Tuesday, 10 April 2018

World Building - a guest post by David Wiley author of Monster Huntress

A guest post by David Wiley

When I sat down to write Monster Huntress, I didn’t know much about the world in which it was taking place. I knew the type of world I wanted, but it transformed and evolved over the course of revisions, always growing either in size or in the details. While the story of Monster Huntress visits only a small portion of the world I’ve created, there are some lessons I’ve learned from J.R.R. Tolkien that have had a ripple effect toward my approach to worldbuilding. The biggest of those lessons was to provide the promise of something greater.

What I mean by that is there is something more out there beyond what the reader is experiencing. There is a larger world, other events going on. There is a rich history, filled with named heroes and battles and events that can be referred to over the course of the book. The reader doesn’t need to know what the Wizard Wars were, for instance, but knowing that there was some massive war hundreds of years ago is important to provide the experience of an aged world. After all, we still refer back to events and wars that waged hundreds, and thousands, of years ago. The same will hold true in a fantasy book, unless it is a newly-formed world. Even new civilizations likely stemmed from somewhere with a history on that world.

Some writers might take the “cut it” approach to those things, and my own editor prodded at some of those. I took a few out but kept others, because I wanted to provide depth to the world - it has a history, after all, even if I haven’t written it yet. It opens the door for significant events to be explored later in shorter forms of fiction, or even a spin-off book that covers some of those things.

There is a scene in the book where Ava comes across a statue of four famous, yet nameless, heroes from the past. Here is the small scene:

The landmark of her journey, a tall statue made from an aquamarine granite, loomed just ahead. Its features were smooth and worn from the weather, their individual faces indistinguishable, but she could still make out the original image carved by the sculptor. It was depicting a trio of men and one woman, a party of unnamed individuals that performed heroic deeds long ago during the Wizard Wars. When Ava was close enough she could read the short inscription at the base of the statue which read: "These four warriors fought to maintain the balance in the world. They fought bravely and their sacrifice for the side of the Light will forever be remembered." The rest of the words had been worn down to the point where they were no longer legible.
Ava sat in her saddle and contemplated the deeds of these bold warriors from the past. Had they not acted perhaps the world would be radically different than the world she was living in now. It was clear, from the inscription that remained, that these four were important in shaping history.

This scene was much longer, originally, giving some physical descriptions and some speculations on their individual roles. Yet I like the concise nature here. It gives you enough to emphasize their importance in making the world like it is, yet doesn’t steal the scene away from the main character. Look for more worldbuilding scenes like this to appear as the world I’ve built continues to grow. After all, Monster Huntress is set in a world with 13 kingdoms. By the end of book one, she’s only set foot into two of them, so the possibility for growth is quite large as she goes on more adventures in the Young Huntress Series.

Want to get started on Monster Huntress? Grab a copy today! 

Want to learn more about the world I’ve built? Check out the earlier stops on the tour and meet some of the characters!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Cover Reveal - Her Dark Voice 2

The saying goes All good things come come to those who wait, and so here it is.
Her Dark Voice Volume Two, edited by Theresa Derwin and published by Quantum Corsets.

I'm really looking forward to this anthology for many reasons. It is the second time that I have worked with Theresa Derwin - the last time being the Once Bitten anthology (currently free on Amazon Unlimited for kindle edition) from Knightwatch Press. Theresa is a super editor and staunch supporter of Women in Horror. Then there's the fact that this anthology will raise money for the charity Breast Cancer Now. I have pledged all my royalties to the charity. The launch is planned to coincide with Edge Lit 2018, where there will be author readings and so much more. My story will be nestled with a whole bunch of great reads from some superior authors. More on that later. Until then, feast your eyes on the cover!




Friday, 29 December 2017

Bring it on!

2018 looms and I'm still wallowing in a dirge of expiring tech and a deluge of work-that-isn't-writing. (Stevie Smith's Not Waving not Drowning springs to mind.) Yet I am sure all is not lost!


So here's the run down of 2017 - not an inspiring picture as you can see.

Published:
Acceptance (Trembling With Fear, The Horror Tree)
No Ordinary Game ( Trembling With Fear, The Horror Tree)                 

Reprints:
Synchronysi (Great Jones Street)
Balancing Act (Great Jones Street)
Shark Nose (Great Jones Street)

There is a sliver of molten gold peeling across the horizon of 2018, however. Let's hope I can turn it into a wedge or even an ingot!

