Princess Ilse, The Giant’s Daughter

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.

Working With An Artist

Sometimes it can be difficult working with an artist when you have no ability to draw and you want them to see exactly what you can see in your mind. It entails phrases such as ‘it’s like this, but not exactly’ and ‘a bit like a mix of all these pictures together’ and ‘if you took this bit of that image and a piece of that image and this section of the other image you might be close to what it looks like’.

These highly descriptive comments often lead to a rather cranky looking artist saying, “Draw it.”

“But I can’t draw,” I explain for probably the fiftieth time.

The artist holds out a piece of paper and pencil. “Draw what you want made.”

I reluctantly take the paper and attempt to draw something vaguely like what I have been trying to explain. Handing the artist the piece of paper, I say, “It looks like this. Kind of.”

The artist turns the paper in various directions, frowning. “What’s this?”

“My drawing. I told you I can’t draw. Why don’t you draw it? You’re the artist.”

“I would if you told me what you want.” The artist hands the paper back.

“I’ll send you the description from my book.” Once I’ve done that, I return to the artist and wait until the description is read.

The artist looks up from the computer. “That’s not enough information.”

“I do need to leave some of the details up to reader’s imagination.”

“So I can make what I want.”

“No. It has to be like what I pictured.”

“I’ll make something and if you don’t like it, too bad.” The artist wanders off to the shed, muttering about authors and impossible tasks. There are often a few four letter words included. Well, maybe more than a few.

Days, weeks or months later, depending on the complexity of the task, I finally see the finished piece. “That’s exactly what I imagined. See, I did give you enough information after all.” Although for some reason the artist doesn’t seem overly impressed with my comment.

Rosie’s Rangers 3: Treachery

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.

Something Wakes

Often when I’m out, I can’t resist taking photos of things that inspire ideas. After registering the facts, my brain frequently takes a sharp turn into the realms of fantasy and whoever is with me ends up hearing yet one more story idea that I’d love to write.

The hollowed out ground, in the image above, reminded me of the holes a dog I once owned would dig to sleep in. Particularly in summer so he could create a nice cool sleeping place. This hollow was far larger than the holes my dog ever dug and a creature that size would be enormous. Not to mention easily noticed. And if no one had noticed him before, that meant he had to have been asleep for a very long time. Had he willingly gone to sleep or had someone put him to sleep in the hope he never woke. Had they put him to sleep when they learned he was impossible to kill?

Would he be bent on revenge against the one who sent him to sleep and who was likely long dead? Or would he be angry towards all he comes across. What if he came across someone who looked similar to the one who put him to sleep? Would that be enough of a resemblance to have him target them? And what had he been doing in the first place to have someone wanting him dead?

Maybe he wasn’t the evil one. He might have been some sort of protective creature and the one who tried to kill him was the evil one. They might also be alive, as immortal as the one they sent to sleep.

What would have woken the creature? An expiry date on the spell that sent him to sleep or some unsuspecting person, trying to escape the creature who now thought they were the reason he’d been trapped in sleep.

As always there are numerous possibilities and the story could go in so many different directions. Maybe one day I’ll get to write it and figure out exactly why the creature slept for such a long time and what happened to him next.

Assassins Of The Dead 1: Dark Blade

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.

Tales Of Old Buildings

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.

Demon Hunters 5: Cursed

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.

Parachute Silk Dress

I’ve always been interested in history, even as a child. My nana had a tendency to keep everything so her place was like a treasure trove of things to be discovered. Nana used to be a seamstress so there were old cottons, a treadle sewing machine, heaps of material and numerous buttons. Everything had a story. I spent hours asking her to tell me the story behind all the things I discovered.

One of the items was a dress I loved to wear. It was far too big, dragged on the ground and I used a scarf around the waist to make it look less like a decorative sack draped over me. The stories about it fascinated me. They involved World War II, rations, a lack of material and things remaining scarce even when the war had ended. Nana told me how there was an excess of parachute silk, left over from the war, and some of it had patterns printed onto it so it could be used for dress fabric. She was able to get hold of a piece of the material and make herself a dress. After years of rations and being unable to get much more than the basics, she had something completely frivolous and unnecessary. The war had ended and people were trying to reclaim their previous lives.

I still have the dress and occasionally wear it, thinking back over all the stories attached to it like threads holding it together. Memories of mine and ones that belonged to others. Of war, loss, scarcity and hope.

Realms Of The Fae 3: The Magic Collector

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.

Memory Black Market

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.