The time has come! All weekend long, eBook copies of my fantasy novel, The Hollow March, will be available free of charge through Amazon’s Kindle store. My birthday gift to everyone else.
Enjoy while you can!
The time has come! All weekend long, eBook copies of my fantasy novel, The Hollow March, will be available free of charge through Amazon’s Kindle store. My birthday gift to everyone else.
Enjoy while you can!
As many of you know, this weekend includes the day of Mothers, or at least the United States version. It also includes a lesser known holiday, much more compact and dedicated to many less shinies than the former: my birthday. While I’m not a big pusher of my own holiday bliss, it did seem a good time to take the opportunity for a giveaway, so here I am with writer’s cap in hand.
All weekend long, eBook copies of my fantasy novel, The Hollow March, will be free to anyone interested in revenge-filled, character-raging, backstabbing, magic-dealing (can you even handle that many qualifiers?) literary goodness. Copies can be picked up through Amazon, and with luck, if there’s some book love going on there, the lovers will kindly poke other lovers of fantasy, or some fantasy loving mothers, and so on and so forth, starting a chain reaction of poking that either overload and implodes Facebook (sorry Facebook), or puts a smile on one little writer’s face.
Need a reminder what it’s all about? Check out The Hollow March-dedicated page on the right side of the screen.
And if you need any gift ideas, I’ll let you in on a time-honored secret among writers: reviews are the best method to a fellow’s heart.
Meanwhile, the first stage edits from my editor (For the sequel, At Faith’s End), are nearly all integrated now, and that just leaves a couple more beta readers and another round of editing (consequently, I’ll be seeing Mr. Hartley again this weekend), between my side of that literary venture and completion. Is it time to start thinking cover art once again? Most probably. Stay tuned.
There will probably another arms flailing reminder of the giveaway on Friday, but I’m told it’s good to plan ahead. And now I leave, as ever, at your mercy, oh gurus of the Internet.
From At Faith’s End:
“ Fever made a crossroads of the flesh. Iron bound it down. Iron, after all, was the ages old remedy for’ magic. Or so the old wives claimed.
Sweat made a sheen of her olive skin, sun and stone her only companions. And the woman, hovering at the edge of it all. Charlotte could see it through her eyes, yet she had the prescience of her own sight as well. Abandonment. This was all that remained to her. Even the keep would not hold the witch now.
Clouds bled the horizon of its precious light. She sat among the rocks, watching as the distant sky lit with nature’s solemn trill.
She did not remain to listen to Usuri’s own tears fall. ”
~Charlotte, Chapter 16
Happy Valentine’s, everyone!
The above, my friends, is what people where I come from call a tease. It also happens to be an excerpt out of the second novel in The Haunted Shadows series, At Faith’s End, specifically from one of the Charlotte-centric chapters. I offer it as a means of announcement: I can now proudly say the first stage editing of the beast is nigh finished. What of it remains should be completed over the course of a very long car ride in the wee hours of the morning to come (to be explained later).
What does that mean? Editors, check your in-boxes this weekend, as I’ll be sending copies your way. You too, beta readers. Presumably, the pestering, somewhat addle-brained (but hopefully loveable?) act of a nervous writer will shortly follow. My condolences.
Final word count: 178K-ish. Another beefy entry into the fantasy genre, but it also means it’s a good deal shorter than the first, curiously enough. As in, about 20K words shorter. Let’s see if I can resist adding another scene or two into the mix once all the peer reviews or over, shall we?
(For those that need to catch up, take a look at the first book in the series: The Hollow March)
I would also like to send congratulations (they’re not really belated, because I already congratulated her on more personal notes!) over to Mrs. Emmie Mears—a fellow writer—for recently wrangling herself an agent. They can be wily and slippery devils. If you get the chance, swing by her blog and give her a round of applause yourself—and keep an eye on her. She’s going far, I tell you.
