Stephen Moore’s ebooks are half price at Smashwords until 11 March!

For readers of my older-children/young-adult fantasies, I thought you might like to know that until 11th March you can buy my ebooks at Smashwords.com for half price!

These titles are included in the sale (just follow the links):
Tooth and Claw by Stephen Moore https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…
Skin and Bone by Stephen Moore https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…
Dead Edward by Stephen Moore https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…
The Brugan by Stephen Moore https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…

Happy reading!

Tooth and Claw by Stephen MooreSkin and Bone by Stephen MooreThe Brugan by Stephen MooreDead Edward by Stephen Moore

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The beginning of a book is a very important event

The beginning of a book is a very important event. How so? It’s the hook that pulls a reader into the story… or fails and loses them forever. The hook might be the first sentence; the first paragraph or page even. Occasionally, a little more… No matter. This is where a reader takes the bait or lets it go to search elsewhere.

Personally, I love the start of a new book. It’s exciting. The journey has just begun. Everything is still to come. So…where might a book of mine begin? What’s the action, the event, the moment in time that needs to be revealed first? In truth, no two books are the same. The example I’m going to give is my foreword for “Fay”. There could be no other beginning, it’s integral to the reading of the whole work… though it’s too great of a spoiler to explain why here…

The arc of a rising sun lifted above the clouds, broke free, bleaching the morning sky silver-white.
With it came a momentary breeze, turning the leaves of a tree, tossing them restlessly. A disturbed red squirrel skittered between its branches searching for a safe refuge among the new summer foliage. A pair of anxious blackbirds, nesting there, began a fierce argument and sprang noisily into the air.
While deep, deep within its boughs, another life, another far more ancient spirit stirred and wakened.
She began to stretch, reaching up, through trunk and branch, through twig and leaf, into every last corner of her beloved tree. She relished the slowly gathering warmth of the new day she discovered there.
However, just as the wind quickly stilled, just as the squirrel and the quarrelling birds came quickly to rest again, so too did she. And mindless of a world outside, she drew back deep within herself and gave in once more to an ageless, peaceful slumber.

This ethereal, languid other-worldly event either intrigues us, or it passes us by… The first words and first action of Chapter One is in deliberate contrast:

It began with an argument.
It happened just outside, on our front doorstep in Collingwood Terrace. It wasn’t long after they closed down the local Glassworks, the day the bulldozers moved in to flatten the Oldburn allotments. I thought all Hell was breaking loose. There was my mum, and there was my dad, and they were going at each other like a pair of wild tomcats. This was one of their real Bad Do’s…

Did I get it right? You decide. You’re either hooked, or you’re not…

 

Fay

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“Graynelore” Publication Day!

Graynelore largeI’m excited and extremely pleased to announce that today is publication day for my fantasy novel GRAYNELORE (Publisher: HarperVoyager). I’ve been a children’s author for many years. Finally, here is my debut novel for all you grown-ups!

 GRAYNELORE is a brutal, lawless world, where a man’s only loyalty is to his grayne (his family). Murder, blackmail, theft and blood-feud are all part of daily life. Faerie tales are myths, strictly for the children. Why then is Rogrig Wishard – a hardened fighting-man who solves his problems with his sword – suddenly hearing voices and seeing faeries for real? What makes him embark upon a seemingly ridiculous quest to restore a Faerie Isle to the world? Is he mad or simply faerie-touched?

If he’s going to make any sense of it he’s going to have to go right to the source – the faeries themselves. But that’s easier said than done when the only information he has to go on is from bards and myth.

How might I best describe GRAYNELORE?

It’s a story of divided loyalty. An epic fantasy. A blood-soaked mystery. A grown-up faerie tale. And, in its own twisted way, a kind of love story…


Graynelore large

GRAYNELORE, published by HarperVoyager (paperback and ebook).

Suggested Readership: Grown-ups

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Why, when it comes to the written word, is property not property?

