The Centre of Attention, Back for the Winter
What is up you BMFers? I’m back in the blog world ready to write words and drink tequila. And I’m doing #DryJan so let’s get some words down.
I thought I’d take a few weeks off writing after such a hectic end to 2017. My book You, Me and Us was released and I launched it alongside a 7-day 21-post long blog tour. I felt like I deserved a rest from typing and looking at a screen.
But here I am, back in bed hitting keys like Stevie Wonder on coke.
I had a cracking Christmas how was yours? It was a very odd feeling to see that some people got copies of my book as presents. If you did I hope you enjoyed it! If not then it’s cold at the minute, use it as kindling. Unless you got the Kindle version which ironically cannot be used as kindling.
My New Year was brought in by being sick as all hell. I was taken deep down under by the Aussie flu. Thankfully I made it out the other end relatively unscathed. I am fighting fit once more.
How’s everyone resolutions coming along? Remember if you broke it you can make a new resolution every pissing day if you want. Take life one day at a time. Forget yesterday’s failure and even push aside yesterday’s successes. Today is a new day. Let’s rock it.
I love seeing success stories where someone has committed themselves to making a positive change in their life. It’s great news to see someone completely turn their life around based purely on what started as a positive thought. I can and I will.
Speaking of great news Friends has returned to Netflix so it’s time for us all to find out if life was gunna be this way? You forget how brilliant that show is until you re-watch it, especially the early seasons. It is the peak of 90s comedy.
I’ve started writing my next book. Well to tell the truth I’ve started writing THREE new books. I need to make up my mind which one to commit to but I am enjoying writing a few at once. It’s a nice way to keep it fresh. Two of the books feature a host of new characters and one of them may well explore some characters a few of you may know. I can’t say too much right now, but think on this… every story has two sides.
Finally, I’d love to announce that I have been given a fantastic opportunity. Writing has opened some great doors for me and one has recently appeared. Again, frustratingly, I cannot divulge too much but I am super excited about a big event I have coming up. Sometimes to go forward you have to go back first…
I’m going to leave it here for now this week, but next week is going to be the start of a new feature I am tentatively calling Liam’s List. I will be listing my favourite things. And I am going to start next week with a subject very near and dear to my heart. Next week I list the best sitcoms of all time…
Thanks for reading,
Peace and love,
Wining, Dining and Signing.
What a week I’ve had. One week on from publication and I’m looking back on a great seven days. I dined with kings and queens, got hungover and ate baked beans.
I went for a great meal at Evelyn’s in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and cannot recommend it enough. The fact that I was fairly drunk by the time I ate food is neither here nor there. My better half surprised me with celebratory balloons and a cake with the book cover and my face on it. I got to live one of my dreams by eating my own name. The next night more friends took me out wearing t-shirts adorned with the book cover on. We tried our hardest to push some sales. My favourite interaction was with a girl who stared at my chest, and began to read the title…
“You me and… fuck off!”
And she stormed away! Brilliant.
The book launch itself has been a great success. Many people have read the book and even better they also seem to be enjoying it! Lots of readers have had questions about You, Me and Us and I am going to attempt to answer them next week in a QnA edition of the blog. Be warned if you’ve not managed to finish the book, spoilers will lie ahead!
Tomorrow is the start of my book tour hosted by the wonderful Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Reads. We are hitting the ground running with a review and some content provided by yours truly. Keep your peepers pealed to see what the literary world think about Jimmy’s journey.
I am very grateful to each and everyone one of you who has bought a copy of my book. It means the world to me that people are parting with their hard-earned £1.99 to read my words. I’ve even signed a few copies which is an odd experience. It feels pretentious but if people want it, they want it!
Christmas is just round the corner so if you’d like to surprise someone with a copy of a book they’ve never heard of then look no further!
I’ve had a very productive writing week this week. I’ve smashed a good few thousand words of my new book and even managed to write some stand-up comedy for the first time in about two years. I have a stand-up gig at some point next year and even though I’m no longer pursuing stand-up as a career, I would like to keep my hand in and get a bit of stage time here or there. Watch this space.
I’m keeping it short this week as I have so much content coming out over the next seven days I don’t want to saturate the market (plus I’m tired). If you have any questions about You, Me and Us let me know in the usual places and I will answer all your spoiler-filled questions next time!
Pray for good reviews and that my hangover lifts.
Peace and love,
The Storm before The Calm before The Storm
Baby, we did it. We are here. Six long months of hard work leads to this very week as You, Me and Us is a mere three days away from publication.
