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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Goodbye Until After The Move

Well, the time has come to say goodbye to the current house and move to pastures and cities new. As I write this blog post I am surrounded by packing boxes and empty cupboards.

I will be offline from sometime later today to sometime either Sunday or Monday and during that time there will be no Internet access, no blog posts, and no tweets. It's a really weird thing for me. I am such an Internet connected person! Still, I am looking forward to getting set up in the new house and back on stream again. I have a lot of plans of things I want to get done as soon as I can.

So, until I see you all next, take care, have fun and read a book (maybe even one of mine!).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Track and Looking for Pre-Readers

Well only another few days until I move house, and everything is already upside down. This time next week I'll be in the new place and hopefully back online and fully functioning. Until that time, I'm afraid you'll have to make do with reading some of my old blog posts!

Anyway, moving apart, I'm just about ready to send out my upcoming novel, Xannu - The Portal, to pre-readers. This time around I thought I'd offer up an opportunity to my blog followers to become one of the pre-readers. Is this something you've ever considered? If so, leave me a comment below this post and I'll get back to you.

Just what does a pre-reader do? Quite simply you will read my book and look for continuity, pace, grammar, and several other things that I ask. Everything is all explained in the documents I would send you. Over a maximum of a four week period you will need to read my book a total of at least two times, and preferably three. Each read has goals. The feedback I receive helps me to make the final set of edits before the book is ready for review and launch. It's a very important and necessary task.

Not read any of the Xannu books yet? In that case you might want to head over to my website and pick up copies of books one and two first.

In the meantime, oh well - there's still lots of work preparing for my move. Gotta run. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Please Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter

From today you have an opportunity to sign-up and receive a monthly newsletter from me. Why would you want to do this?

The benefits include:
  • Pre-release news on my upcoming book releases
  • Opportunities to read Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of my books
  • Opportunities to buy books before they are released to the general public
  • A monthly exclusive 'Inside a character' feature where I give you some unique insight into one of my books' characters
  • Special Offers on ebooks and paperbacks only available to newsletter subscribers (Up to 50% off)
  • News of my upcoming FREE YA Fantasy novella (exclusive to subscribers)
  • A monthly questions and answers section
  • And much more besides...
So, what are you waiting for? Either sign up below, or on the form to the right of this post.  The first newsletter is due on March 31st.

Many thanks, I appreciate all of my readers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preparing to Move House

Under normal circumstances, the life of an Indie Author can be challenging to say the least. But this month I think I've just about hit the jackpot!

I currently have book releases planned for the months of May, June, July, and August. These releases will feature two new books and two new edits of existing books. As you all know, there's a lot of work that goes into a book release. Needless to say, I'm up to my ears in it all.

On top of the normal book stuff I also work a full-time job. Call me crazy, but I have a number of goals I am trying to achieve as I wander through life, exploring the edges. The day job only leaves a few hours a day to get my writing stuff done. And that's just the way it is. I can't complain.

But, and here's the fun part, at the end of the month I'm moving house. I'm moving 70 miles away from my home in Redmond, WA to a little town named Anacortes, WA. This moves means that, more than ever, my time is being turned completely upside down. Trying to fit in writing, editing, marketing, my day job, packing, sorting out utilities, and everything else, is seriously cutting into my sleep time!

So, as the next couple of weeks passes by, I am sorry if I miss a few days blogging here and there, or I don't get back to someone who emailed me; I have a few things going on. Still in about 3 weeks time, I ought to be done and set up in my new house, in my new office, and back on track again. I just pray I don't go crazy between now and then.

Thanks for indulging me!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Editing - Does It Ever Get Any Easier?

Wow! So I just finished my first edit of Xannu - The Portal, the third book in The Southern Lands YA fantasy series. It is currently scheduled for release in August of this year.