Sadly, not all the news today is good news, though. For those of you that didn’t catch my tweet on the matter, my sister-in-law’s mother passed away suddenly yesterday, after a long struggle with cancer. I’ll be driving down south in the early hours of the morning tomorrow to pay my respects and support to both my brother and sister-in-law. As such, my presence over the weekend shall likely be the barest flicker of a candle’s light, at best.
Please keep their family in your thoughts. For more information on this broad and terrible group of diseases, as well as the struggle against cancer, I encourage you to visit the website of Cancer Centers of America.
Distraction, distraction, distraction—
Having a touch of ADHD, my mind has the unfortunate knack for bouncing around in a thousand different directions at one time. Ideas are a plentiful harvest, but they’re as distracting as they are engaging. It becomes hard to sift through, to settle down, and address a single point.
Relevance: I want to finish writing At Faith’s End. After that, I know I need to get to the third and final chapter of that saga, but I may need to take a little break before I pop into that little scene. Idea overload, and if I don’t get some of them at least started on paper, my brain is likely to reach critical mass and internal combustion, I am told, is an incredibly unproductive way to approach any day.
So. At Faith’s End is very nearly done. On my initial end, anyhow. Beta readers, editors, keep your eyes open—it’s coming at you soon. Curiously, it came out a good bit shorter than the first—though I imagine that’s probably better by most estimations. The wordiness—I do have a knack for it.
But I also have another novel in mind. Not in Lecura (the same world as this Haunted Shadows trilogy). Not even fantasy. Probably overplayed but—apocalyptic. As in, still happening, not post. And no, there would be no radioactive zombies. It would take place in America, though vague on specific settings. Main character? Probably a sniper. Thoughts? Concerns? Pleas of: oh God, Chris, no?
There are also some short stories I need to get around to tidying up, possibly more relevant to any fantasy interests out there—the short stories The Haunted Shadows is based on, actually. The Company of the Eagles. As you can probably guess, it’s a little more focused on who it followed, each is sort of serialized adventure-wise, but taken together paint the whole of around a year in Rurik Matair’s exile. It would likely be released in two collections.
And that’s for starters. I want to write scifi. I know this. I want to dig my hands in and mold that side of my imagination a little more—novellas, another novel, lord, but I do love to get off track.
It’s a curse. Somehow, it probably ties into the fact that I’m so very good at reading that it can be a distraction to the writing.
Also: snowpocalypse. Particularly if you’re in the northeast. These are the times you wish you still had snow days.
Or quite possibly lived in Hawaii.
It’s a short one for you today, folks. Just wanted to send out a few notices. To those that might be interested, I finally got up off my lazy-author-bum and made an Author Page on Facebook, so if you enjoy the site, my ramblings, and (hopefully!) my writings, you can show support here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Galford/408973352523706. It includes contact information, as well as links to all the other myriad places you can hunt me down.
For those of you that weren’t aware, a page was already set up for my Fantasy works specifically, at The Hollow March. On the one, you’ll get links, notifications, and discussions in my own snarky brand of rambling this site has hopefully already conditioned you toward; at the other, you’ll receive any book-specific updates I may have.
Let me also take this opportunity to give a status update. Between job hunting (again), and the mine work before that, and indeed the move to Michigan, my writing progress notably slowed for a while there. I’m not just talking blogging, I mean the actual sit down and type until your fingers brand fantasy scribble fest that is the production of the next book in the Haunted Shadows trilogy.
I can now report it is coming along well. The book is written. Its ditches are dug and battle lines drawn. First stage editing is approximately 3/4 of the way complete, and then I’ll be doing the rounds, sending it to editors and beta readers. Consequently, if any fans of The Hollow March are potentially interested in the latter role, try hitting me up. Depending on how many have already undertaken the position, and based on our chat, I’ll see what I can do.
Have a lovely a weekend! If you’re like me, it will probably be spent snow-covered.
