Path Unchosen Cover

Path Unchosen is the title of my novel. It’s the story of an apprentice necromancer who discovers that someone is deliberately raising zombies. She risks her life, and her soul, to stop them before any more innocent people die. This book is the first in a somewhat darkish urban fantasy series I’ve called Daughter of Ravenswood.

dfw-kc-pu-cover-largeI’m very happy with the cover, which was designed by Andrew Brown, of Design for Writers.Β  I like its feel, its just the right amount of creepiness πŸ™‚

According to Dr. Carl Jung ravens symbolize our shadow selves, the dark side of our psyches. If we want to be whole we need to acknowledge and communicate with that dark side. Wholeness brings balance, and facilitates wisdom (something the wise raven would be very pleased with). It might be the end of the series before we see how much balance and wisdom my heroine achieves.

Can you see the dragon? Nothing thematic here. I just like dragons, and can’t imagine writing a story without one!

I am also pleased with the series and book titles. It’s funny though, as soon as you decide on a book title, you can’t remember or imagine any others. The hours, days, even weeks of indecision and brain pain are forgotten.

The name Path Unchosen was suggested by one of my beta readers when I begged for help after pulling out the last strands of my hair! The series name and future books in the series came slightly easier πŸ˜›

It will be available as an eBook soon, and in print in a few weeks. I’m so glad I decided to self-publish. Even though its mentally exhausting I can’t imagine not being in control of my own business. Exciting times ahead πŸ™‚

What do you think of the cover? What does it suggest to you?

On Being Welsh

Beddgelert, North Wales by A Roger Davies on Flickr (cc)

Beddgelert, North Wales by A Roger Davies on Flickr (cc)

I’m not sure why I feel so Welsh.
Though I do.
I always have.

I grew up in Birmingham in the UK. But my family hails from Wales (and before that Ireland) and we spent every holiday in our caravan in a Welsh camping ground. Mostly we stayed at a small village near Rhyl.

Late sun on New Years Day, Conwy Valley, Wales, UK by erwlas on Flickr (cc)

Late sun on New Years Day, Conwy Valley, Wales, UK by erwlas on Flickr (cc)

Perhaps it’s because of the happiest memories: of forest walks and mountain climbs. Donkey rides on the stony beach. Hot chips in newspaper, the salt rough on my lips. Ice-cream cones melting down my wrist. Vinegar on bee stings and bulls in green fields. Waggly tails on black faced lambs. Even in summer, it rained like old ladies and sticks (mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn). Spots hammered against the caravan windows, and we grabbed books and jigsaw puzzles to wait for the sun to come out.

Wales, UK by neiljs on Flickr (cc)

Wales, UK by neiljs on Flickr (cc)

When I first started writing my short story (the one that turned into an urban fantasy novel, you can read about that here) the setting was always Wales in my head. No-one wants to read paragraphs of description anymore, so the trick is to give a snippet of setting in context that sets the scene for readers. I hope I’ve achieved that!

A stormy day at Mewslade Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK by geographyalltheway.com on Flickr (cc)

A stormy day at Mewslade Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK by geographyalltheway.com on Flickr (cc)

My father, like a dog with two tails (fel ci efo dau gynffon), remembered a few words of Welsh at the end of his life and told us stories of scrumping apples, catching rabbits for dinner, and doing anything to avoid working in the pits. That’s how we ended up in Birmingham!

Knowing who I am makes me stronger.

How about you? Do you know where you come from? Does it help you to understand who you are?

Until next time, Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn (The dragon will show the way).

Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn
Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn

I Have My Pet Dragon. Now What?

zoe52 on flickr.com

zoe52 on flickr.com

Firstly his all important name. Even tiny dragons are proud creatures and won’t succumb to a fluffy or boring name. I asked my friends and they told me their dragons were called Smokie, Felix, Diedre, Drago, Smaug, Ilkra, Venus, Trevor, Indly and Sebastian.

A fabulous collection but I was still stumped. I asked what their dragons did, why they chose that particular dragon.

Did they pick a dragon for their flying skills? Protection services? Fire breathing? Just to look awesome? Or is he a companion dragon who keeps toes warm and who reads feelings and fears?

