Monthly Archives: May 2014

‘Empire under siege’ is out!

Empire under siege

Hi All,

Just a short one today. I finally did it, after over a year of writing, the first part of ‘The Adarna chronicles’ is out and you can buy it now on Amazon!

I really hope that people (and by that I mean you!) like it 🙂

Anyway, back to work now on part two (Phoenix rising), which should be out in July….

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Help me with my book cover ‘blurb’ for ‘Empire under siege’

Adarna 1 - Empire under siege

I have been putting this off for a while, and now that the time has come I am bizarrely terrified of writing the book cover ‘blurb’ for my new novella ‘Empire under siege’. I have a cover that I am very happy with (see picture), but for some reason I have been delaying addressing the rather major issue of the blurb.

So, basically, this post is a cry for help. ‘Empire under siege’ is a fantasy set in the ‘Adarnan empire’. The empire itself has many similarities to the Roman empire. There are legions and an emperor and even a senate of sorts. But for every similarity there is a notable difference.

The book itself is an action/ political intrigue/ war story and it is the first in a series that will follow the world-changing events that kick off in this book with a barbarian nation invading the empire. The book itself has been written to appeal to fans of authors like David Gemmell, George R.R. Martin and Stephen Donaldson (if you haven’t read any of these authors, you really should check them out) and whilst I can’t pretend to have a tenth of the skill of any of them I should also make it clear that I have deliberately avoided referencing their style or stories. ‘Empire under siege’ and the ‘Adarna chronicles’ that it forms part of are not cheap imitations of other works (oh dear, that does sound a little pompous!), but are stand alone tales set in a completely new and different world.

Anyway, I am rambling as usual. Back to the point. Please see my attempt at some back cover ‘blurb’ below. Be mean, be harsh, criticise the heck out of it. Please do all of these things, because I want it to end up being as good as possible. Thanks in advance for your help, I really appreciate it 🙂

Back cover ‘blurb’ for ‘Empire under siege’

The Empire of Adarna has stood for a thousand years. A beacon of civilisation shining out to the world. Its glory is undimmed, but of late there are rumours…

A horde of savage warriors has invaded and overrun the south, destroying a legion with ease. Now, the very heartlands of the empire are under threat.

The emperor is young, new to his power and enamoured of it.

Republic… There are whispers in the bars and taverns of the capital and the name that is whispered is always the same… Martius.

General Felix Martius has been charged with ending the threat from the horde, but the emperor’s orders have come late and there has been little time to gather an army. The legions are outnumbered ten to one.

Conlan Danson, a young officer in the Third legion, will stand on the front line, unaware that his actions may influence the fate of humanity.

Empire under siege is the first book in the Adarna chronicles, set in a world of epic grandeur and political intrigue it follows the fate of the Empire through the eyes of the men who could ultimately save it, or doom it to destruction.

What do you think? (personally I think it is a bit cringe worthy!). The lesson I learned today? It’s really difficult to write some ‘blurb’….

 

 

 

Book cover reveal for ‘Empire under siege’

Adarna 1 - Empire under siege

Hi there,

Just a brief blog today, but a very important one for me. See the book cover reveal for my new novella ‘Empire under siege’ above. The book is the first in a series entitled ‘Adarna chronicles’ (the project used to be called ‘Hope’ but I didn’t think it was catchy enough. Just a little too abstract…).

Would be really grateful for your thoughts on it. What do you think?

The book itself is out in the next week on Amazon. Those who purchase ‘Empire under siege’ in the month of June 2014 will receive a copy of my upcoming short story ‘The hunger’ for free when it is released as a thank you. All they have to do is sign up to my newsletter using the link at the end of ‘Empire under siege’.

I hope you like the cover, I am truly chuffed to bits with it. I used the guys over at Deranged Doctor Design (the same people who did my cover for ‘Paradise’) and they delivered the goods as usual 🙂

Why I no longer use Evernote for my writing (How to find your lost Evernote notes in Android)

Frustrated and confused

I had an issue the other day that frightened the hell out of me. I spend a lot of time on the train these days and when I am not on official ‘work’ business (i.e. earning a crust), I like to write on the train journeys.

*NOTE* If you have found this post through a search engine and you want to know how to get your lost ‘Evernote’ note back, please feel free to skip my ramblings and go to the end of the post, where hopefully the solution awaits you 🙂

In a previous post I have outlined my writing tools and I thought it was important to provide an update. You see the other day on the train I decided I wanted a break from writing and editing the ‘Adarna chronicles’. To be fair I was getting a little tired of the first novella ‘Empire under siege’ (for those who have read previous posts, the project used to be called ‘Hope’, but I realised that the name meant nothing to anyone…. Now I know some of you will think ‘What the hell, if Hugh Howey can sell a book called ‘Wool’ then why not have an abstract name that has little meaning until you have read the book?’ But I just wasn’t convinced, so the name has changed).

Anyway, back to the point. I was a little tired of ‘Empire under siege’ and when this happens I tend to work on a short story (which is how my first published work ‘Paradise’ came in to existence) to get over the writer’s block. I have a long list of short story synopses that I hold as ‘Evernote’ ‘notes’, and I will continue to use Evernote for this purpose. The mistake I made was to use ‘Evernote’ as a cut down word processor.

You see I started writing a short story called ‘The hunger’ on the train in Evernote as it seemed easier than trying to use a word processor on my Android tablet. I’ve done this before with great success.

On the day I hit a seam of inspiration that enabled me to polish off the first draft of the story (5,000 words or so) on the journey to London and back. I was ecstatic. Rarely have I been able to finish something in a day, and although there are many rewrites ahead for the story before it goes to the editor, I have to say that I was very, very pleased with it (which, to be fair, probably means it is the worst thing I have ever written!).

