Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Book Clubs => Fantasy Faction Book Club => [JUN 2016] The Stone Road => Topic started by: JMack on May 29, 2016, 06:33:19 PM

Title: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JMack on May 29, 2016, 06:33:19 PM
We are chaining @G_R_Matthews (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31990) to his computer for the entire month of June to answer all your questions about The Stone Road. Want to know his inspirations? Want an explanation for something he totally f*'d up you didn't quite get? How about his address, and advice on stalking your favorite authors? Here's your home for:

Q&A with G_R_Matthews

(comic sans. just for you, @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840))
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Raptori on May 29, 2016, 06:35:31 PM
(comic sans. just for you, @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840))
(http://www.en.kolobok.us/smiles/standart/beee.gif)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on May 29, 2016, 07:21:31 PM
I'm here... ready to answer/deal with your questions.

I'll cheerfully own all the F*** ups and mistakes. They're totally mine :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Peat on May 29, 2016, 11:45:58 PM
I'll lead with the obvious one - Why Ancient China?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on May 30, 2016, 01:09:38 AM
What was your first inspiration to write the stone road? Was it the setting, our one of the characters, or a part of the plot? What sparked this story in the first place?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on May 30, 2016, 10:06:51 AM
I'll lead with the obvious one - Why Ancient China?

And I'll answer, why not? :)

The longer answer; I've loved Kung-Fu movies since I was old enough to watch them (probably a bit before that). The video store on Eastcott Hill in my home town (now sadly gone... the shop, not the hill) was a my hunting ground and in those days Film Certificate ratings were more guidance than actual, you know, rules. So I watched a load of them. Then Jonathan Ross did a Jackie Chan series on the new terrestrial channel in the UK (C4) and I was totally hooked. I studied Kung Fu for a year or two and read a lot of Sci-Fi and fantasy books.

Every fantasy book was set in a version of Medieval Europe... every single one. AD&D ruled the fantasy world. There were some outliers, Elizabeth Boyer's Alfar series for instance, though even those were set in a northern European world (though one I loved for its mysticism and hidden worlds... if you haven't read them, they're worth checking out).

So, my fascination with the Far-East, Martial Arts, Magic all got wrapped up in the setting - I wanted to write something a little different, set it elsewhere, in a different culture. The thing is, people usually prefer to read the stuff they know, so I knew it would be a hard sell.

Link to Guest Post on World-building... may contain spoilers!
http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/guest-post-building-new-world-by-gr.html (http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/guest-post-building-new-world-by-gr.html)
 
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on May 30, 2016, 10:10:37 AM
What was your first inspiration to write the stone road? Was it the setting, our one of the characters, or a part of the plot? What sparked this story in the first place?

This one is simple to answer. In John Keays' book "A history of China" which I was reading as I work on my Diploma of Creative Writing was a single line (maybe two, but single sounds better) about an old Chinese myth. It laid out in a few words the basic story of The Stone Road, cities (unnamed), roads and cattle. I just built the characters,world and magic around that.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JMack on May 31, 2016, 12:11:58 AM
What was your first inspiration to write the stone road? Was it the setting, our one of the characters, or a part of the plot? What sparked this story in the first place?

This one is simple to answer. In John Keays' book "A history of China" which I was reading as I work on my Diploma of Creative Writing was a single line (maybe two, but single sounds better) about an old Chinese myth. It laid out in a few words the basic story of The Stone Road, cities (unnamed), roads and cattle. I just built the characters,world and magic around that.

Would love it if you can find the two one lines and put them in Spoilers. Possible?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on May 31, 2016, 08:54:30 AM

Would love it if you can find the two one lines and put them in Spoilers. Possible?

I think I know where the book is :) The joy of memory... READ UP TO CHAPTER 17 before looking :)

OK, it was a little more than 2 lines.

Re: King Hui of Qin and the King of Shu (p81-82, China; A History by John Keay)

Five life-size stone cows… were commissioned and, when sculpted to naturalistic perfection, were mischievously embellished by spattering their tails and hindquarters with gobs of purest gold. The herd was then put to grass where emissaries from Shu might observe and reflect.
Shu people being, even by Qin’s doubtful standards, unenlightened in the ways of civilisation and so somewhat credulous, the emissaries reported this remarkable phenomenon to their king; and he of course, excited by the idea of an unlimited supply of gold cowpats, indented for ‘the stone cattle’ as a gift . King Qui of Qin assented. But because of the impossibility of hauling a herd up the scree-trails and panda-paths of two major mountain ranges, he graciously offered first to construct a suitable drive road.
Whatever its origins, this ‘Stone Cattle Road’, of which archaeologists have since uncovered some convincing traces, was a major undertaking… the ruminants (on arrival) failed perform as expected.
Not so easy to repel, though, were the heavily armed and armoured Qin storm-troopers… who followed along ‘Stone Cattle Road’.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JMack on May 31, 2016, 10:38:33 AM
Oh the temptation to look...
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on May 31, 2016, 10:42:01 AM
I'd wait until you've finished Chapter 16 :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: ScarletBea on May 31, 2016, 10:47:58 AM
Yes Jmack, please wait! Otherwise you miss the impact of a revelation.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on May 31, 2016, 11:32:55 AM
Yes Jmack, please wait! Otherwise you miss the impact of a revelation.

