The Work-In-Progress Blog Tour

My lovely and talented author friend D.M. Cain nominated me for this work-in-progress blog challenge. The idea is that we reveal something about our work-in-progress, link back to the person who nominated us and in turn nominate a further four people to continue the chain.

D.M. Cain is the author of The Phoenix Project and the upcoming A Chronicle of Chaos. I wrote the following about The Phoenix Project:

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The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain has caught me by surprise. While one might argue there are elements in the book not unknown to us and may remind the reader of The Hunger Games or a really depressing episode of Prison Break, The Phoenix Project brings us political and religious views that are new and refreshing.

We follow Raven as he deals with life in prison, the dreadful Phoenix Project. He lives in a society where religion is outlawed and criminals are put away in a prison to fight to the death, fights that are broadcasted live, for all our nation to see. Raven is filled with self-loathing and you can’t help but wonder what it is that got him landed there in the first place. He wants to die, but doesn’t feel he deserves to, either. Whether or not Raven gets his secret wish, you’ll just have to wait and see.

What interested me most though, is that Cain is able to create a world where you actually understand how it got this far. Our Big Brother society, combined with our ‘hunger’ for reality-tv garbage could potentially lead us to a scenario, so vividly brought to life by Cain. A not-so-gentle reminder to check our own morals, our beliefs and our system of justice. To repeatedly ask ourselves, am I okay with what I see in the mirror?

As for my work-in-progress, I am currently writing part two of The Fire Trilogy, The Empath. Release date will be early next year or maybe, maybe just before Christmas if everything goes smoothly. The Empath is basically the same storyline as The Elemental, only from Tristan’s and Alan’s point of view instead of Catherine’s. It has a much darker feel as we learn more about the mysterious The Company Tristan works for.

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Below, I have included the first part of chapters 1 – 3 of The Empath.

PROLOGUE

It was deadly quiet in the corridors of the mental hospital. A woman walked purposefully towards her destination, room 6.12. Sixth floor, sixth door on her left. Two men were walking behind her, keeping a respectful distance.

A MONTH LATER

Tristan looked out of his window. He was back in London, Shoreditch to be exact. He didn’t mind, he actually liked London. It was the reason why he was here he didn’t like.

SUNDAY

Tristan woke up with a start. After a few seconds of disorientation he remembered where he was and heard sounds coming from the kitchen and the smell of eggs and bacon. He had had a weird dream about the people in the coffin-like tubes at The Company.

These are my nominees to carry the challenge onwards:

Mark Shaw, author, The Keeper of the Wind
Holly Martin, best selling author, The Guestbook, One Hundred Proposals, The Sentinel
Mikey Campling, author, The Darkening Stone saga, Changes
Jack Croxall, best selling author, The Tethers Trilogy, X

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Ramblings of a modern druidess

Preparing for Sweden. Tonight we’ll drive of into the dead of night for a 16-hour drive. You must be crazy, I hear you thinking. It’s actually not that bad, when you have two drivers. There’s also a possibility to dock on a boat for the night and drive on the next morning, but that’s just not for me. I prefer to drive. We should be arriving just before dinner and then I can crash early. Come Wednesday I’ll be fine again.

Bit nervous about giving two harp concerts by the lake there for the art- and cultural week. I hope it goes well. Thankfully I have a few more days of practice. Other than that, I’m going to write, write and write. Bit behind on The Empath and I need to get cracking.

Oh, and read. Jack Croxall’s Torn is coming with me. I first started Tethers in Sweden and I want to finish the trilogy there as well, it seems fitting. It was the perfect surroundings to read it in, as this part of Sweden is filled with these little villages where time stood still, it’s very Karl and Esther country. Can’t wait to find out how it ends. Hopefully I won’t have to hunt Jack down after reading the end.

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The Silkworm is waiting for me as well and I have at least eight other books from author friends which I still have to read, so I’ll have no chance of getting bored.

Our Dutch team came in third and I’m very proud of them. It would have been great to play the finals against our neighbours, but it was not to be. Oh well, maybe in two years time. My little lions are once more in their bag in the attic, waiting for another go. At least I had great fun watching this World Championship and I even got to watch one of the games in my favourite London coffee hang-out, the Shoreditch Grind! It was a perfect night, thanks again guys for the sercive. I didn’t have to get up once during the game, they’re the greatest!

But from the hustle and bustle that is my beloved London, it’s on to the quiet of the Dalarna area. Internet access is very limited, so I’ll do my best, but I can’t promise anything.

Wishing you all a wonderful Summer, with lots of opportunity to enjoy the sun. xxx

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Ramblings of a modern druidess

Friday. It’s a good day. My favourite day of the week. You still have the whole weekend ahead of you, the city starts buzzing and everybody comes to life, or so it seems anyway.

