Saturday, 21 November 2015

Open Letter to Ardon Legal Community 2

Dear Lawyers,

I've been having a bit of difficulty with several of the judges in Ardon Municipal Court and wonder if anyone can assist me.

The judges, who shall remain unnamed, are possibly the most obstinate, foul tempered group of old arses that I have had the misfortune to meet in all 200 years of my demonic life- and keep in mind that I've been summoned before the Archdemons themselves (long story).

It seems that these judges are incapable of allowing me to finish a sentence without interjecting with their own opinion about what the law should be; how they think the rules about questioning witnesses should be followed; or why I am not observing correct court etiquette. Bearing in mind that I've been out of the legal game for a while now, I don't ever recall judges being so bloody pernickety about these matters. When I last practised law, the common procedure was to let the lawyers have turns applying the thumbscrews and hot pokers for as long as was necessary. Yes, I know there are more rules to courts now, and some consider the methods I'm used to as 'outdated', but I think there's something to be said for just letting us lawyers get on with our jobs.

Anyway, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'm holding a coffee morning at my office on Monday of next week with a view to starting a committee to replace the 'witness stand' - which has become commonplace in most courts - with the more traditional torture-rack or iron-maiden, which in my view are court traditions that were cast aside too easily. In my opinion, back when these were the norm, judges could be much more assured that witness testimony was accurate.

I hope to meet some like-minded people at the coffee morning. Although for the sake of clarity, this is a coffee morning, so no vampires.


Principal Lawyer
Ardon Legal Clinic

Monday, 19 October 2015

An Open Letter to the Legal Community of Ardon

Dear Lawyers,

I know that not all of you will know me. I am a fairly new addition to the Ardon legal community. My name is Worm and I run the Ardon legal clinic - the office is next to the whore tent down by the river that I think some of you frequent.

There are a few things that I wish to say in this letter. 

Firstly, some of you may have noticed, and others may not have, but I am a demon. Rest assured that I am not in the business of cheating anyone out of their soul, or taking it from them by force (not any more at least). I simply wish to be a productive citizen of Ardon, and an active member of the legal sphere.

Secondly, it has been a while since I was last in practice. Although I have gained a second, more up-to-date, law degree at the Law Societies insistence, I may from time to time fall into some old habits which are not in line with modern practice. I'm sure that word has gotten around of my minor gaffe in court last week when I asked Judge Sinclair for permission to flog a witness for not answering my questions as fully as I might have liked. Mea culpa. 

Thidly, and finally, although I am enjoying my time at the Ardon Legal Clinic, I feel it might be time for a change of pace. I am seeking to enhance my skills by undertaking a legal apprenticeship. I feel I would be an asset to any firm. My negotiation skills are top notch, and I have... unique methods for ensuring that people stick to their word. If anyone is interested, send me a letter, or drop in for a social call.

Yours sincerely,


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

An Unwell Writer

I'm poorly. Not blaming anyone in particular, but the receptionist at my office had a cold last week, and it's a small office. God-dammit Demi...

Anyway, as much as I would normally relish having some extra time in the house to allow me to write, it's been difficult to adopt the correct mindset. Writing is a fun activity, but it's challenging and requires some brain power. Right now every time I try to use my brain it begins to overheat and I need to go for a nap.

My best friend right now.
My lawyering day-job is also non-compatible with having a cold. I was supposed to start quite a high-level trial today, but thankfully a witness didn't appear, the trial couldn't go ahead (woohoo!), and I got to 'work from home' in the afternoon.

This is a bit of a rambly post, which might be something to do with the painkillers, so I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.


EDIT: I haven't had time to update in a while, but just to let you know I survived and am feeling much better now.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Stuff I'm Doing

Look at me, posting more than once a quarter. How serious about being a writer am I?!

So, here's what's been going on:

1. Worm Short Story Series

The Demon Attorney

Worm has set up a small law practice in a shack. His normal clientele are the local scum and his fees are paid by the city's Legal Aid Trust. However, an extremely high-brow client comes through his door and Worm finds himself dusting off his private-rate cost list.

I've emailed this first part to a few magazines, but can't remember which ones... bugger.

