The Dragon’s Ring by Fil Reid – Out Today!

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of my writing buddy’s debut novel. Check her out on www.filreid.com or find the book on Amazon UK or Amazon US. Or click on the Amazon link via Goodreads and it should take you to your country’s Amazon. 

This time-travelling Arthurian fantasy was a fun ride from the start. Gwen is scattering her father’s ashes when she gets sucked back in time to when King Arther was just a prince. The rest… you’ll have to wait for my review coming soon. 

Everyone Judges a Book by Its Cover!

Writers go on about the first page or chapter of a book being a deal-breaker, and it is as far as the words go, but sometimes, the cover is what catches a reader’s attention before they even check the blurb or read a sample. 

A dull or low-grade cover will put me right off. I can’t help what I feel over an image just as I can’t help what I feel over the first page. The higher the quality and more creative, the better. Of course, I’m mostly referring to fantasy, but the quality applies to any novel in my opinion. 

I don’t mean for big fancy graphics to blind me. Simple can still be eye-catching and creative. I’m talking about smooth images, top quality graphics, and something that relates to the title, which should also relate to the book. The reader should be able to judge the book by its cover and be right.

Below are some top-notch covers on my bookshelf/kindle.

The above covers vary in complexity of imagery, but they express the general ideas in relation to the story based on the blurb and what I read in the book. Also, each one looks professional and well thought-out. 

Simple can be the best if your cover looks graphically pleasing.

When I need a break from actual writing, I like to find inspirational images and music, so I have a collection of character images and cover wishlists. I can’t use them for the book because of copyright on Deviantart, where I find most of my inspirational images. But I would beg them to sell me the images as my book covers. 

Below are some of my wishlist covers. 

Find this image here.
This would be amazing on the cover of Wings of Fire and Fury, book 1 of my pentalogy… when I get around to the next revision. 
Burning
Out of Ashes – This image is perfect in tone and content for my debut novel.
Queen-of-Ice
Blades of Ice and Darkness – This image ticks so many boxes for book 2 of my Starlighters pentalogy. 

With the right graphic designer, I know we would come up with amazing images to each of my novels. Until then, I’ll settle for these inspiring images as my wish covers.


Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait!

In writing, waiting can be good or bad depending on what point you’re at.

If you’re waiting for that perfect idea to strike or for the “right” time to start writing that novel you keep talking about, then ask yourself if writing is really your thing. Sure, story ideas don’t magically come to everyone, but as someone who has literally given away ideas because I have too many, I can’t imagine a writer without at least half a dozen story ideas ready to outline and start writing the moment they’re finished with their current WIP. Or even ideas they could come up with given the time.

Let me show you how my imagination works with some quick and rough novel ideas.

  • A career-driven woman in her mid-thirties is on her way to the top of the company when it suddenly closes down. In an unpredictable job market, she’s forced to take an entry level office position where her boss is ten years younger than her. Proving herself is hard when she knows she’s better than the role she’s now stuck in. But once she gets over herself, she finds her junior colleagues help open up a side of her she never got the chance to unleash at their age.
  • A sea captain hunts for a treasure only an entitled few know of. When he reaches the treasure, she is not what he expected. An ancient curse traps an immortal siren in a cavern that’s drying up and constantly suffocating her. Having discovered a much greater treasure than he imagined, the sea captain fights across oceans for the siren’s freedom and the love they both share for one another.
  • A future where wormholes are the norm, and travel to distant worlds is but a blink away. A traveller seeks to learn just how far she can reach and steals a wormhole device to find out. At the edge of the known universe, she discovers the price of the wormhole technology. A desiccated planet holds truths that would curdle most stomachs. But the traveller does not stop until she proves to everyone how they are so blissfully able to bend space and leap from one world to another.
  • Death is only a mild inconvenience when a ghost hunter is sent into limbo. While he uses every trick he knows to keep in contact with his girlfriend, she finds a spell and makes a demonic deal to bring him back to life. But he’s not the only one she brings back. Now, the ghost hunters must battle an ancient demonic power while doing everything they can to send it back to limbo.
  • On her way home from a wild night out, she witnesses a gruesome murder. She stays quiet, thinking nobody will believe her considering her intoxicated state. But when she comes home from work to find her apartment ransacked, her only option is to go to the police. As she thought, they think it’s a coincidence until one of the detectives checks in on her and witnesses an attempted attack on her. Still unable to prove the connection, the detective offers her protection in exchange for her full story, no matter how drunk she was the night of the murder. She soon discovers his motives go beyond finding a killer and ends up in a decade-old feud between the detective and the person he thinks is responsible for his sister’s murder. Is she safer with the detective, or should she run and pretend nothing happened?

