- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 423 KB
- Print Length: 368 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1479221961
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon UK, Amazon US
- Language: English
- Official Blog: Word Flows
“Doesn’t she know you can’t do real magic alone?”
Freshly graduated from the Voleno Academy, Faylanna Derrion is trying to find her solitary place in a world where she and her fellow Magicia are expected to find their magical partner as soon as possible. When her mentor and his partner are taken by a terrible darkness before her eyes, her flight to find help brings Tavis into her life.
Can she learn to see him as more than a simple farmer or will she accede to her father’s demands to return to her family’s home, following a path others have laid out for her? Can she choose her own course, after a lifetime of refusing to bind herself to anyone?
My Rating: ★★★★ (4 out of 5)
This is the first book in the Mirrors of Bershan trilogy. A story about the feisty Faylanna and her life after leaving the Voleno academy for Magicia. As the first book in a trilogy, I found it a very satisfying story.
The immediate plot in the book is dealt with though you can feel the wider story starting to develop. Enough intriguing parts left open for the next two books in the series.
The world created is very well drawn and the characters come to life on the page. I thought it was well written and well edited and a credit to a self-published work. The more self-published books that are presented like this will help the cause enormously.
I’m not usually a reader of the fantasy genre, but I enjoyed this visit and will make sure it’s not the last fantasy book I read. So much so, I have already downloaded the second book in the trilogy, Possession.
Says enough me thinks
Filed under: E-Book, Reading, Recommended Books | 10 Comments
Tags: book review, Bound, Fantasy, Faylanna, J. Elizabeth Hill, Reading, Tavis, Writing
We're back with another guest author interview today. Please welcome Pete Denton to the blog, I met Pete during the April A to Z Challenge 2013 as one of the many great people who were taking part and I began to follow his blog afterwards. Pete kindly agreed to be our guest today and talk about his writing journey.
Let's find our more about Pete;
Filed under: Writing | Leave a Comment
What do weather forecasters know?
Sometimes they don’t seem to be able to predict the weather for the next few days, let alone long-term. That said, they have predicted the weather for the next few months and good old blighty can apparently expect the worst winter in living memory.
They’re saying there is potential for record snowfall in November. Prolonged snow. The type that bites at your ankles every time you step foot outside your door. Not the news you want as we head deeper into Autumn. I’m only just about getting used to the falling leaves and the daily rain.
Wait a minute. Record snowfall?
There is a good part to this post. Honest.
I’ve posted before (many, many times) about the joys of NaNoWriMo. The National Novel Writing Month is free to enter. Your target is to write 50,000 words in the calendar month of November.
To some, 50,000 words might seem like a breeze (I’m not one of them), to others it is a hefty word-count to write in just 30 days. I have entered NaNo twice in the past and somehow have managed to ‘win’ both times. This July I managed it with a day to spare!
What I’ve learnt with NaNo is that it really is GREAT to help you kick-start a new project. Whether it’s a new novel or a collection of short stories, the word-count is all good. NaNo does help inspire you into a good writing routine. For rules and to sign-up just click the image above to go through to the official website.
How is my writing going at the moment?
Slow though there is forward momentum.
You need one of those time-lapse cameras to see the movement, but it is there!
With that in mind, I’m giving it a miss this time. Once a year is enough for me at the moment and I’m still recovering from my July trip to Camp NaNo.
Anyone taking part in NaNoWriMo this November?
If you are, best of luck to you all. It’ll beat being out in the record snowfall. Be nice and warm inside writing your next novel.
Thanks for reading.
Filed under: Camp Nano, E-Book, Novel In Progress, Writing | 40 Comments
Tags: NaNo, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, photography, Reading, Snow, Weather Forecasting, Writers Resources, Writing
I’ve posted before about whether you like music or the television on in the background when you write, or you prefer silence when you rattle out the prose. The other group are those who like to write in public. The library or café/coffee shop writers.
Or bus, train or park-bench writers. Wherever you can stimulate the creative juices.
I’ve never attempted writing in a coffee shop. Maybe it’s because I don’t drink coffee so I don’t exactly frequent Starbucks or Costa Coffee to even think about setting up a mini, rent-free office environment and have business cards printed with a latte embossed in the corner.
Krispy Kreme. Hmmm, doughnuts. I could set up in there …
Anyway. Not the purpose of the post to talk about doughnuts. Or, coffee for that matter.
I came across a website - www.coffitivity.com - (and they also do an app) that creates background noises associated with a coffee shop.
