A little later than planned, spring is finally springing up all around me, and I’ve at last compiled the first three Wingborn books into one handy box set! Which I’ve rather snappily titled Wingborn Series Volume 1: Wingborn, Rift Riders and Dragongift.
If you haven’t bought them yet, or you just prefer to have them all rounded up in one easy to find file, then this is for you, my friend.
It’s available at – or soon will be – all the usual places, and there’s a bit of a discount on the individual list prices, so hopefully someone will find it a bargain.
I’ve also updated the individual books. Mostly typo-catching and tidying up a few mistakes here and there. Like the massive mistake I’d been writing with for years and hadn’t even noticed – that Half-Year wasn’t actually at the half year point because I had my months mixed up *headdesk* But I’ve fixed it now and the year ends a month later than it used to. Possibly no one would ever have noticed, but I did and it’s been bugging me ever since.
The uploads went nice and smooth until the last one, when I really should have remembered that uploading anything to Smashwords is usually best done in the morning. Otherwise it seems to take ages and weird little errors creep in here and there for no apparent reason. Particularly in Rift Riders. I don’t know what it is with that book, but by the time I called it a night, I was pretty much sobbing like Gollum.
And when I checked my email a little later to find that it had already started shipping to all the other non-Smashwords sites in the fastest approval I’ve ever had… let’s just say I wasn’t exactly gleeful.
Thankfully it was a pretty easy fix, so no hobbits needed to be harmed. This time.
Anyway that’s another thing ticked off the list. Next up will be finishing the Wingborn Aftermath novella, then a return to the Dragonlands to write book 4, edit 1-3, relaunch the series and release book 3. I’m also getting vague ideas for a foundation of Aquila tale, but I think I already have enough on my plate so it might have to stay vague a little while longer. It might also be nice to write something away from the Overworld for a change.
Plus there are dogs to walk, cats to cuddle, orchids to rescue, gardens to revive and the usual mix of real life worries and dramas to deal with. Which means life is pretty much continuing as usual really.
I hope that, wherever you are in the world, life is treating you kindly and the seasons are turning in expected and manageable ways. Have a good weekend, everyone!
Not only is this the end of the book, it’s the end of the Wingborn series! YAY!
This isn’t the end of the Overworld, of course – I haven’t finished the Dragonlands series yet, and I’ve already got a novella idea about what happens with certain characters after World’s End – but this plot arc is done. Done, I say!
Which is pretty big, because I’ve been playing with the Wingborn/Rift Riders stuff since 2003 after I had my first dream about a girl and her dog in a skiff being dragged across a sea of clouds by her giant eagle. Things have certainly changed a lot since then, and there were years when I didn’t touch the books, but still, the ideas and characters have been with me for a while, so it was nice to finally get to the end of it all.
I am exhausted. Although that might have more to do with what I did with my celebratory morning off…
Serenaded by skylarks, watched over by buzzards, surrounded by primroses and the first budding leaves on the alder trees, with bursts of sunshines overhead, I do believe that spring might actually be here.
While the east coast and Scotland battled the Beast from the East over the last few days, here in the Devon we got Storm Emma – and yesterday, it snowed.
And then it rained.
And the rain froze.
We don’t get much snow around here normally. Maybe a flurry or two a year. Sometimes it settles for a few hours, mostly it doesn’t. Throw in the freezing rain on top and, well, home never feels so good as when it’s cold and you can stay inside and ignore the howl of the wind.
Here’s hoping all those people stuck out on the roads can get home and warm soon.
I thought it was time for a little catch-up, and since most of the UK is hunkering down under the Beast from the East, today seemed as good a time as any.
Well, since my last catch up post in mid-January I have not done much. Not for want of trying. I started World’s End and was edging close to getting into the swing of things, until my left shoulder went wrong. I didn’t actually do anything to it, but it hurt, a lot, and meant I couldn’t do most of what I needed to. It’s something that tends to flare up whenever I get really fatigued and there isn’t much I can do about it until it goes away. Typing becomes impossible because I can’t get comfortable enough to think, let alone put words in decent sentences. Once I’ve forced myself to do the things that need doing, all I’m really good for is reading. With many cushions.
Three and a good weeks on, it’s finally settled down, so maybe I can get back to writing. Ha! We’ll see…
So February was pretty much a write off. I didn’t get anything written, but I did skim an edit through Wingborn again. This will hopefully be for the first Wingborn Collection (1-3), which is the next thing on my release list. I’ve decided to push Cloud Cursed back again, because I have a feeling I need to finish the Wingborn series before I do any more work on the Dragonlands, and I’d really like to get book 4 written before releasing book 3.