The fact is: writing can seem at first a terribly depressing field. Believe me, I know—you tack a determination to write onto someone already struggling with depression, and you get someone already prone to the blues receiving a steady stream of disappointments. No one ever said we set ourselves up to be the steadiest sorts.
I have spoken before of endurance, of perseverance, and I will confess the notions can come out as just so many words—a wisp in your ear that is gone by the time you turn around to greet them.
The reasons are plenty…
Reason the First
Though we talk the big game about passion and art and the need to write (all true, mind you), most writers are like the majority of people in the world: in some sense, we want to succeed. It’s not even that we need the big movie deals, or a fanatic cult (ala The Following—don’t watch it, it’s cheesy and terribly predictable), but we want to be able to point at something and say: You see this work? I wrote this, it touched someone beyond myself, and I am proud. Vindication, I suppose.
I know for all my protestations otherwise, I felt it when undertaking The Hollow March–whether I wanted it or not, the feeling lurked, just out of sight.
Especially in a world where the volume of writers has soared through the ceiling, as every Tom, Dick, and Transfalmadorian are able to turn to self-publishing to get a word out, is also a horrendously difficult field in which to get noticed. Slush piles are bigger than ever. As such, the opportunity for disappointment seems to grow, and while we can point to similar stories around the world, there is always that niggling little voice telling us: yes, but that’s not you, is it?
Reason the Second
Loneliness. You will hear many writers speak of it. Though some are capable of immersing themselves in sound, many must isolate themselves to work. The office cubicle may make you itchy, sure, but at least you know you can lean over the wall to talk to someone, or walk down the hall. With writing, we may spend hours in our own little world, and especially if reason the first is letting us down, that sense of isolation—isolation for seemingly no reason (so we tell ourselves) walks the dangerous line of feeling overwhelming.
Reason the Third
Too many hats. It began with a blog. Alright, manageable enough, right? You’re getting the hang of this. A blog post a week, perhaps, to connect with folks while you write. How about a Twitter? 140, alright, that’s not so bad. Have you considered a Facebook page? Well, I—Don’t forget to make two! One for you, and one for your book! Oh, and Tumblr, don’t forget about Tumblr…
ADD. It’s what you begin to feel like. Or being trapped in a bouncy castle. Writers are their own greatest advocates. At first it might seem glamorous—do what you want, when you want, how you want it—but it can wear at you quickly. Because it means you’re also out there without a lifeline. There are no promotions for good behavior. A writer can no longer be “just a writer.” He must also be a sales rep, a public relations whiz, and quite possibly, one of those fellows on the side of the road dancing around with business signs.
You are the alpha and the omega. It’s self-pub law, but even if you hit it big, the burden is increasingly being put on the writers themselves. There are no breaks, no real days off. If you’re self-conscious, or simply not sure what to say, or if the first two reasons have gotten you down, this can be (or feel) devastating, and you run the risk of a serious burn-out.
My, my, cheery today aren’t we Mr. Galford? Yes, I am, and I’ll tell you why: I have come to terms with these things, and what’s more, I know that everyone struggles with them equally.
Cease to abstract it. Can you point to examples of exceptions? Yes, but they are only that, the exceptions, and while you might feel surrounded to them, know that there are many of us in the same crowd, all feeling equally surrounded. You might say, “Chris, but I wrote a book and no one’s biting,” you must know that there are others around you looking at you with awe and wonder saying, “My god, I wish I could do that—you actually wrote a book? And published it even? You’re so brave.”
What you take as disappointment, other will take with jealousy. You may feel like the lowest end of the food chain, but I assure you that you are not, and there are many feeling the same way.
Take the disappointment—I’m not saying it won’t come. To look at the world as nothing but optimistic doesn’t get you anywhere either, but there’s a balance to be struck. Step outside yourself a moment. Don’t lock others out. If you’re struggling, I guarantee you there’s someone else willing to lend your hand.
