November 2018 Writing Progress Update – In His Darkened Halls

So, once again, I’ve neglected my writing blog. Woops. Personally, I’m seeing a pattern forming – forgive me. Anyhow, as we’re nearing the end of the 2018, I thought I’d give a writing update, seeing as the last one was in the summertime (I guess these are becoming seasonal at this point?).

Anyway, as previously stated, my personal life since mid/late-2017 has been… problematic, to put it lightly. Without going into this, needless to say my writing pace bore the brunt of this disruption, as well as it dealing me a severe case of writer’s block.

Things are on the way up at last though – matters are resolving themselves, and (fingers crossed) will continue to do so, all being well.

Right now, I’m 103,500 words into the first draft of In His Darkened Halls, or about 60-65% of the way through. The story is heating up at this point and I’m hitting some exciting parts now that things are all coming to a head and character’s paths are crossing and diverging. I’m getting into the real meat of the story that comprises The Weaving Shadows trilogy, and hopefully my readers will find it as exciting as I currently am.

I’ll be approaching the cover artist from The Shadow of the High King soon to begin discussion on concepts based on the ideas I have for it, so stay tuned for a cover drop early next year (probably another seasonal post, am I right?).

Again, as I did in the summer, I’ll sign out for now with a piece of grim and dark music that has been helping me along with the writing process this week, one that might give you an idea of the kind of atmosphere In His Darkened Halls will be taking – ‘Obscured‘ by the legendary Celtic Frost.

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Writing Progress Updates – In His Darkened Halls – The Weaving Shadows Book 2

So, it’s been a while (yet again) since I’ve posted anything. My apologies. The last 12 months have been chaos for me in regards to my personal life, and writing is unfortunately one of the many things to have been hampered.

I am, however, continuing to chip away at the 1st draft of The Weaving Shadows Book 2 – In His Darkened Halls, and I’m aiming to have this done over the next few months, hopefully before the year’s out, if possible.

As of today, I’ve written 13 chapters and the 1st draft’s currently sitting at 90,450 words, or about 50-60% of the book as a whole, give or take. I’m hitting points in the plot that I first imagined and planned out when I began writing the book’s first chapter in 2016, and, for me at least, it’s getting pretty exciting.

I’ll be sharing some snippets of the 1st draft now and then when I feel it’s appropriate, but for now, I’ll sign off with a piece of music I’ve been listening to during writing sessions that will give you an idea of the tone and atmosphere that In His Darkened Halls will be taking.

 

Guest Post: Jesse Teller – Author of Hemlock

So, while I continue to work on In His Darkened Halls, updates on future releases are thin on the ground for a short while.

However, a compatriot of mine, one Jesse Teller, has just released the second book in his Manhunters series – Hemlock – and was kind enough to provide a guest article for my blog.

So without further ado, and many thanks to Mr Teller, I’ll give this space over to Jesse, to talk about the Timeless Enemy that has stuck with him throughout his writing career.

You can find Hemlock for purchase here.

 

 

The Timeless Enemy

by Jesse Teller

 

When I was a boy, my parents took me to the movies. This was back when we had no money. No money at all. We had to fight to get food on the table and we were always strapped. Well somehow, my parents found the money and the time to take us to the movies, and I saw Sleeping Beauty.

I don’t remember much at all. Colors, I think, is all I could take away from it. I was about six and I had no recollection of the story or the images really, but I do remember very distinctly the dragon. I remember the colors, the breath, and the black. I remember this tiny man striving to fight it, and the way it seemed impossible. I remember thinking no force in the world could rival a dragon, and that is all I took from it.

Years later, I was watching TV in the morning on a Saturday, and I saw Bilbo Baggins take the first steps of his journey. The artistry of it consumed me, the way those particular animation artists moved the characters across the screen. They were the same animators that did The Last Unicorn and I will never forget the way they drew the line. The movie The Hobbit was fun until Bilbo and I found ourselves at the feet of Smaug.

So huge that dragon was, nothing Bilbo could do could ever stack up. There was no weapon to grasp to bring death to that monster. No hope, however slight, could be held when the idea of fighting that beast was at hand.

I do not accept the death Tolkien gave to his god of dragons. It is too convenient, too simple. No one arrow ever made could take down the beast I saw in that cavern, no matter how well shot, no matter the target.

I remember thinking if ever a power could exist that could rival a being that great, it would have to be me who found it. No other creator could reach within and pluck out the shred of hope that stood up to a creature so mighty.

Well, of course, I was wrong. Writers and artists have been killing dragons as long as dragons have been around. St. George cast one down centuries before I was born, and people have been doing it ever since. But Smaug stayed supreme in my mind, a creature of such immense power that no one dare stand before him had they not a ring of power.

So then I set to work. I began, time after time, crafting a hero or heroine strong enough to crush the monumental monsters of my mind. Soon wizards. Then warriors. Then one after the next, I began to put together an army of people and beings so invincible that they could stand up to Smaug. They could face the Nefarious, the Tempest and the Wrath of the greatest forces of darkness that any mind could find. Any mind anywhere. With this devotion to craft and heart of a creator, I plumbed the darkness within my mind to find magic.

When I hit teenage years, I wanted warriors. Arislan, Aragorn. Caramon Majere. I found Mycenae Kark and Sai Sibbius Summerstone. One after the next, I sought and found one swords smith, then another, to battle the monoliths of my mind. Twenties found assassins. Thirties, barbarians. One great hero after the next filled my mind, always with one goal in sight.

