In Their Footsteps

Pitlochry, Scotland

In mid-September I spent a week up in Scotland—in the picturesque Highland village of Pitlochry. It was an appropriate place to finish off the first full editing session of Codename: Foxglove. Dominique (Foxglove), went there to visit her mentor, Rachel (Codename: Nightshade).

The Foxglove story will rest until mid-October, and from then it will undergo at least three further sessions with two-week breaks between. If it feels ready, I aim to send it out to beta readers in late November. When published, this tale will bring the Beyond The Law stories to a close, so, as might be expected, it will be done with a heavy heart, but by the same token, some series’ run their course. I’d like the final story to be a worthy conclusion to the tales which started life as a single experimental poem about a man who was compelled to end his military career.

Pitlochry saw several scenes from Codename: Nightshade which involved the Mental Riders Motor Cycle Club among others. Characters from both sides of the line came unstuck in a big way in the village. Locations like the filling station, a (renamed) bar on the main road, a large hotel, a car park, and the railway station all held a special significance for me. I travelled along the road which was used in a car and motorbike chase and felt justified in having used the route in the scenes.

While in Scotland, I visited Braemar which featured in Beyond the Law: Retribution. As the author of action scenes, death and mayhem, it creates a peculiar feeling to be on site and imagine what took place in my imaginary world.

Apart from those places I also spent a day at Aviemore and on several of the countryside routes in the area. Here, of course, I was reminded of the characters from my Light at The End trilogy, and in particular my heroine from the spinoff, Sylvia.

In visits to Glasgow, my home town, I’ve enjoyed the ‘sense of place’ when thinking back to the Beyond The Law trilogy, and in recent visits to Edinburgh I sensed the presence of Bryce, and several other characters from Czech Mate.

A knowledge of the locations used in stories complements the imagery and to a certain extent, the action. Returning to ‘real’ places after the job is done is a surreal experience and provides a healthy dose of satisfaction—I’d recommend it to fellow authors.

Thank you for indulging me with your time and comments.

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My Writing Year – 2019

 

A successful writing year is measured using a variety of criteria by different authors. For me, I must feel that if not prolific, I’ve at least achieved a good standard with what I have published. I’m a firm believer that if as an author I expect a payment, I owe the customer my best efforts.

Rather than talk about ‘numbers’ as a guide, it would be better to look at the time taken for some of my most recent publications. Codename: Nightshade, for example, went through my process for two years before I was happy with the end result. One Man, Two Missions, was a bundle of files for a long time before I was satisfied with every story.

 

 

I created Tom Benson-Erotica to avoid, or at least reduce the mentions of the genre on here, but this post will be one of the exceptions and for good reason. I wrote a novel, a full-length prequel novel, and a book of fifty erotic poems.

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Although the erotica output in my own name may not sound impressive, one of my most ambitious projects to date was the creation of a new author.

During 2019, I published five full-size novels as Katya Cumming. I’ve kept the pseudonym and the stories (in progress), a secret for two years. When I came up with the idea I promised myself not to go public until I had completed several books and published them over a period of twelve months. This would allow me to assess unaided development. The experiment was also to see if ‘Katya’ would be prolific, and successful. She has been both when considering she’s had no support or advertising campaigns.

The theory of creating ‘box sets’ was beyond me for a while. I’d checked a fair number on Amazon and couldn’t see many reviews, so I figured that maybe they were popular as a purchase, but not easy to review. Whatever … I spent a couple of weeks selecting and producing four box sets. They haven’t been my most successful venture, but in each case, I’m giving something back in terms of pricing, so it’s the consumer’s loss; not mine.

Throughout the year I offered my services as a beta reader to several members of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (IASD), the finest writing group of its type on Facebook. Oh, yes, and in between other things I produced two stories for the IASD horror anthology Depths of Darkness.

To return to my opening statement regarding success in the past year … yes, I believe that with the sales produced under my own name, and the regular sales by ‘Katya’, it has been a successful writing year.

I’ve produced this summary a month earlier than normal for two reasons. Firstly, I am deep into two WIP and will not be publishing anything new in December 2019. Secondly, this post will be appearing in the November issue of the superb Connections eMag produced by fellow author, Melanie P. Smith.

 

 

 

I have a smaller but no less important target for next year, but more of that in my New Writing Year – 2020 post in the near future. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and summary, and for any comments or suggestions, you may leave. Sincere thanks go out to all you lovely people who’ve sampled or continue to read my efforts.

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