I don’t like spiders. I really, really don’t like spiders. So when I had to research some information about them for Crystal Mine, I thought I’d be clever and specify drawings. I mean, they can’t be as bad as actual pictures now, can they? I was wrong. So very wrong. Some of those pictures are worse than actual photos. They point out fangs and all the other little details that glancing at a picture can allow you to ignore. But somehow, I managed to survive the trauma and found the information that would help and we continued to write the story.
If only I’d stopped there and we’d found some other creature less creepy to add to the story. Do not search up details about spiders that carry their young. I repeat, this is a public service announcement, do not search details about spiders that carry their young around with them. If you think one spider is bad enough, you don’t want to see images of spiders carrying their young. That is the type of image horror movies are made from.
Thankfully, the story isn’t all about spiders and terrifying baby spiders riding around on them and we did get to research other things as well. And do nicer worldbuilding. Although the rest of the research didn’t entertain my co-writers anywhere near as much as my reactions to our spider research did.
On a lighter note, when trying to come up with a quest title involving finding The Nelly, Storm had a suggestion.
Me: What’s your suggestion?
Storm: Do you want the sarcastic answer?
Me: Sure, why not.
Storm: Whoa Nelly.
Me: How about the non-sarcastic answer?
Storm: I don’t have one of them.
Me: Of course you don’t.
Guardians Of The Round Table 5: Crystal Mine is now available. We hope you enjoy it and also have fun discovering more about Inadon in Lost And Powerful: Myths Of Misplaced Staves.
There are some things in life that I have mixed feelings about and rain is one of those things. I love the sound of it on the roof, especially the sound of it on a tin roof. It brings back so many great childhood memories of being curled up in bed with a book, cosy inside while it’s cold and rainy outside. I still love to curl up with a book while the rain is falling and spend the day reading. And obviously the yard loves it when it rains and I like it when the grass is green and the countryside isn’t dried out with everything seeming to be a shade of brown or yellow and there’s more dust than vegetation.
There are of course times when it’s frustrating. When I want to do things outside and the rain is preventing me from getting those tasks done. And there are of course times when the rain can be scary. Like when floodwaters are rising around you and the rain just won’t stop. When rivers are flooding and water has risen high enough to cover bridges and food is running low and there’s no way to access a store due to how many roads have been cut from flooding.
At the moment, the rain is at that frustrating stage. There are things to be done outside and the rain is interrupting. It’s nice to see the area so lovely and green, but a few days for the mud to dry up would be perfect. And a couple more days so we can finish up all the tasks needing to be done outside, which currently includes an area behind the house that could do with some pavers to make it more usable. I know the rain will eventually end and the paving will be finished, but for now, every morning I check the skies and sigh heavily when I see the dark clouds. The rain continues and my backyard is slowly beginning to resemble a swimming pool.
Sometimes when I write a story, one of the secondary characters will stand out, even though they might be a minor one, and need their story told. That is what happened with Esther. She was an unnamed character, barely made an appearance, but she tugged at my attention and had me wondering about her. I needed to know why she was at the location, how had she ended up in the situation and what would happen to her. The more I wondered, the more ideas formed and eventually I couldn’t resist writing her story to find out exactly who Esther was and what would happen to her.
I hope you enjoy Esther’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Demon Hunters 7: Extrication is now available on Amazon.
When we were deciding the worldbuilding and game mechanics of Guardians Of The Round table, we had a look at what it was about our favourite games that continued to draw us back. We looked at tabletop games, computer and console games, board games and even card games. There were some games that stood out, ones we’ve played for years. Particularly Dungeons and Dragons and all The Elder Scrolls games.
We love open world games, ones where you can explore and discover new things. We like completing quests and being able to go into areas that we’re probably too low a level for, knowing there’s a good chance we’re going to get wrecked. We also discovered that failing is part of the way we learn. Time after time, we’ll pit ourselves against an impossible boss, trying something different each time until we eventually triumph.
We also love intricate worlds. We enjoy discovering the lore and exploring new locations. We also enjoy finding interesting items and collecting things that probably have no current use, but we might need in the future. And setting up a base to store all those things we might eventually need because we’ve ended up collecting more than we can carry.
We took some of those general ideas into account when we began to do worldbuilding for Guardians Of The Round Table. Particularly the idea of writing books that the characters can find. We have so many books planned for the characters to discover. Some will lead them onto other things, some will teach them about the world and others are just for fun.
We are currently working on another book that the characters will discover in Guardians Of The Round Table 5: Crystal Mine, due out in May. But until then, if you haven’t already read it, Legend Of The Ancestral King is free on Smashwords.
Sometimes it takes me years to get around to writing a story idea and I know there are some I’ll never have the chance to write as I have far too many ideas. This particular idea came to me in July 2006, but I have other ideas dating back to the eighties that I have still not found the time to write the story for them. Ideas I’d love to write. Instead, other ideas interrupt and other characters demand their stories be told and those older ideas are shelved, sometimes waiting decades before their characters become too insistent to ignore.
