Sunday, 29 November 2015

WINNER! But not done yet.

I finally reached the 50k mark with only one day to go! Validation was a bit tricky, but only because my writing was intertwined with the stuff I'd already written. So, National Novel Writing Month is over and I have to rehabilitate with my family, who hasn't seen me much over the last twenty-nine days. Seriously, I spent all that time holed up in the bedroom with my little laptop. I'm missing my big desktop baby...

But In Pain and Blood is now a healthy 72k thanks to the 22000 words I'd previously had for it. That should make me close to being done, yes?

Well, no there's actually still a fair way to go on the novel itself. I've only completed three chapters throughout this entire month. Which means I've 30 more to go... Maybe 28 depending on how the scenes line up. A lot of it is due to the fact that the chapters themselves are quite big. The completed ones average out to 5k each, the biggest having 7140 words. And there are incomplete ones sitting at 2-4k. They all add up quite nicely.

I'd say there's probably at least another 50k lurking within the story. Mostly at the front where I haven't yet fleshed out the story, I want to make his home a memorable place filled with people rather than names so that the feelings will match up. Considering I refuse to break it due to how it runs in the same world as the others I plan, it's likely to become my biggest standalone to date.

But that's all for later. Right now, I'm going to bask in the joy of getting 50,000 words done in 29 days.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

What I've Learnt So Far for #Nanowrimo2015

I class myself as a pantser/plotter hybrid. Sometimes, the plotting is thick and I go for it with this massive plan in mind, other times I write so far off the margin that finding my way back to the plot is a mission in itself.
Part of that is due to there always being a number of epiphanies whenever I write. My stories seem to like surprising me. I accepted this long ago. In Pain and Blood is no exception.

Drawn by Adrianna MacierzyƄska
But no one has revealed as much about themselves as Tracker...
So far, he was taken from his mother as a babe (standard fare for this realm, it seems), trained hard as a wee lad with only his birthdate for a name and a tattoo of what weapon he was most proficient in, tortured both physically and mentally, forced to kill the people he loved when he was 15 and, when he finally became a fully-fledged hound and gained his name, he spends his days hunting people who tend to just want to be free with their families...
Safe to say, he's not had it easy.
He's also pansexual, this I sort of knew, and is adamant that he doesn't get jealous, although I think he's lying to himself there. And he revealed himself to be polyamorous... In the third-to-last chapter, no less. That was sort of... well... I wouldn't say it was unexpected. That he was shoved in a pit with his three lovers and expected to kill or be killed shocked me more than 'hey there once was four of us all in one mutually-loving group'.

Amongst other things... he's afraid of tunnels (recently discovered why), has elegant handwriting (compared to Dylan, at least), and is completely unaware that he, or any other elf, will purr when content, which I guess means he doesn't recall ever being content since infanthood... Let that one sink in.

Have you had any epiphanies lately?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

NaNo, NaNo, NaNo...

I'm just gonna leave this right here...

Hopefully, it'll climb all the way to the top. It's only day 5 and I'm already a bit sluggish.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

In Pain and Blood - The Tower Mains

If you've ever given the first chapter of In Pain and Blood a quick perusal, you'll notice that Dylan doesn't start his journey with any of what I consider as the main cast. I sort of have a divide of main tower people / main travelling people...

Nestria is an elven spellster, she's Dylan's cheeky-ass childhood friend, sometime lover and occasional sparring partner. She's on par with him in magical talent, but loathes actually using her abilities in combat.

Sulin, the elven alchemist, is Dylan's roomie. He's as much of a flirt as Dylan is, although blunter about it and a little more select when it comes to who he sleeps with. He also got his tongue split in an accident. It's not relevant to the story, just mentioning it.

Tricia, human, is Dylan's guardian. She's the one who is... adverse to him leaving. Ever. Considering that he does, you can bet she isn't happy.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

In Pain and Blood - The Main Cast

Now I know for certain that there's no way my ill-prepared nerd could possibly make it from one city to the other on his own, let alone get across a kingdom. Well, to be fair, he might make it, but he'd be one hell of a mess... Er, more of a mess than he'll wind up with help.
So... he picks up a number of people. Oddly, mostly women. I didn't plan it that way, they just happened to be women...

