Time makes fools of us all!

The frequency of my blog posts gave me a bit of a slap in the face today. It was mid 2015 when I released the last of the Valerious Chronicles and mid 2016 when I released The Storyteller’s Chest. Prior to that I had released a book each year, and was trying to keep my blog updated every quarter or so. I now find myself in mid 2017 and am sad to say there is no exciting new release to announce. Why? As Fry from Futurama so aptly put it, time makes fools of us all.

They tell you when you are young that the years just seem to go faster and faster as you age. I can now fully appreciate that. I look back and consider myself to have been very productive over the last twelve months. Unfortunately, this productivity wasn’t in the form of writing.

I once again travelled across to the British Isles, to immerse myself in English culture, and in particular English Ale! I also found the time to engage in those hobbies which, during my time writing the Valerious Chronicles, suffered from serious neglect. I’ve allocated more time outside of my day job to playing cards (Magic the Gathering), reading, war-gaming (Warhammer), reading comics and even binge-watching TV shows.

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My writing may has been neglected due to time spent on projects like this.

The truth is that, as a result, Project Isles has progressed very slowly. Do not fear, I will continue to write and finish it. But the truth is that when I wrote my first trilogy, it was difficult to find the time for my other hobbies. And it has been fantastic being able to dedicate more time to them, as well as seeing my friends.

The other unfortunate truth. Writing has done a real number on my body. Ask any writer and they will assure you that neck, wrist and back pain resulting from hours upon hours at a keyboard are no thing to be shrugged off. No really, sometimes it is impossible shrug from the muscle strain. I have been working to strengthen my back to make writing a less strenuous task. But it is slow progress.

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I have found the time to paint some of the older models in my collection.

So what now? 2017 and no new book to release. I almost feel ashamed! But then I would not want to release something unless I truly believed it was ready. And Project Isles still has a long way to go. My next task is to set myself some small goals to work towards. I fear once again, my other hobbies will need to be understanding and allow me to return to my keyboard. But for the last two years they have had my full attention, and it’s time to share the love. Writing has brought me so much joy. I just need to jump start the engine a little.

P.S Please take advantage of the current sale at Smashwords.com. The entire Valerious Chronicles series is free until the end of July! Hope you enjoy and share them with your friends and family.

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Project Isles – A Snippet

You may notice that my Blog and Website have been a tad quiet of late. Do not fear. This can only bode well for those waiting for my new book. I have now begun the actual writing on Project Isles, with the bulk of my planning and world building completed to a satisfactory level. I try never to do too much world building at the beginning, as my characters and places naturally develop as I write. Most of my best ideas come when I am in the middle of a chapter and can have a profound change on where the story is going.

Being a single book I am also blessed with the ability to chop and change a lot more than I was able to with the Valerious Chronicles. There I had to ensure all foreshadowing was 100% complete when publishing the first or second book in the trilogy. Writing Project Isles is a less structured task, with only a brief outline required before I dive right into putting the story to pen.

I foresee it being a lengthy project. So I will endeavour to keep you updated. As a little taster, here is a tiny excerpt from the Prologue, fully unedited and raw. It will give you an insight into what my first drafts generally look like, before they go through the meat grinder.

Until the next time, I hope your nights are full of wonderful stories and great company.

FIRST DRAFT EXCERPT: Project Isles:

Eva could smell her prey on the wind. It swept through the leaves up to her perch and smelt heavily of old sweat and dry mud. She crouched snugly between two of the larger branches, left fingers gripping her bow tightly, right fingers holding her arrow’s feather fletching, the string of her bow stretched fully.  

Project Isles

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Sunset at Meteora

What do you do after almost four months of travelling? Apart from shake the inevitable post-holiday depression, you either quit your day job and decide you want to travel for the rest of your life, or you try and find something to fill the void. As much as I loved my post trilogy trip, I am glad to be back on home soil, catching up with familiar faces and sleeping in my own bed! So my eyes have turned to the future. To the next project.

I have been asked many times since returning home whether my journey through the UK and Europe sparked a wealth of new story ideas in my over imaginative mind. My response is generally along the lines of, “Does a cow moo?” How could a fantasy writer not be inspired by the mists hanging over the Scottish highlands, or the clouds casting shadows over the many castles in England and France?

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The Fairy Pools – Isle of Skye

I have always loved Europe and nothing has changed. Everywhere you look there is history. Each corner turned presents stunning landscapes and ancient ruins. The entire continent has such an air of ‘significance’ that I could spend years exploring and learning. I say significance in that so much of the modern world was shaped by actions and events which began in central Europe. Australia is a relatively new country in the eyes of the human race. We have outstanding landscapes and architecture, but we cannot compete when it comes to the cultural wealth of Europe and the UK.

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Stop everything you are doing and go to Granada!

In the time since finishing the Valerious Chronicles I have made a point of turning my mind away from writing. So much of my mental effort and time has been spent on working on these books over the last few years that I had almost forgotten how to relax and enjoy my other hobbies. I’ve been reading more books and comics, playing video games again and finding more time for board games and other social activities.

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Yes – This is Downton Abbey

Nevertheless I cannot help but continue to take notes and email myself the ideas that pop into my head at random times. My inbox is full of them. So I am happy to announce that my next book idea has already begun to form. All I will say at this stage is that it will be a single novel in the fantasy genre, and that it will in no way be linked to the Valerious Chronicles.

I will be referring to it as “Project Isles” for now and as the idea develops I will try to document my progress from idea to novel in this blog. It is highly exciting for me to have a completely clean slate and I am truly looking forward to engaging in new world-building. I foresee “Project Isles” being a long project. It may be that in the meantime I will work on short stories or novellas to publish intermittently. Additionally I am keen to see the Valerious Chronicles made available in hardcover with all new cover art. This is something I have already begun working on and will be excited to reveal in coming months.

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Tower Bridge at night

In the meantime, if you are looking for some excellent reads in the fantasy genre I cannot more highly recommend the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. I am reading ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ at the moment and cannot put it down.