Tag Archives: Guest Article

Monster Mashup – Guest Post – [Raymond M. Rose]


It’s 1986 and I am curled up on a big chair in a darkened theater.  On the screen is a movie that my parents won’t allow me to see… but my Uncle will.  ‘Aliens’ is, at first, scary and exciting and I am totally into it.  Though, right about the time that the creatures attack and Vasquez goes all batshit shooting the place up, my 11 year old brain asks, “What kind of movie is this?”  Is it Sci/Fi?  Horror?  A War movie?  An advanced pilot for ‘Mad About You?’

The answer, of course, is YES!  (Especially the last part – unknown fact: Helen Hunt played the Queen).  ‘Aliens’ is all of these things and so much more.

Guest Blog – Jeffrey Thomas – Marvelous Monstrosities

For this latest Guest Blog entry, Jeffrey Thomas, author of the book Monstrocity from Anarchy Books stops by.  He’s written us an interesting piece about writing books in the digital age we all now live in, and how it’s affected him. I’m happy to announce that he’s coping quite well.  Enjoy!

John C. Scott, Author – Guest Blog post

Welcome to another Guest Blog post! This time around John C. Scott stops by to talk to us in-depth about his debut novel, The Legend of Adam Caine, as well as taking us on a tour of his writing process and some other tips and tricks on the subject. Please enjoy!

Hey guys!

I would imagine most of you (besides the Commissar and Bane) haven’t heard of me, but I’m a writer. Or at least, that’s what I want to be when I grow up; the fact that I’m twenty-six already has nothing to do with that, of course… nor the fact that my day job is as an industrial chef, making literally tonnes of sauces and other components for Sainsbury’s’ ready meals (for all you Brits reading this).

Anyways, I thought I’d share my thought processes on writing, or at least what I’ve learnt. I’m not just talking about specific structures and whatnot, but fiction writing in general (whether it’s short stories, novellas, full novels, or an entire series).

Istarted writing when I was thirteen during an Air Training Corpscamp. I was absolutely obsessed with Star Trek at the time, and Ihad just seen Insurrection in the cinema for my thirteenthbirthday! I wanted to see a whole new crew, and a new ship, with newenemies. But there was no chance of that happening at the time, so Iwrote one. Admittedly, it was so badly written that my current stufflooks like Dan Abnett’s work in comparison! Gotta start somewherethough, right?

Mostof my work between then and now has been fan fiction, including adozen reboots of a failed Star Trek series, a Star Wars story set afew years after the Knights of the Old Republic II game, and anImperial Guard Catachan series that featured me and my friends as thecharacters. Oh, there were also several attempts at writing aStargate spin-off novel series recently as well, lol!

But,April 2006, I was in London to watch my dad run the London Marathon(he did it in just over 5 hours –I was dead proud), and during theevening I went on the Underground train system. Whilst on one of theplatforms, myself and the rest of the passengers were asked to leavebecause of a suspicious package found at one end. And it got methinking: what would it be like if something sci-fi-y happened? Whatkind of people would be caught up in it all? What kind of personwould lead them to safety?

Andthus, Adam Logan Caine was born!

Igrew up around the military, and more specifically, the Royal MarineCommandos at RMB Chivenor in North Devon. Thus, Caine became a RoyalMarine.

Writing-wise,I didn’t plan anything for The Legend of Adam Caine (literally),beyond some brainstorming notes on a TESCO refill pad. What? I wasyoung, and hadn’t had much experience with writing… so sue me. Actually, don’t because I don’t have any money!

Planning,it turns out, is actually important, as I’ve discovered with thesequel “Ghosts of Earth”, and my other current project, “ReconOne-Five”, set in the same universe. More on that in a bit. Planning can be anything: notes on a writing pad, on a computer,anything. Essentially, the story needs to be planned out, so youknow where you are going, and remember where you’ve been. Forexample, this entry has not been planned out at all, and it sucksbecause of that (see what I did there?). It boils down to knowingwhat is happening in your story, and what is going to happen, so youcan keep track of it. If you’re like me, and the day job isexhausting, and you don’t touch your story for a while, you tend tolose track of where you are. With “Ghosts of Earth”, I typed outa small description of every individual chapter. This gave me theoption of not doing the chapters in order, and still know what neededto be done!

