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What next?

Posted by spooks101 Apr 9, 2018

Haldred Chronicles: Anna is out.  2 years of work and book 4 has at last been released.  I am happy with the result and it seems so are my readers!  So, after more than a month of resting, what now?

 

 

 

I’ve already completed one big task, and that was to submit a short story to sci-fi and fantasy publishers Black Library as part of their call for submissions.  With the able help of my wife Deborah, who proofread the submission, I sent off the 500-word extract and summary a couple of days ago.

 

 

 

The second big task now sitting on my to-do list is, of course, book 5.  I have taken some time to look through my various story ideas and have decided to go with ‘Haldred Chronicles: Twig’.  This story will concentrate on the Courier-fey, message passing creatures that have been a staple of Haldred Chronicles since the first book.  Now, with book 5, readers will learn a little more about these creatures.

 

 

 

I have a few other plans as well that I’ll work on when I have time.

 

 

 

I hope to go over my first 3 books and reformat the look of them.  Each of them featured slightly different font and paragraph design so I now want to re-edit them so that they are all the same.  In addition, I hope to use the re-formatted work to create better-printed copies of the books via Kindle Direct Publishing.

 

 

 

I’ve also been working on a synopsis of book 3, ‘Shade’.  Together with a recently completed introduction letter and the first 3 chapters, I hope to use this package as my way to advertise the series to potential publishers and agents.

 

 

 

There is plenty planned for the next few months.  I feel like the Easter holidays have allowed me to get back into writing and make my plans for the future of the series.

 

 

 

Till next time.

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Book 4 release date

Posted by spooks101 Jan 28, 2018

At long last, after 2 years of work, Haldred Chronicles: Anna is finally being released!

 

 

 

My 4th book will be available from the 1st February 2018.  The final proof is being checked over, the cover is ready, and all I have to do is the technical stuff and it will be available on Amazon Kindle.

 

 

 

As a bit of history, the beginnings of this book were in 2012, as it was originally going to be the 2nd book in the series after 'Alyssa'. However, the story didn't quite fit with what I had planned at the time so it was shelved.

 

 

 

Now, after extensive updating to bring it in line with everything that's happened in the previous books, it fits with the series just right.

 

 

 

Without giving too much away, the new book takes the characters to a foreign land and will introduce the reader to several more nations of the Haldred Chronicles world.

 

 

 

I hope all of you will enjoy reading this latest book, just as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

 

 

 

Expect another blog update on the 1st February, announcing the official release and providing a link to purchase :).

 

 

 

One more thing.

 

 

 

I'm making all 3 of the previous books in the series (Alyssa, Kalla and Shade) available free on Amazon Kindle from the 1st February to the 5th February. So if you know anyone who might fancy getting into a new book series, please let them know!

 

 

 

Until the 1st my friends!

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Still good, still writing!

Posted by spooks101 Jul 20, 2017

I seem to be continuing the trend of long periods of time between blog posts, sorry everyone!

 

I've a good excuse though, as I've been very busy writing and planning.  Book 4 of Haldred Chronicles is progressing along very nicely. I'm onto my 2nd draft now, and the core story and characters are complete.

 

My plan now is to flesh out descriptions and details, fill in a few more scenes for key characters, and proof the entire book once done. After that, I should have a complete story that I can then confidently pass to a few trusted proof readers.  It looks as if it'll be finished by November as planned (if not before).

 

At the same time, I've found myself drifting back to the distant past of my writing lifetime. Years before I started Haldred Chronicles, I was writing a massive novel with the tentative title of "Adventure and other bad ideas" (thanks to Saul for the original title suggestion). This novel eventually laid the background work for Haldred Chronicles (it's set in the same time period) but was never finished, despite me writing over 77,000 words for it.

 

Now, with Book 4 heading toward completion, I'm thinking of giving it another go. It won't be a 5th Haldred Chronicles book, but instead will be a big stand alone novel set in the same place. Rather than concentrating on the Council of Peace and criminal investigations, this new novel will turn it's attention to a group of mercenaries and their adventures. Characters from Haldred Chronicles may pop in from time to time though. Time scale wise, it will be set after the current crop of the novels.

 

That's the plan anyway. I first have to finish book 4. All being well, the next time I post an update it will be to report book 4 completion!  Wish me luck. Till next time.

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plans within plans

Posted by spooks101 Jul 22, 2016

It's been a busy few months as Deborah and I adapt to the new arrival in our life. Little Logan is now nearly four months old and doing very well. Our little son is growing up quickly and our current prediction is he will be a mischievous one!

 

Whilst looking after the wee man has been my top priority, it doesn't mean I have been idle on the writing front.

 

I have massively expanded my Pinterest account with writing tips and tricks. Everything from story structure to simple grammar has been posted up and I've found it very useful to have this library of knowledge at my disposal. If you're interested, find my pins here:

 

https://uk.pinterest.com/jgcully/on-writing/

 

In turn, I've continued to develop the 4th book in my Haldred Chronicles series. 'Anna' is taking shape nicely and I'm aiming to have the first draft complete in a couple of months. As in my previous blog post, I will see how it progresses but am not going to promise anything just yet.

 

I've also continued to write background for Wrathborn, a wargame system, as well as keeping my Black Library short story submission up to date.

 

Finally, just within the last few days I received my copy of "Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2017", which I shall be reading extensively for information on publishers and agents.

 

Till next time!

 

PS: this is the first blog post I've written and published completely on my BlackBerry Passport! Next, let's see if I can write a book on it!

PPS: unfortunately in my haste to publish this blog I managed to make a number of grammar errors.  My thanks to those who picked up on them and let me know; corrections have now been made.

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What's been happening?

Posted by spooks101 Apr 25, 2016

 

It’s been a long time since my last update, but during the last four months, a huge amount has happened.

 

The most significant, and most important, is the birth of my son; my first born.

 

Logan was born on the 1st April 2016, and my wife and I could not be happier.  The ‘wee man’ (a very common Northern Irish phase that applies to him perfectly) is doing very well and growing up fast.  It’s only been three weeks but we see such changes in him.  We are, as doting parents, taking a lot of photos.  Not all of which will be on Facebook.

 

In between recent daddy duties and preparing for the birth of my son, I have actually managed a lot of writing.

