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Andrew's erotic novelette, 'Eton Mess', is now available!



Monday, 26 December 2011

Boy Racer

I don’t have much to report in terms of my writing at the moment.  ‘The Well’ has been assigned to an editor, so that appears to be going along.

The first story I ever got paid for was a short called ‘Boy Racer’ which appeared in the long defunct ‘Planet Prozak’.  In fact, Planet Prozak is so long defunct I can’t find anything but passing references to the magazine on the internet. 

As things are a bit quiet, and for a bit of fun, I’ve cut ‘Boy Racer’ into a few bite size chunks, and I’ll serialise it in several bursts over the Christmas and New year break on my Facebook page:

http://tinyurl.com/bwnlkwt

‘Boy Racer’ is a humorous fantasy without any horror elements for the squeamish to avoid.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Interview!

I was recently interviewed by fellow writer Neil Evans.  Neil has read ‘The Shoot’ and has a few words to say about that.

Thank you to Neil for having me, and apologies for the delay in putting up this notice.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Live Chat

Fellow Eternal Press author Gianna Bruno has invited me – along with erotic and historical romance author Alice Gaines – to a pre-Thanksgiving chat.

This’ll be at 1-3pm EST (6-8pm UK time) tonight – Saturday 19th at the Coffee Time Romance Group - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/karendevinkaren/

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

From Legend to Fiction

Occasionally I get asked about my thought process for writing fiction based on myth, and in particular how I go about fleshing out the bare bones of stories and characters.

Anyone who knows me will know how much I love the wild moors and mountains of north Wales, and the ancient, gentle legends that abound in the region – it seems that every hill, river or town has a host of Celtic stories attached to it.

I’m toying with rewriting one of may favourite Welsh myths – the story of King Math of Gwynedd and his footholder, the beautiful Geowin.

In the story, Math is tricked into leaving Geowin unprotected, where she is ‘taken’ (to be tactful) by his nephews.  Math finds out, and makes Geowin his wife to maintain her honour, while banishing the nephews.

So, among the questions the writer needs to ask…

What did the characters look like?

What does a footholder do?  (I don’t subscribe to the view that the king needed a virgin to hold his foot otherwise he would die.  I prefer something more straightforward, like hiring a nursemaid to look after an old wound that needs continual treatment.)

Was Geowin an unfortunate victim of circumstances who became queen by luck?  Or was she a manipulative young woman who seduced two impressionable young men and was prepared to see them banished in her drive to be queen?

The story of Math is a particularly complicated one, with sub-plots and war and magic.  Most of the places mentioned in the story are easily identifiable, and I know some of them very well.

I may or may not ever decide to turn this into a novel.  If I do, one of the fun bits will be filling in the blanks left by the ancient storytellers!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Doe-Dragon Blurb Listed

Up and coming British thriller writer Neil Evans has kindly put ‘The Doe and the Dragon’s’ blurb on his blog.

I’ve had the opportunity to read a portion of Neil’s current draft novel.  At the moment he’s unpublished, but if the quality of what I’ve read is maintained throughout, that won’t be the case for long.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Black Death - Review

‘Black Death’ is a horror film I wasn’t aware of until I found a cheap copy in my exchange shop.  It stars Sean Bean, who plays a role not dissimilar to that of Boromir in ‘Lord of the Rings’.

The story is set in England at the time of the Black Death, and uses the plague to good horror effect, with corpses that get the viewer into the mood immediately.

Bean’s character and the hero – a young monk – have to make a journey across England to look for a sorcerer whose capture they believe would halt the disease.  The plot is simple but effective (the sort that makes you ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”) and the horror elements are emphasised throughout, but sewn into the story seamlessly without being forced.

I thought the special effects were particularly effective.  That is, there aren’t (m)any, and the lack of flashy graphics give the film a realistic look, rather than the almost ‘cartoony’ feel of films where special effects play an important role.

There were some elements that didn’t quite work for me.  As a historian I thought some of the sets more continental and perhaps more dated than I’d expect from medieval England – although in fairness that did add to he atmosphere.  My main concern though was in the exposition at the end.  Although dramatically done, I do know if I’d tried explaining the plot in a novel my critiquers would give me a good kicking!

