is a captivating new epic fantasy book series for adults. Not recommended for the most sensitive readers because of the explicit content, though! But if you don’t mind severed heads and intimate scenes, keep reading.
I’m trying to get along with my old laptop. It’s not going too well. As she’s all I’ve got for a computer right now, I have no choice but to tolerate her slowness in performing whatever small task I ask of her. She’s not utterly useless, though. She has kept my old files safe.
I was supposed to work with the second book of BC, so, obviously, I did anything but. I made some drafts of the cover for the paperback version of Runecursed -which is actually more important atm than writing the sequel. I went outside and wandered aimlessly about the garden, smiling at the budding cherry trees and first liverleaves that grace the forest floor where our yard morphs into a wood. The spring takes her time this year, but every day, she paints more green upon the shades of dun and speckles it with timid hues of blue and yellow.
As I came back inside, I eyed through the texts I produced when I returned to writing a few years ago. I call them Tomatos for the technique I used to get over the massive writer’s block I suffered back then. Most of them seem like scribblings of a stranger today. I don’t recognize myself in them. Some are decent, however, and I thought why not sharing those with you. The keywords for this first text were historical fiction, prose, arty, and third person (male voice), and the time was 45 minutes. Enjoy! (Or just feel vicarious embarassment as I did toward myself when reading some of the texts.)
Everyone who’s ever tried their hand at writing knows it’s hard work. Writers work because they have an inner urge to tell stories, not because they expect to earn big financial profits. Many of us never get noticed by the public. Still, we keep writing because the words are like air to us -we couldn’t survive without them.
However, telling stories is that much more rewarding when you know people read and enjoy them. Sometimes the continuation of a story can depend on a simple question “When will the sequel come out?”. Most published writers are hungry for reviews on their book(s), and though I agree that reviews are important, not just in the sense of them drawing the readers’ attention but also in helping the writer to develop, in many cases, the knowledge that someone is waiting for your story to continue is all that’s needed to ensure that the sequel will come out.
Personally, I owe a gigantic THANKS to the readers who have reached out to me letting me know they’ve enjoyed my story so far and are hungry for more. Without you, the second book might never see the daylight. So, from the bottom of my heart: thank you ❤
PS, the release date of Slavemarked is set at
the 1st of march 2023
Psst, if you haven’t yet read the first book, check out https://jpaspenn.com/ for the direct links to get it!
Long time, no blogging. I’ve been busy with summer and the sequel. When one lives in the countryside in an old house with a vast garden, the summertime doesn’t mean lazying in a hammock, binge-reading books. Would that it did!
Despite all the work it requires, I love our house. This is where I’ve finally found the peace of mind to write. When we lived in the town, I was always too stressed by the constant ruckus of traffic and neighbors to concentrate on anything creative. We aren’t utterly isolated here either, but our 1920′ house is a place where the silence dwells.
As said, I’ve been working with the sequel, and it’s coming along nicely despite my protagonist disagreeing with pretty much everything I’ve planned for him. He might be right, though. Maybe I should just let him have his way, but I fear that if I did, he’d end up dead before the series is even half-finished.
Anyway, I’m happy with how the second book is coming along. I’m prone to think that it’ll be miles better than Runecursed. There’s more action, and the overall atmosphere is many a shade darker even though this
is what I’ve been listening to while writing. I don’t usually listen to music with lyrics when I write as I tend to get distracted by the vocals, but FAUNis an exception to that rule. I don’t know German (at least not enough to understand but a word here, another there), and their singing voices sound more like some otherworldly instruments than human voices, so it remains in the background, inspiring me.
I could rambble about music as an inspiration forever and link a dozen bands that I’ve listened while writing but the time is limited -although, fortunately, it seems it’s going to rain again today which means I can remain inside and work with the sequel instead of having to go mow the lawn- so, I wish you all a great day and fantastic Pride Month!
I eyed through my old writings this morning. Poems I wrote in the year 2000. They are pregnant with teenage anxiety, the woe of someone who feels like she’s been born in the wrong time and place, among all the wrong people, none of whom understands her. The pain was real back then, but today the laments I had the guts to call poetry just make me chuckle.
Pathetic as they are, a few of my poems were published in one of Finland’s biggest newspapers. I don’t know if that can be called an achievement as they probably published every poem, think piece, etc. they received, but to me, it was a huge step even to send my texts there. Although I’ve dreamed of becoming an author since childhood, I’ve always been shy to share my work with others. That hasn’t changed after publishing Runecursed. My heart still skips, for fright as much as joy, every time I see someone has purchased the book or is reading it through KU.
I’m stepping out of my comfort zone every time I publish anything, but here I go again. Here’s a piece of my history as a writer (the Finnish original as it was published in the paper on the left). I tried to make the translation sound as clumsy as the original is to preserve the authentic feel.
