Sep 18, 2014

Memory War Blog Tour: Good Stories End with a Beginning

This is pretty much the last day of the Memory War Blog Tour, and while it's been a much faster run than previous tours, I hope it's still been a chance to see a little more about the series.

For my final blog post on this tour, I'm visiting Thomas R Manning, to talk about endings and beginning.

Sep 16, 2014

Memory War Blog Tour: Reincarnation, the Ultimate Afterlife?

Following a strong first week, the blog tour continues! Today I'm visiting Audrey Lockwood's Keys To YA blog, where I'm taking a look at one of the most important supernatural elements of the Memory Wars Trilogy: Reincarnation.

Sep 11, 2014

Blog Tour: The Streets of New York

Today is the 13th anniversary of the terror attacks against America in 2001, which saw the Pentagon hit and the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York destroyed.

I think it's appropriate, then, that I talk about the streets of New York, and what they mean in Memory War, on Ellen Brickley's Pink Tea and Paper blog.

Sep 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Anatomy of a Showdown

Today is the first day of the Memory War Blog Tour, and to kick things off, I'm visiting Janice Hardy's Fiction University to discuss what goes into writing the perfect showdown between the hero and the villain.

Sep 4, 2014

Memory War Blog Tour

In a couple of days I get to officially launch Memory War, and I can't wait! The books arrived this week, and the venue is all sorted out. I've had some difficulty getting launches organised before, so it's refreshing that this one has been such smooth going. I hope everyone enjoys it, and more importantly I hope everyone enjoys the book.

From next week, then, I'll be running my blog tour, stopping in the following places:

Janice Hardy's Fiction University - Anatomy of a Showdown, September 9th

Pink Tea and Paper - The Streets of New York, September 11th

Keys to YA - Reincarnation: The Ultimate Afterlife, September 16th

Thomas R Manning - Good Stories End With a Beginning, September 18th

Nonsensical Essentials - Author Interview, September 23rd

Sep 2, 2014

Memory War Release Day

This is it, the day I've been waiting for. And hopefully the day all of you have been waiting for. Those of you who haven't yet bought it for Kindle can now order Memory War in print.

This weekend I'll be hosting the book launch, and celebrating the completion of the story that started my writing career.

Today I've got a Release Day Blitz, arranged for me by the awesome Bewitching Book Tours. And following this we'll be kicking off the Memory War Blog Tour, where I'll share my thoughts on the Memory Wars trilogy, and the world you've all allowed me to share.


(Please note that due to time zone differences, it may take a while for each post to show up)

Guest blog - Meet Nathan Shepherd
Urban Fantasy Investigation

Guest blog - Reincarnation, the Ultimate Afterlife?
VampChix

Interview
Diane's Book Blog

Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

Guest blog - Meet Elena DeSantis
Aly's Miscellany

Guest blog - Meet Athamar
Fang-tastic Books

Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  

Spotlight
Book Purses & Reviews

Spotlight
The Word at My Fingertips

Spotlight
Book Club Sisters 

Spotlight
Books Direct

Spotlight
Mila Ramos - The Jade Mystique

Spotlight
CBY Book Club

Spotlight
Illuminite Caliginosus

Spotlight
Mythical Books

Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!  http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com

Aug 28, 2014

Life Choices

By now, many of you will have seen several fairly vague comments on this blog, and on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, about certain stressful things going on in my home life.

I won't go into too much detail here, but I would like to share the decisions we've had to make. I believe every challenge is an opportunity for growth, and I want to get this clear and in the open so I can focus on the launch of Memory War next week.

We've had some problems. Let's call them "changes in our family situation." I don't mind talking about it in more detail, in private, but not on a public place like a blog. Anyway, as a result of what's happened, we are no longer in a position to realistically employ the services of an au pair.

Looking at other childcare options, we've had to rule out creches entirely, as we simply can't afford to spent between €2,400 and €3,000 a month.

This means we've had three choices, all of which will have a dramatic financial impact, but also come with their own benefits:

1: Jen gives up work and stays home to look after the girls.
2: Jen gets a better-paying job and I give up work to stay home and look after the girls.
3: Jen gets a better-paying job and, depending on what salary she's offered, see if we can afford to hire a childminder.

