Tuesday, 7 July 2020


In my newsletter in May, I rashly wondered if I would have finished the first draft of the new book by the end of June.


But I'm getting there. The whole go-back-and-change-half-of-what's-already-written that I did at 40K slowed me down. I'm now at just over 70K words and am into the final act. And the change was needed, so I'm glad I did it. I just wish I'd done it a bit sooner.

Of course, this is only the first draft. After that, I'll do a structural edit, and then a 'trying to get the words right' edit. And then it will be off to my editor for her to work her magic on it. That's currently in the diary for late September. I should manage it! I had a planning session yesterday which seemed to suggest I only had 16 more scenes to write. No doubt that list will grow, but I'm going to try and keep to it!

Lock down is finally beginning to ease (I'm based in Scotland, so it's not easing as fast here as elsewhere), though as I'm not the most sociable of people at the best of times, I'm not rushing out to do anything! I still regret that we didn't have our holiday on Harris and Lewis (scheduled to start 5 days after lock down!), but maybe this autumn we'll head off for a week somewhere?

But before all that, I need a haircut! Seriously, what was clipped to grade 5 at the nape of my neck is now hitting my collar! That short 'fringe' you can see in my profile pic? That's now down to my ears. Goodness knows what my hairdresser will be able to do with it all. I'm booked in for an hour-long appointment at the end of July, but my hair's annoying me so much, I may have shaved my head before I get there! It's too long to leave loose but not long enough to tie back or clip back. I spend my days with it back in either a very broad hairband, or a bandana. My hairdresser suggested that given it had grown so much, maybe I might consider a different, longer style, since most of the difficult 'growing it in' stage would be past. Before lock down, I might have considered that, but my hair is driving me so insane that I've realised that the only two styles I could consider are: so long I can tie it back (and I haven't the patience to get to that); or back to it being short.

Anyway, back to fighting creatures that can brainwash you into attacking your own side...

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

More on SPFBO...

A few weeks ago, I said I'd entered "Aegyir Rises" into the 2020 SPFBO competition. There are 300 books in the competitions and some of them have already been reviewed. If you want to keep up with the competition, or just want to find some new books to read, why not check out the bloggers who will be reviewing the books.

Each of the bloggers listed get 30 books to assess. Over the next few months, they will be whittling that list down to 1 to go forward to the next round. Please do check in regularly to catch their reviews.

The bloggers:


Fantasy Book Critic

Lynn's Book Blog


Kitty G (YouTube channel)

Weatherwax Report

The Fantasy Hive

Rockstarlit Book Asylum (this is the group I'm in!)

The Critiquing Chemist

The Fantasy Inn

And for a list of all of the books entered, you can see the organiser's main post here. As the books listed are reviewed, the title will become a link to the review. I'll keep you posted as to how I do!

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Turns out, I'm an incorrigible romantic...

Just before lock down started here in Scotland, I was in a reading slump - nothing I had on my shelves or in my Kindle appealed, and I ended up reading almost nothing for weeks.

Then lock down started. I was supposed to be on holiday the first two weeks after lock down. I'd planned everything - book launches, events, starting writing the new book... everything - around those two weeks. And then the holiday was cancelled and here we are, however many weeks later, still pretty much in lock down. At the start of lock down, I wasn't even writing the new book - I was supposed to be taking a well-earned break after launching three books in four weeks.

An ideal time to read then?

Apparently not. My brain didn't know what it wanted, other than the holiday that I'd been looking forward to for months.

And then, out of the blue, I had a yen to read a cowboy romance.

What? Um? What???

Those of you who know me in real life will be scratching your heads over that one. So was I! But, I really, really wanted to read something, but nothing that I already had. So I downloaded a couple of free cowboy romances to my Kindle, fully expecting to read a few pages and remember that I'd never, in all my nearly 50 years of life, wanted to read many romances and nothing about cowboys. I fully expected to be back to fantasy or crime novels within minutes of reading a romance.


I've now read almost 20 romance novels since the start of lock down. A couple haven't been 'cowboy romances' - one was a vet, another was a time-slip novel with Vikings, and one was an artist - but it seems I am (at least at the moment) an incorrigible romantic who just wants a happy ever after ending. I'm less keen on explicit sex scenes (because most are pretty cringe-worthy to me, rather than sexy); I am keen on 'friends to lovers' books. Some of the books have been utter tosh (and there were some Did Not Finish in that 20), but some have been fantastic. I definitely need to connect with the characters more than care about the plot itself, but that's not a huge surprise as that has always been the case for me.

