Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shield Wall goes live!


With the world being what it is, you can already pre-order Shield Wall from Amazon and The Book Depository - which has the advantage of providing free world wide shipping.

Who could beat that? Go knock yourself out!

What do authors do when they'd not writing?

My editor's had the book for four days now and not a peep! Shame on him!

Well. I've sorted through the boxes in the spare room, cooking more than the family can eat, and getting some exercise: as well as imbibing a touch of bubbly each night, now that hang-overs no longer mean a missed day of work. Not sure how much longer I can find things to do, but at least we have a holiday booked (first for six years no less) with our favourite Australians, in Bali, at the end of October.


By which point I will be tearing my beard out in my frustration to get back to writing. Very much looking forward to getting into the next book, and getting some pay off from all the clever threads I have set up in book one.

- Just checked email, and no he still hasnt't got back to me!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In the post

there was a time when finishing a book led to a long hour or two, sitting nervously over a dot matrix printer, refilling it with paper, removing printed sheathes and then putting it all into an envelope, and carrying you love-child to the post office, where it was sent, and mentally tracked from post to sorting office, and eventually to your editor's desk.

Comments came back by post. By hand.

Now, there is a little less ceremony. You finishing the book. Spell check, then pop it into an email and press send.

Shieldwall went off yesterday, at 149,143 words of un-putdownable action emotion and battle!

Usually, at this point (3 years, 11 months) I'm sick of the thing, but I love this book, and want to get straight back to it, just to iron out the last few little details.

And usually, finishing a novel leads to a hole in my life: like losing a lover, but with this book being the first of a series, I'm itching to get back.

The Scene of the crime....socks and all!

And something entirely random for Mid Autumn Festival

Sunday, September 5, 2010

tolkien professor

It's funny where ideas and inspirations come from, and I cam across Corey Olson's podcast, The Tolkien Professor, recently and found it very informative: not least because it allows me to enjoy the works without actually having to read them; nor even that Corey Olsen is a professor with a phd in medieval literature, which gives him fabulous insights into the way Tolkien crafted his stories - but also (and I was talking to one of my postgrad students about this recently) - the way Tolkien framed and structured and thought about his stories was very different to the way we think now in the modern novel.

This is great - as it allows new depth and insight into a story - and offers an alternative to the more generic way of telling stories propogated through creative writing courses and hollywood script writing clinics.

Grump over. If you're at all a fan, go and subscribe, some really interesting material there.

Back on the book front, I managed to finish five chapters last week and send them over to my editor: which means I've polished fourteen overall and with seven to go. Hoping to finish it off by the end of the week, but who knows.

Catching up

You might have noticed, my life stopped in March. I'm not dead, of course. Still kicking! But it was in March that my in-laws arrived... (Blair and Marie - Only kidding!)

No. In March I started reworking my novel. And it's been a long and challenging and fun process, during which I've blithely missed deadline after deadline, and my poor editor's blood pressure has gone sky high.

Luckily for him, I've almost finished - and I've learnt a lot this year about writing and stories, and feel a little dumb that it's all taken me so long. It'll be four years in November, I think, which isn't bad for 'literary fiction' (hate that term) and appalling for pulp deadlines, which range about 3 months a book.

What's been slightly surreal, is that publishing takes about 9 months to wind into action. And as I've been cutting and resculpting, strange web pages have been appearing all around me, selling a book I haven't finished yet.

Of course, the amazon pages are just gratifying - if not a little odd when you're hot in Japan, because when my mother asks why haven't I finished, yet again, I can just send her to the page and prove that this book does exist.

But much more warming and encouraging are nice comments from readers on the historical fiction forums, where they've noticed my forthcoming series, as well as saying some really nice things about Passing Under Heaven.

It's lovely to read nice things about books you wrote a long time ago from people who aren't related to you. And I feel a little guilty it's all taken so long. But I have been busy, and am delighted to say I'm now full-time at the English Dept of City University Hong Kong.

We're also expecting our fourth child in January, 2011, so 2011 is looking like a really exciting year.

It's way too early for new year resolutions, but is it too late to fulfill ones I made last New Year?! In January I promised myself I would blog once a week, and so, very late on in the year, I'm getting my life back from my novel, and letting it go off into a life of its own.

And in that fabulously rambling way, I'm promising my readers something to perk up thier mondays...