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I got my proof copy of The Origin Stone!

Hi everyone, just a quick post to show off my gorgeous proof copy of The Origin Stone.

As I mentioned in a previous post (here), The Origin Stone has been quite a few years in development, and now that I can finally hold it in my hands as an actual book – well, I really can’t put into words how completely amazing and astounding that feels.

There were many, many times when I thought it would never get published, but I refused to give up on it. And my stubbornness paid off!

Here it is in glorious paperback form:

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Isn’t it wonderful?

At the moment, pre-orders are only for the Kindle version, but the paperback will be fully available at the end of March when the book is released!

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Pre-orders are up for The Origin Stone!

Hello everyone!

My latest book, The Origin Stone, is being released on March 31st this year!

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Here’s the first page as a sample:

Part of the reason we moved was because of our animals.

Our old house wasn’t big enough for them, especially when we got our nanny goat, Mrs. Swanson, who wandered next-door one day and ate our neighbour’s washing. Unfortunately, the old bat came home early and saw the mess. Furious, she threatened to have her taken away from us. Ru, my older brother, attempted to ease her anger by explaining we’d named Mrs. Swanson after her, but it made the situation much worse.

For three tense months, we looked for houses big enough for us, but nothing was in our budget. Then Great Cousin Maggie died, leaving the house empty, and several weeks later when her will was being carried out, dad got a letter saying she’d left it to him.

We all thought it was unusual, seeing as dad hadn’t been in much contact with her, but we were desperate by then, and moved in without question. He and mum fell in love with it straight away. It’s big enough that she’s now got her own home studio, and dad’s client base has expanded dramatically. Even Ru loves it, giving him six acres of land to explore for his bug obsession, including the woods at the back of the garden.

I’m the only one that hasn’t taken to it yet, but Ru keeps suggesting the move just stressed me out more than I thought. I hope so. I don’t want my uneasiness to bring them down too.

The clock chimes in the hall, and our young crow, the Grand Vizier, who’s snoozing on his perch in the corner of the room, opens one eye and looks at me. I hold my arm out to him and he flies over, landing gently on my shoulder. I scratch behind his neck, relishing the silkiness of his feathers. “Ravenswell. Ravenswell,” he croons to me softly. I blink at him; that’s the name of the house.

“You learnt that already?” I say, holding up my bowl of noodles for him to snatch some as his reward. “Everyone else really is settled here, aren’t they?”

 

Pre-orders are now up, so if you’re looking for a new young adult read full of mysterious creatures, conspiracy, parallel worlds and a race against time, check out the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NCD1DM4

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In case the New Year brings that dastardly task of editing your novel: Kathryn’s Guide to Editing Fiction

Knowing what to do after you’ve *finally* finished the first draft of your manuscript and have mopped up all the blood, sweat and tears that went into it can be a bit of a mystery if you’re new to the game. You know editing comes into it, and you may have heard about beta readers, but what comes first, and more importantly, how do you go get started?

To help with the cacophony of questions littering your head, I’ve made a general guide to help you get going. This is very much based off my own experience, and is not an exhaustive list:

  1. After you’ve written that last word on your manuscript, put the whole thing away somewhere and leave it for a good amount of time (I personally leave it for about three months, but others leave it for longer) and get on with other things. Start a new project; finish any others lurking around; if you’re thinking about publication, research which avenue might be best for you and what that entails; basically, anything to keep your mind stimulated but doesn’t involve that first draft. This is to make sure that when you do eventually go back to it, you can view it with fresh eyes – meaning that plot holes, weak characters or lack of world building will jump out at you and therefore be easier to fix.

 

  1. Don’t focus on spelling or wording on this initial edit. Look at the big picture instead. Are there any holes in your plot? Do your characters feel flat or serve no purpose? Does the story start in the right place, or are the first few chapters unnecessary? What scenes work, and what don’t? If you’re finding it hard to tell if certain points of the story are unnecessary, try removing them and see if it affects the overall plot. If the plot still flows, then those scenes (however beautifully written they are/despite how much you personally love them) have to go. Nothing ruins a good book more that scenes that jar the pacing by adding nothing.

 

  1. Once you’ve fixed the big issues with your manuscript, you can either put it away again, or continue on to the next stage. Again, I personally leave it for a bit because I know I get far too close to my work.

 

  1. Now it’s time to really focus on your characters and world building. Your characters need to feel like real people – give goals and dreams, flaws and bad habits, and don’t hole them up into stereotypes. If they’re from very different backgrounds/circumstances to you, make sure you do your research – not only to make them realistic, but to avoid being insensitive to readers. (If you’re worried about your representation of people from different walks of life to you, you can always hire a sensitivity reader at a later stage.) When working on world building, think about the social structure of each place, use all five senses to describe things and make sure you don’t fall into the pit of info dumping. Also, in dialogues scenes, look out for ‘white room syndrome’, when no description about where or when the scene takes place is included.

