Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Updates on all the books...


My brain has been having the opposite of Writer's Block recently. SO MANY BOOK IDEAS! And yet, only one brain and a busy life. I know that I've been talking about a variety of ideas over the past few months, so what stage is everything at?

Book #10

This is the time-travel romance that I was writing at the end of 2020 (and for some of 2021). It's currently on the back-burner, partly because there are some major plot issues that I need to resolve but mostly because a new book set in The Realm was screaming at me.

Realm book #5

This follows on immediately from "Invasion". I'm currently ~30% into the first draft. I know the plot; it's largely finding the time to write it that's the issue. It's hard to tell you any more about it without giving away spoilers for "Invasion".

Two more books set in The Realm

Again, hard to tell you much about these without ruining "Invasion" and Realm #5. At the moment I have good plot notes for #6; less so for #7. I might wrap up The Guardians of The Realm series with book #5. It's more likely I will finish on book #6. These are on hold, though I am adding notes to their outlines as and when they come to me.

Shiny New Thing

In my "Notes and Ideas book" I have this, dated 14th May this year:

No concrete ideas. Warrior, body inked with tattooed symbols/runes. Has magic. On a journey. Wears leather armour also bearing the same symbols, but it's actually the tattoos that protect him/give him his magic.

Most of the rest of the plot came to me while I was on holiday. See this blog post for a bit more on that. I now have pretty good plot notes for this (though not 100%) and some of it written (those scenes that I could see as clear as day). I've been trying to work on it in an afternoon, and Realm #5 in a morning, but it's ended up more one day on one book, another day on another.

Essentially, I know the main character (and some aspects of others). He is being taken across country as a prisoner. He is magical, though his powers have been curtailed. A war that had been over for a generation is now brewing again, and I know his role in it. The setting is solid; some of the characters are sorted and perhaps ~75% of the plot is in my head (and I'm trying to get it down on paper, too). I suspect this will end up a new series. 😊

Random Other Book #1

I have good ideas about this, though I haven't actually started a new notebook yet (it starts getting really serious when I do). It involves Scottish mythology, a missing relative, and magical beings. This was what I'd been stewing over two years ago!

Random Other Book #2

Again, I can see some bits of this quite clearly, though the full plot eludes me for the moment. It involves an ancient artefact that isn't what the archaeologists think it is. I know more than that about what happens, but I'm keeping it to myself for now!

Random Other Book #3

This may actually get folded into Random Other Book #1 as it's still a bit woolly. There are links to the elements, a trapped spirit, and a woman who is key to the trapped spirit. Beyond that... Yeah. Woolly.

Given that it takes me at least 6 months to write a first draft of a book, I can see I'm going to be busy for some time! My current focus is to get Realm #5 and Shiny New Thing to first draft stage. The rest will just have to wait.



Tuesday, 22 June 2021

First 5* book of the year...


I haven't been posting many reviews over the last however long, because a lot of books I've read have been a bit 'meh' and I don't like leaving bad reviews; I'd rather share things I've loved.

The first book I've genuinely felt like awarding 5* to is Justin Lee Anderson's novel The Lost War. In fact, I loved the book so much, I approached Justin and asked if I could interview him and he agreed - see last week's post!

The Lost War
The war is over, but something is rotten in the state of Eidyn.
With a ragged peace in place, demons burn farmlands, violent Reivers roam the wilds and plague has spread beyond the Black Meadows. The country is on its knees.
In a society that fears and shuns him, Aranok is the first magically-skilled draoidh to be named King's Envoy.
Now, charged with restoring an exiled foreign queen to her throne, he leads a group of strangers across the ravaged country. But at every step, a new mystery complicates their mission.
As bodies drop around them, new threats emerge and lies are revealed, can Aranok bring his companions together and uncover the conspiracy that threatens the kingdom?

To be honest, I wouldn't normally have read this kind of book, but I'd entered the SPFBO6 competition last year (see the review I got here for Aegyir Rises as part of the competition), and Justin's book was the overall winner, so I wanted to see what it was like.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Author Interview with Justin Lee Anderson

I am absolutely delighted to be interviewing Justin Lee Anderson on the blog this week. Justin has just been awarded the SPFBO prize for 2020-2021, for his book The Lost War. If you've not yet checked it out, do so. It's fabulous! Having read it and loved it, I contacted Justin and asked if I could interview him, and to my delight, he said yes!

First of all, congratulations on winning SPFBO6! You must be delighted. The winning book, The Lost War, is the first in your Eidyn series. Tell me more about it?
Thank you! I like the description of Lost War as a ‘twisted fantasy road trip’. It’s essentially a mystery set in a traditional fantasy world, with murder, conspiracy and monsters. I suppose it’s a bit like what would happen if Stieg Larsson played D&D. Fantasy and mystery are my two favourite genres so I sort of mashed them together.

What prompted you to write it?
Three things: I wanted to write a book about RPG characters that friends and I had played for years; I wanted to write a story set in a world based on Edinburgh’s history and mythology; and I wanted to write a political allegory. It was when I realised they were all one book that it came together.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Someone new has come into my life...

First of all, he gave me a pebble that looked like the night sky, and told me to protect it with my life.

Then he gave me a shell with a small hole in it.

The following day, he told me his name.

Finally, he told me his story.



Yes... I went away for a short break in the Hebrides and, lo and behold, a new book has sprung forth. This always happens, and sometimes the new ideas aren't really a whole new book; they just get melted into whatever is the current work in progress. But, dear readers... I have started a new notebook! 

The cognoscenti among you will know that that means business. Only big ideas that have the legs to make it into a book (or series!) get a new notebook all to themselves. So, now I am attempting to write Realm #5 in a morning and Shiny New Thing in an afternoon. I swear this way madness lies, but if I don't write at least some of his story, I will be driven insane by him chittering away in my head.

When I had scenery like this, it's no great surprise that my imagination was on fire...



Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Author interview with Angela Nurse

I am absolutely delighted to be interviewing Angela this week. I first met Angela a couple of years back (when we could still meet in coffee shops, before covid struck) to talk about using Scrivener for writing, and also just to have a natter. Her first book Jack In A Box is just out, so I took the time to grill her about it, and about life in general.

Tell me more about your book?
Jack In A Box is book 1 in the Rowan McFarlane Mysteries. Rowan is a single mother to a teenager daughter and this is her first case as Private Detective. She was supposed to be joining her Uncle Jack’s agency when he gets murdered and this ends up being her first case.

What prompted you to write it?
I wanted to write a crime/mystery series with a female lead but not a police procedural because I wanted the main character to have more scope in their investigations and actions. I like books with characters you become invested in and I wanted to create a cast of characters around Rowan that readers would also be interested in.

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