What she said!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: observantraven on May 31, 2016, 06:05:40 PM
I'm still in and looking forward to it :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 01, 2016, 01:15:38 PM
Once you've read a little bit about Haung... you can look here for the historical basis.

Yes, the Jiin-Wei really existed... and you can check out 14 Blades (film) about them too. I wrote the book before the film came out :) I should sue them... if they hadn't been a historical reality anyway. :)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinyiwei
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: ScarletBea on June 01, 2016, 01:31:49 PM
Once you've read a little bit about Haung... you can look here for the historical basis.

Yes, the Jiin-Wei really existed... and you can check out 14 Blades (film) about them too. I wrote the book before the film came out :) I should sue them... if they hadn't been a historical reality anyway. :)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinyiwei

Oh wow, this is really interesting to know!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JMack on June 02, 2016, 04:12:41 PM
Oh the temptation to look...

Have now reached chapter 21, and rewarded myself with the spoilered history.  ;D
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JRTroughton on June 02, 2016, 06:17:11 PM
How long did it take you to write the book?

Also... who is your favourite character?

And... How did you go about choosing your cover art?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 02, 2016, 10:11:06 PM
How long did it take you to write the book?
I was finishing my OU Diploma in Creative Writing when I began, and then a year after. So, all told, a year and half or so, from first words to edited (and I still find some grammar/punctuation I'd change in the early chapters (and I can go back and do those now)). I'm a bit quicker now... 2 books last year, and 2 this year.

Also... who is your favourite character?
In this book? Ach... that's tough. I know what happens to them all, even those you see as a glimpse in this one and meet again in 2 and 3. Hrm... Zhou (which might sound strange if you've only read to chapter 9 - where he is alternately irritating, arrogant, or powerless.)

If you've read past chapter 10 (and up to 20 or so), certainly if you've got to the end, you might understand more of why Zhou is my favourite... and the end of book three has an addendum dedicated to him.

There is a character near the end of The Stone Road that we meet for a single scene... they (not even a gender spoiler here) were one of my favourite to write moving forward, and there is a character in book 3 that I just had so much fun writing!

oh, and in book 2 as well there is...

And... How did you go about choosing your cover art?
I worked with a website (www.goonwrite.com) and helpful designer named James. We picked art that suited the theme and worked together (him more than me) on the typography and style. I have to say he went over and above what I paid him for. He has done all my covers so far!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: m3mnoch on June 03, 2016, 03:34:32 PM
so.  it's me, so i have a nerdy kind of question, but first some background.

a) i bought (heh -- i was thinking my trial of kindle unlimited was still up) a copy of the book on amazon and discovered copy protection on the kindle version of the file.

b) i typically convert my books to plain text and push them to my phone so i can have my killer ivona tts girl read them to me on my daily commute.  (driving commute -- this is america)  so, i like to take my books and mash them back and forth how i want.

c) while i frowned, it only took an extra, manual step in my automated book-pushing pipeline to strip the drm and convert the book.  (i'd forgotten i'd reinstalled calibre tools, fixed it, and now it's back to stripping drm automatically)

so, my question is -- since drm historically does nothing (http://www.learnoutloud.com/content/blog/archives/2006/11/the_top_10_argu.php) to stop anyone who actually wants your content to get your content, often prevents a better experience without drm (http://www.howtogeek.com/230773/how-to-play-pc-games-that-require-safedisc-or-securom-drm-on-windows-10-8.1-8-7-and-vista/), and only possibly frustrates people who are your legitimate customers (https://blog.codinghorror.com/drm-ignorance-is-expensive/), why apply drm to your book?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 03, 2016, 04:26:44 PM
so.  it's me, so i have a nerdy kind of question, but first some background.

a) i bought (heh -- i was thinking my trial of kindle unlimited was still up) a copy of the book on amazon and discovered copy protection on the kindle version of the file.

b) i typically convert my books to plain text and push them to my phone so i can have my killer ivona tts girl read them to me on my daily commute.  (driving commute -- this is america)  so, i like to take my books and mash them back and forth how i want.

c) while i frowned, it only took an extra, manual step in my automated book-pushing pipeline to strip the drm and convert the book.  (i'd forgotten i'd reinstalled calibre tools, fixed it, and now it's back to stripping drm automatically)

so, my question is -- since drm historically does nothing (http://www.learnoutloud.com/content/blog/archives/2006/11/the_top_10_argu.php) to stop anyone who actually wants your content to get your content, often prevents a better experience without drm (http://www.howtogeek.com/230773/how-to-play-pc-games-that-require-safedisc-or-securom-drm-on-windows-10-8.1-8-7-and-vista/), and only possibly frustrates people who are your legitimate customers (https://blog.codinghorror.com/drm-ignorance-is-expensive/), why apply drm to your book?

Hiya,

DRM? Because when I published it (my first book) it seemed the thing to do. Also, I'd been reading a lot about book piracy - and you can find the book (or at least the cover) on some sites. Though why someone would use those sites is beyond me... but there you go. I don't make a lot from the book(s), but I know it cost to publish it. There is a Kindle app on the phone (no idea if it reads it out to you though).

