- Don’t live and die by your friends; they come and go.
- Always put your family first.
- What you wear, say and do doesn’t make you cool.
- Being generous, kind and fun makes you cool.
- In a years time you’ll have forgotten about that gadget/dress/pair of shoes/whatever it is you must have and you hate your parents for saying no to. Don’t sweat it.
- Wealth is determined by happiness, not money.
- There’s something worse than rejection: regret.
- It doesn’t matter how many friends you have. What matters is what kind of friends they are.
- Life’s too short to waste on bad books.
- Things are never as bad as you think.
- Walnut whips are marshmallow inside. You can just take the nut off the top.
- It’s always okay to ask for help.
- It’s always okay to offer help.
- Being openly enthusiastic can sometimes be daunting but it’s always more rewarding than cynicism.
- It’s okay to meet your heroes. Just don’t expect them to remain so afterwards.
- Don’t make promises that people want to hear; make promises that you’ll want to keep.
- The Cub Scouts told you to be prepared. But so did Scar and look what happened to him. Don’t wait until you feel totally prepared.
- Give your parents a break; they’re doing their best and you’re not easy to live with.
- Measure twice, cut once.
- Start writing now.
- Buy stock in Apple. Trust me.
- Don’t stress about the little slights and injustices in the world. They’re not worth worrying about.
- Your mum was wrong; you should have spent more time playing with computers.
- Don’t give up on those art classes.
- Or the piano.
- Pay attention to Dad when he’s trying to teach you DIY. You’ll need that knowledge. Seriously.
- Don’t get too excited about the Matrix sequels.
- And don’t even get me started on the Star Wars prequels.
- There’s always a hundred reasons to wait or to hesitate. Just do it already.
- You still won’t feel like a grown-up.
Don’t hate me.
Here’s the deal. I was halfway through The Northern Wastes, the third book of the Fair Folk series. It was going pretty well. I’d already done a rewrite, although there was a subplot that needed fixing. But I was tired. I’d spent too much time with Tom and Katharine and the rest of them. I needed a break from them. I needed to recharge the batteries.
And a change is as good as a rest.
I discovered Branwell Brontë at university. He’s the overlooked brother of the Brontë sisters (of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights fame). Although he wrote poetry himself, and although he was even published before his sisters, he’s been ignored, dismissed, even vilified. That seemed terribly unfair; although he did end lose his life to drink and drugs, it didn’t seem right that he was remembered for that alone. I’ve wanted to write a book about him ever since.
So that’s what I did. You can read more about it here. And now the batteries are recharged. I’m ready to dive in and take Tom’s story into some weird and wonderful places (I guarantee you won’t see them coming, but feel free to guess!)
So I’ve written a blog post about why The Fey Man is full of elfs and not elves (TL;DR the word ‘elf’ came first and it feels right). But a discerning reader on Twitter made an excellent point: in the very same post, I called the Fair Folk series a ‘Faerie tale’. Why didn’t I call it a fairy tale?
There are two possible explanations. The first is that there are no fairies in the Fair Folk series. They’re called ‘fay’ instead, and that’s because the word ‘fairy’ actually comes from the Latin word ‘fae’, the singular of ‘fata’ which means ‘the Fates’.
(This, by the way, is pretty well known to fantasy writers, so you’ll often see fairies called ‘fae’. However the spelling ‘fay’ comes from Middle English, and was also used as a word for ‘faith’, which I felt was rather fitting for the Fair Folk series.)
Faerie, on the other hand, is the land of the fay. Usually an otherworldly realm, it’s the place where the fay live. Much like England is the place where the English live, the words are similar, but not the same.
So why did I call The Fey Man, and the Fair Folk series as a whole, a Faerie tale? Well, I wanted to evoke fairy tales, largely because some of the inhabitants or stories themselves can be found in the series. It’s also a hint as to the focus of the series; there’s a lot going on in Tir, but some of it is more important than the rest.
And, last but not least, I thought it was cool. And one of the best things about being a writer is being able to write things I think are cool. Like conversations with dragons, a person with visions of the future, and forests haunted by tree spirits.
If you like the sound of an epic Faerie fantasy novel, what are you waiting for? Download your copy of The Fey Man for free today!
