Blog Archives

Love, lies and subplots

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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.

Other Worlds Anthology Volume 1

What if… an anthropology graduate finds herself on a work placement in an off-world ‘glom’ trying to save her career? Find out in the short story In Space, No One Can Hear You Sing.

What if… on a distant planet in another solar system, a young girl finds herself the victim of a brutal justice system? The answer may lie in Soulbane.

Two fantastical futuristic stories from the pen of FG Laval and many more authors in one volume. Available now from Fiction4All

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.

New book available for Pre-order NOW

Something is amiss in the Kingdom of Tordre. On her wedding night, Princess Nerys of Carentan discovers a sinister secret hiding in the depths of Castle Ryemont; a king with two faces, who is not the husband she was expecting. One day on a journey back home, Nerys is kidnapped and finds herself in the midst of a revolution to overthrow the monarchy.

Nerys: ‘Gods, did it take an army to capture one stray queen?’

‘An intriguing fantasy where there are more twists than a castle maze. The plight of the teenage queen tugged this way and that by unseen forces within castle walls and a faceless king makes for an exhilarating page-turning read.’ @geoffnelder, author of Sci-Fi novels, The ARIA trilogy, and The Flying Crooked series of novellas.

Grab your pre-order copy today at the launch price of £1.99 / $2.99

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…

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