Blog Archives

From Snow to Snow…

I’m back from my trip to Canada.  The long journey was recompensed by lots of nice powder-snow, some bright sunshine, and news that the UK was colder – at times – than British Columbia!  Have to admit: it is blooming chilly here…   Roll on Spring!

I’ve noticed that, whilst I was away, both Firebird and Thunder have picked up some nice reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  I’m always very grateful for any words of support and encouragement, so thank-you to those who have taken time to write them!  I really appreciate your support.

Am still storyboarding my next project which will be a return to a science-fantasy, action and adventure, theme.  More news and updates shortly…

[Now then, where did I pack my woolly jumpers…???]

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Brain Pickings…

Jenelle Schmidt

Jenelle Schmidt

Fellow Authoress Jenelle Schmidt recently contacted me to see if I’d mind being interviewed for her blog site.  So – after some debate as to whether, given such madness, she might better benefit from some counselling – I succumbed and the resultant ramblings can be discovered here…

Q&A with Anthony Bellaleigh

Fellow writers might also be interested in participating: if so, why not drop her an email?

Fantasy fans might also like to check out her novel: King’s Warrior

Mine Is A Love Story, Written In Blood…

So this is it.  More than five years of musing, and over a year of hard writing, bring me to this point…  Thanks to all of my visitors and alpha and beta readers for your help over the last few months.  Now it’s time to see if Thunder can stand the scrutiny of general release!

Available from today…

Thunder Cover v4

Mine is a love story, written in blood.

A tale of an ordinary life, destroyed in the same white-hot furnace of fire and metal that snatched away everything I ever wanted, that stole everyone I loved, that scorched my soul and then forged me into something new.

I am changed, alone, and in pain – with no friends, no allies, and no-one I can trust.

People call me Nick Tonner, but I don’t care much for names.  Some might say I’m a hero. Some might say I’m no better than those I despise.  Call me what you will, because it doesn’t matter to me.

I have nothing left to lose, and only one thing left to live for…

I want you.

Dead.

Thanks

This is possibly long overdue but I wanted to take a few minutes to say thank-you to everyone who has taken the time to write a review or post a star-rating for Firebird whether on Amazon, Goodreads or elsewhere.

My self-dictated policy for Amazon Reviews is not to comment on them.  I feel that, if I did, it might be perceived as being intrusive, that it might accidentally undermine the credibility of what’s being posted and that it might also be misconstrued negatively by roaming internet trolls and other nay-sayers.  That said, I do take notice of them.  Some more carefully than others…

Obviously, I’m delighted when I see any sort of positive response and disappointed – but not surprised – that some people don’t get on with the book.  Books can be like that.  What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another and the premise, by its nature, requires a small leap of faith.  If a reader, for whatever reason, cannot make this leap then one of the central, if not the central character, will not work.  This is why the book opens as it does and why the strap line on the cover is there… together I’ve always hoped they’d be a couple of pretty big clues.

Anyway, I’ve learned a huge amount from the whole Firebird process and I’m trying hard to put this new knowledge into practice as I press on with drafting Thunder.

To those readers who do post positive messages I’d like to say a special thanks.  I have, over my many years, plumbed the art of self-critiscism to spectacular depths.  Even my most virulent critic is unlikely to get close to my own scathing self-doubt and pessimism. Constructive feedback really does help and feels as good as a touch of warm sunshine, or a friendly pat on the back, or perhaps like the sudden and unexpected appearance of a helping hand being extended toward me when all seems unachievable or lost.  Positive feedback genuinely drives me back to my laptop and inspires me to keep writing.  Whatever things I might write in the future will therefore, in no small part, be thanks to your kind encouragement.

