Tag Archive: fantasy


Morning peeps!

And here is a particularly splendid post for you all to enjoy. As you know, I have a short story named “A Sprig of Holly”. It was written for the first Christmas Lites charity anthology back in 2012, a sweet little adventure / romance written in the style of a Scandinavian folk tale (way, way before Frozen made it trendy. Afterwards I released it as a freebie with the hopes of spreading the word about the anthology a bit – all four of the current Christmas Lites anthologies are written in support of the NCADV, the American National Coalition against Domestic Violence.

Now as it was only an ebook, I bodged a cover until such time as I could get a decent one done, and that bodged cover was this:

(you may laugh, now I’ve got a better one). Sprig of holly bodge cover

 

But despite this non-splendidness, this little story has grown and grown in popularity until it has become the most frequently-downloaded text I’ve uploaded.

Now for a while I have been playing with the idea of doing a couple of  illuminated copies of some of the more fairytale of my stories, and I’ve been looking for a decent artist who might be able to do the illustrations. Someone suggested I should go and look on deviantart and I have to say, there are a lot of talented people on there. One of these is Wesley Souza, and he agreed to do an ebook cover for Sprig. Now, the development of this cover has been really interesting and I totally love the end result, so come with me on a journey through time and space (or at least through the last week or so) and let me show you just how talented an artist I have accidentally found.

So this is what we started with. I described Greta, a girl who lives with her grandfather in a cabin in the mountains, and the snowmaiden, a  figure that Greta carves from snow. We looked at a few varied possibilities for Greta, but this was the best and the most striking visually. The blue lady behind had the right kind of remoteness for the snowmaiden.

IMG_1118

This settled, Wesley began to work his magic. First he put them on the right kind of background, a snowy mountain landscape.

IMG_1119Then he put in a sunrise behind the mountain…

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After that he did some work on Greta’s hair….

IMG_1121

Followed by the snowmaid’s hair, and Greta’s sprig of holly…..
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After that, look at the details of the trees in front of the snowmaid’s skirt…

IMG_1123And then the snowmaid’s body, as of course she is made of snow (and I love the details of  the frost-patterns on her arms and face).
IMG_1124

Finally we discussed font; placement, choice of styles, and colour. We played about a bit until it was right, and he added the sparkles, just to make it more magical. So are you ready? Because here is my gorgeous new cover, for your delectation:

 

600x800smashwords_by_wesley_souza-d8tlltz

 

For anyone who’d like to read more, it’s free at Smashwords and should be at Amazon here: http://getBook.at/Sprig .

Also, go check out the rest of Wesley’s stuff at Deviantart here: http://wesley-souza.deviantart.com/  as it’s pretty exceptional!

So what do you think, peeps? Better than my homegrown effort, no?

hehehehe.

JAC.

Hi all:

Just starting the sorting and tidying of the post-Loncon detritus, and while I’m working up to the full report, I thought I’d give you a quick list of links to be going on with. The dealer’s hall was an Aladdin’s cave of cool stuff, and on the Thursday I ended up walking round it about sixteen times, as every time I finished a circuit they’d put some more stalls up when I got there again!

I wanted to buy  SO much stuff: virtuously didn’t, and in all honesty the only thing I really regret is not buying the fab pic of the ferrets pulling the Celtic knots to pieces from Sophie Klesen(?) which I shall link to later, but then it was more money than I really could afford so probably for the best.

Anyhow. Take a look at these, and appreciate the splendidness!

Art

http://www.margaretwalty.co.uk – the most beautiful, luminous art. I wanted to buy all of it but sadly it’s a bit out of my pocket! Go and admire though – they are fab.

http://www.tekeli-li.com – this is where you can find all the various links for the Sophie Klesen whose fabulous mediaeval stuff is really gorgeous. In real life it’s dripping with gold leaf, and so unusual! If you check out her FB page, the one with the ferrets is the one I was hankering after. Isn’t it cool?! I did ask if they had it in postcard form, but they didn’t so I got the “Not available” one instead because it made me laugh.

www.annesudworth.co.uk – evocative, almost photographic paintings. Lovely stuff. They sold almost before I got to them!