This is one of those stories whose characters patiently waited, eventually becoming impatient and demanding it was their turn. There were quite a few days where the characters kept me writing into the early hours of the morning, writing as many as six thousand words in a day. Imprisoned By Iron is finally available and I hope you enjoy reading Audrey’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I love being able to look at an image and see a story in it. This one brings to mind images of sacred groves and nature magic. But what if someone from a long line of powerful nature magic users has a different sort of magic? One considered evil and that all those who wield it should be eradicated. How would they keep it hidden? Tell everyone they have no magic? Never use it? What if they or a loved one are in danger and the only means of surviving is to use the magic? Either way, it could lead to their death. Would they be willing to sacrifice themselves if they could escape without using it, but doing so would lead to the death of a loved one? And if they used their magic to saved the one they’re close to, what would they do? Leave them to be sentenced to death? Rescue them? See them as evil since they have a magic all fear?
No wonder I have so many ideas that I’ll never be able to write all of them A glimpse of a single image creates yet one more idea. And I see so many different images every day. My world is full of stories. Everywhere I look.
One of the things my co-writers and I really love about some of our favourite computer games are the lore books that add to the flavour and depth of the worldbuilding of the game. So when our characters discovered a lore book that was based on more than the mechanics of the world, we decided we needed to write it too. We wanted our LitRPG series to have some of the same elements as the games we love to play.
Writing Legend Of The Ancestral King involved creating more historical background not only for Ruby Isle, but for Inadon in general. We spent hours discussing Inadon’s past, its possible impact on the future and the style the lore book would be written in. We had so much fun that we’ve discussed other lore books we could write for the characters to discover.
Guardians Of The Round Table 4: Frog Mage is now available. We hope you enjoy not only learning what happens next to Mallory and her companions, but also enjoy discovering a little more about Inadon’s history in Legend Of The Ancestral King.
I had a porcelain doll when I was a child and at the time I was reading a lot of Greek myths and chose the name Penelope for her. I always wondered who had it worse. Penelope stuck at home waiting for Odysseus to return and missing out on all those adventures, or Odysseus struggling to return home as he faced all kinds of challenges. I spent many hours pondering this question, as well as many others, about not only that story, but all the other Greek myths I read, particularly stories about their many gods and goddesses.
Penelope, the doll, came with a fancy outfit that could be removed, but the problem was, I had nothing else to put on her. Luckily my grandma could sew and we spent a lot of time designing and making clothes for Penelope. That was my favourite part about her. Not the fact that she ended up having lots of clothes, but the designing and creating of those clothes.
Grandma had tins of buttons, containers of ribbons and leftover pieces of fabric. I spent hours searching through all the items, matching ribbons and buttons with fabric, deciding what type of garment they’d suit and talking over how I wanted them to look. We spent months creating a wardrobe for Penelope and I spent more time creating clothes for her than I ever spent playing with her. But that was what I loved about her. Creating her clothes.
I still enjoy making clothes today. These days I make them for myself and family, either everyday clothes or costumes, sharing the fun with my children. But I still regularly remember all the days I spent with Grandma, creating clothes for Penelope and the many hours of fun we had making them together.
I love editing. I know it’s not a popular view and many years ago, and I’m talking decades, I didn’t much like editing either. It was difficult, the story fought me every step of the way and the entire process felt like a chore. Then things changed. I realised I’d been going about it wrong. I’d also had no clue what I was doing when it came to editing and didn’t know what problems to look for so I could fix them.
Seeing editing in a different light didn’t begin to happen until I had a manuscript edited by a professional editor. I learned so much about my strengths and weaknesses as a writer from those extensive notes and finally had a plan as to how to tackle editing. Over the years I learned more and one day I realised editing was no longer a chore. I began to look forward to it as much as I looked forward to starting a new manuscript.
First drafts are fun and it’s exciting meeting new characters and discovering where the story will take them. But edits, they are where the story becomes what I originally imagined it might be. Where the awkward phrases are polished, the repetitious words are removed and the inconsistencies are fixed. Sometimes, it’s where the magic truly happens.
I’m in the middle of edits now. Improving and polishing one of the manuscripts that will be released this year. There are times when it takes me half an hour to fix a single paragraph. Others where I become immersed in the story and realise I’m reading instead of editing and need to return to the last change I made. And times when I run a sentence or two past friends, family or editors and demand, “What’s wrong with this? I can’t figure it out.” It’s usually something simple which I’ve been unable to see due to how close I am to the manuscript.
Editing is the longest part of the writing process for me, taking far longer than it does to write the first draft. But even with all the edits, a few errors manage to slip through. Obviously going into stealth mode to escape the notice of the many people involved in the editing process of each manuscript.
No matter what part of the writing process I’m in, there is something I love about each stage. Something that draws me in and keeps me at it for extremely long hours. And that often wakes me from sleep with ideas either for what I’m working on or a future project. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s always good to find your passion in life and writing is definitely mine. Every part of writing. Even the editing.
It’s been an extremely busy year, in a good way, as well as another great year. That doesn’t mean it was perfect and that nothing went wrong. Sometimes, it’s those moments that don’t go according to plan that can be the most interesting and take you down completely unexpected paths.
I had a marvellous time at Supanova, Brisbane in November and enjoyed meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Clint certainly outdid himself with the display this year. It was also lovely catching up with some of my readers and discovering which books they are waiting for and which series they love the best.
I can’t wait to see what the coming year will bring and where the unexpected happenings will take me. Or what kind of windy paths and fascinating destinations they’ll lead me through and ultimately to.
I wish all of you the best in the coming year and may the path you find yourself taking bring a smile to your face and create memories you will want to cherish forever.