 

Within the last few months I have written a couple of fan-fiction stories for a wargame that I play called ‘Dystopian Wars’ by Spartan Games.  Its a game set in an alternative 1800's with a distinct Steam-punk style to both its background and game play.  The fiction pieces were for a friends gaming campaign to flesh out a small rulebook he was preparing, and I have included the longer of the two at the end of this blog post.  I hope fans of the game will enjoy, and I hope other readers will just like the story on it’s own.

 

I have also continue to do work on the Wrathborn wargame, fleshing out more background details and stories for the gaming system.  More work will follow in the coming months all being well.

 

I also very recently sent off a sample story to Black Library, a publishing house that produce novels for the sci-fi and fantasy wargames Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  They are currently running a competition to choose new authors and had requested submissions, so I duly threw my hat into the ring.  Hopefully they look on my submission favourably, but we see.

 

Finally, I have not been idle on the Haldred Chronicles front.

 

 

 

 

I have chosen ‘Haldred Chronicles: Anna’ to be the fourth book in the series.  This was one of the Haldred Chronicles books I was thinking of kicking off in December 2015.  I am now working my way through my original 19,000 words and updating the draft.  When I have time, and with a new born this is often a very mutable thing, I intend to work on the book and flesh things out.

 

My objective is to have a first draft done by the end the summer, and maybe release the book in November or December 2016.  Time will tell, but at least I have something to work toward.

 

In the meantime, on the 1st May 2016 the first two Haldred Chronicles books (Alyssa and Kalla) will be FREE on Amazon Kindle for a limited time.  So if you haven’t had a read of them, or know someone who’d maybe be interested in a little fantasy murder mystery and detective, head on over to

Amazon.co.uk (link https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=haldred+chronicles)

or Amazon.com (link http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=haldred+chronicles)

and grab a free copy of both books.  I hope you enjoy!

 

That’s all folks.  I leave you with my Dystopian Wars fan-fiction story and I hope you enjoy.  Till next time.

 

* * * * *

A Mystery Considered

 

Lord Alexander Stanwell-Howe shot bolt upright in bed.

“That’s it!” he cried, much to the surprise of his cat ‘Lady Hathaway’, the black feline jumping in fright off the four poster bed.

Quickly Stanwell scrambled out of bed, jumping into his slippers and practically running for his over-stacked work desk in the next room.  He lite an oil lamp sat nearby and started searching frantically through the documents upon the extensive oak wood desk.

“Yes, yes I’m sure of it!” he said, though whether to himself or to the many cats that quickly assembled round him was unclear.  He eyed a particular document, emblazoned with the seal of the Federated States of America.

“Ah ha!  This proves it!”

He looked to a particular tiger furred cat that sat, curled up on a nearby shelf

“The prime minister will need to hear this immediately Lord Barnsby!” Stanwell declared; the cats only 

 

 

 

reaction was to eye him suspiciously before seeming to fall back asleep.  Leaving the papers still strung across his desk, Stanwell marched confidently to his bed side.  He grabbed a small handle set into the side of his bedside cabinet.  He turned the handle several times, before a well-worn red button flicked upwards from within the mahogany construction; he pushed it and was aware of a bell ringing somewhere distant.

After a few minutes, Stanwell’s butler arrived.

“You rang my lord?” he said after opening the expansive double doors of his master’s bedroom and study. His lordship was by this stage changing into his day clothes.

“Yes indeed Winston, I must meet urgently with the Prime Minister and the Minister of War.  I have concluded something of great and frightful importance!  They must be informed at once!”

“Very good sir, though I should warn you it is two o'clock in the morning.”

Stanwell blinked in surprise at his man servant.  He strode over to the window to his bedroom, still buttoning his shirt, and pulled open the curtains; nothing but star-scattered blackness stared back at him.

“Well Winston, I’m afraid we shall have to dispense with the niceties of sleep.  This can’t wait and indeed, I fear we may already be too late.  Please communicate with them that I shall meet them at the Houses of Parliament, post haste!”

“Very well sir.” Replied Winston, hiding his concerns for his master’s sanity behind his neutral expression.  He hurried to carry out Lord Stanwell-Howe’s unusual request.

* * * * *

An hour later, Stanwell paced up and down the flag stones of the inner sanctum of the Houses of Parliament.  Around him the only observers were a couple of late night guards who eyed the unusual man wearily; his pacing was facilitated via his custom built mechanical chair, that he used when conducting government business.  The spider-like machine lurched up and down, steam hissing from joints of it's mechanical legs occassionally, though Stanwell gave no indication that the unusual motion was upsetting him.  Instead, his face appeared fixed in concentration; his single machine-eye, embedded where his left eye should have been, flickered blue and red as if he too were some kind of machine given human form.  Beside him, one of his small black cats kept pace with both chair and master. 

Stanwell did not speak to the cat as he prepared himself; he'd learnt through experience that chatting to cats in public was frowned on.

Just at that moment the Prime Minister arrived; it was three thirty in the morning so he was not in the best of moods.

“I do hope you have a **** good reason for getting me out of bed at this ungodly hour Stanwell!” the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, bellowed as he thundered from the parliament buildings main entrance, flanked by his heavily armed household guards and several nervous looking aids.

“I assure you I do sir!” Stanwell replied, immediately brought out of his concentration now that his summons had been answered.  “Is the Minister of War with you?"

"Well I wouldn’t say I'm with the PM, par-say." Came a voice, as Lord Strathgordon made his

 

 

 

appearance from a side door, slipping in with much less extravagance than the Prime Minister.  He regarded Stanwell through his goggle like glasses and tipped his top hat.  The PM simply glared at both of men as he came up to them, handing his cloak to one of his aids and straightening his waist coat.

"Get to it man, why are we here?" Ordered Benjamin.

"I have grave news gentlemen." Stanwell announced.  "An attack is imminent!"

Despite the late hour, Lord Strathgordon chuckled.  "My dear boy, we are at war.  An attack is always imminent."

Stanwell returned the smile.  "Indeed minister, but I mean imminent in a location we did not suspect was under threat.  I speak of the Indonesian islands!"

"Rubbish!" Grumbled the Prime Minister.  "Our latest spy reports indicate the Empire of the Blazing Sun would prefer no hostilities there.  It's too important for them and too important for us.  A major engagement would drain their resources to too great a degree, especially with their attacks upon the Russians."

