Free story and things!

Well, my new book is now available in print from amazon.com and co.uk and European Amazons, alongside the kindle. And if you buy it in print, you should get a free kindle version too! :)

And I have a free short story available on smashwords. Medyna’s Choice is the prequel to my novel series, also included in the Rules of War and Other Stories short story collection.

And, there’s a new interview with me on the website/blog of me friend and Bristol con manager and grey hound slave, Joanne Hall :) Read it HERE!

Out and About

Well, I’ve been a fairly busy bee again. I’ve signed up to do a market on 6th April, at Sketty, here in Swansea. Another, a craft fair, on the 28th June, Scardiff, in Cardiff in October (see the Calender for details on all this)

And now, I’ve got a table for the weekend at Margam Park’s Heroes and Legends Convention. This is pretty exciting for me because a, it’s local, and b, Sylvester bloody Mccoy! :) He was my first Doctor Who and, before Matt Smith, my favourite! By then my collection of short stories, based on the Greek Myths will be out and ready to go! I’m actually rather proud of the stories, the way they came out, so am looking forward to sharing them with the world. And I have to thank Rohaa Langenhof and Natalie Walker Millman for proof reading them and helping me to perfect them (the latter for also being a very supportive friend when I had neighbour issues. I had wanted to put that into one of the stories too, but I couldn’t get it together. Maybe for a later collection :) ) I’d like to thank my parents, too, for offering to give them a final edit. They will be as good as they can possibly be by launch time and I really hope people will enjoy them.

And I set my novel finish deadline for July 27th, when I do race for life. I’m really going to have to work to get it done by then!

A day in the life of a child eater.

I have a title for my Greek myth collection retelling.  ‘A day in the life of a child eater’ which will be my story of Lamia, a woman whose children were killed by a jealous Hera and who was driven to kill, and eat, other children in her madness, only in a modern setting. It will probably be a lighter tale than some of the others. Dark humor, I guess.

Along with Lamia I will be writing stories based on:

Orpheus (almost finished)
Medea
The Harpies (another humorous type tale)
Hylas

And a couple of others, I’m not totally sure of yet. They have to be convertible to a modern setting, which isn’t easy for some of them, where the characters become swans, or trees.

Also not sure how my sense of humor will translate into stories, but that’s part of the fun, right? :)

On writing horror.

Sunday Mum and I went to Scardiff, a new horror convention in Cardiff. And it was excellent. People dressed up and there were all sorts of things to buy, handmade jewellery, dragons, dolls, zombie bears, and, of course, lots of authors selling their wares. I got talking to one, who I had met the day before at Bristol Con, and hopefully will be selling books with her at conventions to come. And one of the things I hope to have done, and be selling, is my horror short story collection, inspired by the greek myths.

But I have never written horror before. Dark fantasy, yes. But not horror horror. Horror is different from fantasy, because it is set in this world, and that is what I think makes it harder. Fantasyh is other world, a world of magic, so demons, dragons, zombies, ghosts, they can all exist because reality as we know it is already suspended. But horror is in this world and it is the supernatural, the other world, co exisiting with the one that we know. And that’s what makes it difficult. Getting my own brain to let go of the idea that zombies are silly, that witches can’t really raise the dead, that ghosts aren’t real, and believing that, for a while, they can be, because if I can believe it, I cna hopefully ghet the reader to believe it too.

ANd that’s before I even tackle mood, descriptions of the creatures, setting, characters, and all the rest of it.

But today is Halloween, a day of ghosts and monsters, so in that spirit I say sod it. Sod reality. Sod my over obsessive brain. I shall just do it and see what happens.

First, Orpheus, the singer torn apart by followers of Dionysyus.

And then, Medea.

And then, who knows! :)

Happy Halloween :)

New project

I have a masters degree in Ancient History, but I’ve never really done much with it. I would have loved to get a Phd, teach women and magic and greek tragedies, but it wasn’t to be.

But, with a friend, I will at least put that masters to use. We’re going to do a short story collection of ancient myths. Not the ones that everyone knows, not Troy, and Odysseus, but others, Medea, Arachne, that sort of thing. My friend will be setting hers in the ancient world, but mine will be in the modern world, in places that I know. We have yet to decide on the eight that will be done, but I already can see problems in that most of my favourite myths seems to involve revenge and child killing/eating. Clearly my four stories will be horror! But I like the idea of doing something different, and yet familiar. I haven’t written horror horror before, or many stories set in the modern world, so this will be an exciting sort of challenge, and dealing with things that I loved best about my degree and masters, women, magic and tragedy.

Now just have to work out what myths to do, and how to do them.

 

The internet: making connections.

I love the internet. It brings people together. It’s given me the chance to be published, to talk directly with my publisher, and then with readers, as well as to make new friends and new fans. And it gives me a chance to network, and get talked into doing readings and signings on very little notice!

