A Bit of Me, Books, Overworld, Updates, Writing

Catching Up: Feb-May

As there isn’t a midweek Wingborn update this week (contain yourselves) and we’ve hit the halfway point in the book, I thought I’d catch everyone up on what I’ve been up to lately.

Bagtor Feb
Haytor from Bagtor Feb 2016

As the picture shows, I’ve been walking on Dartmoor a fair bit, when the weather allows. You’d never know from that particular picture that it was bitterly cold up there that day, with a wind blowing hard enough to almost knock me over! (Ignore the shape of the tree, it’s always like that. Growing on the moors tends to have that effect on the vegetation.)

It’s been a very strange start to the year in many ways, not least weatherwise, but now that May is here things seem to be settling down a bit. Especially when it comes to writing.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve finished two books!

The first, Blazing Dawn, is an Overworld book, set a few centuries before Wingborn when women were still allowed in the Rift Riders and the dragons still interacted with humans. That’s where this series is set, the Dragonlands, where a certain fiery Blazeborn elder has been unhappily assigned as a delegate to the new human ambassador and her Rift Rider retinue.

Mini Khennik Blossom
Mini Khennik amidst the greengage blossoms

The dragon is called Khennik and he’s the sort of hero who if you’d asked him to save the world would say, “Not today, I’m busy.” But if you asked him to help his kin and Clan, would lay down his life before you finished the question. He’s contrary and grumpy, prone to bursting into flames, and I’m really rather fond of him.

Mini Dragons 1

Here Mini Khennik is hanging out with a few of his fellow Blazing Dawn characters on some pieces of Dartmoor quartz. Junior Archivist Reglian is the black and gold dragon, Elder Goryal is the little grey one, stony Estenarven is beside him, while poor watery Mastekh is lying off to one side. They all have their parts to play in the story, some more successfully than others, and there are plenty of Rift Riders to get to know too. Not least Nera, a young lieutenant out in the world for the first time.

You might also be able to tell that I’ve been playing with polymer clay a bit lately, but more on that some other time.

The second book I finished just last week. It doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s a Regency Romance! I love reading books in this genre and I’ve had a few ideas for my own over the years. I originally started this one almost ten years ago, but it’s been mouldering away, stalled at only three chapters ever since. I thought I’d give it another go and see if I could actually finish it – and I did! It’s still very rough and needs a lot of work, but it’s set in the country, has a rather put-upon heroine, a scarred up hero and some annoyingly cute kids running around. I had fun writing it, so I hope people will enjoy reading it. I’ll also be releasing it under a different name, but again, more on that some other time.

Aside from the fact that I’m really pleased to have finished these two books, they also have a couple of surprising things in common. They’re both old stories I started ages ago (Blazing Dawn didn’t even get past the first chapter), neither of them turned out at all like I expected, they’re both longer than I intended, and they’re both firsts in their own ways: my first completed Regency and the first time I’ve actually managed to finish a book with a dragon as the main protagonist. This last one is particularly surprising since I love dragons and have written a fair few over the years, but clearly they prove more tricky than I ever expect.

So, as you can see, writing continues apace. Over the next few months I’ll be polishing both books up and turning my attention back to the Aekhartain again. I’ll also be considering what I’ll do after the serialisation of Wingborn ends. I think I’d like to try it with something else, but I’ll be writing it as I go this time. I haven’t what decided yet, but I’m open to suggestion if anyone has anything they want to know more of.

In the meantime, I shall leave you with a final couple of pictures.

One of the things I love best about walking on Dartmoor at this time of year (or in the lanes closer to home, because I am very lucky) is hearing the skylarks. Their numbers are supposedly dropping nationwide, but you’d never know it if you walk regularly around these parts. Here’s one I spotted the other day when walking to Laughter Tor.

Laughter Skylark

It’s perched atop a prehistoric menhir, Loughtor Man, which stands at 2.4 metres tall.

Louden Man
Loughtor Man, April 2016

Apparently it once stood in the centre of a small cairn, with stone rows around it. Now it stands mostly alone, save for the occasional walker or skylark stopping by for a rest or to admire the view.

And on that note, I shall leave you all in peace. I hope the world and the weather is treating you kind wheresoever you may be. I shall be back soon with more Wingborn and perhaps a photo or two of places I’ve been along the way.

Merry midweek, everyone!

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