Category Archives: Words

Love, lies and subplots

FSHdA3wX0AIku-q_love

Relationships are fascinating to explore in stories. Particularly how people repeatedly sabotage their own relationships, and not limited to romantic connections either. This article in Psychology Today is typical of how subconscious behaviour affects how we communicate with each other, and the response we get in return from our partners. Most of the time, we don’t realise we are doing it and this inevitably results in us repeating the same patterns, including the lies we tell ourselves.

Although my books are predominantly fantasy, a key feature is a love story subplot. Gereinte doesn’t reach this point until book two, when he falls hard and fast for the most extraordinary love match. And in book three, Allan and Demaris are faced with hard choices that affect the decisions they make.

Nerys has made all these mistakes in her first encounter with love, when she falls for a lowly lad, who turns out to be part of a plot to discredit and destroy her family in the Prince of Carentan. When she arrives in Tordre, she is raw and emotional, not yet healed and this in part affects how her relationship with the Blue King unfolds.

Observation is the first thing that raises the red flags – what is going on at her wedding? She notices unusual behaviour but dismisses it, despite her discomfort and hopes that things will change; she has a duty to her family and to her country. Shocked by what she has discovered, Nerys is in denial for the first part of the story. When she realises things are not going to change any time soon, she gets angry and starts to bargain with her husband in an attempt to get him to allow her to return home and see her family. A period of depression leads her to a crisis point and a number of unexpected events force her to a point of no return. No spoilers here if you want to read what happens to Nerys, but I will say that she learns from her experience and eventually finds love in the most unexpected way.

Read Nerys’ story here.

Pre-launch discounts!

In advance of the launch of my new novel, The Blue King, I am offering a discount on all 3 of my previous books at $1.80 / £1.33 for ONE WEEK ONLY!

Please use the following links to buy directly from the publisher’s website:

Sign up for a free ebook, updates and future discounts.

Books, Work and WIP

Work and life do have a habit of catching up with you and I will admit that after the busy day job, there is nothing more satisfying that settling down with a good read.

My current WIP (work in progress – yes, another Carentan book), has been completed in as far as a first draft has been written and I’m now working on a second draft. Lots of plot holes that need fixing, but I hope to get it out to an editor some time soon.

In the meantime I am getting continually distracted by reading (and work, of course), which I am excited to share with you. I’ve been exploring different types of writing and particularly classics which I have not yet tried. Some of my recent reads, include Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, which is an extraordinary psychological thriller. I’ve also just finished a biography of Angela Carter, whose work The Bloody Chamber has been had huge influence on my writing over the years – particularly my short stories. Deerskin by Robin McKinley (another of my favourite authors), has the timeless quality of a fairytale with the page turning quality that I have come to expect from the author. I’m currently reading Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy.

The curious thing that I have noticed about classics, is that the authors employ a variety of techniques and styles that in time have become out of vogue and in some cases, a red flag for novice writers. Some (not all) of these works are littered with exclamation marks, for example, and a proliferation of adverbs, rambling narratives and over descriptive paragraphs. The other thing that I have noticed as a reader, is that I am willing to forgive these stylistic foibles (according to modern editorial standards) if the author gives me the one fundamental thing that keeps me reading; a damn good story!

So there you have it. Story eats Style for breakfast. But then I may well just eat my own words for breakfast as I’m off now to edit the living daylights out of my second draft.

Kemal’s quote here is quite apt and can be applied just as neatly to story craft as well as martial arts.

Happy Reading!

When They Came For You

The shrieking siren of the police car gets people making the same comment, ‘they’re coming to get you’! Ha ha, very funny, but what if ‘they’ were coming to get you, what if you had a threat of retribution hanging over your head, what if you disregarded the warnings that they were really coming to get you…this set of stories will show you just what some people have been through when ‘they’ were about to interfere with a life…

New horror anthology available from Fiction4All, which includes my short story Just A Woman

Running from a terrifying past of government experiments and conspiracies, Jade was so close to realise her dream of freedom when they came for her…

27 stories from various authors present you with their unique take on When They Came For You

Available now from a variety of retail outlets – read an excerpt here.

Discounted e-books and a new release!

To celebrate a new release of book 3 in the Carentan Series, I am offering a ONE WEEK ONLY discount on books 1&2 – available only on the Double Dragon website here for £1.33 ($1.80).

Book 1 follows the adventures of Geriente Andolin, as he grows from a boy prince into a king-to-be. Book 2 sees two new characters arrive in the Western Isles who develop to aid Gereinte in keeping his beloved Carentan from falling into a bloody battle for control of the Western Isles. Stories of love, loss and coming-of-age reverberate throughout.

