Sunday 30 September 2012

A newbie at FantasyCon - 2012, Brighton

Wow, what can I say. I really enjoyed it. It was brilliant meeting Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie. My son is very much a Brent Week's fan whereas I like both authors. Mind you he hasn't read Joe's books yet! Both are very gritty writers. But, what nice people. We heard both giving readings in a very pleasant and personal environment. They both gave stunning performances, but Brent had a very brilliant twist to his. It was all about Spoilers so I can't say anything here in respect to the great man, but it was awesome and had his fans groaning in a mixture of disbelief and frustration.

The event itself was also brilliant. Very few fans though and rather a lot of authors and publishers. There were book signings by lots of different publishing houses. Reading by authors, freebies etc. Great mixture of characters. I met some really nice and genuine folk. Chris of Pendragon Press, Terry from Exagerated press.

The venue is also interesting, Brighton. However, it's a tad expensive. Brighton is always lively and probably would have been better if we'd know our way around better. The pubs, hotel and especially parking were all very expensive and probably explained the absence of fans.

Overall though - an amazing experience.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

FantasyCon - Oh Dear!

Off to FantasyCon this weekend. It's organised by the British Fantasy Society. Not sure what I'll make of it as I've not been before. I have visions of Sheldon and Leonard (Big Bang Theory) going to something similar - fantasy convention. Does that make me a nerd?

Anyway, I hope it will be fun. My son wants to meet Brent Weeks. He's just finished The Black Prism and is raving about it. I hope to read it soon.

I have just read The Dwarves by Markus Heitz. Very slow book to start with but what an ending! Excellent read. Characterisation is brilliant with some characters extremely likeable and others less so. It's a hit in Europe and the chap deserves to do well everywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of twists and turns and unexpected parts to the plot. Good fun.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Hobbit Trailer 2

Doesn't the new hobbit trailer look good. very exciting stuff. This is the link to a wide screen version on Apple.

I loved the book and have read it four or five times. I have a version with artwork in it and it's brilliant. Is the rumour still that Jackson will make 3 films?

Sunday 16 September 2012

Sex talk and fantasy novels

Been thinking about introducing sex on my blog to boost my audience. Now, I want you all to imagine me topless as I write my novels. Nothing too tasteless to start off with. Just sitting in front of my laptop creating fantasy novels. Now, if no one has been too sick...

Perhaps that would make a good Poll. To have folk vote whether I should keep my clothes on or not. No doubt many folk will pay for me to remain clothed. I was amused by the recent Sherlock Holmes' film when Stephen Fry appeared naked, with the very old butler trying to serve him his afternoon tea. If nothing else it made for good comedy.

Please feel free to vote by commenting below.

Saturday 15 September 2012

My best ever reviews - the Prophecy of the Kings

As a less well established author, reviews are terrifically important. My favourite ones are usually on fantasy blog sites as these have an established reputation. These are amongst my favourite to date. I hope they prompt you to give the books a try. All reviews are genuine and links lead to the full review.

Prophecy of the Kings is amongst the best new traditional fantasy books published during recent years

Prophecy of the Kings - a phenomenal series and should not be missed

By far my favourite review though was by Neo on Kindleboards;

I'm halfway through Shadow of the Demon (book 3) and couldn't agree more: this is a fantastic trilogy, one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a while, really! Now it's getting bitter sweet though: can't wait to read what happens next (and how it finishes) and I NEED to read on, but I also don't want it to end and so find myself slowing down, aaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for writing it and bringing your readers such a good time through it David Smiley,24029.0.html

That was such a heartfelt review. Amazing and thanks all. Keep the reviews coming please!


My worst ever reviews - Prophecy of the Kings

Fortunately most reviews have been good but all authors get bad reviews. I have no problem with folk not enjoying my books. I wish everyone did, but even Tolkien had folk who didn't take to his work.

My worst reviews came in a gaggle. Not sure that's the right terminology, but it seem apt. i.e. they came together on Goodreads. It was a time of giveaways. I suspect in some cases folk just wanted a freebie. For the worst reviews, looking through their libraries, some reviewers didn't seem to be fantasy fans.

The advantage of being self published is that I post sample chapters on my website so I think some of the folk were perhaps less justified in their comments. Still, you can't complain and you have to live with less than complimentary reviews.

One that baffled me completely was Utter twaddle. This book combines ye olde English with modern London slang. It can't figure out what it's supposed to be.

I don't know any London slang. Dog and bone (phone) perhaps. Ye Olde English??? As an author folk are entitled to say what they like, but this one was a complete and utter mystery.

Fortunately most reviews are fairly well balanced whether they are complimentary or not. And, as I say, most reviews have been good today. So if you've read Prophecy of the Kings and not posted a review, please think about doing so. They are important to me. Amazon reviews are helpful as they help to sell the books.

Best wishes and good reading


Sunday 9 September 2012

Creating fantasy characters

Kaplyn is my favourite character in the Prophecy of the Kings. He is the lead character and plays a pivotal role. However, he faces more than his fair share of adversity. At Vastra's behest, he gets trapped in a nightmare tower where he is trying to find an Eldric talisman. He is stubborn as shown when Vastra demands the talisman, but Kaplyn refuses to hand it over. Lars' support, although unspoken, is key at this point. Both men know that Vatsra is a sorcerer as he often brags about this. But having summoned the ancient city of Tanel, they know he is truly a power to be feared.

I take Kaplyn's character to the very pit of despair. Things go from bad to worse and he takes the souls trapped in the demon world on his shoulders and again his stubbornness rises to the fore when he takes it upon himself to rescue them. He is also brave, walking alone into Drishnack where, as part of a ritual, he is forced to touch a powerful kara-stone, which awakens the link with his shaol, Shastlan, a guardian spirit. He doesn't realise it, but his shaol is the spirit of a dead emperor who betrayed his own people, summoning dragons to his world.

Kaplyn is a strong character as he must continue his journey in the face of considerable adversity. Madness threatens when he lives Shastlan's life in his dreams. His fear of dragons has caused  him to flee CarCamel and Shastlan's memories cause him to doubt his sanity. Of all the characters I have created I feel sorry for Kaplyn. No man, real or otherwise, should ever suffer as much as Kaplyn.

That's the beauty of creating fantasy characters. You can play with their emotional state in a far deeper way than in reality. The enemy is clear cut - dark and brooding and must be killed. No one cares for the krell and grakyn that are killed. They are the enemy and they are evil.

Sunday 2 September 2012

What motivated me to write Prophecy of the Kings

There were three motivations to my writing Prophecy of the Kings;

1. As with many folk, Tolkien inspired me, not with Lord of the Rings, but the Silmarillian. That was an excellent tale. After reading it I felt greatly inspired. It's a sweeping tale and unlike Lord of the Rings it covers many generations. If you haven't read it and are a fan of Tolkien - it's well worth a read, although many folk do find it hard to get into.
2. I had an initial scene in mind and I wrote a couple of pages about that scene. I showed this to a friend and every time we met he asked how my book was coming along. After a while I really felt I ought to start putting pen to paper seriously.
3. Having written an initial scene, I wanted to know what happened next. This may seem odd, but I had absolutely no idea how the scene came about nor what came next. This was a real motivator, creating characters and sending them into peril, but then wanting to know what happened next. I hadn't plotted out the tale and so it was a real learning process. I went for months not knowing where the plot was going and stuck at a cliff hanger. It was fascinating when inspiration finally struck and the tale continued to the next sticking point. My  initial scene ended up being the end of book 1 in the tale, Legacy of the Eldric.
I really enjoyed creating the world and characters and hope you enjoy reading the tale.