Publication week is upon me and what a week it has been. I always assumed that the week before would be quiet and peaceful leading to the the explosion of excitement on Friday but good lord has it been anything but that.
I have been a ball of anxious energy for days now, just thinking about Friday as it grows ever closer. But this is where the real work begins. Now the book is out I am obliged to let people know about it. I have lots of interviews to do over the next two weeks (big deal that I am) to try and help with the launch.
I ask each of you to do the same too! That neighbour you hate? Throw a copy at them. Meeting your in-laws for an awkward pre-Christmas meal… why not take something to read instead of asking about their Christmas Eve plans. Then when they ask about the book, you can jump into a sales pitch! I’d appreciate it.
Not only have I been anxious all week but I have also committed a lot of time to my new book… watch this space for that. I am very much enjoying the early process, even though I’m sure in three months’ time I will be hating it.
If you would like a paperback then they are officially (some people jumped the gun) available from tomorrow, 29th November. So, get ordering! Get one for a loved one for Christmas, they are family safe, no one is going to be super offended by anything in there. Unless they hate swearing. And sex. And alcohol. And drugs. And an excellent story.
My plans for Friday include a big old celebration with my nearest and dearest. We’re going to throw down some good food and expensive wine into the early hours. Then Saturday I’m having a quieter night with some idiots who call themselves friends to also celebrate me. If the conversation for one second goes away from my book or me I will be absolutely furious.
Books are subjective. Mine is no different. Some will love it, some will like it, some will think its poor and others will hate it. That’s all well and good, it comes with the territory of putting your work out to the public. But the one thing I do not want is to upset anyone with my book. If that is the case for anyone out there I would like to apologise to you now in front of all ten of the people who read my blog. I am so very sorry pal. (How very cryptic.)
I have received my first few reviews which will go live over the next couple of days and am very happy to say the responsive has been positive across the board. Obviously, you can’t please all the people all the time. Really, I think you can only please yourself and hope other people like it too. And by please yourself I do of course mean masturbating.
So, this is it, here we go. Time to start the climb up the charts and make a splash in the book world. I’ve been telling you all for months that ‘we’re coming’… well guess what… we’re here.
Get your paperbacks ordered and fire up your Kindles.
It is time.
Peace and love,
Hi all and welcome! We are under two weeks away from publication of You, Me and Us. And as such, this week I would like to give you all an extract! Please find below, the Prologue, ‘City Coffee’. I hope this wets your whistle in anticipation of reading the entire thing…
Prologue – City Coffee
Fuck you for breaking my fucking heart. Just fuck you so very much. Even after all that time, and dragging myself out of the absolute pits of despair I still want to say fuck you.
And maybe that’s what I’d say once I got to the coffee place. Or maybe not. Why on earth was I doing this? I’d spent the last eight months avoiding you at all costs and then I actively walked towards a place I knew you were. Not only did I know where you were, but I was the one who told you to go there, so I would be there too. So, we could meet. Fucking meet! Meet?! Why would I want to meet you? Seriously what deranged thought was I having when I asked to do that. What’s my reason? To show off my amazing new physique? Yes, it is amazing thank you. And yes, I am showing it off slightly. But come on I’m going out my mind. I needed to smoke. I haven’t smoked in nearly six months but good God did I need one then. I should’ve just left you waiting there. I should’ve turned around and headed straight back home. I should’ve left you on your own. You deserved that. Actually, you didn’t. You didn’t deserve the privilege of being stood up by me.
My brain was going a million miles an hour but my feet were dragging underneath me almost as if they were trying to stop my body from ever getting to the coffee shop. At least my body seemed to have some sense. It must’ve been thinking “you’re telling us after six months of vegetables and training you’re now going back towards this black hole? Come on!” My body had the right idea. I should’ve listened to it so much more. My eyes were darting all over the packed street.
Deansgate on a Saturday, what a terrible idea. The busiest, biggest road in Manchester is a horrendous place on Saturdays. Each side of the road is built up by huge buildings which cause the majority of the pavement to be in shadow which to be fair, was excellent for a day like today because it was roasting hot. Thankfully the weather also meant my eyes were hidden from sight, so, thanks to my £1.50 Primark sunglasses, nobody could see them flitting across every single person on this street. Finally, I spotted one. It was dangling from the mouth of a bloke in a suit who was stood up against a barber’s door. I dodged the middle-aged mum carrying twins outside Greggs and did a hop, skip and jump until I was in front of him. The smell of it was glorious. I could feel my mouth start to water. I was stood right in front of him. He must’ve been from here because he was pretending I wasn’t stood directly in front of him staring at his cigarette. I swallowed the extra saliva down and let my lips form a request.
