Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Rogue King - New and Improved and Coming Soon

April 2014 - I released The Rogue King into the world. I was satisfied with the story.

March 2015 - After much deliberation, I decided to integrate the companion novella into the main saga. This meant merging an extra 20k into The Rogue King. That meant going through the whole process all over again. In the meantime, I've let it bounce along as is.

October 2015 - That's now. Yeah? The Rogue King has gone through its final check. It'll be due for a re-release as soon as I see a proof. Because yeah, it's 21,000 words bigger.

What does that mean for those who have purchased the old version?

Well... I plan to upload the electronic versions over the old, so it'll be accessible via an update. What I can't do anything about is the hard copies. Although I stopped more from being published as soon as I started this venture, there are a few out there. The majority of which are signed and with the old cover, so... I guess they could be considered limited editions?

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Chopping Up My Darling... Again

I've spoken before that The Rogue King Saga is an old creature. It started way back in '97. Eighteen years later, there's little left of the original story.

The overarching story is still there. Veng has always been a man facing down a god who seeks to destroy him. But the story within? It grew darker. By bounds rather than inches. I've rewritten the entire thing three or four times now and each one gained an additional film of grime.

It's not all doom and gloom, there's just more... gloom.

And there should be.

Looking back at the beginning, I don't think I truly understood my story. But, just by the sheer virtue of continuing to live, thirty-year-old me has more experience than twelve-year-old me...
In those eighteen years, I've seen death (more death at any rate), I've come close to it twice and considered it once. I've experienced pain, both in the physical sense and the emotional. And been so angry that I blacked out and had to be dragged off my victim. I've smacked against, and crawled out of, such aching nothingness that sucks at your very soul until you're numb. I've also fallen in love. Created life and saved little furry lives.

They say a writer's personal experiences colour their stories. And whilst twelve-year-old me knew of certain things, but she didn't know.

But I digress.

The Rogue King Saga has changed so much, darkened beyond my first notes, that some things at the end no longer fit. Lately, I've rewritten more and more of The Vengeful God than I have in a good long while. It's suffered more chopped chapters and alterations than any other part.

I'm okay with that. The bits that matter survive to live on in another part of the story.

Are there any particular experiences you've drawn on in your stories? Done any major alterations to a novel?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Returning to the Map

I haven't done any seriously big worldbuilding since The Rogue King Saga, which is one whole planet and four moons. It also took about a decade for me to nail down. Neither of my other two novels required that level of detail; Golden Dawn takes place in a single valley and Dark One's Mistress needed a few opposing kingdoms, none of which actually have names at this present time.
Some of my older WiPs have bigger spaces. Aelfah spans a galaxy and the Spellster Series...

Well, what once started as a single merchant hub for one story grew into an empire, then sprawled into quite the continent. One that's still spitting out names and places...
Clearly there are gaps that need filling

Still, this isn't quite a return to the epic where the sea has an eternal storm and the land has (apart from strange mountains where the shouldn't geologically be) actual twin rows of stone walls that can be seen from space...
But then again, it was molded by gods...
No, the current world will follow more real world structures. Just with dwarven ancestors and elves alongside humans... mainly because my brain insists messing with elven biology and having five-foot-something people who say they came from dwarves should be there.

But then again... this morning, I woke up from a dream involving a zombie who was not a zombie if he wore a mask, whilst we went vampire hunting in a wooden cabin that had a corridor leading to a college sports ground... so sometimes I do wonder what the hell my brain knows about anything.

How do you approach your world? Is it big? Or just as large as you need it? Do you toy with maps? Have a weird dream you want to share?

Friday, 25 September 2015

Fun with Covers

Heh. It seems that I still can't write a story, or even plot it, without a cover. In the past, that lead to me creating a placeholder to keep the mind focused. With the Spellster Series, it's meant a creation of their actual covers.


I'm still tweaking things, but needless to say, it's been fun.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Where, oh where, to start...

On one shelf of my modest collection of books sits several dozen that loosely belong in a series. I say loosely because although they can be read in a certain order and are considered a series, they're more than that. Each book can be considered a standalone, yet hidden within are trilogies and an overarching tale that spans multiple main characters. Suffice to say, I adore them.

What does this have to do with anything?

Well, the longer I delve into the worldbuilding of my Spellster series, the more I see a commonality. Each of the four (yes, four) books only have the world in common. I've spoken before about Through Smoke and Fire and In Pain and Blood, two others reared their heads (To Target the Heart and Burning Beneath the Sun)* although unlike the first two, they're content to sit in their allotted spaces.

My issue is what one of the first two actually comes first.

I've already decided not to officially number them, despite doing so in my head, because of their ability to be read on their own. They'll come out in a certain order, obviously, but with standalone intentions. Largely owing to the fact they won't all be to everyone's taste due to varying steamy levels and such. Really it comes down to one question...

Do I kick off with a dark, sweet romance or the one bordering on erotic?

Decisions. Decisions...

(*On a slightly humourous note, the titles form a sentence of sorts: Through Smoke and FireIn Pain and BloodTo Target the HeartBurning Beneath the Sun... Well, I thought it was amusing.)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Why Is Identifying Genre So Hard For Me?

It used to be that, whenever I started a new story, I rarely bothered wondering about the genre. It was always classed as fantasy in my mind. I read fantasy, I liked fantasy, therefore I whatever I wrote was fantasy.

It's been a long time since things were so simply put.

Of course, there've been stories when the genre of a novel is obvious, other times it took me a while to agree that a story actually belonged in a different genre. And there's the tricky one that falls under the glorious term of science fantasy.

