Slayers LRP Photoshoot

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Two Slayers…

Those who follow this blog will be aware that I occasionally collaborate with Quattrofoto on photoshoots in roles varying from creative genius* to lightstand/dogsbody/maker of tea. In fact, some of my previous blog posts on these shoots have been among the most popular on this blog along with the UK Avengers concept I posted once as a joke. I can only assume that lots of genuine photographers have been searching for useful tips on how to do complicated lighting set ups or edit fantasy scenes into the backdrops using photoshop and are instead finding my rather less then technical witterings.

Those who are looking at these posts in the hope of such technical stuff, I can only apologise and suggest you ask any questions in a comment (I will pass on such questions to Ste the photographer) or visit his Flickr site where he occasionally posts technical details on shots.

Note that yet again, like previous posts on this, the photos shown here are my efforts not those of the professional photographer. You can see his on his Flickr account. In addition, most of these were taken using my mobile phone rather than my DSLR Mainly because the light conditions were not right for my DSLR to play ball.

This shoot was one that deviated from our previous theme, which had been variations on a theme of fantasy – trying to show standard stereotypes in a new light. For this shoot the aim was more modern. There is a new LRP game being planned called Slayers LRP which riffs off Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So our aim for this shoot was to get lots of photos of female vampire hunters, vicious looking vampires, demons and stuffy old Watchers.

We convened at the photographer’s house where he had managed to set up a makeshift studio in one of the larger rooms. The space here was noticeably less than we were used to in the studio, which meant we were limited in scope – mostly shots of single figures and we were told most likely only upper body. This was why we actually failed to consider appropriate shoes or boots for many of the characters we were taking shots of, we genuinely did not think they would be seen on camera! This is why you may see some shots of a tweed clad Watcher wearing a pair of sandals (though personally I am claiming eccentricity for why I was wearing those as that character).

There were other concerns. Would the backdrop placed over the window be enough to sufficiently block out all the light? Would there be enough room for models, photographer and light rig? Would there be enough food for all the models we had dragged from far distant parts of the country?

The answers to those questions were Yes, Yes and definitely Yes. Seriously, we had a proper Green room style hospitality area set up, far better than anything we ever had at the studio (or the woodland, where the refreshments were coffee and all the acorns we could eat :) )

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Our werewolves are feistier and cuter than Oz ever was

Our werewolves are feistier and cuter than Oz ever was

We progressed through the day very quickly, getting through several very intense sessions with different models in different costumes. This was our fourth go at this sort of thing and using more or less the same team of models and support people that had been used on previous shoots – including the talented make up skills of Jessica Newey. This meant that we were much better organised and were able to prep one model while another was being shot, allowing for a much more efficient

The studio set up showing improvised wind effects

The studio set up showing improvised wind effects

turnaround. We were also more au fait with what was and was not likely to be possible meaning that the ideas people spent less time frothing about things that could not possibly ever work and more time considering practical solutions to problems and ideas that would work.

We got through a Van Helsing style Vampire Hunter, a goth Vampire, two different styles of Slayer (though there was some debate as which one was the ‘evil’ Faith style Slayer and which was the ‘nice’ Buffy style, the consensus was neither), two different varieties of Watcher (modern with a tablet computer and traditional in tweed with an old book), a sinister ‘Man in Black’, two styles of witch (a good and an evil one) and two very different styles of Demon (a serious, scary demon with horns and a more ‘slacker surf dude’ style who seemed to be doing a modelling shoot for Cheese flavoured corn snacks) and a werewolf. These shots are already appearing on the Flickr account and will continue to be updated for at least a few weeks ahead.

It was another tiring day but definitely a fun one with a lot achieved. The shots that have already been produced are awesome and there are many more to come…

*Ok, maybe not creative genius. More ‘person who comes up with wildly impossible ideas that sound cool in my head but are actually bloody hard to set up in a practical sense’. It is a complicated brief… I am usually better at holding lightstands (or on this shoot, reflective dishes that shine in the face of pretty girls to better highlight her features – something called the Clamshell technique) or making tea. I am really good at making tea…

Lurking Miscellany release

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The release of Lurking Miscellany was on Saturday in Leeds, so now it is time to open up the book to the rest of the world.

The blurb (written for me by the wonderful Ninfa Hayes):

“It’s you!” She stood up and backed away, pointing accusingly at Orchil. “You’re doing this to me! You’re using some form of… of… magic.” What else could explain it? A spell, a curse, an inexplicable phenomenon. Magic!

