This week was rather excellent for me, not only did my book make the top 10 (coming in at #8 on Amazon’s Steampunk listing!), but I had a review from SPR. I’d been conscious it would be good to have a review done that would be a good critique, both for Amazon and my webpage and I couldn’t be more flattered and humbled by their kind words.

SPR Review

As promised I did have a list of questions I received asking about the series and some questions I wanted to address from a few comments on reviews and other places, not so much in response to feedback as curiosity for what the series will hold next.

How does the series work?

This is a twenty one book series, with two novellas, a book, a novella, another book, and so on. Kat and her story features very majorly in the first three books, and afterwards we see her story in the novellas. This is because these stories aren’t just about her and what she’s doing, but she has such a large role in things to come that it’s important between books you know what she’s up to. Plus she’s one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve ever written.

How does Captain Katarina feature in the series?

Kat holds a very dear place in my heart, and while she is a key character she is not the only character in the series. For the next few books she carries an important role, but while you have seen things from her perspective in the Hidden Monastery, this will change over the next few books. The series is designed to be read so that reading the previous book is not necessary except in the case of the novellas, which will be very important as they follow Kat’s journey over the next few years.

What kind of genre is it? It doesn’t seem to fit into one category…

This is very true and a comment I’ve heard often both in person and online. My story was exactly that, just the way I saw it and not catered to one specific genre, so I like to refer to it as a steam flavoured fantasy series. There are elements of steampunk in it, with its airships and some contraptions, but it doesn’t have an overflowing sense of these things as you have in other steampunk series. Fantasy is also a little tricky as there are elements outside of the norm, however they don’t extend to magic and other humanoid species, but its still not set in a conventional world as we see it.

Are these all archaeological sort of books?

No, and perhaps a little bit yes, there is certainly a variety of books but the overall arching theme is that in some place or time a very ordinary person is given a choice, they aren’t fated or destined, sometimes they are just like you and me. However they are put in a place and time where they can choose to take an action. We are all given choices in life, sometimes we wish we could take those choices back, but other times we would not be where we are if those choices hadn’t been made.

When is the next one out?

The next one is a novella and I had planned for release in April/May but it is looking more like May, unfortunately this little writer still has an everyday job to do, which does take up a lot of time. I am still bustling away at it whenever I can, as is everyone else who helps me. There are some future plans in the works that will make this series more exciting and interesting and I hope to talk about more of them soon.

The last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of fun, family and good card games.

Sadly enough not much writing.

But its hard to get the time and right mindset, especially when you’re dancing around your parents veranda much to the amusement of the neighbors at 9am in the morning in daggy shorts, thick socks, and the bride’s shoes, because she needs them stretched, desperately. The things we do for love.

There is nothing like a good holiday and family you haven’t seen for years and years who can’t stop hugging you, and you them, that’s a balm to the soul, and I can say with no small amount of pride, many of whom have read my first book and loved it. The unexpected people who had read my book and flattered me no end that they loved it. Yes, Marg, you.

So it was somewhat tired and in desperate need of sleep and cooler weather we returned home and plans went underway to get ready for a photo shoot, my author one, and I can’t wait to see how all these outfits turnout. Not too outlandish I promise, but something a little more than the standard end of book shot. Here’s hoping I don’t do what I do whenever anyone tries to take my picture and spend the entire thing poking my tongue out.

It was also a time for secrets…

All kinds of secrets and all of them to do with the book thankfully. Who needs real life secrets, they usually aren’t the good kind.

And there is most certainly a reason my roleplaying group call me Hagrid. I can’t keep them.

My characters can’t keep them! I had all these twisty plotty things going on and they all blabbed about their deep secrets and the strangest of times during the last few days writing. Funnily enough it all worked out, and it’s ok, because I’m better at keeping secrets from my characters than my roleplaying group.

Honest….

Over the next few weeks I am going to ask people if they have any questions about the first novella in the series, because I’ve had some really interesting ones from friends and family and a few I’ve seen on reviews. Thanks again for those, they mean the world to me.

If you have a question of my characters, books, or myself, hit me up here, Facebook, or Twitter and the best ones will go in next week’s article.

The Importance of Reviews

I was talking to my sister over the weekend, the number one self professed fan of my books, and I casually asked her; “Have you reviewed it yet?”

“Oops, no! Where and how do I do that?”

I know a lot of readers who use Goodreads and refer Goodreads friends to books they’ve read and enjoyed. I do it myself, I like to know what’s out there that’s in the same field of interest I have and whether or not they enjoyed a new author.

And I do something you are probably guilty of too.

I don’t review all the author’s books I’ve read.

Which isn’t a bad thing, I don’t know about you but I’m an avid reader and I don’t always jump up and down about every book I read. It may be OK, or a new favourite that I’ll buy the next in the series when I get paid. Or maybe the pay after this one.

Now I get to be on the other end of the spectrum and I can tell you how I felt after I got my first five star review. Over the moon! I couldn’t have been more excited, I wanted to leap through the computer and hug some random stranger who liked my book that much. I got more reviews from friends and family I recognised, and more from strangers.