“‘Scuse me mate, you haven’t got a spare cig I could buy, do you?” I asked.
Ridiculous. How could he have it to spare if I was buying it? He looked me up and down as he probably tried to decide if I would stab him or not if he said no. He was trying to decide if I was crazy or not.
“How much?” he barely looked at me.
Shit did he actually think I was going to pay him?
“What?” he laughed. “Fiver? For a cig?”
“Yes.” I was beginning to get annoyed.
“Why don’t you just go buy a pack?”
“Well I don’t smoke.” Why was he asking me so many questions? “Not usually anyway. It’s just I’m about to meet my ex-girlfriend for a coffee and last time I felt like this I ended up buying a ‘wonder-vac’ and- look. Sorry. Do you want a fiver or not?”
If he was still wondering whether I was crazy or not he probably had his answer. I was.
“Nah you can’t give me a fiver for a cig, here just have one.”
He pulled the packet out of his jeans and flipped it open, pushing one out with his thumb. I pulled at it, and remembered how one felt between my fingers. Glorious.
“Err, do you need a light?”
The laughing smoker had interrupted my chain of thought and I realised I was staring down at the cigarette.
“Shit. Yeah, sorry mate.”
He put the packet away and withdrew a lime green lighter. For a split-second I thought he was going to click it on for me and make me light it whilst the lighter was in his hand. Thankfully he passed it to me. This is it, no turning back now I thought. I had a cigarette in one hand and a lighter in the other. My mind suddenly flew back to when we met in the smoking area of that club. Fuck you. Fuck this. I shoved the cig in my mouth, flicked the lighter into life and took a deep drag, lighting it in one fell swoop.
Fuuuuuuuck-ing hell. I breathed out slowly and looked up towards the perfect blue sky. I passed the lighter back to the joker smoker and mouthed a silent ‘thanks’ as I let the smoke fall out of my mouth. God, I love smoking. Why did I ever give this up? Oh yeah, influenza, heart disease, cancer and a slow painful death.
I continued my traipse towards the coffee shop and let the cigarette hang in my mouth. I slowly inhaled and exhaled. God I’d missed smoking. I slipped my hand into my jeans, and whipped out my phone. 1:02pm. I was two minutes late, oh, and even better there was a text from you.
1 NEW MESSAGE- +447765412453
I’m here. How long will you be? Shall I order? What do you want?
Yeah how about the last year of my life back? God why was I doing this? I noticed once again that the sun was beating down on me with its judgmental glare. At least it meant I’d been able to leave my coat at home, my snug t-shirt showed off my body. I had every reason to wear it, the degree was nearly the same as my waist size. If I’d have made that comparison a year ago the entire human race would’ve melted into piles of liquidised skin and bone. Cockroaches and Nokia 3310s would be the only survivors of an apocalyptic heat wave. I’d decided not to text you back, I was only two minutes away, you could wait.
Well that was a liberal two minutes, as I’d been enjoying the final drags of the cig whilst avoiding the typical foot flow of Deansgate circa every Saturday ever. Kids, mums, old people, businessmen and women, street cleaners, buskers, all sorts were filtering past me, left and right which made me jump back and forth every other step. Although traffic and foot flow could piss me off at times, Manchester is the greatest city in the world. It’s a fact that never really leaves me but every now and then, a day comes along to remind me of it. A day like today. I smiled, stubbed my cig out on a bin and looked around the fabulous street. The beautiful buildings, the marching millions and the sunny sky.
The variety of buildings alone is enough to clue you in on what Manchester is all about. Culture, working classes and spirit all melt together in my city. As the rows flew past my left-hand side I took note of each individual shop, store and stall. There was a guy selling fidget spinners, a bookies, a tattoo shop, two types of bakers in a row, a retro game shop, an art gallery, a coffee shop, a second-hand bookstore. Whoops.
I’d walked past the coffee shop.
