A new year

Happy New Year!

The fourteenth year of the new millennium is upon us. Just when I started getting used to writing 2013 on things, too.

2013 was an interesting year for me. It had plenty of highlights – some good, and some bad.

I hope 2014 will be as eventful, if not more.

    • I hope to publish CHANGELING, my one true love of fantasy novels.
    • I’ve made a pact to go to the gym, which I can see going fairly well. The main reason I never went before was because I had no one to go with, but I have two friends in said pact this time.
    • I’ll, in all likelihood, have to move again – but this time to live with the aforementioned love of my life.
    • And also get a cat.
    • And maybe blog properly, because my current schedule is shit and should maybe be managed better.

How has 2013 shaped up for everyone else? The general consensus that I have seen was that it was a mediocre year – but together we can make 2014 amazing.

Happy New Year, everybody!

for auld lang syne, my dear
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
for auld lang syne!

Updates, because I suck

I’ve been really bad at keeping this updated in recent weeks – hell, in recent months, even. My real life has been crazy, and trying to keep up with it is a battle. So here are some idle updates, and I promise I’ll do more teasers or something soon. Maybe a book giveaway. Been pondering that one for some time.

The Of the Arbour rewrite is at ~45 000 words. Sage has left the Arbour and is starting is life as a mercenary, and pretends to be Sage of Courton so nobody knows he’s from the Arbour.

Abomination is at ~150 000 words. I’ve been a bit nonfunctional with her lately because, I think, I’ve been so caught up in OtArb. But otherwise, she’s progressing nicely.

I’m dragging my ass and haven’t processed my ISBNs yet, even though I was assigned some. Working on it.

I’ve passed the point of season 3 in a Storm of Swords. I’ve learned to bear GRRM’s writing style, as I found it terribly grating when I first started reading the books. I can’t imagine I’ll ever do reviews of these, because I’m biased by the show, but eh, never say never.

So I guess that’s that. Woo.

Happy anniversary!

I missed it. Like some kind of forgetful man.

Yesterday was my second anniversary blogging here. How time flies when you’re having fun, right?

In writing news, Purity is just finishing up the very last dredges of editing and will be published at the end of the month, as per my last post. Abomination is just about 150 000 words in, and aside from a writer’s block I’m currently weathering, still going strong. I planned out the next few chapters (which is terribly rare for me) and it looks as though it’s going to very easily overcome Changeling’s 180 000+ word count that being said, Changeling could have easily gone longer, but I thought I should probably end it at some point. The Of the Arbour rewrite is about 17 000 words in and things are really kicking off. So things are happening, albeit a little slowly. Purity is my first priority right now, naturally.

What better way to celebrate an anniversary than with a publication?

Knowing when you’ve made it as an author

It isn’t when you start making an actual profit on your books, or even your own satisfaction with your writing and your plot.

You know when you’ve made it as an author when a reader feels genuine emotion for your story.

It has to be for your story and characters, too – emotion felt for their plight, because they’re unhappy with a character’s behaviour or thrilled when something finally goes their way. When I feel intense hatred reading Twilight, that isn’t a compliment to Meyer’s work at all – it’s the exact opposite, because I have no respect or enjoyment from the way she writes or her listless characters.

You have made it as an author when a reader weeps over the death of a favourite minor character. When a reader forgets to eat or sleep because they have to know what the hero will do next.

I have experienced this kind of thrill and joy as an author several times, but several rather notable times in the past.

I got my friend Bethany to read Of the Arbour and its sequel, Of the Arena, when I was first writing them. As she was in the midst of the sequel, I accidentally let it slip that one of the minor characters dies. This minor character happened to be her favourite. She was so upset with me she had to put the story down and hasn’t touched it since which actually works out okay since I’m rewriting it anyways.

More recently, my friend Lexi started reading Changeling. When she finished, I printed off a short story collection, The Time Between, that takes place between Changeling and its sequel, Abomination. She was so upset with the behaviour of one of the main characters, one usually charming and endearing who turned into a bit of a brute, that she almost phoned me to chew me out. Rather than do that, she stifled her rage until we met up at work the next day.