My brother is a music producer/engineer/performer and I am very aware how tough it is for musicians to make a living from their art... performing for free whilst the bar owner makes money from drink sales, having albums/songs 'ripped' onto youtube (and then 'ripped' off youtube on mp3 players)... an artist deserves to be paid for their hard work (and all the years of work and dedication before hand to get good enough to be listened to/read) and it seems that, to me, not appyling DRM (or anything protection) to the work/music is wrong.

I do buy DRM free games from GOG... but I buy most from Steam. If I was already rich and famous I could, like Radiohead, do a pay what you want album(book, in my case).

More than that, honestly, folks spending 1.99 on a book isn't that much (I just bough Jason M Hough's Darwin Elevator in Waterstones for 7.99) and once they've done that, if they have their own requirements for reading/listening, they will find a way - I know that. I also hope, one day, I'll have enough 'profit' to have audiobook versions (esp of Silent City).

DRM isn't going to stop people 'pirating' the book/album/game/software - I'm realist enough to know that, but it makes a little more of a challenge and deliberate act. And you're the first I've heard of who puts books into some other software to have it read out to them :)

Other than that, if folks want an ePub version (or Pdf) then I am always happy to oblige, and do so.

I just click DRM by habit (though I think I forgot to on book 2).
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: SJBudd on June 03, 2016, 05:55:15 PM
What's DRM? Oh dear I'm so behind with the modern world!

But that's terrible if people are stealing ebooks considering most of them are really cheap, no more than 2 pounds!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: SJBudd on June 03, 2016, 05:57:30 PM
I know this is really off topic, but... you mentioned you did a creative writing diploma from the OU. I've always wanted to do something like that. Would you say it improved your writing? Did you get a lot out of it?

Really enjoying the book, have got to chapter 13!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 03, 2016, 06:05:38 PM
What's DRM? Oh dear I'm so behind with the modern world!

But that's terrible if people are stealing ebooks considering most of them are really cheap, no more than 2 pounds!

Digital Rights Management - copy protection.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 03, 2016, 06:11:13 PM
I know this is really off topic, but... you mentioned you did a creative writing diploma from the OU. I've always wanted to do something like that. Would you say it improved your writing? Did you get a lot out of it?

Really enjoying the book, have got to chapter 13!

Yes, it did :)

I took the course (in agreement with my wife, because it would take time in the evenings) because I've always written and never finished a book. I wanted to finish a book, and learn to do it 'properly'. The course instilled a writing discipline (I now get stressed when I should be writing and am not) and the course taught me things about PoV, tense, action, speech... the critical feedback from the tutor and other writers was invaluable (it taught me to take criticism positively :) ).

If you want to take a course, I'd say to take it! I got a hell of a lot out of it... most important confidence, discipline and some tricks of the trade :) I still dip into the course books when I get stuck or need an idea/exercise.

And I am so glad you're enjoying it! (I still get nervous when others read my books... esp the first one I ever published :) )
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: m3mnoch on June 03, 2016, 06:45:29 PM
DRM? Because when I published it (my first book) it seemed the thing to do. Also, I'd been reading a lot about book piracy - and you can find the book (or at least the cover) on some sites. Though why someone would use those sites is beyond me... but there you go.

actually, i don't know anyone (i come from the super-nerd community) who goes to websites to download books.  that's crazy.

the best place for pirated books?  irc.

not to scare you, but gimme a second, lemme look.

Code: [Select]
$: @search stone road forbidden list

Search results from SearchBot v3.00.02 by Ook, searching dll written by Ook, Based on Searchbot v2.22 by Dukelupus
Searched 17 lists for "stone road Forbidden List" , found 3 matches. Enjoy!
For easier searching, use sbClient script (also very fast local searches). You can get that script by typing @sbClient in the channel.

!pondering G R Matthews - [Forbidden List 01] - The Stone Road (epub).rar  ::INFO:: 300.4KB
!pondering G R Matthews - [Forbidden List 01] - The Stone Road (epub).rar  ::INFO:: 300.4KB
!Ook G R Matthews - [Forbidden List 01] - The Stone Road (epub).rar  ::INFO:: 300.4KB

yup.  there it is.

every book from every author ever is available for download for free.

worrying about drm or pirating or any of that?  totally a waste of time.  spend your time showing love to your fans and giving them what they want.

they'll reward you by buying your book and doing awesome book club readings with it!


I don't make a lot from the book(s), but I know it cost to publish it. There is a Kindle app on the phone (no idea if it reads it out to you though).

it does, but omg is it terrible.  my favorite is when you can add on the whispersync audiobook stuff for a few dollars more.  that's the best!

with the stuff i've written, amy reads to me:
https://www.ivona.com/us/about-us/voice-portfolio/


My brother is a music producer/engineer/performer and I am very aware how tough it is for musicians to make a living from their art... performing for free whilst the bar owner makes money from drink sales, having albums/songs 'ripped' onto youtube (and then 'ripped' off youtube on mp3 players)... an artist deserves to be paid for their hard work (and all the years of work and dedication before hand to get good enough to be listened to/read) and it seems that, to me, not appyling DRM (or anything protection) to the work/music is wrong.

here, we actually disagree.  musicians do not deserve to be paid for their hard work.  totally sounds harsh, but lemme explain.

