MO

MØ36: Jedi Radicalism & My New Book

 

Morning Øutput #36

Hi.

It’s been five years since my first story was published in a little-known collection of short-shorts called, ‘Flash Fiction World’.

So to honour, move on, ritualise, something, I’ve decided to take the best (audience favourites, most downloaded, personal selections) short stories and put them into one halfway decent collection. 

Introducing:

 
CORVUS.jpg
 

Take The Corvus: Short Stories & Essays by me

It will have stories previously published. It will have some new stuff. It is a best-of. It will be FREE to all of my patrons. I will be doing some signed print editions. I’m definitely going to want a copy of this on my shelf.

I haven’t worked out the blurb yet but here’s the track-listing:

  1. Take The Corvus
  2. Finders Keepers
  3. Women’s Running Magazine
  4. Doghouse
  5. Tusk
  6. Photoshop Wizard
  7. Chew Toy
  8. The Three-Oh
  9. Hell’s Kitchen
  10. Mr Lundin
  11. Ocean Eyes
  12. The People Who Live In My Beard
  13. The Old Fools of Tudor Close
  14. It’s Wednesday Night!
  15. Monty’s Meats
  16. Toast
  17. @boyonawall
  18. Old Knobbly
  19. Blackberry Gap
  20. Cardboard
  21. The Last Days of my Dad
  22. The Corvus Takes
  23. ESSAY: Tales from my first Five Years in the Womb
  24. ESSAY: On Writer’s Block & Other Buckets of Shit
  25. ESSAY: What I Learned from Writing a Short Story a Day for a Year
  26. ESSAY: How I made an Award-Winning Short Film in 7 Days with No Money, No Camera, & No Ideas.

The stories are all written but I’m going to go over and do another round of editing. So it should be primed and ready for the new year.


Star Wars - The Last Jedi

I went to see TLJ last week. I liked it. I didn’t love it. I laughed at all the jokes. I was in awe at all the beautiful bits. I got all tense at the battle bits. But something didn’t click for me. 

Now, for me, I give it a B. 

I’ll definitely rewatch it at some point and that may change, but what’s been more interesting to me, is how people’s reactions have almost turned into a parody of left-wing, right-wing politics.

People have been radicalised in their opinions. It seems, either you’re a far-left ‘Best SW film since Empire’ sorta person. Or you’re a far-right ‘Triggered nerd boy who doesn’t want change’ sorta person. 

I’m sure there are many people who feel the same as me. Middlin’. But even I’ve felt a little forced over to one side based on people’s reactions.

When you read articles with headlines like ‘TLJ doesn’t care what fanboys think’ or meme’s like ‘Fanboys complained because Force Awakens was too similar, now they’ll complain because Last Jedi is too different,’ it forces you to try and justify your feelings, pushing you further and further into them. And then you come up with conclusions and you try to justify them, too. It turns into a feedback loop, pushing you further and further into your position, into your far-right, or far-left views.

Swap out all the Star Wars stuff and pop in something to do with Election Results or Brexit and I imagine the situation will be pretty similar.  

...or maybe not. Who knows? Politics is weird.

If you really care for my thoughts on the film, I’ll put an image at the bottom of this post. It will contain SPOILERS.



ÎNPUT

Currently in the middle of three separate books and I watched a LOT of films. Mostly HH stuff. 

WATCHED

Black Christmas, Jack Frost, & Krampus

All for the Horror Hangout Christmas episode.

Ringu 2

See above.

The Last Jedi *SPOILERS*

Here are my thoughts:

  • Act 2 and 3 are the wrong way around. (You end with the kamikaze, obvs.)
  • Porgs are cool. 
  • Luke fake out and then dying anyway isn’t emotionally satisfying and is actually a bit of a cop out. He meditated so hard he popped his clogs? Eesh. Dude needs a final moment of bad-assery.
  • Superman-Leia was awesome. I got goosebumps.
  • Such pretty visuals. 
  • Why are all the battle scenes so rushed? Take your time. Give us the ups and downs of the battles, dude. OG Trilogy had the best battles. Hoth comes to mind.
  • I kinda loved the Falcon going through the caverns. It reminded me of the run to the core of the Death Star II.
  • Maz Kanata scene was like a checkpoint in a game. “Now you must go find the codebreaker, bring me five alien-horse collars and I’ll throw in some extra bonus points.”
  • Ackbar!!! Dammit. That fish deserved better.
  • Rey & Kilo dynamic was the most interesting part of the film. 
  • Poe Dameron is a mutineer! And all his superiors can say is, “Awh, ain’t he cute.” No! He should be in fucking space prison. 
  • For me, it’s not as good as people are saying. It’s also not as bad as people are saying. It’s a solid B.

