Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review - Hammer and Axe

Welcome back,


This month’s book review is very special to me, as it will be about the very first english novel I ever read. In this installment of By the Book, I will be reviewing “Hammer and Axe” from the Dragonlance collection, written by Bestselling Author, Dan Parkinson.


I originally purchased this novel when came out in the early 90’s as part of my “English as a Second Language” class in high school. Being a fan of Fantasy Fiction, the large majority of the books I purchased were of Knights, Wizards and Dragons. Dwarves are among my favorite characters in Fantasy Fiction, so when I saw a novel that focused on their lifestyle, I was intrigued. Regardless of having read this book nearly twenty-five years ago, I was surprised to see just how much I remembered from this story. This strikes me as an important fact, that a story has visuals that are so strong, they stay with the reader for a long time (more on that later).


This work of fiction takes place in Thorbardin, a part of the world of Ergoth governed by Dwarves. When a group of wizards are found trespassing on their land in the hopes of building a magical tower, the dwarves are forced to react. To make matters worse, the wizards inadvertently awaken an ge old beast that was slumbering deep underneath the mountains. Along the way, we get to see how the Dwarven society works, their politics with surrounding human towns, their lineage and what makes differentiates them from other species.


Hammer and Axe (The Dwarven Nations) by [Parkinson, Dan]


Back of the Book:
As the hill dwarves mix successfully with the outside world, they find that enemies lie both within and without, disrupting the fragile political balance and drawing the clans into the territorial wars between the humans and elves.


The humans of Ergoth continue to encroach upon Thorbardin, but the worst threat to the dwarven fortress comes from a mysterious fog-beast and a covetous wizard. A Cobar, a kender, and a giant raptor add to the confusion as the dwarves are faced with wizards who command not only the forces of magic but thousands of mercenaries as well. And, unknown to the dwarves who valiantly fight the invaders, the beast has already claimed Thorbardin as it's own.


What I learned
  • Dwarf lifestyle: The author went into incredible detail about Dwarves and what makes them different  from other races. The story does an incredible job of showcasing their society, ideology and history. Parkinson successfully demonstrates that dwarves aren’t just short people, they are as much a fantasy being than elves or hobbits. A particular trait I found amusing, is the dwarfs ability to resist magic out of sheer stubbornness. It makes for a few good laughs in the story.
  • Strong visuals: There are a few moments in the story where the author creates a strong visual to help emphasize some of the themes. This not only helps the reader grasp the story, but it cements the story in the reader's mind. My favorite example is the scene which happens to be depicted on the cover. Two dwarves get into an argument over which is the better weapon; the hammer of the axe. The two go into a friendly battle to prove their point. The argument, which was spent exchanging blows for a full day and night, ended in a draw. This scene helps show the reader just how stubborn and resilient dwarves are.
  • Rules of magic: Like I mentioned in my previous article about using magic as a plot device, it is important to establish clear rules on how it works, and to stay true to them. The author succeeds in demonstrating how his rules for magic work, by showing how the dwarves react to magic. By remaining constant in his descriptions, Parkinson helps keep the reader's sense of immersion,


The late Daniel Edward Parkinson (March 19, 1935 – May 10, 2001),  known as Dan Parkinson, was an American author who authored over 40 books, including bestsellers in four different categories; naval fiction, westerns, science fiction and fantasy.


For those interested in reading more books from Dan Parkinson, please check out these following websites:




Furthermore, if anyone is interested in reading more books from the Dragonlance collection, please go to their website here:




In closing, I would like to thank you all for dropping by and following my blog. Your encouragement is always appreciated. Don’t forget to hit the like/follow buttons!


Until next time!


Cheers,


Patrick Osborne

Friday, September 15, 2017

Interview - Jessica Beale-Roberts


Welcome back!


Today we have an interview with published writer, Jessica Beale-Roberts. She contacted me after I posted a request in one of the Facebook pages I am part of. Jessica came across as humble and persistent, and offers some great advice. I am delighted for the opportunity to have her on my blog.


On to the interview!


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Short Bio: Jessica is a 35-year- old former paramedic turned full time freelance writer and the author of “Paramedic Girl”. She lives in South Africa with her husband.


Published Works: Paramedic Girl (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY4QKV2)


Current Projects:
  • Depressed Girls Deserve Happiness Too (Self-Help)
  • Africa After Dark (Speculative fiction)


Twitter: @writersrage


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When did you begin writing?


I started writing as a diarist at the age of about 10. I began writing short stories and poetry in my
teens and started work on my first book, Paramedic Girl, in my twenties.


Did you receive any special training or attend a school?


The short answer is no, I did not receive any special qualifications but I educated myself by devouring books. I read across all genres and I believe the best way to learn to write is to read. You must never think that you know everything, as a writer you must commit yourself to lifelong learning – you can ALWAYS improve.


