It’s International Women’s Day, so let’s take a moment to share and celebrate some of the awesome women writers out there. And having looked through my bookshelves I’ve decided to share a series by one of the authors my mother introduced me to way back when I was a teenager; Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising Sequence’.
‘The Dark is Rising Sequence’ is an award winning contemporary interpretation of ancient celtic and Arthurian legends. Consisting of five novels written between 1965 and 1977, the Sequence tells the story of several children drawn into an ancient conflict between good and evil that dates back to the time of King Arthur.
This series really stuck with me when I first read it. So much so that it became one of those series that, once I had moved out and begun building my own library, I immediately looked out and purchased my own hardback copy. Cooper pulls together aspects of traditional Arthurian stories, celtic myths and legends, Welsh and British history and weaves them into a story that acts as both a wonderfully realised adventure story in its own right, and also as a perfect introduction to British fantasy traditions and stories that encouraged me to continue on into these stories that have been around for so many centuries, and how different writers now interpret them.
(Just avoid the film adaptation. Seriously, don’t even try. It’s not even bad enough to be good. You’ll regret both the wasted time and your life choices.)
So yes, it’s been a while. As I laid out in my last post, I’ve been a little busy recently. Would you like to see what’s been keeping me away?
The Æther Collection – 4th Draft
I present to you the latest draft of The Æther Collection in all its glory. A collection of 13 short stories coming in at just under 80,000 words. I can’t really say what number draft this is, as the redrafting process has been a little haphazard. At the start, when I was posting each story on here as it was completed, I worked on one story until it was done and then moved onto the next. Later I began working on several at a time and the process became more linear. And so this means that different stories at at different levels on completion depending on when they were written. Some of the entries are basically done, while others will still need work. But for the sake of clarity I’m calling this the 4th draft, as it’s the forth version I’ve exported and saved in its entirety.
Now I’ve handed copies of the manuscript over to my usual Alpha Readers to make a start. Hopefully in the New Year they’ll start getting back to me with their notes and I’ll begin the next stage of revisions. Hopefully I won’t get any points back along the lines of “this one is awful, get rid of it”, but we’ll see what they think. Then comes the traditional fooling myself that I only need one more draft…
So what do I do while I wait?
I have several more ideas for short stories than just those that fit into this collection. The problem is when you are focusing on one project you work on any old idea as you’ll never get anything done. But now I finally have the chance to work on these for a change. I have at least one that’s half done and has been sitting on my desk for months waiting redrafting. Hopefully I’ll that one done and still have time to at least get one more into decent shape before I need to get back into the Collection again.
I need to start working on designs. I’ve already got Emily – my sister and designer – to put together the first version of the cover image for The Æther Collection, and it looks awesome. When I’m at home over Christmas we’ll go over this and start working on the final versions. This time I have a far better idea of what I’ll need. One of the problems I had with The Serpent’s Eye – it being my first self published book – was that I didn’t know what I needed until I needed it. This meant that every time I wanted to put the cover image on a new website I had to go back to Emily and get her to work on it fresh and send me a new version in a different layout or resolution or some other strange variation. This time around I can make a full list of everything I used last time and get her to create everything (hopefully) in one go.
In preparation for book completion I need to start working on my Scrivener-foo. I absolutely love the programme for writing, and I know that in theory it’s great for laying out a manuscript and exporting it however you need. However, at the moment my abilities are pretty much limited to trial and error, which leads to hours of frustration as I desperately try to work out how to make it do what I want. I’ll definitely be spending some lunch hours watching online How-To guides.
I’ve spoken on here before about how advertising and promotion are not my strong suits. However project management is. Therefor I’m intending to make my promotional efforts far more of a structured project this time around. This one is the hardest, as (a) it’s not directly linked to the creation of the book, and (b) I don’t enjoy it. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean I shouldn’t put the effort in if I want to get my work out there. So, time to start thinking in advance about these things.
I think that’s probably enough to be getting on with. I’m also hoping to give my social media a bit of a kick and get connecting with people again. Focusing on redrafting does tend to put you in a very inwardly focused world. But then I suppose writing as a whole does that. I just have to get my head around the culture shock of wrapping up the writing side of things and focusing on the other aspects of life.
“The Serpent’s Eye” has been included as part of Arcane Bundle’s Halloween Horror Bundle.
Pay want to want and get a download of 5 DRM-free ebooks. Pay at least $7 and get and extra two books. And if you send a tweet sharing the collection you can get “The Serpent’s Eye” included for absolutely free.
It’s a great deal. I’ve always been a fan of Bundles like this, and I’ve got some great books for very little this way. And it’s amazing to have my book included in this collection.
So if you want some stories to keep you entertained over Halloween, head over to the Arcane Bundle site and pick them up now.