Coming from Titan Books in February 2018…
(Cover by Julia Lloyd)
The truth is, although writing is a full-time career, it doesn’t pay like one. It’s not reliable when you have bills to pay and kids to feed. So, in order to keep making my art, I’m trying what many other creatives are doing right now, and asking my audience for a little help.
If you’ve enjoyed my books or short stories, my Twitter feed, one of my public performances, or any of the articles on this site, please consider helping me continue to write. You can do it in one of two ways:
1) If you’d like to buy me a cup of coffee, you can make a one-off donation of any amount at ko-fi.com/garethlpowell
2) Alternatively, if you’d like to make a regular contribution in return for some exclusive patron-only content (including deleted scenes, special blog posts, early cover reveals, etc.) you might consider supporting me on patreon.com/GarethLPowell from as little as $1 per month.
I hate to ask, but every little helps right now. And hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, I’ll be able to delete these sites because I won’t need them any more.
Regular readers will know that I’ve been posting story ideas on Twitter each day, using the hashtag #DailyStoryIdeas.
If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve gathered together 55 of the best of those ideas into one post. Feel free to use and adapt them.
If you find one that really inspires you, you can always say thank you by supporting me on Patreon.
I saw on Twitter this morning that students are graduating from the University of South Wales today. If you’re one of them, I wish you all the luck in the world.
Twenty-four years ago, on a sunny day in 1993, I graduated from USW – although back then, it was known as the University of Glamorgan. I wore a mortarboard and gown, and climbed up on stage to receive my BA (hons) in Humanities.
I was twenty-two years old, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I had no idea how to go about it, and no expectation I’d be able to make a living from the angsty poems and overly-melodramatic short stories I’d been churning out for the creative writing classes I’d taken as part of my degree.
As a result, I spent the rest of my twenties in a series of dead-end call centre jobs, and I didn’t really get my ass into gear and start writing seriously until I reached thirty, and realised it was time to stop talking about being a writer, and actually write something.
My first novel was published in 2010, the year I turned forty. Since then, I’ve written six more, plus a multitude of short stories. But I feel I left things a bit late. I could have written a lot more if I’d knuckled down when I left university, rather than letting everything drift for so many years.
So, that’s my advice to you. If you have a dream – if you want to be a writer, artist, singer, actor or whatever – don’t wait. Don’t waste the next ten years promising you’ll get around to your dream once you’ve established yourself in a more respectable job. Don’t wither on the vine. Go out there and grab the world by the throat.
If you want to be a writer, declare to the world that you are a writer. Start thinking as a writer would think. React to situations the way a writer would. The only way to achieve your dream is to live it. Do what you have to in order to earn money, but don’t let it define you. If you get a job in a bank, don’t think of yourself as a banker who writes on the side, think of yourself as a writer who is a banker on the side. Dedicate yourself to your craft, and do one thing every day to bring success one step closer.
Read and memorise The Artist’s Prayer.
Trust me, the next ten years are going to pass at an incredible rate. Make the most of them.
All the best,
This morning, before breakfast, I wrote the following lines:
When in doubt, do the work.
When in obscurity,
When the rain falls and everything turns to ashes in your hands,
When you are in love,
And when you are alone,
When the world clamours for your attention,
And when all have turned their backs upon you,
Do the work.
When tired, do the work.
When gripped by infirmity
Or paralysed by fear,
In the company of friends,
In ecstasy or desolation,
During the dark times and the light,
In anger and with compassion,
Do the work.
Most of the time, I’d say I veered towards the aetheist end of the belief spectrum. I tend to put my trust in science rather than belief. And yet I’ve had a few experiences in my life that I’ve been unable to explain.
1). Broad Haven. Some of you may be familiar with the Broad Haven UFO incident of 1977, when an entire class from the local school saw a cigar-shaped flying saucer, and the manageress of a local hotel witnessed a similar craft landing in her grounds.
The incident I’m thinking of happened a few years later – although I wasn’t told about it until some time afterwards.
In 1980 or 1981 (I’m not sure which), my family were on holiday in Broad Haven, staying in a caravan. During the night, my mother and father were awakened by a strange light, and “felt footsteps walking up the bed between them.”
Spooked, they woke myself and my siblings up at 1:00 am and packed the car in order to go home. They told us they were “leaving early to avoid traffic,” which seemed to make sense at the time.
But on the way home, a dense fog lay in the bottom of every valley, and the skies were alive with shooting stars. At least thirty in every minute. I’ve never seen anything like it, before or since. The heavens seemed to be raining down, one brilliant white scratch after another.
2). Spanish Castle. In 2008, I flew to Barcelona for a conference. While on the plane, I looked out the window and saw a long, craggy ridge topped by a majestic castle caught in a sunset-coloured light. It seemed to be around ten miles away. Yet, I could still see it twenty minutes later. To have lingered outside my window, it must have been huge. We were high in the sky and travelling at full speed. There was no way it could have been real. There are no escarpments that large in Spain. And yet, it seemed so tangible, like a vision of Valhalla. I can’t explain it…
3). Loch Ness. I’m not a believer in the Loch Ness monster. Although the cubic area of the loch is impressive (greater than all the other rivers and lakes in the UK combined), I can’t believe it could have harboured a breeding population of prehistoric sea creatures for all these years.
However, I did see something there.
I was on a boating holiday at the time, and at the helm. Ahead, I saw something which I first took to be the head and neck of a cormorant. But then I noticed that compared to a nearby bouy, it was significantly larger than I would have expected such a sea bird to have been. Then it sank, withdrawing into the water like a submerging periscope, and not at all in the manner of a diving bird.
I suppose it could have been a snake, or an optical illusion caused by sunlight on the water. But to this day, I can’t say definitively what it might or might not have been.
But on the same holiday, we experienced another odd happening. We pulled our boat up to a jetty on the side of the loch. Four other boats were moored to the same jetty, and some fishermen were fishing from the end of it. I got talking to them, and they gave me five fresh trout that they’d just caught. Being the only one in our party who knew how to gut a fish, I sat on the jetty and eviscerated the slipery trout, casting their organs and entrails into the water beside our boat. Then I climbed on board. No sooner had I done so than the boat started rocking. And I mean rocking. Our boat and the two in front of us were bucking around as if caught in a hurricane. But the fourth boat was strangely unmoved, and there didn’t seem to be a breath of wind outside. it was almost as if there was something under us… maybe feeding on the discarded trout guts…?
As I implied earlier, I’m natually a sceptic at heart, and strongly resist any sort of supernatural explanation for any of these occurences. But they really happened, and I can’t explain them, so I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
I had a bit of a surprise today. For some reason, Amazon has Ack-Ack Macaque: The Complete Trilogy listed under the category ‘Erotic Action & Adventure’, and it’s currently sitting at the #1 spot!
As far as I’m aware, there is zero sexiness in the book. Which means some erotica fans are in for a bit of a surprise!
Solaris Books has just announced the forthcoming publication of Ack-Ack Macaque: The Complete Trilogy.
This new omnibus will collect together the novels Ack-Ack Macaque, Hive Monkey, and Macaque Attack – plus a brand new final chapter detailing the monkey’s ultimate fate!
The book will be published in December, which makes it an ideal Christmas present for anyone with a love of twisty thrillers, fast-paced action and unforgettable characters.