Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Benefits of Being an Indie Publisher

 I have seen a lot of discussion lately about traditional vs indie publishing. I am not against either method of publication and think both are perfectly valid methods of sharing your book with the world. I made a measured decision when I decided to self publish The Rachaya Series, after in depth conversations with traditional and indie authors, as well as people who do both. The benefits I could see, and my reaons for choosing to become and independently published author are:


1. I could choose my own editor.

I was able to shop around and find a highly qualified IPEd editor that is compatible with my way of working. I have an editor that gives me the encouragement I need, teaches me about the whys and wherefores of corrections, and is patient, kind and professional. This was the biggest point in indie publishing's favour for me. When I had a traditional publishing contract I was not able to choose my editor, and I was very uncomfortable with the editor that was chosen for me. The power to choose who works so intimately on my books has been so wonderful.



2. I could take risks with my writing.

Publishing houses look for books that will make an instant success. They are in the business of making money so they will not take a risk on books that are not a sure bet. The content, language, writing style were all up to me. I did not have to try to write the Next Big Thing. I wrote the story that was in my heart instead. 


3. I could work at my own pace.

This was especially important to me after I had a child. I was in no danger of breaching contract because Heart of Dragons took 18 months longer than I had predicted. This was better for my mental health, and it was far better for the story. I can publish as little or as much as I like. 


4. I can change anything I want.

I am currently working with a designer for new covers for The Rachaya Series, investing all my profits so far. Because I am re-releasing the books I can theoretically go in and change anything I want about my stories. Are there errors that need fixing (thanks to my wonderful editor, not really, but she did flag a few things here and there for me when she reread the books in preparation for Heart of Dragons)? Do I want a different ending? How about I add a short story as a bonus for readers? Scenes that were cut, Q&As, new character names. The world is my oyster.


5. I can genre-hop.

Because I am not vying for a publishing contract, I can go in a wildly different direction with my next book if I want. I am currently writing an adult fantasy novel rather than Young Adult, but I am also working on a contemporary piece, have been comissioned to produce a sci-fi short story for a friend, and even dabbled in poetry. I love being able to flex my writing muscles and learn from it along the way. There's just so much freedom.


Obviously, it's not all beer and skittles. There is a lot of admin, marketing, expenses etc that come with independent publishing and it is not for everyone. I have to put myself out there a lot despite my natural shyness screaming at me to stay home. But it's worth it because I love my work so much.

Book Review: The High Mountain Court, by AK Mulford


I was given a copy of The High Mountain Court in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, what an incredible debut by AK Mulford. I loved everything about it.

The world is rich and detailed. I really loved the magic in it. Yes, there are fae, but far more interesting to me was the witch magic. There are multiple types of witch - red, brown, blue. Red witches are illegal and have been destroyed. Main character, Remy, is a red witch in hiding, under the protection of a couple of brown witches. It's time for her to stop hiding, finding her power, courage and love along the way.

The story is fast paced and action packed. There is romance with just enough spice. The characters are diverse and representative of real life without any sign of tokenism. The writing style is relaxed and flows so well you can't put the book down.

I cannot wait for Book 2. This book is a solid 5 stars. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Author Interview - Nadia L. King

 




Nadia L. King is a children's writer and award winning short story writer who uses her skill with words to make the world a better place. Her latest release, a YA novel by Dixi Books, is called Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please? and is due out in the UK at the end of July 2021, in September in Australia. It tackles the topic of family abuse. The story is brushed with magical realism to lighten a dark and challenging issue.


 Here's an exerpt from Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please?

The lock to my cell door makes a loud clunk. At the end of a corridor, my cell has three windowless walls painted a depressing shade of grey. One side is made entirely of glass. A toilet squats in the corner and a grey plastic-coated mattress lies stiffly on the floor. A concrete bench runs along one side of the cell. I gingerly sit on the concrete bench and shiver in the air-conditioning. I shove my hands under my armpits and hunch over my shoulders. How the hell have I ended up in a police cell? I pull at the inside of my cheek with my teeth. How long are they allowed to keep me? I’m not even eighteen, who knew they could arrest kids? 

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please? is my latest book published by UK publisher Dixi Books. The novel is aimed at young adult (YA) readers and tackles the topic of family abuse. The story is brushed with magical realism to lighten a dark and challenging issue. Inspiration for the story came from the Japanese manga series Naruto and the horrific statistic that one woman dies every week in Australia from domestic violence.