I turned on my heels and looked back at the coffee place we’d agreed to meet up. I looked up at the sign above the door: City Coffee: Dark, Wet and Sweet. The front of the building was classic British red brick yet the door and windows were made from faded oak. It was trying too hard to be cool, one of those places. I could almost guarantee there’d be a guy in rounded specs, socks pulled right up, with his laptop open on a blank word document writing nothing. Dickhead. I took a few more steps towards the entrance and felt my heart start to pound against my chest like a terrified rat cornered by a cat in a cage. My feet were frozen to the spot, why couldn’t I move any further forward? The hairs on my neck were stood on end. My heart was racing, I couldn’t move and all my hairs were on end…yep I was terrified. Petrified in fact. I needed to focus. I closed my eyes, come on what does Antonio say I thought to myself? Breathing is all about control. Your breath can control everything from your heart to your brain to your balls. And right in that moment, I needed it to control all of that and more. My eyes were still shut, I took a deep breath in for ten seconds. Held for ten. And slowly exhaled for ten. The residue from my cigarette burnt my throat. I decided to breath once more to try and clear the debris from my wind pipe. My eyes were still shut as I took my second intake of breath. I was preparing to move in thirty seconds. I breathed in. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5-
I coughed and spluttered at the sound of my own name. I was hunched over trying to regain my composure. I managed to gulp some air back in my lungs as I straightened up and opened my eyes, confirming the truth of my fear upon hearing that oh so recognisable voice.
My eyelids were fully open and I was upright.
You, Erin Poppet, were stood right in front of me.
Thank you all for your time this week, I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse inside the world of You, Me and Us. There is still time to pre-order here.
I will see you all next time when we will be within touching distance of publication…
Peace and love,
A Friend is for Life, not just for Christmas
I love Sundays. Sundays are made for comfort. The fact that there is a meal named for Sunday shows just how much store we set against being comfortable on a Sunday. Sundays are made for lying around, have a roast and watching TV.
I’m writing this whilst my better half has First Dates on in the background. I hate that show. I can’t cope with people getting shot down.
“Will you see each other again?”
“I’d love to… as friends.”
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I hate it. I cannot watch it at all. It makes me squirm.
The worst thing about Sunday however is the fact that it comes prior to Monday. That feeling after tea on a Sunday when you know Monday is next is horrible. Another week. Another day in work. Whether you actually have a workplace to go to or not it still feels rubbish. I think it comes from childhood. Knowing you have to go to school the next day and get your homework done whilst you’re on the bus. It’s a primal feeling.
I am delighted to announce that the blog tour I mentioned last week has now sold out. From 9th-15th December 2017 my book will be featured on 21 different websites. There will be reviews (eeek), interviews, QnAs and excerpts. So, all you free-loaders who are waiting to read some of You, Me and Us for free before you commit to spending £1.99 can read a bit of it.
We are getting closer and closer to publication date. We are a short 19 days away. That means you can buy the book at least 19 times.
I’ve had lots of writing work to do over the past couple of weeks. I have been inundated with requests to write different bits and pieces for people. It’s been almost like having a real job. It’s tiring isn’t it?
Christmas looks like it’s starting to set in. The Markets have gone up in Manchester. You can all now head down there and get a cup of mulled wine and a pork sandwich all for the low price of £325. I mock, but it is brilliant. It’s always cosy and as much as it’s super busy there’s a good atmosphere. The lights have gone up everywhere. It’s bloody November! People need to chill.
I’ve managed to proof-read my proof-copy of my book. It’s an odd feeling to have the actual paperback in my hands. To hold it and flick through it. The few people who I’ve shown it to have been very excited and help it up like it’s some sort of trophy. Apart from one of my friends who put his genitals in it and sent me a picture. But that’s friends for you. Always caring.
Perhaps you have your own friends who do odd things. They deserve some love in their life I’d say. You know what’s a great way of showing love? Buying them a nice Christmas present. And what do people like to do in the winter months? Stay in, get warm and dive into a good book. And I think I know where you can find one… here.
Until next time,
Where we will be a week and half away!!!
Peace and love,
The Corn Flake Usurper
Last week I talked about making sacrifices. One of the sacrifices I said I’d had to make was missing out on Stranger Things 2. Turns out that was a GD lie. I binge-watched the entire thing on Tuesday night and stayed up until 11pm. To put it bluntly; I am a party animal.
I was a party animal at one point. I used to be one of the night people. When I worked in a club I used to get home in the early hours of the morning, and look around my apartment building. Most mornings, the lights would be off meaning I was the sole survivor of the night. But every now and again, there would be someone still up. One single light above my window. Brightly lit at 4 in the morning purely to antagonise me. It belonged to a girl with a Corn Flakes box in her window. I hated that bitch. Always trying to steal my late-night crown.
But that was a different guy. Corn Flakes girl would spit in my face if she could see me now, snuggled up in bed with a cup of camomile tea watching Louis Theroux lean against walls undermining drug-dealers. I am now nought but a humble house cat.
