Realmborn 2 Has Arrived!

Realmborn 2 Has Arrived!

The follow-up to my first novel, Realmborn, is now available on Amazon. Well, in eBook format, anyway. The paperback is a few weeks away still, but I am very proud and pleased to be able to say that, after six months of writing, various edits and touch ups, and more than a little blood, sweat and tears, Ranidir’s Heir: A Story of The Realm, is finally completed.

This novel picks up several years after the events of Realmborn, picking up the story of Jake Ranidir, who had decided, rather than returning to his adopted home in good old 21st Century Britain, to stay on in the Realm, the magical land of his birth. He did this in order to save the Realm from the evil invaders who had come so close to annihilating this nation of magic-wielding warrior-mages, and our story begins with Jake just a gnat’s whisker away from achieving victory and being able to return home to the beloved wife he left behind.

Of course, nothing good ever comes easy, and so it is when he is finally so near to achieving his goals that he and his closest friends are whisked back in time to save the Realm of the past, while Jake’s sons are drawn into this magical world and it is up to them to save the new Free Realm of the present.

With a host of returning characters, some exciting new protagonists, and a villain who makes the Realm’s previous bad guy look like a friendly kitten playing with a ball of wool on a bed made of candy floss, Ranidir’s Heir is an exciting return to a fantasy world with oodles of heroism, a smidge of tragedy, and more than a touch of twenty-first century attitude.

If I do say so myself…

On a personal note I am extremely proud of this novel, I think it is more tightly and effectively written than any of my previous works, while retaining the complexity and intricacy of my first book. I’m aiming for a more accessible fantasy novel, so I sincerely hope people enjoy the mix of action, humour and high-fantasy storytelling crossed with some modern-day narrative from protagonists who would be more at home down their local pub than doing battle with other-worldly invaders in a magical land.

I enjoyed writing my two stand-alone novels, Silver Soldiers and Metal Blade (and if you’ve not read them yet they have both been very well received and are well worth a look-see), but there is something about the Realm that is so much more satisfying to write about than anything else for me. In fact I have started some tentative early drafts of the first few chapters of another Realm-based novel, which may well be book number five for me. It’s a rich world, with so many stories to be told, and I hope that people will continue to enjoy these tales as I manage to transfer them from my brain to the page.

Ranidir’s Heir: A Story of The Realm, can be found as an eBook here on Amazon. And it costs less than a pint. Even in Wetherspoons.

Finally, here are the answers to a few questions readers have posed over the last year or so:

 

Q: Is the incredibly handsome, brave, amazing, charismatic and awesome character of Jake based on the author?

A: Yes. Obviously.

 

Q: How much coffee has been consumed during the writing of the Realm novels?

A: 17,356 gallons. Plus an espresso.

 

Q: When is the movie/TV series coming?

A: When enough people have lobbied Hollywood to make it happen (hint, hint).

 

Q: Does the first book, Realmborn, need to be read before Ranidir’s Heir?

A: Ideally, yes, though Ranidir’s Heir is still an exciting story in its own right, and explains various relevant aspects of the characters’ history throughout the novel. But yes, this novel is a direct sequel to its predecessor.

 

Q: Who were your inspirations as an author?

A: David Gemmel, David Eddings, Raymond E Feist, Katherine Kerr, Terry Pratchett, Lee Child and Harlan Coben. Not all fantasy authors, but I like to think I’ve taken a little inspiration from all of them in terms of pacing, imagery, identifiable heroes…I simply aspire to their lofty heights!

 

Q: Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash?

A: Too tough to call. Like asking “Ale or Wine”? Both, just at different times. Or occasionally together, but it can be messy…

 

OK, that’s enough rambling from me, I hope you all enjoy this novel, please do leave reviews, unless you hate it in which case hey, save yourself the time, no worries, it’s cool, go do something else…

And of course thanks for your continued support, it really does mean the world to me.

Stay Frosty, People (Something I find quite poignant now, following the tragic and sad news of Bill Paxton’s untimely passing. RIP, Hudson, game over, man, game over.)

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Amidst the Excitement, Writing

Amidst the Excitement, Writing

So, my third novel has hit Amazon (yesterday) and I am ludicrously excited about that. The anticipation and nervousness, wondering when the first review will arrive, will it be a good one or not, will people like it…I think I could be forgiven for letting all this distract me, but I am pushing on and continuing to write Realmborn 2.

Which is difficult, because I keep finding myself checking the Amazon page to see if there’s been a review yet…which is pointless! The work has been done, it is out there in the world now, no more I can do at this stage…but still I keep checking! (And have been doing since about five minutes after Metal Blade became available on Amazon, as if someone was going to speed read it and immediately leave a five star review)

So today I decided to knuckle down and write chapter eighteen of Realmborn 2, which I am very much enjoying, although I am finding it a very different process to writing Silver Soldiers or Metal Blade. Oh, the basics are the same, I’m still typing words into a computer, still making notes on each chapter and then fleshing those out into proper prose, still rewarding myself with a beer when the chapter is done, but the actual writing is very different.

