Sunday Surprise


redemption-final-smallREDEMPTION – A Many Lives Standalone Story
One of the best books I read this year. A tightly-woven tale of what it means to be redeemed by love ★★★★★” – Margo Bond Collins, NY Times bestselling author.
From New York Times bestselling author, Laxmi Hariharan, comes REDEMPTION the much anticipated next standalone story in the Many Lives Series. For fans of Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan. Experience a thrilling paranormal romance where shifters, vampires and immortals fight to save those they love.
Read REDEMPTION free in KU * 99c for limited only * here http://smarturl.it/RmptionLH
When differences threaten to tear fated mates apart
LEANA
I submit to no one—not even him.
Not till I was taken
Now a terrible emptiness tears me apart. For,
he’s just…gone
Will I see him again?
MIKHAIL
I never needed anyone
Then I met her, a cage fighter, my shifter. Mine.
The one I must protect
Now I want her. In my life, in my blood.
Her, only her.
Reclusive designer Mikhail Anton blames wolf-shifters for his memory loss, refusing to accept the signs that he is immortal. On meeting Leana Iyeroy, a cage-fighter and shifter, Mikhail is drawn to her in ways he can’t identify. And when vampires threaten Leana, he must acknowledge his abilities to rescue her from certain death. They must team up to save their city– before their differences destroy everything they love.
Read REDEMPTION free in KU & 99c for limited time here http://smarturl.it/RmptionLH

Sunday Surprise


A.L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth her work combines aspects of all. A lifelong storyteller the tale is all and loves to create people and worlds.

She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

Social Media links

Amazon Author page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM

Facebook Author Page http://bit.ly/FB2j0bbdZ

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

Library of Erana Blog http://bit.ly/Blog2iAWL3o

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book II

Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.

(18 rated)

 

Now in audio narrated by Shakespearean actor Rob Goll.

 

 

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2iOOWoB

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2iSW5GF

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2j1DSnF

Audible.com http://adbl.co/2i3tf5t

Ebooks available here:

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2c5LghC

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2iqOXkr

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2hHRv9K

I-books http://apple.co/2j0B4u8

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing to start the year well. Enjoy.

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of defining your accomplishments by what other people did better. Someone climbed Mt Everest before you did, but by God, if you climb Mt Everest, you deserve a cookie. And “better” doesn’t mean “first”. “Better” may not even be what you think it is. Is it sales? Or critical acclaim? What? Go you and do what you need to do with your art because you need to do it.

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing you need to be first in line to be noticed. Who cares who drew the first comic on an iPad? Does anyone even remember? Of course not. Because that turns art into artifacts, and you’re not creating artifacts, you don’t need to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Comic Book Pages Drawn While Hanging Upside Down Like a Bat.

You’re trying to connect with your readers by telling stories that have meaning to you and to them. Believe in what you are doing and the rest will follow…or not.

And if you never get that acclaim or those big sales, well, you did something real. And artificially trying to make yourself a Special Snowflake forever because you did it FIRST isn’t real.

Just tell your story…Climb Mt Everest. It doesn’t matter if someone else got there first. It’s your journey.

Colleen Doran

“Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all… as long as you tell the truth… Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work… What you know makes you unique in some other way. Be brave.”

Stephen King

Write books, authors. Write stories. Channel your emotions, your fears, your vulnerabilities into your work. Swallow the hurt and give voice to a song. In your books, which is what you are here for in the first place. Everywhere else? Post about cats and beards and the cupcake you had instead of dinner. Better to be banal than a bitch. Because readers will flock to the cats and the cupcakes and possibly bring you baked goods and collars with your cover art as collars to singings. But they’ll get a front row seat to watch the bitch go down.

Every. Single. Time.

Heidi Culliman

You can focus on social media and platform-building and brand-making, and it will yield you SOME return, sure. But… drum roll please…

It won’t yield you nearly as much as just concentrating on writing as many awesome books as you can for invested, functional publishers.