You can pre-order You, Me and Us. In fact if you haven’t already you should do, and you can do right here. At the moment it is only available to pre-order for e-book edition. A few people have told me they don’t have a Kindle or an e-reader, but you can actually download the Kindle app for free on any smart phone or tablet. So you have no excuse. Even my Nana has a tablet. She doesn’t know how to use it granted, but she still has one.
However, if you have your heart set on a paperback, (I’ve been given a few advance copies… it is awesome) then you’ll have to wait until 30/11/2017 and you can order one to be delivered on publication date, 01/12/2017.
Another exciting development this week is the announcement of my blog tour. Rachel, from Rachel’s Random Reads has kindly organised this for me, and you can find much more info here. I will be featured on three separate websites/blogs each day from the 9th December- 15th December 2017. I will be taking part in interviews, reviews, QnAs, extracts, Skype chats… everything! There are a few spots still up for grabs, so if you have a blog or website and you want some You, Me and Us content get in touch with Rachel here. And remember, what happens on virtual tour stays on virtual tour. I’m gunna get some t-shirts made.
I have got lots of ideas just bubbling below the surface for the next four weeks as we lead up to publication. The main one though is to keep sane. Wish me luck.
Peace and love,
"Stupid is as stupid does."
Why do we do stupid things? This question will plague man Ad Infinitum. Women aren’t immune to this either. But man is clearly the stupider sex.
We do such stupid things it is difficult to believe we are the product of millions of years of evolution. And if evolution isn’t your bag, would a deity create such a stupid thing as a human and declare it was made in their own image?
I ponder this question as I myself am prone to stupidity. Frequently, destructively and ridiculously. I will not bore you with the finer details but here are some of the very stupid things I have done:
- Walked a marathon in bare legs ‘for a laugh’ and chafed my skin so badly I had to hide the bleeding for 16 miles so as not to be pulled out of the walk by the St. John’s Ambulance staff. (I had leggings in my pocket the entire way)
- Said ‘Yes’ to everything for a month and ended up at a scrapbooking class for the elderly with 3 retired women who assumed I had some sort of issue. (They were very much correct)
- Told my barber I’d been to Australia (I haven’t) and it turned how he’d lived in the same place I’d ‘been to’ for a year. Now every time I get a haircut I have to do research on Byron Bay because he NEVER FORGETS.
As I said these are just some examples. But still this question makes my head hurt. Why do we do such stupid things?
Writing a book means lots of sacrifice. It means commiting hours, days, weeks and months to a single goal. It also means you miss out on buying the new FIFA and watching the new season of Stranger Things as they are too much of distraction. So please, no spoilies. Has TV ever been better than it is right now? As much as people harp on about the good old days of Film and TV we are literally living in the greatest period of TV production known to man. Game of Thrones, Sherlock, almost every Netflix original, Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away, we literally have some of the greatest shows ever to be made coming out right now. Embrace it. Take sick days, cancel plans (you were never going to support your mate’s Open Mic anyway), book holidays, lie in bed and be entertained. Jon Snow squaring off with The Night King is our coliseum battle. Embrace it.
I’ll tell you one thing I’ve done which isn’t stupid though, and that is write a book. You, Me and Us has an official release date. December 1 2017. Exactly six months to the day since I typed the very first sentence...
“Fuck you for breaking my fucking heart...”
The book will be available to pre-order on November 1st. One month to order ALL the copies.
Happy Halloween everyone. Let’s scare the shit out of Amazon and their best-seller lists.
Until next time,
Peace and love,
"Answer questions but question answers."
It’s QnA time this week! Thank you so much for all the questions. We might as well dive in and crack on with it. So, without further ado, here is our first question…
How did the cover for You, Me and Us come to be?
The cover for You, Me and Us (see here) was designed by myself. Being an indie author means you need to wear lots of hats, one of which is cover designer. You can outsource these jobs of course, but I thought I’d have a crack myself and ended up being very happy with the result. The images on the cover are linked to the title and the three separate sections of the story. You. Me. Us.
What’s your favourite book in the Harry Potter series and why?
Order of the Phoenix. Although it features the death of the best character of the entire series it is without a doubt for me the best of seven Potter books. Dumbledore at the trial… Umbridge… Fred and George’s escape… just a wonderful book full of all the great things which make up the series.
Where do you like to write?
Quite a few places. I like writing at home in bed (as I am doing right now). I also have an amazing writing desk. Outside of my home I have two places I enjoy. Before 1pm I like writing in Wetherspoons. It’s very quiet and there’s free refills of coffee. After the zombies descend I like to vacate Wetherspoons and head to a coffee shop. Second Cup next to the Arndale is a particular favourite. It is the perfect balance of location, quietness, plenty of plugs and seating and most importantly excellent coffee.