Naturally,planning doesn’t just cover the story, but the characterspopulating your world, as well as any new technology, places,environments, etc. Hence why sci-fi/fantasy authors are absolutelynuts… just ask my wife.

Justas a side note, if you’re married or with someone, your writing canbe helped by a loving and supportive partner, someone who willunderstand why you don’t want to go to bed just yet. Or why youhave to get up in the middle of the night to bang out a few pages.

Justa thought: why is a raven like a writing desk? Seriously, I don’tknow, and it’s been bugging me!

Inspirationis a tricky one, because all sorts of things can influence yourstory: from a conversation you overheard on the street, to somethingyou saw on television.

Asfor me, well, here are mine for The Legend of Adam Caine:
BatmanBegins -My favourite movie ever! Batman’s psyche is exploredin depth, with the idea of Bruce Wayne being obsessed with the needto bring justice to criminals in Gotham City to the point of losinghimself in the monster known as The Batman. The mind-set andtechnology involved in him becoming the Batman, including the armouritself is a big inspiration to Adam’s thinking, as well as theunusual fighting technique that he employs.

BattlestarGalactica (2003) -The first real gritty sci-fi drama ontelevision that introduced the idea of ambiguous heroes and even moreambiguous bad guys. Most importantly, though, it had insanely coolbattles in space with “realistic” effects and camera workthat gave it a news-report-feel. Oh, and Edward James Olmos asCommander/Admiral Adama was such an amazing choice!

DanAbnett -My favourite author of all time! His writing-specifically the original three Gaunt’s Ghosts novels- was whatpushed me to start writing myself! His brief but loaded descriptionsand insane attention to detail combine with an astounding ability tocreate believable characters and situations. His action scenes areso intense that you actually feel like you’re in there with the unitsfighting through the streets. I love Dan Abnett!

First& Only -The first in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series of novelsfor Black Library! First & Only was the very first Warhammer40,000 novel i had ever read, and thus started my 14-year obsessionwith futuristic frontline soldiers, not to mention with the TanithFirst & Only themselves. Still waiting for Salvation’s ReachDan…

TheFounding Omnibus -Contains my favourite novel of all time-Necropolis! Necropolis was like nothing I’d ever read, it was anamazing siege tale that showed every trooper on the frontlinefighting for the city of Vervunhive, from the offworld troops to thelocals, and the rivalry between the Tanith and the Volpone Bluebloodsthat’s been brewing since the beginning of the previous novel,Ghostmaker. The siege was incredibly detailed (with a nice little mapfor those of us who had a hard time keeping track of Dan’s placementof the action.) Necropolis also saw Gaunt finally get to show whathe was worth to the upper echelons of the Guard. All told, it is anAWESOME novel and you all should read it!

IndianaJones -One of the first films i remember watching, IndianaJones has always been up there as one of my favourite films. I lovethe films because they’re not part of some huge destiny (like LukeSkywalker or Captain Kirk) of the main character; he’s just trying toget by in a supernatural world filled with ghosts, relics, snakes andNazis. The Indy films are plain good old-fashioned fun, with no realulterior motive. Also, Harrison Ford is absolutely awesome in thefedora and leather jacket with a wry sense of humour, and thedouble-life of professor of archaeology and “Obtainer of RareArtefacts”. More, his relationship with his father ishilarious!

RichardSharpe (played by Sean Bean in the television movies) -thetitle character from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series of novels setduring the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century. Sharpewas an officer raised from the ranks, something utterly unheard of inthose times. Throughout the series, Sharpe is hounded by the upperclass officers, despite his continuing success. As a hero, Sharpewas inspiring to someone like me, literally beating the odds tosurvive and thrive! Plus, Sean Bean is cool! I want that uniform ofhis!