There's Katarina, a human hedgewitch (a sort of scholar from the neighbouring country). Although if you plan on calling her a human, you also better be prepared to run and run far because where Katarina's from, they believe they're the descendants of dwarves. She's mainly with them because she stuck and there's no one else around to help her return to her homeland.

Authril is a common elven soldier from the king's army. Alongside Tracker, she's the one who has a valid reason to be sticking around for as long as she does.

Marin, as a hunter, generally flies solo. She originally comes due to forces threatening her current abode and, as far as I can tell, stays for the yuks. She also tends to treat Dylan as a little brother.

Drawn by the lovely Tsyele
And lastly, we have Tracker, an elven hound, (that's the king's secret elite, trained to seek out, and occasionally nullify, spellsters). Seeing that Dylan is a spellster, this guy finds himself sort of obliged to tag along.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

In Pain and Blood - The Protagonist

Drawn by the delightful Yerin Yoo
So, I've a setting and a timeframe. But just who is this guy I plan to write about in November?

The easy answer is Dylan.

But that's just a name, right? Not much to go on when I plan to put an entire story on this poor guy's shoulders. I better have some idea what he's like, how he'll act.

Fortunately, I've garnered a bit of insight into him, and that got a generous push by giving me a storyline when I was listening to a certain song.

Dylan gives off the general the impression of being just another cocky, carefree bastard (in both senses of the word) of a spellster who's actually more of a caring, inquisitive and protective nerd. But still, first a foremost, a spellster.
He's also a bit of a flirt. More than a bit, actually.

I've a number of more basic facts, like his age (29), his height (6'1) and, of course, there's his appearance (and, thanks to Yerin, his image is every bit as gorgeous as I imagined). He's also bisexual.

Compared to his travelling companions, he's a lanky and physically weak person who, on the whole, is woefully inexperienced at the whole outdoors thing. On top of that, he's gathered a couple of quirks... namely a dislike of pants, an overenthusiastic approach to all things ancient, and an attachment to his "soul patch".

He's a master linguist, a moderate healer, and excels in both magical offense and defense with a preference towards using lightning (hence the cover). All of which leads to complicating his life in some way.

Monday, 26 October 2015

In Pain and Blood - Setting & Timeframe

Every story needs a setting, even if it's mostly set in a single tower in a secluded valley. And as I've already mentioned, there's a whole continent set up for my spellster novels.

There aren't any big quests in these novels. No saving the world stakes. Whilst I adore reading stories where an entire world is at risk, very few of my stories follow that trend. A kingdom or two might wind up in danger (and civil war could be the outcome for one) but the stakes are a little more personal.

Very personal in the case of In Pain and Blood.

Still, I've the entirety of a small kingdom to play around in. At the moment, I've only got the places that'll turn up in the story marked, a sort of layout of their journey, the general look of the terrain and all that jazz... anything to stop myself from veering off in the wrong direction. Because if there's one thing I learnt from my oldest story, it's best to have an idea of where they're going before you send them across the terrain.

The kingdom itself is largely influenced by Medieval England. Castles, swords, royalty and all that... on top of magical metal that hinders magic, people unaffected by magic and daggers that can bring about your death at a single nick of the blade... Yup.

I've also got a basic timeline, a sort of base for how quickly they'll travel. I don't yet have everything down to the day, but I do know the story takes about three months what with all the travelling. It's an average sort of timeline compared to the others I've written, but I'll still have to keep an eye on it.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

And... The Rogue King Is Live! ...Again!

The paperback hasn't quite had time to link up with the kindle version, but both are now available.

If you've already own the Kindle version and want to see the new, you are unfortunately going to have to contact Amazon and ask for it to be updated.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Rewriting the Rewrites that I have Rewritten Before

I don't think I've rewritten anything as much as I have done for The Rogue King Saga. And I don't think so much has been changed as the ending to The Vengeful God.

Oh, the overall tone of the ending is the same. The people who die and the people who don't stay the same. But how it happens gets cut or rearranged or the pov gets changed... and I'm doing all of that, again.

It currently goes like this...

