Tag Archives: Fiction

Quarantine without reading material would be hell…

For those of you around the world who are still in lockdown, it must be be pretty frustrating. Allow me to provide you with a small window of escape, even if it is only for for a few brief moments.

Last month I released a short story set in a late bronze age / early iron age fantasy world about a wanderer who adopts a boy as his own child. The Wanderer pledges to himself to take care of the child in a harsh and merciless reality. The link to this short story set in the universe of my “Galesinger Series” is:

https://alexfindlayauthor.com/short-stories-of-the-galesinger-series/

This month I have been working on a short story about a young woman who rises to a high level of prominence among her people, but not after years of trial, travel and tribulation. ‘The Reaches’ where Alaìnne’s (pronounced Aw-linn) stories take place is based on an iron age Gaelic setting (with more fantasy and supernatural elements to the “Galesinger” universe) and are available from the link below:

https://alexfindlayauthor.com/short-stories-of-the-solati-series/

Please go ahead and escape from the world as we know it for a short while by clicking on either of the above links and choosing your download in either .epub or .pdf format. Also, comments should be enabled if you would like to share your thoughts on my stories.

THESE STORIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE!

These awesome illustrations were sketched by Sarah Davidson at The Sketch Dragon

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!

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 Beta Readers – Part 1

In my humble opinion, beta reading is a highly important phase of the editing process and one which cannot be overlooked.

There are numerous benefits by having others read your work for you – provided that they are honest and critical. I have asked my diverse crew to be as brutal as they need to be, but I am also interested in hearing which scenes or characters spoke to them the most – and WHY!? I have five people – four of whom I am not related to and they are getting ready to “hand it to me” 🙂 next week. What can I say? I need to have honest feedback if my story is to grow. Obviously, I asked people who are fans of fantasy to be my beta readers as they are a small sample of my intended readership.

Areas which beta readers usually cover (or aspects which cause inconsistencies which annoy them) can range from plot, the setting, the narrative and style of writing, character, continuity, consistency and many more. Now, this does not mean that I am going to entiedit myre novel according to every criticism which pops up, but this does help me look for repeated criticisms and give me an idea about what may need changing.

The period which I chose to send out the manuscript was after the completion of the second draft – so that before Casey of Thoth Editing can do her final edits and work-over of my manuscript (which will then be draft 3) – she may now receive from me a manuscript which has already been singed by public opinion, if not baptised by fire.

Needless to say, I really do appreciate my beta reading crew. They are definitely due for “thank yous” in the novel’s credits as well as a signed copy of the printed version.

Design vector created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

The Redemption of Anaìr

[OLD POST]

I do not think that the question is: “Will it ever happen?” but “When?” I for one, am comfortably mired in the “How” of my Novella, “The Redemption of Anaìr.” I had printed out the rough draft a few weeks ago, but upon reflection found it to be quite a haphazardly structured collection of junk which I could not attach my name to.

At present, I am drawing a close to my first draft of the first part of the book, finding a better clarity with regard to instances such as structure and point of view. My goal is to tell this story – which can be finished in a sitting or two – in the standard novella format of three acts from the perspective of my protagonist, Anaìr.

Anaìr, as a character, contrasts the military veneer of the story, as he is not a soldier by choice, instead, he wishes to pursue a career as an artist. He is also a form of anti-hero and is (or at least was up until the current storyline) quite a flawed man as readers will later discover. I feel that character development and growth – although a challenging topic – should be a central aspect of any good story and I have had quite a bit of fun writing about somebody who is different to myself, if not completely in outlook, then in personality and habit. Anybody who is familiar with the Myers and Briggs 16PF  should know that I am using the ISFP type as a basis for Anaìr’s personality. Though an individual and an artist Anaìr has been conditioned into a highly competent military commander by his experiences and being a highly innovative and creative individual actually compensates for his dislike of organizational structures. As a writer who has served in a military which prizes and encourages innovation and ingenuity from the earliest stages of command, I feel that this combination of experience and character help make my protagonist a highly formidable adversary in his theatre of war.

The country which Anaìr hails from, “Solatus,” is invaded by foreigners who appear to be a collection of societies, mostly based upon the feudal system of old. This stands in quite a stark contrast the more state-orientated socialist matriarchy (which expressly prohibits heads of households from holding land or title) which my protagonist was raised in. The theme then puts the traditionally “fantasy / medieval” society of Nobles, Knights, Men-at-arms and their levies – in the form of the “Orvinarr” against a small nation of civic militarists in the form of the “Solati.” One must also point out that the invading feudalists consider themselves more of a group of “warrior nations” than the defenders, who tend to see civic militarism as an obligation to the State and the rightful duty of all pure-blooded Solati Citizens. Still, the common soldiers on both sides are conscripted or levied to fight, yet I feel that one can definitely call it a clash of cultures as well as a clash of nations.

In addition to this, I have added the points of view of two minor characters whom I hope will fill major roles in future novellas of the series. These scenes are not as extensive as those of the Protagonist as I feel that it is unwise to deviate points of view within the brevity of a 30-40k word novella as opposed to a longer novel.

There is also supernatural / fantasy element of course. There is a reason that people have been so unwilling to invade Solatus over the centuries and as the story unfolds, one realizes that it is not mere superstition which has deterred invaders in the past…

A link to the previously published short story of the same name can be found here. I hope to have a novella ready by the time the rights revert back to me in another five months.

The First Post

This post is an introduction to my website as an author. I have recently pulled a historical fiction novelette of mine from a publisher and am in the finishing stages of a fantasy novella. The time has come to place my writing blogs and any updates related to my publications on a separate website.

finphoto.net is still active and I am posting fairly frequently regarding my photographic exploits and endeavours, having now moved over to being a Sole Proprietor of “Findlay Photography and Digital Services.”

I decided to re-post and brand my publications separately for both my own convenience and for that of exploring surfers, hence the purpose of this site which I will be developing over the coming months.