MØ11: Don't Try... & Other Advice

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #11

I don’t know what was happening last week, but I just did not feel the motivation to write anything. I set myself a little goal of writing 3x short stories but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. 

I opened up my Scrivener file, looked at that (stupid fecking) blinking cursor, and thought, “I just don’t want to look at this right now.”

Here’s the thing. A lot of people might’ve put this down to Writer’s Block as if they weren’t feeling inspired, or they’d been cut off from the muse, but this wasn’t that. This felt more like fatigue. 

Which is fine.

Sometimes we get tired and I don’t think it’s healthy to force it. As Bukowski so wisely had engraved on his gravestone, “Don’t try.”

I think what he meant was, don’t force something that ain’t happening. If you’re not feeling it, it probably means you need to do something different. Maybe you need to eat, sleep, or rest, or even head back to the creative well and start filling it back up by reading great books and comics, watching great films and tv, living life and gathering new experiences and epiphanies. 

And so I did that.

I read a lot, watched a lot, ate great food, drank some beers, snoozed, played with the dog, and somehow, I still managed to get the stories done… in a fashion.

I wrote a short story about Tony Robbins. I wrote a flash fiction about a breathing laptop. And I wrote a 5-Page Comic Script about a much darker, sorta more brutal, Monsters, Inc.

So yeah… don’t try… maybe go fill up that creative well, yeah? 

#Advice


 

FUNERAL & FAMILY

 


This Friday we celebrated the life of my wonderful Grandma. The whole family came together in a truly lovely ceremony. There was a guy (humanist?) who gave a little wikipedia summary of her life with a few jokes and winks thrown in. It was really cool to hear little bits of her life that I had no idea about. A whole secret life that I would’ve liked to ask her if I had a little more time.

RIP Sylvia Wain.


Marvel Unlimited

As part of my filling the creative well, I buckled and signed up for Marvel Unlimited. It’s 10 dollars a month for access to Marvel’s entire back catalogue of comics. I feel like I’ve entered a digital library of the future, like I’m wearing cerebro and have ultimate access to some of the greatest storytelling minds on the planet.

But that’s kinda the problem. Too much access. Where does one start? 

Well, I’ve been reading Warren Ellis’s Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E and it’s been one of the most sublime comic reading experiences I’ve ever had. It’s incredibly funny, irreverent, and there was a panel with a man straddling a giant six-shooter that almost had me in tears. 

Will I stick with Marvel Unlimited? I dunno. It depends if I keep finding great books to read on there.


💀


Battle-Plan

So let me just get this out the way first:

That's right!

We have just launched They Remain (well, as of the 27th, not as I write this). This is book 2 in our Rot series and as a nice spicy enticement to the books, we’re giving away book 1 for FREE and book 2 for the discounted price of 99c/99p.

So just to recap:

They Rot is FREE.

They Remain is 99p/99c.

Go here to check them out.

And while all that book-launch craziness is happening, I’m going to put together a super rough draft of my Top Cow Talent Hunt script and oh yeah, El Marvo #1 is off to the printers. How cool is that? Soon enough we'll be holding that floppy bad boy in our hands (wait, wut?).

Here's what I've been consuming this week:

 

Reading - Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E & Stephen King's It

Watching - Fargo S2 & Don't Look Now

Listening - Everything We See Will Die

 

And that's about all I have the energy to tell you about for now so keep doing what you're doing, whatever it is that you're doing, and ... yeah ... keep smiling, okay?

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ10: DAVID LYNCH WON'T STOP TALKING TO MY SOUL.

 

MORNING ØUTPUT #10

19/06/2017

afternoon

It’s been a hot one this week. We’re riding at 28℃ (82℉) and for an Englishman like me, that’s dangerous stuff. That’s the kind of temperature that’ll turn me pink, plug me up with pollen, turn me red-eyed. 

So as I sit here with tissue in one hand and a cocktail of antihistamines in the other, I’m going to try and make sense of this past week and look forward to this one we’re already falling into.


Progress!

They Remain (Book 2 of The Rot Series) is set for launch on the 27th June. That’s like, less than two weeks away. Deep breaths. Hand me that sick bag.