In a way I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t got a bad review yet, but I don’t expect everyone to like my book so I know that it is coming, and I’m going to try very hard to stay away from the scorpion pit when it happens.

Like my book or not, if you have read it please review it, but not just me, any author you’ve loved, liked, obsessed with, didn’t like even, it’s important to review it. There were so many books now that I have been to review and found a host of one star ratings and people unhappy with it, even though others like myself loved it. We are all different people with different likes and dislikes and opinions. And that’s completely OK.

If you love an author’s work, write a review.

You never know when you are making their day.

Thankfully sir

But there has been lots of things going on in the background that have caused disruptions to my normal schedule, some good, some… not so good.

I am going to keep this saga short, and because I’m saving that sort of thing for the books.

Social media has completely overwhelmed me. The hundreds of thousands of authors doing their best to promote their gorgeous babies, and being able to rub shoulders and be considered one of them over Twitter has been delightful.

Intimidating but good? Yeah, let’s stick with that.

Its also taxing. You see them working so hard to promote their books and love other authors, and here is me in a corner trying to work out what the heck an Indie Author is. (I think I have it now…. at least I hope I do).

It sincerely stressed me out, along with something freaky happening with my sales report meaning I didn’t know if the book was doing well, and when you’re trying to advertise left, right, and center you need to know that sort of information on a daily basis. Or hourly. Even if it hasn’t changed. I probably owe the lady at Pronoun a bunch of flowers for how much I email her.

I asked myself a really important question when this was getting the best of me.

Would I have not done it given how much stress it’s causing me right now?

Absolutely not.

Too many of us give up what we want because of these pressures and I don’t mean to, and neither should you.

P.S. These will become a little randomly posted over the coming weeks while I help my sister do all that fun stuff you get to do before weddings. Hopefully I get a good story out of it or at least the hen’s night. There is always character material to work into a story from a wedding.

*cough*

And the hen’s night but I don’t write those sorts of novels!

Another book down!

The Last Prophecy went to the editor last weekend which is why there was no update last week.

I was sitting there, sipping champagne, and thinking it was good, and while I’m sure Scott will come back with all the little changes that perfect it I’m *very* happy with the storyline and I can’t wait to start telling you about it.

But not yet…

Release is planned for April at this stage, depending on a few things.

That will mean the first two novellas in the series are done, and now I can get cracking on the first book. If it was going to be the size of novella I’d be doing well. But it really isn’t.

What’s fun is the research; pirates, sea monsters…. treasure!

Oh yes, precious, treasure.

Depends if you want it or not….

The Well of Youth is becoming an exciting book to write with all sorts of hidden depths and challenges for the characters, but is the groundwork for much to come, hiding in the shadows, which will eventually come to light, whether or not we are ready for them.

On another note I have been periodically thrilled when the ratings for the book shoots up and suddenly I’m number #15 on the steampunk list for Kobo, or the top #100 steampunk books on Kindle. And furthermore the book sold 100 copies, which I may or may not have danced around the study at 6am one morning, and had to be convinced it wasn’t a good time for champagne. Still not convinced.

Thank you to all those who bought it, and thank you for the reviews!

Continuing On

The last couple of weeks have been a challenge.

It’s been a struggle to write, because I’ve been so caught up in the Hidden Monastery’s release. So rapt up in people’s approval and the sales for the book, frustrated, tired and sad and ecstatic. I’ve only written in dribs and drabs here and there really haven’t been enough, not for me.

I seem to have forgotten that the Hidden Monastery was the beginning in more ways than one.

No change to your life like this ever happens overnight.

And I did get to do what I wanted with  my life for once.

I got to be an author, and people I didn’t know, who weren’t my friends or family, bought my book and loved it.

I feel bad it’s taken me this long to come to that conclusion.

And I know some people will hate the book, but for those of you who loved it, and told me so, family friends and strangers, thank you.

Thank you for loving the Hidden Monastery and its beginning.

The Last Prophecy

The Last Prophecy

I couldn’t be more thrilled at the reception of the Hidden Monastery this last week, the amount of interest and support has been so thrilling I couldn’t sleep! Thank you for those of you that wrote reviews, and if you’ve read it and haven’t reviewed please do so, I can’t tell you how important it is!

Now… on to exciting things!

I discussed briefly last week the fact that this was a long series, named after the second novella in the series; The Last Prophecy. I thought long and hard about keeping my plans all secretive, and then have decided that there will be time for secrets, you should know what kind of a story you’ve signed up for.

The first two novellas are the Hidden Monastery, followed by the Last Prophecy. The first official book of the series is technically the third book in the series and whose title for the interim will remain secret. There are then ten books in the series, between each is a novella. There are then eleven novellas in the series in total.

The first novella, The Hidden Monastery, features Captain Katarina Salisbury, who we will also see in the second novella, The Last Prophecy, though the story is not from her viewpoint.