Books

 www.glasgow.ac.uk/thesaurus – the historical thesaurus of English. Synonyms going right back historically; very pleasing.

www.inspired-quill.com – the excellent people at Inspired Quill who kept us amused in our bookselling endeavours. Buy their stuff! I have done.

And the cyberfriends from the Amazon forums who I finally met in the flesh, authors all:

www.willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com

http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

and my good mate and shameless tribble-petter MTMaguire: http://hamgee.co.uk/

Tshirts and other stuff

www.islandofdoctorgeof.co.uk – a fresh kind of madness. Slightly steampunk, very random. I particularly like the sleeve badges pertaining to tea, but sadly they didn’t have just straight black tea or I would have bought it on the spot. There were several other cool ones I meant to go back for, but when I did it was shut – another close call for the credit card!

www.londonmetalclay.com – pretty things! I did in fact cave annd buy a really pretty necklace from here. I wandered past every day for the entire con and still wanted it at the end so, y’know, it might have accidentally hijacked my credit card.

www.genkigear.com – Well, there were these Tshirts and I really wanted them and they were funny, so I virtuously bought some for pressies, you know, and accidentally maybe one for me and then it turns out they had a green one with weasels on and my press is called Weasel Green Press so it would have been kind of rude not to….

Anyhow, there are some links for you to be looking at while I’m writing up the rest of it.

Loncon was a most tremendous experience and I met some tremendous people, had some very interesting conversations and learnt A LOT. Part of what I learnt was that I really, really love meeting people and chatting to readers. Sadly I am a bit rubbish at selling my stuff, but you never know – maybe people will go and see what I’m rambling on about if I feed them enough jellybeans… but more of that anon.

Sadly being quite STUPID I took no photos at all of my first ever con.

< F A C E P A L M >

Still, I’ll find some Twitter peeps and get them to link in the comments if I can so you’ll have a bit more of an idea of what was going on.

Yet again – watch this space…also, if I find more of my links I may update it later on so do come back and check – and if you know something I’ve missed out, that’s what the comments are for!

More anon:

JAC

Hey all:

Here for your delectation is my schedule for LonCon3. If anyone is going to be there, do come and say hello – particularly at the signing bit where I am in the same room as some people like Peter V Brett and Christopher Priest whose books are spectacularly famous! Fortunately I will be there with my nonexistent following so the table will look nice but the room will not be even more crowded…! heheheh.  Though if it gives you any idea how seriously I am taking this, I have spent actual money on an actual dress. Yes, a dress.

Also, there will quite possibly be jellybeans.  I am have chosen those because I don’t like them and therefore won’t eat them all myself, which means that you lot need to help me with them.

So, yeah a signing (oooh get me). And then two panels, which should be really interesting, and bonus – I am meeting up with cyberfriends such as MTMaguire (if you haven’t read the K’Barthan Chronicles, go do so) and some of the guys from the Kindle forum, with a bit of luck. And who knows who else?

Looking forward to this…. So:

Autographing 3 – J.A. Clement

Friday 10:00 – 11:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

J.A. Clement (and lots of properly FAMOUS people!)

Fake Science for Fun, Profit and Disaster

Friday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL)

From Piltdown man to water powered engines and vaccine scares, fake science casts a long shadow. Why is this? Why do people fall for the same thing again and again? When does it matter? When is it good fun or is it always something that has to be stopped? If so, how?

