It has been a while since I posted anything here, but that is not to say that I have not been busy. Creating a publishing company, editing an Anthology, finalising my first novel and now, to top it all off, I am deep in NaNoWriMo territory.
But it is all great stuff.
The big news has to be the creation of Nordland Publishing. http://nordlandpublishing.com/
The other big news has to be the launch of the Guardian - Blood in the Sand for January 17, 2015.
This is not an arbitrarily chosen date. It is one year to the day since I started writing the book. Sure, it has been sitting around months waiting to be published, but I was busy (see above) and besides, there is a wonderful synchronicity to the launch date.
In the last week I have had a frenzy of inspiration. From completing my short story, Ulvøy, to the creation of several flash fictions, notably, Night Folk, The Gingerbread Man and Nana's Magic Teeth.
In addition, another short story was published. This time in volume 7 of Dark-Places Magazine. It is called The Dreamer dreams, and is a metaphysical examination of the entirety of creation, seen through the eyes of a coma victim and a Gameboy which may, or may not, actually be god.
The first short story I ever wrote, Cleopatra's Pool, got a revamp. This has now become a little novelette, and is now in the hands of Zoe Harris, freelance editor and leader of the Oslo Writer's League. I am hoping that after her ministrations, this story could be my first self-published effort.
I have been toying with ideas on how to create a full length novel from this, and I like the idea of a triptych, with the novel being in three sections. The first would be the part that I have now. Time will tell.
Writing has slowed down on my current WIP novel, The Fenrir Virus, but I will be focusing more on this in the coming weeks.
My first major novel, The Guardian, is now at the end of the second draft. It has become a readable, coherent novel. The next stage is that it will be placed in the hands of an editor whose job it will be to pick it apart. To question, suggest and cut as required.
This is a vital stage, as the editor can make or break the novel. So I am, of course, slightly nervous. But I will be working with someone who is very experienced, has a good eye and I firmly believe will be a great asset in getting the novel ready for publication.
This is the first of a planned trilogy. The full title is
The Guardian - Book I
Blood in the Sand
I will report more on the progress once it has begun.
I was recently given the chance to have a sneak preview of a new e-zine being launched by the amazingly talented Katie Metcalfe. Called, Morbid Curse, it it a very Black Metal centric magazine that goes far beyond the music.
I am not a big fan of the harsher forms of Metal. However, I feel that I have a deeper appreciation now for what the music is about, what it is trying to accomplish.
I offered my services as a proof reader. And I am very pleased that I did. In one evening I was astonished to discover a whole world that I barely suspected the existence of. I am not saying that I am now a fan of the genre, but recently I have been listing to an Icelandic band called Sólstafir. I do not know where they fit within the musical pantheon but the music is stunning and has inspired me to write. And that cannot be bad!
So, if you are fan of Bathory, or Burzum or Mayhem, then this magazine is for you. But if, like me, you were not really aware of the rich history and culture behind the movement of Death Metal and Black Metal then perhaps you might like to check it out too.
You will probably learn something and it might just astonish you. It did me.
Blood in the sand has been sitting on a back burner while I tackled numerous short stories and started another novel. It has been about three months since I wrote the final scenes of the first Guardian novel, and completed the first draft.
But now I am back. I have some time off work, and I am going to work my way through the novel, rewriting one major plot point and generally revising as I go. Once this is done, it will be off to the editor for his turn. This is a process that I have been looking forward to for a long time, and it feels good to be finally getting to a point where the novel can be said to be 'finished.'
After this week's revision process it will be at the second draft stage, and hopefully one step nearer to a readable, full length novel. At around one hundred thousand words it is a decent enough length. Now the aim is to ensure that it is a decent enough quality.
Here is a teaser. The very first line:
"The naked woman with hair like a cascade of spun copper caressed the young man’s face gently, her fingers light against his skin, the knife pressing into his neck held firm."
I wanted to start the novel with a bang (It does. There is a terrifically big bang. I take things literally.) and at the same time I wanted to create a certain atmosphere. Here, we see our main protagonists struggling physically, which demonstrates the tone of their entire relationship. They are continually at odds with one another, a situation that culminates ultimately in murder.
Without wishing to give too much away, the novel unfolds as a flashback from that moment. And then interweaves a story within a story. The novel starts at the end, then we jump back to the beginning to see how we got there.
Like much of what I write, it concerns the meaning of death and contains metaphysical themes as well as such themes as sacrifice and duty.
But now I am eager to start work. Revision is calling.
This morning I was awoken very early. I got up. It was still dark. I made tea, and as I usually do, I settled down in front of my mac. I started to write.
