Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Update: Week Three

Week 3 Total Word Count: 74,000

I spoke way too soon last week. After two 10K writing days, I hit a wall. Hard. It was like pulling teeth trying to drag the story on for a while there. The trouble was I’d hit a point where the story would quite happily have reached an end. Which would have been fine, except nothing would have been resolved, it was way too soon and I still had too much to do. But try convincing my brain to go on when it said everything was done.

This is what happened with The Crying Child, a set of events leapt out of nowhere, twisted things around and suddenly, Ta-Dah! The End! Well, I could get away with it on that book because it was the second of three, but I couldn’t really let that happen here. Unless I wanted to write a fourth book *shudders*

Funnily enough it was sparked by the same character. I suspect if I’d written a completely unnecessary fourth book it would have happened again. With the same one. A born troublemaker that one. Never mind, I pulled through, finished Chapter Twenty Five then gave myself a few days off to think about it all.

Then came yesterday, when I sat down, flexed my fingers and finished the whole lot with a mammoth effort. I’m pretty sure the entire thing is a massive mess, nothing I wrote yesterday will make a lick of sense, but it’s fine because some of it will be salvageable and I now have an iron framework to hang the whole story on.

Phew!

Also, if I’m lucky, it won’t be quite as messy as I think it is. This has happened to me before, and in the best cases I didn’t need to change a thing. Even if it doesn’t happen here, I’m still happy because the hardest of the hard work is done!

Even better, I can finally get out of the Iron Age! And away from the historical stuff altogether (for a bit at least). My next Aekh tale is set in 2002. I cannot wait. Even if it does mean a lot of Shakespeare in my near future. If you’ve read Orion’s Kiss this is the story that will make sense out of just who Beatrice Winters is. Finally. Two years after I finished that one.

*ahem* Oh well, better late than never, right? 

Anyway, back to this book. No snippet this week, since everything is spoilery. Instead I’ll end with the final tally, since the last day was only just in Week 4.

Icarus Child Final Total: 86,700 words.

Woo – and indeed – Hoo! Now all I have to do is edit the thing.

A Bit of Me, Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

I Win!

I broke my brain, but I win! The Icarus Child is done!

I’ve written 13.5K words today. Starting at 8 ish. I broke off to watch Tim Peake rocket up to space, then had to break later on to drive my mum somewhere because of rain, but otherwise I powered through on a diet of Galaxy chocolate, copious amounts of water and Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack (and a couple of others – I will have to talk music sometime).

It makes no sense. I don’t even care. It is done! Book is finished! I’m not even going to touch it until the new year.

Now I can catch up on my reading, put up decorations, wrap presents, see family and look after the dog who has an ear infection and a lip infection and all kinds of skin infections (apparently, though he seems fine, but the vet says, so *shrug* and he’s a foolish pedigree), and probably sleep a lot. Because it is December and it’s wet and we’re not quite halfway out of the dark yet.

Proper update tomorrow. For now – yay!

(Ow, my head)

Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Update: Week Two

Week 2 Total Word Count: 46,000

Woo! This book is flying!

Well, sort of. Writing-wise I’m down to three days a week when I have enough free time to make it worth my while to sit down and get stuff done, but when I do I’m making it count. Which is lovely. If I get a chance to focus and have the right music on I can scribble out a chapter in an hour and a half, so I’m trying to get three chapters done a day – depending on how long they are, of course. If they’re short I might manage four.

There’s a reason why I don’t do NaNoWriMo, because once I establish a set routine and give myself a goal of getting the book done by This Day it all tends to snowball and I get very competitive with myself. Last time I did NaNo I started off aiming for two to three thousand words a day, then I realised I wouldn’t be able to write at all for the last week of November and it all went a bit crazy. By the end I think I was writing between ten and fifteen thousand words a day – and the little book that was supposed to be about 75K was heading for 90K and wasn’t anywhere near finished.

And it still isn’t, three years later, because if I try and touch the book my competitive instincts rise up and order to me to finish it now, now, now! Who cares about the pirates? Add in a ghost and some astral projection and everything will be fine! And kill that snooty kid while you’re at, no one will even notice. Then put in a race over the beach – that’ll be so cool. You can literally have rocks falling so everyone dies! 

Except that this is a multi-book series and I need some of those characters to survive. And I like them too much to kill them all.

Rocks fall. Everyone dies. Really cool!

But –

Rocks. Fall. Everyone. Dies. Dead.

Yeah, ‘kay, no… I’ll just put this one away for now then.

So. I don’t do that anymore. (Which is a shame, because there are some parts of that book I adore. I must head back to that world sometime. It’s the one where Tobi and Faron come from. I love that world.)