The second part sees Worm's posh client interviewed by a pair of, less than competent, but intimidating all the same, detectives. The pressure causes the client to do something he will live to regret.

The third part is a work in progress, and will probably be the bulk of the story.

2. Standalone Worm Short Story

A wizard professor from the University of Magical Studies studying a primitive civilisation finds himself in trouble with the University's disciplinary tribunal after using his magical abilities to trick the civilization into believing that he is a God, and letting them treat him as such. His union pays for a lawyer to guide him through the tribunal process. Guess who he gets...

3. Sci Fi Short Story

A change of scenery entirely. The Hercules is an ark-type spacecraft leaving Earth with the best and brightest of humanity. The only problem is not a single one of them knows how to cook a meal  on a stove or operate an iron. Thousands of support staff are required, and one of them is a small-time criminal lawyer, who finds it difficult to relate to the ultra-intelligent scientists who feel that the spaceship is rightfully theirs.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Is All Traditional Publishing Vanity Publishing?

The above question occurred to me in the context of examining the pros and cons of the main publishing options for Worm: Demon Attorney at Law. Ruling out actual 'vanity' publishing (because I have no money), the two main options are self publish right now, or take the longer route of traditional publishing and all that brings.

So which should I choose and why? It really boils down to what I want from my choice of publisher, and by extension my 'career' as a writer.

Money: neither option provides much of that at first, so it's not really a consideration.

Support: as a new writer, there probably won't be much in the way of support for advertisement and editing services. There are still some perks to having a trad publisher in terms of producing a run of physical books, and y'know, publishing them. Chalk up one for tradition.

Formats: with ebook and print on demand services, a self-publisher can have the same product available online as a traditionally published writer. It's a draw.

Timing: I can self-publish right now if I want to. Right this second. For a traditional deal I estimate that it might be up to two years before I could even hope to have a book out (if it happens at all with this work). That's a definite point in favour of self-publishing.

Contractual obligations: with self-publishing I don't have to answer to anyone (apart from the blogdog - see below). With a traditional deal there's bullshit like deadlines and responsibilities to blog, tweet, and Facebook about my damn book. Maybe I feel like blogging, maybe I don't. I don't want to be forced into taking my focus away from writing when I barely have enough time for that anyway. 2 points in the self-publishing corner.

So far I've got to say it's a very tough fight to call. In practical terms, a self-publisher can have everything a traditionally published author can have. And, since 50 Shades of Grey, there is precedent for a self-published author to become a massive success - although let's be clear, the success of that book was all in the shock value as opposed to artistic merit. I could go on, but 'shock value' as a marketing technique is beyond the scope of this post. Let's get back to the comparison of traditional publishing versus selfing it.

Vanity: now we're getting somewhere. I have self-published 9 works of various lengths, but I have a real difficulty calling myself a 'writer'. Maybe it's just me, but unless I have a traditional publishing deal, or something published in a magazine, I don't think I'm a real writer.

Should that matter? No. Does it though? Kinda.

Maybe it's this whole new self-publishing phenomenon which has made 'writer' a meaningless title. Previously one had no option but to grovel to the big publishing houses to attain the status of writer. Now, any idiot with an internet connection can throw some words onto a page, click publish, and call themselves a writer (and occasionally: become a massive success (see the erotica section of the Kindle bookstore)).

So what? If I'm happy with my work, I've put in the effort, and I'm putting out a professional product, should it matter that others don't? No. Does it though? Kinda.

And as I alluded to earlier, although I can have a physical product printed up, I can't hang around for hours in a bookstore next to my book, leaving a copy open to the 'picture of the author' page.

"Did I write this? Why yes, yes I did."

Without the negotiation clout of a publishing house, a selfer will probably never see their book in a book-store.

So, to sum up: before taking vanity into consideration, there's no clear winner in the war of tradition versus newfangled self-publishing. However, the latter comes without the coveted gloating rights of having been approved by someone 'in the biz', invested in, and put into print. And when there appears to be so little money to be made from this career/ calling/ hobby, maybe that's all we can get from it...

Hmm, that was a bit more melancholy than I had intended. I'm going to go play with the blogdog to cheer myself up.


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Blogdog

Dumped (Flash Fiction - minor Werechicken spoilers!)

The pair of golems guarding the door to the bank vault were momentarily, but totally, distracted by the presence of a small white chicken walking towards them across the darkened and empty banking hall. Both leaned forward to peer into the midnight blackness of the building. On closer inspection, it was indeed a chicken. From out of the darkness at either side of the giant stone creatures came two figures dressed completely in black. They snatched the keys from around the golems' necks and ran swiftly down a corridor leading into the maze of bank offices and mini-vaults deep within the building. The golems gave chase, very slowly. Their heavy footsteps left tiny cracks in the highly polished marble of the floor. The chicken could hear his black clothed colleagues goading the golems to follow them, punctuated by the slamming of the golems' feet against the floor.
  When the golems were out of sight, the chicken, without any prior warning, turned into a tall, young, skinny man with an unkempt beard and darkened eyes. His face was severe and he wore the same black clothes as the pair being chased by the golems. At the entrance to the corridor down which the men and golems had disappeared there was a large potted plant. The werechicken removed from the dirt the keys which had been stolen from the golems' necks, and expertly secreted by the journeymen thieves before they had disappeared down the corridor. 
  The werechicken inserted the keys into the lock, and the giant vault door swung open. He marched past gold bars and coins neatly stacked in piles as high as his chest. He paid no mind to display case after display case of shimmering diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Enchanted objects hovering inches above their shelves were of no interest to him. HIs gaze was fixed on one thing and one thing only. He approached the ivory pedestal, lifted the protective dome from atop it and discarded it carelessly to the side. The glass eye which sat on the pedestal looked around nervously. I bet you've seen some things, I wouldn't be standing here otherwise, he thought.
  "Frank!" Came a voice from behind him. The werechicken turned to find his black-clothed companions standing at the entrance to the vault. "You've found it. Good, now let's get some of this gold out of here before the golems get back."
  “No,” ordered Frank. He pocketed the glass eye and, on his way out of the vault, grabbed his companions and threw them stumbling out into the banking hall. “Our job here is done, let’s go.”
  "For gods' sakes Frank, lets get our bonus while we're here!"
  The bearded man flung the vault door shut, removed the keys, and tossed them into the darkness. He silently walked past his companions, and through the banking hall towards the air vent they'd entered through.
  "What in the fourteen known hells is his problem?"
  "His lady dumped him. Apparently she was an attractive one. Rich too. Very rich.”
The other nodded knowingly. “Once he’s gotten over it we should ask him if he still has a key to her place. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

Monday, 21 September 2015

Back in the Game

Alright god dammit, I'm once again back to blogging and back to this idea of being a serious writer.

For any of you (mum) who have been paying close enough attention to my blog to notice that bugger all has been happening here in the past 5 months, let me fill you in.

I've written a new novel with the catchy as fuck title "Worm: Demon Attorney at Law". Two existing Worm stories are available over here >>> and one of them is even free! I'm not gonna tell you which one though, and if you happen to click on the wrong one you still have to buy it (rules are rules, although it does seem kinda obvious from the captions...)

I've also been writing more short stories. The short storying is a means to an end. I'm trying to make myself more marketable. That doesn't mean I'm going completely teenage vampire on y'all, it just means that I'll be focusing on doing some short stories for a while as a way of creating some interest in myself and my writing. Some will be free, some will be submitted to magazines, and some might be paid.

So how long will I be doing that for? God knows. I reckon Worm: Demon Attorney at Law is pretty good and I want to give it the best chance of success. I've done all the writing and revising, and I'm saving my pennies to employ a professional editor to make sure the work is as polished as it can be. However, we all know that aint enough. Like millions of young job seekers entering the market and finding out that they can't get a job because they don't have experience, but can't get experience because they don't have a job, unpublished writers like me can't get a publishing deal because I haven't yet been published. 

Sucks, huh?

The traditional way around this problem for writers is to write short fiction, and use that as a platform from which to launch a novel. It's not the only way to do it, but it seems to be the most efficient way. After all, an agent or publisher is more likely to snap up Worm: Demon Attorney at Law, if they laughed their ass off reading a Worm short story in a well respected magazine.

In other, quite frankly earth-shattering, news: I've delved into the world of science fiction. Dammit fantasy fans, put down your Glamdring replicas! I'm still a fantasy man, but sci-fi has always been a love of mine. 