Andy Sawyer (M), J.A. Clement, Paul Cornell, Dr Tori Herridge

You’ve Ruined It For Me

Sunday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Screen adaptations of genre works are big business, and fan conversation about them often revolves around issues of accuracy and deviation. But what are the other discussions we could be having about the relationship between novel and film? How does our experience of an adaptation shape the way we read a particular book, whether for the first time or on a re-read? Is it possible, any more, to talk about The Lord of the Rings without reference to Peter Jackson? Are ‘book purists’ too defensive against what is, after all, simply someone else’s reading of a work with a budget, or do blockbuster adaptations carry a popular cultural weight that makes them hard to escape?

Ellen Kushner (M), Saxon Bullock, Jonjo, Carrie Vaughn, J.A. Clement

 

~~~

Other than this I will of course have my reader’s head on, and will be lurking in panels and workshops and  having a look round the exhibitor’s hall and all that.

And now, back to the prep.  Banners! Jellybeans! Bookmarks! It’s madness over here…

Catch you at the ‘Con!

JAC

 

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

Another step on the way…

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

Hola!
Anyone in the vicinity of London and fancy coming to a launch party at the end of the month?!!

Details still tbc – there will be a couple of other authors there, possibly a giveaway or two and quite probably much going to the bar and chatting. If I can get them sorted in time, there might quite probably be some rather tremendous bookmarks to be had…fingers crossed!
We’re not going to book anything, just find somewhere there’s a bar, a bit of space, and they might not mind us putting posters on the wall. It will be somewhere central – the bars on Southbank are in with a chance, or if not, somewhere equally central and within reach of public transport.

More as I know it, but readers, reviewers, authors, all are welcome to come – and authors, if you want to fetch a signed copy or some bookmarks to distribute or anything of that sort, please do – the more the merrier!

If you’d like to be kept up to date with details, please email me at jaclement.ondarkshores@gmail.com and that will give me some idea of how many potentially might appear. (At the moment it’s up to about 20, so enough to have a good laugh methinks).

Currently looking at Thursday 25th Oct, and it will probably be any time from 6 onwards… would be great to see you there!

And of what are we celebrating the launch?

This…

heheheh

Catch you later peeps!

JAC

Hey everyone:

For those of you who have read Book 1, Book 2 of the On Dark Shores series is out!

Here is the blurb:

“Nereia is faced by a frightening choice. Copeland is getting dangerously unpredictable; and in the blind darkness of the sea-caves under the cliff, Blakey is about to make the acquaintance of the Archangel…

Sequel to On Dark Shores 1: The Lady and second in the dark fantasy series, this novella is gritty and gripping with a rich tapestry of characters and darkly evocative setting. Contains violence and drug-use.

The story will be followed later in the year by On Dark Shores 3: The Mother.”

It’s available on Smashwords as well as Amazon – US and UK and should make its way through to Apple, Nook, Kobo and the rest in the next week or so.

Anyone who wants it, head on over to whichever of those places sells the file you need – and if you’d consider leaving a review, whether you like or hate it, I’d really appreciate it, as reviews sell books!

I’m not going to do the whole publicity thing for this one as – next bit of gossip approaching – at the moment I’m working on the paperback.

Because Books 1&2 are only 40k words apiece, they’re too short for individual paperbacks. (From Book 3 onwards this will not be the case though!). What I’m going to do is put BOTH of the first two novellas together into the first paperback, and just call it “On Dark Shores” without the subtitles.

Probably this will cause a certain amount of confusion but I don’t think that can be helped, unfortunately.

Anyhow, the cover’s being put together by none other than the highly talented (and infinitely patient!) Regina Wamba of Mae I designs, and you should see it!! Well, you will see it soon enough, but it’s going to be FAB! Check out her portfolio here – and bear in mind that a couple of designs there are for sale… Must admit there are several there that made me go “WOW!” and I only wish that I could think of a story for the one with the blue ravens – love that one!

