December 3 and 4 is approaching faster than you think! Come experience a really unique festival that combines Viking- and Victorian-era winter festivities – plus gentlemanly duels, kids in shield walls, and VENDORS LIKE ME!
I’ll be there signing and selling my books!
Here are the schedules for each day. I’ll see you next weekend at my booth!
I’m happy to announce that I’ve started drafting the third book in the Civil Dusk series already! In this story, tentatively called “By Appointment Only,” Hugh meets with the spirits of Skara Brae to get his dian-stane fixed. They tell him to journey to New Hampshire in the USA, where descendants of theirs journeyed and built a settlement 4000 years ago. But how will he find it in a country to which he’s never been? Perhaps a local guide can assist!
Stay tuned for a completely unique story that’s already a page-turner! And in the meantime, get your copies of Civil Dusk and First Watch; links in the Buy My Books link above!
Honestly, I know you’re more excited about the second one. 😛
First Watch is in the hands of my beta reader and my fact-checker! Editing is DONE. Cover art is DONE. Back blurb is DONE. ISBN purchase is DONE. Here’s a teaser from Chapter 1 along with the Rottie that inspired those descriptions. Stay tuned for release info!!! Can you tell I’m excited? I’M EXCITED! Every time I read back through this document it’s so DAMN GOOD.
When I’m writing, I commonly leave myself brackets around words that I either need to go back in the typed document to fact check, or that I need to find a synonym for. In the pictured case below, it’s a fact check. I hand write my drafts and my first line of editing is when I type my written sections up, usually a chapter at a time. Do you do this? If not, it might help! For me, it gives me permission to keep writing and not stall my progress with a word check.
Okay, dear readers, guess what! Yes, that’s right, the draft for First Watch is officially in my editor’s hands/mailbox/email inbox/shared Google file/it’s getting looked at. I’ve asked for her help with identifying spots that need answers or embellishing, which for those that don’t know is called “editing for content.” Basically I’m 10k words short of my goal, which averages to about 40 pages. While I still have a chapter or two to write to wrap up this story and lead into the next, I don’t think that will take 40 pages. So I’ve enlisted my editor’s help (hopefully) with expanding the current stuff a bit.
I’m an independent or self-published author, so you may be asking: why is word count important? I saw an e-book the other day with 9 pages in it! 9!!!! Well, it’s because I still have goals or expectations for myself, and ideally I’d like First Watch to be as long as its predecessor, Civil Dusk, which was about 40k words. Right now with the indexes for First Watch I’m at about 30k words (a smidge over, but whatever, we’re estimating.) This is technically FINE for a novella….my OCD just wants the book to be about as thick as the other book. That’s all. I blame the OCD.
So, at this point that duty is in my editor’s and beta reader’s hands. I just need to draft up the last chapter (or two), craft a blurb for the back, convince my cover designer to add “Book 2 of Civil Dusk” to the design (sorry Dave!) and….that’s it? Order the test copy and then some stock and hopefully (IDEALLY) have everything done and in my hands by May 8.
Why May 8? Because (as of RIGHT NOW) that’s the date of the Manassas Viking Festival in Manassas, VA. And, as of RIGHT NOW, that festival will be happening this year. Hopefully. Knock on all the wood. First Watch features Viking history and Nordic gods pretty heavily, and I intend for it to be done in time for release at this festival.
SO! Put it on your calendar. May 8, 2021. Manassas, VA. I’ll see you there with fresh copies of First Watch and Civil Dusk, ready to be signed!
Civil Dusk is set MOSTLY on the island of Rousay in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. It goes other places too, like the underwater palace of Finfolkaheem and the vanished island of Hether Blether. This novella utilizes many of the stories which are a uniquely Orcadian blend of Norse and Celtic/Pictish folklore in a wondrous romp of magic and finding one’s self and waterhorses and selkies and witches and trows and you probably have NO CLUE what I’m talking about anymore so let me let the professionals ramp it up for you.
YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, I HAVE A PROFESSIONAL KIRKUS REVIEW ON THIS ONE.
To quote that review directly, AHEM:
“An Orkney Islands fisherman with a hidden past encounters magic in Ordway’s fantasy novel.
This fast-moving work, shaped by Norse and Celtic mythology, opens by defining the term that gives the book its name: “The time of evening when the sun is six degrees below the horizon, when the light is still enough for you to see things…and for things to see you.” What protagonist Hugh Reid sees upends his life forever. After struggling to control his fishing boat during a storm at sea in 2018, he returns to his home on Scotland’s Orkney Islands, wondering at the unusual violence of the waves and the haunting song that he heard in the sound of the rain. But although the islands are steeped in tales of the supernatural, Hugh is impatient with people who believe in them—until he’s visited by a trow, “an ugly, stunted thing with pale, wrinkled flesh and gleaming, yellow eyes,” who guides him to a buried object of power, which the trow says he will need in a world-threatening conflict to come. Ordway cleverly draws on Orkney’s many traditional legends as she catapults Hugh into an epic adventure. The story involves a titanic struggle for dominance between the summer goddess, known as the Mither o’ the Sea, and the demonic winter spirit, Teran. A seaweed-maned water horse called a Nuggle, a goddess-channeling witch, selkies, and sorcerous Finmen make appearances, as do hidden places reached via a mysterious fog, an undersea kingdom, and a magical stone; the story also reveals the secrets of Hugh’s origins. The interplay between the various characters doesn’t always match the quality of the story; for example, the number of times that characters “smirk” becomes distracting. However, the author’s vivid depiction of otherworldly elements, the sea itself, and Hugh’s gradual acceptance of his true identity make for a rollicking read. At the conclusion, Hugh has an encounter with one-eyed Norse god Odin that teases a potential sequel.