Keep your fingers nimble, but keep your eyes open.
Sometimes, there is simply no substitute for art. Oh, the words will capture the image for you. Sing into existence the very fabric of the worlds that bind, but there is something to be said for actually seeing. Books will paint you a thousand pictures over their course. Yet it is one that captures that initial glance, which teaks curiosity and twists the mind inside-out with glorious wonder.
Bearing that in mind, it is with great pleasure today that I kick off the month of November with an art-related announcement. Today marks a re-release of The Hollow March onto all Amazon-based retailers, complete with spectacular new cover art by the same artist that gave the book its first touch-up: British artist Matthew Watts.
This one’s a bit lighter than the last, you may notice, and that means less trouble with details lurking in the shadows. Light or dark, it certainly still captures Watts’s mastery of scenery intensely well! Just look at that detail. Gone too from this edition are the encamped plains of Idasia, traded for a more intense mountain capture–but I hope the storm of the thing still sings to you all.
To check out the art in more detail, and to get yourself a shiny new read, check out a copy of The Hollow March today at:
And if you like the art, give Matthew’s ego a boost with some heartfelt e-mails to matthew_watts18 (at) hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk
I would also like to take a moment to announce another upcoming gem: the one year anniversary of the Hollow release! In honor of the day, from December 4th to 5th, e-book copies of The Hollow March will be 100% free on Amazon’s kindle network. So if you’re one of those that’s been hemming and hawing this will be your chance. A Goodreads event has also been set up to offer reminders to those potentially interested…
As ever: may literature light your way, gentle readers! And remember: an extra moment for a review in the aftermath can help a lowly writer’s day flourish.
A preview of things to come… Set in the same world as The Hollow March, this story will take readers to another corner of the world, and a young woman’s struggles to right a festering wrong. Though the characters shall indeed be new, some events may strike a chord, and it will certainly shed more light into other shadows of the world Lecura. Idasia, after all, does not have a monopoly on turmoil.
And so, in the midst of a girl’s journey:
The tavern keeper was a thin man, but thick-necked and coarse, with bright eyes. If she were another woman, she might have found him handsome. Tragedy.
His voice was heavy, but it barked her own tongue easily enough. The fact surprised her, but then, in border lands such as this, she supposed it shouldn’t. “Loraci. Lovely.” He grunted. “Looking to lose your head a while, or just wet your waggles?”
At home, her father’s credit might have carried her, even if her pockets could not contend. Here, she was as good as a beggar.
She looked him in the eye, that each could understand the other’s worth. The trader’s way. “Much as I should like, I come hunting bobbles for another drink.” She paused a moment, waiting for some sign of care or annoyance in the man, but he was as a blank slate. “I seek the petals of the Starlit Bloom. Do you know where I might purchase it?”
If her abruptness did him wrong, the tavern keeper was practiced enough not to let on. “Blooms. Maker’s balls, girl, you best be saying where the plague’s gone to tits now.”
“Where?” She demanded firmly.
“Well there’s no chord to strike in me, girl. No place to buy it, neither. A might bit rarer than gold, I’d say.”
“Then where does it grow?”
Curiosity tweaked? A teaser of a thing, I know, but it will be a long tale at its end. When finished, “Petals” will also be one of the myriad submitted to literary mags across the country. Hopefully one of these days I will be able to point you on its way. Beyond that, it, like so many stories, will eventually be packaged in a series of tales–anthologies–that should serve to further flesh out the world.
In that same regard, I have to ask: readers, potential readers, and stumbling guests: what facets of this world would you like to learn more about?
When last we left our insipid heroes…
Wait, wait, I have that all wrong.
What I mean to say is, when last we left our discussion of faith under the banner of Idasian intricacies—humble, god-fearing folk that we are—I spoke of the two most prominent faiths on the face of the continent Marindis: the Visaj, and the reformer Farrens. We talked of rings (cue quips of “one ring to rule them all” and “One does not simply walk into Walmart…” Yes, yes, you’re all very witty, and I know it’s what you were thinking), and war, touched even briefly on the notion of blasphemy.