"I would have agreed with you a week ago Prime Minister." Stanwell shot back, his mechanical chair hissing as it manoeuvred to better position him to speak to the two most powerful men in Britannian. "But I have been going over other intelligence reports, from other sources.  I have deduced a conspiracy is afoot; our enemies mean to deceive us!"

"Explain." Asked Lord Strathgordon politely, indicating with his walking stick.

"Our own intelligence has shown that the Japanese government would rather hostilities not begin in Indonesian; they require all their resources to strike against the Russian and American fleets.  However, I have studied the intelligence reports of our American comrades.  They detail the troop movements of the Prussians and French.  I have realized something in my deductions; several of our enemies army units are missing."

"Missing?" Asked Benjamin, his brow furrowing.

"Yes sir!" Continued Stanwell.  "For months they were reported in Europe and the Mediterranean, engaged on numerous fronts.  Then suddenly, reports on particular army units ceased!"

“Could the units not simply have been destroyed?” Strathgordon suggested.

“These are not companies or even regiments Minster, but entire army groups!  As successful as our engagements have been, and those of our allies, destroying an entire army battle group of any size is no mean feat!  I fear that these army groups have disappeared from the European and Mediterranean threatres, because they have been redeployed!”

Stanwell reached into the folds of his coat, producing several rolled up parchments.  He unrolled one and held it out for the two ministers to see.

“An intelligence photograph, one taken not long ago near Indonesia, perhaps only two hundred miles distance.  One of several.  It was not marked as important when first I came upon it, but I fear it is.”

The black and white photograph appeared to show nothing more than a dark shadow in the sea, obviously photographed at great distance and in stormy weather.

“I took the liberty of enhancing it.” Stanwell said, unrolling another page.  This one showed more of

 

 

 

the shadow, and several notes that Stanwell had made.  At the top of the page, the words ‘Metzger B’ were written in black ink.

“A Prussian battle robot.” Said Strathgordon, adjusting his glasses as he peered at the parchment.

“Difficult to see considering the photograph was taken during rough seas." continued Stanwell.  "I did further cross referencing with other reports.  I was not only able to identify the robot but confirm that this particular battle robot was attached to the 23rd Reserve Iron fleet.  One of the fleets now missing from the European threatre.”

Strathgordon and the Prime Minister exchanged looks.

“This better not be a wild goose chase Stanwell.” Grumbled Benjamin.  “or I might reconsider retaining you as my advisor.”

“I assure you Prime Minster, it is not!" Stanwell quickly retorted.  "I have many reports and analysis documents just like this.  I will gladly turn them over to prove my point; our enemy is moving.  They are redeploying army and naval battle groups to Indonesian in preparation for an attack.  It will be headed by the Empire of the Blazing Sun, but it is their Imperial Bond allies who will provide the lions share of the manpower and firepower.  This will leave the Japanese free to continue their attacks elsewhere without undue drain on their resources.”

“Prime Minster, with your permission I would like to convene the War ministry immediately to consider a response.” Strathgordon asked.

The Prime Minister nodded somewhat reluctantly; he let out a breath.

“Very well, see to it Strathgordon.  I will have an emergency cabinet meeting organized in the morning.  Stanwell, you best prepare yourself.  This will be a busy week if what you say is true.”

“I shall Prime Minster!”

Stanwell saluted, an unnecessary gesture from a civilian but the Prime Minster returned it anyway, shaking his head as one of his aids returned his cloak and he turned to leave.

Strathgordon and Stanwell watched him go.

“Good work Stanwell.” Said the Minister of War.  “We’ll consider carefully how best to respond.  We may well have to call on our own allies to aid us in this endeavour.”

“I agree my lord.” Nodded Stanwell.  Despite his manic nature, his face turned serious.

“I fear this clash will involve all of our own Grand Coalition allies and our enemies in the Imperial Bond.  The fate of all of the Indonesian islands may be at stake!”

 

* * * * *

 

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What should I write next?

Posted by spooks101 Dec 17, 2015

What should I write next?

 

Keeping to a trend, at last, a blog update!  Sorry for taking so long.

 

 

To update you all on my writing, I attempted Nanowrimo 2015 in November, but sadly I only managed 7,000 words on my concept novel ‘Haldred Chronicles: Titan’.  I got the characters and a lot of scenes fleshed out but I just didn’t make the time to finish it off.

 

 

However, I still started the novel well, and it now joins several other ideas that are more than just a few lines on a page.  Hence the title of this blog post.

 

 

2015 has been a great year.  Haldred Chronicles: Shade was released in August, and recently all 3 of my novels are now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format (check them out HERE for the UK and HERE for the US!).  I’m very glad I now have a proper starter ‘trilogy’ of novels and judging by reviews, people are liking my writing.

 

 

2016 is going to be a busy and exciting year for me outside of writing, but I still want to keep writing even a little bit.

 

 

To do this, I want to start 2016 by properly kicking off another project.

 

 

That’s where you, the person reading this blog post, come in.  Help me choose which idea to pursue.

 

 

Here are the options:

 

        Haldred Chronicles: Titan = "Victoria and Co find themselves on the world's first ‘tourism’ ship, but someone plans on spoiling the party..." = This was my Nanowrimo 2015 novel and I got to 7,000 words with it.  Should I finish it in 2016?

 

        Haldred Chronicles: Anna = “Victoria and her team travel to the mighty Magra empire to investigate a series of deadly seaborne raids from mysterious attackers.” = this novel was originally to be my 3rd book but ‘Shade’ took over.  It’s set in the Magra empire, a Chinese/Japanese themed land were villages along the sea have experienced deadly raids by unknown enemies.  I’ve already written 19,000 words on this and developed some interesting characters.  Should I continue?

 

        Haldred Chronicles: Fey-hacking = “Courier-fey provide secure, reliable, almost instant communications across Larrick City…or do they?” = Courier-fey are like text messaging in the world of Haldred Chronicles.  After reading a brilliant book about the News of the World hacking scandal I thought to myself, what if something like that happened with the Courier-fey in my world?  This story at the moment has only a couple of introduction scenes, but I like them; one involves a talking cat.  Maybe this is the novel I should write in 2016?

