Year end. My first as a published author, if only two months of it. I made a plan for this one, and I think I’m going to do so each year, to keep people up to date and to keep myself on track.
So, first things first, how did the last plan turn out? Frostfire was released and seems to be doing well enough (so far as I can tell), so that’s the big thing out of the way!
I didn’t follow the plan too strongly with the rest though. Plaguewalkers got edited, but Stormspinner didn’t. Shelter in Shadow got mostly drafted, but not entirely. Sandtide was fully drafted, but only moderate work was done on more Folded Land stories. I did however draft the sequel to Frostfire, Embershard, though, so I’m fairly pleased with my progress on the whole.
Where does that leave me for the next year then? Still finishing a couple of outstanding tasks, as previously mentioned, but also probably drafting the potential third Frostfire book, Dustdevil. It’d be nice to get the Folded Land fully drafted, but that might be too much to ask. I’ll probably have a go at something new as well, possibly my idea for a fantasy young adult dystopian tale, The Glass Schism. It’s a world with magic forged into glass sculptures and one in which one wrong word of dissent against the ruling regime can bring instant death on the speaker.
See you in the new year, and hopefully I’ll start hitting some of these marks!
It’s finally that time! After more than three years of writing, editing and generally fretting about getting the book ready, Frostfire is actually going out into the world. Official release day is the 1st of November, but a trickle of people have already got their hands on it through whatever nefarious means they prefer. Hopefully it’s going down well, and will continue to do so!
If you haven’t already and would like to purchase it, Frostfire is available at:
In other news the launch party for the book is going to be on Friday November 2nd at Waterstones Stafford. Stop in if you’re in the neighbourhood – I’ll be signing books, talking about them a little and generally being present. There will be wine and cakes if that swings your decision!
Finally, as the banner at the top suggests, I’m going to be doing some streaming on Twitch this coming month. Starting Thursday 1st and continuing Monday 5th, Friday 9th and on the following Mondays and Fridays I will be writing live on the internet over on twitch.tv/World_Smith. Expect a fresh fantasy story, possibly partially directed by you the viewers (depending on who shows up). There will definitely be signed book giveaways each week, and guest authors joining in too. Questions and answers from chat probable!
Hopefully it’ll be a fun time that people might learn a thing or two from as well! Hey, if there’s more than a handful of you there, I’ll certainly be happy…
Last blog post until Frostfire’s November 1st release! Time flies, and hopefully the books will too. Unless of course you prefer the eBook version, which is now available to pre-order here.
Of course, I get to be a proper author even sooner than that – in a matter of weeks I’ll be doing my first school event at my old primary, which ought to be somewhere between strange and fun. There should be plenty more events to come, and maybe one or two interesting surprises I can share soon, if plans work out.
Before I get deep into the publicity process though, I thought I’d write a little about how Frostfire came to be, all the way from when it was Frostsliver to its current polished form.
I had the idea for Frostsliver a good year or so before I began writing it. The concept of an living icy companion was suggested to me by my partner during a brainstorming session for books in the Infinite Sea universe where all my fantasy stories so far are set. From there I developed the sentient glacier that gave the ice its power, the bonding system and the culture that my protagonist, Sabira came from – but only after I was told of the Chicken House Competition by my Mum.
Previously I’d come runner up with Scaled in a competition for Bloomsbury, so I jumped at the chance to try again. In the six months had before the entry date I went through three draft versions (eventually to become more like ten after a proper editor got hold of it).
Though I was pipped at the post by Nicki Thornton’s Last Chance Hotel – out now and already doing well – Chicken House chose to take a chance on me as well. There was a lot of work to be done, trimming nearly half the words out and adding plenty more, but with essential assistance from my editor, Kesia, as well as other Chicken House team members, we’ve got to the final printed version. No more changes allowed!
(Hope there’s no embarrassing spelling mistakes left after all that)
Only a month left until you all can find out whether you like the finished result as much as I do!
Turns out I was wrong about the subject of the next blog post, but plans change – which is appropriate, given that I’ve changed my drafting plans about a fair bit. Shelter in Shadow didn’t make it quite to the end – I’ll go back back to finish it off at the end of the year if there’s time. Sandtide is soon to hit the halfway point, and I expect to finish that just before Frostfire’s November 1st release.
Not much change there so far, right? Well, between the rest, I slotted in a first draft of Embershard, the potential sequel to Frostfire. It was surprisingly easy to return to these characters, and I really like where it ended up. Lots of work to do in edits – but when is there not?
Speaking of Frostfire, publication date lumbers ever closer, and I’m getting started on the publicity train. Most of this is still getting locked down, but hopefully I’ll be able to share more here very soon. One aspect of this is going to be more regular posts here (monthly, maybe?). Also I’d like to mention that I’m intending to do a few school visits once Frostfire is out. I’ve been planning out materials for assemblies and workshops, so if you’re interested in booking such a thing (and are a reasonable travel time from Staffordshire), do get in contact. I’ll have a more official way of doing this going up in a month or so.
