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.

Ouch…everything hurts

Ouch…everything hurts

So, first things first, once I finish writing a chapter tonight I will still be on course for my five chapters a week target for the sequel to my first novel, last year’s well received fantasy epic,  Realmborn. The writing is going well, flowing nicely, the story taking shape, the returning characters having matured nicely, the new faces proving very interesting. All in all I am well pleased, and looking forward to carrying on and hopefully having it finished by August.

I am also in the process of releasing my third novel, a scifi action adventure called Metal Blade. So far test readers are telling me, and I’m paraphrasing one of them now, “it’s so good I’ve been sneaking off to the toilet at work to read just a little bit more”.  I’ll let you know as and when it is available.

Now, the reason for the title of today’s post…I went to boxing training for the first time on Thursday evening. And now everything hurts! Yesterday was pretty bad, today is excruciatingly awful!

I’m not in terrible shape, I run a few times a week (not to blow my own trumpet, but I did run the London Marathon a few years back…ok, I’m totally blowing my own trumpet), and I casually assumed that I’d be in good enough shape to cruise through an hour and a half of boxing training at the local amateur club.

Oh, how wrong I was.

First off was skipping. With a rope. For twelve minutes (three minutes skipping, one minute of rest…four times). And kids do this for fun?!!?? Well, in days gone by, now they probably play a skipping game app on their phones instead…

After the exhaustion of an antiquated schoolyard playtime activity, one actual boxing occurred. Well, me against a heavy bag, and then me against Barry the trainer and his pads. Who knew boxing was so complicated?!?? My off hand to his off hand, always protect the chin, but also always protect the torso, keep your feet apart, soft knees, punch through the target…it was a mental workout as well as a physical one.

Finally, after the muscles in my shoulders and arms had been stretched beyond all recognition, we finished with what was described as “light circuit training”…if that was light I’d hate to see intensive.

I actually felt good afterwards, energised, strong, accomplished. But the next morning…trust me, a little light jogging does not prepare you for the intensity of rigorous boxing training, not even nearly, and I take my hat off to all those who do this on a regular basis, and in fact to athletes everywhere of all persuasions. Healthy people, I salute you!

The next session is Tuesday, giving me another three days to recover…could be dicey, but what the hell, I think I’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, sudden cardiac arrest, I guess, and there’s almost certainly the prospect of more pain the following day, but you know what? I got two chapters written the next day, I was more focused, and even remembered to Tweet. So maybe healthy body means healthy mind? Or maybe it was too painful to move from my writing position and as I wasn’t able to stand up I was forced to just work…who knows?

Right, my weary bones have got another evening of writing ahead of them, hope everyone is enjoying their weekends. As always, Stay Frosty, People.

I have finished writing my third novel!

So, no image obviously, as I’ve only finished the first draft, but it’s called Metal Blade and is about a pair of bounty hunters on a new earth in the distant future, one of who has a load of cybernetic enhancements, the other carries a sword…so maybe just picture Robocop stood next to a samurai warrior for now. (Artwork’s not really my thing, so if anyone has any suggestions for cover designs, please do let me know.)

I’ll not give too much away, but in a nutshell the plot revolves around our heroes foiling an assassination attempt and then finding out why the poor schmuck was marked for death in the first place…we’ve got strong women, a deadly assassin, wisecracks, gunfights, swordfights, sword vs gun fights, a really odious bad guy…it’s a lot of fun, and you can read a rough first draft of the first chapter on this very website! (Along with details of where to buy my first two novels, of course, always an important thing to point out. Come for the blog, stay for the books.)

There’s still work to be done, typos to be hunted down and exterminated, possible changes to be made, entire characters to be removed/added/killed off/brought back to life, so there’ll be a short while before it hits Amazon, but I hope to have it out there for public consumption by the middle of May.

I’m actually absurdly proud of this one, I think it reads well, it’s fast-paced and exciting, and most importantly of all, I started writing it 28 days ago. 55,000 words and change, 24 chapters, a beginning, a middle, and an end. A whole book, in 4 weeks. I am actually pretty damn pleased with myself. I have a few test readers so, unless they are being mega-polite, I am fairly confident on the quality level (I could be completely wrong of course, it could be awful and I just have very nice, polite people reading this for me), I think the speed on this one comes from having had the time to really focus on it. So, if nothing else, this experiment in writing full time has at least shown that I can be fairly prolific when I put my mind to it.

Can I repeat the feat? Maybe, but what with? I am torn between writing the sequel to Realmborn, or writing another standalone story I have in mind called Monster Island. If anyone has an opinion, please let me know.

In the meantime I am going to call it a day, because this weekend holds the joys of marketing my second novel, Silver Soldiers. I’ve been advised to write a Press Release, start a Facebook page, get in touch with book bloggers, do more twittering on my Tweetie Bird account thing…this marketing lark is hard work, and I take my hat off to everyone I know who works in that field. You are all unsung, hard-working heroes!

So yeah, tomorrow’s entry might be me telling you what advertising/PR strategies I’ll be adopting, and how I hope increase market saturation and my social media presence throughout eastern Europe…head this way if you need a cure for insomnia.

As always, till next time, Stay Frosty, People.