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Dear all:

It’s been a while since I last gave you an update, I know, but it’s not that I’ve forgotten you. I’m ensconced deep in the writing cave, doing my best to actually finish some stuff for you – and it’s starting to move a bit at last. Very exciting! So let me tell you a little about what’s been going on…

Book 3: This is now at 80 thousand words or so, and there is still much work to be done. I’m aiming to make this a proper fantasy-sized book but it all depends where the story breaks. Of course the larger story arc is hardly begun yet, but currently I’m thinking this should be a three-paperback story arc and come in nicely as a kind-of trilogy.
The flipside to that is that it’s just too messy having two novellas in one as a starter, so there may be a re-branding along the line to clarify this. This would involve the loss of many of the reviews that are currently up though, and I really value your reviews, so I need to think about how best to manage that. Watch this space.

Flight from Shantar: This is a prequel to events in the On Dark Shores series, and tells of the journey to bring the Mother of the Shantar from the heartlands of her country and smuggle her into Mardon, the country which has only recently been at war with her own. It links in with the arrival of Jack and Vansel in On Dark Shores, and introduces you to characters who will play a large part in Book 3.
This is now at 80k words and nearly at the end of the first draft…. Another ten thousand words (ish) should join up the gaps, then there’ll be a bit of rearrangement before I send it off to the editors to be attacked with scalpels… The second half has had a bit of work already (ie it came back with the comment “How did Suze get involved?” – a small question requiring a 40k word answer!), so it’ll be structural stuff on the first half, and word-polishing on the second. Baby steps, people!
But in the meantime…

Song of the Ice Lord: This is a story from the ancient history of the world of On Dark Shores, set millennia before the current storyline. A dark and terrifying being known as the Ice Lord precipitates the world into a devastating war. Country after country falls before him, until only a few survivors are left, gathered on the Skral islands, and having finished with the rest, the Ice Lord is coming for them. Only the determination of a one-handed craftsman, a young Skral bard and a half-blind Shantara will stand between the Ice Lord and the death of a world…
This is now in its second edit (ie structural stuff done, word-polishing attempted) and currently at about 90k words, though this may be subject to further scalpelling. Hopefully not much though… I’m getting it back from one editor tomorrow, but the other probably won’t finish with it till partway through April, so in the hiatus I’ll be inputting any edits from Julia and working on the other stories. Updates will follow….

So, progress! I am talking to a designer about covers for Song, and as soon as the final edits are back and input, that will be going off to the formatters. Hopefully sometime over the summer there might even be a release! Hurrah! I make no promises though, given my appalling record to date…

I know you are probably a bit cross as the one you really want to read is Book 3, but bear with me – at the moment I’m juggling 3 stories which is a silly idea… Soon to be 2 though, and with a bit of luck, in a couple of months’ time you’ll have something to be getting on with while I’m concentrating on untangling the events back in Scarlock where, let me tell you, it’s getting dangerous to leave the house at night. And WAIT till you find out a bit more about Copeland! Can’t wait tell you all the gossip I’ve discovered!

Right. Enough squeeing, more writing. I will be interested to see what you think, though, of all of them. Hopefully you will enjoy them even if they are sequentially challenged…. Also, if you haven’t signed up to the email list on Amazon.com (not UK, the one on the .com author page) please do as that way they’ll definitely tell you when the next one hits cyberspace. Which might not be so very long now, rah!

Well, that’s my fifteen mins of fresh air. Back to the writing cave!
Have a good one, all:
JAC

Guest blog!

If you want to know a little more about me & my writing, hop on over to Ira’s blog where I answer a few questions in the latest of her series of author interviews.

Then check out a few of the preceding ones -there are some interesting writers out there!

Read Ira’s blog here!

And it’s back to Book 3 for me!
JAC.

People!

Image courtesy of Angela Yuriko Smith

It’s that time of year again! the snow is falling on my blog, the Christmas tree pics are all over Facebook, and this year’s edition of our fabulous charity anthology, Christmas Lites 3, is now available on Amazon!