Orchil laughed. “You really that stupid? I thought you followed the great god, Science? Sit, girl, sit and let me tell you how the trick was done. And that’s a rare thing, a Shaman explaining their magic, so you better listen well!”LurkingMiscellany-lg

An environmental activist with the power to control the elements;

A xeno-anthropologist Gate Tech seeking to learn the secrets of an alien race;

A shape changing fey playing havoc in a nightclub.

These are just some of the characters that live in the shadows of the secret worlds that surround us. Discover their stories in this enthralling anthology. Embrace the lurking miscellany.

If you want to acquire a copy of this collection of short stories you can do so in one of two ways.

First (and quickest) method is to go via Lulu and order a copy from their online shop. The link for this is to be found on my webpage under publications. I have even made it easy for you with a quick and simple buy link that gets you straight there.

The second method is to contact me either through this page (comment below) or on facebook or via my email address (dalascelles-writing@yahoo.co.uk) and ask me for a copy. You can even ask me to sign it for you if you like.
 
It is hoped that there will be more places to buy from soon. Just negotiating the delicate issues of self publication (which is totally new to me at the moment so learning a lot) and working through all possible routes of delivery and format. Hoping for Amazon listing to be available soon, for example. I will keep you all informed as to when a new way to purchase a copy emerges. Will at some point also be considering ebook formats too, though I think that may take a while as I suspect there will have to be a lot of formatting changes to make it work.
 
Also worth knowing that this collection is intended as a taster and also a chance for readers to tell me which story they liked the best. The one that gets the most votes will be developed further as a longer piece of fiction – either as a series of short stories/novellas or a complete novel. Once you have acquired a copy you can cast your vote by contacting me using the methods outlined in the Afterword. You can also post in the comments to this blog post.
 
 

 

Fresh off the press!


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Yesterday I took delivery of a batch of copies of Lurking Miscellany… A week earlier than expected.

These are the ones with the cover misprint (I noticed too late to cancel) and so are an official ‘limited edition’ of ten prints. I’ll correct the problem for the next batch.

Eddie is disappointed because he does not feature in this… Unlike Transitions where he had a small but (he believes) critically important role.

These copies will be on sale next weekend at the Leeds waterfront festival…

[Spoilers] Twisting the cliche

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I am guessing that most people out there have watched the recent episode (series 4, episode 8) of Game of Thrones by now? If not, you may want to look away and come back when you have as there may be spoilers ahead… I am delaying posting this blog a few days to help prevent this but I am worried there may still be those out there who haven’t seen it even then.

You see, I want to talk about clichés here. In particular, I want to talk about how they might be of benefit to a writer. They are often seen in a bad light – ‘don’t write that, it’s too clichéd’ is a common refrain. However, attempts to make things more original often fail to get anywhere. So, being clichéd is bad because it is too derivative of previous works whereas being original can also be bad because the readers do not connect with the material, finding it too strange or unfamiliar. There is also, of course, the very relevant truth that there are no new stories, only old ones retold. When you do find something you think is original, quite often it turns out to be derived from another source you maybe only barely remember* or coincidentally happens to follow the lines of a much older story.

So what is a writer in search of originality to do? How can you maintain the very fine balance between cliché and the familiar? The answer seems to be to twist the cliché in order to subvert the audiences’ expectations.

Now Game of Thrones as a series and as a set of novels is actually not all that original in terms of the fantasy concepts it throws up. It includes a lot of old standbys – dragons, quests, knights, barbarians, battles, pantheons of gods, young children going off on quests (actually it has several of these…), the list goes on. However, fantasy was for many years a very staid and static genre where everyone was trying hard to be Tolkien (so many elves living in forests, so many dwarves living in mines) so in many ways even small changes from these clichés is a bonus and GRR Martin’s does manage to do this very well, mostly by making the characters very realistic and three dimensional. He also manages to avoid Elves and his only dwarf is a human who just happens to have been born short rather than a member of an ancient, gold obsessed race. But he does more than this, he often twists expectations so that what you think is going to happen doesn’t. There are a few examples of this I could mention, one of which is this week’s big shock end (which I admit was not a shock to anyone who read the books).

Let’s take Robb Stark to begin with. In the second series his story looked like it was well mapped out in cliché land. He was the eldest son of a man executed for treason, raising an army to defeat those who had killed his father and fighting against a mad king to boot. In your old fashioned fantasy epic the conflict therefore becomes Stark vs Lannister and in that tale the only ending cliché would accept is Robb winning and becoming king. Subconsciously we all know this. Robb has to win, it is imprinted in everyone’s understanding of story. The hero prince sets out on a quest to avenge his father’s death… come on, we have seen this story a million times.