But overall it’s a fun, well crafted film and deserves to be more widely known.  8/10

Friday, 2 September 2011

‘Well’ Update

I’ve had an email from eTreasures Publishing updating me on ‘The Well’s’ progress.

Release has been delayed by work on ETP’s theme novellas, but the manuscript went for second editing in late August, so things are moving!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review - The Saw Films

Despite writing the occasional slasher, I’ve never particularly been a fan of films with a lot of gore.  I saw the first Saw film when I bought a very cheap second hand copy, and almost had to dare myself to sit down and watch it.

I was very pleasantly surprised.  The film did have gore, yes, but the overall plot – of a dying madman forcing tests on people to see how badly they want to live – stands up very well.

I’ve managed to get hold of the rest of the series – seven in all, I think - and watched the lot over the last year or so.  Toward the middle the films seemed to become more interested in gore than plot which disappointed, but they do contain enough continuity from the earlier films to retain interest.  Each film is a stand alone, but also refers back cleverly to those that came before it.

The final film was back in the spirit of the earlier films, with characters and plot playing a more important role.  The film also brings things full circle and while the resolution is a little complicated, it’s good to have the loose ends from previous films in the series tied up.

In all, this is an entertaining series of films.  They’re not perfect, but as well as being violent they made me think a bit about human nature.  I think it’s best to watch them all quite close together so as to keep a grasp of the complicated strands that run through the series.

It’s difficult to give a mark out of ten because some in the series are so much better than others.  However, I’m pleased to have watched the lot and there is certainly more to like than to dislike.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Do I write the wrong genre?

I was talking to someone a few days ago, and it got mentioned that I do writing.  As usual I was asked what I write, and as usual I said I usually do Celtic-based fantasy/horror.  I added that I’ve also had a short GLBT erotic piece published (‘The Shoot’, published by Eternal Press). 

He was more interested in this than in all my horror/fantasy books put together!

While I’m as proud of Shoot as I am of any of my books, it is frustrating that people don’t seem as interested in my longer horror works, which I enjoy writing more and which I think of as ‘my’ genre.

I’ve often read that erotica is ‘the’ genre to write in.  Maybe I’ll have to think about doing some more!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Character interview to come!

I’m putting together an ‘interview’ with Connie Straker, Heroine of ‘The Well’.  More details to come.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Interview: ‘The Wood’s’ Kath Mahoney

I was going to provide some of my thoughts on the creation of The Wood. My ideas, though, are reflected in the character of my heroine, Kathleen Mahoney. What better, then, for Kath to explain the background to the book in an interview a few days before the book opens?  (Kath is also my heroine in The Shoot, a prequel to Wood.)

She sits on an ordinary settee in an ordinary flat. Only a scattering of books drop any hint that she is one of Ireland’s moist gifted young historians. Green eyes regard me with uncertainty; long black hair is pulled around her, as if acting as a subconscious barrier between us.

One of Kath’s friends, with her hair dyed a trendy white, pushes a coffee into my hands. “I’m Philippa. Pippa. I’m Kath’s best mate. I’m here to tell you what a brilliant historian she is, because Kath is too modest to blow her own trumpet.”

There is a strained silence, so I begin by asking Kath when she first realised she had a flair for Celtic history.

She shrugs. “I don’t think I ever thought I had a gift or a flair. I always assumed the reason I seemed to do well in history lessons was because I liked the subject and worked hard.”

“See! I told you she was modest,” Pippa broke in.

“But you must have known you were good when you got your degree and then your doctorate.”

“Effortlessly,” Pippa added.  Her blue eyes are sparkling.

Kath fingers her mug and sips coffee before answering. “I suppose, as the citations mounted, I began to realise people were interested in my opinion.”

“And what is your opinion?”

She shrugs again. “My opinion is much the same as anyone else’s, I suppose. The Celts had so many different beliefs, but they were completely different to anything anyone takes seriously in this day and age.”

I drink some coffee while I wait for Kath to continue.

“It’s generally accepted that druids were in the upper reaches of society, and were close to the kings. Like the church and the medieval monarchy. And like Egyptian priests and pharaohs.” She leans forward with her eyes wide and passionate. “The beliefs all seem to make sense in a logical way, if you take away our scientific understanding. But, of course no-one will ever have seen any of the gods or spirits or monsters they believed in.”

“I suppose not,” I said.