People often ask why it takes so long to get a book to market? I mean, if it only takes a month or two to write, then surely it can be on Amazon in three? If only it was that easy. In all honesty, getting a book to market is a six to nine month process at the minimum. I wish there was an easier way. But if you want to do the book justice and have it properly edited, then there are no shortcuts. My process for releasing a novel includes the following:
  • Writing the book (2 months)
  • Leaving the book alone - don't touch it (1 month)
  • Perform 1st edit (up to 1 month)
  • Send book out to pre-readers for feedback (1 month)
  • Re-edit and send book to sample reviewers (2 months)
  • Perform final edits and prepare for launch (1 month)

And there we have it - eight months before you even know it.

So why do I spend so much time on editing, as opposed to writing? Quite simply because all books need editing. Words and sentences that are written in the heat of a frenzied writing session have the spirit of what I want to write, but not always the correct grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. that they should have. It takes several sets of eyes to wring the best out of a book before it's ready to go to market. Still, having written the actual manuscript and performed the first edit (which I find is always the most difficult), all that's left is a matter of time. It's a little like making wine. You've let the grapes grow and you've pressed and blended the juice. All you need to do now is let it mature in the bottle, sampling along the way to make sure it's what it's supposed to be. After the requisite period the book is ready for sale!

Anyway, I've rambled on enough for today and I need to take a rest. It's been a long week and I'm glad that my first edit is finally over. Now it's nearly time to solicit my pre-readers. But more about that next week.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Scrivener #4 - Editing My Manuscript

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts based on my experience with Scrivener - A Swiss Army Knife of a tool for writers. The previous post can be found HERE. The complete series can be found HERE.

At the end of the last blog post I had successfully imported and split up my first two Xannu books (each 125,000 words long) into chapters, and re-edited them as best I could. This blog post is concerned with book 3 of the series.

To give a little background, book 3 (Xannu - The Portal) was originally written about a year ago and has sat waiting for me to re-visit it and perform the first edit. And actually, editing this manuscript was one of the reasons that prompted me to get Scrivener in the first place.

Why? I didn't want to be wading through a 125,000 word document yet again, cutting and pasting sections from place to place as I decided to move pieces around. I also wanted to be able to look at my chapter word counts on the fly and make sure they were more or less consistent. Neither of these things are easy in Word. Finally, I wanted to be able to take a quick look at the character plot lines and character flows to make sure they were spread properly throughout the manuscript. Scrivener is excellent at all of these things.

Of course, the first task was to get the manuscript into scrivener. This time I took a different approach to the previous books and started by going back to my original outline document and creating index cards (scenes) in Scrivener, one for each scene. That resulted in over 200 blank cards created. Then I imported my manuscript and copy and pasted each scene to its relevant index card. There were a few differences as already the first draft had a few extra scenes than my outline and there were a few scenes I never actually wrote. But, a few hours later and I was done.

Now it was time to actually edit the manuscript. Starting at Chapter One, I clicked on the chapter and opened it in the main window in scrivenings mode (see below). Then I went through each chapter scene by scene and attached character POVs and listed all the characters that were in each scene. In parallel I performed the first edit on the actual scene itself. I'll be truthful here. This is a long process. And so it should be. This is one of the most important jobs in performing your first edit. Be thorough. Be ruthless. Eek out every mistake and eradicate it. This is not a job for the lazy.

But, the good news is, that for the first time ever I am actually getting enormous benefits from a program while doing my editing. Scrivener makes it really easy to spot things and change things. Assigning a POV to a scene instantly allows me to see where I've wandered unintentionally into someone else's mind mid-scene. Now it's easy to correct. Also, I can see at a glance (using the outline mode - see picture below) how my word counts per chapter stack up. I can easily drag and drop scenes from one chapter to another and make minor adjustments.

Oh, I could go on and on! But the bottom line is that I have more than paid for the cost of Scrivener during the course of this single manuscript edit. It's wonderful!

Oh, and I know you all want a lot more detail on this subject and many others, and over the course of the next few months, you'll get it. But for now you'll have to excuse me as I continue to edit my manuscript, all the time trying to keep to a very tight deadline.

