Toric’s Dagger Audio Book Out Now!

Hot on the heels of the paperback release of Bolivar’s Sword, the Audio-Book of Toric’s Dagger is now also available, at AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

 

Listen to a sample

 

It is narrated by Greg Patmore, with Bridget Thomas voicing the female parts. I honestly think that both narrators have done a fantastic job with the book and I couldn’t be happier. Toric’s Dagger has some challenges to narrate, not least the range of characters that you get with epic fantasy titles like this one. Greg’s incredible vocal range really brings the characters to life, and at times it sounds like several actors have been used in the recording. Another unique challenge was the telepathy used between the two central characters, Belwynn and Soren. In print, this is handled by the use of italics – but of course that’s not an option with an audio-book! Greg has used an echo effect on his and Bridget’s voices. It clearly indicates to the listener that the characters are speaking telepathically, without being intrusive. You can listen to the effect yourself in the first few seconds of the sample above. I think elements like this, as well as the male and female voices, really make this recording stand out.

Greg’s Website

The audio-book can be purchased from any of the websites above and then the recording is downloaded to your device. An alternative option to a one-off purchase is to sign up to the Audible subscription service. Here you pay monthly (£7.99/$14.95) and get one free book a month, plus other benefits. They offer a 30-day free trial. What’s more, if Toric’s Dagger is the first book you choose, I get a nice bonus, so everyone’s a winner!

 

Bolivar’s Sword Out Now!

The paperback edition of Bolivar’s Sword, the second book of The Weapon Takers Saga, is now available on Amazon. It’s been a busier past six months than I had anticipated, but it’s nice to finally make the sequel to Toric’s Dagger available and see them together. Toric’s Dagger was starting to feel a bit lonely.

Bolivar’s Sword takes off where Book One ended, with the heroes divided and in trouble. Things don’t get much easier and I think Bolivar’s Sword has a darker feel to it, with the stakes raised higher. War comes to Dalriya too and the scale of the story expands to cover an even wider range of locations and characters than Toric’s Dagger. There’s no doubt that this series is turning into a monster and will not be resolved as a traditional trilogy. I need to get on with Book Three!

Of course, Bolivar’s Sword will soon get an eBook version too and I anticipate that this will be available in June. Meanwhile, Toric’s Dagger hasn’t been neglected either. I’ve made some changes to the book, most noticeably a new author font for the cover which will now be the standard one used for the series. This is already in use for the eBook version and will soon replace the paperback cover, too. This means that if you own an early physical copy of Toric’s Dagger it will soon be a rare collector’s item. If you don’t own a copy yet, get one now before you miss your chance!

Most excitingly, Toric’s Dagger is getting an audio-book version. The narrating team of Greg Patmore and Bridget Thomas have done a fantastic job of bringing to life the (many) characters of the book and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It honestly sounds like a team of actors have worked on it rather than two. I’m hoping to be able to announce the arrival of the audio-book soon, so watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October Update

Toric’s Dagger

 

Toric’s Dagger has fallen at the semi-final stage of the SPFBO contest. The blogger ventureadlaxre put the book into her Top 10, but—let’s be blunt—still didn’t like it very much. You can read her review here.

The book has also recently been reviewed by The Weatherwax Report, a prolific fantasy blogger who is taking on 100 of the self-published books in the contest. She has a great site and you can read her review of Toric’s Dagger here.

 

Bolivar’s Sword

 

I’ve finished writing the sequel to Toric’s Dagger and I am really happy with it. I think it’s a darker, more expansive follow up. The ‘fellowship’ from book one has now been scattered to the four winds, and war comes to Dalriya.

I’m transitioning into the publishing phase for this book, which includes things like formatting & cover design. When I get more news on this I will post it here.

 

The Virtual Fantasy Conference

 

I’m taking part in the 2017 VFC, hosted on Facebook. It’s a chance for fantasy fans to connect with authors and runs for a week, from 15-22 October. The organisers have worked really hard to make it interactive and fun, with panels on fantasy topics. Please visit my Author Booth/Page here from the 15th October.

 

 

Toric’s Dagger Launch

It’s been another busy month, but it’s about time I posted some reflections on the launch of my first book, Toric’s Dagger.