What three books would you recommend someone read before the age of 30?
The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas’ tale of redemption and revenge. As important to understanding motivation now as it was when it was first wrote in 1844. Lord of the Flies, a terrifying story which shows how easily we could all descend to carnage and evil. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. One of the greatest debut novels ever. The measuring stick of all first-time writers. Harbach tells a great story revolving around the Wetish College baseball team, and the love of a pupil and the President of the college.
Why do you write in your genre? If you could write in another genre what would it be?
I like to write about life. Situations and stories which could actually happen in real life. I like to write about everything life encompasses, love, sadness, happiness, laughter. All of it. If I could write another genre... hmm… maybe fantasy? I like some fantasy books and it seems to be massive money. But I’m all about life.
Have you ever fancied a character in a book?
A few different characters come to mind but the main one I can think of is Nora Harper from David Nicholls’ The Understudy. I remember reading that book in Malia. I’d be so hungover sat by the pool all I could do was read. Whilst desperately trying not to throw up ouzo and undercooked pasta I’d bury my head in the pages. I thought Nora was the coolest girl I’d ever read about. She was my holiday romance.
Would you ever co-write with someone else?
I have co-written in the past. Scripts mainly. I would probably do that again with people I’ve wrote with before, but prose writing I think can really only be done alone. For me anyway a book is so personal that one clear voice is the best way to go.
Do you plan out your writing or just go with it?
Ah the age-old plan vs pants questions. Oddly enough I am a bit of both. I will have bullet points of a story and the middles are blank. I know the story goes A-Z but I have no idea what the other 24 letters will be, they just come.
As this is your first novel, what did you find most challenging?
Telling people, I was doing it. The actual writing itself is brilliant. Editing is therapeutic. Making posters, blogs, websites is fun. But telling people you’ve wrote a book isn’t the easiest thing. Most people have been supportive. Which is great. But some people you can just tell are judging you or mocking you etc. But it doesn’t really matter. I wrote a fucking book, they can keep smirking.
What book did you read which made you think 'I could write one of these'?
There are two answers to this question. The first one is a book which I sadly cannot remember the name of (I'm lying I do remember it, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings) which was so bad that I thought to myself 'surely, surely I could write something this bad, if this has been wrote surely I can do it too?'. And in terms of a great book which inspired me to write, it would really have to be The 86' Fix by Keith A Pearson. It is such a wonderful story, brilliantly told all by an indie author. It opened my eyes to the world of possibilities before me.
And finally, what is your favourite quote about writing/being a writer?
There’s so many. I like Stephen King’s ‘writing is seduction.’ Atwood’s ‘If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.’ is also very good. But my favourite isn’t even really about writing or being a writer. It’s just about being confident in what you do, believing in yourself and working hard. And you can apply it to anything really, being a better welder, learning piano… anything. But for me it works for writing, and I will leave the final words this week to the Notorious one…
“If you can see it, and you believe it... have the confidence to speak it out loud. Work hard and it will become reality.”
Thanks so much for all the questions everyone, I had many more to answer but cannot go on for too long here, so I will save some for another day.
See you next time!
Peace and love,
"Old soul, young body, weird mind."
I lost my good editing pen this week. I threw it at a pair of fighting cats in my neighbour’s garden. It was only after I’d done it that I realised it was my best red pen. I then had to choose between facing the indignity of telling my neighbour I’d thrown my pen into their garden to stop the cats screaming at each other or use a bog standard red biro. My manuscript is now covered in spider scrawls from the best red pen Poundland could offer. And my wonderful red gel pen with cushioned support lies in my neighbour’s gutter.
I have finally completed the very rudimentary copy edit of You, Me and Us. This takes me one step closer to publication. I have found myself reading a lot more over the last few weeks since I’ve begun my editing phase and have made my way through some cracking books. If anyone is after a recommendation I would suggest Who Sent Clement? By Keith A. Pearson. Keith tells a great story revolving around a dead man from gangland London in the 60s and a woman facing a situation with no apparent resolution, just debt and despair. A great read, and for any fellow writers, you will appreciate the huge levels of research Keith has clearly put in. I look forward to reading more about Clement! Next on my list are Underneath the Whiskey by Chelsea Lauren, and About Us, by Jon Rance. Two very different books, but also two that look very promising! I will report back on them both once I’ve finished!
