Beagle’s Blot 10 | The Lady

What follows is a transcript of the meeting between myself and the Lady.  I still tingle at the experience.

[Beagle]: Good afternoon, my Lady.  It is an honour.  I have heard so much about you, and yet I never imagined I’d have the privilege.  You honour me.

[The Lady] On the contrary.  It is only correct to dignify your eloquent letter with an audience.

But you must get hundreds of audience requests?

Oh, nonsense.  Who would want to come and see this wisp of a woman.  I am not lonely by choice.


Don’t be silly.  And anyway, I have heard much about you too.  I have been eager to make your acquaintance.

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Book Review: Project Perception

By Joshua Cook

“Climate Change has finally caught up, and the world is no longer a hospitable place.  But despite the obviousness of the blame, humanity continues to stand divided on the matter.  Everyone points at everyone else, and in a world of social networking, the arguments are polarising.  No one has taken responsibility.

But on a shattered Earth, this is the last thing that humanity needs – it needs to be united.  Why can people not see this?  The time for debate is over; and the time for action is here.

Harry is doing his bit for the world, being part of a secret underground project to do this very thing – to unite humanity.  But despite the valiant intentions, the means are somewhat dubious.  Then again, if you are going to successfully unite the population of Earth, it is going to require invention, isn’t it?

As Project Perception approaches its end, Harry starts to question his faith.  And as investigators move in, and with Earth rising in protest, time is of the essence.  Can Harry tread the right path?”

Overall, I liked this book a lot.  My positivity is edged with a note of disappointment (I’ll get to that later), but this is nonetheless a very satisfying read.  It’s a great core idea, if not entirely unique, and the details around the edges really add a depth to the tale.  It’s fair to say that one has to take some rather bold leaps in accepting the path of events, but they are not insurmountable – simply challenging to validate.  And the story would be nothing without its trajectory, which is ultimately a good one.

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How much is too much POV?

Last month I talked about my early investigations into a style ofdeeppovcover writing called “deep POV”. You can find the blog here. I concluded by saying that I would certainly give it a go, and so I will.

In response, I’ve been looking at a lot of detailed principles (as outlined in Marcy Kennedy’s excellent book: Deep POV in Fiction), and applying those to Mandestroy.  It’s fair to say that the results have led to numerous edits already (at least 15% of the book has changed!), and though some of it is deep POV specific, some of it is just good practise…

But I don’t want to talk about all this here – that’s for later blogs. Instead I want to go back to basics:

How many POVs should I have?

As a writer in epic fantasy, I have always had an inclination towards more point of view characters. But beyond that mantra, I have never really thought about it. Perhaps I should have…

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Book Review: The Way of Shadows

Book One of the Night Angel Series

By Brent Weeks

“Kylar is an urchin; the lowest of the low.  But that doesn’t mean he can’t dream.  When his friends are threatened, he seeks a way to vengeance, and he finds it.  It comes with a name: ‘Durzo Blint’.

Something of a legend, Durzo is a ‘wet boy’.  More than an assassin, Durzo does not operate with targets and goals. He operates only with outcomes – dead ones.  He has nothing to be afraid of, and Kylar envies the man.  But Durzo is not one to take an apprentice on lightly.  He is just as likely to kill Kylar as he is to teach him.

And yet despite Kylar’s buoyed opinions, Durzo harbours a dark past.  He also has a singular goal, one that he’s not willing to share, and he will do anything to achieve it. Anything.

When their world tumbles into the clutches of an invasion, Kylar and Durzo are thrust into the heart of the chaos. Loyalties are blurred, and plots are lined with plots.  In the heat of the cauldron, anything can happen, and each man must fight for himself.  Or must he?”

What an incredible book.  This is my first venture into the world of ‘Weeks’, and I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  This has all the hallmarks of my perfect fantasy tale – lots of fast action; incredible imagery; fantastic magical imagination; a big scale; and lots of interesting perspectives – and it is all tied together very well indeed.  And we have rich characters too, just to add to the delicious recipe.  A must read, for sure.

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Book Review: Bridgebreaker

Book 2 of the Echo Worlds Series

By Joshua Cook

The threat of Earth’s magical enemy has been averted, but far from being safe, the world must remain alert.  The world needs the Bridgefinders as much as it ever did.  But there is a problem, and the Bridgefinders don’t know how to fix it.  Even the newly recruited and mercurial Cendan Key doesn’t have the answer.

Perhaps they will need to consort with others in the world with abilities, those that the Bridgefinders have shunned for generations?  Can they take this step?

Against a backdrop of an impending invasion by an even bigger danger, the need for unity exposes gaping holes in the legions of Earth.  Old wounds heal slowly – or perhaps not at all – and even within the Bridgefinders themselves, jealousy now threatens the stability.

It is up to Cendan Key, a man who only a few weeks ago reluctantly consented to believe in the mission of the Bridgefinders, to unite the world against its common enemy.  But first he must master the abilities that naturally reside within him.  Does he have the time to succeed?”

As you will have gathered, this is the second book in the Echo Worlds series of novels.  In my view, this is a much stronger leg.  The first book really sets the scene and explores a magical combative underbelly to the world we currently reside in, and throws its reluctant protagonist into this secretive world.  This second novel really takes this premise, and throws the doors wide open.  It adds much greater depth to proceedings, and I for one really enjoyed this.

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Author Newsletter October 2016

Happy October! And if you’re thinking about Christmas already, then stop! Too early (although, try telling that to the supermarkets).

img_1465So, what’s been going on?  Well, believe it or not, it’s not all about books.  Is it?  In fact, I have many strings to my bow.  I can also cook meat.  And just to prove it, here’s a picture of a brisket I cooked in September.

It took nine hours to smoke, but it was worth every minute! Tasty. And next month I’m going to brew a triple strength IPA. Varied.

So, if you want to learn more about my extra-literary activities, then come and join my newsletter.

Anyway, what’s in this month’s news blog? Here’s what:

  • The adventures of Beagle the … architect
  • The “To-Do” list
  • Blogging highlights (last month & next)

So on with the news!

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Beagle’s Blot 9 | Mallis

My goodness.  My goodness.  Oh my.

Rather naively, I believed that Callij was irreparable in this mortal realm of ours.  In one sense this is true – nowhere else can the pure excess of Callij be matched.  But I believed more than that too.  I believed that Callij was an architectural beacon.  I believed it was a jewel.

But if Callij is a diamond, then Mallis is a sapphire.  And which is more beautiful?  It depends on your perspective, surely.  This truly is a remarkable place.

Continue reading Beagle’s Blot 9 | Mallis