Friday 14 March 2014

Things are looking up

It's been a good few weeks.

The incessant rain seems to have finally decided to stop. We've even had some warm weather. Foggy mornings, and hazy sunshine have replaced the floods.

I am making very good progress on The Cross and The Curse, the sequel to The Serpent Sword. I am up to 34,000 words on the first draft and adding another 3,000 or 4,000 words each week. I am guessing it will be about 120,000 words when complete, so I'm about a quarter of the way through. I have written a synopsis for it, which I didn't do at this stage for The Serpent Sword. It was a real challenge, but something very worthwhile, as it has really helped me to focus on the plot. Writing it has even thrown up some twists and turns that I had not expected when I was just dreaming the story up in my head. The best thing was that my agent liked the synopsis.

Oh yes, did I say agent?

That's right. The biggest news of all is that I am now represented by a literary agent! Robin Wade, of Wade & Co Literary Agency, is now my agent! He plans to pitch The Serpent Sword to senior editors of major publishing houses at the London Book Fair in April. I am over the moon, as this is a huge step and one that I believed would take a lot longer. Having a reputable literary agent with a proven track record means I can knuckle down to writing book 2 and hopefully, await good news when my book gets sold to an editor. Agents sell books to editors for a living and act as the first gatekeepers in the traditional publishing world. Robin's acceptance of my book is a huge vote of confidence in the quality of my writing. He thinks it is good enough to be published and I am now closer to getting that elusive book deal.

So that makes two of us who think it should be published. I hope a publisher soon joins the exclusive club of fans of my work!

Saturday 8 March 2014

Review of The Whale Road by Robert Low

The Whale Road (Oathsworn, #1)The Whale Road by Robert Low
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. Low paints a violent, vivid world of Vikings selling their swords to the highest bidder and scheming to find hidden treasures. The ship's crew would be at home sailing alongside Giles Kristian's Vikings from his Raven series, and there are a lot of similarities between the two writers' stories and characters.

The language in this book is often exquisite. Low shows moments of real brilliance in places.

He also suffers from trying to stuff too much into one book. The main characters are strong, and the overall story arc is clear, but the wealth of locations and secondary characters are impossible to keep up with, and I couldn't really see the need for naming some of the warriors. One character gets added in the last chapter, as far as I could tell, and there seemed no good reason to name him.

It is a good thing that the writing and setting are both fun and engaging, as I almost gave up after reading the first few pages. They are a real muddle that seem to have been edited into a single chapter from perhaps two original chapters or scenes. Luckily though, after that initial confusing section, the book gets underway and is a fun read.

It settles down into a nice rhythm. It is well-written and enjoyable for the most part. The plot could be a bit tighter and I was a little put off by it turning into "Indiana Jones in the Dark Ages" at the end of the book, even though I have to say I enjoyed reading some of the last scenes very much. There did seem to be a distinct difference in tone between the early part of the book and the second half. Perhaps Low decided to add some more supernatural elements as he progressed.

If you are interested in ripping adventures set in the Dark Ages, particularly featuring blood-letting Vikings, this book is well worth a read.

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