Then there's the damn spellster series where one book is looking to be some sort of terrible, but
somehow sweet, romance. Whereas the other is... Well, I don't know, actually.

I know it's not erotica. This is not a story about Dylan's sexual journey, which is a key point in that genre.
Not that he doesn't have sex... he has a lot of sex, after around chapter eight, maybe even later. I've about seven planned chapters that'll have such scenes. That's less than a quarter of the story and I know some won't be as long, or as detailed, as another.
Some scenes are explicit, though. I've two back-to-back chapters dedicated to the MC's first time with a guy. Close to 10k in total, you can read the draft of those here if you like. But I'll tell you this: a large part of it has them doing a fair bit of talking, on top of the initial seducing and some fumbling. Sex (actual sex, not just foreplay) doesn't appear until the second part.

My second choice down the line of raunchy genres is erotic romance, which can be defined as "a romantic relationship that develops through sexual interaction". That doesn't quite ring true either. All my stories have an element of romance in them. I can't help it. Trying to steer any of my stories in another direction leads to character tantrums. But the romance element of In Pain and Blood is a secondary plot and happens more through his interaction outside of sexytimes. So maybe not.

It may simply be that I've a fantasy story about a magic-wielding guy who, after believing he's found his place in the world, winds up trying to discover who's responsible for the destruction of his troop, part of the king's army and his old home before they can endanger the kingdom... interspersed with some racy scenes.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Story In A Song

Given that I'm in the middle of rewriting the 13k I lost for this story because I'm a fool who got her only copy corrupted beyond saving bar the first chapter she put on Wattpad (it's okay, I've retyped close to 9k so far), I'm gonna let you have a little peek into my mind...


I've often got the ol' iPod on shuffle whilst I'm doing things and, mostly, the music is just white noise. But every so often... WHAM! A song that once had no meaning beyond the original suddenly has a whole story attached to it.

I mean a whole story...

In Pain and Blood is a good, fresh example. So I'm going to show you all what I saw. Firstly, the main character started out as a remnant of an RPG character, his story was mostly a few ideas kicking about in the back of my mind that clashed with the original world. Then along came "Savin' Me" and things all went downhill from there as he was dragged into one of my worlds...

Please, press play and join me...

Picture it. A human male wearing dark green robes and a shiny collar made of purple metal, both military issue. Look closer, if this was earth, he could be described as euroasian. He's almost thirty and, before now, he's spent those years in the confines of a tower stuffed with magic-wielding people known as spellsters.
We'll call him Dylan. He's been chosen as part of the king's army, the collar stops him from using his magic outside of orders.
Dylan's currently unconscious in the middle of the forest. The collar's now a shattered, discarded mess, like the surroundings. Corpses litter a clearing, some burnt, whilst others are merely a broken, bloody messes. Something big happened here, an explosion maybe.

I'm only 10 seconds into the song.
But the lyrics are about to begin and Dylan's waking up...

Prison gates won't open up for me
On these hands and knees I'm crawlin'
Oh, I reach for you

Well I'm terrified of these four walls
These iron bars can't hold my soul in
All I need is you
Come please I'm callin'
And all I scream for you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

[Chorus:] Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me

Heaven's gates won't open up for me
With these broken wings I'm fallin'
And all I see is you

These city walls ain't got no love for me
I'm on the ledge of the eighteenth story
And all I scream for you
Come please I'm callin'

And all I need from you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

[Chorus:] Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me

Hurry I'm fallin'


And all I need is you
Come please I'm callin'
And all I scream for you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

[Chorus:] Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me

Hurry I'm fallin'

Say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me
Dylan finds himself face to face with a human woman who's been picking over the dead. This is Katherine, a hedge witch. She's leaving this place with Dylan. 

The pair search for the army camp, only to find it ransacked. Its inhabitants dead, dying or taken.
There's a survivor. A woman. Elven, wearing the armour of a warrior. She'd lift her sword to ward them off if her arm wasn't broken.
Her name? Authril.

Dylan heals her, but Authril 's terrified and he's forgotten that his talents are feared. Also, without a collar, he's considered dangerous. So that sword comes up pretty quickly once he's done.
His only chance at redeeming himself is in returning to the very place that sent him here. It takes some doing, but both women are persuaded to help him return to the tower.

It's dark and raining. There's a hunter's hut in the forest, the human woman living there lets them stay the night and, after discovering the enemy is close, leaves with them the next morning.

They're in a village now. Dylan is attacked by an elven man who is one of the king's hounds (people who are unaffected by magic and in service to the crown to hunt unleashed spellsters).
Fortunately, whatever shattered the collar has left its mark on Dylan's skin. This gives the man pause long enough for explanations. He's called Tracker and, yes, he's coming along, too. To ensure Dylan is telling the truth.
Along the way, they meet Treasure, a human prostitute and associate of Tracker's. Through her, they discover rumours that don't bode well for their final destination.
They're close to the tower now. But something's off, there's smoke above the tree line. There shouldn't be smoke...
The tower's been attacked, all those within either dead or missing. The women discuss where to go next whilst Dylan quietly breaks down. With no tower and no collar, Tracker tries to convince Dylan to flee. But no, they're off to warn the king.

It's night now, they've taken up residence in two of the tower rooms, where Tracker seduces Dylan.

They're in a hall now, or maybe a dungeon, doesn't matter. What does is that Tracker's deflecting a sword blow meant to kill Dylan.
More importantly, Tracker's fighting because Dylan can't. He's been leashed. How? Why? What's going on? Where have the others gone?

Mhmm. Not telling.

Anyway, this is where it segues into "Burn It to the Ground". But I'm not going to tell you about the final battle, which I am hoping I can put into words so it comes off as awesome and brutal as it does in my head.