My Year in Books 2014

The following is a list of the books I have read this year. You can see what I thought in more detail on my Goodreads page, or feel free to ask me. Each is a clickable link to where you can buy the book (if available). Each year I challenge myself to read a certain number of books. This year it was forty-five.

2014

The Best of Hammer & Bolter: Volume 1 – Edited by Christian Dunn

The Iron Man – by Ted Hughes

A Study in Scarlet – by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Black Library Anthology 2013/14 – by Graham McNeill et al.

Flowers for Algernon – by Daniel Keyes

Zen in the Art of Writing – by Ray Bradbury

Gone Girl – by Gillian Flynn

Scars – by Chris Wraight

Countdown – by Robert Orci

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1: Legacy – by Dan Abnett

A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold – by George R.R. Martin

Knights of the Imperium – by Graham McNeil

War Horse – by Michael Morpurgo

Vengeful Spirit – by Graham McNeil

Secret Invasion: The Infiltration – by┬áBrian Michael Bendis

Slaughterhouse Five – by Kurt Vonnegut

The Last Fighting Tommy – by Richard Van Emden

A Feast for Crows – by George R.R. Martin

Ravenlord – by Gav Thorpe

Sedition’s Gate – by Nick Kyme et al.

Before they are Hanged – by Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings – by Joe Abercrombie

Secret Invasion – by Brian Michael Bendis

War of Kings: Road to the War of Kings – by Dan Abnett

Elantris – by Brandon Sanderson

The Damnation of Pythos – by David Annandale

Save the Cat! – by Blake Synder

The Purge – Anthony Reynolds

Half a King – by Joe Abercrombie

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: War of Kings Book 1 – by Dan Abnett

Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters – Edited by Christian Dunn

Mockingjay – by Suzanne Collins

Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels – by Peter David

Ecko Rising – by Danie Ware

Traitor’s Gorge – by Mike Lee

The Best of Hammer & Bolter: Volume 2 – Edited by Christian Dunn

Death of Integrity – by Guy Haley

Space Marines: Angels of Death – Edited by Graeme Lyon

Death and Defiance – by Nick Kyme et al.

All Quiet of the Western Front – by Erich Maria Remarque

Renegades of the Dark Millennium – by Aaron Dembski-Bowden et al.

The Shadow of War – by Stewart Binns

Legacies of Betrayal – Edited by Laurie Goulding

1914: Poetry Remembers – Edited by Carol Ann Duffy

Homecoming – by Christie Golden

Birdsong – by Sebastian Faulks

The Seventh Serpent – by Graham McNeill

The Handmaid’s Tale – by Margaret Atwood

 

I’m also currently reading Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan. It’s an epic book and I won’t manage to finish it this year, especially if the previous five in the series are anything to go by. I’m reading it because I’m more curious how the story ends than anything else. A classic example of a better world-builder/story writer than engaging writer, but I hear he gets better…the Brandon Sanderson took over.

Thanks for reading.

The Horror Goes South

So, I’m getting pretty good at this getting up earlier thing. I’m going to need to be once my day job’s working hours move an hour earlier and I may have to teach at the ungodly hour of 9.30 am (I don’t actually mind, it will be good for me). However I chose to shift my sleeping pattern around in order to do some writing in the mornings and then have more time in the day. I think I have successfully worked my transition in to a ‘morning person’, before now I was more of a ‘those-few-hours-in-the-middle-of-the-day-I-feel-like-doing-something…person’.

But I need to do some more writing. I’ve been pretty lax this week as I’ve had some other things on. I also haven’t written a blog since last week as far as I can remember. However that one at least was a story rather than my random ramblings. I’ve actually been busy sorting out my move. Yesterday I handed in the notice on my current flat, which is both exciting and scary. Exciting because I am now moving out of this flat which has caused me so many sleepless nights and moving somewhere new. Scary because the new place hasn’t actually gone through yet so unless it goes through by the time my notice runs out I may end up homeless.

So, what am I working on? Well, Games Day UK is coming up pretty soon, which I’m immensely looking forward to. Although my wallet is already silently weeping to itself in the corner. It doesn’t know what’s hit it yet! I do love Games Day, a place where like minded individuals all come together to have a day of pure geekyness about something they love. You will probably see me there running between various stands trying to catch as much new stuff as possible and take in all the atmosphere. Got to get to the Black Library, Forgeworld and I will also be checking out Fantasy Flight Games. I’m hoping to get hold of a copy of their new 40K game, Relic. I did have a few years out of going to Games Day and I really did miss it. I went again for the first time a few years ago and fell straight in to it without missing a beat. Though I don’t spend nearly as much money as I did when I was a kid. My poor parents!