Two I would definitely recommend would be Sarah Fine's book "Only Between Us" (writing as Mila Ferrera), and Ashley Munoz's book "The Rest of Me". Both of these have incredibly strong characters and I was rooting for everyone. I've loved pretty much every Sarah Fine book I've ever read (and could read her Guardians of The Shadowlands books again and again) but I'd never heard of Ashley Munoz before. I'll certainly be looking for more from her.

Has anyone else suddenly discovered they're addicted to a new genre, out of the blue? If so, what genre do you usually read, and what have you suddenly discovered a love of?

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Plans? What plans?

Well. It was all going swimmingly... I was 40,000 words into the new book. 40,000

And then...

Well, and then I hit a stumbling block and decided I needed to change something fairly significantly.

Not the plot... the plot's fine (though I keep needing to trim out side-plots that are either unnecessary or wanting their own show a bit too much). It's the point of view (POV) I've needed to change.

The trilogy was all written from Reagan's/Aeron's POV and in 1st person ("I/we"). But in the new book, she's not always in all of the action for a variety of reasons, and was having to find out about it after the fact. This wasn't helpful!

However, Faran (Aeron's husband) was in all the bits of action she wasn't, and so, at 40,000 words in (I really can't stress that enough! That's almost half the book written!) I decided to switch to have two points of view - some scenes from Aeron's (still in 1st person) and some from Faran's (3rd person close - "he/they" but only what Faran can see/hear/experience).

So, the last week (and this week) has been/will be spent going back through those 40,000 words and changing about half of the scenes/writing new versions.

The fabulous thing is, I'm getting to write from Faran's perspective, and boy, is his perspective different from Aeron's at times! It took me a day or so to totally get into his head and 'hear' him, but now his voice is loud and clear (um, a little too loud, sometimes!) and I'm loving writing the scenes from his POV.

I just wish I'd had this realisation a little sooner than when I'd written almost half of the book!

Ah well.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020



SPFBO stands for Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. It's an annual competition, organised by the author Mark Lawrence. You can read the full details on Mark's SPFBO page.

Why am I telling you about this? Because I entered!! 

There are only 300 books in the competition. These are then distributed to ten book blogs who are particularly interested in fantasy books. Over the next five months, these 300 books will be whittled down to ten - one from each of the book blogs involved. Then, over the next six months, one will be chosen as the winner. There's no financial prize... it's far more about publicity and visibility.

Aegyir Rises has been allocated to Rockstarlit Book Asylum. They have five reviewers who are each going to read six books and choose their favourite, and then from those six, they will choose the book to go forward to the final ten across the competition. Within Rockstarlit Book Asylum, I've been allocated to Jen as the person reviewing Aegyir Rises.

What happens next?
In all likelihood, I crash and burn... but this is what comes next competition-wise, within the blog group I've been allocated to:
  • Before the end of August, each of the 5 judges reads at least 25% of each book they've been assigned
  • By the end of August, each judge puts forward their favourite book from the 6 they've read/sampled, as their semi-finalist
  • Each judge will get a post on Rockstarlit Book Asylum to discuss their 6 books
  • Between September and October, the 5 judges will read the 6 semi-finalists (again, they will read at least 25% of each book)
  • Some time in October, their finalist will be announced
I'll keep you posted as to how I get on! Wish me luck?

And don't forget, you can still get a free novella, if you join my newsletter... 

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

B5 writing folio

A long time ago, I posted about converting an old Filofax Deskfax into a writing folio. You can read that post here. Essentially, I took the ring mechanism out and added strings. The layout of the Deskfax meant that I could slide the cover of a B5 notebook into a back slot. The added strings could hold thinner B5 books. The various pockets and pen slots could hold Post-It notes, pens etc.

I don't know about where you are, but Scotland has had some fantastic weather recently. After wrestling with the plot (see last week's post), I've been scene planning, and a lot of that takes place in a notebook. A HUGE B5 notebook! Over the course of writing a book, I write a LOT of notes. Quite a while ago, I bought this notebook, ready for the next novel:

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Me v The Plot

This is how much of last week felt!! Writing had been going well, I was 20,000 words in to the first draft of the new book, and then I looked at my plan and thought, "Oh. I appear to be writing another trilogy!"

I had far too much plot for the book! Thus followed a couple of days (or more) of plot-wrestling, with all aspects insisting that they couldn't possibly be cut and just had to stay in, while I wielded the red pen, trying to excise them from the plot...

By the end of the week, the plot and I were more like this...

Maybe I'll write up the cut strands into short stories and share them with my newsletter subscribers. If you've not yet signed up, I'm currently giving away a free novella - a prequel to The Guardians of The Realm trilogy. It's only available to newsletter subscribers and is about what happened the first time Aeron met Aegyir. Don't miss out!