When a publisher asks you, “What’s your platform?” consider turning that question around and asking the publisher about THEIRS.

(…)

Be the best writer you can be. Online, be the best version of yourself. Have fun, be kind, work hard, have empathy, and hope for luck.

If you’re building a platform to sell books, don’t. If you’re altering yourself to fit a brand, dont. (Unless you’re an asshole, I guess.)

This is also not to say writers shouldn’t promote their own books! You shoul! I follow writers and *want* to hear about new releases!

(But I aldo don’t want those writers to pummel me in the crotch with ceaseless sales pitches, either.)

Anyway. Yeah. Platforms and brands are not magical solutions, so do not make them your focus, Okay? Okay.

NOW LET’S ALL GET DRUNK.

Chuck Wendig

In a recent yoga class, my teacher talked about the difference between having fun and enjoying yourself. Fun, she said, was an activity you do to escape your routines. However, enjoyment is the act of finding happiness in your routines and responsibilities. Therefore, another element of a good hobby is that it becomes a part of your daily or weekly habits, instead of something you use to run away from your writing (or life). This is why drinking, drugs, gambling and social media are so dangerous. They can provide fun via instant gratification, but long-run they don’t bring us joy. Better then to focus on habits and hobbies that help us be more plugged in to our lives–ones that allow us to enjoy ourselves.

Jaye Wells

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another guest! Don’t we have a December full of gifts? 😉 Lots of new authors for you to discover – because you’re gifting books for Xmas, right? Anyhow, I’m happy to introduce you this young lady! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Nat Kennedy!

Where do you live and write from?

I am from central Washington, in the high scrub desert. It’s dry and either hot or cold, and sometimes that offers months of staying inside, writing away at stories.

Why do you write?

I love writing. This, I am sure, is a typical answer. I mainly write what I write, gay erotic fantasy, because I can’t find enough of it to read. So, I write what I want to read. The characters are usually up beat, usually heroic, and though there’s angst, it’s rarely relationship angst. I want my lovers to love.

When did you start writing?

At a very young age… Seriously, I started writing in the early 2000s (I cut my teeth on fanfiction.)

2016-01-002-edge-of-desperation-ebook-coverWhat genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy, of the gay and sometimes erotic variety. All types, urban, to high fantasy, and I’ve some dark fantasy planned as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I get up at 5 am to write before work. I tend to work very well with deadlines. I am a NaNo Guru. Sometimes, if I’m rough drafting, I write in every scrap of time I can fine. But if I’m editing, I need larger chunks of time to work with.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My characters come across as real, relatable people. And my worlds jump from the pages, enough that readers feel immersed in them. I remember, years ago, reading a story and finally ‘seeing’ how the author made the details flow seamlessly into the narrative. No info dump. Important information evolved through the story. I then worked to emulate that. And I am doing okay, though there is always room for growth.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Mainly I find my inspiration from the holes in other stories I wish the author had written. I want to know about some background character. Or a hinted gay love story… why wasn’t that developed! So, I then think of the feelings that story invoked and sometimes steal that and plop it into my own world. I am inspired by negative space.

I don’t put myself in my stories. I’m far too boring.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Outline and plot it all, darling! And I am fast at rough drafts, slow at the edits depending on how good my outline was. I have improvised in the past, in fact my current novel I’m editing was improvised, and it needs so much work. I have vowed to outline always from now on.

Though, if a story does take me right, when the outline takes me left, I’m not afraid to go off outline.

2016-01-002-center-of-deception-ebook-coverTell us about your latest book

My latest book is the second in the Wielder World series, Center of Deception.

Though it’s the second in the series, I’d written books 1 and 2 (novella length) to be able to read in either order. The Wielder World is a series of gay urban fantasy. People have the power to Wield the Nerve of the World and do some amazing feats of ‘magic’. Women can do so with no repercussions. Men, however, pay a price for their power.

