July Review 2019

The reason for a July review is that writing takes time, and I’m not blessed with lots to spare.  So while I already keep track of where I’m at, and what I’m doing, I think I should publicly share this as a form of accountability.  Accountability motivates me and keeps me focused, especially when there are other demands upon my time.

July Review Word Counts

July 2019 has been my best ever month for new words.  I was aiming to hit 9,453 words, a daily average of 305.  This would enable me to stay on track for my goal of 110,000 words this year.  However, I hit 22,268 words during the month, a daily average of 718.

Why did I smash my target?  One reason was that I was more disciplined during my daily commute.  I can usually manage 500 words on the way to work in the morning.  I’ve found the sweet spot on the train, where I can park my bike, get on, and still not be crowded out by all the other commuters.  I’ve also been a little more disciplined in the evenings, making sure that on average, I manage a few more words.  The last week and a half of July is also holiday time for me.  I managed to maintain my word totals when I was often clearing 1,000 words a day but did not overall increase during the holiday.

July Review Works in progress

  • Outbreak London – book 5 of the Royal Zombie Corps series.  I came up with the name this month.  I’m currently sitting on the book until I get an opportunity to edit it.  This will likely be my next release.
  • Butcher’s Funeral book 2.  Still currently unnamed, although I’m playing with titles at the moment.  This book is next on my editing list.
  • Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series.  It may be called Duel, or Dead Handler.  Most of my writing during July was focused on this book, and I have one more chapter to write.  This it will join the editing list.

July Review Other projects

I’ve spent a lot of time this month looking at marketing, especially Mark Dawson and the Self-Publishing Formula.  Getting some of the ideas from these sources into place has taken quite a bit of my holiday time so far, hence no significant holiday boost in writing.  I have also redesigned the blog, a work in progress.  Finally, I have been re-editing and formatting Blood, Mud and Zombies as part of my efforts to improve my back catalogue.

Plans for August

  • Maintain an average daily word count of 1,000 new words – I’m currently working at this level, but need to cut down the low word count days that bring the average down
  • Publish a short story on the blog.  I’m making the finishing touches to this as it’s an unpublished short I wrote a couple of years ago
  • Edit as much of the back catalogue as possible
  • Edit Outbreak London
  • Rearrange the whole publishing process via incorporation
  • Continue to learn and apply as much as I can about publishing
  • Commission the artwork for Outbreak London, with plans to recover all the back catalogue where possible
  • Complete changes to the blog

Teaser from Tigers on the Western Front

Book two, Tigers on the Western Front, of the Royal Zombie Corps series will be released at the end of August.  It’s undergoing a final read through and the cover design still needs finalising.  There are four books in the initial RZC series and the intention is to release each a month apart.  So to wet the appetite of those who have already read the first book, here’s a teaser from book 2.

The story carries straight on from Blood, Mud and Corpses, and this teaser sees the characters returning to the camp at Étaples to work on a special project.

The journey to Étaples was far more comfortable than their original journey to the front had been.  For a start, there was no fearful anticipation of the unknowns of combat on the front line.  Furthermore, the train was not been overly crowded with them having their own carriage to themselves.  In the locked mail compartment, there was a large sealed animal crate.

‘We’re going to find the girls when we get there.’  Morgan had been insisting on variations of this theme for most of the journey.  Now sat in some sidings, waiting for the line to clear, the idea was beginning to wear thin.

‘What girls?  You’ve been to Étaples and there were no girls.’  Simmonds explained, ‘Not a single one.’  He had rejoined the squad just before they had marched off with their special crate carried on a wagon.  Despite being bitten by a zombie when they had first encountered them in the village, he had not turned into one himself.

‘There must be some.  Surely those Canaries have them hidden away?’  Morgan argued, ’They’ve got every other luxury there.  Why’d they not have girls there?’

‘Canaries don’t like girls.  That’s why they’d not have any girls there.’  Simmonds explained, ‘They only like themselves don’t you know.’

‘There’s the fishing town?’  Morgan insisted, ‘Plenty of girls there.’

‘The officers will have them all to themselves, I bet.’  Simmonds suggested, ‘Even the fishwives I ‘spect.’

‘I’d let you know lads.’  Scott laughed, ‘But I’ve got to nursemaid you lot.  So no trips to town for me.’

The time on the train passed slowly.  At one point they had been delayed and rumours of sabotage or aerial bombing circulated.  During that pause to the their journey, Wells had left the train, quickly returning with several liberated bottles of wine that he claimed he had traded for some cigarettes.  The rest of the journey had passed quite merrily and without further major delay.  The sheer volume of traffic moving towards the front lines had been impressive.  Train after train of soldiers, supplies, and heavy equipment such as artillery, flowed past in an unending procession.

Finally the train had arrived at the railhead.  It was dark and the rain was pouring down.  The remnants of the alcohol in their systems provided little insulation.  As the travellers unloaded their cargo, onto a wheeled wagon, the new staff sergeant introduced himself.

Tigers on the Western Front will be released at the end of August 2016.

New Book – Blood, Mud and Corpses

I’m just finalising the artwork on the new book, ‘Blood, Mud and Corpses’. The book should be released before the end of this month.  I’ll upload the cover sometime over the weekend.

Blood, Mud and Corpses’ is the first book in the Royal Zombie Corps series.  Book 2 is at the proofreading stage and book 3 is in final editing.  A teaser for the new book is below.

“No one knew when the endless bloodshed and grindingly futile toil of the trenches would ever end. Then a miracle came from a source totally removed from even the most fantastic of dreams.”

The series is set during the First World War, following a group of soldiers as they are conscripted into the British Army during 1916.  The brutality of the war becomes far greater during their first experience of combat as they stumble across something unexpected in no-man’s-land.