Accuse me of thinking too far ahead, but, how can it be fair, that in the 21st Century landed gentry can still earn income from land inherited from a distant 13th Century ancestor and yet, the descendents of an author looses the right to any income from that author’s work only 70 years after the author’s death?
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Why should the descendents of say, Charles Dickens or Robert Louis Stephenson, to name but two, not benefit from the work of their ancestors? (After all, the publisher still benefits; the booksellers too; and the tax man.) Because an author decides to plough the written word, rather than plough the fields of England should not be to their disadvantage.
Now, the laws of all countries surely differ, and I can only speak as an English layman. But I still cry,unfair!
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No doubt someone will attempt to persuade me of my ignorance. Land is, after all, land…physical property. A book is just…a series of ideas that have been written down, thus…intellectual property. I say, if there is a difference between these examples, there is also an obvious similarity; they are both property. So, I cry again, unfair!.

Oh, I’m forgetting, for us airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky creative types our work is our vocation. (Isn’t it amazing how often that word, vocation, is used to excuse poor reward for ever so many jobs and professions…?) Writers are, surely, only interested in leaving an artistic legacy to their heirs…?

Fay by Stephen          Moore

Every good book needs a good editor (Part Two)

I’ve just spent the best part of the last four weeks working on the edits of my fantasy novel, GRAYNELORE. There were some very long days, and there was often very little sleep. But all in all, the editing was much as I expected it to be – and just how I’ve described it in Part One of this blog! Yes, there were times when I had to think hard about the editorial comments made, but there was nothing I could not agreeably handle.

For those of you who might wonder exactly how the editing of a book is conducted, let me explain. There are three basic stages:

The Structual Edit

This is where the editor queries the story of the book. Is everything there that needs to be there to tell the story in the best possible way? Is anything missing? Indeed, is anything not needed? Is anything underwritten or overwritten? Is the pacing correct? Is there anything in the manuscript that might not be understood by the reader? All good and important stuff…. This is the longest stage in the editing process (well, at least it is for me). As all editing queries are informed suggestions – not commands – it often takes me as long to come to the conclusion that a particular editorial comment is not valid as it does to revise the text when I agree with a query.

The Copy Edit

This is where the copyeditor checks the manuscript for consistency and clarity in its written English. For example, are all the character/place names spelt the same throughout the manuscript (a simple, not uncommon, error)? Is the punctuation consistent? Is the writing style consistent? (In GRAYNELORE a narrator tells the story and he has his own very individual voice!) Does the use of English say what the author means it to say? This might all sound terribly dry and dull, but oddly enough, I enjoy this process, and my copyeditor was excellent; particularly at understanding the individual nuances of the narrator; and at uncovering the occasional accidental mistake made by the author.

The Proof Read

This is a final chance to check the manuscript for literal errors – typesetting mistakes and the like. You might well ask, after all the checking that has already gone on can there still be errors in the text? Well… yes. Nobody is perfect. Not the editors. Certainly not the author! It takes a skilled and careful eye to spot the last few typesetting mistakes that still lurk unnoticed among any manuscript. And if we’ve all come across the missing punctuation or misspelt word in the books we’ve read, rest assured; the author and the editors have done their level best to get it right.

And now that the editing of GRAYNELORE is complete and the manuscript has been returned to the publisher for the very last time, was the process worth it? Unreservedly, yes! GRAYNELORE is a better book for it. And I can be heartened by that, for I will not see the manuscript again until it appears in its finished published form…

Stephen Moore’s GRAYNELORE. Published by HarperVoyager  (paperback and ebook).

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Book Giveaway of Stephen Moore’s ‘Tooth and Claw’! (First Edition)

2015 marks the publication of my first fantasy for adults, GRAYNELORE (HarperVoyager August 13th) also making it my first new published work in any category for several years. As part of the celebrations, throughout the coming year, I will be offering a series of Book Giveaways from my back catalogue. This Goodreads* Giveaway is the very first.

What am I offering? Well, these are nice prizes. I am giving away TWO copies of TOOTH & CLAW, my best-selling title to date. So there are two chances to win. These are perfect, collectable, FIRST PRINTED EDITION copies (Hodder, April, 1998), from my own private collection, and they will be SIGNED by the author!

