Looking back on 2019

This is what I said a year ago: http://gerald-hornsby.com/blog/2019/01/01/jumping-into-2019/
So let’s see how we’ve done.

My Writing
MELTDOWN (apocalyptic thriller): not out yet, but due out on 1st February. It’s currently re-plotted and rewritten, and awaiting my alpha reader. So almost a win.
DECEIT (political thriller): It’s out, and for sale in both paperback and ebook on Amazon. WIN!
Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government-ebook/dp/B082WHN26P/
Pbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government/dp/1677186909/

SHORT FICTION: My collection of 500-word (and shorter) stories is out and for sale on Amazon. WIN!
Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Dark-Corners-collection-micro-fiction-ebook/dp/B0829D92WR/
Pbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Dark-Corners-collection-micro-fiction/dp/1671412567/

NON-FICTION: The SaveTheSnowCat is still in progress, although I did complete and publish a Self-Publishing, Pure and Simple guidebook. WIN!
Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Publishing-Pure-Simple-Three-Guide-ebook/dp/B07RPP3X1M/
Pbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Publishing-Pure-Simple-Three-Guide/dp/1098561392/

My writing businesses
I said last year that we were setting up two writing-related support businesses. They are now both up and running.
http://writer.support
At the Swanwick Summer School, we delivered two one-hour workshops on NaNoWriMo and Self-Publishing, both of which were well-received. Also, and as a result, I was the ’2019 top seller’ in the book room for my writing craft books.

http://thenovelmakers.com
We delivered an introduction to getting your novel published as part of Essex Author Day. We had a full house of 30 delegates, and had lots of interesting conversations afterwards.

Vlogs
I completed an almost vlog-a-day during NaNoWriMo this year, which was part personal update, part sharing of hints and tips from my NaNoWriMo book:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyFWTTA81BpiArggmU0Bupx5QPnkhwQct

I have now started running a vlog on my VisionFor2020 – more of which in the look forward to 2020:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyFWTTA81BpjrELRFcBWjLGi9F40hct2V

And we do need to get on with “Two Writers – One Sofa” in the New Year

Podcasting
The short story podcasting continues, but it’s currently a bit hit-and-miss, as we’re having difficulty getting people together at the same time. Hopefully, in the new year, things will pick up again.
https://www.literaryroadhouse.com

SO, all in all, a busy year. A good year for publishing, and we’re beginning to get our names ‘out there’ for advice on writing and publishing.

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Deceit – how and why?

One of the questions writers get asked a lot is: where do you get your ideas from? I think this is particularly interesting when discussing a novel like Deceit.
The story began as an idea for a idea NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – in 2018. I had been watching news coverage of the civil war in Syria. I was particularly appalled by the indiscriminate killing of civilians, including attacking clearly-marked hospitals in the rubble of cities.
It is a confused picture over there, and no one seems to know who is doing what. The Russians are supporting the Syrian government. There is talk of war crimes, inflicted by the Syrian government on its citizens.
And we, in the UK, tut-tut and shake our heads at this mess of a civil war that seemingly no one can win.
And then I asked the age-old writers’ question: what if?
What if it’s not a Syrian or Russian plane that drops a bomb into a civilian area? What if the real culprit is somewhat closer to home? What are the stakes that someone would need to investigate this?
And slowly, I built up the story. The British doctor, working for Médecins Sans Frontières, in the hospital when it gets bombed. The sister of the doctor, devastated by his death. The friends she would turn to for help when looking into her brother’s death.
The father of the doctor, in government, but coerced into lying to his daughter. Because everyone in government is corrupt, right? Everyone knows the truth, and no one tells the truth.

After NaNoWriMo, the story was a healthy 69,000 words, but it was a mess. It had good bits, but there were plot holes all over the place, there were no character arcs, and there was no redemption scene. And there was no killer twist at the end.
So I took it apart. Like a house that’s been thrown together from a collection of parts. It was a house, but no one would buy it. This was a story, but no one would take time to read it.
So I took all the parts off, kept the good bits, threw the bad bits away, got some new good bits. Then I built a framework, foundations in solid concrete, to build the skeleton of a story. Then I started to hang onto that skeleton the good bits. Most of them fitted okay, some needed a bit of adjustment.
So now I had a story, with a great structure, but it still looked like a collection of parts. So that’s when I set to work. I adjusted them, smoothing out the connections between the parts, reading it through from start to finish, smoothing and painting and adjusting. It was looking pretty good.
Then I gave it to my beta reader – who is someone who reads the novel, sees if the story works, and highlights any inconsistencies as they read.
But they loved the story. They were totally engaged with it, kept turning the pages.
So now it was snagging time. When building a house, there are always bits that aren’t quite perfect. Maybe the paint needs fixing, or the plumbing doesn’t work like it should, or light switches are upside down. So it is with a story. You need fresh eyes, someone who doesn’t have the emotional investment of the author.
I had a professional snagger look at it. Made sure everything was exactly as it should be.
The story is now 67,000 words, but a whole lot better than it was after NaNoWriMo. It’s a different story, with character arcs, tension, backstory, and a sickening realisation for the reader just before the end. And there is redemption.

The first three chapters are uploaded to Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/208786264-deceit so you can have a read, and see if the book is for you.

Ebook UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government-ebook/dp/B082WHN26P/
Paperback UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1677186909

Ebook US: https://www.amazon.com/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government-ebook/dp/B082WHN26P/
Paperback US: https://www.amazon.com/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government/dp/1677186909/

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Novel Announcement!

I am pleased to announce that my new novel, written under the pseudonym Jack Warwick, will be released soon (Jan 1st 2020)
Here is the blurb:

Abi Gillespie’s life is turned upside-down when a bomb destroys a clearly-marked hospital in Syria, killing her brother Adrian and the young patient he was working on.
As she is dealing with her grief, a stranger brings evidence that all might not be as it seems. She begins an investigation which will link terrorists in Syria, the British Government, and dark forces who will stop at nothing to get their way.
Abi risks friendships, old and new, and even her own life, to find the answer to the question:
Why was Adrian killed?

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