Like I said, I'll watch it again. It's a good film. But I can't lie and say I came out feeling particularly jazzed about it.

Life

A baked beans-on-toast sorta movie. Doesn't wow you, nor does it change your life, but it hits the spot. Also, the thing itself, Calvin, was really kinda scary.

LISTENED

The Robocop Soundtrack and this compilation of Star Wars tunes.


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That's all for this week. Hold onto your balls because Christmas is upon us, and Krampus is coming.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ34: Out of Action

 

Morning Øutput #34

Hi.

This is gonna be a short one guys and gals. I'm off work today because I've been having these crazy stomach cramps (probably related to the two hernias I've currently got).

I think it might be my body shutting down after such a massive project. It tends to be the way.

NaNoBoozeMo Final Stats:

  • 50018 out of 50000 words written.
  • 64025 out of 50000 metres ran.
  • No booze.

Other bits:

  • The image up top is a little cover sketch for The 3.0, my NaNo novel. There's still a lot of editing and rewriting to do but I'm quite proud of it. Here's the blurb:

Black Mirror meets Ex Machina with all the violence of Battle Royale.

With the singularity just around the corner, City44 has put together the latest reality TV sensation — The Turing Test! 
12 Contestants. 11
human. 1 not. 
Join the millions of city-folk as they watch the housemates and judge every movement, every reaction, every word spoken, and help decide just who is the most human. All those nominated will be evicted — a process that strips flesh from bones and reveals the humanity, or circuitry, within.

If a human, they will be granted access to City44 to live out their days in the Internet-of-Experience, free from pain and toil.

Or… will the Turing Test finally be beaten and will our Bot prove their humanity, proving the creation of life?

The 3.0 is a story of outcasts desperate to prove their humanity and in the process, discovering what it is that makes them human in the first place — their guilt, their crimes, their relationships, their pain. All with the feeling that one wrong move, one wrong word, might end with them in the furnace, screaming as their skin melts from their bodies.

  • I wrote an essay -- How To Win At NaNoWriMo -- for my patrons. 
  • People are already making goals for next year! I haven't even given a thought yet. What about you?
  • KEITH screened at the Filmed Up night in Manchester. It's always fun to see it in front of an audience. I can't wait to get stuck into the feature. 

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ÎNPUT

WATCHED

The Brood

Starting off my Cronenbergian Christmas right with The Brood. Although there are a few pacing issues for me, this is pretty much a perfect horror movie. I mean, it's genuinely horrifying.


Gremlins

I actually fell asleep during this but only because I found it so warm and comforting. It was like wrapping myself up in a childhood blanky.


The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

One for this week's Horror Hangout.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000

My new favourite thing on Netflix. I don't want to explain a single thing about it. Just do yourself a favour and stick it on.

READ

Thinner by Stephen King/Richard Bachman

Thinner is a ton of fun. 
You go into it expecting something relatively simple but King/Bachman add a ton of extra spice with the scaly guy, spotty man, and the wonderfully obscene hitman mobster, Ginelli. Oh... and the breathing (SPOILERS!!!) pie.

Also really fun to find out the Lemke family are of Magyar descent. If you didn’t know, Kondor is a Magyar name. Also, I’m known as the gypsy at work because I’ve moved all around the country and worked at every office. AND… my future in-laws also call me the Hungarian gypsy. 
So… yeah… watch out… or I’ll curse yer!

#gypsyfam

This is a good 4 outta 5 and one of the better King endings.

Hellboy Vol2. Wake The Devil

I've been meaning to carry on with this series for quite a while. I wasn't completely sold by Vol 1 but this after this one... I'm getting there... 

LISTENED

Machine Head - Through The Ashes of Empire

Pantera - Random playlist

Been getting my old school metal on.


Gotta go.

Like I said. I got aches.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ31: Why so stressed?

 
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Morning Øutput #31

Hi.

“Why? What is it that’s stressing you out?”

Dan asked me that the other day after I told him I was feeling overwhelmed. I was panicking about the piles of shit I had to get through that day —  all those words to write, all that running to do, a house to clean, washing up, a dog to walk, podcasts to record, some reading, eating, etc.

Well?” he said.

I quickly realised that yes, I did have a lot to do, but it was all my choice. I was the taskmaster, the drill-sergeant. The only person threatening to break my legs if I didn’t hit my deadlines was me. 

That ‘me’ dude needs to chill out a bit. 

Maybe after NaNo is done I’ll take a week off or something. Who knows?


NaNoBoozeMo Stats:

22974 out of 50000 words written

25750 out of 50000 metres ran

No booze. 


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ÎNPUT

WATCHED

They Live

Another John Carpenter film and another winner. 