TOOTH & CLAW is a compelling epic animal fantasy. Mankind has gone from the city, abandoning their pet animals to fend for themselves. Leaving arch-rivals – the cats and the dogs – to fight with tooth and claw! The laws of Men are no more. And in the wild there is only one law… survival!

This Book Giveaway is live until 4th September 2015. To join in, simply follow the Giveaway links below and enter. And the very best of luck to everyone!

ENTER GIVEAWAY at Goodreads.

Tooth & Claw0022Suggested Readership: Young Adult

Not a Goodreads member? Missed out this time? Don’t worry, between August 13th 2015 and August 13th 2016 I will be offering similar exclusive Book Giveaways via my website. So keep a look out.

Every good book needs a good editor

As I write this I’m only hours away from receiving my editorial notes for my latest book, GRAYNELORE*. How do I feel about that? I’m excited – I actually like the editorial process, if I’m also anxious and just a little bit daunted. As yet I don’t know the size of the task that lies before me. What if my editor has suddenly found me out? After all these years, I’m not a writer at all…! And my book is such an awful mess it is beyond my skill to put it right? (I assure you, this is not very likely to happen. After all, my publisher does actually want to publish my book!)

I’m often asked: “But it’s your book! How can someone else simply come along and tell you to change it?” It’s a common misconception of the editorial process. In truth, that’s not how it goes. Could you, for example, ever imagine making a movie without a film editor?

Let me try to explain how the editorial process actually works. I must begin by saying that every book I have ever written has benefited from the process. I would go further and say, there is not a book in the world that could not be improved by a good editor. No author is perfect. No book is perfect.

An editor has exactly the same goal as the author. They simply want your book to be the best that it can be. They don’t want to re-write it, they don’t want to own it. When I write a book I’m creating a new universe: and I’m doing it all inside my head. When I come to write it down, I try my very best to get it right, to tell the story in the very best way I can. With nothing missed out and nothing superfluous to the tale.

Now, when an editor reads my book, they have never been inside my head. They only have the written words to go on. Those fresh pair of eyes can spot where perhaps some essential piece of information has been accidently omitted, or perhaps where too much is given away too early in the plot. They can see where the text appears unclear in its explanation. Or where the text has been overwritten or underwritten making the pacing of the story unbalanced. Many, many small things, that if put right will make the book all that much better.

And, of course, an editor can also see all the things that are absolutely right! And they will often tell the author so, which my sorely wounded ego gratefully welcomes.

Doesn’t the author have any say in this process? Well, yes, naturally. Author and editor are on the same team! And if no author is perfect, then neither is any editor… and they don’t pretend to be. (Not the good ones). Editorial comments are informed suggestions, not commands! An author is entitled to disagree. There may well be a little anguish (usually on the part of the author). There will certainly be discussion. And there will be resolution. Though never compromise… where the proverbial race horse becomes, inevitably, the proverbial donkey. Indeed, the editorial process works in favour of the author. And to give one famous example, using perhaps my favourite book of all time, it is why Robert Louis Stephenson’s classic work is entitled, ‘Treasure Island’, and not, as he would have had it, ‘The Sea Cook’.

But for now I must stop! Something important has arrived in my mail box. Wish me well. I’ll let you know how I get on…

*Stephen Moore’s GRAYNELORE (published by HarperVoyager in paperback and ebook).

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Can you ask an author to review their own books…?

Surely the very idea is perverse? The nearest I ever get to my own review is when I’m asked, in all innocence, which of my books is my favourite…? My answer is always the same: the book I am writing now. (But that is another tale.)

I, the author, gave my books life. I know their faults and their perfections. I understand them. They are mine. Would you ask me to choose between my own children? At times, as I wrote them, I struggled desperately; I loved them, I hated them…I spent endless days, endless nights, making them the very best I could. I was always their meanest critic and their greatest champion. And once conceived I fought furiously to bring them into the world. I know that dark battle…the between times…when my work remains only a manuscript, not yet a book. That brutal fight towards publication…the anxious wait…the rejection…oh, the rejection…And I know the joy, the sublime joy, of their birth.

