Book Review: The Stumps of Flattop Hill

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 6.57.52 PM.pngThe Stumps of Flattop Hill by Kenneth Kit Lamug

Are you afraid of the house on the hill? Children in this story are. Flattop Hill has a mysterious reputation for disappearing children who reemerge as a tree stump. Florence, the main character, sets out to see for her own if this fact or fiction. She begins her journey and tackles the house all alone.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

The book is well edited. This is a children’s book probably suited for children aged 8 to 12 (although some words were for YA like formaldehyde). There are even little clever things he does with the font to keep the reader interested. Some represent the story on the page (like stairs, for instance).

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

There story was far shorter than 1000 words, but perhaps due to the visual medium of the book, it was fairly easy to get into. Within a few pages the reader knows the plot of the story: Florence travels to Flattop Hill.

Do I like the world building?

The world is rather enclosed. The entire story takes place either at the base of the hill (or the village) or in the house on the hill. The pictures were all of a uniformed theme.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

I obviously finished the book (42 pages) fairly fast. From the beginning, if you would asked me if I wanted to continue after 3 pages, I would have said yes, in order to find out what the heck the house was about. The ending was leaves things up to the reader to imagine the meaning of it.

Overall Story Opening Rating:  4.5/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 7.49.20 PM.png

One thing I would have liked seeing:

I think I would have been interested what the other townsfolk believed in. The story is a bit like Charlie Brown in that adults are kind of out of the picture. Maybe the older person could have given them a warning or something. Maybe add a red herring or two.

Q&A with Kenneth Kit Lamug

How long did the first draft take to write? 

The initial draft of the book including illustrations took about six months to complete. I write and draw concurrently so it’s a little difficult to say when I actually finished. Sometimes the drawing feeds the text or the other way around. I do have a day job, a family with three young boys, so most of my creative work is done between 7pm to midnight during the weekdays and most of my weekends when time permits.

After the initial draft, I let the book sit for a while before looking at it again and making additional revisions. It’s always good practice to step away and look at your work with fresh eyes and a little detachment.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing? 

The ending did not change for this book, although I don’t think it was fully visualized until later in the process.

I wanted the ending to be open to interpretation.

On the surface, the reader will interpret it in the most obvious way possible. Yet reading deeper into the story could also give the reader an alternate ending. Just like the  Pied Piper of Hamelin, when the children enter the cave, did they go to a good place or a bad place?

Did you submit traditionally? (If so, describe process)

With my background and experience in design, I was able to layout the pages and the typography the way I visualized it.

I created a few mock-up prints for promotional purposes and to show it to a few people. Throughout this  time, I received feedback (mostly on the text) and I was able to make revisions. Once I was happy, I sent the book to my agent which she then pitched to a few publishers. After about a year, One Peace Books picked it up and I worked directly with an editor to make final tweaks to the book.

Working with One Peace Books was a smooth process. I made text revisions, a new updated cover and worked on some marketing ideas. Just hearing from other published authors, I feel like I’ve been lucky that the publisher liked the book enough that there wasn’t a lot of crazy revisions and updates.

Where do you want to go with the series?

I love this genre and visual style, so I’m sure that I will go back to it in some form or another.

For The Stumps of Flattop Hill, I’m not sure yet if I will create a sequel. If there’s any kind revisiting, it will most likely be through a different medium, like stop motion or animation. I could expand on the story while incorporating other elements to enhance the audience experience.

Favorite author who has influenced your writing?

For this book, my muses were the works of Edward Gorey, Tim Burton & Edgar Allan Poe. I feel like my author list always changes depending on my mood or whatever I’m interested at that point in my life. So I’ve never been stuck on a single person.

Since I work so much in the visual medium, I’m also inspired by many artists out there. My fascination is more towards the finished product rather than the person themselves. What inspires me about the authors and writers are usually their work-ethic, persistence and their process.

Check out his website at

Follow him on twitter @rabbleboy


1000 Word Book Reviews: Roses Are Red

ROSES 96 dpi Cover Art  Small.jpg

Carrie Green wrote the collection of stories “Roses are Red.” It is a mix of different genres that range from horror to sci-fi to more literary fiction. This is a review of the 2nd short story, “A Lucky Human,” which was a sci-fi story. The basic premise of the story is what happens after humans can start physically connecting with humans in a sort-of symbiosis.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

The entire story appeared edited, grammar-wise. The first 1000 words was technically “A Long Distance Relationship” (the horror story) which also looked edited as well.

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

In “A Lucky Human” I didn’t really care about the main character early in the story because there really wasn’t anything positive that stood out to me, however, there wasn’t anything for me to dislike about him. I did enjoy the character arc of the main character through the story and there is some growth shown.

Do I like the world building?

It was pretty good sci-fi world building for a short story. She set up the rules of the science fiction tech early in the story to be used later on so it didn’t feel like the end came out of left field. I would have liked to know a little more detail the science behind the computer-human connection.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

This is an assessment of the entire story, so I read well past 1000 words. Would I want to read about what happens after the short story?  I would have to say yes. I think she might have something there based on where the story ended and can see a half dozen ways she could continue the story.

Overall Story Rating:  4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.png

One thing I would have liked seeing: 

I would have preferred more description of the ship and surroundings as they boarded. I would have liked to know exactly what the environment was to get a sense of place. Maybe a little background on Earth and the situation with humanity would have added some depth and color to the story.

Q&A with Carrie Green

How long did the first draft take to write?  

My short stories tend to be produced in one seating, but I always let them rest before editing, when the real nitty-gritty work of being a writer begins.  I edit endlessly, consistently, so that my first drafts never see the light of day.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?