The scene from Kael's pov? Bam! Laccindy and Veng share the bulk of it. Done!
The bit at the end? Tack it onto Lasil's pov. No, wait. The pacing's wrong... That's a new chapter then. Done!
Go back to Veng, rearrange the order things happen. Done!
Another new chapter for Kael! See if any of the stuff I kept from his old pov can be used. Done!
Now we're back to Lasil's original chapter... only it doesn't work anymore, needs an overhaul. Done!
Veng's chapter will now be Laccindy's. Makes more sense for it to be her there anyway. Working on it!
Lasil's chapter will now be Veng's! Merge the beginning of one with the ending of the other. From fluff to angst!
Which means I might need a new chapter... most likely from Lasil's pov.

Hoy. This is punishment for sending you through the wringer, isn't it, Lasil? I'm sorry okay? It was all implied anyway. It just made more sense to let it happen.


Then it's back to the original layout. And I was hoping to get it all sorted before November? Oh, dear...

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Going Down The List...

My next stop in tackling the loose ends before Nanowrimo monopolises my November is detangling the issue I've got with The Vengeful God.

I've decided to rewrite a scene that was solely from Kael's PoV, breaking it into one from Laccindy's and Veng's. Currently, I'm halfway through this process, having completed the first PoV. I lose a few things, change some others and gain more of everything as I always seem to when I rewrite. In all honesty, I think it flows better this way.

I may also add another scene a few chapters later, which will likely be my next stop, along with a few more major rewrites. Hoy. Whilst insinuating the novella and its two PoVs (Laccindy's especially) has given me a little more freedom in how things are laid out, it's looking like any progress on Dark One's Bride won't be until December.

Anything you're getting off your plate for Nanowrimo?

Friday, 16 October 2015

Proof's Arrived!

So... In preparation for Nanowrimo, I'm cracking down on the other loose ends around here.

First order of business was getting The Rogue King sorted and the proof for the new paperback sent over. Well... I though I'd have to wait for some time, but it arrived this afternoon!

Old vs New
As you can see, the cover is a little different. I've not seen the new title and whatnot beyond the screen. It's a little darker, too. Part of the reason behind that is my newer version of Photoshop refuses to do PDFs, so I used a PNG. Not sure how I feel about his colour changing so drastically given that I call him a dusty brown, but it's not the worse thing it could do. My partner, on the other hand, says it looks less washed out.

Of course, it's bigger
I plan to bring twelve copies over here (two for the local libraries, ten for selling), so any sort of release won't be until after next Thursday. Until then... onwards!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Count me in for Nanowrimo 2015

Last year, I wasn't in a position to participate in the worldwide frenzy that is the National Novel Writing Month. It comes in the middle of summer for me, which means fitting it in between general living, my daughter's school work and her riding lessons...

But this year, I'm all in.

Currently, I'm working to clear my plate a bit by sorting out the other stories still in need of TLC. I'm giving myself the rest of October to do as much of Dark One's Bride as I can as well as untangling the knotty problem of The Vengeful God...

But come the first of November, I shall attempt to write 50,000 words of In Pain and Blood. Now I already have about 22k scattered throughout the story, bits I smashed out that are not yet fit for the public eye, so I guess it's more an additional 50k, but... if the complete chapters I have are anything to judge by, I've got a whole lot of wriggle room.

Are you doing nanowrimo?

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 oh 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 oh 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 oh 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 Katarina, 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.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Songs Will Be The Death Of Me

So, whilst I wait for my newest beta readers to get back to me on The Rogue King, I'm turning to other works, not The Shadow Prince, although there are chapters that could be worked on there. Dark One's Bride has gotten a piece of my time, about a thousand or so words worth. Progress.

My major focus for the past three days has been on a new story, In Pain and Blood. It's been stewing in my head ever since Through Smoke and Fire popped up, largely because it's set in the same world, just a different kingdom and with different Main Characters. In fact, they're looking to have only the world and its rules in common...

See, Through Smoke and Fire has a rebellious slave getting deeper and deeper in trouble after being sold to his new mistress.
Whereas In Pain and Blood is about a cocky spellster who becomes collateral damage after winning the right to join the king's army.

Neither story influences the other.

So back to my current obsession...
Naturally, I found myself bouncing around trying to find a cover that matched what I could find, because that's how I like to work. And you know what? I wound up on scrolling through Shutterstock to make my own cover, the actual one I plan to pair with the story... Actually manipulating images and not just putting text on a finished image.

It was a lot more fun than I thought it'd be.