 

        Adventure and other bad ideas: Sophie’s story = “Sophie Dalvich, a barmaid at the Broken Dreams tavern, finds her cartography and map making skill’s requested by a group of mercenaries.” = This was to be the BIG novel, way before Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa was written.  It was what established the Haldred Chronicles world but the story itself was never finished.  Despite this, even in it’s draft form it is over 75,000 words long and has an entire cast already created for it.  It concentrates on a group of adventures operating in Larrick City, from many different cultures and races, banded together on various mercenary missions.  I could go back to it, refine it, and produce it as a huge spin-off novel.  Should I?

 

 

So those are the options.  Titan, Anna, Fey-Hacking or Sophie’s story.  The titles will probably change but the concepts are there.

 

 

Vote by replying to this post with the name of the story you like.  Likewise, PM me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr (now that Tumblr has instant messaging!) and let me know which one you like the look of.

 

 

Then I’ll make 2016 the year of that novel.

 

 

Thanks everyone.  Till next time!

 

 

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Haldred Chronicles BIG news

Posted by spooks101 Sep 1, 2015

At long last, the third book in my Haldred Chronicles series is out on Amazon Kindle.  Haldred Chronicles: Shade.

You can purchase the new book HERE on Amazon.co.uk, and HERE on Amazon.com


But I’ve been keeping secret an additional update on the series, which I can at last share.

 

From the 1st September to the 4th September, Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa (book one) and Haldred Chronicles: Kalla (book two) are FREE on Amazon Kindle! 

 

Search for Haldred Chronicles on Amazon.co.uk (click HERE) or Amazon.com (click HERE) to find them.  It’s a perfect opportunity for those who have not yet read the previous two instalments, so please spread the word!

 

And stay tuned.  I’ve more good news coming in the next few days regards Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa.  Those visiting Amazon, might already see what’s coming next...

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Well the date is almost upon us, and I’m glad to say we are on schedule.

 

 

After my last blog update the novel completion process went into overdrive.  I have been working at updating and tightening the story structure, adding detail and descriptions where necessary, filling in plot holes and strengthening the story.  My proof readers have done an exceptional job and have helped me get to this latest draft.

 

 

The final phase is upon us.

 

 

On monday 24th I spent the day finishing my final draft.  This draft has now been passed to my family for a final check over.  After they read through and give it the ok, I’ll make my final modifications and release the book on the 31st.

 

 

Two years of work will at last be unleashed onto the general public.

 

 

My next blog post will be to confirm the release and provide those all important advertisement links!

 

 

Whilst it has definitely proven to be ‘that difficult third book’, in the final assessment I have really enjoying bringing it’s many characters to life.  I hope all you readers out there will enjoy.

 

 

Till the next and final blog post about Haldred Chronicles: Shade!

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2015 update!

Posted by spooks101 Apr 23, 2015

I seem to be continuing the trend of blog updates at random times!  As usual life has been very busy but I’m glad to report, in all the right ways.

 

 

 

Deborah and I enjoyed a wonderful time away in the great city of Boston for a week in April.  Having returned, we now hope to be moving into our new house in May and are making preparations for this.

 

 

 

Before leaving for Boston, I printed out all 250 pages of ‘Haldred Chronicles: Shade’.  Those 250 pages are the official, 96% completed 1st draft.  The first 6 chapters have been proofed by many of my proof readers, and then passed to my family for a final check over and story suggestions.  Once armed with these completed and checked over 6 chapters, I will then modify and update the rest of the book to 2nd draft standard, taking on board any comments on structure, flow etc.

 

 

 

After that, it will just be a case of finalizing and the book will be finished!

 

 

 

At the same time, my fantastic illustrator Mat has once again really delivered the goods on the book’s cover art.  I hope to post up some of the fantastic prep-work he’s been doing for this latest project and I’m really looking forward to premiering the book cover art once the time comes.

 

 

 

As regards a final publication date, that I don’t know.  Whilst a huge amount of work has been done over the last few months, the book it still not finished and with a house move coming out, I don’t want to set a definite date.  Instead, I’m going to grab whatever free time I can to complete things and only publish once it’s done.  Rest assured, once I’m in the ‘definitely finalized’ stage I will be shouting such news from the rooftops!

 

 

 

Some definite details about the latest book I can confirm now.  It will be my biggest work to date.  The 1st draft is already 62,000 words and set to grow as I update and edit chapters and scenes.  In turn, it is also my most complex and detailed plot.  I hope this serves as an encouragement as apposed to a discouragement to my readers; I have thoroughly enjoyed writing so many twists and turns; I hope this comes through in the story.

 

 

 

So I’ll keep writing and all being well, the next update to this blog will be to confirm the book is ready!

 

 

 

Until next time

 

 

 

* * * * *

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Summer update

Posted by spooks101 Jul 31, 2014

Whilst my activities blog wise have been scant, my activities in writing and real life have been busy indeed!

 

The 21st June 2014 was my wedding day, and what glorious day it was.  My wife and I enjoyed the day with friends and family at the wonderful Malone Lodge in Belfast, after the ceremony itself at Windsor Baptist church.  The weather was excellent, the company great, and the day a massive success.

Afterwards, we then headed on our honeymoon to the Baltic sea on a 12 day cruise.  Whilst it wasn’t 12 days of sunshine, it was a wonderful time and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, visiting such places as Helsinki and Copenhagen, as well as Bruges, Tallinn, Oslo and St Petersburg.  Inspiring and beautiful places all.

 

We’re both back at work now and I’m likewise, back to writing.

 

I’ve written over 36,000 words now for book 3 and still going strong.  I completed a review of what I had already completed last week and have masses of new ideas to follow up on.  It will not be long before I am contacting proof readers about checking over the first, official draft.

 

As well as this, I’ve now ideas for 16 additional novels to continue the series.  I’ve kept all these updated overtime and have a good idea how they will all tie together.  Along with prequel and parallel novels there are lot of interesting possibilities for the future of the Haldred Chronicles world!

 

In the meantime, updates on the blog will probably be few and far between as before, as I pool my time into finishing the book.  I’ll try and keep you all up to date as best I can.  I will continue to be active on social media meantime so for short snippets of information be sure to check the links below.  See you next time!

