April showers bring May flowers.

April showers bring May flowers.

All that hard work in April has paid off – and whilst the results aren’t pastures overflowing from Dragonthorn or Blessed Thistle, Athelas or Elanor, or even a Triffid just yet, the little show of buds is rewarding enough. Mighty oaks from small acorns grow, and all that….

The main news, the big news, the scary news is that The Maingard Chronicles (Book 1): The Darkness Rising, is out! Available to purchase as a pre-order before its launch on 25th June 2021. Years in the making and now it is unleashed!

1) “For official purposes, everyone has a number.
You are number 978-1-8384567-0-2″

For now, available as an Ebook and distributed through Smashwords for the princely sum of $4.22, at current conversion rates £2.99! For less than the price of a Sausage and Egg McMuffin you can entertain yourself for… (checks notes)… average reading time …5 hours – and open the door to the fantasy world of Maingard to follow Bex, Ishtara, Radnak, et al.

Maingard Chronicles (Book 1): The Darkness Rising available at Smashwords.com, and also at Barnes and Noble

Over the next few weeks, I will be working to finalise the printed version, so those who want to hold the mystical papers in their hands as they read can do so. After that, I’ll be looking into audiobook versions. After that, maybe a touring Mummer play, traipsing the length and breadth of the Isles of Albion to deliver the deeds of heroes!

6 actors stage a play
2) Possibly not on the cards just yet

Whilst confirming the release of a novel is big news, just as significant is what has been happening on the short story front. For the future, I don’t want to be held to just novels. I want to investigate the possibility of screen writing – big screen and tv – and maybe play writing, game content etc.

Building up a portfolio of shorter successes is just as important. Winning or being short listed, in short story competitions, or getting published in anthologies all add little ticks to a writers cv, showcasing their talents. It broadens their reader circles and can open new avenues and opportunities.

Late last year, I made a small submission to a US literary journal – Bluing the Blade vol 1, no. 2 (Spring 2021) – published by Tempered Runes Press, under the submission heading of a Mini Saga. A short story, in exactly 50 words. No more, no less. With a beginning and an end. No easy matter, but it got accepted. So, a big thanks to Taylor at Tempered Runes Press for my first published work.

Bluing the Blade is available as a free PDF download from Magcloud.

3) Bluing the Blade

Another short story was shortlisted in a competition last year, and was due for publication early this year. Unfortunately with the COVID constraints, this has been delayed until the autumn. As soon as I have some more news, I’ll be sure to post an update.

Lastly, sometimes even a ‘sorry you didn’t win’ email makes you feel happy. A recent competition was to raise funds for a Refugee Council – and the prize was to have your winning story narrated by Katie Leung (of Harry Potter fame, amongst masses of other works!). This alone would have elevated me to near Godhood in the eyes of Child no. 5. As it was, I didn’t win, but was shortlisted. The Refugee Council raised money to help vulnerable people and the email gave me a massive boost:

“It was a touching story that resonated well with the parents among us, and reminded us all of our shortcomings! Not only that but the ending was a nice surprise that none of us saw coming, and you achieved that in under 1000 words – no easy task I know!”

“At this point writers like to receive some guidance as to why their story didn’t win and what they could do better the next time, but to be honest if you entered the same story in 10 different competitions, it would win some and not others. There was nothing wrong with it, and I personally loved it.”

And now, you can make your own mind up. For your perusal, I give you Butterscotch.

  1. Carl Northwood
  2. By AJ Mason, illustrator; book by William Sandys – Christmastide, its History, Festivities and Carols. London: John Russell Smith. p 145., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46110602
  3. Carl Northwood

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