The Influence of Female Authors…

I can’t remember how I got to this article; more than likely one of my author or reader friends probably shared it on FB…

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/06/guest-post-tansy-rayner-roberts-fantasy-female-writers-politics-influence/

…But it got me thinking about all the authors on my shelves. I mean any one who has been coming to this blog for longer than a month can probably work out that I love Sir Terry Pratchett’s works or that it was David Eddings who inspired me to start writing Fantasy.

But there are a whole slew of other writers that come up when I really think about all the books that have influenced my work and the majority of them are on my shelves at the moment.

The first author that I ever collected was Enid Blyton and I started with the world of the Faraway Tree; it was the series that inspired my first attempt at Fan-Fiction at the age of 8!
The next one to come along was Diane Wynne Jones – I fell in love with Chrestomanci and read every single book of hers that I could get my hands on; at this point I had discovered the wonder of Libraries…

When I started earning my own money at the age of 13, I started buying my own books. I was a little obsessed with ponies and riding so a lot of the books I was getting from the Library were about horses, but when I bought my own books, I discovered that Here Be Dragons… and that you could ride them!

Yup, I had discovered Anne McCaffrey and the Dragons of Pern.

Between library books and the bookshop over the last twenty years, I have read a slew of authors, male and female, always either Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Anne McCaffrey, Diana Wynne Jones, David and Leigh Eddings, Terry Pratchett, Katherine Kerr, Elizabeth Moon, Janny Wurts, Raymond E.Feist, Sara Douglass, Jack Vance, Ursula Le Guin, Anne Rice, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Tolkien, J K Rowling, Gail Carriger…  and that’s a small proportion of the books that I’ve collected and read over the years.

They’ve all influenced my own work, some of them more obviously than others. The fact that a lot of them were female never crossed my mind; they were just books that I enjoyed a lot, so I bought them.
Another thing that I have only just realised, is that Mr & Mrs Eddings may have ignited my love of epic fantasy, but Anne McCaffrey and Diana Wynne Jones are the ones that showed me that I could write too, and not have to hide behind a male pseudonym.

So here I am, following in their footsteps and hoping that I have created my own books well enough that young readers are going be inspired by them in turn… maybe if they read that I enjoyed certain authors as a kid, they will search their books out and enjoy them too.

* * * * * * *

I’m very bad at blowing my own trumpet and marketing my own work; but that all has to change, so I am going to start doing so today. We’ll go back to my roots as a writer and feature one of my Short Story collections…

51voyr2br8al

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes.

This little collection of short stories contains some of my favourites from the beginning of my apprenticeship as an author. With each story is a little anecdote from my writing life.

It’s available in ebook and Print formats and from a variety of places including:
Amazon 
Smashwords
B&N

If by any chance you’ve already read all of my books… could I possibly persuade you to pop into my Patreon Page and become a Patron?

The thing is, unless I sell more books or get more Patrons, I won’t be able to produce any new books!!

Feed an Author

 

 

 

Publishing Progress Report…

As we’ve just finished half term, there’s not a great deal of progress to report, so this is probably only going to be brief! Let’s get on with it then, shall we?

The Angel's Crown - cover (1)

The first book in “The Secret of Arking Down” Series, The Angel’s Crown is now available in Paperback! Yes, as well as having my first novel on your electronic reading thing-a-ma-bob, you can also go old school and get it printed on actual paper… perfect for reading in the bath and guaranteed to have no battery problems at all!

Click through to the link to pick up your copy for the measly sum of £8.00 sterling.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/kira-morgana/the-angels-crown/paperback/product-20700522.html;jsessionid=349FF9D556DE58AA6209B29E749C2F5A

On the Electronic front, The Angel’s Crown is available all over the place – Kindle, Sony, Kobo… I could do with a few more sales though, it’s currently languishing at #637,603 in the UK Kindle store and doesn’t even rank on the US Kindle site!

Want a signed copy? Well you can get an electronic one through Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kira_m_author

Or if you want a print copy signed, you’ll have to contact me via email :

author (dot) kiramorgana (at) gmail (dot) com

Put  Gimme yor autograph! in the subject line and be patient – I try to check my emails regularly, but life doesn’t always allow me the time!

* * *

TTATE Banner

I have just finished working on the second in “The Tower and The Eye” Series. This one is called A Party at Castle Grof and introduces a few more characters as well as opening out the world of Quargard a little more. It’s off to the beta reader, so I have to wait for their verdict before I will have a definite publishing date for book #2.