Some links are:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

and the paperback is currently available from Createspace

More sites are going live as we speak so if you prefer others, please do search in case it’s live and we just haven’t had confirmation of it yet!

Having had a sneak peek myself, I can tell you there are some absolutely stunning stories in there – and for those who knew the lovely and much-missed author C.S Splitter, there is a page of tributes to the man who was first to suggest that we should put together an anthology, and suggested that the charity we donate the proceeds to should be one that dealt with domestic violence.

Once again, all funds from the three Christmas Lites anthologies go straight into the bank accounts of the NCADV, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which acts as an umbrella organisation providing training and funding to all the smaller DV-related charities in the US.

I know I’ve told you this before, but when we were setting up the first Christmas Lites anthology, Splitter told us a story of how, one year, he was nominated Santa for his office party. He hired the costume, bought a bag of candy canes and headed off for the place where the party was; but he got a bit lost along the way, and ended up at an odd little building. He walked in, and there was a fair amount of fuss. How he’d got in he didn’t know, because there is normally a lot of security around a safe-house, but he apologised profusely.

During the course of the discussion he found out that all these women had fled violence in the days preceding, and were living in terror of being found by the people who should most care for them in the world. They had fled, in some cases with nothing other than their children and the clothes on their backs. For them, Christmas would not be a magical time of loving togetherness, of snuggling on the sofa watching TV in that fairly terrible sweater Auntie Ethel knitted, or of laughing over a criminally large turkey dinner. For them, Christmas was huddling together in a strange house, too numb to even wonder how to put the pieces of their lives back together.

It was very quiet. The building was full of children, but children who had learned the wisdom of being as quiet as possible. All of them knew – KNEW – that Santa was not coming down the chimney that year – and yet, Splitter realised that even though all he had in his sack was candy canes and sweets, at least  there was one thing that he could do for them.

And so they took him into the main lounge where everyone was sitting, and he boomed “Ho ho ho! A Merry Christmas to one and all!” and was besieged by delighted kids who all got a candy cane. It wasn’t much, but to them that solitary piece of stripy peppermint was a little bit of Christmas, and it meant a lot to them.

All of them wanted to talk to Santa, and he ended up stopping for a couple of hours, rather than the twenty minutes he had imagined. By the time he got to the office party, it was pretty much over. Drinks had been drunk, the mistletoe had been thoroughly invoked, and there wasn’t much of the evening left; but the boss had noticed his absence and was sober enough to enquire. He told her the story, and she went quiet, very quiet.

The following day was Christmas Eve, and Splitter was somewhat unimpressed to get a call from his boss asking him to come into work, but  she was a Jewish lady and didn’t celebrate Christmas so there was no particular reason for her to take time off either. Besides, he had been thinking he might be in trouble for being late to the party, so he didn’t quibble. He arrived at work to find the boss waiting in the carpark with the boot of her car full of toys. She apologised for interrupting his Christmas, but explained that she needed him to show her where the shelter was so that she could make her delivery. Splitter went with her back to the shelter, and helped her to unload sack after sack after sack of toys. They asked the pair to come in and help distribute them to the children, and from the way he told the story, the way those kids’ eyes lit up stayed with him for a long, long time afterwards.

So this is why we put together our anthology every year. For everyone who has ever been the victim of violence, or the survivor of it: this is for you. For every mother who has had to grasp the remnants of her shattered courage in two hands, and walk out of the door into the great unknown because it was the only way she could protect her children: this is for you. For every child who has lain awake listening for heavy footsteps and raised voices and the terrible slap of fist on flesh: this is not how it should be, and this is for you.

This is our attempt to make something which will help all of you, by helping to keep the shelters open so that there is a place you can run to, by helping to train the people so that they know how to help you, by helping to fund the organisations so that they can provide you with another set of clothes, a travel ticket to another place, whatever.