Thanks for bearing with me!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Scrivener #3 - Importing An Existing Manuscript (Pt 2)

This is the third in a series of blog posts based on my experience of Scrivener - A Swiss Army Knife of a tool for writers. The previous post can be found HERE. The complete series can be found HERE.

At the end of the last blog post I had successfully imported my manuscript into Scrivener and chopped it up into chapters, The next job was go through it and edit it. This was fairly easy to do on a chapter by chapter basis.

As I went through each chapter I made notes in the Inspector (a panel open on the right hand side of the screen) about anything I needed to remember for later. This included questions of plot that I wanted to make sure I’d resolved, and other character notes. And speaking of character notes, I also took the opportunity to create character reference sheets for each of my characters (see below). This was a great help as previously I’d had other files scattered all over my PC, which were used to help me when I wrote. I also imported pictures into my project that I could again use for reference while I was writing.

One of the neat features about Scrivener is that you can have two window panes open at the same time, perhaps one to type in and one that shows a scene you are trying to describe (see below). This is really helpful.

Editing my old manuscripts, although laborious, is a much simplified task using Scrivener. And I can even move pieces of the plot around if I need to (which will be very useful in my later, unpublished, books).

Once I was happy with the edit process, all I had to do was ‘compile’ it, ready for export to either a PDF, a Word document, or an ebook. This will be the topic of my next post.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review: The Concubine's Gift (By K. Ford K.)

I was recently asked if I would read and review a book by fellow author, K. Ford. K.. The book is The Concubine's Gift and can be found at Amazon as a paperback and an ebook, and at Barnes & Noble as a paperback.

Disclaimers: I was not paid in any way for the review and the views are mine and mine alone.

The Concubine's Gift (By K. Ford K.)

Imagine a tree-fenced, old country garden that holds a multitude of unknown treasures inside waiting to be discovered. You open the gate and take a peek. Then you step onto the path and take a wander around, peeking behind bushes here and looking into flower beds there. There are just so many little things to see.

The Concubine’s Gift reminded me of such a garden. The book is a journey of discovery set in a small Nevada town, seen through the eyes of a sexually inhibited woman in her late-thirties, Bernice Babbitt.

The reason I use the analogy of the garden is that, to me, it just seemed that way. This isn’t a serial book, where one thing leads to the next; it’s more of a journey. Of course there’s an ending, and of course there’s a beginning; it’s just that what happens in between could really happen in almost any order.

K. Ford K. narrates the story in a homey, old-fashioned kind of way. It’s apple pie and home baking. It was a little like having a naughty bedtime story read to you; one that is full of ‘by the way’ and ‘incidentally.’ Stories branch into others and meander for a while before they return to the main path. And as you wander that path with Bernice you discover just why the book is named what it is.

For the most part, I enjoyed the read. The story itself is well written although I was hoping for a little more plot and a few more surprises. From early on I had a good idea where it was all going. Like I say, it was a pleasant walk through a tree-fenced, old country garden. And one that was filled with many sexual small-town secrets.

As a final note I have to add that the ebook had several formatting problems that I am told are being addressed. This made reading the book difficult at times and took away from its enjoyment.

Rating: 3 Stars (of 5)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Last Chance - 50% Off TWO Books

Tomorrow marks the end of Read An Ebook Week. And if you didn't know, this week I've been offering TWO of my ebooks at a 50% reduction from their normal price. What, you didn't know? And what, you've not bought one?

Okay quick, you need to head on over to Smashwords and pick up a copy before it's too late. Tomorrow (Saturday) at midnight, the sales ends. Just like that.

Book 1: New Blood (Melrose Part 1) - Genre: 16+ Young Adult Urban Paranormal Thriller
Book 2: How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel

They are both great books and I've written about them several times before. So, don't delay. Click on the links and read an ebook!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Scrivener #2 - Importing An Existing Manuscript (Pt1)

This is the second in a series of blog posts based on my experience of Scrivener - A Swiss Army Knife of a tool for writers. The previous post can be found HERE. The complete series can be found HERE.

