Wow! I have been slacking on my blog.
Not through laziness you understand, but through a never-ending ‘to-do’ list.
I will be back mumbling and grumbling asap.
Until then, here is another untold chapter. This one concerns my awesome cousin Lee who I almost share an identical surname with.
Love ya cuz! 😀
As I’ve explained before, these chapters are very rough and were not intended to be published. So bear that in mind.
Even though the second book of Tapestry of Fates ‘Spirit’s Pain’ is now getting scrubbed down and illustrated, it will still take time until all nineteen images (twenty if you count the cover) are complete.
So until then I’ve decided to post the ‘Untold Chapters’ that were solely for personal entertainment. Since most of the characters are based on friends and family, I gave them each a personal chapter, detailing more about their history and further enriching the Tapestry of Fates universe. They are very raw, unedited and quite old, so don’t expect any great masterpeices of fiction. But they are also very meanigful to me.
I’m sure the people who they’re based on won’t mind me posting them.
The first one to be posted is Special Agent Holly Balfour’s chapter – ‘Sacrifices’.
Holly is a good friend I met years through a love of Art, Final Fantasy, and Mini Kievs. 🙂
The chapter can be downloaded here – S.A. Holly Balfour ‘Sacrifices’
Today Amazon.co.uk has reported that they have sold more copies of E.L. James’ astoundingly erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey than the entire library of Harry Potter books combined, making her their best-selling author ever.
No whilst I may screw my face up at the very notion of the book (to me it’s simply the premise to a porn movie), you can’t help but applaud James on managing to break open the barrier between traditionally published and self-published books. In fact she’s blown it wide open. Most critics will turn their nose up at any self-published book, deeming it inferior to one that has taken its journey through a well-established publisher. But does that mean it isn’t what the general public want to read?
To me the world of novel-writing has taken a bizarre turn in the past decade. Whilst it has always been difficult to get published, even more so now with the world’s economy, publishers have always looked upon each submission with such enormous criticism that they could only read the first page of an author’s prized work before uttering ‘Meh!’ and casting it into a rapidly filling bin.
Now this could dash the dreams of the less-determined writer, but the invention of e-books and e-book readers has allowed rejected authors a fresh chance to show their literature to the world. Of course this has its downsides – the market has become rapidly pumped full of stories that look like the reluctantly penned homework of a ten year old. And not only this, but the choice of books on sites like e-bay has become so vast that each author once again has little chance of getting their work to an audience.
It’s almost like being in a stadium filled to the brim with people all singing as loud as they can, in the hope somebody will recognise their talent above the rest.
So how did E.L. James manage to do so well?
Well since the book began as fan fiction for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, it already recieved a bit of attention. It’s overly erotic themes received a few raised eyebrows on the site she posted it, and thus it was removed.
She placed the book on her own blog before again removing it to sell it in e-book and print-on-demand paperback versions.
Then through the use of blogs and word-of-mouth she managed to get the message out. And suddenly the demand poured in.
For the rest of us authors though, with books that are tamer and less scandalous, trying to follow in James’ isn’t quite as easy. Even for those with novels of similar tones, the road to success may have been built, but it’s now crammed with traffic as copycat novels spring up.
I guess there’s no true way to find the big break. But I do feel there are things you can do to help. We’ve all heard the saying – ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know.’ I feel there is no truer statement. Which is why it pays to be polite and respectful. Whilst working as a barman years ago, I did my best to be friendly to every single person I served, no matter how disrespectful they were to me. I can truly say that this paid off. Not only did it lead me to my friend and business partner Bev, and my girlfriend Wendy, but it has also brought numerous friends and acquaitences in all professions on whom I can call on for help.
Stopping to help someone get their car started? Who knows if that person is an artist who will design you a book cover in the future?
Helping an old lady with her shopping? Who knows if that lady’s daughter is a marketing consultant that could be a great contact in the future?