It’s the events in Book 1 from August’s point of view. How he got wrapped up in the male Wielder Cult. How he meets Kyle and Reggie from Book 1, and sets the seeds for future romance and hints at a greater threat to men in the Wielder World.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Wielder World is self-published because I like the power self-publishing gives me, also it’s a much faster process. Traditional routes take years. I also enjoy the self-publishing community and am honored to be a part of it.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am editing Wielder World 3, the follow up novel called Afflicted to the Core, and I just finished a rough draft for a new high fantasy novel, the first in the World of Two Moons series.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Eventually, I would like to take writing full time. I’d like to build a fan base, have people excited for my next novel, and maybe, hopefully, get some fan fiction written about it. That would be quite the delight.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Read good books. Study them… why you liked them, how they did that thing you thought was awesome. And write often, if not every day, several times a week. Never give up. Learn to accept rejection. And write what you love, because even if people don’t buy it, at least you’ll enjoy reading it! 😉

_________________________________
About Nat and where to find her

Nat Kennedy grew up living in a poorly populated desert landscape. With no neighbors in a 1 mile radius, she had to make up her own fun.

Nat strives to create plotty and imaginative fantasy worlds, with the added benefit of gay and non-mainstream romance–steamy to tame. From couples to threesomes, including fantasy hermaphroditic races, love abounds.

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Random Friday


For lack of other randomness, I shall let random writers dispense random writerly wisdom… Enjoy these writers on writing! And publishing! And… all the best to all the writers out there!

I do not believe in the assumption in this business that feedback from anyone can really help you. That’s not how a writer learns, folks.

So going to a beginning writer workshop and listening to other beginners tell you what you did wrong is like going to a person who does your hair who never finished high school and ask them for legal advice. You would never do that, right?

So why ask other uninformed and ill-informed and beginning writers what is wrong with your story? The only answer you can possibly get is dangerous, likely wrong, and usually destructive to your belief in yourself and your art.

Just say no, as Nancy used to say.

Set up a networking group and learn craft from major professional writers and keep writing. Trust your own art. Believe in yourself.

A ton more fun that way.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

And that’s what I’ve been having the most trouble with these past two weeks. Once again, my brain has difficulty wrapping itself around the idea that there is more than one path to success in this new world.

I’m aware of it: Hell, I preach it here on the blog almost every week. But apparently, deep down, I’m still stuck in the (almost literal) ruts of my “upbringing” in traditional publishing. When I default for myself, I default to the One True Path idea—and I default hard.

So, this blog is really not for you. It’s for me. It’s a reminder that in this modern world there is no longer One True Path. There are as many new paths as there are writers. The internet has opened the world to all of us, and we can pursue the careers we want—or at least, the parts of the career we can manage.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

The main question I’ve been asking myself is this: What do I have control over? Or at least, what do I have the most control over? Where do I have choices, and how do those choices affect my success? Basically, the idea is that there are four main areas that a writer has the most control over that directly affect his or her success, each of these being a leg of the table:

  1. What you write
  2. How much you write
  3. How much you learn
  4. How you market

Rather than abstract terms like “content” and “productivity,” I prefer concrete words that are more actionable — which, of course, is a fairly abstract word, but we’ll let that pass for now. There are so many ways for a writer working today to spend his or her time that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. These four legs are what I think constitutes a very sturdy table. If you are negligent in any of the legs, well, it can make your table pretty shaky after a while. A lot of writing with a poor marketing strategy often results in lackluster sales. A lot of learning without actually producing much — like the workshop junkie who goes to lots of classes but doesn’t actually write unless compelled to do so by a teacher — is equally out of whack.

Scott William Carter

 

I’ve decided that the next time a writer asks me for that one piece of advice I’d like to give every writer, I’m going to tell them this:

Buy a hat.

