Who am I?
I'm a storyteller, I always have been. I started writing at ten, teaching myself to touch type as well as how to use computers. Twenty three years later I'm an Apple girl (purely because of the accessibility options, honest) who swears by Scrivener, Aeon Timeline and Dropbox.
On a good day I can be found tapping away, on a bad one - caused by chronic anaemia - I can hardly get out of bed, much less leave the house which is where my iMac comes in. I worked as a freelance journalist for nearly a decade before my worsening vision and health problems forced me to realise I'm no longer able to work.
I've always been visually impaired and this is no more obvious by the number of blind characters who crop up in my stories. In my case I have retinopathy of prematurity due to being born at twenty four weeks which left me with white matter damage to my brain from too much oxygen, a blind right eye and a blurry left one. I also have Asperger's though that can sometimes be more of a boon than a bane, especially when it comes to research. Three years ago I qualified with my lovely guide dog, Unis, and she serves me very well, allowing me to go out safely as well as keeping me company while I write.
For nearly a decade I freelanced for everyone - seriously, the list is as long as my arm - from anime magazines like NEO and Newtype USA to games publications including Kotaku and Official Xbox Magazine to newspapers like the Eastern Daily Press and The Guardian. Now I am recreating myself as an author, specifically focusing on science fiction and urban fantasy.
I'm in the prime of life, apparently, so being retired as due to my disabilities is incredibly frustrating as I would love to work and put my skill sets to good use. Right now I'm trying to be proactive by doing lots of writing and I do stints writing novels or poetry and short or serial fiction. However there's a particular project I want to get beyond drafting and actually publish.
About The Changing of the Sun
My magnum opus is the Ashterai Chronicles, a multi-work tale of the future and the past set on many worlds but principally Earth, Mnemosyne (a twilight world which serves as the seat for a governmental body called the Union) and the sun-kissed world of Coronis (known simply as Ishvei's World to the inhabitants). The Changing of the Sun is the first in a trilogy focusing on Coronis, one of the Union's founding worlds, and sees the planet weathering a massive solar storm which could end civilisation as it is known - but for a simple, forbidden prophecy that refuses to die.
The other two books in the trilogy The Water Children and The Calling will follow in 2015.
A religious planet, Ishvei's World - or Coronis to the people of Earth - is led by its Oracles. Blind and guided by the whisperings of their Disembodied Goddess, they shepherd the sun-kissed Kashinai tribes and clans towards the future, warning of any catastrophes or trials so that the people might prepare themselves.
Traditionally the mantle of High Oracle is given to any blind woman who has a vision of the future and can pass a secret test. During The Changing of the Sun, this mantle is held by Jashri but her time is ending and that of Saiara is about to begin.
Saiara's vision is one unlike any other Oracle has seen since Kaiene, the first to hold the title. She sees the anger of their star, Thaeos, as he focuses his rage on their tiny planet. She passes the Test and should be High Oracle but instead finds herself imprisoned and her lover banished from the city to an obscure, forgotten religious order.
Forced to fight for her life and those of the people who believe her, Saiara must guide them to the sacred Canhei Basin where they can weather the storm in safety. But she's not alone, true heroes never are as we follow not just her journey but those of others around her, including the mysterious Jeiana, a woman indwelt by an entity who is definitely not Kashinai.
Want to know more?
You can also check out my Pinterest mood board for the trilogy by clicking here and read a sample of the first couple of chapters below.
The Changing of the Sun is around 120k in length and here's the official blurb:
Those chased by destiny do not always run to its embrace - Kaiene the Blessed, first Oracle of Aia
Saiara never wanted to be the High Oracle, much less a seer. Jeiana never expected to wake up when the wave took her and Casparias never thought he would be banished for doing his duty.
On the ancient world of Coronis, the days are getting hotter, the baelish are dying in the fields and no rain is falling. Something is wrong and the entire continent of Reskha can sense it but only the High Oracle of Aia has the power to voice their suspicions.
The eye of Thaeos, their solar deity, is falling upon their world and his gaze means fire and death. The Changing of the Sun is upon them.
Saiara finds herself in a battle for not just hearts and minds but souls when she is given a vision of a cataclysmic solar event about to rock their planet. Sanctuary exists but time is running short and she is trapped against her will in a gilded prison ruled by her predecessor. Can she escape and find safety before Thaeos turns his rage upon their world and what will she have to sacrifice to save the people who love her?
Why am I doing a Kickstarter?
I live on a fixed-income which is rather tiny. I could pay for all these things but it would take fives times as long plus I might have to give up eating. I want to see a book published in the next twelve months and this is the best way to see that happen.
What is the money for?
- Editing the book to make it publishable.
Seriously, though I'm a qualified journalist, this is actually much harder than it seems. This makes an editor THE most important part of the process, someone who can help me polish the story a thing of beauty and not a pile of rubbish. Fortunately I have a brilliant editor lined up and I am, of course, insisting on giving him money for his time.
- Designing a professional cover
You know that adage 'never judge a book by it's cover'? Well it's a load of BS, I judge books by their covers all the time and I'm sure everyone else does too.
My Photoshop skills are woeful so I asked Jason Gurley - whom you may know not only as a writer (he's the author of Greatfall and Eleanor) - but also as the guy who designs covers for Hugh 'bestselling author of Wool' Howey) to do all the covers for all three books as well as as well as laying out the text.
I chose Jason because he makes truly awesome covers ... (seriously, go look, now!) He could and probably should be employed by some of the best publishers on the market but instead he freelances and I'm blessed to have caught him and had him accept the commission.