Rambling aside, what this means is that I’m going to need a big publicity push for the  paperback and I don’t want to get unduly spamtastic as that can be very tedious. That being the case, I’m not specially going to  publicise The Other Nereia per se, as I figure anyone who’s read On Dark Shores: The Lady already has all the relevant links in the back of the book to find it and anyone who hasn’t read either would probably do better to get the omnibus anyhow.

Which means that in effect, you faithful regulars are pretty much getting a sneak preview…

So, if you do enjoy it, tell anyone who’s read the first one – and if you don’t, tell me! And if you’re not inclined to read it at all, then go look at Regina’s site and enjoy the pretty pics, because she has some properly stonking ones up there…

Back to it! Bk 2 to format for paperback, bk 3 to finish and a couple of so-called “shorts” for the Parallels series to be getting on with in the meantime.

Catch you later, peeps:

JAC

Hey all –

Just a real quickie as it’s some godawful time in the morning and I’m only up due to an ongoing bout of insomnia. Guess what I’ve been working on while I can’t sleep, these past few weeks?

No less than the final, final edits of Book 2. It’s been through two separate editors, it’s been formatted (for the most part) and is being beta’ed as we speak! And all I need now is a good chunk of time to get the damn toc.ncx working (took SIX attempts for book 1, you know!) and I’m good to upload.

Also, looking for advance reviewers so if I haven’t already contacted you and you’d like to review it, do give me a shout.

While we’re on the subject, I should warn you, it’s not the book you’re expecting (quite literally!).

At the end of Book 1 there was a sneak preview of the book that was to have followed, which was The Mother and dealt with the attempt to smuggle the Mother of the Shantar people out of her own land and across to Mardon City, heartland of the nation with whom her people were at war ten years previously.

However, feedback on Book 1 was that it was too short, and that you were all desperate to know what happened to Nereia before cutting to the other plot strand.So, a certain amount of rewriting later, I’ve swapped round some parts of the story to make it fall into more novel-sized chunks.

So: Book 1 of On Dark Shores, which is The Lady will be followed by (new) Book 2 – The Other Nereia. This is another novella, about 40k words in length. This will be released separately for all you who have the first book already, but also as an “omnibus” edition comprising 1&2 together, and this is the edition which should appear in paperback later in the year. (I’m just talking to someone about the cover now, which is very exciting).

Lastly, The Mother will now be Book 3.  Quite a lot of it is already written – the first 90k words or so – and there’s more story to come to even when you consider that I lose about 10k words of every 50k in the editing, that should still be a full-length novel (though don’t ask me when it’s likely to be released!).

And after that?

Well, there’s a good two books already planned out, and another two or three places they’ll be going after those, so it’s not going to be the shortest series you ever came across.

Should be fun going along for the ride though….

Anyhow, I must go as it’s way past 5am and I have to get to work; but just so you know, it shouldn’t be more than a week or so getting ODS2 onto Amazon (a bit longer in some of the other outlets maybe) so –

Watch this space!!

JAC

 

Hey all:

This week’s guest post is by another alumni of Creative Reviews, no less than Beth Ann Masarik. She has recently brought out Prince of Darkness, part of her trilogy The World Among Us. So all you fantasy  / romance fans, take a look at her interview below and be aware that she’s going to do a giveaway- there will be a couple of great prizes, all to be had for a simple comment below.

I leave you in Beth’s capable hands!

JAC

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Name: Beth Ann Masarik

Author of: The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness

Genre/s: Young Adult/Fantasy (Urban Fantasy)

P- or e-book: All formats…paperback, hardcover, and e-book

Available from:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords & Otherworld Publications

One-sentence summary: The World Among Us is a Young Adult/Fantasy Trilogy that has plenty of Greek Mythology & Vampire lore, and of course, forbidden love.

  One-sentence biog: I love to write, read and    role play.

 Links to your Blog / Twitter / FB / other:

The World Among Us Fanpage,

My Author fanpage

 Twitter accounts:

@theworldamongus &

@literarylunes

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When you write, do you have a routine or habit?