No, not because I have some milliner friends who need the support. But because writers, and particularly brand new beginning writers, need to understand the separation of church and state.

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

These two things have some links between them, but I’ll say it again:

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

When you have finished your book and it’s time to release it into the world, you must, must, must at that time take off your writing hat and put on your publishing or business hat.

Perhaps you have a pair of steampunk welding goggles instead. Or a leather workman’s apron.

Whatever metaphor or physical object works for you. For some writers, I actually would recommend that they go get a hat or something that reminds them of the difference.

I am not speaking to just indie writers here. Traditionally published writers need to make this same separation.

Writing isn’t the same as business.

Leah Cutter

 

When you’re just starting out, your craft is poor, and it’s endless frustration. You have amazing ideas that are never as good on paper as they are in your head.

Then, as you develop, you eventually get to the point where you can execute your ideas on paper about as well as you can see them in your head–and at that point, you start to feel pretty good about yourself.

But if you keep going, and keep improving your craft, you’ll eventually get to the point where the stuff that comes out on paper is SO much better than what it started out as in your head that you never *quite* believe that it came from you–and you can still improve from there.

That’s really what, for me, makes writing a total kick in the head.

– Stephen J. Cannell

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! She’s Author of the Month at Smaswords Authors group on Goodreads, so feel free to drop by over there and ask more questions!And even if she doesn’t mention it in the interview, she has Some Brief Advice  for Indie Authors! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sharon E. Cathcart!

25908261Where do you live and write from?
San Jose, California

Why do you write?
Honestly, there are stories in my head that won’t shut up. I write because I have to.

When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I made up stories and plays with one of my best friends starting in elementary school, and started writing short stories in junior high school. I’ve never really stopped.

What genre(s) do you write?
Primarily historical fiction, which is my favorite genre. I’ve also done a couple of steampunk tales that will be in an anthology next year, as well as one dark comedy.

What does your writing routine consist of?
I wish I had the discipline to call it a routine! One of the challenges I face is that I live with an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease. The primary effect of it is utter exhaustion (the disease kills your thyroid). So, some days all of the energy I have goes to managing my day-to-day life (including the proverbial day job). I write when I can, and for as long as I can.
25357892Because my preferred genre is historical fiction, I also spend time doing research (primary sources whenever possible). I want to make sure the details are right, and I’ll halt production if I’m not happy with how things are going.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I think one of my greatest strengths is putting atypical characters into my stories. My protagonists are not perfect people. In my Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, for example, my heroine is approaching 30 years of age and is not a virgin … which is not what you typically see in historical fiction. I have people in my books who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, physical deformities, etc. In the case of my newest work-in-progress, Bayou Fire, one person lives with Hashimoto’s disease.

31432511Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I have found inspiration in a variety of places. The inspiration for His Beloved Infidel came from reading a memoir by the first social worker in Iran, for example.
I don’t put myself in my books, but my characters sometimes know things I know. For example, Claire Delacroix (the aforementioned heroine) is an equestrian. At the time I wrote the book, I was still an equestrian athlete myself and so I was able to put my knowledge onto the page.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Improviser, for sure. I have a general idea of where I want the book to go, but I find that sometimes the characters have different plans. There is a character in the Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, Gilbert Rochambeau, who made it very clear that he was not, in fact, going to be the minor character I had initially planned for him to be. His role became very important indeed.
I tend to be a slow writer just because of my preferred genre. I am meticulous about my research and that adds time to the process.

Tell us about your latest book
I’m currently working on my first historical paranormal. This is the blurb:

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

What’s unusual about this book is that it contains elements of reincarnation. So, I had to study both modern-day and historic New Orleans, as well as the bayou country, Creole plantation life, and more. I just returned from my second research trip this year.

31432417Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I’m hybrid published these days. I have stories in three traditionally published anthologies. The rights to my three traditionally-published full-length works have reverted and I’ve released them again myself. I like having control over every aspect, from the interior design to the cover. I have even discovered some design talents I didn’t know I had!

