Children of the Shadow and shiny things

A friend suggested I make pendants of my book covers as a way to promote them. So I did, and they’ve done fairly well at craft fairs and things (you can find them on the drop down bit of the buy section) There is a pendant of three of the book covers, and one of the demon, and a charm bracelet of the Shadow Seer books, and I’ll be making one for the whole series. Uk shipping only at the moment though. I’ll be selling them, and my books, and various other things at Scardiff in October (horror convention in Cardiff) and craft fairs here in Swansea.

And, I’ve been working on the Children of the Shadow. I had a lot of trouble getting the start right. Going back and forth between whether Candale should be rescued, or a prisoner, for about two years, and I finally decided to merge the two! So simple, and so far, seems to be working. And so here it is, as a taster!:

 

THE LOST PRINCE

They put me in a cell while I was unconscious and then they locked me in.

I woke with a pounding headache and a mouth as dry as the desert, my limbs heavy and leaden and my thoughts sluggish. For a long time I could only lie beneath the thin covering, shivering, barely aware of anything beyond the pain in my skull and the trembling of my limbs, always on the edge of sinking back into the darkness.

But, slowly the sludge began to ease and I began to become aware of what was around me and to realise, I didn’t know where I was.

I was lying on a straw pallet on the ground, I could feel the icy cold stone of the floor through it, covered in a thin blanket. Beyond the bed there was a covered chamberpot and nothing else, just bare stone walls of black and grey. The only light was patchy and grey, seeping in through the bars on the windows. A heavy looking wooden door was the only way out.

A cell. I was in a cell. But I had no idea how I’d gotten here.

Think. Think.

Think . . .

And it hit me like a lightening bolt and my stomach twisted, bile burning in my throat. I scrambled from the bed, but my knees buckled beneath me, before I could take one step, plunging me down onto the icy cold floor. And there I emptied the contents of my belly, trembling, as tears burned in my eyes.

One night, in a tavern room in Isarn, a group of men had burst in and they had killed Arnin, the Tracker who had become my friend, and taken me prisoner. If I closed my eyes, for just a moment, then I was back in that room, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, the wet, ripping sound of sword meeting flesh filling the silence while somewhere, in the dark, Arnin was screaming . . .

I spat, to clear my mouth of the last of the watery vomit, wiped my grubby sleeve across my lips and struggled to my feet. The dark grey walls swung around me dizzyingly for a moment and then they settled back into place and I stumbled across the bitterly cold floor to the door. Of course it was locked, but I raised my hands in clenched fists and pounded on it as hard as I could.

Hello?” I cried, in a voice that croaked. “Is anyone out there? Hello! I . . . I don’t know where I am . . . Please . . . ?” Silence swallowed my words and the pounding of my fist and the world was starting to spin again. I turned away and went back to the pallet, curling up beneath the thin blanket.

I was a prisoner. Locked away in a cell, just like the prophecies had told me I would be. Just like I’d feared since Talira, a seer I’d met on the way to White Oaks, had told me that she’d had a vision of me locked away. Teveriel, my best friend, had tried to convince me that just because it had been seen it didn’t mean it was going to happen, and that I shouldn’t let it shadow my life and my decisions. But, here I was. Just as Talira had said.

I sank deeper beneath the thin blanket, blinking back tears. Could I have done anything differently? Could I have avoided this? Could Arnin . . .?

I’d runaway from home to visit the Seer’s Tower in Idryan, but I’d not really had a choice about that. Ellenessia, the shadowy demon who visited me, the one who had cursed my family line and was responsible for what I was, had insisted on it. All so that I would learn that she was responsible for the death of Mayrila, my birth-mother, and not myself as I’d feared. On leaving the Tower my friends and I had been taken prisoner and I’d been separated from them by Arnin the Tracker, on the order of Nyvin, my doctor who had been sent to bring me back. We had gone to Isarn to wait for a ship to take us back to Carnia, and now I was here.

If Arnin had been allowed to use his magic to shield the room we were staying in, things would be different, wouldn’t they?

