Saturday, 9 May 2015

'The Borderlands: Journey' discounted at Smashwords

I've finally managed to publish 'The Borderlands: Journey' at Smashwords. Only took me a year! So to celebrate I'm slashing the price for this weekend only.

Only .99c at Smashwords this weekend
So for the 'cheaper than chips' bargain of only .99c (usually 3 bucks) enter the following coupon code in at Smashwords to reap a pretty good story (if I do say so myself ;).

Coupon code: GH26N

And if you have the time to leave a review, I'll be forever in your debt. Well, pretty grateful anyway.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Game of Thrones VS A Song of Ice and Fire.

I've been battling my own denial about the HBO series Game of Thrones catching up to and overtaking A Song of Ice and Fire (the books). But, since the arrival of HBO's fifth season I've had to face my fears. It's now been confirmed by the makers themselves that the television series will meet the end well before the books.

What conclusions am I formulating about this first world dilemma? Obviously, David Benioff and DB Weiss are going to have to create more of the detail and fabric of the story than they have so far. I largely trust them to do it justice. I think they've done a super job in translating this epic to the screen. But I do remain somewhat cautious.

It's been my opinion since the first season, that the number one reason I enjoy the television series is because Benioff and Weiss have remained so faithful to the books. And, in my little corner of the world, this opinion is largely shared (by fellow book nerds, anyway). Is this the reason why the series has been so successful overall? One might argue that great swarms who've never picked up any of the books have jumped on to the 'Game of Thrones' fan wagon anyway. In fact, there seems to be a bit of a new divide in society - the 'have reads' and the 'have not reads' and the division disagreements between the two are growing. But, is it because of the close adherence to the original story, the fact that they have so accurately translated the settings, characters, magic, and intrigue from the books, is this the real secret of the television success? And what does this mean for the future of the HBO series?

Before we go forward, let us go back - yeah, just like Daenerys.

There's no denying there have been many differences between the books and the TV series from Season One to now. A quick google search will bring them up, or if you really want the nitty gritty, here's a good place to see the season by season discrepancies. For the most part, I've appreciated those differences as interesting additions or changes that work well on the screen, but never greatly digress from the story in the books.

Flipping through the beautiful and new companion, The World of Ice and Fire Official History made me more aware of some of the visual discrepancies between the books (as imagined by the author) and the television series.  I was reminded, for example that the iron throne looked less like this:

And more like this:

Many places are different too. Dragonstone in GoTs:

Compared to the Official History:

There's no denying Benioff and Weiss have done an excellent job with everything so far. But the first few episodes of Season Five have seen more dramatic differences from the books come into play. Large chunks of storylines have been entirely left out with Tyrion and Arya - and also Mance - what about the child he has in the books? And there have been major changes and additions to the plot lines of other characters - Sansa, Brienne and Jamie Lannister are all doing things that are just not done in the books (well, yet anyway).

While I still enjoy the television version (hell, I love it!), I do find myself vocalising the typical  criticism of book nerds everywhere, "that doesn't happen in the books" more often in this series than any other - much to the annoyance of my 'haven't read' partner. And that's when I realised that, for me, a lot of the joy in watching this series is to see the books play out. So perhaps I am enjoying it a little less than usual. And there are still two more books to 'cover' in the television series. What happens when they have really 'caught up'. Will the changes be even more dramatic? Well, I guess we won't know until the long awaited Winds of Winter is released. Needless to say, what about all the spoilers to come?

There's one part of the television series that continues to be portrayed exceptionally well, in my opinion. Those dragons:

And while I'm confident the TV series will continue to please me (let me reiterate, Benioff and Weiss have done a brilliant job) I'll keep watching just for those dragons if nothing else.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Tap, Tap ... Testing

It's pretty dusty here, and I apologise, but very soon I hope to have this blog back in shape.

So I've had an accidental hiatus from all things writing. Apparently this can be a type of writer's block. And maybe it was for me. For some reason I just stopped writing and focused on everything else in my life. I've been writing for the past two months now, quite solidly too, and I've been enjoying it. Why I stopped over six months ago, I don't know. It just happened.

On the plus side I've got a lot of energy for my writing now, and I was able to look at the first draft of my current work in progress ('The Raven') with fresh eyes, deleting all the crap and identifying what needed fleshing out. This is why I always like to leave a draft sit for at least a month before picking it up again for editing.

