The one thing about the internet that more than makes up for its numerous misgivings is that you’re able, practically wherever you are in the world, to make friends with anyone connected to a computer, a phone or a tablet in a way that even the basic telephone can’t come close. In the three or so years I’ve done this blog thing, I’ve made some cool friends across the world. There’s David in Scotland, Rhiannon in Australia, Gabino in Austin, Texas, Erik in NYC, Roy in Canada, just to name a few. It’s been cool to be able to really get to know people from other cultures, other countries, other walks of life…and know that my work is reaching people out in the great unknown.
David Eccles is one of those people. He hales from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, in the good old U.K. He’s an up and coming writer and a helluva guy…and he looks like he could kick your arse 12 ways to Sunday. He’s got a new book out, Darke Times and Other Stories. I bought it at Amazon and thought it was a really nicely written collection of tales told with a great sense of humor. There’s a nice variety to the stories, in subject matter, tone and length.
So in an effort to give some help to a fellow author, I’ve turned this blog entry over to David to tell you a little about himself, his book and what’s next. Definitely give it a read. There’s contact information for David at the end. And be sure to go to Amazon and buy his book!
A Potted History of Author, David Eccles
I never really cared much for reality, not even as a small child. I would spend hours drawing comic books and ad-libbing science fiction plays with my brother and sister, acting them out and recording them onto cassette tapes with my trusty old piano-key cassette recorder.
We would watch all of the classic sci-fi shows from the US on the TV (in good old monochrome, or black & white as it was known to us) such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Land of the Giants, The Invaders, etc. along with the home-grown enormity that is the ever-popular Doctor Who, and also other goodies from Gerry Anderson such as UFO and Space: 1999.
BBC radio plays were an important part of entertainment during my childhood in the early 1970s too, because in 1973 when I was ten years of age, there were a lot of strikes by the electricity companies and widespread blackouts ensued, so there was no TV in the evenings; we all sat around listening to our transistor radios, and it was simply the best of times! I frightened myself silly reading Hammer House of Horror and other similar gory comic books by torchlight in my bedroom!
I became a serious paperback, comic book and graphic novel collector and would spend all of my “pocket money” (allowance) every month on all that I could get hold of. Before I stopped collecting and gave all of my collection away to friends, relatives and the Children’s Ward of the local hospital, I estimated that I had spent around £20,000 ($30,382 at today’s exchange rate) by the time I was eighteen! The comic books were getting out of hand, and so I hit them on the head and went cold turkey, and since that day the only comic books I have bought have been two graphic novels: Watchmen, and the Batman graphic novel Hush.
The paperback and hardback collection however, continued to grow at an alarming rate! Epic science fiction, sword & sorcery pulp classics, horror, ghost stories, crime, detective stories, adventure; I read them all. If it’s a good story, then I’ll read it!
I always told myself that I would be a writer someday, but the need for a job and money to live on kept me from doing what I wanted for so many years. Real life gets in the way, as they say, and it’s true, though I deeply regret not writing thirty years earlier.
For twenty-seven years I worked in a factory building both gas and electrical domestic appliances, and then I took voluntary redundancy a year before the company was sold off and the factory closed down. I then went on to work at an engineering company who built one-way valves for pipelines ranging from one inch to a hundred inches in diameter. That was interesting, and dangerous! From there, I moved into the security industry, working as a security guard and also as pit security and dressing room security at a local live venue, catching crowd-surfers and ejecting drug dealers who were caught selling their shit inside the venue. Ah, happy times!
Then, three years ago my father was taken ill, and I gave up my job to look after him and be his main carer. That was when I began to write in earnest.
I began to use Twitter, and to this day, I will tell anyone who is serious about being a writer to join Twitter and to get to know and follow and tweet with all the writers they can, be they unknown or famous. Writers are just the best bunch of people one could ever wish to meet. I’ve conversed albeit briefly, with one of my favourite authors, Val McDermid. That for me was a massive buzz!
My main motivation for beginning to write has been the positivity and enthusiasm and a love for their writing that I’ve seen in two people: Ksenia Anske and Troy Blackford. I see their drive, and it made me think, yes, I can do this!
People in general underestimate the power of Twitter. It is a great platform for writers to market their books and to network, and it gives one the chance to be seen potentially by millions, if you ever get lucky and are followed by a huge celebrity! I’m still waiting, though Sian Lloyd, a TV weather girl here in the UK does follow me!
I made friends with hundreds of authors and also unpublished writers; I was one of the latter, but I always knew and never doubted that I would be published, either going down the traditional route, or by going it alone and self-publishing with Amazon and Smashwords.
The stories began to flow, and I decided that I would start a blog and feature my stories there. I tweeted regularly and I posted on Facebook, giving the links to my stories, and to my glee I found that people liked them! Some even went so far as to say they loved my stories!
It was then that I was invited by Ksenia Anske to take part in a flash fiction project with nineteen other writers, whereby we produced an episodic story leading up to Easter Sunday that was entitled Easter Bunny Apocalypse and was published on Ksenia’s blog. It was tremendous fun to write, and for the record, I wrote chapter two.
Fellow Easter Bunny Apocalypse collaborator and author M.C. O’Neill became my beta-reader for most of my stories, and I trust in his judgement implicitly. I also have the honour of beta-reading for him too. He suggested that I start to submit stories, and so I did.
James Roy Daley’s BOOKSoftheDEADPRESS.com was the first commercial website to feature my work, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Roy is a great champion of the unknown writer and regularly features flash fiction by new authors on his site. The man is a legend, as an author, as a publisher, and as an Editor!
After that, I submitted to and was accepted for two anthologies edited and published by James Ward Kirk: Sex, Drugs & Horror, which is available now, and Serial Killers Tres Tria, which will be published in the near future.
Work began on a project that was a kind of spin-off from Easter Bunny Apocalypse. This time, there were fewer of us, and so we had a tenfold increase in our word limit, and, after suffering a terrible bout of writer’s block for two weeks that kept me from writing even a shopping list, I suddenly snapped out of it and I wrote my contribution for what will become a charity anthology later this year (hopefully the end of August), entitled Echoes of the Wasteland.
My father’s health deteriorated rapidly recently, and I did my best to compile my stories into a volume that I could self-publish hopefully before he died, but it was not to be. It was three weeks after the death of my father that I managed to publish my first book, Darke Times and Other Stories, and I did everything, even the cover design. I know that both he and my mother would be proud of me. Hell, I’m proud of me too!
So, what’s next for me? I have a fantasy story that I’ve been working on for some time, entitled The Magic of Music. I keep picking it up, doing a little work on it and then putting it down again, plus there is my as-yet untitled debut novel that I began in November 2010 but have had to shelve for a while because of all the short story ideas I keep having. No doubt there will be more stories pushing their way to the fore of my mind too, desperate for me to write them down.
I seem to be a pantster. I write by the seat of my pants and never plan anything that I write. My stories just seem to want to be born of their own accord most of the time, but there are times when I wish that I could plan things out well in advance.
I’ve never been much of a team sports person; I’ve always preferred combat sports, especially MMA-style fighting like UFC. I have a need to understand the mechanics of fighting, and I love to watch the blood fly and see and hear bones break. I study violence, and serial killers are of a particular interest to me. I guess that’s why most of what I write is sick, twisted shit! You want more? Okay. You got it!
Contact details for David: