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A note on rejection

Every writer gets rejected at some point. Whether it’s by peers or beta readers, agents or publishers, it’s always going to happen no matter how good your writing is or how many times you’ve meticulously edited your manuscript.

When I was teaching a workshop at a school the other day, one of the students asked me if I’ve ever been rejected. When I said yes, and that I’ve been rejected around a hundred times for each different project I’ve worked on, she and the rest of the class were pretty shocked. And as it wasn’t something I’ve really thought about that cumulatively, I was surprised too.

I then told the class what I always say about rejection: it doesn’t matter how many “no”s you get, as all it takes to change things is a single “yes”.

Which is true for all of my published works. But I think it’s important to note that sometimes those “no”s are worth listening to, not to make you give up on a project, but to take another look at it to see if it needs to be revised. Now, if you’ve already spent a long time trying to perfect your manuscript, this is hard advice to follow. I’m no exception, it takes a lot of willpower for me to revisit something that I’ve already poured so much time and energy into. I hate it, and I put it off as long as I can. Especially when all the rejections I’ve received have been form rejections or complete silence, as I don’t know where the problem is.

However, the one thing about those kind of rejections is that for me, I think they hurt less. Whereas a rejection with feedback included is like a punch to the stomach that doesn’t disappear for days. I had one such rejection last week, and I’m still not fully over it. The feedback was quite specific, and left me wondering whether to implement it or not, a question to which I still don’t have an answer.

Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view) the manuscript was actually one I sent out when I knew it wasn’t really ready, but wanted to see if the idea might catch some attention, so I’m actually in the process of revising it anyway. One thing that rejection made me realise is that the manuscript is more plot driven than character driven, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that I might have to do some more research to make sure that when I do send it out properly, I’m sending it to people who enjoy that style of storytelling — if I choose to keep that side of the book as it is. That’s not to say I’ll be neglecting my characters, either. Far from it, in fact.

Anyway, there’s no real moral to this post (other than don’t send your manuscript out early like I just did!). I think I just wanted to share some of my rejection experience, so that anyone else in the query trenches knows they’re not alone.

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Unofficial Detective’s 2nd book birthday!

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you probably already know this, but Unofficial Detective, the first book in my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy, has been out for two years today. And looking back, things have been a little crazy since then.

These past two years have been full of personal struggles, but one thing that’s been a constant throughout, despite lack of time, depression and overall burnout, has been my writing.

[Side note: I’ve written at least one book every year since 2011, and though I had so many manuscripts, I only found my first publisher in 2017.]

Since Unofficial Detective has been out, nearly every book I wrote before then has either been released or is currently under contract for release next year. And the books I’ve written since its release (3 novels, 3 picture book manuscripts, 3 poetry collections – including A Book For Pandora, which came out in February this year) are either awaiting editing/being edited or on submission. Add that to the fact I blog every day at the moment, and even I have to admit it’s a lot of work.

Now, I often forget the sheer amount of effort I’ve put into a project as soon as I move onto the next, and as my focus is usually on what I’m currently working on, it’s been a long time since I’ve looked back and appreciated how far I’ve come. But today I stopped to think about it, and it left me both overwhelmed and immensely proud.

Being a writer has been my dream since I was a little girl, and while it’s true I earn very little from it – for me, earning money from writing has never been the point – I can genuinely say I’ve achieved my dream and will continue living it.

So, I think the note I want to end with is that for any aspiring writers out there wondering if getting published really is attainable, just stick with it. Yes, it probably will be hard and you will feel like quitting completely at some points, but if it’s what you really want, then no one can stop you. And that remains true regardless of whether you’re looking into traditional publishing or self publishing.

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Lastly, a list of all my published works to date:

Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy

Unofficial Detective

Accidental Archaeologist

Unseasoned Adventurer

 

Stand alone books

The Door Between Worlds

The Origin Stone

 

Poetry

A Book For Pandora

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Some bookish updates!

