I’ve Been Summoned

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Early last week I received a tweet from Jessica West summoning me to a Blog Hop aptly titled, “I’ve Been Summoned”, which, as a consequence of being so tagged, resulted in today’s post. The summons entails me answering a few questions and then tagging the next hapless victim or two. I thought perhaps I could worm my way out of doing this, but Jessica, stubborn thing that she is and bestest writer buddy in the world—ever, made sure I didn’t. So, here we go.

What am I working on?

I’m busy with four projects. The Morrigan (editing), The Mercy Giver (first draft), The Angry Man (first draft), The Spirit Bow (second draft). Okay, maybe five. I’ve a super secret project that I’m dying to do. I’m still in the planning phase with this one, tentatively called Neon Gods.

The Morrigan is the second book in my Guardians of the Seals series. It’s a modern tale about demons and gods and the thin veneer that separates our reality from the unknown beyond.

But let my protagonist explain:

Two weeks ago I was confronted by something that shouldn’t have existed, but then, given what I am, I shouldn’t exist either. A demon came hunting for The Seals of Abgal, a powerful book that contains the Seals of seven ancient Sumerian sages to whom godly secrets were once revealed. Whoever controls these secrets will gain immense power over all of creation, including worlds unknown by mortals.

I was arrogant enough to think I could “solve” a thousand-year-old problem. Instead of hiding from the bad guys, I wanted to draw them out into the open. You don’t get more naïve than that. I had no right to do what I did. It’s not for me to interfere. The oath must be honored as it has been for a thousand years, from father to son. A blood oath that cannot be broken, not even by the gods themselves.

My name is Sebastian Kaine and I’m an antiquarian bookshop owner.

I’m also the Wolf of Odin and last guardian of the Seals of Abgal.

In a nutshell: Behind the fabric of our reality supernatural forces are at war with each other and have been since before time, and in the middle of this conflict is Sebastian Kaine, who, torn between loyalties to factions on both sides, must try to unravel the mystery of his family’s past and deal with his feelings towards a strange and beautiful woman who knows more about him and his family than he does. And he needs to do all of this without losing the Seals of Abgal.

The Seals of Abgal is an introduction to this series and can be found here.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like mythology and history. It’s fascinating how little myth and lore differ from country to country. I explore these consistent overlaps in my stories by connecting the dots, and hopefully, by doing so, I’ve managed to create something original, or rather, as close to original as is possible. They say there is nothing new under the sun. Thus, I didn’t so much reinvent the wheel as try to reverse engineer it.

Why do I write what I do?

Because there is a lot of noise in my head. By writing fantasy and urban fantasy I’m ordering that noise, making it intelligible for me, maybe even finding some meaning or peace. Or maybe I’m just full of shit and I’m doing this because it’s great fun.

I’ve always had an affinity for fantasy and its various sub-genres. But I can say the same of other genres too, including literary fiction. So my inspiration, generally and for future projects, will always include: Robert E. Howard; Edgar Rice Burroughs; Robert B. Parker; A.J. Quinnell; Hammond Innes; Desmond Bagley; Louis L’Amour; Ernest Hemingway; Neil Gaiman; Morris West; David Eddings; Ken Follett; JRR Tolkien; Michael Moorcock; Bernard Cornwell; David Gemmell, and many others whose names I don’t recall at the moment. This is not and never will be, a closed list. All of these guys make me want to write with jealous passion.

Writing is like having your own therapist. You unburden yourself, so to speak, and I hope that I’ve done my unburdening in a highly entertaining way that will leave the reader feeling good and wanting more. In writing these stories, I’ve tried to find a middle way between my imagination and historical fact/theory. Who knows, maybe I am not that far off target. If I get readers thinking about something, that would be good too, but entertaining them is first prize.

How does your writing process work?

At the moment my process is all over the place. I’m writing in stolen moments. I look after my kids during the day while my wife brings in the bacon. When I do find some normalcy I start the day with emails. The mornings are loud and chaotic, perfect for scanning emails and reading articles. Once my two older kids are off to school I bring the little one to my office and let her play with whatever draws her attention while I finish off my emails and articles. By then it’s time for her early morning nap which usually lasts anything from an hour to two. Then I write.

Because I’m trying to get out as much as possible in the time available to me the stuff that does come out is terrible, but it’s like pouring cement for a foundation. First step is to get it out before it hardens and becomes useless deadweight, no matter how it looks. Then you smooth it and fix it and mold it. Right now I’m in the middle of edits with The Morrigan. That takes most of my attention and time, but because I am so painfully aware of limitations on my time, I try to work on other projects as well. It makes me feel better and creates movement, like I am building something and not just wasting time. I have something to show at least.

I still suffer from insecurity, still doubt myself on a daily basis, but somehow I’ve come to realize that worrying about writing doesn’t really help me. In fact, it kills my creative spirit. Better and more famous writers have repeatedly said the only way to find your voice and to get better at your craft, is to write more and consistently and to do so every day, if you can, which is what I’m pushing for.

See, knowing that allows me to continue. Why, you ask? No matter how I feel, how much my judgment is clouded by emotion, if I keep doing this I will get better. It is a known fact. A logical consequence of persistence. Sure, you don’t feel like it now, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is you need to just do. You need to write and keep at it. Enjoy it, focus on the craft, not your insecurities, and enjoy the process. Something magical happens when you focus on creating and on having fun. Time surprises you. It’s funny how life works. The minute you focus on your right, something happens on your left. It’s the same with writing and wanting to get better at it.

So now that I’ve done this, this… thing, it’s time I tag other writers. I hereby summon:

Scott Wieczorek— a really talented author and with his new book coming out on 10 September via Lycaon Press this will be an ideal time for a summoning.

Tom Knighton just released his third book, Bloody Eden, and I hear it’s bloody violent. I still have to read it, but in the meantime, dude, you are so tagged.

The image above is titled ‘Demon Slayer’ and was created by Piotr Foksowics who has graciously allowed me to use it. You can find out more about this talented artist here and here. I thought this piece an apt choice given what Sebastian discovers in the beyond.

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