Category Archives: Blog

The Historical Fiction Update

Oh wow! I think that I am going to spend all year working on these two novellas! I intend to release them in 2021 as polished, proper and as true to the time period as I can possibly do so, yet without neglecting to put forward compelling – if contrasting – narratives.

“Janus Pater” should be the first novella, or so I am inclined to believe at present. I intend to show the readers the Boudicca Rebellion through the eyes of a Roman centurion returning to service. Gaius Veturius Drusus will haveto come to terms with his situation and not let his frailties shine through if he is to see himself and those under his care through such a trying conflict! Janus was – to the Romans – the two-faced god of time, transitions and duality. Pater is Latin for father.

Please don’t hesitate to read up on this conflict for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica.

Boudica was a woman who stood up to (albeit viciously – if historical accounts are to be believed) an invading society with extremely different values to her own! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npwM2touF08

The second novella will (most likely) be titled, “The Autumn Road” and it will follow the experiences and personal growth of Isolde, a young British woman who is taken as a slave by a Roman centurion after the fall of the Iceni capital town. Most often, people forget that civilians have always had to pay the terrible toll of warfare. Bear in mind that this was very much so before two millennia.

My updated reading list is as follows:

  • Dobson, B. (1955) The primipilares of the Roman army, Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-Theses Online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/8434/
  • Evans, M.M (2004) The Defeat of Boudica’s Rebellion, Osprey Publishing, Oxford
  • Coello, Terence Arnold (1995). Unit sizes in the Late Roman army. PhD thesis The Open University.
  • D’amato & Summer (2009) Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, Volume 1, Pen and Sword Books Ltd.
  • Chivers-Wilson KA. Sexual assault and posttraumatic stress disorder: a review of the biological, psychological and sociological factors and treatments. Mcgill J Med. 2006;9(2):111‐118.

This is only the beginning though, as one must be fully aware of who one’s characters are and how their experiences shape them in order to portray them with the correct character depth. A reader should also be prepared not to judge my characters as one would judge people in a modern situation. I feel that the world of our ancestors was so vastly different from our own and I am attempting to portray this!

The Bibliography (at present)

I do not believe that there is a viable way for me – as one who does not work in the fields of archaeology or classical civilizations full-time – to constructive a narrative worthy of the historical fiction genre without a substantial amount of research.

Here is my reading last up until now (no it is NOT in any academic format):

  • The Roman Invasion of Britain: Archaeology versus History, Birgitta Hoffman
  • Legions of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins
  • Re-Kindling History, Boudica – Queen of the Iceni, David Carl Schafers
  • Roman Centurions 31 BC – AD 500, Raffaele D’Amato
  • Roman Army Units of the Western Provinces (1), 31 BC – AD 195, Raffaele D’Amato
  • Roman Britain, Henry Freeman
  • Lectures and Fragments, Gaius Musonius Rufus
  • Complete Tactitus Anthology (Agricola), Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
  • The Annals (Various parts pertaining to my setting), Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
  • De Bello Gallico, Gaius Julius Caesar
  • Legio XX, Valeria Victrix, Stephen James Malone
  • A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (I need to see more of the ‘1st person present’ style)
  • I, Claudius, Robert Greaves (‘1st person past’ is also relevant as is the setting)
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Lynn Truss)

Needless to say that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The trick though, is to immerse readers into an entirely different world to the one they know without making it seem like a boring history lesson!

Lifting the Spirits! (Not raising them… yet)

Given that we are all under some form of lock-down or curfew and most of us are doing our part in the fight against COVID-19 by staying on the couch, I have decided to help others to alleviate the uncomfortable mix of boredom, apprehension, and uncertainty by providing some much needed escapism.

My intention is to upload one short story a month to this website for people to download FOR FREE. Now, I am not going to upload anything straight off the bat as soon as I finish a third draft. Instead, I intend to upload a manuscript which can range between 2000 to 10000 words, which has been edited and proofread by a paid professional, and I may even invest in a graphic or two per story.

Each story will fall into one of the series which I currently write in. This includes some prequel stories to “The Solati Series” as well as “The Galesinger Series.” I am a little bit apprehensive when it come to producing content relating to my historical fiction series because I may still send out the manuscript of my first novel to a publisher and we all know how they look at previously published content or a submission which relates to such. At least the fantasy readers will be well entertained!