1) the purchasing of music recordings is an aberration of the last 60 years.  musicians have existed for centuries upon centuries before that -- all without the benefit of recording.  they earned their money the old fashioned way -- they performed.

2) if i spend $100 million dollars, work for decades, and perfect a way to cultivate and bottle the most realistic boogers ever created -- when no one buys them, i can't cry and say "but i spent all that time and effort and money!  i deserve to be paid!"

3) no one deserves to be compensated for work they do.  even in your everyday job -- you don't deserve to be paid.  you are paid based on a contract that you will do the work someone wants from you.  if you work on something your boss doesn't want, you will probably be fired.  just because you do it, doesn't mean someone will pay you for it.  they have to _want_ what you produce.


I do buy DRM free games from GOG... but I buy most from Steam. If I was already rich and famous I could, like Radiohead, do a pay what you want album(book, in my case).

i will point you to masnick's law on this one:
Quote
"in any conversation about musicians doing something different to achieve fame and/or fortune someone will inevitably attempt to make the argument that 'it only worked for them because they are big/small and it will never work for someone who is the opposite,' no matter how much evidence to the contrary might be readily available."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080620/1132211463.shtml


More than that, honestly, folks spending 1.99 on a book isn't that much (I just bough Jason M Hough's Darwin Elevator in Waterstones for 7.99) and once they've done that, if they have their own requirements for reading/listening, they will find a way - I know that. I also hope, one day, I'll have enough 'profit' to have audiobook versions (esp of Silent City).

yup, totally.  me?  i'm lazy.  it's sooooooo much easier to just buy a kindle book than to hunt for, deal with potential quality issues, etc for a pirated book.  i don't enjoy, nor have time to do that.

unless, for some dumb reason, the publisher chooses to price a book i want at some stupid price north of $9.99 or whatever.  that moment, it becomes a matter of principle and sticking it to the publisher for their stupid decision-making.


DRM isn't going to stop people 'pirating' the book/album/game/software - I'm realist enough to know that, but it makes a little more of a challenge and deliberate act.

it's only a challenge once.  and only to someone who has fun crushing those kinds of challenges.  in the digital world, everyone following up has the same exact pirated access to protected content as they do to non-protected content.


And you're the first I've heard of who puts books into some other software to have it read out to them :)

yay!  i like being first!

tho, i suspect i'm less of an edge case than you imagine.  my guess is that my fellow nerds do lots of bizarre things with ebooks.  from not trusting amazon to revoke your purchase (http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-amazon-is-within-its-rights-to-remove-access-to-your-kindle-books/) to an obsessive-compulsive need to have all their files organized and in the same format to all manner of strangeness in between.

i mean, "calibre ebook" has almost 800k results on google:
https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=calibre+ebook


Other than that, if folks want an ePub version (or Pdf) then I am always happy to oblige, and do so.

i LOVE this.  /highfive

building relationships with your fans is crucial.


I just click DRM by habit (though I think I forgot to on book 2).

i suspected as much.  i was just curious if you were a staunch drm guy.  it really sounds like you're not.  like it's just a 'take it or leave it' thing to you.  word.

thanks for taking the time to answer my question!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on June 03, 2016, 06:57:46 PM
Maybe this should be taken elsewhere, when I see a Q and A topic with an author I would like it to be about the story or the author

You can discuss DRM elsewhere with other writers and readers who may not have joined in this book club.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 03, 2016, 08:06:16 PM
There are no pirates in The Stone Road... just so you know.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JRTroughton on June 03, 2016, 09:04:08 PM
There are no pirates in The Stone Road... just so you know.
What?

I'm out.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 03, 2016, 09:47:55 PM
M3mnoch - I just wanted to state that I disagree 100% with you. I agree this is not the place to discuss that though.

So to get back on topic:
GR - do you have authors that have especially influenced your writing? Do you have kind of "role models"?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 04, 2016, 01:17:42 PM
GR - do you have authors that have especially influenced your writing? Do you have kind of "role models"?

Hrm... that's a tough question. I know I have books that I really enjoy and have taken a lot from, in terms of learning  how to write.

Arthur C Clarke - A Fall of Moondust; how to create tension in a confined environment with a restricted cast. (They never leave the moon-ship (always thought of it a bit like a private jet that skimmed the moon surface). And I've read a lot of his other books to.

Michael Kring - Space Mavericks; who the hell is that? Yeah, I know, most folks haven't heard of him apart from on the lists of worst books ever written :) So, part of it may be what not to do, however in Space Mavericks you have a book of imagination (though the main hero is a bit like Wolverine) and great pacing.

R A Salvatore - Drizzit; not the whole series, but the struggle Drizzit has in overcoming his heritage.

L E Modesitt Jr - Recluse; what a great saga. The mix of technology and magic, the conflict between order and chaos, and the grey between.

Louise Cooper - Time Master trilogy; Still on my shelf (in the loft) and I have fond memories of the tight PoVs used.