Or if King Ryckst had allowed us to stay in the Palace, even though Arnin was a mage which was illegal in Idryan, then I would still be there, and Arnin would still be alive.

Or . . .

Or would this have happened anyway?

Did it even matter? I was here now, the question was why.

I had enemies, I’d always known that. And in the Spring I’d learned that I, as the Shadow Seer, had specific enemies, the Order of Culdenth Hyun who wanted to kill me before I could speak too many of my visions. And they had certainly tried, poisoning me, using magic against me, but I wasn’t dead, I was very much alive, the icy chill burning into my bones, was certainly proof of that. So, it couldn’t have been them so who? Did I have other enemies that I didn’t know about? Or could it just have been a simple kidnapping for ransom? We had been so careful to keep who I really was a secret, but that didn’t mean that someone hadn’t guessed the truth. But, if they did know who I was then they had to know that to take me would be to bring my grandfather, a king, and his all might after them to find me again. Even if he paid the ransom, he would stop at nothing to find them and see them punished. King Ryckst would too. He would have to. He couldn’t let it be known that he couldn’t keep a foreign prince safe in his own city.

So, perhaps they hadn’t known who I was and just thought that I must be important, because I’d been hiding in my tavern room, not mingling with anyone else.

Oh, gods, what would they do when they found out? What if they decided that the best thing to do would be to kill me? I would just disappear and my family and friends would never know what had happened to me.

Or they could just leave me here to slowly starve to death . . .

The grey walls of the cell started to swing around me suddenly, blurring together. I couldn’t breathe. A cold iron vice had closed around my chest and was slowly squeezing all the air from my body. I tried to breathe, to force air into my lungs, but the vice just tightened.

And then darkness swallowed everything.

Craft fairs and things!

Doing my first craft fair this sat. I’ve done Whitby, in the past, a market in Nottingham, (back in my goth shop days) and a Pagan Market here in Swansea and Bristol Con, in Bristol, but this is my first craft fair! I’m taking my books (that’s a craft) including the new one, and the pendants i’ve made with the cover images, as well as other bits left over from the goth shop days. It’s the first time I’ve taken the new book or the pendants out, so I’m curious to see what people think and I am looking forward to it, though I know it’s only a small room, so may not get many shoppers in. The week after I’m doing another one, in a bigger venue, so I may do better . . . But I have to try, right? And in 7 weeks is the Margam Park convention, which I’m looking forward to a lot, because it’s new, it’s in a castle and Sylvester Mccoy is going to be there! After that it’s quiet until October and Scardiff, and then a few more markets in November/Dec and then the year is over! It’s gone really fast!

Hoping to have book 3 finished by the end of the year. Of course, I’ve said that before, and in the summer sun, it’s hard to sit here and write stuff when I just want to be lazing around somewhere, drinking something frosty and blue and eating icecream. But I gotta get it done, or the thing will be around forever!

So yeah, busy time starts this weekend and hopefully it will all go well :)

My writing progress. A blog hop thingie

I was tagged by the Britol Con manager, grey hound owner and fantasy author, Joanne Hall, to answer some questions and tag other people. So here it is!

What am I working on?

Children of the Shadow, the third and final book in my Ellenessia’s Curse series. Just trying to get the start together so I can finish it and move on!

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I think it differs, or I like to think it differs, because I take things from a different angle. My Ellenessia’s Curse series is from the POV of a demon’s prophet. I don’t think we often see things from the ‘dark’ point of view very often, or deal with prophets, though we often have prophecies in fantasy. I also like to think that it’s different because my characters are human, none of them are perfect, they all have flaws and in that respect I try to have a balance. I have strong women, weak men, strong men, and weak women, no one is written to fulfill an aim, to make a point, they’re all people with back stories of their own, with their own wants, no one is just there to be evil, or to be the strong woman token, or the love interest and so on.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I like it :) I write what I like to read. A mixed bag of characters, none of this gorgeous perfect woman/hero bollocks, but a mix of people. And there’s a lot of dark stuff, mild horror maybe, character driven peril, because that’s what I like to read and watch. I don’t care for action driven stuff, where the characters are flimsy and I don’t like rape heavy/war heavy books or TV, so I don’t write it. I write character driven, mild horror, often gay, stuff, because that’s what I like. Often I draw on things in real life that I like, cats, mythology, ghosts and so on.