For us – or certainly for me – Christmas is a time of joy and laughter, of relaxing with loved ones, and enjoying the togetherness of cooking and eating, and of watching really old films or falling asleep on the sofa, of giving silly presents and useful presents and clever presents and apt presents, and of using this time to really appreciate the wonderful people with whom I am surrounded, and my incredible good luck in the places and circumstances in which I live.

This being the case, I wish just such a fun, goodnatured Christmas to all of you.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get back to ODS.  But I might have a little re-read of a couple of the stories in the anthology first.. just one, or maybe two. Well, maybe three…

Catch you later peeps!

JAC

Dear all:

I know you’re waiting impatiently for Book 3, and regular readers will know that THAT journey has proved… sticky. (Currently about to hit 80 thousand words though, so it’s progressing nicely. A while more before it’s finished though – well you did request something lengthier!)

However, in the meantime, while I’m writing Book 3 and editing Song (for the Parallels series) here is a little snippet of gossip to be going on with – this year’s Christmas Lites anthology is on its way, and due to be released in the next few days! RAH!

The cover many of you will have seen already, but I’m going to post both cover and title illustration because I can! And below is a little more detail about the book itself – twenty-one short stories from twenty great authors (and me!) and I cannot WAIT to get my copy for the Smugshelf (home of my own paperbacks).

So if you’re looking for a Christmas present for a loved one, a great read, or simply the opportunity to do a bit of good at Christmas, watch this space, because Christmas Lites III is coming, and this time it’s personal!!

= = = = = = = = = = =

The Christmas season is upon us yet again. Yes, my friends, it is a time of giving, loving, and sharing.

Within these pages is a way you can help many people desperately in need of love, support, and goodness: the victims of domestic crime. By purchasing any of the “Christmas Lites” anthologies, you are sending every last dime made off this book to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The NCADV is an amazing charity that saves these people and lets them know there is still hope, still goodness, and still a reason to carry on.

This is our third year, and twenty-one authors have joined in Christmas Lites III, giving their time and their stories to these people – and to you. We all hope you enjoy our holiday tales captured in bite-size pieces. Whether you read this on the bus, before bed, or snuggled by the fire, please, do read – and share.

Authors in this anthology:

Addison Moore
A.F. Stewart
Amy Eye
Angela Yuriko Smith
Ben Warden
Cassie McCown
Elizabeth Evans
J.A. Clement
JG Faherty
Jonathan Tidball
M.L. Sherwood
Monica La Porta
Ottilie Weber
Patrick Freivald
Phil Cantrill
Robert Gray
Ron C. Neito
S. Patrick Pothier
Tricia Kristufek
Vered Ehsani
*Brandon Eye bonus story

Editor/compiler: Amy Eye of The Eyes for Editing www.theeyesforediting.com

Cover Design Kyra Smith
Title page Design Crystal Bozeman Clifton
Link to the charity: www.ncadv.org

**********************************************************

20131128-094730.jpg

20131128-094748.jpg

Rolling…

Hey peeps;

Book 3 now stands at sixty thousand words, up from 35k. Lots more to come but the story progresses!

Not much to report with Flight at the moment, but Song is going through a self-edit post-rewrites, slowly at the moment as it’s being fitted round Wrimo writing time, but creeping on. Quite excited about Song, actually.

Sprig of Holly is flying off the shelves! Over 450 downloads so far this month in the US alone! In celebration, I’m getting a new cover done, so watch this space for details of the reveal.

Lastly, a note from Dulcie Feenan, who tells me that readers considering taking a look at “Christmas comes to Oddleton” might like to know that it will be on sale at reduced price on Kindle around the weekend of 6th December.

Have a good evening, all!
JAC

Happy Hallowe’en, all!

I won’t write a great Hallowe’en spiel now as this is just a quickie while I have a moment.

