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Camp Nano July 2019 – The Rules!

24 Jun

I’d like to start by saying I WILL be taking part in Camp Nano this July, despite the fact I’ve got a hospital appt in the very middle of the month. It may or may not be for actual laser surgery on both my eyes. If this is the case then I’ll be losing at least one day to the procedure & the recovery process.

STATEMENT OF INTENT:- During the month of July 2019 I will be writing at least 40,000 words across numerous short stories of varying lengths. 40k is my minimum goal, the goal may be shifted up (or down) at any point during the month. I’m setting it low due to the recent creative lull I have barely just got back from. It’s a goal of 1290 words per day.

THE RULES:- I can use any ideas I’ve already outlined. I can also use ideas I’ve already started writing but I can’t count any of the words I may have already written. Any revisions or inserts CAN be counted.

BAIL-OUT CLAUSE:- I reserve the right to call an end to Camp at any point, for mental health reasons. I don’t want to have a repeat of April 2019 Camp where I basically lost my mind & couldn’t get going again then resented writing for the next few months.

ACCOUNTABILITY:- I will be completely up front on the days where I write stuff I have already started. I will report those wordcounts truthfully Failing to reach the daily goal is not a failure of Camp. Camp will only be deemed failed if I call an end early or I don’t reach whatever the current set target is. Daily & Total wordcounts will be posted on Twitter & Facebook so my followers can not only track my progress, they can offer their support or keep me honest.

I’ve never lied during a Camp or a NaNo before now, and I’m not about to start now.

GENERAL OUTLINE & HOPES:- I’d like to complete 20 or so short stories so I’ve got new material to submit out. I’d also like to get myself enthused about writing and being creative again.

APRIL CAMP 2019; LESSONS LEARNED:- Not to be in a hurry to get a big lead. Not to write too much in the first week or so, and burn myself out physically & mentally. Camp is a marathon, not a sprint. Every word written is a step in the right direction. Don’t place unnecessary pressure on myself to write a certain amount each day. The goal is achieveable & there’s an entire extra day from a regular Nano to win in.

Wish me luck, I am all in from here.

Rejection Letters To The Afterlife (Flashfic by Ray Daley)

23 Feb

Published with my heartfelt apologies to the always delightful Charlie Finlay who read then politely rejected this. Neil Clarke didn’t want it either.

Rejection Letters To The Afterlife
By Ray Daley

(original idea inspired by Joanna Maciejewska from Twitter)

“Charlie?” Megan read the printout a third time, just to be certain. “Got a rejection going to the afterlife here? Is that a misprint, or does my address book need updating?”

Charlie Finlay stuck his head around the office door. “You screamed?”

Megan nodded, holding up the printout. “What in gods name is this, Charlie? Rejection letter to the afterlife?”

The rest of his body slid out of the door. Charlie looked at his feet. “Oh, yes. That guy – he’s dead I’m afraid. Sorry Megan. Look under D, for Daley.”

Charlie tensed, fully aware of the reaction that was about to happen. It was a damn good job he had, too.

Megan started hyperventilating. Then she finally screamed, “You’ve got a medium on speed dial? The note under here reads ‘Ouija board in the supply closet. Do not throw away’.’ Charlie, as much as I love this job, you can fuck right off there!”


It took two hours to calm Megan down. Along with three Valium tablets, a shot of neat Jack Daniels and a large raise. By which time the medium had arrived at the office.

“Hey Charlie. You must be Megan? She’s new Charlie, what happened to the last one? Never mind, I’m Maggie. Nice to meet you. So, we’re sending another rejection notice to Mister Daley? Doesn’t let a little thing like death stop him from sending you new stories, does he Charlie?”

Megan quietly mouthed, “Last one?” to herself.

“Pass me the letter, love.” Maggie clicked her fingers in front of Megan’s face. “Megan? The letter, please?”

Eventually Megan snapped out of it and handed the printout across the desk.

As Maggie scanned the document, she mumbled out loud to herself. “Thank you for sending, not a good fit, made me laugh, look forward to seeing your next submission. Oh, that’s a nice one Charlie. He almost made it this time then?”

Charlie nodded. “Fell at the final cut, sadly. He does good work, I’m sure whoever he left his archive to will find the right story pretty soon. Shall we get on with this then?”

Placing the Ouija board in the centre of the table, Maggie nodded. “We’ll try the seance first. See if young Mister Daley is in a chatty mood or not, eh?”

So Maggie and Charlie joined hands.

Maggie called over, “Megan, we need a third dear. Otherwise this won’t work.”

“I’ll approve your travel claims, if you help us out?” Charlie offered.

She was over there like a flash, grabbing their hands before she regretted it.

