Writing update March 2016


The best laid plans, eh?

We had it all mapped out, my wife and I. We knew where we were going and what would happen in which order. It was all mapped out on the calendar.

There would be the new science fiction book “To Know the Dark”. A brooding non-comedy – a sort of dystopian epic. A fantasy without the elves or dragons. And most certainly not a fantasy where men with ripped abs bend submissive ladies over their knees for a good paddlin’.

Then there would be two new chess books. These would be called “Naked Chess”, although again they don’t involve ripped abs, submissive ladies, paddlin’. There is the occasional queen sacrifice, but I don’t think that counts.

Then there would be the sequel to Love, Death and Tea. This one would be called “Love, Death and Words” and would be Libby’s story for a change. Oh yes. Witches (or should I say ‘wyches’?), a female first person protagonist, another adventure in the world of the Switch.

And somewhere around about Christmas 2015 we would be multi-zillionaires, rubbing yachts with JK Rowling and Dan Brown.

That was the plan, and a pretty stonking plan it was too. As plans go, this one was the planningest plan you ever saw. We had charts, spreadsheets, to-do-lists, dates in the diary. I hadn’t quite got round to writing my Man Booker acceptance speech, but I’m sure it was one of the to-do lists.

Then life intervened, as it has a habit of doing. My wife’s beloved Mum Sheila fell ill. That meant nearly two years of constant visits to the other side of the country and countless hospitals, doctors, nurses and all the paraphernalia of old age. Writing had to take a back seat. The grand plans of literary world domination were thrown away.

It was only ever going to go one way. The phone call from the hospital came one night, just before Christmas. And the rest you can work out, I’m sure.

It’s a bittersweet time. We lost someone very dear to us, but we started to get our lives back. We could dig out those old to-do lists. We can get back to the writing.

So let’s take stock. We managed to publish “To Know the Dark” in the middle of all the hospital visits, but we didn’t have time for any publicity. So it’s been read by around, um, very roughly, half a dozen people. Maybe less. It’s had two nice reviews but not a lot else.

Scribbles on the to-do list: publicise To Know the Dark.

What are we thinking? Maybe a kindle free giveaway? A few blogs to rekindle (boom! boom!) interest in it? Give it away on goodreads for reviews?

Then we’ve got the two new chess books. They’re written and I’ve finished my editing. Now it’s down to my wife’s much more thorough editing. Then we need covers, blurbs and we can publish.

I know, I know, chess is a niche market and you haven’t played it in years and you’re not interested in books about it. Even with the word “naked” in the title. But it’s one of my hobbies and I like it. So please humour me on this one.

Then there is this week’s big news. A couple of days ago I finally wrote “the end” on “Love, Death and Words”. Or as it become half way through “Love, death and wyrds”.

I am as excited as a Jack Russell terrier wagging its tail like a helicopter rotor and making puddles on the carpet.

Now I’ve set the book aside for a week to let it (and me) breathe. Then it’s a case of my edits, the wife’s first sense-check edit, then the beta readers and then the painstaking word by word spell and sense check final edit. And we might be publishing in two to three months’ time.

If you’d like to be a beta reader, feel free to drop me an email. I’m will@will-once.com.

And in the middle of all that, it will be time to start a new book. I’ve promised myself a sequel to Global Domination for Beginners with the working title of “First Contact for Beginners”. A sort of ET, Independence Day, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy mash-up with the same characters from Global Domination.

I know that sounds a bit weird, but trust me on this one. I’ve got a plan.


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