 

Facebook = www.facebook.com/haldredchronicles

 

Twitter = @jgwritesnovels

 

LinkedIn = uk.linkedin.com/in/jgcully

 

Pinterest = uk.pinterest.com/jgcully

 

Tumblr = jgcully.tumblr.com

 

Goodreads = www.goodreads.com/jgcully

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Lots of news and fiction!

Posted by spooks101 Jun 1, 2014

Blog update 1st June 2014

 

 

 

This will probably be my last blog update for a while, as the final preparations for the wedding are falling into place and of course afterwards, our honeymoon J!

 

 

 

In between planning for the great day, I have still been writing away on Haldred Chronicles: Shade and immensely enjoying the experience.

 

 

 

This novel is turning into a more complex plot, but I think readers will enjoy it more as I’m operating with now somewhat established characters. That and I’ve developed my own style to a greater extent.

 

 

 

Whilst blog posts have been few and far between, I’ve continued to be active on the social networking scene.

 

 

 

I now have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, as well as blogspot. For those who are on these accounts, please find my links below!

 

 

 

Twitter = https://twitter.com/jgwritesnovels

 

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/HaldredChronicles

 

Pinterest = http://gb.pinterest.com/jgcully/

 

LinkedIn = http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jgcully

 

Tumblr = http://jgcully.tumblr.com

 

Blogspot = http://jgswritinganovel.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

 

Finally, I thought I would post up the below short piece of fiction. I presented this at my writing group and they liked it, so I submit it now for all of you to see and hopefully enjoy. It is by no means polished but can be considered a stand alone aspect of Haldred Chronicles world.

 

 

 

Take care everyone, I’ll be posting again maybe in a months time. Thank you again for all your support.

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

The Shopping Trip

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

“I don’t need to go clothes shopping.” said Victoria again.

 

Sandra and Katy, walking either side, both turned to look at her at the same time. Their eyes scanned her up and down as if regarding a life sized doll as opposed to a living, breathing and mildly pissed off person.

 

“Yes you do.” The girls observed in unison.

 

Victoria wondered for a moment whether the two of them were twins in a previous life.

 

 

 

“Come on, it’ll be fun!” said Sandra, trying to infuse the situation with at least a little enthusiasm. Sandra was one of Katy’s friends, though considering the days activates Victoria was currently labelling her as ‘co-conspirator’. She was a short stylish young girl, Katy’s age, dressed in a fine blue dress with a flower motif across her front, complemented by a same colour tunic of thick winter material. Unlike the blond haired Katy, Sandra had black hair, braided up in a bun at the back of her head. She’d small blue eyes and a very smiley face. Far to smilely as far as Victoria was conserned.

 

 

 

Katy for her part wore a white dress and tunic, her hair as always up in pigtails tied by ribbons and a small fur around her neck for warmth in the still rather chilly winter air.

 

 

 

Victoria looked the most out of place of the three; she wore a burgundy tunic and black leggings, the thick leather belt round her middle bearing a Tornarian rapier and her Council of Peace badge. Her clothing, as far as she was concerned, was perfect for her day to day activates; the girls thought otherwise.

 

 

 

It had started out as an innocent enough suggestion. Sandra and Katy had visited on one of Victoria’s rare days off and suggested going out for a ‘girly day’. Victoria had at first, naturally, suggested she would rather have her brains smashed in by an Ogre. She had eventually consented, cautiously, to such an arrangement when the girl’s had accepted that a trip out would include visiting the Larrick City Militia shooting club, as well as passing by the National Museum’s newly opened ‘Warrior maidens of the Six Nations War’ exhibition.

 

 

 

However, as they were making their way into town the girls had leaned more and more toward ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ territory.  Wouldn't it be nice swiftly followed by ‘clothes shopping’. Victoria had valiantly resisted, but with two teenagers using both charm (“but you've got the body for it”) and manipulation (“wouldn't harm to take a look surely?”) eventually her mental defenses had been cunning breached and the teenagers had succeeded in convincing her to accompany them to parts-I’d-rather-not-go; namely the more trendy section of Larrick cities central market place.

 

 

 

“I’m not that kind of woman.” Victoria grumbled, crossing her arms and attempting to look as uncomfortable with the entire arrangement as she was feeling.

 

 

 

Now, much as a prisoner facing death row, she was being marched toward a foreboding looking (at least to her eyes) clothes shop. Complete with clean clear glass windows, finely painted shutters and door and, most worrying of all, displays of pink and white dresses in the window. Victoria’s stomach curled in disgust.

 

 

 

The sign on the door read “Madam Hendricks best flowers and ladies fashions.”

 

 

 

Oh just kill me now.

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

“This one’s nice. I think it would show off your curves nicely!”

 

Sandra, sadly, didn’t catch Katy’s frantic ‘No! No! No!’ hand gestures from behind Victoria. Sandra immediately shrunk from the look that Victoria shot at her, as sure as a sniper crossbow bolt.

 

“I do not need to show off anything.” Victoria growled, eyes having already narrowed.  The young girl took the hint, quickly placing the leggings back when she found them and backing away, so as not to antagonize the Council of Peace investigator further.

 

 

 

Katy, more used to the lioness’s methods of conversation and opinion, was more careful.

 

“What about this?” she held up a light blue ladies tunic. “It’s not pink.”

 

Despite the rather simple statement, this was a fine endorsement for Victoria; especially considering most of the clothing in the shop was various shades of the same off putting colour.

 

Victoria nodded, keeping a none-committal face but looking the garment over

 

“I think it would be quite pretty on you.”

 

Katy caught herself too late. Victoria’s glare returned.

 

“I mean in a ‘don’t touch’ kind of way.” Katy hurriedly added.

 

 

 

Sighing, Victoria put the garment onto the rather sparse ‘maybe’ pile and returned to casting her head around the disgustingly cutesy shop and keeping a hand on her stomach in a vain attempt to prevent herself throwing up.

 

 

 

This is just too much she thought, observing the interior and fellow customers. Dresses that were far too short, leggings that were practically see through and the whole **** facade for the most part edged or coloured in damnable pink, or variations on. She had, up until entering this store, never thought that there could be so many shades of that particular colour but apparently, there were. And they were all here, paraded before her for her despair. Whilst she was a woman and was more than happy to dress stylishly this…well this was just wasn’t right.