Elizabeth H Boyer - World of Alfar; That real immersion into a different culture. Books that didn't feel like Medieval England.

Lyndon Hardy - Master of the Five Magics; Having more than one magic system co-existing and all making sense.

Raymond Fiest - Magician; Pug (of the original series) is still one of my favourite characters.

Hugh Cook - Wizards and Warrors etc; Still can't believe more haven't read this series. Totally alien fantasy world, full of great characters.

Lee Childs - Reacher; Almost a blank canvas of a character, yet with enough depth to be interesting and imprint yourself upon.

Clive Cussler - Dirk Pitt; Adventure, historical links, improbable plots and just fun!

Terry Pratchett - All of them; So clever, and such a master of the sentence. His commas meant more than other writers paragraphs!

And so many more... so many...



Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 04, 2016, 05:29:45 PM
Ha - I think I might have to expand my TBR somewhat! Thank you :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: JRTroughton on June 04, 2016, 05:41:40 PM
Questions regarding self-publishing the book and other writerly bits. I know, I know...

1) How long have you been writing for? Like, fiction, with the idea you could sell it / offer it up to a wide audience?

2) Did you try to get the book traditionally published?

3) With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently in the book?

This book is certainly as good/better than some traditionally published works I've read, for what it's worth. Perhaps a little less honed, and with a few sentence issues here and there, but the core of the story and style of the prose is all quality.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 04, 2016, 06:56:56 PM
Questions regarding self-publishing the book and other writerly bits. I know, I know...
1) How long have you been writing for? Like, fiction, with the idea you could sell it / offer it up to a wide audience?
I've been writing since I could write. With the idea that I could sell it (let others read it), a much shorter span of time. I always wanted to be an author, to write stories that other's could enjoy, but I never got past chapter 4 or 5. Hence the Diploma in Creative Writing - discipline, focus and to see if I could do it. Then, three years ago next week, there was a sudden death in my family. That was the catalyst, the impetus, the kick in the ass of mortality that made me start to publish my work. In Too Short (a short, way too short, collection of short stories which I wrote for DipHE) there is a dedication and acknowledgement of that death and its impact. It made me finish The Stone Road, edit it, have it beta read and get it published.

2) Did you try to get the book traditionally published?
Nope. I went straight with Self-Publishing. There is something about being in control of the whole thing, of taking responsibility, admitting mistakes and success, owning them, that I enjoy. Also the freedom. One or two folks have told me to try and get it Published, get that elusive agent. Some folks know agents and recommended I try... and I did (after the first two books were out)... twice. To no avail. When you send only the first chapters off, and now you've read them, I can see why it was turned down.

3) With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently in the book?
Oh lord... I might make it a little longer :) A chapter on Haung's training, a little more on Zhou
(his training)
. And there are always mistakes, sentences that could be honed further (now that I've written 5 books, I can look back and see where things could change... but hindsight is like that). I got the book into the best state I could, to a point where I was happy with it and could do no more without getting caught in endless mobius loop of tweaking.

This book is certainly as good/better than some traditionally published works I've read, for what it's worth. Perhaps a little less honed, and with a few sentence issues here and there, but the core of the story and style of the prose is all quality.

That's worth a lot, and I agree about the honing... If I knew what I know now, when I was younger (the wisest words Rod Stewart ever spoke... though making a living out of playing pool does also sound quite good).

Thanks a lot!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Raptori on June 05, 2016, 01:27:02 PM
Can't help but ask this: am I right in suspecting that the character called "Donnie Yuen" was a nod to a certain actor?  ;D  Will there be more easter-eggs like that for fans of martial arts films?  :P
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 05, 2016, 01:40:11 PM
Can't help but ask this: am I right in suspecting that the character called "Donnie Yuen" was a nod to a certain actor?  ;D  Will there be more easter-eggs like that for fans of martial arts films?  :P

Haha... yep, that is a nod :) And as for others, I can't honestly remember! I know there is an Easter-egg in my latest book (Nothing Is Ever Simple - not out yet, aiming for July) that I hope people will get. In book 3 (The Red Plains) some folks might get the references to a particular type of creature that appears in Kung-Fu horror movies... they might not. I'm trying to think of others, but nothing yet. There some nods to others books, those that had an influence on me and my writing... there's one coming up in The Stone Road that some folks might see.

I'll come back to that later, but it would be nice to see if people got it.

Sammo Hung appears in Book 2 - under a different name :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Raptori on June 05, 2016, 02:21:58 PM
Can't help but ask this: am I right in suspecting that the character called "Donnie Yuen" was a nod to a certain actor?  ;D  Will there be more easter-eggs like that for fans of martial arts films?  :P

Haha... yep, that is a nod :) And as for others, I can't honestly remember! I know there is an Easter-egg in my latest book (Nothing Is Ever Simple - not out yet, aiming for July) that I hope people will get. In book 3 (The Red Plains) some folks might get the references to a particular type of creature that appears in Kung-Fu horror movies... they might not. I'm trying to think of others, but nothing yet. There some nods to others books, those that had an influence on me and my writing... there's one coming up in The Stone Road that some folks might see.