Firstly, tomorrow being November, we are getting a little nearer to the release date for this year’s Christmas Lites, the charity anthology which features short stories from major indies such as Lizzy Ford, Addison Moore and others including me. (Shhh, if I keep very quiet in the corner they might let me stay!) The “Christmas Lites” anthologies are a really special undertaking. A group of authors, editors, formatters and artists donate their work freely to put together this anthology and all monies earned go straight into the bank account of NCADV, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This year’s edition is particularly poignant as it commemorates the wonderful writer and friend C.S. Splitter, who died earlier this year, and who was one of the founding culprits of the anthology. We’d like to give it a really big send-off in his memory, so as soon as I have release and cover reveal dates for you, I’ll be posting them here. (I can tell you, I’ve seen a mock-up of the cover and it’s going to be FABULOUS!)

Secondly, an update.
“Mother of the Shantar” (aka Book 3) has been playing up in a major fashion, and earlier in the year I realised that of the 85k words I then had, fully 75k were backstory and should be cut out. (OUCH!) It was quite a good bit though, and as Book 3 is still resolutely refusing to fit together, I set that aside for a bit to polish up the backstory. The result of that is “Flight from Shantar”, which chronologically speaking, is the preamble to Vansel and Jack’s arrival in Scarlock, and tells of Alaric’s efforts to bring the Mother over the Shantar border. This is nearing completion.

The second bit of backstory that has been cut and expanded is “Song of the Ice Lord” which tells of the events nearly three thousand years before ODS, when the Ice Lord first came into Nereia’s world, and the terrible war he unleashed. I have just finished writing it into a more rounded tale, and have started on the edits. I will be surprised if we manage to get it on the shelves before Christmas, and I shan’t hurry it in order to make that deadline, but it shouldn’t be so very many months before it is available, so watch this space.

In the meantime, November is dedicated to shaking Book 3 into submission, as you’ve all been waiting far too long for it, and frankly, so have I! This year has been madness, but I am hoping, just faintly, that next year there might be a little more free time. If there is, watch out – I can tell you that for Nereia, the chase has only just begun, and as Dr Seuss would say, “Oh, the places she’ll go!” It’s going to take about six more books to get there, at this rate, so I hope you like long, intricate tales as much as I do….

But enough chattering, more writing, I hear you say – this book isn’t going to write itself! And of course you’re quite correct, so it’s back to the batcave for me.

In the meantime, enjoy your Hallowe’en / Bonfire Night / Thanksgiving / Samhain / other!
Back soon, I hope, with all sorts to report!
JAC

PS: While you’re waiting, if you’ve ever wondered what Nereia’s childhood was like, have a look in “Christmas Lites 2” – least year I contributed a tale from when she was six years old, and the wonderful Yule party at which she first met her Godmother. Besides, the rest of the book is so entertaining, I challenge you not to laugh / cry / love it!

Hey all:

Here is the news at ten from the WGP. The headlines:

BONG!

Book 3 of ODS is currently at 30k words and moving on slowly. Currently aiming to make it somewhere between 100k-150k depending on where the nearest stopping place is in order to allow for 10% attrition in editing and still leave you with the tome you’ve been requesting.

BONG!

Parallels novella “Flight from Shantar” is currently at the editor and awaiting his scalpel. Expect exclamations of “Ouch” and “Oooyah!” over the next couple of weeks when I get it back! Parallels alleged-novella “Song of the Ice Lord” is currently mostly on hold while I get on with Book3, but is currently approaching 70k in length and does good duty when I’ve hit a stumbling block on Book 3! Ultimate length will be (as long as it takes) minus (editing scalpellage). And yes that is a word because I just made it up.

BONG!

Job: utterly manic for the next two months. Hoping to have a little more free time after that. Houses: now shortlisting. Hoping to put in an offer in the next couple of weeks and move August / September time (expect a writing hiatus again while that’s happening; hopefully timing will be right to be editing “Song” then).