Which is why I feel a true, genuine and decent etiquette must always be employed both online and offline. There should be no ego-strutting, no borderline narcissistic personality disorders, and certainly no angry retaliation when somebody takes the time to critique your work. After all, we are all trying to sell our work to ‘people’. Why shouldn’t we treat ‘people’ with decency in order to encourage help and sales.
I’ve just finished Richard Branson’s autobiography and one incident has stuck with me.
When Branson was in his twenties and struggling to build Virgin Records as a successful record company, he found he could escape certain taxes by falsely declaring purchased records were to be sold abroad. So with filled vans he would take records to Calais, get a stamp to show the stock was being transported abroad, then turn around and sell them in England. Of course authorities soon caught on to this, and in the dead of the night Branson recieved a telephone call from an unknown man who tipped him off about a coming raid on Branson’s shops and warehouses, telling him to shine a blacklight over all his records and hide the ones marked ‘A’. When asked why the man was helping him, he solemnly replied that Branson had spent hours preventing one of his friends from committing suicide years early when the future billionaire manned a phoneline helping troubled teenagers.
Whilst of course I don’t advocate evading tax, this story just goes to show that good deeds can and do eventually catch up with you. Who knows, the next time you retrieve a lost wallet for someone, it could be a very grateful Stephen King. 🙂
Here’s a new illustration for three Angel-esque looking droids.
Their names are Sin, Punishment, & Justice. I won’t say anymore to avoid revealing spoilers for Tapestry of Fates book 2 & 3 😀
Ok I know I’ve been slacking with my posts here. This will be sorted soon and I’ll be rambling about ‘stuff’ again soon!
Until then here’s the first poster for part two of Tapestry of Fates – Spirit’s Pain.
Part 1 – Spirit’s Destiny is still available through Amazon 🙂
Ok, I know that there are plenty of these sort of guides on the net by more experienced and acclaimed writers. But even so, I still thought I’d share my thoughts and advice on what I’ve learnt so far in this game.
1. START NOW
To me, this is the biggest thing that prevents people from becoming writers – actually getting it started. A lot of guides will tell you to divide stories into major plotlines, work out everything beforehand, write exhaustive character profiles etc etc blah blah blah. But the prospect of writing down pages and pages of why your main protagonist has seventeen pairs of socks – three with holes in, can put off even the most determined of scribblers.
My advice? Sack all that shit off, grab a pad of lined paper, or a new Word document, and begin with ‘Chapter 1’. Boom! The story has begun. Everything else, and I mean everything else, can be adjusted, tweaked and rewritten afterwards. After all, as far as I’m aware J.R.R. Tolkein began the opening sentence of The Hobbit ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit’ before he even had an idea of what a hobbit was or what it was going to do. He certainly didn’t imagine it would lead to the massive epic The Lord of the Rings.
So if you’ve ever had an inkling to write a novel, stop reading this and start writing now.
2. A REASON TO WRITE
Years ago I read that every story must have a reason to be told. ‘Why does this story need telling?’ Even today I haven’t the faintest of ideas of why my stories need telling! This is an overused bullshit statement used by so-called professionals who are the kind of people you see at modern art galleries trying to interpret the emotional and subtle meaning behind a giant stone cock. There should be only one reason for writing a novel – to entertain readers with an awesome story.
At school we used to get told off for daydreaming, effectively stifling our imagination. But allowing our minds to wander, to music especially, can help conjur up all kinds of ideas. Even whilst working on your story you will find by allowing your mind to drift into the tale will bring up twists, and pieces of the story that will fit together like a jigsaw.
4. LEARN BASIC GRAMMAR
Nothing will turn off a reader more than poor basic grammar or spelling. Learn proper use of apostrophes, nouns etc, and show the world you mean business. As from point 1. you don’t need to have everything perfect straight away. Don’t cut short the flow of writing just to correct a mistake than can be fixed later on. Avoid using too many adverbs too.