I’m giving myself a rare weekend off this weekend from all things writing. When the day hopefully arrives that I can write full time I wonder if I will feel the same guilt from taking a day off? Will I also have to ring myself to pull a sickie? I’ll have to convince myself I’m actually ill to spend the day in bed playing FIFA. Then once I go back to a writing day I’ll have to arrange a passive-aggressive meeting with myself where I have to threaten me with a warning whilst also pretending I care that I’m okay.
I’ve noticed this week just how early I go to bed. Some nights recently I have been asleep for 8.30pm. That combined with the receding hairline and love of 70s music makes me more and more convinced that I’m a 40-year-old. A 40-year-old man in a 25-year-old man’s body. Like Elton John and David Furnish in the 90s.
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” If this saying, (normally attributed to Benjamin Franklin), is true I am the exception that proves the rule. To be fair, I am relatively healthy besides the constant feeling of dread and need to show-off, but I am certainly not wealthy and I threw a pen at two cats on Sunday so you tell me how wise I am.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You, Me and Us will be ready for the world very soon. But before it does, this blog is a great tool for me to vent and spew the shit that floats into my brain. And for the first time, I ask you all to have some input. For next week’s blog I will be posting another Q and A, (please see my first blog if you haven’t already), now I already have a few questions ready to answer, but if you’d like to know anything about You, Me and Us, me or even what the best sitcom in the world right now is (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), please get in touch either through my ‘Get in Touch’ page on here or via Twitter @LjHurleyWriter!
That’s all for this week, see you next week for some big-time Qs!
Peace and love,
"The earth belongs to those who dream."
I can see the light at the end of the publishing tunnel. I have a very tentative release date which, as much as I want to, I cannot share right now. However, if I do manage to get the book out on this proposed date, it would be awesome for a few reasons. I will share those reasons once I get the all-clear on the date.
I’ve been balls-deep in marketing this week. Poster design, ad campaigns, ‘blog tours’, etc. It’s all a load of bollocks really. It’s just a way of getting the word out there. At the minute I have a good group of people supporting the book. People are looking forward to its release and want to read it. I just need to try and make that group as big as possible. In a perfect world, there would be no need to shove ads down people’s throats every two minutes, and the product alone would live and die on its own merit. But that’s the world we live in. One of the posters I have designed this week is the Manchester New Music Competition (check it out here ). This is a fictional contest the lead character, Jimmy, enters with his band. It’s one of his dreams to win it, however, that dream quickly becomes a nightmare. Designing that poster and the caption for it (chase your dream until it becomes a nightmare), got me thinking…
I want to talk about dreams this week. Not like ‘realising you have no trousers on in school’ dreams. I’m talking about the real grab-you-by-the-soul dreams. Visceral, instinctive, genuine dreams. I am very open about the fact that I am pursuing a dream. There is a very dangerous line to tread when talking about this. On one side you can become very airy-fairy, new-age and hippy-like. ‘Aim for the moon, and if you miss you’ll be amongst the stars’. You can very easily fall into the trap of sharing inspirational quotes on Facebook. On the flip side, however, you can become very cynical and trapped. ‘Why bother trying?’.
I have been on both sides of this line. I have been a believer in positive energy and chasing your dreams. I have also given up on dreams and thought ‘imagine the worst will happen so you’re never disappointed.’
The truth as always falls somewhere in the middle. The grey area. Pursuing dreams IS a good thing. Keeping yourself grounded IS a good thing. Becoming convinced that quotes and simply thinking alone will bring about change ISN’T a good thing. Giving up on dreams ISN’T a good thing. At all.
The missing component in these two ideologies is hard work. You keep yourself grounded by reminding yourself of the work you need to put in to reach your next goal. You tell yourself that your next goal is another step towards your dream. The two lines of thought mesh together and start to make much more sense. The hard work in itself becomes the reward.
I’m not an expert on this shit. I’m just talking here. But I do know this. Chasing a dream, at least having a swing, has got to be better than sneering from the sidelines or convincing yourself you’ve already achieved something right? So, here comes the preaching, anyone reading this who has a dream, (and I would imagine that is every single one of us), just give it a fucking go. Remember you do not choose your dreams. Your dreams choose you. (Stick that on Facebook later under a picture of a shooting star). Like I said, I’m no expert, I’m just a guy chasing a dream.
And what is that dream? It’s fairly simple.
I will write myself into a new life.
Until next time,
Peace and love,
“Sometimes it's Hell getting to Heaven.”
I am in editing Hell. If I died and went to actual Hell it would take a long time to realise I’d perished as I can’t imagine that the fiery inferno of Satan’s kingdom is much different from editing your own book. It’s like constantly reminding yourself how much of an idiot you are. The little voice in the back of my head keeps pointing out my flaws…
“Oh, you missed ‘the’ out of that sentence ha ha you’re a massive tool.”