For one thing it’s a different genre. Silver Soldiers was basically an action thriller, Metal Blade is pure sci fi, whereas Realmborn 2 is going back to the style of its predecessor, my very first novel, Realmborn. Very much a fantasy novel, a la Lord of the Rings, but with one of the protagonists being from 21st Century Britain, and so a large number of the chapters have a much more modern spin on the narrative style. This means chopping and changing the style chapter by chapter, depending on which character’s point of view that section is from. Which requires a lot more brain power…

There’s the complexity of the whole thing, as well. Silver Soldiers and Metal Blade had maybe ten or twelve main characters each, and they were both written as punchy, very linear, straightforward slices of entertainment. Short but exciting. Quick and fun. Fast and furious. Much like the way I make love. Well, Short, Quick and Fast, anyway.

Realmborn 2 is much more complicated, an epic fantasy novel with a huge cast of characters, interlocking storylines, and far more complexities to draw the reader in to a (hopefully) engaging and engrossing read. Which is all well and good, but it does mean that each chapter is about twice as long as those in my previous two books.

More words. Lots and lots and lots of words.

This is making the process of writing each chapter a little more gruelling, because I like to do a chapter in a single sitting. This is not always going to be possible with Realmborn 2, and I need to accept that. I need to accept it and persevere with a new writing process. Burning the midnight oil to get a chapter done is all well and good, but burning the 4 in the morning oil is just taking the ****.

So, from now on I am going to attempt 2000 words a day, Monday to Friday. Weekend working optional. This should equate to roughly a chapter every other day. Or three a week, maybe. Which would still allow the world to see the Realmborn sequel by about mid August, I think. I shall persevere.

It’s a target, I’m aiming for it. Successfully today, because Chapter Eighteen got written, yay for me!

Oh, and apologies to anyone who doesn’t find today’s image all that funny, that’s very much one that I must be the exact perfect generation to be amused by…

As always, my friends, Stay Frosty, People.

Metal Blade – Honest Reviews Welcomed

Metal Blade – Honest Reviews Welcomed

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged, apologies for that, I’ve been in the process of juggling new chapters for Realmborn 2 with getting Metal Blade out there and available for public consumption.

I am very pleased to be able to say that my third novel, a sci fi action story, is now available as an ebook on Amazon! As this is a shorter novel, very much designed to be a quick, un-put-downable read, it is priced at the bargain cost of just 99p for the electronic version, and can be read for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. The paperback version should be available in about 4 weeks from Amazon, or can be purchased from Lulu here.

I’ll update the Metal Blade page on this site in the next day or so, but in a nutshell the story is about two former bounty hunters on New Earth, one cybernetic, one a master swordsman, once best friends and now estranged. They must come together to defeat the evil plot of the sinister Science Ministry, joining forces with a beautiful assassin to save the life of an innocent young man who holds the key to mankind’s survival.

I’m hoping everyone finds it as exciting to read as I found it to write, and if you do give it a go, please, please, please do leave a review, they are very much what drives other people to give it a go, absolutely essential for an indie author like myself.

You can find Metal Blade here, and I do hope you both give it a try and enjoy it. No gore, no filth, just an exciting read to transport you to a new world with some flawed heroes, villainous bad guys and a plot that moves at breakneck speed.

Thanks in advance, I hope you’re all well, and Stay Frosty, people.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Overcoming Writer’s Block

No, not with beer! Although as anyone who knows me can attest to, the beer pictured combines two of my great loves – the beers of Brewdog (Five AM Saint is my current favourite) and the great Elvis Presley. Happily I quite like the beer as well, it’s fruity and refreshing but still quite potent.

However, this is not a post about beer (leave a comment if you’d like some beer reviews, more than happy to sample a few over the course of an evening and let you know what I think), but about overcoming writer’s block. And here it is, my secret.

I don’t know how to overcome writer’s block.

I’ve been going great guns on this latest novel (the sequel to my first novel, Realmborn, which can be found here along with its reviews), happily bashing out a chapter a day for the last couple of weeks, and even deliberately taking a couple of days off here and there so as not to burn out too quickly. And it’s been going well, I’ve fond myself easily slipping back into the world of Jake Ranidir and his Mage-Knight cousin Rayne, enjoying the complexities of the Realm they live in, and particularly pleased that I know how the overall story arc goes, so I don’t need to come up with any twists or plot devices, it’s all there already, just waiting to be told.

Until Chapter Fourteen.