I usually like to write in my bed, with my pajamas on, and the music blasting in the background. I usually listen to something fast beat.  This is going to sound weird, but I like to try to write to the beat of the music. Does anyone else do that?  I also usually have either a glass of Pepsi or mom’s homemade iced tea & a bag of chips with me when I write.

What kicks off the book – a character, a situation, a plot-point? 

Usually a situation is what kicks off my books.

Do you plan the plot or follow it as it unfolds? How much do you know in advance? 

I usually do very little planning.  I like to have set goals or situations that have to happen in each book I write.  Otherwise, I usually just let my characters write the books, and I dictate.  Sometimes, however, my characters tend to sidetrack, and I have to get them back on track and plot a little bit.

Do you write character notes or background information?

Yes!  That is mostly what I plot. It’s how I get to know my characters.

Do you do research and how?

It depends on the topic I am writing about, but yes, I do research.  I usually browse the internet for said topic, and keep looking until I find whatever it is I am looking for.

Do your characters do as you intend or do they tend to run away with the plot? 

My main characters are generally good with doing what I want them to. However, once in a while they tend to get off track.

Do you have clear visuals of places or characters? 

Most of the time, yes I do.  It’s getting that vision into words that’s the problem sometimes.

When you have writer’s block, what do you do? 

When I have writer’s block, I usually put the book down for however long I need to, and read.  I usually read books in the genre I write in, and after a while, something I read or see in real life will spark an idea. I find that going to church is actually a good place to get inspiration from.  I often find myself zoning out of the homily’s after the gospel during mass, and entering the thoughts of my characters.  It’s a nice escape I have to say (especially if the sermon is really boring lol)

What made you decide to write this story? 

I’ve always been into the fantasy world, and love vampires and witches (not so much werewolves).  It was one of those stories that once I got the idea for it, it just HAD to be written.

What element did you start with and how did it develop? 

I started out with knowing the last ¼ of The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness, and developed the story around it.  It sounds complicated, and I guess you could say I kind of wrote the book backwards, but it developed nicely (I think).

Did anything change substantially along the way?

Sometimes something that started as a detail suddenly becomes a plot point. Have you had that happen and what was it (if it would not be a spoiler to say)?  I am sure that I have, but to be honest, I can’t remember a specific detail.  (there are just too many).

Do you have a favorite character or place? 

I hate being asked about my favorite character lol. It’s like being asked if you have a favorite child.  I love them all.  In terms of a favorite place, I would have to say Mount Olympus.  You don’t get to visit it much in Prince of Darkness, but you will get to see why it’s my favorite in Stormy Nights.

Are any of your characters / places / situations based on real life? 

Some of the places are loosely based off of places that I frequently visit in real life.  IE, Holly Oak University is based off the college I went to, and Port Washington is a real town in NY.  It’s in Nassau County, Long Island.

What are your views on self-publishing? 

If you have what it takes, go for it!  I self-publish my magazine called Literary Lunes (www.literarylunes.com), so I know that it’s a lot of hard work, and can be very frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing.  BUT if you have the time and patience, then by all means, all the more power to you!

What are your views on e-books?

I think e-books are great and convenient for traveling, but, I still prefer to hold the actual book in my hand.

Do you have / are you considering getting an e-reader?

I actually just received an e-reader for Christmas from my fiancé.  I received the Nook Color J.

Did you have your cover made /  work edited / proofed by someone else?

My cover was designed by someone that Otherworld hired.  James from JE Ellis Design designed it.

What do you do to market your book? 

I talk about it all the time on facebook, twitter etc. I have a fanpage on facebook (www.facebook.com/theworldamongus), and my twitter handle is also the title of my book @theworldamongus.  This way, whenever someone sees the name, they are always thinking or talking about my book (even when they don’t realize it!)