And yet that is not how things work out… instead Robb makes a political error, a very human one, and as a result is murdered during the infamous Red Wedding, leaving no one in a position to lead his rebellion which crumbles.

Another example is the trial by combat in this week’s episode. To be honest, I was a little sceptical of Tyrion managing to get away with the same trick twice.** Remember, he used trial by combat to get out of a previous murder rap and honestly no writer would allow a character to get away with something that audacious again. So I was sort of expecting there to be an ending that did not include Tyrion’s champion walking away unscathed. However, that combat threw another revenge based cliché at us – the brother of a murdered woman seeking vengeance on the man who killed her. Again the story imprinted in our bones screams at us ‘of course he is going to win!’ and I don’t know about you but I was certainly seeing good old Mandy Pantinkin in his most famous role as Inigo Montoya in that scene and we all know how that works out rather well. And for a moment it looks as if he will win. He actually does win, in fact. His enemy is down and helpless. Then there is a sudden change in fortune… Again, he makes a critical error, an error based on his human nature. Had he merely killed his enemy he would have won. Instead he had to gloat and therefore lost spectacularly.

Both examples given show how characters are being set up by the author (and in some cases the script writers of the series in some of the material that is newly added) to apparently be following a clichéd path. They even get some way down that path, enough for our minds as readers or viewers to spot the pattern (however consciously or subconsciously) and expect a particular outcome. Then something happens, often a very human mistake, which completely throws that pattern out of the window and the nature of the plot changes – we are horrified by this because the person set up as the hero cannot lose and yet they do. This, I feel, is the main reason these scenes cause such outcry. It is not just because of the gore, it is because of the cognitive dissonance of our well trodden clichés being suddenly wrenched from under us. This is also why it is seen as innovative, despite being riddled with tropes. The places where the expected outcomes are subverted are ones that stick in the mind and suddenly the writer is a genius for doing it. Even an occasional scene like this can be enough to plaster over the many occasions where the writer does follow the standard tales. These scenes also increase the tension because, dammit, even characters you previously believed safe because of some perceived ‘hero’ status can die. Its been happening in SF TV for a while now. A famous example is Mal’s innovative method of resolving the infamous Mexican standoff (clue: Mal definitely shot first, no Han Solo/Greebo confusion here) and recent series like Battlestar Galactica have been constantly violating our expectations with respect to the relative safety of those afforded supposed hero status.

All of this makes me somewhat concerned over the safety of other characters in Game of Thrones. After all, several of them are clearly on clichéd fantasy hero paths. For example, Arya and Bran Stark are each following slightly different classic versions of the typical child hero in a fantasy novel. They each quest to understand themselves and their abilities in order so that they may return some day to wreak revenge on those who murdered their families. A cliché that was old when George Lucas used it. The cliché says that they should succeed. This means that something nasty and fatal awaits them in their future.

Unless, of course, it is by now considered cliché to subvert the cliché which means that, now, it is perfectly fine to let things follow their normal course and let the children achieve their destiny. Sometimes fashions in writing can change so quickly and soon we may well be expecting the opposite to what the story should be… Thinking of such things can easily send someone insane.

For now, the best advice seems to be to be aware of tropes and clichés and try to figure out ways to use the expectations of readers to your advantage.

*This happened to me at least once that I am aware of. When I was writing the background and concepts behind one of the race of aliens in Waypoint I knew I was stealing from Celtic, Native American and Norse myth and was good with that. However, when I wrote about their attitude to technology I unconsciously inserted several ideas from an obscure Doctor Who short story (the People of the Trees), mainly the idea of them worshipping technology as religious icons capable of ‘magic’. I only became aware of this when I re-read that story several years later and the penny dropped. I did change it enough that no one can see where I filed away the serial numbers (and besides it is a common enough concept with primitive cultures in SF that I could just have easily stolen it from Return of the Jedi) but it was fascinating to see how my mind was working there.

** Plus my wife who has read the books as far as the current series knew it wouldn’t work either, despite her rants about all the changes they have made in this series so far, and although she tried hard not to reveal anything I can read her responses well enough to spot certain facial expressions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Review] Primal Storm

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Primal Storm (Book 2 of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles)
By R.A Smith
Published by Xychler Publishing

This sequel sees the aftermath to last year’s Oblivion Storm and our heroes Mary, Jennifer and Kara are adjusting to their new lives. Mary has taken full possession of Grenshall manor and has spent most of her time learning about her new found abilities over ghosts and nursing the almost fatally wounded Jennifer. Kara has been finding her skills as a paranormal expert becoming more in demand.

