Affliction Series gets a facelift!

You’ll be happy to know that after a brief hiatus my cover designer is back to work on my covers. After some thought I decided that though the old look was very beautiful, it didn’t scream Vampire Hist Fic so we decided to tweak the look a little. The cover for Bathory’s Secret has received a face lift and Vampire Edifice has been given a new cover altogether, and one that I was initially going to go with before opting for the current one. Having thought about it however, I came to realise that the initial one was better so we went back to it.

Book three, which will be titled In the Presence of Blood, is in the final stages of editing and with some godspeed and luck will be out by April. I will share the cover as soon as it is finalised but for the moment you may feast your eyes on the first two, which will be going live in the coming week.

Without further ado I present you with the new covers:

Tada!

Brief update-Affliction book #3

It’s officially been a year since the release of Bathory’s Secret and never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d be sitting at my desk putting the finishing touches not on book #2 but book #3 by now! Say it with me: “Whoop whoop!”

I have almost completed the first edit and taken out as much of the roughness as I can at this point. After that I will let it sit for a week or so before going in again for more fine tuning and corrections. I hope to have it with my editor by December, preferably earlier December rather than later December but sadly that’s more up to him than me. Fingers crossed!

I’m pretty sure I’ve settled on the title too, but will reveal it when I’m 100% sure it’s right. The cover is also in the works.

In other news, the paperback versions of the other two books are getting finishing touches and I hope to have Bathory’s Secret, at least, available by January. Someone please send me a little additional time in the post… There’s so much to do!

Final bit of news is the inception of book #4 in the Affliction series and hopefully a little surprise story. We’ll see how I get on with time and will update accordingly.

So what if there’s no title yet? Elementary my dear Watson…

I wrote them today, I wrote those two awesome little words that every author covets with every fibre of their being and I did it! I did it! I did it! After a 3500 word marathon yesterday and 4500 word marathon today, I managed to get to that lovely place where I could joyfully say “THE END” and mean it, Truly, Madly Deeply! Yes, yes, yes, the deed is done, book three is officially over!

Ok, maybe it’s full of typos, anachronisms and inaccuracies but let’s not stray away from the point here folks; it’s time to stick a fork in it cos it’s done, done, doned! (yes I said doned, that’s how much I want to stress that this f&cker is in the past!

Don’t get me wrong now, I loved every minute of it, and I will go in (at a date that is not today) and clean up that shit like it’s grime under the rim of the toilet bowl, but I will stop here to emphasize just how very done it is! Beginning, middle and end, done! In the famous words of the venerable Ali G, booyakasha! Kati can chill for a few days before I find new ways to ruin her life!

Anyhoo, I shall now proceed to curb my enthusiasm by doing something else and get back to work in the morrow for my eyes have bled copiously today. I even wondered whether I should’ve taken more screen time to write this post, but it had to be done! Now I’m going to grope around in the dark for the shower and not look at a screen for maybe… twenty minutes!

Ciao folks!

To Blurb or not to Blurb? -To Blurb, Duh!

I’m starting to put together a blurb for Vampire Edifice.
Here is what I came up with just now.
I suspect I’m going to have to change a lot of it as I’m not sure it’s concise enough.

If you have comments feel free to share them, the floor (or comment section) is yours.

Vampire Edifice: Affliction Series #2

As soon as Kati escapes death at the clutches of Countess Erzsébet Báthory she realizes she risks detection by Palatine Thurzo who is investigating the murders of the countless girls that died at her mistress’s hands.

Intent on finding the missing victim everyone is talking about, the Palatine searches the castle and uncovers hints of possible written evidence. Wanting to protect Afflicted Vampires, Kati risks being caught in order to hide the journals.

When one of the Countess’s conspirators threatens to expose her to the Palatine she is left with no choice but to leave, making her way to Vienna to see if everything the Countess described in her journals was true.

There, she finds an Afflicted Paradise where she is accepted and helped to deal with the pain of her past. When she discovers that Báthory’s ill son is secretly being held in a Sanatorium for the marginalized and depraved however, she comes to the conclusion that all is not as it seems and her life might be in danger once more…

One step closer

So it is done! The umpteenth draft of Vampire Edifice is out of my hands and into those of my copy editor for a second plot opinion as well as proofing for typos and grammar.

This means that I am one step closer to the finish line. Hopefully I will be getting the draft back in a few weeks at most, at which point I will be doing the final corrections and then onto the dreaded formatting. Thankfully this time the plot is more straight forward and will not require funky tricks to separate the story within the story. The cover is ready to go, so now I must put some thought towards the blurb.

Hold the line please-

Teeny Tiny update

As I’m in the throws of editing before I send the final draft of ‘Vampire Edifice’ to the copy editor, I won’t be posting anything for a few days due to a very tight schedule.

Watch out for new posts after the 15th when it’ll be off my plate and I will be able to resume book 3 (currently no title) as well as foster loftier thoughts and discuss matters of entertainment.

Virtual hugs to you all.

Ro News!

Some of you might recall that I claimed “Vampire Edifice,” the second book in the Affliction series would be coming out in May. It is now May and I hear you ask: “Where is the book Romina?” The answer is: it’s on its way.