On the negative side I have dropped some deadlines I had set. The sequels to both 'The Viscount's Son' and 'The Borderlands: Journey' will now be published much later. And I'm sorry to anyone awaiting their release.

So while I was away from my writing desk the writing world kept on turning. I've had a million emails, and if I haven't got back to you please feel free to send me a line. I've had more reviews on both my books, and even earned my first ever 1star rating! I think I've made it now :)

Anyway ... Better get back to dusting!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Writing Update

I thought some of you might be interested in what my current WIPs are. So this post is about what I'm writing now and what I hope to publish next.

I've written a standalone fantasy novel called 'The Raven'. It has nothing in common with Poe's famous poem of the same title, but I hope it's just as dramatic. Here's a rough blurb for the story:

It is the darkest time in winter and the beginning of Ilun - when suns, stars and moons all disappear from the sky. In the Wolf clan a baby is born and she has a gift that only the clan's soragan, Izhur, can see. But the Circle of Eight is not pleased with the ill omens the baby signifies and orders Izhur to enact the babe's fate.

The story is set in a prehistoric world and follows the Wolf Clan over a span of years. This will be the first of many novels to come set in this newly created world. I hope to publish it before the end of the year.

I'm currently writing the first draft of 'The Earl's Daughter', which is the follow up novel to 'The Viscount's Son'. I'm having a lot of fun learning what happens next. There is a new character who is giving me lots of surprises and I quite like him - hopefully readers will to. I aim to have the first draft finished soon, then it will be workshopped and edited. But, hopefully I can publish it at the end of the year.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Out of the Blue and Other Stories - Review

I enjoy reading a short story or two between novels. They're a great way to 'cleanse the palate' after being heavily invested in one fantasy epic or other. I recently picked up a little anthology by CJ Jessop. CJ  interviewed me on her blog not long ago, and it prompted me to check out her work - I wasn't disappointed.

Out of the Blue and Other Stories is a collection of futuristic sci-fi short stories that make you think, reflect, wonder and laugh.

Jessop has a gift for making readers look at humanity from a distance, almost Bradbury style. I really enjoyed this critical, questioning aspect of her storytelling. It makes for an entertaining and thoughtful read. The story which is the collection's namesake 'Out of the Blue' particularly had me thinking critically about humanity and our societies - where the most intelligent creatures on our little planet are most likely not us. And I loved the exploration of morality and exploitation entrenched in the act of invasion in 'So shall they begin again'.

There were dark mysterious tales that left me wondering. What are the creatures or aliens that can take life in 'His Plan' and 'Pale Siren'? Some tales were deliciously creepy!

One of my favourites was a hilarious tale called 'Down to Earth', which tells the trials of Selmer - an alien who just wants to make contact with some ordinary earthlings. I chuckled through the whole thing.

I was a little sad when I came to the end. This book had me staying awake when I was dog tired, eyes drooping, just to read one more story. I always know it's a good read when that happens.

I'd recommend Out of the Blue and Other Stories to all lovers of sci-fi, futuristic and fantasy in particular. Or anyone who enjoys a good short story.

My Rating - 9/10

Friday, 8 August 2014

Interview with Ashley Capes

Ashley Capes is one of my favourite fantasy authors, and I'm currently reading his novel 'City of Masks'. It's a wonderfully intriguing read with characters that draw you in as much as the many secrets that reveal themselves slowly in the plot. I'll be reviewing 'City of Masks' in a future post, but in the meantime you might like to have a peek at the glowing reviews on Amazon. Ashley is also a poet and I have reviewed one of his anthologies in a previous post.

I'll be reviewing CoM soon!

Ashley kindly interviewed me recently for his blog. We had a great chat that touched on developing characters, the writing process and the challenges authors face. You can read the interview here.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

#AmWriting - in pics 1

When writing there is always an element of research - no matter the genre or setting. For me, a part of research is to look at images that show the visual detail of what the characters are seeing. Often these images are beautiful or gruesome; whatever they are I frequently want to share them!  So that's what this post is about. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I did :)

This week I've been editing my standalone fantasy novel called 'The Raven'. In this novel we follow the life of a clan who live in tree shelters. These mud-hut like structures have to be built in old trees with thick boughs that could support such a shelter. Like this one - beautiful pic!

I've also been writing the sequel to 'The Viscount's Son' in which a new main character stops by Notre Dame to observe the gargoyles on its rooftops. Fascinating!

Pictures - they're a great way to research.