So why are you paying for three covers? If things go well, The Water Children and The Calling will be unlocked as stretch goals! Plus, because this series a trilogy, it makes sense to get all three covers done by the same person and at the same time.
Yep, it's the obvious format. An e-book will be made available in various formats (.epub/.pdf/.mobi) and sent to backers later in the year.
- The costs of the various rewards
- Kickstarter and Amazon's fees.
Kinda obvious but if I reach my goal, Kickstarter get a percentage and so do Amazon for processing the payments. Go figure.
Inspired by the sheer amount of support I've gotten since putting this project live, once we get to 50% a bonus e-book will be unlocked for all backers who pledged £15 (Kadian) or more!
A prelude to the first novel in the series "The Whispers in the Desert" focuses on how a potter's daughter becomes an unlikely tyrant when rulership of an entires species unexpectedly sees her elevated to the highest position in the land.
The novella is around 26k and includes cameos by Eirian, Jashri, Kadian, Beren, Meresia and Taras of the Edoi and various other characters. It also includes exclusive extracts from Jashri's biography by the noted Kashinai theologian Mother Elyn London, who first appears in The Water Children.
This e-book be exclusive to my backers until Changing is released. You don't need to read the novel and actually this should help introduce the world of Coronis. Be warned, this is not a happy story but it is one which cried out to be told.
Let's imagine, for a minute, that everything goes swimmingly. I don't want to be greedy but what is the point of a Kickstarter without some incentives to go further?
Before I begin, this is important: Even if I only just hit my goal, even if none of the stretch goals are met, the second and third books will still come along, it will just take a bit more time.
With that in mind:
£2000 - The Changing of the Sun print edition
I want a print run, I really do; Jason Gurley covers demand it and so this is the first stretch goal. Anyone who pledges £15 or more will get one.
£2500 and £3000 - The Water Children
If we hit £2500, The Water Children will be unlocked in e-book. Everyone who gives over £15 will get a copy and massive kudos.
If the project hits £3000, the print edition of The Water Children will be unlocked. Everyone who gives over £15 and requested a print copy will get one.
In the interests of honesty, The Water Children is at 30k, I expect the first draft to be finished by June. I hope to have it published by Christmas 2014.
Here the blurb for the book:
The ocean is eternal; as deep as the heart, as clear as the soul. Within it all secrets hidden will, one day, be found - A Seaborn adage, author unknown
Centuries after The Changing of Sun and Coronis is a different world. Seas have risen, lands have changed and against all odds the children of Ishvei have survived great adversity.
Jannah the Pious has led the diaspora of clans back from Canhei and, from the new-born capital of Kasan, has instructed archeologists to travel to the ruins of the great cities, to Ossoi and the ruins of Danshu, to retake the unexplored south and resettle the hubs of civilisation left to the ravages of time.
Free-diver An'she and her twin, atheist Sarai have been assigned to the team investigating Danshu and the drowned ruins of Aiaea. Touched by forces neither can understand, Sarai is terrified of the water and haunted by the songs of the Water Children that torment her every waking moment. An'she, on the other hand, relishes her chance to use her talents and finds a strange familiarity in the water-swamped streets of the sunken city.
Neither woman knows, however, that they are being watched by more than one pair of eyes. Deep below Danshu, the Forgotten Ones are preparing for the annual rituals of the Falling and the Rising when matured Seranoa begin their pilgrimage in the ocean of space. Above Ishvei's World, alien eyes are watching and no one quite expects the cataclysmic collision which leaves Kella, daughter of the ship's captain, stranded on an alien world with no way home.
Through the eyes of the sons and daughters of Ishvei it is time to return to a world much changed, as secrets are revealed and the Water Children Rise.
£3500 and £4000 - The Calling
If we hit £3500, the e-book of the final book, The Calling, will be unlocked! Everyone who gives over £15 will get a copy and massive kudos.
If the project hits £4000, the print edition of The Calling will be unlocked. Everyone who gives over £15 and requested a print copy will get one.
Here's the blurb:
We are all - regardless of world of birth or creed - brothers and sisters in the great kishai - Kashinai proverb, author unknown
Ishvei's World endures, the glittering jewel of the Union crown, yet has been without an Oracle, a Voice of Aia, for a generation. After Contact with a world named Earth, this peaceful planet has become a battlefield for souls and all Esca wants is to go home, to the planet she was born on.
Spirited away by the previous Oracle's daughter, Esca is the only survivor of an incident so terrible it has rocked both Earth and Coronis to their cores. Sequestered in the temple in the melting-pot of Kasan for her own protection, Esca must tell the greatest of lies to save her own life. As family chase her across the stars, as relations with Earth begin to fray, Esca must choose between the family she has chosen and the one she was born into, life and death and a role that she does not want to play.
The first draft of The Calling is done (I know, weird right?) It needs at least two more drafts, one including a perspective change. It currently stands at 100k and I'm aiming to have it done by late summer and published in early 2015.
Crowd-funding is about making dreams reality. Mine is small but precious to me and I can't wait to bring you along on what promises to be a roller-coaster as we go from final draft to publication. Thank you for reading my pitch, for backing or just for spreading the word.
Risks and challenges
Every project has risks ... mine has risks outside of my control ... something going wrong at the printer, for example, or Jason deciding to move to a south sea island and get a turtle.
Remember, The Changing of the Sun is done, even if it's in dire need of editing. The story is there, it just need prettifying, tightening up and whatnot.
It is - however - finished so now all I need is your help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)