12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it


working barbarian

Silent(ish) Sunday


As some of you may remember, I am involved in a relay writing project with a bunch of lovely people I met on the internet. Entitled ‘The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian’ it involves each of us taking it in turns to pen instalments of a gripping fantasy saga containing lots of Strong Female Characters and, apparently, a fair number of worms.

For various reasons the barbarian took a bit of a break at the start of this year, so what with one thing and another I haven’t written a chapter since the start of October 2013. I’m therefore spending my afternoon reminding myself what has happened since, as it turns out my next chapter goes live tomorrow. There’s nothing quite as motivating as having totally forgotten an impending deadline…

I strongly urge you to do the same, and check back tomorrow to vote on what happens next.

Reading List

I was going to write you a blog post but unfortunately I didn’t have time, so instead here’s a list of five things I have read this week that I found funny, interesting and/or helpful.  Enjoy!

  1. 10 Reasons not to be a writer by Matt Haig
  2. Part Five of The Working Barbarian, The Riddle of the Runes, by Sam Kurd
  3. Design student Philipp Meyer develops comic book for the blind
  4. Why don’t we take children’s books seriously? by Julia Donaldson in The Telegraph
  5. Work hard and be nice – interview with Kirsty Logan including her tips for writers on Writers’ Circle Scotland
Reading is good.

Vote Now, Or Forever Wish You Had

Jala by Eoin Hurl (
Jala by Eoin Hurl (

You may remember a post I posted at the beginning of April, explaining that one of my internet friends had concocted A Brilliant Scheme to pay homage to Choose Your Own Adventure Books via the power of the internet.

The Life And Times of A Working Barbarian is now live, with a blog and a Facebook page to prove it (social media being the only way to gain any clout these days).

Continue reading “Vote Now, Or Forever Wish You Had”

Public Service Announcement

If you are a Facebook user (and I do appreciate it is not everyone’s cup of tea), this post may be of interest to you.

I recently found out via the always helpful Nicola Morgan’s author page that the site now requires page admins to pay them cash dollars to promote status updates to folk who already ‘Like’ something.  Essentially, if I don’t give them my money (which I haven’t, because come on) 10% or fewer ‘likers’ will receive 12 Books page updates in their news feeds.

What this means is that you are missing out on some super hilarious memes I’ve been scheduling, like this: Continue reading “Public Service Announcement”

An Awfully Big Adventure

I have a number of friends on the internet who I’ve come across through writing stories.  One such person is Glempy, also called The Rogue Verbumancer, who you may remember from guest posts like this one, and my almost monthly entries for the Pictonaut Challenge.

As the general setup of Pictonaut implies, Glempy is one of those writers who likes to get other people writing.  This predilection could stem from pure philanthropy, or it might be orchestrated so the man in question has a ready-made support network of peers gnashing their teeth and churning out #amwriting tweets at the same time as him – it’s impossible to know for sure.  Still, whatever his reasons, the outcome is a positive one – lots of stories for you to read.

With that in mind, I would like to tell you about Sir’s latest project – The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian.

Choose Your Own Adventure #45 You Are A Shark (1985)
Picture by Paxton Holley (

Do you remember Choose Your Own Adventure books?  You read some of the story, then had the option to choose what happened next – for instance, ‘to go through the spooky arch turn to page 62,’ or ‘to climb the rickety ladder turn to page 4.’  The story was in your hands, and anything could happen – if you made a bad choice the hero might actually die, or at least be horribly maimed.* 

The idea of Working Barbarian is to resurrect this storytelling model.  Glempy has assembled a group of writers, including yours truly, who have agreed to relay The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian in gripping internet instalments.  After each instalment there will be a list of ‘what do you want to do next’ options and you, the general public, get to Choose Your Own Adventure by voting on whether you want the Barbarian to go through the spooky arch, climb the rickety ladder or stroke the adorable cthulu kitten.   

I’m really excited about this project, and if you’re excited too then you should CLICK HERE whereupon you can subscribe to email updates or follow the blog so that new posts appear in your reader.  You’ll also be able to find out a bit more about the merry band of people involved in writing the thing.

The first part of the story, penned by Glempy himself, goes live on Monday April 8th.  Hooray!

*Bear in mind this was pre Song of Ice and Fire / Potter – main characters being senselessly killed was unusual back then. 

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