Much more to come soon!
Coming November 1st 2018, published by Chicken House Books Frostfire is the re-titled form of Frostsliver – and just look at that fantastic cover by Karl James Mountford!
Chosen for the honour of bonding with a Frostsliver – a fragment of the sentient glacier that crests her icy home – Sabira embarks on the dangerous pilgrimage to the top of the mountain. But when a huge avalanche traps her on the glacier and destroys the pass, Sabira is determined to find another way home. In order to survive, she must face up to the merciless mountain – but there are dark and fiery secrets hiding in its depths…
In other, much more minor news, the year’s writing plan is going… acceptably. I’ve edited Plaguewalkers to submission standard, and am close to completing the draft of Shelter in Shadow (probably the subject of my next blog post). Drafts of the next Folded Land book and Sandtide are both in progress, and may well be done by the end of the year. All in all, I’d say that’s not far off where I wanted to be at this point – and with Frostfire looming ever closer, the news should only get better from here!
So, a year comes towards a close, and a new one looms. This coming one may be particularly auspicious for me, what with my debut novel to be released towards its end (final title choice and perhaps other things forthcoming soon). That set of nerve wracking moments is a way off yet though, and in the mean time, here’s an update on what else I plan to get up to this year. Seemed like it was worth getting into practise for future years, when people may read posts like these and *gasp* care!
First, here’s a little editing left on that novel, but the biggest changes are done. I have a stack of other first drafts that need some work though, and that’s my current job. I intend to get both Plaguewalkers and Stormspinner up to submission standard ASAP.
Once that’s done, it’ll be time to finish at least one ongoing draft – likely Shelter in Shadow, a first-person children’s fantasy where humanity has retreated underground after a disaster, and light is now feared as much as darkness once was. A young girl with a talent for mechanisms is desperate to go back above though, to search for her lost father. With a team of oddballs and untrustworthies – as well as a brace of magical fireworks – she will journey the blasted wastes and discover the secrets guarded by the monsters that live there. More on this soon, including some of the techniques I’m using to build characters.
I’d also like to get to a couple of new drafts – the next in the Folded Land series at least, as well as a completely new one, Sandtide. That one’s a YA novel set in a desert land where the sand moves like a sea, and enslaved jinn are used to prop up civilisation. It’ll be challenge, because of the themes involved – religion, fanaticism and more will be factors in the narrative. More on this one when I’ve actually worked on it some.
That’s the lot. Should keep me busy, since I’ll have to find time for book events and such too – but where’s the fun in having too little to do?
Editing is not usually the most fun part of a writer’s time. The further from the initial spark of ideas, the more it feels like work. Fortunately, one more round of editing, one I’ve been working on for a couple of months, is now complete. As with the previous round, it’s made Frostsliver a much better book – tighter, and with more emotional focus.
So, celebration time. One more draft down, a few more to go until the book is ready for publication next year. It’s a long process, but well worthwhile in the end. Hopefully as the time gets closer, there ought to be more to share here – events, cover art and the like.
In the meantime, I’ve got a few new drafts I’m working on in spare moments – two sequels and some new stuff I’ll share details about in another post at some point.
(Not at all final cover)
So, I’ve not had much to say for a bit. There’s a good reason for that.
I now say that not only am I signed up with The Blair Partnership as my agents, but I have also signed with Chicken House Books, and they will be publishing my debut novel next year.
Frostsliver (final title to be determined) is a survival adventure taking place on a sentient glacier.
It is a tale of overcoming the odds, personal limitations and the mountain itself. Magic, gunpowder, monsters and more conspire to try and prevent a girl from reaching home and perhaps saving more lives than just her own.
Sabira is chosen for the honour of bonding a Frostsliver, an intelligent fragment of the living Glacier that spills from the top of her mountain home. Unsure of herself after decisions made years ago, she is forced to come to terms with her personal demons when she is trapped on the mountainside.
The only hope for her is to take up the power and responsibility of a Frostsliver and survive both the mountain’s extreme conditions and perhaps something worse – all assuming she can first get used to the voice of a glacier sounding in her head.
I can’t imagine having a better team to help bring this story – and hopefully many others in future – to bookshelves soon.
So, I didn’t post about finishing the draft of The Pillars of Being, because I didn’t finish. Sort of.
Technically, an end was reached, but some gaps were left in getting there. It’s not that the book won’t work in the end, but it’s going to need a little beating into shape. As a break before having to deal with that problem, I’ve got half way through the next draft – Plaguewalkers.
It’s a tale of mystery and horror in a Venice-like fantasy city besieged by a magical plague. A group of Morbetzia’s underclass must descend into its underworld to find out who or what is strangling the life from the city’s people.
Of course, the bigger news (already shared on Twitter), is my signing with the Blair Partnership Literary Agency. They’ve got a great reputation, a great history (they’re J K Rowling’s agents) and I’m looking forward to working with them to bring the books of Infinite Sea to the world. With luck, there will be more news to share soon!