“Do you even know the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’? You call yourself a writer…”
“Blue jeans with black shoes, what is wrong with you?”
Ok maybe that last one wasn’t the editing voice, but still.
A lot of people have read an early copy of You, Me and Us now. I’ve had some great feedback to work on. People have also had some very nice things to say which is always good as it stops me walking into traffic. I’ve sent the book to a myriad of different people so far to make sure it appeals to a wide variety of readers. I’ve sent it to males, females, older people, younger people, avid-readers and people who haven’t read a book since their English teacher forced them to read Of Mice and Men. But I’ve got to say I think I got my nicest bit of feedback this morning, as one of the early readers commented;
“I loved it. I don’t think I’ve read a book that quick since Beckham’s!”
The height of literary acclaim. I think he meant David Beckham. I’m sure he’s wrote a book… hang on, quick google… oh he has. He’s wrote a few in fact. But then again so have Victoria Beckham, Brooklyn Beckham and Ted Beckham. The Beckhams seemed to be quite the story-tellers. Good for them.
I had a terrifying moment this week. I was stood in the office, looking into the building across the road at the our office neighbours, when I said to someone;
“Don’t they have a nice meeting room?”
And that is the most boring fucking thing I have ever said. If I ever say anything like that again I give each and every one of you the licence to stab me in the eye. If I say things like that I might as well spend my Saturdays voting on The X Factor, start calling glasses ‘readers’ and asking for recommendations on Facebook. And that’s just not me yet.
As much as I complain about my editing woes it’s all in jest. It may drive me insane but I really cannot wait to have my book released. It’s been a labour of love. And I can’t wait to share it with the whole world. Or at the very least, with you.
Until next time,
Peace and love,
“Just when they think they’ve got the answers, I change the questions.”
Hi all and welcome to the first addition of my blog here on liamhurley.co.uk. I’ve had writers block whilst trying to think of what to post about here. Is it still writers block if it’s a blog? Bloggers block? Anyway, to keep it simple I decided to stroke my own already enormous ego (that sentence could’ve went all sorts of wrong) and answer some questions I’ve been asked since I wrote You, Me and Us and decided to have a go at this writing bollocks. So here we go…
Why the hell have you written a book?
Fuck you that’s why. What’ve you even done Judith, apart from take pictures of your kids stood at the front door holding a lunch box on their first day at school?
Sorry, got a bit carried away there. So yeah, I’ve decided to write a book because I want to. I love reading and have always wrote smaller pieces… plays, scripts, short stories etc. But I’ve read books by great authors like Nicholls, Spalding, Hornby and thought to myself, ‘pfft, I could do that.’
But genuinely the real reason is that I’ve always wanted to do it, it’s a dream of mine so really the question should be why not?
Is the book about you?
This is a difficult one which I’m sure all authors are asked at some point, especially when the protagonist is the same sex and roughly the same age as yourself. Jimmy in You, Me and Us is a man and a few years younger than me so it is not wildly ridiculous to imagine we have some similarities. Jimmy is funny, warm and has deep emotional intelligence. But, he is like me too.
I think anytime someone writes fiction, it is influenced by your own personality and experience. This is why kids don’t write books, they have no experiences and most of them are little arseholes.
The biggest section of the book which is based on myself is when Jimmy loses weight, as it is something I’ve done myself too. Aside from that, my book is the usual combination of imagination, personality, and staring at a screen for three months screaming.
When will it be out?
Soon is the best I can do. When you finish writing a book you think ‘hey it’s done, come at me Waterstones’, but really finishing the book is the start of the hard work. As soon as I have a release date, I will be posting an update here.
What other books is it like?
There is no real way to answer this question correctly. I wouldn’t want to big myself up too much by comparing my work to one of the great works of literary fiction out there, and I also don’t want to make the mistake of offending any other writers out there by comparing themselves to me! Have a read of the synopsis on the ‘books’ page of this site. It’s a romantic comedy, coming-of-age story. It’s a fun easy read, perfect for a holiday or a few days off work. Nothing overly heavy. So, if I had to say it’s like anything I’d go with The Bible.
Are you going to keep writing?
Why wouldn’t I want to spend three months staring at my laptop, avoiding human contact and drinking five cups of black coffee a day again? Yes. Yes, I will continue writing.
And finally, what’s the best episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S?
Season Two, Episode Fourteen- The One with the Prom Video.
Fun fact about that episode, lobsters are actually serial monogamists.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
Peace and love,