Finding The Balance

You know, sometimes we authors get so wrapped up in what we are doing, that we forget to strike a healthy balance between our activities. I took a look at my blog today and said; “ahhh, that’s okay, I did one a couple of weeks ago.” But then I looked closer and realised that most of my recent blogs have been on behalf of other people.

I do really love helping other Indie Authors with their promotions and blog tours, but it is so easy to have that as a fallback position and never get around to wring anything yourself. Today; I remedy that.
It is hard to believe we are almost halfway through June. Where did the year go to? There’s an old truism that goes something along the lines of “the older you get, the faster time moves.” Well, I do believe Einstein was right. Time is relative!
The last six months have been incredibly exciting, rewarding (although not overly financially rewarding) and productive for me.
So, today, I will ease myself back into the blogger’s chair with a short potted history of the first six month’s of this year.

The year started with a real hiss and a roar, after I was approached by a wonderful author and dear friend Rachel McGrath, who had this incredibly stupid idea that she, Colin Griffiths and I should write a book together. “Yeah Right!” was my initial shell-shocked reaction. “Like that’s ever going to happen!” Because I respected Rachel, I did agree to listen to her idea and the more we tossed it around, the more fun it seemed. Writing is such a solitary past-time that the idea of collaborating with two other authors, both of whom I have the utmost respect for, began to percolate in my consciousness. Having agreed to give it a try and see what happens, Tortured Minds – A supernatural, psychological thriller was born.
The premise was simple enough. The book would have three main characters; Daniel, Jake and Molly and each one of us would take on one of those characters. I ended up being Daniel, whilst Rachel took Molly and Colin, Jake.
The rules were straightforward:
1/ Molly would start and Jake would follow, with Daniel trailing. Each chapter would follow that format until the final chapter.
2/ Each of us could write whatever plot developments we chose and the others had to follow and react accordingly (NO COMPLAINING!).
3/ We would all write our own version of the final chapter and we would choose which version we wanted to make the book. That was basically it.
We started writing just into the new year and personally I found it a freeing and enervating change of pace. I won’t say it was easy. At times it was incredibly frustrating and yes there was the odd testy word or two said between us, but at the end of it we are still the best of friends and much the richer for the experience. I know a lot of authors who say they could never collaborate on a story. To them I say; “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.” It was a unique and fun experience.
Tortured Minds was published on May 6th and has been well received, with some very exciting and intriguing reviews.
One thing we did decide to do was to include the alternate endings at the end of the book, so the reader could see where the other two authors had seen this story concluding. This feature has proved very popular with readers.
I, Colin and Rachel are justifiably proud of what we’ve achieved with Tortured Minds and the uniqueness of the process, for me anyway, helped provide that necessary balance in this hectic six months.
You can check out and perhaps even purchase Tortured Minds here.

I had finished writing the sequel to The Second Coming; Rise of the AntiChrist, in October last year. Having self-published two books since The Second Coming, I vacillated between publishing AntiChrist myself, or submitting it to the publisher of The Second Coming (Pentian). In the end, I decided Pentian deserved first refusal on the sequel, as without them I would never have been an author.
I was lost how to go about publishing a book when I completed Second Coming and it was finding Pentian that allowed me into this world of publishing, so I committed it to them.
They came up with an awesome cover, which clearly linked the two books together and I sat back and waited for the book to come out…and I waited…and I waited. The reality is that when you self-publish you do a lot less waiting than when you are published by someone else. Frustrations aside, happily Rise of the AntiChrist was finally published on June 6th and I am looking forward to getting some feedback from people who have read The Second Coming. Antichrist is definitely darker and racier than The Second Coming, but the underlying themes of respect, love and family, are I hope still intact within my precious Castillo family.