“So, it makes sense that the druids fuelled superstition by claiming to have experienced these things themselves. I can’t prove it, of course, but that’s what I reckon happened.”

“And she’s had all the academic world sitting up and taking notice,” Pippa adds.

Kath tightens her hair around her. I’m certain she’s starting to blush. Embarrassment, I suppose. She does seem to be modest.

I said, “Anyway, you’re having your thesis published, and you’ve been invited to publicise it.”

“Yeah. Nine of us have been invited on an overnight live role playing adventure, celebrating the Celtic myths. We’re going to walk through a wood, and pretend we’re living in a place where the myths are real.”

“If you need eight others, who else is going?”

“I am!” Pippa exclaims. “Although roughing overnight in a pretend fantasy world it isn’t really my thing. I’d rather be shopping.”

Kath grins and flicks her eyes to the ceiling. “My professor, Max is going, too.”

“He’s more into Celts than spending money.” Pippa tuts. “I wonder if they’ll have a visitor centre with Celtic jewellery.”

“And Aaron’s going. He’s one of my undergraduates, but he does a lot of my research on the side.”

“Only ‘cos he fancies you, Kath.” Pippa gives a suggestive wink. “There are loads of us going. The organisers said we have to have a party of nine. It’s a sacred number that’ll keep us safe.”

“What happens if someone drops out and you don’t have nine?”

Kath shrugs.

Pippa laughs. “I suppose without the magic of nine to help us, we’d all die unspeakably horrible deaths.”

(This interview originally appeared on my web site.)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Horror and Celtic Fantasy

When people find out I’m a novelist, the first question I usually get asked is, “What do you write?”

When I say Celtic fantasy/horror, the second question I get asked is, “Why?”

Well, that’s a long story…

I’ve always liked horror, even as a kid.  That’s partly because it was difficult to get hold of – as a child I was (probably rightly) shielded from much that was unpleasant.  On the other hand, having it forbidden raised my curiosity and as a teenager I read as much horror as I could, and when I was 18 hired horror videos. 

Having read and watched horror I learned something of how it works - in terms of plot structure and the like – so it made sense to write in the genre.  I’m not keen on mad serial killers no mater how well done (for example Halloween), and much prefer supernatural horror.

I’ve read some fantasy and quite liked it, and I’m happy to bring some fantasy themes into my work.  I get frustrated by the lack of ‘realism’ in fantasy fiction though - fantasy worlds in fiction seem unreasonably comfortable.  I want to show the constant battles against disease and starvation people faced, and to include the unpleasant deaths available instead of assuming everyone breaths their last peacefully in their sleep, or with a short, swift, instantaneous arrow to the heart.

In short, I think fantasy lacks the ‘bite’ that draws me to horror.

It’s myths, though, that particularly interest me.  I studied the post-Roman Celts at university, and I read some of their legends.  Celtic myths and legends made an immediate impact on me, and having lived in Wales I’ve got to know some of their settings intimately.  The stories have some obvious fantasy elements, too.  Having decided on supernatural horror as my subject matter, it wasn’t a surprise that I turned to the Celts and their fantasy-themed stories for inspiration.

So, that’s how I came to concentrate on Celtic fantasy/horror.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Review of ‘The Descent’ 1 and 2

I’ll start of by admitting a bias – I think ‘The Descent’ might be the best horror film I’ve ever seen.

The premise isn’t different from a lot of horror flicks – get a group of people together, and have them picked off one by one.  Where ‘The Descent’ differs, though, is in that the tension is maintained throughout, and the claustrophobia of a previously undiscovered cave system comes over brilliantly. 

The six characters are out of their depth as they have to battle their unfamiliar, tight environment as well as the monsters.  It’s this extra dimension as well as the skilled pacing that place this film among the best.

I give ‘The Descent’ 10/10.  It’s that good.

Like a lot of sequels, ‘The Descent Part 2’ suffers from being a sequel.  There’s nothing much wrong with it as a film, but the premise is the same – explorers underground in an uncharted cave system.  The monsters are familiar by now, so lose a little of their scariness.  This left little scope for anything new, so the gore and general ‘yuk’ factor has been upped at the expense of original plot.

If the first film hadn’t been made I reckon we’d all be drooling over the sequel (does that make sense?).  Anyone seeing ‘The Descent Part 2’ first is likely to be impressed, and because of that I’ll give it 8/10.