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Slow, emotional, consuming, challenging, fun.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Probably too many to mention but I particularly enjoy and do my best to learn from writers such as Kate DiCamillo, Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, and Angela Carter. Short story greats like Anton Chekhov, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, and Katherine Mansfield intimidate and inspire me in equal measure!

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

A story that knows where it’s going.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Gosh, this is a tricky question. As a reader, the most important things I want from writing are:

·       meaty characters that surprise me with their actions;

·       a believable and detailed story world;

·       I want to be immersed in the story, so I want verisimilitude and visceral writing;

·       clean, sharp writing; and

·       an interesting story.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Read and revise—read broadly and revise your own work many, many times over!

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

At the moment, I’m really into Korean and Japanese crime fiction. It’s incredibly dark and discomforting and keeps me awake at night.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Characters. A character comes to life in my head, and then I try to find a way to insert the character into a story.

Q9: What are you working on now?

The theoretical exegesis for my PhD which I fear I will be writing until the end of my days!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Currently, I’m reading:

·       Ulysses by James Joyce (a friend and I have given ourselves three months to read this book which I’ve started at least twice over the years and never finished).

·       A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (which is like a masterclass in short story writing for the price of a book—outstanding value!).

·       Wildfire by Ann Cleeves.


More about Nadia L. King

Nadia L King is a children’s author and award-winning short story writer who believes in the power of stories to make the world a better place. Her books include Claire Malone Changes the World, The Lost Smile, Jenna’s Truth, and Can the Real JR, Stand Up, Please? Nadia is currently undertaking a PhD in English and creative writing and lives in Western Australia with her family and an ever-expanding collection of books.

Connect with her:


Instagram

Goodreads

Amazon

Or go to her website here: https://www.nadialking.com/ 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Author Interview - S.J. Pratt

 


S.J. Pratt is a YA Sci-Fi author who has just finished her first novel, The 716: Impulse. Her writing invites readers to explore complex societal issues in new environments and reflect on our own word whilst having a bit of fun. An avid feminist, rock climber, yogi and coffee addict, Sarah is excited to introduce her debut novel soon.

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

The 716: Impulse is the first in a YA sci-fi trilogy about a guy who wants to be an engineer but, in his world, only women can go to university. It focuses on his struggle to be taken seriously, his fight for equality, and the people he meets along the way. 

As for what inspired it, it was one of those light bulb moments. I had just had coffee with a cisgender male friend and I was complaining about a sexist newspaper article I’d read and how unfair it was. He agreed, but it was lacklustre and we were soon talking about something else. Later, I saw how passionate he could get about things that directly affected him and I wondered, if cisgender men could see sexism and gender discrimination through the eyes of someone like them, would they be more passionate about eliminating such discrimination? Would it be easier for them to understand?

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Coffee. Reading. Waking up in the middle of night to write down ideas. Time running away on me. Oh, and overwriting!

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Jane Austen is my hero. I adored We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Nought and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. To some extent, I think every book I read influences me, opens my eyes to new ways of writing or expression.

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

Quiet, coffee, laptop.

Q5: What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Character and plot. Good writing invites the reader to fall in love with characters, or to hate them or question them—regardless, to get involved in their lives. They should be unique and yet universal in a way, be interesting and relatable with real flaws and dreams. And good writing has to take me somewhere. Not necessarily to another planet or country (although I love that!), but on a journey of some kind, an emotional one.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Shut the door so the cat can’t get in.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Science fiction

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

I think the characters inform the plot and vice versa. Sometimes, a character will come to me and I wonder where they will take me. Other times, I know I want something to happen but I’m not sure who will do it, and then a character will come to me.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished The 716: Impulse and I am starting work on the second novel in the trilogy, The 716: Momentum. I’m super excited—it’s strange and electrifying to be plotting and planning again after so much time editing! 

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. It’s super good!


Find out more about S.J. Pratt by following the links below:

Monday, July 5, 2021

Book Review: The Book of Eve, by Julia Blake

The Book of Eve, by Julia Blake, is a story about a woman that has spent the past year running from her problems and now she cannot run from them any longer. The story then recounts the events that led up to her need for escape. You learn about her tight-knit group of friends, their charmed lives, and how Eve got to know them all. Then you watch, nail-bitingly, as it all comes crashing down.


