I stumbled across a Norse myth, which after I researched it further, found there was a German one set in the same area. Both were equally fascinating and both were almost completely different apart from having the same main character. It was a difficult decision trying to decide which one to focus on and was pretty much chosen by the roll of the dice. And so I set aside the German tale and focused on the Norse one.
The Vikings travelled through many countries raiding and trading and bringing home not only the spoils they gained, but also stories and ideas from the cultures they came in contact with. I’ve done a lot of research on the culture previously, including reading many of their myths and legends, so I enjoyed reacquainting myself with the Vikings.
It was fascinating to see how two stories set in the same location and about the same character could be so different from each other. As always, I found myself asking numerous questions. Sadly, I’ll never know the true answers, but I can always do what storytellers have done throughout the ages. Make them up. Although that leads to the problem of which scenario I prefer the best, since there are so many different possibilities.
The Norse myth didn’t give all the names of the characters, like the German myth did, often giving only titles. Since the titles were similar, I chose to use the names given in the German myth due to the other similarities such as location, main character and titles of characters. In all else, I focused on the Norse myth when retelling the story of Princess Ilse.
Myths And Legends Retold: Princess Ilse, The Giant’s Daughter is now available on Amazon.
When I sat down to write the third book in my Rosie’s Rangers series I had a few vague ideas about where it was likely to go. Within minutes those ideas had been replaced with an image of Mila Bloodstriker, Asa’s cousin, turning up at Rosie’s farm.
The words began to flow and I struggled to keep up. Kidnappings, highwaymen, thieves, corrupt soldiers, illegal potions, blood shaman staves and plenty of adventure and danger came to mind. I often wrote late into the night and the early hours of the morning, missing out on sleep a few times because I needed to know what was going to happen next.
Some authors plot and plan their stories. I love to experience the story as I go, along for the ride with the characters, filling pages with words so I can follow the characters on their adventures. Some of those vague ideas I had at the start of ‘Treachery’ may go into a future Rosie’s Rangers novel, or they may not. But I’m looking forward to finding out exactly where Rosie is headed in future books and what her and her companions will do during their many coming adventures.
Rosie’s Rangers 3: Treachery is now available on Amazon.
While choosing what I wanted to write next, I decided to work on something new. I wanted to come up with a new idea rather than pick one of the many ideas I’ve made notes of over the years.
I needed to decide what I wanted the book to be about. Setting was my first thought and I do enjoy fantasy, particularly a medieval style fantasy world. That was sorted so next I needed to figure out if it would be real world, completely made up or an alternate reality. The ideas began to flow. I wanted magic in a world I had created. There needed to be warriors, assassins, vampires, ghosts and shifters. Within minutes I came up with the idea for a series. Numerous possibilities, storylines and characters instantly formed in my mind.
I couldn’t wait to get started and began immediately. In fact, I enjoyed writing the first book of Assassins Of The Dead so much that I began the second book in the series after I’d barely written the first.
Assassins Of The Dead 1: Dark Blade is now available on Amazon with the second book of the series well on the way to being finished.
I’ve always been fascinated by old buildings and often wonder at the many stories that have played out in them. The lives that have been lived within these walls, the ones that have passed through and the secrets they contain.
Looking at this image I see a car broken down on a lonely stretch of highway and a person who knows there is nothing for kilometres. Yet they can see a light in the distance and in desperation head towards it to find an imposing building that shouldn’t be there. When they enter, their footsteps echo in empty rooms, the feeble light from their torch showing very little, the batteries beginning to fail. They search for the staircase leading upwards, wanting to find the lit room, they saw from the highway, before the darkness closes in around them.
When they do find the room, what is waiting for them? Something demonic? Or something from another world that only slips through into this one at certain times of the year, trapping them a long way from home when it returns. Or a curse they are tricked into accepting, needing to pass it along to another innocent if they wish to be rid of it. So many possibilities. So many stories. And never enough time to write them all.
The initial idea I had for Cursed was the moment when Penelope meets Luca. So that’s where I started writing. When I finished the scene I knew it wasn’t the start of the story, that something came before it. I began to ask questions, trying to figure out what came first. I eventually figured it out, needing to add a few more details to the first scene I wrote so it fit in with the beginning.
I don’t always write in order. There are times when scenes are so vivid it’s necessary to write them so I can focus on the scenes that come before them. That happened quite a few times while writing Cursed. Many scenes were so vivid I could see every little detail, hear every single sound and knew what the characters could smell and feel. In some ways these scenes can be difficult to write as there are so many details to get down that my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts as I type. And the voice to text program also struggles to keep up with my dictation when I rapidly speak all the words. As difficult as they are to write, it’s amazing being so immersed in a world that you feel like you might be there.