How does your writing progress work?

Um. I sit here and write when I can think of what I want to say! And often I hate it, remove it, put it back, rewrite it, and faff getting no where. When it flows, i just write until it’s done, go back over and tidy it, send it to friends to check, tidy it again. When it doesn’t, then I’m just frustrated and cranky. I’m cranky a lot :)

Spring has sprung!

About bloody time, it’s spring outside! And I’ve been a fairly busy bee. The short story myth collection have had another edit, they just need another couple of betas to check the changes and they’re almost done. I’ve signed up for two craft fairs, in Swansea, and have plans to attend a convention in Margam Park in August, which is about half an hour away on the bus, as well as Scardiff in October and the occasional pagan markets, also in Swansea. You can find all the details on the Calender section. Next year I’ll hopefully be spreading further afield with a convention in Warrington! But we shall see. I’ve also been getting on with the third book, with my target set for July as a finish for the rough draft.

And my marvelous website designer has been fiddling with the shopping section, so hopefully I’ll be able to do discounts soon, and other magical type of things!

I have decided that I won’t be selling the short story collection, Rules of War, through my website after the last three copies are gone. I want to concentrate on my newer stuff really. But you can still get the book from amazon and smashwords and so on.

So yeah. Busy bee! :)

Sunny Sunday!

We’ve had a nasty start to the year here in the UK, lots of floods, wind, rain. I’ve been lucky, up a hill as I am, no flood, nothing damaged in the wind, but it’s been noisy and scary.

But today we have sun! And with it comes that positive feeling. I’ve signed up to do Scardiff and hopefully will be doing a convention in Bath in November too. I love conventions. People are so friendly, chatty, they dress up, they get involved, and it’s nice to meet new people. Both conventions will be a first for me, as so far I’ve only done Bristol Con and the Cardiff fantasy and comic expo, which isn’t running this year, and I’m already pretty excited about both.

Along with conventions I’ll be doing race for life, for cancer research. A 5km walk, with a bit of jogging, and I also have a holiday planned for Shrewsberry to celebrate Mum’s birthday, as well as my own birthday, of course. So a busy, hopefully fun year, after a horrendous start.

And it will be the year I publish my Greek myth horror stories, they’re just in the editing stage, and finish the Children of the Shadow, the last book in the Ellenessia’s Curse series. So I better get writing, I guess!

New month, time for update!

Going to check in the first of every month, just to see how I’m going.

Diet, okay. Exercise not so much. Gotta do better.

More importantly, I have finished the short story collection, bang on target. Okay, I had to drop one story, and I might be able to introduce a replacement in a week, when I’ve had a break from it, but basically, it’s done. And it has a cover.

Which is fabulous, as you can see :) I’m hoping to get it released by end of April. There will be a rafflecoptor giveaway, for a copy of the print, and ebook, so stay tuned! The page with info about the book is already up, so check it out under the Fiction: short story tab.

And on with book 3. :)

 

New year, new review!

Got a new review on Book 2 from fellow writer Joanne Hall. You can see it here:

And I have promised her, and other readers, that book 3 will be finished by the end of July. Six months. I can do it, if I push myself. The problem so far was getting the beginning right, but I think I have that now (though I had thought that before!) And as soon as my short story collection is done, it will have my full attention.

Short story collection is also coming along. End of Jan is my deadline for that. I have two more stories to go, Echo and Cassandra. I had to leave out Philomela and Daphne, because I just couldn’t seem to come up with the right way of doing it, but I’ve not ruled them out entirely. When the ones I can do are done, I will brainstorm and see if I can come up with something for the last two. In any case, it will be done by end of Jan, and out soon after, so it will be certainly ready for this years Scardiff Convention.

