Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Spanners... and thinking hats

Spanners

Okay, so here's the thing... I was writing "book #10" before Christmas and had got probably, ooh, 80% of the first draft done before I shifted to editing "Invasion".

"Invasion" is now launched and sailing off into the big, bad world, so I went back to "book #10" to finish off the first draft and start on the edits. 

"Book #10" is a new departure for me. It's a time-travel book, with some of it set in 1762. Before I started the edits, I wanted to check a couple of things with historians. I was checking two fairly general things - one about the construction of an outbuilding; the other about whether a soldier barracked at Fort George would be able to spend much time with his brother in Ardersier. In the grand scheme of things, these seemed insignificant and innocuous and I was checking them because I wanted to ensure the 1762 bit was authentic.

Hmm.

They genuinely were pretty minor things, and the historians were full of lots of fabulous information that helped enormously both with them and with various other things. However... it turned out that the brother wouldn't have been stationed at Fort George if he was in the army. That information, plus some general chat about something else entirely has blown two enormous holes in the plot! 

Thinking hats

So now I have my thinking hat on (how marvellous it would be to have a hat like the one in the picture!) to work out what to do to fix the holes. I have some ideas and I'm pretty sure I can get it all to work. But I need to rewrite about half of the book. So far, I have managed to do an awful lot of things except make a start on that rewrite! Even some housework!

Ah well. Just goes to show that it's always good to talk to experts (even if they do end up demolishing your plot before your eyes).




Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Interview with Michelle Ermens

This week I am delighted to be featuring Michelle Ermens, whose new book The Essence of Magic is launched today! Get your copy now! It's on a special introductory price until 6th April, so don't miss out.

Tell me more about your book? 

In The Essence of Magic, we follow Thera, who has always known that she’s different from her loving, human family. But if she isn’t human, that would make her a special, and they haven’t been seen in human territory for hundreds of years.

After a visit from a masked stranger who warns her of danger and an attack on her village, Thera is forced to flee with her mother and two younger siblings. They end up with no other choice than to enter special territory, a dangerous place filled with strange creatures and magic. Thera’s only chance to protect her family might be to get some magic of her own.

Often, in young adult books, the family of the main character is either absent or not very loving, but I wanted to go in the opposite direction. Thera’s mom and younger brother and sister play a big role in the book. She loves them more than anything and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do to protect them.

What prompted you to write it?

It actually all started because I had a good idea for a character, the masked stranger, and the more I thought about him, the more an entire story evolved in my head. Even though this character didn’t end up being the protagonist.

My books often start like that, with one good character, or sometimes just one good line, and then something big grows from that.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

I just finished writing all six books in the Magic’s Source series, so at the moment I’m going through them, rewriting and refining them. I hope to publish the entire series this year.

I also started a new series in the same universe. I can’t give away anything about it yet, but the story doesn’t completely end with the last book in the Magic’s Source series.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

I started writing when I was a little kid. I loved reading more than anything else, it was my way to escape from the real world, and the more I read, the more I realized that I had a lot of stories and a lot of incredible places and characters inside me too, so I started writing them down. First just pen to paper, often in between my homework, and later, thankfully, on a computer. But I still have all those notebooks with short scenes and old ideas and sometimes I love to look through them so they can give me new ideas.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

The first full-length novel I wrote was called Souls of the Air. I wrote it when I was fourteen and I still love it to this day. It was never published, of course, but I do plan to rewrite it one day and make an entire series out of it. It was filled with dragons, which I love, so I can’t just forget about it.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

My favourite secondary character is probably Corean. He is a young boy part of a monstrous clan of specials, so he looks rather monstrous himself, but he longs to be different. He loves to read and learn, he’s incredibly sweet, can never stop talking, and is awkward around other people, which I think is adorable.

Where is your ideal writing space?

Rather than one ideal writing space, I would love to travel the world while writing my books. I hope that dream comes true one day, but until then, I usually just write behind my desk or outside in the garden when it’s sunny.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

If there’s something you really want to do, then you should do it. Even if it fails, that’s still better than not trying at all. Ten or fifty years from now, you’ll definitely regret the things you didn’t do more than the things that didn’t work out.

And now for some more random questions... 

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

Pop music, probably. When I’m not listening to the radio, it’s often musical numbers, Disney songs, or older songs that I know by heart and that I can sing along with.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose and why?
1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.
2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.
3. An endless supply of loo roll. 

Number 1! My two favourite things to do are writing and drawing, so with endless paper and pens, I’ll never get bored when I’m alone on an island.

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink. Green. 

I usually only wear black or blue, so green comes closest to that.

Cats or dogs?

Cats all the way! We have the most adorable calico cat at home called Jasmine.

City or country?

I’ve lived in both and I have to say that for now, I’d prefer the city because it has more going on and everything is close by. But later in life I do see myself living in the country because it has a lot more room and green.

Real book or e-book?

Nothing beats the feel and scent of a real book in my opinion, but I do have an e-reader because it’s too heavy to bring real books with me everywhere I go. (I did a five hour hike once with an 800 page book in my backpack and I do not recommend it!)

Fountain pen or biro?

