Editing

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.

Bring On 2019

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.

Plea Of The Damned 5: Forgive Me Marti

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.

December

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:

Amazon

Google Play

iTunes

Kobo

Barnes And Noble

Smashwords

Guardians Of The Round Table 3: Singed Feathers

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.

Keys

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.

Assassins Of The Dead 3: Society Against Vampires

Like the second book, ideas continued to form for the third book in the series while I tried to work on other manuscripts. I regularly found myself writing scenes in between working on other manuscripts. Vivid scenes that wouldn’t let me wait until later to write them. Or to at least write bits of them before returning to what I was currently working on.

When it was time to return to Assassins Of The Dead, the words flowed as I added in connecting scenes and filled out the ones I’d partially written. As well as deciphered the handful of cryptic notes I’d made as ideas occurred to me. Luckily, it didn’t take more than a word or two before the ideas returned and I didn’t have to worry about fully deciphering the notes or struggle to figure out exactly what the randomly jotted words meant.

Reaching the end of the book, ideas continued to form for the next book in the series and I found myself once again jotting down notes for when I returned to writing the series. There is a lot more to come for Meikah and the Assassins Of The Dead.

Book three is now available on Amazon and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Costumes

With Supanova fast approaching, we’ve been busy making some new costumes. There are so many things I enjoy about creating costumes. Choosing a style or character to base it on, designing the outfit, choosing material and fittings and of course seeing it all come together.

We’ve been researching medieval style garments, drawing up patterns and testing them and spending many hours in fabric shops being distracted by all the things we don’t really need, but might find useful for future projects.

We’ve finished a handful of items and have patterns created for others, but there are still many more to create. I’m looking forward to not only continuing to make the costumes, but wearing them at Supanova in November. On some of the days we’ll wear costumes from previous years, possibly with a few new items added to them, but there will also be a day or two that we’ll wear new costumes. As usual, there will be a group of us, dressed in our different outfits, with various displays as backdrops. And that is another thing I can’t wait to see. How the latest display turns out. Not long now and I’ll be able to see how it all comes together.

So if you’re in Brisbane this November, why not come along to Supanova. There’s no need to wear a costume, but if you do, I’d love to see what it is.

Dragon Blood Chronicles 2: Betrayed

Betrayed is a story that came to me while writing the Dragon Blood Series. It came about due to a comment made by one of the characters related to an event that occurred in the past. I wanted to write more about the results of that event, but before I could focus on the present time, I needed to write about what had already happened. I wanted to understand the characters involved and the events that had occurred. It was also an interesting story to write and some of the characters will appear in future books set in the Dragon Blood world. I also enjoyed exploring more of the dragons’ past and how some of them would have been effected when the pathways between some of the worlds were closed.

Dragon Blood Chronicles 2: Betrayed is now available and can be read either before the Dragon Blood series or after book five. The past does have an impact on the future and Ronan wasn’t the only dragon unhappy with decisions made in the past.

Sand And Cubbyhouses

My dad lived across from the beach, for a number of years, when I was growing up. It was great being able to walk out the front door, cross the road and be on the beach with its long stretch of golden sand. If you walked in one direction, you’d reach the mouth of the river that we sometimes swam in. Clear waters, gum trees edging the banks and a few boulders alongside it that were perfect for sitting on when you were drying off. If you walked in the other direction, you reached a creek that was muddy and good for catching prawns with a cast net. And of course, there was plenty of beachfront between them to swim, walk, have campfires and just hang out with friends.

One year my sister and I both decided we wanted cubbyhouses. And of course we each wanted our own. My sister wanted hers in the mango tree out the back and she was happy with a platform type of cubbyhouse that was open and accessible by a ladder. I guess I must have been the difficult child as I had other ideas. There was an old water tank stand out the side, basically four large, round posts with cross beams on top of them that looked like a tic-tac-toe grid from above.

My cubbyhouse needed a roof and walls since I wanted to be able to sleep in it. I also wanted it to be two storeys and have a verandah out the front where I could look across to the beach. And windows. I needed windows. I might have been a slightly demanding child at times, but at least I knew exactly what I wanted. I admit to being only slightly demanding though. And I was willing to help build it.

A roof was added to the water tank stand, high enough above the crossbeams that when ply was added to the crossbeams I was able to sit up on them without hitting my head on the roof. With some space to spare. The centre of the crossbeams was left open. When walls were added, leaving a section of the ply covered crossbeams outside the walls for the verandah, the upstairs floor of the cubbyhouse created a ‘U’ shape.

Looking out the front door.

I also got the windows I wanted. An old canvas tent was cut up to make the walls, cut in a way that the windows of the tent ended up in the right places for the cubbyhouse. It was perfect. I could sleep upstairs, sit out on my verandah that overlooked the beach and have various odds and ends downstairs. I used it for a lot of years. Having sleepovers in it with friends, lying down upstairs listening to the rain on the tin roof as I read and sitting on the verandah talking with friends. Sadly I have no photos of the cubbyhouse, but since it was at the side of the house, I had the same view as what could be seen from the front door. The road, some gum trees, the beach and the ocean, islands in the distance. It was a good view and an even greater cubbyhouse.