Blood of the Fallen is on Amazon!

My first book, Blood of the Fallen, was published earlier this year by Quest Publications. Take a look!

Theldiniya has been torn apart by two hundred gruelling years of war, both sides forsaken by their ancient gods. One last desperate strike by the Tyrans has prophesised doom for their people, yet, undeterred by the Seer’s cataclysmic predictio11155060_1598373177116204_2088180603197338027_ons, a clan of Tyran warriors have moved east to attack a small Elven village. The Seer turns to Villid, his last true friend, in hopes that he will help protect the Elf Seer and save the Tyran people. When Villid is framed for a crime he didn’t commit he finds an unexpected ally in Aya, an Elf girl, forcing them to rely on each other to survive. In such turbulent times an unlikely friendship is formed between those who once would have been enemies…

Blood of the Fallen is a high fantasy with a touch (just a touch, mind) of romance. Warning: mild violence.

*Read the author interview here

*Visit the Quest Publications website

The Bad, the Weird and the Ugly

I thought I’d share my experiences with you about a particularly INSANE person who calls himself a writer. For his privacy, I’m not going to mention his name or the name of his book, so please don’t ask me to. I’m just sharing the hilarity. There’s quite a lot of text here, so here’s a picture of a puppy.

Photo credit goes to dogtypesntraining.com
Photo credit goes to dogtypesntraining.com

Now, I’m not one to be snobby or judgemental. I do my best to be the opposite of that. This guy contacted me because a mutual friend (or mutual acquaintance, really – we were both part of the same online writing group) recommended me to him as an editor/proofreader. I was freelancing at the time, and I was glad of the work.

She sent me a sort of pre-warning, though. “It looks like a first draft,” she said. “And it’s riddled with errors. I don’t have time to highlight every third word, so I recommended you to him.” Again, I was happy to get some editing work.

This guy messages me, naming himself ‘Novelist’ after his Facebook name. Cool, whatever. He sends me a very badly written email with his book attached. Maybe he was in a hurry and didn’t bother to proofread; it was only an email, after all. I opened the file and got stuck in.

You know, in the first few paragraphs I thought, “This isn’t that bad. He’s described the landscape a bit. It’s in the present tense, but let’s see if it works.” Oh wow, was I in for a ride.

I can’t begin to describe how bad this book was. I’m not exaggerating. As our mutual acquaintance had said, it seemed like a rough first draft. The first real scene with something happening skimmed over the action, with poorly-chosen vocabulary. This carried on for nearly 90,000 words. By the time I was done, every single paragraph was highlighted and commented and crossed out.

But that’s not the worst of it, and this isn’t about his.. ahem.. “book”. I’ve edited bad books before. That’s not where the insane comes in.

A few months ago, the same guy messages me and asks me to write a review. Well, I’ll let the screenshots do the rest. Enjoy.

Please click the image to enlarge it.

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He was starting to bug me, but I didn’t think I would have to delete my review just because it hurt his ego. Then things got out of hand. By the way, this guy is in his sixties.

Please click the image to enlarge it.

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Wow, right?

Anyway, just thought I’d share. I ended up blocking him on social media (even though he tried using his wife’s Facebook to get back in touch lol) and also reported him on Amazon. He’s taken his book down from Amazon since, maybe in the hopes it’ll make my review disappear. Hopefully that’s the last I’ve heard of him.

Thoughts on Criticism: 3 Things About Being a Writer

3 Things About Being a Writer (calling them ‘facts’ seemed to be a little bold, as they’re just thoughts from an inexperienced, and far from successful, writer.)

  • People will hate it. There’s no getting away from that. Think about your favourite writer, and search their book on Amazon. Does it have any one-star reviews? If not, they’re a extraordinarily rare case. You could be the best writer in the world and still have people who put it down. Take criticism well, and definitely don’t let it get you down.
  • You will hate it. Writers have a love-hate relationship with their work at the best of times. Whether it’s after reading your first draft, or six months after it’s published, you will hate what you’ve written at some point. Did you know that even J.K. Rowling said she’s read through her Harry Potter books and cringed? Don’t worry about it. The light will reach you, and you will realise why you put those hours into your work in the first place. And remember, too, that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. The worst thing you can do is quit.
  • You must write what you want to write, not what others want. There’s a fine line between catering to the current market and just writing what you think others want to hear. Have you ever had that feeling where you must write down that raw, embarassing truth, without anything or anyone on the outside forcing it to change? Hold onto that feeling. Editing for the sake of making sense and improvement is fine, but never change to suit others if you’re not okay with it. Writing is yours, and yours alone. That’s what makes it beautiful.

I’ve had good feedback and bad feedback for Blood of the Fallen (thankfully more good than bad so far). As a writer, or indeed any kind of artist, you have to be prepared for criticism. There will always be people out there who will hate what you do, and sometimes they’ll give good reasons for it. You can’t please everybody. The best thing you can do is take positive feedback as encouragement and a reason to carry on, and take bad feedback as constructive and use it to better yourself. There’s no way to avoid bad feedback unless you just stop writing – or singing, or dancing, or drawing, or whatever it is that you do. And if you stop your passion because you’re scared of being criticised, then you’ve lost your purpose in life.

Do you remember Shrinkydinks?

Did you ever play with Shrinkydinks when you were a kid?

Photo credit goes to rainbowresource.com
Photo credit goes to rainbowresource.com

They’re great. You draw a picture on a piece of plastic, stick it in the oven for ten minutes and it comes out smaller and harder – you can use it as jewellery, a keyring, whatever you like. It’s loads of fun.

I found them again in Daiso (100 yen shop) and bought a bunch of stuff for them. Right now I’m working on a project – I can’t wait to show you when it’s finished!

Did you ever play with Shrinkydinks as a kid?

“Get yer knickers off”

Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of the podcasts from the Ricky Gervais Show featuring Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington – the latter being one of my favourite people to listen to, ever. Gervais’ hilarious laughing makes it even better. Some of the podcasts are free on YouTube, and shorter, animated versions are available too. Check this out for a taster, it’s hilarious.

I’m pretty sure Ricky fell off his chair laughing at the end.

I usually listen to the podcasts when I’m eating dinner or drawing. A great way to have a laugh before bed 🙂