An often clever mix of myth and legend in a contemporary setting, featuring a relatable protagonist.”
So, Civil Dusk is the story that I WANTED to write. Hollow Thunder was my proving ground to see whether I could write, get edited, and publish a novel. Box checked. The Loyalty of Dew threw a few more ideas on the tail of that and wrapped up some questions left hanging in HT. It’s the story I was obliged to write. But Civil Dusk is the one I’ve wanted to write for soooo loooong and I’m so very pleased with it. It’s about 187 pages, which means it’s about half the length of HT, which means I told the story that wanted to be told – and I told it WELL, thank you, just look at that Kirkus Review – and nothing more. No fluff in Civil Dusk. It’s Insulation Free.
I’m presently in the final stages of working on its sequel, which will be called First Watch and which should be released in Spring 2021 if everything continues going to plan. And we’re not gonna stop there. I already have ideas brewing for a third book in this series, with all the potential for more.
I’m gonna shut up now and leave you with the purchase link again, because you have reading to do!
Good morning, dear readers, and welcome to a new series I’m doing that will spotlight each of my books in each entry. I realize I link them in the “BUY MY BOOKS” page on the website/blog here, but there isn’t much else about them. So maybe y’all have ignored the “BUY MY BOOKS” page, and you know what, that’s a shame because I’d like you to buy my books. I said it.
Hollow Thunder is my first published novel and it is the longest at around 80k words. This length makes it a properly novel-length work, which TO BE HONEST was one of my driving goals in writing it. I wanted to prove to myself and to the world that I could write a BOOK. And for me, that meant something at least 80k words.
With e-books and indie/self publishing becoming such a big thing these days, I daresay that “BOOKS ARE 80K WORDS AT LEAST” mindset is probably out-dated. But I don’t care. That was my goal, and I achieved it with Hollow Thunder.
I’VE NEVER TRIED TO DO THAT SINCE.
Wanna know why? Well, dear readers, it’s because in order to get that length I had to do some major fluffing in certain parts of the story that have, honestly, suffered for it.
The story focuses on a group of Revolutionaries in a world inspired by and generally like the Williamsburg area of the 18th century. Their crew includes a werewolf and a psychic, however, so some liberties have been taken. (REVOLUTION JOKE, HAHA.) Early in the story they attempt to assassinate the Governor of the Colony and are surprised to see somebody else there already taking care of the job. These insurgents frame our main characters for the murder, and from there the plot focuses on how they escape the framing (or not, in one case) and how they get revenge on the insurgents while still securing some kind of success in their original goal of taking control of the Colony.
If you want to know more, as always read the book. I’m not keen on spoiling too much. It’s an enjoyable romp with intrigue, just a little smidgen of romance, and a whole lot of cultural, storytelling, and world-building errors I’ve since become very aware of. I’m not the proudest parent of this book, I’ll be upright and honest with you. I’ve learned a lot since I wrote and published Hollow Thunder. It’s still GOOD, sure, and definitely worth a read. But “Civil Dusk” is MUCH BETTER as far as actual storytelling goes, and we’ll get to that one soon.
That said, give Hollow Thunder a look. Just don’t take it too seriously.
The cover art was done on commission for me, and is inspired by a vision the psychic character has that becomes a critical plot spur for him. The wolf is our werewolf, the lady is one of the prominent main characters, the three saplings behind them represent three of the other main characters, and the noose is a symbol of death. And that’s all I’ll give you, because anything else would be major spoilers! Look who’s holding the noose. That’s it! No more! Go read the book!!
Next up, it’s sequel “The Loyalty of Dew”, which I’ll write up next week! If you have read Hollow Thunder and you have any questions, feel free to post in the comments below and I’d be happy to reply.
I am officially past the halfway marker in writing First Watch… I’ve got 21k words typed! My goal is around 40k like the first book in its series, Civil Dusk. Appropriately, the plot is coming to the big climax and I just drafted the big reveal. I’m so excited! Publishing goal for First Watch is Spring 2021.
Okay, we all know those ice breaker questions are stale and overdone. But I’ve come up with a new one that I reckon you, dear readers, should be able to dazzle. So: how would you describe your writing style, in terms of food prep?
Are you classic and traditional, like a steak dinner? Are you edgy and fresh, like a quinoa poke bowl with sriracha? (Foodies, is that spelled right?) Answer in the comments with description and bonus points if you put a picture with the food too! I need dinner ideas!
For me, I rather think I’m a Velveeta meal box with ground bison, served with a glass of cabernet sauvignon and followed by a cup of fresh ground coffee:
This is because my style is unassuming, yet surprisingly rustic and entertaining, made up of influences from other authors but uniquely my own. Plus, give it time and it gets poetic.
In a previous post I’d wondered whether WordPress had an app for post creation. I didn’t look into that until about 15 minutes ago…. And guess what! They do!!
I hope this will mean that I’ll update this blog more often. No guarantee, of course. Accessibility is only one part of the cure to procrastination. 😉 Dog pic for the boost! Haha! Really, though, Aggie and Riley are just tucked in waiting for 2021.