January 2019

The first month of 2019 is complete and I am happy with how it has gone. I set my goals for this year and this first month has moved me closer to completing those goals. I have reached my first weight loss goal, I have been more active and my house renovations have progressed. I have kept up blogging and have had a strong start to my reading goals for the year.

I wrote my first two book reviews, began writing a web series and I have started writing my novel again. I am feeling good about the writing front for this year.

I also became a Godparent yesterday to my oldest friends child, Henry. Technically February but it is too exciting not to share. It was a swell day except for the oppressing heat.

One of the things I have decided to do this year is use a diary to plan out my days and I place things into the diary instead of on to a “To do list” that way I can’t ignore them. I have found this has made me much more productive. I also use it to set aside time for writing and reading, this makes them things I have to do, so I will work other things around them instead of working them around other things.

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading.

Blogging Birthday

My Blog turns one today.

That year has gone by very quickly and a lot has happened. This coming year looks like it will be filled with plenty of creative projects that I look forward to sharing here with you. I am looking forward to the opportunities that await.

I am also planning on getting up some more short writing pieces this coming year. Some flash fiction and maybe some poems, which is something I have wanted to try my hand at.

I am keeping this post short as it has been a busy week and I am hanging for an early night. (I wrote this last night)

I kicked off my blog with a drawing and figured I would celebrate this birthday with one as well. This is something I actually saw in my room one night. A fly kick from my bed lead to the discovery that it was a combination of white pillows and a dark blue sleeping bag draped over a desk chair. Thank you for reading.

RoomTerror.jpg

 

Book Review: The Bands of Mourning

The Bands of Mourning
Brandon Sanderson
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was so happy to read this book. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Mistborn books but I think this one may be my favourite. The Bands of Mourning is the third instalment in the second Mistborn series. (First Mistborn series: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages, Second Mistborn Series: The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning)

BoM1.jpg

Jump back in the saddle, metaphorically as the only time they rode horses in this novel it was bareback, with Wax, Wayne and Marasi as they set out to foil the Set’s evil plans, save Wax’s sister, recover a missing Kandra spike and find The Bands of Mourning.
For those who have not read any Mistborn novels, they are set in a fantasy world with a metal based magic system. Some people can consume metal to get magical powers, some can use metal to store abilities to use later on and then there are some messed up people that go sticking magical metal spikes into themselves…and others. This second series takes place in a 1800ish time period with the main character being a wild west lawman type.

So, amongst the action and the mystery, the magic and the gun fights, with all the new secrets that Sanderson reveals in this book, the thing that hooked me the most…and I thought I would never say this…was the romantic subplot 😐

That’s right, the bit I loved most was watching the relationship grow between Wax and Steris. It just melted the damn ice around my heart. I never really like Steris in the two previous books, I was team Marasi all the way, but that all changed in this book.

The only time I wasn’t 100% enjoying the book was at two places. The first was in a large fight scene around a ship that had a couple of moments that left me confused to the placements of characters and that drew me out of the fun. The second was when I reached the end of the book and I realised I had no more to read and would have to wait for the next book to be written. 😦

So this is a massive recommendation from me…however, I would recommend at least reading The Alloy of Law and Shadows of self  before this one. The whole Mistborn series is definitely worth a read. I look forward to more of Sanderson’s work.

Thank you for reading.

House Plant and other stuff

This week I finished reading Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson; keep an eye out for my review on Thursday. That will be book review number 2 and the second book of my 24 book reading challenge for 2019. I have started reading The Name of the Wind  by Patrick Rothfuss, which I will review too. 😀
Don’t forget to read my first book review of American Gods 

On the Writing Front:
I have been reading up on world building and had a lengthy discussion with a fellow writer about it. In the end I decided to just get my head around the basics of the world and how that effects society and technology then I will do a rough plot that has plenty of wiggle room thus allowing me to some what discovery write the book but with a little bit of guidance…which will hopefully not lead me into a pit of doom.

Speaking of my writer friend, I have been having a bunch of fun writing a medieval comedy web series with him. Plenty of laughs in coming up with ideas. Hopefully one day it will find its way onto the web for people to watch, if not it has been a blast to write anyway.

Other Stuff:
Started playing a Dark Root campaign of the Dark Souls board game with friends last week and will hopefully be playing again this week. Still loving this board game.