It’s complicated, I know, but it makes sense to me. Sort of. So if you’re waiting for the next Dragonlands book, sorry! But right now it’s the Wingborn books that people seem to want, so I’d like to focus on those for a few more months and maybe even get some print editions in the works.
Away from the writing and imaginary worlds… look at my puppy! Hasn’t he grown? Still only six months, but rapidly transforming into a monster. Keeping him entertained probably hasn’t helped my shoulder and fatigue issues, but he’s worth it.
But enough of me and mine, how be you fine people? Ready for March to march on in? Got any exciting plans in the works? Whatever is ahead, I hope the year is treating you well.
I think it’s time I finally admitted that plans and me this year just aren’t working. It’s only taken me ten months, but still, it’s progress. Of a sort.
Since my last update and discussion of plans in August’s progress report, I have released Storm Rising, finished the Dragongift serial and… done nothing much else. This is not for want of trying, but real life keeps intruding. Like having the new bathroom fitted and it taking two weeks(!). It’s a very nice bathroom and I’m happy with it, but the disruption was not great.
However, the really big change came in mid-September when I sadly lost my collie, Beren. He was fourteen years old and he’d been sick on and off since Christmas, but it was still awful when I had to choose to let him go. All his life he’d been really healthy and hadn’t shown his age. In fact, he looked great and was still bouncing around like a puppy. But in early December, my little lab x had a stroke and had to be put to sleep. Thyme and Beren had been lifelong companions and partners in crime, and not barely two weeks later Beren was at the vets and I really thought that was it.
He pulled through that time, but he was changed. He was an old dog now, finally showing his age. He was still bright eyed and affectionate, loving his walks and playing, but he was stiffer and slower, his walks got shorter and shorter, and he started falling sick. We muddled through together right up until his fourteenth birthday, then he could no longer keep any food down and stopped trying to eat altogether. I didn’t want to lose him, but I wasn’t going to let him suffer. And, since I was convinced he wasn’t going to make it at Christmas, at least I got nine more months with him.
The next few weeks were a struggle. I’ve lost three dogs over the last eighteen months, because they were all getting old at the same time, and I really, really miss them. I still have two, but Willow is fifteen and I have no idea what is still keeping her going since her back legs are so wobbly you’d think she was going to fall over any second. But she doesn’t and her appetite is enormous. Still, she can’t last forever and I didn’t want my other dog, Mushu, to be alone. So I started looking for a puppy.
Not being at all sure how Mushu would react to a new dog, I wanted something young that she could get used to, which ruled out rehoming – most of which weren’t suitable anyway because they needed to be only dogs. I wanted a male, because I miss Beren and Woody. I preferably wanted something with either collie or lab in it, but I really didn’t want a pedigree because the only dogs I’ve had with life long health issues have all been pedigrees. I knew what I didn’t want, but was open to any interesting ideas as long as it would be quite big. Yet, despite there being ridiculous amounts of pugs and French bulldogs, chihuahuas and spaniels, labs and various doodles (all crossed with mini poodles) available, nothing was suitable.
I looked and I looked and I looked, growing mildly obsessed and wishing I lived with my sister in South Wales because there were some amazing sounding puppies up there, but I didn’t want to spend more than two hours in the car bringing the puppy home – for its sake as much as anyone else’s. Although, after three weeks, I was starting to get desperate and contemplating searching much further afield.
But there was one litter I’d seen advertised a few times. Border collie x New Zealand Huntaway. I’d never heard of a huntaway, so I looked it up and was intrigued. They’re sheepdogs that herd by barking, which could be a worry although they can be trained when not to bark, and I wasn’t sure I wanted anything that lively anyway, despite Beren having been no trouble at all. It was a farm litter too, which can have their behavioural quirks – sometimes for the good, occasionally for the bad. They were a curious looking bunch, with a couple of blue merle puppies that looked like little snow leopards, a couple with blue merle coats and tan patches, one brown and tan and one black and white. But I put them out of my mind, because I was sure something else would come up.
It didn’t. The collie/huntaways were updated with newer photos. I dithered, then said no, because crazy collies need so much exercise and there’s the barking thing and they probably didn’t have that much huntaway in them anyway.
But it had been three weeks and there was a more recent photo and the black and white puppy was just calling me…
His name is Bruin and he’s half collie, half huntaway and pure mischief. His favourite things are playing with Mushu, eating my shoes (preferably when still on my feet), chewing rocks and sticks and furniture, and barking at Willow.