Overall, it was a success, with a number of promotions, plus help from friends and family, getting the book in front of readers. I’m sure that the initial 0.99 offer also helped to close a few deals. As well as people buying the book, it has had quite a few page reads on Kindle Unlimited (KU) on Amazon. Members of this scheme get to read it for free, and as the author I get a little compensation for each page read. I now have readers, not only in the UK and US, but in Canada, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. That’s a great feeling.

This initial group of readers has now converted into some ratings/reviews, which are so important for authors. On Goodreads, the book now has 6 ratings, averaging 4.67/5. It also has its first review on Amazon, where it was given 4 stars. Finally, the book also got a great write up on Readper, which you can see here. It’s nice that the initial reaction has been so positive, with no reader yet giving it less than 4/5 (yes, I know it’s early days!).

Of course, I want more readers and reviews, and I will post some news on this very soon.

As for the follow-up, Bolivar’s Sword, I will need to give myself a window to do another round of editing on it before it is ready to go. Then, there is all the publishing that needs to be done, especially the cover design. I will keep posting updates on this process here.

Many thanks for following the blog!

Jamie

Fantasy Maps

Like a lot of fantasy series, especially those set in a secondary world, my books will include a map. It is a map of the continent of Dalriya, where the series is set. Above you can see the full version, designed by Streetlight Graphics. Maps and fantasy series go hand in hand—so much so, that for some it has become a cliché. Joe Abercrombie made something of a punk rock statement by not including maps in his First Law trilogy. You can read his opinion piece on the question of maps on his website, here. For Abercombie, it seems to boil down to maps ‘getting in the way’ of the characters and their immediate story. And it has to be said, Abercrombie does character and story extremely bloody well.

I, however, am in the pro-map camp. Here are my musings on it.

 

Maps and Readers

When I read a fantasy book, I like to have a map to refer to, certainly when the action takes place over a large area. When I read Lord of the Rings, I pored over the pull-out map. I remember vividly, too, the detailed maps in David Eddings’ Belgariad series. They made these worlds more alive and made the experience of reading the book more immersive. If I had got my ruler out and started measuring how far the characters walked each day, tabulating my findings into a spreadsheet, then yeah, maybe that would have been a distraction. But I didn’t do that. Honestly, I didn’t. But I like maps. I like historical maps. If I’m playing a boardgame, and the board is a map, you can be pretty sure I will be sitting there as happy as a pig in muck.

BUT. Some people don’t like maps. They might sneer, or at the very least raise an eyebrow. Thing is, people who think a map is horribly clichéd, probably aren’t going to like my series anyway. It’s a fantasy series, and has a good portion of that genre’s tropes in there somewhere. Ergo, I don’t have to worry about such people. For those who do enjoy the genre, chances are they’ll appreciate a map. And anyway, it comes free. You don’t HAVE to look at the bloody thing, do you?

 

Maps and Writers

Perhaps more important, is the use of a map for a writer. I have no doubt that Joe Abercrombie has a map or two in his draw somewhere, even if he chose not to feature them in his book. Why? Because the secondary world he created was so believable, he must have spent some time thinking about how it all worked. When a writer hasn’t given it much thought, it becomes all too obvious to the reader. That’s when a fantasy fan might sneer, or at least raise an eyebrow.

And that is the connection between fantasy and maps. The fantasy author has had to create a whole new world as a setting for their story. As well as great characters and plot, fantasy fans want to see great worldbuilding. Having a map in front of me, made me ask some questions of the world I had created.

How long will it take my characters to get from A to B? Will they have to cross a river, or go through rough terrain, to get there?

What kind of government does this country have? What kind of religion? How many people live there? How wealthy are they? What do people do for a living?

What kind of relationship does this country have with its neighbour?

What is the history of this continent? Presumably, three hundred years ago, the map would have looked different?

This can give your world the illusion of reality, and allow your reader to enjoy the story. Not that your reader wants to, or should be told ALL of these things. They need to have the sense that there are answers to these questions, without being told all the boring detail. That would certainly get in the way of the story.

 

February Update

After a brief hiatus, I am back to work on getting Toric’s Dagger published. The script has received a professional line edit from Invisible Ink Editing, resulting in many improvements. Next, I need to get a final edit done and then get it formatted for publication. I will also need to get a book cover done and I think the book needs a map of Dalriya in it.

I have joined Wattpad, a cool site to discover new writers. I intend to put my first chapter there, in instalments. I will post here when it is up!