Are you on any social media? Which do you prefer? 

I am on too many social media websites. I am on so many, that I can barely keep up with them all.  I personally prefer facebook & twitter as opposed to myspace, however.

What has proved your most successful marketing method so far? 

Networking sites such as facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.  They are MUST HAVES, especially for new authors.  Blogging is also proving to be successful as well.

Have you read and enjoyed any other indie authors? Who / what book? 

I’m honestly only just starting with reading some Indie authors, and the one that I just read was called Legacy of the Highlands by Harriet Schultz.  It’s a new, romantic thriller that has you on the edge of your seat right to the very end.  It was out of my normal genre (YA/Fantasy), so it took me a chapter or two to really get into it. BUT once I got into it, I was hooked.  I will be writing a review for it on www.literarylunespublications.blogspot.com over the next week.

Have you any tips for other authors? 

Be kind to your fans & readers.  If you’re on a pedestal, step down.  No one likes a stuck up author.  Be humble.  If someone takes the time out to review your book, be sure to thank them, or pay it forward. If you received a bad review, take it with a grain of salt.  Remember, a review is ONLY ONE PERSON’S OPINION.

Which book review sites do you read?

I honestly try to avoid reading book review websites BUT I absolutely ADORE everyone that has been participating on my tour.  It’s hard to pick just one.

Which review sites have reviewed your book? 

Too many to list.  If you take a look at the tour list on www.bethannmasarik.com or www.bahbammymusings.wordpress.com you will get an idea of who’s reviewed me.

Are there any resources you have found really useful? 

Goodreads is a goldmine for authors, writers, and yes, even readers.  It’s a great way to connect with your fans and the general audience.  There are lots of great books out there, and Goodreads is a great resource to finding them.

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Many thanks to Beth for the interview, and now for the giveaway – Beth has kindly offered prizes for you! There will be the chance to win an ebook, a fanclub Tshirt and possibly a mug, which could be yours! To enter, please leave a comment below…. and if you know other fantasy / romance fans, please let them know as well!

Thanks to Beth for this great opportunity;

JAC

Morning all! And have we got a treat for you!

Today’s guest post is courtesy of the lovely MT McGuire (and the Ely Marrow). Author of humorous fantasy Few Are Chosen (which I’ve read and did enjoy) she has come on the blog to show off her shiny new cover – look further down the page and admire the Dangermouse-ness thereof!

Writer, mother of a 2-yr-old, driver of a shiny Lotus and inventor of the flying snurd, she has shared with us the following wisdoms for your delectation…

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 Name: M T McGuire

 One-sentence biog: M T McGuire is 43 years old but still checks inside unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia.

Blog  Facebook Twitter: @MTMcGuireAuthor

Author of: Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Trilogy 1

Genre/s: Humorous fantasy, if you have to pin me down but don’t ask me to tell you an age group or I may have to kill you. It’s aimed at a type of person and a mind set.

Available from:

E Book: Amazon UK:    Amazon US:   Smashwords:    Barnes & Noble:

Paperback:  Amazon UK   Amazon US   Barnes & Noble   The Book Depository or get a signed copy from www.hamgee.co.uk

One-sentence summary:
OK, I can’t do the book but I can do the trilogy, which goes like this: A cowards falls in love and thinking with his trousers sets out to win the girl, if he wants her he’ll have to save the world… but can he?

When you write, do you have a routine or habit?
No, I have an addiction. Writing, for me, is like a bad crack habit. If I don’t manage to write a certain amount each week I go a teeny bit mental. More than a teeny bit as McOther and McMini will probably attest.

What kicks off the book – a character, a situation, a plot-point?
Usually music. I will be listening to a song when I’ll see something in my head and think, ‘ooo that looks interesting’ and take it from there.

How much do you know in advance?
The beginning, a couple of emotional flashpoints or moments of extreme violence, a bit of conversation and the end.

Do you write character notes or background information?
Nah it’s bad enough having it all banging around in my head without trying to write it all down. If I had time to do more than the bare minimum pukkha writing I might.

