Notes From the Wasteland No. 45 ‘A Message From Outer Space’

Years ago, in a separate but still parallel life, I published an academic book on a short cycle of British films from the 1950s and 1960s. The book was a re-calibration of my doctoral thesis.

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The British New Wave has floated through space ever since like some kind of unmanned craft.

It occasionally makes contact with sentient lifeforms, crash-landing now and again on a university reading list.

Or orbiting on the every edges of some form of intellectual discourse.

But it spends most of its time merrily moving closer and closer towards the extreme outer edges of space.

On its way somewhere but never getting anywhere significant.

It never quite resulted in that dream book tour of the US that I imagined.

Nonetheless it is out there in deep space and will always be.

A permanent reminder of something.

Or nothing. Until very recently.

A strange transmission was beamed back from the furthest reaches of the darkness.

My bank wrote to tell me that a royalty payment had been received from the book’s publishers. Naturally, after years of radio silence, I was thrilled to hear such a message. However, I was more thrilled by the happenstantial nature of the payment itself. The amount I received was very much almost exactly identical to the amount I needed to purchase a swathe of unique numeric commercial book identifiers.

Within ten pounds sterling. It seemed too good a thing not to use the monies received from one book as seed money for my next set of books.

I like to think that even as I type, The British New Wave has gone back into deep space exploration again. On a new course bound for anywhere. Set to make contact once again at some random point in the future intersection of space and time.

But not before I have gotten used to the radio silence.

Again.

Notes From the Wasteland No. 44 ‘What Are YOU Working On Today?’

Hi Everyone

We are inundated on a daily basis with lists of tips in their fives and tens and twenties about how to be better at things and how not to do things so badly. Inspired by this avalanche of tips I thought I would offer some top tips of my own. Here is my top tip for today.

Despite All Appearances to the Contrary, The World is Still Full of Strangers

We are an optimistic bunch and for the most part we have come to believe that the proliferation of digital technology has made the world a smaller place. Not only that, this same technology has also brought people together in ways that we have never seen before. This is of course true but this does not mean that our lives are enriched in new ways by the enormous number of friends we now have, despite the various ways in which social media platforms encourage us to connect with each other.

The simple fact of the matter is that we are all now in some form of new relationship with a wider range of strangers than ever before. Once you chip away the real friends and relationships we have on something like Twitter, it is a simple fact that most people we follow or follow us are complete and utter strangers.

And here is the thing.

Once upon a time we might have understood our average potential social reach – pre- social media – as something like the number of people sitting on both decks of an average double-decker bus. We might not know everyone as well as each other but if we were to sit next to someone else on the bus it would probably be possible to strike up some kind of kindred conversation with them.

That was then.

Nowadays, especially given the constant exhortations that each and every social media platform bombards us with in terms of making new ‘friends,’ establishing connections, or adding new followers (and there is something very archaic about this very notion), it is simply the case that our new potential social reach is very often something less like a double-decker bus and now something more like a sports stadium.

A sports stadium?

I don’t know about you but the last time I went to a sporting event I was struck by the sheer logistical difficulties in gathering so many people together in one particular space at one particular time.

And by people I mean strangers. 

Yes, we might go with some friends or family and we might see other people who have gone with their family and friends but for the most part we are alone in a stadium full of strangers.

Of course, we can further understand that this stadium full of strangers all have something in common; a love of the sport, for example or the affiliation with a particular team. Nevertheless, with very few exceptions, we would enter the stadium as strangers and leave the same way.

But how do sports stadiums relate to independent publishing?

If I was sitting on the top deck of a bus and and I started telling people about a project I was working on, or had completed, it is possible that very quickly I might be able to get some people interested in what I was doing. Of those people interested, it is also possible that some of them (a few of them) (one or two of them) might want to learn a bit more about my project. That would be great but very quickly I would run out of people to tell.

Now, imagine trying to do the same thing in a sports stadium. How long would it take before you ran out of either steam or people who were interested enough?