Haute Tension/Switchblade Romance

After reading Intensity, I wanted to see what all the rip-off fuss was about. Basically, this film came out a few years after the book was published, not billed as an adaptation in any way. And wow... just wow... although the final act is significantly different, the first half of the film is beat-for-beat. Not just a same premise sorta deal, but more of a re-skinning of names and locations. The film was fun, but wow... tag the artist, man. Tag the artist!

The Burning

Making the most of my Shudder subscription. A pretty standard summer camp slasher film. Some nice makeup effects from Tom Savini, though.

READ

Intensity by Dean Koontz -

4.5 out of 5.

This is a solid novel. I wanted to give Koontz a go and this was a pretty great place to start. It's genuinely tense, thrilling, pretty brutal in places, had a heap of catharsis in the end with great characters. I could read about Edgler Vess for days and not get bored.

I would 100% recommend this book. I'd even say it's a 5-star book, but for me, personally, there were a few niggles here and there that didn't quite work for me. A matter of taste more than anything else. 
But yeah... I'm up for reading some more Koontz. I'm thinking maybe Watchers or Phantoms.

LISTENED

Brace for the Turing - My NaNo Playlist


Right I'm off. That bastard is beating at the door again, demanding words, always words.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ29: Animal House

 
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Morning Øutput #29

Hi.

So much cool stuff is brewing right now it’s about ready to pop and all I can do is stay focused, do the work, and remind myself to smile.


The clocks shifted this weekend. The world around us shunted forth and we jettisoned an hour. Which meant Alaska was up at 4:30 am barking her head off, threatening to wet the bed. 

I got up, gave her a fuss, let her outside to do her business. She’s had a rough weekend, that one. In fact, both of our animals did. It felt like living in a Pixar film. 

- Alaska got beat up by a German Shepherd puppy at the park. It pinned her down in the mud until she yelped. We took her home, gave her a bath, tried to make her feel better about being bullied. I'm pretty sure that this is her inciting incident. Soon up there’ll be a training montage and the film will end with her realising she may not be as big, but she’s quicker and smarter than the big bad bully at the park.

- And then Oscar, the cat, fell out of the bathroom window. We found him clinging for dear life on the guttering outside the house. The poor thing was terrified. I had to climb out the window, peel him away from the gutter, and help him back inside. I figure his character flaw is about how much of a scaredy-cat he is when it comes to the outdoors. Which means his character arc will most likely involve him getting lost out in the city, and will have him finding his way home, making alley-cat friends on the way, learning that the outside isn't so scary after all.

The stories are around us… all the time.

But truth be told, rescuing your animals only makes you care for them all the more. I love our family unit. It’s one of the things that really makes me feel whole.


Bits of Interest

  • I wrote an essay! All about what I’ve learned five years into my writing career. It’s called Tales From My First Five Years In The Womb. It’s only available to my 10-dollar patrons, so if you’re interested, get to the pledging
  • CYPHER - H&C’s latest audio drama will be live on Kickstarter very soon. The sound production on this is next level. 
  • I'm 18,000 words into my novella and I’m realising it might actually turn out to be a small novel. Maybe 40,000 words. We’ll see. Also, the working title has changed. Now I’m thinking of something like Brace For The Turing. Hmmmn. Not too sure actually. What do you think?
  • We interviewed post-apoc and fantasy author, Jon Cronshaw over on The Story Studio podcast and it was super fun. I was sincerely impressed by his Ray Bradbury challenge. Read one poem, one essay, and one short story every day for a thousand days. He’s on day 430.

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ÎNPUT

READ

Pet Sematary - 

4.5 outta 5.

It would've been a five if I didn't know the story so well from the film. I think it was maybe one of the first horror movies I watched as a kid so I knew what was coming.

Although... the ending still got me. In fact, that whole final part with Oz the Gweat and Tewwible was lovely and dark.

SHORT STORIES
eyes I dare not meet in dreams by Sunny Moraine

ESSAYS
Attitude' by Margaret Atwood

WATCHED

Stranger Things Season 2 -

Holy crap... how good is this show!? Only halfway through so far. I think I'm most impressed by how they've managed to capture that eighties vibe with it feeling authentic and in no way pastiche. 


NaNoBoozeMo begins on Wednesday. I'm nervous, excited, unsure if it's even possible. I'm gonna get myself prepped and ready so...

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

 

 

MØ20: McGregor, Huel, & Tobe Hooper

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #20

Sunrise walk with Alaska

Hi.

I can't believe I've been doing this thing for twenty weeks already.

How was it for you? Rough? Pointless?

But still... that's what this has been all about for me. Doing something that doesn't have to be perfect. Doesn't have to be considered or thought-out. Doesn't have the sheen of a blog-post or the polish of a short story.

I was looking for a way to let loose, keep an online journal of sorts, try stuff out, win some, fail more.

So a quick thanks if you've been reading this every week. There's something very special about you. Very special indeed.


