Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Novel Birthday To Me!

Well folks, today's the day. My debut novel is now available to purchase in electronic book format from (most) good retailers. Please to have some links:

Barnes and Noble

It's almost surreal to finally have this book out there. I started work on this book almost ten years ago, finishing up a complete draft in time for Christmas 2007. Spent a pretty penny printing it off at the University library too. It was the first novel I'd ever finished and I was super proud of it, because you're allowed to be proud when you accomplish something you've wanted to do since you were six years old. And then I put it aside to focus on getting a couple of degrees. But the story never left me.

Finishing it up allowed me to see where the biggest issues lay. The story stayed in my head for ten years, evolving and changing. I kept writing, kept learning about writing and stories and fed all that into what was happening. And then last year I sat down and started the version that is now available to buy. Does it have much in common with that other version? Well the characters have the same names. Believe me when I say this is so much better.

When a story has been part of you so long its tempting to keep it with you, let no one else see it as you keep polishing and shining it. But a writer doesn't make a living that way. A writer doesn't move forward that way. And at some point a story has to stand on its own merits. Is this book perfect? No. Is it the best book I could have written right now? Yes, I really believe it is. And was it ready to be released to the world, to stand or fall on its own? Yes it was.

So that's what I did.

This feels like a hell of a milestone in my writing career, probably because it is. I'm proud of this book, proud of myself for getting this far. The launch of a first novel is important, and tonight I'll take the time to step back and enjoy my success, but what's more important is what comes next. Tomorrow morning I have to get up and start writing something new (or continue writing, since I'm about 50,000 words into my third ever novel, which is exciting in its own way).

And there's still so much to do with this book. Ideally I want to have a print version available before Christmas, for all those people who are still working in analogue. Also because physical copies of books are lovely and it's gonna be so great to be able to hold that in my hands. And there's a sequel that needs writing as well.

There are other projects coming too. More novels, more stories. Keep an eye out for announcements on those. This is a hell of a day for me, a great achievement, but I really am only just getting started. There is so much more to come, I promise.

Friday, 28 October 2016

#whimword - Labyrinth

In a shocking departure from the norm, I did a poetry for this week's whimword. In news that will surprise no one, it's not very cheerful. Oh well. You win some...


My feet take me down an untrod path
that twists and turns which way and that
I cannot find my way.

No time! No time!

Is it left or right?
I cannot remember
there is nothing other than this maze I'm in.

Goblin King, Goblin King
take pity on an old sinner.
Let me out, leave me be.
Don't take my brother from me.

The Goblin King heeds not my words
My throat is raw from screaming,
the air is dusty with the dead;
no one gets out of this labyrinth alive.

The string is too short, too short
I am out of time.

Like the others, I become dust.

Friday, 21 October 2016

#whimword - Minute: The Slightly Ridiculous Adventures of Pocket Sam, Part 1

So, I may or may not have written a slightly ridiculous story about my husband waking up one morning to find himself inexplicably shrunk. And I may or may not plan on writing more because 500 words just wasn't enough... But you can't prove anything.

The Slightly Ridiculous Adventures of Pocket Sam, Part 1

Sam had never been a particularly tall person, but from the moment he woke up that morning he knew something was wrong. Perhaps it was the ocean of duvet he was wrapped in, or maybe it was because the ceiling was just a little bit too far away, but something was definitely different.

Being a little short was one thing, but being only three inches tall was definitely new.

In the absence of a better plan, he decided to go about his normal routine as best as he could. It was easier said than done.

Sam almost killed himself falling out of bed, what had been a surmountable drop now like a great yawning chasm. It was after that he decided it was probably best if he called in sick to work, though using his phone was an adventure.

When his wife got up she almost stepped on him. Until he let out a loud, and very much human, scream.

"Sam? What the fuck? What are you doing down there?" Her voice boomed loud in his ears, and Sam could tell he was going to end up with a headache.

"I don't know what happened," he shouted back up to her. "Please don't step on me."

"Oh," she said, sounding surprised. She crouched down and scooped Sam up, depositing him on her shoulder. The motion made Sam feel a little bit sick. "Is that better?" she said, quieter this time, as though she was mindful of both his tiny eardrums and the fact he was close to her mouth.

"Much," he said, snuggling into the side of her neck. It was warm and smelled familiar and was really comforting when his world seemed to have gone topsy turvy.

"Any idea how this happened?"

"Nope. I'm just hoping I'll turn back at some point. What do i do in the meantime?"