That took me ten minutes. Yes, they might be done already, or full of cliches, but… ten minutes. Imagine what I could do in an hour or longer to come up with a novel synopsis that I could later turn into a detailed outline. 

Sometimes, I get an idea and spend five minutes jotting down my initial thoughts. The next time I have a spare five minutes, I jot down more, and more, and more, until it resembles a story. Some stay that way for future projects, but some get more attention as I work on a rough outline, character sheets, world-building. And soon enough, I have enough to start my first chapter. This may change completely once I’m done with the outline, but at least I got some of the story down.

I had a wild dream the other week, and started plotting a novel based on it. Within a few days, I’d built a decent synopsis, started outlining the story, created several character sheets with images, character goals, backgrounds and story input. I’d also come up with the backstory for the main group of characters, which involved various physical characteristics and ability based on their heritage.

Stories start with your imagination. The planning is just putting your imaginative thoughts in order.

But it is okay to wait sometimes. 

You’ve drafted act one. Good job. But you’re still not sold on your own ideas. This is a perfectly good time to wait and let the ideas settle. Don’t wait too long in case you risk losing the story from your head. This length of time is subjective, though. If you write daily, like I mostly do, letting your ideas settle for a few days might be enough. But taking a week or so might suit you better.

You have an outline and part of a draft. Don’t force it beyond that unless your fingers just keep spilling those lovely words. In which case, what are you waiting for?

Another good time to wait is during or just after your WIP is with beta readers. Depending on the format you’re sharing your beta version, you might not get anything back until each reader has read the entire thing. This is a forced break, which you should take advantage of. Let it go for a while. Make notes in a separate document by all means. Never ignore ideas. But don’t touch the story itself until all the feedback is in.

I had the luxury of sharing my beta version in bulks of chapters, so I got feedback on three or four chapters every week/two weeks. This was really helpful since I could read through the feedback for act one together, then two and three together. It all made sense as I took it in, but apart from a new chapter one, I didn’t change anything beyond minor wording to spare the next reader commenting on silly errors. 

I waited, and eventually, I got some amazing results. Yes, I can improve on them, and I will. But my patience paid off. Now I’m in one last revision with the help of some new and speedy crit partners, and I hope to query next month.

If you have even a semblance of a novel idea, don’t wait for anything to get something down and flesh out a chapter or two at least. Otherwise, you’re just a dreamer with no outlet.

Pondering Publishing Processes!

I’m still deciding if I want to self-publish or go for traditional. My novel is one line edit away from finished (as best I can finish it anyway) and there are things I need in place if I choose self-publishing, and it doesn’t hurt to read up on all the ins and outs of the process. 

There are pros and cons to both self and traditional publishing, but my biggest issue is paying upfront for self-publishing. I find it hard enough to save for a €500 PC let alone thousands for editors, cover designers and ebook designers, just to mention a few self-publishing costs. I just don’t earn enough, hence the reason I need another career. 

But if I could, I would seriously consider self-publishing. I have the time to put into marketing and self-promotion. I have the drive and technological knowledge to use things like social media and design and writing software to my advantage. I even studied media and graphic design, albeit a lifetime ago, so working directly with designers would not be daunting for me. I lack the skills to create the kind of cover I want myself, but I know what I want and what it would invoke in the average person skimming book covers and spines in a bookshop. 

After years of critiquing and having my worked critiqued, I feel confident about working directly with an editor. They know the market better than I do, but I also know what I want my story to achieve. Too many changes would take away from that and it I might have to consider what risk that poses to potential sales. There are sacrifices I’m willing to make, and some I’d rather not not. But if I go with traditional publishing, I won’t have that choice.

So it all comes down to choices, and how long I’m willing to wait to save up so I can keep those choices. Traditional publishing takes a long time, so maybe it’ll take just as long for me either way. 

Title image by Pixel2013 at pixabay.com

Great Writing Advice!

Read more. Read less. Get writing books and learn as much as possible. Plan and outline everything. Just sit down and write. Honestly, even the best writing advice doesn’t work for everyone. 

People regularly ask about the best writing advice on the writing website I’m on. So many people jump in with great thoughts and helpful tips for newbies. Honestly, I wish I’d asked when I first joined the site after drafting a 500+k pentalogy without having a clue. There’s so much information on how to write that it can be overwhelming for newbies.

I think the best advice is to take it one element at a time. 

What newbies tend to forget (me included when I started writing) is that writing is so much more than sitting at a document and typing away. It’s creating interesting characters, having your plot points make sense, considering your genre and target audience. There’s a ton of planning and research that goes into a WIP. Some people do this before they write while others do it as they go. 

