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Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Category

It is still very early days in my hybrid/self-publishing venture for the Silverlands series. Book one is out and my main focus is on gaining reviews for the book. Why is this important? Bookbub. When I have all three books out I want to submit to Bookbub. You need reviews for that. Good reviews. So far so good. I don’t have a lot of reviews but what I have I’m very pleased with. There is a lot of retweeting of a review prefaced with How Not To Write Distopian YA. I thought that rather amusing. I wasn’t writing dystopian YA, but epic fantasy with a YA feel. Yet it might have some dystopian elements, of course. My main sin is a cliffhanger ending. Apparently cliffhangers are to cause people to buy the rest of the series. Hell everyone wants their readers to buy the next book. Mine wasn’t for that purpose. I started Argenterra when I was a newbie. I’ve thought long and hard how to move the ending…before the cliffhanger….after the cliffhanger…and nothing seemed to work. To top it all off, book two has a cliffhanger too. I guess I have to own that I’m evil.

My woes! Would you believe I have had the most difficult time with book 2? Firstly, I have to revise it a little and polish it before it gets edited. That’s sort of sitting there while I finish book three. Book three is totally rocking btw. However, I need to finish the draft before I go back to book two so I can align some things. Issues with agency, pulling back in some places so I can redeem a character in book three. The usual stuff.

The cover and the name of book two has been a real issue. I believe this problem crops up for authors in traditional publishing. I know I had to face it with Dragon Wine. Changing the name of the book (s). For example, in my original thinking there were three books in the Moon Fall Trilogy, Dragon Wine, Dragon Wing and Dragon Wane. Then Momentum took Dragon Wine. The editor wanted to split the book, call the series Dragon wine and I had to come up with two names for the first two parts. That was hard work and eventually I came up with Shatterwing and Skywatcher. It’s going to be a real bugger with Dragon Wing when I get around to publishing that. If I publish it in two parts what the hell and I going to call them. Barrahiem and Deathwings??? Your guess is as good as mine.

So back to the Silverlands…Book Two was called The Crystal Gate. Getting the cover together for this was proving to be hard. We tried a couple of combos but they weren’t working, particularly as I wanted the series’ covers to have some consistent feel across them. I’ve been stressed. I’ve been anxious. I’ve had sleepless nights. Then I realized I had to change the name of book two and think up a new concept for the cover. I tossed and turned and then it came to be: Book Two should be called Oathbound. That way I could have Sophy on the cover and used symbolism to denote the chaos of the oaths have brought round in the story, not just for Sophy but for others.

Yet I was so stressed because I was mucking the artist around. I like to be very straight, say what I want so all this indecision was like killing me. I know it’s a bit silly, but the responsibility for this is all mine. The cover, the content, the marketing…and I want it to be good, not crap…not just another ebook flung into the ether…I’m proud of this production. So there’s the woe. It is really tough.

I consulted with the lovely Aiki, who had beta read book two. She totally agreed with Oathbound being the best name for the book. I think I gave her a sleepless night. She’s arty, you know, not like me. She came up with the idea of binding or chains. You can find out about Aiki here. She’s multi talented and an author of an amazing SF YA story that’s coming out soon. Also she has been so supportive. High five, Aiki.

So anyway, I bit the bullet and emailed the lovely Les Petersen. I sent him my horrible sketch, some photos of my model with different expressions and he sent me this like within an hour or so.

Oathbound

I think this is amazing. I love it so much. It was just what I was picturing. Thank you Les for not sending the hit men after me.

Now I’m going to show you book one and two together. Les added the subtitle to book one (somehow I forgot that originally). Anyway, let me know what you think.

 

I should add that the cover for Book three is going well. Book three is called, Ungiven Land. I believe Sophy has a sword!

So if you are interested in checking out Argenterra. Here are the buy links. It’s available in ebook from your favourite ebook retailer.

Print copy from Book Depository here

Amazon.com Here

Amazon.com.au Here

Kobo Here

ibooks Here

Print (Amazon.com) Here.

Time to go back to work on the PhD. It’s creative project work today.

