Monday, 16 September 2013
Friday, 12 July 2013
That proved difficult when I remembered the week’s vacation in Italy we had booked. Yes, slap in the middle of the time when I ought to be writing! Oh well – maybe the break would help stop my brain from overloading. I began making a list, sorting out what passages I really needed to keep, which I could safely delete, and what order the new passages needed to be in. This turned into more of a nightmare than I anticipated, and once or twice I got completely confused and had to write it all out again. My only respite came when I began writing the new scenes themselves, because they were scenes of foreboding – my favourite kind! My writing Muse came winging back and sat comfortably on my shoulder. But it seemed she didn’t like the confusion of reordering either, because once I stopped writing fresh stuff and went back to cutting-and-pasting, she threw a tantrum and locked herself in the cupboard. Oh well.
The vacation to Lake Garda in northeast Italy was a wonderful break, despite the 30 degree heat. We left Heathrow in 16 degrees and walked out of the plane in Verona airport to the searing Italian summer. It was like being slapped in the face. Picking up the rental car went fine, but the directions we had been given to the converted mill where we would be staying were rubbish. Fortunately, not only does Dave carry a map and a compass in his head (how DOES he always know what direction he’s facing??) we had also brought our Italian roadmap, courtesy of when we used to live there. After a few false turns, we arrived.
The week went very well, but thoughts of the rewrite were never far from my mind. Once we returned, I got straight back to work.
This coincidence concerns what scientists have documented (I won’t say “discovered” because I have noticed this myself, and I’m sure other singers and choirs have too) about the effect of choral singing on the heartbeat. If you’d like to read the story, here is the link:
What got me so excited when I heard about it was the close correlation between what the scientists found and what I had written. I finished those scenes days before the story broke, so it wasn’t something I heard subliminally. It was simply another of those slightly spooky things that used to keep me going with submitting my work when all I was getting were rejections. I am now more firmly convinced than ever that my books and Rhemalda Publishing were fated to be a partnership. And I just couldn’t be happier!
Thursday, 6 June 2013
This post is dedicated to the awesome author Sarah-Jane Lehoux and her Sevy Series. I first met Sarah-Jane through Facebook and was honoured to be asked to host a guest post and Giveaway by her as part of her Sevy Series Blog Tour. She's giving away an entire ebook set of The Sevy Series, which I think is stupendous - something not to be missed! See the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post for your chance to enter.
I decided to read the first book in this series, Thief, and write a review before you get to Sarah-Jane's guest post. Don't worry though - I won't be giving away any spoilers!
In the crumbling city of Eloria, there are two indisputable facts. First, everyone has a dream. Secret, seemingly unattainable, altogether irresistible, it is the kind of dream that aches and, at times, burns. For most, it will forever remain a teasing enigma, but there are those for whom dreams grow into obsession. Which brings us to the second indisputable fact: everyone has a price. Protestations of morality have little meaning when confronted with the all-consuming passion of the soul. Better judgment is pushed aside for the chance to obtain the unobtainable. The only question remaining is just how much a person is willing to sacrifice in order to get what they want.
Sevy has always been a quick study in the wicked ways of Eloria. Since childhood, she has eked out a living for herself with the help of her sticky fingers and her indomitable spirit. She has no qualms about taking what she desires, and when the unrequited love of her life is mysteriously murdered, Sevy will stop at nothing to get him back. Elvish black magic, necromancy and demonic pacts are of little consequence if it means she can once again have her beloved at her side. But is she willing to murder her only friend to get the job done?
My Review of Thief by Sarah-Jane Lehoux
Sevy is a young girl who lives on the streets of Eloria, eking out a living by stealing, doing whatever she can to stay alive. Street-wise and cunning, Sevy knows a mark when she sees one – but she also knows a pimp. Her best and only friend Trena has taken up with a gorilla whom Sevy knows is going to exploit her – but all Trena can see are the benefits. Sevy is determined to steal enough so she can rescue Trena from the ape’s clutches, but her life takes an unexpected twist when the mark she targets turns out to be even savvier than herself. Her growing infatuation with this man, and his apparent attraction to her, throw Sevy into the deepest love, and also the deepest fury, she has ever known. Demons and black elvish magic combine in one of the most treacherous and evil-bitch antagonists I have ever encountered in a fantasy novel . It’s doubtful that even Sevy’s smarts and hard-won skills can save the lives of her lover and friend.