It was tempting for me to just dive in and use Scrivener without reading everything I could about it, but I figured if I was going to make this my go to piece of software for writing novels then I needed to invest the time and get to know it properly. So the first thing I did was to watch the 30 minute video on the Scrivener website and also go through the built-in Scrivener tutorial. Goodbye day one!

Wow! There's a lot to Scrivener. It was like learning Word or Excel all over again. Yes, it could be used in its basic format, but it also had so much to offer, and that was why I was switching to it. Okay, it was time to get started.

I currently have two series of novels in mid-development. My Xannu series is two books published and one book in completed manuscript form, in a five book series. My Melrose series is one book published and one book in completed manuscript form, in a three book series. So I had two choices, either to just start new manuscripts in Scrivener or to somehow back-fit my existing novels into it. I decided on the latter approach, even though I knew it would mean more work and probably more frustration.

Now that I am in the middle of this exercise, I am pleased I chose this approach. The exercise has given me a chance to get to know the powerful features in a semi-protected environment. When I come to use Scrivener in anger to start a new manuscript I will definitely be hitting the ground running.

But anyway, I know you all want to know what I've done so far.

The first step was to create a blank project in Scrivener. I chose the New Project; Novel; Novel with Parts option (I plan to use one project for each of my series, with the parts equating to individual novels). I then messed around a little with the project to create enough chapters for my novel and did a few other bits and pieces. Next it was time to import my first novel, Xannu - The Prophecy. I selected Import; Files; and then located my Word document for the novel on my hard drive. Scrivener imported it flawlessly. Now all I had to do was split it up.

I had already decided that for my published novels I was only going to split them to the chapter level as I was already happy with the structure and most other things. Once the published manuscript was imported I just went through it, from the end backwards, highlighting a chapter heading, right-clicking my mouse and selecting Split With Selection As Title. This gave me all my split chapters. I then dragged these into the chapter containers I had already created above. The hard part was done. Who am I kidding? The first part of the process was done. I still had to perform a few minor re-writes; do some editing; import characters, location and reference materials; and format it for printing or use as an ebook. And this was just book one. I still had book two and book three to work on.

In the next blog post I will discuss how I brought in reference materials to help me with the long term evolution of my Xannu project.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Scrivener #1 - My New Writing Tool

As can be assumed from the title of this post, I aim to publish a series of posts on my experiences using Scrivener during the next few months. (UPDATE: The complete series can be found HERE.)

So, for all of you that haven't heard of it, what is Scrivener? Quite simply it's a Word Processing / Project Management / Ideas Mapping / Reference Collector all-in-one. Or, to put it another way, it's the software I'm now going to use to write my novels.

Let's start with a little history. Probably like most of you, I have been a user of Microsoft Word for many, many years and it's always seemed the best tool to use for writing my novels. And seemed is the correct word here. I mean, after all, it's a word processing piece of software. That's got to be the right thing to write a novel, hasn't it? And Word does a fairly good job of allowing me to write my manuscripts. Okay, it does get a little difficult managing an 80,000 to 125,000 word document; I can never seem to find the exact piece of text I want to edit. Oh, and I do have difficulty remembering what I wrote about Joe the Plumber four chapters back. Not to worry, I'll just page back through my manuscript and re-read it before I start writing the new part. And cutting and pasting that section of story from chapter twelve to chapter sixteen is a little dangerous. I'd better make another backup and then make sure it still all flows. Oh, and then Jane. What color was her hair? Was she last driving a blue car? I can't remember. But it doesn't really matter, I've got a really super-duper word processor. Nothing else is important.

Does any of this ring any bells with you? It's been a constant annoyance to me. As well as my ever-growing, unwieldy manuscript I am forced to keep other documents containing character descriptions, plot points, ideas, location names, etc. Oh, and don't forget the whole folder of photos that I need when I'm writing some of the descriptive scenes. It's all driving me crazy.