Once more unto the breach…

That’s where I’ve been for the last few days…

Well, by ‘breach’, I’m referring to the task of re-editing a one hundred and thirteen thousand word document.  This was something I genuinely thought I wouldn’t need to do again but a selection of nagging thoughts finally accumulated into sufficiently weighty motivation to convince me otherwise:

  1. When I’m reading other books  – and not just Indie ones – I regularly find myself muttering that they’re missing one final edit: i.e. time for a bit of ‘physician heal thyself’…
  2. I got mildly panicky when Firebird suddenly shifted a LOT of copies over Christmas: i.e. my self-critical side went into a complete meltdown…
  3. A couple of people that I really respect separately questioned identical things in the 3rd Edition: i.e. prodded the already open and gently bleeding confidence gash mentioned just a moment ago…
  4. Lastly, I remembered that there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes, providing you do something to correct them for the future.

So, a bit like when you’ve just finished polishing the car and step back only to see you’ve left a sizeable smudge of still-matt beeswax on one of the doors, I rolled up my sleeves, dug deep and dived back in.  It took several solid – and I mean solid – days of my very best obsessive compulsion to carefully take a scalpel to a few of the dialogues, a couple of the character introductions and one back story.  Note: this was not a hatchet job.  Far from it.  Around two hundred words have been removed and, mysteriously, another fifteen hundred have appeared from somewhere.  The main storyline is completely unchanged and there are no significant new revelations.  I was – and remain – happy with the earlier versions but this new one removes a few slips of the pen, more subtly presents the romantic encounters and, fingers-crossed, hopefully means it’s ‘job done’ now, once and for all.

Oh, and I managed to fix at least part of the hyperlinked Table of Contents…!

Multitasking or what!

(p.s. To get an updated version of any Amazon Kindle book requires Amazon to ‘push’ the new version to your kindle library – yes, it seems strange to me too.  If anyone visiting here already has a copy of Firebird and would prefer to read the new edition then you’ll need to log into your Amazon Account, look for the ‘Kindle Support’ section and use the ‘Contact Us’ button to send them an email along the lines of “Please can you push me the latest version of Firebird ASIN: B004ZUTNGI”)

(p.p.s. A special thank-you to Alec and Hugh for your invaluable commentaries)

Blink once and it’s almost February…!!

Apologies that I haven’t blogged for a little while.  Clocks seem to have a nasty habit of hurtling around when I’m not watching them – which, I suppose, is all the more reason to keep trying to wring the very best out of every second that flies by…

And yet, Your Honour, in my defence, I feel justified in laying before the court the following extenuating circumstances or, in other words, three feeble excuses:

1. I’ve had some real work to do.  The kind that puts ‘bread on tables’ and ‘roofs over heads’; as opposed to writing, which just seems to be a masochistic mechanism for publicly lowering my self-esteem.

2. Completely ignoring the previously mentioned risk of self-injury, I’ve been channeling much of my spare time into drafting the next book.  It’s coming along nicely with about 45,000 words sketched out.  I suspect it’ll end up slightly longer than Firebird so I’m estimating that I’ve written about forty percent of the first draft.

3. I’ve been in hiding…  It’s been a strange few weeks for reviews of Firebird.  On Goodreads it got awarded an “okay” and a “really liked it” but it’s also had a couple of one star write ups on Amazon.  I’m obviously disappointed, even though I’ve known all along that this was something I’d need to deal with.  I don’t expect that everyone is going to like the story; books are a very personal thing and our perceptions of them vary wildly. Nonetheless, despite the fact that I know a lot of people are enjoying it, the negative comments did knock my confidence a bit.

4. Dragonage II (on the XBox).

Oops… that’s four excuses but games consoles are definitely time bending machines…  And the skeletal archers on that last level were particularly tricky to annihilate…

I rest my case.

(p.s. special apologies to Albie: Sorry mate, I’ve not looked at the Shakespeare spoof yet…)

(p.p.s. does anyone know how to sharpen a quill…?)

A few kind words…

… can really make a difference.

When, a few weeks ago, a Canadian authoress contacted me (on this Blog Site) and said that she’d just bought a copy of Firebird I thought to myself… ‘Cool, maybe I’ve finally got the blurb right?’