If you’ve read the first two books, I’m delighted to announce that book 3 – The Prince and the Assassin – has now been re-released with a new cover designed by my talented nephew, Adam Laval. You may still see previous versions of the book cover at various retail outlets, but I think you’ll agree, this one is a huge improvement!

Finally… a sneaky heads up that there is a book 4 in progress – currently with beta readers and if you want to know more, sign up here for my email updates and I will give you priority notice of publication dates. As a special gift, you will also receive a free fantasy e-book.

The Witcher: season 2

Are you a fan of high/medieval fantasy? If you didn’t catch season 1 of The Witcher, now is your chance, as season 2 is on its way. Personally, I am not bothered by the wait – the first season was so beautifully rich and evocative, if they can bring the same production values to season 2, it is worth the wait. No spoilers here in this article, just vague promises and a few tweets on the progress of filming. I’ll take that, though and look forward to seeing the trailers soon… If you don’t have Netflix or prefer reading, The Witcher is adapted from the fantasy novel series by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. The protagonist, Geralt of Rivia (played by Henry Cavill), is an assassin trained to hunt and kill monsters. War hangs over a world populated by humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves (as well as monsters!), in which Geralt is bound to a prophesy to protect a child who has the power to change the world. Watch the first season or jump into the books – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Amazing e-book deals

BookbubIf you love reading and you love deals, have you discovered Bookbub yet?

It is free to join and you can choose to follow all your favourite authors and get regular updates on deals and notifications on new releases for their books. I love reading as much as I love writing, and this is a great way to keep up to date with what is being published and who is new on the scene.

As well as listing my favourites, I am also discovering new authors who write the kind of fiction I want to read. What is not to love about that? As an author, I have also created my own profile so that my fans can easily find me and keep up to date with my books. It is also a great way to do market research, try out book ads and test the market.

Check out my profile here.

Discount deal for one week!

Prince of Carentan

Grab your e-copy of The Prince of Carentan at the discounted price of £1.31.

Double Dragon Books are offering this deal for one week only – expires on 12th December 2020. Discounted only on the publisher’s website, please follow this link

Enjoy this Coming-of-age story which has a young protagonist, Prince Gereinte, who goes on a journey to find meaning to his life. We follow his moral and psychological growth from youth to adulthood with all the barriers he faces along the way. He makes mistakes and faces life and death encounters, but he learns from his experience and changes, growing into the monarch that his country so desperately needs.

Read an excerpt here

Fairy Tales and Fantasy Fiction

FairytalesSo, I have binge-read fantasy during lockdown (well, why not, eh?) and I’m halfway through writing my own next novel, what else is there to do?

I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales, myths and legends. You might even have noticed a fair degree of inspiration in my stories, so when I saw a course about Fairy Tales on FutureLearn, I jumped at it. There are some great short courses, by the way, in so many different subjects and interests that I challenge anyone not to be able to find something of interest. Anyway, I digress… the course Fairy Tales, Meanings, Messages and Morals, delivered by the University of Newcastle in Australia, was a delightful dip into the world of literary analysis by exploring the meaning of fairy tales.

The course takes participants on a journey from the early origins of sixteenth century French writer, Charles Perrault, through to the more recognisable tales of the Brothers Grimm. We studied some familiar stories, starting with Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, exploring the significance of cultural context and looking for meaning. It was fascinating to then delve in and discuss the relevance to a modern audience, also spreading our writerly wings with our own versions.

Analysis of my all time favourite, Beauty and the Beast, led me to revisit some more modern versions, including; Beauty by Robin McKinley – an extraordinary retelling that is close to the original, but will enchant fans and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas – a gritty and romantic Fae Fantasy that departs somewhat from the original, but still holds its own. My all time favourite, which also departs significantly from the original, but I deem to be of the same ilk, is Robin McKinley’s Sunshine – a modern version with vampires and a hauntingly romantic tension that grips you from the start and just won’t let go long after you’ve finished the book.

I am currently reading Mageborn by Jessica Thorne, which is a gripping dark fantasy with all the familiar elements that drew me to love this fairy tale inspired genre. Check it out… now I’m off to continue my binge before the workday steals me back to reality.

 

New Release: The Prince of Carentan

Alliance quoteEasy-reading fantasy adventure for all ages. Follow the exploits of Gereinte Andolin as he travels across the Western Isles, trailing mishaps and assassination attempts along the way.

I have joined a new publisher, which has taken over the Double Dragon imprint. So my books are still published under Double Dragon Books, but are now part of the Fiction4All publishing company.

Great news for wider distribution and a re-release of my titles at a reasonable price. Available now on Amazon and also in paperback.

%d bloggers like this: