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.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

An interview with Renay Allen

I've been lucky enough to be interviewed again, this time by fellow writer and blogger, Renay Allen. She asked me some questions about my latest publication 'The Borderlands: Journey' and what it's like to be an Indie. You can catch the interview here.

While you're there you might like to take a look at Renay's online serial with the intriguing title of 'Breath of Sirius'.

Thanks Renay!

Friday, 4 July 2014

'The Borderlands: Journey' is free this weekend only!

'The Borderlands: Journey' is free for this weekend only at Amazon. So if you're a lover of fantasy fiction now's the time to get your copy.

Enjoy it!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Genre Vs Story - check out my guest post at Jane Dougherty Writes

Jane Dougherty has posted an article I wrote on the idea of genre and story. Which should readers and writers hold in higher esteem? It's called 'What came first - the story or the genre?' and you can read it here.

While you're there, check out Jane's novels, particularly if you're a fantasy fiction fan. The first book of her 'Green Woman' trilogy is high on my TBR list. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

I've been interviewed!

I spent some time recently chatting with fellow fantasy aficionado CJ Jessop about my latest release 'The Borderlands: Journey' and some lessons I've learnt about being an indie author. She's posted the interview on her blog - Off with the fairies

CJ is also an author of fantasy fiction. She has an anthology of shorts called 'Out of the Blue' currently available on Amazon.

Her stories make for a great fireside read!

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Friday, 6 June 2014

'The Borderlands: Journey' Launch!

It's launch time!

I'm excited to announce that the first book in my new trilogy 'The Borderlands: Journey' is now available for purchase at Amazon.

At the price of a cup of coffee - $3.99 - I'm hoping you'll get a lovely escape with this fantasy adventure.

At the moment 'Borderlands' is only available as an ebook, but I'll have updates coming soon about the hard copy, and will be offering my mailing list members the opportunity to win a signed copy (join up in the side bar to be in the running).

I've also developed a separate blog just for The Borderlands trilogy, check it out here.

Thanks so much for your support! I'll look forward to hearing what you think :)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

'The Borderlands: Journey' - Prologue

Tomorrow I will be officially launching the first book of 'The Borderlands' trilogy.

We've had the cover reveal -

And now it's time for an excerpt. Below I have the prologue for you, which is quite different from the style of the rest of the story, but it sets the scene for the events that follow. I hope you enjoy it! It's not too late to get a free copy of the kindle book. Just sign up to my mailing list (in the side bar) and I will send you a kindle copy, free.

The Borderlands: Journey - Prologue

The traitor waited at the meeting place atop the mountain. Snow glimmered in the moonlight like dull diamonds. He blew warmth into his hands, rubbing them together as he paced. Time was scant.
“You’ve come, then.”
The voice came from behind, and the traitor jumped and spun. A man, cloaked and cowled, approached.
“What choice did I have?” The traitor’s voice wavered in the thin air.
The cloaked man laughed; his golden eyes just visible beneath the dark hood. “You had a choice. We all have choices.”
The traitor shut his eyes and clenched his teeth. “It’s freezing.”
“Perhaps you harbor doubt. This place is harsh.” The man gestured to the deep valleys and rapids. To the south an avalanche fell; its rumble came to them like lazy thunder.
The traitor eyed it all, and nodded. “I want to come back.”
“Then tell me where she is.” The man’s hiss echoed off the rock.
A shadow fell across the traitor’s brow. When he spoke, vapour billowed from his mouth. “You promise I will return? With all that I need?”
The hooded man inclined his head. “All shall be done.”
“And you won’t hurt her? I mean, she doesn’t even know …” 
The wind blew and lifted snow with it, cold and sharp as steel. The traitor fell to the ground; a great force pinned him down, embedding his face in the snow and thrusting it in. He tried to scream, but could only choke. Icy pain sunk into his teeth, his oesophagus, his stomach, every cell burnt with freeze.  
“I am not a patient man.” He could just hear the words, muffled, through the snow about his ears. “You need not be concerned with the girl.”
Finally, the pressure stopped and the traitor found he could lift his face to vomit out the snow. Tears streamed along his cheeks and froze in thin lines of ice that snapped when he grimaced. In the moonlight his hands were blue. A dark ribbon of blood now lay before him on the snow.  He managed to stand, teeth chattering. The hooded man stood as still as the mountain before him, eyes glowing.
“Now, tell me – where is she?”  His voice, a whisper in the wind.
The traitor closed his eyes and his forehead furrowed all the more, but the words formed and spilled out with the mist from his breath – treacherous words. “Scotland,” he croaked. “Glasgow. That’s all I know.”
He opened his eyes, but the hooded man had gone. He squinted into the night sky. A creature flew over the mountain, its silhouette just visible in the moonlight.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