The formats of these short stories will be in .pdf, .mobi, and .epub so please make sure to keep tabs on the “Publications” section at the end of every month.

NOTE: Featured image from www.freepik.com

The Release of the Print Version!

Dearest Readers and Potential Readers

It has been an interesting foray into self-publishing as of late and the adventure is only beginning! The time has finally arrived for me to release my first self-published (and self-formatted) novel in print format.

 “The Redemption of Anaìr” is now available as a print novel through amazon for only $6.99 along with the e-book which is priced at $0.99. Both versions are on sale until the end of 2019.

In addition to this, I have also compiled a mailing list for whoever is interested in following my progress as a writer and reading the various stories which I hope to release in both the Historical Fiction and Fantasy genres.

Those who wish to be removed from this mailing list need only to reply to it and tell me to remove them. One can also follow updates by subscribing to the blog on the website http://alexfindlayauthor.com

As always, reviews and feedback are always welcome and will be a real help in my quest to one day becoming a successful author. For now, please enjoy the updated book trailer and if you have not already purchased “The Redemption of Anaìr” I recommend the glossy covered paperback from this link: https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Ana%C3%ACr-Alexander-S-Findlay/dp/9659277504

Alternatively, there is always the e-book link: https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Ana%C3%ACr-Alexander-Findlay-ebook/dp/B07Y2KQP7Z

                Lastly, if you have yet to enjoy the book trailer (edited by yours truly) here is the updated link on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JssOhXCViJE

Yours Faithfully

Alex Findlay

THE E-BOOK LAUNCH: “The Redemption of Anaìr”

The day has finally arrived!

My e-book version for “The Redemption of Anaìr” is now available from amazon from this buying link below:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y2KQP7Z/

If you are a reader of fantasy and a supporter of Indie artists, please download it and give it a read and a review on amazon and/or Goodreads.

I am sure that you will find it an entertaining story!

The Cartography of S.E. Davidson

I knew that when the time came to put forth my world onto paper, it would need some sort of map to help people develop an idea of the land itself. Solatus is a small island nation, the mainland is barely fifteen thousand square kilometres and the population numbers something like half a million people if one were to include pure blooded Solati, half-blooded Solati and permitted residents.

Most of the Mainland is inhabited by the upper caste of Solati society: The Pureblooded group. This is an ethnically and culturally homogeneous group which could roughly be divided into five sub cultures which have developed over the four hundred years of Solatus’s existence as a nation.

The differences between groups vary slightly, mainly in nomenclature, willingness to allow marriage to certain foreigners or into certain other Solati households, war-paint and variations of some religious rituals in each of the five sacred groves.

The Norreians occupy the north eastern section of the Mainland, mostly in Mother City Norreia, but also in the surrounding mountains, mining communities and rural settlements.

The more rural Westfold folk occupy the north-west of the Mainland, having no cities of their own. People who dwell in communities in the Western Range and the Noldair Forest also tend to identify as “Westfolders.”

The people of White Sands and the only accessible coastline into Solatus are referred to as “Coastal Folk.”

Marshmen in the Eastern Frog Marsh are referred to as “Marshfolk.” They are probably the most reclusive of the Solati purebloods, preferring to fish and hunt the Solati wetlands. They trade mainly with the “Farmfolk” and maintain an almost semi autonomous hold over their small portion of Eastern Solatus. Nevertheless, they fulfill their obligations to the State and to the Matriarchy in the forms religious obligations, taxes to the regency as well as muster to the Solati Guard.

The residents of the rural communities spread out across the Fenlands, Plough Lands and Mannien Moors are referred to as the aforementioned “Farmfolk.”

The other map which I felt that I HAD to have in my story was the battle map. I remember watching Braveheart as a kid. When I got older and read up on Scottish history, I felt that Braveheart didn’t really do as much justice to the facts as people think.

To name but a few of those facts:

1) During the battle scenes, feudal Gaelic speaking Christians are prancing about in wode. This is a blue dye which was either painted or tattooed onto the bodies of the ancient Picts who once inhabited the south eastern parts of what is now Scotland, were pagans and probably spoke a language closer to Brittonic.

2) Kilts? In the late 1200s? I think that they only popped up later…

3) And then there’s the battle of Battle of Stirling Bridge… Where the hell was the BRIDGE??? Come ON Hollywood!!!

