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.
The moment I finished writing Plea Of The Damned 5, I knew the final scene of the sixth book. I have no idea how the characters will reach that point or what will happen in the story, but I do know how it ends. Some books are like that. Not many. And I have to discover how the characters end up in that position, making my way to the ending as I figure everything out.
The fifth book was the kind where I had no clue about how it was going to end so I wrote the words so I could discover what would happen to the characters. The next book in this series I’ll be writing the words to discover how they end up where they do. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. I enjoy the process of discovering more about the characters and their stories.
Plea Of The Damned 5: Forgive Me Marti is now available. I hope you enjoy discovering more about Marti’s life, just like I did.
I know December can be a difficult time of year for some people. For me, it’s a time of family and sharing and giving to those in my life. There’s all the lovely food we prepare for our celebrations, but it’s far more than that. It’s sharing that food with people I love and care about. There are moments of sadness when I think of those who can’t be there with me, or of the ones I have lost. But there are also moments of looking back and thinking of the good times I’ve shared with those no longer with me and being grateful for how long I had them in my life. Even while wishing that time could have been longer.
Storm, Rhys and I have decided to share our joy of the holiday season with our readers and during December the first book of Guardians Of The Round Table will be reduced to 99c. May the coming month be a time of being with those you love and sharing moments you will be able to look back on in years to come. Moments that will make you smile.
You can find Guardians Of The Round Table 1: Dexterity Fail at the following retailers:
Barnes And Noble
The plot of Guardians Of The Round Table 3: Singed Feathers came from joking around at the table during a planning session for an earlier book.
Avril: We need shapeshifters for all the different animal races. You know, bear shapeshifters, chicken shapeshifters…
Rhys: Chicken shapeshifters? Chicken mage?
Storm: Chicken throws a fireball.
Avril: Okay. We need to have that.
Somehow, the ideas continued and we began talking about duck shapeshifters and the logistics of a chicken mage. It involved a lot of laughter and some crazy ideas that eventually became feasible and started to make sense.
Guardians Of The Round Table 3: Singed Feathers is now available. We hope you enjoy learning more about the world of Inadon and its people and following Mallory and her companion’s adventures.
I’ve always found keys interesting. The older and more unique the key, the better. Part of it is the thought of what the key might once have open. I’ve lost count of the number of keys I’ve found over the years in various secondhand shops and at garage sales, unable to resist buying some of them. Large, old keys that likely opened door locks, fancy keys that were possibly used for wooden trunks and tiny keys that might once have belonged to jewellery boxes.
I wonder at the stories attached to the keys, about the locks they once opened and the people who once owned them. Ideas trickle through my mind, some racing as the fantastical takes hold while others meander more quietly through with tales of large families and sturdy homes.
As always, I see stories in everything. Even in a simple key. More so in the not so simple ones.