Any job/profession/vocation has its own lore and stereotypes attached to it. Artists have paint in their hair, car mechanics are all men, scientists wear glasses, scientists are often mad. Writers are no exception, but I’m afraid I’m hear to dispel some of the most popular writer stereotypes out there.
We Eschew Technology
The first writer stereotype is that we’re antediluvian and eccentric, preferring to write everything with a beautiful fountain pen on scraps of paper that litter our homes and our pockets. But there’s plenty of us who are quite happy with a word processor and a smartphone. Fountain pens leak and scraps of paper go missing. And with writers flocking to networks like Twitter, I sometimes wonder how this stereotype is still alive.
We’re Loveably Untidy and Unkempt
Ah, those scraps of paper again. We leave them everywhere. Along with our socks and keys and other important things. Our minds are so busy, you see, we can’t remember things like our wallets or shaving or combing our hair. But we’re so terribly cute when we do it.
Nonsense. Yes, there’s plenty of us absent-minded writers (I’m one of them), but there’s nothing charming or loveable about it. We’re a complete pain in the rear and our loved ones are forever having to put up with our mess.
We Read Everything
Not necessarily. I know some writers who don’t range much further from their favourite genre or even their favourite authors. Some read nothing but non-fiction, and some barely read at all.
Having said that, I wish this writer stereotype was true. A polymathic reader usually makes a better writer, or I think they do anyway. That’s why I always read the cereal box.
We’ve Read Everything
Ah, the look of confusion and even judgement when a writer hasn’t read that book you’re talking about. And that look goes into overdrive if that book is a “classic”. But hey, there’s only so many hours in the day. We can’t read everything and, to be honest, sometimes we want to do other things. Sleeping, eating, being with our friends and family or, hey, writing our own books!
We Know the Spelling and Definition of Every Word
Some of us are terrible spellers and rely on spellchecks, beta readers and editors. Plenty of us are good with words. But we don’t know them all. So try not to be surprised when we don’t turn out to be walking dictionaries and thesauruses. Thesauri. Whatever.
We’re Always Broke
If I had a penny for every film, book and short story that depicts the penniless writer I could put paid to this writer stereotype all by myself. Most of us have day jobs. We write when we can, between earning a living and paying for things.
Ideas are the Hard Part
Ideas are easy. Sentient chipmunks in space. A man’s ashes are scattered in a park and his consciousness transfers into the plants. A woman gets away with the perfect murder but becomes depressed because she wants recognition for it. See, I just thought of those as I was writing (I think the chipmunks are my favourite).
Everyone’s got ideas. But the writing is the hard part. Turning an idea into a plot, crafting good prose, creating believable characters that the reader will love/hate/worry about/root for/etc. That’s not easy. Not at all. Which leads me to:
We Write in a Bright, Hot Flash of Inspiration
Sure, sometimes we feel like we’re tapping into something beautiful and pure and the words seem to flow from our fingertips like we’re recording dictation from the God of Prose herself. But most of the time? It’s hard work. Every writer you know has been through something like this.
Tom walked into the room
Hmm, I have a sudden and violent dislike of the name ‘Tom’.
Tom Andrew walked into the room
No, wait, it should be a woman
Tom Andrew Andrea walked into the room
Too bland. We need more insight into the character.
Trying her best to hide her nerves,
Tom Andrew Andrea walked sauntered into the room
You know, I think I like Tom after all…
her his best to hide her his nerves, Tom Andrew Andrea Tom walked sauntered into the room
I hate it all and I suck as a writer.
Trying her his best to hide her his nerves, Tom Andrew Andrea Tom walked sauntered into the room
And you know what? Writing is more often like this than we care to admit.
There are plenty of other writer stereotypes, but these are my favourites. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re a UK writer and you’re about to release an ebook, great timing: Amazon’s Storyteller competition could see you win a cash prize of £20,000!
Naturally there are a few requirements:
- you must publish between 20th February and 19th May 2017;
- your story should be a minimum of 5,000, but there’s no upper limit (great news for writers of epic fantasy!);
- your submission can’t have been previously published;
- you must publish through the KDP Select programme.
This last is probably the entire reason the Storyteller competition exists; Amazon like to push KDP Select because it requires you to publish exclusively with Amazon. No Apple, no Kobo, Nook or anyone else. Your book can only be bought by Amazon customers.