Wim Hof Method….well, I stopped doing this after 3 days. The breathing exercises were unpleasant and I didn’t like how they left me feeling light headed and dizzy, and…just wrong. It didn’t seem like a healthy thing to be doing.
I am still cold showering though, I actually liked that bit, just not the breathing exercises.

New House Plant!!!!
I got a new house plant from my friends Phil and Shannon. And it is in a sick d20 mug pot!

Screen Shot 2019-01-20 at 2.30.04 pm.png

Book Review: American Gods

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
⭐⭐★★★

I would have preferred for my first book review to be 5 stars, unfortunately I just didn’t enjoy majority of this book. To be honest, if it hadn’t been eating into my reading challenge for this year, then I would have put it down midway through and not finished it.

Now…don’t get me wrong, there were things in this book I liked and there were amazing ideas in it. I had plenty of “Wow, that’s cool.” moments. It got off to a captivating start that had me hooked, then I hit about a quarter of the way through and it slowed to a grind. Every now and then something interesting came into the book and I’d be excited again for a chapter, maybe two, then I’d be bored for five or so chapters waiting for the next interesting thing to happen.

I found the main character, Shadow, to be very uninteresting and I also found a hefty dislike of Wednesday, to the point that whenever he left Shadow to go do something I was happy then disappointed whenever he came back. I’m not sure if you were meant to feel that way, but every time he returned my interest in the book dropped.

I really enjoyed all the chapters that told stories from the past of how people brought their gods with them to America, but at the same time I also felt that they dragged away from the main story and were kind of filler, just padding the book out. On top of this there was just a lot of scenes that felt like they were not pushing the plot forward and I felt there was a lot of over explaining in parts, I got bored of his explaining how cold it was at one point. For majority of the book I was just begging for it to move forward.

I don’t think it helped that I couldn’t care about the Gods, old or new, and their war was of no interest to me. I was interested in the side stories of characters such as Laura, Girl Sam, Alison McGovern and Hinzelmann. In fact I think Samantha Black Crow was the most interesting character in the book, probably the only one I will remember a few years from now.

The dream sequences Shadow has were something I really enjoyed. I found quite an interest in the American god culture with Whiskey Jack and the Thunderbirds (Sounds like a band).

In the end I just don’t think it was a book for me. If asked my opinion on whether someone should read it, I cannot say yay or nay, I think it is good enough that many can (and do) enjoy it, but I also feel it has an equal chance of being not enjoyed.

 

Monday Blogging & Novel Updates

I can’t believe it has only been 14 days since 2019 started. I’ve been very productive this year so far and it feels like a greater amount of time should have passed, which is wonderful since I have no idea how 2018 went so fast.

News on the blogging front:
I have decided that Mondays will be a general update and updates on the novel journey. Thursdays blogs I will aim to publish book reviews or short writing pieces.

Novel Journey:
I believe I left it last year saying I was 3 or 4 chapters in…Well, that is no longer true. I scrapped what I was writing. Still running with the same idea but what I had written was not worth keeping.

Two things held me back; plotting and world building.

I am a pantser by nature and enjoy discovery writing much more than planning things out. (I kind of approach a lot of life this way) However, I had decided it was best to plot my novel but did a very shit! job of it. So, now I am unsure of whether I should try plotting again or just fly by the seat of my pants.
Having said that, the world building is something I will be working on before jumping back into plotting or writing. I seemed to have just created the tip of the iceberg and need to flesh out more of the world. A main thing I needed to think over is how things would effect society and technology. I didn’t do that enough first time round.

I am giving myself to the end of February to deepen my world building and then I will decide if I will plot again or wing it like there’s no tomorrow.

Other News:
I have decided to trial the Wim Hof Method through the free class on the website. I’m really curious about it. I tried the breathing exercises this morning and tomorrow I start the cold showers…Whoo!
Why would I do this:
a.) I like the idea of cold showers to build discipline (although I just got a cold shiver thinking about it)
b.) It is suppose to be good for inflammation…which I have plenty of that to deal with.
c.) I lost a lot of blubber prior to last winter and almost died in the cold months. I plan on losing more weight this year before winter sets in and I don’t want to become a human popsicle.

I’ll keep you updated as to whether I actually do this for more than 1 day.

