Monthly Archives: July 2012

Super Heroes and Intermissions

I turned 33 years old yesterday. It’s weird to think that in the last year, I’ve gone from wondering if anyone ever was going to pick up Crimes Against Magic, to being a published author with a some-what successful first book published. It’s funny how fast things happen once the ball starts rolling.

I didn’t do much yesterday, it was far too hot to be outside for any length of time. So, I went to watch The Dark Knight Rises at the cinema. I don’t get to go very often, but I was never going to miss watching the last movie in the Batman trilogy. So how was it? Ummm, I’m undecided. It was a very good film. Let’s get out of the way first. I really enjoyed it. Everyone was excellent in it, especially the new members of the cast. Catwoman is a wonderful character and Anne Hathaway goes some way to show everyone else what comic book readers have known for years. Catwoman kicks ass.

The fact that she’s incredibly sexy is neither here nor there, obviously.

Bane was an interesting and pretty impressive villain and I loved the little nods to the comics as the movie continued.

So, why the ‘ummm’?

Well, first of all, it’s the weakest of the three movies. Easily the weakest. I don’t mean Godfather 3 territory, but more like Back to the Future 2. But while it may be the weakest movie of the trilogy, it’s still better than most films that get put out there. My main problem contains a small spoiler.

Mild Spoiler –

Batman looks like an idiot by the end of the movie. Over and over again things happen that as the ‘World’s Greatest Detective’, he should have seen them coming a mile off. In fact one of the ‘twists’ is so obvious that they may as well have just done it a few seconds into the movie, just to save time.
Also, while I’m doing Spoilers. Cillian Murphy’s cameo was fantastic.

Spoiler End

So it was good, but not Avengers good. Nothing I’ve seen this year has been that good. Over all it was a good end to the Nolan trilogy, but not necessary the best end it could have been.

It also lacked any Hulk smashing. An oversight on WB’s part, I feel.

…..

This is going to be my last post for a few weeks. What with the new baby imminent in a few days I felt it best not to write any more blogs until I’m actually able of coherent thought, which admittedly could be a while. But all is not lost. Because I’ve lined up some fantastic writers with interviews and guest blogs to take my place starting next week.

I’d like to leave you with one final thought. A picture of my eldest daughter, Keira on her dress up for school day. My daughter doesn’t do pink or girlie.

….

To save time, you should probably just start fearing her now.

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Sex and Tattoos

A few months ago I wrote a post about sex scenes for my good friend, the fantastic author Angela Addams.

As I’ve been very busy getting tattooed today, I haven’t had time to write a whole new blog, so I thought I’d re-post my thoughts on writing sex scenes.

Although a massive generalisation, it’s very quickly become apparent to me that women write better sex scenes then men. I can think of, at a push, three male writers who write excellent sex scenes in their books. I can think of at least a dozen women, right off the top of my head who do the same.

Now, of course there are women who can’t write sex scenes either, but even so, the odds are firmly in the female court.

So, it was with a little trepidation that it became apparent that my first book, Crimes Against Magic, was going to have sex in it. This was a problem for one reason. My sex scenes were dreadful. They read a little bit like an educational sex talk given by a teacher for whom the word ‘sex’ should never leave their mouth. They were dry, dull and quite frankly about as sexy as wet cardboard.

So, I tried spicing them up a bit and found a new problem. They now sounded like a porn film. All I needed to do was add a handlebar moustache and have the main character come to check on the woman’s boiler, fridge, cooker, pluming and I’d have had a career in writing truly terrible sex scenes. It’s something to think about if this whole ‘published author’ thing doesn’t work out.

So I needed to re-work it again. And this time I found some good advice. Apparently, I’m pretty good at writing action scenes. So, why not try writing a sex scene in the same way? Everyone writes action scenes in their own way, but I tend to map out where everyone is and what they’re doing, or going to be doing.

Applying it to a sex scene was actually straight forward. Instead of several people all in the same place I only had to deal with two (although, your mileage may vary). So, I wrote it as if it were an action scene, or a fight. Once I had the backbone for it, I found it much easier to go through it and make it ‘sexier’, but having that base was necessary for me.

Since that first time, I’ve found it much easier to switch into ‘sex scene mode’ for writing and can usually manage it without the need for the clinical part first. I’m never going to write the greatest sex scenes of all time, but I hope I’m no longer in the same bracket as some of the truly terrible ones.

*****
I hope you enjoyed it. And to finish this week off, here’s a pic of my new tattoo.

It is both incredibly awesome and incredibly sore.

Painful Art

When I was 21 years old I was dating a complete nutcase. We’ve all had one relationship with someone who, as it turned out, was an utter dick, and that was mine. And if you haven’t had one of those… well that could be because you’re that person for everyone else.

To celebrate the fact that I not only broke up with her crazy ass, but I also left my soul-sucking job, I decided to get my first tattoo.