The colour of the top two words still bugs me and is likely to get tweaked to hell and back, but I digress...
After the cover, I skipped straight to what's looking to be chapters fourteen and fifteen or thereabouts and kicked off In Pain and Blood with what basically amounts to around eight thousand words of erotica... all whilst repeatedly listening to...

Yup... Now I've urge to go write two guys getting it on every time I hear this.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mulling Over One Chapter...

I've finally read through all The Rogue King with the additional chapters from A Game of Cat and Horse and, after removing a few chapters, reordering another chapter because I'm a dunce and put the other two in the wrong place, changing the PoV on one, adding another to even out the timeline and tweaking one of the original chapters to remove the now unneeded summary of a character...


All in all, I'm pretty confident the merge will work. Well, except for one or two chapters.

The main one in question is Chapter 46 and, as I reached that piece, it left me with a little "Do I need this here?" niggling in the back of my mind. Basically, it imparts knowledge about the state of a certain person as they learn about said state. But that knowledge is taken in via a third party, whereas the next chapter has, in my mind, a little more of an oomph as it's the same knowledge being taken in from the PoV of a character that has stronger stake in it.
Now I like several things about the chapter and it gives a certain insight into how other characters see the MC. But that can be readily dragged into the next book if needed that much.

There's another chapter, #52, that's not as problematic, but, what with everything surrounding it, may be superfluous. I've had all of it--the places, the characters and their timelines--in my head for so long that everything is already one and, even if I wind up removing both chapters, it's still roughly 20,000 extra words.

I guess it's time to go hunting for a second opinion...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Good news... for once

Otherwise known as "what's been happening over here".

Well, there are always the multiple things that have nothing to do with writing. Notably, there've been some flooding and junk around here, and I've spent the first time in a long time 100% alone in the house. Oh! And it's my daughter's birthday tomorrow... Or rather today seeing that it's pretty close to 1am...

The repurposing of The Rogue King has claimed it's second victim. I'd already axed one chapter before I began the reading, but having reached chapter 29, I found that it didn't mesh with the flow of the story. It worked in the novella, but in the story... Well... Mostly, it slowed things down.
So I have my second cut.
Yeah, I could've rewritten it, but there's no guarantee that the new chapter would work any better than the old one. So it's better if it goes. It's all good, though. I mean that's why I'm reading, to see if things clunk.

On another note: After weeks of staring at the screen and cursing my inability to put the scene I saw into coherent sentences, I finally finished a chapter for Dark One's Bride. And I'm making headway into the next chapter.
I think I may have a sort of weird love/hate thing going on with ballroom scenes, too. Maybe it's the dancing. There's three such scenes in this series so far, one in Dark One's Mistress and there'll be two in its sequel.
At least the last in the trilogy isn't likely to have one. I really can't see the Ebony Court letting that happen. Although, you never know with those people...

So in short, I'm feeling super productive! Go me!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mapping... uh... maps...

I feels like an age since I've posted here. Or done anything productive, really. Writing anything has become a bit of a struggle. It's not that I don't know where things are going or what would happen, in fact I do, it's just... finding the desire to flesh those ideas out. New or old. Little excites me.

But I long to finish what I have started. It was to that end in which I sat down and spent some time doing what I've never done for the lands nestled within the Dark One's Trilogy. A map. Low and behold, as I work a few sparks flit by. Not enough to power on, but if I fan them, perhaps one might catch...

The map in question is rough and little more than a carrot with which to bait my poor muse, but it's a start.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Catching My Tail

Whoo, what a wicked ride the past month has been. School holidays, people getting colds all over the place and the diagnosis for the cause of my pain has been given a treatment that amounts to basically "take these and wait it out". It could be worse. But I do find myself more drained than usual and it's left me dragging not only on the last bit I needed to finish this experimental addition to The Rogue King, but everything else...

But, today, I ticked one thing off the list. The very chapter that needed just a hundred or so words to conclude is finally done. The scenes are all filled in and the final placement for the chapters from A Game of Cat and Horse are now done.
Not everything has made it. I scrapped the last of Jarend's pov from the end as it added little and sort of spoiled the flow.

So it's roughly 22,000 words heftier than the current novel. That gives me a swanky 87,000 although I doubt it'll be the final number (it's never the final number) as I've still got the deciding factor...