Anyway I am digressing. The reason I mentioned Games Day is because, as the Black Library will be there, they have started to take submissions on the day. I am currently wondering whether to take something I have already written or begin work on a new 1000 word story to take with me specifically on the day. Any suggestions as to this will be greatly appreciated. If you really like something I’ve already written and think it’s worth submitting let me know.

I’ve also been given an opportunity of possibly having something published on Amazon. On a forum I peruse they are compiling a horror anthology and I have had my name listed as part of it. I already have a story idea; A Lovecraftian horror set on the Island of Portland in Dorset. That’s all you’re getting out of me for now. I just have to write the thing…I’ve not really written any horror before (except for Tyranid infested space ships) so I’m a little bit scared by it. I’ve done the leg work, I’ve written a plot outline, I just need to research the writing style and get to work on it. I will try and do that this week, look out for updates and wish me luck.

On Twitter the last few days I seem to have had a lot of authors follow me. I’m slightly perplexed, do they like my work? Is my writing starting to have some form of impact? If so, that’s really great, wow. Or maybe they have just seen that I have called myself an ‘aspiring-writer’ and have decided to see what I come up with. That’s also great. Perhaps they can offer me some advice? If you’re reading this, please send some twitter-esque tips my way!

Right, I really must get on with my day and some writing. This blog, amongst cooking breakfast and tidying some of the flat, has taken me the best part of an hour to finish. Ooops.

 

More stories soon, hopefully. Thanks for reading.

 

Existence is Futile?

Two blogs in as many days?! I know, I was just saying the same thing to myself. I don’t quite believe it either.

This is all part of my plan to, on my days off, get up as early as my body will allow, make a big cup of coffee (white, one sugar please) and spend at least an hour writing. So once again today I have been leafing through my notebook and typing stuff up. I like to do it this way as to me it gets at least one edit before it has even been typed up. From what I write in the notepad which can often be rushed, illegible and sometimes a bit basic, I can take that and refine it in to something better via a keyboard. Although there is some stuff in that notepad that I ain’t lettin’ no one see! Nuhuh!

So as of now, I almost have 2000 words for the ‘Project Xenos’ story, some of which I posted on here a short while ago (you can search for it under that title). And that is before I have even begun to flesh out the story. I aim for that to be my first proper short story rather than just a 1000 word short. I know for a fact I still have some parts for it later in my notepad, so you will see more from that story soon I hope.

Today’s story allows me to get a little arty-farty and philosophical, which is something I don’t tend to do. That is unless I have been plied with alcohol (make mine a red wine, scotch or cider please, ta!). This is where the title comes from. You can work so hard to achieve, get so absorbed in that work that you can forget the little things in life, then one day, one small act or one mistake can destroy it all. I don’t know where I am going to use this little scene but I really like what it portrayed. I’m sure it will come in handy somewhere.

Also, for those of you getting your A Level results today (though you are probably to busy to read this crap!); don’t worry if you don’t get what you expected. Sure it’s a great feeling to achieve and get brilliant results and it can open doors. But A levels are not the be all and end all of your life. I only managed to achieve one A level in Physics (thanks to having ME and my Chemistry teacher thinking it was better for me to dedicate my time to Biology that I was failing miserably rather than Chemistry where I was ahead of the rest of the class – see, I’m still making excuses!), I still got a degree, now I am a college/university lecturer, teaching sound engineering to degree students. So in short, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve if you put your mind to it, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t. You have the power to shape your own destiny, even if the fates can be exceptionally cruel at times.

Anyway, I digress, enough of that. Here is today’s story (Once again thanks for reading and I truly value any feedback):

Hector Lumus was a scribe, he was an exceptional scribe, the most efficient and well respected in the sector. Many other adepts came to him for the quality of his work. So much so that he was always busy with one thing or another. Many scrolls and slates were stacked in ordered piles on his workstation waiting to be started.

So busy that he did not notice the creeping, dark shape behind him.

The kill stroke was so quick that he did not even register his own death until he lay on the ground, his own blood pooling around him, the once neat ordered piles of dataslates now strewn about.

He stared up at the face of his killer, wondering briefly what he had done to deserve this pain, he had always worked hard. That grizzled evil face was the last thing he would ever see as the light faded from his eyes.