The Big Fight

On Sunday morning I slimed out of my duvet-cocoon at 3am to watch the big fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.

I was rooting for Conor. I knew he didn't really stand a chance but I can't help but admire the guy who's able to bend the universe again and again with his infectious madness.

Frankie Boyle hit the nail on the head on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 09.47.59.png

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Here are two things you might not know about me. 

1. I'm a creature of habit.

2. I hate choosing what to eat at lunch time.

Enter, Huel.

"Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the... blah blah blah..."

It's essentially a meal-replacement powder that is way healthier than the tuna and kidney bean mix I've been making myself every day for the past few months. 

When it comes to the middle of the day, I just want someone to hook me up to an IV drip and pump me with all the stuff I need to stay sane, healthy, and not-dead. Huel is the next best thing.


INTERESTING BITS


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INPUT

READ

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury - Rockets, Mars, spacemen, time travel. All told in that vivacious lovely prose that I expect from Bradbury.

Some amazing stories and a few average ones. Here are my favourites:

  • The Veldt
  • Kaleidoscope
  • The Last Night of the World (actually an amazingly sweet story that I plan to go back and re-read)
  • The Fox and the Forest (time travelling cat and mouse story)
  • The City (surprisingly gory)
  • Zero Hour

WATCHED

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - We recorded an episode of Horror Hangout all about this film a few days before hearing of Tobe Hooper's death. Incredibly sad to hear that. This film really is a classic for so many reasons.

A quick aside, check out this art by Tristan Jones:

 
DIRGYGRUIAAKoWl.jpg
 

Defenders - It was okay. It was kinda awesome to see the four guys coming together to kick some ass but I feel like we've completely left the bone-breaking grittiness of the original season of Daredevil. That was the very thing that made it work so well. Now all we're getting is kung fu campiness that just leaves me feeling icky.

Ozark SE1EP1 - Only caught the first episode and thought it was incredible. Jason Bateman directing too. I think he's going to do quite well in this film business.

LISTENED

The Keith Playlist!


Right then...

If Conor McGregor can pull Mayweather out of retirement, jump to a completely different sport, and make enough money to make a small country melt with envy, then I can damn well get my writing done.

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

P.S. Huel stands for Human Fuel but it sounds so much like the noise of someone vomiting.

 

MØ19: 'ah Keith in Liverpool

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #19

Hi.

How's it going?

Me?

I'm feeling a little rough after a Saturday night spent at my friends in Liverpool playing Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, drinking Brewdog ales, and pretending that I don't get hangovers that ruin my mind and soul for days afterwards.

But onwards anyway. Too many stories to write to worry about muzzy heads and gut-rot.


PROJECT KEITH 

... is underway. 

I've spent some time sketching out ideas for the film, trying to work out just what a feature film told in this medium would look like.

You might think a whole 90-minutes told on a screen would be limiting but I gotta say, I kinda love limitations. It's in the limitations that you get to flex your creativity, experiment a little, fail some.

Moving forward, I made a Patreon post detailing the proposed timeline of the project but here's what I'm hoping to get done in the first quarter.

What I want to have in 90 days:

A shooting draft of the screenplay - nice and polished and ready to go.

The first 10-minutes of the film - finished and ready to put online.

All main parts cast. 

Some promo images.

A lottery win - one can hope.

If you fancy supporting the project, why not become a Patron?


INTERESTING BITS

  • This week's episode of TOS is one of mine -- Cat Litter & A Few Drops Of Blood. Brought to life by the amazing Ian McEuen. Definitely not inspired by my own need to have a clean house.
  • We interviewed Joanna Penn of TheCreativePenn.com over on The Story Studio podcast about building a publishing empire.
  • Joe Rogan podcast hit episode 1000... that's crazy!? I wonder if we'll reach 1000 with one of our shows.
  • I'm writing the new Keith screenplay on Highland. Screenwriting software that uses simple markdown syntax. Nice.

INPUT

WATCHED

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - One for the Horror Hangout. 'tis okay. It doesn't have the same hold on me like it seems to have on other horror fans.

Game Of Thrones S7 - This show has some serious bite. Episode 6 managed to break my heart a little bit. 

LISTENED

Piano is Evil by Amanda Palmer - I think Amanda's best when she's singing her heart out behind a piano.

The Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 Soundtrack - Pretty much the soundtrack of my 13th year on the planet. 

The KEITH inspiration playlist.

READ

The Great & Secret Show by Clive Barker - This book is a weird one. I never quite knew what I was reading until a couple of hundred pages in. More fantasy than horror but still with the odd bit of Barker gore thrown in there. Also, the epic ending and the moments in Quiddity are kind of amazing.


Okay guys, have a great week. I need a paracetemol and a glass of water.

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

 

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)