And that’s a wrap

Just a short post to say the first draft of book 5,  (well book 2 in the new Age of Dread trilogy), is done.

The first draft is raw, rough and it still needs a lot of work, but the main framework of the story is now done. I’ve had this story in my head for over a year and it’s taken me months and months to gradually shape the idea into a real thing. It’s changed a bit, despite planning it ahead of time, and I’ve already got a few things in mind I need to revise before anyone sees it. Then once I’m relatively happy with it I will send it on to my editors.

I know it is going to be edited several times and I’m going to be revising this text for the next year or so, but even so I want to get this current version to a comfortable state. There are a number of things I need to fix. Namely writing tics. Things I’ve realised I’ve started to develop, and some I didn’t even know I was doing but have been pointed out by other people. They’re crutches or cliches I might use too often so I’m going to file them off for starters. Other things are part of the plot that already stick out like a sore thumb. Polish the dialogue to make it more natural. There’s a list.

Now is actually the best time to do this, because once it goes into the publishing process I’m on much tighter deadlines, and working on the next book, so my focus is split. I’m ahead of my deadline at the moment so I have time to knuckle down and sort it now. Hopefully by doing so it will pay off later when I get my first set of editorial notes back on this new book. That’s the plan anyway.

Once this goes off to the publisher it’s back to fleshing out my notes for book 6 and then the hard work of a first draft begins again! No rest for the wicked and all that.

Writing questions for April

This is going to be a short post with some questions that I’m hoping those of you who are following this blog, and anyone else who sees it, will respond to as it will give me a better idea of who is reading this, and also, why. I have a feeling that a lot of people who pop in here are writers, but I will see what the results show.

Questions

1.  With so much information out there now readily available via the internet on blogs, vlogs, social media, author websites, as well as attending events and courses, are there any parts of the publishing process that are still a mystery? And if so, which parts?

2. Are you a writer aiming to, one day, get published? And if so, how far along are you with your current work in progress?

3. Are you struggling with a particular part of the writing process? If so, which part?

4.  If you’re not an aspiring writer, are you  fan of fantasy? Science fiction? Both?

That’s it, short and sweet. Let me know in the comments.

Win an early signed copy of Chaosmage

Chaosmage Stephen AryanI’ve received a few early copies of Chaosmage from my publisher, Orbit. It’s not officially published for a few weeks (Oct 12) so I’m going to run a simple competition.

The winner will be chosen at random and I will sign and personalise a copy of Chaosmage and post it to you, anywhere in the world. This is open to anyone internationally.

In order to enter the competition, all you need to do is donate some money to the following charity, Leeds Cat Rescue, via PayPal, or if that link doesn’t work, visit their Facebook page here – where there is a PayPal link on the right hand column – and send me proof via email (stephenaryan56[AT]gmail.com)

How much you donate is up to you. Amounts will not be posted anywhere and no-one will know except me. The money will be used to help the charity, which is run by volunteers, to rehome and care for cats and kittens. They are also trying to raise money for special equipment for critical care.

For whoever is the most generous, I will also send out a signed full set of the whole trilogy.

If you are unable to use Paypal, then as an alternative you could buy something from their Amazon wishlist here, and again let me know via email.

Deadline for entries is midnight Wednesday 21st September. Any questions in the meantime let me know.

Bloodmage tour roundup

I’m back from my UK tour for Bloodmage, the second book in the Age of Darkness trilogy.

The first stop was Sheffield, which was a lot of fun. Samuel, and the other staff at Waterstones Orchard Square, had arranged some coffee and nibbles and after rushing to get there, I was ready for a drink and some cake. There were a few writers in the audience so a lot of the questions were around how to get published, finding an agent, working with a publisher and so on. There was still plenty of time for a reading and to sign a few books.

After Sheffield I went to Middlesbrough where Niel Bushnell and I had a great discussion about our different routes to getting published. It was also a good opportunity for us to catch up as I’d not seen Niel since last year at another event. We shared some more tips about writing and getting published and explored some of the different options that are available today, compared with only a few years ago.

