‘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 […]
Category: The Fire Mages
1: Refusal I was fourteen when the Kellon’s Steward first came for me. Well, blow that. I had my life all planned out, and the Kellon had no part in it, I was sure of that. Still, the Steward was waiting for me, and the question had to be asked before it could be refused. Head high, I crossed the tiny hallway of the cottage, my boots clumping on the wooden floor, and strode into the parlour.
‘The Fire Mages’ is all set for publication on January 9th. I now have ARCs available, so if anyone out there would like a copy to read for review, please email me. I have both mobi, epub and pdf formats available (sorry, no print copies yet). Reviews can be posted immediately on Goodreads or your blog, and on Amazon after publication. ‘The Fire Mages’ is an epic fantasy coming of age adventure with (naturally!) a bit of a romance. Here’s the blurb: Kyra has always been drawn to the magic of spellpages. She is determined to leave her small village far behind and become a scribe, wielding the power of magic through her pen. Halfway through her training, she has a mage as patron and her ambitions are within her grasp. But a simple favour for her sister goes disastrously awry, destroying Kyra’s dreams in an instant. Devastated, she accepts […]
Another book, another step on the road to publication. Yes, ‘The Fire Mages’ is critiqued and revised, and now it’s ready for beta readers. But here’s the problem: only two people have read it from beginning to end so far, and they both loved it. My daughter loved it so much that when I told her I was revising it, she said: ‘No! Don’t change anything.’ So now I’m looking for readers who will tear it to shreds and tell me everything that’s wrong with it. I want people who will find the plot-holes, the implausibilities, the continuity errors. Because nothing’s perfect, right? ‘The Fire Mages’ is quite different from ‘The Plains of Kallanash’, being a much more conventional fantasy work. It’s about a young girl with an unusual ability, a coming-of-age story. If I knew how to define the YA genre, it might be that, too. There’s plenty of […]
When I arranged for the cover for ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ with Streetlight Graphics, there was a lead time of several months. So, thinking ahead to the release of the next book, ‘The Fire Mages’, I thought I’d better get on and book it early, so I wasn’t held up waiting for it. Inevitably, a slot came up much sooner than I expected, so, lo and behold, I have another cover to reveal. ‘The Fire Mages’ is set in a different part of the same world, and is more town-based, so I wanted a more built-up feel to the cover. However, the designer, Glendon Haddix, has kept the turbulent sky, fonts and layout to give a very ‘series’ feel to the two covers, even though they’re both stand-alone books. And he’s taken the ‘fire mage’ aspect to produce a very striking image which captures both the fantasy and romance elements. […]
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 […]
Writing a book is no different from any other craft: it takes practice. Nobody is able to paint or to make model aeroplanes or to write phone apps or drive a car straight out of the box. Well, growing potatoes, maybe; stick them in the ground, then dig them up three months later and enjoy delicious new potatoes with butter and a sprig of mint. Yummy. But I digress. Everyone needs to learn and hone their skills, and (except for potatoes) that takes practice. A lot of practice. For driving a car, they say it takes one lesson for every year of your life. For writing, the received wisdom is that it takes a million words. So the first effort is always a bit wonky. It’s like those clay models kids bring home from school – they’re always a bit lop-sided. ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ is my first, wonky effort. […]
The first draft of ‘The Fire Mages is now complete. It weighed in at 44 chapters, 151,000 words in the end, and took four and a half months to write, although only 90 days were actual writing days. Average amount written was almost 1,700 words per writing day. This is a big improvement on ‘The Plains of Kallanash’, where I managed only 1,000 words per writing day, and elapsed time was almost a year. Not sure whether I’m getting more productive, or this was an easier book to write. It’s certainly smaller (‘The Plains of Kallanash’ is 220,000 words).
Most stories have a villain of some sort to generate conflict (also known as an antagonist). Beginning writers are advised to give their hero or heroine (protagonist) a goal, and to have an antagonist who works against the protagonist, preventing him or her from reaching their goal. The tension rises as the protagonist struggles to achieve the goal and is knocked back more and more decisively; eventually a point of despair is reached, then a solution is envisaged and there is a final confrontation, during which the antagonist is defeated.
Most fantasy worlds include some sort of religious belief. It’s such an ingrained part of real-world culture that it can be very hard to conceive of a world without some kind of spiritual element. Some authors use the opportunity to explore aspects of belief that are difficult to address in contemporary fiction, since real religions carry so much historical baggage. Some throw in as many different forms of worship as they can, for depth or to create conflict between groups. Occasionally a fantasy world has no religion at all (like Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series).