Pre-match Nerves

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Tomorrow my story The Path Of Swords will be for sale on Amazon and I’m a little nervous. There are all kinds of thoughts that occur at a time like this. Will it look ok on the page? Is the cover right? Is the blurb interesting enough? Have I checked carefully enough for typos etc? WILL PEOPLE LIKE IT?

But I’m ignoring all these thoughts. My goal has never been to publish a book, have zillions of sales and retire to the Caribbean. I mean, that would be nice but it’s never been the plan. The plan is to write a series that people will read and enjoy. This is the first step, and as such it’s an important one but there is a long way to go. It’s a journey that I’m enjoying so far and I’m in no rush. Too often the first time you do something slips by without you realising it. I intend to savour the moment.

Remember that you have until lunchtime today (12th May) to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

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Maps and Legends

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I love books with maps so I was very happy to sit down and start mapping out the world of the Second Son series which I did fairly soon after I started writing. At first I had it all straight in my head but I got to the point where I needed to actually see it. I drew this as a working document, it’s not meant to be the sort of map that you stick in the front of a book. Having said that it’s something I want to do and I will probably draw/paint one for the omnibus that will come out after the first three books of the series. Not going to worry about it just yet though!

And if you’re wondering why I’ve added legends to maps in the title then you need to listen to more REM.

Remember that you have until Friday to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

The Song of Amhar

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The Song of Amhar

Five great ships from out of the night

Riding the waves to the land of light

Amhar the strong, with foresight blessed

Follows his destiny into the west

 

Considering I’m the sort of person who a) likes poetry, b) used to write songs and c) read the Lord of the Rings every year for about 15 years, its not surprising that bits of song and poetry crop up in The Path Of Swords. Obviously not too much, you don’t want to slow the narrative down too much, but there a times when adding something different really helps set the scene. This especially true when you consider the type of civilisation that the characters inhabit. Poetry, song and story are the way history is recorded, and knowledge passed on. Also one of the main characters is Mack, an aged minstrel, a wandering bard that befriends Luan and helps him along his way.

Remember that you have until Friday to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

How do you build a world?

 

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There is a certain amount of world building required every time you start a story, but in a fantasy book it’s a fundamental part of the process. In my case the process was based on a series of questions which I had to answer before I could start writing.

What would Britain have been like if it had never been invaded, whether that was by Romans, Saxons, Vikings or Normans. How would our Celtic culture have developed over time?

What if no one had seen horses before?

What if Iron technologies were scarce, but you had the secret while your enemies still used Bronze?

What if the Faerie world of Celtic legend existed, and you could use it to influence events in the real world?

What if you were a man, who saw beyond the petty squabbles of your local tribes, and glimpsed a whole land?

What if you then braved the journey to the spirit world and brought back Iron weapons and horse soldiers and used them to forge a Kingdom?

The answers to these questions led to the creation of the legend of Amhar the Strong, founder of the Kingdom of the young, but The Path Of Swords isn’t his story

That story is set 500 years later.

Remember that you have until Friday to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

Amazon here we go!

 

The Path of Swords will be appearing on a famous book selling website near you this Saturday! That’s right, after a feverish week or so going through the mechanics of getting the book onto Amazon we’re ready to roll, and guess what? There’s a new cover!

So Saturday 13th May is the date. The cost will be 99p or 99 cents, depending where you are, although there will be a giveaway coming up fairly soon.

Meanwhile you have until Friday, that’s just four days, to get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

After that it will be exclusively available on Amazon. The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

New Cover Design

So here we are, a new look and a slightly new title as well.

This isn’t necessarily the finished cover. It’s more in the way of a sketch. I was never completely happy with the previous design and so I spent some time thinking about which themes in the book I wanted to portray on the cover. In the end I felt the sword needed to be there, and I wanted to bring out the Celtic element as well, hence the idea of the sword entwined in a Celtic knot. The design is hand drawn, as you can probably tell, and is my own work. I’m going to try a painted version as well as a neater line version and see which looks best.

As for the name change, in an ironic twist following my post The Fellowship Of The Bling , I discovered that there are already two books on Amazon called The Path Of The Sword. This made me feel a bit of an idiot! Having said that, I like the new name better, as it hints at the other boy warriors whose fates are entwined with that of Luan.

So that’s where we are for now.Remember that for a limited time only you can get a free review copy of The Path Of Swords by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of Swords.

 

Catching Words

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It felt like the right time to do something about why I write. I’ve actually put all this on a new page, but it felt like a post as well so here it is.

When I started my very first school I was given a book and a pencil and told to write ‘My news’. When my parents went to their first parent teacher meeting they were amazed to read about all the exciting things that happened to their 4 year old son. “Today I got chased by a Landrover” was one of their particular favourites.

I made up stories all the time. It’s not that I was a particularly untruthful child, more that my life simply wasn’t exciting enough. You could say that I used to lie a lot but then maybe that’s what writers are: professional liers.

I started my first novel in 1989 when I was in my final year at university. Through my teens I had been obsessed with being a musician, singing and playing in a band, writing songs, gigging, recording demos etc. Then final year hit and I tried to knuckle down to some studying, I stopped playing, stopped writing songs and within a few weeks I was writing a novel.

It was set in a dystopian future (although that would be in the past now!) where an epidemic of mental illness had created a declining society. The protagonist was a character slipping into what he thought was mental illness but was actually slipping into the past, or possibly the other way around.

I never finished it. I did finish university, but then picked up my guitar again and stopped writing the book. For the next few years I kept up with the music, but then life takes over. I fell in love, got married and stopped writing songs about heartache and loss. I trained as a teacher and got a job. Music was hard to keep up and in 1997 I started to paint. From that point until about 2013 I was fairly obsessive. There was a lot to learn but I was able to work with some friends who painted which helped, and my Dad, a professional painter, gave me a few pointers. I worked hard, started to produce some stuff I was happy with, even sold a few paintings. But stuff happens. I gained two kids and lost my Mum in the space of three years.

The kids got me telling stories again. I made up endless adventures, many of them based on books I’d read or legends that I knew. A particular favourite was a retelling of The Hobbit but with an elf princess heroine added in. Very important for two little girls, and pre dating Peter Jackson’s additions by about six years.

I remember sitting with them on the very top of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, telling tales of Merlin and Arthur.

I got promoted at work and more busy and then my Dad got ill with dementia. Over the next few years I had to look after him more and more while juggling everything else. Something had to give and the painting went.

My Dad passed away in January 2013. In the September I started writing.

I started with an idea, (Fantasy novel set in an alternate dark age), a character (Luan, a boy) and a simple plan (I would write 100 words every day).

Three and a half years later and I have finished either one long book or three short ones, depending on how you look at it. I’ve written several short stories, two of which have been published. I’m half way through a Sci Fi novella. Over 100,000 words in total.

I think there is just a creative urge inside me. I have a need to make stuff. At the moment I make stories. Sometimes I think I have read so many books that the words have filled me to overflowing and now they tumble out. It makes sense to catch them while they are there.