If you haven’t already read Book #1 of the series, A Beginning follows the adventures of Prince Loric and his companions in the dungeon of doom at Pleasemore Village.  This is not a tale for the faint of heart, for as with all sword and sorcery, battles abound… and my dark side creeps in a little bit… PG13 definitely!

Available in e-book from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Kobo

* * *

My first story collection... a gentle introduction to my mind.

My First Story Collection, The Necklace of Harmony, is doing as well as can be expected for UK Kindle – #560,847. On US Kindle it’s at#998,743, so this book is doing better in the UK.

I recently ran an internet sweep to find out how far the book had spread. I found that adding  The Necklace of Harmony to Smashwords had paid off as this particular book was also on Sony and Kobo…

So I’ll be nice and add the links here – just in case you want to check it out:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Sony

Kobo

I’m currently working on a print edition of The Necklace of Harmony, so check back next week for further developments…

* * *

Final choice 2

My dark side has a lot to answer for sometimes… She pops up in all sorts of odd places in my books, normally when I don’t want her to, so I have to make a concerted effort to purge the dark side every so often with a story or two. This is where my horror story collection came from.

Darkness in Mind  is only available in e-book form at the moment, but I am planning a print edition in the next few months, so watch this space.

Here are the e-book links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

* * *

Right that’s all the currently published works out of the way… *grins* I am working on some newer ideas as well as these ones, so I’m going to give you a sneak peek from each of them:

The Seven Towers (Working Title), Book #1:

The messenger was replaced by Andrionae’s First Councillor. “You sent for me, Your Grace?”
“Have three dozen black roses sent to each of the Royal Council Members. No message. Turquoise and gold ribbon.” the duke straightened from leaning on the railing, turning to meet the Councillor’s eyes with his gaze.
The Councillor appeared to be having trouble with the import of the command. “I’m sorry, Your Grace, but why black roses? Surely white would be more appropriate for the deaths of the heir and her family, as an expression of condolence.”
“Are you aware of the meaning of black roses?” Andrionae was calm and quiet as he moved toward the Councillor.
“Yes, your Grace. But…”
“Do as you are told.”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot. I will not lay the blame for the deaths on the Duchy with such a display. It would bring the other duchies into conflict with us.” The Councillor stood his ground, trembling a little as the duke stalked closer. “Your father would never have…” his voice trailed off as Andrionae grabbed him by the robe and lifted him off the ground.
“Your predecessor made three mistakes before he was… demoted.” Andrionae told his Councillor. “Shall I tell you what they were?”
The Councillor shook his head.
“So you are aware of what he was found guilty of. The occasion was public enough to have become town gossip.”
The Councillor nodded.
“Then why do you persist in making the same mistakes? This is my duchy. I am the ruler and when I say send black roses, I mean it. I don’t expect you to argue; I don’t want you to stand up to me and tell me the honest truth; I don’t want you putting the duchy before your duty. Do you understand?”
The Councillor nodded harder this time.
“Good. I do hope your replacement will understand them faster than you.” The duke raised the Councillor up until the unfortunate man dangled over the rail of the balcony. “You also made the mistake of comparing me to my father. I will never be the soft spined coward that he was.”
“Please… my family…” the man gasped. His eyes were wild as he looked down at the space below him.
“Will not be held accountable for your failings and will receive the death benefits due to them; I am not a monster, after all.” Andrionae opened his fist and dropped the Councillor, before turning to regard the sea again. The gull’s cries were accompanied by a scream that faded before being cut off abruptly.
The sound of the waves washing in from the Eastern Ocean soothed Andrionae and presently he felt in a better mood.

Blood Sun 

I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened to my world. Three months ago, it had been my thousand and thirty seventh birthday. I’d been celebrating with friends over drinks and a meal in Cardiff, under a sky lit by the pinpricks of light we used to call stars, but now knew were a hundred million worlds, each lit by their own sun.

It was as mike had toasted my birthday for the third time that it happened. That strange orange light… then the crash of thunder and a sudden feeling of being exposed. I shuddered as I remembered what had happened next. Red rain. I said we were in some kind of pop video and everyone laughed at me for being able to remember the lyrics to what they call the ancient hymns. Then the pain started.