Anyway, yes, back to this book. Even though I’m only writing three days a week, my competitive instincts are rising (I’m only ever competitive with myself or as part of a team, which is why I was so relieved to break my arm when I was nine so I could quit gymnastics before they made me compete anymore). However, instead of a daily word count race – because I rarely have a completely free day to write in – I seem to be pushing for a weekly thing. The first week I hit 20K, the second I managed 25K. I’m now in week three and my first writing day went over 10K, so looks like it’s all on schedule to make my brain explode. Also, I should get the book finished before Christmas as I must be over halfway now. Seriously, I must, it’s over 50K words now.

Also all the major players seem to have finally arrived. Yay! There’s also a new lesson to be learned from this series – other than Keep Away from Talking Islands, They Will Possess You! The new one is Never Trust a Foundling, or other sundry washed up bodies that appears anywhere near you. Nothing good ever happens. Rocks might not fall (though I’m not ruling that out because there are cliffs everywhere) but someone will die. Or that might just be the island. Maybe I’ll stick with the first one and add They Will Kill You! after the bit about possessing people. I may need to put up signs. Those will totally work.

Ah well, another normal week in Ima-land. Have a completely non-spoilery snippet conversation between two children on a beach, and I’ll get back to wrestling this story into (ha!) submission.

Continue reading “Icarus Child Update: Week Two”

Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Update: Week One

Cover_3 Icarus ChildDespite numerous attempts by real life to sabotage my writing time in recent days, so far things are going reasonably well with The Icarus Child. The book has started much earlier than I expected (by about seven years), and seems to be enjoying itself meandering along while I tap my fingers and wait for the plot to show up.

Which is business as usual with the Aekhartain tales.

If you enjoyed Unbound and Free, the beginning of this one is very much in a similar vein. Except my boy Icastar has even more troubles than Demairo had, but they both live on the island, look after some sheep and only have seals for friends, while ghostly voices make demands of them. Poor boys. It’s no fun being born on the island.

But that was last week. This week I’ve moved forward four years (Ica’s gone from 7 to 11) and things may be about to happen in a vaguely sinister way. I’ll have to wait and see just what and when if I manage to write any more tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Nevertheless, Week 1 word count: 20.5K.

And now for a snippet. Spoilers are so mild as to be nonexistent. Just a cute and casual game of something (no idea what, don’t ask me) between a boy and a selkie. (See, he has some fun sometimes.)


 

Continue reading “Icarus Child Update: Week One”

Aekhartain, Books, Writing

The Crying Child

The Crying Child

~ Icarus Child #2 ~

Once there was an island, and on that island there lived three cousins…

Britain 142 BC

Cover_2 Crying Child The Sisters of Icarus may all be gone, but the next generation remains. Bitter, half-selkie and broken, the three women are different in many ways, yet one thing connects them: the island and its quest for a new Icarus.

Ghosts and family, selkies and betrayal, love and loss, these cousins are on a journey that will change all of their lives. And when the stars fall nothing will ever be the same again.

For there will be a new Icarus – the island will accept nothing less.

No matter what the cost.

Available Now!
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The Crying Child in Brief
What’s in it?: A 78,000 word novel (around 246 pages)
When is it set?: 142-141 BC
Where is it set?: Iron Age Britain, pre-Roman.
What kind of story is it?: A family drama between three cousins, involving jealousy, love, friendship, betrayal, selkies, lots of chores, ghostly goings on and general island creepiness.
What’s the genre?: Historical Fantasy.
Any age restrictions?: Not really. Although it is more geared towards adult themes, such as childbirth, romance, jealousy, etc.

Behind the Story
This used to be the middle section of the original Icarus Child story, and was the part where not a lot happened, except for the island being creepy and characters being miserable. So this time around I wanted to do things differently – starting with Callirye and her little romantic interlude. In the original that was all dealt with in barely a paragraph, but this time around I wanted to know more about her. Especially as in this version she’s Cana and Fox’s daughter.
While I was expanding her story, the island was going behind my back and changing other things. So, if you’re one of the unfortunate people who read the original version on Elfwood around ten years ago, this version is quite a bit different. It’s also made my life very difficult for the last part of the trilogy, but that’s the island for you.

Extras
The original dedication for this book was a bit long, so I cut it down rather drastically. However, since I wrote the long version for a reason I thought I’d include the full thing here.

To Family

Whether big or small, near or far, close or distant, family is the one thing that is always there.
By blood or friendship, bound by shared memories and experiences, real family will never let you down
– or if they do then they are the ones worth forgiving.
They know your worst secrets, drive you to tears and infuriate you as nothing else can, but they also make you laugh, sing all your favourite songs and share in those awful movies that no one else will watch with you.
Family is the hearth that warms the soul.