We’ve got so much left to do before launch but I’m really looking forward to getting this one out there and into the readers' hands.

I’m proud of this little post-apocalyptic Britannia we’ve built and in this book we really turn the screws on the main character, Colin. And that’s what we really like to see, eh? Our characters sweat... and bleed.

“It's not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.”John Cleese
 
 

Also, the new H&C website is up and running and we are now selling signed print copies of They Rot. Grab a copy HERE.


And a Haiku to you, too

I want to be a great writer. I want to squeeze everything out of the art-form. I want to bleed it dry and swallow its remains whole. If there's one thing I think I'll be doing on my deathbed, it's opening up a laptop and jotting down ideas, stories, and maybe the odd joke or two. 

But poetry... that's my biggest weakness. I don't read it. I don't understand it. I don't ... I just don't.

It is something I’ve done in the past, but in a sort of silly personal way. I write poems for Cat (rarely!) and I’ve been known to write the odd little piece of nonsense here and there after a glass of red but I’ve never given it any serious consideration until recently.

So I figured I might try a tipple. And what's the simplest form of poetry? The easiest? 

I dunno, but I figured a haiku might be a nice place to start. Here's what I came up with:

 

I wake to the smell

She's fixing the coffee dark

Breaks the day in two

***

She wants hot bena

The sweet, sticky kind that tastes...

how the snuggles feel

***

It settles down good,

the green, reds, and vinegar.

He pats the belly.

***

Okay, I know. Poetry about coffee, salad, and hot Ribena, is hardly ground-shaking stuff, but it's a start. I might have to pick up a poetry book sometime and have a gander. Anybody got any recommendations?


👽


David Lynch won’t stop talking to my soul

I’m loving the new season of Twin Peaks. Its reminded me why I love David Lynch so much. The slow builds. The dread. The quirk. Special Agent Dale Cooper (even though he’s not quite Cooper… yet).

I think I love David Lynch’s work for the same reason I love listening to Bon Iver and for the same reason I love reading Murakami novels. These guys, in their own mediums, have found a way to tap into something unique and odd and yet wholly recognisable to our spirits. It’s like they’ve found a way to speak to our souls.

Other soul-speakers: Kafka, Kaufman, and maybe Bowie. 


Itching to make a film

I told myself I wouldn't make any films in 2017. That I would focus on the other stuff — books, comics, podcasts — but I’m feeling that familiar itch. I think I might try and knock out another 7-Day story challenge. The same way I made Keith — no ideas and no money. I love it. It’s immediate. It cuts the crap. 

And hey look, I have an iPhone. I could make a found-footage/vlog style film. 

Hmm...

Watch this space.


PROJECT365 is done

For the past year I've written down a story idea every single day. 

The ideas could be shit, detailed, loose, tight, scenario-based, character-based, or could just be a single line of dialogue which might later unfurl itself into a glorious tendril of butt-tickling wonder-magic … or something.

Here's how I ended my streak:

STORY IDEA #365: A man writes 365 ideas down and then finds he's used all his ideas up. That's it. He has nothing left. Oh dear. He then has to go through his life without having a single idea.

Let's hope that isn't quite true.

If you want to check out 365 story ideas of varying quality, I put them all up HERE.


Battleplan

This week I'm going to finish off my short stories for the quarter and nail out three more. I'm also going to prepare myself mentally for starting the first draft of They R*** (Book 3 of The Rot). Also I have a funeral to go to. So there is that 😕.

READING - It by Stephen King

WATCHING - Twin Peaks/House of Cards/[REC]

LISTENING: The “Wizard” of Hollywood, Robert Rodriguez interview on the Tim Ferriss Podcast

DRINKING - Coffee dark


Buh-bye now...

Back to the keys, as is the way for a key-jerk like myself.

Each episode of the new season of Twin Peaks ends with some obscure indie band playing us out. And the latest episode had such an amazing song to end on, I figured I'd go and steal it.

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

x

 

MØ9: Weights or Foundations & El Marvo is Finished!

 

MORNING ØUTPUT #10

Hey there, easy now, where yer from?

