Writing Process

I’ve had quite a few emails over the years requesting more details about my writing process, writing tips and other writing related information. So whether you’re an author wanting to learn more about the craft, or a reader intrigued by the process, I’ll make regular posts to a section I’ve created ‘For Authors‘ on those topics. That doesn’t mean it’s only for authors, and those who wish to write, just that they’re the ones most likely to find the information interesting.

If you have any writing related topics you’d love to learn more about, don’t hesitate to email me and let me know. I enjoy sharing information about writing whether it is in the written form or in person at events and workshops. It might just be a topic I haven’t considered covering and you might not be the only person to find the information beneficial.

Chocolate And Coffee

There is a myth that authors live on coffee and can’t resist chocolate. Well, I don’t drink coffee, or even tea for that matter, but I can’t resist chocolate. So for those of you who love both, here’s a great way to combine them.

You will need:

A block of chocolate (I’ve used white to make it easier to see)

A handful of coffee beans (depends on how much coffee you want to add)

A tray/mould (I’ve used a water bottle ice tray)

Method:

Melt the chocolate either over low heat or put boiling water in a large bowl and place chocolate in a smaller bowl that you sit in the large bowl.

Scatter coffee beans across the bottom of a tray.

When chocolate is melted pour it over coffee beans.

If you want the beans more covered, use something such as a cocktail fork to mix the chocolate around them thoroughly. For less covered beans, just pour in the chocolate.

Put in the fridge and when set turn out of the tray or mould.

Enjoy!

Dragon Mage

It can be a lot of fun returning to a series after not having written in it for some time. This year I started a series that will pick up where Dragon Blood left off with new adventures for Amber. Before beginning Dragon Mage 1: Promise, I read over the Dragon Blood series to reacquaint myself with the characters and events of the books. Before writing this series, which I’ve wanted to write for some time, I needed to write Dragon Blood Chronicles 2: Betrayed since the events in that book have an impact on the events in Dragon Mage. I wanted to make sure there’d be no contradictions by writing the stories around the other way since the events of Betrayed happen well before the events of Promise. Maybe there wouldn’t have been any problems writing Betrayed afterwards, but I didn’t want to take the chance.

As yet I have no set date for when Promise will be released, but I have made a great deal of progress on the series and hope to release the first book this year. Amber, Kade and Ronan will be back soon with new enemies to face, old ones to hunt down and new places to explore. I can’t wait to share the stories with you, especially with those of you who said you’d love to read more books about Amber.

Bluey

Growing up, my family had a variety of pets, mostly only one or two at a time. When I was in primary school, my dad had a blue cattle dog that he gave the highly original name of Bluey. My brother and I spent so much time playing with Bluey who had a special bark when he heard Dad’s vehicle in the distance. Which always gave us at least a good five minutes warning that Dad was nearly home. Dad was his favourite and he was always excited to see him.

On warm summer evenings, the year I was ten, my brother and I would play hide and seek outside. To make things a little more interesting, Bluey would help the one searching. He was good at hide and seek. You would tell him who to find and he would sniff around until he’d located them. So I not only had to outsmart my brother when choosing a hiding location, I had to outsmart Bluey too.

We lived in a high set house, a tall timber cupboard under the stairs where Dad kept his tools. There was a small gap between the landing of the stairs and the cupboard. Just enough of a gap for me to hide in. I would clamber up the side of the solid timber cupboard and squeeze into the small gap and stay perfectly still. Bluey would lead my brother straight to the location, pacing back and forth in front of the cupboard. Sometimes he’d go up the stairs and sit on the landing, waiting for me to come out of hiding. But until my brother found me, I wasn’t moving.

It was the best hiding spot. Each time my brother gave up, I’d wait until he’d left the area before I came out of hiding. There was no way I was going to give up the location. It helped that I was extremely skinny or I wouldn’t have fit in the space.

Some of my favourite childhood memories involved our pets. The four-legged and feathered members of our family. My childhood wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much fun without them. What are some of your favourite memories that involve a pet?

Rosie’s Rangers 5: Wanted

There were so many times while writing Rosie’s Rangers 5: Wanted that the characters surprised me and headed off in directions I didn’t expect them to go in. That is one of my favourite aspects of not planning stories. I get to discover where the story is going and enjoy learning what will happen to the characters and what choices they’ll make. Occasionally that means adding to or rewriting an earlier scene, but it is always worth it for the enjoyment of all those twists and turns and unexpected scenes that keep me writing and wanting to learn what will happen next.

There are certain things I know about Rosie’s past and what was in store for her in the future, but I don’t know everything and I certainly didn’t expect all that occurred in this book. I hope you enjoy learning more about Rosie’s past and some of the effects it’s had on her life as much as I’ve enjoyed discovering them too. Rosie’s Rangers 5: Wanted is now available.

Birthdays

I love birthdays. And I don’t just mean my birthday or love them for the presents. To me it’s not about celebrating another year, it’s celebrating the fact a person was born. That the world is a richer place for having them in it. Choosing presents for friends and family can be a fun part of birthdays, as well as receiving them, but it’s not all that it’s about for me.

I’ve always been enthusiastic about them. Even as a child. As I grew older, friends and family kept telling me I’d eventually grow out of it. Well, it appears that they will be waiting a long time for that to happen as I still look forward to each and every birthday.

This year, my oldest son made me a chocolate choc-chip cake. After all, cake and birthdays go hand in hand and I absolutely love cake. You can also never have enough chocolate so that is one of my favourite types of cake. Now on my birthday, I don’t work. Or at least, I don’t do anything that isn’t fun and enjoyable. So my kids spend the day running around after me for a change and I laze about and read, watch movies, play games and eat cake. I also sometimes scribble a handful of words if the next line of one of the stories I’m working on comes to mind. But I don’t actually sit down and plan to do any writing.

Surprisingly, considering I only spent a few minutes here and there adding another line or two in the story I’ve been working on recently, as it came to me, I wrote one thousand four hundred and twenty-three words. It didn’t seem anywhere like that many words when I was doing them since I was only spending a few minutes at a time on it. Which just goes to show that you don’t need large amounts of time to write. Just little bits and pieces of time here and there.

We have a few traditions when it comes to celebrating birthdays. The person who is having the birthday chooses what happens for the day. They decide what food is cooked and someone else does the cooking. There is also cake and candles and the birthday song, which is sung very badly because there are few of us who can actually sing and we tend to be a little out of sync with each other. Or at lot at some times. But most of all, it’s about having fun and enjoying the day we came into this world however many years ago that might have been.

I’d love to hear how all of you celebrate your birthdays. Post a comment or email me. I truly love to hear about the various ways people spend the day and what they think about the day on which they arrived in this world.

Guardians Of The Round Table 5: Crystal Mine

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.

 

Rain

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.

Demon Hunters 7: Extrication

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.

A Love Of Gaming

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.