5. BEING AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE PRO
So you might have got a ‘D-‘ in GCSE English. Does this mean you can’t write a novel? Of course not. There’s no truer saying than ‘We all have a good book inside of us all.‘ Anyone can write a book. All it takes is the will to do it, and the persistance to carry it through. Obviously a background in English will help, but it’s not essential.
6. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND
So you want to write the next big war epic. But haven’t the foggiest about war? Google it. These days there’s no excuse for not researching the ingredients to your genre. Just don’t go into too much detail. Most people will be bored to tears about five paragraphs of the inner workings of an AK-47.
7. KEEPING UP WITH CURRENT TRENDS
Twighlight left in it’s wake, a hundred similar new age teen vampire novels. Now they may sell a few copies to fans desperate for more of the same. but will they be remembered? Probably not. Don’t be afraid to break the mold and go for something original. J K Rowling was told her book probably wouldn’t sell too many copies seeing as it was a children’s fantasy novel. How wrong that person was!
8. WRITE FOR YOURSELF
Don’t write a book that you think will please others. Write it for yourself, as though it’s a book you would like to read. You’ll be more emotionally attached to the story, and if you like it, then surely other readers will too.
9. DON’T WRITE FOR MONEY
We’d all love to be bestselling authors. Anyone who disagrees is a liar. But writing solely for money is a bad idea. Being a novelist is one of the hardest ways to earn a living. If you just want to earn money, invest or learn to become an entrepreneur. You’ll have an easier time 😀
10. WRITE AT YOUR OWN PACE
There’s no rules to writing, so feeling you need to bust out a four hundred epic every month to be considered a serious author is just foolish. Got at what speed you feel comfortable with. Stories grow in your mind over time, allowing you to garnish your characters with personality and believability.
11. TAKE CARE WITH YOUR MAIN CHARACTER
Most of the time the story will unfold through this character’s eyes and will be the one we sympathise with the most. We see and learn whatever they do. Whatever you do, never make them impervious to everything the tale throws at them. Every knight needs a chink in their armour, whether physical or emotional. Even Superman was hurt by kryptonite.
12. NEVER GIVE UP
Ever. Ever. I guess this goes without saying. No matter how much the tale frustrates you, no matter how much you think it sucks, keep on going. Usually when things get tough, it means you’re almost ready to break through and reach your goal. Keep on going, even if it’s just word by word.
Well that’s my current pearls of wisdom thrown out there for anyone who cares. 😀 It’s taken me over a decade to get to this point and be able to share some of my knowledge, and I’m no expert in the field. Even so, I’ll write soon about my experiences of publishing once a book is finished.
Bye for now! 😀
Well last week, the time finally arrived! The long awaited delivery of the paperback versions of Spirit’s Destiny finally arrived, only a meagre six months late! It would be fair to say I had my doubts if they would ever turn up! Anyone who has had dealings with large corporations in foreign speaking countries will no doubt understand the difficulties in getting clear cut answers to important questions such as, ‘When?’ and ‘How much?’
Replies to both questions in the past few months have been vague, grossely incorrect or downright misleading. Having played this game a few years earlier with our children’s book ‘Island of Ice’, we thought we’d got this sussed out, but in our anticipation of the same problems cropping up, we failed to see the huge wet kipper of new problems we got slapped in the face with. And each company involved in the production and transportation of these books tried everything they could in vain to squeeze every last quid from us. From replies from the printers such as – ‘What you mean you expected the huge ‘transportation bill’ (£250+) to be for the entire journey to England? That’s just what we charge to take the cargo to the docks.’ To the Haulage company scoffing ‘Yea, that European number you gave us – we didn’t get chance to put it through on Friday. As it’s Monday we’re charging you three days storage charge. That’s £100 on top of the £500 fee please.’
We received a breakdown from the haulage company for why they were pulling our pants down so violently only to get an email with around a dozen abbreviated items. A bit of digging indicted some of these were for anti-piracy insurance, and one ridiculous £80 charge for ‘The passing of documents’.