It’s Monday again and I think someone pressed that 30-sec skip button (podcast reference) a few too many times and now we find ourselves in June… as in the middle of the year! The speed of this ride is going way too fast for my liking and I don't like it one bit.

Scream if you want to go faster,” the operator’s voice booms and I really don’t mean to, but I just can’t stop screaming.

In other news:

I had an idea for the name of an autobiography.

Mansfield Bitter.

It works in a number of ways which I won’t go into right now but let’s just say it’s a beer, a state of mind, and a place in which I am from.

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EL MARVO IS FINISHED!

Well, the interiors are.

Dan (Vanguard) Butcher has just finished all of the pencils, inks, colours, lettering, (everything!), for issue #1 of our post-apocalyptic luchador story, El Marvo.

It’s difficult not to read through your first illustrated story and grin from ear to ear like a drunken buffoon eating his favourite flavour of crisps but I just can't stop myself.

Just so damn tasty.

So now we, sorry, I mean Ben will put all the art together in one nice little package to be sent off to the printers. 

And then, hey presto, we have a comic. 

Oh yeah, and for you people asking, “What now?”

Wel,l I guess it’s time to work on the next book, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my time as a pencil-jerk is that there is always another book.

My top-ten favourite films.

A friend and fantastic director, Mustapha Kseibeti, is asking people to post a handwritten note of their top ten favourite films. Of course, it’s incredibly difficult and I’m already realising I missed out Life Aquatic. Here’s what I was feeling at the time:

... -_- ...

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My Girls

& other family stuff.

I could stare at this picture all day. Just look how happy they both are — my fiancée and my pooch — my girls. 

We recently lost someone very dear to us and it’s got me thinking about just how fucking great my life is right now. I love my little house even with its leaks and its ants. I love my fiancée even with her habit of kneeing me in the forehead. I love our animals even if they don’t really see eye-to-eye. I love my city even though there’s a slight chance something terrible might happen at any moment. I love my writing and our projects even though it’s a helluva lot of work and I sometimes think, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to lie in in the mornings?’.

As quickly as 2017 has flown by, I feel like I’m on the right track with things. 

I reckon the biggest lever that triggered whatever forward momentum I'm experiencing now was realising that all this stuff, this life stuff, is all a foundation to build-upon, rather than a weight to pull you down.

***

That's it from me for this week. 

The battle plan is to crack on with my final edit of They Remain, get El Marvo off to the printers, and to finish off some Mailing List and website bits and pieces. 

Take care,

Luke & Family.

READING - It by Stephen King

WATCHING - Twin Peaks

LISTENING: Faster Than Light OST

DRINKING - Earl Grey Tea

 

MØ8: Stephen King's IT, our Publishing Schedule, & oh, the World's still Ending.

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #8

 

Welcome back to the world! 

If you made it this far then I salute you. It’s getting more difficult and a little scarier every single week, it seems. Still, at least Coldplay can make us feel nice and we ain’t dropping our pints for no dum-dum terrorists.

 
 

I’m dedicating this week to two of my favourite cities — London & Manchester.

Stay strong.

In other news:

THE HERNIA

Buh-beep. Buh-beep. Buh-beep.

That’s the sound of the doctor pressing his ultrasound scanner against my pelvis. He jammed that thing so hard it looked like he was trying to scan some warped barcode on a dinged up tin of beans.

“Is it a boy or a girl?” I asked.

He didn’t reply. He’d either heard it too many times or didn’t hear me at all. Oh well.

So after the big run last week I finally got myself booked in for a scan of my supposed hernia. This is the year of trying to get myself back to some sort of working health levels and this damn hernia is on the list of stuff to sort out. I feel like a rusty old beat up car in someone’s garage. 

“He won’t pass the MOT in this state. Not at all. Lots to do. Lots to do.”

Once this is sorted, it's back out and running. Can't wait.

***

 
 

THE IT READ-ALONG

Right now I’m joining a bunch of readers over on Instagram who are reading Stephen King’s It (all 1300 pages). I started on the 1st and just clocked 270 pages and I have to say, it’s a flipping great book already. 