Chapter Fourteen is an exciting chapter, with one of my favourite new characters, some action, a little bit of exposition…should have been a really quick one to type up and put in the “happy with that” pile.

Nope. Nothing doing.

I hit a real wall, just couldn’t get past a certain section, and so did what I usually do when inspiration isn’t forthcoming. Slept on it. Normally a sure-fire solution for me, but on this occasion (four days ago), I woke up the next day and (when parenting permitted) sat down to write with the same damn results. Typed up a paragraph, re-read it, deleted said paragraph. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over again.

This time, instead of sleeping on it, I drank more coffee than is probably healthy and pulled an all-nighter, determined to push through and finish the chapter no matter what. I awoke at three in the morning with my face in the keyboard having last typed “fdcdhlrieyqfdhlhfdggieu”.

So, sleeping hadn’t worked, not sleeping hadn’t worked, and this chapter was now in its third day. Two days overdue. Threatening to blow my own self-imposed schedule out of the water and make me -gulp – work at the weekend. What was I going to do? Try persevering? Take a break and forget about it? Pay a vastly more talented writer to pen the chapter for me?

As it turned out the choice was out of my hands anyway. What with one thing and another the first chance I had to write yesterday was at about 10PM, and in fact I did do so with a beer, so maybe my opening statement was wrong. Because it was last night that I broke the back of the chapter, leaving me only a little to do today. And today I finally finished it!

Phew!

Last night it was like the clouds had parted and allowed me to see the chapter in the sunshine again, and today finishing it off was simply a formality. And I have no idea what made the difference, although re-reading this blog entry it appears to be beer. Not that I am condoning the use of alcohol in any way, shape or form! Well, maybe a little bit, it does seem to be my go-to reward for finishing a chapter…but only in moderation, people!

And why do people say “everything in moderation”? Pretty sure there’s quite a lot of things that aren’t ok even in moderation…genocide, suicide, fratricide…any of the “cides” really. Also heroin. And any kind of bigotry. In fact, the next time anyone says that everything in moderation is ok, punch them square on the nose and ask them if that was ok. I mean just the once, that’s in moderation, right?

Anyway, I digress, which may be why Chapter Fourteen took me four days to complete. Too much digressing! I think the upshot of my rambling is that there is no sure-fire way to beat writer’s block. You can take a break. Might work. You can try pushing through it. Also might work. You can have a beer/cake/cuppa/poison-of-your-choice (in moderation). Again, might work. Who knows? The thing to do is keep believing in your ability to finish it eventually, and to remember that, at the end of that day, it’s only writing. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. Continents won’t crumble, mountains won’t topple, the seas won’t rise…and yes, I am terrible at remembering this, and treat every chapter as though Armageddon and Ragnarok might have a child, presumably named Armageddarok, and if I don’t finish a chapter on time then that child would not only end the world but spit on its remains afterwards. But for Pete’s sake don’t use me as an example of what to do!

(Who is this Pete, anyway?)

Right, it is late, I am tired, and I have written far too many words today. Stay Frosty, People. Unless you are a writer with Writer’s Block, in which case do whatever you need to do to get those next 1,000 words written. Whatever the hell that turns out to be.

Back to Writing

Back to Writing

Today was a productive day. In fact the last few days have been productive, writing-wise.

Having proved to myself that I can manage a fairly gruelling writing schedule I am pressing on and working on the sequel to my first novel, Realmborn. My plan for my third novel, Metal Blade, was a chapter a day, and I almost managed this, completing the whole  novel in 28 days (and this should be released on amazon in the next few weeks, watch this space!). Realmborn 2 will take longer, but then it is a very different beast of a book. Think fantasy epic as opposed to something you could read by the pool in a day.

However, in the past 9 days I have written the prologue and the first seven chapters, and will be hopefully pressing on at this pace until it is finished, which would make it ready for release by about the end of July…ish. It’s going to be a fantasy epic, just like the first Realmborn, so it won’t be short!

It’s been really good breathing new life into some of the characters from the first book, and hopefully taking some of the lessons I learned from the reviews of the first Realmborn and putting them into practice in the writing of the second. Retaining the humour and voice of my debut novel, but injecting a bit more pace. That’s the goal, anyway…

I’ll get the prologue and first chapter up on this site tonight, hopefully, though I will stress again that there are major spoilers contained for anyone who hasn’t read the first one.

Speaking of, why not read the first one? You can find it on Amazon here, and it’s available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited. If not, the electronic version is only £1.99 (or the equivalent in dollars), so less than a pint, and in most places these days less than a half…

Alternatively you can read my second novel, Silver Soldiers, here, it is likewise free on Kindle Unlimited or at the bargain price of £1.99, and is more of a sci-fi action thriller. One reader said they couldn’t put it down, but as that was my Dad I think you should maybe make your own minds up. (I’m genuinely proud of it, and it does have some good reviews on Goodreads.com, should you care to go looking…I’m just not much of a one for blowing my own trumpet, which might be quite a detriment as an aspiring independent author!)