Sadly I only got the book back from my editor last week, a lot later than what I’d thought he’d be done by, so this has had a knock on effect on my own rewriting bits. And that’s not even making allowances for the proof reader that’s going to come after I’ve finished it and sent it to Steve again for one more quick read through.

Sooooo, by my (new and hopefully improved) calculations the book should with some luck be hitting the virtual shelves by July/August at the latest.

The cover is very nearly done too, so hang in there for that one.

I’ll update as appropriate and distract you with other things.

Cheerio!

I was really partial to this bit, but needs must…

Continuing on the editing theme, I’ve decided to post a bit here that will never make it in the first book as I’ve changed the structure somewhat. Initially the book was going to start with a modern setting and dive into the past and back again, but I decided against that approach, for reasons that shall remain a secret for the moment, (I can’t exactly divulge everything now can I?) as well as a sacrifice to the editing process.

So, besides the teazers that I post from time to time, this is an actual part of the story so feel free to consider it the excerpt that will never be:

She stood there in her rubber tipped converse, skinny jeans and hands in the pockets of her well-worn vintage leather jacket; her auburn hair was pulled back in a high, tight ponytail which shone under the fading light of the October sun. She wore an enormous pair of vintage Channel sunglasses which left very little skin exposed above her cheeks and underneath them. Her pupils had narrowed to the smallest, almost imperceptible pin. Her lips were small but perfectly formed and pale. She had freckles on her cheeks and also on her neck which disappeared into the back of her jacket and one could imagine she had them all over her body too. She was slim and of small build, almost fragile looking but with an air of sovereignty unmatched to her sense of style. Even with the massive sunglasses she was squinting in the sun and seemed relieved if a cloud lingered over it from time to time.

It was bitterly cold but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at her. She appeared indifferent to it but well aware of her surroundings, which seemed to make her feel uncomfortable. She looked up to the sky and inhaled with her eyes closed trying to take in all the fine details of the place, a bit like a cat will sniff the air in order to identify something delicious or new. She walked about aimlessly pretending to look around, take the place in. The sound of the undergrowth and the crisp brittle leaves underfoot awfully audible to her ears. When she stepped on to the path, the harsh gravel dug into her soles and felt painful, though not as much as the last time she had been here. You would’ve thought she’d know what to wear after all these years.

The ground seemed to tell no tales, regardless of the countless bodies that no doubt still lay there undiscovered. She had read that there was research and experiments being done on the grounds by some amateur geophicists but nothing conclusive had turned up yet. She wondered if they had looked in the abandoned well that had been filled in after the supposed discovery of “black” water. She remembered starting the rumor about the black water and the dog that died on the spot the minute he drank it. The truth was that the well served as an excellent dumping site for her and Jo as it was really deep and disposal was generally becoming more and more difficult to pull off as the years wore on and the priests caught wind of the murders and were threatening to alert the Emperor.

She decided to make the fifteen minute journey down the hill to the well. The stone path led all the way to it, and she was surprised to see how quickly it all came back to her. The place had changed significantly of course, the forest had seemed to shrink and she could occasionally hear the faint sound of cars which was an odd new addition to the landscape. The smell was different too, not so woody and a lot less foul, from the reduction in livestock no doubt. It was all much more artificial, if one could say that about a forest. When she finally got to the well, she once again cursed the fact that she hadn’t thought to wear hiking boots, and soon realized that her years in the city had made her lose her connection to the outdoors. Looking around, she found that the well was gone, replaced by more gravel and the odd log, and again there was nothing there to bear witness to the goings on of the distant past. It all felt very normal indeed. Time does heal all wounds I guess, she thought to herself.

 

On success, dreams, aspirations and fluidity.

I like to think that people have dreams. All people.  There are billions of people on this planet and for the most part they work in areas they are not drawn to, are not happy in and dare I say, are not where they hoped to be when they were kids, astronaut ambitions notwithstanding, and that’s just the developed world, to say nothing of the millions living in abject poverty scraping a living in inhuman conditions in sweat shops and the like if I am allowed to speak broadly.

Everybody wants to be happy and successful though success means different thing to different people. Some want to reach the highest echelons in large corporations, others think lots of money means success no matter how they make it, whereas most consider a happy family life to be the key. There are also those who want to be spiritually fulfilled and those who are happy living in the moment with no further thought to the future. Success is very relative and we must always judge it by our standards and not those imposed on us or expected of us by our environments.

For those working in fields they find uninspiring and who are judged by the success yardsticks of others, breaking the drudgery of uninspiring routine, are the occasional stories they hear of the lucky few who through hard work, luck or a combination of the two, managed to make their dreams come true in the nick of time and break away from the poverty or the soul destroying grind they had to endure for years on end, finally reaching their goals, achieving their ambitions and living happily ever after. But what about those that never made it? What about the majority of those people who believed the rhetoric, tried really hard, made the affirmations day in and day out and still ended their lives far from completing or even approaching the dreams they had harboured for a life time? Who thinks of them? Who tells their story? What do they teach us?