Thanks for reading! 😀

2018 A year of many challenges

2018 was a big year for me; possibly the biggest.

I started this blog along with my journey to write a novel, I bought a house, I started renovating that house, I worked hard on overcoming my struggles with anxiety and depression, I travelled with my family to New Zealand, I was honoured to be best man at my mates Wedding in Hawaii, I set out to be a more positive person and most of all I took many steps to be able to enjoy life more.

I know I slacked off on my blogging around the time I got told my nice cosy job was ending along with the TV show I worked on. Hell…I got the news I was being “let go” the same day they approved my house loan (there was a storm of emotions that day). I bought my house and moved in…then I started renovating and lost track of time between working on the house and picking up what ever little jobs came my way.

Now I always claimed I didn’t have enough time to do the things I wanted to do and it has never been true. I have always had the time…I just never allocated it where I should have. I don’t waste hours in front of Netflix anymore, I have cut back on video gaming, I go to bed early so I can get up and complete my morning routine to set myself in a productive mood, but most of all…I just stopped making excuses not to do the things I wanted to be doing.

A big step for me was midway through the year when I decided to take responsibility for my life. I know it sounds ridiculous to put it that way, but so many people don’t do it. It is so easy to blame other people and other factors for your short comings and misfortunes. A major part of this for me was accepting that I was in control of how I felt, that no one else was responsible for that.

It was a bump road…Nay!…a rollercoaster of up and down thrills for that second part of the year, but I made enough changes internally that they began to effect the external world. I still have a long way to go and this year I will be heavily focusing and shaping myself and my life.

As for my novel, well…it is slow going. I will do a dedicated post with novel updates soon. As well as my first book review on “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. I am doing a reading challenges this year and for each book I read I will be posting a book review on here for it as well as a shortened version on Instagram.

So that is my brief 2018 overview. I hope it was a good year for you too and let’s look forward to making this year count for all it can.

Next Year and Christmas Stories

Happy Holidays, a bit late I know. I have let my blogging get away from me. I will take another crack at this next year. A lot happened this year and got in the way of my blogging and my novel. Lots to talk about next year on the Novel front, for now I wanted to post a couple of Christmas themed writing exercise I did for my writing group. One horror themed and one a lot sweeter.

The Sea of Naughty Children
Written by
Michael William Edwards

It was the eve before Christmas and little Lou knew she had been naughty this year. She knew that it was wrong every time they went to the back of the farm to that patch of soft grass just over the hill where no one could see. It clung to the bottom of her heart like a sickly rot.
The night had grown quiet, uncomfortably so. The only sounds were her heart thumping and her uneven breath as she lay under the bed. A paring knife held close to her chest. She prayed that Santa Claus did not come this year, for she wished not to be taken for coal.
There was a groan from the house, almost a bothered sigh, like the one her father made when her mother asked him to do something…anything. Then a clatter of hooves trampled the roof and a sled grinded across the timbre shingles.
Lou gasped in fear. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped her knife tight. Santa Claus had come for her.
The night went back to silence. Nothing stirred.
Then the door opened. The gentle bump of the door against the wall made her jump.
She watched the black boots step into the room, moving closer. Something was dumped upon the bed. A moment later a piece of coal slipped down between the bed and the wall and rolled in front of her face.
Santa leant down and peered beneath the bed. His face wrinkled, the skin dried out from traveling in the cold winds, the skin so badly damaged it was scattered with scabs. His white beard was matted and stained; as was the hair that poked out from his his hat. Dressed in red stained animal furs with old worn black gloves. His squinted eyes burned with fire beneath a scowled brow.
He reached under the bed, his arm stretching unnaturally to reach Lou. She screamed and slashed at him with her knife. He let out a growl of pain that sounded more animal than man. He reached for her again and this time she stabbed the knife into his forearm all the way to the handle.
It didn’t stop him. His hand grabbed her nightgown and he pulled hard. She lashed out with her arms grabbing a hold of the bed leg. She jerked to a halt. Her gown tore at the shoulder. He gave another yank and Lou lost her grip, sliding out from under the bed.
Santa loomed over Lou, looking down on her in such disgust. He spat on her and grabbed her hair, pulling her to her feet. She screamed in pain as tears ran down her cheeks.
“You have been naughty Louise Dunburg.” He said, his voice unnaturally bestial.
He lifted her off the ground by her hair and looked into her eyes. Lou ceased her screaming. A numbness crept over her. He arms went limp by her side.
“You must be taken to the place where all the naughty children go.” Santa said.
Lou used the last of her free will to plead the word, “Please.”
A sickly grin stretched across Santa’s face. He dropped his sack on the ground and lowered Lou feet first into the sack. She saw her parents down the hall, peeking out of the bedroom door. Her mother in tears, her father holding her back with his own sorrow in his eyes.
“You had all year to be nice, you choose to be naughty.” Santa said in his twisted voice as he dropped Lou into darkness.
Lou landed on something, no…someone. She felt them move beneath her, felt more of them moving beside her. The other naughty children. All of them trapped in darkness.
The numbness began to fade. The other children grabbed at her, trying to crawl on top of her, pulling her under in the process. She started to fight back, but she was still getting control of herself. The weight of several children pressed down on her as they piled on her. Still more beneath wanted to climb past her.
The numbness had left and she tried to claw her way back to the top. Someones nails tore at the flesh on her side as they desperate seeked to climb past her. Lou felt another biting her. Another found its fingers in her mouth and pulled at her cheek. She felt herself sinking deeper in the pile of children. The weight above starting to become crushing, making it hard for her to breath. She tried to pull herself back up but too many had their hands on her, too many pulled at her, too many scratched and bit. One of her arms was pulled back in a way it was never meant to and with a snap it broke. She tried to scream at the pain but she had not the air in her lungs as she was crushed in the Sea of Naughty Children.