I will probably regret saying this, but I reckon that most of my work for the forseeable future is going to have a legal slant to it. It's what I do for a living, and I have thousands of stories that can be adapted into my fiction writing. That doesn't mean I'll be doing any John Grisham style thrillers anytime soon though. Whether it's sci-fi, fantasy (or god forbid, plain Jane fiction) my stories will always be filled with humour. Ever since I read Hitchhiker's Guide as a young man (finishing all five books in a week) I've loved comedy writing, and that's all I've ever wanted to write.

As always, if anyone has any nice comments to leave, there's plenty space below.



Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Blogging Consistently is Hard

Big shout out to my Russian fans. The page-views data shows that y'all are my main audience. Glad to know that my unique brand of humorous fantasy stories are particularly Russian-friendly.


I thought I better write something here because although I haven't done any posts since October last year I still got about 100 page views last month, so I gotta keep this old blog fresh. Here's some random thoughts about how difficult it is to keep a blog updated:

1. It's Not Fiction

I write fiction because I love to write fiction. I write this blog because apparently you are not a serious writer if you don't have one. Never mind the 3 and 1/2 novels I've written (one published, one in the pipeline, one that will never see the light of day ever, one still being written, and one ring to rule them all), noooooo, those don't count for shit. Unless you have a blog and a mailing list (I'm still getting around to that second one) then you're not a serious writer. So here I am. Being all serious.

2. I've Got Stuff to Do

As well as being a penniless fiction writer, I'm also a very bloody busy lawyer. As well as all the other stuff I have going on in my life I haven't even got the time to do as much novel writing as I want, never mind writing posts on this blog.

3. I Don't Have That Much to Say

There's a kinda unspoken thing that goes on in the world of online writing blogs and websites. When you're a new writer you do internet searches for things like 'how to be a writer', 'how to write a novel', and 'how to make millions writing fiction'.

Do you know what you find? Thousands upon thousands of websites telling you (allegedly) how to do these things. More specifically: thousands upon thousands of websites telling you the exact same thing. Even more specifically: thousands upon thousands of websites telling you the exact same thing, written by writers you've NEVER FUCKING HEARD OF.

I alluded to this a few posts back with my 'top ten tips for writers' post, which was meant entirely as a joke. However, there are plenty of writers out there, who apparently do have books - I've never bought one from one of these sites so I can't verify if they're real or how good they are - and are peddling all sorts of advice from their websites. What I can confirm is that I have never clicked on a website titled 'become a millionaire writing fiction to make menopausal women horny' and found that the site's proprietor is J.K. Rowling, or Iain M Banks, or the late Sir Terry Pratchett. These writers are successful writers, so they spend their time and make their money writing novels that sell like crack in the ghetto. Is it therefore safe to assume that the 'writers' who have the kind of time to successfully curate a clickbait website are NOT successful writers? That they don't make any money from their books so they need a website?

I'm not saying that some writers out there don't have fantastic websites full of insight, JA Konrath springs to mind, especially when it comes to self-publishing, but the majority are drivel. And they're repetitious drivel.

Do yourself a favour and go buy On Writing by Stephen King. He might not be the best writer in the world, but he's one of the most famous, and his books sell shitloads. HE is someone qualified to give advice. Not these internet randoms.

(Note: I can take the above pot-shot at my fellow writers because although I'm not in any danger of being on any best-seller lists, I'm not lying that I'm a successful writer, nor am I claiming to have any insight into the industry, whilst simultaneously copying and pasting the same advice available on a thousand other sites. So there.)

4. It's Not Easy

It's a lot of effort to write interesting and engaging blog posts when right now I'm a literary nobody. Apart from the aforementioned Russian readers, no-one knows this blog exists. This could be the best blog ever (it's definitely top 5) but what does that matter if no-one ever sees it. I'm sure once I have a massive cult of devoted followers it will be easier to blog because I know people will be reading it. One way of getting a following of course is to blog until I'm blue in the face, but then wouldn't I be a famous blogger as opposed to a famous writer of fantasy? As long as I'm a millionaire I don't really care.

Anyway, I best stop rambling and be off to bed now.

Ta ta,