You could start by telling the people you had gone to stadium with – but they probably already knew (I’m sure you had told them about your new project the last time you saw them).

Then what?

How do you tell a stadium full of strangers about your new project? More importantly, how do you get a stadium full of strangers to care about your project? Most of them probably already have projects of their own that take up all their time and mean more to them so why should they even care about yours?

And this is the heart of the matter.

For example, every time I am on Twitter – and I am on Twitter for an awful lot of my time – it is like being in a sports stadium and everyone in the crowd is trying to get each other to care about their projects by hoping that their voice will be louder than the other voices in the same stadium but they are not and so eventually we fall silent.

And despondent.

And concerned that our social media techniques are not as developed as they should be and then we start scouring the internet for lists of tips of how we might do things better and then we realise that everyone is offering the same and different advice and that essentially everyone is in the same stadium shouting at each other. Shouting at strangers.

Personally, I prefer to try ignore the sound of the crowd.

I have lost my voice too many times trying to shout out loud enough for strangers to hear what I’m saying. And even if they heard me they probably wouldn’t be able to listen for long enough for me to tell my story properly before another stranger caught their attention. Or before they needed to shout about their own project to the same strangers.

So what’s the answer?

I don’t think there is one. Other than the understanding that you wouldn’t walk down the street telling everyone you passed about your new project so why would you spend your time online shouting at strangers about the same thing?

Currently I’m working on simply talking to people. As many people as possible. More importantly, I’m asking people about their projects rather than shouting about mine. So, you glorious stadium full of wonderful strangers, tell me about your projects.

What are you working on?

Notes From the Wasteland No. 30. What Do You Look For in a Sentence?

How do you like your sentences? Do you like them long and full and complex, complete with clauses and pauses and colon and commas? Do you like them parading down the page, long enough that you have to wait for them to form before you, materialising like matter in a science fiction film? Do you like them meaty and chunky, bristling with energy and effort, forcing the reader to really engage or risk losing all meaning through the simple facts of their length? Now, I’m all for punctuation, all for it. Punctuation is a life-saver. It is a life giver. Punctuation is the sinew that keeps the joints of your writing supple and fully functioning. Punctuation is the permission your words need, if any was needed, for them to take their place in the world.

Punctuation is everything.

Nowadays, the world seems to be filled with commas. Everything is continuous, in flux, never-ending, endless, and this state suits the comma, giving only brief pauses before the next thing arrives, hot on the heels of the last. This can be joyous, thrilling, wonderful, invigorating, breathless, like the frames of some wonderful scene from a wonderful film where the merging of character, space and place, and story, is perfectly judged and seamless in its edited flow. This can also be nectar on the tongue as we read and and we race, caught headlong and falling into the depths of a particular story, racing and reeling as events unfold across the unlimited boundaries of paragraph and page.

But sometimes I want brevity. I want breath. I want pause. I want to dance to a different beat. A simpler, shorter one. One that has a sense of space.

I want a simple sentence.

Not diminished. Not damaged. Truncated. Weakened. Frayed. Fragile. I want a sentence that works just as hard. Committed. Apposite. Ready. Formed properly. Shorter. Just shorter.

Period not comma.

Notes From the Wasteland No. 25 ‘This is the One Thing I Do to Get Where I Want to Be’

I’m not done yet.No where near. Not even started. But the question really how do I get from where I am now to where I want to be? How do I do it? I’ve already started, taking small steps; a post here, a review there. An occasional retweet. I have a presence online, a brand I am trying to grow. It takes time and I devote plenty of that to it. My brand is multi-platform; if you can find me here you can find me there. There is a list of places you can find me at the top of this blog. You can also subscribe to this blog and get regular updates on my writing journey. This is not one of those isn’t it hard to get anywhere type of posts – we all know how hard it is. It. Is. Hard. But the only thing I’ve learned is not to keep going, because we all do that anyway. Not to not give up – is that even an option at this stage? No. The only thing I have learned is that I have to wake up each morning and find one thing to do to move me along from where I was yesterday. Just one thing. That doesn’t get you exactly where you want to be all at once but it does keep you moving in that direction. And that is always something.