Which, mind you, is always a fun bit to prod in writing. Everybody has their own notion of blasphemy, after all, and it’s just such a fun word to say. Not as fun as shouting “Burn in righteous fire,” of course, but we can’t all be torch-wielding mobs…
But I digress. This week, we continue the religion-minded train of thought with a wheel to the southern heat, where the scorching jungles of all Holy and all mysterious Zutam lie. While faith marks the cornerstone of most medieval cultures, the Zuti are curious even by these standards, for theirs is an Empire governed by the spiritual—and yet, at once, deprived of the fanaticism oft-seen within the boundaries of Marindis.
The Holy Empire of Zutam, which has come to encompass an entire continent (as a consequence now also called Zutam), and begun to press even into Marindi lands, follows the path of Vashra. They follow no gods, nor do they believe in an afterlife, per say. Instead they follow spirits—the embodiments of all things, less personalities in their own right and more facets of the world given name. Ancestors, too, are often looked to for advice, or aid—but they are not worshiped. For in Vashra, all creatures are equal in spirit, living or dead. Even Uhnashanti–”the greatest one”– who birthed and protects both man and the world alike, is not heralded as a god; merely a piece of the universe that surrendered his self to give the masses form.
Death, for the Vashran, leads only to a joining of the spirit with the soil. The shackles that form the flesh are removed, and the spirit roams free at last, at peace with those around it. Life, to them, is the teaching, and the learning—the path that allows our minds to open to the fullness of the world. This is the reason life, in their tongue, is called “kujifunza”—learning.
Though they take the emperor of Zutam to be their holiest figure, Vashran do not see him as descended from the gods, or the spirits, or even a god himself, as some cultures might. Rather, the emperor of Zutam is expected to be the most enlightened figure—the guiding light, as it were. He is revered as such. Unfortunately, this also means that for those emperors proven to be reckless, and lecherous, and cruel, there has been plenty of precedent for removal. Historically, this has often enough ended in a fiery coup, culminating in the elimination of much (if not all) of the reigning royal family.
One could never say Zutam is not a turbulent place.
Various sects exist within Vashra, of course, owing to its essentially polytheistic routes. Numerous shrines litter the empire, in fact, dedicated to spirits of fire, and water, or even to the great mother spirit itself—the earth. Though some are more militant than others, as the equality of these sects is preached almost from birth, there are few squabbles between them—though human nature of course makes some conflict inevitable.
Vashran believe the followers of Visaj, as well as the Farrens (a distinction of religion lost on them, by the way), to be something of misguided children, rather than outright heretics. While their path is no less valid than Vashra itself, it is the methods of its pursuit the Vashran frown upon: the praising of idols, the constant in-fighting, the forcible conversions. Faith as they see it is a matter of the individual—a stark contrast to the Visaji belief in the oneness of society.
If there were any one symbol of the Vashran—beyond the Emperor himself, of course—it would likely be the dream catcher. For the Vashran hold the dream realm above all others—a place where the mind is free to roam, and the spirit is able to break its bonds with the chaining flesh, however temporarily. Dream catchers and the “sterre spice”—a potent drug often used by shamans to induce deep and hypnotic slumbers—are, as such, some of the most spiritual assets at their disposal.
“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”
Change is pretty much the word of the week for this little writer. Shiny new apartment change begins on Saturday. Expenses are soon to be changing. Plus, new reviews on the book are supposed to be coming in–a nice bit of the warm fuzzy (hopefully) to balance out the expenses part of the change equation. The sum? The continued shift into reality continues…though I must say I’d prefer to continue living in my fantasy world.
Because more bills are never fun.
And in a fantasy world, you can probably ride a gryphon. You know, if it doesn’t eat your face off.
Food for thought.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”