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The Crown. My New Book Is Out!

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The latest volume in my fantasy detective saga, The Skilled Investigators, is live on both Amazon and Smashwords! I proudly present to you: Book 3, The Crown.

For once I had no formatting problems whatsoever, though I did initially forget to organise an ISBN with Smashwords. This only means I had no problems once I uploaded to the sites – my editors and others know all about the angst I underwent whilst perfecting the document prior to uploading!

In Book 1, The Scroll, Genef fought to achieve her dream of training to be an Investigator with the Guild. A serial killer came literally to her door and she was instrumental in solving the case. In the course of the story Genef was gifted with the Skill of Knowing Touch. When she started her training the Guild gifted her with Teaching Taste. The king was so pleased with her work that he assigned her to trace some stolen royal jewellery so Book 2, The Market, saw her sailing to The Spice Islands with her brother, Fel. They had to deal with murder and enslavement but Genef found most of the jewels. A crown, however, had been sold on to traders from The Ice Country. After she received the next Skill, Inner Hearing, Genef was instructed to follow the trail of the crown and retrieve it.

The Crown sees Genef and her mentor Rath travelling to The Ice Country, where the land is always frozen. Scratch accompanies her, hoping to find other dragons in the snow-covered north; he has no contact with his family or indeed his species. Genef is settling into her role as an Investigator and now has Rath at her side, as well. Together they face more slavery problems, some unpleasant deaths, kidnapping and deceptions, bitter cold and Scratch’s growing independence. Can they find the crown and return it to Lonis? Will Scratch stay with Genef ’till the stars fade’ as he promised, or will he join northern dragons in the snowy wilderness? And will Rath find a way to court Fel on their return? Genef hopes so – she loves her brother and thinks Rath would make an excellent partner for him. This is chilly (and occasionally chilling) adventure for a perfect midwinter read.

The story will continue later in 2017, in The Lantern, which is currently being written.

Here are the links to the book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N4MBOG3

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/695351

The book is also available on amazon.com with a very long URL so presumably the non-UK site links back to the UK one. Other self-publishers will no doubt know!

The first person to comment on each of my sites – i.e. WordPress, Facebook and my Dreamwidth and LiveJournal blogs can claim a free copy of The Crown in the form of a coupon for free download of the Smashwords edition (which includes a mobi version so is suitable for Kindles as well as other e-readers). I should perhaps point out to WordPress and Facebook friends that my blogs (I’m moth2fic on both sites) are friends-locked but I welcome new friends.

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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in publishing, writing

 

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Pet Peeves of an Author

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Louise Lyons posted https://louiselyonsauthor.com/2016/12/28/pet-peeves-of-an-author/ and tagged any of her writer friends to join in. I’d been considering posting about some of this for a while, so here goes! And go and read Louise’s post first!

As Louise said, time to write is a pet peeve. Although I’m retired and therefore theoretically as free as air, real life will insist on intruding. And somewhere in the back of my brain is a kind of demon that says that unless I’m earning as much as JK Rowling I really don’t have the right to stick to the writing and let real life go hang. I allow myself to get involved with family, friends, voluntary work, and neighbours – all part of the richness of life that then underpins writing, of course, but a writer does need time to get it all down!

I don’t mind the editing part. I have some wonderful beta readers/editors who keep me grounded, organised and thankful for their existence. It’s fascinating, sometimes, to read what you think you wrote and then find out from your editors that no, actually, you missed/inserted/twisted this, that or the other. My main editor could almost be cited as a co-author. If I leave the editing long enough I can treat my work as if it was written by someone else and am often surprised by the contents although with my detective stories I don’t usually forget who ‘dunnit’. However, a minor peeve is that minor characters will insist on getting into the wrong place at the wrong time and have to be very firmly dealt with to get everything back on track.

I do have a pet peeve concerning the typo gremlins that live in my computer or in cyberspace and invade while my back is turned/a paragraph is edited/the work flies to and fro between me and my editors. We catch most of them – the typos, not the gremlins – but I would love to banish them completely! Their favourite ways to trick/upset me are to leave extra spaces between words, miss out punctuation marks that I know I inserted, and mess about with hyphens.