I'll come back to that later, but it would be nice to see if people got it.
Awesome!  ;D

If it's based on the books you listed above, then I won't get it - I've only read Pratchett out of those, and only his first three novels. Maybe someone else will notice it instead...  :P

Sammo Hung appears in Book 2 - under a different name :)
Haha that'll be awesome, even with a different name he'll be hard to miss!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on June 05, 2016, 09:35:24 PM
I'm asking a spoiler question here so don't look until after chapter 31

Dryads, is there tales of them in china or did you just fancy having a Dryad in your story? can't beat a bad ass Dryad I say!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 05, 2016, 10:02:21 PM
I'm asking a spoiler question here so don't look until after chapter 31

Dryads, is there tales of them in china or did you just fancy having a Dryad in your story? can't beat a bad ass Dryad I say!

How to answer this one...
Chinese folklore, like all I suppose, doesn't always transfer easily to a more European setting... there are Chinese Dryad like spirits:
Penghou, an edible dog-shaped spirit in Chinese mythology
Pi-fang, a Chinese tree deity

But I was aware that, as a total unknown and not of Chinese descent (did have an ancestor born there in 1781 apparently), I was writing a niche novel... it wasn't set in medieval Europe and everyone. How far could I take things before people got frustrated and lost... so I made some compromises. The term Dryad being one of them, it is a cultural clue, though the correct Chinese names (Penghou) would have worked too... and, just to confuse you, she's not a Dryad, but you'll have to read Book 2 and 3 to find out what she is.

If you want to find out more (or just be more confused) there is a prequel tale in Tales From the Stone Road. The pertinent story can be downloaded for free here (I hope).
 HERE: DROPBOX (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jcia31d4gj3zjgh/AAAdsFKBguwpl8UigYng3Kw2a?dl=0)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 05, 2016, 11:48:12 PM
I'm asking a spoiler question here so don't look until after chapter 31

Dryads, is there tales of them in china or did you just fancy having a Dryad in your story? can't beat a bad ass Dryad I say!

You definitely should read that short story GR mentioned if you like that character. :)
I loved a closer look. But it really is short. Was over before I even had settled comfortably on the couch ;)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 07:03:59 PM
I'm asking a spoiler question here so don't look until after chapter 31

Dryads, is there tales of them in china or did you just fancy having a Dryad in your story? can't beat a bad ass Dryad I say!

You definitely should read that short story GR mentioned if you like that character. :)
I loved a closer look. But it really is short. Was over before I even had settled comfortably on the couch ;)

It is a SHORT story :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: ScarletBea on June 09, 2016, 08:28:55 AM
I think that, given the success of this book club (as far as I can see ;D), you guys that have finished and really enjoyed should go get book 2 and continue the discussion here.

For me book 2 is better, hehe, and even though I realise I haven't commented much (at all!), I love reading your thoughts and ideas, it made me look at some things differently that will influence when I re-read :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 09, 2016, 05:18:11 PM
I think that, given the success of this book club (as far as I can see ;D), you guys that have finished and really enjoyed should go get book 2 and continue the discussion here.

For me book 2 is better, hehe, and even though I realise I haven't commented much (at all!), I love reading your thoughts and ideas, it made me look at some things differently that will influence when I re-read :)

I totally agree... you should read book 2 - you'll get some answers (and it is only a little longer than the first... about 100K?)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Lanko on June 09, 2016, 06:14:35 PM
Speaking about that... do you know the word counts of the books? It's something I'm always curious about the books I read but rarely find out...
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 09, 2016, 06:52:18 PM
Speaking about that... do you know the word counts of the books? It's something I'm always curious about the books I read but rarely find out...

I think (with a quick check)
#1 101,000
#2 92,000 (hrm.. it is actually shorter!)
#3 115,000

 :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 09, 2016, 08:26:20 PM
I'm way behind with my reread, only got to chapter 18 yet  :o
But thankfully I already read it last year.  :)
I definitely liked book two more - I loved the storyline of the Wu so much! So if gladly stick and give my 5 cents about book two too.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on June 09, 2016, 08:53:08 PM
It's okay there's a lot a fast readers here, go at you own pace it's not a race.

Lanko's a speed demon at books!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 09, 2016, 10:25:26 PM
I'm not slow myself - I've read 60 books this year says my goodreads challenge...
I just can't stick to one! I usually have at least 5 books started... I jump around between audio, eBook and print a few times a day.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Lanko on June 10, 2016, 12:13:56 AM
It's okay there's a lot a fast readers here, go at you own pace it's not a race.

Lanko's a speed demon at books!

Me? I call Raptori a Raptori Bot for a reason  ::)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Raptori on June 10, 2016, 12:48:25 AM
It's okay there's a lot a fast readers here, go at you own pace it's not a race.

Lanko's a speed demon at books!

Me? I call Raptori a Raptori Bot for a reason  ::)
A book a day keeps the monsters at bay. (http://boincstats.com/image/emoticon/happy.gif)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: ScarletBea on June 11, 2016, 08:56:24 PM
Geoff, does it feel weird to have so many people share their ideas/theories about your 'baby'?

I know that some of the things they said are answered in the later books, but was there anything that you thought "oh, I'd never looked at it like that, but it makes perfect sense!"?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 12, 2016, 03:04:10 PM
Geoff, does it feel weird to have so many people share their ideas/theories about your 'baby'?