Yes. You read correctly. A website and when you visit it, you have the background noises you would hear if you’d set up for the day and ordered your cocoa primed and ready to write your next two chapters of your magnum opus.
For introverts who want the sounds of the interactions rather than real people buzzing about your table, you can put on a pot of coffee, train the dog to bring you a danish and write in the comfort of your own home. I’m sure if you did, it would look like the scene below. The height of sophistication.
Or, if you crave the sights, sounds and smells of company, you could just go and write in the coffee shop.
The decision is yours.
Any bizarre apps or sites you know to help recreate a writing environment? Keep them clean please.
Thanks for reading and listening. Order for table three.
Filed under: Writing | 22 Comments
Tags: Cafes, Coffee, Coffitivity, Cool Apps, Krispy Kreme, Reading, Writing
Labels always make me think of childhood, and coloring books, where a parent or a kindergarten teacher would say: don’t color outside the lines. That’s what they’re there for, to guide you, to teach you (both the lines and the teachers pointing to them). Maybe it’s my Ukrainian upbringing, mixed with a ton of Jersey Shore hubris on my father’s side, because my father followed his own artistic obsessions into the painting world, and this made me question authority from an early age. Sometimes authority figures were not fair and just at all. As a child, I buckled at the system that flaunted so many of life’s unfairnesses.
And, on a certain path, I followed in my parents’ huge creative footsteps, the only one of us five Bog kids to do so, to actually think I could make a living being a writer (still haven’t achieved that, but some fine day). I learned the “rules” of writing, received the best public school education, by falling for reading first. I read everything, and like so many kids of my generation, being a kid in the 70s, I had huge amounts of free time and little parental supervision. The term helicopter parent was far in the future.
In learning the rules of writing, basic grammar, and reading tons of King, Carver, Irving, Jackson, Cheever, Updike, Ingalls, Straub, Atwood, and most of the classics, the stories I set down on paper became stronger, and I found that I had my own style separate from every other single writer out there in the weeds, as it should be. There’s room for every writer, and each story a writer tells is distinct. I have never viewed the writing life as a competition between myself and any other writer. Variety is good and very inspirational.
My stories begin with the spark of an idea, or a vision of a character or setting where something is about to happen. In the title story of my first collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories, I remember thinking about a child’s balloon floating above a crowded beach . . . and the image of this child came into my head. She was a toddler, and not very happy about losing her balloon, the balloon her mother had just bought for her, and the mother came into being. There she was, pretty, very young herself, married, and . . . that fact led me to the words this mother spoke to her child, and . . . this made me think about who was sitting close enough to this mother and child on the crowded beach, listening to their dialogue. Then, and only then, did I begin to think about where the story would lead, and I wrote it to the end in a short form. Got it all down. In further edits, I added to the tale, inventing another character or two who interact with the two women and child on the beach, and then I set the short story aside for a long time. When I took it out again, I knew it wasn’t strong enough yet so I tinkered with the motivations, the voice of the third-person narrator, and what happened to the characters became natural.
Pantser is a title I don’t mind. My stories stem from character first. How each character is introduced is important to me. I don’t enjoy reading about cardboard characters. Who does? My latest psychological thriller is a novella titled The Conversationalist and the title comes from my main character’s inability to grow deep connections with the people who cross his path during the day no matter how hard he tries. There’s a stumbling block within his psyche, and this is where I began the tale, with my conversationalist on a date. Then his date came into focus, and she had her own issues. She was trying to reveal her past, something horrible and human and my conversationalist wasn’t listening very well. He faked his outward seriousness, but couldn’t quite pull it off and ended up doing something rude. By the time the date ends, the plot is set in motion, and he is haunted by the decision he made on that date because there is someone out there who wants to teach him a lesson. These two characters continue on in the seven chapters while more characters are introduced, co-workers, a sibling, students of the main character, who is a teacher, and the suspense builds. The ending is natural since the characters brought me there, and I like the atmosphere of dread that also builds.
I’ve never plotted out any piece I’ve completed. Even the three novels I’ve attempted, two finished and in different editing stages, and one only a hundred pages in, there has been very little plotting, but I write the novels in a rush, a little bit at a time, daily, until the tale ends. I juggle all the character names in my head too, and usually these longer novels have huge casts. In the editing stage I fix all the errors where I used a different name for a character who was introduced with another name at the beginning . . . that does happen!