He’s ridiculously cute and so much fun. At first he wasn’t toilet trained at all, but he’s getting there, and best of all he’s slept through the night without any crying, barking or whining since day one. He kicks up a ridiculous fuss during the day when I leave him downstairs, but I can cope with that.
He’s growing so fast. He’s not even twelve weeks old yet and already as tall as Mushu, although it’ll be a while before he’s as long as her mutant Bassett body. He can sit on command and does a fantastically flamboyant flounce when asked to lie down – one leg up and flump!
He fits in perfectly.
And although there are still moments and days when I miss Beren and Thyme so much it makes my heart hurt and things hard to get through, I love my newest little monster and I already can’t imagine life without him. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
More chatter about books and NaNo and stuff to come soon. For now, I hope you’re all well, my lovelies. Merry Monday!
Still waiting for Kindle to publish (this is why I usually leave it to go through overnight), so I thought I’d post some photos instead. I take so many but share so few, so here’s a small selection of Dartmoor’s Bronze Age stone circles, as presided over by the Sparrow Cat, and taken by me over the last year or so.
First up is Fernworthy, also known as Froggymead circle. This is a small circle, that might not be too impressive compared to some others, especially since it’s been surrounded by a forest plantation over the last century. And yet, I find it has its own charm. It was the first stone circle I went purposefully looking for on the moor, since it’s not too tricky to get to, so it’ll always remain something of a favourite. I like the way the stones get bigger on the south side. No one quite knows why. Then again, no one really knows why the Bronze Age stone circle builders did anything.
There are a number of barrows close by, as well as a double stone row that leads to what might once have been a burial cist, but the trees have pretty much destroyed them all. The stone row is through the gap in the trees and is strangely cute, since it exists of tiny stones barely visible over the grass. Not very impressive in photographs though.
Unlike this place:
A couple of miles away from Fernworthy – as the crow flies, the trees mean walking takes a bit more time and effort – are the Grey Wethers, an unusual pair of stone circles sitting next to each other. They’re the only ones like this on the moor, and were both extensively “repaired” during the Victorian era, but they’re all the more impressive for it. Especially after a long walk, when you first see them appearing atop the hill beyond the stone wall on a spectacular April day.
They’re also unusual because of the size and uniformity of their stones. Other old monuments on the moor seem to almost revel in the odd shaped stones they could find and use, but the Grey Wethers are strange little oblongs. There are a bundle of local legends about them, most including sheep turned to stone, hence the name.
Some people have suspected the stones were worked, but apparently there are a lot of stones like this on Sittaford tor – which you can’t see in these photos because it was behind me.
No, of course not!
Welcome to Scorhill Circle! Which I first visited on a misty early October morning. Very atmospheric, don’t you think? Well, what a difference three weeks makes!
I think of all the circles I’ve managed to visit so far, Scorhill is my favourite. The drive to get there is a bit tricky at times, but the walk to reach the circle is really nice, and there’s plenty of other things of interest to visit nearby. However, it’s the circle itself that I really love. It wasn’t “restored” by the Victorians, so it’s a bit more quirky and damaged from where stones have vanished over the years, and the tallest stone really looms over the others at around eight feet high.
Those dark hills on the left horizon are actually the trees you can see behind the Grey Wethers circles in the first picture, and somewhere between the two lies Fernworthy circle (and reservoir and forest). And if you continue on that path through the circle, it would take you north and in a shallow arch to three more circles – each 1-2 miles apart – forming the “sacred crescent” of circles on the moor. An eighth of which was discovered only recently a little south of the Grey Wethers (Sittaford circle).
But that’s not all Scorhill has to offer, because just a short walk on down the hill leads to the North Teign. Which was looking pretty gorgeous back in late October.
It’s worth a little trek down to the river for its own sake, but there’s also the Tolmen stone to encounter. (Which is why I went down there in the first place, of course.)
That completely natural hole is plenty big enough for a person to travel through (about a metre diameter). I know ’cause I scrambled over and dangled myself most of the way through it. I didn’t fancy a full dip, though, so I wimped out. Still, it’s pretty impressive – and of course has a heap of folklore surrounding it, from druids (because it’s always druids) to health cures. It would certainly make for a highly symbolic purification rite.
There’s also a couple of stone rows, a massive menhir and an ancient settlement nearby, but I think this post has enough photos in already, so I shall leave them for another day and go back to waiting for Kindle.