I started by just writing and seeing if I came up with a story I wanted to make something of. I wrote a horrible first draft, even by first draft standards. But I considered it a very detailed outline. My next version was from scratch after looking up various writing techniques. But again, it was all too overwhelming with the options. 

After banging my head against my computer screen, I decided to get a couple of books. I started with “Writing Fiction for Dummies” because that’s what I was in relation to writing. It gives some great tips on each aspect of writing without overloading newbies. When I wanted to know more, I looked it up online with the basics already in my head. I then bought “Dialogue” and “Grammar for Fiction Writers” from Mary Kennedy’s “Busy Writer’s Guide” series. I also have “How to Writer Science Fiction & Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card. Between these books, I got more than enough advice to start my journey as a real writer. 

Over time, I found more advice and tips online to build on the basics I’d already learned. The best place I learned is from the critiquing website critiquecircle.com. check it out. You’ll be amazed what you learn by having others critique your work as well as you critiquing theirs.

I discovered some great YouTubers who not only gave great advice, but help writers think about what kind of writer they want to be. For me, this was the best advice I’ve found.

Firstly, Jenna Moreci. She has a variety of writing advice as well as marketing tips for those who want to self-publish. But it’s still helpful to know about these things like creating a social media presence, having a personal website, and being part of online writing communities. Below are some of my favourites from Jenna. 

She’s great with getting people to think about how they want to write rather than telling people how to write. I also just adore her realism over how the writing world works. 

Then there’s Abbie Emmons. She covers many of the topics Jenna covers, but delves deeper into the hows and whys of human behaviour to help build believable characters and plots.

Another favourite of mine is Meg LaTorre. She’s done a couple of collaboration videos with Jenna, which I really enjoyed. Their major books, The Savior’s Champion (dark fantasy) and The Cyborg Tinkerer (space steampunk fantasy) are very different in plot and characters. But they’ve still created really great literature. I’ve read Jenna’s Savior’s Champion and am halfway through Cyborg Tinkerer. So far so good.

I also like Sacha Black. She doesn’t beat around the bush and has a fun podcast.

You need to find a few sources who offer advice suited to you and stick with them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep looking for other perspectives. You should never limit your learning. But why change you main teachers if you’re learning what you need from them?

Jenna, Meg, Sacha, Abbie, and my critique partners are my teachers, so I’ll stick with them while seeking an occasional lesson from other authors.


Title image by Geralt at pixabay.com.

Figuring out My Social Media and Scheduling My Blog Posts!

Books, Smartphone, Hand, Keep, Mobile Phone, Computer

Not very exciting news, but I’ve decided to start posting every Saturday and sometimes on Wednesdays if I have a lot to say. But it’s part of my

I keep dipping into future marketing ideas like playing about with quirky logos or getting back on Instagram. I forgot I even had an account. Then there’s my Twitter account. The only activity on there is my WP and Instagram posts. So why do I keep it? No idea. My Facebook is private and purely for friends and family. I’m on Discord, which I’m not sure is classed as social media or not, but I have a writing group on there.

But do I really need all of this right now? I have a day job, which allows me my mornings free to work on making writing a second career. If not, it’s a pretty intense pastime. But I’m serious about making something of my writing, so every morning, I sit at my PC and churn out new scenes and chapters, revise WIPs, critique my writing buddies (although I’ve lacked there lately), blog and plan and plot and do whatever writing related thing I feel needs attention that moment.

I need Discord to rant about writing, and I like this site since it’s a great creative outlet for me. But Twitter and Instagram??? I decided that I do need them, at least for Instagram, which is more suited to me than Twitter. I can’t explain it. But There’s something more comfortable about Instagram. I suppose that if I do become a successful (that’s subjective, of course) writer, then I could simply keep posting on WP and Instagram with the posts sent to Twitter. And I’ll just have to activate my Twitter notifications so I’ don’t miss anything. Right now, I hardly look at it.

Below are a couple of videos from two great author on social media and marketing. I already do some of what Meg and Jenna suggest, but thanks to their advice, I’ll be working on a few things gradually.


So I think for now, I have it sorted. I post one or two pictures a day on Instagram, and at least weekly on WP. I’ve actually started scheduling posts to keep to the same one or two days per week. That way, when I have the time, I can churn out a few posts, schedule them for the next couple of weeks, and then focus on my novel writing. 

Here are some of my Love Fantasy social media images…

It’s never too early to start working on these things if you have the time. Just remember, if you don’t work on your novels, you’ll have nothing to market.