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am going to redesign, re-title, and re-issue my music business memoir. That will come out early in 2017.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
For years, my goal was to publish a novel. Then, it was to win an award. I’ve accomplished both of those a few times over. So, I’m focusing on continuing to meet and greet my fans, get new work out, and hopefully delight my readers!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s the same one I was given years ago: Even if it’s shit, get it on the page. Editing is for later.
author-head-shotThank you for the opportunity to participate on your blog! Readers may find me on social media here:

Blog: sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.cathcart

Twitter; @sharoncathcart

Website: http://sharonecathcart.weebly.com

Sunday Surprise


Since I skipped October, I might do double ration of writers on writing and words of wisdom this month! In the meantime, here’s today’s quotes! Have a great Sunday!

Even if authors did the imagination bit for free – it is gloriously exhilarating, I do love writing – there’s still the task of making it readable, and the grind of snagging all the typos. And there’s the admin around publishing  or indy publishing, and the complexities of being self-employed. If we were paid just for editing and admin, most of us would still get a pretty lousy hourly rate. We don’t want pity – we choose to pursue our vocations – but, just like microbrewers, craft bakers, chefs, musicians and anybody else trying to professionalise a passion – we do want to be treated fairly by those we serve.

M Harold Page

Those choices are personal. They’re about the kinds of careers we want. Some of us do want to sell just one book to a traditional publisher. As long as we’re honest about the reasons for it, then it’s a good choice. Some of us want to make a fortune at our writing. As long as we are willing to work hard at it, it’s a good choice. Some of us just want our work read by as many people as possible. As long as we’re willing to continually improve our storytelling craft, that’s a good choice too.
There are no bad choices—as long as we approach what we do with confidence and education. Know what you’re giving up to go traditional. Know how much work you’re taking on when you go indie.
Don’t accept someone else’s opinion as gospel (even [shudder!] mine). Make your own opinion.
And most important of all, don’t waste time living someone else’s dream. Live yours.
In order to do that, you need to know what your dream is. But once you’ve figured that out, believe in it. Work toward it. And own it.
It’s yours.
It may not be mine. It might not be your family’s. It’s yours.
Be proud of your dream. Be proud of the work you do. Be proud of your choices.
As long as you believe in yourself, the shamers can’t control you.
Be yourself—and I guarantee you that no matter what you choose to do, you will eventually succeed at it. Because you’re not doing it to impress someone else. You’re doing it for love.
And that’s the key to everything.
Kris Rusch

And, luckily, we have options today.
Very good options. Options where we can control everything that happens to us (within the limits of anyone’s ability to determine what happens to us in anything that resembles an artistic endeavor, anyway). We do not need to sign a deal that puts our creative control in someone else’s hands. And, to be blunt, any deal that stops a person from in good faith making the art they want to make is a dangerous deal, indeed.
Ron Collins

Some people might disagree with me, but I don’t think you have to write every day to be a writer. I don’t think it’s necessary to finish or publish every story you write. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to scrap a project that isn’t working out. It’s okay to write just for the fun of it. And it’s okay to take breaks.
As writers, we’re often our harshest critiques. That is certainly the case for me. I’m much harder on myself than I would ever be on someone else. For now, I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’m going to work on being kinder to myself. And I’m going to try to enjoy the process of writing instead of being so focused on the end result.
Tricia Drammeh

We’re all trespassers, and you know how we get away with it? Just by doing it! By committing. By hunkering down. By making it happen with effort and thought and by shuttling off our myriad neuroses and anxieties for some other day, some other situation, some other problem. Oh, you didn’t get that publishing deal you wanted? Or the agent? That sucks. It does! And it also doesn’t matter because that’s how this business goes, that’s how life is, that is is the cost of existing. Did you think every day would offer an eager line of people serving you up your wishes on shiny platters? Or did you expect that — gasp — it would take work and improvement and effort and iteration and reiteration? Because it does. It does require that. All things require that. Writing isn’t a hula hoop — you don’t just pick it up and give a couple hip-shimmies to get that motherfucker spinning. Writing is a complex act. It takes time and failure and more failure and a little success and a little luck and more failure and then REAL success and then hey oops more failure again.
Chuck Wendig

Hastings 1066 Fortnight


And last but not least the lady who started it all! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Steph Bennion!