Biro. It’s a lot more convenient and I write a lot faster with it. Plus, I love clicking or twisting the end of the pen while I’m thinking about what to write.

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

You can catch up with Michelle at all the following places:

Website: http://mestoriesanddesign.com/writing.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelle.ermens/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/m.e.books/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Michell76615792
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michelle-ermens
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20945791.Michelle_Ermens 

Get The Essence of Magic here (US) or here (UK)

And don't forget to check out Michelle's book Lucky.

US readers click here
UK readers click here


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

What next?


"Invasion" launched on Saturday. Phew! With that out in the wild, what's next?

Next up, I'm finishing "A Promise Through Time" - a.k.a. "book #10" in a less imaginative name. This is a new departure for me, though I can see parallels with other things that I've written. It's a time-travel romance, set in the current-day and 1762 in the Highlands - an interesting post-Jacobite time, when life for the Highlanders was difficult. The first draft is ~85% done; maybe a little more. It's 67K long at the moment. I'm aiming for a final length of ~75K but I tend to underwrite in the first draft.

After that?

Hmm.

A while back, I swore off publishing more books set in The Realm. I even said it publicly on here. Part of me is still umming and ah-ing over this, for exactly the reasons given in that post. But three - three - more books are writing themselves in my head, all set in The Realm. Plus another book, not set there. Right now, I'm trying to figure out Amazon Ads. If I ever manage to get a decent return on investment and sales pick up, my decision not to publish more Realm books might change. Or I may decide to do things differently, and share things with subscribers, rather than sell them via Amazon. Either which way, I will probably write them. If you've enjoyed the books, please tell everyone you know, and then more of them may make it out of my laptop and into a book/ebook you can read, rather than it stay as a book only I read!

Missed the books when they launched at half price? Don't worry. The boxset of books 1-3 is still on sale at £2.99/$3.99 - a big saving over buying them individually! But the sale won't last for much longer, and I won't be reducing the price this low again for months, if ever.

Invasion is still on offer too (99p/99c) but this too won't be for much longer. 

Right now, you can get all four books for less than £4/$5. Don't miss out!

Want to know what really happened to Aeron before the series started? Sign up below for my newsletter and I'll send you a free novella "Aeron's Fall".



Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Box-set and Invasion both on sale!


"Invasion" is available for pre-order for just 99p/99c and the box-set of books 1-3 is at a significant price-drop of £2.99/$3.99. You can get all four books right now for less than the cost of a coffee and a cake and they will last a lot longer.

Don't miss out. I won't be reducing the price of either of these again for a while.




Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Author Interview with Erin Mcdermott

I am so pleased this week to introduce Erin Mcdermott to you. Her latest book Hades' Cult was just released.

Tell me more about your new book?

On March 3rd, my newest book, Hades’ Cult (The Athana Chronicles Book Two) released! I’m so excited for this release. The first book in the series, Hades’ Deception, follows the story of Claire Wild, a girl who is swept away from her simple life into a world of immortals. She is an ordinary girl who needs to learn how to be extraordinary, and she needs to learn fast in order to stay alive. Cue Jason – the sexy descendant of the ancient Greek hero Achilles. He can train her to become more than she ever was before, but can she handle his intense training methods?

What prompted you to write it?

I majored in history in college with a focus on Ancient Greece. I absolutely fell in love with that time period. Reading the stories that people of that time created was absolutely fascinating. Their religion resembled a soap opera – how could you not love it? So, I love delving into the minds of the religious world the Ancient Greeks created while adding my own modern twist to it.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

I’m currently working on the next book in The Athana Chronicles. As of now it has no name, but I plan to release it by June, 2021.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

I have been writing since I was in third grade. I remember watching my brother’s Little League Baseball games and being bored out of my mind! I didn’t have a computer so to entertain myself so I wrote with a pen on blank paper while watching him play. I was a huge fan of The Little House on the Prairie books, so my writing was influenced by that. My first book, though definitely not published, was finished in third grade. It was a series of stories about my life, following the format of The Little House on the Prairie. I still have those pages today and I LOVE looking back at them.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

My favourite secondary character in the Athana Chronicles isn’t introduced until the second book. Her name is Candace, and I love her because she puts up a hard front, but there’s so much more to her. It’s just difficult to break her shell.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

Oh, this is an easy one. Before publishing my first book, Captive Rebel, I found it difficult to actually finish a book. It wasn’t until someone told me to write my first draft with the screen black so I wouldn’t feel compelled to edit that I finally completed my novel. I had to accept that my first draft would be crap, but I couldn't edit a blank page. The advice I received was, word for word, “Pretend your book is a sandbox. Draft one is filling the box with sand. Draft two is building the sand castle.”

And now for some more random questions...
What’s your radio tuned to most often? 

Lord of The Rings soundtrack on Pandora. Soundtracks of movies like Avatar, Star Wars, and Indian Jones are all on this station. It really gets me into the adventurous vibe my books take on.

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Pink!

Cats or dogs?