There is plenty of action, tension and emotion in this fast-moving fantasy novel. You won’t be able to draw your breath!
Ok - now that you've heard what I think of Thief, it's time to hear from the author herself. In this post, she talks about how she finds the right balance in her writing.
Over to you, Sarah-Jane!
What kind of gratuitousness am I talking about? Anything. Everything. Sex. Violence. Cursing. Eating. Sleeping. Whining. Whatever. Do a quick Google search on the definition. Go on; I’ll wait.
Back? Okay, see the third meaning? “Unnecessary or unwarranted.” That’s what I’m talking about. We’ve all read books/seen movies where there has been a scene that makes us roll our eyes and wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to add it in. Sex for the sake of sex, violence for the sake of violence, cutesy, lovey-dovey behavior for the sake of being cutesy….all it does is turn the reader off and tarnish what was otherwise a great tale.
The universe I’ve created with The Sevy Series has been described as gritty and realistic. I don’t shy away from hard subject matter, but I like to think that I come at each scene, even the R-rated ones, with some class. After I finish the first draft, a HUGE part of the editing process is seeking out the unnecessary, the out of place, the gratuitous, and reworking until they fit into the vision I have for the story.
Sure, sometimes bucket loads of gore is called for—Taratino wouldn’t have a career without them—but for most stories and story-tellers, less will always be more. It’s all about finding the right ratio between being authentic to your universe and being respectful to your readers.
Great post, Sarah-Jane, thank you!
Below are the covers and blurbs for Shades of War and Masquerade, Books Two and Three in the Sevy Series:
Now she must unravel a web of magical intrigue hidden behind the outwardly idyllic atmosphere of the islands of Belakarta. Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Trapped under the spell of a handsome and mysterious stranger, Sevy must fight fairies and tricksters to regain her freedom.
Or spend an eternity as a sorcerer’s plaything.
The books look great, don't they? I certainly think so - which is why we're doing a fantastic Giveaway of an entire ebook set! Yes, that's right - the entire Sevy Series as an ebook set! See the Rafflecopter Giveaway widget below to enter.
And if you don't get lucky in the Giveaway, or you simply can't wait, here are the links to purchase the series on Amazon:
Friday, 24 May 2013
For those who don't know Mikey, here's his author Bio:
Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including BEAN’S DRAGONS, the ABC ADVENTURES series, and author of the middle-grade fantasy-adventure novel, THE DREAM KEEPER. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.
I had the great privilege of meeting Mikey at Rhemalda Publishing's first ever Got Stories? conference in Salt Lake City in June 2012. We got talking, and once I returned home to the UK, we carried on the friendship through email and Facebook. When he was looking for a copy-editor to help him prepare The Dream Keeper for publication, he came to me. I was honoured to work with him, especially as The Dream Keeper is such a brilliant book!
Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but
Nightmares call it HOME.
When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?
Loser—the most frightening word to ever be uttered in junior high school. Even the coolest kids are afraid of being associated with it. 14-year-old Parker Bennett is no exception. He can’t even be himself around his friends for fear they might not accept who he really is. When circumstances force him to team up with Kaelyn Clarke, the biggest loser in the ninth grade, Parker has to decide what is more important; protecting his social status or saving the world. Nightmare named Fyren has taken over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, with the intention of controlling mortals, and it falls on Parker, Kaelyn, and Gladamyr – the Dream Keeper – to stop him. They learn being called a loser is no longer a fear, when compared to the terror of real nightmares.
Praise of THE DREAM KEEPER:
“This really is a cracking novel. Action-packed and spellbinding!”—Cas Peace, author of the Artesans of Albia series.
So you see, I am already a fan of Mikey's work. Below you will find links to where you too can connect with Mikey, and also links to The Dream Keeper on Amazon. Oh - and don't forget the GIVEAWAY! You'll find the entry form at the bottom of the post. But now Mikey would like to share some of the thoughts that were going through his mind while he was planning and writing The Dream Keeper. Over to you, Mikey!
