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Messages - Toby Frost

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Small Press & Self-Published / Re: Want to Have Your Novel Reviewed?
« on: January 05, 2019, 12:07:08 PM »
Name: Toby Frost
Website URL: http://uptothethrone.co.uk/
Novel Title: Up To The Throne
Genre: Fantasy (grimdark/noir)
Length: 120,000 words
Format: Kindle

Revenge is never simple...

Giulia Degarno returns to her homeland with one intention: to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead. But Publius Severra is no longer a mere criminal, and has risen to become a powerful politician who could save Pagalia from anarchy. Now, as Severra stands poised to seize the throne, Giulia must choose between taking her revenge, and saving her home.

Up To The Throne is a dark fantasy novel set in a magically-enhanced Renaissance: a dangerous world of assassins, alchemists and flying machines. It is a world where artists and scholars cross paths with feuding nobles and clockwork monsters - and death is never far away.

First chapter: http://uptothethrone.co.uk/up_to_the_throne_ch1.pdf

I have written seven traditionally published novels, published by Black Library and Myrmidon Books, as well as articles for Fantasy Faction. Up To The Throne is my first self-published book.


How Many Copies Available for Reviewers: Digital so as many as needed!

Stipulations: None - reviews can go anywhere. Thanks!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: October 23, 2018, 12:57:11 PM »
Just finished The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells with a view to writing a review of it. Basically, it's extremely good and has aged very well.

I've been very slowly watching the first season of The Expanse. It's solid and definitely well-made, but there's nothing about it that grips me very much. I feel that I could just leave it and not really mind.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: August 26, 2018, 03:30:16 PM »
I recently finished Black Man/Thirteen by Richard Morgan, which was really good, and now I'm onto Tommy Catkins by Stephen Palmer, which is a very strange tale about a shell-shocked soldier being pulled into an alternate reality. It's weird by very enjoyable.

Writers' Corner / Re: How Many Drafts?
« on: August 24, 2018, 04:21:45 PM »
I suppose I only do one real draft, but I read through it a lot of times and edit it very heavily before sending it to my agent. This usually involves a ruthless read-through where I delete lots of stuff that isn't quite right, and a desperate read-though where I try to re-write all the weaker bits.

I once went to a talk by Christopher Priest. He said that his method was to write a first draft, throw it away, and immediately start from scratch again, now that he knew what he wanted to do. A bit extreme for me!

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: August 24, 2018, 04:13:56 PM »
500 words today - the only problem is I don't know whether they're any good or not!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Oh This is Me
« on: August 15, 2018, 08:54:14 PM »
I do wonder sometimes if I read books in a rather different and less emotionally-involved way to some people. I've identified with some characters, and liked a lot, but I've never read a novel and been struck by the resemblance of anyone to myself. I do quite often think "This is the character most like me", but that's often a process of elimination.

For me, it doesn't really matter so long as the magic system doesn't become a deus ex machina to get characters out of trouble. It's a kind of Chekov's Gun in reverse: the characters shouldn't just be able to do something with magic to solve their problems unless it's been foreshadowed that they can.

Self Publishing Discussion / Re: Are you a Trad or Indie?
« on: July 24, 2018, 12:31:20 PM »
Today's book marketing has evolved past the need to be outgoing or even meet people. You can do it from the comfort of your living room with promotion sites (Bookbub), Amazon advertising, Facebook advertising, etc. That's one of the big differences between an indie author and traditionally published. Indies go direct to the customer with a pitch to buy the book. Publishers focus on distributors and PR to make the pitch to readers. So, being an indie you shouldn't focus on "publicity". Instead, build advertising campaigns that appeal to the readers of your genre.

Thanks, that's an interesting point. I suppose it's the idea of getting out there (virtually or not) and doing it myself. But then I've done conventions and events, so I don't suppose it will be very different, just more frequent and perhaps less intense.

Toby, do you have a specific goal for your indie project? Is it number of sales? A certain amount of money? Newsletter subscribers?