This very day, too, she read a defining chapter in Abomination that upset her. I hadn’t planned this chapter – I don’t really plan anything except major plot points though I guess this counts as one, technically, and the characters just sort of started acting this sequence out. It is a rather heartbreaking chapter, I’ll admit – and I even hesitated to put it in the book in the first place. But I decided that keeping it would allow for a sweeter, happier ending, so it remained.

Lexi read the chapter on her break today. I was putting out magazines when she finished. She found me, crouched down, picked up an ad slip that fell out of a magazine, crumpled it up, and threw it at me.

Don’t get me wrong – there is more to my stories than sadness. The happy stuff gets them too, but the things that upset readers seem to really stick out to me. I’m terribly attached to my characters, and I love it when others are, as well.

Despite the fact that both Bethany and Lexi were upset with me, I feel like I’ve accomplished something great, here. They were both so attached to the characters that when they did something decidedly out of character – or died – it genuinely touched them.

To me, that feeling is more important than any amount of money I might make.

Arranged Love: Changeling teaser

“He loves her, doesn’t he?”

Alistair sighed and cracked open one eye. “Just when I was about to fall asleep, too,” he mumbled, and rolled onto his side. By the light of the fire across the room, he could see Aisling staring up at the ceiling. The firelight cast shadows across her face, illuminating her frown and scowl. “What are you babbling about?” he asked, squinting at her as he rubbed his face.

“Lord Hession.”

“Please, just call him Sonny. He only stopped cringing at his title a few years ago, and I don’t want him to revert back to it.”

“Trained him like a dog, did you?”

“Can’t do less with Cantons.”

“No, I suppose not.” She brushed her hair off her face and rolled to face him. “Sonny. He loves his wife?” Continue reading

Of the Arbour rewrite update, and the similarities in style

As you may have seen with a previous post, I’ve begun writing a rewrite for Of the Arbour. It started out strong and feverish, but now that the initial excitement has worn down a little, it’s become as plodding as the other stories I’m working on not that I’m slow, per se, but I’ve been weathering a slump as of late. I’m very pleased with the direction it’s going so far, despite being only around 15 000 words in. I’m still really excited to get to some of the major plot points coming up. Sage’s final year at the Arbour is only just starting where I’m at, and with it come strange dreams, a permanently crippling injury or two, and a life-shattering revelation. I’m also very excited to get past his time at the Arbour, and touch over his time spent as a mercenary before leaping into his meeting of Maia and Stride, rediscovery of old friends, and the beginning of the main plot’s manhunt. I plan on this being a lot darker and more violent than the original, which was fairly violent to begin with. Lots more descriptions of how bleak and grim of a place Hailstone is.

Not a lot of note has changed since the original, save a few minor things touched on in a previous post.

  • Carol’s name has changed to Thalia
  • Sage has more friends
  • but is more reviled by his classmates
  • He doesn’t deal with this well, and gets into more fights than the original (in which he got into a lot of fights; 15 000 words in and he’s already been hospitalized 4 times) as his way of dealing with it
  • He knows virtually nothing about his parentage (he used to know a little about his father)
  • He’s self-conscious about his appearance—despite being a strapping young lad in my head—and especially his height (he towers a head over most men)
  • Kell, a friend two years younger than he, has become a major character quite without my meaning her to. She’s a fiery redheaded giantess (she’s taller than Sage by an inch or two) with a foul mouth and a hairtrigger temper. Which actually ties in with the second part of this post:

I noticed something the other day as I was writing a scene between Sage and Kell in which she harasses him about his sex life. While he fumbled about in true, head-to-toe blushing, awkward Sage fashion, she sat there with a wolfish grin and watched him squirm. She talks in slang and is considered foul and uncouth by other characters.

In other words, she’s a redheaded Sophia Henson.