Title image by Geralt at Pixabay.com

Plotting World Domination!

I’m in plotting (well, re-plotting) my Starlighters novels. It’s going well, mostly. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But what I’m pondering it scene order. 

I have already planned the POV carefully based on each scene. Now I have to decide the best order. Some things happen simultaneously in different POVs, and some things are a little flexible if I account for the small details. So how do I decide the order? Honestly, I don’t know. Nobody can give me that answer, and I couldn’t give someone else an answer to the same question about their novel unless I read it. 

My best option is to break each scene down into even smaller scenes like walking from one room to another, breaking down emotional shifts, and making bullet points of each change in topic within the scene. This way, I can see it in its parts, and maybe something might prompt a thought on the right order for the story. 

In the meantime, I have a list of micro events and their best choice for POV so that I can move them around until they slot together. This is a lot of trial and error, but I’ve already fixed a few of the actions which helps me decide what goes in between.

One thing that I do have to consider is cliffhanger scenes. There’s a significant moment that I could quite easily follow on from in the next scene with a different POV, or I could leave it for a few pages and tease the reader. I’ve read scenes like that before where it’s flipped to another situation right in the middle of a critical moment. Do I want to be that kind of author? Probably, yes. But I will still give it serious consideration. 

Plotting and re-plotting can be a lot of fun if you like organisation. But it’s also fun from a creative aspect. Title image by Khamkho at pixabay.com.

Belated 100 Followers Celebration!

I missed sending my gratitude over this amazing milestone because I was preoccupied with family stuff at the time. But I noticed. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t see my followers hit 100.

Some people may think that’s a miniscule number compared to what is considered a “real blogger” but this site is far more than a blog to me. It’s a place to share my creativity. Not just my writing, which is why I started this site, but my music, my love for visual arts, and even cooking. 

So I’d like to thank every follower, even if you skim my writing ranting. 

I started this site to share some secret links with my writing buddies. Then it evolved into sharing teasers about my novels and posting some of my snippets and flash fiction. Not long after, it became a blog of my writing progress, It still does those things. But as I’ve grown as a writer and am working on the final stages of a novel I hope to send out for publication, I’d like to think this site is a great jumping off point for some marketing and branding when the time comes. That isn’t at the forefront of my mind, but it’s something that I ponder on occasion. Why not use those occasions to help me in future endeavours when I need said marketing and branding. I’d only procrastinate anyway. 

One never knows where their creative endeavours may take them, so let the creativity guide you to where it needs to be. It’s part of you and your desires even if you can’t see it yet. I didn’t see where my writing would lead me the day I opened a Word document and started writing a crazy dream that turned into a pentalogy, albeit a WIP for now.

Like all stories and its characters, things grow and evolve and adapt, just like me and this site. 

Here’s to growing, evolving and adapting. 

I think Gatsby sums up my feelings right now,

TItle image by Dariusz Sankowski at pixabay.com.

Reigniting an Old Flame!

This is very much how I feel rewriting my Starlighters book one, Wings of Fire and Fury. It was my first. The words have changed so much since I sat down at my document five years ago. Now, my voice has changed along with my ideas for the characters and the story. But it’s still the same at its core.

When you go so long without seeing or touching something, it’s like you have to relearn everything about it. For me, as a writer, I’ve thought about this story lot since I last did anything significant on it. And due to personal issues, I went a long time without even looking at it. But I still thought about what I wanted it to be.

Unlike an old flame, and old WIP can become exactly what you want it to be when you’re ready to put the ideas into it. An early WIP might have a lit of messy parts and a plot all over the place, but with renewed vigour and experience, you’ll be surprised how you can turn that old WIP into something new and exciting. 

I need a break from Out of Ashes while it’s with my beta readers, so reviving my first project makes sense. It’s a pentalogy, so not the best idea for a debut novel. I’m not saying that all series are bad ideas for first-time authors. But I found the project a little overwhelming not so long ago and chose to focus on my standalone novel, Out of Ashes, as my debut. It’s on the shorter side for fantasy fiction and more likely to be published for this aspiring author.

That didn’t mean that Starlighters left my heart or my thoughts. It was purely on hiatus in the writing sense, but I’ve made regular notes as I’ve thought of new and more interesting events. 

Now, I’m trying to put those ideas into my latest version. Some things are getting completely rewritten while others are simply getting a prose upgrade, but at the end of the day, the whole thing will look different when I’m done with it. 

This is a good thing, and while my primary WIP is pending feedback, I’m going to use my writing time to rekindle this old flame and make it loveable. 

Title image by Myriams-fotos at pixabay.