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JGC Writing Blog

35 Posts tagged with the publishing tag

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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A Tribute to Nanowrimo

Posted by spooks101 Nov 29, 2016

During November 2011, I took part in the National Novel Writing month writing challenge.  The objective was to write at least 50,000 words by the 30th November.  I succeeded in the challenge, writing at the time 51,000 words. A year later that Nanowrimo writing piece became Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa; my first novel.




Since then almost every year, I've taken part in Nanowrimo. It has been a fantastic experience each time, and has enhanced my writing extensively.  I have met and communicated with some extremely talented authors, been challenged to improve my writing, and taken full advantage of the huge range of tips and tricks offered by the Nanowrimo community.




5 years after that first big push into the world of writing, I'm still at it. Last week I finished my 2 short story submissions for the Mantic Games Nanowrimo-inspired writing competition, and submitted both. I'm currently working on the Haldred Chronicles: Shade synopsis, with a view to submitting to potential publishers.  I also have a fourth Haldred Chronicles novel to work on called ‘Anna’.




As something of a tribute to the last 5 years, you will find on Amazon for the first time, my third book ‘Haldred Chronicles: Shade’ free for downloading on Kindle.  It will be so for the next five days so if you’ve not already picked it up, now is a good time.  Like my other books, it had its beginnings as a Nanowrimo entry.




Shade on




Shade on




To both the organisers and many participates in the Nanowrimo community, thank you all so much for all your encouragement, direction, advise, critique and most of all, for all the fun I’ve had during the many subsequent Novembers since I took my first steps into writing stories.  May the next 5 years be the same.




Until 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:


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 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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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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I'm keeping at it!

Posted by spooks101 Nov 12, 2014

It’s been a long time since my last blog update but readers will be used to that now I think.


The good news is that, still, I have been writing and immensely enjoying.


Haldred Chronicles: Shade now stands at a healthy 45,000 words and I have set myself the goal of finishing the book by the end of December.  At least from a 1st Draft perspective. I had hoped to finish by the end of November but looking at what else I have on, I think there just isn’t enough time.


I would love to be taking part officially in the November writing competition over at but I’m not writing a brand new novel, so I’m just using the event as inspiration to get my own current novel finished, as well as encouraging others. Those who follow my twitter account and Facebook page will have seen numerous references and encouragements regards Nanowrimo 2014.  To those taking part officially, good luck and enjoy!


But what are the other ‘things’ that are taking up ones time?  They are good things I can assure you.


Being married rocks, and I’m immensely enjoying.  Deborah and I have been making extensive plans for the future, including moving house next year.  She has continued to be an immense encouragement to me in my writing.  As well as this, I’ve continued to help in developing a wargames background material.


For the last 7 weeks I’ve been sending ideas to Rick over at Hairy Studios, who are in the process of developing the skirmish game ‘Wrathborn’.  Rick has given me the ideas in his head and I in turn have fleshed them out.  Races, history, important events, and even right down to the culture and economics of the system have all been developing via this collaboration.


So plenty is happening, lots to keep me occupied.  Hopefully next time I am posting an update I’ll have the 1st draft completed but we’ll see.  I must concede that Shade is definitely the very definition of ‘that difficult 3rd book’.  But it’s getting done!  Till next time.

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Keep on writing!

Posted by spooks101 Sep 10, 2014

Another long wait between blog posts I know, but things have been proceeding ‘apace’ as they say.  I am immensely enjoying married life and Debs and I have been making plans on moving house in the spring of 2015.


Writing wise, I have written over 40,000 words for Haldred Chronicles: Shade.  That’s a good, proper milestone achieved and the count is still growing at a respectable pace.  Major scenes are fully written and what’s needed now is the branching scenes and some extra descriptions here and there.  I’m happy with the way things have been coming together.


I’ve also been inspired recently with a few more ideas for further Haldred Chronicles books.  These did distract me a bit from my work on Shade but I’ve successfully taken note of them for future reference so not so bad. The ideas bring the total number of Haldred Chronicles sequel stories to 23.  Yeah, didn’t see that coming.


Am pleased though as it shows that my subconscious is taking an active interest in the idea; it will keep me encouraged. As well as this I’ve been having additional random story ideas.


These have ranged from 4 ideas I’ve had for additional Horus Heresy novels (a series of books based on the Warhammer 40k game by Games-Workshop and published by Black Library), 2 more Haldred Chronicles spin-offs, as well as a completely random idea spawned from a dream I had.  That particular dream consisted of giant bugs attacking the earth; unoriginal perhaps but still cool.


