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Messages - sennydreadful

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31
I thought I'd make myself useful for once and tell you about this:

https://www.waterstones.com/events/fantasy-panel-with-den-patrick-jen-williams-and-pete-newman/london-piccadilly

Me, Den Patrick, Pete Newman, Steve Aryan and Francesca Haig will be chatting nonsense and signing books. We all know each other far too well so this should be a good event, I think.  ;D

Why thanks, Jen. I'll just pop on over the pond.

Sheesh. Useful.  >:( ;) ;D ;D

I am Captain Useful  ;D ;D 8)

32
I thought I'd make myself useful for once and tell you about this:

https://www.waterstones.com/events/fantasy-panel-with-den-patrick-jen-williams-and-pete-newman/london-piccadilly

Me, Den Patrick, Pete Newman, Steve Aryan and Francesca Haig will be chatting nonsense and signing books. We all know each other far too well so this should be a good event, I think.  ;D

33
Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Re: Fantasy in the Court
« on: August 12, 2016, 03:03:22 PM »
Actually, I recently read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder - it's a great book for all sorts of reasons, but particularly excellent for helping to figure out an elevator pitch :)

34
Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Re: Fantasy in the Court
« on: August 12, 2016, 01:58:36 PM »
So, Fantasy in the Court was awesome!

I met lots of lovely authors, including Jen Williams - hi, Jen! - Edward Cox, Tom Pollock (for about 30 seconds), Adrian Selby, Liz de Jager and Mark de Jager (who I already know). I missed Tom Lloyd, which was a shame and would have loved to chat longer with Tom Pollock, but I plan on cornering them next time.  :D

I learned lots, including that I need an elevator pitch for my novel prior to it coming out, that I can claim back travel expenses and tickets for conventions if I put it down as 'networking' (genius) and that I need to amend my Twitter name from my married name to my author name to avoid confusion.

I also got a picture of a dragon drawn in The Copper Promise and a picture of a skull drawn in Infernal - one happy fan.

It was lovely to meet you! And again, apologies for asking the worst of all questions: 'so what is your book about?' ;)

Hah, yes, I wasn't quite ready for the elevator pitch moment either. Thanks Peter Newman!

It's revenge you see, for all the times we get asked :D

35
Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Re: Fantasy in the Court
« on: August 12, 2016, 01:40:30 PM »
So, Fantasy in the Court was awesome!

I met lots of lovely authors, including Jen Williams - hi, Jen! - Edward Cox, Tom Pollock (for about 30 seconds), Adrian Selby, Liz de Jager and Mark de Jager (who I already know). I missed Tom Lloyd, which was a shame and would have loved to chat longer with Tom Pollock, but I plan on cornering them next time.  :D

I learned lots, including that I need an elevator pitch for my novel prior to it coming out, that I can claim back travel expenses and tickets for conventions if I put it down as 'networking' (genius) and that I need to amend my Twitter name from my married name to my author name to avoid confusion.

I also got a picture of a dragon drawn in The Copper Promise and a picture of a skull drawn in Infernal - one happy fan.

It was lovely to meet you! And again, apologies for asking the worst of all questions: 'so what is your book about?' ;)

36
i realized i hadn't posted since i finished it.  it was so thoroughly enjoyable.

best part tho?  totally sebastian's 200 brood daughters and how incredibly cool it was that they moved back to the mountain.

i can imagine the conversation in your head when you wrote it:

you:  "what's the craziest thing that could happen?"
other you:  "sebastian flirts with being evil."
you:  "i like it, but what's even crazier?"
other you:  "that his blood spawns a host of evil warriors?"
you:  "nice!  more!"
other you:  "what if they were hundreds of demon warrior women and he was their dad?!"
you:  "yes!  yes!  yes!"
other you:  ". . . and what if he co-opted them for his personal army?!"
you:  "omg!  perfect!"
other you:  ". . . and took over the home of the knights that kicked him out?!?"
you:  *scribble*  *scribble*  *scribble*
other you:  *maniacal laughter*

 ;D It's uncanny, really.

37
Didn't get to 33 questions yet, but I guess I should divide it in three batches so it doesn't get too long! So here's the first:

1 - When did you first had the idea for the story?

2 - Do you know the word count of all the books?

3 - How long it took to write and finish the book?

4 - During dialogues I noticed that you rarely use “he said/she said” and variants. It made the text flow really well, and I think it’s pretty hard to do. Any special reason for this decision?

5 - Why Thirty-Third didn’t have a single chapter in Parts III and IV? *cries*

6 - Speaking of her, any particular inspiration for her chapters? I kinda like the theme “I just wanted to create a weapon, but now I realized I actually created a person”. Hm, that’s actually a nice page 1 sentence I might use!

7 - I’m almost sure Ynnsmouth is a reference to Lovecraft. If it is, are there others in the book? Was the Citadel some cyclopean inspired ruin?

