Autumn colours You lucky people down under are heading into spring, but here in the northern hemisphere our non-event of a summer has finally stopped tormenting us and we’re into autumn. Scotland is glorious at this time of year, with the heather in full bloom, the bracken a warm, golden brown, and the trees wearing their finest reds and yellows and oranges. I spent last weekend at Braemar, in the Cairngorm Mountains, enjoying a break before the winter weather sets in. Husband was looking up ancestors and where they might have lived. This one has a view to die for, but it would be bleak in winter. I prefer my cosy modern house! Well, this one might be cosy too if it had a roof… Book news 1: The Fire Mages’ Daughter has a release date! Pre-order at just $0.99. I know many of you have been wanting to know […]
Category: Current writings
There seems to have been a lot going on lately, what with the launch of The Mages of Bennamore, various other promotions, and the ongoing projects of the next book, and the one after that. So here’s a quick rundown on the state of play. Weekend promotions This weekend (6th and 7th June) two of my three books are specially priced. The Plains of Kallanash is at $0.99 (US/UK Amazons only, sadly) and The Fire Mages is free in all Amazons worldwide. This is a great opportunity to complete your collection if you haven’t already got all three books. Click the links to take you to your local Amazon to buy. The Mages of Bennamore Release date was 15th May, with 34 pre-orders and a nice little surge of sales to get things underway. Then I had a week of promotion set up – paid advertising every day, with the […]
‘The Fire Mages’ will be published this Friday, January 9th! An early Goodreads reviewer said:‘This is one of the best epic fantasy books I’ve read in a long time and I don’t say that lightly.’ To get your copy as soon as it’s released, you can now pre-order at Amazon (the link takes you to your local store). For a limited time, it will be priced at just $0.99. And it’s available right now as a paperback, priced at $8.39 (buy the paperback, and you can get the ebook free!). ETA: As part of the pre-release build-up, Enchanted Blog Tours arranged a cover reveal party for me – a dozen blogs, all showing the cover and blurb. Karen, at ‘Karen Writes Stuff’ (great name for a blog!), got quite excited about it. Thanks, Karen, I think it’s an amazing cover too (designed by Streetlight Graphics). ‘The Fire Mages’ is an […]
Did anyone even notice I was gone? No? Oh well. I’ve just spent three very pleasant weeks in Australia, first in Adelaide, then crossing the Nullarbor desert by train to Perth, then back to Adelaide to catch the plane home. Great weather, great food, great wine, great people – so friendly and just all-round nice people. And an astonishing number of them from my original stamping ground of Merseyside. Very weird to fly half-way round the world and hear so many Scouse accents. I got plenty of reading done on the long flights to and from the UK, and on the train. Thank goodness for a well-stuffed Kindle. I have eight reviews ready to post, and several other books partly read. Lovely to be able to catch up on my reading, and not to have twenty other things vying for my attention. I got some writing done, too, although I […]
I don’t normally do these things, where you get mentioned on someone’s blog and you are asked to pay it forward by mentioning several other blogs. It always seems a bit like those chain letters, or a blog version of pyramid selling. But recently this blog hop came to H. Anthe Davis’s rather splendid blog, wherein she describes in astonishing detail all aspects of her created world, as seen in her ‘War of Memory’ series. And you know what? This particular blog hop is rather fun. The only requirement is to talk about your own writing process, and mention three other writers you admire. What could be easier? Who doesn’t like talking about themselves? So here goes. 1. What am I currently working on? I have four books on the go at the moment, at different stages. 1) ‘The Plains of Kallanash’: epic fantasy with a strong romance element, set […]
So another one bites the dust. Today I typed ‘The End’ on ‘The Mages of Bennamore’, the third epic fantasy set in the Brightmoon world. Because I like statistics, here are some numbers for the three books for comparison: Book 1: ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ Elapsed writing time: 1 year Total days of writing: 190 Total words: 220,000 Average words per writing day: 1,100 Chapters: 58 Book 2: ‘The Fire Mages’ Elapsed writing time: 5 months Total days of writing: 90 Total words: 151,000 Average words per writing day: 1,700 Chapters: 44 Book 3: ‘The Mages of Bennamore’ Elapsed writing time: 7 months Total days of writing: 119 Total words: 157,000 Average words per writing day: 1,300 Chapters: 44 This third book is much the same size as the second, but it took 7 months overall instead of 5 months, largely because I was also working on revising ‘The Plains […]
I recently passed the 100,000 word mark on my current writing project, which seemed like a good point to take a moment and review the state of my writing so far. I’ve been writing seriously (as in stories with a beginning, middle and end, rather than random dabbling) for perhaps three or four years now, resulting in two complete novels and two incomplete. The Plains of Kallanash A 220K word behemoth (so it’s epic fantasy, it’s meant to be big, all right?), finished in first draft form in May 2013, left to brew for several months, critiqued in part on Scribophile (my online critique group) and currently with beta readers. I’ve set a deadline of mid-June for beta feedback, then I’ll do a final revision phase, with the objective of getting it to my proofreader by mid-July. The cover art is scheduled for early June, so after a final pass […]
It’s always a scary moment, handing over a finished book to the first person to read it in its entirety. Will it work? Does the plot even make sense? Will they get the emotional parts, the jokes, the world, the characters? I’d expected the first reader to be a stranger, a random internet volunteer to beta read, but I got talking to my daughter about ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ and she wanted to try it. I wasn’t expecting much. She’s not really into fantasy, apart from Terry Pratchett. She’s tried ‘Game of Thrones’ and found it too heavy. So although Kallanash isn’t grimdark or anywhere close, I thought it might be too long and tedious for her. I thought she might get bogged down in the weirdness of a full-on secondary world fantasy. I thought she might simply find it boring.
I’ve received quite a few critiques now for the opening chapters of ‘The Plains of Kallanash’, and they’ve generally been positive. At the low level (line editing), there isn’t much comment; a few word changes, the odd punctuation error, and a few places where a whole or part of a sentence is seen as extraneous. At a slightly higher level, there are some scenes or even sentences which are seen as having no purpose beyond world-building (and for some that’s true, but others are necessary foreshadowing). The main issue is in knowing what exactly is going on. Some people like everything spelled out for them, and some can go with the flow. Knowing just how much to explain is a complicated business, which I will discuss in detail in another post.
Everyone agrees that the opening to a book is critical. Some say it’s the first five pages, some the first 18 lines (the first page on a typical print book), and some will tell you that you have to grab the reader by the throat within the first sentence, or All is Lost. Well, to be honest, if a reader is so flighty that they’re going to toss a book based solely on the first line, I’m not sure I want them anyway. The first page is trickier. I can see the case for putting something there that’s so compelling that a reader absolutely has to turn the page. It’s all very well for George R R Martin to stick a forty page prologue up front, full of characters who promptly die, dialogue that is deeply portentous but unintelligable, and events that will possibly be understandable three books later, if […]