Sunday, October 27, 2013

Poetry Acceptance

The Screech Owl

Well, what a week I've had.
It began with a marvellous acceptance for a very special piece of poetry I completed earlier this month.
It was followed by a pleasing surge of creativity that allowed me to get up to 40k on my new project.
And when I got up today, my in-box contained an email from the editor of 'The Screech Owl' stating that five of my poems have been accepted for publication.
(If you've never seen a sleepy guy doing cartwheels around the living room - you just haven't lived. Anyway - More on the release when I have the details)
I'm particularly pleased to be accepted by Screech Owl, as they are a site and magazine devoted to the best poetry, prose and short stories you can find.
Check them out on the link within my side bar under breaking news.
And of course, a big Thank you goes to the staff and editors at The Screech Owl...
(Now, where's my celebratory vodka and cheesecake?) 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Ancient Evil Stirs

Abaddon - The Despoiler
Just when you thought life couldn't bring any further dangers your way, the Angel of the Abyss comes calling.
Is there any hope?

Find out - Soon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Poetry Acceptance

Pixies of Eglantine

Wow! What a week.
I'm very pleased to be able to announce that my fantasy poem,
With Eyes Unveiled

has been accepted into a wonderful poetry e-zine
Pixies of Eglantine.
A magazine dedicated to fantasy, folk law and magic.
Sadly, you'll have to wait until Midsummer 2014 to see it in print...
I know.
How will you curb your excitement?
Thank you to Pixies of Eglantine for the privilege of appearing in their e-zine. I hope this is the first of many submissions to them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poetry Acceptance

Leaves of Ink

Hi Everyone.
I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to share some great news.
I was contacted today by E.S. Wynn, Editor in Chief for Leaves of Ink, (and a number of other reputable poetry/art/fiction presses), to be informed of the fact that a poem I submitted to them recently...
Summer Canvas
was accepted, and will be appearing on the front page of Leaves of Ink on
January 10th 2014.
Needless to say, I am delighted that my New Year will start in such a way, and am fighting the urge to wax lyrical as I type. 
A big 'thank you' to Leaves of Ink.
I can't wait to provide a link to share it on the day.

The Bestseller Rulebook

Over the past several weeks, I've noticed a few magazines expressing their opinions - (And their readers opinions) - on what makes a best seller. Obviously, I was intrigued.
As fellow authors will know, it takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to produce a short story, let alone a novel, or a series. So, what sure-fire ingredients do the "experts" say we ought to make sure we include in our fledgling babies?
You might find some of them surprising.
Here goes:
Make your main character's life hard
It's no fun having someone who has the world at their feet. Readers want turmoil. Do they have enemies to defeat? Do they need to protect their families in some way? Is there a threat that everything they have could be taken away? If they have a love life, make it gritty.
Have you noticed how this point is reflected in some of the things on TV recently? The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, 24, Game of Thrones, Homeland.
Have real Supporting characters
Just because they're not the hero or heroine, doesn't mean to say a member of the supporting cast can't be complex. Make them just as realistic, multifaceted, intelligent or devious as your main character. It'll add a depth to your work that will make it much more believable.
Build them a world
I've mentioned this before. How much effort do you expend in world building? Where does the story take place? When? How did they get to where they are now? What's the history and development behind this fictional person/place and where are they going? The more detail, the clearer the ring of fictional truth with sound through.

For example...
Do you know, only two of my readers have actually asked my why Lei Yeung, (A character from the Guardian Series), has a Chinese name? Why has he lived most of his life in Japan, and become the boss of a Japanese crime syndicate when the two cultures hate each other?
Aha! Well spotted Jon and Simon...but you'll have to wait a while for things to be explained.
(You'll see...follow the breadcrumbs).