8 - Sebastian. Very good arc. One of his themes was the prejudice of his order because he is gay. What I found interesting is that you didn’t paint the situation in extreme black and white. Sebastian doesn’t let his expulsion overwhelm him and doesn’t hold a grudge against his order, not to mention he also makes mistakes (working for the devil, pretty much) and isn’t perfect.
And then when he returns to it, there is even an officer who sympathizes and recognizes his ability but can’t do anything due to hierarchy. And not to mention his own squad that supported him in the backstory, which made the organization a bit more nuanced and balanced, because while it did  something wrong, there were quite a bunch of people on it that disagreed, instead of turning the knights into some faceless organization with a mind hive.
Also later when Isu kinda of calls to him again to rid him of Bezcavar’s influence, meaning despite everything, Sebastian didn’t drop his religion. It was like the god/goddess saying “Hey, we are all people. I never said anything to this organization about X or Y, you humans made that up and stickied it on me.” I think the theme was subtly well explored, with both sides balanced.
Not sure how to make a question on this… so just talk about it!

9 - Wydrin. I liked how she was portrayed. Could fight and drink, but also never had any qualms about her feelings and love (I’m so grateful there wasn’t a love triangle). And while fighting she could deliver the pain, but also suffer it, threaten and feel threatened, instead of being an untouchable killing machine isolated with anger as emotion. Also, your thoughts on this!

10 - Frith. It was actually pretty funny when I first saw him idealizing a hot young redhead probably in bikini armor in the beginning, then seeing Wydrin the first time and slowly both approaching each other through conviviality. I’m wondering if Frith’s attitude was inspired by someone real. I guess you wouldn’t tell me if it was, though!

11 - O’rin was the god who wasn’t imprisoned. At one point he mentions the family. Res'ni, Res'na and Y’gia. He had assistants called Muggin, Luggin and Dobs. I’m wondering if the resemblance in the twins names was because he actually felt lonely and missed them, and kinda of recreated the family with those assistants. Y’Ruen, who he didn’t like and feared, didn’t get a “clone”.
I’m wondering if my thoughts are correct or if it was just coincidence.

Crikey, you weren't kidding ;) Apologies now for the waffle.

1 - I believe I would have had the first inkling of the story back towards the end of 2011. I had just finished writing one quite long, reasonably serious book, which I had put to one side to brew before editing, and I decided I wanted to write something fast and fun - a sort of palate cleanser. This project, I thought, would be a short and sweet little novella, possibly with other novellas following it, as a sort of serial. I could whack them up on Amazon as a diversion from writing the long books I hoped to get published one day. Because I was playing a lot of Dragon Age at the time, I fancied trying my hand at some old school sword and sorcery, and it occurred to me that writing a female rogue with a male companion (who was not a love interest) could be hugely enjoyable. The whole thing grew from that central idea, really.

2 - Oooo. Um. The Copper Promise is, roughly, 149K words. The Iron Ghost was about 180K, I believe, and The Silver Tide was 200K. I couldn't avoid the old cliche of fantasy books getting bigger as they went along ;) Both the Copper Promise and the Silver Tide had roughly 20K cut out of them in my first big edit, whereas the Iron Ghost was always about that length.

3 - You know, honestly, I can't really remember. Particularly with The Copper Promise, which ended up having such an odd genesis. I wrote part one (Ghosts of the Citadel) in a couple of months, and then belatedly wrote the rest of it when an editor asked to read the whole manuscript - that took maybe another 7 or 8 months? Then when I was picked up by my agent, I edited it again, and when it was bought by Headline, that was another edit... I suppose that all together it might have been about a year's worth of work, with various gaps and breaks.

4 - If I'm honest, it's not something I think about an awful lot – that's just how I naturally write dialogue. I'm not a fan of pages full of endless back and forth, so I do like to break it up with the characters actually doing things. They might be making tea, or fiddling with their sword belt, or just looking away because they can't quite meet the eyes of the person they're talking too. Body language is a great way of conveying more than what's being said, and these little moments can give you small insights into character too. They also happen to be a handy way of avoiding the use of endless 'he said/she said'.

5 - Hahahaa! Well, the 33rd and the rest of her sisters were originally only meant to be a light* break from the rest of the action, but rather to my surprise they grew to become very significant to the story. I liked them very much, but the truth is the 33rd's story arc had a very natural, organic turn to it, and having more chapters from her POV in parts 3 and 4 would likely have been overkill. Plus, there was an awful lot going on in the later half of the book, and it's always been my intention that the Copper Cat books be fast-paced, speedy reads. More from the brood sisters would have slowed it down, so I left them to appear again at the very end. I would argue that having them arrive at the end, so clearly changed and fractured from when they first appeared, is a pleasing turn of events... But in my defence, Ephemeral and her sisters do appear in books 2 and 3 (at least partly because almost all my readers LOVED them).

