Month: March 2016

Authors answer 11: If you were going to write in another genre, what would it be?

Authors answer 11: If you were going to write in another genre, what would it be?

In a sense, I’ve already answered that question, since my current side project, apart from the fantasy, is a venture into Regency romance. I’ve always been a big fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer – very different styles, but both endlessly rereadable – and my very first attempt at novel writing, many moons ago, was a full-on Regency. That effort was banged out on an old manual typewriter, and I got maybe three-quarters of the way through before life overtook me. It now lurks, unloved, in a bottom drawer, and I haven’t dared to read it again. I’m quite sure it must be execrable. Fantasy and Regency might seem to be very different creatures. One is a made-up world, with the only limitation being the author’s imagination, focusing on battles and monsters and world-threatening peril, not to mention magic, of course. A Regency focuses on a much narrower field […]

Posted March 25, 2016 by PaulineMRoss in AuthorsAnswer / 4 Comments

Archive review: ‘The Silence of Medair’ by Andrea K Höst

Archive review: ‘The Silence of Medair’ by Andrea K Höst

I first read this in December 2011, when I was only just discovering self-published books, and finding most of them to be a bit ho-hum. Back in those early days of the Kindle, a lot of previously unpublished authors were dusting off long-abandoned manuscripts, kept in a drawer for years, maybe, and tossing them up on Amazon without much thought. The quality was variable, to put it mildly. There was a huge amount of dross, as is inevitable in a system with no quality control whatsoever, a lot that could have been better with a bit of polishing, and a few that just blew me away. This was the first I came across that made me say: wow, that was amazing! I’ve since gone on to read many more of the author’s works, and I highly recommend her for excellent reading that will shatter all your preconceived ideas of fantasy. […]

Posted March 21, 2016 by PaulineMRoss in Archive, Review / 0 Comments

‘The Fire Mages’ Daughter’: Chapters 1-4

1: A Letter As soon as I saw the messenger, I knew there would be trouble. Most letters came with Brant, ambling about on his elderly pony, his working clothes so faded from the sun it was impossible to guess the original colour. Anything more important came from the Kellona’s Hall, conveyed by a high-stepping horse, the rider clad in blue and orange. This rider wore gold. Her trousers and jacket were trimmed with it, her smart hat bore a gold feather, and the clasp on her cloak shone like the sun. She could only have come from Kingswell, from the Drashona herself. I was lying in the garden, my face to the sun, my hands restlessly poking holes through the grass to the soil beneath. I loved the feel of earth on my fingers, dry, crumbling, full of energy, just waiting to grow into flowers or apple trees or […]

Posted March 20, 2016 by PaulineMRoss in The Fire Mages' Daughter / 0 Comments

My editing process

I’m deep into the final edit of The Dragon’s Egg at the moment, and I thought it might be of interest to go into my editing process a little bit. Everyone has their own way of tackling the editing part of the job, and none of them are better or worse than any other, as long as the end result is a more polished and well-written piece of work. The only strategy I don’t recommend is skipping the editing process altogether. There are people who write a single draft and send it off into the world; Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns, is one of them, and if you write as well as he does, you can do whatever you like, frankly. But for mere mortals, or those of us with less experience, a solid editing process is essential. Here’s my system: 1) First draft editing This sounds like […]

Plotting for pantsers

Most authors like to plot a book out before they start to write. For some, that may be a couple of A4 sheets of scribbled notes. For others, it will be so detailed that it includes every chapter and scene, including lists of characters present and what happens, with a huge pile of background notes on characters, places, research, historical data and so on. The advantage is that when they come to write, they can focus on the words and not have to keep stopping to work out what happens next. The disadvantage is that a tightly plotted book can feel over-contrived and artificial. And then there are pantsers. What’s a pantser? An author who writes by the seat of her pants, that’s what. A pantser sits down with a blank sheet of paper (metaphorically, because almost everyone writes direct to computer these days), maybe a character or two and […]

Author Answers #10: What are your least favourite genres to read?

Horror is the first that comes to mind. A little bit creepy or spooky is fine, but out and out horror is a non-starter for me. I have vivid mental images of books I read decades ago that seared themselves into my brain and still have the power to make me shudder. Then there are the nightmares… Erotica is another genre I’m not fussed about. Now don’t misunderstand, I love me some heavy-duty grappling in a book, so authors can toss in as much or as little sex as they like, on condition that it fits into the story, and the plot isn’t just flimsy scaffolding to hang all that industrial-strength humping on. If the characters are constantly either doing it or thinking about doing it, that’s too much. I loved Erica Dakin’s Theft and Sorcery series, for instance, which features some seriously horny half-elves, but there’s a cracking fantasy […]

Posted March 2, 2016 by PaulineMRoss in AuthorsAnswer / 0 Comments