Stephen King writes like nobody else. He really takes his time to let his characters develop but it never feels like he’s stalling. It all adds to the tension. It all adds to the feeling of, “I really don’t want these characters to get hurt”. 

I can already tell this is going to be one of those game-changing books for me, and I'm so glad I decided to experience it through the book first, instead of the film which is just around the corner.

 

***

 
 

H&C BUSINESS

We’ve been in business at H&C for about 18 months now and we’re finally making money. Nothing major and definitely not enough to pay anyone, but it’s paying for itself now and that's something. I don’t have to shell out so much of my own money to keep the wolves from the door. 

So with that said, we’re now looking for ways to push things up a notch. We’re talking better book delivery for our free books, better Mailing List automation, a fresh coat of paint on the website, and whatever else we can think of to really try to push the business to the next level.

Speaking of... 

 

***

THE PUBLISHING SCHEDULE

This could be interesting to you guys. It might not. But it could be. 

We've put together a publishing schedule for my books and comics:

2017 Publishing Schedule

They Remain 27th June

El Marvo #1 1st July

Lazarus 1st August

[REDACTED] 1 5th September

[REDACTED] 2 3rd October

[REDACTED] 3 31st October

They Ruin Nov/Dec

So for the next six-months this is pretty much going to be my full-time gig — putting words on pages, editing, launching, repeating. And this doesn’t include my short story work and any other extra-curricular activities.

 

***

BATTLEPLAN

So this week it's all about getting through my final edit of They Remain and putting some notes down for Book 4 (the end of the series?). I'll also be finishing the website and signing off on the El Marvo artwork.

 

READING - It by Stephen King

WATCHING - Dracula (1931)

DRINKING - Coffee & Water & Apple/Ginger Juice

***

THAT’S ALL FOLKS

Let's get through this, shall we? Another week without death and destruction, please and thank-oo-very-much

I'll leave you with a writing playlist that Dan put together.

Until next time,

Luke.

 

 

MØ7: Do summat, Manchester (& SOME THOUGHTS ON WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW)

 

MORNING ØUTPUT #7

The Run

Yesterday I ran the Great North Run. A 10k trek across the city of Manchester that works its way up to the set of Corrie and back.

The Mancunian spirit was palpable. It fizzled up from the red bricks in the summer heat, filled the air with adrenaline and pride. I was stood amongst thousands of others waiting for our wave to start when the poet, Tony Walsh grabbed a mic and repeated to us the need to 'do summat’.

And the run itself was pretty great. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. In fact, I did try at the 5km mark. I thought that I should give my legs a quick break but the momentum kept them moving forwards, and when I reached the 8km mark, that Eminem song ’Til I Collapse’ came on and there is literally no way to stop running whilst listening to that. That song is nitrous oxide for the feet.

I clocked in my first 10k at 1hr 11 minutes. Beat my goal of 1hr and 15. Can't wait for the next one.


KonCocktions & WHY POSt-APOC?

That's the name I give all of my co-written novel work Daniel Willcocks. A Kondor-Willcocks Production. A KonCocktion, as it were.

Anyway.

As Dan works his way through his edit of the second Rot book, I’m already sketching out new characters and story ideas for book 3. At the same time he’s doing his final proof of Lazarus and getting ready to first draft a whole new post-apoc book series (more about that later). 

I can’t tell you exactly why post-apoc has taken me so well and truly this past year. I think for the longest time I’ve assumed the world can only move in a positive direction. I’ve always figured that things could only become more peaceful, more compassionate. I thought the internet, the information, the technology would make us whole. But I think it was after Brexit that I realised it’s not as straight-forward as that. We’re not on an escalator to the top. This thing is a fucking rollercoaster and I’ve got the feeling that someone’s been fucking with the track up ahead and we’re all going to die Final Destination-style.

So anyway, all I mean to say is… soon enough, I’ll be first drafting the third Rot book.

So if all goes to plan we should be looking to release the following this year:

They Rot Book 2 (June/July)

Lazarus (Undecided)

They Rot Book 3 (Christmas?)

And that whole other series we're working on.

Lots to crack on with.


