The End of The World Is Here…

I’m hoping that got your attention.

Maybe. Maybe not.

But really I just wanted to let you know that my new YA post-apocalyptic series is nearly here!

The Day The Earth Turned is a four-book series set immediately after a huge apocalyptic event. Not just one pandemic, but several, have decimated the population and only the children remain.

Here is the blurb:

The adults are all dead. Society has collapsed.

Two groups of teenagers emerge on either side of a rural village, traumatised, bereaved and determined to survive.

As tribes form and territorial lines are drawn, can they overcome their differences and find a way to rebuild?

Or will gang warfare end this emerging new world before its even begun?

Each of them have their theories about what killed the adults and as the dust settles on the old world, a far bigger, darker, and angrier threat is bursting to life all around them.

It’s taken a long time to get here! Over four years of jotting ideas down, creating characters, writing each book in the first draft one after the other, then going over them again and again, changing the tense from past to present and constantly feeling like I would never get there! This was definitely the hardest writing project I’ve ever worked on. I loved it from the start but just kept feeling like I couldn’t do the idea justice. I’m happy with how it all turned out though!

“Summer” can now be preordered on Amazon for just 99p for the ebook. Paperback coming soon! I would really love to share these books with you so if you have any interest in apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, disasters and stories about survival and the environment then please give book 1 a go and see what you think. I’ll be blogging more about the book and the characters as we head towards release day!

Here is the link to Amazon! The End of The World Is Here…

How To Find Hope In A World Falling Apart

I was contacted this week by a younger writer who wanted to know how I was able to keep writing when dealing with my own doomerism. In case you are not familiar with the term ‘doomerism’, it basically describes people who have a fatalistic and pessimistic view of the future of humanity. I’d never heard of the term but it makes perfect sense, particularly for younger people. It’s all right for the rest of us, isn’t it? Chances are, if you’re over forty, you’ve had an education, found a partner, maybe had kids, you have a home and a career and if the whole world ended tomorrow, at least you had a life for a while. At least you had the chance to experience a certain amount of things. Younger people quite rightly fear that they won’t get the chance. Everywhere you look, everything is very bad. For creative people this can be a real problem. How can you sit down and write poems or stories when you’re convinced the world will end before you get a chance to share them?

Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

To answer this, first of all let’s take a quick look at the reasons young people are experiencing doomerism.

  • Climate change – probably the biggest concern for young people today. This summer has really brought it home. Wildfires, droughts, water shortages, crop failure… These things are happening and happening on our own doorsteps. The UK is having its driest summer since 1935 and recently broke the record of highest temperature recorded when we tipped over 40 degrees. We are used to being a wet green country, not a parched dry one. Many counties here have hosepipe bans and restrictions in place and although some rain has now arrived, the dry weather is predicted to go on until October. We had a dry winter last year and if we get another one, we are in real trouble.
  • The cost of living – another worldwide issue, but one that is really affecting people right now where I live. One of the big supermarkets is about to introduce a buy now-pay later scheme for food shopping. Seriously. Wages are falling as inflation is spiralling. It is becoming impossible here for young people to rent a home, let alone buy one. Our money is not even stretching to cover the basics which means more and more people are working just to live and life should not be like that. It’s depressing. Especially for young people.
  • Fuel crisis – whichever way you look at it, we are in trouble. The big companies are raking in record profits while UK households are seeing their bills soar to levels that will be simply unaffordable for most. The war in Ukraine has added to the problem with some European countries planning to ration gas amid fears of power shortages and cuts.
  • Threat of nuclear war – We haven’t been this close to possible nuclear war since the 1980’s and it’s terrifying.

I could probably go on! But I think the list above covers the big ones and hints towards their implications such as food shortages, famine, decimation and extinction of wildlife, recession…

So, not a lot to feel hopeful about maybe? And how the hell could anyone put pen to paper with all this fear running around their head? I mean, with this shit to look forward, why put an effort into anything? It’s all pointless, right?


Not to me. And here is why.

