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The Saturday Sizzler

Inside Devcon18

February 10, 2018

Well, last weekend as part of the EAA Fantasy Department I had the delight appearing at Devcon18. Any comic-con which sparks a security alert is quite exhilarating. Apparently, a member of the public saw cosplay players in black complete with balaclava and bright orange Nerf gun waiting for his friends outside the convention and decided it was a terrorist attack. I would state here that although I don't know much about terrorism I feel that waiting for your co-conspirators on the steps of a building you are going to terrorise is never a  good criminal plan. 

It's great that people their civic responsibilities seriously but even the police had a good laugh about it when they arrived. 

That was a drama which was difficult to top. However, I did manage to get arrested by Stormtroopers and met Darth Vader, two things that I can now tick off my bucket list. There was also a pair of alliance pilots which were great too. The only Harry Potter character on show was Severus Snape and I'm glad to say his wand was not working that day or we would all be dead!

One of the things I love is talking about the lands of Torcia and Mivir. Unfortunately, I'm not so good at map reading especially when its upside down so I was explaining to everyone about the invasion of Torcia and basically... I had the Mivirian horde sweeping in from completely the wrong side (west not east) but then anyone who has ever been in a car with me knows not to follow my directions ever. 

A great day!

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Riding The Fantasy Beast

January 27, 2018

The world of fantasy has no limits, it attracts the educated reader and meanders in and out of theoretical physics, astrophysics, philosophy, and alchemy. This creates a swirling cauldron of concepts, pushing the boundaries of science and even creating new science.  Ideas change and evolve which means the field of speculative fiction is constantly too. As a fantasy devotee, I try to keep my finger on the throbbing pulse of this ever-growing, morphing monster. So, when something strange happens I love it!

Being a published author is difficult, you are only told your sales figures once every six months. The wait is too long for me so most unhealthily, and I do not recommend this to anyone – I check my Amazon/Kindle rankings daily. I blame an overly inquisitive mind. My book comes up in various categories such as high fantasy, dark fantasy and sword and sorcery which is fair enough because my novel is based on two warring countries who both had plentiful resources of faulstan the fuel for all magic. One land uses the power to magically enhance its armies and is ruled by colleges of highly skilled wizards. The other land, Torcia, tried to subjugate its magic class as magic was seen as subversive and dangerous to the stability of the kingdom.  The situation worked well until Mivir began to run out of supplies of faulstan and invaded Torcia.

I really entered creating a new magical world and I thought it was definitely high fantasy.

However, Kindle has told me no, it's actually most popular in the low fantasy circles.

I had never heard of low fantasy and I must confess I was worried, low fantasy does not sound as good as high fantasy! So, I had to examine this category.

Apparently, low fantasy is

‘Intrusion fantasy places relatively less emphasis on typical elements associated with fantasy, setting a narrative in realistic environments with elements of the fantastical. Sometimes there are just enough fantastical elements to make ambiguous the boundary between what is real and what is purely psychological or supernatural. The word "low" refers to the level of prominence of traditional fantasy elements within the work, and is not any sort of remark on the work's quality.

An alternative definition, common in, though not limited to role-playing games, rests on the story and characters being more realistic and less mythic in scope. This can mean that some works, for example, Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian series, can be high fantasy according to the first definition but low fantasy according to the second, while with other works, such as the TV series Supernatural, the opposite is true.’ Wikipedia 2018

I thought about these definitions and my book actually is both the characters are realistic, but the world is imaginary and monstrous. So as my novel is both is it really - middle fantasy? 

What do you think?

The Torcian Chronicles

 

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Of Crime Nights and Psychopaths

January 20, 2018

Well, I received the first copies of my new high fantasy novel ‘The Torcian Chronicles’ this week which was really exciting – almost in the realms of getting a new dog or baby.

Then in the strange, topsy-turvy world of writing, I had to give a talk about my crime books of which I have none. I am writing a couple, mind you, so I almost had a book to talk about. In actual fact, the crime books I’m writing are more in the horror genre, but they definitely contain crime and a lot of murder, so I will class them as dark crime fiction…

Why Do I write Horror?

I enjoy crime/horror writing because it gives you so much freedom.  You can plan the perfect murder, or several murders if a lot of people have annoyed you lately. Meet characters so shady looking that in real life you would cross a busy road in rush hour to avoid them. Or else jump into the mind of a psychopath and see the world through the eyes of a predator. The world of crime writing offers a glimpse into a macabrely fascinating subculture that most of us never enter.

Where Did The Book Come From?

My crime writing started out very simply. The local radio wanted a scary story to read for Halloween and I agreed to write one. I was actually meant, to be editing my high fantasy novel, but I never let a little thing like deadlines get in the way of a good story.

The short story was simply entitled ‘Anna’s Story’ and was set in a tiny store in Thorny Ridge a little town in the middle of Virginia, America on Halloween. A strange man comes into the store and asks if she has noticed anything suspicious. This one question haunts her as she walks home in the dark alone as she begins to notice someone following her. It also raises a problem, is she really being followed or is her mind playing tricks on her? And will she manage to ever arrive home safely?

After the radio show, I then thought more about Thorny Ridge and thought about why some places seem to attract monsters like moths to a flame. Suddenly, the lives of many other characters all interwoven with Thorny Ridge began to introduce themselves to me and a book was born. Then before I knew a detailed street map had been drawn to pinpoint the scenes of horrific crimes. Everyone in the book had their own character studies complete with psychological assessments. I was l also quite sadly I feel searching through internet sites to ensure I could feel Virginian forest flora in my writing.

As there was a large population of sinister mainly psychopathic people in such a small place, I decided to give the readers an extra level of understanding and hop head between human creatures, so the reader can really get to know what it’s like to think like a criminal.

What Is It Like To Be A Psychopath?

The audience was quite taken with the concept of thinking like a psychopath and wanted to know how I knew what a psychopath would think about…  I hope I didn’t give people the wrong idea crime writers. 

To read 'The Torcian Chronicles' click here

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