 

 

 

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I say this quite a bit these days. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I want to learn so much, do many more things that I can see that I won’t do all of them. It’s not possible. I would need many lifetimes to do that. Even then the world is ever changing. Is that what living forever is like? No wonder I love reading and writing science fiction and fantasy and paranormal romance. Within fiction there are no boundaries.

I thought I’d having something interesting to say. This last week with the PhD has been about admin and also trying to work out how I can talk about the fiction I’m reading. I have to learn to be more academic, pick a position and analyse with that mind set. That’s hard. Not too hard, but requires some mind bending. I can no longer just be enthusiastic! Also, there’s that paper I’m working on…

I finished the revision of The Crystal Gate and sent it to beta readers. I fear I have some more hard work ahead of me to make this novel all that it could be. A kick up the bum from beta readers usually galvanizes me, particularly when they tell me things I know I think is a problem but I’m not listening to the little voice that told me so. I thought I would rip into The Ungiven Land straight up…but alas…I’m a slacktard. There’s 50,000 words sitting there and I haven’t even read them through let alone drafted more words. I guess I’ve been resting my brain…maybe…actually I’ve finally finished listening to The Magician (Raymond E Feist). This was an Eighties’ classic that I’d never caught at the time. It’s high fantasy, elves, dwarves, dragons etc, but it  has something else too which caught my interest. My main problem is that I didn’t like the narrator. I can’t pinpoint why. It made the 35 hours of listening a bit hard, not impossible though. It was Audible and my first time really not enjoying the experience amazingly.

On the Argenterra front. I ran a Goodreads giveaway for the print book. I have no idea how that translates into book sales, but I think not many. However, five more people are following me on Goodreads. Waves! Thank you. Hundreds of people have added Argenterra as a ‘want to read’. I’ve sent three books out, one to Canada that should arrive quite soon and two in the UK, which Amazon says will take a few weeks to organise. Book  Depository haven’t got Argenterra listed yet as it can take 6 weeks for them to get it up. Maybe if the readers are generous they’ll do a review. Totally worth it for the possible reviews and exposure.I thought it would be nice if 500 people entered the Goodreads giveway and 866 people did and that’s awesome.

I joined Kindle Boards. Lots of advice and information there. It is possible that if you spend too long there you might grow a beard and find the world has moved on a hundred years.

Other bits of procrastination this week includes seeing X-Men Apocalypse. I really enjoyed that despite missing Days of Future Past. It was massive in scope. I liked the action and I also liked that it stopped for the emotional stops. I ate more chocolate this week than in the last year I’m sure. I re-watched North and South  (BBC 1975) starring Patrick Stewart’s hair. It was a nice way to pass a wet weekend with my niece visiting.

Now back to the PhD.

 

 

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It’s been a busy week. I’ve been working on an academic paper, my first. It was hard and it’s probably crap but I will have to wait to find out.  Other PdD candidates have told me the first is the hardest so thankfully I’m not alone in this.

Westcoast book reviews published the first review of Argenterra. And it was fab.

I’m happy that is positive of course, but I also appreciate the thoughtful comments and that the reviewer, Liz, totally got the book and loved the world of Argenterra.

Here is what she said about the given, Argenterra’s native magic.

“Argenterra’s magic, the given, permeates everyone and everything in the land. It’s used in everything from building and cooking to healing and holding the people to their oaths. I liked how the given not only weaves through the lives of the characters but through the story itself. The given has its own history, champions and enemies. The given lives through the story as a character in its own right, complete with unique relationships with other characters and a life changing challenge.”

The link to the full review is here.

Also the print run of Argenterra has arrived for my Sydney Supanova! I’m all set. I’ve also set up a give away on Goodreads, for Australia, USA, UK, NZ and for some unknown reason Romania! (ineptitude I suspect).

The link to the give away is here

The print book is beautiful! Les Petersen’s cover look fab in the flesh, or the print.

And in case that lovely review inspired you to try Argenterra. Below are the buy links.

Out now!

Argenterra, Silverlands Book 1.

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Cover by Les Petersen

Buy links.

Amazon.com Here

Amazon.com.au Here

Kobo Here

ibooks Here

Print (Amazon.com) Here.

Print elsewhere. Available from Createspace and Ingram Sparks.

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Having your book in print, in physical form, is the best feeling ever! No doubt about it.

