Monday, March 17, 2014

What I'm Working On Now

This week, a blog post was handed to me on a silver platter in a tweet, to participate in a blog hop/blog tour. The wonderful Ken Armstrong, of the Mayo variety, was in touch to find writers to follow up from his post.

I met Ken back in the days when Bebo was the exciting place to be. They had launched two new features: groups, and Bebo Authors. Ken joined the group, after I plugged it on his writing page. It wasn't until I joined Twitter that we really started talking. His blog has been a joy to follow, and it was my utmost pleasure to take the baton from him to continue on The Blogging Tour.

The gist is that at each stop, we point you in the direction of another three writers, in the hopes that they too will write a post on what they're working on now. You should check out their blogs, now, to get to know them before they put up their posts next Monday. (They might not, but hey: awesome writers!)

Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. Author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms of the three 'S'; Science Fiction, the Supernatural, and Steampunk. Some with erotic elements. She has stories published in several online magazines including Bewildering Stories and Aphelion.

A gamer at heart, she also enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and good music. When not busy writing, she looks after one husband, one wannabe rock star, three cats, and one ghost dog.

Check her out at:

I also contacted a couple of wonderful Irish writers, Ruth Long and Alison Wells, to post. If they're still up for, or you want to find out more about them, just click their names.

Incidentally, all three of the writers I contacted have books available, across different genres and on different formats. There's something for almost everyone! Now, onto to the questions that are begging to be answered!

1) What am I working on? At the moment, though it's in the early stages of writing, I'm working on a book called The Shadows of London. It's the first in a series about a few individuals in the London area who grew up with what could be described as superpowers. They're not heroes. They don't see themselves as special. As it is, the protagonist of The Shadows of London is a petty thief.

I'm also working on a couple of books on writing, but progress on them slowed down when I found something new and shiny from my childhood. (Okay, yes, I'll admit it: it's a game. I've been bitten by the procrastination bug.)

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I've been following the superhero genre for some time now. When I was younger, I was obsessed with the X-Men comic of the 90s. This then led to me watching Spiderman, The Justice League, Static Shock, and all manner of Batman cartoons. As I grew older, new heroes joined the mix. Several television shows featuring superheroes - or people with superpowers - were aired and cancelled, and I seemed to fall in love with each of them. Recently, superheroes are making a comeback on the big screen.

With the exception of Misfits, though, most of the stories I became familiar with didn't push the boundaries of morality, and didn't seem to focus on what might otherwise be considered a normal life. It's the normality of what I'm writing that I think sets it apart. My characters are struggling through life, the same as anyone their ages might. Collectively, they'll experience homelessness, depression, mental illness, unemployment, criminal activity, physical illness, grief, and suicide. The fact that they have superpowers are merely the other side of their stories.

The powers provide a reason for them to find each other, and a means for them to deal with their situations, the same as an author would write, or an athletic would exercise, or an artist would paint. These are their skills, their abilities, and they're as natural to them as writing is to me. They're just less common abilities than most people have.

3) Why do I write what I do? Aside from my obsession with superheroes, I've wanted to write about normal experiences that many people shy away from. I wrote a play about depression, suicide and mental illness for the sole purpose of getting people to pay attention to the existence of those conditions and actions. I want to get people to think about the difficulties others might face.

Not everything I write will have superheroes in it, but this is the constant I want to maintain for my more recent ideas. I want to tell stories about experiences that are very real, and remain taboo. Addressing the New Adult market, I want to get people my age - people who are at the beginnings of their careers as doctors and teachers, bankers and lawyers, builders and store managers - to look at the world differently. We're blessed with advancements in technology. Many of us are fortunate enough to come from relatively stable backgrounds.

Someone has to talk about these issues, because it's too easy to ignore them until it's too late. I'm not going to pretend I write simply for the joy of words. Obviously, I do love writing. But it's people that make me want to write what I do.

4) How does my writing process work? This varies from book to book, and from week to week. It all depends on how many days I work per week. In an ideal week, if I'm starting a book fresh, it looks like this:

- Plan the book.
- Write the book, either exclusively (without even stopping to play Tales of Symphonia), or spread out over a couple of weeks.
- Edit the book.

Okay, that's simplifying it a bit. The writing process is more complex than that, usually. I follow my plan strictly, but that doesn't stop me going onto Twitter or Facebook. So, really, I write on-and-off for a few hours, sometimes with some successful marathons.

Often, I'll "warm up" with a haiku or two beforehand, or I'll put on music and just focus on the word document for a couple of hours. That's how I wrote Balor Reborn, and that's how I tend to write most of my books. More recently, I'm writing while my niece is asleep (when I'm minding her, obviously), which gives me about two hours to complete something. That could be a chapter, or it could be a blog post, or a combination of the two. On a good week, I'll get my posts for the week scheduled across various sites by lunch time on Wednesday, and then focus on other projects after that for the rest of the week.


Anyway, you're probably tired of me talking about myself for this post. If you've gotten this far, thank you. If you're new here, welcome. And if you're Ken, thank you for passing the baton on to me. I look forward to seeing what Darke, Ruth and Alison have to say next week.

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