Beagle’s Blot 16 | Rotting

Time is something I’ve had for a while now, but in here, it is something else entirely.  A whole huge amount of time.  On the roads, or even hopping, the mind is distracted with the act of progression.  In here, there is no progression.  Only time.

Why have I been hauled into the cells?  It really is confounding.  My best guess is that it is to do with the lot of gold I owe a Mahani prince, but does that really deserve such treatment?  I am such a fool.

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Book Review: The Thief who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye

Book Two of the Amra Thetys Series

By Michael McClung

Amra has enjoyed the quiet life for too long, but that’s about to change. Her long-time companion and master-mage, Holgren, fancies a trip to a long-lost city. Who is she to refuse? He’s done so much for her, so she should really return the favour. And besides. What could possibly go wrong?

But Amra’s life is never that simple, and a straightforward feint and grab turns quickly sour. There are forces at work that she could not begin to comprehend, and the gods are watching too. If she’s going to survive, then she needs to tread carefully. Very carefully indeed.

Well, that was an fantastic second part to a fabulous series.  Amra Thetys really is a likeable rogue, and her adventures here are just as action-packed.  I’m not particularly clear on where the series is going, but the journey is fun so who cares?  Perhaps this wasn’t quite as spectacular as book one, but a great read nonetheless.

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Up Close & Personal

It’s time for the latest part of my “implementing Deep POV” blog series. This is the seventh blog in the series, and this one is all about being up close and personal. Too cryptic I hear you say? Okay, this is all about depth issues. Don’t worry, I’ll explain a bit further down. And no, it’s not about being out of one’s depth. I’m definitely out of my depth, but I’m ploughing on regardless.

Now, in case it wasn’t obvious, this is part of a series of blogs where I’m applying the principles outlined by Marcy Kennedy in her fantastic book: A Busy Writer’s Guide to Deep POV. I’ve been through lots already, and if you missed it, you can find out more below.
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Book Review: Champion

Book three of the Sanctuary Series

By Robert J Crane

Sanctuary’s reputation has grown over time, led by the human General, Cyrus Davidon.  But it is Vara, another officer with a curious prophecy attached to her, who stirs the most interest.  She is targeted by a group of assassins, and is forced to flee home.

Back in the Elven kingdom, Cyrus fights to keep Vara safe.  And in the hostile familial atmosphere, they may actually come to accept each other for who they are.  But the world is a place of war, and that war comes to their doorstep.  Will Cyrus and Vara still accept all they have been through once the fighting is done?

This is the third instalment of the Sanctuary series, and it is the strongest book so far.  Great!  The plot itself is more noble, and we are starting to scratch beneath the surface of this world that has been created.  This is a meatier book than the previous two, and perhaps a little fatty too, but it develops nicely and leads us tantalisingly into the rest of the series.

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Author Newsletter: June 2017

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these. January in fact. What’s new? Well, it’s been a pretty busy first six months of the year, and here are the highlights:

  • My little family grew by one: a little girl!
  • A complete re-write of ‘Fear’s Union’. In fact, it’s so different, it won’t even be called Fear’s Union. A new series is born (and sadly, the old series is being retired before it gets going);
  • A complete second edit of a ‘romantic comedy’ tentatively titled ‘Destination Happiness’.
  • A personal ‘re-brand’. My deep-POV analysis is complete, and I like it! I am now officially a deep-POV writer.
  • And loads of research for my fantasy series.

So, without further ado, this is what’s in the newsletter:

  1. What’s all this deep-POV nonsense?
  2. Where’s this romantic comedy come from?
  3. What’s happened to Fear’s Union?
  4. What happened to Dark Side of the Stone?
  5. And what can I expect to see in the future?

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Book Review: Salvation’s Dawn

Book One of the Eve of Redemption

By Joe Jackson

The mother of all wars is over, but there is no rest for Kari. Her religious order calls her to investigate curious happenings, and the threat of another war looms large.S

She joins a group of mercenaries, heading off around the world. But this will not be only about the mission. There is a darkness lying deep inside Kari, and it trumps anything she might be called to battle with a sword. It is time she faced up to it.

