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I'd like to say I'm pretty hard working.

My average day looks like this:

6am: Wake up from either my phone alarm or toddler alarm, Crawl out of bed, put on nearest clothing, shovel breakfast in my face, then my sons face, run out door at 7:45am, walk 2 miles to the train station, use travel time to finally read a book, walk another 2 miles to work for 9am, work, work, work, drink coffee, work, work, spend half an hour shovelling a sandwich into my mouth whilst simultaneously trying to write/edit a novel, work, work, work, work until 5pm, walk to station to get train home, walk up what might as well be a mountain, roll in through the door to a cranky/hyperactive toddler, eat a usually rushed dinner (again, toddler), try and fit in what at this point is barely 10 minutes of playing with toys with my three year old who uses the rules of a veteran Dn'D game master, get kids ready for bed, crash. Perhaps have an uninterrupted conversation with my wife if we're both still awake at roughly 7pm.

 

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make- or was trying to and have failed to make was that I deserve to spend money on an expensive game even if there's no guarantee I'll have time to play it, okay? okay.

Edit: I made time to play it.

 

chocobo [chocobo.jpg]

Final Fantasy XV

 If you're sick of hearing about this game already, heads up.

I've been a fan of the FF series from back when magazines still included discs with short demo's (remember them, 90's kids?). I remember me and couple of friends played the demo for Final Fantasy VII back in '97 and our minds were blown. This game also brought a massive realisation to me: Games didn't just have to be about eating ghosts or collecting rings; they could tell stories too.

Anyway, After ranting forever about how I'd never leave the retro era of gaming, I was lucky enough to receive an Xbox One for my birthday in September from my rather generous little brother. I promised myself if I got Echo Valley up to 30,000 words by the end of November, I'd buy Final Fantasy XV.

Turns out games are a good motivation for productivity. Who knew?

Since the launch, i've been devoured by the story. For those of you who don't know, you're basically a bratty prince who's on his way to getting engaged- that's the spoiler free part, but it goes so much deeper in classic Square Enix style.This FF is full of decision making that could impact your relationships and story, Skyrim-addiction-level side quests that are just as fulfilling as the main game and a huge, beautiful world. As the tag-line says, a Final Fantasy for fans and for first-timers. Now I've just got to resist the insanity-level theories online that claim XV is linked to the world of certain other games in the franchise.

Anyway, speaking of games...

 

fright [fright.jpg]

 

Fright

I got talking to one of the Echo Valley Beta readers, who also happens to be an old friend who also happens to be making a very pretty game. Long story short, I'm now co-writing an upcoming horror game with him. It's still very much early days, but the game is called Fright and the story-lead demo to lead up to the team vs team multiplayer should be released next year. This is very much for fans of games like Left for Dead and Team Fortress. Whilst you wait, you can keep up with our progress on Facebook for news and updates and pretty tasty renders. I've always wanted to write for a game and now I finally get to find out if I'm any good at it.

 

img_20161114_204138 [img_20161114_204138.jpg]

Finalising

I've been lucky enough to receive super helpful feedback from my Echo Valley Beta Readers. I've just got a tiny bit more editing to do and I reckon I should finally be able to send off the manuscript off to agents and publishers before the end of this year. I'm excited, to say the least.

*Braces for the army of rejection letters*

 

Finally, I Hope you all have a Christmas where you spend time with people you really want to spend time with and hopefully within the next couple of blogs, there should be (good) news on the book. I'll keep you posted. :)

And remember, don't make new years resolutions. Do yourself a favour and cut the procrastinating bullshit and just make your life better now.

 

 

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Recent Posts

Drifting

| 21st August 2017 | Echo Valley

And now folks, it's time for a little backstory...   *Vision fades into blurry waves to reveal a small, coffee and man scented flat in Paignton, Devon.*   We're talking a good 5-nearly-6 years ago now, before I had any inclination to write, before I had any real idea of what I wanted to do in life other than a small handful of things. One of those things was going for a jam every Thursday evening with my brother-in-law-to-be.   We'd write songs. I'd bring my knock-off Fender Squire imposter (God knows how that thing still worked; it was £30 off ebay and held together with electric tape and a bottle opener i'd stolen from Travelodge) and Lee would sing or join in on his acoustic.   I'd record the sessions with an old Sony cassette player and we'd forever talk about how good this song and that song would sound when we eventually start a band (turns out you need friends to make a full band- who knew?)   This may seem insignificant, but (prepare for cheese!) I ended up asking Lee to be my best man for my wedding. I'd only really “known” him for about 5 minutes. But the guy who was originally best man, someone I'd known for a good 10 years I ended up falling out with big time. And the other friends who I asked instead for some reason or another couldn't make it to my wedding. So i'd asked my fiance's brother as a last resort- not that I thought in any way he was a bad guy, quite the opposite. I just imagined the best man for my wedding being someone i'd known a little longer.   Anyway, the year leading up to the wedding that followed turned out to be one of the best. We had an amazing friendship form and he became one of my best friends (except for the stag due. I've still not forgiven him for that.)   It's these reasons that I included 'Drifting' as the song I wanted to be in Echo Valley. When I was writing it, it was originally going to be a better known jazz song, but then half way through the chapter something happened where it was like it had to be Drifting; A song me and Lee wrote together and recorded back in those days in the man and coffee scented flat.   The song isn't an amazing song. It will never hit charts or be on every car advert, but it means a lot to me and it felt perfect for the scene in Echo Valley. I've managed to dig out the old recording on tape and transfer into digital. Lee's voice sounds like he's wearing trousers that are slightly too tight, but that's merely the tape's quality. In celebration of my dear Outlaw-inlaws birthday, you can listen to it here or download it for free.       *Blurry waves return, returning you to present day*   We jammed together for a good 4 years . We practiced in an old spare room with an obscene amount of dead flys landing on our equipment. We eventually found friends and they joined with drums, guitars and basses. I had went on to have 2 kids, the band didn't.If you want to hear what Lee's voice sounds like now in non-tight-pants tape quality, you can check out his band Deadfly's EP. And you should do, really. Because it's his birthday. They also released their first music video for their new single Demockary, which I'll link you to as well because people do nice things when there are birthdays. Happy Birthday, babe xoxoxox     Photo Credit to our lovely wedding photographer Holly  (Link version incase the embed fails)  Happy Birthday, babe xoxoxox     Photo Credit to our lovely wedding photographer Holly   ...

Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft

| 20th August 2017 | Echo Valley

Today marks the birthday of one of my favourite writers, Howard Phillips Lovecraft.   But he's not one of my favourite writers for the typical reasons that come with loving a writers work. Lovecraft is one of my favourite writers because his work genuinely scares the shit out of me. I like horror, but I find I get bored of it quite fast when it's just pure gore and “jumpy bits” for the sake of being violent. I don't find that scary. Lovecraft's strange, haunting ideas and captivating atmosphere are what terrifies me as well as draws me closer to his work.   Arguably the writer who defined the Weird Fiction genre, HPL isn't just known for his own works such as The Call of Cthulu, The whisper in the Darkness, The Necronomicon and so many more, but the term Lovecraftian has become a word used to describe and inspire so many works.   A few years back, I stumbled across what would become my favourite graphic novel series – Joe Hill's Locke & Key. With a lot of Lovecraftian themes and tones, the story explores a family and it's house, or more importantly its keys. Each one performing a different strange spell. From time traveling, to gender bending. The first book even having the subtitle of “Welcome to Lovecraft”.   Not long after I discovered one of my favourite works of ongoing fiction- Welcome to Nightvale. A fictional podcast based solely on a radio station broadcasted from a strange and eerie town. Also heavy in it's Lovecraftian ideas.   The show's writer, Joeseph Fink, wrote a book (sadly no longer in print) called The untold stories of H.P Lovecraft and What it Means to be a Grownup. It turns out, Lovecraft had a lot of ideas he'd never followed through beyond a sentence or two. 221 one them, in fact. The list is amazing and I highly recommend them as writing prompts for writers everywhere. The ideas go from beautifully dark, to incredibly simple and to just plain morbid. It was one of the simpler ideas in the list, 15 “Bridge and Slimy Black Waters” that contributed to the inspiration for my first book, Echo Valley.   The saddest thing of all, is that HPL was a sensitive soul and received a lot of criticism as well as praise for his work back in the day. And the smallest criticism to his work put him off from publishing a lot of his arguably brilliant stories and ideas. If only he could see how much his work has continued to inspire artists and writers today. So if you're an aspiring writer or creative and want to take one thing to learn from Lovecraft, then let it be to have the guts to finish and share your work. Have that confidence in your own creations that only you can make.   To celebrate HPL's birthday, I've created a promo code to knock 50% off of Echo Valley Paperbacks for today only. Just head here and use 'HAPPYBIRTHDAYHPL' on the checkout.   Here's to you Howard. Thank you for inspiring our art and haunting our dreams. Happy Birthday old chap....

Bristol Horror Con 2017

| 15th August 2017 | Events & Appearances

Hi folks, I know it's been a while since I've wrote a "proper" blog post but I have been busy, um...well, mostly writing and focusing on the release and promotion of Echo Valley.   But anyway, right onto it. Drum roll please...     Myself and the lovely Curiosity Cabinet Studios will be running a stall at this years Bristol Horror Con! We're gonna be selling all sorts of gross stuff in the month of Halloween like weird, scarily convincing props and of course, signed books of the banned variety.   If you're about at BHC2017 then come say hi and hang out with us. We're actually pretty friendly despite the terrifying make-up Laura's probably going to be covering us in.   You can RSVP the official event on Facebook and we've got our own one over here if you want to 'attend' that one too.   Keep your eyes peeled as I've also got more exciting things to announce soon (I know right? Where does it stop?!)   Until then, stay weird.   ~ Jon...

Echo Valley now on Amazon!

| 08th August 2017 | Echo Valley

For those of you who prefer reading light, electronic and cheap, you can now purchase Echo Valley on Amazon for epub and Kindle! Of course, if you would like to support me even more, then you can purchase a paperback copy off myself, complete with childish doodles and handwritten packaging. (p.s Paperback > Digital)   That's all for now. In the meantime, if you're dying to read Echo Valley but are otherwise broke then go forth and add it to your to-read list on Goodreads and/or your wish-list on Amazon. And whilst you're there, feel free to leave an honest review. It would help me out a ton. More thrilling stuff to be announced soon so do feel free to stalk me up on Facebook. Until then, stay weird and excited for your favourite time of year. ~ Jon...