Notes From the Wasteland No. 23 ‘Who wants to see my raindrop?’

I write every day. Every. Single. Day. This is a simple statement of fact. Most of us. We face the day with a blank page and watch the cursor as it blinks, waiting for the words to work once more. It is hard to write every day, especially when our days are filled with the endlessness fo other things, important things, trivial things, meaningful and meaningless, both and all with little distinction. Even still, I write every day. In part this is from fear. I worry that if. don’t write then ambitions will suffer and I won’t achieve the things I want to achieve; the thing, I should say, which is to let my words support me. I receive a thousand emails a day telling me about courses and workshops and tips and tricks and income streams and other opportunities that only require me to sign up to see that my writing can be a career. Most mean well and are clearly from people who have achieved my aim, and when I read the emails and updates I really feel that success from my words is possible, even if I’m not sure which email to keep whilst deleting all the others. I have self-published six novels, some of which have spent a considerable time at the top of various online charts and ranks. They are well received and well-liked by those who read them, which is, of course, in the grand scheme fo things, not as many people as I would like. I’m very close to finishing a television proposal for one of my book series, including a pilot episode script I have completed using Final Draft. I have a second television series proposal close to completion, complete with another pilot episode and based on a new novel that I am currently working on. But I guess the question that stalks my writing, haunting it like a face at the window, is who can get to find my words and read them? Who can I show them to? Who wants to see them? I don’t ask these questions because I feel desperate or disappointed. I am writing anyway, for myself, because that is all I know. I am asking these questions out of genuine interest. The world is drowning in written words, drenched like an endless deluge, so I suppose I am wondering how it is that I can find someone to show my particular raindrop to.

Notes from the Wasteland No. 2 ‘Hey 2021, guess what?’

Hey 2021, guess what?

I have a folder full of projects.

And if virtual folders could ever be like this then this one would be bursting at the seams.

Crammed. Heaving. Swollen.

A great big digital pile of documents all waiting for my attention.

Some nearly started. Others almost done.

But most of them are just between.

Between.

Reviewings. Revisions. Rewritings.

Just between.

And that’s where I always seem to be.

Between.

Just between.

I know I will finish some projects. I always do.

I know I will start some projects. I always do.

But I also know that most of my projects will remain between.

Between reviewings.

Between revisions.

Between rewritings.

Just between.

VIRO – Infecting Imaginations One Zombie at a Time

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Hi Everyone

It has been 13 months since Book One in the VIRO was published.

I thought it would be useful to compile a list of notable things that have happened since.

 

1. NUMBER ONE

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With very occasional variations, Book One has been Number One in the Teen & Young Adult Monster Fiction eBooks chart since April 2018. This is very exciting and I have to say a big thank you to everyone who has read the book.

You can get your copy of Book One here.

2. BOOK TWO

The apocalyptic adventures of Jake and his friends continued in May 2018 when Book Two was published. This time the friends find themselves caught between the rampaging viros and the Tall Man, a local militia leader recruiting the able-bodied to help defend his stockade.

You can get your copy of Book Two here.

3. BOOK THREE

Book Three in the series was released in October 2018 and this time Jake and his friends find themselves in a refugee camp where they uncover a sinister child kidnapping ring before having to make their escape back into the apocalyptic wilderness when the camp is overrun.

You can get your copy of Book Three here.

4. BOOK FOUR

Book Four is currently in progress and the adventures continue as Jake and his friends struggle to stay alive in a world infected by a deadly virus.

5. REVIEWS

The VIRO series has been very well received by readers and reviewers and it is so exciting to know that people are enjoying the series. Here is a selection of reviews for the series:

I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, ‘Viro’ packs a punch. Sad and haunting, ‘Viro’ is a new take on the zombie genre.The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!