Add a mystery
Who is John Snow's mother? What is the island? Who shot J.R.? Will we ever see the second series of Caprica?Just what is Victoria's Secret?
Mystery adds a narrative arc to the plot and allows you to drop all sorts of clues and red herrings. It's a great tool, so long as you help unravel the mystery as the story evolves.
Kill off characters
The best stories are the ones that subvert your expectations. When I read Game of Thrones, I was itching for Ned Stark to expose the snotty little *#%8 (Joffrey) for what he was and depose of the Lannisters. Ouch! Was I wrong. I won't say any more, as the TV series is nowhere near as developed as the books and I don't want to spoil the surprises. But seriously - wow! If you can make your reader spit with indignation, you've won. You've made them care for your character. Nice one :)
If you're going to include sex, make sure the intensity, heat rating, and frequency match the actual plot line perfectly. For goodness sake, don't just chuck it in there to pad out the story. Our readers aren't idiots. They will immediately spot something that doesn't fit. So ensure it does.
A good sex scene can really make/break the story's credibility.
Ohm Ohm on the range
A good dream sequence, dream-quest, or drugs high, etc,
can allow you to take your character where they wouldn't otherwise be able to go. It can add depth/history to the character themselves, or the plot, and allow you to include essential history that would otherwise be missed. So, don't be afraid to add surrealism.
Have an endgame
This is why I spend so much time planning a project before I actually start writing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rigid. I allow things to flow as I'm writing, because very often, great ideas and twists come to me as I'm going along. But, I know how my story will begin. I know the ports it has to call in at on the way, and I know how it's going to end. Having an endgame can allow all sorts of machinations and subplots to simmer away as you go along. Then, at the grand revelation, when you pull all the threads together...pow! What an impact.
Well, there you go.
I thought some of the ideas were rather intriguing, especially when it came to making our characters happy. Life isn't always like that, and evidently, our public want to see that reflected in the stories they read.
So, what points are you going to ensure make it into your next novel?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Can You See What's Coming?


Keep looking...
Don't let the bright light blind you to hidden dangers...
Book 2 of the Guardian Series
Only weeks away.


Sunday, October 13, 2013


Today I thought I'd speak about Inspiration.
Many people have a hard time finding it. I don't know, I must be lucky. But then again, just look at what I find every time I open the front door! (And this is from the past week)


They say a picture paints a thousands words.
To keep things simple, I just use what's around me every day to stimulate my creativity.
Now, I know not everybody will have views like mine. Nevertheless - you can be observant.
Use what you find around you every day to motivate yourself. Put something down. No, it doesn't have to be an epic. Sometimes it might be a simple phrase that springs to mind, or a word. But use it. Record it, and allow it to grow into something magical.
After all, if I can find examples like these in just one week, just imagine what you can find by looking every day?



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Free Your Mind

Hi everyone.
Last time, I chatted about how I'm managing to keep things fresh and bursting the bubble of complacency to avoid stagnancy in my work.
Today, I thought I'd concentrate on one surprising area that has really helped my imagination to soar free...poetry.
Yes, I said poetry.
I've been interested in verse for quite a few years. From an early age, I would get friends to pick a subject, and within seconds, I'd be able to come up with a witty little limerick that would make them laugh. When I studied English at school and college, it was one of my favourite subjects. I still remember the titles we studied as part of our A levels.
Dooley is a traitor by James Milne, Macavity the Mystery Cat by T.S. Elliot, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge being my favourites. I can almost recite them from memory, even now.
Looking back, however, I can see how my views were coloured by what I studied. And no matter how hard I think, I cannot recall a single one that didn't rhyme. So of course, to me, rhyming verse was natural. Anything else...well, it wasn't poetry.
How my view has changed.
As I mentioned previously, earlier on in the year, I really submerged myself into this medium once more, and now have more than seventy poems recorded and listed. And the number is growing. And do you know what? I'm shocked to see how the vast majority of them are free form and free verse. And I especially love Haiku.
Because I've discovered this form of poetry really stimulates my thinking process. It's almost as if I'm living a waking dream and have the opportunity to write about anything. So I do...
Things that are happening in the news. Life, death, and tragedy. Happiness, joy and loss. How I'm feeling, what I'd like to do. Animals, plants, festivals. Pop singers, politicians, and characters from history. Fantasy and science. Anything and everything.
And having managed to write it all down, I was amazed how poetry refined my focus in relation to flash fiction and short stories. Good examples of this medium are difficult to find. Your language has to be concise, the expressions pithy. The word pictures you paint have to be full of colour and expressive. So I was inspired to try my hand in this area too. And I'm delighted to say it's producing results.
So, if you'd like to boost your writing...Free your mind. Try poetry. Have a stab at flash fiction and ultra short stories. Give the worlds you create the teeth to bite back. You'll be delighted by what it does to your craft.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Do you Fear What's Coming?

Thank goodness someone's there to step in the way
Coming soon!