PROJECT365

I’m so close to finishing my story idea a day challenge and honestly I’m so ready. Coming up with story ideas isn’t particularly hard, but it is something that you have to open yourself up to. You stick out your idea-antenna and catch whatever signals you can. Occasionally something will click with something else and it’ll catch on you and wham bam you got an idea on your hands. 

Although I can’t wait to finish it. I do like working on projects like this. They keep me active. They keep me thinking and processing. So I’m trying to think of something I can do afterwards. A PROJECT52 — maybe a short story a week? Maybe an article a week? Who knows? I'm still chewing on that.


EL Marvo

The art is so close to being finished. I had a lovely Skype session with Ben the other day to go through some revisions of the script. We're now so close to having the finished comic in our hands I can almost smell the fresh press. 

I've also been thinking about putting together a small 2-page comic to put online for free. Just a short short story. There are a couple of artists out there who I'd love to work with so who knows. The only problem is that it all costs money. Money money money.


READING - Tunnel Rats Ep 1 by Nick Cole & Michael Bunker

WATCHING - Alien: Covenant

DRINKING - Lemsip & Fruit Juice


This Is The Place


I'll close this post off with Tony Walsh reading 'This is the place' at the vigil held for the victims of the Manchester Attack. Spine-tingling stuff. Anyway. Catch you later.

 

MØ6: THE FIRST Week With Alaska

MORNING ØUTPUT #6

I've grown up with dogs. Lots of dogs. I think there was even one point where we had 12 dogs and 2 litters of puppies (so... maybe 20 altogether). 

And look, Alaska is sweet, funny, playful, loves a good kiss as and a cuddle.

But she is a serious amount of work. The potty training... oh man, the potty training. I feel like many years from now I'll have flashbacks to this -- the pooing, the peeing -- and I'll wake up screaming in the middle of the night, drenched in my own sweat, and I'll cry.

"Are you okay?" my wife will ask from behind me.

But I won't hear, I'll be lost in my personal 'Nam, shaking as I relive the memories, the smells.

***

But yeah, she's sweet.

READING - The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

WRITING - Lazarus Edits

WATCHING - XX

MØ5: Monday Battleplans

 
LukeKondor

MORNING ØUTPUT #5

It’s Monday!

And in today’s day and age that means planning for the week, pretending that maybe, just maybe, this is the week you’re going to finally figure out how to balance all those projects with life, food, sleep, and other general life tasks.

Balance.

Ha!

As if such a concept were real.

Here’s what I’m up to this week -

MISSION ALASKA: A weekend long sojourn to Kent to pick up the latest member of the Kondor tribe.

10K TRAINING: Not long now. My first 10k awaits. The weird thing is… I’ve really been fucking enjoying my running recently. Sure it’s hard. Sure it’s killing my legs and I’ve picked up a couple of blisters along the way, but this whole exercise thing… it ain’t too bad.

PROJECT LAZARUS: Some finishing touches for another of mine and Dan’s novels. Not too long now before this little baby is all grown up and ready to fend for its self in the pits of hell (publishing).

These are the three big ones for the week but there’s also the usual short story writing, podcast recording, Kickstarter fulfilment, fiancée smooching, etc.

Oh... and a new secret project. 

READING - The Ones That Got Away by Stephen Graham Jones

LISTENING - Joe Rogan Podcast

WATCHING - True Detective Se1 (REWATCH)

 

MØ4: HP Lovecraft was a failure/success

 

MORNING ØUTPUT #4


Reading and researching a lot of Lovecraft at the minute and stumbled across this excerpt from “H.P. Lovecraft and the Horror of the Unseen” by Jess Nevins.

"H.P. Lovecraft died when he was 47. He only had one year of primary school and never graduated from high school. He lived in poverty all of his adult life. Of the 48 stories and three novel-length works written when he was an adult, only 26 appeared in professional (rather than amateur) magazines during his lifetime. The most attention he ever received from the literary establishment during his lifetime was when the critic Edward J. O'Brien included “The Colour Out of Space” in O'Brien’s influential Best Short Stories anthology."

Nothing to write home about... but wait... 

"And yet Lovecraft is, by critical consensus, the most influential horror writer of the 20th Century."

Maybe not a failure then. Maybe a badass after all.