Friday, 22 July 2016

Busy Traveling and Writing

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I blogged. I've been really busy this month with a ghostwriting assignment that's got me writing 2,000 words of fiction a day. Add that on top of my regular work and you can see how things are for me at the moment. I've also been traveling. I just spent a wonderful week in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands with my family, meeting two great soon-to-be in-laws. Between swimming and eating, I somehow managed to get my 2,000 words a day in.

And that taught me something. If I can be on vacation and still keep up a decent word count, there's no reason I shouldn't continue that once this assignment is over. Keep an eye out for more productivity from me in the future! I'm almost done with my Apache novel, and after that I'll write book four in the Trench Raiders series, or finish Book Four in my Toxic World series. I'm not sure which order those will come in, but those are the next two in any case.

Tomorrow I'm off to Oxford for my usual summer of researching, writing, and catching up with British friends. I'll try to get back to a more regular blogging schedule in August. What are your summer plans?

This isn't me, this is our waiter who stuffed us silly with seafood.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Get the Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Radio Hope for Free!

For the next five days, through July 11, my post-apocalyptic science fiction novel Radio Hope is free on Amazon. This is the first of the Toxic World series, which has three books and a spin-off novella. Book Four is coming out in the early summer. Radio Hope, however, can also be read as a standalone novel. I'm not pulling you into some sort of crack dealer arrangement. :-) A blurb is below.

In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . .
A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son.
A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump.
The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command.
One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.

Radio Hope is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, and all the other Amazons. Enjoy and please spread the word!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: Making Readers Cry

Welcome to the Insecure Writers Support Group, where on the first Wednesday of every month we expose our foibles to a cruel world! The subject this month is a little more positive than usual: What's the best thing anyone has ever said about your writing?

For me, it's when someone said my writing made them cry. I blogged about it way back in 2008. Here's the post:

I've been busy editing my second fantasy novel these past few weeks. My first novel got rejected by an editor at a major publishing house, but she wants to see my second one. I sent out a panicked email to a couple of my writing newsgroups asking for critiques. It was kind of a tall order--read and critique a 87,000 word novel in less than a month. Nonetheless, seven people replied.

That's one of the great things about the writing community, most writers support one another. Oh, I've met some notable exceptions, usually writers who have recently become successful and have gotten a swelled head, but all in all we're a pretty supportive bunch.

The critiques were quite helpful. Besides catching some typos (you can never catch them all yourself) they had some good suggestions for fleshing out the supporting characters, and clearing up a few scenes. They were also very complimentary. One even said the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my writing--that one scene made her cry.

Wow. I've never been happy about making someone cry since breaking up with a certain deserving ex-girlfriend in college. The scene was designed to make the reader cry, but I didn't think it actually would.

I can only hope it will make the editor cry

NOTE: It didn't. That novel, like my first one, got rejected. I was at the beginning of my fiction writing career and didn't know as much as I do now. Hopefully I can now make readers cry more reliably than in those early days.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Book Review: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1)Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not a big fan of the paranormal genre, but I saw this on a free giveaway and thought I'd give it a try. I'm sure glad I did because it was a cracking read.
A young woman who has had horrible experiences with paranormal entities becomes a ghost trapper, ridding old houses of their spectral inhabitants. Her assistant isn't very useful, and there's a new guy on the team she doesn't trust. Also, it turns out fixing the problem only makes the problem worse. It's all told in a breezy, fun style that only occasionally gets horrific. It sure is atmospheric, though. The author really catches the flavor of the South without getting too much into Southern Noir. This is horror light, although it's never lighthearted.
I could have used some more depth to the characters and detail about all the occult stuff, but since this is the first in a long series I suppose we get more of that later. If you want an enjoyable, easy read that will keep you guessing and flipping pages, try this out.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Get Most of my Books at 50% off on Smashwords all July!

This July I'm participating in the Summer/Winter sale over on Smashwords. My entire Trench Raiders and House Divided series of ebooks are 50% off, as well as my standalone short story collections. You can find them all on my Smashwords book page, just use the coupon code SSW50 at checkout to get half off. The ebooks are on all formats including mobi (for Kindle), epub, pdf, and many more. You can even download them as a text file if you're weird. No one's ever done that yet. Offer ends July 31.

The only books not on sale are those in my Toxic World post-apocalyptic series. Those are exclusive to Amazon so Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read them for free (even though Amazon still pays me, nice deal).


Friday, 24 June 2016

The Battle of Bannockburn: A Victory for Scottish Independence

On the first day of battle, Scottish leader Robert the Bruce engaged in single combat with the English knight Henry de Bohun and knocked his brains out with an axe. This led to a surge in Scottish morale and a charge that broke the English lines. Robert the Bruce later complained that this blow broke his favorite axe.

In the light of current events, I thought I'd mention that it's the 702nd anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, when on 23-24 June 1314, a Scottish force destroyed an invading English army, securing Scottish independence.

The First War for Scottish Independence was already well underway. Stirling Castle in Scotland was held by the English but under siege by a Scottish force. The defenders had already agreed to surrender if they weren't relieved by mid-summer. The castle was vital to the war effort of both sides since it dominated the route into the Highlands.

King Edward II of England personally led an army of an estimated 2,000 heavy cavalry and 15,000 infantry, most of them longbowmen, to relieve the castle. Facing him was an army under the Scottish king Robert the Bruce numbering no more than 10,000, only about 500 of whom were mounted.

Stirling Castle

Repeated English cavalry charges failed to break the Scottish formations and after two days of bloody fighting, the English withdrew, having suffered heavy losses. They would suffer more. As they made their way south, they were harassed by a Scottish pursuing force and isolated English soldiers were set upon by local peasants. King Edward got away, but 700 men-at-arms were killed, another 500 captured for ransom, and up to 11,000 English infantry never made it home. The Scottish lost at most 4,000 men, although some historians put their casualties much lower. Stirling Castle surrendered and Scottish independence was secure for a time.

Scotland did, of course, end up in the United Kingdom eventually, but will it remain so? With every single Scottish county voting against leaving the European Union, some by huge margins, there is almost certainly going to be another vote in Scotland regarding the independence issue. Hopefully no one will get their heads caved in with an axe this time.

Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
The earliest depiction of the battle comes from the Scotichronicon (c.1440), a book of Scottish history written by Walter Bower

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Handed in the Final Edits for The Last Hotel Room

This morning is submitted the final edits for The Last Hotel Room to Kindle Press. They'll look them over and shoot back some edits of their own, and then the book will be on preorder. Watch this space!
Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.