Print on Demand (PoD) services are fantastic (if you get the right ones) because with digital publishing technology you can do small print runs (one book) and the books are fairly economical to produce. No longer do you have to do an offset print run (old-style) and have a garage full of unsold books to get a price per unit down to a manageable level. With a print book you can wave it about and say look at me. You can do a book launch, sell books, and do book signings. You can take your book on holiday and photograph it in picturesque places. You can give copies to people. You can sell them. That’s the up side!

The best place for a book is in a book shop. This is because people go to book shops to buy books. They go to browse and if that shiny god of inspiration is shining on your book and your browser, you may get yourself a sale. Baring that, having reviews, word of mouth etc may get a person going into the book store to actually buy your book. Other venues for sales include conventions, but that can result in no sales, a few sales or heaps of sales, depending on a number things, including the size and the book buying inclination of the attendees. On line book stores are fab too. My own experience has been that I go to them when I know what I want and I need it now. On line is not a good place for browsing, unless you have promo! A flag waving promo that says buy me because I’m a must read before you die Alas, those promos cost big biccies.

There’s nothing stopping PoD books being in book stores. Nothing, nothing except a small thing.

Book stores traditionally get a cut from the sale of the book, usually a discount on the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) and this discount can be 40 to 45 percent (sometimes more, maybe less but not so in my experience unless the bookstore owners are awesome and treat you like a star). That’s not so bad is it? I mean I can do that. I have done that given the standard discount on my books to book stores. I’ve got to pay a percentage to the distributor too, lets say 10 to 15 percent. Okay  I’m cool with that. Bring it on! Buy my books in wonderful, awesome bookstores!

Here’s the catch. When bookstores buy from distributors and mainstream publishers they usually have a six months sales and return condition on the purchase. That is, if the books don’t sell they can send them back. This is a risk management set up so that the bookstore doesn’t have the risk of non sales.  There is, of course, firm sale options where bookstores might get a bigger discount if they take a number of books but if they don’t sell they are stuck with them. The risk is on the book seller then.

With PoD, I know with my supplier, I can opt for accepting returns, but I have no idea how that would work. In principle, with POD the book comes into being because of the order so what happens if it is no longer wanted? The options are the book gets destroyed and the purchaser gets a refund on the cost of the book (not the postage) or it gets returned to the distributor and the returnee pays the postage. After this I don’t know what happens. Can it be resold? Dunno! So I’ve opted for no returns.

So in this way, despite  allowing a discount on my books that are comparable to traditional publishers, I am most likely locked out of bookstores, unless I approach them myself and even supply them from my supply of books. My book is not competitive because it can’t be returned (it might be noncompetitive for other reasons too, like no promo, no rep, no sales history etc). The other downside which works against bricks and mortar bookstores supplying/ordering/selling POD titles, is that if they order one book they have to pay postage (usually that would have be passed on to the buyer indirectly or directly). If they ordered five or ten then it would be cheaper but they aren’t going to do that because they can’t return them. If you as a book buyer are lucky enough to have a bookstore that will order in PoD titles then stick to them. Thank them. Send them Christmas cards or seasons greetings because they are awesome. Online it’s a bit different because you expect to pay postage (or not) depending on the store.

The upshot of this is that PoDs are not going to get you heaps of sales through bookstores. They are lovely to have. (I’m going to be selling my pretties at Supanova in Sydney in June!) but we are still small biccies, unless we become big biccies.

I ask myself why I have priced my books to allow bookshops to get the 40 percent and the distributor their percentage. I should race over to my set up page and change it to the minimum, but maybe I’m optimistic that some bookstores will either buy my book or supply it to lovely people who order it in and for that, I’d like them to be compensated.

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Cover by Les Petersen

Buy links for Argenterra here.

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So Argenterra, my YA/adult crossover fantasy is out there in the world. Fly baby, fly.

I have paid for some advertising,  and stuff, but essentially the only copies that have sold so far were friends buying the pre order. I’m very grateful to them! Thanks guys.

I have sent out a couple of review copies. All reviews help! I am waiting to see what the reviewers think. If you want to review it, please let me know.

It’s early days so I’m not going to stress about sales. From past experiences it goes in ups and downs. Discoverability is the biggest challenge with ebooks or small press or Indie publishing. The book is not sitting on a shelf in a book store waving hello to you as you walk in. (As an aside the print book is discounted to book stores at 40% and can be ordered via Ingrams.) For buy links click  here or see My Books Tab.

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Cover by Les Petersen

What I did want to say is that Argenterra is first in a series and I’m committed to putting the three books out. There should be a cliff hanger warning too! For that reason I’ve included the first chapter of book two at the end of book one.

As a self/Indie publisher I can make the commitment to publish the whole series. I may not put them all out in hard copy print, but we’ll see what demand is like. I’m currently revising/polishing book 2, The Crystal Gate. It’s written but I haven’t looked at the draft since 2009. My writing has changed a bit since then. I need to have it beta read, edited before I can layout etc. The proofing and stuff can take a couple of weeks too. I’m hoping to finish the revision by the end of May.

Book Three is partially drafted at 50,000 words. At the time I was writing it, I figured it wasn’t worth finishing a trilogy that hadn’t sold. Now the publishing world is completely different. Now it’s my trilogy and I’m in control so I will get it done and out there.Drafting book three to 135,000 words may take until much later in the year.

Control is so underrated.

As Dragon Wine was put out by Momentum, I had no say in the book being split in two, which people complained about. And as the books didn’t sell sufficiently well, they declined to publish the next book in the series.  A nice blow after working on it for ten years! Thousands were downloaded for free, but unfortunately that didn’t translate to sales. However, the next book is drafted and I will try to get it out later in the year. It’s a bit hard when I don’t have the rights to the first book and given it’s lack lustre performance and it’s very dark nature I can’t quite make up my mind what to do. It’s hard not to get disheartened and lose faith in your work. Alas, Momentum is no more, but Pan Mac have the rights. The Dragon Wine series is quite complex and dark. I may have to lighten it a bit before I publish the next installment. If I publish it.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

My previous post may have sounded a bit down on traditional publishers. It wasn’t meant to be. It’s just that the crisis in publishing is affecting everyone in the industry and it makes life difficult, particularly here in Australia. I have an agent trying sell a book to traditional publishers.It’s a good book-hasn’t sold but I’m not giving up yet on that. I’ve only half written the sequel to that.  I have more books written that I’d like to see get traditional publishing deals. It’s just tough out there and it takes a lot of time. With 15 years worth of writing behind me, I have a little bit of a back list of unpublished novels. I’m also working on new ones. I may be hyper active. Here’s hoping the PhD will keep me busy, too busy to write anything else but the PhD novel.

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Since my last post I’ve been reading and researching and then I took time out to attend the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra. I would have been doing this regardless of what else I chose to do. I’m just weird that way. I do cool stuff!

This is my second time at the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra. Last year I only attended two part days. One reason for that was that I was still working on my dress until late morning on the Saturday. For some reason I failed to enroll in any of the interesting sessions on at the festival, which meant I had to watch the dancing. I had hurt my foot so couldn’t participate. I met up with fellow writer Bronwyn Parry and her family and friends. I met some other people I knew too. I enjoyed it immensely then and took part in the promenade and carriage rides etc.

This year, I got my organization mojo going (I thought). I enrolled in a pre festival workshop to make a bonnet. This was a fab idea. I was interested in Aylwen’s method and I thought it was a good way to ease into the festival, maybe meet people. I failed, however, to enroll in any of the additional sessions. I couldn’t figure it out. Later I found a clue, an email had been sent in February with a password. Doh!

making bonnet

Cutting out the bonnet- a buckram construction

 

Unfortunately this year I also developed pain in the spine, everywhere and that put a dampener on things. I was going to participate in the dance tutorials, but egads! They were at nine o’clock! So pumped with painkillers I made it in on Friday. I sat and sewed with Bronwyn. I was on a mission to hand sew a white muslin gown. In the evening I participated in a dance. Nothing vigorous. But it was good to get out of the chair and move about. The atmosphere was fab! So many beautiful gowns. Dymocks Civic had a book stall so I bought a number of books. I also bought a second hand sari for converting into a gown and some fluffy feathers for bonnet trim.

