Category Archives: Writing – Ambrosia Sequence

Freeing Balik…

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624860

For a while I’ve been debating doing a free release on one of my books – if nothing else, I’m more interested in having people read what I’ve written than making my fortune from it (although that would obviously be nice too – being a full time writer would be lovely!)

So, as I’m coming towards the end of Cirque de la Nuit I’ve decided to move away from the Amazon route I’d gone with so far and have opted to do a permanent free release for The Rainbow Maker’s Tale. As it can be read either before or after Hope’s Daughter, I thought it might be a good place to start.

So, if you fancy reading it and haven’t picked it up in the past – now you can, on more formats than ever 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Write-Up ‘Outlanders’

sunday-write-up-header

Aside From Writing’s Sunday Write up!

http://asidefromwriting.com/2015/06/28/sunday-write-up-june-2015/

Using the words: alone growing slowly life beautiful

(A bit of a cheat this time, I’ve only had chance to write a paragraph, but it does fit in nicely to a scene in a current WIP Outlanders, so that’s why I’m happy to leave it so short!)

 

    I woke early. It was cold and as I opened my eyes to the world around me I could see my breath floating slowly on the chilly air. For a few shorts moments I didn’t move or wake properly. Vaguely, I was aware of heat behind me: Zach in his own sleeping bag. Other than that, I was alone. Like a tired child, I snuggled deeper into my warm cocoon, hoping to hide from the morning for a few more minutes. With sleepy eyes I looked out at the dark carpet of leaves and soil we’d slept on last night, the small circle of trees and bushes disguising our make-shift camp and the silver-green morning light glimmering through the leaves above. It was beautiful, full of life and things moving and growing, right before me it seemed. It felt like you could lie here forever, never moving or speaking again, with life taking over you nonetheless. Nature reclaimed everything: the buildings and ruins of the world I’d spent the last few days walking through…and me. Nature had brought me back, when I thought nothing could. It moved forwards endlessly, just as time did, and showed you that everything could change.

Sneaky Peeky? Outlanders

In preparation for the writing marathon that is NaNoWriMo, starting on Saturday, I’ve been looking back at the early bits of Outlanders that I wrote originally in 2012 for NaNoWriMo that year. (Oh.Wow. I do procrastinate!)

Earlier this year I re-drafted and added some scenes to the early part of the book, expanding the original bits (which used to be on my ‘Sneak Peeks’ page). I’m now going to be working on the ‘middle to end’ bits – attempting to avoid editing as much as I can, as I enter myself for NaNoWriMo 2014.

RMT - Cover - 5

Click the picture, to go to Amazon.co.uk and grab your FREE copy of The Rainbow Maker’s Tale

To celebrate the fact that I’m going to make myself do some writing, and that it’s been a year since I released The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, I’ve got a double-whammy of freebies! From 1st – 5th November inclusive, if you are the proud owner of a Kindle (like me) then you can download yourself a FREE copy of The Rainbow Maker’s Tale from Amazon.

And if you’re more interested in what I’m working on, then you can check out the latest ‘sneak peek’ version of Outlanders here on the blog. Just CLICK to start reading!

Outlanders…I’m Writing (ish)

OUTLANDERS - Cover - 9

Outlanders…. A work in progress

So…with a little spare time on my side, I’m trying to make a ‘proper’ effort to do some writing and move the Outlanders story forwards. It’s a bit frustrating, as it’s not like I don’t know what’s going to happen, when, to who and how…I’ve just really been struggling these last few months to sit down and do anything productive with the manuscript.

I’ve just re-vamped my ‘playlist’ to try and help get the creative juices working and put me in the right mindset for writing, and funnily enough, I have found myself rather inspired by a song that I came across accidentally, which a friend of mine had done several years ago. And yes, it is now in my ‘inspiration’ playlist 🙂

I knew Kerry had worked in music before, but sometimes when you know someone in a different part of their lives it can be hard to picture them in one the others. Anyway, what I found funny when I came across this track was that her voice, the lyrics, even the tune reminded me of Cassie and the journey she’s got to go on in Outlanders. 

Here’s the track:

“Dream Another Dream” Featuring Kerry Lee Clark Produced and co-written by Rickytee

I love the idea that comes through in the song about making your own decisions, internal strength and moving forwards when life – or dreams – don’t happen the way you thought they would. Some of my favourite lyrics are:

“Find another way to be yourself some day”

“You’re choosing all the roads you follow, you gotta walk in your own shoes.”