I do know many writers who outline and plot out their stories, and that’s wonderful, but I tried to do that and became mired down with “knowing” the story before I wrote it. I don’t like knowing how a book ends before I read it either. Same with a film. I rarely read reviews in case they spoil the action of anything in pop culture. In writing, I like the added mystery of not knowing where a character will lead me, and because I love suspense/horror/speculative fiction my tales tend to be centered in dark places and situations. Characters must overcome something, fail or succeed in trying.
Anyway, Pete, I thank you for letting me ramble on about my latest work, The Conversationalist, and how I go about plotting out a story. When I’m in the writing trenches, the outside world disappears.
p.s. all of my books are available at Amazon and can be ordered from your local bookseller as well (The Conversationalist is an eBook only).
my A Writer’s Life blog is www.justinbog.com
Filed under: E-Book, Guest Post, Writing | 9 Comments
Tags: Books, Guest Posts, Justin Bog, pantser vs. plotter, Reading, The Conversationalist, Thrillers, Writing
I’ve hijacked my dad’s blog while he wanders off to eat a pie or something. I NEED your help.
Recently, I’ve been catnapped, stuffed in a plastic, portable prison cell and taken to a place, far, far away where nasty misters and mrs’ers poke and prod me. They’ve jabbed me with needles and removed red-stuff from my neck.
I got my own back by peeing on their table. That’ll teach ‘em.
My parents say there are problems with my kidleys and often force tiny pebbles down my neck and on the days when they don’t, my food tastes like they’ve mixed sand in it. I prefer GRAVY.
Anyway, fatboy is heading back. Please send help NOW.
I would like to point out that NO PIES were consumed during my blog being hijacked. Strange how he thinks we’re kidnapping him when a trip to the vets is FOR HIM. Anyway, I thought I’d update you on our beloved fluff meister following on from his recent bout of walking into things.
During his life-time so far, he’s been stray, living rough in our garden and eating dried bread for weeks before we took him in. Then he’s had cancer and had half his tail amputated. He had another operation to have a pre-cancerous lump removed. After walking into things we found out he’d developed Kidney disease and also suffers from high blood pressure AND a heart defect.
Over the last few weeks, he started drinking more. Again.
No. Not that type of drinking. He’s not on the sauce. His water dish type of drinking.
He was also doing a damned good impression of a greedy little piglet, forming an orderly queue of one whenever we ventured near to the kitchen. I think he fully expected to share our pepperoni pizza the other day and he wants to have chilli.
Anyway, he also seemed a little unsteady in his walking, particularly his back legs so we
rammed lovingly placed him into his plush basket and had a family outing.
The vets, who are always great, checked his blood pressure and heart and decided to take a blood sample. We were due for his check-up anyway to see if the medication is helping. They said they would run a urine sample and, no word of a lie, he immediately pee’d on the table. I’m sure there was a glint in his eye as he obliged.
After running the blood and urine tests, his kidneys, heart and blood pressure have all settled so the medication is at least working. Both his retinas have re-attached so he can see again.
He does have a new problem. Diabetes!
The poor lad has more medical mayhem to overcome. And, so do we.
Feline diabetes is much the same as the human disease. The lack of insulin from their pancreas means daily injections to replace it.
Yes. As well as the three tablets he has every day, we now have to inject him with insulin as well. The vets have been brilliant in explaining what we need to do. They gave us a couple of syringes and vials of water to practice drawing the liquid though I’m sorry to say that the pear we injected as practice didn’t survive.
The vets watched us inject him and seemed pleased enough to leave us to it for the rest of the week. Once a day to start though after another midweek trip to the vets to check his glucose levels we’ve now started twice daily injections.
The injections are actually easier to administer than the tablets. He doesn’t feel anything and thinks he’s having a fuss. I think it’s affecting us more than him!
So, when he cries for help. WE ARE HELPING HIM!
Thanks for reading and despite what Munchie thinks, please don’t report us to the authorities. We’re doing this for him.
Filed under: General, Writing | 32 Comments
Tags: cats, Diabetes in cats, Diabetes mellitus, Writing
I’ve been away from WordPress for a few weeks and on my return I’ve noticed a little box that has appeared at the bottom of my posts.
In case you we wondering, YOU don’t see adverts on yours or someone else’s blog when you are signed in to WordPress. If you operate a free blog hosted at the .wordpress.com site and someone finds you through Google or other medium and they are not registered or signed in to WordPress they can see the adverts.
