In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Front Burner

 Here in Somerset autumn is tightening its grip. Cold mornings, mist over the rivers, and the leaves are turning. If you can't be inspired in this season, maybe you're in the wrong game.

 I've realised that the story of Linth and the Spirit Wood needs more research than I've currently done. A LOT more research, maybe a year's worth, before I can provide the flavour and background the story needs. The trouble is that I had an idea, halfway through volume one, which means the original trilogy/tetralogy will be followed by another series, and probably another after that - all set in the same reality, This means I need a deeper understanding of Norse myth (sigh... there are reasons, trust me) than I have at the moment. I want to pull in elements of Celtic belief as well (which I know) and possibly Finnish too (which I don't). So, as I say, a lot of reading lies ahead.

 I don't really mind. Research is fun, it's like writing Fantasy in itself, because in both things I discover new worlds and beliefs, and new peoples. Besides, I can get on with another unfinished work....

 I've mentioned Bone-Smile before, in these blogs. It's got a cracking central idea, of a hidden group of sorcerers who secretly control the cultures that rise and fall in their part of the world. It was taking shape well, too, before the tale of Troy nagged at my subconscious so badly that I had to quit everything else and just write it out. With that done, and Death of Ghosts now on the back burner, it's time to return to Larissa and Ameh, the Chained Dragon, and the bitter fight against the Conclave Arcana.

 All I have to distract me is my new marriage, the impending birth of my daughter, moving house and doing well in my new job, Easy, eh?

Sunday, 4 October 2015


 On Thursday the 8th October, an anthology of work by North Devon authors will be launched at a public event at Boston Tea Party, in Barnstaple (7pm if you're nearby and fancy a literary kaffeeklatsch). It's called Seaglass, and the cover art is tremendously good, look at this;

 and it's been brought to completion mostly by the efforts of Rebecca Alexander and Ruth Downie, published authors both.

 So first of all, thanks to you both. The anthology is a chance for new writers to make themselves known, have their voices heard perhaps for the first time, which is always significant. New art enriches us all, or so I believe, whether that art be literary or visual or anything else. Reb and Ruth have given their time to others, for which I'm grateful.

 Not least, natch, because my work made it in.

 Which pieces? Don't be so eager. All will be revealed at the launch. I'll be among the doughty types who read from their included pieces, so come along and listen to us as we fight to read through a miasma of nerves. Standing up amidst a great clot of people is not normal for a writer, y'know. It's a bit unnerving. Give us a little room crammed with book shelves and we might not budge for a week. Give us a pedestal and a speech to read, and, well... urgh.

 Learning to handle this sort of thing is, perhaps surprisingly, necessary for an author. A lot of us are proper boogers about doing the publicity but books don't advertise themselves. I've done a couple of author events at libraries and appeared on a radio show, and they're unsettling things. Having even a few dozen people listen to whatever secrets you can speak makes you suddenly afraid that your wisdom is actually foolishness and in a moment everyone will start to laugh.

 But they don't, any more than people laugh when you first publish. People are more understanding, more forgiving maybe, that we tend to think. Especially than authors think, when we're shut in our cubbyholes listening to the echo of our own thoughts.

 So thanks too, in advance, to anyone and everyone who comes out to Boston Tea Party on Thursday next. If you take the time to show an interest, thank you. Without you there would be no horses in this rodeo; in the end, with all art, the people who matter most are the public.

 Bet that makes you feel important, eh?