Keeping Busy

What to do during isolation in a pandemic?

First of all, the main aim is to stay safe and that means staying inside and not taking any risks that may harm yourself or anyone else.

The good part of staying indoors is that I’ve had time to play games, watch films, listen to music, and write my new book!

My second book is currently with agents and my third one is around a third complete, currently sitting at 52,000 words. It’s keeping me busy and I love it!

Last week saw the release of Final Fantasy 7: Remake. The original game is the one game that pulls at my heartstrings no matter how many times I play it and even a few notes from the music in the game can hit me like a sledgehammer. Needless to say, I loved the remake. Took the story in a new direction whilst remaining as faithful as it needed to. I can’t wait to discover the rest of the world as the game continues!

On Friday, my favourite band, Enter Shikari, released their latest album: Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. The album is perfection and crosses the boundaries of genre in ways that I’ve not heard since peak Prodigy. Hopefully the album will achieve the success is truly deserves!

The coronavirus pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective. I hope people have been able to realise the importance of those working in the health sector as well as education and other critical or ‘essential’ areas. Also, I think everyone truly understands the need for those working in creative industries and how these people help with the mental health of the nation.

Stay safe and keep busy as best you can. Watch films, listen to music and play games. There’ll never be a time like this again.

Isolation

Feels as though we’re living through a strange apocalyptic film right now in the UK: many people aren’t taking advice and it’s only a matter of time before stricter measures are put in place to safeguard the vulnerable people most at risk with this horrible virus.

Working as a teacher means I’ll carry on as normal next week; less kids but same hours – maybe less days. In my spare time I’ll continue writing my third book and I have three more weeks left as part of my creative writing course with Cambridge University which has been incredible for the development of my fantasy writing. Disney+ is out on Tuesday and the remake of Final Fantasy 7 will keep me going from the start of April – anything to keep busy!

It really is an odd time to be living in the UK at the moment but if we all do what we can and follow the advice of social distancing, then I’m sure we will come out of this must more appreciative of the things we have and the people around us.

Stay safe and where possible, support local people and businesses who are crying out for support at the moment.

Finally…

Today is a good day.

I started writing my first proper story around seven or eight years ago. It was just for fun – a tale of warriors fighting to defend their home from an evil empire: not original but I loved it.

Over the years I found it difficult to find time to finish the story. When living in Qatar, I finally finished it but it was a mess. As you change over the years, so does your writing style. It was a Frankenstein’s monster of a novel.

So, around 5 months ago, I scrapped it. All of it.

Big decision, but today (finally!) I finished that story.

The editing process begins now and then hopefully I’ll be able to find an agent that has as much passion for this story as I do. If not – it’ll be the self publishing route. Either way, my fantasy story will soon be out there for everyone to read!

It’s been a tough journey to get to this point but I feel that my writing has come on leaps and bounds.

Suppose I better start writing the next one…

Start as you mean to go on

A new year. A new decade.

Last year was incredible on so many levels. From a writing perspective, i finally managed to publish a book – The Favourite Son – available on Amazon. I’ve started the new decade in a positive frame of mind; still working on my fantasy novel but things are speeding up as I pull all of the scenes together.

Obviously I can’t spend all of my time at work and writing; everyone needs down time. Thankfully, there’s been some great tv shows and games released recently. The Witcher was a delight, started slow but really came together and the ending left me wanting more. Henry Cavill really is perfectly cast as the cynical, brooding Geralt and though it wasn’t as polished as Game of Thrones, it was a fun and easy watch that was able to fill the fantasy hole in my life! It even made me pick up The Witcher 3 on the Switch; after 50 hours on the PS4, it’s still a joy to head back into that world and its many interesting characters and stories.

The final Star Wars film of the Skywalker Saga was released! Did exactly what I expected. An easy film that hit all the beats the audience looks for in a Star Wars film without pushing any boundaries. Bit disappointed with how it made The Last Jedi seem irrelevant but it was enjoyable and kids should love it. The next show I’m waiting to see is Picard. Continuing the adventures of Patrick Stewart’s iconic captain is going to be incredible after all these years. I remember coming home from school and watching The Next Generation with my Dad so it’ll be a joy to see new adventures involving Star Trek legend.