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Books purchased at JAFA -some for my sewing and one for research

 

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Feathers and Fabric

Aylwen and John Gardiner-Garden are the organisers with volunteer helpers. The festival was managed wonderfully. I have organized SF conventions so I know how hard that is to do. The catering was wonderful and I don’t know how either of them could stand by Sunday night. John’s energy with the dance instruction and calling was indefatigable. The music was divine.

 

sewing

Sewing with Bronwyn, Lauren and Kate

 

Saturday I stayed home for the morning. I hurt a lot, but rested and sewed and finished my gown. (this was for two reasons. I’m writing a Regency romance where the heroine sews gowns and I wanted to see if I could)

More painkillers and I was at the festival again. More dancing (just a little) but mostly watching and talking to people. I also bought a new bonnet blank (a straw base in the shape of a Regency bonnet for later trimming). My attempt at frugal practices was dead in the dirt by this time. I stayed for the Grand Napoleon Ball until after supper. I was hanging out to try the Syllabub. I went home earlyish.

This is a shot of me in my trimmed bonnet. I did it in a hurry as I had it for a year and was too ashamed not to trim it and wear it. Turned out well I think.

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Lauren and Kate in their lovely gowns. The Grand Napoleon Ball

 

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Assembled for the ball. I finished the white muslin gown all by hand.

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The hem detail of my dress. I had some vintage lace. I need to extend the hem as I ran out of fabric in the front.

Sunday and I was pain free. I was so happy that I was out the door relatively early. I missed the breakfast but I did buy some Bingley Teas. Bronwyn was delivering a workshop so I hung out with another writer Beverley and we had some morning tea. The big event for me was the promenade to the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens (Senate) where we had a picnic.

 

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Picnic!

 

 

I was pretty exhausted but did a dance lesson then listened to a talk on Regency and tea, had seconds of syllabub and went home. There was another ball after that but I was done in. I don’t know how people do it. What a jampacked weekend. Next year I want my daughters to come and Matthew too. I have a fantasy with him wearing Regency costume and dancing with me. I should take a pill.

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Me in the bonnet I made at the workshop. (not 100 per cent finished) and wearing the dress I made last year.

 

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Today it’s back to the PhD study. I’m working on questionnaires for readers and writers of romance and in depth interview questions. I feel it is a bit early to develop these but I have to submit my research proposal with my ethics clearance. I can’t do any interviewing etc until I have ethics clearance at that can take months. The form! My god. It’s complicated. I am so glad my supervisor, Tony, knows what it requires. So I’m sitting here at my desk avoiding work! Not! It’s good to recap I suppose. Now it’s time to be diligent.

Now it’s time to read about Bourdieu and drink some tea.

 

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I feel naughty! I’ve put a book up on Amazon for pre-order (other retailers to come). I feel nervous, excited and liberated too.

It’s been an interesting experience, one of commitment and camaraderie. I had to commit to working on the whole series this year. I had to pay for an edit and a cover. Anything to do with spending money when I’m now retired is a BIG commitment. Then there has been the camaraderie, the network of writer friends who have or who are embarking on Indie publishing. So much assistance and advice freely given. It’s been wonderful. Thank you all.

Cover by Les Petersen

Cover by Les Petersen (lespetersen.com.au)

The cover does have a YA feel but that’s deliberate because it does have YA leanings for sure. Fish out of water, coming of age etc. It’s also about romance, though I’m told it’s not fantasy romance. This is mainly because there are three different relationships. I can’t spoil it though! After fifteen years, it’s amazing to see it out there. Only me and maybe a couple of old friends knew the early version– the rank beginner Donna. It wasn’t my first novel ever. I’ve not had that much commitment to Relic (SF romance, Feminist SF) my first novel attempt, which I haven’t given up on completely. (I was just advised to wait until I was a better writer as it was a worthy project). Argenterra was my first fantasy ever. My first Indie published book.

Now for the outtakes….Sophy and Aria. Their names used to be Sapphire and Misty. However, while on a Writers’ Retreat, my very first, Russell Kirkpatrick and Paul Ewins said those names sounded like unicorn names. It was funny at the time but I did change the name. I always had trouble with Sapphire as a name. People found it odd. I couldn’t understand that because I knew a Sapphire. So Sophy and Aria it is.