As I’m sipping on my coffee in my home away from home, Barista Café, while miss Ginger is glaring at my cookie, I’m pleased to report I actually got some writing done. The Empath is making progress, slowly, but progress nonetheless. Writers block is so hard to explain. I don’t understand it myself. It has nothing do to with my mood, as I first thought. I got some excellent writing done while in a foul mood and sometimes, when I’m perfectly happy, nothing. Nada, zero. Why is that?

You need concentration to write, a certain state of trance even. Well, for me at least, but I’m a bloody druid priestess. Creating a trancelike state should be a walk in the park for me. So why doesn’t it work when trying to write my second novel? Jack Croxall, an author friend of mine, wrote an interesting article about that dreaded second novel and it made me wonder if it was ‘the curse of the second novel’. Good title for a book or film. His book was categorized into Steampunk, a genre he never even heard of. I did, by the way *sticks out tongue at Jack*, but it can be tricky, because it raises expectations for the second novel.

Someone placed The Elemental in the Horror section. I get that, when you realize the Horror section has a subsection Occult. But just to be clear, The Elemental is certainly not a horror story. The Empath will be darker, yes, but it still won’t be horror.

I’m going to try and get inside Tristan’s head again. See if he has anything sensible to say 🙂

On a totally different note, I had a rather interesting interview with Roasted Coffee Bean last night. We talked and talked, so it’s going to be a two-part interview. I’ll keep you posted.

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

I was so proud and humbled to be invited by the talented Jack Croxall to participate in a blog tour concerning writing process. The idea is that you answer a few questions and then tag some other authors to do the same. So the Blog Tour will get bigger and bigger every week. I love the whole blogging process, so I almost screamed ‘yes’ when asked! Below are my answers as well as a bit of info on the excellent authors I tagged.

The questions:

1) What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the second part of The Fire Trilogy, The Empath. It is basically the same timeline as The Elemental, but from Tristan’s point of view. So we learn a lot more about his motives and The Company he works for. It also creates a larger world than The Elemental. There are new people and people you already know, like Alan, Charles and Roy. It has a different ending though, but you’ll just have to wait and see.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, that’s a bit of a problem to begin with. I’m still not sure where to put The Elemental on a bookshelf. My first instinct would be Paranormal, but it is fiction, not non-fiction. Most of the books I see on the shelf, if they even have a Paranormal section, are non-fiction. It’s certainly not fantasy either, nor is it horror or mystery. I guess you could say it’s Sex and the City meets Charmed. So what kind of genre would that be? If you know, do get in touch! Because I’d love to know as well.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Write about what you know, was one of the first pieces of advice I got from fellow authors. So that’s what I’m doing. My life isn’t nearly as exciting as Catherine’s, but I do know a thing or two about what she and her friends are going through. I guess I just love to write about women and men who are not afraid to use their gifts to do some good in our world. I tried to make them as normal as possible though, because to me, they are. Normal people who just happen to have a gift.

4) How does my writing process work?

Writing process? One should have an actual process? Oh dear.
No, I do have a process of course, but it’s going out the window on a very regular basis. Sometimes with my iPad attached. I’m a Fire person, so I’ve been known to get a tad agitated when I’m experiencing a writers block. Usually I have the outline of the book in my head. Everything is clear to me, except for little details. However, during the writing process characters do tend to run away with me. Sometimes I add stuff, sometimes things get scratched from the book. On a good day though, I go to my favourite coffeehouse, Barista Café and write for several hours. They are actually my failsafe, as they’re constantly nagging me about deadlines. Gotta love them.

I’ve decided to tag two authors who both get my blood pumping while reading their books, Mikey Campling, author of the Darkeningstone saga, and Michelle Diana Lowe, author of Heaven Calls for an Angel.

Mikey Campling was born in Scarborough which, frankly, is not where he would’ve chosen. He was, he says, given very little say in the matter. Although he grew up in Yorkshire, he resists all attempts to classify him by Northern stereotypes, which is just the sort of bloody-minded attitude you’d expect from a Yorkshireman. He now lives in Devon, on the edge of the wilds of Dartmoor, with his wife, two children, a black Labrador and a fish called Bernard.
On the subject of writing, he says: “I love the savage business of writing – it’s edgy, exciting and much harder work than everyone thinks.”

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Michelle Diana Lowe is an author who writes about real life, real people, real experiences. She loves to write from the heart, capturing emotions on a deep and true level. Her characters are all an extension of her, in some way. Her motto is: “I live to write, rather than write to live.”
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Check out their beautiful covers, and be sure to click on them for more info!

Mikey Campling
Michelle Diana Lowe

Ramblings of a Modern Druidess – Interview Jack Croxall – Unwoven

Monday morning. Unwoven, part II of the Tethers Trilogy sees the light of day. Time to find out more about the creative mastermind who’s responsible for what happens to our beloved characters, Karl and Esther.
So I sat Jack Croxall down on his couch and asked him the following questions.