And indeed

BONG!

EXCITING NEWS – WGP author Jo Edwards of “Work-Wife Balance” fame is putting the final touches to her sequel, “Potbound”. Watch out for this, which should be hitting cyberspace any time soon!

And finally – insert your favourite picture of a funny cat here.

This is the news from the WGP!

Hey peeps;

Another check-in, briefly, because I’m saving all my word-time for writing!

As you know, I’m currently working on two novellas at once as well as Book 3… well, the first edit (the one I do) is now done on “Flight from Shantar” and it’s ready to go off to my editor. Why am I working on this before Book 3, you ask (and a few of you have done)?

Flight was originally written to be one of the ODS series, and the events in it happen concurrently with the first books; but to put it in the main series brings the timeline to a juddering halt. This is why this section was cut from Book 3 – but at the same time it’s a story which readers might like to hear; and so it’s going into the Parallels series.

It tells of the flight of the Mother of the Shantar from her homeland, across the border with the country of Mardon with Vansel’s crew, headed by disgraced Skral warrior Alaric. On the way, her trail is  picked up by the Mardonese army, who are still chasing her ten years after the war between the Shantar and the Mardonese. Alaric has to get the Mother across to Scarlock to pick up Jack and Vansel – but the mysterious Jonas has other ideas…

Anyhow; that one is a step further on, and I’m now putting the finishing touches to Song of the Ice Lord, of which more anon…

That’s it for now, but just an update so you know I haven’t forgotten you all!

Take care;

JAC

Oi, WordPress, what’s going on?! I just wrote a long post with the latest updates and  WordPress just ate it – it’s not even in Drafts! Grrr….

Okay, run out of time now. Potted version:

a) Happy Easter.

b) Snow. Oooh, cold! Big drifts in this neck of the world, most spectacular.

c) Busy! Lots of moving house and changing jobs of late but hopefully a quiet spell is due so a bit of editing is happening in spare moments.

What editing? Initial corrections on the bit cut from Book 3, which will be released as a separate in the Parallels series (current working title Flight from Shantar, but that’s a bit clunky I think. Thoughts, anyone?). When this is sent off to my excellent word-surgeon, last lot of corrections and inputs to be done for another short in the Parallels series, a bit of back story called Song of the Ice Lord at the current time. This is nearly done, and will then go to the formatter and (if enough remains for a paperback) to Regina for a cover as well.

Then I should be thoroughly back in the swing of writing and back up to speed for picking up Book 3 and seeing what happens next. I know, I know, it’s not put on a back-burner – only it will take a bit longer to finish, so I might as well get these ones out so you have something to read in the meantime.  Besides, then when you pick up Book 3, you’ll know how the Mother got there and who all the other characters are. Are there a lot of them? Of course there are. But I hope you’ll like spending time with them too…

d) Book 3 – still at 15k but ongoing plotting and planning means that soon as I’ve finished with the others, it should go quite quickly if nothing else happens to eat up my writing time. Watch this space.

Anyhow, going to sulk now as my first version was MUCH better and more eloquently written than this one. Not impressed, WordPress!

Have a lovely Easter, all;

JAC

 

 

 

Dear all:

More news from Weasel Green Press – my running mate Dulcie Feenan has offered 3 copies of her new paperback “Christmas comes to Oddleton” for a giveaway on Goodreads here:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/44535-christmas-comes-to-oddleton

If anyone wants to enter for the chance to win one, please do! Another cover by the tremendously talented Regina Wamba of Mae I Design, Weasel Green’s favourite cover artist, and if you can read the blurb and not be intrigued, you’ve never experienced the chaos that is a school play…

Best of luck all!

JAC

  • Other WGP giveaways on Goodreads

    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    Christmas comes to Oddleton by Dulcie Feenan

    Christmas comes to Oddleton

    by Dulcie Feenan

    Giveaway ends December 09, 2013.

    See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

    Enter to win
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