I know that some of the things they said are answered in the later books, but was there anything that you thought "oh, I'd never looked at it like that, but it makes perfect sense!"?

Hi Bea,

It feels very, very weird... good, but weird. I wrote the book because I wanted to, and because I wanted to tell a story. Some of the things that happened were planned and some were a total shock!

Marbu, a traitor?! I had no idea it was him, even that there was one, till the end of the book when I suddenly wrote it. But it made sense with the way the story was going! I was a bit shocked!

And there has been lots that has been said that made 'perfect sense' and some I looked at thinking, 'damn, that's a good idea... if only I'd...' but hindsight eh? :)

You're right there are answers in the later books about some of the things, not everything though (if I recall). I really tried to write in 3rd PoV Limited and, as you know
,Haung and Zhou are not the most powerful magicians/warriors in the world, far from it,
, no one ever knows everything. Hopefully, readers get to see enough of the world through their different experiences to fill in their own blanks
(I think that makes it more interesting... but that's me)
.

What has been great is all the feedback - and people noticing some of the things I put in to foreshadow other bits, even where they are just a tiny detail that I thought most people would ignore. I would really like to thank everyone who read the book and either posted their thoughts or sent me a PM... everything is appreciated!

I never set out to write EPIC fantasy, mainly because I don't read a lot of it anymore. I much prefer faster paced books that I can really live in for a period of time, where there are just a few characters I really get to know and care about (or hate). Also, I never set out to write a piece of literary fiction that people would pull apart like a Lit class, but it's been fun to read people's thoughts on things even so!

I've taken on board some of things folks said, ready for any new books :)

In terms of typo's/spellings/formatting... this is hopefully the worst of the lot :) By book 2 I had a crew of people who helped out... which has grown a little further into something called the 'Treehouse' (you might see it mentioned on FB a few time). I've spent some time making some corrections, and doing some re-formatting this afternoon - which I'll check through later on :)

Next up, back to my new series (Urban Fantasy) which I'm working up at the moment, trying things out... and a new Corin Hayes (Sci-Fi) story (Chapter One of Silent City is here (CLICK) if you feel like a read. (http://www.grmatthews.com/#!silent-city-chapter-one/iuqup)).
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 19, 2016, 03:24:51 PM
Do you have something like a soundtrack for your books? Not just music you listen to while writing, but songs that you think fit scenes or books?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 19, 2016, 03:54:55 PM
Soundtrack - a lot of book #1 was edited to Kodaline and Lord of the Rings :)

Now, I tend to use random playlists from my media player or Amazon Prime music. Can't deal with people talking to me when I am writing... dragging me out of the scene. Headphones are must :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Lanko on June 19, 2016, 08:11:44 PM
Well, its from the other books, but since the author is here  ::)

1) Did you inspire Liu on someone real or was it really a Mulan-like inspiration?

2) Liu and Gang. Was this a subtle joke with Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat?

3) Is Shifu a rank or the old man's name? Sometimes it sounded like his name but there were also passages like " Haung knew his Shifu would be waiting."

4) You used elemental powers to empower the immortals. Did you also considered at some point using real myths in the story like Shenlong or Wukong?


5) When did you first had the idea and how much time it took to release all three books?

6) What other ideas you had but ended up discarding along the way?
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 19, 2016, 09:37:56 PM
Well, its from the other books, but since the author is here  ::)

There are real spoilers for book 2 and 3 in here!!!
1) Did you inspire Liu on someone real or was it really a Mulan-like inspiration?
Liu comes from lots of discussions on forums and Facebook. Almost all of the 'heroes' are men in the books, but it is the women who make the real differences, make the real sacrifices. There needed to be something of that, something that challenged the Status Quo a little.

2) Liu and Gang. Was this a subtle joke with Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat?
You know, that never occurred to me. They remind me more of Yuen Biao and Samo Hung - in a Jackie Chan movie :)

3) Is Shifu a rank or the old man's name? Sometimes it sounded like his name but there were also passages like " Haung knew his Shifu would be waiting."
Shifu/Sifu means teacher... a title of respect.

4) You used elemental powers to empower the immortals. Did you also considered at some point using real myths in the story like Shenlong or Wukong?
I didn't :) I went elemental because a) I have a Geography Degree and questioning the nature of the world and existence is always fun, b) I could use some Chinese colour symbolism to enhance the world, and c) the idea of ascending planes to the Jade Heaven reminded me of a ladder, this one constructing the world about us.


5) When did you first had the idea and how much time it took to release all three books?
Started The Stone Road in 2012, released in Nov 2013, aiming after that for a book a year. Had a mini-stroke which put me back a little whilst writing The Blue Mountain, and then cracked on with The Red Plains, released in 2016 (that's this year!). In between Blue and Red, I wrote a Sci-Fi novel (which is great) and its sequel I finished whilst editing Red Plains... that second Sci-Fi is due out by August :)

6) What other ideas you had but ended up discarding along the way?

Eeek... so many, so, so many.

I found some the other day that I'd emailed to myself (I do that when I have idea and am nowhere near the computer or a journal. My notes/journal is full of ideas, used and discarded.

