Posts Tagged ebooks

Blood Calling

Ah, it’s taken a while to get it finalised, but finally done.

I’ve literally been backwards and forwards, again and again, trying to tighten up those niggling little inconsistencies, plot holes, errors, and whatnot. I’m pretty sure they’re done, so I’ve clicked the PUBLISH button for the first time in just over two years.


Two years. Technically, two years, three months, and ten days. Amazing that it’s been that long. Hopefully the next one will be out much more readily. I’m already into it, and I’m not setting myself massively high word counts. I have the story roughly set.

So, yes. Anyway. The self-publication of Blood Calling, the first Hob & Harte book, is now live on Amazon. The first story in an ongoing saga for my new pair of miscreants. A horror that follows a demon summoning gone wrong. Death and suffering, business as usual for Hob and Harte, a soul-bound pair trying to save the day.

Try it. You might like it.


Links will go up shortly.


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What else have I been up to?

A lot of my time recently has been eaten up with lending support to a new author. It’s been interesting to sit on the other side for a change, and work with her to polish her book up.

When she asked for beta readers, I volunteered, wanting to give constructive criticism and feedback. Her initial draft was good, but not great. The story had a lot of potential, but needed work. So, I did what I could to help and advise.

As a first time author, she’d fallen into a lot of the usual traps:

Telling more than showing

Dialogue that sounds painful when read out loud

Mixing perspectives

Leaving too much unexplained (the author knows it, and forgets that the reader doesn’t)

Too much repetition

Rushing over, or dragging out the “wrong” bits

The inevitable spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.

Nothing worse than a lot of other books I’ve read, and better than many that have been rushed into publication too early. I can’t stress how important it is to get that feedback, and listen to it.


I went through the book with a fine tooth-comb. Or, at least half of it. By the time I reached the half-way point, I realised that it was a perfect place to stop the story for a first book, and to split the story up a bit. She’d written several hundred pages worth, that needed polishing, editing, etc, and would be asking readers to invest a lot of money and time in a first-time author. Splitting it felt right (and it’s a great place to stop, and set up the second volume). Then there corrections, and comments. Lots of comments. For consistencies, clarifications, etc.

Writing and rewriting and rewriting again tends to give a different picture to the author as it does to the reader. As the author, you know all the blanks. You know the world you’re creating. You know everything. The reader doesn’t. So, that fresh perspective gave a lot of questions and queries, all of which were taken on board, and in the best possible way, led to some creative brainstorming leading to bigger world building. She’d already set a great world, with a solid story, but was able to develop that further.

Each draft was met with more (but less) of the same, until the final version was ready to go.

It’s available now, in fact.

A fantasy adventure, by Sian Montgomery:


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I hate trying to find a title for my book. Or short story. I absolutely suck at them.

I always thought that a good title should catch the attention, give a little hint as to the story (or at least the theme), and be fairly unique.


Trying to get something unique is a major challenge. My partner is Chinese, and she’s excited about a new film which has just been released in the UK. It’s called Once Upon A Time. Try googling that, and see how many different versions you get, just from films alone. Same with a lot of book titles. On those rare occasions when I do think I’ve got something that might just work, the first thing I do is pull up the Amazon search bar, and type it in, see how many hits I get. If there’s less than three, I’ll consider it. If it’s none at all, I’m definitely keeping it as a contender. Anything more, and it’s going to get lost in the crowd, or pull in someone who got it confused with a title they actually wanted.


When I published Clown, I was dead set on the title. I knew it was a loser, but I wanted it nonetheless. In The Mourning was a title before I had a story, and I really wanted to use it, because deep down, I love puns. Compiling HB Peculiar’s First Cause, the title was relatively easy as someone else came up with it as the name of their short story. It was (intended as) the first HB Peculiar collection, and the story was going to be the first. Easy.

For my next book, I’ve gone with Blood Calling. It’s a horror piece, so blood always works well. The story involves a summoning, that uses blood magic, so Blood Calling seems to work quite nicely.

I hope.


Oh, and it should be out by the end of the month. With any luck!


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OK. I’m almost there.