After finishing my latest draft a few weeks ago, I’m taking a mini-break from writing fiction to catch up on my TBR pile and generally chill out, as I’ve had a lot of stuff going on lately.

Some of the more exciting things that have happened are:

Unofficial Detective, book one in my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy, having now been released as an audiobook (link here).

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A Book For Pandora, my full length poetry collection, also now available as an audiobook (which surprised me when my publisher suggested it, but I now think is a great idea, especially for those who find it hard to read poetry — sometimes a different medium makes all the difference — and you can find it here.)

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The cover for my YA speculative fiction, The Origin Stone, being entered into All Author’s cover competition (you can vote for it here – thank you kindly!)

Poetry uploads will continue as normal, and there may even be a book review or two coming up too.

As always, thank you for reading my humble blog.

Kate out!

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Cover reveal! Unseasoned Adventurer: Half-Wizard Thordric Book Three

Hello everyone, if you’ve been following me on social media, then you may have already seen the cover for the third and final book in my Half-Wizard Thordric series, if not, then here it is! (complete with blurb/back cover copy):

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After six years in the Wizard Council, Thordric’s confidence in his magic has grown tremendously. But when High Wizard Vey, Thordric’s superior and closest friend, goes missing, he faces his greatest challenge yet.

Between finding a way to save him and trying to keep things calm at the Council, Thordric finds himself venturing to the four countries surrounding Dinia to seek out other forms of magic.

But his quest is far from easy… and dangers he never even dreamed about soon spring onto his path.

 

The book is currently available for pre-order, and will be published in a few weeks.

Happy reading!

(And now I have three matching covers, I can finally put them all together!)

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It’s publication day! Accidental Archaeologist: Half-Wizard Thordric Book Two is finally out!

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As the title of this post would suggest, book 2 in my Half-Wizard Thordric series is now available to buy. Currently, it’s only on Kindle, but in a week or so the paperback will also be available. It’s rather exciting! If you love fantasy, plenty of humour, quests and YA reads, then this may be for you.

However, here’s the blurb just in case you’re not convinced yet:

Three years have passed since Thordric joined the Wizard Council. Together, with High Wizard Vey, they have reformed the council completely.

But while half-wizards can now train their magic freely and join the ranks of the mages, Thordric realizes that there are many who are completely unaware of this. Traveling to the faraway town of Valley Edge, he meets the young archaeologist Hamlet, who is traveling to a dig site where a new discovery has been made.

But not all is as it first appears, and once again Thordric has to put his magic to the test…in order to stop one of the greatest catastrophes their world has ever seen.

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Jard Town, the home of Thordric Manfred Smallchance

Today I thought I’d do something a bit different, and talk a bit about the town Unofficial Detective, my debut book, is set in.

Jard Town is its name, and it was given by its founder, the wizard Kalljard, who since the town’s inception one thousand years before Thordric’s story starts, was High Wizard of the Wizard Council (yes, he really was that old)… until his untimely death at the beginning of the book.

Before that, it was just a small settlement surrounded by forest and thus full of forest folk, including the Watchem Watchems, who even at that time, loved to disguise themselves as shrubbery and put people on edge by following them around. But Kalljard put an end to all that, driving every creature away and building the foundations of the town in their place.

Now it bustles with normal town life, full of carriages, wizards, half-wizards (though for reasons of personal safety, they don’t openly admit it), bakers, builders, students, dry cleaners, police officers and many serious people. Nothing special, really. Except, of course, that no-one knows how hateful and ruthless a man its founder truly was.

At least, not until Thordric stumbles – somewhat by accident – onto the truth.

 

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If you’re interested, Unofficial Detective is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as The Book Depository.

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I’m Published!!!

