On the writing process; on characters that reincarnate; on working with air dry clay!

A frequent question writers are asked is whether one is a pantser or a plotter. What this means is whether one begins writing a story without really knowing how the story will develop or whether one first plots all the scenes, characters etc. and only then begins writing. Most writers fall somewhere in between. In my case I only begin to write once I have a pretty good idea who my characters are, how the story begins and a general idea how it develops and ends.

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My first air dry clay creation! It’s not perfect, but I’ve fallen in love with air dry clay. It’s so easy to use.

The end of one adventure

Days - mourning 2I’ve been AWOL for some time but due to circumstances the publisher and I have parted ways and book 3 will not be published next month as scheduled. I’m disappointed of course, but there are so many other more serious issues in the world at the moment that I’m keeping things in perspective. Thank you all for your continual support. I’m writing a new story at the moment and that helps. And in the meantime: Keep Safe.Days - castle 3

Fight scenes in the Hyllethan Gifts trilogy

days - fight 2Two weeks to go till the release of Days of Wind and Snow. Since the first chapter was attached to the back of Dawn of Purple and Gray, some of you may remember the excerpt reproduced in the picture.

Writing fighting scenes can be both fun and problematic. Short phrases instead of whole sentences, or short sentences help to quicken the pace and give the impression of a lot happening in a short time. Alternatively, one can ‘stretch’ a moment in time to create tension and a feeling of doom. Using multiple senses (smell, touch, sound, not just sight) helps too to make the scene seem realistic. Below is an excerpt from a fight scene in book 1:

The (cloak’s) ties dug into Shael’s airways. She couldn’t breathe. Frantically, she groped for the hilt of the knife in her boot. The comforting touch of wood in her grasp, Shael slashed.

Yelping, the girl let go of the material, a line of blood trickling down her arm.

Shael gulped in air, sweat stinging her eyes. She pulled herself away from under the girl’s weight, the asphyxiating smell of unwashed clothing and stale sweat making her head spin even more.

As can be seen from the above passage, concentrating on the protagonist’s thoughts and reactions and on particular details (e.g. the smell of unwashed clothing) makes, I think, for a better read than a blow-by-blow account.

Do you enjoy reading fight scenes? What makes them enjoyable, or not?


Short Stories 366:9 — “A Crooked Road Home,” by Caroline Sciriha

A great review on one of the stories I enjoyed writing 🙂

'Nathan Burgoine

coverMost of the stories in Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) bring a protagonist to the table to really root for, and while Sciriha’s pirate is conflicted, I struggled to wish well of him given the first we see of him is his dooming a colony ship worth of passengers to suffocate and die. So this wasn’t going to be a Rah-rah, you go, guy! kind of story.

Pirates aren’t kind people, and even in a futuristic setting there’s going to be that level of death in play, and as his past is explored, there was some sympathy given for how he got to where he got. He feels bad about it, and that’s at least something, and he’s in an impossible situation, too, with a horrendous father higher up on the piracy food-chain, and a near insurmountable debt he can only repay by piracy, but… I couldn’t…

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Release of Hyllethan Gifts #2: Days of Wind and Snow

Days - Cienti.pngI’ve been busy these last couple of weeks editing book 2 and there’s still some more work left to be done, so I wasn’t surprised when the publisher told me we’re running late. This means the release date of Days of Wind and Snow has been postponed by a couple of weeks. Sorry to disappoint those of you who told me they can’t wait (!) to dive into book 2. However, since we’re about a month away from the release date, I’ll start dropping a few teasers—hmm—excerpts 🙂 from it. Here’s the first one from the opening paragraphs of Days of Wind and Snow.

(If anyone who’s enjoyed Dawn of Purple and Gray (now also available through Book Depository) feels like leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, it would be greatly appreciated… 🙂 )