I finished the story just as the train got in to my home station and I didn’t have time to sync ‘Evernote’ to the cloud, so I closed my Android tablet and went home, secure in the knowledge that the work would be preserved (I had pressed ‘save’ quite a few times) until I got home and could sync to the cloud and transfer the story to ‘Scrivener’ (which is my writing platform of choice).

Sadly, when I got home and opened Evernote on my iMac, only the first half of the story was there. I didn’t panic, going instead to the Android tablet and checking the ‘note’ on it (surely, I thought, it must still be on the tablet?). Sadly, only half of the story was on the tablet too.

Any writer, I think, will sympathise with my plight. I had been hit by a moment of inspiration and hurled words onto the page in a frenzy. There was no way that I could recapture the lost words. I knew the story, sure, but it would never be the same (plus it would be a pain in the arse to write it all down again). I was utterly, completely, dejected.

I scoured the internet for a solution (after moping around for an hour or so), but couldn’t find anything. To make matters worse, the Evernote website help section was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

After much head scratching (and cursing), I reasoned that because I had pressed ‘save’ in Evernote the file must be on my Android somewhere. It turns out, thankfully, that I was right.

Here’s what I did:-

1) I opened up my Android tablet and went to the file manager app.

2) In the file manager app (there are many available, all you need is something that will let you browse the files on your Android) I located the ‘Android’ folder (if you have an SD card or similar inserted you will have to search this too).

3) Within the ‘Android’ folder I opened ‘data’ and scrolled down until I found a folder called ‘com.evernote’ and within this a folder called ‘files’

4) Within files I opened a folder called ‘unsaved notes’ (be aware that the structure of the file system in Evernote is such that you may have folders with these names on any storage device connected to your Android and they may have different content. So make sure you look through them all). It did strike me as a little bizarre that my saved files would be in a folder called ‘unsaved notes’ but I found them, so who really cares?

5) I found some ‘.enml’ files that had a date and time stamp that coincided with my train journey.

6) I emailed one of the .enml files (the latest) to my iMac.

7) I tried to open the .enml file. It opened but was mostly nonsense.

8) I did a search on the internet and found out that if you rename a .enml file to .html then it can be opened. So I did this and then opened the .html file in my browser.

9) Hey presto! My entire story popped up in my browser. I copied and pasted it into ‘Scrivener’ and the job was done! I slept soundly that night.

So that, dear reader, is why I will never write anything (other than notes) in Evernote again. I have to state that  there is a function on their website that allows you to ask for support. I did send them a request for help but by the time they got back to me I had solved the problem myself.  I should also note (pardon the pun…) that Evernote is an extremely handy and powerful tool if used correctly and I will continue to use it in the future for many other things.

So, that’s the end of a rather different blog post for me. I hope that someone out there finds it useful at some stage. At the very least, I hope that it will help others avoid the mistakes that I made.

If you like this post why not ‘like’ it below? If you want to you can follow my blog on the link at the top right too.

Extract from ‘Empire under siege’

sw_Editing_N10_20130809_230442Hi All,

Please see below an extract from volume one of my ‘Adarna’ fantasy series ‘Empire under siege’, which should be out before the end of the month (well, volume 1, that is). ‘Hope’ is pretty much meant to be a ‘sword and sandal’ epic fantasy. Would really welcome your thoughts (trembles in fear of negative feedback…). Is it engaging enough? (not to mention well enough written?). Please bear in mind that this is still in draft format, it has not, as yet, been professionally edited….

Extract from ‘Empire under siege’ (The Adarna series, volume 1):-

“There is no hope!” the shout carried on the wind, ragged, high pitched and broken.

Conlan glanced toward the noise, his concentration interrupted. He saw the world in perfect focus – a world filled with madness, blood and death. There is no hope. Conlan’s stomach churned as thoughts of death and defeat overtook him. A shadow, a jarring crunch, and his vision blurred, vertigo and darkness overwhelming him, enfolding him in a velvet embrace.

Hearing returned first, clashing iron, the cracking thump of clubs on shields, the rhythmic chant of the legion; fight, fight for the Empire! Screams, jagged and terrible… grunting and groaning intermingled with the choking gasps of the dying.

Conlan envisaged the scene as he lay in darkness – men, shields locked on the front line to hold back the horde, short swords stabbing and hacking rhythmically, perfectly drilled, the finest soldiers in the world. It seemed a distant and terrifying dream.

“Conlan!” someone shouted.

He opened his eyes, squinting into the bright afternoon sun until a silhouetted figure blocked the light.

“Conlan, you have to get up.”

Conlan struggled to stand as hands grasped his arms, dragging him up in grips of iron. His legs wobbled unsteadily as the world snapped into focus.

“Conlan, look at me.” It was Jonas, his shield brother, blue eyes earnest and bright. “Can you speak?”

“What happened?” His voice did not sound like his own, the words caught painfully in his throat, tongue rasping in a parchment dry mouth.

“You dropped your guard, one of the bastards caught you hard, thought you were dead.”

“But…?” dizziness threatened to overwhelm Conlan, crashing in waves against his consciousness.

Jonas grunted. “He overbalanced. Lucus gutted him, then fat Tev took his throat out.”

Conlan looked towards the front. The battle line was five deep, spread too thin to contain the horde – already starting to bulge inward. The fate of the Empire stood on a knife edge.

 

And there you have it, short and sweet. It isn’t all action, but there is a lot going on. If you liked this post (or if you want to know when ‘Empire under siege’ is released), why not follow my blog? Or like me on Facebook? Or maybe even follow on Twitter or Goodreads? (Blimey, that’s a lot of social media choices!) There’s a link to all of them on the right….

Alternatively you could sign up for the ‘Adarna series’ specific newsletter here.