“If you want to make it, you’ve got to take it, cos nothing’s free. / You build yourself a new tomorrow.”

 

So what do you think – do you like the track, feel the inspiration? Do you have your own playlists for your book when you’re writing? And any advice for making me knuckle down and get some work done 🙂

 

 

Can I predict the future?

Erm…well, no…not exactly

But I did smile to myself when a friend sent me this link yesterday – everything seemed a little familiar…

Space arks to be our future in space…?

1952 Space Station Concept

1952 Space Station Concept

In my mind, Space Station Hope was of the ‘spinning wheel’ variety (look it up on Wikipedia, they have some great images). On Hope the inner part of the circle forms the ‘ground’ drawing you down, just as gravity does on Earth; with the mirrored ceiling/sky being on the outside edge of the circle (if you believe what you’re told – not everyone does, you know?)

The idea with this type of space station is, that at a given size, the rotating wheel generates a gravitational field, similar to Earth allowing you to walk, instead of float around. The design is only mentioned a couple of times in the first two books: when Cassie gets out of the Family Quarter and genuinely sees the outside view of the stars for the first time through the crystal ceiling of the ‘wheel’ structure; Balik also mentions it in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it moment’ in RMT, when he talks about his calculations on the size of the station having to be so much larger than they are told it is, for the formulas generating a gravitational field to work. The conflict between the calculation showing the station having to be much larger than they are told, with the information that the Family Quarter is the biggest of the three inhabited zones, is one of Balik’s big clues that all is not well in the state of Hope 🙂

What do you think about this – we will end up living in space in the next 100 years?

It’s here!

It’s Here!

The Rainbow Maker's Tale - Cover

I logged on to Amazon this morning and was excited to see The Rainbow Maker’s Tale – finally on sale! :)  This is the second book in the Ambrosia Sequence and has been the reason I’ve lived in a virtual cave over the last few months – no bermuda triangle of Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter for Melanie!

It’s been a log while coming, so seeing it there, ready to go was fantastic. A mini-book tour will be kicking off soon to launch the book properly with giveaways and a competition – but if you want to get your hands on it in the meantime – you know where it is!

Mel x

Done!

“It was only recently, as I opened up to Cassie and saw something more, that I had begun to live. She had filled my hollow shell with life and awakened emotions in me that I thought were dead. Cassie was literally my life now. I turned my back on everything I had once been and walked out the door.”

This is one of my  favourite quotes from The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, it comes at the end of Chapter 19, but in many ways it sums up the book for me. Of the two of them, I think Balik changes the most from who he has been, and I really like this idea of him turning away from his old life and what it made him, and looking for a future with Cassie.

Well, aren’t I a little more cheesy and romantic beneath the surface than I would normally care to admit 🙂 Perhaps the reason for the nostalgia and emotion today is because I have finally, FINALLY finished RMT. Yes, the ARC feedback has been listened to (thank you!), the beta readers edits have been noted (thanks again!) and I have completed my full re-draft and edit from the scrappy printed edition that I have been carrying around with me since July.

Today the book has been delivered to the lovely chaps at Amazon – I’ve missed my little Kindle a lot these last few months as I’ve been living in book-silence whilst I tried to finish the writing, so I thought it would be a nice way to launch the book (with lots of freebie copies going out to people), and gives me an excuse to charge mine up again.

It will go out to other suppliers at the beginning of December, so if you’ve been waiting for it, it’ll be there soon 🙂 And, this will be me – doing a Balik – and turning my back on the Ambrosia Sequence for a while, as I’ve got something else bubbling away for my NaNo project this year. More detail to follow soon…

More Covers…

Following on from a previous post about covers and gender, I had another look at some of mine. I suppose the main ‘target audience’ for Hope’s Daughter is female, young adult, and so the cover was geared towards my taste and ideas, and more than likely a more ‘feminine’ style. (Any blokes who can offer insight as to whether it is girly or not, in their opinion, would be appreciated).

I don’t think it’s overly ‘girly’ – but the focus on the Earth and female eye are quite pretty, and the plain white background (in my head reminiscent of the white world she lives in) possibly leans away from darker, masculine elements you tend to find in covers elsewhere. One thing I did want to do in designing the cover was down-play the sci-fi setting, as it is not a sci-fi book in the traditional genre sense, just set in space.