  1. You are alive. Whether your life is what you imagined or hoped it would be, whether everything feels hopeless or not, whether you are rich or poor, fat or thin, tall or short, you are alive. You exist. You are here. You didn’t get flushed down the toilet, you weren’t lost to a miscarriage, you didn’t die in the womb or when being born, or as an infant. None of us know how much time we have here but while we have it, we ought to grab it with both hands and make the most of it. Easier said than done, I know, but every now and then just think about it. You are alive. You are the only you. No one else like you has ever existed and no one else ever will. You are a one off.
  2. You are young. A lot can happen in a short time. A lot can happen in a lifetime. It sucks to be born in such a turbulent times but people have been born in worse times. Don’t let it beat you. Refuse to. Fight back any way you can. Be resilient. Be tough as hell. You deserve a life and to be happy just like the rest of us. You haven’t got it as easy as previous generations but you can change it.
  3. Economic and societal systems change. They have before and they will again. We are currently, in my view, at the end stage of capitalism. It’s eating itself and destroying the planet and it can’t go on much longer. But we used to live under other systems and we can do again. Nothing stays forever. Everything has its time and then time moves on. I think we are in for a lot of chaos due to capitalism, what it has done to the planet and to us, but something else will emerge because it always does.
  4. It gets worse before it gets better. I truly believe this. Sadly, humans seem to have to let things get really, really bad before they wake up to what is going on and start to demand change. That’s far harder when the establishment control most of the media but eventually people’s lives become so opposite to what the media is peddling, that they realise they have been duped. This is happening right now with people waking up to the fact energy and water companies should never have been privatised and run for profit. It might take a while to change things to help people, but it all starts with public opinion shifting and it is.
  5. When things are scary, knowledge is power. I like to know what is going on so that I can prepare for the worst case scenario. I’m not exactly a dooms day prepper. I don’t have an underground bunker, weapons or a hazmat suit stashed in the wardrobe, but I do like to be prepared as much as I can. It makes me feel better, less helpless. When Russia invaded Ukraine and there was fearful talk of a nuclear war, I started researching how to survive one. I keep a survival notebook full of tips on how to find water, filtrate and sterilise it, different ways to start fires, build shelters, and so on. I add to it all the time. Anything that might be handy. I buy more basic foods than I need just to keep up a good supply. It might be useless, it might be nowhere near enough, but it is something and it is better than doing nothing because it makes me feel less helpless. One major thing everyone should get to grips with right now is growing their own food and collecting their own water. Hopefully this record breaking summer has woken people up to that.
  6. Words can change the world. Think about the power of words and books to change the world and shift opinions. It’s staggering. Stories are what bring us together and stories help humans interpret the world and respond to it. Writing and other creative pursuits are so important during difficult times. As a writer, you have the power to hold a mirror up to society and let people know what is going on.
  7. Writing is therapeutic. It really is! But you have to do it and commit to sticking to it to really feel the benefits. If you give up on writing or allow doomerism to put you off and consider it pointless, then you’re going to feel even worse. Writing can help you, so let it. Write about your fears, your hopes, your anger, your disappointment. Pour your thoughts, emotions and dreams into characters and stories that will carry the weight for you.
  8. Writing allows an escape. Just like reading, when times are tough, writing allows you an escape into another world. I love my other worlds and I feel the longing to escape to them whenever I’ve had a stressful day. Those worlds are your creations and you can control them and vanish into them any time you like.
  9. Don’t lose hope. Despite everything, we have to hold on to hope. Sometimes it feels like the world is full of bad people and not worth saving but I think tough times bring out the best in people; something more primal and ancient emerges when our backs are against the wall. I always remember a quote I once came across that said whenever you see a tragedy, look for the people who are helping. It’s simple but true. Cars crash on the road, people stop, phone the emergency services, run in to help if they can. Natural disasters occur and people rush in to save strangers. Everywhere that something terrible happens, you will see ordinary people helping others. It is in our instincts to help and protect each other and I still believe that most people are good.
  10. Fight back. Join a political party that shares your concerns for the future. Volunteer, spread the word, or just bring up the conversation with your family, workmates or in your place of education. Conversations need to be had about where we are all going so why not start them? You might just make a few people think about it for the first time. In short, if you give up, the bad guys win and we can’t let them do that.

I hope this is a helpful list to any young people feeling understandably anxious about the future right now. Is there anything you would add to it? Feel free to comment and share!

Should You Have More Than One Blog?

Last week at the writing group I run as part of my Chasing Driftwood Writing Group business, we ended up having a discussion about blogs. One of the members had announced his decision to have more than one blog, due to the fact he wanted to keep his writing related blog separate from his other passions in life. This was an interesting and very timely discussion, as I had just been thinking myself about another blog I started and soon neglected roughly a year ago. (I do technically have two blogs, as I have the Chasing Driftwood one, but I basically use this like a website, where all I really do is update the workshops I run every now and then.)