My major hate/peeve is formatting. Self publishing has a number of things going for it but formatting isn’t one of them, and no, I have no intention of paying someone else to do that part for me. Well, unless I get to the JKR stage, I suppose, but that’s not likely. And even then, I’d want to control the process so I’d need to check everything myself. The Smashwords Style Guide is a haven of common sense and clear explanations. But what works for Smashwords doesn’t work for Amazon and I have recently been tearing my hair out over their rules.

A final peeve is pricing. I simply can’t work out what to charge for novels or novellas. Everything I try seems to end up with the wrong marketing position – too expensive (so browsers pass by), too cheap (so people think it’s probably not worth reading) or too free, at which point there are lots of downloads which never translate into purchases. I know as a reader that I avoid expensive e-books. Print paperbacks should be dearer than e-books. After all, e-books don’t come with all the in-between stuff like printing, storage, shipping, shelving, etc. And yes, editing comes with a cost for books published by mainstream publishers, but not for writers like myself who are self-published. Or at least, not at such a high cost. And yet do we need to factor it in? I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles on this subject but am no nearer any decisions.

So – five things that exercise my brain at the expense of writing time!! Pet peeves indeed!

I’d love some of my writer friends to join us – consider yourselves tagged!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in publishing, writing

 

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I had an offer of a guest spot on her blog from Alex Beecroft whose books I recently reviewed. The two events were not connected – we are ‘friends’ on our livejournal blogs and the review had been planned for some time.

Anyway, to see what I said, go to: http://alexbeecroft.com/2016/06/introducing-jay-mountney/

It’s one of those ‘posh’ sites that turns a WordPress page into a proper website and I can’t see a way to share the post or show her lovely blog, but please go visit her!!

As I can’t show her header pic I’ve used my Facebook header.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2016 in publishing

 

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Natasha Duncan-Drake interviewed me for her Writerly Wednesday blog this week. To see what she asked, what I answered, and a reminder about my books go to:

http://tashasthinkings.blogspot.com/2016/06/guest-interview-author-jay-mountney.html

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in publishing, writing

 

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Another question to consider.

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Just one question and answer this time.

Sequels: Have you ever written a sequel to a story you wrote, and if so, why, and if not, how do you feel about sequels?

Well now. Sequel queen. That would be me.

If I like a story I don’t really want it to stop. This applies to my own work just as much as to stuff I read. If characters and a world come to life they do as we do and carry on with their lives, so there I am, watching and listening. Sequels are just the recounting of what I see and hear. I can turn away for a while, but the stories will carry on and be waiting for me. Sometimes they (or rather the muse narrator/s) hammer on the door. Some short stories are just an account of an event – beginning, middle and end – and I can polish that, present it to readers and close the door. Still, the world behind the door goes on and I can re-enter it any time.

I have to say I love sequels to stories I have enjoyed and happily buy trilogies or even longer series by favourite authors.

My original work includes sequels.

My fantasy detective novel The Scroll was published last year and has just been joined by a sequel, The Market. Then a further sequel, The Crown, is written and awaiting some tweaking, amendments, and a final proofread. The Shore (book 4) is in note form and is swirling round my brain. There will be six novels in the series eventually.

My fae saga has sequels – and a kind of concurrent story that can be read alongside the second book. The first book is ready to format.

I have another m/m fantasy novel that isn’t really finished yet because there is a lot of rewriting to do but there is also a sequel in the pipeline. The Virgin and the Unicorn will be followed by another story in the same ‘verse but I haven’t got time to feed the bunny at the moment (or the unicorn, or whatever).

As most of you know, I also write fanfiction and often think in terms of sequels when challenge-fests or prompt-fests are presented to me. When I’m reading fanfic, just as with original work, I’m always pleased when an admired author writes a sequel.

So sequels? A resounding ‘yes’!

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in publishing, writing

 

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My new novel is published

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‘The Market’, the second volume in my fantasy detective series ‘The Skilled Investigators’ has now gone ‘live’ on Smashwords and Amazon.

My heroine, an elf called Genef, started her training as an investigator in the first volume, ‘The Scroll’. Her ambition to be a detective became entangled in a very personal case involving a serial killer. She was assisted by her brother, Fel, and a young dragon, Scratch, who was accidentally imprinted on her at his hatching.

After a successful conclusion and the gifting to Genef of two ‘skills’, one from one of the killer’s victims and one from the guild of investigators as she was accepted, Genef was given an assignment that would take her overseas in search of some stolen royal jewels.