 

  1. Next, we get in to the more technical aspects of writing. Tense, point of view and grammar. (If you feel your manuscript is shaping up nicely, you can start looking at spelling, over-use of words and continuity, but I would leave that until last.) It doesn’t matter what point of view you use, or what tense, as long as you keep them consistent throughout the manuscript – unless you have a very good reason not to, like an intentional stylistic change to illustrate a certain point. If you struggle with grammar, there are a lot of helpful books and forums, as well as YouTube guides. (I have a book on grammar that’s actually written for kids, but the language and examples are so clear that it’s the one I go to most.)

 

  1. The stages of editing can get a bit murky here – some writers have to repeat steps until they’re happy and end up with a good number of drafts, others breeze right through and end up with relatively few. However, whether you’ve done a lot of back and forth on your work or not, this part is important. Read your work aloud. I’ll say it again: READ YOUR WORK ALOUD. From start to finish, until you’re sick of the sound of your own voice. This is so you can clearly see problems with sentence structure, missing words, typos, continuity, repetitive description and all that jazz (as readers we’re always pleased to spot others’ mistakes, but are far less pleased as writers if someone kindly points them out in our own work).

 

  1. Finally, when you are happy with your manuscript and can’t find anything else to work on, it’s time to send your work to beta readers. These can be other writers, friends, family or simply people you know love to read. What is important to note, however, is that it’s far more helpful to send your work to readers who readily consume books in that genre than ones who have never read/rarely read within your genre, as the feedback you receive will be more relevant. When you do receive feedback, look for trends in what people are saying. If eight people say a scene isn’t working, then it’s probably wise to take another look and see if it truly does need revising. If one beta reader hates a character but the others love them/make no comment, then perhaps that’s just their personal taste. Consider all feedback, but remember that it is still your work, so you have the final decision on what to change.

 

So there you have it. Where you take your work from there is completely up to you. Whether you opt for traditional publishing, self-publishing or somewhere in-between (be absolutely sure you don’t head down the path of vanity publishing – an old but good rule on how to tell a vanity publisher from a real one is that money should always flow to the author, not away) make sure you do your research.

Poetry

Delirium

Night calls,

and there’s fire in the air.

My brain sparks with idea after idea,

waving aside the calls of Nod and Deep Slumber.

My fingers itch to write down

everything I see,

but they’re never fast enough.

Still, they do what they can,

and eventually they tire enough to bid

their partner

sweet dreams.

Poetry

Gaining pace

Like pulling at teeth,

like moving a boulder,

feet wanting to drag,

brain wanting to slumber.

Pick up the pace,

time is starting to wander

on and on and on and on.

 

The end of the line is in sight,

my friends.

Believe it, it’s true.

I’ll prove it to myself,

if not to you.

I can reach it before the night ends.

Poetry

Set aside

There are rocks at my feet,

all folded and crumpled,

fossilised words of untold errors.

Lists filling scrolls lie about the room,

checking for correct procedures

and slips in elegant form.

Tirelessly, I work through the night

organising scores

to serve as light music to others

who dream

of shelves of paper notes

holding keys to doors

hidden from most.

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Update on The Origin Stone!

Greetings!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book update, so apologies if you have no clue what The Origin Stone is. For you guys, here’s the low-down: The Origin Stone is my first YA book, and it’s set to be released in late Feb/March 2019 by Nuff Said Publishing.

Here is the premise:

Emily Renzi thinks she’s going crazy. After her parents move to a quiet village, she senses that something is off about the house they’re living in. Dreams of strange creatures invade her sleep, and mysterious shapes appear in the garden. Confiding in her older brother, Ru, they research the house’s background and find that a scientist disappeared there during World War Two. Afterwards, sightings of strange creatures were whispered around the village. Could the creatures in Emily’s dreams and the ones rumoured about be the same? And if so, what do they want from her? As she struggles to piece together the truth from the fiction, she finds out that beasts aren’t always monsters – humans, however, are a different matter.

I’ve been spending the last few weeks combing through the manuscript with my editor, and we’re now in the final stages. Which means…I have ARCs! They are digital only copies, but still, if any book bloggers/vloggers are interested, they can get their hands on The Origin Stone early.

We’re also nearly there with the cover design, which I’m also super happy about. Despite The Origin Stone being my first YA, I wrote the original draft years ago, so it’s been a while in the making. And in a few months, it’ll be out!

Honestly, having my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy and The Door Between Worlds published was exciting enough, but with The Origin Stone, I’m practically beside myself with glee.

I will be holding a few giveaways for ARCs at some point down the line, so look out for those when I announce them here and here.

As for now, I have to make my way to my day job and pretend I’m calm and collected. *sigh*

Kat out!