Outbreak London: released

Get Outbreak London, released on Amazon now.

1918, London.  The unthinkable has happened, zombies are loose in the city.

Away from the trenches and assigned to a training unit, can the leading British zombie expert prevail against the zombie outbreak?  Already questioning his abilities, will Alfie Marsh be able to survive his leave in London?

Outbreak London is the fifth book in the Royal Zombie Corps series is a unique addition to the zombie and alternative history genres. 

If you like action, history and zombies, you won’t be able to put down C. M. Harald’s Outbreak London.

Outbreak London: Release Date & Cover

Outbreak London: Release date

I’m delighted to announce the release date for the upcoming Outbreak London, book 5 in the Royal Zombie Corps series.  On Sunday 1st December, the book will launch on Amazon.

London, early 1918.  Zombies have arrived.  Will London survive?  Can Alfie Marsh restore order or will Britain be knocked out of the war?

This will be the first book in the Royal Zombie Corps series to be published since 2017.  The book is also the first to feature the cover art of the amazing Stuart Bache, who has created many excellent covers for writers including Stephen King, Mark Dawson and John le Carré.  

At over 40,000 words long, this new story is longer than the first four books in the series.  It continues the themes of zombies during World War One, but for the first time, the zombies are well away from the front lines.

October Review 2019

Already it is time for the October Review.  The month was a much quieter month than usual. The day job continued to consume, but there was light at the end of the tunnel with a week off, much of it spent on Menorca. The Mediterranean heat was very welcome, just as the UK was getting colder. I’m certainly feeling the cold on the way into work at the moment. As usual, the morning commute has been the focus of my writing efforts, with the return journey in the afternoon also contributing, when I can get a seat.

October Review – word counts

It was not my intention to focus almost exclusively on editing at the start of October. Still, I needed to redistribute my time so that I could complete the edit of Outbreak London. This took much longer than anticipated, and as a result, my new writing dropped right off. There were quite a few days when I wrote no words, breaking what has become a daily habit for me. I, therefore, managed only 2,448 new words, my slowest month this year. However, this was still better than the 1,300 of the previous October. The good news is I’m already back on track and will comfortably beat this level of output in November.

October Review – works in progress

  • ‘On discovering a zombie’, a short story set in the Royal Zombie Corps series, is now being edited. I’m about halfway through this task and expect to have it finished in another week. The mailing list has been set up ready to deliver this short via BookFunnel. I still need to source an appropriate cover for this short
  • ‘Outbreak London’, book 5 of the  Royal Zombie Corps series, has now been wholly proof-read. This took a sizeable chunk of time in October. The initial concepts for the cover have been delivered, and I’m delighted with them. The new cover will be vastly better than the covers of the rest of the series, and I will have to get them recovered at some point. Only the covers and the Amazon page need to be finished. A short pre-release marketing effort also awaits, with the possibility of a discount for mailing list subscribers before the launch
  • ‘Dead Handler’, Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, is awaiting my attention. It needs editing and proof-reading. I expect to get to this during November
  • Book 2 of the Butcher’s Funeral series is also pending an edit and proof-read
  • Book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, is the current writing project. Having completed next to nothing on this during October, I’m working on it again

October Review – other projects

The mailing list has been extensively updated, and I’m currently engaged in a campaign to add subscribers in advance of the release of ‘Outbreak London’.
I have also been working through one of the Mark Dawson courses, making sure I cover all the essential bases when publishing.

Publishing schedule

This remains unchanged, but I am concerned ‘Outbreak London’ may slip to early December.  Should this happen, there will be a knock-on effect with the other books.

Plans for November

  • I aim to get my new writing daily average back up to something reasonable. In October it was 79 words a day. I want at least 300 in November (as I complete this blog, the average is standing at 297 so far in November)
  • Finally, proof-read the short story which has been sitting waiting for a very long time. This will be going on my blog and is entirely different from anything I have previously written
  • Release the new Royal Zombie Corps short story to the mailing list
  • Finalise the cover of ‘Outbreak London’ and set up the release process
  • Begin the cover process for ‘Dead Handler’
  • Continue to learn about publishing and writing, specifically working through one of the Mark Dawson SPF courses

September Review 2019

The September review is already here. The month has passed quickly. To be honest, September is a month during which I am totally consumed with my day job. Being a new academic year and seeing how I have several responsibilities at work, I either find the time slipping away with workload or exhaust myself, so I am of little use in the evenings. The photo shows one of my more engaging lessons at this time of year, a modern adaptation of the classic Mark Pullen Schools History Project lesson.  Nevertheless, I still got a reasonable number of things done, mainly due to the space given by the morning commute.
September Review – word counts

Unlike July and August, I’ve not had a prolific month in terms of word counts. Instead, I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the editing process. For the first couple of weeks, I wrote at about half the daily pace of the previous months. For the second half of the month, I concentrated on editing. This means I fell short of my optimistic target of 1,000 words a day, and also my realistic target of 500 words a day. In total, I wrote 5,967 words, leaving me just 165 words short of my goal of 110,000 words for the year. However, it has been worth the distraction as my back catalogue needs tidying up.
September Review – works in progress