So the writing is going well, and I’m hoping to be sending my proof readers something soon.  If I can just knuckle down and finish things then Shade will be released November 2014 as planned.  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 =


Twitter = @jgwritesnovels


LinkedIn =


Pinterest =


Tumblr =


Goodreads =

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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 =


Facebook =


Pinterest =


LinkedIn =


Tumblr =


Blogspot =




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.




“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.




“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.




“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?”




“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.”




“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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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.




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!




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.




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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My Nanowrimo experience

Posted by spooks101 Dec 10, 2013

Hello everyone.  Yes, I know it’s been a while.  But I have lots to tell I’m glad to report.




As I reported in my last blog post way back at the end of October, my plan was to take part in the National Novel writing month run by  An event known on Facebook and Twitter as #nanowrimo.  I am glad to report that I took part in the event throughout November, though I did not complete it as intended.  The plan was to write 50,000 words but I only managed 26,000.




Still, the entire experience was one I would definitely recommend to any budding writer or current writer looking to boost there creativity.  The event forces you to concentrate on writing, even writing for the sake of writing.  Quantity is better than quality, the idea being that you complete a 1st draft then spend the next while perfecting what you manage to write in the tight time scale.




26,000 words was not what was required to ‘win’, but it certainly gave me a lot to think about and has set a solid foundation for Haldred Chronicles book 4.  The main characters, major plot points and scenes have all been formed in one way or another.  What is needed now is some time to properly connect them all together and fill in the details, particularly regards the descriptions.




A lot of the writing was often just dialogue between characters, to be filled in at a later date.  But that’s part of the fun!  Letting you set things up so that later you can go back and fill out the details; updating descriptions and making the scenes truly breath.




I had a lot of positive experiences during November as the challenge went ahead.  For example, I noticed certain activates I’d been doing in my life influenced my writing.  Obviously every writer will take some kind of small influence from there own life in writing, but during Nanowrimo this seemed to be heightened due to the challenge to put words on the page.  One example was my experience with the boxed set of all the seasons of the TV comedy series Frazier in my DVD collection that played in the background whenever I was writing.  I have found that some of the humour in book four has been influenced by the Frazier style of comedy; that unique sort of dry sarcastic wit.  Indeed, one of the characters I can say with confidence is definitely my own take on Frazier Crane, though given the setting he is sufficiently different not to just be a direct copy.




It was a fantastic experience as well due to the community involvement.  The multiple forums on the nanowrimo website were highly active during November and before, offering help and tips as well as places to brag / encourage.  The topic posts were a treasure trove of helpful material from ‘how do you escape a burning building’ to ‘dress sense of the 17th century’.  Anything and everything could be covered and when you asked a question, however obscure, someone somewhere on the boards would be able to answer it for you, often very quickly.  For those interested, the forums are still up and the community still very active.  Go take a look!




The experience was further enhanced by the writing buddies system.




Before the event began, I was able to connect with a number of like minded individuals in order to encourage each other, share work and comment.  This provided a more personal connection for developing the story and putting words on the page.  Constantly these writing buddies encouraged me to ‘keep writing!’.  They were part of the reason I got as far as I did.




I must send a particular big congrats to my writing buddies BriegeH, Daireen, Eimi111, Erin Funk, GabzWritez and ValkyrieMist who did successfully complete the challenge.  Good job all of you!  I assure you, I am immensely jealous J.




I may not have completed the Nanowrimo challenge, but I have certainly benefited from the event and now, the future is clear for books 3 and 4 to grow.  The plan will be to return to book 3 in about a months time and finish it.  Before that, I will continue for another month on book 4 and fill in a few more of the scenes.  I want to leave book 4 in at least draft 2 form.




Book 3, ‘Tales of Larrick City’ will then be finished and I will look to release it in the first quarter of 2014.




Once again, my thanks to all my writing buddies on Nanowrimo and everyone who encouraged me in completing the challenge.  Thank you so much!  Good luck with your own endeavours.




Till next time.

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A post before the battle...

Posted by spooks101 Oct 28, 2013

Well, November is almost here and with it, the November writing competition at  Preparations are being made.




First, sadly, I’ll have to suspend this Blog to give me time to write.  I’ll need to write around 1,500 words a day if I am to get anywhere near my goal of finishing a novel by the end of the month, so unfortunately I will probably only post about once in the next month; just to let people know I am still writing and how far I’ve got.  This will probably be in the middle of the month.




Secondly, I will of course suspend work on Tales of Larrick City.  I hope in the next few days to get it up to 10,000 words at least (at 7,600 now) and leave it in good form but we’ll see what time I get.  The plan is still to be in December with the 1st Draft’s of 2 books; it would be fantastic if I manage to do that.  I like a challenge!




Finally, I just want to wish all the very best to everyone doing Nanowrimo this year.  Friends, family and fellow writers, good luck to you all and successful writing!




Until the next Blog post, all the best.

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