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Sunday, December 23, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes!

 
 
As we come up to the end of 2012, I thought I'd look back and reflect on what's happened to me over the last 12 months, because, as you'll see, it's been a period that has brought quite a few changes!
 
Why - only this time last year, I was a writer without a home!
 
Although I'd put the Guardian concept together over many, many years - I hadn't done anything about it until recently. It was the summer of 2010 before I actually began laying out the framework for what would become the Guardian Series.
Having seen how much material I had, I was initially horrified. It would have taken nine books, (YES 9 BOOKS) to have told their story in the way I originally devised.
 

Think about it! I was unknown. Unpublished. And who in their right mind would even consider the risk of accepting a new kid on the block who had a nine book series to offer.
So, in the October of 2010, I adjusted the framework and began writing Guardian Angels - the first book in what would become a new style, 6 part adventure.
(I know...6 is soooo much 'safer' than 9) :) ha ha...
 
 
By May of 2011, I'd completed the first draft.
Of course, I was impatient...(The big kid in me with all the dreams of grandeur wanted 'it' all - and wanted it now), so I began approaching some of the major publishing houses and agents out there who were guaranteed to make me famous...Right?
HA! - You can guess what happened.
But thankfully, in amongst the inevitable rejections, there were some wonderful gems of wisdom. In two of the larger, and one of the smaller houses I'd originally approached, the editors were kind enough to see the potential of my offering, and gave me some advice.
I took that advice on board...LISTENED to those who knew better...and made some vital adjustments.
By the October of 2011, I had redrafted Guardian Angels into the format you now see.
So I started applying again...
 
However, this time, I thought I'd use my head instead of my heart.
While I'd been working my butt off to get the work done, I'd also been doing some homework.
We can't all be Raymond E Feist, or J K Rowling, securing the major houses almost from the word go. So, I began hunting for the smaller publishers who were established, and actively looking for new authors to expand their existing genre base.
From the October of 2011, I approached three. By December, I'd received positive interest from two who were keen to proceed!
I'm very glad to say - I found Angie at Pagan Writers Press.
 
 
So - there I was, only a year after I began writing, discussing contracts for the 2012 publishing slots, with a reputable, established publishing house! (Let me hear a 'Woo-hoo!')
Because REMEMBER - I'm only talking about this time last year!
 
So! What's happened since then?
 

Well - quite a lot really.
Although I'm new, I'm glad to say, I listen.
The Guardian Concept is a fantastic idea. One day, I'm sure it's going to be known everywhere. However, I'm keenly aware that - at the moment - my skill level is nowhere near the 'concept' level.
(BUT - one day - it will be :)
So, what could I do to improve my writing ability?
My publishers, Pagan Writers Press suggested I try things outside of my comfort zone - (In my case - Sci-fi). They were toying with an idea of using the KDP select facility on Amazon.
Who wanted to try!
I though...'I'll have a go' - and devised the short story,"Fairy Tail". A Noir - dark, erotic, paranormal thriller.
Guess what? It was accepted! So - although I was waiting for my 1st major Novel to be published, THIS story went out first...
AND, it got to number 11 in the Amazon charts for erotic stories!
(I Know! Me - Number 11 in erotica!...I feel very slutty - I'm a naughty boy, please don't tell my mother what I do for a living...ha ha :)
 
But this had given me an incentive to TRY things outside of the Sci-fi genre. As time passed, I began preparing ahead with new concepts. Idea's I wouldn't ever have normally considered.
The result is something I'll mention later...The Cambion Journals.
In the interim, time was counting down.
My first major release - "Guardian Angels" was drawing ever closer.
The cover concept was adjusted from an idea I had originally devised into something better, and as the time drew near I realized...WOW! This is actually going to happen!
THIS was an actual paperback book you could hold in your hands...Mummy!
The 31st of August 2012, saw the release of my first major novel. Needless to say, I was delighted.
BUT - I wasn't prepared to sit on my laurels and think the hard work was over. I've always been a 'busy bee'. I've always strived to push myself. That wasn't going to stop.
 
 
My earlier experiment with Fairy Tail spurred me on to try other things.
For one, my research had highlighted the fact that the 'romance/erotica' genre was one of the most difficult to write. If an author can establish a sound level of competence within this field, it will reflect across the rest of their work. However, I didn't - and still don't - want to become known for romance/erotica.
But - I'm not daft enough to ignore something that can - and has - improved the quality of my writing.
So, I devised a semi bioautographical, romance based story and adopted a psoo - a sudo - another name, to see if I could crack it in the romance world.
Ta-dah! - Under the pen name of Alexander West, I did! My short story, A Fresh Start, was kindly accepted by Secret Craving Publishing, and published at the beginning of October 2012.
Personally, I'm very happy that this development was able to come to fruition, because - boy oh boy - has it paid off elsewhere! (See Cambion Journals) P.S. For those of you who don't know me - its pseudonym - I was kidding!
 
 
Another facet I'd continued to develop, was the Paranormal genre.
To my delight, I discovered I really enjoyed delving into that side of writing. So, I had another go at a short story.
This time I devised a semiautobiographical military action/thriller based in the jungles of South America. Of course, I added a Paranormal slant to it, that gave the story extra bite!
It seemed to work...
This story was published through Pagan Writers Press on 15th October 2012, and I was stunned to see it rise to number 21 on the Amazon Charts for Action/Adventure.
Way to go Pagan Writers Press for encouraging me to step outside the comfort zone.
This story really brought a simple truth home to me. When you write, write about what you know. What you're passionate about. It reflects in your writing.
 
 
 
There was I, a Sci-fi fan for all these years, with the Guardian Concept waiting to flourish, dipping into the realms of the paranormal...with erotic undertones hovering at the edges...
 
 
What was the result?
Welcome to the world of Augustus Thorne.
Augustus is a part human/part Incubus hybrid, cursed to walk the narrow divide between the demon world and ours.
He is afflicted with a hunger he can barely control, and hates what he is with a vengance.
In fulfilment of a promise to his mother, Augustus has spent the lonleycenturies of his life exploiting the advantages of strength and speed his hybrid nature gives him, and hunting down and destroying any and every demon he can find. 
Of course, there is one demon in particular he cant wait to lay his hands on...His accursed father, Fanon.
The Cambion Journals is a sexy, paranormal adventure that follow's the life of Augustus as he uses his experiences and the details contained within family diaries, to discover more about himself, his origins, and the shocking secret world he is forced to delve into.
Of course, the more he discovers...the more complicated things get!
The Cambion Journals - The Rage of Augustus - Coming June 2013 - with Pagan Writers Press
 
So, there you go.
These have been some of the great highlights from my year.
Last year, I was still homeless.
Now? Not only do I have three stories published through Pagan Writers Press, but my contracts for the second book of the Guardian Series, entitled "Guardians" and for the opening story of the Cambion Journal trilogy, "The Rage of Augustus" are in place for 2013. 
The sequels to both books are also on their way for the following year's schedules too.
(Again - courtesy of Pagan Writers Press)
Wow! What a difference a year makes.
 
Not only has it been a rollercoaster ride, but along the way I've met some great new friends and working colleagues. People, who I'm very glad to have met.
I'm also becoming established within the 'authors world' as my stories get out there and the quality of my work increases.
Thanks to the people I have around me now, I'm sure things will only get better!
Has your year been this good?
 
Take care everone,
Have a great holiday - and even better 2013...
Andy :)
 

 

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