Anyway after flipping every last copper we had their way, the books finally arrived and I’m happy to say they’re all perfect. Now they are about to be put on Amazon, and sent to a few reviewers worldwide.
Also bookmarks are to be made up now.
So happy things have finally been sorted.
As I’ve previously mentioned before, Authonomy.com is a site where you can upload your book to receive critique,, meet fellow aspiring authors and read the work of others – all for free. All seems to add up to a great deal on signing up, but the second you announce you’re a part of the community, floods of requests from people asking you read their book instantly flood your mailbox. It can be quite overwhelming as you realise the selfishness of humanity has no limits.
I made a vague promise to read some of these books and actually did look at a couple. But then a message came in from one lady giving critique on my own work, without any initial request to read her own. After the barrage of ‘Read my book! Read my book! You’ll love it! You’ll love it!‘ I was quite touched and humbled that someone had taken the time to read my own stuff first.
Thus I was more inclined to read her work straight away. And it was a good decision! Her work has literally blown me away and I continue to plough through the mammoth (in both size and quality) novel she had penned.
Since then small exchanges of work has taken place, including me asking her opinion on Spirit’s Destiny. Not only did she give me her opinion, but she wrote a full review for her blog, even asking me a few questions for it!
So bless you Sam! Joining Authonomy was one of my better decisions this year! 🙂
Make sure you follow this girl too, for from the quality of her own work I can see her name in bright lights very soon!
Once again it’s that time of the month. No, not that! 😛
The seventh part of my free monthly novel Fallen Tears is available and can be downloaded here.
Ok I’ll admit, my beloved Tapestry of Fates does have elements in it which pay a slight resemblance to a movie about a time-travelling robot sent to kill the mother of a certain John Conner. Whilst I see the similarities, I can honestly say The Terminator was not the main influence, nor was any movie for that matter.
As a youngster I was besotted with my beloved Sega Megadrive; and it probably paved the road to my future imagination. Games like Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, Landstalker, Splatterhouse 2 and many others have helped build the internal foundations of my mind.
One game particularly has stood out more than others. Already a huge fan of ‘shoot em ups’ or ‘shmups’, I remember being blown away by the game ‘Thunderforce IV’ (or ‘Lightening Force as it’s sometimes known). It’s cool slick graphics, blazing speed, mass of weapons, stupendously big bosses and fantastic music and sound effects so bassy that you could feel them at the back of your head all added to a game which still stands as legendary (I’m not a huge fan of more recent ‘bullet-hell’ shmups, although I adore Ikaruga).
One part of it though captured my imagination more than others. After an epic battle with the final boss, and the hero jets away in his battered craft, we are shown an epilogue that included an image of the pilot hugging his beloved. That single image managed to drive home a piece of humanity and emotion into the game, making you believe that after ten levels of sheer hell, the pilot was so grateful to be back. I wish the game makers – Technosoft had included some sort of storyline surrounding this couple, as it would have charged the game even more.
It’s this reason why Tapestry of Fates exists.
It is why a lone student girl becomes the only human being able to pilot a legendary fighter ship against an enemy who’s spent the past five thousand building up enough forces to decimate her.
It is why this ship sits on almost every piece of artwork I’ve made on the books.
I’ve tried to do what I wanted Technosoft to do – make a fully fledged story based around a single person sent against hordes and legions of enemies, and be expected to win.
Maybe I’m wrong but I think I can honestly say that Ella Bland is the first Shmup Novel Protagonist.
A homage to the above picture I did for uni can be viewed here.
The sixth part (Chapter 3) of my monthly gothic vampire tale is now uploaded and can be downloaded here.
Thanks for reading 🙂
“Half 2” I solemnly announce when quizzed about what time I got to sleep by my friend each morning as I make my way to work.
Depsite my friend’s unnapproving sighs and the fact I get sleepy on my lunch break, I’ve a big reason to be needing to work so much at the moment. Not only is my fabulous girlfriend Wendy training her bawatty off for her competitions (well done on winning the last one a few days ago hun!) but I’m doing my best to market Sprit’s Destiny, help other people with their work, and keep on top of all other commitments.