No, if an ending changes, it’s during the editing process, not while writing…

Did you submit traditionally?
Before the advent of Amazon and self-publishing, I did submit traditionally.  Now, I’m a firm believer in what Joe Konrath has to share about the realities of the publishing industry (via his blog) and how authors are much better off, financially, in pursuing self-publishing.
Where do you want to go with the series?
This collection of short stories is part of a series named ‘New Blood.’ and it exists primarily to promote my writing until the publication of my novel, Walk A Lonely Street.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
There are plenty of authors who have influenced me, but the earliest was Mark Twain.  His books were my bedtime stories, read out loud by my father, when I was too young to read.  What you are exposed to, first, forever shapes how you judge what comes after.  All other authors had to live up to Mark Twain for me.
You can follow her @CarrieGreenBook &

1000 Word Review: Storm in Shanghai by J.M.Bush

review cover.jpeg

This is a story about magicians and the powers that threaten it, or so I think from the first chapter. It begins with a back and forth conversation between father and son, and the son wins in order to see some World Cup action. There is some mystical threat, the Maelstrom, that is threatening Italy. The father is some mage of some kind. Disaster strikes and the leader if left wanting to turn the page to see what happens. (I do)

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes, it appears edited. The only thing I saw that might stand out is the story is written in present tense, but at times the story does switch to past tense sometimes.

Ex: “My dad, one of the world’s fastest casters, dismissed his ball of lightning and sealed the car door shut with Storm wind. He also charged the handle with a little bit of Storm lightning, it seems, because I get zapped as I grab it.” 

As far as regular grammar, it reads well.

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

I did. He kept it simple and started his story about a father and son relationship as told by a POV of a 10 year old. The kid wants to see some World Cup action and the father placates him. I think every man remembers how it is at this age. The father doesn’t have to say he loves his son, but this is enough to imply to the reader the unsaid. This is good writing, like in a movie. Show and don’t tell.

Do I like the world building?

I do. I like foreign and interesting environments. It was a nice touch adding Italian to the prose. He also sprinkled in some magic and world building the system. I assume the father is a mage or wizard of some sort. There is a Maelstrom threat to everything.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

Yes. I want to see what happens after the blackout. Good on the author for wrapping me in so quick.

Overall Story Opening Rating:  4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.png

One thing I would have liked seeing:

I prefer past tense with the story, especially since I am assuming 1990 AD (nice touch adding the AD) is in the past and the story is being told today due to the vocabulary the kid is using. Would have liked to know where the mother is. Maybe describe what the heck the Maelstrom is and the total deaths caused and who the father is in the scale of mage types. Would have liked to know why the father’s dream is to visit the place, but why he couldn’t have bought a plane ticket for this long? Magic spell bubble or something? Is the Maelstrom threatening other countries? How long has this been going on?

The First Chapter can be reviewed here:!chapter-1/jrohi

Q&A with J.M. Bush

How long did the first draft take to write?  The first draft took me three months to write and was at about 73k words.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing? The ending changed slightly because, during the many rewrites over the course of a year, I added many new chapters from different POVs to show some backstory. This influenced the course of the story in many ways and as a result, the ending was affected.

Did you submit traditionally?
I did! I submitted like crazy after the first draft and first round of edits were done. After that is when I really went back and took it apart, then put it back together. It ended up being 106k words after all the rewrites. Then I began submitting again. This time, I got some partial requests and a couple of full requests. Two agents held onto it for a long time, but in the end, they passed. So I made my mind up to self-publish the book. I could have waited, but in the interim I had written two other books, one during NANOWRIMO 2015, and I felt that having something published, even self-published, would help me get these newer books picked up by an agent.
Where do you want to go with the series?
Two more books, at least. I have the overall arc of the story planned out, but it keeps changing. I keep having killer ideas about it, and so it is an ever-evolving thing. I’m sure it will change a lot more before it’s done, too. But at the moment, book 2 will take place in Malaysia and Cambodia, while book 3 will take place in Egypt.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
R.A. Salvatore got me started on the whole fantasy obsession, so I’d say he is the main influence. But more recently, Brandon Sanderson has really got me excited to write stories. I absolutely love his world building.
The J.M.Bush can be followed at @M_to_the_Bush

1000 Word Book Review: Firetok by Gordon Wilson


Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 6.09.37 PM.png

Firetok by Gordon Wilson

From the first few chapters, there a few key facts to pick up. The main character has some psychic abilities. Much of the first chapter covered the relationship of the main character and a little girl, with child abuse playing a major part in the story. I’m sure the entire story has nothing to do with it, but for me, it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea to read that as the beginning. I would have preferred getting the psychic ability story out in the beginning some other way. Perhaps the girl at the beginning comes into play later on in the book. Based on the cover, I assumed Firetok was a dog of some kind, so I was a little confused why the story didn’t begin with the dog instead.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

There story was edited. It flows well. There is a key point the author is trying to make in the first chapter and accomplishes what he sets out to do, I think.

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

I don’t necessarily care about the character through Chapter 3. It is hard to really relate to what he is going through, and to be frank, the actions of the kid is and administrators are baffling. There wasn’t a date I saw, but if happened in the last 40 years, the girl wouldn’t have gone back home with the mother.

Do I like the world building?

There wasn’t much of a setting covered in the first couple chapters. Most of it is character driven and covers the relationships in the story. I did like that the language in Chapter 2 seems more of a regional dialect and local, giving it some authenticity.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

I personally wouldn’t, due to the subject in the first chapter. Child abuse and non-action because of it wouldn’t have made me read on. It reminded me a little bit of Forrest Gump in a way, but the that story was told, Forrest was likable far before the child abuse stuff.

Overall Story Opening Rating: 0.5/5.0 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 7.49.20 PM.png (Nothing sadder than a half red panda)

One thing I would have liked seeing:

Make me like the main character early on. Maybe use a flashback to cover childhood trauma instead of leading off with it. Then I would have cared when reading it. Another way is to actually make the first chapter the last chapter. This would be a reveal similar to the end of “Once Upon a Time in the West.”

Q&A with Gordon Wilson

How long did the first draft take to write?  

