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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.

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.

On Writing Groups

Newham Writers WorkshopVery proud to have my work featured on the Newham Writers Workshop – published authors page. I was a member of the group in the early days of my writing career, when I was just working out what kind of a writer I wanted to be. It was an inspirational experience and one that I could highly recommend to any writer who is looking for a like-minded group of people to hang out with. I would also say that getting feedback on your writing progress is fundamental to the journey – wherever your writing goals may take you and is essential to the creative process. As a writer, you are often blind to failings in your own work that others with a more impartial view are able to see.This is how we improve our work.

Here are my top tips for receiving and using feedback from anyone and it is relevant to any genre of writing:

  • If someone tells you that something is wrong, they are probably right. If they try to tell you how to fix it, they are probably wrong.
  • Try to forget feedback at least for a couple of days. If you can’t forget it, then there is probably something in it. If you can’t remember the feedback, it probably wasn’t useful.

I’ve been a member of a few different groups over the years, always seeking out the opinion and expertise of others and sometimes, it is good just to know that other people face similar challenges and setbacks along the way.

These days, due to work commitments, I mostly hang out online – the British Science Fiction Association has some very good online groups, as well as regular face-to-face meet ups. I also used to spend quite a bit of time with the wonderful folks at the Litopia Writers’ Colony, which I can heartily recommend. But Newham Writers was my first experience of giving and receiving feedback in a workshop environment. So I am especially delighted to have my books listed on their website.

The Prince and the Assassin (2018)
Amazon.co.uk/ Amazon.com/ Barnes & Noble/ Kobo/ Apple

The Gone Gods (2017)
Amazon.co.uk/ Amazon.com

The King of Carentan (2016)
Amazon.co.uk/ Amazon.com/ Barnes & Noble/ Kobo/ Apple

The Prince of Carentan (2015)
Amazon.co.uk/ Amazon.com/ Barnes & Noble/ Kobo/ Apple

The Prince and the Assassin

The Prince and the AssassinAllan Lanner has just turned sixteen and is about to find out a truth about his history and his parentage that will rock his very existence. Tasked with delivering a sword to a beautiful Countess, Allan encounters a number of challenges, which lead him from being held captive by brigands, to being rescued by a troop of southern chevaliers, then finally finding his way to Castle Helmstedt and an audience with the King.

Countess Demaris Del’oro is from a small town in northern Arrontierre, where she has just come into the rights to her land and title. Sent to Carentan for an arranged betrothal, she meets Allan at the smithy where she chooses a new sword. Meanwhile, a legendary Klagen figure resides in the northern forests unaware of his future destiny with his own secret agenda for vengeance. Read more…

Surrey New Writers Festival

Slide from Surrey New Writers Festival
At the weekend, I joined a lively group of writers in Guildford at the Surrey New Writers Festival at G-Live, organised by the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Surrey. The mix of discussion panels and workshops made for some insightful debates, including; literary start-ups, creating and nurturing a support network, writing for TV and Film, a panel of agents, publishers and editors as well as a lunch time workshop delivered by writing coach and author, Melissa Addey. There was also a poetry stage going on throughout the day with readings from special guest poets.

It was a great opportunity to network with local writers and chat with students and staff from the University, who invited me along to do a reading at the evening launch of the Stag Hill Literary Journal. As a contributor to the inaugural issue, I was honoured to read an extract from my short story, Habitat, an near-future SciFi story, which appears in the journal. Stag Hill Literary JournalYou can follow the future of the journal on their facebook page here, where you can get a copy of Issue One, read the online version or send in your own submissions. Thank you to M.E. Rolle and the editorial team for the opportunity to network and share my work with a wider audience.

 

 

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Twenty Jobs for Writers

 

Of course, any job is a good job for a writer. We like to think we would be happy in isolation, chipping away at our work in progress, but actually any job that brings us into contact with people provides a rich source of inspiration and character ideas. Nevertheless, writers are wordsmiths and happiest when engaged in the written word, so here are twenty jobs for writers that make use of our skill.

Copywriter
A copywriter writes advertising and product descriptions (known collectively as copy) for print and online catalogues, commercial scripts, brochures, direct mail. Can be freelance or working for an agency. http://www.ipa.co.uk/ 

Blogger
With the rise of content marketing, an increasing number of companies are paying freelancers to write articles for their blogs. A combination of one-off articles or series of articles – useful to have a specialism. Be prepared to chase work.

Reviewer
A reviewer writes an evaluation of the quality of something eg. books, films, food, art, music, theatre. Can be quite lucrative, often work as freelancers.

Editorial Assistant
An editorial assistant provides administrative support for editors, associate editors and writing/editorial staff. They often perform scheduling, filing, note taking, and other administrative duties. They may or may not perform writing and editing tasks. http://www.bookcareers.com/ Read the rest of this entry

A Darker Shade of Green

Cemetary Moon
This is a story about recycling.

Recycling? I hear you say… sounds a bit boring. But bear with me. This is environmentalism explored on multiple levels.

And… there are monsters lurking at the bottom of the garden.

Sustainability is a dish best served with a touch of darkness. Enjoy.

Available here from Cemetery Moon.

 

Carentan Series Update

Map of Western Isles

Map of the Western Isles

It has been a while since my last book, The King of Carentan, was published and I realise I have been quiet – various reasons for that; the length of time it takes to write a book, the length of time between writing a book and it being fit for public consumption and… new job notwithstanding… multiple other personal distractions. So I owe my readers a long overdue update on progress.

Yes – you heard right, I am eight months into a new job which comes with its own challenges and priorities. But despite that, I have been busy on the writing front (check out my urban fantasy stories featuring Dryads in London).

Book Three of the Carentan Series is due for release in June 2018 and will resolve some unanswered questions from Book One (no spoilers). If you are now scratching your head and wondering what or whom I am referring to, I have provided links below for you re-read the books and refresh your memory. Or if you are new to the series, the first two books will provide you with a good backdrop to Book Three – although not necessary to enjoy the book in its own right. Indeed, I have been most careful to ensure that each book is a stand-alone story – not dependent on reading the rest of the series.

For you die-hard fans and those who badger me at opportune moments (I am not complaining as it keeps me on my toes!) – you may be pleased to hear that I am getting stuck in to another book in the Carentan Series. Completely independent of the first three books, but explores another character’s story in more detail. I’m saying no more.

So, on that note, I leave you with some links where you can buy the books in the format of your choosing to update or if new to the series prepare for the release of the next instalment in 2018; The Prince and The Assassin.

The Prince of Carentan
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Apple

The King of Carentan
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Apple

Comments, complaints, compliments and reviews (good, bad or indifferent), are always welcome and much appreciated.

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