Roll on ‘The Descent Part 3’!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Review of ‘The Ruins’

Static Multimedia’s review of ‘The Wood’ likened it in some aspects to Scott Smith’s ‘The Ruins’.  It wasn’t a story I’m familiar with and I still haven’t read the print version, but I have managed to get my hands on the DVD.  From reading both synopses on Wikepedia the two seem to be slightly different so this review will concentrate on the film version.

(Static Multimedia’s review of ‘The Wood’ isn’t live any more, but I have a Word copy which I’ll post at some stage.)

Anyway, I can see why Static Multimedia would think ‘The Wood’ similar to ‘The Ruins’.  Both feature a group of people thrown together, whose numbers are reduced as the horror picks them off one by one and both are, as the review says, tales of ‘…unbeatable odds.’

‘The Ruins’ is as much psychological as bloody, with most of the gore being less explicit than I’d expect of an 18 certificate film.  That, of course, is an observation rather than a criticism, and the film has enough tension and a good enough ending to be a worthy, if somewhat routine, watch.

On the downside, the deaths are nearly all the same, with little variety.  The plot has several unplugged holes and as an (ex)archaeologist I was disappointed that the Mayan setting provided nothing more than the film’s location.

Overall, this is one where the tension just about overcomes the flaws and I’d give it six out of ten.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Doe-Dragon Print Release

Rogue Phoenix Press have confirmed to me that the print version of ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ will be available around a month after release, although this is flexible. 

This might put the print release at some time in early June.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Release Day!

So, I woke up this morning to find myself a published novelist for the fourth time (okay, ‘The Shoot’ was a novelette…).

The Doe and the Dragon’ is released today, from Rogue Phoenix Press.

As with any book it’s my name on the cover, but there are a number of other people without whose help it wouldn’t have happened.  So, thank you to, in no particular order:

* Rogue Phoenix Press for accepting the work and all the editing;

* Genene Valleau for a great cover;

* Philip McCormac for, as usual, ploughing through the very first draft and helping me get the outline plot in shape;

* Carole Ann Moleti and Cathy Chance who read the novel, and in particular for their help refining the characters, their relationships, and the romance (which I found the most difficult elements);

* The numerous Critters and others who provided suggestions and advice along the way;

* Finally, but by no means least, to Emma and Peter for their support and their willingness to walk across stunning Welsh scenery (often weighed down by ice creams) to help me check out various locations in the novel.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Doe-Dragon Trailer

Here’s the trailer for ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ from my YouTube channel: 

 

Acknowledgement to Peter Richardson.

Trailers for all my books are on my YouTube Channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/AndrewJRichardson

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Well

So, contracts have been signed, so I’ll confirm that The Well will be published by eTreasures Publishing.  A big thank you for showing faith in the story.

A possible publication date is 30 May, but this still has to be fully confirmed.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Friday, 22 April 2011

Monkey Hangers…

I’ve pointed out several times that ‘The doe and the Dragon’ incorporates myths and legends from Arthurian North Wales.  It also includes one story that has little to do with Wales, but which gave inspiration for one of the events in the novel.

The Napoleonic Wars are separated from Arthur by a thousand years, and then some, but there one event from the Napoleonic era that I couldn’t resist slipping into the novel.  Legend is that a French ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool, in north-east England.  The only survivor was the ship’s monkey, who was dressed in a French uniform, and, naturally, spoke gibberish that the people of Hartlepool didn’t understand.

The locals hung the monkey as a French spy, and since then the good people of Hartlepool have been known – with varying degrees of affection - as ‘Monkey Hangers’.

The story may or may not be true, but I couldn’t resist having a couple of monkeys mistaken for the enemy by a naive character in ‘The Doe and the Dragon’.  Of course, I don’t have the monkeys hung, they end up…well, you’ll just have to read the book!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

”…a Grim but Spellbinding Tale…”

So says prolific Black Horse Western author Philip McCormac about ‘The Doe and the Dragon’.  Here are Phil’s comments in full:
“There are those writers who do historical and are good at what they do. Then there are those who write horror and that’s good too. But Andrew Richardson melds the two and his talent is such it works excellently well. Throw these ingredients into a cauldron of Celtic savagery and magic and you wallow in a grim but spellbinding tale of heroic warriors and beautiful maidens.”

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Doe-Dragon ‘Blurb’

DoeDragonFront200

‘The Doe and the Dragon’ is published on May 1.  It’s a historical fantasy set around Welsh myths, in 5th century north Wales.  The story includes legendary characters such as Merlin, Vortigern, Uther Pendragon, the Lady of the Lake, and Igraine in a historical setting.

The book will be available from Rogue Phoenix Press.

Here is the ‘blurb’:

Prince Einion, The Impetuous Warlord of Gwynedd, boasts that he fears nothing.  Deep inside, though, he is terrified of beautiful women and would rather face a hundred Saxon warriors than have to approach a pretty maiden.

Breena, a settler-girl, captures Einion’s heart when he comes across her in an enchanted valley.  His tongue dries and ties itself in knots, rendering him incapable of speech.  She runs away, fearing he is a spirit form the Otherworld --but the smitten prince vows to woo her.

When Breena is captured by Einion’s enemy, the prince must overcome sadistic raiders, religious intolerance, and an ancient, violent evil in his attempt to rescue her.  Only then can he try to win what he most desires-- the stunning woman who terrifies him more than any enemy he has faced on the battlefield.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Doe-Dragon Release Date: 1 May

DoeDragonFront200

A reminder that my Arthurian-period historical fantasy, ‘The Doe and the Dragon’, is due for release on 1 May, from Rogue Phoenix Press!

There are a couple of previews to come before release, and I’ll post links when they’re available.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Doe and the Dragon Listed

I’ve been doing some surfing, and found the “The Doe and the Dragon’s” first listing – at Manic Readers.  They’ve got my name a bit wrong, but I assume that’s a database error that will soon be rectified. 

Here’s the link: http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=bookdetail&bookid=12033

Friday, 18 February 2011

Einion the Dragon

‘The Doe and The Dragon’ continues to near publication.  I’ve sent final edits back to Rogue Phoenix Press, and I assume the next stage is to await a publication date.

The novel is set in fifth-century north Wales, and the hero is the semi-historical Einion Yrth (‘The Impetuous’).  But who was Einion Yrth?  And how have I treated him?

According to the myths, Cunedda was a minor kingt who came down from the north of England to settle in north Wales to help fend off Irish raids.  He had numerous sons who travelled with him, and Einion later became king of the region, despite being the youngest.  (Sadly for romantics, historians are trending to the view that the story and sons are made up to give the dynasty a history and provide names for sub-kingdoms.)

We know little else about Einion, but his title ‘Yrth’ has led some to suggest he might have been the original Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father, of course).

I had to make Einion heroic because he must be worthy of being a leader.  But I also wanted him vulnerable, to make him sympathetic.  So, I have him self-confident, and of course impetuousness, and quick to anger.  But I gave him a flaw – an inability to deal with beautiful women. 

It is this shyness that I have tried to play up in the story; he loves Breena, the beautiful Irish woman he meets, but does not know how to woo her.  This isn’t a story about heroism or good against evil, or about history, although they all play an important part.  It is about Einion’s almost blundering efforts to win the hand of the woman he loves.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Spotlight Day

Fellow Eternal Press author Gianna Bruno has invited me to join her ‘Spotlight Day’ at Coffee Time Romance this Thursday, 10 February.

We’ll be talking about writing from the viewpoint of the opposite sex, and I’ll also give an update of where we are with getting ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ and ‘The Well’ published.

Please come and join us!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Writing Review of 2010

At this time of year the world seems to be full of reviews of 2010, so I though I’d do a brief one, too.

In terms of output, the year was a slightly disappointing one. A mixture of computer problems, Junior needing the main PC for exam work, and family illnesses meant several periods of inactivity. Not only did that mean less writing, but also problems of continuity – it’s not easy to remember the detail of what characters are doing when I haven’t been able to work on them for a week!

I did finish one novel, though, which is due to go through Critters in the next week or so. I do think the various breaks have had an impact, but I’ll know soon whether Critters agree.

I’ve not had any new publications, but acceptances for ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ and ‘The Well’. Both are due for release in 2011.

It’s also been a good year for writing friends. Gianna Bruno has had ‘Hot Chocolate Kiss’ and ‘The Journey’ released. Phil McCormac has continued with his line of westerns, and has also seen his first crime novel published. Congratulations to you both.