Change to Archive

23 07 2011

This blog is now dark. Posts are kept up as an archive only.

Following events on Saturday, 23rd July 2011, these archives have been altered with satirical and comment pieces referring to the late Amy Winehouse being removed.

Neil still blogs over at his own site where a longer description behind this edit is available.

The week that was: In which things change and stay the same

25 02 2010

Horribly late with this.


I don’t know what happened. This week (meaning last week) went with a whirlwind because of course the piece of information I alluded to in my last one of these was that I had gotten engaged. Therefore, nearly every night was spent in the process of telling various people so they found out in person rather than via the medium of this blog. Which means most of you already know this. So I’ll shut up. There was some wittering about a nice but rather uninspiring northern lass and her loutish husband but I really couldn’t care less.


Still trying to get to grips with Buzz.

Results announced in the press and to the market; it will be interesting to see what that means over the next few weeks.

Possibly the wrong sort of interesting.


Way behind here. Finished Aliette’s book Servant of the Underworld and have started a thriller set around the time of Dickens death by Matthew Pearl. Slow going on my part due to being wiped out mid week by a migraine. Boo. Hiss.


Didn’t suffer as much as the reading. I am still working on the TSG ending but am in full rewrite mode now. I think if I can clear a weekend that I will be able to finish, line edit and move onto something else by mid March. A bit later than I hoped but still respectable.


Bah. The weekend’s travels before hand, the migraine mid week and general feeling like I’d been hit by a truck meant not much happened here and I put some weight back on. However, going back to basics I have figured out a few areas that I was cutting corners on that won’t have helped. Hoping this week goes better (it is so far).

That’s it folks. Should have more interesting fare this Sunday.

The week that was: City of Light

16 02 2010

It’s that time of the week again. Been an eventful one this week.


To be honest I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on in the world as the imminent threat of snow focussed all my attention on just what the hell I was going to do if the Eurostar shut down. I vaguely got something about some designer allegedly offing himself (very sad when anyone does it, regardless of fame) and some weird Scottish fella, increasingly few people pay attention to, employing yet another cynical media trick. Oh and Wales won. Just.


Buzz was the name of the game last week as Google demonstrated its ability to casually ignore privacy to an even greater level than most social networks. For those who missed it Google launched Buzz, a twitter/facebook hybrid that sits in your Gmail interface and was – until today – defaulted to on and accidentally made all your highest frequency contacts visible to the world. I was unsurprised that caught people’s attention but shocked and disappointed that the very dodgy terms and conditions around the Buzz i-phone app didn’t attract more attention. Perhaps it was corrected quickly but certainly initially in order to use the app you had to agree to let it use your location. This may have been only for targeted advertising but if the system is used in the way Twitter is then it could have unforeseen consequences.


Word count tailed off a bit last week. This was disappointing but I managed an end of week rally and know where I am going this week – fingers crossed. I am still working to finish off the last draft of TSG.


Mainly reading Aliette de Bodard’s debut novel Servant of the Underworld; an Aztec murder mystery with full blown magic and mayhem; Aliette’s great story telling and artfully woven research – what’s not to love?


Pretty good week here. Managed to up my cardio and finally introduce some resistance work, mainly just using my own weight for now. This is of little interest really other than to draw attention to how ridiculous I look on a cross trainer and how it was an entirely different short tubby Welshman that fell off. Honest.


Constant readers and people who know me in meatspace will know I was planning Something for last weekend. The something was a return to Paris that G was unaware of and the first time we had been back since the infamous Paris Incident that occurred shortly after this blog was started. It was a surprise for G, meant as a distraction from a rough Christmas and a means of sorting something else out that will probably spill out in the next couple of days. But not yet.

The trip was a great success: we managed to see Notre Dame, hang out in the very cool Shakespeare & Company bookshop, wander round parts of the Louvre we missed last time, see the Chinese New Year parade and ate some very good food. Best of all: I escaped pigeon attack.

So it was a pretty full on week. How was yours?


24 12 2009

I’m not a religious person being a card carrying atheist.

I still enjoy this time of year though: guaranteed time off, seeing family (what I’m doing at present) and some time to reflect on the year…or indeed the decade in this winter’s case*.

