Progress

Well, the short story collection has had all its betaing done now, names have been lost, waffle has been cut, and it’s off to my mother for proof reading (or my dad, whoever decides to do it) then it’s ready to go! I’ve decided to enter it in the KDP select program, which means for a while it will only be available through Amazon, in exchange for more exposure, because I’d be interested to see if this does lead to more sales, compared with the Rules of War collection which I also launched on Smashwords (so not in the program.) I’ll also be doing a giveaway of the print book, once I’ve set that up, so hopefully it will get lots of attention because I am rather proud of some of the stories in it. My first horror collection and it didn’t come out half bad :)

Other than that, I’ve nothing going on in the writing world until a market in June (then another in July, con in August and October, and a market in Nov and Dec) so nothing to do but get on with my novel writing. And so I shall.

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!

Too Hot!

Well it’s hot. Very hot. Too hot for me. I’ve been hiding inside, too hot to write, too hot to read in my little tent, and this weekend i have a 5km walk for charity (that’s about 3 miles) madness! And a bbq to follow, which is less mad. (If you want you can sponsor me for any of the races I’m doing. 5km for cancer, and 2km for alzhimers HERE)

Before the heat struck I sent out three stories to magazines, something I haven’t done in ages. It took most of the day. In that time i discovered the Duotrope, which used to be a very good website for magazine listings, now charges. Thank the cats, Ralan is still free, and still useful.

And I have been doing some work on a short story collection I’m putting together. Not the faerie one, i don’t have enough stories for that, but a collection of my previously published stories. Does it count as self published when I’m printing it myself, but they were all edited and vetted by publishers? Not sure.

Pain and a beginning

Well i have  a trapped nerve, and as of yet, still no books, so I can’t do a panel at Bristol Con after all, though i will still do a reading. Hurts too much to sit still for too long and I’m not inspired enough to give a book justice or put other books down as they deserve! So that’s a shame and a pain, rather literally.But hopefully i can put the pain to good use in some written way . . .

Anyway, still having some trouble getting the ritual/festival part of book 3 sorted. So i fiddled with the start instead. And as I’ve never shared the beginning, here it is, the beginning of book 3, Children of the Shadow. No real spoilers i think for book 2, so you’re all right to read it :)

THE ROAD TO THE MOUNTAINS

The ground below me was always hard. Sometimes it was rough and would rumble along, rocking my body from side to side, with the occasion sudden jolt that would make my head thump on the ground before jarring my entire body. Always there was the sound of thunder, with the ground moving. A distant rumble that sounded beneath my head. Something heavy lay over me all of the time, smelling of animals. At times I felt like I was suffocating, drowning in that rich, musty smell. But at others, when I heard the harsh voices, unfamiliar and terrifying, like the voices of giants, sounding near to me, then I would burrow into those heavy covers, wrap myself in the musty smell and hope that the voices didn’t come near to me. Nothing good ever happened when they came near to me.

At other times the ground was smooth, thick, but I could feel something beneath it that was uneven. Still that musty smell was with me, thick and heavy, covering me, pinning me down. Though my mind was fogged, heavy, my thoughts slipping and sliding away from me as I tried to shape them, a part of me had come to understand that this time, when the ground was smooth, was the dangerous time. The time when the owners of those voices would come to me, when they would hold me up and force something down my throat. Sometimes it was hot, sometimes it was cold, always liquid and always leaving me to feel as though I was drowning. Sometimes I would choke, cough, and try to move the heavy parts of me that I could vaguely feel attached somewhere. Once those parts had worked well, letting me move where I wanted, how I wanted. But now they just seemed to flail around, on the edge of my vision, useless heavy lumps that wouldn’t work at all.

Always these encounters ended the same way. A rough hand over my mouth, the smell of something sweet and heavy, which flowed through me, bring with it a darkness so total and complete it was as though I was dead.

Candale. Candale!” The voice in the blackness was strangely urgent and insistent and, with it, I was vaguely aware of a hand on my shoulder, shaking me, trying to stir me awake. But a part of me knew that being awake was loud and scary and it hurt. I rather stay in the darkness.

But then my body was moving beyond my control, the darkness rolling backwards, as I was pulled up to my feet and supported by two strong arms and, against my best efforts, the waking world slammed back around me.

Noise. A roar. It was all around me and it took a moment before I could separate the sounds, identify them as screams and shouts, the whiny of horses, the clash of metal against metal and pop and crackle of a fire. But I couldn’t understand them. It was usually so quiet, nothing but that familiar rumble or those harsh voices. Never this much noise, enough to make my, already, aching head want to split.

And then, as I was dragged forward, light and movement and smells joined the noise. Shadowy figures were moving all around us, the source of the shouts and screams, and swords glinted and reflected the dozens of fires that were burning all around us. The smoke was thick, it stung my eyes and set them to watering, and made it hard to breathe. I started to cough and the movement set a lance of white pain shooting through my already pounding skull. My vision was swallowed in a flurry of bright stars and spots and my legs collapsed beneath me. But I didn’t fall, the arms supporting me held me firm and continued to drag me through the roar of noise. Panic gripped me and I tried to pull free, to back away from the chaos all around me, but the arms held tight and continued to carry me on.

Wait . . .” I managed to gasp, despite my dry mouth and thick tongue and a brain heavy with fog.

We can’t,” said a male voice, the owner of the arms to my left. “We need to get you out of here, to safety.”