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Karl and Esther have changed quite a bit after Tethers. Did you know from the beginning this would happen or was it something that happened along the way?

They certainly have! I knew this would be the case from the start as, naturally, when I was trying to write the first novel my mind kept drifting off and imagining what would happen in the second. That meant I knew virtually the entire plot before I’d even started.

Both Tethers and Unwoven are set in a different time, but it very much resembles our normal world. How did you find the right ‘voice’ for your characters? Did you research how people spoke back then and what they did?

I live in the area where a lot of the books are set (all be it 150 years later), and so a lot of the regional dialect (ey-up for example) is still used now. As for the southern accents, I’ve read and watched so many Victorian period pieces that I’ve absorbed that dialogue pretty well.

If you would have to choose one character who you resemble the most, who would it be and why?

I would LOVE to say Esther but I’m really not much like her at all. Firstly, she’s awesome and an amazing fighter, and I’ve never been in a single fight in my life! I’m probably more like Karl; more considered and calm, but certainly not shy of going off on an adventure. Some minor traits of Esther’s, like her love of amphibians, do belong to me, however, but the similarities probably end there!

There’s a lot of tension in Unwoven amongst the lead characters. Was it difficult to keep them apart?

Quite the opposite actually, it was really hard to find time for them to reconcile as there was so much stuff I wanted to happen in the main storyline. I kept having to find little pockets of time for them to talk about what had happened, and in the end – well – you’ll just have to wait and see.

Are you a go-with-the-flow kind of writer or do you sit yourself down and write for a set period of time?

Go-with-the-flow mostly, I do try to get some writing done every day though.

Will there also be a paperback version of Unwoven, like Tethers?

If people want one, then I will do one. I’ll donate half of the paperback proceeds to ME Research UK again too I think.

Esther’s sword-fighting skills have enhanced even more. Is sword-fighting something you like to do yourself?

Yes, Esther has become a lot more skilled with a blade – she’s also become quite bloodthirsty as well, which is a pretty lethal combination. I’ve never actually held a proper sword before, so for my research I just watched a load of instructional fencing videos on YouTube and played along with a ruler! I would really like to try it properly though, and, as Esther gets better and better, I’m less qualified to write her fights in detail so it might be a good idea to try it.

If you could be a famous person for one day (from the past or present), who would you want to be and why?

Gosh that’s a tough question! JK Rowling maybe, I want to know what being a success feels like!!

Torn will complete the Tethers Trilogy. Is there one quote you could reveal to us about the essence of that book?

Well, the essence of the third book is almost a race, as various groups of people speed towards the same place and goal. It’s going to be written from multiple points of view which is new for me, and something I’m really looking forward to doing. It means I can really explore the thoughts and backgrounds of some of the secondary characters, especially Mr Cauldwell who has been somewhat of a mystery during the first two books. I have no idea how to encapsulate all that in one quote, so I hope that answer is okay!

Thanks so much Jack, for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you the best of luck with your amazing Tethers Trilogy!

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Unwoven is now available for purchase. Unwoven by Jack Croxall on Amazon

Ramblings of a modern druidess

Ten more days till Imbolc. Ten more days till my book is free to roam the Earth. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else, like writing part two, with the release date so close by. If I close my eyes, I can see it.

I really should continue with part two, Christmas sounds far away now, but I know how these things work. Suddenly you wake up and it’s December, so some careful and strict planning might be in order.

As I’m taking my first baby steps in the world of writing and publishing, I have to say I’m frankly in awe. People are so nice to me. Giving me their advice, helping me spread the word.

I would like to thank some people in particular in the world of writing. A big thank you to Holly Martin (The Sentinel) and Faith Harkey for your kind words of support and advice, I really appreciate it. But most of all, to Jack Croxall (Tethers, Unwoven, X). You were the first one to support and guide me through this world of writers. I can’t thank you enough. My followers have doubled thanks to you and you’re never too tired to give me some solid advice. I hope one day, we’ll meet in real life.

If you haven’t read Tethers or X, go check it out people, this is one hell of a writer. And personally I can’t wait to read Holly’s The Sentinel, which is on it’s wY in paperback version as we speak.

Also a big thanks to everyone who’s following me, retweeting my posts or sending me comments, I just love to hear from you. Keep it coming folks! It’s a whole new world for me and so far, I’m loving every minute of it. Yes, even with the dreadful process of endless editing, remarks from Amazon and uploading the damn for review like a million times. It’s all part of the process. Besides, I like having something to complain about.

On that note, how come Placebo haven’t confirmed Pinkpop, my favourite festival, as of yet? What’s up withthat, I ask you? Who knows Jan Smeets personally? Get him to book them, would you. I need more input for my next book *grin*

Till next week folks, try to catch some rays of sunshine, you just have to look for it. I will xxx

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