I’m also taking advantage of the time to clear down my reading list. I talked recently about taking on too much and, as an example, my reading is a pretty good case where, somehow, going into this week I had four books on the go at once. I can generally keep two in my head at a time, depending on how much I’m writing, three at a push, four is too much – clearly I was not doing any of them justice. Amazing what some free time can do: finished all of them inside of 36 hours. Now I can look at the newer books I’ve not had any time to read including one about theoretical time travel (yes: I am wild).

I haven’t forgotten to post the obligatory Look What We Did pictures of the rooms we decorated in the house but we’ve still got some snagging to do and I’d like to show off the finished rooms. I appreciate this will mainly be of interest to my family but that was the original purpose of the blog. Speaking of which: I am trying to devise a more skillful way of arranging the content on here so that people can easily find what they want and, should they wish, filter out the stuff they’re not interested in. More news on this in the coming weeks.

Oh dear, I really have wandered all over the shop on this post.

Anyway, the main point of this post was to point out I’m still alive, that I’m relaxing and enjoying the holiday.

What are you up to over Christmas?

* On the reflection note: I suspect there will be the obligatory round up posts percolating out here over the next week or so.


27 11 2009

Sometimes lessons can be painful.

I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking when I decided to engage in NaNoWriMo under the ballsy criteria I set myself in late October. I suspect that the growing dissatisfaction with how things had gone this year, and my realisation that my current approach has not proven effective on any level, culminated in the desire to do something huge. I didn’t really think about logistics. Project management is for techies not for creatives.

Yeah, right.

What I should have done is calculate my average word speed ( a maximum of 2k per normal working day rising to 3k at the weekend if I have nothing else on) and the average time to edit a thirty minute piece of audio (around four hours). I should then have divided that by the number of days and factored in the already scheduled Other Things I had to do in November. Roll in all the other tasks such as marketing the podcast etc. and it…well:

It was never going to work.

In many ways this is a really hard blog to write because I don’t like admitting failure and without wanting to sound melodramatic this has taken a great deal of reflection. I’m at about 25,000 words of Eleutheria and I really like the story concept and some of what I’ve written and I’m pretty sure its got legs – if done properly. However, the podcasting is extremely time consuming, I have done little to push it and so very few people have listened. In the last week I’ve found myself increasingly padding the story in order to hit word count and more often not enjoying the process. This is not why I write.

In short I am ending the experiment early.

I am very sorry to anyone who has listened to the podcast and is waiting for subsequent parts. If you contact me via the blog I will be happy to share the complete story with you at some point next year, when I finish it. In terms of the charity, I will make up the rest of the target amount as a means of reminding myself in the future about not thinking things through properly and assuaging my guilt.

What now?

I usually wait until year end to reflect but, in truth, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with where I’ve got to and think most of the blame for that rests squarely with yours truly. I’m going to be a bit quiet for a week or so while I work through some of this stuff and come up with a more systematic plan to get where I want to be. If you really want some Neil written prose, please do check out Ballista and my story Crunch. In the meantime, I hope you will bear with me.

Have fun and see you in a couple of weeks.

Where am I?

7 10 2009

Presently, I am in Dorking on day job stuff.

It is unlikely – between a fairly intense few days, peppered with occasional wordcount – that I will have a huge amount of time to post.

Trying to remind myself that not everyone gets my snarky sense of humour. Not entirely succeeding.

What personality pitfalls do you try to avoid?


14 09 2009

Thought I’d best pop in and say hello.

I’ve been a bit snowed under of late. Since the return from the holiday I’ve been trialing an improved way of working that consolidates some of the experiments from the first half of the year and puts the writing over and above certain things like the blog. It doesn’t mean the blog won’t be updated but that it might be a little less frequent than it has been at points in the past. I hope to get up to three posts a week minimum at some point but this does relay on me having enough weekend time to write the posts up front rather than as I go.

On the writing front I’m pleased to report things are going well. I have been – touch wood – writing regularly again for a month and this is evidenced by the fact I am sixty percent of the way through the final draft of The Scarred God. I also have a couple of short stories now going through the draft progress. I will let you know about the changes I made to get back on track once I’m sure they’ve stuck. I really don’t want to jinx it at this point.

On the submissions front I have been woefully slack. I have one story still under consideration but most of the rest of my inventory is lying forlorn on my hard drive. I need to get on this. They are doing no one any good where they are at the moment. I shall be getting on this very soon.

Other than that life is fairly mundane. After the first part of the year, I’m fine with that.

How are you?