Fel and Scratch accompany her in this second story. What should be a straightforward investigation into theft and a retrieval of the goods suddenly turns darker with murder and kidnapping. Fel and Scratch are in danger and Genef is without help, her mentor having remained in Lonis. She solves the crimes but not all the jewels are found, leaving the way open for a third volume.

In fact, there are six volumes planned altogether in the series. ‘The Crown’ is written but needs some editing and minor rewrites before formatting.

When I published ‘The Scroll’ I created some free coupons on Smashwords to give to people who agreed to write reviews there. However, the reviews did not materialise and I have decided this time to keep the coupons for my betas and others who have in some way helped me.

Marketing ‘The Market’ is a conundrum. The book does stand alone but would probably be more appealing to anyone who had read ‘The Scroll’. I am telling you about it here and would love it if anyone reblogged this post. One or two writer friends have kindly offered publicity on their blogs in the form of reviews, interviews, etc.

A word of warning. If you have an e-reader that is not a Kindle, use Smashwords if you’re going to buy! They have various formats, including mobi which can be uploaded to a Kindle, whereas Amazon only deliver to Kindle or the Kindle app.

Here are the pages to visit:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Market-Skilled-Investigators-Book-ebook/dp/B01CT7N47M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457710415&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Market+by+Jay+Mountney

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/618455

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in publishing, writing

 

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Exploring writing

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I have been missing in action for some time. I have also been missing on my personal blog so don’t take it to heart. I’ve simply had an incredibly busy year, with family holidays taking up an enormous amount of time and research into autism (my grandson is autistic) the rest. I’m back, with a resolution to do better. The picture at the top of this post is the house we are renovating in Portugal – the main reason for my absence.

And then I wondered what to start with. This is basically my ‘writing’ blog, so it had to be writing-related.

I recently came across a ‘meme’ in my personal blog which encouraged writers to answer 30 questions. exploring their writing. It was designed for the fanfiction writer and I think you were supposed to post an answer every day for a month. More and more, as I read other people’s replies, I realised that my answers would be totally different for my original writing and my fanfiction writing. This surprised and intrigued me and as I enjoy exploring my own and others’ creative process I have tweaked the meme so that my answers are in two parts.

1: How did you first get into writing fiction, and what was the first fiction you wrote? What do you think it was about the activity that pulled you in?

My very first effort at writing fiction was at the age of 5 when I wrote a play – a fairy story – which my mother scribed and produced with her Brownie pack for the entertainment of the village. I was not old enough for Brownies (there were no Rainbows then) but I was allowed to join in, as author. I think there is still a copy, probably in a box in Portugal, but all I can remember is that it concerned a fairy called Bluebell. I had imaginary friends who lived in the trees that lined our vicarage drive, so I must have extrapolated from that to a full-blown story. I believe the Brownies and the village enjoyed the tale.

But I’m not sure drama counts, or the numerous poems and plays I wrote from then on. I played with both drama and poetry on and off, sometimes for my own pleasure and sometimes (as an adult) for work – modelling writing for my classes. I didn’t really approach fiction (except in my head) until I got a word processor. Writing long texts in longhand never appealed. I think my first attempt was a ghost story based around a location and people I knew, and very vaguely inspired by a combination of a story about haunted ruins in Richmond, where my mother was living at the time, and other stories of monsters in TV shows. The story is still on my hard drive and might eventually be extensively edited and shared.

I loved the process of developing a plotline in my head, seeing it take shape and finding out where it would go. I loved meeting characters and found that characters I had created took on a life of their own and became very real to me. I loved researching the background for my story e,g, locations, history, travel, etc. As I said above, my early efforts were all in my head and had been ongoing all my life. The advent of the wordprocessor (and a touch typing course) into my life made a huge difference and my stories got more complex as a direct result. Then a PC, Windows, and my horizons expanded. I took an Arthurian legend story I’d written in response to my annoyance with the national curriculum approach to poetry, got it edited by a writer friend and started to play with the idea of publication, encouraged by my editor.

I ended up self-publishing for reasons that I have explored elsewhere and The Lord of Shalott, which predated some of my other stories but took longer to reach the public was my first ‘real’ work of fiction. (There were other shorter pieces that saw publication in online zines earlier but they were written later.) It’s fantasy, it references other writers (especially Tennyson) and it’s an m/m romance. My favourite topics (for reading) have always been fantasy (and sci-fi or speculative fiction), history, legend, and m/m romance. So it’s no surprise that those underpinned my first steps into the world of fiction writing.