Maggie closed her eyes. “I call on the energies of all present, guide my mind across the ether. Help me find this departed soul. Raymond Daley, can you hear us?”


Maggie smiled. “Don’t be disheartened, this isn’t an exact science. I’ll try again. If everyone can concentrate for me please, and try to keep your minds clear. That’s fantastic, Megan. Just like that. Why can’t you be that relaxed, Charlie? You really should try golf.”

Charlie just rolled his eyes at her.

“Okay, focus back to me again please. We are trying to reach the essence of Raymond Daley. We have a message about your story submission to Fantasy and Science Fiction. Raymond Daley, are you there?”

The planchette on the Ouija board started to twitch.

“Ooo, I think he’s coming through another way Charlie. Go ahead Raymond, we feel you among us.”

The planchette quickly moved from letter to letter.

I prefer Ray, actually.

Maggie blushed. “Sorry, Ray. I’ve got a message from Charlie Finlay.”

About my story? Cool. Go ahead.

“Dear Raymond, thank you for your submission “The Shape Of Come To Things“. Sadly it wasn’t a good fit for this issue, but it certainly made me laugh. I want you to know this only just missed the last cut so I hope you will submit again in the near future. Good luck with finding this story another home. All the best, Charlie Finlay. F&SF.”

Is Charlie there with you?

“Yes Ray.”

Tell him he can sod off, okay? And tell him to toss that bloody Ouija board away too, it’s giving me a terrible migraine. Fella can’t even be dead in peace now. I’ll let my executor know not to submit there again. Ray Daley, signing off from the netherworld. Tell my tweeps I love them!

Then finally the planchette shattered across the table into thousands of tiny pieces.

Charlie let out a sigh. “That’s a shame, he was a bloody good writer. Funny bugger, too. Megan?”

“Yes Charlie?”

“Can you be a dear and put Ray’s details into our ‘do not contact again‘ folder please? Then you can have the rest of the week off on full pay. I don’t know about you Maggie, but I could murder a drink?”

Maggie smiled at him. “Does this mean I won’t be needed again then, Charlie?”

As he was getting his jacket, Charlie looked across the office at her. “Of course not, Maggie. I still need you. How else am I going to talk to Isaac Asimov? He still owes me three short fic pieces.”


All We Know For Sure Is That James Has Gone Rogue [By Ray Daley]

4 Feb

All We Know For Sure Is That James Has Gone Rogue
By Ray Daley

The office has finally returned to a state that is now fast approaching normality. What ever the hell that might be.

The news crew behind me are already reporting their lies every fifteen minutes, doling them out in sound-bite sized pieces to the baying masses, still hungry for their updates. “We know for sure he’s gone rogue!”

Lie number one. He didn’t go rogue. We aren’t exactly sure why he logged off, stood up and walked out.

“The trail of bodies he left in his wake have barely had time to cool.”

Lie number two. He didn’t kill anyone. He pushed one man over, that was the supervisor who tried to stop him leaving. And that guy picked himself up off the ground moments after our colleague had left the room.

“This frustrated psychopath finally cracked. Once, a mild mannered administrator…”

There’s lie number three. He wasn’t crazy, just highly strung. And lie number four too, he was a bloody telephone operator!

“We’ve been told we can only expect the body count to increase from this point on.”

Lie number five. He hasn’t killed anyone. How can a zero body count increase? Unless the media are out there now, murdering people in his wake, just to make their lies reality?

“The reports are still sporadic, but we are receiving updates about new victims all the time..”

How? Did the press team send their own hitmen after him? Are they killing people themselves, just to keep the story in the headlines?

“This information just in! We’ve had reports of a killing on the High Street.”

That’d be difficult, he doesn’t even take that route home. I decide I’ve had enough at that point.

“And we are…”

This is where I step in, excuse me.

“Lying to you. Sorry ladies and gents, but I’ve got to cut these idiots off and tell you the truth. I work with James. He didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t go rogue. There’s no trail of bodies. He didn’t kill anyone in the High Street, his route home doesn’t even go in that direction! He’s a nice guy. He just had a bad day on the phones. He stood up, logged off, pushed over a supervisor and left. That’s all we know for sure. Don’t listen to the news. These folks are lying to you. They’ve already murdered three innocent people that we’re aware of here. And that’s just to keep this lie in the headlines. All we know for sure is that James left. Anything else is pure speculation. I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.”

I’ve always wanted to say that. It certainly leaves the Press in utter confusion. They have to cut to commercials, with nothing more to report here. I just hope James comes back to work soon. We miss his smile.


AUTHORS NOTES:- I wrote this during the 1st week of on-floor academy at Severn Trent. James did vanish during the day. I was told he logged out, stood up, and left. And never returned. I never even saw him leave. I had a few tries at selling this, no-one wanted it, so I’m giving it away for free on the blog.