Where do you get your inspiration from?


I find inspiration in daily life, people I meet, the internet, books, movies, TV shows, nature – just
about everywhere. What keeps me motivated is the chance to leave a legacy by doing something that I love.


Do you use any special resources when writing?


A good old-fashioned dictionary and a thesaurus. And Grammarly – a lifesaver!


What is (in your opinion) the most important thing to remember when writing, and why is it so important?


I think the most important thing is just to keep writing. You may not write a best-seller first time
around, you may struggle to sell your book, you might get bad reviews, and will probably get stuck. You will feel like a drop in the ocean, and you will see other writers with less talent become more successful than you. Writing is not for sissies. You only fail when you stop writing, so my advice is just to keep going. Amazing writing doesn’t just happen – it takes practise but every sentence you write brings you one step closer.


What is (in your opinion) the most challenging part of writing, and how do you overcome it?


I think overcoming your own inner critic is the hardest part of writing. I remind myself constantly
that what I think is not necessarily true.


Did you use an Editor? If not, what process did you use to edit your work?


Yes, I did. I edited my work first and then I sent it to an editor. I think this is essential because you don’t want your readers finding errors in your book.


How did you get your book published? (self-published, Vanity publishing, Mainstream publisher).


I self-published – first on Smashwords and then on Amazon.


Do you handle your own marketing?


Yes.


What is your best marketing tip?


Well, I’m still a beginner when it comes to marketing but here are my tips:
- Spend some money on Facebook ads, these are very effective
- Search for Facebook groups that allow you to advertise your book but always ask first
- Approach your local newspaper – I did this and they did an article about me and my ebook
- Canva is an awesome tool for creating graphics for ads


Do you have any advice for other writers?


  1. If you are having fun writing then your readers will have fun too.
  2. The first draft is you telling yourself the story so don’t get too hung up on the details with first drafts – just get the story out.
  3. Not everyone will enjoy your work and that’s fine.
  4. People WILL criticize you – try to take it in your stride and improve where you can but don’t take the haters to heart.
  5. Writing is a skill, the more you write the better you get so just keep going.


I hope everyone found this interview as helpful and informative as I did. I would also like to thank Jessica Beale-Roberts for taking this interview, her participation was very much appreciated.


Until Next time,


            Patrick Osborne

Friday, September 1, 2017

Current Projects part 32

Welcome back!


            So I had a mini panic attack this morning. As I am writing this, we are the last week of July, I thought I only had 3 articles posted posted for the month. Luckily I had miscounted and did indeed had my standard four, however I realised I only had two completed for August. So now I’m rushing to get things done. There is no overall theme for my articles during August, so I will be posting material I’ve had stored for times like this.


So let’s get right to it.


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Because of the fewer requests at work, I managed to get a fair amount of progress done on my writing. With the spare time, I made some progress on my second chapter. On top of that, I completed the character sheet of my second villainous henchman, Misery. She turned out to be a fun character to work on, with her broken psyche boosted with mental powers. I’m hoping she will come across as quite the threat in my story.


With Misery completed, it was time to move on to the biggest character in my story: the main antagonist! Needless to say, this will undoubtedly be the most detailed character sheet I will need to do next to the protagonist, Walker. My villain's name will be Lord Decay, and though he will not be as experienced or resistant as my protagonist, he will make up for it in resourcefulness, knowledge and raw power. Decay will start the story at a ‘’national security’’ type of threat level, but will escalate to a ‘’world class’’ threat level before the climax.


The majority of my time this month was spent doing research for my renovations. It has proven to be quite the learning experience, and it is paying off. The work on the room itself is now complete, and it looks clean and vibrant. I am now working on art and decorations that will highlight the room. Currently, I am working on upcycling a pair of old couches to not only fix their many scratches and holes, but give them a much needed facelift. Below you can find a picture of my work in progress.


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            Last month I expressed my desire to start reviewing other forms of storytelling, mainly I wanted to tackle storylines from both movies and video games. I am still doing research on this idea since I’m not entirely sure what the prerequisites are in terms of copyright. However, I did approach a videogame company to ask them their permission to review one of their games. Hopefully I will hear back from them soon.


            Regarding my other idea of writing Tweet/Facebook posts that give details of my story, I started taking snippets from my character sheets to use as possible posts. I will probably start posting one of them a week after my vacation in September.


Image result for city of titans


In regards of new material from Missing Worlds Media, there has been quite a few releases in the past month. Two articles regarding animation got published, and one regarding lore. You can read the full articles on our kickstarter page:


Lore:






Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. I can be reached via the following social media:


Twitter: @OzmosisCoH


That is all I have for this month. Thank you all for dropping by, your continued support is always appreciated. I hope to see you all at next month's progress update.


            Until then.


Cheers,


Patrick Osborne