May your family be strong and your friends be family.

Always.


Read on for the opening chapter from The Crying Child, and be aware that it may contain spoilers for Sisters of Icarus.


Continue reading “The Crying Child”

Aekhartain, Books, Writing

Sisters of Icarus

Sisters of Icarus

~ Icarus Child #1 ~

Once there was an island, and on that island there lived a boy, but before that boy there was another child. And before that child there were three sisters.
Those sisters had a brother.

His name was Icarus.

Britain 163 BC
Cover_1 Sisters of Icarus

On a small island just off the south coast, three sisters are determined to survive against nature’s unmerciful odds, but their brother is mad, everyone thinks they are strange and old voices cry on the wind.

Battling against love, grief, selkies and ghosts, middle sister Raccanta will face many tests of her strength if she intends to keep her sisters safe – and her promises intact. For on the mainland there lives a man who walks the woods and shows Raccanta a world that could tempt her far away.

Except the island keeps what it takes and it has no intentions of letting any of its sisters go.

Available Now!
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Sisters of Icarus in Brief
What’s in it?: A 101,000 word novel
When is it set?: 163-158 BC
Where is it set?: Iron Age Britain, pre-Roman.
What kind of story is it?: A family drama with a bit of romance, a lot of domesticity, broken hearts, selkies, jealous spirits and general island creepiness.
What’s the genre?: Historical Fantasy.
Any age restrictions?: Not really. Although it is more geared towards adult themes, such as childbirth, allusions to an abusive relationship and general ghostly gore.

Behind the Story
The original Icarus Child was one novel split into three sections, detailing the life of Shaiel, the first Aekhartain (which is actually Demero, since Shaiel is… different. As I discovered when I wrote this book eleven years ago). The first part – Sisters of Icarus – was supposed to be a chapter or two introducing Icarus and the women who became Shaiel’s ancestors. I’ve always been drawn to the story of Icarus and there’s something about the word that I really, really like, so I couldn’t resist borrowing a bit of the legend for my book. Which fits in quite neatly with my winged Aekhartain.
Of course the original story ran away with me, mostly thanks to the middle sister, Raccanta/Cana, and the way her life twists and turns. What was supposed to be around five thousand words of backstory turned into a fifty thousand word romance and definitely took on a life of its own.
Because, as I often do, I grew rather attached to my throwaway characters (Cana and Fox this time around) I desperately wanted to find a way to bring them back into the Aekhartain story. In the past I simply made it work because *magic!*, but this time around I needed to find an honest way for how that would happen. Which also meant I needed to work out why a man would have a very Greek name in Iron Age Britain. The latter I solved by marooning a Greek traveller on the isolated island, after his exploratory trip went wrong, but the former involved changing a few things.
None of which I can go into here for spoiler reasons ;)
In the end I tweaked the plot here and there, coloured in the details and tried to make it fit into a true time period for the first time, but in essence much of the original is still here. It just grew even bigger this time around – and I actually knew what was supposed to happen. I just wish the other two were going to be as straight forward.

Read on for the opening chapter of Sisters of Icarus!

Continue reading “Sisters of Icarus”

Aekhartain, Updates

September Tidings

Cover_1 Sisters of Icarus
Sisters of Icarus is coming!

Well, sort of. I’ve finished another edit of it and will soon start my final run through. Then, hopefully, I will be able to throw it out into the world on September 15th!

<— This is the cover as it currently stands. I may change it, I haven’t decided yet. At the moment I like it, but my views are always likely to change after a day or two.

Any feedback, opinions or views on it are always welcome.

Cover_2 Crying Child

I’m also about a third of the way through my first draft of The Crying Child. 

My original plan was to release this a month after Sisters, but real-life keeps poking holes in all my plans so I’ll have to see if I can pull if off.

If nothing unexpected pops up to ruin my month, I’m fairly sure I can do it, but the unexpected has rather taken over this year so I guess I can only try my best and hope that will be enough.

Cover_3 Icarus Child

 

Whenever that does make its way into the world, I will then turn my attention to the last of the trilogy – The Icarus Child – which currently has a wishful release date of November 15th. However, see above for excuses why that might not happen.

Whatever befalls my writing and editing schedules, I just wanted to let people know that they are being written and edited and thought about a lot right now, and will be coming. Hopefully before the end of the year.

Look, they already have covers and everything! This is almost as good as a release from me – not that I usually leave my covers to the last minute or anything. Nope. Not me. (And yes, I know, they’re kind of blue, but that works with the story. All photos are mine as well, just in case anyone wondered. Apologies once again to Portland Bill for turning you into the island.)

So, those are my exciting plans for this month. Anyone out there got anything good going on?

Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Progress Report: Blame it on Fox

This always happens; I should have expected it. The first time I wrote Icarus Child a certain pair of characters, Cana and Fox, overtook everything and expanded the story way beyond my original plans. I didn’t mind too much because I came to love the pair of them, so I was excited to write about them again in Sisters of Icarus.

As it turned out, while it was nice to write about the again, it wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped. Part of this was because this book is pretty dark and I tried to remember only the nice bits. Another part was because I was trying to force my characters to fit the old plot and keep to a rough word count. I managed it, just about, but some of the spark had gone – and Fox’s biggest fan didn’t like it.

I kind of agreed, which was why I put the book aside and launched a rebellion with Caligo/Nawaquí instead. (Well, why wouldn’t you?)

Needless to say I wasn’t looking forward to going back to this tale and trying to sort out the mess I’d left it in. I knew it would take some work and I foresaw headaches ahead.

Well, so far it’s grown by 15K, including three whole new chapters – which isn’t ideal – but I’m actually quite enjoying it. Because Fox is back, my Fox, the proper Fox, not the angry, resentful, not particularly enjoyable character who showed up for the rewrite. Oh, he’s still angry in places (he always has been and he has his reasons), but he’s also more fun. And because he’s more light-hearted and cheeky, so is Cana.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a sad book in which unhappy things happen, often to nice people, and there’s the whole evil island lurking over everything. But now, thanks to Fox and my vastly inflated word count, there are a few happier moments to lighten the atmosphere and a much more enjoyable romance to keep things ticking along.

I hope. It’s working for me, anyway.

Then again, I haven’t actually finished it yet. There are still five chapters to go and a certain plot that needs to be reworked, but overall I’m happier with this version. I just hope my betas will be happy too and I’ll be able to win Fox’s biggest fan back into his club. I’ll need something positive to keep me going for The Crying Child, which is just as happy as its title suggests…


Before I go, one last reminder:

The Rebel Returns is increasing in price from tomorrow.
Rising from $.99/£.99 to 2.99.
Get it cheap while you can!

Aekhartain, Books, Writing

The Rebel Returns

TALES OF THE AEKHARTAIN
Historical Aekhartain
~ Dark Rebellion 2 ~

The Rebel Returns

The shadows are stirring, a tower will rise,
and thoughts of revenge are sweet.
It’s time to fear the darkness.

Nawaquí Caligo may have fallen, but his struggle goes on. Stranded on a remote world with only loyal Noctis for company, Caligo is changed but not defeated.

The road ahead is long, full of shadows and loss and regret. Can he find a way to free himself from thoughts of blood and revenge, or is he doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?

The darkness is coming and this rebel’s fight is far from over yet.

Available Now!

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The Rebel Returns in Brief

What’s in it?: A 70,000 word novel, with a bonus short story at the end
When is it set?: 1000-1002 AD
Where is it set?: Anglo-Saxon England and a deserted other world.
What kind of story is it?: One of madness, guilt, grief and revenge. Lots and lots of revenge. Also Vikings, marauding and enjoying themselves.
What’s the genre?: Historical Fantasy.
Any age restrictions?: Not really. There’s some mild language, a bit of violence and some warfare.

Behind the Story
I never intended for this to be two books. I wanted to wrap up Nawaquí/Caligo’s story in one, but as often happens, when I returned to my original stories everything got a bit bigger – and hopefully better.
One of the main reasons why this ended up as two books rather than one was because I wanted to explore where things went wrong between Nawaquí and Demero. Demero’s such a sweet, forgiving guy that I knew something had to have happened, but I’d never written it before. Now I have, and that – along with the fall of Caligo and his descent into Nawaquí – is what this book is about. So if you’re a Mero fan, he is all over this story.
The additional story – St. Brice’s Day – was written to tie up the loose ends between Nawaquí and Maskai. It didn’t fit anywhere else and I liked the ending of RR as it was, so I added the extra story to take care of the larger Aekhartain Tales threads rather than cramming it in where it didn’t really belong.

Read on for a sneak-peek at The Rebel Returns!


Continue reading “The Rebel Returns”

Aekhartain, Books

The Rebel is Coming!

He’s back!

The Rebel Returns

The shadows are stirring, a tower will rise,
and thoughts of revenge are sweet.
It’s time to fear the darkness.

Nawaquí Caligo may have fallen, but his struggle goes on. Stranded on a remote world with only loyal Noctis for company, Caligo is changed but not defeated.

The road ahead is long, full of shadows and loss and regret. Can he find a way to free himself from thoughts of blood and revenge, or is he doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?

The darkness is coming and this rebel’s fight is far from over yet.

The Rebel Returns

Get it now:
Smashwords
Other retailers coming soon!