Three days in!

Well, three days into a new year, and I’ve been mostly tired, due to not sleeping, and stuck, trying to get the short stories organised. It’s not going so well! It’s hard to think of ways of bringing some of the myths into the modern world because their settings are so very specific, or because some of them are so similar. So I’ve been having a break and working on Children of the Shadow instead, while my excellent web designer fiddles with our payment system so that I can offer discounts with vouchers and things like that :)

And now this:

http://thesuspendedcoffees.wordpress.com/

I love coffee. And as a writer, I drink a fair bit. This idea, buying a hot drink for someone in need, rather than giving them cash they might use on booze or drugs, is lovely. So I’m sharing it. :)

And hopefully when I’ve dared to go outside in the cold and the wind, and jogged my brain, I’ll be able to share another short story, or the completion of the collection. As I’ve already planned my reward for doing so, I really should mush! :)

New year: resolutions and whatnot

Ah, new year approaches so it’s that time to make plans for what we want to do in the New Year, and then never do them.

Mine, pretty much the same as last year.

1. Lose weight. But this year I’m doing it for charity. I’ve set myself 6 months to lose what I can, sponsored for every half stone, by anyone who cares (my mum mostly!) and then in 6 months, I’ll do it for another charity. There are just so many charities that I support, that this way I can give something to lots of them. And hopefully, doing it for charity, will guilt me into continuing. We shall see. I have a lot of weight to lose, so everyone should get something :)

2. Finish book 3. Have had this one for two years now, but it’s been difficult getting the start right, knowing what I want to say, whether what i want to do is actually the right thing for the book, for the characters. I still have no idea, but I want to finish the rough of this by July. (6 months, same as the weight loss thing) So i can get one with the other book i have in my head.

3. Finish my short story Greek Myth collections. I wanted to do it by the end of December, but have run into problems setting the scenes and working out how to deal with the last 4 of the myths i have. These are: Dryope (woman becomes a tree) Hecuba (woman kills the man who killed her son, for money) Cassandra (woman foresees her and her lover’s death) Echo (woman fades into nothing)

4. Read more. For the first time I have a to be read pile. This includes some horror, some fantasy, and a nonfiction book about women’s experiences in mental asylums! I want to read these, and then read more :) At least a book a month :)

5. Keep the house tidy. I’m such a slob! Be nice to have a house I can bring guests into :)

So we shall see. These are my plans, and hopefully I can do them. They’re not too hard.

I also hope to spend the year happy, with my cats and my friends :)

Procrastination and general faffing about.

Anyone who knows me, or who has read this little blog, knows I have been working on the Children of the Shadow, the third and final book in my Ellenessia’s Curse series, but also toying with the Forest of Ghosts, a standalone fantasy that features cats and ghosts. But i wasn’t really getting anywhere with either.

So, I am officially leaving Children of the Shadow alone for now, and working on the Forest of Ghosts. I have more passion for this, it’s completely new, new world, new characters, new plot, and I’m hoping that by doing it I will regain my enthusiasm for Candale and his adventures. I’ve been working on that series for a decade now, so it’s not surprising I’m tired and stuck and need a new thing to get me going again.

Of course, working on a new book has its problems. It’s fun, it’s got energy, but i have to come up with new places, new characters, new beliefs, without repeating ones I’ve already used, and that can be difficult.

But, i do get to draw on my own experiences, that of being a cat owner, as all three of my cats, Claudia, Megaera and Mr Kitty will features in this book as the hero, now named Valyn, has a special sort of bond with our four legged friends. There are also ghosts, mages, and some zombie type creatures, although not the ones commonly used in horror films. These do not want brains. They want something far more destructive.

Regarding the Shadow Seer, and Seer’s Tower, I’m hoping that a shop in town will stock copies. It’s a fantasy type gift shop, so the books should fit in nicely. But will let you know after I’ve been in there tomorrow.