Where do you live and write from?

I quit the big bad city of London last year and moved to Hastings on England’s south coast, so you can blame me for the idea of writing themed stories about the eponymous battle. This part of Sussex is known as ‘1066 Country’ and as you might expect there are all sorts of events planned to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

Why do you write?

I write stories to scratch the itch that is the urge to create, but also with the hope that readers will be entertained! A big part of it is to pass on the love for the stories I read in my youth: books by Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein and the other masters of science fiction.

When did you start writing?

I started writing and submitting short stories to various publications when I was in my teens, albeit with erratic success, so I’ve been at it for thirty years now. My first few novels were truly terrible and now live in a darkened drawer somewhere. I came close to giving up writing fiction and for a while concentrated on music instead (I was a songwriter and bassist in a weird folk-rock band), but then had an idea for a tongue-in-cheek adult fantasy novella which I managed to sell to a niche publisher. That royalty cheque gave me the boost I needed to persevere.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write mainly space opera on the hard sci-fi side, for young adults and adults young at heart. My Hollow Moon novels centre around working-class folk who find themselves battling the consequences of upheavals caused by those in power; stories of friendships and how people come together in times of need. I read a lot of science fiction and have a fondness for planet-hopping tales that keep the human element firmly in focus, preferably with a few spaceships thrown in. Science fiction at its best takes contemporary issues and shines new light on them outside their normal context, all against a background of adventure, mystery, humour and thrills. What more could you want?

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I like to inject a dose of humour into my writing – not in a ‘comic novel’ way in the vein of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or the Space Captain Smith books, but space opera is often so overblown I find it hard to resist poking fun at science-fiction tropes or turning a plot device on its head. I like to think it makes the space opera I write a little bit different. What I will say is that comedy is deceptively hard to write.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My main goal is to complete the Hollow Moon series; by my latest reckoning there’s at least another two or three novels to write before the main story arc is concluded. I’m sure I’ll be distracted by other writing projects along the way…

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Writing is a craft that can be learned: it’s important to read widely and study the masters. Oh, and don’t give up the day job…

What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?

The Battles Of Hastings is taken from the journal of a headstrong young time traveller who, after she and fellow time travellers realise they each come from a future with a different past, embarks on a journey through multiple realities to try and put history right. While I was researching the events of 1066 it struck me how incredibly close King Harold of England came to winning the battle. Exploring this through a tale of parallel universes seemed the obvious way to go. The challenge for me as a science-fiction writer was that the second law of thermodynamics pretty much prohibits time travel into the past, but I still wanted to offer an explanation of how a time machine might work.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Time-traveller Jane Kennedy, the narrator of The Battles Of Hastings, also features in an unpublished novella of mine called Catastrophe Jane, which is set in an alternate-history version of my native Black Country during the industrial revolution. I never got to grips with the time-travel science in this earlier work and so put it to one side, but writing The Battles Of Hastings resolved many of the issues I had with this so hopefully there will be more of Jane’s adventures to come. I’m also tentatively outlining a synopsis for book four of my Hollow Moon series, as well as the usual festive tale for December. The seasonal short stories are generally sci-fi spoofs of classic fairy tales and a lot of fun to write!

Links

Facebook page

Goodreads author page

Amazon link

Website

The story above buy links

Hastings 1066 Fortnight


And now the only gentleman of the lot! From the depths of England once again, please welcome L.J. Hick!

tmas1stcoverWhere do you live and write from?