Then I discovered that she didn’t usually read thrillers… (‘Uh oh…!’)

Then I discovered she intended to do a full review and post it to her personal book review websites… (‘……!!’)

It’s probably worth me sharing that I have some personal rules that I’m trying to stay true to even though, commercially, they may be a bit foolish.  At some point I might share them all but a couple are relevant here:

  • I will always try my hardest not to ‘check in’ with anyone who I know (or suspect) is in the middle of reading one of my books (this is really hard, especially if they are family!).  My reason: books are a very personal thing and I don’t want to get drawn into the middle of that relationship.
  • I will not participate in “read-for-review” or “read-for-ratings” fads that I sometimes come across in the on-line eBook communities.  My reason: if people feel genuinely motivated to write something, they will – in their own style and hand – and those reviews and comments (whatever they say) will always be worth so much more to me as a writer.

Anyway, Ms.Budden is nothing if not an enthusiastic emailer (and a very friendly one, by all accounts) and so I have been drip fed a somewhat alarming commentary of sleepless nights, terrifying visions and of a reader suddenly well outside of their normal reading zone… (‘Oops… I’m fairly sure it’s in the right genres…!’)

And now she’s published her reviews…

Thank-you Norma…  Your feedback just made fifteen years of effort feel like it was worthwhile.

Norma Budden’s Review of Firebird

Norma’s Firebird discussion page (with my mugshot in the middle of it, which is enough to put anyone off…!)

Time flies…

… as do pigs (occasionally).

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last post but, looking back, I’m also wondering what I’ve actually achieved in the intervening time…

Well, aside from:

  • Writing another fair slice of Thunder
  • Setting up the epub files for Firebird v.3
  • Making lots of new Goodreads and Twitter friends (hello all…)
  • Creating my first and probably only animated 3D gif file (I do love tinkering with technology)
  • Pickling my beetroot (seriously, this is not an intentional double entendre…)
  • Rediscovering my hoover (and working out how to switch it on again)
  • Exchanging writing thoughts and drafts with another indie author
  • Doing two solid days of (boring) business analysis (which I still need to finish off) and…
  • Spending far too long surfing around the internet!

Given my last bullet point above and that (mysteriously) Summer has finally descended on the United Kingdom (I know, it’s incredible, 27 degrees in September!), I’m off into the garden to see if I can find my lawnmower…

Thanks for all the positive feedback on the new book cover.  Much appreciated.

Time flies; so make the best of every second…

(now then… I think it’s lurking somewhere in that long grass that I used to call a lawn… where’s my machete?)

Blog Exclusive: Advance preview of new Firebird cover…

After some significant assistance from a couple of fellow Goodreads authors (on one of the many useful Goodreads forums) and a week of tinkering and self education (including random periods of loud profanity), I think I’ve cracked it…

I had in mind, for the cover of Firebird, a single hand-made metallic medallion…

Sadly, during publication, I had no idea how I might produce such a picture and hence I had to go with the 2D image used on Editions 1 and 2.  But now, I think, I’ve got it sussed…

The various pieces of production work associated with publishing a novel have proved a huge learning curve for me, even compared to the writing itself.  But, because I’m a bit OCD, I write down what I do for future reference and have decided that I might as well make some of my (written by an idiot) guides available on this site…  The first of these (producing a 2D cover) is also published today in the Rough Guides section (above).  I’ll add the journey to 3D in a little while (but need to get back to writing Thunder for the next few days)…

I’m planning a Third Edition release of Firebird for sometime in October.  There are no material changes to the story (except for correcting a couple of annoying minor typo’s that I found the other day) but I am going to change stress words from underline to italics and add a couple of “zoomed in” maps (having seen in A Game of Thrones how hard it is to use a standard Kindle sized one)…  I’m also updating (shortening) the blurb after some very useful author feedback and … to the point of this post… going to go with my new cover image…

Here’s an exclusive glimpse of what it’s likely to look like…

What do you think…?

FIREBIRD - 3rd Edition Cover

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