 

 

 

The customers were, for the most part, no better. A variety of young girls clucking to each other in clandestine groups, looking over cloths with shop sell’s people fretting round them and observing how ‘pretty’ they all looked no matter what they tried on. Nearby, worried looking mothers and fathers in what Victoria considered normal looking clothing, observed from the side lines wearing expressions similar to Victoria’s, looking around the shop trying to disguise their horror.

 

 

 

Kids these days. **** who am I kidding, adults these days!

 

 

 

There were indeed several trendy adults about the place, cooing at various garments in overly excited manners and grinning too widely once they tried them on.

 

 

 

Whilst Victoria’s brain may have been offended by pretty much everything on offer, it was still a Larrick City Militia trained brain. One more than capable of noticing things that appeared a little out of place.

 

 

 

Such as a very out of place looking bearkin.

 

 

 

Victoria frowned. Yes, that was a bearkin, hard not to miss a 8 foot tall furry combat monster, it’s back to her and slightly hunched over; apparently looking over a variety of women’s dresses. This was doubly odd as it appeared to be male. Her curiosity raised Victoria started to wonder over, Katy and Sandra otherwise engaged in complementing each other’s dress choices, apparently having forgotten that Victoria was even there.

 

 

 

As she drew closer, she got a better look at the creature. The bearkin was clad in leather utility battle plate, one of the few types of armour capable of being fitted to such large creatures. This would have looked out of place for any other creature in a cloths shop but then bearkin tended to walk around armed and armoured all the time.

 

 

 

It’s fur was dark grey, and well groomed. Evidently a bearkin who took care of it’s appearance. He’d broad shoulders and muscular arms, confirming that he was indeed a fighter. A long sword was attached to his back on what looked like a custom sheath. The sword was very familiar looking.

 

 

 

No, it couldn’t be.

 

 

 

“Ralgar?” she inquired hesitantly.

 

If bearkin could look scared, Ralgar’s expression as he spun round at Victoria’s voice, nearly knocking several dress display’s over, could definitely be read, across the span of race, creed and simple biological makeup, as utterly terrified.

 

“Victoria!” he exclaimed, his black beady eye’s having widened extensively. “Wah…what are you doing here?”

 

 

 

Ralgar was a mercenary bearkin, often found in Council of Peace employ and one Victoria was familiar with; he was known as an effective tracker and formidable warrior; not exactly the type to be found in a woman’s clothing shop.

 

“I’m shopping.” Victoria replied, coyly. She cocked her head to one side, studying Ralgar with a practiced eye. “And you?” she asked after a deliberate pause.

 

“Ah…nothing.” he replied lamely.

 

Oh come on Ralgar you can do better than that. Victoria didn’t say.

 

“Nothing at all?” she pressed further. The detective part of her brain was taking over, relishing the distraction Ralgar had unwittingly provided.

 

“Yes, nothing at all.” Agreed Ralgar. Unfortunately for him, Victoria was not so easily taken in by blindingly obvious lies.

 

“So what’s that in your paw then?” she enquired innocently.

 

“There’s nothing in my paw.” Ralgar replied a fraction too slowly.

 

He held up his left paw as if to emphasis his innocence.

 

“The other one.” Victoria ordered.

 

Ralgar, hands behind his back rather too blatantly transferred what was in his paw from right to left, before raising his right paw.

 

Victoria shook her head, hands moving to her hips.

 

“Ralgar.”

 

“Alright fine it’s…” the Bearkin paused. “It’s a handkerchief.” He added as a last ditch effort to conceal the truth. Victoria was ahead of him.

 

“Handkerchief in the shape of a woman’s dress?”

 

 

 

Ralgar, defeated, just glared at Victoria. It was an action that would have caused a fight or flee response in anyone else. For Victoria, it was just a confirmation of her vindication; that and mildly amusing.

 

“Great ancestors I do hate you woman” he growled.

 

Victoria smirked just a little.

 

“Do tell us your tale Ralgar.”

 

“It’s my eldest.” He said in a lamentable tone. “She…she wants to look pret-tay.”

 

“Pret-tay?” queried Victoria, frowning.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Pretty” Victoria corrected him.

 

“Whatever. She’s been attending a new private school that’s been opened to select bearkin.”

 

“How select?” enquired Victoria, crossing her arms business like; the distraction had turned very interesting.

 

“Best I can determine that involves bearkin with money. So, my mate has indicated that our eldest join up. Four months later and her head’s filled with all sorts of modern…things…”

 

He practically spat the last word.

 

“I know what you mean.” Agreed Victoria, looking around at the parade of, to her eyes, awful dress sense that continued to exist across the shop displays.

 

 

 

“There you are.” Said Sandra, coming up behind Victoria. “oh, and you met a friend!”

 

“Friend?” queried Katy as she followed Sandra. She stopped dead, eye’s immediately widening.

 

“Oh dear.” She managed in a tiny voice as she regarded Ralgar with a look of simple, complete terror.

 

“Oh come on Katy.” Victoria remarked, seeing the youngster immediate reaction when being confronted with a bearkin. “you know Ralgar.”

 

Ralgar was indeed one of the few bearkin Katy was familiar with; he was a friend of Gretna the dwarf’s and hence one of the few bearkin known at the Elks Horn tavern where Katy worked. This, however, didn’t seem to help her primal fear of the race as a whole.

 

“That’s why I’m not screaming.” Katy replied slowly. “But you’ll have to accept me still being…” she trailed off.

 

“Believe me.” Victoria replied. “Ralgar and I are the terrified ones,”

 

“Got that right.” Agreed Ralgar, not bothering to hide his shudder as he looked around the shop again and let out an audible grown of discontent.

 

 

 

“What?” Sandra asked but Victoria waved her query away, knowing better than to try and explain.

 

“Ralgar is here to get a dress for his daughter.” Victoria indicated.

 

“She wants to be pret-tay.” Ralgar added by way of explanation.

 

“Pretty?” queried Sandra

 

You’re going to get a lot of that Ralgar Victoria didn’t put in.

 

“Yes.”

 

“We’re trying to make Victoria pretty too!” Sandra said absentmindedly.

