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29 October 2014

Whyte Christmas Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Ascension of the Whyte and other themed prizes! Raffle is drawn on Christmas Day 2014....  If you are lucky you could win a Whyte Christmas this year.

Good luck everyone!

Karen


28 October 2014

AOTW Competition Winner Announced!

Congratulations to the winner, John Jessop of Rawley Road, Norwich, Norfolk UK who beat off 1,342 other entrants to win the Ascension of the Whyte Giveaway competition. John will now receive a signed copy of Ascension of the Whyte together with a couple of other small themed surprises!


For all of you who entered but were unsuccessful keep tuned in here for details of another fantastic 'Whyte Christmas' giveaway competition which will be announced shortly. Thank you everyone for entering, and better luck next time!

 Karen

25 October 2014

'RYTE OF PASSAGE' Book Two of The AFTERLAND Chronicles - COVER REVEAL

Well,it's here... The first draft cover of the next book in The Afterland Chronicles Series: Ryte of Passage to be published Summer 2015...  What do you think of it?  Your feedback is welcome... There is still plenty of time to alter the design, so let me know what you think...

Karen


19 October 2014

Sound Track for Ascension of the Whyte

1. Goo Goo Dolls - Better Days



This song would without a doubt be ideal for the title song. It is beautiful.... and the lyrics 'tonight's the night the world begins again' are just so apt for the beginning of Rose's journey. This track always makes me feel as if no matter how bad things are, we should always look towards the future because there is always something good that is yet to come. 

"After losing her earthly life Rose ascends to the Afterlands and is inducted into the Oratory of Aurum in the Golden city of Aureus." 



2. ELO - Strange Magic


I have always felt that this track was so magical, subtle and intoxicating the music makes me feel as if there is more to this life than what we know and 
what science can tell us. It almost lends itself to magical moments of the book, especially the soothing. 

"Rose enters the turbulent waters of the impluvium where her new name is bestowed upon her by the Sooth."



3. London Grammar - Devil Inside




My daughter Anna, who is a big fan, introduced me to London Grammar (thank you Anna!) This track is so ambiguous, beautiful and powerful in describing how evil can lurk within otherwise good people. This is why I have chosen it as El-on-ah's theme. 

"El-on-ah, a young Blood Alchemist, journeys to Tollen's Gate with her servants and faithful pukis (a tiny dragon) in order to gather the means to resurrect the great and powerful Blood Alchemist Lord Ka. However in doing so she unleashes a great evil unto the Afterlands."



4. Seth Lakeman - Race To Be King


I love modern folk music and decided quite early on that the Mud people would be the 'celts' of the Afterlands and their accents and music would be 
celtic in nature. This is such a rousing track I thought that it would be ideal for the festivities of the Ascension Feast. 

"Rose and her cell attend the Ascension Feast and are introduced to Ferrish fiddle music and such gastronomic delights as Guillywally Fyre-pot, cassava leaf soup and ginger and snow rose sorbet, as well as getting their first taste of honeyflower mead."


5. Newton Faulkner - Dream Catch Me


Newton Faulkner has long been a favourite of mine, and especially this song. As Rose eventually discovers her origins through her dream and it is within her dreams that she finally finds solace, I thought that this track makes an ideal theme for Rose. 

"Within Rose's dream a feeling of unfurling weightlessness washed over her and as she watched her hands, then her arms, feet, and finally her body dissolved until there was nothing between herself and the four. Her sense of loneliness and grief gave way to feelings of fulfilment, love, contentment and of incredible strength and power."


6. I See Fire - Ed Sheeran Lyrics


This is the ideal track for when the Djinn and Affreet of Erebus attack the lands of Hydrargyrum, Ferrum and finally Aurum bringing a plague of fyre on their inhabitants.

"A red cloud gathered in the skies above Hydrargyrum and a thousand winged Afreet rained down their fyre on the people of the Afterlands." 


7. Andre Rieu - This Land Is Mine


Last Christmas I attended an Andre Rieu concert in London and this song brought tears to my eyes. Many years ago it was a theme song for the film Exodus and so it makes an ideal theme for the chapter of my book which is also called Exodus. 

"The novices watched transfixed as crossing the river and the plains, hundreds, maybe thousands of Bloods were fleeing; old, young, native and ascendants. On the plain, slightly ahead of the main 
group a father carried a small girl... Out of the sun swooped a cloud of red men, their reptilian wings spread out above them and then as if the gates of Erebus had opened, their fyre spears spewed out fountains of fyre that rained down on the defenceless refugees." 



8. Richard Ashcroft - Break the Night with Colour


I have been a big fan of Richard Ashcroft and the Verve for many years. I love this song and for me it is perfect for illustrating how sometimes the best laid plans just don't go well and, especially if secrets are involved, there can be dire consequences. 

"A fiery stream of red light shot out from El-on-ah's ring and hurtled towards rose. Arjan, a few feet from her did not hesitate..."