Summing Up NaNoWriMo 2018

23 Nov

It’s day 23, and I have won.

I made the call to take part quite late into October, so I had about a week and a half to prepare, fortunately I knew I wasn’t going to be writing a novel, I was taking the rebellion route of short stories.

I’ve won 2 camps with short stories, so I had a fairly high expectation of success.

Planning:- I took a few days to find some outlines, ideas & image prompts. I didn’t find 30 because I didn’t expect to be writing one story every day. My hope was to go well over the daily word count.

Doing the damn thing:-

Day 1 & 2, I wrote a superhero origin story. I’d had the idea for this a few yrs ago so I had a decent outline to work off. 4635 words in the 2 day period.

Day 3, An idea about a spaceship. Another one I’d had a while back, it wrote fairly easily. 2463 words.

Day 4, An idea I had after getting a cold call to the house by phone. 2072 words.

Day 5 & 6, A fairystory retold and reimagined. 3910 words.

Day 7, Another superhero story, but told from a totally different point of view. 2658 words.

Day 8, They say write what you know, so I used some of my military experience. 2625 words.

Day 9 & 10, I’ll admit, I struggled to write anything. 713 words.

Day 10, I managed to find my stride later in day 10. 2346 words.

Day 11, Quite an easy day off a good image prompt. 2094 words.

Day 12, A weird story off something I kept mistyping. Well, it made me laugh. 1340 words.

Day 13, Another fairly easy day off an image prompt. 2430 words.

Day 14, My first day where I wrote nothing. 0 words.

Day 15, Another of my odd survival stories. 3272 words.

Day 16, It started out as a western, & went a totally different way. 1996 words.

Day 17, Me rewriting Day Of The Triffids, I guess? 1743 words.

Day 18, An experiment in story tellling, but in a new way. 2255 words.

Day 19, The first story was just odd. 1702 words. As was the second. 4002 words.

Day 20, Not the first time I’ve gone with a weird idea. 2165 words.

Day 21, Rather than write nothing, I wrote something short. 620 words.

Day 22, A prison story. 1690 words. And something about a maze. 3003 words.

Day 23, And a short story about space to finish. 1090 words.

Total word count 50824.

Summing up Camp NaNo July 2018

27 Jul

This month I decided to set my official goal at 50,000 words, reaching it by writing various different short stories. Here’s how I got on!

Day 01 – Daily word count 4724, total word count 4724.
Day 02 – Daily word count 2120, total word count 6844.
Day 03 – Daily word count 2668, total word count 9512.
Day 04 – Daily word count 3850, total word count 13362.
Day 05 – Daily word count 5301, total word count 18663.
Day 06 – Daily word count 3253, total word count 21916.
Day 07 – Daily word count 4247, total word count 26163. Broke halfway point!
Day 08 – Daily word count 2020, total word count 28183.
Day 09 – Daily word count 1947, total word count 30130.
Day 10 – Daily word count 2670, total word count 32800.
Day 11 – Daily word count 4542, total word count 37342. Added 84 words to day 6 story.Total=37426 words.
Day 12 – Daily word count 2688, total word count 40114.
Day 13 – Daily word count 4468, total word count 44582. Added 79 words to yesterdays count.
Day 14 – Daily word count 1286, total word count 45868.
Day 15 – Daily word count 2058, total word count 47926.
Day 16 – Daily word count 3330, total word count 51256. Win on day 16!
Day 17 – Daily word count 1818, total word count 53074. Unofficial new target now 60,000 words.
Day 18 – Daily word count 1022, total word count 54096. 1 like from #Pit2Pub
Day 19 – Daily word count 1208, total word count 55384.
Day 20 – Daily word count 1600, total word count 56984. Win claimed!
Day 21 – Daily word count 1363, total word count 58347.
Day 22 – Daily word count 1498, total word count 59845.
Day 23 – Daily word count 712, total word count 60557. Unofficial goal reached!
Day 24 – Daily word count 1378, total word count 61935.

Claimed end of camp on day 25, no writing took place that day.

I wrote and completed 27 new stories. I’d stand by all bar 3 of them to be saleable.

I managed to write something every day, despite this being the hottest July on record. One of my novels is currently being read by a publisher.

I did okay this month.

Vote for my story! (Please?)

5 Dec

My SF AI story “Call Girl” is now free to read at Astounding Outpost :-

If you want to support my writing please vote for it here:-

A free story & request for support!

1 Dec
If you enjoyed reading my story “Call Girl” (read it here:- then please consider voting for it here:-
It might win me some money, which would be lovely.