Read the story through and see if the flow fits.

I've not been reading much, so it should be interesting to see how long it takes me. At least I'm at an advantage in that I can start at chapter sixteen...

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

And the tail chasing continues...

So I'm back from hospital. A little dizzy, a little sick. And, according to my partner, mostly out of my gourd the whole way home. The procedure was fine and they basically said nothing's there. That's nice and all, but that doesn't explain why I'm in even more pain than I was before. I swear, sometimes I'm better off if I don't go near doctors.

The being said, I've made an effort to press on with my current obsession in seeing how A Game of Cat and Horse looks if I insert its chapters into The Rogue King.

No. It basically didn't require much in the way brainpower.

As I predicted, a large chunk of the story (some 20,000 or so words) was added to the initial plot. That's about two-thirds of AGoCaH's story and TRK, a novel teetering between 65 and 66k, is pushed just a little bit closer to a beefier book. Not sure how I feel about that.

What I didn't expect was where those chapters wound up.

Part of me should have. The Rogue King covers about twenty-six years, give or take some months, and AGoCaH travels along that vein ... and even a little bit after. That image over there is a comparison of TRK with and without the other bits. See how all that red and purple explode right in the middle? That's the beginning of A Game of Cat and Horse.


So far, it looks doable. It's not all 100% "here you go, editor" complete (yesh, don't even get me started on how I'd manage to get that phase done). I've got to read it through, see if things still fit and adjust those that don't. Just looking at it, the last couple of chapters before the epilogue may not survive such a read.
And there's a few additional chapters that would be required to smooth things out. I might even rewrite a particular scene in another's pov. Who knows?

So it comes to a different question: What to do about the version already out there? Obviously nothing right now as this might not work out. It'd be easy enough to upload a new version of the ebook with all the necessary whatsits. The paperback* might be harder. If I do go through with this, I'll certainly have to look into that...

I guess I'll just have to wait and see, won't I?

* I guess, on the upside, those signed paperbacks I gave away last year would become limited editions.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Chasing One's Tail

Tomorrow, I head into the hospital to hopefully find out the cause behind this pain that I've had for about several months now. The last time I had this procedure, I woke up in the middle of it screaming that it hurt. So I'm a little nervous.
Naturally, I'm handling this in a very grownup manner: by thinking about everything other than what I should be.

Like what I'm actually going to do with A Game of Cat and Horse.

I'd also have one less
cover to have made
For those not in the know, this is a story I plan to publish after The Rogue King Saga. It's meant to be a companion novella/novel (depending on how long it gets) that circles around two characters who weave in and out of said saga: Laccindy and Jarend.

Meant to be.

It's kind of complicated.

It started off as a background story, a sort of midquel to the first book, then it morphed into a story that arched over the whole saga and now ... well ... sufficed to say that, if I published it before the saga was over, you'd know how a few key points in the whole story went down.

But sometimes, I wonder if ... maybe ... it would be better to slip this story into the saga instead. I can handle two extra povs. Hell, the Godless Series I plan to have follow is going to have at least twice that many povs. It'll need them.
Half of me feels like doing so would be adding filler. The other half knows I'm likely to run the risk of reiterating parts of the saga in another's pov just so this story makes sense (I've already done that with one chapter).

And there's the fact that half of the story happens within the bounds of The Rogue King. There are several conversations had with Veng, multiple situations that never appear in The Rogue King. It wouldn't be hard to merge those points. And it would likely bump up the reading age, not that I mind.

Do I really want to attempt a republish new edition? Just to insert their povs? Would a reader meeting Laccindy in the first pov switch via her first scene in AGoCaH react the same way to it if it were in The Rogue King? What about Jarend and her's romance (both the sweet and the steamy)? My biggest fear there is them overshadowing the lighter romance factor already in story. This is about the Rogue King, after all.

I guess the only way to know would be to write and find out...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

It's official: I'm cracked...

It can be the only explanation between how this tweet:

Had me winding up with this beauty not even a week later...

First Chapter on Wattpad

Yes, a story with, at most, 4000 words to it's name already has a cover. If that isn't classic arse-about-face, I don't know what is.