 

Katy snapped out of her shock, and accurately jabbed Sandra in the ribs, making the girl at once winch and realise her mistake.

 

“I mean ah, prettier.”

 

Katy, forgetting Ralgar for a moment, just turned to look at Sandra with an expression that could be read as saying the word ‘seriously?’ without the need to vocalize it.

 

 

 

Whilst the two young girls were preoccupied, Victoria leaned in, or more accurately up considering Ralgar’s height, to whisper in his ear.

 

“Want to get out of here fast?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Me too.” Victoria confirmed. “Follow my lead and you’ll get a dress for your daughter quickly and we’ll both get out of here.”

 

“Deal.”

 

“Ladies.” Victoria timely interrupted. “perhaps, we should continue?”

 

 

 

Victoria’s plan was rather devious. She had accurately determined that the primary reason for the girls entering the cutesy shop was not to get Victoria a variety of new cloths, but actually to get themselves a variety of new cloths. Having studied their habits, she had determined a cunning plan of action that hopefully, would result in her leaving the shop quicker than originally intended and with her wallet not quite as light as she feared.

 

 

 

She had, likewise, a very specific task for Ralgar.

 

 

 

The opportunity to advance came quickly.

 

“Oh Sandra, that looks lovely.” Victoria commented on seeing the girl examining a nearby dress. Sandra was surprised.

 

“Oh? You really think so?”

 

“Oh yes, very flattering and you’ve the figure to pull it off.”

 

The statement was accurately constructed to immediately entice the girls interest. Sandra wasn’t stupid, indeed far from it; but she was predictable.

 

“Oh, thank you.” Beamed the girl, looking over the garment. “Katy, what do you think?”

 

Katy wondered over and almost immediately adapted a concerned expression. “Oh Sandra, I…”

 

“I think it looks just lovely.” Said Ralgar’s voice, appearing behind Katy at the most opportune time and with the most appropriately menacing tone.

 

Oh nicely done remarked Victoria to herself.

 

Katy had the predicted reaction, going completely pale and stiff as board at the bearkin’s unexpected close proximity. It was a cruel and hideously unkind action, and Victoria surmised Katy would probably be giving her an earful later. But, if the rest of the plan went well, it would result in leaving the shop; a stated and much required objective.

 

 

 

“What was that Katy?” asked Victoria. “You thought it was nice too didn’t you?”

 

Katy managed to look over to Victoria. The sharp little youngster knew exactly what was happening but wasn’t really in a position to argue. She nodded slowly, defeated, trying to glare at Victoria but unable to effectively with a bearkin uncomfortably close.

 

 

 

“Well, that really saved some time.” Sandra agreed. “I’ll get this then. Victoria, what about…”

 

“Oh I’ve got what I need.” Victoria held up several winter leggings and the only practical tunic she’d been able to find in the store; they were easily the least cutesy looking garments. They were a small price to pay considering the amount of time and patience saved.

 

 

 

Sandra wasn’t completely taken in Victoria could see, but with Katy’s opinion effectively neutralized and no shop sale’s people about, Sandra had no choice but to take what she had purchased and conclude business; just as Victoria had planned.

 

 

 

All of them headed toward the nearest purchase point, Sandra leading the way confidently with Katy in toll and Ralgar keeping is position just behind the blond haired youngster; just close enough to keep her quiet.

 

 

 

As part of the deal, Victoria whispered in Ralgar’s ear her instructions from behind him.

 

“Extra large shoulder width, two twenty four, that one over there. You’ll need to modify for her hips I’d say but play your cards right and you’ll be on her right side and your lady’s for a long time.”

 

“Nicely done Victoria, appreciated.” Concurred Ralgar

 

“All in a days work Ralgar.”

 

 

 

Sandra and Katy were waiting for her at the door, disappointed expressions prepared and hands already on their hips.

 

“That was so mean!” Sandra declared, glaring as best she could at Victoria. “Poor Katy told me what you did.”

 

“I didn’t do anything.” Victoria replied innocently. Katy was glaring at her as well but sadly the two youngsters were not yet skilled in that particular regard; the glare from Katy in particular looked down right adorable.

 

“That wasn’t very nice.” Katy settled on, crossing her hands and seeming to huff.

 

“Look, no harm was done.” Victoria advised. “I got my cloths, Sandra got hers. Everyone wins.”

 

The girls remained silent. They’d probably be huffing with her for a few weeks.

 

 

 

“Anyway, I’m off.” Victoria said, her adventure done for the day. Or so she thought.

 

“Where do you think you’re going?” asked Katy rather suddenly. Victoria turned, frowning.

 

“Well, home. We’ve been cloths shopping.”

 

Both Sandra and Katy suddenly adapted the most devilish looking smiles Victoria had ever observed. She actually found herself stepping back as the two youngsters approached and with a speed that took Victoria completely off guard, hooked their arms into Victoria’s.

 

 

 

It was Katy who indicated why the change in attitude

 

“We’ve been to one shop yes.” She said, grinning. “Let’s see what’s next!”

 

Victoria gave herself a very serious mental kick as she was lead away.

 

 

 

What a brilliant start to the day…

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Well where have you been?

Posted by spooks101 Apr 8, 2014

“Well, where have you been?”

Yes, well.  It’s been a busy few months!

Apologises to my regular readers for the lack of full scale updates, though I have attempted to keep my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn up to date.

Work has been very busy within recent weeks and even now it’s still pretty tough though I’ve adapted to the higher workload.  Wedding prep is going better and I’ve taken the very sensible action of not selling my house until after the honeymoon. This has taken a great deal of stress off both our shoulders!

Meanwhile, in between all this, I have still been writing you’ll be glad to hear.

The good news is Tales of Larrick City has been gone well, with the latest draft submitted to my first round of proof readers (my family).  Unfortunately, it’s not been well received.

Looking at it now I can see why. They said it was too dry and detailed, and having looked through it again myself, I agree.  It’s prehapes ahead of its time.  As a companion book once more of the Haldred Chronicles series is out it would be perfect, but right now, with only two books written so far, it’s just not what’s needed. That and I’ve realized that the name is a little misleading; ‘Tales of Larrick City’ would suggest that the book is mostly short stories set in Larrick City.  Not the series of in-fiction articles that I wrote.  There’s only one of which is an actual story.

