Growing Stronger

I’ve been thinking about how I’ve grown as a writer since I wrote Warlock For Hire. There are things that I did back then that I wouldn’t do now. One thing is the scenes I added about Doris and Gavin. Those scenes were purely for comic value and add absolutely nothing to the story. Readers have enjoyed those scenes and nobody has ever complained about them, but they don’t need to be in the book. I think everything else in that book is quite tight in regards to the plot. They add a bit of flavour to Eddie’s life, I guess, so they’re doing no harm by being in there.

These scenes with Doris and Gavin feature in the first three books, but you can see I’ve learned a lesson as early as the second book, Warlock Wanted. In this book the D and G scenes lead to a conversation that actually helps Eddie figure out what is happening to his friends.

Something else I used to do in my earlier days as a writer was something that the Game of Thrones writers tend to be doing in season 8. Having things happen for shock value. Is a reader, or viewer, I do like to be shocked by something that happens, but that shock has to be earned and it has to make sense. Something should only happen if it serves the story. I don’t think I knew that in my early books. The Eddie Lancaster books are fairly safe, but the Cedarstone Chronicles I think did suffer from unnecessary shocks.

My skills have developed a lot since I started out with my first book, Cursed, and they will continue to develop more. At least I hope they will. When I started writing about Eddie I made sure that my writing was a lot tighter and neater than when I wrote the Cedarstone Chronicles. And now that I’m preparing the Jacob Graves series (more on that later) I want to make sure I carry some of the lessons I learned from Eddie to this new project.

Plot Twist!

I was doing a bit of research on angel this week because angels feature in the latest Eddie Lancaster book, Undead Warlock. I was reading up about Lucifer, first from holy texts, then his portrayal in various fictions. I came across the plot of a movie that Lucifer is in and could not believe what I read.

The ending of this film had a remarkably similar plot to the ending of my book.

Naturally, this made me sit up. I had been lying down, you see. I sat for a good few minutes trying to figure out how to proceed. Should I just pretend I hadn’t read the summary? If the plots were that close then people might accuse me of plagiarism whether I’d read this article or not.

I decided to watch the film and see how close they really were and then decide what to do. So, the following day I watched the film and, let me tell you, it was boring. It was rated a 7 or higher by IMDb which made me think it would be good. I suppose some people must’ve enjoyed it, but I did not. I had to wait right until the end too because that was the only bit that was similar to mine. It was a fairly long film too.

It turned out that my ending and the film’s ending were very close. My options were to rewrite my plot, and bear in mind that I’m about 40,000 words into this book too. Or, I could ignore this film and carry on anyway. After all, I hadn’t stolen the idea, I hadn’t even heard about this film’s plot until after mine had been written. if anything, the film copied me in advance.

I mulled it over for a few hours and came to a decision. The majority of my story is very different from the story of the film. The part that is similar makes up a very small portion of the tale. And it wasn’t copied because I hadn’t seen this film. So, I’ve decided to lave my books as it is. The elements are very close, but not the same. I’m not going to name the film because that would give away part of the plot for my book. Let’s just hope I don’t get accused of copying the film that shall not be named in the reviews!

The Calm Before the Storm

I think the title of this blog . would have been a better title for this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, which was instead called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. It was also an hour in which nothing really happened. I understand the need to show all the nice, cosiness before the Night King turns up to kill everyone, but a whole hour of it? Bit much. We’ve only got 6 episodes left until the show is done forever. 6 precious episodes of the best tv show to be on in years and one of them felt like it was wasted to me.

Since the show ran out of source material (George RR Martin’s novels), the writing has taken a plunge. We’ve seen truly atrocious storylines in the show since about season 5. What the fuck was that Dorne storyline? What’s worse is that there was enough of Dorne in the books so far that they could have used. Without George’s books to go from the show has lost its subtlety. It’s lost all of that carefully, intricate threads that were woven together in such a way that you didn’t notice until it was already too late. Now it's written in such a ham-fisted way that I wonder if it’s even the same show at all.

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In this week’s episode, we had several characters proclaiming that everyone will be safe in the crypts. They said this several times in the episode. Too many times. It is a stupid thing to say. The person coming can literally raise the dead, so why, oh why, would you hide in a place filled with corpses????? I honestly cannot believe that Jon Snow of all characters has overlooked this fact. Let alone everybody else.

This is also another example of there being no subtlety. They said it would be safe down there so many times that anyone watching will have started to question it. The idea, I’m guessing, was to lull us into a false sense of security so that when the dead do rise it will be a shock. But the characters kept going on about it, so even the most oblivious of viewers will be clued up as to what is going down in episode 3.