Jen will be finishing up work the day before the Memory War book launch. We've been blessed by the response of friends and family to step into the breach and look after the girls, but we can only ask so much, and it would genuinely cost us less to go onto a single income than to pay a full-time childminder with Jen at her current salary. This does not rule out the possibility of Jen finding another job, so things are still a little up in the air, but we're eager to get ourselves settled into some semblance of a proper routine.

What does this mean for us, personally? We're actually feeling more in control of our lives than we have for some time. The few people who got to know all the details as they were happening stepped in and were there for us in ways we can never repay. We are eternally grateful for the family we have, whether it's family by blood or family by choice. Whatever happens, we'll manage. We just need to tighten our budget a little and re-think some things, which we've been doing. We can do this.

What does this mean for me, as a writer? Well, truthfully, not a lot will change. Yes, I am looking at the possibility that at some point in the next year it might actually make financial sense for me to become a full-time author, depending on how things go with Jen's job-hunting. We don't really know yet.

One thing which I can't ignore is the need to earn a higher, and more regular, income from writing. To this end I'm investigating some freelancing options (if anyone has any advice or leads they'd like to share, please do), and very importantly, I've made a pretty big decision as regards my future books.

To be clear: I am not giving up on traditional publishing. I very much want to be a hybrid author, releasing books myself as well as through a publisher. However, for now I need to go with the option that can bring the better, and faster, return on investment, and committing the next 4-6 months to writing a book that won't produce royalties for another two years just isn't the sound choice.

So the next book I write will continue the adventure that is to begin later this year in Lady Raven. I will be working on this series to its completion and then see where I am after that. With a little luck, and a lot of hard work, you should see Parts 2 and 3 released in 2015, and Part 4 released the following year, if not sooner.

I'm sorry for the length of this post, and the heavy nature of it all. 2014 has been a year of challenge, and I aim to rise to it all.

Aug 26, 2014

Shamrokon

This past weekend I attended my very first Eurocon. Then when I got home from it, I found out I'd been nominated to do the ALS Icewater Challenge, so I did:


And now back to our regular programming...

Shamrokon was a rollercoaster for me, and I'd like to apologise for being the guy with the screaming baby. The problem with having really well-behaved kids is you never know when to expect they'll have a rough day or two, and Olivia was teething terribly on the Friday and Saturday.

Aside from that, and a couple of accessibility/facilities issues that the hotel have responded to with wonderful eagerness to fix, I had a really good time. I can't say great, but the reasons it wasn't great are definitely nothing to do with the con. Just about everyone involved in running Shamrokon was someone I recognised as a veteran of Irish conventions, and the experience really shows. Hats off to the Shamrokon crew, you did us all proud. I don't think I've seen a convention run so smoothly in my life.

I started my con off with a mad dash to the panel on Cartoons in Common, at which I quickly realised I was woefully underqualified to talk about European cartoons. Many thanks to my fellow panelists, James Brophy and Miroslaw Baran, for allowing me to tangent a bit with my comparisons between how European and American cartoons tackle certain issues.

And yes, Once Upon A Time: Life, is the only kids' cartoon I know of that features sexual intercourse, and then childbirth, in its opening credits.

Also, Bravestarr really did have an anti-guns episode, and an episode where a little kid dies from a drug overdose.

On Saturday, then, I got to moderate a panel for the first time, and join Ian Watson and Carrie Vaughn in discussing Peaceful Science Fiction. I'd like to thank them, especially, for being so easy to converse and engage with, particularly since each of them has so much more author-cred than I do!

Sunday was the day we had to be out at the con earliest, and also our most fun and relaxed day. Which goes to show you, don't bother taking it easy in the morning if you don't need to be at a con until the afternoon. It'll always be more chilled out if you just get there early. 

In the morning I got to join Ruth Frances Long, Ian Paul Power, Bob Neilson, and Patricia Kennon to talk about whether or not there were any Irish authors writing SFF for adults, with Irish publishers (there aren't), and if not, why not? Lots of good discussion and debate, rounded off with the hope that Irish publishers will one day accept SFF as something more than being "for kids".

In the afternoon then, following yet another incredible feed at the hotel bar, I sat down with Emma England, Davitt Waldron, and Guest of Honour Seanan McGuire, to talk about toys. And wow, was that ever a lot of fun. We could have probably filled multiple panel slots talking about toys in all kinds of contexts, and we had some fantastic, eager comments from the audience.