LieutenantColonel John Sheppard (played by Joe Flanigan) -Militaryleader on Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard is a sarcy, wisecrackingspecial operations pilot. It is primarily his weapons and uniformsthat are the inspiration behind Adam’s 21st century uniforms thatkeep popping up here and there! Not to mention, his uncanny abilityto fly any craft he touches!

RononDex (played by Jason Momoa) -Definitely the physical modelfor Adam Caine, not to mention the grumpy and moody temperament! Hischoice of clothing in Stargate Atlantis is also similar to Adam’slater on in the stories. His fighting style is similar to that ofBatman’s, in that he doesn’t use any fancy flourishes or moves tokick the crap out of the enemy!

StarTrek -the movies especially, opened my eyes to sciencefiction in general. The final of the original six was a masterpiece,made just after the end of the cold war, it showed the conflictbetween the Federation and their long-time foe, the Klingons, whoreach out to the Federation for help during an ecological crisis. Ilove the film because of the rising escalation of tensions, fromKirk’s imprisonment, to his rescue, and the subsequent events leadingto the peace treaty between the two conflicting powers.

StarWars –It introduced to me a world of both destiny-boundheroes and the regular schmucks trying to get by in a harsh universe(Luke and Han respectively). It also introduced the most amazingspace battle i had ever seen at the end of the original trilogy! Theentire saga is about the fall and rise of one person: AnakinSkywalker AKA Darth Vader; how he becomes a famed hero, then his turnto the dark side, and finally his redemption in the arms of his son. I just wish Lucas had got the new trilogy right, rather than try andmake a spectacle! The idea of the future Core War is also inspiredheavily by the Star wars novel series, New Jedi Order, where an alienmenace invades the galaxy from outside.

VindicareAssassin (Warhammer 40,000) -Most definitely the inspirationfor Adam Caine’s Ghost suit, though his are green eyes! The bodygloveis based on Jes Goodwin’s Vindicare sketch from his sketchbookreleased by Games Workshop!

RoyalMarines Commando -An elite amphibious fighting force used asa rapid reaction force, they’re one of the best frontline units inthe world. The choice to make Adam Caine a Marine was an easy onesince I grew up next door to RMB Chivenor, and knew dozens of kidswith Marine parents. I got to know a lot of them, and they are theepitome of professionalism and strength. They are trained harder andlonger during basic training than any other ground unit in existence,and are tasked with some truly hard objectives. Hence, why AdamCaine is first and foremost a Royal Marine!

SpecialBoat Service (SBS) -Secretive organisation that most don’tknow a lot about (including me). They specialise in water-basedoperations, mostly covert ops, and draw many of their recruits fromthe Royal Marine Commando Brigade they are a part of, stationed at RMPoole. Like the SAS, they use stealth and ludicrously harsh trainingto achieve their usually impossible missions.

Bandof Brothers -10 hours of pure awesomeness that i got on DVD! This wasn’t so much an inspiration as it was a continuation of onefrom “Saving Private Ryan”, a graphic look at World War IIcombat, a war that happened within some of our lifetimes and showedthe grim reality of all sorts of aspects of combat. Nothing like ithad been on television before, except for a few cop shows like TheWire. It was all based on true stories as well, which made it allthe more harrowing.

Toolsof the trade can be anything you deem necessary to write the story,though my own collection is pretty standard:
Laptop-In the modern age, this is probably the most important thing tohave, as long as you have a decent word processor document! It isfaster than pen and paper, and easier to get it published, as mostpublishers and agents like things all neat and tidy and 12pt TimesNew Roman! E-mails and attachments are the norm! Joy! Although, Iobviously have two, keeping my internet and writing separate toprevent outside influences (AKA, a Trojan virus!). Oh, and don’tforget to back everything up!