Forthcoming 2018 (so far!):
The Arrangement, Her Dark Voice Volume 2 (Quantum Corsets)

On the reading front, my Goodreads Book Challenge target has been reached. Click the link to see.

I have work, my family are well & happy and my bills are paid, so life has been a success for another year.

Let's hope that 2018 offers you those luxuries (because the basics are becoming luxuries these days) and if you are supremely lucky, even more than that!

Thanks for sticking with me!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Clearing House

I've been stuck for so long that I really didn't do much writing. Fairy talk and forest visits have built ideas and inspiration but I've put little pen to paper, so to speak. My excuse? I couldn't see the wood for the trees! My laptop, my chief writing tool, 'is old and has no memory', to misquote Gary Oldman in Dracula. It keeps popping up little warnings and runs like sloth.

So, despite fear of the unknown, I've been forced to sort out my desk top. No big deal for you digital natives out there maybe, but I'm home-schooled in computing. My son (10) is a bit of a whizz at these things has helped me out with this. (Thanks Villy!) and I now have nice little folders for all my work and can see just what I have to do each day and what I have ahead. Now, I must have mentioned in the past, that I am an easily distracted person which means extreme organisation is the key to success for me. (Ask my family about my 'Book of Lists' and they will tell you how I plan expeditions like a sergeant major!)

But what does this mean for my writing? #1, I have rediscovered many half-written stories. How many? More than 30! #2 I've scrapped piles of rubbish and feel cleansed to Marie Kondo extremes. #3 I have a plan of action!  Guess what I'm going to be doing over the coming months? Finishing, honing, tweaking and submitting. I've already started - I've submitted 3 stories this week and I'm not even done clearing my desktop. Here's hoping acceptances arrive like Hogwarts letters.



I will keep you posted!

So what did you glean from this post? (Tick as appropriate boxes, more than one answer allowed.)
  1. I am disorganised.
  2. I did virtually no writing over the summer.
  3. My computer is old.
  4. I am overly optimistic.
  5. I am getting in the mood for back to school.



Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Snips and Snails and Fairy Tales, That's What My Summer's Made Of!

So I'm back and the wedding's over. It was a glorious but small affair in the gorgeous Grand Hotel perched on the edge of the Jurassic Coast. I met family members I've never ad the chance to meet (they were born after I emigrated ) and was reunited with many more. I wasn't there for nearly long enough but times are tough and purses are not over-flowing.

Durlston Castle

I haven't finished reading any of the books I recommended in the last post - not because they aren't superb but because I stocked up on some second hand bargains during my stay at home! I love charity shops and Swanage is stuffed with them, I found a hardback copy of Violin by Anne Rice that I haven't read - hadn't even heard of to be honest, although the character was touched on in the Prince Lestat. Looking forward to diving into that. Didn't get hold of her latest book but I'll ask for it for Christmas! The one that has really got me stuck though is Second Nature by Alice Hoffman - I love her stories they are pure magic realism that I would love to capture! I even found a box of books up at Durlston Castle which I practically emptied - there were super reads for my kids - one kid's rubbish is another kid's treasure!

So as for writing. I have several things pending with publishers and several rewrites going on but this summer it's my intention to finish my first fairy story. I've got about 12,000 words down but no ending as yet. In fact, I'm only just going into the adventure! I'm taking the kids to up to a tiny cottage in the forest where they'll run free and I'll be inspired to write, at least that's the plan. Wish me luck!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Hot Summer Reads!

July already and it's averaging 40 degrees Celsius here in Greece. The heat's not so conducive to writing - or much else for that matter - I do not do air conditioning (for various reasons I won't bore you with here!) So with fans swirling overhead, I've been reading and packing for a long awaited trip home for my niece's wedding. So here's the (wedding) low-down on what I'm currently reading (or planning to)!

SOMETHING OLD:

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman. I'm about a third of the way in and intrigued! A friend of mine, who I always meet on holiday, gave me this last year (it had been passed on to her from a friend of hers). I had a pile of books on the go and didn't start it then. This year I picked it up and I'm really stuck in it.