I recently joined a website called ‘Authonomy’ owned by Harper Collins. Basically it’s a bit like Facebook for novelists where people can comment on each other’s work, offer advice and criticism, and rate their novels in the hope that their book will be pushed up high in order to get noticed by Harper Collins themselves.
Now since I’m unable to put Spirit’s Destiny on there (why would I put a book I’m selling on there for all to read to free?) I have stuck my monthly blog novel Fallen Tears on there. Despite simply being an experiment and an excersise, and acknologing some of the legendary work on Authonomy, I was quite surprised to find a number of folk giving it a thumbs up. So now I’m pushing a bit more energy behind this little tale. Who thought vampire novels were still in demand eh? Next chapter this weekend!
Also if you do decide to take a look on Authonomy I recommend reading a book called Chaeli: Scion of Blood by Kara Thrace. It’s a great epic fantasy that will surely take the talented writer on her way to stardom. 🙂
Finally got the second chapter (5th installment) of my free novel Fallen Tears uploaded.
At last the main protagonists meet the antagonists for the first time, including the ravenous child Voracity.
The chapter can be downloaded here.
Thanks for reading 🙂
They always say you should take the rough with the smooth, look on the bright side of every situation, and search for the silver lining upon each stormy cloud.
I guess 2012 hasn’t started the way I had hoped, and I find myself once again travelling to the leafy, tree laden crematorium of Lawnswood in Leeds this week to say goodbye to yet another family member.
Whilst these are sad times for my family, and my thoughts are with them all, my own endeavours seem to going in the opposite way.
Firstly I’ll repeat my other posts that the first book of Tapestry of Fates – Spirit’s Destiny has gone on sale. Only the kindle version mind; the physical copies will on sale soon.
Here’s the link.
Also the first unbiased review of the book was put online by sfbook.com Thankfully I can now see I’m not wasting my time or fooling myself with this writing game. Thanks for Antony for the review.
Lastly the Tapestry of Fates website is up and running. A few more tweaks are needed and the site needs updating for when the physical book is released. Here’s the website.
So whilst things are a bit glum this week, and I’ll be putting all my energy towards helping my family, at least I can feel some kind of relief that a few things are sorted on the writing front and can be left for a short while.
On saying this I’ll still have the second chapter of Fallen Tears uploaded this week.
Big thanks to Antony at http://www.sfbook.com for agreeing to review Spirit’s Destiny. 🙂
It’s nice to see an unbiased opinion on my work, and has been a great relief to myself that I’m not kidding myself about becoming an author.
The review can be read here.
Finally after seven years of hard slogging, my book has finally gone on sale.
Although it is only in Kindle format atm.
The paperback copies will be on sale hopefully withina month. Their shipping has been delayed for Chinese New Year.
The emergence of the New Year springs forth a flurry of resolutions on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Lose weight, earn more money, get a new job – whatever you can think of there’s a vow upon quite a number of statuses. Now up until this year most of my resolutions revolved around getting my books finished, or driving. Neither of which materialised.
Now over the past twelve months I’ve learnt from numerous sources that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Most people drop them pretty much in the first month of declaring them (I say most, so I don’t get an ear-bashing off anyone keeping up theirs!) This is because we’ve just spent the latter part of December building up bad, comfortable habits that usually entail drinking lots of booze and munching on far too much food. Then suddenly we tell ourselves we have to break these habits and live a more stricter life. No wonder we all get the Winter blues.
Now I simply stick to the goals in my little book (see Book of Goals post) which I religiously read back to myself everyday. Not one New Year’s resolution was added into it. And voila, no Winter doldrums! I could attribute this argument to last January’s downer, although my first traumatic viewing of Wall-E could also be a factor here.
So my plan from now on is to religiously adhere to goals I set myself over the course of the year, at times that suit me, not when society dictates.