Overall I like this book. The core concepts are rather interesting, and there is enough complexity to keep the mind jumbled for life. The plot of Salvation’s Dawn itself is relatively simple, but there are also sharp undertones which guide us towards the inevitable sequels. There were a number of things that didn’t work for me, but mostly I was contented. I won’t jump straight into the sequel, but I will add it to my to-read list.

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Beagle’s Blot 15 | Making ‘Zon

We hopped for twenty-seven days and twenty-six nights.  Twenty-six.  Fifteen of those evenings were spent in suitable establishment hovels along the boggy coast, but eleven were spent under the stars.  In the open.  Exposed to the elements.  That was both incredible and terrible.

What was incredible?  The stars.  Only the Uncle knew it was that breathtaking.  Being a keen enthusiast of Celestia, I’ve always prided myself on my knowledge of the heavens.  But out there, with no man-made light to interfere, the effect was truly stunning.  It is actually difficult to identify a patch of true-dark.  The depth of the star blanket is staggering.

And then the terrible.  I woke one night to find huge lizard-like eyes peering down at me.  Huge.  My instinct told me it was a dragon, so I leapt up and scampered from the rock right into the boggy water.  Squelching around in the middy filth, the huge dragon-lizard proceeded to settle onto the rock and close its eyes.  Sleeping.  I had apparently stolen its spot.

“A dragon!”  I pointed at the vast scaly bulk and Hop-Man opened an eye.  Then closed it again.

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The Authorial Ventrilaquist

He’s back with the cryptic headings! What does this one mean? If you’ve read previous blogs, then you’ll know what this is about, but for those who don’t know, it’s all about “head-hopping” (which is a writing problem rather than something you do at a festival).

Now, this is part of a series of blogs I’m writing where I’m applying the principles outlined by Marcy Kennedy in her fantastic book: A Busy Writer’s Guide to Deep POV. So far I’ve taken a wider view and then grappled with that age-old advice: “show don’t tell”, and this month it’s time for another classic problem: head-hopping. Or more formally, POV violation. This is something that I can find jarring as a reader, and so I’ve always been more conscious of it as a writer, but I definitely feel I know it better now. Another invaluable lesson.
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Beagle’s Blot 14 | Hopping

Two days later, I was ready for my first hopping experience.  I had studied the map extensively and done numerous calculations, but could only conclude one thing: it was a long way.  A damned long way.

Now, the official measurement in Mandaria is called a quart, though they don’t seem to be aware of this in the First Fist.  A quart is what you get if you split the island of Mandaria into quarters and then measure from the centre along the line of one of those quarters.  A quart is therefore about half the width of Mandaria.  Go on, try it out.  It’s true.

The other thing about a quart is that it’s not strictly defined, but it is always about the same size.  About twenty-five kilo-skips in old-Mikaetan money.

Anyway, I digress.  The journey from Callij to Mallis was more than a quart, but I also took a rather mad route.  The trip through the mountains was draining, so in reality a quart is probably a little more than my journey from the merchant’s abode up to the tip of Mandaria.  That took me a good couple of days, but it was a pretty casual pace on solid roads.

So, time for a comparison.  What is the distance of this trip I am about to embark on?  It looks, by all my measurements, to be about twenty quarts.  Twenty!  That is a lot of days of travel, and I haven’t got to the worst of it yet.

Continue reading Beagle’s Blot 14 | Hopping

Show me the … err, action?

As you may (or indeed may not) have worked out from the title, this blog is about that age old piece of writing advice: “show don’t tell”. This blog is actually a part of a wider series of blogs on implementing deep POV (from this little beauty of a book by Marcy Kennedy), but “showing vs telling” goes much further than just deep POV. It is at the cornerstone of writing, whatever writing perspective is chosen, and it is therefore very important.

It’s also something I really struggle to get worked up about as a reader, which is a challenge. But as I’ve already concluded in an earlier blog, this is about being an author and not about being a reader. I shall get back in my box.

Now, it’s time (apologies in advance) to “show” my hand.

Continue reading Show me the … err, action?

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