The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, although told from a male perspective, is primarily aimed at the same audience. The cover is a direct reflection of the first – to reinforce that it is a different side to the same story/timeframe – is this girly? Or are both books on the borderline, gender-neutral? I’m feeling all confused, tbh.

As a bit of an experiment, I played around with the covers – not major changes as I didn’t want it to take too much time. But, I started with the idea that Balik’s story comes first, and how it might be different…any thoughts?

RMT - Cover - 5RMT - Male Test

Once Upon A Time…

…there was a boy named Balik and a girl named Cassie and they lived on board the Space Station Hope. But where did they come from?

 

People will always look for autobiographical elements to someone’s writing, perhaps in the belief that you can only “write what you know”. I’m sure for every writer there are elements of them in each book they write – it might simply be a single phrase you use or a description of how you feel about something, which you then put in the mouth of one of your characters. But I think writers must appear in their own books somewhere.

I can tell you honestly that I am not Cassie, but we have similarities… I don’t like silence when you’re with people: I’m definitely a nervous waffler; but with people I’m comfortable with and care about, I’ll happily be quiet. We both have sarcastic tendencies and similar taste in guys 🙂 We like the same school subjects and she probably got her mildly argumentative streak from me. But I don’t live on a space station (surprise, surprise), or rock climb in my spare time (I am clumsy to a point that would make Bella Swan appear graceful and coordinated), and my medical expertise is limited to a basic first aid qualification.

Balik is – unfortunately – not someone I’ve met personally. But some of his strongest personality traits are familiar. The “have to know how it works” thing is another little piece of me – not necessarily in the practical sense as my lack of co-ordination inhibits me there J – but I love learning about new things. His strength and protective nature, putting someone else before himself, is something I have seen in loved ones close to me and is perhaps the most desirable quality anyone could possess. Who wouldn’t want the warrior with a heart on their side?

So where did the rest of the story come from?

Before I began Hope’s Daughter I was stuck in a rut with another novel I’d been working on (I probably hadn’t done any real writing in six months or so) and knew that I wanted to start something new, just to get myself going again. I had also been through a bit of a sci-fi phase in my reading (lots of Philip K Dick and HG Wells among others) and so I decided to do a very short piece for myself in this genre, just to see what it was like. At first it was just the Married Quarter, Balik and Cassie – but once I was writing it the story kept growing: I would drive to work listening to music and would see scenes pulling themselves together in my head, like a mini-montage and the outline of a deeper story began to come together.

I’m not a sci-fi specialist by any stretch of the imagination and so when I started building the world Cassie lives in, although I knew what it looked like, I had to refer to other people’s versions of space stations and outer space colonies to understand where technology we have now, might genuinely take us in the not too distant future. Although some of this detail was edited out of Hope’s Daughter, some things remain like the body scanners (which are real today) and waste recycling systems – naturally The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, which is Balik’s story shows much more of these things J You know how he is!

Similarly – and quite scarily – Cassie’s answer to the exam question posed at the beginning of the novel is based entirely on newspaper articles I have read. Often I would grab a copy of the free paper on my way into work and each day there are odd little science snippets alongside the more prominent articles on which celebrity is doing what or bizarre news stories. These tiny, single sentence items usually reference research being done or scientific predictions being made, which if they prove accurate could well affect the whole world…and they are hidden in a small text box alongside a page of celebrity fluff, which says a lot about what people think of as important. I cut out and kept the one that first made me think about this:

 

Metro – August 5, 2009

GLOBAL WARMING WILL SEE ‘BILLIONS AT WAR’

Billions of people will go to war as they are forced to leave areas made uninhabitable by global warming, climate change expert Lord Stern has warned. Much of the world’s population will be put into ‘severe conflict’ unless temperature rises are tackled, he added.

 

Billions of people…Billions… That’s the whole world isn’t it? As post-apocolyptic views of the future go (zombies, global plagues, giant monsters from outer space) for me, this is the one I could actually imagine happening. I could imagine us sleepwalking into a devastating situation like this, brought about mainly through a lack of interest and co-ordination. Today’s science fiction being tomorrow’s science fact…? A terrifying thought.

There is obviously more to the creation of Hope’s Daughter, most of which I can’t share because of the spoilers! But it is surprising, even to me, when I go back to my notes and research from the beginning and see how a single idea became an entire book. It is interesting to see what changed – a lot – and what remains from the original concept.