My first draft took pretty close to 8 months to write. I was working on the road and could only work on it Saturdays.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?
I did not change the ending, it pretty well wrote itself and even now could not imagine a different outcome.
Did you submit traditionally?
I don’t think I ever sent out any query letters. I had no idea how to really write a book much less go down the agent road. My initial intention for Firetok was to introduce the characters of what I expected to be a several part story.
Where do you want to go with the series?
I don’t have a firm vision of that yet. A couple of the characters have a lot of growing to do and much more wrong to right. They like me are still learning how to use their power.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
Favorite author, I kind of hate to say it because I get compared to him frequently but I would have to say Stephen King followed closely by Mark Twain. Have they influenced my writing? I think they must have because I have read so much of their work. I really enjoyed how Twain could make a story seem kind of straightforward and believable without being overdone.


1000 Word Book Reviews: Roko’s Basilisk by Michael Blackbourn


Roko’s Basilisk by Michael Blackbourn

The author was up front in saying the story picks up around 2800 words in. For me, he was right. Much of the first couple pages involves the main character’s daily routine except the character was going through pain. Much focus is spent describing the way his body is feeling and giving sensory descriptions. This continues for a few pages and didn’t quite hook me.

Eventually, the focus of the story became more clear on page 5, which I think is way beyond 1000 words. The story is about a VitaVax shot, which is nanotechnology that repairs cells. This is what was causing much of the issues of the first few pages.

To me, the author should have dived into the plot narrative a little faster. Other than that, I didn’t quite know the time or setting or any background to the story.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes, however some of the formatting was off. The thoughts of the character were not italicized as usual in a third person point of view story. There a couple odd uses of words likeShe looked up from her phone and smiled. Smiling from bed.”  Some of the sentences didn’t have a noun and a verb, which can be fine, but was a little weird in the context. “The VitaVax shot” and “Casual pants and a dark button-down shirt” and “Go” and “Stressed about the Presentation.” None of the sentences were dialogue or part of a POV narrative, so to some, I could see how it wouldn’t be typical. Note: I write short truncated sentences, but mostly in my first person POV stories. Additionally, sometimes stream of consciousness stories almost require the story to be filled with this. 

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

The first 1000 words doesn’t do enough to get me to care. By the time it gets to the VitaVax shot, I am a little more interested in the story. There wasn’t much to identify with Thomas yet early on. Perhaps it picks up later.

Do I like the world building?

I didn’t gather in the first few thousand words what the world was. So I couldn’t assess this. For me, consider this as not observed.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

If reading this on Amazon, the first 1000 words wouldn’t get me to continue past. If it would have started with the VitaVix shot paragraph, and given a single flashback/filler paragraph to get me up to speed on the headaches, it would have propelled me enough to the next plot point. 

One thing I would have liked seeing:

For a man with so much pain, I would have liked to see a little more interaction. We get that Thomas is suffering, but that can be told in one paragraph. He can describe his pain in one interaction with Jane while also establishing the world and the shot he got. It doesn’t really have to be a mystery. Just jump into it and go.

Overall Story Beginning Rating: 1/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.png


Q&A with Michael Blackbourn
How long did the first draft take to write?
About a year. this was my second story after my kids book and the first ‘grown up’ sci fi I’ve written. Everything seems to take longer than I would like. When I used to jump out of planes and blow stuff up for a living everything seemed to go more quickly. Writing takes me a frustrating length of time to get right.
Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?
I added an entire parallel story inter-weaved with the main plot after I finished. It made the entire concept of the short much much stronger and I couldn’t imagine the book without that element now.
Did you submit traditionally?
No. This story is about to hit amazon as soon I as I have part 2 completely edited. They are going up as a pair. Both have strong endings (no cliffhangers) where I leave no room for a sequel, so I’m hoping the fact that there is more will be a draw to people, wondering how it might go on.
Where do you want to go with the series?
I have a second part that is done and I’m just polishing, it’s 3 times longer than this initial piece. And I have a third part outlined. There is a lot of room in this concept for more.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
Howey and Heinlein. One when I was in highschool – he was my into to science fiction, and the other more recently for how well he writes the internal monologue of characters.

1000 Word Book Review: Raven Song by I.A.Ashcroft


Review of the first 1000 words of “Raven Song” by I.A. Ashcroft

I asked the author to send his first 1000 words, and he literally sent me 995 words exactly. Usually I review the first 1000 words via Amazon and the preview system, so this was different.  (Note: Sometimes I will read a few thousand words to get a better sense of the story for a better review, and sometimes I don’t pay attention and go much farther an in depth)

The story opens with a prologue. It was about a half-naked boy shivering on a sidewalk. Overall, it was hard to really associate what was going on outside this basic image along with a man in a suit and a raven. It was mysterious, but I wasn’t quite sure if it sold me to buy the book.

But then I read about the Barrier, which was a shield that covered a ruined New York. Awesome. This is pretty much all you have to say to get me to turn the page, so good on the author.

The story then jumps 18 years in the future. Wow. What a jump. Part of me didn’t really know what was going on. Then he gave a time reference: July 21, 2147. Awesome. For what remains of the 1000 word book submission, there is much talk on dreams and ravens and insomnia of the main character, Jackson. Then it ended at the 995th word.

Pros and Cons.

Pros: I like the city shield and the time reference. It is more than enough to get me interested in the story. Shows some imagination, though it reminds me of the Simpsons, Stephen King (referenced by author below), and Highlander 2.

Cons: I am not exactly sure what the genre is from the first 1000 words. Is it a paranormal dystopia? Science Fiction? Mystical parable? Hard to tell from the intro. Also, I only really know one character at one point. With no dialogue, this makes it a little harder to get into the action. Lastly, the main character opens chapter one by waking up from a dream sequence. People are split on the “waking up in bed” opening, but the author doesn’t use it as a trope to undo a prior scene, so people might not mind. I didn’t, but then again, I wanted to hear more about the city shield.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes. Grammar was good. There were some odd things, like in the 2nd paragraph he used the word “eyes” in three sequential sentences (Raven Song Fact: eyes are mentioned 9 times in first 995 words). He also starts 3 out of 4 paragraphs in a row with “Jackson” in Chapter 1. Some authors try to mix it up a little.

Also the story has a third point limited narrator that trails off after “once upon a time.” A bit of an odd place to do that. When I write, I usually only trail off with dialogue or first person narration. 