I still ask myself on a regular basis; why do I write? I always come up with three reasons (besides the fact that writing is the only thing I’m any good at), three authors whose works have inspired me so much that I wanted to become an author myself.
!Runecursed, the ebook, is FREE WORLDWIDE on MAY 7th and 8th on Amazon!
Before we get to the first of these three gentlemen who are to thank (or blame) for this obsession of mine, I must give credit also to my mother, who read tons of books to me when I was little. She’d take me to the library, we’d pick up the books together, and she’d read them to me in the evenings. So, I was already more than familiar with the written word when I went to school and learned to read and write myself.
I started writing stories as soon as I learned the alphabet. My first “book” is written with hyphens which means I was in the first grade of elementary school when writing it. It’s about ponies. I was obsessed with ponies back then.
At this point I wish to point out that this is not an author nor book review. This is rather a part of the tale behind a tale.
So much for the rambling. The first man to thank (blame) for my decision to become a published (fantasy) author is none other than John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. His work has inspired tens of thousands of fantasy authors, artist, and musicians, so I’m just one fish in the sea. Still, his books are the reason why I write fantasy.
I read Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was around 12. I loved it. It was amazing, inspiring… The best book I had read so far. It was also disheartening. I wanted to write a book as brilliant one day but was convinced that I could never do it. I wasn’t good enough. (Well, obviously. I was twelve and just finished my second “novel” about ponies and ponygirls.
(Un)Fortunately, I was damnably stubborn already back then, and instead of ditching the pen and finding another hobby, I kept writing. I didn’t write much fantasy, for I knew I could never be as fantastic as Tolkien. I created imaginary worlds, though, drew maps, and invented creatures and characters. I also weaved stories in my head but rarely put them on paper.
During the three years of junior high school, I read every Tolkien book I could find in the local library and bookstore, most of them twice or thrice over. I read tons of books from other authors, but Tolkien remained the one to whom I kept returning. I’ve re-read my copy of LotR, so many times its cover has been broken.
Then I went to high school, and we make a time jump to the present. I still don’t think I could one day write like Tolkien, but it doesn’t keep me from writing fantasy anymore as it did when I was a kid. Still, his influence is evident. It lances through my world-building, plotting, wording… When writing, I catch myself rambling page after page about small things that even I’d find irrelevant and tedious as a reader. And that’s saying a lot, for I love, love, love details! It’s more than a little irritating, and though I was determined to write like Tolkien when I was twelve, today, I struggle free of his influence. Not all of it -I enjoy myself in a Middle-earth type of world and like the archaic language- but I could definitely jabber less.
Nonetheless, I owe John not just my passion for writing fantasy but also my interest in folklore and mythology. He showed me the door to a world that I might not have discovered otherwise, at least not at such an early age. Of that, if anything, I’m grateful.
Lastly, to close the circle in a way, something else Tolkien-inspired that has inspired me (Yes, there’s a lot of music behind my writing even though I cannot play a chord myself. I will be returning to the subject at some point, for music is the fuel that keeps me running.):
It’s a bumpy road this path of a writer. I never imagined otherwise, I’m too much a realist to have harbored any wild expectations of success. Nonetheless, I’ve been second-guessing most everything about the book lately, wondering whether I was too hasty in publishing it, whether I should take it off market and make some changes to it.
What would those changes be, I don’t know. Improving the grammar (there’s always something to correct no matter how many times you edited the script), adjusting the layout, maybe rearranging some of the chapters… Though I am in a bit of a slump right now, I’m not unhappy with the story itself. Maybe I should be though? It’s hard to know when you get little to zero feedback. I know it’s not perfect (it can never be that) and am well aware that it’s not for everyone, but it is very close to what I aimed for.
Still, I’m constantly struggling with the thought that perhaps, I should ditch my pipe dreams and return to just reading books that others, people who actually can create stories, have written. I know there’s no going back to the point where I was content with writing just to myself with no intention ever to even consider exposing my work to others. It’s either to keep writing with the purpose of publishing or trash my quill once and for all.
I should keep all this to myself, I know, scribble these things into a paper diary and then burn it to destroy all the evidence of my moment of weakness. I would do just that if I wasn’t convinced that most of you who have aspired for getting a book published or published one yourselves have wallowed in the same swamp. Haven’t you? I know also that most of you have crawled up from the bog hole and kept reaching for your goal, was it to become a Nobelist or sell a few hundreds copies on Amazon, despite of all the second-guessing. I’m going to rise from the depths, too, even though, right now, I feel I might drown before reaching the surface.
I’ve returned to Braenduir. For five weeks, I didn’t touch the story practically at all. I had the third draft of the second book done, and I thought it was ready for the final editing. Turned out, it wasn’t.
In some point while reading through the first book one more time, I understood, the second part wouldn’t work the way it was. It was a depressing realization. Had I written over 200 000 words for naught?