And yet, there it is – the offer is always open – each time I look upon one of my books on an internet bookstore, or on a book-reader’s site, such as Goodreads. Would I like to review my book? Would I like to tell the world what I think? How many ‘stars’ would I give it? Those beautiful stars…

It is curiously tempting…only I have, so far, always resisted.
Could I possibly be unbiased…? I think not.
Could I possibly tell the truth…? Yes.
Will I ever do it? I might…maybe…then again…

Fay by Stephen          Moore

Who are children’s books written for?

There’s an obvious answer to this question, of course. But here’s another notion for you…Children’s books are written for all readers.

Might I explain? When I first began to write, which was back in about 1994, I didn’t have a clue who I was writing for, if not myself.

I grew up with a profound love of art: the sticky, wet, colourful, practical side of art. I wanted to make art. I did; eventually becoming quite a successful graphic and exhibition designer (he says modestly). As a kid, I read heavily illustrated English and American comics. The likes of, “The Beezer” and “The Beano” on one side and Marvel Comics “Astounding Tales” on the other. Any ‘real’ books I read drew me to them because of their illustrations first, not their words. That’s how I met one of my favourite books of all time, Robert Louis Stephenson’s “Treasure Island” (which, incidentally, is why it gets a name-check in my first children’s novel, “Spilling the Magic”.)

So, it was always art for me. (If, technically, I did write my very first ‘book’ aged 9, when I broke my leg and spent three months up to my thigh in plaster. It was called, ‘My Farm’, an undoubted classic…thankfully lost to history.)

Anyway, it was always art for me… Until, one extraordinary day, I began to get ideas with words in them…! To be honest, at first, they puzzled me. What was this? Poetry…? Songs…? Nah! What then…?

In the end, I found myself writing a story…that began to turn itself into a book. The book was called, “The Spellbinder”. When I knew I had the beginnings of a book, I sought out other authors, and it was only then that it became clear I was writing a children’s book. Eventually, “The Spellbinder” became my first published book, though it went through a name change and is better known as, “Spilling the Magic”.

OK then…I didn’t begin by trying to write a book for children. I simply wrote…I still do. So, who are children’s books written for?

For me, what marks a book out as a children’s book, is that it’s written in such a way that a young reader can understand and enjoy it. With content appropriate for the youngest readership you want to attract. But there is no upper age limit.

The very best children’s books are fulfilling reads for everyone! Children’s books are written for allreaders.

Fay by Stephen          Moore

Stephen Moore signs a new book publishing deal!

Please forgive me for being a little excited, but I’ve been keeping this a secret within my inner circle for quite some time now, and I’m almost bursting! But I can, at long last, reveal it to you all. Yes it’s true! I have indeed signed a new book deal! It’s exciting for several reasons:
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To begin with, it means I have a brand new book coming out very soon. My first in a long while. It’s also wonderful that my publisher is none other than, HarperVoyager, – the fantasy/sci-fi arm of HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest publishers – for which I thank them most sincerely.
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And if that isn’t excitement enough, my new book is extra special in another way. How so? Well… Grown-up followers of my children’s books have been nagging me for many, many years to write something especially for them. And guess what? Now I have! You see, my new work is my very first book for adults!
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It’s a fantasy novel entitled, ‘Graynelore’. The ebook will be published this summer and the paperback in early 2016. (Publication dates to follow soon!) Over the coming weeks and months I will, no doubt, be telling you all about ‘Graynelore’. For now, I’ll simply leave you in anticipation…

Some of my favourite books are not the best books in the world.