Then, Jennifer, feeling trapped by her status as an invalid and needing to stretch her legs, sneaks out to exercise and stumbles onto a very well organised robbery of the British museum run by a crack team of supernaturals. Her intervention in this and her resemblance to a figure in a work of art known as ‘The Face of War’ leads her into a conspiracy of secret societies, supernatural artefacts and a confrontation with her own past and true nature.

Unlike Oblivion Storm, which focussed on Mary and her connection to the realms of shadow, Primal Storm is almost entirely Jennifer’s show. As such it is a very different story that veers away from the spooky events occurring between an atmospheric Victorian London and the modern day and into an action orientated plot. Several scenes come across as more like an X Men movie than a paranormal horror as Jennifer Winter tears into her enemies Wolverine style. Likewise, the flashbacks are not to Victorian London but to Jennifer’s childhood where a history of abuse and accusations of murder lead her to becoming the woman she is and explain her connection to the mysterious and vibrant Primal realm. Meanwhile, Mary and Kara travel Europe on a mission to rescue Jennifer and encountering a variety of characters on the way including the very same supernaturals that Jennifer is involved with and someone with the very same abilities Mary has.

The loss of spooky atmosphere could have been a weakness here but it is more than made up for by the change of pace, including the dark and violent nature of Jennifer’s past. The flashback scenes are brutal and honest and reveal a woman who has risen from extreme adversity into her eventual greatness. However, one weakness that is apparent is Smith’s presentation of some characters. While all the female characters come across as strong, three dimensional creations his male characters seem to lack depth. Having said that, at least one of them showed a lot of promise and if he is to return for book 3 it can be hoped that there will be a chance to develop him some more. This would be a good thing as it is nice to see a character of colour represented in a non clichéd way.

Overall Primal Storm is an enjoyable read. It holds onto enough elements of Oblivion Storm to make it a familiar setting but then takes off into new directions that explore and expand on that setting a great deal. According to Smith himself, the plan for book three (as yet unnamed but I am guessing the word Storm will be in there somewhere) is to focus on Kara – the one non-supernatural member of our trio of heroes. I for one am intrigued to see how she develops in this final instalment. If her back story is anywhere as interesting as Jennifer’s we are in for one hell of a finale.

Cover reveal: Lurking Miscellany

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For the last month or so, I have been working on putting together a collection of short stories for publication. This collection is called Lurking Miscellany and brings together several shorts that have basically been sat on my hard drive for a while not doing anything. It includes a couple of stories based on the Waypoint universe, my own attempt at Urban Fantasy and the sequel to my BBW Paranormal Romance novella, Transitions.

As things stand, the stories are in the hands of a crack team of specialist ninja Beta readers being given a final polish before publication. I have an ISBN registered and a gorgeous cover produced by the ever wonderful Skyla Dawn Cameron who is also known by the name of Indigo Chick designs.

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The goal is to have print copies of the collection available for their first, exclusive launch sales at the Leeds Waterfront festival as part of the Leeds Steampunk market on the 28th June. After that, copies will be available from other sources, including Amazon, in print and ebook formats.

Hope to see many of you as can make it in Leeds on that day.

Exit pursued by a Dalek… A tale of a fashionably late World Book Night

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Myself and Ed Fortune sat in front of a TARDIS. Picture taken by Frances Hardinge

Myself and Ed Fortune sat in front of a TARDIS. Picture taken by Frances Hardinge

World Book Night happens annually on the same day as Shakespeare’s Death, the 23rd April. On this day, volunteers give out free books in order to encourage reading in those who do not read much. Being a World Book Night giver I was of course giving out books on that night…

Except I wasn’t. Because I was giving them away on the 24th April. A day late… Damned temporal distortions again.

That was the base concept behind the Fashionably Late World Book Night party at the Fab Café in the city centre of Manchester. To be fashionably late in giving away our books. So, I turned up at a Geek themed basement bar with a bag full of books and author Frances Hardinge in tow for a night of poetry, prose and free books.