I’ve been working with The Gods’ Drum for three years, written every day, a few rare exceptions excluded, half a dozen drafts, hundreds of thousands of words. Not once have I woken up in the morning with a feeling that today, I may not want to write.
Now that Runecursed is out, I’ve had much less time to work with the second book. That’s the downside of self-publishing; you have to do everything yourself from creating your masterpiece to marketing it to the masses (Pick up the slight sarcasm? You’re not mistaken, it’s there.). Fortunately, I like doing everything myself. I’d just need about 24 extra hours to my days to have time to write while trying to make someone read what I’ve written so far.
What I’m trying to say is that I experienced a slight writer’s block for the first time in three years. It was a chock. I knew I had to rewrite the second book, so, I sat down and got up to it. Turned out, I can’t write anymore. My head was swarming with ideas, good ones, even, but when I tried to type them down, nothing came out as I had intended it. Nothing worked. I was confused. What had happened to me? Had the so much time spent on social media (marketing my book) damaged my brain?
As I couldn’t write, I returned to doing other things. The ideas kept piling up in my head, the characters kept harassing me, asking why had I abandoned them, left them on the hold like that. I told them that despite of knowing where I want to take them, I’ve lost the ability to do it, and returned to my chores.
They didn’t leave me be. One of them, the one dearest to me, was especially persistent. I knew where I wanted to take him, what I wanted to do with him, but struggled with how to move him to where I needed him to be. You can’t just teleport your characters to a mountaintop unless teleportation is a common way of traveling in your world (like someone did on the eighth season…).
Break the pattern, he urged me. Just throw me there and worry about how I got there later. You know you want to.
So, I did. And found out that I can still write. I plunged headfirst in the middle of the story and have now been writing for three days, like a maniac around the clock. Thanks to my character’s persistence. (I know this sounds insane, but I also know that other fiction writers get it. We’ve all experienced the exciting and disturbing moment when our characters become something more than just paper and ink, when they become three-dimensional, and grow a mind of their own.)
What I learned from this little setback is the simple truth that most writers know…
So, if You are struggling with the writer's block, why not try writing it away.
I’ve got so many ideas for new posts, but I’ve been too busy with making a paperback of my book to do anything else. I snitched a few moments to doodle a map of the places mentioned in the book, though. It’s very sketchy and shows only a part of the Torn Continent, but it gives you some understanding of the world in which my story takes place.
I’m a big fan of maps in fantasy books myself and somewhat ashamed of taking so long in publishing one of Braenduir. When I was starting to write Runecursed, I drew a pile of maps only to realize after the first draft of the story was finished that none of them was valid any longer. The outlines have remained much the same since the beginning, but I rewrote the book four times, and the world grew more detailed by every round, I changed some of the names half a dozen times and so on.
As I’m now intending to start rewriting the second book for the third time (I had it done by the time I published Runecursed, and for a while I actually imagined it was finished and needed only some light editing but have realized lately that the story is going to a completely wrong direction…), I didn’t dare draw let alone publish a map of the lands east from Naer Heigir yet as it’s bound to change for many times over still.
PS. I submitted the ebook on LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers, so, if you’re interested, there’s now 30 free copies available for the favorites of the Fortunes!
In my first post, I wrote about what inspires me, and as there are more than one such thing, I thought to return to the subject today. Besides the nature, I’ve always been greatly inspired by music. I can’t make any music myself, none whatsoever. I was a nightmare to my music teachers with my utter lack of the gift of playing any instrument or singing back in the days I went to school. Still, I love to listen to music, mostly rock and heavy metal, but when writing, I often got something instrumental playing on the background.
The lyrics tend to draw my attention away from the work, so, ambient and electric are my choices if I feel the need of background noise. When just listening to music, however, I like it the better the more complicated and profound the lyrics get. I’m inspired by the tone and lyrics both and listened a lot of the Nordic ambient and folk music while writing Runecursed.
It’s the type of music I think could be played in the taverns of Nortenmoor or at the Conflux Nights’ celebrations in the north. I can easily imagine myself sitting in a corner table at the Three Widows with a tankard of mead, listening to the scalds playing something comparable to these songs.
One of the things that inspire me on my creative work, is the northern nature. I never cease to be mesmerized by the subtle beauty that surrounds me when I go out of the door. I’ve always been a bit of a “tree hugger” and besides inspiration, the nature gives me much strength and solace.
Though in Runecursed, the influence of this particular source of inspiration isn’t quite as strong, as the events take place mostly at the western parts of the world, it is there to be found. When writing the book, I often felt that the world I’m creating is quite barren and dismal one, environment-wise, that is, but after much second-guessing, I decided that so be it. The Torn Continent as it is represents a world I’m familiar with and feel at home.
I’m hoping to put more of the north I have in me in the oncoming books of the series as the road will take my characters away from the Kingdoms, toward the northern parts of the continent where the sky is high and veiled with the skirts of frolicking maids of Faennulath, the goddess of night, as it was in our world last night.