It is the most basic and symbolistic cover I've ever had linked to one of my stories. And, to be frank, it wasn't at all what I was originally looking for. I love having scenes of the world and its people on the front and my cover choices reflect that. But I knew this one couldn't be like that. To be honest, I think what I was looking in the beginning would've given the ending away.
Then there was this one. It pulled at me. It's just ... the right feel. And the longer I left it sitting on the artist's site, the more it pulled. So I cracked. I am cracked. Cracked little me.

And you know what? I'm not the slightest bit sorry.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Taking a Dark Turn

Seriously, 2015 what you're doing to me isn't good enough? You got to go after our poor border collie and let him get pancreatitis. Well, jokes on you. We caught it in time, he's better and we know how to manage it. So, thppt!
Anyway, in light of the past months, I'm being self-indulgent with my writing, bouncing between ... about three novels at the moment.

Quite the far cry from DOM,
Miss Weaver
The main focus is Dark One's Bride, which has recently grown a few chapters and is looking at having another rewritten. I honestly can't believe I'm thinking of scrapping the almost fully-written scene I already have for a ballroom scene. I'm going to have to write up another dance number, I can't write dances to save me. I really need to swot up on my moves so I can ... well ... move on.
I'm also pretty close to finalising the wedding attire. Clara's anyway. Dresses aren't my strong suit, but if there's one thing Clara loves, it's a well-made dress.

All that is followed closely by The Shadow Prince, because my muse decided it needs a few more chapters before tackling the third in that series. I'm still not certain if I should move the last 8k to the third novel or not. If it stays as is, then the second book will be the biggest of the four.

But even with everything, it's my newest WiP, Through Smoke and Fire, that has stunned me the most. I guess, considering the subject, I shouldn't be surprised the magnanimous father is becoming almost villainous in his actions as his son. I just wish he would settle on what role he wants to take so I can move on to more than the first chapter (which I have on Wattpad). Not that I'm looking forward to meshing the parts I have with an actual storyline. It's a little on the disturbing side and I'm wondering if the ending I was writing towards will suit it by the time I get there.
Ah, outlining, how I've missed your tangledness. At least it's owning its title, I suppose.

How have you all been? Has 2015 hit you for a six yet? Know of some crowded ballroom videos I can ogle?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Want a free ebook?

Right now, The Rogue King is over in Choosy Bookworm's Read and Review section. If you're quick, you could be one of the first 25 who get this book for free ... in exchange for an honest review that is.

Monday, 23 February 2015


Seeing that 2015 has taken the turn that it has (and I've decided a few more chapters might be in order), I'm planning on loading a decent chunk of The Shadow Prince onto wattpad. The first three chapters are already up, so ... enjoy.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Rogue King - 99c Birthday Sale


Now on sale for its lowest price ever!

You might have peeked at this science fantasy before now, but this is your chance to snaffle it up for only 99 cents!
Let me repeat that.

99 cents!

That's all it'll take to jump into a land where magic is rife and the natives are at the whim of truly insane gods. Follow the life of a young, genetically-crafted, outcast as he becomes the most feared man in history and discover how this magic-less man not only becomes a king, but thwarts the very god who made him one of the damned.

Today until February 23 you can get a copy of The Rogue King ebook for the special low price of 99c from the following ebook retailers...

Monday, 2 February 2015

Well Played, 2015

My daughter has at last returned to school and peace has, sort of, fallen over the house. Normally, this would mean lots of time to write and critique for me.

If only I was in a normal frame of mind.

I'm only just re-returning to writing after three weeks of steadily growing agony and two doctor visits, one of which led to a stint on painkillers whose only contribution was to give me a massive bout of light-headedness. Not exactly a state I can write in. Hell, I needed help to get the word "contribution" and that's without the bloody stuff in my system. Ah well, at least I only hurt in the evenings ... mostly.

Not that it's been all bad. The Thunderclap Campaign for my coming book sale is almost at its goal. (Yay!) And I managed to type out about 1300 words the other day (over the course of the whole day, granted) which basically gave The Shadow Prince a new first chapter. Whether or not it fixes a few issues that cropped up in what's now chapter two ... well ... we'll see once I'm ready to show it to people who've never read The Rogue King.

In any case, I'm likely to be auto-piloting my way through the web for a time.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

This World Bites - Excerpt

Today ... today this blog is for none other than my dear CP, Loni Townsend and an excerpt of her novella, This World Bites, which definitely falls into my 5/5 category.
No ado ... let's get this excerpt started!