As always, if I can beg anyone who has ready either of my novels to post a review on Amazon, that would be amazing and much appreciated. It is genuinely reviews which drive other readers to give novels a chance in this bizarre world I’m making a go of, so please, please, please, if you’ve read either of my novels and have a spare five minutes…honesty is appreciated, flattery will get you a pint the next time I see you, outright praise will make me blush.

Right, if I’m going to create a whole new page on this website I’d best get cracking, hope anyone reading this is well and enjoying life, and takes some amusement in my epic new facial hair statement!

Oh yes, as you can see in the pic (if you can drag your eyes off my wonderful new moustache), today’s reward for completing a chapter was a glass of wine. A Shiraz. And it was very nice.

As I always say, Stay Frosty, People.

Totally shaved off the beard

Totally shaved off the beard

After a flurry of interest and opinions (thank you again you lovely half dozen people who read my blog), I decided that I couldn’t keep my beard, not after teasing the internet with the prospect of me shaving it off for something more interesting.

There were several differing opinions, the Downey Jr/Tony Stark look seemed to be quite in favour, but I decided that it look too groomed for me…let’s face it, Iron Man probably has a personal barber who sorts his facial hair out every day, whereas I usually have a case of I Hate Mornings Syndrome…the odds of me managing any kind of regular upkeep on a moustache/beard combo that sculpted, that defined…was never gong to happen!

The Sam Elliott got some good votes too, I’m just not enough of a manly man’s man, a gravelly voiced Silver Fox, a macho cowboy, to be able to pull that one off.

There was one vote for the Kurt Russell Hateful Eight look, and I’ve tried my best, but my lack of a mane of good, thick hair means I’m not quite pulling it off. In the end I’ve gone with something in between Kurt and Sam, I think, I reckon I’m probably more cowboy than superhero in any case, and  seriously, who has the time to groom their moustache and beard every morning?!?!? And so, for at least a week (I shall withstand any mockery I am subjected to), I am going to let this bad boy grow, and see just how awesome a moustache it can become.

My suspicion is incredibly awesome.

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Ideally I will get to the point where I can plait it.

I have no doubt that I will wake up in the morning with a bad case of Beard-Shavers-Regret, but for now I am quite happy to see my chin again, while retaining enough facial fuzz to hide a multitude of sins. And sometimes food, for later. And retaining the ability to strain my coffee while drinking it.

I’m just sorry I couldn’t achieve this:

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Still, I’m going for the eccentric author bit, I’m also going to buy some leather patches to sew on the elbows of all my jackets, start smoking a pipe and referring to myself in the third person.

When Dave finishes this blog tonight Dave is going to reward himself with – actually scratch the third person thing, that’s just annoying. I’ll consider the moustache enough!

Speaking of being an eccentric author, don’t forget to buy/read/review my books, please, the two currently available can be found here (for fantasy lovers) and here (for those who prefer a quicker-paced action thriller set in the near future), and it really is reviews which make the difference for indy authors like myself. Don’t forget that both books can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited, so anyone with Amazon Prime, dive on in there!

That’s about it from me for tonight, no writing occurred today but I did think abut the next chapter a lot, so that counts, right? Still, I’ve done a prologue and four chapters in the last 6 days, I’ll take that. As long as I get something done tomorrow. And not the tomorrow I usually refer to, the tomorrow of unfinished DIY, but the actual tomorrow, the 24th April 2016. Trying to maintain a level of at least five chapters a week was the goal, I’ll stick to that.

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Good night, Stay Frosty, People.

Realmborn 2 has begun!

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A decision has been made, my next project will be Realmborn 2!

I was torn between writing a sequel to my first novel and starting on something else new, but then I discovered some notes from last year mapping out the start of the sequel…I was hooked pretty quickly!

So, I shall be trying to maintain a fairly prolific pace, I am hoping for five chapters a week, which will give me leeway to have to odd day off here and there. I shall, of course, keep you as updated as possible via this blog, and may put some teaser chapters up in the next few days. Spoiler alert, though, if you’ve not read Realmborn yet then don’t read the teasers!

I’ve made a pretty good start, had to come up to London today so had a good couple of hours on the train this morning, and then some time spent lazily writing in a coffee shop this afternoon. As always I had my faithful writing companion Wade stood by my laptop offering his sage words of wisdom…

Hopefully everyone is enjoying the sunshine, I am bedecked in my usual Hawaiian shirted manner, pretending it is summer…today has been a good day so far.

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Stay Frosty, People…like my beer.