A short story set in the Royal Zombie Corps series. The title is provisionally ‘On discovering a zombie’. I’ve now finished a thorough edit of this, but have to proof-read it yet.  Once it is released, it will only be available for people signing up to my mailing list
Book 5 of the  Royal Zombie Corps series, titled ‘Outbreak London’ has had a thorough edit. I’m now halfway through proof-reading this. The cover brief was submitted on the last day of the month, and I’m looking forward to working to seeing the first drafts during October
Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, is awaiting my attention.  It needs editing and proof-reading
Book 2 of the Butcher’s Funeral series is also awaiting an edit and proof-read
Book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, is the current writing project. This has been put on hold so I can meet my upcoming deadlines

September Review – other projects

My first zombie book, Blood, Mud and Corpses, has now been wholly reedited and proof-read. It was uploaded to most channels early in September.
Publishing schedule

This remains unchanged, due to a reallocation of my time.

November 2019 – Outbreak London, book 5 of the Royal Zombie Corps series
December 2019 – book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series
January 2020 – Butcher’s Funeral book two
February 2020 – book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series

Plans for October

I am going to aim for a low average of 2-300 words a day of new writing. I have limited time at the moment and need to focus on the editing process
Publish a short story on the blog. This has been on the list for a while. I wrote the story a couple of years ago. I really need to get it done.  An edit has been completed, but I still need to give it another proof-read. Realistically, this will not happen in October
Release the new Royal Zombie Corps short story to the mailing list and advertise it on Facebook. The editing was completed in September.
Finish the proof-reading of Outbreak London and work with the cover artist on the finalisation of the cover
Continue to learn about publishing and writing, specifically working through one of the Mark Dawson SPF courses

August Review 2019

So here is the August review.  Why is there a picture of Nutella biscuits, you ask?  I first came across these scrummy biscuits in Malta last October.  I am not usually a Nutella fan, but these biscuits are confectionary cocaine.  I scoffed the lot and then found out only a limited supply had been made available.  They are not available in the UK, and the Malta supply was some sort of stunt or market research.  My children have never forgiven me for not saving them any.  During August, on a day trip to Bruges, we stopped in the supermarket on the edge of Calais and found box after box of these biscuits.  The shelves were also packed with them.  They have been available in France for a few months now.  Needless to say, I stocked up on these addictive biscuits and finally gave some to my children.  We were probably the only British people in the supermarket without a trolley full of wine and beer.  We had biscuits instead.

August is the best time of year for me to write.  As a teacher, it is the month when I have the least schoolwork to do.  That doesn’t mean there’s no schoolwork, but less than normal.  As usual, this August has been better than all the other months so far this year.  However, this August has also been the best August I have had since I started writing.

August Review – word counts

So, July was my previous best-ever month for new words of fiction.  August beat it.  Aiming at is just over 9000 words, I managed to write 27,707 words.

Freed from the daily commute, I was quickly able to put in time most mornings to get some writing done.  The pushed up my daily average from 718 words a day in July, to 894 words a day in August.  I have also been experimenting with using Dragon Anywhere, a piece of dictation software. By dictating the text, I can write quite a bit quicker, although it does mean I have spent quite a bit more time correcting the manuscript.  This gives me a chance to review and improve the story.  It also makes it is quicker to get down key ideas, so I do not rush my typing when I want to get to a critical point.

The other key milestone in August was that I cleared 100,000 words written so far this year.  As I started the year aiming only to write 110,000 words, I am pleased that I should achieve my annual goal at some point in September.

August Review – works in progress

  • A short story set in the Royal Zombie Corps series.  I am yet to decide a title for this but have written the first draft of this short story.  It is a prequel, set just before the first book, telling the story of Dr Hudson’s early involvement in zombie research
  • Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, titled either Duel or Dead Handler.  As expected, I finished this at the start of August
  • Book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, as yet unnamed.  I started this during the second half of August and am now 9000 words in.

August Review – other projects

The two main thrusts of my work in August have been in marketing and re-editing.  I have continued to re-edit and format Blood, Mud and Corpses, and am nearly finished on this.  I have also completed a relatively significant redesign of the blog site while revamping the mailing list.  A top cover artist has been commissioned for several new covers, some of which will be to replace the old covers of already published books.

During August, I incorporated the publishing process as Harvey and Harvey Publishing Ltd.  There was a fair bit of paperwork around this, but it should help organise my writing moving forward.

Publishing schedule

Plans for September

  • Maintain an average daily word count of 1000 new words – this will be quite a challenge as it is hard to find the time each day to maintain this level alongside my full-time job.  500 words would probably be a more appropriate target and may become the default
  • Publish a short story on the blog. This is almost ready but needs an edit. I had planned to do this during August, but it didn’t happen
  • Edit through the new Royal Zombie Corps short story and then make available via at the mailing list and advertise on Facebook
  • Complete the re-edit of Blood, Mud and Corpses and publish this new edition
  • Edit Outbreak London, something that was on my August list, but was not started
  • Continue to learn about publishing and writing

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.