 

What a really good book it’s got companionship, action & it seemed to keep me wanting to find out what was gonna happen next.The chapters are short which i find better for reading a good zombie book it seemed to keep me interested all the time. I’m off to read the next book.Give this author a go you will not be disappointed.

 

Amazing trilogy. Bought the kindle editions for my 10-year old daughter who loved them. As a Christmas treat she’s getting the print copies as a surprise. Very highly recommended!

 

“Viro: Book Two” is incredible. Picking up where the first one left off, this book grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. It’s fast paced and superbly thrilling! The narrative is poignant and heartbreaking as Jake’s unique voice draws you in. Highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys zombie stories. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Jake and the gang!

 

I must say that I got book one for free on my Kindle. I found myself sucked right into the characters and never-ending action and gore page after page. I very rarely buy books, but immediately purchased number two which I found equally as engrossing. Yesterday I bought book three in the Viro series and instead of a good nights sleep I’ve got red eyes and a need for Red Bull! Fantastic series for all my zombie lovers out there!

 

6. THE FUTURE – VIRO – Infecting Imaginations One Zombie at a Time

As you can see, it has been an incredible thirteen months and I cannot wait to keep you all up to date with what happens next.

I would love to hear your feedback on the series and all things zombie-related so why not get in touch or leave a comment.

All the best

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‘The Walking Dead meets The Famous Five’ – The VIRO Trilogy is Rapidly Spreading like an Imaginative Infection

 

VIRO eBook_ Barnaby Taylor_ Amazon co.uk_ Kindle Store (4)

Hi Everyone

I have some amazing news.

Can you believe it has been a year since the first VIRO book was published?

A whole year!

And so much has happened since then – it has been an incredible journey so far.

The most exciting news is that VIRO is sitting at Number One in the charts.

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This is really amazing and a special thanks must go out to everyone who has helped to get it there.

In the space of that same year we have also seen the launch of Books Two and Three in the VIRO series.

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Slowly but surely, VIRO is changing the way we think about zombie novels.

Even as we speak, Book Four is on the way.

If you have been following the adventures of Jake and the gang then you will know that there will be plenty of twists and turns ahead of them.

Reviews for the series have been incredibly positive and have really helped spread the word.

VIRO_eBook_Barnaby_Taylor_Amazon.co.uk_Kindle_Store_-_2019-03-20_09.25.53

VIRO_Book_Two_eBook_Barnaby_Taylor_Amazon.co.uk_Amazon.co.uk_-_2019-03-20_09.24.43 review

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If you are interested in finding out more about VIRO, then why not download a copy today. Book One is FREE for Kindle from Amazon and is a great introduction to the characters and the horrific circumstances they find themselves in. The world has collapsed and Jake and his friends must fight for survival as they search the wasteland for his Jake’s mum.

It really is an exciting series.

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Have a read, you won’t be disappointed.

Until we meet again, have a really great day!

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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

windy desert

The Eleventh Film XIV

The world looks small now from above and beyond, just another doomed star earmarked for destruction.
The years that followed the angels’ response saw the world’s vitality seep away.
Seas froze over. Temperatures decreased. Glaciers spread. The world’s surface grew a new skin. A tetchy and desperate dermis. Unwilling or unable to nurture any more.
It was like this for a lifetime and then we lost contact with the Library and everyone knew that this truly was the end of days.

VIRO Book Four – Work in Progress

Hi Everyone

I thought I would give you all an update on the VIRO series. What started as a few scratchy notes while I was on holiday two years in Portugal has now become a fascinating experiment in independent publishing.

Book One was launched in March 2018 and has been at Number One in the Amazon chart since May. It is currently free for download for Kindle and this has been an enormous help in getting the book some attention. Book One has currently been downloaded from Amazon 766 times. This is very encouraging. Book One is also currently available for download at Smashwords as well and 84 copies have been dowloaded to date.