Enter Scrivener, which has been available on the Mac for several years, and is now available on the Windows platform (yes I know, I'm old-fashioned). This single piece of software claims to solve every one of my problems and create a project for each one of my books (or series of books - to be explained in a later post). In my scrivener project I can keep all my character information, all my reference materials, and my manuscript. Not only that, it will allow me to break my manuscript up by plot point (or whatever other element I want to - like chapter), attach metadata to that plot point (i.e. POV Character, Location, synopsis of scene, etc.) and then also attach the actual writing. My head is already spinning.

So what does all this mean in reality? I wish I had a hundred hours to tell you. There are so many ways in which Scrivener is going to help my writing. And this is the purpose of this series of blog posts. Like I said at the beginning, over the next couple of months I am going to blog my experiences and relate how Scrivener is helping my novel writing and editing process. Today I just wanted to introduce the software to you, and tomorrow I'll tell you how I've started to use it. We'll call it Scrivener - The Early Days. So, until tomorrow.

I would love to hear any comments you have.

The complete series of blog posts on Scrivener can be found HERE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

50% OFF! - How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel

Continuing the read an ebook theme, today I am pleased to announce that until Saturday 10th March, my bestselling book, How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel, will be on sale at Smashwords at a 50% discount. This is an amazing deal, so hurry and click THIS link (and don't forget to enter the discount code on checkout) to snap your copy up before time runs out.

This book usually retails at $3.99 so you can buy it today for only $1.99. Like I said, that is a bargain indeed.

And what's the book about? Well, here's a brief synopsis (and don't forget to click the picture opposite!):

Writing and publishing your first novel is tough. It usually takes a long time. Years for most people. It can be soul destroying too. You finally complete your manuscript; you send off samples to agents and publishers, and anxiously watch the mail for the responses. Then they come in, one at a time, rejection after rejection.

How do I know this? I’ve been there. Does this mean I was a bad writer? No, but I could have used some help in those early days. Sure, I had purchased a few books on writing and I had tried to pay attention to the advice they gave, but there were so many of them and sometimes advice seemed to conflict other advice. It was way too much to take in.

But I persevered with my writing and now I have been writing for several years and I have completed several novels and other books, and my writing is a lot better. My early novels could still do with some major re-editing (which they will be finally getting this summer), but my later works, oh wow I can spot the differences!

So, a few months ago I decided I would go the self-publishing route to getting my books out there in the big world. Things are changing in the book markets and so many people now have Kindles and Nooks and iPads and other electronic book readers. I thought to myself, why not do it myself? I know I can write; I have that confidence. Enough complete strangers have told me they like what I write, so why shouldn’t I join that list of published authors? And why should I have to wait for some agent or publisher to take a chance on an unknown author before I get published? So I did it, and now I have the story to tell and the method you can use to generate your own success.

This ebook is a series of essays solely concerned with improving your writing skills and getting your first novel successfully self-published. It is written in a way that you can keep dipping into it, and keep coming back to parts of it, time and time again. It is concise and to the point and it is written from experience; thousands of hours of experience. Every essay in this book is relevant and has a purpose. Every essay will give you pause for thought.

Can I turn you into a bestselling author? No – only you can do that. But I can set you on a path to success. I can give you clear guidelines about what not to do, and how to do things better. And I can tell you exactly how to self-publish that novel. This ebook takes your novel from the beginning and leads you along a path of self-discovery. When you have finished reading you will be Writing for Success and be someone who has a better chance than most every other wannabe author out there of becoming the next Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, Stephen King, or whoever else is your writing hero.

Good luck!