I live in Warwickshire in England and I write only when I am at home.

Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I have loved reading books ever since I can remember and I always wanted to write regularly, whether that comprised of a novel, short story, review or blog. Writing allows me to express myself through my stories.

When did you start writing?

I started writing back in school. Strangely, it dropped off a little when I was studying A level English. That might be because my writing time was filled up with assignments and projects from a slightly overzealous English teacher. I did not start to write an actual complete novel until 2012 when I suddenly had more time to do so.

What genre(s) do you write?

It would be easy to say science fiction and leave it at that. The truth is that I write across various genres. Sci-fi, horror, humour and mystery would probably cover most of my writing, but I like to think that I cover a much broader range than that. Some people stick with one particular genre and that is probably a wise thing to do. When people mention horror, I always think of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Fans of one genre will almost certainly look for writers specializing in that area. Despite the advantages of specialization, I find myself moving from one genre to another. For instance, Last Days began as a purely fictional reworking of history and then developed into a science fiction fantasy with comedic tones. Atom, on the other hand, is a mystery/ horror novel.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I feel that my strength as a writer is my sense of humour and understanding of history. I think that the more you write, the more you learn. I have a very good editor in Nigel Dean, who takes great delight in ripping some parts of my books to shreds and praising other parts. I think that is what you need as a writer. Someone to give an honest appraisal of your work. I also like to think I have an eye for detail, which helps when developing a plot across a series.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is to make just enough money to spend my days writing on a laptop on a beach in the south of England. I would really like to see one of my books on the television or at the cinema as well. I have read and digested all the material about marketing I can find, and hopefully, this will help. I also try to make every book better than the last one and different to all the other works out there. I believe that the best way of improving your craft is to practice it continually and listen to the advice of people you respect.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Read your text aloud to yourself. The biggest single thing I had a problem with was editing and continuity. When you read your own work, you are somehow blind to all the silly errors and omissions you make. Read it aloud to yourself and you will pick these things up. You might feel a little strange at first, but you soon get used to it, despite the strange looks from the wife.

What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?

It is about a young man called Thomas who is befriended by an older man called Kauko as they march with Harold’s army. Kauko is intent on protecting Thomas above all else and Thomas has no idea why. The story is linked to the appearance of Halley’s comet that year. At the time people would have attached great significance to the appearance of a comet, as indeed they do today. The idea that human life is mapped out and predetermined by fate or greater beings is alien to me, and so I use the story to advocate the freedom that belongs to us all.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

The third book in the series of The Last Days of Planet Earth, The Children of Raphael is finished. This is more complex that the previous two, so the editing is particularly painful. I hope to have it released in time for Christmas. I am also working on a dark romance novel called Fugue, which I am about halfway through writing.

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Hastings 1066 Fortnight


And here’s our first guest! And she gets the Date itself, the anniversary of the battle! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back Victoria Zigler!

eadweard-a-story-of-1066-cover-1-1600x2400Where do you live and write from?

I live on the South-East coast of England, not too far from the town of Hastings. I used to write from wherever I happened to be in our flat, but after I broke another laptop when I forgot where I put it and stepped on it, we decided a desk should be set up for me. So, now I do most of my writing at my desk, near to a window where I can hear and smell the ocean while I write (or, just hear it, if the weather is too miserable for me to have the window open). If I’m not at my desk, but have an idea I “have to” write down immediately, I use the “notes” function on my iPhone, but I usually only use that to make quick notes to use for reference later, because touch screen keyboards are too much work to use for long writing sessions, and voice recognition softwear doesn’t always reliably translate what you’re saying in to text.

Why do you write?