The story slips smoothly between the present and the past following the research of Elizabeth Stavely, who is running away from a troubled trelationship, and Paul Pinder, who discovers that his lost fiance may just be the newest slave in the sultan's harem. The detail and research that must have gone into the book are phenomenal. Hickman, not only builds strong characters but also gives a vivid description of life in Constantinople of the 1500s. I can't wait to see if Pindar rescues Celia and if Elizabeth get over her relationship Marius. I'm also curious about Elizabeth's very strong sense of intuition.


SOMETHING NEW:

On a much lighter note, Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer is my new book as it was released in June. It continues the story of vampire friends Imogen and Celia, this time from the perspective of Imogen. (Celia took the lead in volume 1, Bite Somebody - which I also read recently - the Kindle edition is currently on offer on Amazon for 99p!)

I'm about to dive into this one, but the blurb makes it sound just as exciting as Bite Somebody. Imogen is wild and crazy and on the surface seems not to give a damn about anyone, but I somehow feel that she's about to show a deeper side in this novel. Now Celia is pregnant with a human/vampire baby, Imogen has to deal with the ancient vampire history who wishes to follow Celia's progress. Bauer's writing style is quick witted and very funny. She makes reference to other contemporary vampire fiction and has familiar tropes, yet there is something delightfully original that will suck you in.



SOMETHING BORROWED:

Living in a provincial town in Greece means that reading material is in short supply unless you have $s to spend. (Which, due to the financial crisis/wedding, I do not!) Fortunately, my local library has a quite a good foreign language section which consists mostly of classics donated by graduates returning from English philology studies in the UK. This gives me the opportunity to catch up on reading books I feel I should have read, but never have. So my borrowed book at the moment is The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan. I have only just started reading it and I love that very British voice that classic writers have. I've tried to emulate it in one or two of my stories and it's not easy. This is one of those occasions where I have seen the film, by Alfred Hitchcock, first and now I'm reading the book. Apparently there are other stories with Richard Hannay as the protagonist, so I'll be looking out for those too.

If you do not know the story, here's a quick overview: Richard Hanney returns to London after growing up in South Africa and finds life boring as hell. He is on the verge of returning to S.A. when he's accosted by a dead man and dragged into a story of espionage and murder that takes him to the wilds of Scotland and turns him into a the prime suspect in a murder investigation.


SOMETHING BLUE:

Call of Fire by Beth Cato and is the sequel to Breath of Earth, which I read last summer, but have only just gotten round to reviewing. (Shameful, I know.) I can't wait to catch up with geomancer Ingrid Carmicheal, Cy, Lee and Fenris and see what is going to happen since they were left fleeing San Francisco after the devastating earthquake at the end of the last book. It seems they're going to get tangled with ambassadors and turn to Theodor Roosevelt for help. The galley reviews on Goodreads are really promising another great story! So why is this blue? That's how I feel because it doesn't come out until August 15th!



Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Challenge me!

May 12th is National Limerick Day held in commemoration of poet, artist and composer Edward Lear (May 12th 1812 - January 29th 1888). It is also in commemoration of his Book of Nonsense, first published in 1846, which contains fantastic limerick poems. (When I was about twelve, I asked for a copy of the book for my birthday, instead I got a birthday book with his limericks!)
In a blatant attempt to increase followers/ subscribers to my blog, and following the adage that you don't get something for nothing, I'm proposing you challenge me! Yes, you heard me.
Challenge me! 
Subscribe to/follow my blog, post a key word (often but not always a place name), in the comments below any time during May 12th and I will (attempt to) write a limerick in return. Those of you who know me from the (recently fallen) Steampunk Empire know that I've got a bit of a knack at this (even if I do say so myself). The publishable limericks from a similar challenge carried out there and a few more besides are free to read on my Wattpad account under the title "There was a Wild Woman Who".

NOTE: This challenge is only for all people who post their word on May 12th, 2017 and are subscribed to/following N.O.A. Rawle: Through the Eyes of a Stranger. All limericks remain the copyright of the author. Please don't expect immediate returns on your prompt word; I'm a working mum after all, and it is a pretty hectic period for me right now too, but I'm also known for writing into the wee hours of the morn, so check back frequently throughout May 12th and that goes for any time zone!