Today I can finally say that I am a published novelist! *dances around the room*

Unofficial Detective, book one in my Half-Wizard Thordric series, is a magical murder mystery for middle-grade readers (or for those, like myself, who are just young at heart!).  It’s available for purchase on Amazon for £2.99, or free on Kindle Unlimited.  It will also be available in paperback at a later date. Here’s the official blurb:

For his whole life, Thordric has been told that his magic is dangerous, and that he must never use it. All over Dinia, half-wizards are treated the same, their magic labelled as dangerous and uncontrollable.

When High Wizard Kalljard is murdered, it falls to young Thordric to solve the case. The only trouble? The murder was done by magic, and though Thordric is a half-wizard, he has never fully used his powers.

To prove himself right and find the murderer, Thordric has to learn how to control his own powers. But can he learn fast enough, and find the perpetrator in time?

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Cover reveal! Unofficial Detective, book one in the Half-Wizard Thordric series!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am squealing with joy to FINALLY reveal the cover of my debut middle-grade fantasy novel, UNOFFICIAL DETECTIVE. Please take a look at the wonderful design my publisher, Creativia, has come up with (plus my unofficial blurb, just to give you an idea of what the book is about!):

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Thordric has been told his whole life that his magic – that of a simple half-wizard – is dangerous and he must never use it. All over Dinia, half-wizards are treated the same, their magic labelled as dangerous and uncontrollable. But deep down Thordric knows that’s not true.

​When Inspector Jimmson reluctantly calls upon him to help out with the investigation into High Wizard Kalljard’s murder, Thordric realises that the old wizard’s life was taken by magic. However, in order to prove his theory, Thordric has to learn how to control his own powers to find the evidence needed.

Will he succeed, or will the perpetrator forever remain a mystery?

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Exciting news

Hey everyone, I just wanted to announce that I’ve signed with a small online publisher for one of my middle-grade books, Unofficial Detective, the first book in my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy (hopefully, they’ll take on books 2 and 3 as well). You can find an extract of it here.

It’s just going through the editing process now, but soon we’ll start working on cover design and layout, which I’m rather excited for.

Anyway, just thought I’d post a quick update – more news to follow!

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Extract: Unseasoned Adventurer (Thordric series bk 3)

None of them, especially Thordric and Kal, were used to going this long without a bath. Lyanis laughed at them, saying that the only time for washing was when it rained.

As she wasn’t human she didn’t sweat like they did, and simply couldn’t understand what was making them feel so grimy. She did, however, notice the distinct whiff of week old body odour radiating from them, but far from being repulsed, she thought it was pleasant.

‘It’s just your natural smell. I don’t see why you should be ashamed of that,’ she told Thordric, Kal and Hamlet after they’d had a particularly long discussion about what they would all do at the first sight of water. Unfortunately, they were now flying over a vast desert which carried on far across the border into Fyoras, so it would be at least another three days before they found even the merest trickle. ‘And you,’ she said to Ourellus, who was also feeling distinctly dirty and itchy, ‘shouldn’t be complaining either. I don’t remember you ever washing except during a downpour when you were a child.’

‘That was then, before I knew how good being clean felt,’ he said defensively, as Thordric shot him a disgusted look.

Lyanis pouted and sat down next to the food bag, rummaging around for more of the bobbled fruit. The sun was scorching hot now, heating the planks of the ship so that it burnt their hands if they touched the wood for too long. Their water flasks were also nearly empty; they’d had to ration it out so they had enough to last until they got to Fyoras.

No-one was happy about the situation, and their conversation had become snappy and waspish. Hamlet stayed in the cabin reading, and Ourellus and Lyanis spoke about times before they had been frozen. Kal and Thordric had given up practicing their shielding spell, as neither of them had the energy to do it. Instead they played a game of chess, betting that the loser would be the one to wring the sweat out of the other’s clothing. Kal was good at chess, seeing opportunities and taking them before Thordric could even remember how each piece could be used.

So far, Thordric had wrung out Kal’s clothes five times already. It was foul, but at least it gave them something to do while they waited to reach the border.