Demon Hunters 5: Cursed is now available on Amazon.
Realms Of The Fae 3: The Magic Collector is one of the story ideas that came to me in a dream. Sometimes it’s only a single scene that comes to me. At other times it’s nearly the entire story. This time it was numerous fragments of scenes. Enough to have me intrigued and wanting to know more of what was going on, how all the scenes fit together and what happened in between each of those scenes. Some fragments didn’t make it into the final story, others changed slightly, but many remained exactly as I’d initially dreamt them. Ones such as the existence of the cursed exit, the cat and the waterhole are exactly as I dreamt them. Every little detail identical to those of my dream.
There were times when I had no idea how the many scenes would connect together to make an entire story. Or the order they all belonged in, but I had a lot of fun figuring it out and answering the many questions I typically have when writing.
Realms Of The Fae 3: The Magic Collector is now available on Amazon.
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. For me they become so many more. I can rarely look at a picture without also seeing a story idea, which is why I have more ideas than I’ll ever be able to write in a lifetime. Most people would only see a bubble. When I look at this picture all kinds of ideas run through my head.
Memories are fragile. Can often be important. They can contain important information, knowledge and skills. What if some had the ability to collect them? Gather them into a sphere that others could use. This could be a quick way to learn new skills. But then that would also mean someone would lose a skill. There would be the desperate ones willing to sell memories to get what they need. Others close to death who want to bequeath memories to their children. And what about those who wanted a particular memory, no matter the cost.
The people those memories were stolen from, would they know something was missing? A memory that was stolen too quickly and without absolute care due to the fear of being caught. What other memories might also be stolen? Or might have been fragmented. And how could someone take back those memories they’d lost and who would help them?
It’s no wonder I have an endless supply of ideas when the simple image of a bubble can trigger yet one more.
This time when it came to choosing a fairytale to retell I didn’t spend the usual amount of time reading through fairytales deciding which one I wanted to retell next. But that’s only because my daughter heard about an interesting tale she wanted me to write so she could read it. I told her I’d have a look and set about finding several different versions of The Death of Koshchei The Deathless to read. She was correct. It was a fascinating tale and one I wanted to write.
There were several versions and I mainly focused on one of them, using some of the details of the other versions to answer parts of the story that needed more depth or explanation. I enjoyed writing about Prince Ivan and Princess Marya Morevna. It isn’t often you come across fairytales that contain a warrior princess. Or even a strong female character. So it was nice to find a fairytale that had a female character who was both a strong character and a warrior.
Fairytales Retold: The Death Of Koshchei The Deathless is now available on Amazon.
When writing Over Too Soon I tried to find out details of what I could use, instead of actual human ashes, to figure out how large a circle I could make with the ashes from a teenage boy. Unable to find all the details I needed online I rang a crematorium, explaining who I was and what I needed to know. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at the lengthy silence on the other end of the phone. It took some convincing that I was serious about my question, but eventually they told me all the information I needed. Course sand was a suitable substitute. They also told me how much sand I’d need for a boy the weight and height of my character.
Once again, research kept me from making a mistake as the circle wasn’t as large as I thought it might be. Not that it mattered since it was more than large enough for the story. You can see a photo of one of the circles we made on my Behind The Scenes page. The initial area wasn’t large enough and since there was sand left over I found a larger location to recreate the circle. Sometimes research can be interesting, fun and rather strange.
Over Too Soon is now available on Amazon if you want to find out why the characters needed to make a circle using human ashes.
I’ve done research on PTSD previously, but always from the point of view of the person going through it, never from the perspective of their loved ones. I’ve always known they’d be affected too, but reading stories and facts about how much some of them have gone through was, at times, heart breaking. The one piece of information that surprised me, not because I didn’t think it was possible but because I hadn’t thought of it, was how those who’ve suffered natural disasters can also be affected by PTSD. Having lived in North Queensland, for part of my life, I know how devastating cyclones can be and what an impact they can have on those affected by them.
When I started to write this book, I didn’t start with the first chapter. I started with a scene that turned out to be about seven thousand words into the book and was part of a scene that I’d dreamt. I then returned to the start of the book and wrote until I reached the scene I’d started with. I don’t always write in order, but I do usually start with the first chapter each time I begin a new story. The one thing that was the same about this book, like many of my other books, was that I had no idea where it was going and what might happen. And I really wanted to know. Especially after dreaming part of a scene. Plea Of The Damned 3: Forgive Me Jena is now available on Amazon.