She has a great part to play in the entire series, the depth of which won’t be known for some time, by which time all that was confusing will become clear. Kat is one of my most loved characters, and she has a long road ahead of her, the trials of which I will not tax you over now, only to say I hope you stay with her, as I will.

I have a plan to write a novella and a book every year, and I’m currently ahead of the year at the moment as while the first novella has only just come out, the Last Prophecy will be ready in late March/early April, and the book will be available later in the year.

One thing to note, is that the novellas intertwine through the book series, so it will be strange to read them without reading the books or the novellas before hand. However the books are stories designed to be read as stand alone books, though that will become harder as the series progresses.

Don’t worry, I won’t torment any of you about it too much.

 

….
*laughs* Who am I kidding? My sister is going to disown me…. again.

I’m so very pleased to announce that the book went live today and is available on ibooks and Amazon, and will shortly be available on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play.

I thought this would be a good time to talk about the series.

The series is a fantasy/steampunk inspired adventure that I started writing, and its a book we won’t see for several years because while I was writing I realised it wasn’t the first book, it was actually a later book in a series that I hadn’t even planned. I spent weeks writing down ideas and plots as it arced across years of a realm I hadn’t even created yet.

But it was exhilarating and fun and I couldn’t stop until it came together into the Last Prophecy.

The Last Prophecy series is about things best left forgotten, things left to time that should have stayed buried. Its set on an alternate world, and begins on the continent of Illisia with Captain Katarina Salisbury.

The Hidden Monastery is the first novella in the series, to be followed by a second coming out sometime near the end of March called The Last Prophecy. The first book in the series will be available later in the year.

This isn’t a short series either, the entire arc will be written in twenty novellas/books by the time I think it will reach its completion, for the most part planned or at least pencilled out. I didn’t know this was going to go so far when I started but I’m happy writing it and I hope you like reading it.

Update: Pronoun have since contacted me and sorted out my dedications page. I cannot say enough how patient and helpful they have been in during this stressful process, and I can’t recommend them enough to those of you I know who write.

Finding the Bright Side

I wanted very much to give you all the first novella in the series tonight and I’m sorry to say that won’t be happening.

I was ill for the start of the holidays and it took away too much time.

Putting in so much effort to have this done by the end of the year, to have done something worthwhile, and have it not come to pass, is gut wrenching.

There will be no tirades of what I went through to get here, what’s more important is that I can do two things. Acknowledge that I started this journey, that there is still more to come, and that I can thank all of you.

The support I’ve received for this, the people who have asked me in the final days of the year where they can get the novella, has meant so much in the closing of the year. Thank you all for that, it means so much to me.

Instead of the story, I will leave you with this, which I have been waiting to do if the novella wasn’t ready in time; a synopsis of the first novella.

 

The Hidden Monastery

Captain Katarina Salisbury of the airship the Iron Lady and propaganda tool for the Illisian government, has been given a very simple assignment; to go and rescue villagers threatened with avalanches in the far southern Drezusk Mountains.

With unwelcome nobles on her vessel, diminishing part of her fame and good press from the venture, she is determined to do her duty and be done with them as quickly as possible.

They destroy an avalanche within reach of the village on their first day in the valley.

Except the fall of the avalanche reveals something beneath the tumbling snow and rock; a hidden monastery of a dead religion, never seen before this far south on the Illisian continent.

It’s stone doors are opened to reveal a secret, and something malicious moves in the shadows, to keep that secret.

Captain Katarina Salisbury is drawn to the monastery, as she struggles against forces that would stop her. As the weather worsens she is forced to make choices for herself and the future of the Iron Lady.

Just write

23rd-march-sunday-writing-inspiration

I made a goal of getting ten thousand words done today, and it didn’t happen. I slept in, thanks to too much excellent German beer and good company the night beforehand. I had all those pesky things one needs to use a weekend for, and it got right up my nose that, as I sat down, an excellent idea I’d had for dialogue had slipped through my fingers. I didn’t want to write at all. I was tired and so annoyed that the dialogue had escaped me that I wanted to leave it be for the day.

So I sat and wrote.

I didn’t make my goal but there is still a part of the evening left and several thousand words already done.

Writing stories isn’t just about finding the time to write, it’s about writing when you know the story is missing something, about pushing on through past the barrier of writer’s block. It only stops you as long as you let it.

I’m not going to be happy with today’s writing and that’s alright. It’s more important that the plot moved on, that there are good bits coming up, and that I at least got something done.

I know too many people who want to be authors and couldn’t get past this point, and it won’t stop me and shouldn’t stop you.

Just write.

Write through the writers block, put word after word down just to get to the bit you know well. You can always come back to the bit you didn’t like and edit it.

It’s hard to grasp the concept that it doesn’t have to be perfectly formed, or even the way you like it.

It doesn’t do anyone any good if you walk away, saying you’ll do it when it comes to you and letting it lie for a day. It becomes a week, a month, a year.

As I have just discovered, pausing to write my weekly update, it’s a far better thing to push on and find something new about your character you didn’t know was there because you pushed through that barrier.
It’s important to keep pushing through your own barriers, you won’t know how far you can get until you try.