Crush Smaug.

Pulverize the immense. Bring down the invincible. I write high fantasy. If that means I am not grimdark, then so be it.

There is a boy in here, deep where no one can find him. He is fighting a monster, a monster deeply rooted in the fiber of his mind. That little boy will not let me go small. He has a nemesis. He has a nightmare, and one after the other, he will pump out the mighty and the brave to bring it down. I have never killed Smaug. He is, as far as, I know unkillable.

But Rayph Ivoryfist would get close. Smear Kond could sneak up on him. Dreark would make Smaug tremble. I fear that somehow the mighty, world-moving powers within my books will make me less grim, that I might lose some street cred. I might have readers who shrug and drop me, thinking they want lower fantasy than I am prepared to give them.

To them I say, please forgive. There is a monster in here. He scares me. I must fight him the best I can. Smaug is watching. Smaug is waiting.

Spring into Fantasy sale

spring sale

I apologise for the length between posts – it’s been something of a crazy year I’ve had! But I am hard at work at my next book – I’ve got two in the works that I’m planning on dropping before long.

So while I’m currently working on them, I’ve teamed up again with some likeminded peers to do a seasonal sale on my book The Shadow of the High King 🙂 Check it out here

I’ll also have some writing news soon, so keep an eye out for an update!

Book Review – Darkmage by M. L. Spencer

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I’m far, far, far overdue to review this book, and the only excuse I have is a hell of a lot happened all at once between me starting and finishing it and immediately after, and I’ve only just had the clarity of mind to write a review that would do her work justice.

This is the second of Spencer’s books I’ve read, and the true start of her Rhenwars Saga, my first foray into her world being Darkstorm, which I thoroughly enjoyed earlier this year.

Darkmage, I found however, outstrips it a fair bit in my eyes. Despite being written prior to Darkstorm, I found Spencer’s writing a great deal more rich and mature in this book. Part of me wonders if this is due to it being a fair bit lengthier and simply allowing herself time to grow and toy with her characters, who are, as in Darkstorm, at the very forefront of her writing.

Again, a high fantasy epic with a distinctive grimdark twist through its characters’ questionable motives and actions, I found the level of thought and depth to Spencer’s world to be continually impressive, and I’m envious of her ability to build both nations and magic systems in such detail. Especially without stumbling over them, as is easy to do so when creating something of such grinding complexity.

I’ve often felt Spencer’s work will appeal to a range of fantasy enthusiasts, with her ability to weave grimdark assholery into a sprawling high fantasy tapestry that, if tropes are to be believed, should be populated by bland, uninspired white knights and big titty elf princesses trying to save the world because save the world.

A great book, especially for the start of a series, and I’m looking forward to getting around to Darklands when I (eventually) get through a couple of other books in my TBR.

Scars of the Sand – it’s release day!

Scars of the Sand cover

 

Ok, so the day’s finally here! Scars of the Sand is out at last! You can grab a copy here.

And about time too! I’ve been way, way, way behind schedule on this one, so I apologise for anyone who’s known of its existence and been waiting for it to drop, but yeah it’s finally here.

A short tale about Harlin from The Shadow of the High King, reactions so far have been universally positive, so thank you everyone who has taken the time to read it, talk about it or just offer me a gentle nudge of encouragement to get the fucker done – its appreciated. I’m looking forward to seeing the wider reaction to it, so anyone who reads it please let me know your thoughts!

After 6 months of writing and editing and redrafting and wrestling with the cover, its out – and I can finally focus on my next work – book two of The Weaving Shadows Trilogy, another one long, long overdue, who’s title I can finally reveal as I’ve settled upon it at last – In His Darkened Halls. Hopefully, this will be dropping in 2018, or early 2019.

 

 

 

Book Review – Darkstorm by M. L. Spencer

 

So I finally got to finish Darkstorm by M. L. Spencer today (only took me 2 months thanks to work and my own writing).

Darkstorm for me has a bit of a special place on my shelf as it is not only very, very good, it is also the first full length kindle book I’ve read and it’s by a self published author.

M. L. Spencer’s first installment of the Rhenwars Saga has really impressed me for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is obviously the quality of her writing, she’s accomplished, professional and has a knack for character voices – I particularly enjoyed Quin.

Her world building is also something to be admired, it’s multifaceted, rich and complex, with a depth any other writer would be sure to nod appreciatively of as they read. Of particular note is her Tolkien-esque attention to detail when it comes to scenery, her descriptions of her characters’ various surroundings are vivid and clear but never feel overblown or forced, and on the whole she manages to give everything in the book an impression of scope and grandeur. I was also fond of her penchant for skilled and elaborate descriptions of magic use throughout the book, something lacking from a lot of the books I’ve read the last few years.

Spencer’s plotweaving is also something to be commented on, as while her writing style most certainly has a foot planted firmly in high fantasy, she blends it seamlessly with characters and themes that could only come from a grimdark tome for their profound levels of assholery.

I was left with a ton of questions after reading Darkstorm, and I’ll be grabbing Darkmage asap to follow this up with, the sure sign of a solid series debut. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Spencer’s writing and world develop over this series, as all the signs from this starting point are definitely full of promise.

5/5