9. Seth Lakeman - Hard road (on your own) 




My love for Seth Lakeman knows no bounds.... This track illustrates how difficult life is for people who don't fit in and so is an ideal choice as the theme tune of the Twocasts. 

"Rose regarded them all, her eyes swept the crowd, taking in every detail; every child's tiny fist, every open sore, each hollow of every emaciated body and the hopeless, helpless shadows that clouded every pair of eyes."


10. Mike and the Mechanics - Someone Always Hates Someone


I have loved this song ever since I first heard it. Its sentiments echo the sentiments of the last few pages of Ascension of the Whyte, which is why I have chosen it for the books closing title theme.

"Let us stand together against the evil tyranny of Ka and the Djinn of Erebus. Let us stand, not as Golds, or Muds, or Bloods, but as one people, as one cast as one race. Let us stand as Afterlanders!"


"Maybe one day Ascension of the Whyte will get made into a movie, and who knows, they may even use some of my suggestions for the score. Enjoy listening to the playlist here". Karen Wrighton.


The Complete Playlist:




12 October 2014

The Afterlands in Pictures


Or... if I were a location scout for an Ascension of the Whyte Movie!





1. New Zealand: (The Afterlands)




No wonder New Zealand was chosen to represent Tolkien's LOR World, it is ideal as a fantasy land. I would LOVE to travel there!



2. Iceland: (Rhodium)




Iceland epitomises my idea of Rhodium. The combination of ice, snow and warm water is so fantasy land. It is definitely on my list of places to see before I die... or ascend!


3. Ireland: (Ferrum)




This land with it's wonderful, humorous people, it's captivating scenery and music gifted me my land of Ferrum and the Ferrish folk.


4. Lanzarote: (Hydrargyrum)




Bleak, and barren this volcanic land is so much like my idea of Hydrargyrum... I did visit here a few years ago, so maybe it is where I got the vision of Hydrargyrum and its people from. Here you can find geysers and active volcanic fire holes... it is a volatile place... ideal for dragons!


5. Peru: Puerta de Hayu Marka (Tollen's Gate)




The ancient Peruvians carved this (Stargate) into the rock... Just like Tollen's gate (only Tollen's Gate is round of course!) BEWARE AFREET!


6. Rome: Vatican City (Aurum Oratory)




I based my idea of the Aurum Oratory on the Vatican in Rome. I loved it so much when I was there and was blown away by its grandeur and opulence (Aurum is very Roman).


7. Japan: Terunobu Fujimori’s Tetsu Teahouse (Ebony Forest Houses)




This is exactly how I imagined the Ebony Forest Houses. I could not have designed them better myself, I could just picture the Elder Witch standing in the doorway here!


8. USA: Minnehaha Minneapolis (Frozen Falls)




Rhodium's famous Frozen Falls do not figure in book one, but hang on for book two when they do make a big splash, so to speak.


9. Sweden: Ice Hotel (Enisfrae's Great Ice Temple)




I fell in love with the idea of having ice cities in Rhodium, and what do you know, Sweden have got there already!


10. USA: Florida Green Swamp (Ferndell Swamp)




This is exactly how I pictured the woods around the swamp in Ferndell... I can almost hear the Rougarou howling, and isn't there someone lurking in the trees just there?


How wonderful would it be to be a location scout for a movie? If Ascension of the Whyte - The Movie, ever gets made, I think I will volunteer to check these out, but if not then they are going on my places to visit list (yes I am that sad, I do have a places to visit list!)

Karen Wrighton


Excerpt from Ascension of the Whyte 


'Rose's response was swift, a perfectly executed block action accompanied by a clear command. The effect was instantaneous and dramatic, a blinding white energy stream flowed from her potens ring, transforming instantly into a rapidly moving wall of light which knocked Ash off his feet, lifted him up and carried him at great speed across the Arena. Goldin's hand shook as he retrieved his staff. He had never seen a novice perform a blocking spell with that much power.'



5 October 2014

My Journey into Indie Publishing



Karen Wrighton

It was quite a decision, whether to tout my beloved ‘new born’ debut novel, Ascension of the Whyte, around a myriad of publishers and agents in the hope that one of them would recognise it’s (to me) obvious brilliance, or to self publish and let the public decide whether it really was as beautiful as I believed it to be. The gestation time is long with a book, it grows inside you much longer than the nine months you would carry a child, and you become very attached and protective of it.



Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing methods is not an easy matter as there are many and varied options available to authors today, with different pros and cons associated with travelling either route. 

Stories of popular and even great novels being rejected tens or even hundreds of times, before finally being published, deterred me from proffering my beloved first ‘child’ for judgement. Through much research I unearthed these thought provoking examples amongst many others: Lord of the Flies by William Golding - rejected twenty times, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - rejected thirty eight times, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen – rejected one hundred and forty times. Carrie by Steven King – rejected thirty times and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling - rejected twelve times and she was told not to give up her day job!