True! Some of my favourite books are not the best books in the world. Let me say, to begin with; there is no such thing as the perfect book… mine included… (and if that doesn’t cause an argument, a debate at least, nothing will!) But count your blessings, I say! Trying to say exactly what we want to say and trying to say it in the best possible way is exactly what authors strive to do. And that’s irrespective of why we are writing… to entertain, inform, educate or whatever. It would be a conceited author (nay, a fool) who ever thought their work was anywhere near perfect: and that author would be heading for a fall.
Are there masterpieces? Yes, absolutely. Overlooked books that deserve a better readership? Definitely, yes! Massive best sellers that are, to put it politely, stinkers! Oh, yes… ever so many! (Whoever said life was fair?)
Can there be a reader, who hasn’t gotten part way through a book only to find themselves annoyed at the author for leading them that far into their work, just to abandon them there… the book has lost its way, lost its interest, or become meaningless? Hmmm, I know I have. Sometimes I forgive the author and carry on; if I feel the work, so far, has meant something to me in some way. Quite often though, I don’t; particularly with authors, or indeed with publishers, I think should know better.
Mind you, the author didn’t mean to do that to you. So let’s try to take a balanced view… If the author could be a better author, then; could the reader be a better reader? (Oh oh, I can feel another argument coming on.)
Make better reading choices. All readers, from kids to grown-ups are maybe guilty here. Don’t take on something you’re not ready for… it might be the nature of the writing style, the complexity of story… even the length of the book. Don’t read something just on someone else’s, say so, or because the cover looks similar to something else you’ve already read, or because there’s a great big advertising campaign telling you that you must. And if you get part way through and just can’t go on… Then stop.
Pick something else… there’s always something else.

Tooth and Claw (H fantasy) by Stephen          Moore

Free ebook in return for honest reviews

I’m looking for fresh, up-to-date and honest reviews of two of my children’s books. In return, I’m offering a free ebook to reviewers, available in either of these formats: Mobi (Kindle) ePub (Sony / Nook / iPad / Kobo).

The books are: “Tooth and Claw”. An epic animal fantasy adventure, recommended for young adult readers. And “The Brugan”. A fantasy adventure, recommended for older children / young adult readers.

If you are a book reviewer and would like to participate please send me an email via my contact page. Please choose only ONE title to review in the first instance. Mark your message either; REVIEW TOOTH AND CLAW or REVIEW BRUGAN and tell me your preferred ebook format.

What do I expect from reviewers? A totally honest review, to be posted by you on some/all of these platforms: Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, perhaps on your own site or other personal favourite, if you’d be so kind. I’m looking at a sensible time scale of around four/five weeks from book receipt to review.

Tooth and Claw

The Brugan

Does the length of a book really matter?

There seems to be a growing debate regarding the length of books… Are longer books better? Are shorter books, somehow, short-changing readers? Speaking as an author my response to both questions is a straight forward, no! And that is regardless of the genre or the audience I am writing for.

Let me explain. For me, it’s not a case of making a book a certain length – short or long – rather, it’s about making a book the length it needs to be to tell the story I want to tell. Be it short or long; does not matter. Either lengthening a book with unnecessary stuffing to make it artificially longer, or under-writing a book to make it artificially shorter are both unforgiveable crimes in my eyes. In the end, it is the quality of the story being told that counts not its length.

I do feel for the reader who is so enamoured of a short book that they are sorely disappointed when it comes to its end, wishing that it could go on and on… However, all good things must come to an end! And as long as that end is in the right place for the story being told, I’m happy with that. Because I also feel for the reader who struggles through the pages of an over-written over-long novel, desperately wanting to know how the story turns out, but only wishing that it would hurry on up and get there.

Once upon a time, when all books were printed, there were good practical reasons for artificially making certain types of book a certain length. For example, to physically make and bind a printed hardback book at a particular size meant an exact number of pages being needed to make the exercise economic. No printer or publisher can afford to print blank pages or to throw away excessive amounts of waste paper. Of course, today, with modern printing techniques and the benefit of the ebook revolution this is no longer a good argument.

So, certainly, the length of a book matters… I could not agree more. Every book has to be the right length! And that is all part of the author’s craft.

Below are my shortest and longest fantasy books to-date. (Suggested readership: Older Children/Young Adult )

FayTooth and Claw

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Where did the idea for “Tooth and Claw” come from?

