(As I’m suffering from an ear infection that is driving me batty at the moment, I apologise in advance if this blog post starts to ramble or wander off at a tangent at any point…)

With Paul starting us off with some “Introductions”, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. I’m Andy Walker, otherwise known as Terrier Andy 7, TA7, Tez, Trekkie or Doc, depending on who you talk to. I tend to lean toward the darker end of speculative fiction (horror, dark fantasy and science fiction) and love anything that is dark, supernatural, gothic and macabre. In past incarnations I have been a high school teaching assistant, and a medic. I have therefore dealt with plenty of little horrors, and lots of blood and gore. And I’m not even crashing thirty, yet. I’m doing okay. I think.

I currently work at the local B&Q store to pay the bills, while trying at long last to dedicate a proper amount of time to writing. Online, this is the second group I’ve been a member of. First was the Short Story Group, where I regularly took part in a daily writing prompts system, and weekly critiquing of members’ short stories. I moved on from the SSG to branch out into the world, and stumbled upon Paul and his Literary Mania site. I was quickly inducted into the Literary Den, where as an active member, I agreed to edit the Literary Den’s 2008 Anthology. I’m currently editing the 2009 Anthology in whatever spare moments I get (which are few and far between) so progress is slow. But I’m getting there, shouldn’t be long now before we have another book on the shelves. I’m also the unofficial webmaster for this brand spanking new blog we have. So if the blog all goes wonky, blame the gremlins and let me know; I’ll see what I can do to fix it.

As for our gremlins, I’m not yet on first name terms with them. So far they are behaving themselves and only coming out at night when I’m asleep, so I’ve only had to kick one into touch. Yet. I’m sure they’ll lose their timidness before long.

Am I rambling yet? Yes? Ah…

Well, I’ll try to wrap up fairly quickly then. We’re not creating this blog with any specific plan in mind. Each contributor will add their own style, and hopefully, over time, this blog will become a strong, searchable resource for readers and writers alike. We’re off the ground, but we’re still only a few feet in the air yet. Give us some encouragement as we go along, and we’ll go a bit higher. We want as much active commenting and encouragement as we can get on this blog, so please feel free to jump in on the comments and leave your thoughts on the latest topics. Don’t be shy, we’re not.

I’m hoping to resurrect the Literary Den’s On The Bedside Table feature on this website, where members will tell all about what books are on their, well, bedside table. Or wherever they put their books down while not reading them. You’ll see more of this as we move on. The LitDen is finally moving in a very strong direction, I’m hoping you’ll all come along for the ride.

To keep my writing skills up as much as I can, I am a great believer in free writing, based on daily prompts. I learnt this technique from the SSG, and still abide by it now. The idea is simple: write something, anything, for twenty minutes every day. Don’t bother to edit, or rewrite, while you’re doing it. Just twenty solid minutes of writing. Even if you end up with several paragraphs of twaddle, it is the discipline of writing something, every day, that will help keep your skills up. You might be stuck as to what to write about, well that’s were you just look around. Use photo and picture sharing websites like flickr and Deviant Art, plenty of inspiration to be had there. Or just look around you, pick a random object. Flick through a favourite book and choose a line at random to start you off. Free writing is totally free, write about anything. The idea is, once you’ve done your daily twenty minutes, you’ll be in the right mood to then carry on with whatever project you’re currently working on. Or perhaps your free writing is something you can turn into a full idea, only you will know.

I’ll leave you with something I was taught long ago by an amazing teacher of mine. He always said that to be a writer, there is only one rule you must always adhere to, no matter what:

Keep bloody writing…