"I'll look after you," Tonks said with a smile. "You hungry? Imagine how much of a feast one slice of toast is going to be!"

Sam couldn't manage a whole toast slice in the end, but he was grateful he had someone to look after him during his... predicament. When Tonks got dressed that day she put on a shirt with a pocket so she could carry him around, keep him safe. Sam ended up in clothes meant for an action figure twice his size, but he managed.

He could use his phone at least, which meant he wasn't bored, and Tonks made him coffee in an egg cup, which was basically a bucket for Sam now. He was fed, and snuggled and generally looked after, and even if it was a bit weird being three inches tall, Tonks made it feel okay.

"Thank you," he said as he climbed back into bed that night. "You've been great today."

"I try," Tonks said, and went to sleep.

It had been nice today, but he hoped that tomorrow he was back to his normal size.

If you enjoyed this story feel free to purchase one of my books either here, or here. Or you can buy me a coffee here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Novel Pre-Order: On the Rise by Rachel Tonks Hill

Last week I had the very great pleasure of announcing that my first novel is now available for pre-order in ebook format. I am super excited and also kind of nervous.

This is the longest thing I've ever written (word count wise it's about twice the length of my thesis) and is based on a concept that's been in my head for almost a decade. I really want people to like it. Mostly thought it's a relief that this story will finally be out there in the world instead of just existing inside my head. I've loved having it there, but I'm looking forward to being able to think about (and tell) new stories.

Like the sequel.

I currently plan on making this a trilogy but earlier this year I ended up writing a short novel when I'd only planned on a short story so you know, my plans don't always come off. We'll see how I feel when I get there.

For now, book one is a real thing that you'll be able to buy and read. In ebook only for now, but I plan on there being a hard copy at some point. That's a whole other bunch of skills for me to learn though.

In the meantime please allow me to scream at the top of my lungs: I DID IT I WROTE A WHOLE NOVEL WHOOO!

And now I have to go do it all again. Such a hard life, being a writer.

(Buy my book)

Sky Thompson has a normal life; a boyfriend, best friend, and parents she loves very much. She's happy. Until one day she finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman and her life careens out of control.

Now her parents are dead, torn apart by a creature out of a nightmare. Sky knows what it is, she saw it with her own eyes, and she won't rest until her parents' killer is dead. She wants revenge, and nothing will stand in her way.

But revenge is far from simple and the cost is higher than Sky ever dreamed it could be. Can she find the strength within herself to see this through? And will she be able to come to terms with the fact life isn't black and white, and that there is more at stake here than just revenge?

Pick up a copy of On the Rise today and find out.

Barnes and Noble
Smashwords (available 31/10/16)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Assessing Progress

So I missed a daily story yesterday. Mostly because I was replaying one of my favourite games from when I was a teenager. But I've also been thinking about the challenge in general.

I've written fourteen stories now, mostly on consecutive days. I'm pretty pleased with that. But one thing I've noticed since I started the daily stories is that I've done basically no work on the novel I'm writing. And that's a problem.

Writing and publishing a short story every day is a great idea, and it's forced me to think and be creative every single day. But I've written a hell of a lot of short stories. I want to be working on longer projects; novelettes, novellas, novels. And apparently I can't do that if I'm writing short fiction every day.

September was StoryADay. And with my challenge I pretty much hit that for the second half of the month. And I'm happy to leave it there. Writing a story every day for a year would no doubt have done wonders for my writing, but I can't lie it's a daunting prospect. It was doing wonders for my blog hits as well but at the end of the day that's not what I want to focus on. I have novels to write and I can't do that if I'm focusing on a challenge like this.

So here's the plan: I will take a break from daily fiction so I can work on other projects. I have a novel I want to finish before November so I can start a fresh project for NaNoWriMo. Since I had fun doing the daily stories I might have another go at it in December. Short stories will be a nice palate cleanser after NaNo. In the meantime I'll shoot for posting a short story every week, which means I can go back to doing #whimwords when the fancy strikes me.

Did I fail my challenge? No. I managed a story every day for almost two weeks and racked up something like 15-20,000 words in the process. That's a success in my book. I enjoy reckless writing challenges, but I like to think I can temper that with some practicality, that I can recognise when something isn't sustainable. I could write a story every day for a year, but it would be detrimental to my other writing goals. So I'll stop, consider it a roaring success and pencil in another round of this challenge at a later date.

I hope you've enjoyed the stories that I've written as much as I've enjoyed writing them, and I look forward to seeing you for the next ridiculous writing thing I decide to do.