Out and about

Well, some how it’s October and that means Bristol Con. This year it’s October 26, but at the same place, so if you’re there, come along and say hello. Everyone is very friendly. And this might actually be my last one, perhaps for just a while, perhaps for good, I’m not really sure. It depends on how well sales go, and there are lots of other conventions out there that I would like to attend, some which do clash, and with money woes, I can’t afford to do all of them each year, so have to pick and chose. Speaking of Bristol Con, tho. At my very first one I sold four copies of the Shadow Seer, one to a woman who promised to review it. Two years passed, no review, so I thought she must have hated it, as she said if she did she wouldn’t write a review at all. And then yesterday I found that she had written a review and she loved it. You can read the review here: I am chuffed, I have to say. She says nice things about me AND the book. But, of course, with that chuffed feeling is the self doubt. Is the rest of the series as good? Have i lost my skill? Is it a mistake to set Candale aside for a bit to work on something else? God alone knows! All i can do is feel pleased that I have at least one good book, that someone loves and carry on!

As for being ‘out and about.’ I’m doing another Pagan Market in Dec and next year I plan to do the Cardiff Comic Expo again, and perhaps a convention in Bath. We will have to see. For now, on with the Forest of Ghosts. Let’s see if I can finish it this year . . .


Reading and signing

This saturday I’m doing a reading, and signing, with fellow fantasy author, Joanne Hall, in swansea’s Oxfam bookshop and I’ve been rather conveniently ignoring the fact that part of a reading, means reading! Out loud, so people can hear me. I hate that.

Now, I am proud of my book. I put a lot of effort into it, it came out more or less the way i wanted to, it’s the best thing I think i’ve written. Ever. I want people to read it, and enjoy it. But, when you read it out loud, well, it sounds daft. Talking about demons and things. And i get nervous, and stumble over my words, and sound stupid, and i worry that will put people off. You shouldn’t judge my book by my bad reading of it. You should buy it, read it, then judge it :)

So, if you do come along, please forgive me if i sound a total tit. I will get better, I’m sure, and the book is good. I promise!


Fellow fantasy writer, Joanne Hall, tagged me in a meme thing, the next big thing, that has been going around, so here are my answers to the questions put to me.

1) What is the working title of your next book/short story/project?

Children of the Shadow.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It just popped into my head. I was on the train, can’t remember where I was going, probably home to see parents, and I realised that I needed some sort of wacky cult, and the Children of the Shadow were born. It’s only when writing the book that they have taken real shape and purpose. It certainly wasn’t something that I planned when I wrote the first book the series, the Shadow Seer, but, back then, I had no idea I would have reason to write the entire series. I never really saw beyond that first book.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

My dad thinks Johnny Depp for the lead, Candale, but i think that’s all wrong. I’m not sure there is an actor tall and thin enough to play him, though there are certainly many pretty enough . . . I rather like Xavier Samuel, who i saw in the Loved Ones (fab film) He’s pretty, thin, and looks good with curly hair. Not tall enough though. Though, to be honest, I would probably forgo how much they look like characters and just fill the film with actors i like, Tim Roth, Alexander Skarsgard, that sort of thing. Well, it’s my film, why not!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Candale finds himself stuck in the mountains with a bunch of nuts and has to get away.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My publisher will print it, I’m hoping! Small print.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Sadly, I’m still doing i. I started it 18 months ago, perhaps. I spent 6 months trying to write a standalone book, but then realised i really had to get this done and out the way first. And here I am, still trying to get it right. The first book was done in a year, and was a big fat monster of a thing. It’s been harder since then, trying to battle plot lines and a few personal brain issues.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would most like to compare this to Carol Berg’s Lighthouse Duology and Song of the Beast, as they are my favourite books. But I’m not sure I’m anywhere near her league. I think that, other than my character, Dale, being caught up in stuff that is beyond him, like Valen and Adain, and it being in first person point of view, it’s probably not that similar. But her standard is my aim.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

No one and nothing.  I’m always writing, and I had the first two done so I had to get on with the last one in the series. The beginning of the Shadow Seer was inspired by Hush by Paula Cole, the idea of a boy slowly dying, created images in me that I used. Other parts of the book have been inspired by Asian horror films, their love of creepy girls with long dark hair, and things that I have seen, places I have been. Also, Assassin’s Apprentice, which i was reading at the time of writing, and the idea of having a character who was a prophet, as the fool in that book was. I think they’re under used as characters, though prophecies often exist in fantasy books.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I hope people will want to read it because they’ve read the first two. I hope they want to read the first two because it is different from other fantasies, it’s not driven by lots of violent action, but by the characters, it features a prophet, a dark prophet, as the main character and it also has some spooky, dark things in it.

Indie bookshops

Cover to Cover, an indie bookshop in Mumbles, here in Swansea, South Wales, where I live, have said that the Shadow Seer was a great read and want me to send them a copy. I’m assuming this is to sell, as that is why I contacted them! Aand I’m pretty pleased. It’s not easy, when you’re with a small print publisher, to get into a physical bookshop, big chains have lots of rules that are hard for someone with a print on demand system to meet. Waterstones, a big chain in the uk, for example, need you to be listed with a certain database (free so that’s no problem) but also to have your published listed with their distribution company. A lot of writers, with small print publishers, aren’t with one based in their own country. My own is a published down under! So they aren’t always aware of the bookshop chains in other countries, or their distribution. Even if they were, the distribution companies have rules of their own, not easy for a print on demand publisher to meet.

So that leaves indie shops, but they need to be sure of making money so may want to take a large percentage of the sale price, meaning the writer can’t afford to deal with them. I won’t get rich selling to indie bookshops, but it helps to get me out there and as any writer will tell you, after having your book published, being in a physical bookshop is the next big dream.

Being a writer is a rather never ending challenge, especially for those with a small print publisher. Writing a good book is the easy part! Getting it accepted, getting it out there, that’s far far harder. You need patience, and a tough skin! But i think it’s worth it.


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.