Emails like this one (for The Red Plains)
Red
 
Now it is possible to raise standing in army by taking the heads of the Empire soldiers.. this practise harks back to an earlier time befor Da Long became emperor and hints at Identity of Red.

There are two whole Boqin chapters that were deleted as soon as I finished The Blue Mountain... all about how he came by his powers and his
relationship with the Emperor.

Most of all, I found that seeds I'd set in book 1 and 2, even if I had no idea where they were heading, could be picked up later and resolved. It also meant that somethings wouldn't be resolved... but that's life :)

I tried to write the series from the points of view of two people who, whilst special, were not the most powerful, not Gods amongst men with the power to win easily. I also tried to make it clear that they exist in a world they only see the surface of and, through their teachers (Shifu, Xiongmao, Bogin, Emperor and all the others) come to understand that there is more to it.

I wanted to write a story about people and their families... hence the Afterword :)

I'm just glad people enjoy it... even more thrilled that folks have their own ideas about some of the things that happened / motivations and events. :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on July 07, 2016, 01:07:56 PM
Is the world an alternative earth as you mention Buddhism and followers of the one god.
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 07, 2016, 09:16:19 PM
Hello,

Yes, it is an alternative world. I think I said before that I plundered a good thousand years of Chinese history and myth for some of the things in the book.

There are somethings that really happened... well, kind of ;) The mongol invasion for one, but it is not supposed to be a different interpretation of Chinese history.

I think book #2 has mentions of the One God and Buddhist thinking, Book #3 does too... the realms and other spiritual aspects.

There is something nice about inventing your own world from the ground up, but something divine about using aspects of our history :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on July 08, 2016, 09:23:28 PM
How did you end up quoting Michael J. Fox  ;D
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 09, 2016, 10:50:02 AM
Michael J Fox is an incredible man. Such success early that was ripped away by illness, and then he uses that and his fame to campaign for change... an inspiration.

But also - if you've finished book #3 (and only if you've finished book #3!! - don't be tempted to peek or you'll ruin it)...

The story is really, to me anyway, about family. All different types of family.

The Wu are a family, with their own internal squabbles.

Zhou loses his family in The Stone Road and that rules his life, he begins again, like a newborn, no foundation to his life, he is confused and looking for guidance, a place to fit in again. I hope by the end of Book #3 I was fair to him.

Haung began as (I hope) using the orphan trope, but doesn't bloom into the chosen one - there are many more powerful people in the world - and he has a family. This is his reason for the things he does, to protect his family and ensure their survival, their future.

Then there is the family of Spirits - squabbles, fighting for control, for growth. One of them wanting to outgrow his 'father' and be independent.

Sabaa is a mother, Biyu a grandmother (doting in her own way).

Xiongmao, Jing Ke, the Emperor, in their dynamics are a family.

Gang and Liu, and their resolution is another family.

And it wasn't till I got near the middle of Book #3 that I realised that is the story I was really telling, at least in my mind. A story about how different families react and treat each other, how familial love is a driving force in life. And, more than that, it wasn't just a story of one family or one type of family - nor about the most powerful of people in the world.

Whether it works or not is up to the reader to judge :)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on July 09, 2016, 11:47:57 AM
Darn it I really want to look but I've not finished book 3 yet!
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 09, 2016, 01:45:50 PM
Darn it I really want to look but I've not finished book 3 yet!

I hope you'll thank yourself for not looking ;)
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: Eclipse on July 11, 2016, 01:01:05 PM
Finished book 3:-)

Question about the emperor

When Zhou first went into the spirit world  in book one, I thought the emperor/dragon would be an enemy did you change your mind of where that character finished up or did you know where he was going at the start? Plus what was the secret he kept from Biya

Question about Liu

did you run out of pages for her story, soon as she was revealed as female the story just moved on not to be seen again it felt unfinished to me
Title: Re: The Stone Road: Ask the Author!
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 11, 2016, 07:19:19 PM
Finished book 3:-)

Question about the emperor

When Zhou first went into the spirit world  in book one, I thought the emperor/dragon would be an enemy did you change your mind of where that character finished up or did you know where he was going at the start? Plus what was the secret he kept from Biya

Question about Liu

did you run out of pages for her story, soon as she was revealed as female the story just moved on not to be seen again it felt unfinished to me

To answer those questions:

1. It would be too easy to make a dragon the enemy, but Boqin and Da Long had a rather large falling out that led to some changes on the Blue Mountain. It also created some tension in Zhou's journey, and with Xiongmao. As for the secret, erm... I'll have to re-read to remind myself :)

Also, wrapped in the Boqin/Da Long 'arc' three chapters were deleted from Book 2... and they were the back story to the argument, the main villain and the Wu training... However, they detracted from the story and slowed the pace.

2. With regards to Liu, this is a strange one. Using limited third-person meant that once a character passed out of Haung's and Zhou's field of vision, they were 'off-screen'... which is great, but causes some problems. I have written (or started) a Gang/Liu short story ;) It was going to be for guns and dragons, but I wrote something else for that! Also, it leaves it open for more, or for readers to wonder what has happened.