6 - as I've hinted at in the previous answer, Ephemeral kind of just... happened. I needed the dragon to have some ground troops for our heroes to engage with, but the idea of just having mindless monster people didn't sit well with me. I thought to myself: what if they only started out as mindless? What would happen if they started to question who they were, and what they were doing? And that's how they happened. :)

7 - Ynnsmouth is a tiny nod, but it was mainly because I liked how the name sounded. I don't think there are any other Lovecraft references.

8 - Thank you, I'm really glad all that came across. Sebastian was the hardest character to write, and his arc the most complicated. I can't say much for fear of spoiling you of course, but his struggles continue into books 2 and 3. Dealing with his connection to the brood sisters and the consequences of his decisions mean that he has a tough time, but ultimately I feel like Seb is the emotional heart of the books, however hard he was to write.

9 - Female characters in fantasy books have often received, shall we say, less than kindly treatment. When they do exist (and I have read books where I have genuinely wondered if the author had forgotten about women entirely) they are often fulfilling one of a few fairly restrictive roles: love interest or 'reward' for the main character completing a quest, mother or sister (usually murdered to provide a catalyst for the male character), a damaged woman with a chip on her shoulder who ultimately softens under the charms of the male character, or whore (often dispensing magically healing sex, for some reason). Wydrin came very much from a desire to write a character who is entirely independent, who has her own drives and history, flaws and wants. My approach with all characters is that they should think they are starring in their own story, that they should be as real and fully formed as possible. No one is just a 'love interest' or a victim.

10 - Ha! Not as far as I'm aware. I very much enjoyed the slow burn of their relationship, going from a mutual antagonism to a grudging respect, to something more than that. And of course Wydrin enjoys winding him up.

11 - Hehe, I think you're the only person to have ever picked up on that. Truthfully, the relationship between the 'family' of gods is... complicated. I'm not sure O'rin missed them - I think his naming his assistants that way was a small expression of contempt for his lost brothers and sisters... while even he isn't quite brave enough to insult Y'Ruen directly. The Silver Tide reveals a bit more about how they all related to each other. :)


*light as in, um, actually quite bleak and scary

38
And adding my official review (5 stars!) for those interested. Minimal spoilers. Thanks for coming by and answering questions, @sennydreadful!

Quote
I picked up The Copper Promise as part of Fantasy-Faction's monthly book club, and wasn't disappointed. Author Jen Williams channels the best elements of old school sword-and-sorcery pulp and modern videogames like Dragon Age into a page-turning story with competent protagonists who, despite their best efforts, often end up being their own worst enemies. Far from being noble heroes setting out to save the world, Wydrin, Sebastian, and Lord Aaron Frith all have very grounded, believable motivations guiding their paths. Saving the land from a monstrous country-incinerating dragon is about the *last* thing any of them want to do, which makes it all the more enjoyable when the consequences of their actions force them down that path.

By the time the final battle takes place, the protagonists have all completed journeys that have naturally led them to where they are at the end of the book, with strong reasons to risk their lives for each other and for the world at large. Wydrin (the self-titled "Copper Cat") is a great protagonist who relies on her fighting skills and level head to handle situations that would get other people killed, and her victories, defeats, and narrow escapes feel plausible and earned. Sebastian, the noble knight exiled from his order for close-minded reasons, remains a consistent moral compass for Wydrin and his allies even as the compromises he makes in hopes of doing "the right thing" take him to darker and darker places. And Frith, whose primary motivation is almost entirely revenge, soon finds that it takes more than hatred of the people who destroyed his family and his life to drive him forward. This is character-driven fantasy, and it's really fun to read.

My nits are largely related to Williams possibly trying to take on too much story over the length of the four parts. There was one case where I felt a truly character-changing decision was reversed a bit too easily, and a few plot elements that I felt might have been brought more to the forefront. These are minor issues, and the story is so enjoyable that I honestly didn't care. I do hope to see those issues and plot elements tackled in more detail in later books in the series.

The Copper Promise is a fun, fast-paced, enjoyable book for any fantasy fan, and I look forward to continuing with the series.

Thank you for your lovely review! I am dead chuffed you enjoyed the book :D It's funny, watching discussion of a book I wrote a few years ago now (where did that time go?!) and while there are some things I would tweak, ultimately very proud of my baby debut :D

Also:

Spoiler for Hiden:
We do hear from Bezcavar and the brood sisters in The Iron Ghost...

39
Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Re: Fantasy in the Court
« on: July 29, 2016, 01:38:39 PM »
Awesome Jen, can't wait to meet you! I may have a bookywook for you to put your name to, too!

I went to DHH's summer party at Goldsboro last month and they do a very nice line in pink fizz - hoping for more of the same!