Like many of the people I know, I too belong to the millions of dream-bearers who live in small communities which are unable to sustain the more artistically inclined individual. I have but one life ambition: to make a living from my writing which would allow me the freedom to explore all my other artistic outlets such as my sculpting, cooking, silver work etc. In truth I want a Renaissance lifestyle, art sustaining art, just for the sake of my piece of mind and spiritual completion. I would love for my work to achieve meteoric success but the truth is I would be head over heels happy to have a steady average income where I could support my modest lifestyle, currently sustained by my corporate employee status, without the fear of being unable to pay my bills, feed my cats, go out to dinner from time to time and maybe even the odd trip abroad. At the time of writing this I am in the middle of having my first book edited, which will be released in a matter of weeks. I have high hopes for this book, but I am also mature enough to realise that life is not made merely of dreams but some very harsh realities too. Maybe this time next year, I will still be here struggling with my writing; maybe it will have had some average success though apparently the majority of self-published authors sell an average of 300 books before plateauing which is a very sobering thought indeed, considering how many authors I have come across in the brief time that I have been interacting with the fascinating world of indie publishing, some of which are very good indeed. Hindsight might be 20-20 but future-sight is blind as a bat with broken sonar and the only thing I, and I guess a lot of other creatives, have is non dithering confidence in our work and lots of hope for the future, only it’s sometimes very hard to keep that up, especially when the current and the odds are constantly against you. Confusing? Yes! Ironic? Even more so! When you’re a one woman marching band, you just have to keep going.

Becoming an author is really quite simple. You just sit down at a keyboard and bash away at your amazing story. Easy! Ok, maybe it’s not that simple, but truth is I really do believe that you don’t need much to be become a novelist as long as you fulfil certain criteria. Everybody can tell a story, some more successfully than others and each in their own style. I’ve been racking my brains and cannot think of a single person I’ve ever met who is incapable of telling a story. Telling stories, describing situations, verbally communicating is what makes us human. Not everyone needs to be a Shakespeare or a Dickens or a Marquez to be able to tell a story because, lets be honest, not everyone wants to read Shakespeare, Dickens or Marquez. Everyone has their own style and everyone has their audience.

Someone once said that everybody has a book in them, and Christopher Hitchens went that little bit further and added that that’s where it should stay, but much as it pains me, on this matter I disagree with the great man. I love listening to people’s stories; they don’t have to tell you every single fact of what happened to them from the moment they were born to the moment they came to stand before you to realise that there is something interesting about everyone, so maybe in our core we are all little storytellers and listeners. Whatever the field, who doesn’t like books and if not books then movies, or TV series and soap operas even? Stories are in all of us. The mind’s innate curiosity searches them out in our routine, in gossip, in the news… The world is made up of big and little stories.

I believe you can have a talent for writing and storytelling but I also believe it can be acquired if you have certain personality traits such as a good imagination and good observation skills. Obviously good command of your chosen language is mandatory but that too can be worked on. Those with the need to write don’t have to have a degree in English Literature, a good author will always shine by the quality of their work. What helps, is a thirst to read because other authors are our greatest teachers. Through them we are taught what works and what doesn’t in the written form. In his book On Writing, Stephen King advises potential authors to read voraciously, and not just good books but bad ones too, because there is nothing more obvious than a bad book pointing out in practice what doesn’t work in the written word. That having been said however, “good” and “bad” is all relative because there have been countless books released which have found incredible commercial success that I would label as terribly written or cliché. Is it all subjective? Does it depend on the reader, the genre, the style of writing? Probably, but who can tell for certain? There’s that fluid concept of success again.

If indeed everybody has a book in them, then I have several. Hell, I make up of stories in my head about people I come across in the street just by what they’re wearing or holding or driving or I make up scenaria from bits of what people say to me or even what they don’t, simply by the way they behave or their body language. I like this so much that sometimes I don’t even want to know the truth about what they were really doing on Saturday night because my version is so much more entertaining and way more interesting. Does that make me unstable? I don’t know. The ghost in the attic will neither confirm nor deny, he’s had the hump with me since the exorcism. I am not a traditional author. I have two degrees in History and am well read and though I’ve always dabbled, I never thought I could be an author for real, or even if I was to become one, we all know the astronomical odds against getting published. I realise however that we are living through a very exciting time where anyone with a dream has the means and the opportunity to go after it a lot more easily than in the past. I am grateful for the indie movement and am awed by the opportunity to be part of it, come what may.

In conclusion, I wanted this blog to act as somewhat of a timeline or a record of my author voyage right from the start, a bit like a captain’s log on a journey with an unknown (but hopefully long and prosperous) duration, perhaps in solidarity to other people who are dedicated to changing their lives and doing something that gives them pleasure, as opposed to something that causes them pain or that they consider to be meaningless or unchallenging. It is not my intention to give writing tips as I am not an expert though I would perhaps enjoy the using the editing skills I’ve gained from my professional experiences and help people on their writing journey as others have helped me. This blog is purely a record of my writing adventure and a soapbox, so as not to say pulpit, for my thoughts and experiences of this new field that I have come to love and admire, and I hope it gives you food for thought whether you are a reader or writer. It is fluid, just like success…

Oh and to answer your question, no I don’t have an attic.