And there were a lot of free books:

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Not only were there the 18 copies of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London and the 36 copies of Agatha Christie’s After the Funeral provided to our givers by the World Book Night charity but also a large collection of ex review copies of books that had been sent to the Starburst offices and which were now no longer needed. This meant that any SF or fantasy fan could walk out with quite a haul if they so chose and the murder mystery fans were not ignored either. The books proved very popular with the crowd in the venue. Some of them had come here just for the books, some of them had been drawn by the promise of readings by local writers and poets and the chance to hob nob with them. Many more had come because it was a Thursday night and they always went to Fab on a Thursday.

The readings and guest writers were also popular. Everywhere you went there were conversations between writers, poets and their fans in topics ranging from their latest books to why it is not possible to do a decent film version of Lovecraftian horror. The bar was doing a roaring trade and the atmosphere was friendly and open. The SF theme decorations added to the unique nature of the venue and had at least one contributor (who shall remain nameless) running around gleefully with a camera taking shots of Daleks, Cybermen and TARDIS’s left right and centre. I was also taking photos, of course, but in my case it was, um, for professional reasons.

 

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Even the presence of some of TVs most intimidating and scary villains did little to dampen the mood.

 

There was only one critic present at the event but he was notoriously brutal...

There was only one critic present at the event but he was notoriously brutal…

Though they did seem to lurk menacingly off stage whenever a writer was up doing their reading…

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reading3However, the presence of the resident critic from the Skaro evening Chronicle (tagline ‘News to exterminate to’) did little to deter the performers. We opened with R.A Smith who read an extract from his debut novel, Oblivion Storm. It went down well, he got applause and was not exterminated.

This was followed by, um, me… reading an extract from Transitions. This was my first ever public reading and I was petrified. Yeah, I know, I’m a teacher as well as a writer and yes speaking in public (sometimes in front of very hostile audiences) is part of the job. It’s practically all the job (well, apart from the planning, marking, admin and occasional public appearances for publicity) so I shouldn’t have been so scared. Shouldn’t but I was. You see, there is a difference between standing there and talking freely about a topic you know a lot about and reading something out loud. With the former there is room for improvisation and the chance to have discussions and take questions from the audience – to get them involved and active in the process. Reading aloud is more static and you have to stick to the script. It is not the time to start subconsciously editing your own work and reading out this new edited version instead of the published one (which I may have done a little bit). Also, the lack of light made reading difficult (thankfully the representative of Flapjack Press was able to supply a reading light to those who came after me to solve this problem). Despite all these issues I managed to struggle through the section where Gaius Lucius meets the mad old man in the cave and got my own round of applause and absence of extermination.

The poets and writers of Flapjack Press then took the stage in turns and wowed the audience with their poetry and prose. They included Tony Curry who read out poems relating to what it was like to be a man and Sarah Grace Logan whose poetry contrasted nicely with its more feminist vibe and her works based on the objects she sees daily in her work at the Manchester Museum.

reading10 reading11This was followed by Frances Hardinge who read out a chilling extract from her latest and as yet unreleased novel, Cuckoo Song. It was unfortunate that due to a postal service snafu there were no copies of this book available for sale or signing. If the expected parcel from her publisher had actually arrived that night would have been the first time and place that book would have been on sale in the reading15world – a true exclusive.

There was then a short break before the second half of the evening, this compered by another local poet, Anna Percy who also performed her own poetry. She was joined by Dermot Glennon, Zach reading25Roddis and the wonderfully anarchic comedy poetry of Jackie O’Hagan making this night a truly North Western literary occasion. All performers were well received by the audience and did sterling sets that ended in applause. More importantly, none of them were exterminated by the resident critic, for which I am sure they were all grateful.

Unfortunately we had to leave before the end, though I hear that the evening ended with dancing to nineties classics which I am sorry we missed. On the free book table as we left there were no more copies of Rivers of London and only a handful of copies of After the Funeral. The Starburst review copies were also much reduced, presumably meaning that there is now much more room in their offices for future ARCs. I grabbed a handful of the Agatha Christies as we said our final goodbyes to Anna Percy and the other contributors. Those copies were offered to students at my college the next morning and one was gifted to the college library.

Shown here are only a handful of the photographs I took that evening. I’d try to cram more in but I fear this blog post would be an endless sea of photography. If you want to seem more of them, you can go and look at my Flickr account. If any of the poets or writers who were there wish to  make use of any of these for their own web pages or blogs you may feel free. Contact me and I can send you the original copies. I’d appreciate an acknowledgement in return.

With such a successful night I am not sure how we can beat it next year but I am sure we will have a damn good try. There may have to be ballet dancing elephants.