1. Don't Start the Story at the Beginning
2. Become a Successful Writer in 2,000 Hours
3. Poems and Short Stories
4. Creating a Good Plot
5. How Long Should a First Novel Be?
6. Writing in the First Person
7. Writing in the Third Person
8. Dialog Versus Narrative – Show Versus Tell
9. Writing Your First Novel: Words & Routine
10. Conflict and Its Importance
11. Plot Pace
12. Creating Believable and Well Rounded Characters
13. Writing Dialog – Or ‘He Said, She Said’
14. Creating a Page Turner
15. Letting the Book 'Cook'
16. Self-Editing Your Novel
17. The Process of Pre-Reads
18. Creating a World of Fantasy
19. How to Write & Self-Publish a Novel: The End-To-End Process Checklist
20. Creating a Writing Environment without Interruptions
21. Reading to Write
22. Encouraging All Would Be Authors
23. The Self-Publishing Process - The COMPLETE A-Z Instructions
24. Marketing Your Novel - The Relevance of Social Media, ARCs and Book Bloggers

Monday, March 5, 2012

50% OFF! - New Blood (Read an Ebook Week)

This week it is Read An Ebook Week and so in celebration I am offering my latest novel, New Blood, at a 50% discount from now through Saturday March 10th.

Where can you get this deal? ONLY at Smashwords. So, click on THIS link and head on over. Don't forget to type in the promotional code on checkout!

Don't know about New Blood? Well, here's a little promo for it below.

Enjoy the book on your favorite ereader (including your PC) for only $1.49.

A single kiss can get a girl killed. But what if he's the most irresistible man you've ever met? What would you do?

Watch the New Blood trailer:

If you don't have a flash enabled browser, click HERE to watch trailer

"New Blood reads like season one of an addictive paranormal TV series. The premise takes the power of relationships beyond even the vampire thrill. The characters are fleshed out (except the victims, who are left convincingly dry) and we care enough about our heroine Lucy, to dread her migraines almost as much as she does. Add in a paranoia about the people who are really in power and... well, the temptation is to call it a formula for a long and satisfying series. However, Paul Dorset rises above formulaic prose with writing so compelling that only after you catch your breath do you realize the craftsmanship. He tells stories. And as with the best paranormal fiction, the fantasy serves to illustrate some basic truths of the human condition." - G. Tuttle (reviewer)

New Blood (Melrose Part 1) - Genre: 16+ Young Adult Urban Paranormal Thriller

In a world where big corporations are controlled by a secret society, Beau is on track to have everything he ever wanted and more. And there is only one woman that stands in his way - As long as she can resist falling in love with the man of her dreams.

In this contemporary tale of power, greed, ambition, love and death, what would you be prepared to sacrifice to have it all? 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Juice Fast - Update Plus 6 Weeks

Wow! I can't believe it's been 6 weeks since I finished my Juice Fast. Time flies...

So, how have I done since then? The simple answer is excellently! I've lost a further 9 lbs in the last six weeks and I've hit my first weight loss goal of the year nearly a month early. I am now officially lighter than I was when I first moved to America in 1995. Goodbye fast food diet once and for all. My last goal is a further 10 lbs that will put me into a category that I honestly can't remember when I was last in.

How have I done this? The simple truth is that it's been my change in diet. I have remained about 99% vegetarian and generally about 90% vegan. Further, I probably eat about 60% of my food raw. Of course, the only real way to lose weight is to consume a calorie deficit compared to what your body needs, and so I've tried to keep my metabolism as high as possible while eating a manageable food intake. Over the next couple of weeks I will slowly increase my food intake and the weight loss will begin to slow down. I plan to take several months to lose the remaining 10 lbs.

Don't I ever feel hungry? Everybody feels hungry from time to time. That's a reality. But that said, no, generally I feel very satisfied. I eat a lot of very filling vegetables and salads, as much quantity as I can manage. And then I supplement this with beans, legumes, and some grains. Protein consumption is fine - saying that you can't get protein while not eating meat is a complete myth. Also, vitamin consumption has been fine. I have also been growing my own sprouted seeds (think tastier than alfalfa) and also sprouting lentils (which I love) and beans. The possibilities of foods to eat are endless and I really haven't become bored with my diet at all. I've also mostly cut out beer (and that was a huge thing for me) and switched to red wine, and have stopped eating (99%) bread made with refined flour. I now buy loaves made with sprouted grains and they are delicious!