I write because I have stories inside of me that need to get out, and I publish them because I believe stories need to be shared. Yes, it really is that simple.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I learned how. I was taught at home when I was about three years old, could already read and write well by the time I started school at the age of four, and was quick to learn the pleasure of writing poetry and stories. I was seven years old the first time I entered a writing contest, and still have the third place medal I won for it. I don’t have the chocolate bar I won in the next one though… I ate that a very long time ago. I haven’t entered any contests since I left school though, and I’ve only been publishing my work since April 2012.

What genre(s) do you write?

Most of what I write comes under the heading of fairy tales, fantasy stories, animal stories, or a mixture of the three. I have written a few stories in other genres though, such as my latest tentative steps in to writing science fiction and historical fiction, a story I’ve written about a vegetarian zombie, and a series I have on adjusting after sight loss. Regardless of genre, my stories are generally aimed at middle grade readers or younger, although I know of people in their 70s who have enjoyed them. No, I’m not talking about family members or friends either… If I included those, my eldest fan would be my almost 90 year old Nan, but I was talking about people who didn’t know me before they stumbled across my books.

I also write poetry, most of which is suitable for readers of any age, and has been enjoyed by children and adults alike.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I’m not really sure how to answer this one. A lot of aspects need to come together in order to create a story that readers will enjoy, and the best way to improve when it comes to writing is to practice by writing, and learn from reading books by other authors. So, that’s what I do. Seriously, most of my time is spent either writing or reading. But as for what my actual strengths are… Honestly? I haven’t a clue!

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal as a writer is to share as many of the stories in my head as possible with as many people as possible. As for what I’m doing to achieve it: writing a lot, publishing everything I write as soon as it’s ready to be set free in the big wide world, expanding the formats I offer my book in so I’m no longer only doing eBooks, and pretending to know what I’m doing when it comes to marketing.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I think at this point I’m supposed to give some wise advice and sound like Buddha or Yoda, or their feminine counterparts anyway. But I’m not going to do that, because the best advice is to just keep writing. It’s the best way to improve as a writer, and the only way you’ll ever finish that book you’re working on. It sounds simple, but it’s the best advice I’ve ever had, and some people actually find it more difficult than you might think. So, just keep writing!

What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?

My story around the Battle of Hastings is about a young boy named Eadweard who, along with his best friend, Cerdic, thought it would be fun to join the ranks of men marching to fight in the battle, even though they officially aren’t old enough and had been forbidden to do so by their Fathers. They have dreams of being great war heroes, but soon discover the reality of war is nothing like what they imagined it to be.

I wanted to tell the story of the events of the battle reasonably accurately – as much as can be done without a time machine, which I don’t have access to, unfortunately. But I also wanted the story to be from the point of view of someone who wasn’t some famous war hero. Part of my preference for someone who wasn’t a great war hero was because I wanted the person to be a child, and part of it was because I wanted fighting to be new to him. I wanted to tell the story of the battle, while at the same time showing that war isn’t the amazing adventure some people think it to be. I also wanted the book to be suitable for middle grade readers, which is why it needed to be a young lad who was the main character. After looking up everything I could find on the battle, and letting those thoughts simmer in my mind for a couple of months, I sat down to write the story, and “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066” is the result. To my knowledge, Eadweard and Cerdic themselves never existed. However, boys like them would have, and the battle itself was very real.

Just for your information: I’ve put an “eight years and older” warning on the book’s blurb, because some of the scenes in the story really aren’t suitable for readers younger than that, in my opinion. After all, it is a story about a battle, and I can’t show the reality of war without showing some violence and blood.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yep… Always! I usually have at least two writing projects on the go, as well as writing poems whenever inspiration strikes. I’ve written several poems since I published my last poetry collection this past July, so when I have enough to do so, I’ll publish another one. I’m also working on a couple of new stories, one of which is a Christmas story involving a giant.

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Buy links for “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066”

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/652726

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eadweard-victoria-zigler/1124182601

Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/eadweard-a-story-of-1066/id1137551399

Also available from other sites Smashwords distributes to.

Paperback coming soon!

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