Entertainment-Have a huge supply of DVDs, Blu-Rays, and XBOX games! These can actas inspiration or as something to make you laugh, cry, or get angry,and help your writing! Also, you can use them as a quick coffeebreak!

Coca-Cola-Either drink or inject directly into your veins! The sugar andcaffeine rush helps me write faster, and the ideas come thick andfast, lol! Just don’t do it too often, or you’ll end up looking likea goldfish with wide eyes and gawping mouth!

Diary-Keep one of these handy for those all-important appointments, aswell as making sure you remember what day or year it is when you comeout of your mass writing session! Also, if you become successful,you’ll need to remember stuff like signings! I would recommend apage-by-page diary, just because they have lots of space!

Penand Paper -For those of you who don’t like using a computer,or simply for writing notes, keeping track of characters, events,places, and such! Also, when you become famous (I ain’t) you can useit to write autographs!

Dictionaryand Thesaurus -Important, but at the same time useless, asyou can end up making yourself look like a prat, using words youdon’t understand yourself, or constantly checking the thesaurus forsimilar words, making it all the more ununderstandable. You could dowhat I do, and make stuff up!

Howto Write Novels Books -If you’re smart, probably saferreading one of these than listening to me babble on!

Brain-Another important thing to have, though not necessarily required tobe successful (have you seen CSI: Miami?)

ReferenceBooks -Important if you’re writing out of your comfort zone,or even if there are certain details about nebulae or spatialphenomena that you weren’t sure of!

Well,there you have it, the thought processes of a madman…

Ihope this has inspired people (or person) to go out and write forthemselves. Either that, or I’m going to have an angry mob at mydoor demanding to know who the hell I am! No wait, that’s Chard ona Saturday night!

Well,there’s a tiny kitten called Sethington Stanley nibbling my toesfor attention so I better leave you to it. Tell me what you think,or what you’re writing, or whatever! I’m on Facebook as JohnCharles Scott, and Twitter and Heresy Online as Shaven_Wookiee!

Seeyou round the Linkways!

Longlive The Founding Fields!


Sarah Cawkwell – Guest Article – "Time Management"

Hey folks, CP here to give you a new segment that will be occuring every once-and-a-while. I’ve politely asked some of my author friends to write some guest articles for TFF. Articles that specifically apply to their personal situations as authors. The first of these articles has been done by my dear friend Sarah Cawkwell, the “newest” to-be-published author for BL Publishing. Her book The Gildar Rift is sure to be a hum-dinger! I’ll provide a link at the bottom of the page where you can preorder it. without further adieu, Sarah Cawkwell on managing writing and still having a full-time 40hr a week job!