I sniffed and blinked back tears, willing the memory to hide away in the back of my mind, to leave me alone, but my brain implant was in full memory recall mode now and the images, coupled with the scents and sounds of that awful night drew the tears out of me.

I got under cover quickly; so did Zoe. But the others weren’t so lucky. The rain dissolved their flesh as fast as boiling water poured on butter. Zoe and I escaped with scalds. I’m not sure what was worse, watching them all turn into a murky red-brown liquid at my feet or seeing Zoe turn later.

With an effort I pushed the memory away and willed my feet to move faster as I made my way up onto the footpath.

The steel and concrete had fared better than the tarmac and the path out onto the bridges was in fairly good condition. What concerned me was the lack of cover across this section of my trek. Taking a quick anxious glance up at the cloudless sky, I started out onto the first bridge.

On the road bed several burned out cars and red-brown stains marked the places where people had been caught in the rain. I moved past them swiftly, my feet echoing on the concrete, my breathing ringing in my ears. Nothing in them. Good.

The roadbed appeared to float above the brown, mud filled water of the Wye river and I almost ran across this first bridge to the steeper incline that was the main SevernBridge. Underneath the structure, the tides surged and spun hapless corpses in their clutches. Water’s the only thing that stops the rain burning.

I remembered dumping the ice bucket over Zoë, grabbing another one from a startled couple’s table inside the restaurant and doing the same to myself. The blissful chill of iced water on my scalded skin. That was a good feeling.

Water also stopped people from turning. Maybe that was why Zoe turned? Maybe I didn’t throw enough water over her.

Passing the first tower on the Severn bridge, I checked my watch. Not bad time. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to find an unoccupied house on the English side. Another burst of speed brought the second tower and a large coach on the road, closer. I hope there’s no one aboard that thing.

Fight of the Flame (Working Title)

“Take out Aedammair and the other two women will fall.” Ciocal’s voice shrieked with fury across the tumult created by the Undead Horde in front of him. “Take her out and we shall prevail.”

The Three glanced at each other and an understanding seemed to pass between them.

“If not in this life, then in the next.” Banbha murmured to her friends. She held out her hands to the other two.

“Our powers shall pass to the chosen ones.” Caelfind said, taking Banbha’s hand and offering her other one to Aedammair.

“As our life force begins to ebb.” Aedammair took Caelfind and Banbha’s hands, smiling at them.

“Stop them! Don’t let them complete the spell!” Ciocal yelled. “Where are Partholon and Gann when I need them.”

The undead tried to surge forward to swamp the women in their midst, but there were too many and they jammed up shoulder to shoulder, unwilling to give an inch to each other.

“We destroy the attacking Horde.” Caelfind said.

“In fire relieve them of mortal bonds.” Banbha continued.

“And send their souls back through the portal to the underworld.” Aedammair finished. The Three raised their hands, still joined.

Fire flared in a circle around them, illuminating their unearthly beauty and making their green and gold eyes sparkle.

“Stop them!” Ciocal screamed impotently.

“As our life comes to an end,” the three chanted together, “Let it serve to cleanse humankind. Take our sacrifice and use its power, let all demons be banished in fire’s flower.”

The fire strengthened, the flames towering about the women. The undead screamed and groaned unable to move, their bodies held in stasis by the spell.

“I will claim you next time, Triskelion.” Ciocal screeched. “I’ll rule this world, no matter what.”

“In leaving life, we bring peace.” The women continued, ignoring their surroundings. “Let all attacks on this world cease. In thirty times seventy we shall return, but until then, let all evil burn.”

The fire changed colour from a deep red gold to a blue so pale it was almost invisible in the night. The women brought their hands down to the centre of their circle and crossed their arms, clasping each other’s wrists. “As it is said, so mote it be, let the Mother welcome us and set the world free.” On the last word, the Triskelion threw their arms up into the air, breaking the hold they had on each other’s wrists.

The fire collapsed down onto them in a dome and as they fed all their power into the flame, there was a whumph and the blue flame expanded rapidly.

The flames had burnt the first row of undead to ash before they knew what was happening. The evil within the undead soldiers fed the flames, making the flames hotter and spreading them out further and faster until it had destroyed the horde completely.

The last sound was that of Ciocal’s wail of desperation as the flames consumed his mortal body.

The villagers of Sarum returned to the meadow at first light. There was nothing there, but ashes lying in little piles in concentric circles.

