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

The Lehman Trilogy – a night at the theatre

I make no pretence to being a theatre reviewer.  I simply have the good fortune to live on the edge of London.  This gives me the opportunity to visit the theatre every few months.  To be fair, I am far more inclined towards musicals than plays, but in recent years I’ve seen a number of excellent plays.  The standout play, I have seen this decade, was Red Velvet, starring Adrian Lester.  The Lehman Trilogy is equally good, possibly having the edge.

The Lehman Trilogy – a haunted office

The first act of The Lehman Trilogy starts in the modern day offices of Lehman’s, as the radio announces the failure of the bank.  What proceeds is an excellently acted story by a trio of actors, their characters seemingly haunting the modern setting of the deserted bank.  The set itself is excellent, rotating and cleverly used by the cast.  Despite being sat in the Grand Circle of the Picadilly Theatre, we could clearly see what was going on.

The three actors, Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles bring alive the history of the Lehman family from their arrival in the USA.  The story flows incredibly well, each actor swapping roles, even genders, to cleverly bring the story to life.  A combination of excellent timing and perfect delivery of the funnier lines means that you are completely sucked into the story.

At three and a half hours, including two short intervals, I expected the story to drag.  If anything, by the final act, the story is getting a little too light, rushing to the conclusion.  However, it still works brilliantly.  That the tiny cast can maintain the pace and variety, is a testament to their ability as actors.

The history of Lehman Brothers

From a historical point of view, the story was easy to plot against the rise of King Cotton; the US Civil War; the railroad boom; Great War; Great Depression; World War; Cold War through to the final collapse of the bank.  A handy timeline was included in the programme, allowing you to refresh your mind, although the clever story-telling led the audience through each period.  

It was interesting listening to a group of people behind me fitting these pieces together in the second interval, helping them to recognise how the inter-war economy failed – it’s not GCSE History, but it plays true to the narrative students would know.  If anything, the play neatly shows the rise of capitalism in the USA and how this specific company fell foul of modern financing and the lack of effective regulation.  To be fair, the play does gloss lightly over the more recent parts of the story.  It is still very successful at getting across the cut-throat ethos of modern trading.  Yet, it would be much harder to engagingly show the audience how Lehman’s manipulated the figures to hide their fatal weaknesses.

With Sam Mendes directing, as well as an excellent cast, superb writing and a cleverly linked musical accompaniment on the piano, this is a play that is worth your time and money.

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.