Question is: Do you pay or not?
For a year of ad-free posting it will cost you $30 or about £18.70 on current exchange rates.
I’d be interested in your views, whether you currently pay for hosting anyway so it wouldn’t affect you or whether you think $30 is a reasonable price to pay per year so your visitors are not subjected to ads.
I do appreciate that for me, WordPress is a free service and in the ways of the world, they need to make their money somewhere. I’m just not sure whether all blogs would benefit and $30 a year is a cost not everyone will be able to pay.
Have you noticed these? What do you think?
Filed under: General, Writing | 50 Comments
Tags: Advertising, blogging, Reading, WordPress, Writing
Welcome back to the random ramblings of a mad man!
Last week, WordPress informed me that I started my blog TWO YEARS ago. Seems like the two years have passed by in a blur.
Speaking of anniversaries, I recently watched a news report on the old BBC about the history of the cassette tape. Yes. I need to get out more, but one person they interviewed spoke about how he’d never stopped buying tapes. I didn’t realise you COULD still buy them but hey ho!
He had his humongously clunky Walkman draped around his neck like an Olympic medal and commented that as tapes were not small enough to carry a hundred around with you so you HAD to listen to the same album over and over. You found gold.
We do live in a more bite-sized world. iTunes and Amazon (amongst others) allow us to cherry pick what we want. We have the smörgåsbord to pick at rather than listen to the music as the artist intended. We might now miss the gold.
I have over 2,500 songs on my iPhone and I do like to shuffle the tracks, but I realised when listening to this proud, Walkman wearing man from the 80s that I need to listen to full albums again. Some of my favourite tracks of all time were never the popular songs. I might have missed out otherwise.
It also served as a reminder to the power of the time bound story. For people of a certain age, those who actually remember vinyl and tapes before the digital age, these type of details can instantly take a reader back to that time. The little details make all the difference.
How do you listen to your music?
Are you still hankering back to the days of Vinyl and do you remember the joy of tapes when they got wrapped around the cassette player and you’d need to spend half an hour unwinding and rewinding it again?
Thanks for reading now, and your support over the last two years.
Filed under: General, Writing | 42 Comments
Tags: anniversaries, Cassette deck, Compact Cassette, iPhone, iTunes, Walkman, Writing
One of the best parts about blogging, for me, is the fact that you can help promote new releases. When I read that the second book in the Mirrors of Bershan trilogy was being readied for release on September 10th, I had to climb on board and help.
In a moment, my first interview with the author J. Elizabeth Hill. First a chance for you to be one of THREE winners who will receive signed copies of both POSSESSION and the first book in the series, BOUND. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is click the link to the rafflecopter. Simple as that.
What are you waiting for? FREE SIGNED STUFF!
** Special Giveaway **
On to the main reason for today’s post.
Thank you for agreeing to be my first interviewee, Julie. I promise to go easy on you.
What inspired the idea behind the Mirrors of Bershan trilogy?
It was my lifelong fascination with twins that originally sparked the story. My mother was a twin and I’ve always found the idea of someone being the other half of you interesting. One day, I wondered what it would be like if there was someone you were connected to that way, but in a magical sense. That’s how bound magic came about, the idea that someone might be the other half of your magic. After that, I just had to figure out who the characters were and why they were meeting so much later in their lives than was normal for these people who practice magic in pairs.
What can we expect from Faylanna and Tavis in the second book: POSSESSION?
For one thing, you’ll get to see what it’s like to be part of a bound pair. Faylanna and Tavis don’t bond until the end of Bound, so you never get much more than the barest glimpse, and even then, it’s only the initial stages.
Each of them has secrets in their past, ones they are unaware of until events in Possession bring them to light. Once the secrets are revealed though, their lives will never be the same again. And these aren’t little things either. It’s a challenge for them both to deal with not just their secrets, but each other’s.
Your stories seem firmly fixed in the fantasy genre. What were your favourite books growing up?
As you might guess, most of my favorite books growing up were fantasy. I read David Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean quintets several times, and then there was Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I really should finish that one. But I also read some sci-fi, especially Anne McCaffrey. I read everything I could get my hands on of hers.
Did these books make you want to write?
Yes and no. Even as a very young child, I liked to make up stories. It was just something that came naturally, how I filled my days. Whether those were any good, I won’t say. They probably weren’t. Storytelling was just something I always did and enjoyed. Eventually I started writing them down.