Moving silently through the muttering villagers on the edge of the battlefield, the Priestess of the Mother stepped carefully through the circles into the centre, disturbing nothing as she passed the ash piles.

In the very middle of the centre lay three bracelets of twisted silver and gold, bearing a single moonstone. As she stooped to pick the bracelets up, the goddess spoke to her.

“Hold these until the time comes and give them to the chosen ones. Honour their sacrifice in this place; lay out stone in circles three and guard it with a spell of warning. Should Ciocal come again, the spell will bring the Triskelion together again.”

 Heir of The Dragon

He reached the harbour about half an hour later. Peering at the scrawled map that Clive had given him, Li wondered for about the fifth time why he’d been sent and not one of the others.

“Down here and turn right.” He told himself, “I’ll get a taxi back I think – If I can find any taxis.”

Despite the reputation of the Harbour’s restaurants, there were remarkably few people around and certainly no tourists at all, “Must be off season or something.” He turned down the street on the right.

“Oh it’s not off season, Sweetheart. People are being directed away from here tonight.” A voice said from a doorway.

Li looked round. A woman wearing a long blue silk cheongsam leaned against the red painted door smoking a cigarette. One smooth, golden-skinned leg lay bare to the fog laden night air and ended in a matching stiletto with the highest heels he had ever seen.

With difficulty he wrenched his attention back to what she had said. “Who by?” he asked.

“The Xixuegui of course. There’s a big battle due between the Horse Family and the Waterside Pack. Something about an encroachment.” She blew a heart shaped smoke ring towards him, “What are you doing down here anyway?”

“I’m looking for Chang Fai.” Li waved the map, “Do you know where he lives?”

She snorted, “Who doesn’t! He’s the biggest Queen in the whole Rooster Family.”

“He’s a Vampire?” Li frowned.

“Of course he is. Ah, you wouldn’t be Clive’s new partner would you?” she smiled, “He said he’d be sending you down at some point.”

Li wasn’t sure what to make of that so he steered the conversation back to his problem, “How do I get to Chang Fai’s?”

She drew on her cigarette, “Take your next left. He’s the third door on the right. Be careful when you come back out. Battles between the Xixuegui and the Lángrén get indiscriminate; it’s best to stay out of them.”

He nodded and headed in the direction that she’d indicated.

The Bluen Planet (working title)

They reached the structures without seeing any of the creatures and once four marines had scouted the area Shannar, Fynn, Hela and Jacks entered the buildings, leaving Hargreave outside in charge of the rest of the men.

There was the hiss of an airlock at the door and once inside, the green light lit on Shannar’s cuff comp, he looked at Fynn.

“It’ll smell bad, but it’s more breathable than outside.” She said, cracking her faceplate and wrinkling her nose.

“Urrgh. Smells like one of the Men’s Bunkrooms,” Hela said as she followed suit.

Jacks threw a protesting glance at his Warrant Officer and lifted his faceplate.

Shannar was the last to open his faceplate. The air does smell bad, but at least its oxygenated in here.

“Looks like this used to be a house.” He said, gesturing at the open plan living space, “Where’s the Comp?”

“Over here, Sir.” Fynn was at a desk by the pressurised window, “I’ll patch the Sci-comp into it to try and read the log. Judging by the lab through the air locked door, this was a Atmospheric Monitoring Station as well as a home.”

Shannar wandered around the building.

Upstairs there was a single bedroom and hygiene facility, water based rather than sonic and towards the back there was an area that had been laid out for a small child. Clothing and other items were scattered all over the place. Looks like they left in a hurry. I wonder where they went?

“Do we have any idea who lived here?” he asked Fynn, as he came back down.

“A Scientist with a two year old son. I can’t decipher all of this yet, I need the big comps on the ship. I think it would be prudent to leave the stuff in the lab alone…”

There was a smash. Shannar rushed to the air lock leading into the lab and caught Jacks staring shamefaced at a smashed jar on the lab floor. He looked up and blanched as Hela and Fynn arrived behind Shannar.

“It slipped while I was reading the label.” He held his hands up in protest at their frowns. “There wasn’t anything in it, so I thought I would see what it had held.”

“Mr. Fynn, you were telling me why it would be a good idea to leave this area alone.” Shannar stated, turning to her.

Jacks bit his lip and scuffed the bits of glass on the floor beside his boot.