For any new readers of this blog, the novella is available on

Amazon (UK)http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Shalott-Jay-Mountney-ebook/dp/B00AD9OLC6

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Shalott-Jay-Mountney-ebook/dp/B00AD9OLC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1448649545&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Lord+of+Shalott+by+Jay+Mountney

or Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/258487

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As for the fanfiction part of my writing:

1: How did you first get into writing fanfic, and what was the first fandom you wrote for? What do you think it was about that fandom that pulled you in?

When my daughter told me about fanfiction in 2005 I was very excited. I had been ‘writing’ (or at least composing) fanfic in my head since I was quite young and had thought I was on my own, and perhaps slightly mad. Finding out that other people did this too was like coming home. She also took me to Connotations, a fanfic writer’s convention, the following year or possibly late that year. Meeting other fans and writers was a wonderful experience.

My earliest efforts (in my head) were (in order) as follows:

1. Age about 7 or 8. All new characters I met were at some point transported to the seventeenth century in what would now be called a crossover with Children of the New Forest. I think I might have managed the occasional Mary Sue, as well, and sometimes ventured further afield to join Swiss Family Robinsion.

2. Age about 9 or 10. Retelling/remixes of most of Georgette Heyer’s regency romances with a slash focus. My nine-year-old self must have picked up on the undeniably slashy subtext in Ms Heyer’s work. I had not, of course, heard of the term ‘slash’ and it probably wasn’t in use back then but Md Heyer’s cross-dressing characters must have inspired me.

3. Age about 16. A return to crossovers, this time with Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth as the ‘base station’ where other characters from other novels met, sometimes involving the Lord of the Rings characters and sometimes just using their world. (The world as built by Tolkien and my imagination – the films were a long way in the future.)

This pattern of mental composition continued, adding new books to the mix from time to time. I rarely used films because the ones I saw didn’t inspire me and I didn’t watch much TV – we didn’t watch it at boarding school, my family didn’t have TV until I was 16 and then once I went to uni at 17 I was without again, which continued till my daughter was about 4 and I was in my thirties. Someone took pity on us and gave us an old black and white set…

When I found out about fanfic some kind of floodgate opened in my head. The first story I read was set in Arthurian legend, which has always been one of my favourite fictional ‘verses’. I had been very angry at being asked to teach The Lady of Shalott to nine year olds with an emphasis on grammar, vocabulary and structure, ignoring the fact that the content (and vocabulary) was probably mystifying for many of them. That’s the National Curriculum for you. Anyway, a story had formed in my head as a kind of counter-attack and when I realised there was actually an Arthurian fandom I wrote my story for my daughter as a thank-you for introducing me to fanfic. I have since played with the story and self-published it as original fiction (see above) because of course the legends, and even Tennyson, are out of copyright. I love all kinds of Arthurian legend books and films and have done all my life; it wasn’t a stretch to find myself writing in the fandom. I have no idea how the fandom originally pulled me in – at some point as a child I must have decided that Camelot was the epitome of romance in the mediaeval sense of the word.

At virtually the same time, and also in response to my new discovery of this wonderful world, I wrote a short piece in Stargate SG1 because by now I was enjoying TV shows and I have always loved both fantasy and sci-fi. I particularly liked SG1 because of the exploration of the characters rather than a focus on technical details or special effects. I’d loved a lot of sci-fi, starting with John Wyndham’s books (we now have a large and possibly valuable collection of sci-fi novels) and then TV series like Dr Who and Blake’s 7 and films like Dark Star and Silent Running. So far as writing was concerned, SG1 just happened to be current when I discovered fandom as something I could join in.

So all of a sudden I had this new place to play, meet friends, enjoy reading and art, and discuss, write, etc. Daughter helped me open and navigate a LiveJournal account and the fandom world was my oyster. I still feel a sense of awe, privilege and excitement. I have remained firmly multi-fandom and whilst I sometimes add fandoms to my reading and writing list I never abandon any. However, my two ‘first fanfics’ reflect my lifelong love of both fantasy and sci-fi.

If anyone wants to join in the 30 day meme, let me know and I can give you the list of questions.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in publishing, writing

 

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