Here is the pre-order link.

 

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I’ve joined Patty Jansen’s free book promo for first in a series. There are 66 books up there for free in the SF and F genres. Shatterwing is up there too.

book promo

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

I’ll be back with a review post of the Ai Weiwei/Warhol exhibition!

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Gillian Polack is the author of many things fiction and non-fiction. She’s also a medieval historian, food history guru and a science fiction PHD, her second! I’m probably not doing her justice.

Anyway, I have Gillian here on my blog today to talk about her fab new book (Co-authored with Katrin Kania): The Middle Ages Unlocked- A guide to life in medieval England, 1050-1300.

Gillian and KatrinThis book is a fab resource for writers who want to write about medieval societies and for lovers of history.

How did you come up with the concept for the book?

I didn’t come up with the concept: my friends did. A group of people on a now-defunct email list said “We so need a book that tells us about the Middle Ages in an easy-to-read way that’s properly researched and can be used by writers.”  The friends were from the UK and US and Canada and Australia. Some of them were writers. Some of them were tired of writers not quite understanding things. They got me involved…

How did you two authors find each other?

In a pub! Seriously, we were introduced to each other by Shana Worthen at the big Medieval Congress in Leeds in 2011. It was an international conference, but it was one for Medievalists, and it always has at least one pub. For the record, I was drinking a rather nice English cider. Shana knew about the Beast and I asked her if she wanted to see it. I whipped out my trusty netbook and Katrin read over her shoulder and somehow ended up being drawn into being co-author! Since then, I have taken to carrying all my work with me, everywhere, just in case I meet someone who needs to share it.

Did it take a long time to develop the scope of the book?

It took years and years. Because writers and the general public said “We need this book” I had a good general concept about what kind of topic would be covered and that the approach needed to be easy to read but go into as much depth as was possible in a general work. We (the various people involved at different stages) played with several approaches and a wide range of subjects. Tamara Mazzei still has a timeline she developed for an earlier iteration, for instance, and I still have a list of plants and their uses. A couple of writer friends tested beta versions for their fiction and I could tell how effective different elements were by how they wrote and what further questions they need to ask. By the time Katrin came on board the topics were mostly settled but it covered both France and England. It focussed on England quite late, because it was a better fit for British publishers, but we refined approaches to the bitter end. The Middle Ages Unlocked wasn’t easy, but it was most definitely worth the effort, as I’ve already seen it being read and used by those same people who asked for it, all those years ago.

How long did it take from the concept to completion?

About fifteen years, all up. I’m still surprised when I see it in bookshops, because it’s had the longest development and most work of any of my books. Given how prone I am to research, this is worrying.

At 384 pages it looks to be quite an undertaking! Did you have to  leave stuff out?

We left out more than we put in.  Several times the amount that went in, in fact. The perfect version (from my point of view) would have been enormous. We followed our publisher’s guidelines, however, for those guidelines were there with much good reason behind them, and we wrote the best possible work that was actually publishable.

How did you go about finding a publisher?

We approached publishers that we had contacts with and that were a really good fit for our project. One of them suggested Amberley, for they felt that Amberley was an even better fit than they were: if ever I meet that editor I will buy her a drink, for she was both generous and correct.

I  notice a lot of writers gave you cover quotes. Do you see the book as a resource for writers only? Did all that bad fantasy drive you to spend years of your life developing this book?

It was first designed for writers, but it’s grown to be a volume that’s for the general public. And bad fantasy had nothing to do with it! I’ve taught history to writers for two decades and so it was quite natural for writers to say to me “Why don’t you pull together a book that presents this to a wider audience?” This means the demand came from writers who wanted more, not writers who were lazy about their world-building. I find this very reassuring.

