I’m Unstoppable

Here we are halfway through July, wondering where summer has gone, and I’m listening to Sia’s album, This is Acting, as I edit Book three: Sentinals Justice. I’ve mowed the lawn, procrastinated on twitter and am now knuckling down to work, by writing this blog!

As Sia sings, I’m alive, I think I feel most alive as I delve into the world of Remargaren and embrace my characters, who are no doubt thankful to still be alive, or maybe not. I can see Birlerion’s indignant face as I write, he is not happy with me and nor is Jerrol. Authors do put their favourite characters through the wringer at times, all in the name of tension and conflict.

As I edit, I can’t help but get drawn back into the story. I can see why we need independent editors to keep us on the straight and narrow because I write the type of fantasy I enjoy reading. I must admit, when I return to a piece of work, I’ve forgotten elements of what I wrote, and I get lost in the story again and forget I’m supposed to be editing.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Book One, Sentinals Awaken, is progressing. It’s gone back to the copy editor for final review. The map of Vespiri is in progress, the book cover should come in any day soon. I keep checking my email, but it hasn’t arrived yet! Then its formatting and ISBN numbers and working my way through the publishing process. It’s surprising how long everything takes, but fingers crossed I’ll be launching in October 2020.

I’ve also found time to read. I have started to post book reviews, predominantly fantasy as that is my favourite genre, if you’re interested in finding other books to read, check out my first Book review on Cully Mack’s Voice of Thunder. You can find it here.

Thanks again for joining me on my journey, and I look forward to sharing my debut novel soon!


How are your balancing skills?

I have concluded that writing is all about juggling. You must be an expert juggler to keep the balls, or is it plates or hoops? No, it’s novels! Up in the air at the same time. Or is balancing the better concept? I’m a Libran, so balance resonates better, juggling feels like it could spin out of control at any moment, whereas balance is calmer, less frenetic, feels right.

Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

I am in control, right?

From the sheer excitement of having your first meeting with the cover designer and seeing his interpretation of your ideas come to life before your eyes to the grind of checking the copy editing on book one, editing book two and then aargh – A whole new series has popped into my head and is demanding to be written.

But first, cover design! 90 minutes of discussion and watching Jeff draw my ideas in front of me, and then mocking up that first cover with my name on it!

OMG! What a feeling of absolute delight and pride. It may be a raw sketch but just wait until its finished, I love it already. I debated about posting the initial concept here, but I think I’ll wait to show you the rough draft versus 85% finished!

Just a sneak peek if you’re interested. Let me know!

Copy editing is almost finished on Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Each revision I learn something new, which is great, and means each book will improve: next maps and internal formatting.

I’ve edited Book Two: Sentinal Rising, cut and consolidated chapters where needed; I suppose 135k words was a bit long. Moved some things around, then corrected my grammar. I’ve sent it to my number one fan Michael to beta read and put it aside before I return for another edit. Then this idea for a whole new world bubbled up, and I’ve been capturing the ideas and planning out the skeleton of the story, and I’ve already written 20,000 words. Holding name is the Freedom series, can’t wait to see where it goes.

How to fit it all in is the challenge. But it is fun, and I love it, and I wish I had started writing a long time ago. Sometimes, I suppose you just have to wait for the right moment, and then take that step and begin. Who knows where it will take you, but wherever it takes me, my balancing skills can only improve.

To Dither or not to Dither?

It is more difficult than expected to know when to take the next step. Development editor – check! Copy editor – check! And now what?

Then the doubts start crowding in, is it good enough? Should I self-publish or find an agent? Should I try and format myself or pay someone to do it? How much is too much to spend on a getting a book published? Especially when the full time job takes up most of your energy and there is little enough left over for writing and editing – let alone marketing and building that author platform!

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

And then the doubts creep in again, dare I think my book is good enough to publish? My Number One fan Michael thinks so! Maybe I should listen to him, he even put down Game of Thrones to read my book, Sentinals Awaken – that’s saying something isn’t it?

Yes, thumbs up, even one fan is better than no fans.

Therefore next step.

Cover Design. Oooh – this should be fun, I’ve done my research, found a designer I like, scheduled time on his calendar, watch this space as the cover develops…

And then it’s formatting the inside, and what about a map and that glossary and…and…so much to do and it’s all exciting again and back to editing book number two – Sentinals Rising.

Oh yes, and back to the day job.

Editing Book One : Sentinals Awaken

Sentinals Awaken is the first book in my Sentinals series set in the world of Remargaren.

I invested in a Market Editor to make sure my story was on point and made sense! And was surprised to find out that my weakness was grammar! Sentence structure and use of commas. So back to the grammar drawing board to relearn the grammar rules and how to avoid the dreaded comma splice! And hello semicolon. I’ve never used semicolons, and was interested to see that the eye does run over it more than a full stop, which if used too often I think can make sentences choppy. (Unless you want choppy of course!)

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

The good news was that she loved the story, found the plot original and the characters engaging. And learning grammar is probable simpler than rewriting the story or having to address plot holes or flat characters! I am sure there will many who disagree.

I addressed the issues the editor raised and relearnt my grammar (and groaned over the comma rules), and had a discussion about Point of View (POV) and how to bring out a character’s inner thoughts. I then developed one of my Sentinal characters a bit more as I had deliberately down-played him as he was threatening to take over, and he was obviously down-played too much! I have written a book just for him so he doesn’t get too downhearted and that led to me writing his backstory which became the prequel as it was such fun discovering where the Sentinals came from to begin with.

Next step is to get a few beta readers to do a final sanity check and then to find a copy editor/proofreader to check the final version, and then it will be on to formatting and cover design as dip my toe into the world of self-publishing.