The last stop was my home town of Whitley Bay, where I grew up. I’d not been back in a few years and before the event I had some time to explore what had changed and was what the same since my last visit. Many thanks to everyone at the library for their support and for everyone who braved the awful weather to come and see me.

My presentation about my writing and my journey to getting published was very popular and I received a lot of positive comments. Even more popular was the fantastic Battlemage cake that my friend, Katie, had made for me. It was also chocolate cake, which is my favourite, and at one point I almost didn’t get a piece as it was rapidly disappearing. Overall it was a tiring but enjoyable book tour.

It’s only six months until Chaosmage is here and I start all over again. So let me know if you want me to come and visit a bookshop near you next time.

Battlemage Cake - Whitley Bay 2016

Thank Book For podcast with…Stephen Aryan

Thank Book For Podcast Normally I’m the one recording the podcasts and interviewing the guests. This time it was my turn to be a guest on the Thank Book For podcast with Tom Bissell and Gemma Todd.

Listen here to find all of the episodes.

We had a lot of fun recording this and there was a lot of chat off mic as well which could have gone on for hours.

In this episode we talk about some of my favourite books, writing in general, different styles of writing, comics, films and remakes, and guilty pleasures.

Listen to my episode here

 

Book 3 is away…

It is getting close to  the end of February and it’s time for another quick update. I’ve been pretty quiet on here and haven’t written a new post in a while as I’ve had my nose to the grindstone. The copy edit for book 3 came in and it was two and a bit weeks of solid graft, in addition to the day job. But it is now done and has gone off to the publisher. Phew. So, that means there is only one more stage of checking, when I get the proof, before it then becomes an ARC (advanced read copy). Soon after that the book comes out!

Is it still a dark art?

Thinking about the copy edit and then the final proof stage it made me wonder, is there any mystery left to the publishing process? By that I mean, if you are reading this, and you are an aspiring author, do you know what all the stages are that a book goes through before it is published with a traditional publisher? Is there any bit that you don’t understand?

Obviously the process is different if it is digital or self published. I am curious, with so many authors, and people within the industry, now talking about much of what seemed like a dark art to me online, is it all clear now?

Let me know as I’m very curious. Not only about this, but I also still see so many posts, articles and YouTube videos about how to get published and how to approach an agent, and they are full of bad and unhelpful information.

So, I’m now pondering what next, writing some short stories, focusing on some comic book projects and scribbling ideas for the next big thing. Also I’m catching up on some TV I missed the first time around, plus other stuff I’ve never seen. All of which is me trying to relax.

February worklog

I thought I would do a quick post about what I’m up to at the moment on various things.

So, book 2, Bloodmage, is completely done and dusted. My publisher, Orbit books, has just sent me the latest version of the cover and I think it looks really good. So that is all set to come out in April.

In about a week’s time the copy edits on book 3, currently untitled, will be coming back to me. I’ve then got a couple of weeks to turn it around and send it back to the publisher. After that, a few weeks later, I get a physical proof.

So at the moment I have a window of time where I’m not writing. I won’t lie. It’s weird. After doing it all the time, almost every day, to suddenly not be working on a novel seems odd.

Not writing at all doesn’t sit right with me, so I’m writing down notes for the next big thing. In theory it will be a new trilogy, but it is very early days, so that might change. In the meantime I’m also working on what is currently a novelette, but depending on how long it runs, it might turn into a novella. It’s set in the same world as the Age of Darkness, and it shines the light on a couple of characters. It is an interesting side adventure they went on together. Chronologically it’s set before Battlemage, so it doesn’t spoil anything, but if you’ve read book 1 already then there are pay-offs.

I’ve just finished doing an Author roundtable Q and A over at SFF World which you can read here. The questions were mostly about process  and more general as there were three of us.

The comic book projects roll on. Flux, co-written with Pete Rogers is going well. We’ve just finished the Issue 3 script (out of 4) and we’re fairly happy with it. Artwork for issue 2 is still coming in and we’re going to start working on Issue 4, and extra content soon. I’ve also got about nine ideas written down for some other mini series and am having trouble deciding what to pursue next. I think a bit of a head to head Skype chat with Pete is what is required.