The Book of Eve was a real escapist read, and I really enjoyed being lost in Eve's glitzy, glamorous world. The narrative style is personable, with great turns of phrases from Eve that added to her likeability. The description of place and character was vivid and absorbing. 

I highly recommend The Book of Eve, especially if you're looking for a standalone story to break you out of a book hangover.

Rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Rachaya Series Now Available In More Places! and other announcements

 It is with great pride that I can announce that The Rachaya Series is now available for purchase at Dymocks Knox City in Wantirna, Victoria. If you have been meaning to pick up the series, now is the perfect chance.



I have also made the entire series available in ebook format on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited



Lastly, it's all still a bit hush hush, but I have contracted a really awesome illustrator to redesign all three covers of The Rachaya Series. I am really excited to see what they come up with, and I will be sure to share progress here and on my social media accounts. I am mentioning it quite early because, if you are wanting a matching set of The Rachaya Series, you might want to purchase Heart of Dragons sooner rather than later. I only have a handful left for signed copies, and they only will be available online for a little while longer. 


That's all for now. Thanks, all, for your constant support!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Hag stones


This is a hag stone. Known by many names, such as witch stone, adder stone and Glain Neidr, hag stones were prized in many cultures. The hole is created naturally through the process of weathering in flowing water. Because it was believed that magic could not take place in water, hag stones were seen to have protective qualities. Looking through the hole was said to help you see through glamour, or even to see faeries.


I don't think I need to remind you all how much I love being in research mode for my writing 🥰


Monday, May 24, 2021

Supanova Melbourne Wrap-Up

Supanova Melbourne has been and gone for another year. I had such a fantastic time meeting readers and having all sorts of interesting conversations. Thank you to everyone who stopped for a chat and bought my books. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.


Don't forget to pop by and say hello to me on Insta or TikTok (@AshOldfieldAuthor on both). I'm fairly active on my socials and try to respond to bookish questions quickly.

Next year's Supanova cannot come fast enough!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Supanova Melbourne 2021

Following the release of Heart of Dragons, book 3 of the Rachaya Series, I have decided to book a table in Artists' Alley at Supanova Melbourne. I look forward to catching up with many of my readers at this event. Supanova Melbourne will be running May 22nd and 23rd following the Victorian government Covid safe guidelines.

I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Heart of Dragons Pre-Order

Hello all! This is just a quick message to let you all know that I will be taking pre-orders for anyone wanting to get a signed copy of Heart of Dragons. I have set up an Esty store that I will keep active for the next couple of months for anyone wishing to complete their signed collection. I have been absolutely blown away by everyone's enthusiasm following my announcement of the release. Thank you all for your support :)





Get your signed copy here: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/977034834/heart-of-dragons?ref=shop_home_active_1



Monday, March 22, 2021

Heart of Dragons release date!

I am very excited to announce that the paperback for Heart of Dragons, the final installment of The Rachaya Series, will be released on April 15th. 


From the blurb:

‘I am Rachaya, Queen of the Dragons, Most Sacred Monarch, and Empress of Escoria.’

When the dragons’ home was destroyed, their queen, Rachaya, promised to lead them to the ancient dragon city of Parazen. The problem is, Rachaya does not know where this city is and even if she did, her deadly wizard enemy wants her to find it so he can destroy it and the dragons once and for all. Does Rachaya have what it takes to defend her people and their home? Does she truly have the heart of dragons?

“Heart of Dragons” is the final instalment of The Rachaya Series, a story of magic, friendship and hope.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year one and all! It was not the holiday season we're all used to, but I hope you were all able to celebrate in some way. My Christmas was full of catch-ups after being in lockdown since March 2020. I can't remember if socialising has always been so exhausting, or if it's because I'm so unused to it.

Now the new year has started I can look forward to the release of the third and final installment of The Rachaya Series, "Heart of Dragons". It has been edited by my amazing editor, Kat Betts, and the cover is nearly complete. I cannot wait until it is out there in the world for all to see.

I have taken a bit of a divergence with my writing, and I am wanting to spend 2021 exploring a wide range of genres. I am looking forward to the challenge and to seeing what I create. I have a small child, so I am also being kind to myself and am easing my foot off the accelerator a little. 

I hope you all have had a good start to the year (or as good as can be given global circumstances).

Take care ox

Ash