I’ll keep this blog posted on how this works out ha!
Ok I have told one lie, my book has finally been published and Tapestry of Fates: Spirit’s Destiny will be put on Amazon in the next few days.
Here are some more website pictures for it.
Now the introduction is complete with the three prologues, it’s time to up the pace with the first chapter and introduce to fully grown Dancescu twins.
The first chapter can be downloaded from the page at the top, or here.
Thanks to all have read the tale so far.
P.S. Please bear in mind this is a very hastily written story (a chapter a month after all) and as of which the grammar may not be completely perfect. Thanks 🙂
Ok time for a shameful self plug!
This is the book that kick-started my progression into Merlin Corp. Having done a few pieces of artwork for the writer I was offered to illustrate a range of books for young children starting with this one Island of Ice and the Snowmites.
Having already been illustrated in the 80’s and 90’s I had quite a large body of artwork to go off. The problem being that the work was very old fashioned. I did my best to inject a bit more colour and life into the book starting with the picture below of the character Zandeer floating through the air.
The book was a great learning curve into how publishing worked. The paperback version, sold by a company in America is more expensive and inferior to the glossy, heavy and beautiful hardback version we created ourselves. It also served a lesson as to how shipping, distribution and marketing were to be handled.
For more information and reviews, the book can be seen at Amazon here.
The third part of my monthly novel is now free to download.
Either from the link at the top at the top of the page or here.
Thank you for reading. 🙂
The second part of my monthly novel is now free to download.
Either from the link at the top at the top of the page or here.
Thank you for reading 🙂
I’ll be honest, Uni was pretty much a big waste of time for me! Not having a proper tutor for the entire first year, getting myself in major debt, and forgetting just about everything there is to learn about Animation just about sums up how pointless for me it was.
There were good things mind! I had a blast whilst I was there, it helped push me towards the wrtiting side of productions, helped with my art, and I got to throw my mortar board in the air at graduation. Uni was also responsible for giving me a character that I have been determined to put in every piece of writing I create even if I had to change her to a pink-haired human if necessary.
One of our assignments was to create an original character based upon two completely different subjects or genres. For instance one of my friends created a Transvestite Gladiator. I decided to combine Robots and Angels, and named my character Cyphangel. Her back story was that she was an assasination droid, built in pinks and purples to deceive her targets. We had to construct these characters using a crude armature and plasticine.
To this day that model remains at my dad’s house, and Cyphangel has morphed into simply ‘Angel’. She has also give rise to my sister’s and friend Symon’s fave character – the childlike, four sword, two gun wielding Seraphim. So far both character’s have appeared in both Tapestry of Fates and Phoenix, serving as a link to the two tales.
Recently I was quite disheartened to see a character in Tekken 6 paying more than a slight resemblence to Angel, in both looks (pink hair) and storyline.Thankfully I could never be accused of stealing as it’s nearly a decade since I left uni.
Now I’m due to put Angel into Fallen Tears.
Has anyone heard of a robotic, vampire angel?
Finally, the 1st Prologue has been completed for my gothic vampire tale and will be uploaded tonight.
Starting the next chapter as soon as possible.
Thankyou to anyone who takes the time to read this piece of work. x
After watching the film ‘The Opus’ (a very similar movie to The Secret) I decided I wanted a small notebook I could keep with me at all times that I could write some life’s goals in.
Problem was that the only ones I could find in shops were quite bland and boring. I wanted something a little bit special, a notebook I would want to keep safe and hold on to for years to come.
Then I found this website: http://www.earthworksjournals.co.uk
And after a couple of emails to the very friendly owners requesting it to be personalised, here’s what I was sent.
This awesome little book (A7) is handmade and smells wonderfully of leather.
Thanks to the owners of Earth Works Journals for this stunning product. I recommend them if you’re looking for something similar, and I shall be ordering more in the future. 🙂
Now to fill this book with my dodgy, child-like handwriting. 🙂