It has been exactly one year since I wrote my very first blog. To celebrate I’m revisiting that blog with new material that gives a little more insight into the birth of the idea that lead me to write my epic animal-fantasy, “Tooth and Claw”. I hope you enjoy it.

The one question, above all others, I’m always being asked as a writer is… Where do you get your ideas? So, when talking about my most successful book to-date, ‘Tooth and Claw’ – originally published in 1998, and the first of my books re-released as an e-book – where the idea came from is a good place to start.

Firstly, I’ve spent most of my working life in the creative arts; as a designer, and as an author. I’ve always played with ideas and I can often catch them completely out of thin air! (Lucky me!) However, sometimes the source of an idea can be pinned down… to an event, or a place, or an experience. And just as often, to this simple question… What if?

The idea for, ‘Tooth and Claw’ is a, What if?

For many years I shared my home with a cat. She was a sleek, fine-boned tortoiseshell called, Jenny. During the day, she was a lazy, sleepyhead; a good-for-nothing house cat. But in the late evening she would wake herself up and make her way slowly to the front door; where she would cry at the top of her voice until I came and opened up the door to let her out. As the door was opened Jenny would change. Suddenly purposeful, she would stance boldly. Her tail would stand upright. Her ears would prick and her nose would twitch as she began to take in the sights and sounds of the outside world. Then, when she was good and ready, she would dart out into night. The domestic cat was instantly gone, and the wild hunter took her place. She never hesitated, she never looked back. She was more than happy to leave the safety and comfort of the house behind her. Why? Because she was confident that when she returned to the house in the early morning I would always be there to let her in again. I would feed her and pamper her, and she would have a deliciously soft bed to sleep upon. And so it was…

Every night, year upon year, Jenny went through this performance. And every morning I was always there for her.

And then, one night, as she left, I asked myself a question… What if? What if, tomorrow morning I was not there to let her in again? What if the house was empty; closed up and locked against her? What would she do then? What would become of her?

This was where the core idea for, ‘Tooth and Claw’ was born. Only the idea was to grow much, much larger…

You see, around the same time, I went on holiday with my family to Oludeniz, a small extremely beautiful beach resort, in the Fethiye district of South West Turkey. (It boasts its own blue lagoon.) While we were there we took it upon ourselves to walk to the nearby hill-top town of Kayakay. However, Kayakay was a most unusual place. It was, in fact, a true ghost town… Completely abandoned in 1922, after the Greco-Turkish War, its buildings were all still standing, largely intact. I remember the stonework of the empty buildings standing out starkly against the hillside. I remember its silence, its stillness… The monumental emptiness of it all was quite overwhelming… if strangely peaceful too. It was an experience I have never forgotten. Indeed, it helped set the stage for “Tooth and Claw”.

No longer was it to be the story of just one cat locked out of one house. Instead, it became the story of all the cats and all the dogs across a whole city (if a very British post-industrial city). All of them; abandoned on a single night, when the human population is suddenly evacuated, and forced to leave their pets behind.

Ultimately, the story became the struggle of those abandoned pets to survive… alone. And the beginning of an epic adventure…

Tooth and Claw

Suggested Readership: Older Children/Young Adult

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Hello everyone, from Stephen Moore

Hi folks. This is where my blog on my website begins… When I blog it’s exclusively about writing! Mine and the world of writing in general, with the odd book review thrown in along the way… As I’m a fantasy author, I’ll talk about my own writing experience, what I’m currently up to, and I’ll debate any current writing issues I think relevant.

For a long time now I’ve been blogging from my Goodreads platform, so this is a change for me. It’s my intention to deliver my blog from both platforms for now. As well as new material, I may also update and re-publish some of my existing Goodreads back-catalogue if I feel there is value in it for readers on my website.

To give you something to be going on with, here’s a link to my current Goodreads blog for you to check out. And thank you so much for taking the time to look this way. Please feel free to leave a comment!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7166243.Stephen_Moore/blog

Fay