The twenty-seven hour day isn’t a thing of mythology. It’s real. It’s here and it’s very much now. At least, when you work full time in a 40 hour a week job and also write part-time, it feels like it is. Every day is an action packed adventure in juggling deadlines and…
Who am I kidding? I am the best procrastinator I know. I’m so good at it, that I’m going to write the definitive guide. When I can be bothered.
As an author still so new to the writing world that my labels are still attached, there are frequently times when I actually take a step back and start to wonder exactly how it is that I can keep myself going. What we shall loosely call ‘the day job’ is pretty busy and there’s not a lot of room for taking a few minutes for navel contemplating. OK, there’s some room, but it’s rare. And when those lulls in the work aspect come up, you’re too grateful to get to the kitchen and make coffee to think of anything else.
So, people have started asking me: ‘how on earth did you manage to write a novel whilst working full time and having a full time family to boot’?
Well, here’s the core piece of evidence.
I am great at Time Management.
Actually, this is a lie. I’m shocking at Time Management. I used to train courses in the thing, so I have a great grasp of the principles. But I’m essentially lazy and so I make lists of lists. At the top of every list I’ve ever started is ‘make a to-do list’. I suspect that I have trapped myself in a recursive list loop. I am going to keep going round and round until the universe implodes with a sad little ‘pop’ sound.
In essence, it’s pretty straightforward. Here is a typical weekday in Sarah-land. When I break it down like this, it’s alarming just how much of a routine I generally have.
6.30am – Alarm clock goes off.
Between 6.30 and 7.30am – get up, washed, dressed, breakfasted and out the door.
7.35am – generally remember I’ve forgotten something, like my purse, phone or pass for the security lock and turn round to fetch it.
7.40am – leave for a second time.
8.00am – arrive at work, where I remain until between 3.30 and 4pm on a good day. On a Thursday, due to the fact I have the MEGA MEETING OF DOOM, this can sometimes see me staying at work until gone 6pm. But for the sake of this article, let’s assume I finish at 4pm.
4.30pm – Get home with great intentions of getting started on some writing. Turn on PC. Make cup of tea, get changed, sit down and go through the forum round up.
7.00pm – Realise that the Internet has sucked my soul dry and stolen nearly three hours of my day. Curse self roundly and shut down the Internet.
7.10pm – Actually do some writing. I set myself a sort of daily target, which is usually between 1,000 – 2,000 words (depending on the project), but I’ve learned very swiftly not to stress out if I don’t hit target. Some days I can write anything up to 3,000 words plus… whilst others, I struggle to get 500 out. I am blessed with the Sixth Sense that is Touch Typing and so I can type very, very fast. This article by this point, for example, is 544 words and I wrote that in less than ten minutes. You get the picture.
9.00pm – Assuming I have made above target, or have given up, I allow the resuming of the soul-sucking, almost invariably by World of Warcraft. I’ll just pop on for an hour, I will say to my family, who just about remember what I look like.
12.00am – Swear.
12.05am – Shut down PC and go to bed for it all to start over again the next day. 
Silliness aside, it’s actually not too hard to work writing into a full time job. I don’t want to have to do that, but at the moment, it’s a necessity rather than a choice. In what we shall joyfully refer to as ‘the ideal world’, I give up full time work and become a full time writer; sitting in a garret somewhere and staring out of the window in a pensive brood, contemplating the mysteries of life. Probably sipping on a chocamochafrappacinospresso or some other frothy poncy coffee or other.
As it is, all I do is prioritise. What’s really important in this is that I continue to enjoy myself. The moment the writing becomes a chore, I go and torment my family for a while until they’re begging me to go and write. (Note: I find it helps to maintain order if they can actually recall my face when I’m being cross at them).
It also helps that my PC does not have a room of its own and I’m around people whilst writing. This isn’t always a good thing, because it does lend itself to distractions – but at least I’m not isolated.
Yes, it’s a tough thing working full time and writing as well, but let’s look at another bit of evidence.
I want to do it.
Sounds simple and you know what? It really is that simple. I love my writing and I want to move to a place where I can make it the main source of income. I have too many responsibilities and financial commitments to make that leap at the moment, so I have to grin and bear it. See me grinning? Oh, wait, that’s my grimace.
It is hard to do. I won’t lie about it and there have been days when I’ve thought about giving up everything, selling my house, buying a giant mushroom and walking around underneath it like an umbrella until someone locks me up.
It is, however, easy to commit yourself to doing it. If you want to succeed, you will find a way to fit everything into the hours of your working day. But don’t let it rule your life. Never forget what’s important. Make time in your non-existent remaining time for the people you love. Otherwise, you may come home one day to find a child sat in your living room and politely ask them who they are.
‘I’m your son,’ he’ll reply, a little sadly.
‘Oops,’ you’ll respond and then go off to deal with the cats who, in the absence of being fed/loved have grown opposable thumbs and are building nuclear warheads in the back yard.
And that is how you fit writing around a full time job. Dedication, commitment, good time management and a healthy capacity to lie about it when people ask you how you manage it…

And there we have it folks! Thanks again to my friend Sarah for putting this together for us. It has provided a nice insight into the daily life of a hard-working author! Thanks again Sarah. :o )

And to those of you who are interested in preordering her upcoming Space Marine Battle Novel from the Black Library, have a click on the cover picture below to be directed to where you can purchase it:

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