Safety. A magical word, one I had dreamed of, in the clearer moments of my captivity, one that meant freedom and warmth, my friends, my family, my home. Just hearing it made my legs feel weak and I nearly collapsed again this time from relief. Thankfully the arms were still there, holding me.

Sorry,” I whispered, and forced myself to focus, to scramble for the elusive words. “Drugged. Been drugged.”

It’s all right,” said the same man again. “We don’t have far to go.”

It might not have been far, but it certainly felt that way to my aching head and dead weight body. By the time we reached our destination, a group of horses standing still within earshot of the roar of sound coming from the camp, I was more dragged than walking. They had to lift me onto the back of a horse and, when the man who had spoken to me swung up in the saddle in front of me, I found it so difficult to keep my head upright that I pressed it to his lean back. For a moment I was still and the pain was eased, just a little, by that support.

And then the horse lurched into movement beneath me and we took off, galloping into the night. I tightened my grip, squeezed shut my eyes and prayed that I wouldn’t be sick.

Interview

Just found an interview with me that I don’t remember doing it (must have been ages ago) so here it is, if you’re interested.
 

Have had some thoughts on how to develop book 3 and so that’s what I’m working on, festivals, burning things and masks, all fun things, just a little difficult to get on with when the weather is so nice. it is Candale’s first time in the mountains, first time experiencing a wild, traditional sort of festival, I’m not sure how he will take it!
 

Next week I’m in Bristol, hopefully selling lots of copies of the Shadow Seer parts 1 and 2. I enjoy selling, meeting people, talking to people, but I hate leaving the cats and always fear that no one will buy anything. I’m there with my friend, fellow writer Joanna Hall, so hopefully the appeal of two writers, plus other books for sale, will attract people and their wallets.

Trailer for the Shadow Seer

A friend of mine has made me a trailer for the Shadow Seer. I could have used more images, but as I don’t have any relevant to the blurb, other than what was used, I think a good job was gone. You can see it below. Please let me know what you think, constructively!

Children of the Shadow needs a bit of a rewrite at the beginning, and if the weather wasn’t so nice that is certainly what i would be doing! But as it is I’ve been outside with Claudia cat, enjoying the sun, thinking deep thoughts about how nice it would be to have someone bring me a chilled coffee. But the weather will change soon enough and back to work i will go.

Surprises

Still editing book 2, removing long sentences and rewriting bad bits. It’s a long job, has taken me a week, doing about 20 pages a day. But it is an interesting thing to do, in its way, as well as tiring and frustrating, to see traits in my writing that I had no idea of when writing. In the Seer’s Tower that seems to be the use of the word ‘surprise.’ Everything is surprising Candale at the moment. I am going through it, mixing everything up, but it does interest me how a word can get stuck in your head like that. I’ve noticed it with other writers. Carol Berg, who is one of my favourites, will use a word like ‘clod,’ (for private parts.) Use it again shortly after and then never use it again in any of her books. It’s why editing is so important, I think, to catch repetitious words and phrases, as well as bad grammar and long, rambling sentences. And it’s why I always leave time in between writing and editing, to clear my brain so I can look at it afresh, although it can be disheartening. The book that seemed excellent when you’d finally finished it, is now full of flaws. Twice now I’ve been struck with the, oh god this is awful, bug. The, why should i bother at all, I’m crap, feeling. And perhaps some people will agree with me, but I’m fixing the flaws, making it the best that I can, and that’s all i can do. Even with all the surprises.

The nightmare of the “Ands”

I have to do another edit of book 2. Too many run on sentences still remain, avoiding my detection, to be removed now. I also have to remove “And” and hope to remove a few of my repetitions that bothered me during my first edit. How many times can Candale straighten his shoulders, or fall silent? Too many! But this is the problem when you write something a long time ago (two years ago the Seer’s Tower was finished) your thoughts and styles change and what didn’t bother you then, bothers you now! Thank god for find and replace though. It makes life a lot easier!
I also have to write a blurb. Blurbs are difficult. Summing up the story, without giving anything away, and making it seem interesting at the same time, it’s not fun. I’m not sure even where to start with this one . . .
My publisher has told me that Booksurge, who Amazon print with, and my publisher also, are going to be available in the UK. Currently they are just in the US and another printer is used for UK books. This will make life easier in terms of my ordering copies for conventions, and might even lower the price of the book, as it costs half as much in the US as it does here. So all good :)
I have also worked out the third short story for my faerie collection. “Seven years,” the tale of what happens when a girl is taken to Faerie as a consort of one of the fae, and then returned . . .
Now back to the edits!

Editing and my faerie collection

Well editing has been done on Book 2, except for some run on sentences that it is now my fun job to fix! I have to fight the urge to change huge chunks of things though! I finished the Seer’s Tower 18 months ago, so my writing and my thoughts and the way I would now do things has, of course, moved on, but I can’t go through and fiddle with things so close to it being ready for publication. Well, not too much . . .

I have an idea for my next short story for my faerie collection, a version of the Midnight Market, but with faeries. It will be a longish short story, so the collection will have a mix, happy and dark, and long and short. Hopefully something for everyone. I’m basing elements of this on things I have seen in my real life, the barrow in the story, the gateway to Faerie, is Arther’s Stone here in Swansea, Gower, and ancient barrow. Just as in the Midnight Market original the market was based on a night time Christmas market i went to with my mother when I lived in Nottingham. I always try and include something of real life in my stories and novels. I think there is so much beauty in the real world, and in history, that even though a lot of it is made up, a lot can also be drawn on for inspiration.