A crimson aura flared about her, and an icy chill radiated from her insubstantial location. A small puff of steam rose from my breath. “How unfortunate. Now, if you’ll excuse us…” I tried to step around her.
She blocked my path and flailed a hand in her counterpart’s direction. “Look at what she’s done to my hair. I used to visit the salon every other week, and she hasn’t stopped by even once since I left. And fashion sense? None. Absolutely zilch. I was a trendsetter. People looked to me for advice. Me! Do you think anyone has gone to her? No one—not even once. I was the fashion goddess and the first thing she did when I left was eat a priceless snakeskin purse. I had to wait in line for hours to buy that and she ate it! I had to wait weeks to get it back and by then, I didn’t want it.”
Fues prodded the silent woman with the butt of his spear and affected no response beyond a wheezing puff of putrid air. He shook his head and rumbled out a disappointed sigh. “No good. Meat spoiled. You no want to eat her.”
“Thanks,” I responded dryly. “I’ll be sure to send her back to the kitchen with a complaint.” If Fues consider her inedible, she probably wasn’t human. Clearly the other woman wasn’t either. And if they weren’t human, what were they?


It’s her first day on a new world and Cera’s already found trouble. Michael, her guardian, has been bitten by a zombie and will soon join the undead ranks.

Everyone tells her there’s no cure, but Cera isn’t one to be deterred. She’s willing to face off with zombie hordes, demon slavers, and black market informants if it means she’ll find a cure for Michael. But she’s not the only one hunting for something.

Something is hunting her.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Loni Townsend
Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

By day, she writes code. By predawn darkness, she writes fantasies. All other times, she writes in her head.

People call her peculiar with a twisted sense of fashion, but don't let those understatements fool you. Her behavior is perfectly normal for a squirrel disguised as a human. That's part of being a ninja—blending in.

She makes her home in Idaho with her sadistically clever—yet often thwarted—husband, two frighteningly brilliant children, and three sneaky little shibas.

Find her on her blog or social media.

Stalking Links:

Friday, 16 January 2015

I typed a thing...

Odd, the stuff that blurts out on an evening. Even so, no point letting it sit about...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cover Overhaul: The Sequel

So, some of you may recall I've been wriggling deeper into dealing with the title on The Rogue King.

This is where I last left off...

My dear CP, Loni, suggested yellow for the title and a number of people on goodreads thought that I really should amp up the size of my name, which even thought it's not even my real name, I seem to be subconsciously keeping it understated.
But having spent most of my shopping day child-free, I returned home with some fresh ideas and a new angle.

This angle...
Can you tell I tried so many different techniques in between this piece and the previous one? It holds up well to be teeny-tiny, too.

I didn't think I'd spend the better part of an hour rearranging two words, moving a them that little bit this way and that. And I worry ... does it seem all squished because I've been staring at it for too long or because it is squished? Am I needlessly fussing or should I drop the title a smidge? Perhaps push the two words that tiny bit apart? Or maybe I need to come at it from yet another angle...

Ugh, it's at times like this that I wish my other half was a designer rather than an electrician. "It's your book cover" isn't much of an answer.


Don't forget to support my thunderclap shout out for my coming sale.
All tweets, Facebook messages and tumblr posts will be squeed over with much glee. Also they'd help me reach the 100 supporters goal. No reach, no send.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Thunderclapping a 99c sale

In a month's time, on the 14th of February, I am dropping the price of The Rogue King to 99c for a limited time in celebration of my birthday. If you can spare a tweet or Facebook message that day, I hope you will consider adding your support to my thunderclap campaign and help me shout out this sale.

Participating just takes a click on THIS LINK or that big button to your right and choosing to allow Thunderclap to pledge your support via Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr for you.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Typography. It's a b-- Er ... doesn't come easy...

So ... it's my birthday next month. I'm turning the big 30. Not a major for me, but I'm planning to have The Rogue King on sale for the week leading up to that milestone. And I'll be giving out details of that in a few more days and I hope you will help spread the word.

Before then, I wanted to deal with an issue I've been trying to figure out: typography. I've been reading up on it and ... well ... I'm still flummoxed by it, but perhaps less so than I was to begin with. Marginally. I prefer clear ways on how I can fix an issue once I know it's there. This is a little trickier...

