And the Tower is Back, Baby!

Well, the rewrite of “A Beginning” has not only been completed, but is also published and available to buy again!
There’s a sneak peek from the second book in the end matter as well as the rewritten main story, so I’ve tried to pack a lot into a little book…

The rewrite of Book 2 – “A Party at Castle Grof” is underway, as is the writing of “The Quargard Chronicles” (as mentioned in my last post) – a collection of stories and poetry based in the world of Quargard. That’s going to take me a while to put together, but hopefully it will have illustrations as well.

I’m also planning a limited edition hardback of twenty of each of the series books. The first ten of “A Beginning” will be numbered and will only available as a Goal on My Patreon Page, as a thank you to anyone who chooses to support me.
Again, this edition will have illustrations and maps of the dungeon that the book takes place in, and will take me a while to put together, so keep your eyes peeled!

Places to buy:

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/49979

Amazon e-Book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginning-Book-One-Tower-Eye-ebook/dp/B004UCDGDM

Amazon Print Book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/149619151X

Also available via Kobo, Apple and Barnes & Noble

I’d better get on and write now… before my kids interrupt me again!

Toodles!

20 Questions – Author Edition!

 It’s been a while since I did a blog post. I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump, so I’m combating it by knitting a jumper , watching movies and playing Pokemon Go with my kids.
However, I haven’t stayed offline totally; I have too many author friends on Facebook to let go entirely – I have to keep up with their exploits, book launches and all the other fun that goes with them.

There’s a game that a lot of them are playing (Created by Author M. L. Preston) called “20 Author Questions” and I thought I would use the questions as the basis of a blog post for my readers (yes, all four of them *Grins and Winks*) and I’ll put them into an FAQ Page for anyone else that wants to find out about me!

1.) What is your Author name: I have two – Kira Morgana is my Pure Fantasy / Children’s pen name and A. E. Churchyard is for my more adult stories.

2.) What is the first book you ever published: That was “The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning”. It was originally  self published but then was picked up by Pfoxmoor under their Pfoxchase imprint.

3.) What is your publiversary? March 2011

4.) What is your favorite book you’ve written thus far:  I don’t have a favourite yet.

5.) What book took you the longest to write: That would be “Kingdom of The Seven Towers” – the first draft of that was 180,000 words long.

6.) How long did it take you?  It took me five years to finish, with various short stories interspersed when Puff ran out on me for the main project.

Sadly I lost the original story, but I have all the notes and maps (just the basic world building took me a year) and I know the basic plot, so I’ve been working on rebooting it.

7.) What kind of music (If Any) do you listen to while you write? I listen to all sorts of music while I write when I can, but most of the time, my background noise is children’s TV…

8.) Who is your favorite character from any of your books? I have several favourites. From Quargard (The Tower and The Eye) it’s Pigsnout the Wanderer; From Arking Down (The Angel’s Crown), it’s Rilx the Vir’Astillian; and in The Land Far Away it’s Pika the Phluph.

9.) What are you currently working on:  I’m editing “Pigsnout the Wanderer” for Blue Hour Publishing and writing the first draft of a couple of different projects – a novella called “Snow & Kitsune” and a novel called ” Teacups & Time Travel”.

10.) Do you have anything you snack on while you write? I drink a lot of Limonata, Lime cordial and soda water, Tea and Coffee. Snacks wise, my weakness is sweets, especially what most people think of as kids sweets – pick’n’mix, Haribo, Starbursts…

11.) What is your favorite quote or line from one of your books: I don’t have one at the moment, but I’d be interested to hear if any of my readers have one!

12.) Are you a self-published or traditional published author? I’m a Hybrid. I have a collaboration with another author/illustrator, Maria K. on The Land Far Away series and The Tower and The Eye is published by Blue Hour Publishing. I also indie publish through Smashwords and Amazon.

13.) What is your writing inspiration?  I’m inspired by all sorts of things. Snow & Kitsune is inspired by Ancient Japanese culture and folklore, The Tower and The Eye is inspired by my love of Sword & Sorcery / Tabletop RPG.  Arking Down is a mish-mash of influences from Science Fiction and Fantasy.

14.) What genre do you write in? Fantasy / Science Fiction Fantasy mostly. I have tried Horror, but my heart isn’t in it.

15.) Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. I get interrupted too much to be able to develop any!

16.) Do you have a specific place you write or time? My Writing Nook is all packed up at the moment (damnable damp) so it’s the couch for me at the moment; not a great option because I am interrupted too much / get distracted easily.

17.) Do you have any advice for Aspiring writers? Write what you want to write. Not what you think will sell, not what you think publishers and agents want to read, not even what you think other people will want to read. Write your stories for yourself and have fun doing it, and they will find readers.