Can you imagine if J. K. Rowling had decided after ten rejections that she would just give up trying and stick to her ‘day job’?  There would be no best-selling book series, no blockbuster films, no Warner Brothers World of Harry Potter and possibly no fame as an actor for a young man called Daniel Radcliffe. Also of course, J. K. Rowling would not now be one of the richest and most well known women on the face of the planet.

When most of the above authors were attempting to become published there was little option but to go through the traditional corporate publishing houses. Self publishing then was expensive and much disparaged, being mockingly referred to as ‘the vanity press.’

Today, authors who want to become published can self publish without it costing them a penny and it is no longer a complicated process, so long as you are at least marginally computer and internet literate.

In traditional publishing, if the publishing house decides to publish the book, they buy the rights from the writer and pay them an advance on future royalties. The publisher will then provide the funds and expertise to design and package the book, print, market and distribute the finished book to the public.

When I decided to self publish, in effect I became a publisher and all of those responsibilities became mine. Being a real control freak though, that really appealed to me. I chose the cover design (a combination between my daughter’s amazing photographic work and my skill on Photoshop). My husband (a teacher and examiner) proofread it for me, and I took on the responsibility of marketing and distributing the book, with a little help from a friendly book blogger/publicist and Amazon of course.


In the old ‘Vanity Press’ days I would have had to decide on the number of copies to print, which may have resulted in stacks of unsold books gathering dust in the shed! Fortunately, the Print on Demand (POD) technology now used by Createspace and other self-publishing companies means that authors only print as many as they need and generally with little or no upfront fee.

Another reason I decided to go the self publishing route was the time factor. With traditional publishing, a manuscript can take years to become a book. Whereas with self-publishing, depending on the company, as soon as your book is complete you can have it published as an e-book within minutes and in print within a few days, again, with little or no upfront cost.

A downside to self publishing though is that there is no lucrative advance payment from a publishing house, which means that, (a) you are unlikely to be able to live on the proceeds of your talent for quite a while, if ever, and (b) because of this you will have to fit your writing in around your ‘day job’, which is far from ideal, especially if like me, your ‘day job’ is quite demanding and you have been seriously bitten by the writing bug.

Perhaps my biggest pull to take the self-publishing route however, was the level of control it affords the author.  I have already mentioned that I’m a control freak. I had previously read some horror stories where an author's joy at selling a manuscript had quickly turned into despair when an over-zealous editor at a publishing house ripped his manuscript to shreds until the original storyline was almost unrecognisable. Also the publishers can withdraw your book from print whenever they feel the need, and that is then the end of your journey and the end of your royalties (which are miniscule anyway, around 7 – 10% on most books and 25% on e-books).

With self-publishing, the author gets to control the manuscript contents, the design, and appearance, as well as where the book is marketed and distributed, even how much it retails for! Most importantly to me though, was the guarantee that my book will never go out of print, they will always be available, earning money and gaining more readers year on year and the royalties are higher too, up to 70% on kindle e-book sales.

Do I secretly wish I could be published by a traditional publisher?  For one reason only, and that is recognition. Though some self published books are gaining recognition and indeed there are some very successful indie authors out there now, there is still a kind of stigma associated with self publishing and some people don’t accept you as being a ‘real’ author until you have been published by one of the big publishing houses. This may be the fault of some ‘authors’ who publish work that, not to put a too finer point on it, looks like they knocked it up in a weekend or in some cases an evening after a curry and seven pints of lager.

My book took me two years to write and went through seven drafts before I was happy enough with it to let my husband proof read it, and it still is not perfect! (Authors always find fault with their own work – even J. K. Rowling wished she had done some things differently – like marry Harry to Hermione for example!)

If there were fewer ‘curry night’ books then maybe indie publishing would have a better name. So if you are thinking of writing a book for self publishing, please be professional about it, not only will your book be more successful, but it will elevate peoples’ perception of self publishing and enable other indie authors be taken more seriously.

So what may the future hold for me? Well there is a long list of well known authors who became successful through first self publishing their ‘offspring’, so maybe I will join the ranks of the following (I wonder how many of these you realised were originally indie authors?).

John Grisham, wrote his first novel, A Time to Kill in 1989. After 28 rejections, he published 5,000 copies through a small private publisher, the rest is history.

Beatrix Potter's The Tales of Peter Rabbit, was rejected several times so she self-published in 1901.

Amanda Hocking self published 17 novels as e-books, selling more than a million copies. In 2011, St. Martin's Press bought the rights the Trylle trilogy, and for a new four-book series, Watersong, for a reported two million dollars.

The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer was self published in 1931 and yet still sells 100,000 copies each year.

Recently self published books such as Fifty Shades of Grey have even climbed to the top of best seller lists, so I am going to persevere and maybe one day my name will be added to the list above.... it really is a beautiful baby, honestly.


Karen