I’ve run my first draft, and my first round of proofreading. Now I’m out to Beta Readers, having found a handful of willing volunteers. Now to sit back and wait for feedback.

I hate waiting for feedback.

So, I’m trying to keep myself busy with more. And this is where it gets difficult. I want to start on the second book. I want to finish something I’ve previously started. I want to start something new. I have the attention span of a


Sorry, where was I?

Oh, yes.

Trying to get myself going again. Even tried coming up with new writing exercises. The latest one is an evil one. Hopefully sharing it shortly. Meantime, keep watching the skis!

… skies. I meant skies.

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First Draft complete


In near record time, especially given my current circumstances, I’ve completed my first draft. Clocking in at 53,618 words, which will no doubt be significantly different by the time I’m ready to publish, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of this one.

Brief synopsis (and I suck at writing synopses): On the night that five friends try to summon a demon, things do not work out according to plan. Those who survive the night find that things that are summoned are not so easily dismissed, and when their paths cross with a pair of supernatural investigators, a fight for survival ensues.

So, first draft done. Now for a swipe at a second draft, incorporating a little proofreading, editing, spellchecking, consistency, etc. And then on to some beta readers!

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Well, it’s been a little while since I wrote here. But this time, for a damn good reason. I’ve been writing.

I’ve got my inspiration back, my mojo back, and my groove back. I’d say I’m currently about 70%, maybe a little more, through my first draft. And I’ve been really enjoying it. The exercises I ran in the past few posts have been an absolute blessing for me. My current WIP is fairly dialogue-heavy, and for something I used to dread, I’m now finding it hard to stop. One of my main characters is a gobby bastard, and I can’t seem to shut him up.

I love writing the dialogue. I’m reading it out loud, and it sounds about right. It seems to flow.

I’m trying to build suspense in there, and I feel I’m getting that done. There’s chills, blood and gore, and a mythology building up. It’s a long, long way from perfect, and the next stage is going to be getting a couple of beta-readers, and doing some harsh editing (I know it’s needed, and I’m trying to hold off doing it as I go, to avoid losing the flow that I’m building up).

So, this is a swing in, and I’ll be back with a few posts about the process here (from deciding characters, character types, names, mythologies, editing, cover design, etc) soon. Hopefully, very soon. I’m aiming to not just have this thing out this year, but in time for Halloween. Hell, the way I’m going, I’m hoping to have it out by the end of Summer, and the sequel in hand!

See you soon!


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New Beginnings

Times have changed, here in the world of TrueJDK. The last time I had a serious run at blogging, I had just self-published by debut novel, Clown, through the e-publishing route on Amazon. I took the opportunity to share my experiences, and to help support the self-publishing authors by reviewing self-published works wherever I could.

That was a couple of years ago.

In the months that followed setting up that blog, I reviewed a sizeable number of books – finding some absolute gems, an unfortunate number of books that (politely) needed some work, and one genuinely disturbed “author” who proceeded to make a number of death threats. Fun times.

I also made a run of experiments with my book, and shared the results as freely as I could – from the writing, to the marketing, and whatnot. I gave guidance and advice for any who might stumble across my blog.

And then things dried up a little, as life changed. Those changes included, variously, a switch in career, followed by redundancy, followed by several interim roles; the birth of my second son; new career again (now a bit more stable); the birth of my third son; significant works to the house. I spent some time catching up on my regular authors, those I’d missed as I focussed on the self-published writers. Free time was scarce, and hard to find.

However, somewhere in there, between the different jobs, and the joys of raising a toddler and a baby, as well as a growing boy, and the delights of ongoing housework/conversions, I managed to find a little time here and there. I wrote. Not much, but a little.

I was able to gather together a little collection of my own short stories. Hopefully, the first of several volumes. And, I was able to spearhead a little project with some socially creative types, and come up with the HB Peculiar concept, setting off the first volume of shorts under that name.

I’ve done a little rebranding – pictures, covers, and whatnot – of my own. I sadly allowed the url to lapse, and it was poached, by a company currently sitting on it so they can earn some money. Not that they’ll get it from me.

So here I am.

Back again. And hopefully, with a bit more to say.

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