Hopefully next time I post I’ll be able to give the good news about my untitled fantasy novel being finished. Writing this year has started well so let’s hope that continues! Fingers crossed anyway…

Hope everyone reading has a wonderful start to the decade. See you all next month!

Aaron

New book!

During the editing phase of my fantasy book, I became a bit bored. Nothing unusual there. The time I had on my hands meant that I was able to write a book (a family drama) in a different genre – commercial fiction.

The Favourite Son is a story about Jonathan Hawthorne and his attempts to keep his family together following the death of his father and allegations of abuse made by his estranged younger brother.

I felt compelled to write the story to let people know that suffering shouldn’t happen in silence. Shining a lot on some of the issues on the book was a goal of mine and I hope those who read it are filled with the belief that no one should be alone.

Buy the book and write a review of you’re feeling generous! Just in time for Christmas…

The Favourite Son https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1708877177/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_KPS3Db45Y9N0N

Time for an update

The last couple of months have been pretty hectic. Moving back to the UK from the Middle East, starting work teaching in a new school, and what seems like a thousand events with family and friends. Through it all, I’ve been querying my debut novel, BLOOD OF THE HERETIC, seeking an agent or publisher for the book. I’m not one to just sit and wait though.

Work on Book Two in THE BROKEN GODS TRILOGY has begun and I’ve enjoyed stepping back into the lives of Davrus Kane, Kiras and Sly as they continue on their journey. My favourite part of writing the second book has been opening the world up and having the chance to draw upon my travelling experiences as I create new kingdoms and cities.

Alongside the fantasy trilogy, I have also been writing a book in a completely different genre titled THE FAVOURITE SON. It’s a story that I’ve been thinking about writing for a while; it centres around a dysfuntional family, particularly three brothers, who are rocked by allegations of abuse at their father’s funeral. It’s a big departure from what I’ve written before but that in itself has been refreshing and I can’t wait to have it finished and start receiving feedback. At the moment, I’m around 15,000 words from the end of the novel but we’ll see how the final steps unfold.

Finally, I managed to meet Joe Abercrombie (my favourite fantasy author) in London again last week as he was signing his latest novel, A LITTLE HATRED. For any fans of fantasy, this title is a must read!

Watching: THE BOYS

Reading: A LITTLE HATRED by JOE ABERCROMBIE

EMBERS OF WAR by GARETH L. POWELL

Listening: ENTER SHIKARI – THE SPARK

Hopefully I’ll be able to start updating this blog on a more regular basis now I’m all settled in at work and back in England. If you have any questions, find me on twitter!

@hereticasjones

The Hard Part

Finishing a book of any kind is an achievement. To anyone who has ever been able to accomplish that feat, you have my respect. It is a mammoth task that involves dedication, love and a touch of madness. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was the hard part out the way.

Nope.

Editing. Brutally honest feedback from beta readers. And the truly hard part: querying.

For those new to the term: querying is the process of an attempt to get an agent who will work hard with you to get your book traditionally published. It involves sending a cover letter about yourself and your book, a short synopsis and often a sample of your writing. Easy right?

Er… no. I think it’s more difficult than actually writing the novel.

The hard part.

Thousands of people are sending agents fantasy submissions and the odds of being taken on are slim. Everthing you allow the agent to see has to be honed to perfection. It’s an exhausting part of the process but one which is necessary in order to be traditionally published.

You need tough skin. Rejection is never easy. Pouring your heart into your writing throughout months or years to then be rejected with an automated email can be heartbreaking – or it can be a good motivator.

Being rejected so far has been tough, but it has made me more focused, more determined to see my novel published and into the hands of readers who I know will enjoy the journey of a diverse group of characters in a world on the edge of a magical war.

This is the hard part: but resilience is a key part of being a writer. Don’t give up.