The podcasting is still going well. I have monthly chats with Scott for CBO and the same with Pete for Bags of Action, where we talk action movies. Later this month I’ll be doing face to face podcasts with both of them, which will be weird, as you learn certain rhythms when doing it over the internet. Seeing the person talk is just odd. Pete and I recently saw Creed, so we’ll be talking about that very soon for Bags. We’re both big fans of the Rocky franchise so it will be an interesting discussion.

Soon I’ll be announcing some events in the UK for the launch of Bloodmage in April, so keep checking back. The first of these as gone up already on the Events page, and I will add more when confirmed. I suspect I’ll be attending a couple of conventions this year but I’m not sure where or when yet. Pie in the sky idea for 2017 is to attend NYCC in October, but right now it’s just a cool idea. Let’s see if it actually happens.

Wailing Heights

CaptureI can finally reveal a little bit more information about another of the secret writing projects I’ve been involved with. I recently had the pleasure of working with Outsider Games, on their latest project – Wailing Heights.

It was a real challenge for me, bringing humour to the content. It was very different to what I normally write and I had to write two pieces in very different styles and voices. I also had to do some research and delve into areas I would never normally look and it was quite an eye opening experience. I had a lot of fun working on the project with the guys and am looking forward to seeing the game when it comes out.

You can read more about my involvement with the game on their Production Blog.

Looking back at 2015

This year has been a busy one, for me and for geeks in general. Next year looks as if it is going to be more of the same.

By the time the new year bells ring out, a new Star Wars film will have been out for a couple of weeks and it will be in the realm of being rewatched multiple times. I’m going to see it soon and cannot wait. After the horrible disappointment of the Phantom Menace and the other prequels, I am trying to stay positive for this. I really enjoy the new Trek films, and hope that JJ Abrams (and all of those people around him of course as it’s not a solo thing) are able to work their magic again.

We’ve got more Marvel, DC, and lots of genre films to come next year, with the likes of a new Star Trek film, a new Harry Potter universe film, a new Rocky universe film for me in Creed and a tonne of other great films I could list but won’t.

In terms of books and the Age of Darkness trilogy, it all kicks off again in April with Bloodmage. I’ve seen the first draft of the cover and it looks good. The work on my side is completely done and right now I’m working on the next draft of book 3 following comments from my editor. So book 3 will also be out next year, about 6 months after Bloodmage. It’s a very weird thing to say and imagine that by this time next year I will have 3 published books of fiction.  The question then becomes, what next?

I’m pondering a couple of things. I have a short novella that I want to write, set in the same world, that expands on a line of dialogue someone mentions in book 3. I also have a short story I want to sketch out and then write, again set in the same world. After that, in theory I will write another trilogy that is chronologically set after the Age of Darkness.

It’s very thin on paper so far, but I have notes and ideas on scraps of paper. I have a Word document stuffed full of ideas and story arcs and character descriptions and lots of ‘what if’ questions and answers. So once book 3 is out of the way again and back with the publisher I’m going to try to nail down some of these floaty ideas, see what the throughline is that ties it all together and start to build the spine of the story. After that I’ll discuss it with my agent and we’ll go from there. So, by the time book 3 comes out, I will probably be working on the first draft of the new book.

On top of that the French version of Battlemage is due to be published in either Spring or Summer. I am also hoping that the long-gestating comic book mini series I’ve been co-writing with Pete Rogers, Flux, will be ready early next year. Then we can make a more formal announcement and talk about it in a bit more detail.  I’ve been sketchy about where it’s coming from and what it is about as we want to get most of it in the can so that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. A busy year ahead indeed.

Events-wise, it is too early to say but no doubt I will be doing some to promote the launch of the two new books in the UK. I’m doubtful I’ll get to any conventions outside of the UK next year but you never know, something might come up.

So, onwards to 2016 although I’ll be posting over the holidays about the World’s Strongest Man competition.