Christmas Cracker Crowns
Written by
Michael William Edwards

“The night was still young but the day had been long. We were both tired but still held interest in each others company. She had taken her shoes off and carried them in her hand as we walked in the sand to the edge of the paved path. The waves only just visible in the spill of the hotel lights making a pretty ambience in the background. She still wore her yellow Christmas cracker crown, slightly crooked with a small tear in one side. She looked up to me, the kindest smile upon her face, my heart beat faster.
She gave a playful push to my chest, backing me onto the path. I followed the glance of her eyes up to see a mistletoe hanging from a lamp light above us. She stepped in close, her body pressing up against mine causing an electrifying tingle to run through me. She smelt in a way delicate, but empowered, the perfume and the wine on her breath. I closed my eyes and I leant in.”
The old man sat at the table, his eyes closed as he made a funny kissing face, his three grandchildren laughing. He opened his eyes and smiled at them, the lot wearing their Christmas cracker crowns. He looked over to his wife who sat with the rest of their family and smiled again to himself.

The Valley

I have been away from my blog for too long. I am currently in a writing group with a couple of good friends and we are doing a bunch of exercises together. I quite liked the outcome of this one so I thought I would post it up.

The Valley
A short writing piece by
Michael William Edwards

He felt the weight of his decision like the pack on his back as he looked over the valley he called home for so long. The sweet spring smells rolled up the hill in the wind to his nostrils. The wee nipper tugging at his pants, excited for their journey, did not understand what was happening. He smiled and pushed aside his worry. After all he had promised his late beloved that he would never take up arms again. He turn away from the valley and the conscription to flee into the life of a nomad with his child.

The Rotting Wall

The Rotting Wall
A Short Tale by
Michael William Edwards

The root cellar smelt beyond vile. The food had all rotted and turned black, but something else overpowered the rotted food. The dirt floor had turned to mud. It squashed beneath Beth’s feet, squeezing between her toes. She was cold in just her nightgown. The wet sides of the hole in the wall reflected the small light from the candle she held. The slime that oozed out from the hole was the cause of the rotting food and the smell.

She wanted to upheave her dinner, turn and run, cover her nose and mouth, anything to get away from the smell, but she could not. She had no choice but to continue.

She felt her heart slowing as she approached the hole. The fearful thumping dying, her breathing slowed, her body felt calm. Her mind however, it raced through thoughts. Fear building. She had no control of her body. Slowly she went numb, trapped in a body she could no longer feel. A body that had began crawling into the hole.

She fought with all her might, straining her mind, attempting to regain control. Nothing she tried worked. She screamed in her own head. Cursed her body. Told it not to go further. It wouldn’t listen. It crawled into the hole.

Everything was dark. She could no longer hear or see. It was her alone with her thoughts.