Do you do research and how?
I try to establish parameters and rules which the plot, the science and the world I’ve created must stick to.

Do your characters do as you intend or do they tend to run away with the plot?
Oh they run away. Completely. The Pan of Hamgee, the male lead in the K’Barthan Trilogy was a bit character originally. Someone for another character to have an amusing conversation with in gaol. The minute I typed his name, he took over. I don’t think I’m the only writer this happens to.

Do you have clear visuals of places or characters?
Very but it’s not always easy to describe. The pictures on my website of my characters are exactly how they are in my head (only badly drawn).

When you have writer’s block, what do you do?
Draw the characters, market my previous book, or write something else, even if it’s just long tracts about how I can’t write.

Are you indie or trad-pubbed?
Indie.

What made you go that route and why?
To be trad pubbed it needs to be immediately obvious how my work could be marketed and what box it fits into. It’s clearly commercial but it doesn’t obviously fit in a box. Also I need to find an agent. I did try for a year after finishing Few Are Chosen during which time I managed to get polite ‘no’s’ from 5 of them. I do appreciate they’re busy and I can imagine the pressure they are under but I’m 43 now and I decided that I would quite like to see my work in print before I die. So I published it myself.

How long since you published your first book?
A year and a bit. K’Barthan 2 is due out next spring. Thank you everyone for waiting patiently. Writing and looking after a toddler does not make for a quick sequel.

Is there anything you wish you had known before you started?
The above. Oh and make your first book stand alone. Only start with a series if you are a complete nutter.

If you were starting from scratch today, is there anything you would do differently?
Pretty much everything although I’m happy enough with the way it’s turned out.

What is the most important thing for you about having your book published?
That when I have bludgeoned people into it – usually at gunpoint – nearly everyone who has read it likes it. I find this slightly amazing and I am waiting until the moment when the bubble bursts and I get covered in soap!

What are your views on self-publishing?

I think it’s brilliant.

From where I sit, it looks as if the publishing industry has trouble investing in new talent. Long ago, in a galaxy far away, I worked in an industry which comprised many small companies, much the way publishing used to be. However, the many small companies were gradually bought up by five or six big ones, much the way publishing has been. Having experienced working in that model, I can imagine what goes on. In my field a product which was considered a money spinner for a small company suddenly became a loss maker when we were part of a group. As a big group, we had higher overheads and costs so our products had to make a consistent 30% of operating profit to break even. Some of our products made 5% or 10% and they were binned or the rights sold off. I can’t help wondering if this has happened in publishing. I’m guessing that if it is, it might explain why nothing seems to be countenanced in publishing unless it’s a sure fire monster bank.

On the upside. I guess that means something has to come out of the woodwork which can and will make those lower margin, niche-but-profitable books pay. Enter indie and self publishing. No-one in the industry is ever going to take a punt on my book but maybe, if I can build up a readership and a following, they will. And, if, after that, I am not the next J K Rowling, at least my books will be out there. Money is lovely (mwah ha ha haargh) but this is, essentially, about reaching people who will enjoy my books. If they do I don’t mind if there aren’t that many of them.

What are your views on e-books?
I think they’re excellent. They have no shelf life and they allow people like me, who have written a slightly weird book, to reach people who might enjoy reading it directly. And those people are there, just not in big enough quantities to appeal to a publisher.

Also let me just say how much I love e-ink. Please god let them make it in colour, so it’s like a computer screen only not. It’s saving me a fortune in paper and electricity charging stupid batteries because unlike reading on screen, it gives me that sense of removal required for editing.

E ink. Colour. Soon. With touch screen. Go on lovely techies. Kissy kissy. Please…

Do you have/are you considering getting an e-reader? which?
Yes I do. I have a Kindle, because I’m a sheep.