Both 😃

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

Catch up with Erin at all of the following places:

Website: Erin McDermott
Facebook: www.facebook.com/erinmcdermottauthor/
IG: www.instagram.com/erin_writes
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Erin-McDermott/e/B073Q4Z3JH/

Book links:

Hades’ Deception (UK)
Hades' Deception (US)

Hades' Cult (UK)
Hades' Cult (US)


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Cover Reveal & First Chapter

It's getting closer! Advanced copies of "Invasion" are away to my street-team (and I'm nervously awaiting their verdicts!). Time to reveal the cover and share with all of you the first chapter...

Invasion

Five years have passed since Aeron and Faran helped to defeat the rogue Guides, and the Guardians and the people of The Realm have reached a new, albeit tetchy, equilibrium. The threat of civil war bubbles constantly, but so far, the Guardians have kept control. It won’t take much for that to change.

People have started to go missing from one of the villages, returning days later, emaciated, exhausted, and claiming to have been forced to work on a building in a strange world. Where are they being taken? And who is taking them there?

The foe threatening The Realm is far more sinister than the rogue Guides. They could destroy everything the Guardians rely on. Far from being the protectors of The Realm, the Guardians could be its destroyers.

Can Aeron and Faran find a way to save The Realm without sacrificing everything they hold dear? Or will The Realm finally fall?

Read the first chapter here.
Pre-order "Invasion" here

If you pre-order, it will be delivered to your Kindle on March 20th and you are guaranteed the pre-order price.


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Author Interview With Katie Zaber

This week, I'm delighted to introduce Katie Zaber to you all. Katie's latest book, "Below Dark Waters" (her second book in the Dalya series) has just been released. The first in the series is "Ashes and Blood".

Tell me more about the first book in your series?

Ashes and Blood is about a young woman named Megan who goes on a hike with her friends when the forest suddenly morphs around them. They find themselves in the woods nearby a frontier style town without electricity or water and clueless of how to return to Earth.

I wanted to write a story about a woman who isn’t a heroine. A woman who makes countless mistakes driven by her own desires and has good intentions, but good intentions can become deadly in ignorant hands.

What prompted you to write it?

Boredom. Pure Boredom while stuck at home recovering from surgery. Ashes and Blood evolved over six drafts and started with an insane king singing a sinister version of Lord of the Dance. In his twisted version of the religious song, he is the lord, dancing around his kingdom, subjecting his people to his will and killing them for entertainment. From there, the story grew and grew and changed perspective until I was happy.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book in the series?

Right now I’m finishing up DNA—Angels & Demons, a book about a woman named Evie who mysteriously gets pregnant. After a DNA test proves that her husband is not the father, her life becomes complicated.

People become possessed around Evie, telling her to kill the baby or protect it at all costs as she tries to rebuild her life after a heart-breaking divorce. Throughout the book, she realizes that her child might be a celestial being, but isn’t sure if it’s angelic or demonic.

When her perfect child is born, she sees the symbol and knows that her child is in fact the antichrist, leaving her with a decision. It’s almost done, and I hope to have it on sale by summer. 

I’m also working on the third book in the Dalya series, title undecided. It’s roughly 20,000 words, and I hope to have it out this fall.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

My first attempt at writing a book was after I had read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. I must have been ten years old and wanted a sequel. So I got a pen and stack of paper and wrote around 50-60 pages before I started a different project. I still have it.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

Ashes and Blood is my first novel.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

I love Kilyn. She is a preteen Fae slave who was sold by her parents because she has bad blood and was born without any magical gifts. She’s spunky and fearless, using her wits and resources to survive.

Where is your ideal writing space?

At my desk when it’s nice and quiet.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

My piano teacher told me when I was a kid that his friend had auditioned for Prince. Prince gave him sheet music and told him to play it. The guy nailed the song. Prince then said to play it backwards. The man looked at Prince confused. Prince said you should be able to read it forward and backward. That every band member he performed with was that fluid.

Now, I don’t know how much of that story is true, but the thing that always stuck with me was the ability to think in different directions and not just read left to right. It’s important to be flexible and learn how to bend in different ways in every situation.

And now for some more random questions...

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

I usually listen to my iPod that has a crazy selection of random musicians and genres. About half would be rock alternative, but my all time favourite singer/songwriter is Ani DiFranco, who is a folk/rock singer.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose, and why?
1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.
2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.
3. An endless supply of loo roll.

Computer. It would at least entertain me and keep me semi sane, though I would worry about sand getting into it. 😉 

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Green. At this moment, 75% of my clothes are already a shade of olive or forest green. The rest are brown, grey, and black.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs

City or country?

Depends on where the city is located. I’m not a fan of New York City, but I love Rome. I’m not a fan of country either, I like to order takeout way too often and live close to shopping.

Real book or e-book?

I used to love real books until I hurt my neck and shoulder. My e-book is much lighter when I want to read for hours.

Fountain pen or biro?

Neither. Mechanical pencil. 

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

Links to Katie's Dalya series:

Ashes and Blood (US)

Ashes and Blood (UK)

Below Dark Waters (US)

Below Dark Waters (UK)

You can keep up to date with Katie at all of the following places:

Website: http://zaberbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dalyaseries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zaberbooks
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-zaber
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20290665.Katie_Zaber
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Zaber/e/B087YXPDF2/