efficient Principles of Planning and Writing a Book‘, was born several years before its publication; the idea sat dust-covered and waiting for revival for a total of 7 years. Then, in 2015, the folios were polished, perfected and sent to print. April 24, 2105 was Publication Day, with the book made available through a number of the world’s biggest distributors and retailers.

The second of The Book Creatives series, ‘The Beginners’ Handbook of Professional Copy Editing and Proofreading’, is set for publication on August 24, 2015. This book will teach the key principles underpinning effective editing, with the lessons and teachings geared towards providing aspiring freelance editors with the knowledge and skillset to facilitate a self-employed career.

Again, this book will be made available through some of the world’s leaders in book distribution and retail.

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The third book in this series is a work in-progress, with ideas still floating across my writer’s mind. It is hoped 2016 will witness the publication of Book No. 3 in TBC series!

The AQH Project

The AQH Project has been, for the longest time, nothing more than an idea; a wispy cloud of thought with only the most fleeting flutters of sparkle and stardust. But in the years it has taken me finding the courage to begin seriously considering writing this book, the tiny nothingness glimmers of ‘possibly something’ have grown and developed into something more believable, more feasible and more beautiful.

Where this project is concerned, it has taken the longest time to find within myself the strength to put pen to paper, with my doubt and procrastination all stemming from a lack of faith and self-belief (Can I actually do this?). But over the last 10–11 months, after experiencing betrayal and deceit that reached a level I could never have imagined, I somehow found a way to channel my broken self into this long-held objective, and from that soul-splintering pain, the AQH project’s flame was finally ignited.

Progress has been slow-going since first starting, with some element of fear still holding me back. But whenever those chattering doubts creep into the back of my mind, I pull out the passages written so far, and read. I read as if I am impartial, and I am transported to a different land where anything is possible; where time is wound backwards and forwards all at once; where the heartache and sickening memories are gone, never to have happened, and the AQH project is a success.

With a little passion and self-belief, I expect that the AQH project will be revealed in all its whimsical beauty on September 14, 2015, ready for purchase and download on November 22, 2015. Before this point, however, teasing excerpts, cover design and character insights will all grace my site, so don’t journey too far…