I was inspired to write some musings on the theme, 'contemplating death.' You might be tempted to think that this would be a very gloomy doomy piece, but it is not. It is a reaffirmation of life, our place in the universe and the never ending dance of energy that is life.
I sent the piece to the editor of a new magazine and was thrilled to hear back from her later on that morning. She liked the piece, and even though it was past the deadline, she is including it in the first edition of Wyrd Words and Effigies.
You can see more about the magazine here: https://www.facebook.com/WyrdWordsAndEffigies
I created a new genre today, and it was accepted for publication immediately. That has to mean something. Flash Philosophy is born!
The Oslo Writer's League have unveiled the cover of the new Anthology.
The book deals with themes of "crossroads" and "identity" and I believe that the cover captures these elements eloquently. The map is, of course, Oslo. Most of the contributors live in, or near Oslo, including yours truly.
My own story is fifth in the running order. It is called "The Thing about Jonas." The cover was designed by Cindy Lackey, Design with back and spine by Ken Dawson.
I am proud to contribute to this project, as it provides needed income to a very worthy charity that helps improve education in the third world. You can be a part of this too. Order it on Amazon and have it shipped to you immediately.
The long awaited launch of the Oslo Writer's League Anthology is finally upon us. The book is called, All the Ways Home, and will comprise short stories and poems from some of the league members.
The launch will take place at the Literature House, in Oslo and all proceeds from the launch and subsequent book sales will go to the charity Utdanningshjelpen, a Norwegian organisation that promotes education in developing countries.
One of my short stories, "The Thing about Jonas" has been accepted for inclusion in an Anthology being created by the Oslo Writers League.
The League comprises a great many expats, and the Anthology highlights the eclectic mix of talent and interest from the various members.
My own story is a coming of age tale about a young man who learns how to stand up for himself, and that ultimately being true to your nature is better than allowing others to dictate who you can be.
The book will be available on 20 May 2014 and will be launched at a special event in Oslo.
Here is a snippet from the story: Detective Jonas Lyle was probably the least fit
officer on the force. He was not quick on his feet, and was certainly not able
to run down a perp high on speed or adrenalin. However, he was good at his job,
and his record for closing cases was to be envied. He was quick to smile, and
slow to anger. He did not hold grudges and was always willing to help a friend
or colleague. Even if it meant humping moving boxes on a Sunday.
Last year I was taken with the idea of writing. When I say taken, I mean obsessed. Let's make that clear from the get go. So, last year I got obsessed with the idea of writing and I looked about for something to give me a direction. And I found it.
There was a competition being run by leading Metaphysical Fantasy author, AJ Dalton.
Adam is a writer of impeccable skill, and weaves a complex world in his books. He is a nice guy and can be found in the UK, possibly in or around Manchester. He created a competition to encourage new writers in the Metaphysical Fantasy genre, specifying that "the stories had to be written in the metaphysical fantasy sub-genre, and had to include an inn and various disreputable characters."
This appealed to me, and I submitted a piece. I was thrilled when I was informed in January 2014 that I had won. Adam and I have been maintaining a correspondence since that time, and he has proffered a lot of very good advice. So, on top of everything else, I received some very necessary mentoring from a writer who really knows his onions (This is not quite a mixed a metaphor, as I am sure Adam really does know something about onions...)
Like many, I have long been drawn to the idea of writing. And like many, I did nothing much about it. Sure, there are some old poems, and the odd short story floating around. But they were never very serious, and at no point did I consider myself to be a writer, even though I thought that I had a modicum of talent.
So what changed?
I guess it was the National November Writing Month, NaNoWriMo in 2013.
I entered in 2013 (and won) developing a science fiction novel that pitted three races against each other, as they fought over a source of ultimate power.
It was not a good book, but I had fun writing it. I found that while I struggled with things like plot, character arc, timelines, etc, I really excelled at descriptions, motivations, and one or two other things.
In short, I felt that I had some good ideas, but was simply too inexperienced to bring them off successfully.
So I set about trying to teach myself the various tricks of the trade. To do this, I started to write short stories.
I have written about a dozen or so, in the last six months, some of which I may feature here. The process of writing short stories is obviously quite different than that for a full length novel, but there are some necessary elements which carry over.
But I am not going to talk about that. There are many other writers much more qualified, who can tell you far more than I can. But I just wanted to paint a picture of how I got started.
So, after NaNoWriMo, I joined a local group of like minded people and have found their personal stories, enthusiasm and talent, inspirational. I'll talk about them at a later time.