Let's start off with a picture of the cover when it first came out.
Not too bad at this size. But let's be honest here, it's hard to focus on the title for long. It's gone fuzzy. That can't be good.

Moving on.

I went through so many sites, looked up so many covers and fonts.
I ended my searching with this:
A little clearer, a little bigger. And my name doesn't blend into the background at this size. But, whilst the colour of my name seems to do okay, the title doesn't hold up well to being much smaller.

So we change the colour, yeah?

Now, I'm the first to admit I'm not good with colour coordination. My wardrobe mainly consists of black and ... more black (okay, there's navy and a few purples and reds, but mostly, it's black). You know what goes with black? Anything I damn well please.
So I looked up a few more things. Tried some darker colours first, but they clashed with his wing.

This is where I stand now.
The divider even got a matching overhaul. Was sort of distracting otherwise.

So... Got a suggestion of how I could improve it? Go for it!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Comparing Heights - making things that little bit easier

I recently came across something that you may or may not find useful. It is, in short, a simple program for comparing the height of two people. And it does it in both inches and centimetres.

It may not seem like much of a tool for a writer but if you're anything like me, then the world is mostly divided into the tall and the taller. Either way, it won't do any harm adding this one to your arsenal.

Friday, 2 January 2015

No Kiss Blogfest

Another New Year, another No Kiss Blogfest. I'm so excited that this new method of internet is reliable enough to let join in with the community again.

This blogfest is becoming something of a tradition for me. Last year, I went with a chapter from A Game of Cat and Horse, the year before that it was the pivot point of Dark One's Mistress.

This year, the piece comes from Dark One's Bride. It's a later chapter (and a sparsely-done one at that) that's just a little past halfway in the story.

I'm not going to go into massive explanations or anything, but I will say this: Clara was all set to marry Lucias (hence the title) but she called it off with only days to spare. And as for the scene itself ... they were engaged in a little swordplay just moments ago.


He pinned her to the ground. "Do you concede?"
She struggled. With the bulk of her skirts tucked beneath her, there was no chance she could throw him off. Clara sighed. Time to admit defeat. "You win." She peered through the tangled strands of her hair when his weight didn't move. "Did you not hear me? I concede."
Lucias brushed the hair from her face. She'd expected to find his mouth warped into that insufferable smirk he always got whenever he won. Its absence only added to the guilt bubbling in her stomach.
He leant close. "Clara." His breath danced along her throat, its warmth aiding in the pounding of her heart. "Tell me you don't want me." Each husky word slunk across her skin, more intimate than any touch. "Look me in the eye and say it. Make me believe you've no interest in staying at my side."
Clara parted her lips, drinking in his breath. Her body strained against him, no longer seeking a way to be free of his weight. This is wrong. She willed herself to lie still. It left her hollow, but to do otherwise was only feeding him false hope. "I—" She couldn't bring herself to speak whilst looking at his face. Her gaze dropped, fastening on his chest. The way it rose and fell in rapid bursts only served to warm her cheeks. "I don't want you," she finally mumbled.
The stark certainty behind the word drew her gaze back up. He dared to call her that? She glared at him. There was the smugness she'd expected earlier. "I am not."
His laughter shook both of them. "Lying about lying, now?"
She pushed herself off the ground until their foreheads touched. Their noses also pressed uncomfortably against each other, but she wasn't about the pull away right now. "I don't want you," she muttered, each word clipped.
Something dark shimmered in the back of his eyes as she spoke, flickering at her single falsely-uttered word. His lips twisted. They were so close to touching hers that her skin tingled. "And I don't believe you."
Of course you don't. If she couldn't believe it then what hope did she have of him being deceived by something as plain as an outright lie? The magic he'd inherited from his mother's family practically guaranteed she couldn't. "I really can't be what you want."
Heartache darkened his eyes and deepened the lines on his face. "Clara…" The back of his fingers caressed her cheek; soft and slow as if she were some half-tame alley cat. "Did you not hear me when I told you that you are everything I want?"


Yeah, nothing as stellar nor as steamy as the last two times. Sorry.

If you haven't already, be sure to drop by Amanda's blog for a list of the other participants and check out their scenes. I know I will be.