To repeat: we need parents and toy manufacturers to stop assigning toys to kids based on their gender, and yes, if there is anything I'd love to have hung onto from my childhood years, it's the Superman costume my mum made for me when I was little.

And that was Shamrokon for me. Roll on the Worldcon 2019 bid, and see you all at Octocon 2015!

Aug 21, 2014

Memory War Soundtrack: Take It Back - Miracle of Sound

And so we come to the end of my soundtrack posts. This weekend I'll be at Shamrokon (Eurocon 2014), and I'm psyched to have the opportunity to meet and talk with so many amazing authors, and speak on some excellent panels.

Before that, however, we have to look at my favourite song from the Memory War soundtrack, and one of my favourite songs of all time. Like Rise, Take It Back is from Miracle of Sound. This song was produced for the release of Mass Effect 3, which saw the end of one of the biggest phenomenons in video games.


When you're stumbling through the darkness walking blind
Don't forget that there is always hope to find

Now, setting aside my sheer love for the Mass Effect series, and the fact that the hero of Mass Effect is Commander Sheppard, while the hero of The Memory Wars is Nathan Shepherd, there are few songs that have the same impact on me as this. Take It Back is a roaring call to arms, an anthem which, as it happens, is not actually about the hero, but about the people depending on him.

Choose your path
Walk it well 
Save us from this living hell
In this broken cage
We will not be confined

In essence, while I feel that this song applies to Nathan's story, in my head it's speaking to the people who look to Nathan to save them. It's speaking to New York, which really is a character in its own right.

As the towers of steel and stone crumble to dust
The foundations of our hope begin to rust

Everything is at stake in Memory War, and no-one is getting through this one unscathed. The city itself will be left scarred and changed. The question is, whose actions will be leaving the mark? Nathan or Athamar?

And when the world it starts to burn
At the point of no return
Keep a hold of
Your conviction
Tear out the affliction
Before the world turns black
Stand up and take it back!

A true hero doesn't just beat the bad guy in a fight. They make sure their actions leave something behind, so that even when they're gone, the people who depended on them can find their own strength, and make their world something better.

Memory War sees Nathan face his final, greatest, battle. It's an emotional book for me. I'm so proud of it, and I think it's the best book in the series. But all stories must come to an end...

For Earth, for all, for glory
It's time to end this story

Aug 19, 2014

Memory War Soundtrack: Rise - Miracle of Sound

We're getting closer to the launch of Memory War, and this week we'll be looking at the last tracks from the soundtrack. And I've made sure they're the best. 

This week I'm pretty much going to be fanboying about Miracle of Sound. Miracle of Sound is a one-man operation by my fellow Irishman, Gavin Dunne. It is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting and engaging things to come from the video game fan community. Starting off as a hobby, Gav has turned Miracle of Sound into a business that's going from strength to strength.

Two of his songs, in particular, have influenced my work on Memory War, perfectly fitting the mood and emotions I hope to evoke with the book, despite both having been released well after the overall story was set in my head. Appropriately, both songs are inspired by the last installment in a trilogy. 

The first draws from The Dark Knight Rises:


It's actually rather unsettling just how much the lyrics fit Memory War. This is the ultimate "get up off your ass and get back in the fight!" moment for Nathan.

Through ceaseless time
Great nations fall
Immortal shadows
Sacrifice the sprawl

Nathan and Elena have seen many empires rise and fall over their lifetimes. Their forgotten past with Athamar will be revealed, and you'll see just how long he has been their enemy.

A man will come
To start a fire
Your shining city
Will become your pyre

This simple, direct verse sums up Athamar completely. New York will burn, and he will watch and laugh.

Your body broken
Your spirit numb
Weak and waiting
For the end to come

Nothing Nathan has experienced can prepare him for what he's about to endure.

Rise from the shadows 
Make a fist of the pain
Rise from your grief
Before it grows into your bane

Nathan must find the strength to stand against Athamar. Whatever he must sacrifice, whatever he must endure, he must find some way to defeat his ancient foe, and keep on fighting, despite the things that will be taken from him along the way.

Climb from the prison 
That you've built in your soul
When the knight has arisen
Then your legend will be whole

What secrets lie locked within a soul as old as Nathan's? What power could be unleashed? And what would be the cost?

Heroes may die, but legends live forever.