'The Borderlands: Journey' Cover Reveal

After two years of dreaming up, writing and editing the story, I am finally ready to publish my next novel - The Borderlands - Book One: Journey.  It will be published next weekend and you'll be able to purchase the kindle edition at Amazon. Members of my mailing list will be eligible to get a free copy of the book (and it's not too late to sign up).

This is a post to reveal the book's cover so without further ado - here it is!

The cover art is so much better than what I originally dreamt up. For that I can thank the artist Taire Morrigan (her art is seriously worth a look), who overcame a number of obstacles and a fussy author to create a beautiful graphical representation of a key thread in the story - Dale and her quest to find the mystical Borderlands.

The Borderlands: Journey is the first book in a trilogy that tells the story of a journey Dale must take to find the mystical place which is this series' namesake. Here's the blurb -
Dale has never felt a sense of belonging. She despises the bullies and snobs at school, and her family are difficult to like, let alone love. Rhys, a new boy at school seems to take an interest in her. But can she trust him? When the only friend she has ever had, Old Man Gareth, is murdered before her eyes, she is set on a frantic journey and a lonely adventure; the Borderlands beckon. But what are the Borderlands? Will she make it to them? And if she gets there, will she belong?
The novel will be categorised as a contemporary fantasy at Amazon, but I think it's also a coming of age and adventure story. To read more, check out my previous posts here and here. And stay tuned, later in the week I'll reveal a little more of 'Borderlands' to further pique your interest!

I'd love to read your thoughts on the cover!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Want a sneak peek at my new book cover?

I'll be revealing the cover for my new book 'The Borderlands: Journey' this weekend. But, if you're curious to see it, I am giving an exclusive sneak peek at the cover for all of my mailing list subscribers.

Feel free to join to get a look at it yourself!

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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Indie Book Marketing 101 - Build a list for crying out loud!

I've been fluffing around on this blog and twitter for a while now, mostly procrastinating, but every now and then making a serious attempt to 'market' my humble debut publication 'The Viscount's Son'. I am about to release my second publication and I thought maybe it's time I get my butt into gear with the whole marketing thing.  After all, the indie author - especially the newbie indie author - has to do everything themselves. There's no PR department in a big publishing house to do the hard yards for us. As much as most of us hating blowing our own trumpet, it's that trumpet that will get our books read.

Guard your email list like it's a magic scroll!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

My next book - out soon!

As you can guess I've been spending recent months writing rather than blogging and soon I'll be releasing my second Book.

Why the pic of the cat? Well, aside from my love of those precious little mammals, the book will include a main character who is a cat.

'The Borderlands: Journey' is the first book in a trilogy. It is an urban fantasy that follows the journey of 16 year old Dale as she struggles with the challenges of attending an elite international school while having no friends. No friends except for Gareth, an old homeless man with a love for sailing his little wooden boat.

Dale also has secrets. She can see people's auras and when she was younger she saw magical creatures that she still likes to recreate in her paintings. But were these magical fairies, sprites and gnomes real or the result of an active imagination.

Then there's Rhys. A new boy at school who looks like he just stepped out of an advertisement for designer jeans. Aloof but enigmatic, Rhys soon charms Dale and the whole student population - or at least the 'plastics' lead by super snob Prudence Feathertop.

Want to know more? You can read the official blurb here.  And have a look at a sneaky reveal in a previous post.

'The Borderlands: Journey' is currently in the throws of final edits. It will be released very soon. I hope to add a 'cover reveal' post in the near future.