Anna  ;D

Oh brilliant! And I am quite partial to pink fizz myself :D

40
Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Re: Fantasy in the Court
« on: July 28, 2016, 01:32:22 PM »
Meeeee! I'm on the list now and everything.

Fantasy in the Court is one of my favourite events, mainly because it requires me to do very little other than turn up, have a chat, and drink wine. Very casual, very friendly.

Will be great to meet you, Anna!

41
For @Lanko and @sennydreadful, since it seems pertinent to your interests (you may have seen this already).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6yHoSvrTss[/youtube]

Ha! Aces  ;D

42
And look what I got in the post!!! :D



Thanks a lot for this, @Rostum x

And the actual writers, of course ;D (yay, got lots of dragons now, @sennydreadful, I can build a whole army!)

Hooray! You can never have too many dragons (on your side, of course)

43
Having said that, I am a big fan of video games, and, somewhat infamously at this point, I developed a huge obsession with the Bioware game Dragon Age, and it was certainly Dragon Age that encouraged me to write this sort of 'taverns, mead and mayhem' sort of fantasy. I was also hugely into Skyrim at the time of writing the first draft, and certainly my favourite parts of that game involved exploring spooky underground caves (that and making stew, crafting jewellery and shouting people off of cliffs, of course). So I'm sure those two games have their fingerprints over at least the first section. Mostly though, the series is rooted in old-school sword and sorcery; which of course shares a lot of DNA with D&D, anyway.

I knew I felt some Skyrim in Part 1!

Meanwhile, preparing my own questionnaire for a while.

Because it really needs to have 33 questions  ::)

I would live in Skyrim if I could. :D Looking forward to your 33 questions ;)

44
Having said that, I am a big fan of video games, and, somewhat infamously at this point, I developed a huge obsession with the Bioware game Dragon Age, and it was certainly Dragon Age that encouraged me to write this sort of 'taverns, mead and mayhem' sort of fantasy. I was also hugely into Skyrim at the time of writing the first draft, and certainly my favourite parts of that game involved exploring spooky underground caves (that and making stew, crafting jewellery and shouting people off of cliffs, of course). So I'm sure those two games have their fingerprints over at least the first section. Mostly though, the series is rooted in old-school sword and sorcery; which of course shares a lot of DNA with D&D, anyway.

Awesome! I actually work with a few of the writers that wrote for Dragon Age (people in the game industry tend to move around) so it's been fun picking their brains about the game. With the exception of some combat issues (like mage players pwning everything) it was a really well done, especially story-wise. Both Alastair and Anders (from DA: Awakening) remains some of my favorite characters, since I have a weakness for snark. And naturally, my Gray Warden sacrificed himself for the greater good at the end, because that's the type of character I play.

Also, I can totally see some similarities between the rampaging snake sisters and the darkspawn. :)

Oh how cool! Alastair was absolutely my favourite (although to be fair I loved everyone in Origins). I married him and became Queen of Ferelden, so it was the dark ritual with Morrigan every time for me ;) I still want a t-shirt that says 'I'm the Queen of Ferelden...'

The bit where:

Spoiler for Hiden:
You and Alastair go to light the beacon at Ostagar and Logain totally shafts everyone... still one of my favourite shock moments in anything ever. God, I love that game so much.

45
Here's a question for Jen! I'm avoiding spoiler stuff until I finish reading the book (hopefully this weekend) so if this has already been asked, forgive me.

How much did RPGs and dungeon crawls (D&D or otherwise) influence your writing, in particular the first portion of The Copper Promise? I mean, at its core, eveything in the temple reads pretty much like a D&D adventure (but in a good way, not a bad one)! So I'm curious if that's intentional/an homage, or if it just read that way to me because of my gaming background.

BTW ... my own gaming experiences (RPG, tabletop, and video) influence my writing to a noticeable degree, which may be why I'm reading into this. :)

Haha! I think a lot of people assume I have a deep history with D&D because of the opening section of the book. Sadly, I don't really, at least not with the traditional form of it - I was too shy as a kid to get involved in anything like that and I didn't really know anyone who played it. As a slightly older person, I did accompany my friend on a larping weekend, which I did enjoy very much, mainly because it was a quite novel way of getting drunk in the woods. :)

Having said that, I am a big fan of video games, and, somewhat infamously at this point, I developed a huge obsession with the Bioware game Dragon Age, and it was certainly Dragon Age that encouraged me to write this sort of 'taverns, mead and mayhem' sort of fantasy. I was also hugely into Skyrim at the time of writing the first draft, and certainly my favourite parts of that game involved exploring spooky underground caves (that and making stew, crafting jewellery and shouting people off of cliffs, of course). So I'm sure those two games have their fingerprints over at least the first section. Mostly though, the series is rooted in old-school sword and sorcery; which of course shares a lot of DNA with D&D, anyway.

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