Another good question! I've not thought about this terribly hard. Ideally, I would like to make some sort of profit - not that I expect vast sums by any means, but I think they're good books and I would be disappointed if they pretty much sank without trace. And of course I'll inevitably end up putting money into the project (again, not huge sums) and it would be disappointing to end up with a loss. I suppose at the moment I am thinking about it in that financial sense, but I really don't know what to expect, and I am trying to be pretty realistic about it all.

Sci-Fi, Horror, YA & Urban Fantasy Books / Re: Novels About AI?
« on: July 23, 2018, 02:07:29 PM »
I always thought that Neuromancer by William Gibson had interesting AI characters. I'm not sure how realistic they would be. In Mona Lisa Overdrive, someone mentions them having citizenship.

Harry Harrison did a book about AI called The Turing Option, but I don't remember it very well. It's quite old and I'm not sure how well it would have aged.

I'd definitely agree about Asimov and Ex Machina, though.

Writers' Corner / Re: Archetypes - a more well-rounded discussion
« on: July 20, 2018, 02:16:54 PM »
I agree. I think a lot of this comparing of stories might be interesting to an anthropologist, but isn’t very useful to a writer or reader. Knowing that a story uses the third of the seven basic plots doesn’t answer the questions “Does it work, and is it enjoyable?”, which I think are much more important to a reader. I think the similarities idea isn’t just academic: the website TV Tropes is very popular, and does much the same thing.

Also, many patterns exist because they work: the detective story, where the detective slowly gets closer and closer to the truth, is dramatically effective and satisfying to read, which I suppose is why it’s used outside crime novels and in SFF such as Fatherland or Altered Carbon.

A friend of mine started a production group to make short radio plays and asked me to write something for him. I wrote a 15-minute comedy about ghosts in a stately home. The link to it is below.


It's very weird to hear your own words acted out by other people. I really enjoyed doing it, though, and I've got plans to write a more serious SF drama later this year.

Writers' Corner / Re: The Best Books On Writing
« on: July 20, 2018, 12:31:11 PM »
I would nominate Stephen King's On Writing. It's well-written, not too theoretical, and contains useful information about the practicalities of writing, including editing and even where to sit.

Jeff Vandemeer edited a writing guide called Wonderbook. A lot of people really like it, although I found it a bit too pictorial and hard to follow. My mind is very much geared to reading large chunks of text, though, so I think some would find it much more useful than I did.

Danse Macabre by Stephen King isn't really a writing guide, although it does contain detailed analyses of five or six novels in the second half, which are all very interesting. I also got a lot out of How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by J.N. Williamson. I thought that some of these essays were very good, although the last third of the book would be completely outdated by now (it was written in the 1980s).

Writers' Corner / Re: Archetypes - a more well-rounded discussion
« on: July 20, 2018, 12:18:19 PM »
I’m in two minds about the usefulness of archetypes. I think they can be a useful tool when examining a novel that’s already written, in establishing the role of each character in the story. However, I’m not convinced that they really help writers – at any rate, they don’t help me especially. The way I would usually approach writing is to think “I need a person who does this sort of thing”, which can mean an archetypal figure, or just someone with a particular profession or personality. There may be an overlap, but I would think of it as coincidental.

So is Tolkien essentially saying that many stories share similar basic aspects, but what makes them more than just different versions of the same thing is (are?) the distinguishing elements? 

Self Publishing Discussion / Re: Are you a Trad or Indie?
« on: July 17, 2018, 09:41:15 AM »
I think this is a really interesting thread. Up till now, I've been trad published, but I've come to a natural break in things and I'm considering self-publishing a trilogy of older work, newly edited and, where necessary, re-written. I think the books are exciting, and that the genre has become more suited to them as time's moved on, thanks to the rise of grimdark.

However, publicity is daunting stuff. It's interesting how very different skills are required of an author: the introspective, almost scholarly ability to write a book, and then the very outgoing personality needed to sell it. I think this is going to be a strange experience and the learning curve will be steep, but hopefully the outcome will be good.

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