For those who might be unaware, Sophia is a minor character in Changeling, who grows up to become a major character in Abomination. She’s 10 in Changeling, a precocious raven-haired girl who has a penchant for swearing, getting her way, getting in scraps with boys—who also happens to be the daughter and only child of Vincent Henson, the pirate king of Canton. In Abomination, she’s hitting 30, has become powerful in her own right, keeps daggers on her person at all times, is known for her brutal war over Canton (during the first year of which she never bathed, so the people would see that she still wore the blood of her enemies), and uses such phrases as:

  • old whore’s cooter
  • meat shield
  • calm your balls
  • son of a cock sucking whore
  • for fuck’s sake
  • what in the holy shit
  • witching slut Continue reading

The Librarian: Changeling teaser

When we were bowed through the heavy oak doors to the library wing, and I stepped beneath the gilded dome for the first time, I thought my heart might stop.

Hundreds of oak shelves, polished and carved with the faces of the Spirits, lined the hall, stretched to the ceiling save for where the dome arched over us. Packed face to face, spines out, were hundreds of thousands of books, bound in leather and names written in gilt.

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Hession stepped up beside me and let out a whistle. “Wow.”

Alistair grunted and touched the crackled pages of an enormous tome laid flat on a nearby table. “Where do you suppose—”

“Excuse me!” A head appeared over a nearby table. It was a woman—an elven woman—all narrowed eyes and messy hair. “Please, keep your voices down. You are aware of where you are, yes?” She straightened and tucked flyaway curls of bown back into the tight bun at the back of her head. “Who are you? I wasn’t expecting students today.”

Father let out a short sigh. “No, we aren’t students—”

“No?” She rolled down the loose sleeves of her dark dress and gave Alistair a severe stare. “Do you have guest credentials for the day, then?” Though she continued to glare, she reached up and lightly scratched the corner of her eye.

“Er, no, I didn’t know—”

“This is the largest centre of learning not only in Cyril, but the known world. You do know that, right? We can’t just let anybody run amok, especially”—her gaze shifted to me, then to Sophia behind me—“fool bloods and ruffians.”

Alistair pressed a fist to his mouth and cleared his throat. I hid a smile as he straightened his back. “What is your name?”

“I am Scholar Saraid of Oakspring, the librarian here,” the woman replied curtly. “Had you actually taken the time to get guest credentials, I would not have to ask who you lot are.”

A pleasant smile crossed Father’s face, but it was so painfully obvious that it was forced it was a wonder the woman didn’t force us out right then. “Well, let me do the honours of introducing myself, then, since I don’t have these credentials. I am Alistair Wymer of Nallis.”

“Y’know, the king,” Hession helpfully piped up. Continue reading

Wow, I am the worst at blogging

I was doing so well for a while there, too.

But let me list excuses why I’ve been neglecting you forgive me:

  • James was back in town
  • I had one health crisis—
  • —followed by another
  • On my two days off this week, I played probably 24 hours total of Dragon Age: Origins
  • and got no writing done whatsoever
  • Star Trek TNG
  • Preparing for Halloween
  • Work
  • I sometimes have a social life
  • I played a lot of Dragon Age

So I’m going to try blogging on a regular basis again, and pick my lazy ass off the floor. I’m also going to try to push past this strange laziness of putting off Abominatino, and I’m going to go hard editing Purity, because I still intend to release her around Halloween, and that’s coming up soon. September and October are going to be busy months, so I’m going to be sporadic, but less so.

/endupdate

Whoops

Sorry for the lack of updates for the past few weeks. My better half came home from a month away working, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied with seeing him as of late.

The other day I was walking around at work, as I do, and I was struck with inspiration work seems to be the best place to find inspiration – I wonder why that is. I’ve wanted for a while now to expand on the First Men in the world of Changeling – the ancients to the people of modern Cyril who are like the Romans to us. Ruins of their civilization dot the countryside, and modern culture and government is built on their foundation. So I came up with a bit of a plan. I might write a novel (once I power through all the other work I have to do with WIPs) about one of the last kings of the First Men. It’s going to be brutal and bloody, because it will be set in the peak of their conquering. I’m pretty excited about it, myself. The past is always fascinating.

I’m also going to write another collection of short stories to go between Changeling and Abomination, as a partner anthology to The Time Between. The current working title is Paint Them All Red. It will take place in Canton during the Reclamation, when Sophia Henson conquered the country after the death of her father. So I’m pretty excited about that too.

Anyhow. That’s basically a brief update from my end. How’s everything else going in the interwebz?