This tattoo in fact

I wanted to get something special and something that was meaningful to me, so i picked something I loved (comics) and a character from it I enjoyed reading about (Daredevil). It wasn’t a terribly painful experience, although it wasn’t without it’s moments, but it was nice enough that I didn’t once think about stopping there.

You see there’s something no one really told me before I got the Daredevil tattoo. They’re really addictive. Now for the most part I’ve restrained myself from having too many done and only get one when I find something worthwhile having done. So over the years I got a tattoo of my daughter, Keira’s name wrapped around my arm in Japanese. A Samurai when Keira was born.

It looks a little like this, but not like this. Which I’m aware is a dreadful way of describing something.

And two anime wolves next to one another when my second daughter was born.

Imagine two of them, sleeping together with small amounts of colour on their head and without the leg irons.

So, when my wife and I discovered she was pregnant, I knew I was going to get another tattoo. It was just a question of what. After getting the wolves, I knew it had to be something just about the new baby. But it wasn’t until we settled on the name Harley that I knew with a hundred percent certainty what I wanted.

Ignore all the little bits around the outside.

So, next thursday I’m off to get a new tattoo on my forearm and I can’t wait.

Now there are a few things that people should know before they get a tattoo.

1. Yes, of course it bloody well hurts. How much depends on where you get it done and what you get done, along with who is doing the work.

2. If you get something done, try and make it personal to you. Just because everyone else has tribal tattoos on their arms, doesn’t mean you have to.

3. Don’t go with a tattooist just because it’s cheap. Cheap and tattoos are not good friends. Research the tattooist and find out how his/her work looks.

4. Eat before you go. Seriously this is incredibly important unless you like the idea of passing out. At least drink something sugary.

5. Research. Not only the pic you want, but also where you want it and how big. If you go to a tattoo parlour with a copy of a picture you’ve already found, it’ll make everything much easier.

So if you’re thinking of getting a tattoo done, just try to be original and above all enjoy the experience, it really isn’t all that scary.

And now for a Born of Hatred update:

It’s still almost done. Seriously, I’ve got about 2 chapters to write.

As for Crimes Against Magic. Well, this week has been insane. In a good way. I sold 104 copies on Monday and averaged about 70ish books for the other days (so far only 57 today, but you can’t knock 57). I also now have 23, 5 star reviews, which is incredible.

At the moment this is where it sits.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Once again it’s been a superb week and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ll do a post about full sales when I’m back after my Aug break once Harley is born. So, until next week, have a great weekend.

A Brief Interlude

Normally when I write a post, I have a set aim in mind and write the blog about that idea. This week I have no idea, so I thought I’d just wing it and talk about stuff that has interested me recently, along with some awards I’ve received and how my writing is going.

Firstly videogames. I’m a big fan of videogames and anime, and when someone merges those things together I get all giddy.

So when someone takes the developer Level-5 (Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Jeanne d’Arc) and put them together with Studio Ghibli (Princess MononokeMy Neighbor TotoroThe Secret World of Arrietty), well there’s a good possibility that I may be purchasing whatever it is they’re doing.

As it turns out, what they’re doing is called Ni no Kuni for the PS3 and it looks like this:

And this week they announced what the Special Edition of this game was going to be:

I’m not a big fan of special editions, they’re usually a bit crap. But the above one has a 300 page hardcover of Studio Ghibli art. There is only one way in which to describe how I feel about that.

Yep, that about says it all.

I have no doubt that this game is going to be sensational and next January can’t come soon enough.

To move on from my geeky pass times, Crimes Against Magic won the Indie Book of the Day Award on Monday, and they gave me a nice certificate and a badge. You can find the website here, and I recommend going and taking a look, they have a lot of great books getting some much needed promotion.

And here’s my winners badge.

If it were an actual badge, I’m pretty certain it would be polished to within an inch of its life by now.

Speaking of Crimes Against Magic, it’s now sitting at number 18 in the top 100 Fantasy Magic charts on Amazon, which is just incredible. I also now have 18, 5 star reviews and 5, 4 star reviews across both Amazon.com and .co.uk. It’s achieved more than I’d ever dreamed it would. So thank you to everyone who purchased a copy.

Now onto the sequel, Born of Hatred. It’s moving along nicely. The draft is nearly done and then it’ll fly off to my crit partners, D.B. Reynolds and Michelle Muto, who will go through it with a big red pen. I’m hoping for an October launch, but I’ll post more details about it closer to the time.

And finally for this week, the very talented K.L. Schwengel gave me a Beautiful Blogger award. Which, after you clicked on the link to go see Kathi’s fantastic blog, you can see below.

I like awards. I wish for more.

After thanking Kathi for the superb award, it’s my turn to nominate 7 blogs which I love to read. So here they are.

D.B. Reynolds       Michelle Muto      

Angela Addams      T.James      Tom Harris

Susan Mann     Keri Lake

All 7 of them deserve your time and attention.

And that’s it for the week. I’m off to do some more writing and get that draft finished before I go to watch Spider-man tomorrow. In the meantime, have a great weekend and I’ll see you all again next week.