But, on the flip side, there are a few benefits to the KDP Select programme, Kindle Unlimited being one of them. And you’re not tied in forever; once the entry period is over, you can opt out of KDP Select and publish on the other platforms.
And, hey, it’s a small price to pay for the potential of a £20,000 cash prize. So what are you going to submit to Amazon Storyteller?
What do you get for the Fair Folk fan who has everything (and by everything I mean both books)? Fair Folk Merchandise, of course!
I’ve been aware of writers creating merchandise for a while now. M. Latimer-Ridley have a Zazzle store, and Joseph Lallo has spoken about 3D printed talismans and tokens on the Marketing SF&F podcast. I thought Fair Folk merchandise might be kind of cool, but that it wasn’t really a priority; writing books was (and still is; don’t worry, I’m working away on book three!)
But I recently needed a case for my phone and stumbled across Redbubble. They had some pretty cool cases, so I got a ‘tough’ one which has now saved my phone from two drops. They also make it really easy to sell your own merchandise, so I’ve uploaded artwork and created some Fair Folk merchandise, which you can buy right now!
Head on over to my store on Redbubble to check out all the products available. I’ll be adding more in the weeks to come, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see!
If you haven’t read the book behind the merchandise, don’t worry; there’s a free copy of The Fey Man for you right here!
It took longer than it should have, but I’ve finally tamed the printers and now The Unquiet Sword is available in your favourite dead tree format!
To everyone who has been waiting for the paperback release, thank you for your patience. I really appreciate it! If you’ve already read the ebook (or when you’ve finished the paperback), please leave a review on the site you bought it and/or on Goodreads. Even if it’s just one line, every review makes a huge difference.
Thank you and take care.
If you haven’t read the first book in the Fair Folk series, don’t worry; download your free copy of The Fey Man today!
You’d think writing the second book in a series would be easier than the first. And you’d be right, in a way. After all, you’ve already birthed the characters, built the world, and you know where the story is heading. Sort of. But, of course, a story is a fluid thing; it doesn’t always do what you expect it to. So it changes as you’re writing, and you have better ideas, ideas that stretch and expand and challenge the story you thought you were writing.
I like to think that all makes for a better story. I hope so, anyway, because The Unquiet Sword is out there now. It didn’t take me as long to write as The Fey Man but, in a way, it was just as hard, only in different ways. And I’m sure the next one will be just as hard! But, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy my second novel. You can download it from your favourite ebook retailer now:
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, don’t worry; download your free copy of The Fey Man today!
It’s just a few days until 8th October and until The Unquiet Sword will finally be released! Unfortunately the excitement has been dulled a little; I’m sorry to have to tell you that The Unquiet Sword paperback will be delayed.
At one point the paperback was fine and hunky dory, but Createspace are now claiming that the cover image is physically too large, and their attempts to fix it have kind of broken it instead. Annah Wootten, the excellent artist who creates those beautiful covers, will take a look as soon as she can. However she has other commitments, and Createspace is slow enough that it could mean the paperback will be delayed for a short while. For readers who want to wait for The Unquiet Sword paperback, I’ll be sending updates via my email newsletter; you can sign up using the form at the top of the page.
But the ebook will still be released on time, and that alone is still reason enough to get excited. If you just can’t wait to read The Unquiet Sword, be sure to preorder your copy. It will be just 0.99 until the end of Saturday 8th October, after which it will revert to it’s regular price of $2.99/£1.99, so make sure you get your copy soon!
Preorder the ebook of The Unquiet Sword ebook for just 0.99 from:
There’s still three weeks until The Unquiet Sword goes on sale, but for one lucky person, the wait is over. Createspace sent me two copies of the advance proof, you see, and I can’t send one back or sell it as I needed to make some changes to the manuscript. So what should I do with it? Give it away, of course!
Bear in mind that this is an advance reader copy, or ARC. That means there are spelling mistakes (quite a few, to my embarrassment), and some of the text will be slightly different to the official published version. But if you want to be the first to find out what happens to Tom and the rest, here’s your chance!
And on top of an advance copy of The Unquiet Sword, the winner will also receive a paperback copy of The Fey Man. So you’ve got everything you need to start reading the Fair Folk series, or you can pass the first book to a friend if you’ve already got a copy!
This giveaway runs until 11:59 Monday 19th September GMT, and it’s open to anyone and everyone. If you’ve got any questions, leave a comment or send me a tweet!