Beagle’s Blot 8 | Essol Ranella

I’m moving once more!  Yes; yes – I’m back on the move.  Two seasons I have been holed up in the home of the merchant, but I find myself in a much stronger position.  I am ready this time.

And I am sated.  Certainly that.

The female hospitality on offer truly was delicious, and my living wage was enough to keep me in flesh for a long time to come.  But that is my old life – that is the mark of Callij – and I am trying to break free of that mould.  Yes indeed; I have grown my friends.  Grown!

That being said, it was mighty hard to pull my path thus.  I really have enjoyed my time.

“Are you certain you want to leave?  You have been mighty valuable to us.”

My esteemed employer evidently values my wok highly, too.  Oh my goodness, it is hard to leave this comfort.  In Callij I was a failed architect, but out here, in the Between, I am almost a master engineer.  It is praise I could get used to, but there is one small problem.

I know the reality of it.

“I must continue my journey.  That is my true differentiator.”

And the journey is my differentiator.  I am not a spectacular architect – I am barely mediocre.  In the wilderness I may cause merchants to go bleary-eyed with demand, but in Callij – or any hub for that matter – I am merely an underqualified noble.

But I am also blotting my way across Society.  That is different, and that is unique.  That is the path I must follow.

Continue reading Beagle’s Blot 8 | Essol Ranella

Book Review: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins

By James Faro

This is a nice mystery tale of a somewhat eccentric merchant captain called Tobias Hopkins.  Fortune appBook_Cover_TobiasHopkinsears to be against our hero, but through this story, he manages to turn fortune back to his side – in part thanks to the guiding hand of his lost father.  The writing is well constructed and cleverly toned to the 18th century (ish) where our novel is set.  It was a bit slow for my liking, and I can’t say I ever felt overly attached to any of the characters, but it was an interesting and colourful read.  Overall I would say that I liked this book.

Continue reading Book Review: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins

Editing Your Work

In this writing experience blog, I’m going to talk about a technique I’ve developed for editing my own work.  Before we go any further, this is not suggesting that proper professional editorials can be avoided – indeed, I have established a newfound respect for the work that gets done in editorials.  What this does do is to suggest a way that ‘self-editing’ can be completed in a more productive, albeit time-consuming (!), manner.

Well, it seemed to work for me in any case.

Continue reading Editing Your Work

Book Review: Truth Unveiled

Book 2 of Daughter of Ravenswood Series

By Kim Cleary

This is the first book in a while that’s really given me a buzz.  I really TruthUnveiledBookCoverliked it.  That’s not to say that there aren’t a few challenges with the read, but ultimately I thought this was a great book – the finale is excellent.

I have read a lot of indie books recently, and the writing that gets put on the page can vary wildly – both in style and in rigour.  It’s a very hard task to write great prose, so in my view, as long as the writing doesn’t distract from the content, it’s good.  When I started reading ‘Truth Unveiled’, my immediate impression was that ‘this is really great writing’.  Really great.  It felt professional. Continue reading Book Review: Truth Unveiled

Book Review: Ship of Magic

By Robin Hobb

So – here’s my new book review format.  Yes I’ve decided I need a structure.  I think it works, but you can be the judge of that.

  1. a brief synopsis of the story.  I’m hoping that this is useful in aShipofMagic_Cover review, and also that it gives me some practise writing blurbs (which I’m very bad at!);
  2. a summary of my review thoughts; and
  3. the detail for those who are inclined to read on!

So, what about Robin Hobb’s Ship of Magic?  Well, here goes.  How to summarise a book as vast as this?  Daunting… Continue reading Book Review: Ship of Magic

Author Newsletter August 2016

Wow – that was a busy month.  As I mentioned last month, I may have suddenly realised that I had to get my skates on and get the novella sorted out pretty sharpish!  I had been dragging my heels somewhat, and it turns out there was quite a lot to do.  But I got there!  Which is very exciting.  So, in news of all things Mandestroy, this is what’s happened:

  • Mandestroy book in a blog concluded;
  • The final edit of Mandestroy was pulled together (including a sentence by sentence overhaul);
  • It got a beta read from Joshua C. Cook – thanks Josh!;
  • And it was published (hurrah!) on Smashwords for FREE and Amazon for $0.99 (more on that later).

But it’s not all about Mandestroy – oh no.  What else has been going on in James Hockley’s world?

  • Fear’s Union limped out of SPFBO#2 with the “Katana of potential” award – not all bad then!
  • Some more reviews of Fear’s Union have popped up – mixed opinions so far…
  • I’ve been reading lots (as always) with a particular highlight being Robin Hobb’s Ship of Magic.  Epic in every sense.

That’s the headlines.  Now, on with the news!

Continue reading Author Newsletter August 2016

Beagle’s Blot 7 | Celestia

Two full cycles of Unthara I have been here now.  Two full cycles.  That is the best part of forty days and nights.  Two full cycles.

But then, that may have been by design.  I almost feel human again.

It is strange, readers, but I may have actually forgotten why I was doing this journey in the fist place.  All the toil of the Adunas Mahija seemed to wipe my head of its purpose, draining me of the very reason for this voyage.  I kept writing, yes I did, but that was almost mechanical.  I have written all my life if truth be told.

But now I am a guest, and I am approaching social acceptability.  I have retained my harder, heavier edge, but I now hold the soft look of nobility once more.  I’m not entirely convinced I like it, but then again, as I lay in this soft bed looking upon the nightscape without, I realise that I do like the comfort.  I don’t like the idea of comfort, but I do like it nonetheless.  We Mandari are weak creatures at heart.

Continue reading Beagle’s Blot 7 | Celestia