Initial S: The Lord Appearing to David in the Water; Bute Master (Franco-Flemish, active about 1260 - 1290); Northeastern (illuminated)  France Paris (written)  France; illumination about 1270 - 1280; written about 135 - 1375; Tempera colors, gold, and iron gall ink on parchment; Leaf: 17 x 11.9 cm (6 11/16 x 4 11/16 in.); Ms. 46, fol. 92

Initial S: The Lord Appearing to David in the Water; Bute Master (Franco-Flemish, active about 1260 – 1290); Northeastern (illuminated) France Paris (written) France; illumination about 1270 – 1280; written about 135 – 1375; Tempera colors, gold, and iron gall ink on parchment; Leaf: 17 x 11.9 cm (6 11/16 x 4 11/16 in.); Ms. 46, fol. 92

What was the favourite thing you did in this book?

I was really happy to pull together what was known about dance. I’d been meaning to do this for myself and the book gave me an excuse.

What was the hardest section for you? (I noticed at the Q&A you said there were areas where you had a lot of research and some was more general)

The hardest section as the one that dealt with all the bad things in society. It could have had a lot more detail, but neither Katrin nor I could deal with any more detail about people being hurt!
I guess there are things we will never know about the past.  How does that you make you feel as a historian?

Perfectly normal. Historians are always aware we can’t know everything: it’s part of the job description.  History is an interpretative discipline, not one where absolute knowledge is possible.

Do you have other historical projects in the pipe line or is it fiction for you from now on?

I’m nearly finished a book specifically about how writers use history in their fiction. it will be published next year. And I’m starting work on a novel set in the seventeenth century. I’ve already sifted through hundreds of primary sources (over 800) to sort out how I will  deal with various aspects, but the real work on it will hopefully take place next year. I’m also doing work on other peoples’ writing: there’s an article by me in the next issue of Foundation, for example.

Where can people buy the book?

In Australia, ask your local bookshop to get it in: since it’s only just been released here, most shops don’t know about it yet. Online, almost every shop stocks it. In the UK, try Blackwell’s or ask your local bookshop to get The Middle Ages Unlocked in. In the US, either online shops or wait until October, for it won’t be released in the US until then. If you can’t wait, online shops in the UK will sell it to you.

Easiest way is to buy from Book Depository Link here.

Gillian book cover
Thank you for visiting the blog today, Gillian. Mazel Tov!

Thank you for having me!

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It is my pleasure to have Jane here today. When I first met Jane I was an aspiring writer with more zeal than talent or craft. Jane made an impression on me as an author who was happy to share her experience and was very gracious and friendly. Jane is a prior winner of the Aurealis Award for fantasy novel and remember thinking when we me met, wow, just wow. I managed to talk her into coming to Conflux in Canberra… maybe more than once.

Jane Routely

Jane Routley

Jane has provided some wonderful and insightful answers to the interview questions. Some of her habits I can totally relate to.

Your new novel is coming out. Can you tell us a bit about it?

In The Three Sisters, a woman warrior and a mage, who refuses to grow up, traverse an oppressed land in order find a kidnapped sister. Elena, the missing sister, has the curse of Fatal Beauty which means those who see her desire to own her. Unbeknowst to the sisters hidden powers are manipulating their destinies.

The Three Sisters was published some time ago by Harper Collins U.S. under a pseudonym. Clan Destine Press have been kind enough to bring it out as an ebook under my own name so that it can be read in Australia.

There is an unpublished sequel called The Melded Child which I very much hope Clan Destine will bring out in the next year or so.

Jane tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc)

I’m from Melbourne although I spent seven years in the 90’s living in Frankfurt and Copenhagen. I was a trailing spouse when I lived in Europe so I started writing then. I’d always wanted to be a writer so I figured it was time stop making excuses and knuckle down. I’ve published 4 novels and a number of short stories. Two of the Dion Chronicles won Aurealis Awards for the best fantasy novel in the year they came out.

Print edition from Ticonderoga Publications through Indie Books Online and

Ebook edition.

I had a big slump in the early naughties. Changes in the publishing world made it very difficult for a while and I completely lost my confidence. I never stopped writing but I’m back to finishing things for publication again.

Jane what do you find so attractive about the fantasy genre? In what ways do you find it fulfilling?