Last year, however, I started a third blog. My Self-Sufficient Challenge started for two main reasons. One, as a family we were making conscious efforts to change the way we lived. From raising ducks and chickens to composting, growing our own fruit and vegetables, reusing, recycling and reducing our waste output wherever possible. It seemed like a good idea to blog about something I was becoming very passionate about, which wasn’t necessarily related to writing. (Oh, how this has changed! But more on that later…) I thought writing a weekly blog about my efforts to become more environmentally friendly and more self-sufficient would actually encourage me to keep at it. If I felt like people were reading the posts and rooting for my efforts, then I’d be more likely to get better and better. The second reason was perhaps more altruistic, or business savvy, shall we say?

I had read somewhere (don’t ask me where as I have absolutely no idea!) that creating other blogs apart from your main, author related one, was a very good marketing idea. The idea being that if you had other interests you were passionate and/or knowledgeable about, you would inevitably draw in other followers, who would then soon realise you also write books, and would perhaps be interested in them, due to the fact they had enjoyed your posts and writing style. This made great sense to me at the time. Why not reach out to more people? Why not write about a subject you are passionate about? It seemed like a win-win situation to me.

If you’re also thinking about multiple blogs, here are some reasons it could be a good idea for you;

  • It can be hard to create a following for your blog if it is multi-niche, or in other words, if you talk about anything and everything
  • People tend to subscribe to certain blogs because they are interested in the subject matter. They might lose interest if you flit from subject to subject
  • If you wish to monetize your blog (and many people make a living from doing just this) you will need it to have a single focus. Your SEO (search engine optimization) will be pretty poor if you cover too many subjects for people to find you
  • If you wish to have paid ads on your blog, again it is going to have to have a narrower focus
  • If the other blog you have in mind is work based, ie you’re a dog trainer and the blog is about dog behaviour and so on, then you’re going to need it to be a single focus in order to look professional
  • If one of your blogs is for work/business and one is for fun, it may be better to keep them separate. Writing about what you enjoy could provide a welcome relief from working on your money orientated blog

And of course, there is no reason why you can’t share and cross-post your blogs so that both audiences (or more) get the opportunity to see what else you are up to.

So, what happened to my self-sufficiency blog? Well, like many things in life, the good intentions were all there but it soon faded fast. I think I managed about four posts. The aim was to post once a week, but back then I wasn’t even managing to post once a week on this blog. This wasn’t for lack of content at all. There were plenty of things to talk about, and I took loads of photos of the things we were doing and growing. I just never quite found the time to upload them to the blog!

Once a few months had drifted by, it got harder and harder to return to it. I had in that time revamped and renamed this blog, with the aim of ‘branding’ it, so to speak, and making sure people knew what they were getting.

This is a blog that talks about writing. A lot. This is a blog that talks about being proud to be an outsider. My books and my character all have this theme in common. I welcome guest posts along the same theme, and I read books that also fit the criteria.

The other day, (just before writing group) this got me thinking. I miss my self-sufficient blog but know I don’t have the time for it. I just do not have the time to run two blogs. It’s just not ever going to happen. So I started to think about how I could possibly post things that might have gone on the self-sufficient blog here. I’m still thinking about it.

What led me back to this thought the most, was the direction my writing has taken in the last year or so. The Tree Of Rebels is waiting for a final edit. The book is set in the future where nature is banned, owned and controlled. The connection with nature and growing your own food has been totally severed. Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature is also awaiting its final edit. This is a book about a young boy who attempts to prove to his mother that people are not all bad, by befriending perfect strangers. His mother believes that the world has never been as corrupt, cruel and doomed as it is right now. Several of the other characters in the story share her beliefs to varying degrees. They feel helpless and afraid and like the end of the world is very near. And finally, in the four book series I have plotted and planned, (but cannot possibly start for at least another year!) the end of the world has happened. But the cause was not humans, it was nature itself. Only the children have been spared the cull, but how will they survive in this hostile new world where all the rules have changed? All of these upcoming books have a common theme. Environmentalism. Mother nature. Human nature. The state we are all in! In other words, the things I think about constantly.

Now, every now and then I write a piece on here that is not at all related to writing. Every now and then I just feel the urge, start writing and see what happens. Sometimes it is related to my family, sometimes to society or politics. I suppose what I am trying to say is that as long as the theme remains in adherence to glorious outsiders, then perhaps it is okay to post about things that are not writing related? Especially if you find your writing is being shaped more and more by the frightening world we live in?

You might have noticed, I haven’t quite convinced myself yet!

What do you all think? Do you already have more than one blog? If so, why? And how do you find the time to manage more than one? Perhaps your blog is multi-niche or quite personal. Do you ever think about creating other blogs and dividing the subjects up? I would love to know your thoughts on this, and so would my writing group! So please feel free to comment!