As with now. It looks like I will be doing a reading, and signing, in Bristol on 23rd Feb, which is scary, but exciting too. I know that some people will be in Exeter for a convention, and i know that it is short notice, both of which suit me as it means there won’t be too many people there to see me make a fool of myself! The weekend after I will be in Cardiff, at the Comic Expo, doing signings there too. I’m excited about that. A chance to dress up, to sign books, meet people. It’s what i enjoy about writing, other than the actual writing, the chance to talk to people about it, about books, to meet people who are also passionate about it.

The reading part, well, not so much. That scares me. I worry, did i chose the right bit, am i reading too fast, am i boring people? I had 5 people at my first reading. No one brought anything after, so i worry that i chose the wrong bit, or i just have a bad book in my hands.

But, i wrote the book that i wanted to, and i love it, so that’s all that i can do really. That, and have a strong drink before hand, and plan out what I’m going to say a little better than last time.

Hope to see lots of you there :)

Tagged!

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?
Fantasy

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.

Depression, writing and whatnot.

I have depression. I’ve had it on and off in varying degrees for as long as i can remember. I’m 35 now. It’s rather crippling. I’ved been told, before, that being depressed doesn’t stop you cleaning. I’ve heard it doesn’t stop you working. I’m going to tell you, real depression, not just feeling a bit sad, does. it stops you doing anything. it takes all the fun out of life, dwestroys what you enjoyed, leaves you hollow and indifferent. And that’s what stops you cleaning and working and doing anything. You don’t care. The house is full of crap, you don’t care. You don’t have any clean dishes, there are flies and maggots around, you haven’t bathed in weeks, you really don’t care. Sometimes you cry, but that rarely happens for me. It’s mostly that i am SO tired, all the time, that i can’t get out of bed, and when i do, i just sit on the sofa and eat, cos eating in the only way that the day will end. The only way to get through it, back to bed. I’ve had it for years. I had it while writing the Shadow Seer, but i had uni too, and some how that helped get me through it. Now i am alone with it, and so I’m struggling to write. But i am trying, though i fear that I am letting Candale and his friends, and the people who loved the first book, down.

I’m saying this because i think you can see it in my writing, or may be i’m just paranoid. Book 2 was hard for me to write, because of the depression. To me, it lacks something, something of the flow, the warmth, the detail because of that. Book 3 is hard, for the same reason. I wonder if my struggles can be seen by others, in the words, in the pages. But I’m trying, I’m doing my best, even though the thrill, the love, the passion has been eaten by the depression monster.

I am rather tired of him.

 

Signings: a sad state of affairs

So, I have a signing arranged at Swansea Library for the end of the month with fellow fantasy writer Joanne Hall. The library warned me that even though they put up posters, not many people come to these things. But I was prepared to do some promotion myself, made some posters, got some flyers and went to put them out in Oxfam bookshop. They are more than happy to put them out and to let me do a signing there, perhaps. Certainly nicer than the indie bookshop on Uplands who said no, outright. But, like the library, they warned me not many people come, even if they promote. And i find that so sad. As a kid I used to love to go to book signings, to meet authors, and i would read any book on the fantasy shelf. I loved to try new things. But readers today seem to be fussier. Is that because bookshops only stock the main authors, so it’s actually harder to get to know new authors. There are more books available online, of course, but it’s hard to browse. You cant just look for titles and at pretty covers and take it from there, the way you can in a shop. You need to know what you want or have a recomendation. Is this why people don’t come to book signings? Because if they haven’t heard of the book, or had it recomended, they won’t take the chance? But getting someone to hear of your book, to get them to want to read it, that’s a difficult thing too. You can’t just bug people, because that pisses them off. You can’t fake reviews, because that pisses them off AND opens you up to ridicule and a bad reputation. So, what to do? Social networks are all well and good, but you can’t spam them, you need to get to know people, network, talk in groups, give advice, sell yourself, without selling yourself. But that isn’t easy for everyone. I’m not very good at it. I hate twitter and don’t have the patience to give the same general advice over and over on writing forums. It seems that, though technology, social networks, have brought us together with new people and given us more choice, more access to things we wouldn’t have had otherwise, it also creates more of a crowd, which is harder to stand out from. So, im trying real world promotion, discount flyers, posters, as well as online. I’ll find out end of the month if my promotion has paid off.

I really hope it does :)

Bristol Con: Sales and my reading!

Well, we missed the train and arrived a little later than we wanted and the day didn’t go too well from there. We only sold three books and only five people sat in on my reading.

BUT i enjoyed myself. The reading was fun to do, though scarey, and i want to do one again next year! And, watching a guy at work nearby, i realised i need to be more forceful. His book was more expensive, and self published, but he sold more copies cos he grabbed everyone who walked in. Granted, my table was half hidden by his giant poster, and tucked into the corner, but grabbing people is the way to go i think! I did meet someone who is doing an expo in Cardiff in March, though, which I will now be attending, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.

All in all, i had fun, which is the most important thing. But clearly i need to push more if i want to make millions this way! :P