“The scientist was researching the effects of various natural planetary vapours on the nervous system of foreign and indigenous species. She’d said that something strange happened to tissue samples when exposed to…” Fynn tailed off, staring at Jacks.

Then she slammed her faceplate down and used her other hand to push Shannar’s faceplate down as far as she could, before switching her own system back to oxygenate. Shannar caught the implication and finished the process as he caught a glimpse of Jack’s face. He flipped his breathing options quickly.

“What the…Why are you staring at me?” Jacks looked at Hela, who’d closed her helmet even before Fynn.

“Contam Protocol, Marine! Seal, Lock and Oxygenate.” Hela snapped.

Jacks had closed his helmet, locked it and changed his harness from re-breathe to oxygenate in a few seconds, a lot faster than either Shannar or Fynn had managed, but it was too late.

Shannar shuddered; the young marine’s face had turned blue and sparkly like a Bluen’s body.

Jacks frowned at him. “What’s wrong, Sir?” he said over the general channel.

“Look in the mirror, Jacks.” Hela told him.

Jacks swung round to look in the mirror that served as a light multiplier in the tiny lab. “I’m a bloody Bluen!”

His eyes bulged with fright, inflating to twice their normal size.

“Calm down, Jacks. I think that you breathed in the vapour the scientist was investigating from that jar. We need to get you back to the MedBay at the Scout ship.” Shannar said.

“Damn right I’m going back to the Scout, I should’ve passed this spot to Argyle the way I was going to!” The marine pushed past them roughly. He was halfway to the main door’s airlock when he gave a liquid gurgle and fell to his knees.

Hela was at his side in seconds, but turned away retching.

“Jacks, can you hear me?” Fynn crouched beside the marine’s suited body and reached out to touch his shoulder.

There was a second gurgle over the patrol channel and the body collapsed to the floor; it hit the ground, the faceplate broke and Jacks’ face splattered across the concrete flooring.

Hela and Fynn jumped back and the three of them watched as blue gloop oozed from the battle harness. It spread out into a massive puddle around the suit and finally a large lump of reddened tissue flopped out into the centre.

Hela trained her pistol on the puddle; nothing happened.

“Well I think we’ve worked out what happened to the human colonists.” Shannar remarked.

 * * *

Well there you have it… I have lots to work on and too little undistracted time to do it in!

If you’ve read all the way down to here, I have to congratulate and thank you for sticking with me – Here’s hoping that the next six months are more successful than the last six months!

And it’s Half Term already…

When you’re an ex-teacher or a parent, you tend to measure time in terms… that is in school terms.

There are three major school holidays in the UK: Summer, Christmas and Easter. There are also holidays of approximately a week half way between each holiday. So when your friends start talking about having kids around for half term, they’re talking about the holidays half way between whichever major holiday has just past and whichever is ahead.

Confused? *grins*

Today is the first day of the first half term of 2013. That’s actually half way through a UK school year, so it’s the third holiday rather than the first one… and to make matters worse, it’s only half term for the western half of the UK; the eastern half are still at school!

*yawns*

My son woke me up at half six this morning, laughing at the TV from the safety of his Duvet instead of while getting into his school uniform. My daughter is currently ensconced on the couch watching Disney Jnr. TOH is still fast asleep… yes, he’s home as well; College follows the UK school year as well.

What does this mean to me?

Well for a start, it means that my normal weekly timetable is out the window. There’s no Guides or Brownies this week and no privacy for me. Essentially, half term is a loooooong weekend for me. *sighs* I get distracted by everyone for a whole week, no matter what I try to do.

So having had my coffee ration by eight thirty, I thought I ought to get some work done while the kids are still distracted by the TV. Yes, I’m one of those mothers and I don’t care what you think – I do enough with my children to allow the use of electronic babysitting.

What am I working on again?

I have a list on the board next to me:

A Writer's White Board

A Writer’s White Board

 

Today I’m doing my best to get #2 of The Tower and The Eye rewritten so I can get it out on kindle this month. Hopefully, that means I won’t get distracted, but listening to the noise from the other end of the room, I suspect that is a vain hope.

Once I have done that, I’ll work on the print version of #1 of The Secret of Arking Down – The Angel’s Crown. It’s already available as an e-book on various websites, but I really want a print edition as well…

So I’m going to attempt some work now. Wish me luck!