We had some lovely moments this episode too. Brienne defending Jaime. Jaime knighting Brienne. Tormund telling his giant story and then glugging a horn of ale. There were some great scenes.

Moaning aside, I love Game of Thrones. It is the best show I’ve seen in years. This episode disappointed me, and some of the writing is inelegant these days. I still love it. And despite all my moaning in this blog, I know that episode 3 is going to be legendary.

Also, Daenerys was a massive bitch to Tyrion in this episode. She needs to stop that.

Old Faces, New Faces

I’ve started work on Arcane book 6 now. Because this book is the closing of the Arcane arc I wanted to bring back all the old characters who won’t be making it over to the new series arc. I’ve now realised that’s not going to happen. There are new characters being introduced which means I don’t have room for them all.

Matt and Emma will not be returning in book 6. I don’t feel like they really need to come back anyway. They said their goodbyes to Eddie in book 5 and their story is closed now. Gabe won’t be coming back. I really wanted to bring him back in this book but it just doesn’t work. The character doesn’t add anything to the story, so he and all his other Edwardian vampires are not in the book. They’ve left Maidstone and moved on to better things.

DCI Richards is unlikely to appear either. I think that he’s moved on too. Now that the supernatural has been exposed he’s likely been called to London and promoted due to his knowledge of magic and all that. He might still make an appearance but so far he hasn’t cropped up. The Sheridan sisters will not be showing up either but I have a hunch nobody will miss them.

Shirley Demelza will be back. She was a popular character in Dead Warlock and a lot of people said they wanted to see her again. I loved writing her and wanted her to be in this book too. I’m hoping to bring her into the next series arc too, but I can't guarantee it, sometimes things just happen to characters…

Zeke will be joining Eddie in this book. He’s the wizard from Warlock in Hiding, which will be available next week. Advance readers have been very warm towards Zeke. Clarke will be returning. I’ve had quite a few emails from readers asking about Clarke. One person told me he was “just too darn mysterious”. You’ll be learning all about Clarke in this book.

There are plenty of new characters too. You’ve already heard that Lucifer is entering the Arcane Universe, and there will be other newbies joining him. Angels, vampires, Nephilim, sorcerers, and humans are all coming along for the ride. I’ll talk more about the new characters in a later blog.

Finally, the character I've had the most questions about since Dead Warlock. Let's talk about Ashley. Ashley will make an appearance in book 6. I think, other than Eddie, that she is the only dead character appearing in the book. However, this will be her last book. Ashley isn't making it into the next series arc, so if you're hoping for a resurrection, don't count on it. Lucifer takes his job very seriously, and letting souls return to life isn't something he's known for.

Have I missed anyone? Let me know what you think in the comments and if there are any characters you’re hoping to see in book 6.

The Eddie Lancaster Novella

I’d forgotten how much I enjoy writing about Eddie Lancaster. Now that the horror 1st draft is complete I’ve moved onto writing the first draft of the Eddie Lancaster prequel novella. The words are just spilling onto the page. Every day I’m excited to get back to the laptop to write some more. It’s only a novella so it will be about 20k words and I’m already nearly finished. I don’t think I’ve ever written so fast. I’m jotting down notes for book 6 as well which I’ll be starting as soon as I’ve finished with the horror novel.

The Arcane books vary somewhat with what sort of characters are involved. Some of them keep it simple with mainly human-based characters (Like Warlock for Hire). But then some go wild with fairies, imps and wendigos (like Dark Warlock). The novella is somewhere in the middle. Readers told me that they loved the fairy realm elements in Dark Warlock so I’ve put in a fairy character in the novella. I plan to explore the fairy realm more in future books too.

The novella is set a few years before Warlock for Hire. Eddie is still in hiding from Rachel. He’s constantly moving from place to place becasue she keeps finding him. He’s settled in Wallasey, a town just next door to Liverpool. Whilst he’s out being a nuisance one evening he finds a piece of jewellery he later discovers is called The Kraticle. It was created by the Ancient, Kratos and gifted to the Fay monarchy. The jewel grants the wearer the power to rule. Any powers the wearer already has are increased and new powers added. Naturally, Eddie does not want to part with it.

Several others are looking for the Kraticle too. The Fay Prince Morgil, Zeke the Wizard, and a band of Water Elves are all on the hunt for the one-of-a-kind item, and they’re all coming after Eddie. Oh, and of course, let’s not forget that Rachel is looking for him too.

I should have this ready for you in April. I’ll be giving the novella away for free to everybody who is subscribed to the newsletter. So, if you want your free copy then click here to sign up!