Nevertheless, My protagonist seemed to be of like mind to both William Wallace and Andrew Moray with his approach to the Battle of Thane’s Bridge. Though, I think that my Chief Warden had far more time to prepare and fortify in the manner by which a Republican General of Rome (Caesar perhaps?) would have done.

Given that Anaìr did train through the large Imperial War Academy of Teyrras-Lene far to the east of Solatus prior to the events which take place in the novella, the newly appointed Chief Warden had to mix and match and make do with what he had.

I would like to thank Ms. Davidson for putting things into a geographical perspective so wonderfully for my readers! I would also advise anybody perusing this blog to check out The Sketch Dragon website.

Lastly, I think that the best way to experience the whole story – and not just The Battle of Thane’s Bridge – is to actually buy the book from this link.

Cover Reveal

Oh My! But this cover from the talented Fiona Jayde Media was totally worth the investment!

Fiona was prompt and professional when it came to answering questions and adjusting a design to my needs. I am really happy with the results and I encourage any other Indie Author reading this, regardless of the genre, to browse Fiona’s website and portfolio.

Cover and Updates

Okay, so this site has been inactive for a while. This does not mean that I have stopped writing or given up at all!

I am waiting for the last round of editing to arrive from Thoth Editing, a battle map to arrive from Sarah Evelyn Art and I am in the finishing stages of my Print Cover with the talented Fiona Jayde of Fiona Jayde Media (as soon as I know the page count it’s all good to go). Two ISBNs have been paid for and registered – one for an e-book in English and the other for a print copy in English.

Now, that said, an e-book cover is actually ready! However, I am still figuring the ins and outs of the art of a good “cover reveal” so all that features in this post is a skeleton…

In Conclusion to this brief post. I would like to state that this experience has been a more arduous (and expensive) process than I had anticipated and I am waiting for the culmination of the project – the book launch on amazon so that I may finally see it through. That said, I am lucky to have had such talent working on my project (seriously, do yourselves a favour and click on their links) – not to mention my awesome beta readers who will get a mention in their own right in later post – and it has been a tremendous learning curve. I suspect that with the market as it is and the world of indie author book marketing looming, my learning curve is only just entering the early stages…

Editing – Part II

Draft 4 is on its way!

Let’s have a recap shall we?

I drafted the Novella of the Redemption of Anair in a ‘Three Act” structure. My mum – an English Teacher – proofread it for mes by scene. I made a few grammatical changes and worked on my punctuation, thus producing “Draft 1”

This was then submitted to Thoth Editing for the “first round edits” wherein the content and quality of the work in general was scrutinized, thus leaving me with Draft 2.

Draft 2 was submitted to my beta readers and most of them got back to me with really helpful input. One beta reader is actually an editor in her own right, and her input was most valuable. As a consequence of this, I added an extra scene and added content to two extra scenes. Alas, I am still debating how to cut down on some of my wordier descriptions (only two or three) as advised by one reader. Nevertheless, Draft 3 was drawn up and prepared.

Draft 3 is now in the capable hands of Casey Fenich – Thoth Editing – Whom I am sure will cut sentences and attend to any grammatical, punctuation or technical errors as she sees fit. Money well invested, I might add.

Nevertheless, Draft 5 will have my ultimate approval as I will re-read this novella (again) prior to formatting and uploading it.

I do hope that one learns to shorten this process as one progresses in the craft!

Beta Readers – Part II

Much praise can be lauded upon those who take the time to go over your prose and see where things do not quite add up.

One of the most dedicated beta readers of TROA (“The Redemption of Anair”) was a tremendous help. He asked me questions about the cultures and the peoples – things which one cannot cram into one novella, but it is a great deal of extra material for future novels in the series. The antagonists are not the stereotypical “bad guys.” They are not Orcs or Uruk-hai but people.

The novellas which I have planned are aimed at painting the characters on all sides as people – all complete with their faults, flaws, loves and desires. I think that it bodes well for me that my beta readers have all seemed to identify TROA as a character orientated work first and foremost. All of the other factors, the world itself, the supernatural aspects, the conflicts etc., they serve to shape the various personalities whom I am portraying.

Another point which came across was that I had to be more aware in portraying chronology or seasons. The calendar for MY world is sitting in front of me and I have to figure out how to subtly show it to my readers instead of telling them. That is another thing which I have grown to love about writing; trying more and more often to “show and not tell.”

Nevertheless, having committed and awesome beta readers makes the whole process much more efficient and rewarding – the pre-publication feedback is invaluable.