My friends have dragons that light the fire and BBQ, cook bacon, keep their toes warm, fly them over the ocean, comfort them when they are afraid, and smote their enemies with fierce snarls and flaming curls. One friend has twin dragons who morph into 6′ tall devilishly handsome men, she tells me they have very large … feet.

My silvery grey baby is bouncing around the house like an excited puppy. A rather large one admittedly. I’ve planned how I’ll train him, my new baby dragon. The fire-proofing was more expensive than I thought it would be. And he bounced onto the bed with a such a whoosh he vaulted right over to the other side – it’s lucky the bed is king-size and the room large, and I may need to widen the doors as he grows …

dragon1As he prowled along the perimeter like a medieval knight, his name came to me. I whispered it into the chill grey evening with a smile growing on my face. He swiveled his ears, released a few sparks and bounced into the air. I may need to rethink the garden!

Aymon followed me inside and nosed at the treat cupboard, eyes bright and tail bouncing on the floor. Jumping over his tail will be great exercise I think πŸ™‚

What are your tips for dragon training? Do you have a favorite name? At what age will you let your child choose their own dragon?

Has The Writing Bug Bitten You?

I know some people are born to write, but I am not one of them!

bug

The writing bug fluttered into my life when illness laid me low. I was desperate to get back to work full-time and taught myself to write with my left hand – it was legible (sort of) but so slow. When my left hand suffered like my right, I started typing with speech software. I spent many an afternoon shouting into the microphone – everyone knows if you shout at it, it works better … right?

Obviously I needed more practice – lots more practice!

I couldn’t focus for long but I re-discovered a yen for poetry. As my health improved I attended a writing course, joined a writers society and spoke out a few (really dreadful lol) short stories. Then I ran out of ideas. A brilliant career nipped in its tender bud! Corporate writing no longer held any excitement, in fact by this stage I couldn’t remember how I’d ever enjoyed it. I sought inspiration but failed to find it.

Then a friend gave me an opening line I loved and I started writing a short story. At 5,000 words, my sister, a few friends and my new writing class mates kindly encouraged me. At 10,000 words, I should have stopped and neatened up the short story. Instead, I kept going, I reached 35,000 words and realised I didn’t want to stop.

Thank you Graeme for the opening line, and Jenny also for loving my characters as much as I do and staying with me through many versions and revisions πŸ™‚

The opening line has changed, but those words that inspired me are still in my story.

That was 18 months ago, since then I’ve devoured craft classes and books and written many more words than I’ve kept; and written and removed scenes, settings and characters. I knew how to write marketing material, but it’s nothing like writing a novel; the journey of discovery is full of challenges and frustration, but mostly it’s full of joy.

Have you ever misplaced your inspiration? Where did you find it?

Paulie Pig

I love staying with my sister on her small farm in rural Victoria. We are city born but Jenny has set deep roots in the country. She lives in a magical place surrounded by tall trees at the end of a 4km dirt driveway. Alpacas, sheep, chickens, dogs, a pig and a cat share her home; wallabies and koalas visit every day. Bright red parrots eat the fruit from her trees before it ripens, but she doesn’t care, they carry little pieces of magic on their glorious wings.

Did I tell you about the pig? He is called Paulie, is big, black and a little scary.

image

Well I am a scared of him anyway! He behaves like a dog, and sulks like a toddler. Jenny assures me he can always be distracted with fruit … That may be the case but I prefer to throw it from a distance πŸ™‚

The first time we visited, Jenny showed us around the farm – including the old farmhouse, barn and dairy – with the dogs and Paulie the pig in tow. While I was across the other side of the barn, Paulie nudged my oldest dog Ellie and sent her flying over in a commando roll. I vaulted over bales of hay to get to Ellie; she picked herself up, shook herself and carried on snuffling farm smells as if she tripped over a tree root. The pig grunted. My sister bent double laughing.

In her defence Jenny did make sure Ellie was okay first … But then she doubled up laughing. Apparently me flying across a barn yelling ‘bad pig’ is somewhat amusing.

Of course you can only take the fruit protection so far. If you walk around with it in your pockets he sniffs it out and starts snuffling …

Do you like short stays in the country?Β  Or do you have your roots firmly in rural soil?