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

No. For me, I cared more about couple of the scene details more. Jackson’s mysterious prologue and dream reaction didn’t really get me to care about him yet. It would probably take me to see him interact with someone first.

Do I like the world building?

Yes, for what was mentioned. I liked the shield over New York. (Any dystopia of New York, I am a fan of, probably going back to my days watching Escape from New York)

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

Yes. I want to know more about this version of New York.

One thing I would have liked seeing:

Get rid of the prologue, and open up with Jackson doing some action or at least interact with someone. Then tell me about the backstory slowly. George R.R. Martin used a prologue, but he tells 800+ page books. He also used a dream sequence with Ned Stark in A Game of Thrones, but that is in the middle of the book to a crucial moment at the Tower of Joy.

Overall Story Beginning Rating: 4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.png


Q&A with the Author: I. A. Ashcroft


How long did the first draft take to write?

Almost a year and a half! The idea was germinating for about three months in my head, and then I spent six months dickering around with scenes and short story snippets. Finally I realized it was a novel, and for around seven months, I put what I had through the shredder, began structuring things so the pacing didn’t drag, refining subplots, re-writing, etc. It was my full time job after my full time job ended business hours! Of course after that was done, it needed a few months of editorial revisions, but at the point I was having so much fun finishing my first novel, it didn’t seem like such a long time.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?

Yes. I had an ending planned at first that felt a little sitcom-esque… all of the characters made it out relatively unscarred, and then they were chipper and ready for their next adventure in book two. It was awful. Sounded quite… false. The new ending, I felt, came organically out of all of the difficulties the characters face in this story, and though there is joy and hope, it’s the regrets, unfulfilled desires, and unanswered mysteries that I think will set the stage for a truly intriguing second book.

Did you submit traditionally?

I did not. I considered it carefully, and I’d love to submit traditionally some day, but I discovered that I really enjoy the world of indie authors and publishing. So, I never did send my manuscript to anyone but readers and editors. It gives me a lot of happiness to put my efforts into getting this out there right now, connecting with my audience today, rather than waiting for an agent, a publishing house, a release date, etc. So, for the Inoki’s Game series, it will all be independent! But after that, I am considering going down the traditional avenue for a couple of other book ideas – I’d love to reach even more readers.

Where do you want to go with the series?

Book Two: Eclipse of the Sun will be done with its first draft by end of May, and it’s going to set the stage for a complete upheaval of the world where Jackson and Anna live. There’s a lot of secrets and string-pullers that will be revealed. I have plans right now for four books, though a fifth is possible (I find I go crazy if I outline too far ahead. But, the ideas are seeded). I also found a fantastic audiobook narrator, Mikael Naramore, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear his reading of this series.

Favorite author who has influenced your writing?

Stephen King’s ideas shaped my style a great deal (I was reading The Dark Tower and On Writing while crafting this story, though I don’t 100% agree with every notion he sets forth). His efficiency of narrative though, when it’s at its best, is something powerful. Neil Gaiman’s weird, dark, and humorous descents into myth and folklore deeply shaped the way I try to approach a story, too. And finally, I don’t think I can leave J. K. Rowling off my list – she left with me a fascination with magic and those that use it, and a readability I find I just slip right into, even years later.

You can follow I.A.Ashcroft on twitter @ia_ashcroft

1000 Word Book Review: The Empty World


Review of the First 1000 Words of “The Empty World” by Andrew Reeves

The story opens with Beth in a lifesuit with only one way to survive, by going to a nearby outpost. Usually I don’t like prologues, but this seemed fine to me because it was short and to the point. Then, part one opens with new characters: Danny, Bledge, Nelson, and Munnock. Danny is the son of Robert Ringrose, an inventor of sorts, who created a “Cloning of the Stone” process that produced inanimate objects, which is intriguing enough of a concept. It kind of reminded me of Project Genesis in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the best Star Trek film to date) The science behind the technology in the book isn’t quite explained enough to wow me on how it works, and only provided some loose details on some examples of what can be produced. I would have liked to know more about this wild technology, and perhaps I will if I kept reading beyond Chapter 3.

The pro’s of the first 3 or so chapters is for an Indie book, grammar wise, it appears it was edited fairly well. No glaring errors really stood out to me. As for world building, I think it starts off on solid footing explaining how Danny is the son of Robert and the technology that was invented and the mysterious disappearance of his father. We get a little motivation. We are introduced to some characters around Danny.

The con’s of what I read would merely be describing a bunch of physical objects, but not really the central characters, which I think is necessary in a third person omniscient story.  Danny doesn’t really connect to anyone in the first 3 chapters. He seems to think about his younger sister quite a bit. There really isn’t much backstory to know what the dynamic is. Perhaps he dives into it more later on in the book. The closest I felt was to Beth, and she only seems to come in and out of the story in short bursts every few chapters.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?


Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

Not really.

Do I like the world building?


Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?


One thing I would have liked seeing:

Get rid of the prologue with Beth and show me what the Stone can do.

Overall Story Beginning Rating: 3/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.59.42 PM.png



Q&A with the Author: Andrew Reeves

How long did the first draft take to write?

A.Reeves-I spent three months brainstorming the plot in every detail and making sure at every turn that whatever you would naturally expect to happen next… absolutely did not happen! It made for a very interesting and head-scratching three months but has definitely resulted in a book that never gets predictable. I then went on to write the manuscript which took about eighteen months all told. It was great because I was out of work for most of it, when the recession first hit, so I had all the time in the world!

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?

A.Reeves-The ending was not changed in the middle of writing, mainly because although I knew the overall objective of the story (a boy searching for his mother on a world created by his Dad from effectively cloning stones, whilst an evil genius hatches a plan to use the very same cloning process to restart the Universe and make himself God!) [as you do…] I had no idea where I would get to with the concept before I felt that Book One should end. It ends on a total cliffhanger, but the first draft contained scenes that my agent convinced me I should delete from Book One and use as the beginning of Book Two – which I now see was very wise advice.

Did you submit traditionally?

