January (2018) in Writing… Tax & ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (17): The Slaves of the Underground’…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optMy January in writing started with a tax return. What fun. As my writing can only be considered a hobby considering my low earnings, I’m hopeful I will only have the 2017/2018 return to do before taking advantage of new tax rules allowing for a minimum of a £1000 additional earnings before the need for a separate taxation process beyond main earnings. Of course, I would like for my writing to earn me more than a £1000 and for that to by my main source of income… (I earned £320 last year, and while I know that will not pay any bills, that’s supported my board game habit, and I’m chuffed at earning anything from tapping away at my keyboard!)

January also saw me doing some writing too. With one wholly new project finished in ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (13): The Ghosts of the Black Museum’, I set about planning the next three. One of them proved to come more readily into my head than the others, so to avoid brain ache I just went with that one. The other two can get more head time to cook up into something easier to get into the keys. I opted for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (17): The Slaves of the Underground’. It will be the penultimate of the next run in my series, but it will still pack a punch. It will see Darkwood and Hobbs separated under sad circumstances, and then reunited in desperate circumstances. The next run doesn’t let up on the bashing of Darkwood and Hobss. I’m a mean writer daddy. There will be a return of an old friend, an old enemy, a return monster, and a newly visited ancient Cthulhu style city. Read on for an extract after the jump…

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Darkwood & Hobbs Live! & Plots Within Plots… Reflecting on November and December (2017)…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optAfter a long break from writing, 2017 saw me get back on the swivel chair at the desk and take some tentative taps at the keyboard as I eased my head back into writing. I won’t lie, the enthusiasm was hard to come by. Not writers block as such, but a big dose of ‘what’s the point’. Sales have flat-lined, and I was returning to write the next run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ short stories, which, when I did have regular sales, was never a strong seller. But, they were the ones I have had the most fun writing, and being short they seemed a good place to start this writing thing again. I was kind to myself and finished a project first, but then came the blank page under the opening of the next project, ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (13): The Ghosts of the Black Museum’…

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The Darkwood Mysteries: The Catalogue of Errors… Reflecting on October (2017)…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optOctober saw the release of a collection of all ‘The Darkwood Mysteries‘ currently available. Darkwood and Hobbs, the heroes of these Victorian tales of horror and adventure, can think themselves lucky. They only have to deal with criminals and the supernatural, and they have me to bail them out. I, on the other hand, have to write and then self-publish their exploits. I only have the staff of me to do this. And, as I have recently found… I can be f****** useless. Okay, that’s a little harsh, but within the three days of formatting and uploading this collection to Kindle I nurtured a red, hot, and smothering self-rage at the stupid mistakes I kept making.

Let me start my tale of torment at the very beginning. First, some context. I write. Frustrated with the traditional publishing approach of differing submission requirements and waiting forever to get nowhere, I decided to self-publish. Through a mixture of many people wanting my money to promote my books, and me not being one to shout about my work, they don’t get promoted. I guess I rely on the chance of readers stumbling across me. I’m no self-publishing guru. Of course, I am not actually relying on chance. I am relying on whatever algorithm on Kindle gets you seen. It’s akin to having every book in the whole history of the world in one place, and hoping the senile librarian leads a reader looking for ’50 Shades of Grey’ to the aisle with my book in it. Whilst I’m not on the bestseller list, I’ve enjoyed periods of (very) modest sales. And although they flat lined in the last year, ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, along with ‘Ivory’, have always had the least amount of sales. Bordering on being completely unseen.

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Meet Jack Hobbs…

Jack Hobbs

Jack Hobbs may be in service at Darkwood’s side, but he is her most trusted confidant, ally and companion. It is a position earned through his unwavering loyalty when faced with the shadowy, frightening and dangerous otherworld Darkwood skirts in her determined pursuit of justice and truth. Short, and slight, what he lacks in physicality he makes up for with scrappiness and a well swung cosh, and his extensive knowledge of London’s warren of lanes and alleys and their seamy life. Yet it is his openness, his acceptance of what others might dismiss or reject in Darkwood’s strange encounters, the way he speaks his mind, and his mischievous humour which Darkwood values the most in his company. These things prevent Hobbs from ever being ‘just’ a servant and maintains him always as a cherished companion.

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Meet Emily Darkwood…

Emily Darkwood

Emily Darkwood is the embodiment of an age where the new world questions the old, and which idealises new philosophies, philanthropy and self-determination. Yet she is conscious of only being able to do so from the luxury of her privileged position in society—and also the caveats and limitations the same society places upon her. With strong aspirations and a fierce defence of equality and justice, she is often at odds with the circles she moves within. Her warm personality and wit softens most, and her bullishness and startlingly quick intellect bewilders the rest, but she can be troubled by the knowledge that her character and the way she determines to live her life can make her an outsider, and could well be a barrier to her personal happiness. It is in those times she is emboldened by the memory of parents.

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The Darkwood Mysteries Collection…

This Halloween something wicked this way comes… For the first time, all nine tales which begin The Darkwood Mysteries are collected in one volume.

FB Square Kindle Collection 1The Darkwood Mysteries is a series of short-stories and novels which can be enjoyed as individual tales or as part of a deeper mystery.

Emily Darkwood, guided by a mysterious stone, investigates the supernatural and the criminal in the gaslight and shadows of Victorian England. Assisted by her faithful young servant-companion, Jack Hobbs, she risks all in her search for answers to the mystery of the stone and the fates of her parents who left it to her.

Tales 1 – 9 of The Darkwood Mysteries collected in one volume:

The Thief of Faces: Why is Darkwood keeping vigil at her friend’s tomb? Darkwood hunts a serial killer with a gruesome signature execution. What does a murderer want his victims’ faces for?

The Posthumous Child: Darkwood receives messages from the other side whilst a family experiences a ghostly tormentor. What does a spirit child want to be known? What secret haunts the country estate of Cecil House?

The Luminous Marks: Glowing marks are left at the sites of petty thefts. What are they for? Darkwood and Hobbs search out the meaning of the marks in London’s fog shrouded night.

The Wrath of the Dragon: Just who or what is causing terrible fires in the slums of London’s East End? Superstitious fears on the street claim the Chinese are to blame—but could there really be a dragon in London?

The Peacock Cabal: Just what drained a young man of his vitality and left him dead? Men who love men are dying, as something takes advantage of the secrecy surrounding their hidden love. Darkwood’s investigation reveals a conspiracy and a sinister threat…

The Cult of the Scarab: How does a mummified body, missing from the British Museum, connect to Darkwood’s nightmare of beetles in a foreign red land? The answer is found at the end of a trail of bodies…

The Hag on the Heath: Is an acquaintance of Darkwood the victim of supernatural attack? Darkwood, Hobbs, the victim and her gypsy kin—her father and his companions—embark on a hunt for a witch, but all is not as it seems…

The Spindly-Snatcher: Why is a writer burning down bookshops? Darkwood and Hobbs investigate a creeping madness, but in doing so the hunters become the hunted…

The Conspiracies of Shadow & Fire: Conspiracies in the past unfold in the present and pitch Darkwood and Hobbs into a desperate struggle where they are uncertain of who they can trust, and drawn to a confrontation with the ultimate evil…

Available for pre-order on Amazon now.

Darkwood and Hobbs will be returning in a new run of nine stories in 2018. Get ahead now. Don’t be left in the shadows–they aren’t what they appear to be…