An Endless Dawn

Some stories are determined to be more than I originally think they’ll be. I expected An Endless Dawn to be a short story. It was a fairly straightforward story line. The first alien life form discovered and brought back to Earth was a plant. The focus was on a single character. It didn’t take me long to reach a point where I knew it could remain a short story and it would be an enjoyable read or it could become a novel. Something better and more complex than what I had originally imagined it to be. It took me a few weeks to decide if I wanted it to be more than the five to ten thousand word story it had started out as, but the new ideas intrigued me and I couldn’t resist following them. New characters joined the originally limited cast and other plots formed, taking Piper down paths that hadn’t been available to her before.

This also meant I needed to do more research and I once again delved into the world of science, figuring out what was and wasn’t possible in the many ideas that bombarded me. Occasionally I became lost in my research, finding fascinating bits of information both for this story and for future stories. Ones set in other worlds and with other characters that are in completely different situations.

After a rather small beginning, An Endless Dawn has grown beyond my expectations, taking Piper on a journey I hadn’t excepted her to go on. In some ways that is very much like life. Plans are frequently interrupted, changed or modified. Sometimes becoming better than what we expected.

An Endless Dawn is now available on Amazon. Longer and more complex than it’s humble beginnings indicated it would be.

Train Adventures

During primary school we took a long journey on a train. My mum, two younger siblings and myself. There were so many things about it I found fascinating. We were in a sleeper carriage and the bunk was like a different world. A place to not only curl up with a book, but to catch glimpses through the window of the scenery outside. There were stretches of open land, not a house in sight, towns filled with people, railway sidings that if you had blinked you might have missed them. I thought of ways to describe the places we travelled through, wondered about who might have lived there or what was in the area. I also wondered about where we were headed, but was mostly fascinated by where we currently were.

Of an evening, as I fell asleep, the sound of the train travelling across the track made a unique sound. It was mostly a rhythmic lullaby, reminding me I was going somewhere, even as I slept, my dreams filled with equally fascinating adventures.

There were times when the sleeper felt cramped, especially with my younger siblings cooped up inside the cabin too. The corridor outside the sleeper was also an interesting spot. Large windows to the passing world, strangers on their own journeys and two directions leading to other carriages. I would have loved to explore the entire train, but sadly that wasn’t possible. But there was more than enough to keep me interested in the sections where I was allowed and of course I had books with me. When you love to read there is always something to do.

When we arrived at our destination, there was yet more to see. The station was crowded. There were numerous people, a mixture of noises, bright lights and lots of colour. So much to see, so many things to feed my imagination and fuel more ideas for stories.

It’s memories like this that I draw on when writing. Using them to add a touch of realism to even my fantasy novels. The wonder of going to new places, discovering interesting things and meeting fascinating people. I still enjoy travelling. Going to out of the way places and often taking random directions because they look or sound interesting. Not only do I enjoy travelling myself, but I also love to hear about other people’s journeys too. They can be as fascinating as experiencing my own travels.

Dragon Blood Chronicles 1: Oath

My children kept telling me I would write more books in the Dragon Blood world, that I hadn’t finished with it. Well, apparently they were right, because I kept having ideas about some of the other characters, wanting to tell their stories too. I didn’t know which story I wanted to tell next, there were so many ideas I was drawn to so I continued with my other series and stand alone novels.

Then one day I walked into a shop with hand blown glass items and discovered glass pens that had nibs made of solid glass. I dipped the nib of a pen into a pot of ink and the words flowed across the page, the feeling of the pen surprisingly smooth. The opening scene of ‘Oath’ was soon written and Roy had a new neighbour. Claire was about to discover a whole new world, one filled with Knights, Mages, dragons, magic and the impossible. I couldn’t wait to see how she’d react and what she’d do.

For those of you who have enjoyed Amber’s story, and have asked for more books set in that world, I hope you enjoy ‘Oath’ the first book in a companion series that tells the stories of some of her friends.

Dragon Blood Chronicles 1: Oath is now available on Amazon.

 

Reading And Writing

I often have people ask if I read. I couldn’t imagine not reading. I’ve read most of my life and before I was able to read, I pestered other people to read to me. Sadly no one wanted to read to me all day, every day. Which is probably part of the reason I learned to read so young.

Other writers ask if I’m worried I might begin to imitate other authors if I read their work. There’s an easy solution to that. Read more books choosing a variety of authors. The perfect excuse to read more. But seriously, as an author you eventually develop your own style. It will change and evolve over the years, but there will always be something distinctly unique about it. Something that makes your style different to that of other authors.

As an author, reading is important, not only for enjoyment, but to continually learn and improve. So much can be gained from reading good books. For anyone who is interested in writing, you can learn many writing techniques by looking at how an author has written a novel. Seeing the different techniques in use. But best of all, it’s a fun pastime.

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.