A.Reeves-I did not directly submit it to the publishers. I was lucky enough to secure myself a literary agent in London very soon after sending out my ‘final draft’. Silly me thought all the hard work was over – I spent the next two and a half years under their guidance, redrafting a dozen times whilst fleshing out the plots for Books Two and Three. So they did all the submitting to the publishers for me. Of course I have been through the usual rejection process, but Harry Potter was rejected 12 times and the Mr. Men books were rejected by 24 publishers I believe, so I’m not phased that it hasn’t been traditionally published yet. A little deflated, I won’t lie, but I know the perfect publisher is still out there!

Where do you want to go with the series?

A.Reeves-Where do I want to go with the series? Well Book Two: The Big Bang Machine and Book Three: Space Time Zero are all planned, and Book Two is well on its way to being completed as a first draft manuscript. I have also recently completed work on a screenplay adaptation of Book One which is presently in the hands of a commissioning editor of a major London publishers of children’s fiction. It currently awaits his feedback and will soon be with several other agencies and production companies too.

Favorite author who has influenced your writing?

A.Reeves-I’ve lots of favourite authors. As a kid I used to love reading Douglas Hill’s sci fi books and my favourite book of all was the original Star Wars novel, supposedly written by George Lucas but ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster. I read it so many times when I was eight or nine that I was banned from borrowing it from the school library. I was told to ‘broaden my horizons’. Well I did, but I’ve never gotten past the thrill that that book still gives me. I also like Michael Cordy and James Rollins, but probably the most recent drama injection I would give myself to get in the writing zone was watching LOST. To my mind the greatest ever (and most intriguing) TV show of all time.


Andrew gave me permission repost his insightful Goodreads post on his publishing journey. I believe it gives you more insight to give a better judgement on his story than I ever could with the first 1000 words:

Some of you will be familiar with my YA novel THE EMPTY WORLD (a barren Earth cloned from a stone). If you aren’t, no matter… (What am I saying?!) But this is not an exercise in self promotion. Whether you’re familiar with THE EMPTY WORLD or not, what you won’t know is how difficult it has been for me to get it off the ground. I’d like to explain to you a little bit about that, to try and give you some idea of the incredibly difficult journey my book’s creation has had me on.

Nevertheless, I have been lucky. A few years ago I totted up all the emails I had sent to agents, production companies, movie producers, actor’s agents, people in the business, about the many different projects I have penned. About ninety five per cent of those people either never replied or kindly replied to say they had no time to read my work. That number was between three and four thousand emails! The only consolation I take from all that was that at least I hadn’t paid for all the postage stamps!

It’s a long road to success, but it’s those blind corners that keep us trekking. After a lifetime of trying everything in the book (literally), I finally managed to find myself an agent, the one I had been searching for to help me build upon my work… but that was when the hardest work began. For those of you who haven’t read THE EMPTY WORLD… what’s it all about? I’ll start with the story of me and ease you in.

I’m 45 right now, but I sent my first manuscript off to America from the UK when I was just 14. That’s quite a long time to be writing and trying to get yourself in print! Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all I’ve done with my life, I’ve done lots of other things besides, most of them creative – I’m married, I have two kids, the obligatory job, I’ve bought the T-shirt, you name it, I’ve done it. I started writing stories when I was 7, when Star Wars first appeared in the world. Wide-eyed at the excitement it presented, I yearned to create something exciting of my own, even then.

I’m also an aspiring screenwriter, novelist, poet, cartoon illustrator, song-writer, musician, composer, computer game level designer by the name of Several Sided Sid (you may have heard of me), the list goes on. I’ve written several full-length movie screenplays and some shorter scripts too, including a couple of sitcom pilots. I’ve written lots of children’s stories, an absolute plethora of poetry and prose (both serious and nonsensical – I love nonsense!). A friend and I have been working on a tome of invented words for over twenty years now, texting each other silliness back and forth, and presently I’ve penned about fifteen hundred entries. (No, really!) Hopefully one day it will see the light off day. Plus I write songs and music; I used to play bass and keyboards in a few alternative rock bands once upon a time, I appeared on stage a few times back in the nineties – thought I was gonna be a rock star way back when, but I had to abandon that goal when it started to interfere with my being a dad. These days my composing is restricted to GarageBand. Long live GarageBand!

But writing has always been my greatest creative love, it’s what I do best, I believe. I’ve spent forever creating new worlds with a pen and a piece of paper. The worlds were always created in my mind, borne out of an over-excited imagination and thrust down on the page for all to see. Then they were peopled, given life, meaning and reason, and set in motion with plot and motivation. Let loose. Some time ago I discovered a whole new way of creating brand new worlds; I spent a handful of years mapping for the PC game Jedi Academy under the pseudonym of Several Sided Sid, building and releasing maps to be used as online skermishing arenas for the online gaming community. I really enjoyed it, got some great praise too – you can check my work out here:

Mapping is an incredible phenomenon. For those not familiar with the term, ‘mapping’, or ‘level designing’, or (my favourite) world-building, is basically the electronic creation of a whole new virtual world. But a world with limits. A world filled with event-triggers and carefully placed artificial lighting to give the false impression of real shadow. A world where nothing is as it seems. Seemingly solid objects that are, bizarrely, invisible from behind. Smoke that isn’t smoke. Sound that comes from nowhere and everywhere all at once. All within a box. Cleverly hidden behind a mask of programming so bafflingly lifelike as to defy belief – but a box all the same.

During the long months spent building my very first multiplayer map, The Mos Eisley Meanstreets, preparing an empty world for download by the online gaming community, I got to thinking: What would it be like to create a world for real? How could this be achieved? And what strange, unprecedented dangers might a new world present? Even as a straight clone of an already existing world? As far as we are told, cloning has only ever been achieved successfully on living matter. As far as we are told. Imagine if it were possible to clone an entire planet. Not the wildlife. But the planet itself. Imagine if it were possible to create another home for Mankind. It’s something we should think about, for sure.

Anyway, this all coincided very nicely with a delayed building site a few doors down the road from my house. The old disused car showroom had been torn down and a barren stretch of dirt replaced it for four long years, during which time all the workmen did was dig one pit and remove countless tonnes of dirt from its depths. Then, suspiciously, the row of houses at the back of the site, which had a great view into the pit, all had to be abandoned after drilling on the site unsettled the foundations (reportedly).