So, new plans.  The fiction articles and glossary of terms already written will be stored away for another time.  Likewise, I will write a series of proper short stories and name them ‘Tales of Larrick City’ so that I still get to use Mat’s excellent cover art sometime in the future.  Most pressingly, I will finish work on the true 3rd book in the Haldred Chronicles series.

The book will be called ‘Haldred Chronicles: Shade’ and I’m already at 30,000 words.  So you could say I’m glad that even whilst writing Tales of Larrick City I was still adding to Shade.

It’s likely the book will still not be done until the summer or even beyond.  But I’ll give it a go!

Meanwhile, I have updated my social networking presence.

You can now find me on Tumblr!  Look for this blog at jgcully.tumblr.com.  Basically the exact same post except on Tumblr…yeah.

Likewise, I’ve also created a pinterest account.  Find me at www.pinterest.com/jgcully.  I’ve already taken the liberty of uploading a few choice images.  Enjoy!

So plenty still going on.  To everyone who has continued to encourage me in my writing, once again, thank you so much.  Until next time everyone J.

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Second blog post 2014!

Posted by spooks101 Feb 19, 2014

Second blog post of 2014!  Long overdue I know but life is busy.

Wedding preparations are proceeding a-pace and it’s been going very well.  We are on schedule!  Despite the busy times, I have still been writing and progress has been good.

Mat, my fantastic cover artist, has come up with a beautiful cityscape picture for the front cover of ‘Tales of Larrick City’.  Not only this, but he has also updated the front covers of Kalla and Alyssa as well!  The modifications are minor, but you all should notice a little extra unifying factor that has been added to the titles.  Check the links below to see the changes.

Amazon link Alyssa

Amazon link Kalla

As for ‘Tales of Larrick City’ itself, of the 7 stories I’ve written in the book, only 1 now remains to finish completely before the whole book is passed to the proof readers.  That and the ‘little extra something’ at the end of the book is almost done as well.  Fortunately it will be easy for you all to find out what that is as the book will be FREE!  As long as Amazon cooperate, which hopefully they will.

As well as book progress, I’ve been getting more involved in the LinkedIn writing community and have been active in several of the groups.  If you’re on LinkedIn yourself, my address is below.

uk.linkedin.com/in/jgcully/

As well as this, my Facebook page has seen a whole lot of extra attention since I started doing more with the LinkedIn groups.  Find it here if you’ve not already visited.

https://www.facebook.com/HaldredChronicles

There is of course my twitter account as well which has grown nicely in recent months.

https://twitter.com/jgwritesnovels

I also recently registered on Goodreads.com.  Find my author page below

 

https://www.goodreads.com/jgcully

 

So lots going on and lots to look forward too.  Whilst my blog posts won’t be as regular in the future (I’ll try to update at least once a month) I do hope that the next time I am posting I will have completed ‘Tales of Larrick City’ and it will be with my proof readers for checking.

Thanks all, until next time!

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Hello 2014!

Posted by spooks101 Jan 22, 2014

First blog post of 2014!  Lots to report.

 

 

 

First, and most importantly, I’m getting married.  I proposed to my girlfriend at the start of January, and she said yes.  So my fiancée and I are very, very happy and celebrated by staying over at the fantastic Slieve Donard hotel that night.  A good start to 2014 I think you’ll all agree.

 

 

 

Even with the immense excitement of this new life event, I have still been writing.  ‘Tales of Larrick City’ I hope to have ready for proof reading by the middle of February at the latest, and out by the end of March.  This short story compendium will be free to download when it comes out and I hope to use the stories in it to further expand on the world of Haldred Chronicles.  I hope you will all enjoy once it’s released.

 

 

 

It’s turned into a good excuse for me to explore a number of different writing styles and expand on little plot hints here and there found in the first 2 books.  That, and it will also include a glossary of terms used in Haldred Chronicles; useful in particular for those un-used to some of the Northern Irish style humour and phases.  Well it is my home country, the mannerisms were bound to slip in!

 

 

 

I’ve also been making progress on the 3rd official Haldred Chronicles novel.  I’ve written almost 30,000 words and I’m really happy with the way things are panning out.  The style will be closer to ‘Kalla’ than ‘Alyssa’ and will further expand on the relationships between the various characters, as well as keeping up with everyone’s favourite characters.

 

 

 

On top of that, I still have a lot of ideas for future novels.  14 if I’m being precise (the number varies from day to day).  I definitely want to keep Haldred Chronicles going and if things pan out properly, you’ll get not 1 but 2 books out in 2014!  Just don’t expect the official 3rd book until maybe the summer.  Meantime, you should all have Tales of Larrick City to keep you interested!

 

 

 

So lots to look forward to and I’ll keep you all informed.  Have a great 2014 everyone.

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Other peoples blogs!

Posted by spooks101 Dec 21, 2013

A quick little blog post to get another aspect to this blog going.  That of blogging about other peoples blog’s!

 

 

 

I’ll try and do this every so often, just to high-light some posts I think are interesting or useful (or both!)

 

 

 

First up, this post about using LinkedIn.  I have to admit, I’ve not yet followed the advise on this one but it definitely has some very good tips.  Hope it proves useful for my fellow authors in particular.

 

 

 

http://m.entrepreneur.com/article/226895

 

 

 

Books and such provides this handy little guide, which was particularly useful when I was first starting out my Nanowrimo experiences but still rings true now.  It’s all about first drafts and not to worry about them!

 

 

 

http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/writing-a-first-draft/

 

 

 

Finally, something a little different for both mystery authors and those just interested in running a mystery themed RPG.  This gem was passed to me by my fellow Nanowrimo writing buddy Daireen and is an excellent article on the fine particulars of writing mystery fiction.

 

 

 

http://rpgathenaeum.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/write-a-gripping-mystery-adventure-in-four-steps/

 

 

 

Hope everyone enjoys.  Meantime, I have been writing away on both Tales of Larrick City and Book 4.  Tales of Larrick City has hit 10,000 words and Book 4 is coming together nicely with a lot of little modifications.  I’ll be taking a rest over Christmas, obviously, but will be back at things come 2014.

 

 

 

Just in case I don’t get posting up before then, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy new year.

 

 

 

Till next time.

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