I will say that the amount of fantasy I read growing up may have influenced what I chose to write about. Writing stories that have neither magic nor supernatural beings in it always feels a little weird. Even thinking about stories without that is odd to me.
What lessons have you learned from self-publishing BOUND that you’re changing for the launch of POSSESSION?
For one thing, I learned to actually do some pre-publication launch activities. I just put Bound up on ebook retailers and announced it was there. Big mistake. This time, I set a specific date in advance and announced it, then scheduled launch activities to drum up interest like the cover reveal. Anticipation can be a really good thing, but you need a date for that. I’m also reaching out to friends and fellow writers for help launching Possession with things such as this blog tour.
What has been the biggest barrier to your writing over the years?
Fear, hands down. For a long time, I was afraid to try, to be less than perfect, to try different things with process. I let my fear hold me back and cripple me. Some stuff happened in my life a couple years ago that made me re-evaluate what I was doing and where I wanted to be with my life. I didn’t like where I was and decided to pursue writing serious, which was where I wanted to be. I also decided to just do it, to hold the attitude of “They’re just words. If they suck, I can fix them. If they really suck, I can throw them out and make more. It’s not like I can’t.” It was very liberating.
Knowing what you know now, if you could send a tweet to the you of ten years ago, what do you think you’d say?
What do you hope to have achieved with your writing in the next five years?
More books written and published that people enjoy. While it would be nice to become a full-time writer with no day job, the writing itself is what’s really important to me. The lack of day job would really be about having more time to write. I’m drowning in stories I need to tell.
Many thanks to Julie for agreeing to be my first interviewee. If you’re not already familiar with Julie, here is some more information.
About the Author
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Julie Elizabeth Hill exported herself to Vancouver, British Columbia after many years of staring longingly at the map following every snowfall. For as long as she can remember, she’s been making up stories, but it wasn’t until high school that someone suggested writing them down. Since then, she’s been hopelessly in love with story crafting, often forgetting about everything else in the process.
Twitter – @jlizhill
Filed under: E-Book, Reading, Recommended Books, Writing | 12 Comments
Tags: Books, Bound, Free, J. Elizabeth Hill, Mirrors of Bershan, Possession, Reading, Writing
I have reached the end of another Camp NaNoWriMo experience.
The weather was good, the marshmallows tasty and the words managed to seep out of my head and onto the screen, which was the point of the whole experience so that was a good result!
I finished the month with 50,128 words of LttV written. Breaks down like thus:
- I wrote on 19 of the 31 days which is 61%;
- 18 Chapters and 35 scenes are complete;
- The average word count for the 19 days was 2,641;
- That extrapolates to 80k words if I’d done that every day;
- I managed two days over 5,000 words.
I have a chart for all you geeks out there!
The first week we were on leave so other than day two when I was unwell, I was delighted with the good start. Then, when I returned to work the evening writing stopped and I relied on weekends to get me through the challenge. The only exception to this the last couple of days as I was DETERMINED to hit the 50k mark in July.
And I did, so it was worth it?
At the end of my second experience of Camp NaNoWriMo, what have I learned?
I was beginning to think I might be transforming into a Pantser! That feeling only lasted a while as my writing over the final weekend stagnated as I reached the end of my planning. I didn’t know where to go and that slowed my progress.
When I have a plan the characters can choose to ignore it for a while. They go off on their tangents and I use the plan to steer them back after a couple of scenes or chapters.
When I DON’T have a plan they stand around and stare at me. Expecting me to come up with all the answers.
I’ve learned that I REALLY am a Planner. I will continue to embrace it.
I’m taking the weekend off to plan the final third of the book. I know what I want to happen, but I will bullet out the chapters and scenes to steer me away from the rocky road of the dreaded blank page and the staring characters.
If you participated in Camping this year, I hope you achieved what you hoped for and the writing is going well. If not, I highly recommend having a go at this challenge. If you’re interested, the original NaNoWriMo will take place again this November.
I haven’t finished this draft yet, but I hope to by the end of August and I’ll have the thrill of the challenge to thank for it.
Happy writing and thanks for reading.
A random photograph. I attended a training event in Salford Quays recently as whilst in the kitchen fetching a drink I took this picture of the view from the window. I could get used to working so close to water!
- Camp NaNo. End of Day 15 (petedenton.wordpress.com)
Filed under: Camp Nano, E-Book, General, Writing | 38 Comments
Tags: Camp NaNoWriMo, photography, Reading, Salford Quays, Writing