Where Are We? - December 2023

Monthly Update


Ezra Payne

12/31/20233 min read


It may be holiday season, but we’re far from slacking. I’ve started work on a short story within the Hateful Tales universe that’s separate from the main story. Difficult to say when that will be released but it keeps us busy writing.

Blood Reign releases in less than two months. The formatting is complete, the proofs have been ordered and we’re sorting the last of the jobs to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Advanced readers have been picked for reviews and proofs will be scrutinised for quality. Pre-orders will be up late next month. We’re getting close!



Happy Holidays / New Year to all those celebrating! I was involved in Secret Santa at work and with my Magic the Gathering group which had great success. Asking around to see what people like works a treat.

As far as reading goes, I’ve visited Harry Potter for the first time. I only watched the films about four years ago and they didn’t grab me. It’s easy to see why everyone raves about the books. Really enjoyed the Philosopher’s Stone.

Gaming had me on Solar Ash, Tunic and Spider-Man 2. Winner out of these three would be Solar Ash, which has you skating over terrain while solving puzzles and taking down giant monsters. Only 6 hours long but still recommended.


Question of the Month?

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a novel?

You’ll hear a lot of talk online about ideas coming from inspiration and mind-mapping tools and cute fluff apps that’ll help your writing process. Lemme tell you something:

Inspiration conjures a story. Discipline prints a novel.

If you want something more actionable and less quotable, here’s the method I used:

  • Write your outline so you know what you’re doing. Split it into chapters and / or parts. It all boils down to three things: Where are we? Who’s there? What happens?

  • Write the first draft. It can be a hot mess, don’t worry. Just write something. You can’t edit a blank page. I use Scrivener to organise all the novels I’ve lined up (£50 one-time fee) but good old Microsoft Word is completely fine.

  • Send the first draft to friends and family for feedback - you’ll get a few well intentioned people who don’t have time to finish it. You’ll get a few who say it’s great just you keep you positive. You need actionable comments. Provide them with a questionnaire to complete after reading so they know what you want them to comment on.

  • Revise (rewrite) the novel, actioning valid feedback, ironing out narrative kinks, strengthening descriptions, fleshing out characters etc.

  • Send the revised novel to (paid) beta readers. There are some decent ones on Fiverr.

  • Hire an artist or book cover designer for your book. Make sure you provide them with the measurements for the book size(s) you’re going with.

  • Revise the manuscript, actioning valid feedback from the beta readers. Make sure you’re happy with your novel because past this point, you’ll creatively stop writing this story.

  • Send the manuscript to a copy editor for advanced sharpening. I found mine on Reedsy.

  • Send the formatted manuscript to a proofreader to polish the finished product.

  • Format the manuscript for publishing. I use Vellum (£250 one-time fee) which is Mac only. Atticus.io exists for Windows users.

  • Buy your ISBNs so your book officially exists (if you're making physical copies).

  • Upload your files to Kindle Direct Publishing or your chosen publisher.

Not a short list, is it? Not an easy or quick process either (and that list isn't even comprehensive!) but if you really want to publish that book, you'll do it. As I said, discipline prints a novel.