Please do check out Rise of the Anti Christ here. It is also available through IBooks, Google Play and Kobo. The alternate links can be found in the ABOUT section of my

Whilst Colin, Rachel and I were toiling away on Tortured Minds, I happened to eavesdrop on a conversation on FaceBook (as you do!) between Colin and a friend of his, Tony Lenan. Tony was saying to Colin he had just discovered an old film from the 1970’s that he’d forgotten to develop. They were laughing about what horrifically uncool images of themselves could be on it, when I started to think. “What if there was something mysterious on one of the photographs?” Thus,from a simple idea, a new novel is created.
I began work on The Photograph in between my chapter requirements for Tortured Minds. By the time Tortured Minds was complete, I had around 40K written on The Photograph. Putting all my time and effort into this book, I had it completed and published on June 6th, the very same day we launched Tortured Minds.
The Photograph is best described as a supernatural thriller. This is really a new genre for me, but my work on Tortured Minds had made me interested in writing more in this area. It is too early to gauge reaction from readers, but personally I feel it is one of my best works ever. I am really proud of this little baby and I may have even left room for a sequel, should the inspiration take me.

Please do check out and perhaps even buy The Photograph here:

So, three books published in six months. Pretty happy with that actually!
But, I hear you ask; what did you do in your spare time?” Hahaha! You mean when I’m not trying to be a super-salesman and promoter of my own and other indie authors’ books on Social Media?
Well, about March,my good friend Colin (yes the very same one) sent me half a novel he was working on and asked me to read it and give him my opinion. I read what he’d done and I loved the story. In typical Colin Griffith’s fashion he had crafted a convoluted, ensemble story with loads of twists and psychological hooks. I wanted to see it finished, but also I wanted to see it edited well.
Now, I have no great pretensions as an “Editor”, but as a former print journalist, I consider myself a pretty dab hand at proofreading or copy-editing. I offered to proof and copy-edit it for him I thought it would give me some distraction from my constant writing and I also felt it would bring some balance into my workload. With Colin’s acceptance, I edited his new novel Someone Else’s Dream and I am happy to say he published this on May 1st. The balance that he wrote on the novel, was as good, if not better than what I’d initially read and I’m proud to say, I think he produced a stunning story, with a ton of twists and turns. I loved it and initial reviews suggest the readers love it as well.
I found two great benefits from this experience:
1/It gave me a break from my own writing.
2/ It has made me a better writer. I learned a lot from Colin’s innate story-telling ability and I think it has improved my latest works and the editing of those works. I suspect I will do more of this in the future as I continue to look for that elusive balance.

Please do check out Colin Griffith’s stunning new psychological thriller; Someone Else’s Dream here:

So, that was my first five and a half months of 2016. What does the rest of the year hold in store for me?
My next project will be to finish the third and final installments of The Second Coming Series (The Mission of Saving Humanity From the Brink); titled Holy War. I have written around 16K words on this, but I have to admit I was running out of ideas the last time I left it. After a good four month’s break from that, I am sure I’ll be ready and raring to go on getting that done. A trilogy seemed a great idea when I first started writing it, but by the third story there does come an element of getting tired of the characters, but I will not allow that to get into my consciousness. Holy War will be the perfect conclusion to a story that holds very dear to my heart. It was my first story and will always have a special place for me. I hope to have this story ready to go to print by mid-September.

After that, I have a vision to write a non-fiction book. I wrote some blogs about my philosophy of life, last year and ever since I have had this urge to expand on those and incorporate them into a book that can be useful in showing others just how you truly can turn your life around, especially if you are haunted by spectres of the past. The project is tentatively titled, “Seven Pillars of Happiness” and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into that.

I also want to continue to break up my writing with some editing, as well as helping other new authors navigate the uncharted, r them, waters of self-publishing. I’ve learned so much since I first dipped my toe into those very same waters, less than two years ago. I really want to help others to achieve the fulfillment I’ve found by “following my dream.”

And that, my friends, should take us nicely through to Christmas and for me that will hopefully mean a well-earned break in the tiny, beautiful, village of Rizal, Occidental Mindoro at the house of my father-in-law. A family Christmas in Rizal is very much what the doctor will be ordering.

Till next time, have an awesome, peace-filled day!






One thought on “Finding The Balance

  1. Pingback: Finding The Balance — Grant Leishman – Author – Chayil Champion

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