I managed to convince himself that something weird was happening right beneath my street. Perhaps it was a nuclear bunker they were building, perhaps it was something else. Then I had a flash of inspiration… this would make a great story, about a young boy who lived where I lived, but right next door to the site, and his bedroom window was the only remaining viewpoint into the mysterious pit mouth, and he had noticed all these goings on, and had started building theories about what might lie beneath the site…. beneath his house! A boy who would stop at nothing to investigate.

But it had to be worth the energy. It had to be more than simply, ‘I wonder what they’re doing down there…’

So I thought and thought about it, searching for a plot – and then the obvious struck me: my character Danny’s missing dad had managed to clone the world! He’d been laughed out of the military years before for claiming he was working on a process that would enable him to clone stones – which would in turn pave the way to a manufacturing revolution – but no one believed that ‘non biologic particle multiplicity’ was possible and so Danny’s father Robert Ringrose had been forced to relocate to the tiny unassuming fictional town of Sphagnum Moss, where he continued to work on his theories in total secret. And in the safety of a secret research facility hidden beneath the building site beside his house, he had finally cracked the process and got it right. But he didn’t stop at stones. He managed to clone the world, and he called it Segnimedia (the Empty World), a perfect carbon copy of Planet Earth (no people, no plants, no animals, just the world). Perhaps it could offer Mankind a second chance for survival once we’ve finally ruined the planet where we live.

So that’s the basic premise. The story is told from young Danny Ringrose’s point of view, as he investigates the building site and discovers the whereabouts of his missing parents and is amazed to find out what they have been up to. Danny has never known of Robert’s real work, but has seen the miniature machine prototypes and schematics in their house, never dreaming what his dad was working on. There’s danger, enemies and a whole load of abuse in the form of his wise-cracking little sister along the way!

Following years of struggle (detailed below) I self-published The Empty World through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing in June of 2014, and so far it’s had a really great response, racking up a handful of very positive reviews. If you haven’t read it yet, I would obviously urge you to do so by clicking here (it might really help you appreciate what I am about to explain next):

So I’d like to share with you the incredibly long and difficult journey I have been through to get the book to where it is, to impart as much of my experience and inspiration as I can to anyone who is contemplating setting off along the same path. If you have a book in you, write it! If you have a story to tell, tell it! It’s always worth the hard work you put in.

As I said, the journey to get the book to where it is has not been an easy one for me at all. But it has been absolutely worth it, and it still continues to be so… and it isn’t over yet. I first started work on the plot for THE EMPTY WORLD in September 2007, and since then the manuscript has been redrafted (and redrafted and redrafted) several times, under the guidance of my literary agents, who forced me to get rid of everything that wasn’t necessary and to add more things that were. They made me look at my created world as though it was completely real, and by its very nature it required a lot of explaining of some very tricky science, which is both based on accepted quantum physics but also borne of pure imagination.

It’s a big fun adventure with lots of scope for spin-off stories – I already have Books Two and Three, THE BIG BANG MACHINE and SPACE TIME ZERO, completely planned, and a handful of plots for what will happen next. I’ve been working on both sequels in tandem all this time. Once I’d finished the first draft of Book One – following three months of fleshing out notes and a further eighteen months spent working on the manuscript – I made the foolish error of believing all my hard work was finally over. I couldn’t have been more wrong! As soon as it was completed (literally that day) I emailed the synopsis to several hand-picked agents I had chosen to approach from the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, but I knew in my heart, as had happened with every other book or screenplay manuscript I had sent to so many people in the past, that it would meet the same fate… some interest if I was lucky, a few near misses, but in the end a big resounding NO.

Imagine my utter delight when a nice man at a London publishers (whose name I will respectfully not mention) who don’t make a usual living from publishing fiction, excitedly replied to my email about two hours later, requesting that I send it to no one else and give them a week’s exclusivity to make a decision on whether or not to publish my beloved book! I was ecstatic… and proud… and hopeful…

My contact there even emailed the manuscript to his MD who was currently at a meeting in America. The excitement grew and I waited about a week until the final decision had been made… that they wouldn’t be going ahead with publishing my book 😦

I was devastated, of course, but familiar with the feeling. This had been the closest I had ever come to a yes and I had allowed myself to dare to hope. Oh well, my contact there said it was not his decision, and if it was up to him he would have said yes – this did lift my spirits and convinced me it was worth sending the manuscript out to others – or rather a synopsis and covering letter to be precise.

An interesting thing came out of this encounter though – up until then I had been calling the book DANNY RINGROSE AND THE EMPTY WORLD, kind of following on the Harry Potter naming regimen I suppose, but this particular publisher felt the novel should simply be called THE EMPTY WORLD, as it was a far more ‘literary title’. So I took his advice and changed the title straight away… I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do, I won’t say I lie awake worrying about it until the wee small hours, but half of me still wants to add the principal character’s name back in. (I have had other professionals, such as my agent, agree that the title is better off as it is. We shall see).

So I carried on submitting my covering letter to some of the agents I had chosen to approach, with a brief but exciting description of the book, expecting everyone to reply with a respectful refusal to read or to not reply at all. To my excitement the agent who became my agent emailed me back and said, ‘Why don’t you send over the first three chapters and I’ll take a look?’ This was really exciting! It was pretty much the most interest anyone had ever shown in all the many things I had been submitting, left, right and centre. So I sent him the first three chapters and sat and waited. Patiently? I tried.

By this time I had been let go by my employer, who had relocated the call centre I had been working in and made everyone unemployed, so THE EMPTY WORLD wasn’t just a hobby to me – more than ever before, my writing felt like my ticket to the future. The recession had just descended and work was very hard to find. I needed this to work for me. I needed it to.