No-no, I’m not a sheep, honest. Actually, I didn’t think I would possibly find a use for a kindle but McOther wanted to buy me something for my birthday and he offered.. Round about that time, it occurred to me that if I write e-books it might be smart if I had a vague idea how they looked on an e-reader.

Now I have it I am delighted with it. Not only do I read more but I have access to lots of books I have absolutely loved which I’d never have been able to read without it. Indeed, I read one book in 2010 (I’m a stay at home parent with a toddler so time and head space can be thin on the ground). I bought an e-book reader in June 2011 and I’ve read about 15 books since. Not much, I agree but a hell of a lot more than I was reading before.

Did you have your cover made/work edited/proofed by someone else?

Yes, yes and yes.
Seriously, get your work proof read by a professional and don’t get it done on paper because if you do you’ll put a whole new raft of mistakes in when you do the alts. Get it done by someone who will correct the document. Blindingly obvious that but publishing gold and yes, despite a 12 year career producing print, it’s a nugget I missed entirely.

If you know a decent designer, get them to do the cover and think hard about what you want first. It took me about a year to realise what I wanted. Once I did, I discussed it with the designer and get something that was close but would also work commercially. They did a fantastic job. A Trouble Halved in Stratford-upon-Avon if you are interested.

What do you do to market your book?
Not nearly enough! Mwah ha ha haargh. Actually, I think it’s a good idea to have something out there free, more than a sample, a story. In my case I have some very bad shorts which I don’t know what to do with and a prequel to the K’Barthan Trilogy called Unlucky Dip. Don’t be daunted by conversion rates though. I reckon freebies work like a mailshot so about one in every hundred will buy something. That said, there are lots and lots of freebie sites so, in theory, you can get that hundred readers several times over.

Are you on any social media? Which do you prefer?
I’m on Facebook  and Twitter ( @mtmcguireauthor ). I also visit forums; kindleboards, mobilereads, amazon.co.uk, goodreads and the like.

What has proved your most successful marketing method so far?
Interviews, reviews and posts like this.

Have you read and enjoyed any other indie authors?
Mmm hmm.

Who? JA Clement, naturally, (JAC: clearly a woman of taste!) Danny Gillan, Lexi Revellian, Ali Cooper, Melanie Dark, Joyce De Bacco and I have a whole truck load in my to be read folder which I haven’t yet done.

Have you any tips for other authors?
If you’re self publishing, think about the basic stuff. Trust me, in my real world job I produced reams of print in a year and I assumed I would not be at home to Mr Cock-up. Unfortunately, when I produced my book, Mr Cock-up, his family and most of his relations took over my guest room for some weeks. There is a lot of really, really obvious stuff that I missed. Here’s a purler; when Few Are Chosen came out I didn’t actually say anywhere on the cover that it was part one of a trilogy. How stupid was that? Naturally, a few people complained about the end being a bit abrupt.

(JAC: Yes, well easy mistake to make, sure lots of people have done that. Er…well at least one person in the vicinity has done that!)

Are there any resources you have found really useful?
Yeh, Simon Royle’s indieview site.

= = = = = = = = =

So there you have it, peeps!

MTM’s book is worth the reading, and you should all go have a look at it – and of course there is the short story Unlucky Dip if you just want to start with a small snippet.

So, in the run-up to Christmas what else can we expect? Next week we have a guest blog from Lexi Revellian, author of Remix, Replica and a new fantasy series starting with Torbrek and the Dragon Variation.

In Christmas week I’ll be writing my own Christmas post – and if you have any requests for that, leave a comment or message me on Goodreads!

And in January I will be bringing you assorted posts from other authors along with (I hope) a new release or so of my own.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to the mailing list (if you’re looking at this on https://jaclement.wordpress.com you’ll see the nice shiny “Get the gossip” button over to the right) then please do so, as apart from anything else I’ll be mailing out a discount code for Book 2 to anyone on the mailing list – and there may be advance review copies going, you never know….

In the interim though, have a good weekend, and if you have any questions for MTM or myself, please comment below!

See you next week:

JAC