Category Archives: Sword of Damocles

Launch Day and Associated Nerves

Nervous? Why?

Writing a book is an intensely private affair. When I’ve finished writing one, along with the euphoria I feel at completing such a mammoth task (and be under no illusion – it is a mammoth task), I feel deflated – the same way you might after watching a good film or reading a good book. I look around and think, ‘Now what?’ There is a rainbow of emotions to experience before you can begin to get on with your life; it really is that disruptive – to me anyway.

But uppermost in that list of feelings, is fear. You and your baby have been through hell and high water for a year or so, and you’ve cuddled it, sworn at it, beaten it, and shed tears and blood (yes blood. Paper cuts are evil!), shared laughter and frustration with it. It has caused friction in your ‘real’ life, it has given you a crutch to support you when ‘real’ life has been too much to bear alone. It has been the one thing you have thought of more than just about anything else for as long you can remember. It lives within you.

And now you’re going to let the world look at it.

Are you nuts?

That world is often cruel, and it takes no prisoners. It laughs at your efforts and mocks you without even the good grace to smile as it does so.

So beware, releasing a book is a minefield of nerves and emotions.


So far, with Sword of Damocles, all is good. The reviewers seemed to like it very much, making the fear abate somewhat. I’d like to say I can just sit back now and enjoy the ride, but I can’t because the nerves are never far away.

I’ve heard that the pain of childbirth melts away and all a mother knows is that happiness of seeing her child grow. The same is true for writing I think. The emotional turmoil and the physical pain dissolves when the good reviews come in, and it is because of these reviews that the heartache of writing a novel gives way to the joy of having written it. The pleasure other people get form your work outweighs the pain it took to create it.

Damocles breathes by itself

You’ll remember that I installed in my life a writing regime that was fair to the other important aspects of my life? No? Well, I gave up one evening, one morning and one full day to my writing. Have I stuck to it?

Erm, well no, not really. Of late I have plundered Sarah’s goodwill and have taken far more time than I should have. And I’ve done that because over the last few weeks I’ve been coming to the end of Sword of Damocles. And no matter who you are, if you enjoy writing, there’s nothing, including wild horses and cute babies, that can keep you from the final chapter or two.

And luckily for me, Sarah has been full of encouragement all the way.

So the time came (Mid-June) to let my new offering loose on a few very carefully chosen readers. And it’s with them now. Am I scared? Of course I am.

It’s not a long book by any standard, and weighs in at slim 80k words. And most of the remaining 15k went in during the final edit where I expanded the sub-plots, thought of an ending (I know!), and tied together all the loose bits that were left floating at the end of the first draft.

A good friend of mine made the cover for me, and I’m delighted with it. It does, I agree, look similar to Black by Rose, but that’s no bad thing really since I love that cover too.

Final artwork
Final artwork

So now what?

Well, good question indeed. I still have plenty to keep me busy, including making up for all the writing time I stole recently. I wrote a short last year entitled Any Old Iron. I might go back over that and see where it can be improved. Then again I might look into a new Eddie story.

Here’s a link to a recent blog about Sword of Damocles, and another linking to a piece in The Story Behind… section.

So where’s the damned book, Barrett?

Several people have enquired about Sword of Damocles, the new Eddie Collins book; how it’s coming along and when I expect it to be released.keyboard-155722_640

2014 has probably been the most tumultuous year I’ve ever had the misfortune to live through. There have been some good bits though, but on the whole it left me feeling quite disheartened, very fragile, and for a time, ill in the mind as well as in the body.

The new year is here now and I can at last look to the future with something approaching a positive attitude. And I can at last begin telling lies through this here keyboard.DSC_1187

Sword of Damocles is once again under construction, albeit quite slowly. In the meantime I’ve penned a short story entitled The Lift which features Eddie Collins and some of his outlooks on life and the people who insist upon being part of it. Because it’s a short story, it’s compact, his feelings are compressed tightly within the confines of a steel coffin.

Originally I’d decided to do an interview with him since he does seem to have something of a following (he loves it! No, really!), but I wondered if I could tell more about him by putting him in a position of sever discomfort – one where he has to engage with people, especially people he knew he would not like (that’s just about everybody though.). And so, The Lift was born.

I hope to have The Lift out in February, and rest assured in the meantime I’ll continue onwards and upwards with Sword of Damocles.DSC_1188