Teaching – holidays and coming up to the surface

Teaching always reminds me of swimming. You sprint up and down the lengths of the pool, barely pausing for breath at each end. Once you have do your set of exercises, you stop and pause.

As a full time teacher, I perceive each term as being like a set of exercises, the weekends being the gulp of air taken at the end of each length before you plough on with another stretch. Eventually you get to the holiday, and you need it.

So I’m now a couple of days into the holiday. The stress is beginning to bleed off, I’m beginning to relax. It helps that I’ve left the books I’ve brought home to mark in the car. There are over 100 of them, each requiring upwards of 5 minutes attention. I’ll need to put aside a long day to deal with them before returning to work.

While I enjoy teaching, the paperwork and marking is excessive. While I love being busy, the workload does take it’s toll. The holidays are lovely, but they don’t compensate for the stresses of term time and the total focus on the job. Having worked in the commercial world, I had much more of a life with 20 days annual holiday.

So why do I stay in education? I may write a post about that sometime.

Teaser for work in progress – RZC

“The war had been going badly for the Allies. The great offensive on the Somme had been a disaster.

The casualty rates were horrific for both sides, one advancing into a hail of machine gun bullets, the other crushed under the weight of artillery.

The Battle of Arras was meant to be a turning point in the war. There were stories, rumours even, of strange events. Stories that circulated among us Tommies, of a phantom battalion that battered through a hail of machine-gun fire, falling upon the Germans within unheard of rage. They called them Tigers.”

Oliver Gill. Captain in the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Interviewed post-war for an unpublished research paper on the Battle of Arras, 1917.

I’ve been working on a new story for the last few months. In fact, this work in progress comes from an idea I was playing with a year ago, partly inspired by a series of interviews with World War One veterans published by the BBC History Magazine. The teaser above, from this new book, is actually the opening section, a fictional aural history interview.

I’m just working through the first draft of the first story.  Provisionally the series has been titled RZC – wonder if anyone will work out what the initials stand for without any extra clues?  The story is clearly set during World War One, introducing a new group of characters and a secret weapon known as Tigers.  There are a variety of inspirations for this story, but I’ll keep them to myself for now or the teaser will give away too much.

Available now! The Butcher’s Funeral

Now available on Amazon, the full story of The Butcher’s Funeral, available from Amazon, is released for the first time as a single volume compiling all the different episodes of the series The Butcher’s Funeral.

The butcher is dead and his wife is the chief suspect. Yet Col Butcher had many enemies, who killed him and why?

Follow Law and Judd as they try to resolve the death of the butcher in Medieval England, there intent to deliver justice to the killer. Could the murderer be the Carniter, who had been pursuing the butcher for his corrupt business practices. Or maybe the Barber Surgeon, a traveller to the city? Could it really be true that the butcher’s wife was the killer?  Who is the murderer?  Find out among a backdrop of medieval crime and punishment, a world of food adulteration, sharp business practices and the traditional medical practices of the period.

Previously published as a series of short stories during 2014 and 2015, The Butcher’s Funeral is available now as a complete and single volume for the first time.  This volume contains all the individual parts, each also available on Amazon.  Originally written as it was published, the book is the first extended piece of work published by C. M. Harald.

Coming Soon – The Trial – Conclusion of Butcher’s Funeral

The Trial – Final part of the Butcher’s Funeral

Early in December, the final part of the Butcher’s Funeral will be released on Amazon.  This is the concluding episode of The Butcher’s Funeral set in Medieval England, a story of murder, medicine and intrigue.

In this concluding episode, The Trial, the thief and the surgeon are on trial for their lives having been accused of crimes for which the death penalty applies.  The thief is charged with theft of sufficient coin for it to become a capital offence, the surgeon is accused of the murder of a King’s official working for the Court Leet.  Law struggles with his conscience, as the surgeon is tried for the death of the Carniter, knowing full well his own guilt in this affair.  Will the murderer of Col Butcher be unmasked at this time, will the guilty parties receive justice?

The Butcher’s Funeral is a serial of short historical murder mystery stories, reaching a conclusion this December.  A special book collection of all the short stories will be released later in December on Amazon.

Find the latest releases by C.M. Harald at Amazon.

NOW OUT! Butcher’s Funeral Part 6 – The Thief

New Release – Butcher’s Funeral – The Thief

The Butcher’s Funeral – The Thief is out today on Amazon.

The Thief is part 6 of the medieval short story serial (approx 5,100 words).  In The Thief, a boy struggles to survive in the city, using his wits, charm and skills as a thief. Things go wrong for the boy.

The Butcher’s Funeral is a series of short episodes covering medieval crime, punishment and health.  Who killed the butcher and to what ends?  Was it his wife, the surgeon or maybe the carniter?  Who was his love rival and could it have been him?

The final part, The Trial, will be released late in November or early December 2015.  An anthology of the whole series will also be released before the end of the year.

New Blog about writing fiction by C.M. Harald

Writing about writing – New Blog

Well, this is the fifth blog I’ve written over the years.  The first was while I was working as postgraduate in the late 90s; the most successful was kept going for eight years and was for a business I used to run; then there have been a couple of smaller and badly maintained projects.  So I’ve no idea how this will go.

It’s my aim, at the moment, to use this blog as a way of updating readers on the latest progress with my writing.  I’m also thinking about uploading the odd short fiction story as well.  We’ll see how it goes as I’m currently putting more time into writing than ever before.

Currently, I have two projects in progress.  I’m finishing up ‘The Butcher’s Funeral‘ series of short stories, editing the last two parts of this Medieval story – hopefully, there will be an update on this soon.  The Butcher’s Funeral will also be published in a single volume.  I’m also in the middle of a writing a story on zombies and World War One.

My full range of published writing can be found on Amazon – C. M. Harald books.