I’ve always loved history but I find historical fiction a bit limiting. You’re stuck with an already set out world and if your characters are well known to history you know how they’re going to end up. I’m interesting in travelling in new worlds. At the moment I’m interested in exploring a world in which wealth is passed down through the female line, which is does happen in our world too, but not on a state level. I thought it hadn’t been explored enough in fantasy. I’ve also always loved fairy tales – the sense of wonder that comes from magic. You can do that in fantasy. I do like the way people like Kate Forsyth are combining history and fantasy in books like Bitter Greens.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on “Shadow in the Empire of Light” at the moment. “Shadow” is about an orphan without magical gifts in a powerful family of mages stuck in the country managing the family estates with only an eccentric aunt and a telepathic cat for company. It’s about her breaking out to find her own way in the world.

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

As a writer I’m more of a panster than a planner. I know what I’m interested in writing about and I usually have some idea of where I want to go, but I never have much idea of how I’m going to get there. Every book I start I try to be more of a planner. It must save so much time and angst. I always get to a point where the book goes dead and I’ve learned that that’s because I’m trying to make the characters do something that doesn’t work. Gee it’s miserable when it happens. I wish I didn’t have to go through it. On the other hand I get bored easily, so perhaps it’s best if I don’t know how things are going to go.

As a panster, I know I write stories and books to see what’s going to happen if… What if a woman was irresistibly beautiful as Elena is in The Three Sisters. What is it like to colonized? This is a big theme in Australia History. So I set up these conditions, invent these characters and just keep asking what if… until I get closer and closer to the story that feels right for me. It’s a bit like being an archaeologist or painting an oil painting.

I try to write most days for at least an hour, two preferably. I work part time so it makes that easier. I don’t wait for inspiration. I just sit down at the computer and stay there until my time is up. If I can’t write I sit there and feel bored. Sometimes I get stuck but even then I sit down. I’ve never had writers block really badly though I have had some really miserable times sitting at my desk. If I can’t think of anything to write I write in my diary (usually a sadly neglected file)

Elizabeth Jolley once said that one way to avoid getting stuck was to leave the previous day’s work slightly unfinished so that you’ve got something to go on with when you sit down next. I find that always works for me.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Despite the fact that I’ve set up my life to be a writer, I still find sitting down to do it the hardest thing of all. Almost anything is easier than writing. There are still those little voices in my head saying that I’m wasting my time and that nobody wants to read this stuff. I’m very achievement orientated and signs of achievement come very slowly when you’re a writer.

There’s much more instant gratification to be had from doing the garden or having morning coffee with friends or watching eight hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And much more fun chatting on social media. That why I make myself sit down for a couple of hours on a computer that’s not on-line (yes such things do exist.) Otherwise I probably wouldn’t write at all and I’d get very down and grumpy and not know why. I regularly need to remind myself that if it makes you happy, it’s worth doing even if nobody else thinks it’s worthwhile. But I write to be read which is why I finish things.

What do you prefer, drafting the story or revising and reworking?

I find the drafting really really hard work and as I said earlier I sometimes get stuck. Plotting is the hardest part of a story. I really enjoy the reworking and the revising because you have the certainty of knowing where you’re going and you have the pleasure of adding texture to the world that can really make it sparkle. I actually go through each novel three times at least. Once to do a very detailed first draft and the second time to add the flesh to the bones and the third time to polish the prose.

What do you plan to work on next?

I’d like to do a sequel to Shadow in the Empire of Light though ideally I should try and find it a home before I start. I’m also half way through a man on man time travel romance which I started years ago and have been working on on and off for years. I’d love to finish that.

The Three Sisters book cover

The Three Sisters book cover

Here is the blurb!

“A captivating read” Sara Douglass

Three sisters, estranged from the Society they are destined to save. Elena, more beautiful than any man can resist, is kidnapped, her destiny controlled by the men who desire her. Yani, warrior woman, brave, strong, able to pass as a man, who will do anything to find Elena. Marigoth, powerful female mage, determined never to grow up, equally committed to finding their missing sister. In a country oppressed and cruelly ruled, the fate of many people lies in the unsuspecting hands of these three women.

Published by Clan Destine Press link here.   Ebook format. Available also in kindle or mobi

Price AUS $6.79

ISBN  9780992492595

Thank you so much Jane for elaborating on your writing processes.

You can find Jane online at www.janeroutley.com.au and

https://www.facebook.com/jane.routley.5

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/333390.Jane_Routley

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