So my agent replied a couple of weeks or so later, with frustrating, and potentially devastating news. He said that my writing was good, and everything that was necessary for a really good book was there, but I had made the classic mistake that every new writer makes: I had written too much. I once read that although every new writer wants to show how good they are and include every word they know, less is so much more and we should only put on the page what is absolutely necessary. This doesn’t just apply to overlong sentences or unnecessary character history or whatever, but right down to lines of dialogue, facial expressions, anything which detracts from the pertinent point. If it’s action, write what happens, if it’s dialogue, have them say only what we need to know. My agent said I had written about three times more than I needed to and that it would need a hefty redraft before it was okay.

Being unemployed, I had time on my side and enough enthusiasm to roll Planet Earth a little closer to the Moon, so I wrote straight back to him and said I would cut it by two thirds and send it back. My enthusiasm must have excited him because he said he’d show me what he meant and sent me a redline showing his corrections, so I could see exactly where he thought I had gone wrong. Fired up by this, I made the changes I could stomach making to my beloved first three chapters and sent them back, accompanied by the next little chunk.

And this is how work progressed for the next few months. It was frustrating but exciting… probably more excitement than I had ever known creatively before. Finally someone was actually taking me seriously. I’d never really asked anyone to read my work before, I pretty much wrote my stories in a bubble, so I wasn’t used to having my writing pored over, right down to the comma level. It was fun but it was exasperating too. At that point I just wanted to please, and I knew that he knew more than I did about how to make it right. But it wasn’t just an exercise in proper sentence structure and thinking about what isn’t necessary in a scene, he suggested I lose whole chunks where I had gone off on a tangent and followed the adventures of lesser characters than the hero. Not lesser, shall we say, just that I had to stick with my central driving force and follow that, to give the reader one focal point to follow. He advised this was especially important with a book that would be read by children as much as it would by adults.

It was akin to adapting a movie out of a TV series by the time we’d finished; the original manuscript stood at 728 pages, and by the time we had worked on chunks of manuscript emailed back and forth, losing bits here, adding bits there, me deciding to trust him entirely – because what he said was right – it was roughly half the size. But it was now definitely twice the book it had been!

Don’t get me wrong, it was all my decision-making in the end… he suggested where it went on too long or where I should treat the reader to further explanations of the incredible science I had created in my world, and the machines that made this weird science possible, and I was free to agree or disagree with everything he said, but he was on a mission to have my book read like it was written by a seasoned author and I trusted him implicitly. I think the first time I ever deleted a scene it almost killed me. All those words lost! But now I love identifying bits of extemporaneous story matter that doesn’t belong, absorbing the most important bits into their proper position in the story and axing the rest with a resounding plop. There’s no better feeling than getting rid of something that was making the pages crowded. Anything you decide to delete is because it is an improvement, I have learned.

So we went through this process, my agent and I, me sending him story chunks and him sending them back as he saw fit, and after the pain and frustration subsided I realised it was the most enjoyable part of the process. I’ve since had other people, close friends and family, read my work, and as long as you trust a person’s opinion, it doesn’t matter who it is – everyone has a valid viewpoint on a story and no suggestion for improvement is an insult, or a waste of time. (If you have suggestions at improving this article, by the way, I’ll gladly listen 😉

Nowadays I wouldn’t want to write without a trusty second pair of eyes. You can be sure you’ve sewn up every scrap of plot hole… but what if the absolutely obvious has eluded you all along? Don’t be an island as a writer. Reach out to those you know whose opinions you value.

So this process was long and painful and then enjoyable, and when we’d finally finished, when all the reworking and further explaining and waiting for replies was said and done, when I was preparing myself for submission of my far superior manuscript to the publishers… a second pair of eyes at the agency took a look. And said it couldn’t possibly be submitted to a publisher in its present state!

I felt the whole world yanked from underneath me like a carpet. I needed explanation. The explanation was simple: we’d done a great job of identifying all unnecessary junk and scenes and characters and descriptions, we’d shortened the plot and made it jump more easily off the page, we’d captured everything I was hoping to capture with my very first draft. And all in the name of keeping a steady pace. Timing everything correctly. But in agent number two’s opinion, one very simple rule (and probably the most important) had been slightly overlooked.

And that was suspension of disbelief. I can remember when I didn’t even know what that meant. No matter how far-fetched a great idea is, so long as you present it in a way in which it can be seen to make sense… at least enough for someone to say to themselves, ‘Okay, that would never be possible, but this is such a neat idea for a story, I’m totally prepared to overlook that and just enjoy it!’ then anything will work. Think Back To The Future. As if. (Three of my favourite films by the way).

And there was one scene in THE EMPTY WORLD that agent number two felt stretched suspension of disbelief a little too far. That’s okay, you might think, just change it. But that one scene was the springboard scene for EVERYTHING THAT CAME AFTER. Which meant a potential rewrite of the entire second half.

I was crushed. I was short of money and unemployed and desperate for a sale, thinking the past few months of blood sweat and tears spent slaving at a keyboard to meet the advice that would change everything for me was finally at an end, and I was given a new dilemma. The transitional part of the novel didn’t work. I could have given in right there and then, I don’t normally fight so strong, but this story and its sequels meant everything to me. I knew once they were published they would be a great success, so I buckled down and forced myself to fix it.

It turned out not to be so bad. Took a few weeks work to incorporate the changes, and if you’re familiar with my book it concerned how young Danny actually ends up being underground when he least expects it, in his father’s research facility that has been hiding beneath his garden all his life. I’d spent whole chapters just to get him there, whereas now it happens all at once, and to the story’s benefit. Once that was fixed, we were pretty much done. Everything – and I mean everything – was theoretically believable. Just another draft and all Easter weekend on the phone to agent number two, going through the manuscript word for word. Eventually we all agreed it was finally ready for submission to the hand picked publishers. This nicely coincided with me finding work so everything seemed on the up, as I waited for the offers of publication to come flooding in.

I was in for disappointment, in the form of some very nice rejections from some publishers. Silly me thinking getting an agent was a deal signed. I was learning the hard way that all my dreams were so much more elusive than I thought. The most annoying rejection letter, from a huge publisher indeed, informed me my book was well written and well plotted but their list was presently full in that particular genre, a comment which still has me tearing my hair out of an evening. (A metaphor. If that were true I would be bald. I’m not bald). Who hasn’t got space for something they believe will sell well??