 

 

Writing process questions

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Neelima Vinod tagged me in the Writing Process Blog Tour. You may remember Neelima from Vampire Month a few years back and she has since been doing rather well for herself. This meme is an interview meme about the writing process so those of you who are interested may find out more about how I do things… maybe…

 What am I working on?

Well, the official answer has to be ‘shaping the minds of the next generation in the hope of getting them into university’ because at the moment I am mostly working on my day job of teaching. However, you want the writer answer and for that I am doing two things. One is working on the final stages of Gods of the Deep, the sequel to Gods of the Sea. That is with an editor and I have a cover waiting to be revealed which is awesome. The other is editing a selection of my short stories for publication in a collection I am calling Lurking Miscellany in honour of this blog. In addition to those two writing based things, I also have something I only found out about yesterday which I am not allowed to talk about. Which is ironic as it will involve me talking…

 How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am not sure I am qualified to be able to say my work is different to any others. I’d like to think that it is but I consider that to be a question that readers should answer rather than me. If pushed to answer I would like to say that Transitions differs from many other romance works because of the BBW element. However, there is a whole genre of romance fiction based on that concept. I could also say that Gods of the Sea was either a pirate story set in a fantasy universe or a fantasy story set in something other than the Tolkienesque fantasy setting – either way a slight deviation from cliché. However, many of my influences (such as Barbara Hambly) are writers who have done similar. There is a lot of fantasy out there now which is veering away from the Tolkien influences of my youth and I consider this to be a very good thing.

Why do I write what I do?

I started writing while in school and found that I enjoyed it a lot. However, I never really considered what I wrote as worth publishing and so I mainly did it for fun. Of my current published works, I wrote Transitions because of an interest in both Roman history, specifically the history of the town of my birth, and in the paranormal. Gods of the Sea I wrote because there was a call for submissions for a pirate themed anthology and I had an idea for it which I thought might work.

 How does my writing process work?

Chaotically. In the terminology of the Absolute Write forum, I am definitely a Panster (someone who writes by the seat of their pants) rather than a plotter (someone who carefully plans out the sequence of events in their story). Whenever I tried to write like a Plotter I found I could not do it and I actually think that everyone has their own preferred way of working which fits how their own mind works rather than there being any ‘one true way’. I often get ideas when my body is doing one thing (walking, tidying, etc.) and my mind is free to wander, the only problem is that I rarely get time to sit down and get those ideas down on paper. However, any idea that survives in my mind until I get time to write about it is likely to be one worth keeping while those that don’t I am probably better off losing. I also tend to be encouraged by necessity. Both of my published works have come about because there was a pressing need to get something submitted to a project I wanted to be involved in so I stopped wallowing in uncertainty and just got on with it.

I’ve also worked in different ways for different projects. For Gods of the Sea I basically sat down over Christmas and splurged out most of the story over a couple of days. I was not even aware of what I was writing until I reviewed it later. For Transitions, however, it was a more careful process and for that I had actually started out with the beginnings of two very different stories (an historic romance about a Roman soldier and his dying wife and a contemporary romance set in Birmingham) which I then realised could be merged into one.

 

Thank you Neelima for tagging me! You can read about her process here.

As part of the game, I’m tagging two writers for you to blog hop to.:

R.A Smith is the author of the wonderful Oblivion Storm and its sequel Primal Storm. You can find him on Facebook here.

Ninfa Hayes is the author of Bites and Nannies Inc . You can find her on Goodreads here.

[Vampire Month] Vampire art by Lauren C Waterworth

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Our final submission for Vampire month is this wonderful piece of artwork that has been kindly donated by artist Lauren C Waterworth. Expect to see more of her work in the near future as she has recently completed a commission for me to do the cover for Gods of the Deep which I will be showing sometime soon. You can also enjoy a piece of flash fiction by Lauren’s partner, Adam Tomlinson, that accompanies her work.

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“The natural light from the stars by the window were eclipsed while the beauty of her moonlight skin shone brighter than any candle in the hall.  As she drank from her goblet it was hard to tell if her lips were blood red from decoration, or from the liquid which she consumed.

While her features where the same as any woman, they were more perfectly structured, if not for her almost bat like ears she would have been the most attractive woman you had ever seen. Yet while any other woman would hide this unnatural aspect of her looks, this one pulled her raven hair back, insisting that any who wished to gaze on her should see everything, laid bare like a banquet for you to devour. Though like any banquet in a strangers home, you must beware of on what you dine. Be gracious, but keep you wits about you.”

 

 

 

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