Book Two was launched in May 2018 and has been very well received. The following review was left on my Goodreads page:

Having Read Falcon Boy and VIRO, it was with eager anticipation that I started to read VIRO II. Barnaby Taylor has a daring and rich imagination that transports you to new adventures in a re-imagined world, that are vividly written with a fresh and vibrant use of language. The heroes of Barnaby’s books are children on the cusp of their teenage years. I would like to think that this isn’t a coincidence. There appears to be a deliberate opting out in relation to the current generation with Barnaby instead looking to a new, untainted generation to right the world’s wrongs in the guise of the courageous and idealistic young children that inhabit VIRO I and II. Barnaby literally and metaphorically backs the right horse. The purity of the children in VIRO II is evident throughout the book. Jake says ‘I hated violence. I hated violent people.’

In VIRO II, we pick up with the viros (zombies) who are overrunning the world and the small band of children who are trying to survive in this world. The children’s separation from their parents also serves (as it did in VIRO I) as a powerful dramatic device, providing the next generation with the stage and platform to figure out a way forward. Barnaby really understands the mind set of young children and evocatively and beautifully captures their innocence but also their determination and guts to persevere against the odds and you as the reader wants to be with them every step of the way, willing them forward. Barnaby also excels at capturing the petty jealousies and competitiveness that can pervade the group dynamic of young children but equally the intensity and tenderness of their relationships.

To say that this book is a page turner is an understatement. Barnaby can really write an action packed scene with fear inspiring characters such as the Tall Man. Baxter the dog who accompanies the children gives the story the delightful twist of feeling like an apocalyptic Famous Five. Genius. The story is essentially an allegory set in a far more perilous and shaky world and is therefore not only for children but also for adults. Potent messages are present throughout the book. Jake incisively says ‘The world was wrong now. It was bad and broken. I didn’t understand.’ That a new value system is required to fix today’s broken world is also indicated with even the Reverend stating that ‘in order to believe in the Bible, you have to stop asking so many questions and just accept what you are told. And I have always found that hard to do. The world created in seven days? Immaculate conception?’ By the end of the book it’s apparent that the new value systems lies with the children and their unselfish spirit of caring and cooperation, the perfect building blocks of a new world order which the author may reveal in further detail in future iterations of the book as possibly hinted at by the cliff hanger of the book’s ending.

The book is a must read. Barnaby is an exciting and passionate writer. There’s real depth of meaning behind his books. You emotionally engage with and care about the book’s characters. Barnaby’s books also have a strong visual sensibility. His stories particularly VIRO I and II would translate superbly to television and cinema. I am a huge fan of all things zombie orientated and to see the zombie genre reinterpreted from the perspective of children is thrilling. I look forward to more books from Barnaby. He’s one to watch out for. Children, adults and I suspect the film and TV industry people will love this book. I highly recommend it.

Book Two is currently available for 99 cents and the challenge is to convert the free downloads of Book One into purchases of the rest of the series. This is taking some time but I am encouraged with progress to date.

Book Three was released in October 2018 and is slowly climbing up the Amazon charts. I have found that sales of Books Two and Three tend to go together with people buying a copy of each at the same time. Again, the challenge is to convert free downloads of Book One into paid purchases of the other books in the series but there is forward movement here and I am confident that this will keep moving as the franchise continues to spread.

SPOILER ALERT: Book Three also marks the first major character death. I knew that one of the main characters needed to die in order for the series to develop and Book Three is where this tragedy occurs.

Work on Book Four began this week and I am confident that this will be ready for publishing by early 2019. There is still a very long way to go for Jake and the rest of the characters in the series. Also, with each book in the series, the world of VIRO is becoming richer and richer. The writing style is deliberately sparse for this series and it was always the intention for effect to develop over time. Our understanding of the characters deepens in the same way.

ACTIONS GOING FORWARD

  1. Finish VIRO Book Four.
  2. Develop a professional relationship that will lead to representation and/or marketing support.
  3. Explore the possibilities of turning VIRO into a screenplay.