Don't I miss meat? This is a tough one. I miss the thought of meat, but I don't miss meat itself. I didn't undertake this diet because of animal activist reasons like many people do (although I do believe that the American food economy is not well guided and animals are not treated well in their processing). I undertook this diet for body health reasons. Therefore if I do eat a little meat from time to time (although it would be most likely seafood), I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I just need to make sure that it's the exception and not the rule. And to be honest, I can't really see myself changing my view on this. The benefits so outweigh the negatives.

So what's next? Like I said, I have another 10 lbs to lose and several months to lose it. I intend to spend the next couple of months refining my eating habits and finding that right weight maintenance lifestyle and then stick to it forever. I have so much more energy now, sleep better, don't snore, and generally achieve more in a working day, that I'm not going to move away from this way of life. It is completely sustainable and that's something big coming from a skeptic like me!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Xannu - The Prophecy : A Re-Edit

Now that my manuscript of Unicorns (Melrose Part Two) is cooking, shut away in isolation (i.e. I won't be visiting it for a month before I do the first draft edit), it's time to concentrate on another long overdue task. That of re-editing the first two books in my Xannu series (to create Second Editions), ready for the release of the third book in the summer.

So why am I doing this? I wrote Xannu - The Prophecy back in 2002 - I can't believe it's been ten years now - and over the years my writing style has changed and I've matured as a writer. And that's not to say that anything I wrote all those years ago is bad or wrong, it's just a little different. And there are a few things that I'm not happy about in the style of that first book. Rookie amateur mistakes. So, as a precursor to the release of the third book in the series I thought I'd perform a complete re-edit of it and change a few little things here and there. It's not a re-write, just a re-edit. Some people say that a book is never finished, and I guess there's some truth in that. So, the plan is to finish the re-edit in the next couple of days and then release the book as a second edition (along with the new paperback version) at the beginning of May. Xannu - The Healing is due for its Second Edition launch in July of this year.

And if by chance you haven't yet read the book, then why not jump over to Amazon where it's currently available as a FREE read to Kindle owners. To all the rest of you, it's a $0.99 purchase! Still a good price! See you all soon.  (click on the picture to be taken to Amazon):

 For fans of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Narnia Chronicles, the first installment in a thrilling epic fantasy series…

Would you wake up in a hot sweat if you lived your night’s dreams as a soldier battling un-earthly creatures, witnessing powerful magic and fighting to save your own life on a daily basis?

English schoolboy Terry West does. Frequently. After digging up some rune coins near a roman road, he has been living in another world inhabited by warlocks, seductresses, priests and prophecy. There Terry is a soldier, Teern Truthbringer, who has been tasked with finding the Xannu - 'he who will lead the people into deliverance.'

If only it wasn’t real; but it is. Very real. When it all began it was even enjoyable, but now Terry’s life is getting very complicated. Somehow he involved his best friend Joe and although it had seemed a good idea at the time, the consequences had been dire. Then there is Susan, the leggy sister of klutzy school-friend Brian. Why does she keep sending him messages?

Terry is struggling to balance the two lives he leads and every day he is losing his grip on reality just a little bit more. He’s been forced to kill enemies; his companion, the magical woman Maria, is scaring him half to death with her abilities; and his parents are on his back about his school work.

How will he balance the two lives he leads, solve two sets of problems, and understand the lessons he receives from both? Only time will tell. But time is something Terry doesn't have too much of, as everything is unfolding in ways he could never have imagined!

Book 1 of 'The Southern Lands' saga
“Listen to the teachings of a wise man. You may not understand all he says but you will surely have nourishment for the future. Be positive and plan for success. Failure to plan is to plan for failure. Worry not at what came before but only prepare yourselves for that which is ahead.” (Pika’Al 10:1-5, The Scriptures of Al’Zaneed)