18.) What are your writing goals? If any?  To entertain my Readers, to have fun doing it and to get as many books out into the world as I possibly can before I wander over the Bifrost to the Summerlands…

19.) What authors inspire you and your writing?  David Eddings, Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Dianne Wynne Jones, Monica Hughes… the list is too long for this question! I am constantly finding new authors to read and love – my latest ones are Gail Carriger and Ben Aaronovitch.

They inspire me to write and are my heroes, but I try very hard to keep my writing “voice” my own.

20.) What will be your next release? If you know and when? Hmm – Nothing is Scheduled at the moment; but as “Pigsnout” is in editing, that will probably be the next book out – unless I can get “Snow & Kitsune” finished first. Watch this space!

Being paid with Exposure…

There’s a skirmish raging in the publishing industry at the moment… no, I’m not talking about two of the Big Six going head to head over something, or Traditional Publishing attacking Self Publishing.

I’m talking about writers waking up to a strange concept.

Payment.

When I started writing in the hope of making it a career, I was naive and hopeful. I’d followed an article I read in a Writing Magazine and started out by trying my luck with the Short Story market.

With every acceptance for an anthology I gained, my ego was given a boost. I was going to make it and in just a few months, I’d have accumulated a writer’s CV with enough stories published to wow an agent when I sent out my first book manuscript…

… or at least that is what I thought.

I was careful. After a few submissions paid for in “exposure”,  I went for anthologies and magazines that paid a minimal amount rather than the “for the love of it” publications. My plan was to get a few of those under my belt and then try for the markets that paid multiple pennies per word.
That went awry when I opened my own webzine and realised that unless I paid for writers, I wouldn’t get more than my friends submitting… and I had a sneaking suspicion that my friends were submitting to either shut me up or to make me feel better as my webzine tanked on the views.
*sighs*

I came out of that period a lot wiser. I learned that being a webzine owner / editor wasn’t as easy as it looked and that the stress of getting an issue out each month wasn’t worth the small moment of pride I got each month.
It also taught me that unless I wanted to starve my family, I was going to have to work harder at bringing money in.

(Yes, I know. I live in the UK – our benefits system is supposed to mean no one starves… *snorts*…)

Anyway. That was where I started my inroad into novel publishing.
I’d sent out a large number of novel queries at the same time as the short story foray. It hadn’t gone well.
Exposure wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on after all, I had discovered. Agents weren’t interested in my publishing credits with magazines, even ones that were popular in the genre crowd. They wanted something that they knew would sell to a big publisher, so that they could collect their 15% commission on a large sum.

So now I’m here.

Self publishing is almost as bad as working for “exposure” but at least I get to set the prices when I publish a book. And at least I do get paid… sometimes it might be pennies per book, but at least all those pennies are mine and mine alone.

Chuck Wendig writes a superb blog. He has an entertaining writing style that brings people to his yard for more than just refreshment…  He’s one of my Writing Heroes because he seems to find time to write Books as well as blog pieces. He’s a genius in the art of grabbing his audience by the throat and getting his point across in a few, well chosen words.

He’s also a tad sweary… which I appreciate because I can’t do it properly. There’s an art to swearing that I have never mastered. But I digress.

I’d seen the blog that Wil Wheaton had posted on the subject of Huffington Post’s refusal to pay for his work back in October.  And at the time, I agreed with it wholeheartedly. I’d chuckled and agreed with The Oatmeal’s take on Exposure Payment and then in the rush of creativity for NaNoWriMo, I forgot about it again. Until this…

SCREAM IT UNTIL THEIR EARS BLEED: PAY THE FUCKING WRITERS

Chuck’s post on the 18th whacked me full force in the face with a wet Kipper and forced me to pay attention to something that I thought wasn’t happening any more.

I don’t know why I thought it wasn’t happening anymore. I haven’t been in that world very much, having been spending more time trying to work on my own novels, worrying about my partner’s back and my children’s  schooling.

But now I realise that the “exposure” payment never actually went away… and that I will never again write anything for just exposure. I will expect some kind of payment – whether that is in kind (so a guest blog post on another blog will always mention my own work somehow; aka free advertising)  or an actual monetary payment.

The only place that you will find my words for free is here – on my own blog. And even here, should you wish to support my writing career, you can. I have several e-books available for purchase on amazon and other places; just type “Kira Morgana” or “A. E. Churchyard” into your favourite e-book site’s search facility.

Just buy yourself something to read and thereby keep my cats in Kittynibbles and my kids in socks… it’s as simple as that.

PS: The only work that will ever be entirely for free will be either my Fanfiction (I don’t believe in profiting from someone else’s work and if the copyright holder objects to it, I’ll remove them from my site) or the stories that get published through Cake & Quill – Charity Anthologies are worth the work for an entirely different reason.