Goodreads at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17727253-the-dream-keeper
Facebook at: http://facebook.com/writtenbymikeybrooks
Twitter as: @writtenbymikey
Paperback Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/4260677
TITLE: THE DREAM KEEPER
Hardback: 978-1-939993-01-4, Paperback: 978-1-939993-03-8, EBook: 978-1-939993-02-1
Hardback: $19.95, Paperback: $12.99, EBook: $4.99.
Paperback: £852, EBook: £3.30.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
With written words, readers can impose their own ‘voice’ or imagination over that of the writer, and this can sometimes alter the meaning of those words beyond anything the writer envisaged. Written words can be fickle, even misunderstood. Think of those texts or emails sent in haste, whose recipients took umbrage over what was meant as a joke. It is nigh-on impossible to convey tone of voice with a few bald words, and emoticons must be used instead, to provide a visual key.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
At fifty, Donna decided to study karate and earned her black belt in Shorei Kempo.
Personally, I think the book sounds awesome and I can't wait to read it. The cover looks fantastic, another winner from Rhemalda Publishing, and there's an awesome book trailer. Donna's son plays in a band called Kinslayer, and the music on the video is theirs. Even more awesome! You will find the trailer link below the cover - why not take a look and let Donna know what you think?
Friday, 25 January 2013
Here is my contribution to the ‘Authors Tagging Authors’ blog hop. I was originally tagged/tigged by my favourite historical novelist Judith Arnopp (do check out her books, they are wonderful!) http://www.juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.co.uk/ back in December 2012, but was tardy in posting to my own blog (apologies, Judith – better late than never?) More recently I was tagged/tigged again by Simon Andrew Stirling, author of ‘The King Arthur Conspiracy’ – a fantastic book. Here’s his blog link: http://simonandrewstirling.blogspot.co.uk/
So I thought I’d better get to it and finally answer these blog hop questions! Hope you enjoy them. And below you’ll find links and a brief intro to the authors I’ve tagged/tigged in my turn. They are all great writers with some brilliant books to share. Why not check them out?
Ok, here we go:
What is the working title of your next book?
My Artesans series is Epic Fantasy, which is the genre I am most drawn to. The books themselves are aimed at adults, although I have had readers as young as twelve who have really enjoyed my first two books. The final trilogy in the series gets progressively darker, though, and there are times when it borders on dark fantasy or even horror, so those books are definitely not for children!
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am very fortunate in that my books are published by independent US publishing house Rhemalda Publishing. Like most writers, I went down the route of submitting to agents and UK publishers, and then spread my net to include those in the US as well. I received many encouraging replies from agents and publishers alike, all telling me to keep trying, and that my work was definitely publishable and would find a home. Yet no one ever offered to take me on. In that time I also wrote a non-fiction book, For the Love of Daisy, and that was published with a very small indie publisher, www.canwritewillwrite.com I gathered a wealth of publishing experience through Daisy’s book and came to the reluctant conclusion that I would have to self-publish my Artesans series. Then one day I was on Facebook and saw Rhemalda Publishing www.rhemalda.com mentioned in a post about fantasy books. I did some research and decided to submit, as a final attempt at securing a ‘traditional’ publisher. To my great amazement, they loved my book and offered me a contract! They are an awesome company and I’m very fortunate to be working with them.
What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write the songs associated with this book?
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Up next on this blog tour is author/illustrator Mikey Brooks. He has published several picture books including Bean’s Dragons and ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures. He’ll be discussing his middle-grade fantasy novel The Dream Keeper. Check him out at www.writtenbymikey.blogspot.com
Then we have Steven D Jackson, a fellow Rhemalda author whose paranormal thriller Shifter is just brilliant. See his blog: http://thecerberusarmchair.blogspot.co.uk/
Titles available through Seven Realms Publishing:
A Knight of Silence - Vol. I
A Knight of Battle - Vol. II
Jack of Hearts (Available March 2013)
Voodoo Fire (Available Fall 2013)
Available through Rhemalda Publishing:
Spur of the Moment
Wicked Embers (Sequel)
Check out her website for more details: http://www.knightseries.com