After the rejections, my agent gave me the most tortuous six weeks of my creative life. Here’s how she did it:
She said, ‘Make the book better.’
‘Better how?’ I asked her.
‘I don’t know. Just better.’

I couldn’t believe it. I’d been through so many redrafts and such a lot of tears and frustration, and here I was faced with yet another setback. And this time I had to sort it out completely by myself. No one was going to be giving me any input. I had to turn a failing manuscript around, one which I couldn’t understand why no one would buy, and make it something no one could refuse. So I sat and stared and thought and stared and sat… then stared and sat and thought and sat and stared. It took so much out of me, those six weeks. If I hadn’t been so DETERMINED my book would be loved by anyone who read it, I probably would have given up there and then. Again. I’m not famed amongst my loved ones for perseverance. Except where my writing is concerned.

Eventually, after drawing a total blank as to what the story needed, I was able to get some distance from the story and look at it again – yet again – from someone else’s point of view. I tell myself so many times that the most important part of the writing process is the time spent away from the page, in those moments when inspiration just kind of floats into your brain. (I’ve a whole theory on where inspiration comes from, by the way, but that’s fodder for another article).

And then the answer hit me as to how to improve the story, and once it did, I had to incorporate the changes it caused throughout the entire manuscript, which meant knowing every sentence I had written and how everything would be affected by the change. Staying on top of that was mind-numbing… basically rewriting an entire book but by hardly changing anything at all, just being aware of all the things that had to change, even down to inner thoughts of characters at any point in the story.

Basically the young hero Danny had previously never known anything about his father being a ridiculed scientist, or any of his work, but it struck me the only feasible improvement I could make to the manuscript would be to have Danny well aware of his father’s past from the outset, and in fact give Danny moments of inexplainable strength, where he worries his father’s old work on the Human Enhancement Program for the military may have been performed on him at birth. This leaves Danny an unwitting superhuman, and far more able to deal with the truth of what his father has created when he eventually finds out.

This actually makes Danny a far more interesting and important character from the outset, and has gone a long way I think to involving the reader more deeply right away. I’m so glad my agent told me to ‘make it better’. I never would have chosen to at the time… but I’m very thankful that she did.

Not that it got me published by a publisher. It went out again but still the same response. What was most infuriating was that I had no idea which publishers it had been sent out to and how soon these publishers normally responded, so I had to play the waiting game yet again, working on the plots for Books Two and Three while I tried to be patient. When the rejections did come back, still the same replies – everybody thought my book was well written, well plotted and well edited, some simply didn’t feel it was in their genre (that’s their prerogative) and nobody offered me a deal. It was so disheartening.

I personally think the major reason no publisher said yes at the time was down to timing, and unlucky timing at that. This was around 2010-11 and Twilight was all the rage, all you ever found on shelves was vampire stories; my agent even said, ‘Wouldn’t you like to write a vampire story?’ but I think it was a joke. I actually have a great plot for a vampire story… but THE EMPTY WORLD is where I’m headed!

Eventually the agent who had discovered me unfortunately moved on from the agency and my relationship with the agency soon after ended, though on great terms, and after I’d pitched various other ideas to them for my next book and written the first draft of a second novel (soon to be ready) and a psychological thriller screenplay (which is currently doing the rounds of the pertinent agencies and production companies). Both of these projects received a full critique before he left, which has really helped me on my mission to produce a final draft of each.

I wrote that second novel whilst in between jobs again, and it was as important to me for this to succeed as well, but when I returned to work, a writer I know there suggested I self-published THE EMPTY WORLD to Amazon. I hadn’t heard of the concept, it had never been mentioned to me by my agent, as it was still a relatively new phenomenon for us independent authors. I dragged my heels and took my time, whilst completing the plot for Book Three: SPACE TIME ZERO and redrafting my thriller screenplay at least two times (the third draft under the excellent guidance of an independent movie producer).

Eventually I got myself in gear and researched what I had to do… and finally put THE EMPTY WORLD on Amazon for all the world to read. The response was delightful. People were finally reading and reviewing it – after all my hard work – and although it wasn’t quite the outcome I had been chasing, ie. not traditional publishing, what mattered to me more than anything was the great support from the readers, and as long as they encourage me to continue writing… well, I’ve always said that even if I knew no one would ever read a book that I was writing, I’d still make sure it was the best thing I could write, because ultimately, I write for my own enjoyment, and I think an author always should. I think that passion shows in a person’s writing… so there’s no chance of me stopping writing yet!

As soon as THE EMPTY WORLD was on Amazon, my ex-agent was kind enough to put me in touch with the commissioning editor of a major children’s publisher, who was so behind the novel and its planned sequels that he championed it to his International Office. This was all very exciting… yet again. However their ultimate decision was unfortunately not to publish, against mine and the commissioning editor’s wishes, who had big plans for where to take the story. Once again I’d hit a brick wall, and now I’d learned that finding an interested publisher was still not a deal signed!

Since then I have submitted the book to a gamut of literary agents in the hope that it will land on the right desk. I’m still hoping that it will. The manuscript for Book Two: THE BIG BANG MACHINE is well underway and I hope to have it out on Amazon soon enough (please encourage me to get a move on!) It’s been a long hard journey and I know it isn’t nearly over yet – the challenge that faces all self-published authors is the quagmire of self-promotion. (I’m still trying to get my head round that little hurdle). But I’m glad I’ve been able to share my experiences with you today. Hopefully it will help you prepare for your own epic struggle.

But like all battles, you’re fighting for an outcome – or an income. That said, the possibility of making money from writing should never be your driving force. It’s getting read that has always driven my resolve. It feels great to know that people can finally share in my excitement for my story. I have now adapted THE EMPTY WORLD into a movie screenplay and potential episodic TV series too. I’ve no idea what the future holds, but knowing I’ve done my all to make it better makes me smile every day. So the upshot of this article is… never give up!

If you have a book in you, write it! If you have a story to tell, tell it to the world!

It’s always worth the hard work you put in.

Find me on Twitter at: