The hobbit lives! | An update

It has been an absolute age since I posted on this blog. I don’t even have a good reason for my absence, beyond concentrating on Acres of Ink, my wedding, my book, and training. So, here’s a quick update on my life and what you can expect from me in the next few months!


ACRES OF INK

Acres of InkFor those of you who don’t know, Acres of Ink is my developmental editing service. I work exclusively on fiction novels and offer a ‘free sample’ editing service of up to 3,000 words for new clients – check it out!

I’m very pleased to announce I had a successful first quarter, testing the waters and getting glowing feedback from my clients. I’m now stepping things up a bit by adding an editing blog to enhance my services. This will be similar to the ‘Writing Is Hard‘ section that used to be on here and will focus on Character Development, Plot Development, World Building, plus some editing tips and tricks. My first blog series will be about the amazing advice I recently received during a workshop in Bloomsbury (home of Harry Potter). If that  sounds up your street, make sure follow the blog so you don’t miss anything!

Ron


MY WEDDING

CountdownI’m getting married in 106 days! I’m not sure how I got to this stage in my life but I’m suddenly 30 years’ old and have impending nuptials to organise. Most of the ‘big things’ have been done already but I’m sure I’m forgetting something… the to-do list is loooooong. On the plus side, I get to try on my chosen dress for the first time next Thursday. [Cue stereotypically girly squealing].


MY BOOK

The main event! So, as I mentioned earlier, I attended a Bloomsbury workshop that focused on YA and Middle Grade novels (my special interest genres). The day was utterly amazing and full of excellent advice. I’ll be sharing most of this advice on the Acres of Ink Blog in coming weeks, but it also inspired me to change my first three chapters ever so slightly. The impact of the opening chapters has now increased tenfold and I’m now readying my query letter! 2019 will be my year.


MY TRAINING

EyeammakingadifferenceTraining for what, you may ask. Well, in my infinite wisdom, I decided that 2019 was the year to give back to charities that have helped me become who I am today. So, on Sunday 10th March, I will be walking 14 miles (22.5km) to raise money for Moorfields’ Eye Charity. Moorfields saved my sight when I was 10 and their care and expertise is the reason I can still read and write (and edit) today. My sight is so integral to everything that brings me joy in my life, so I thought I’d take the time to support the amazing work they do.

If you’d like to find out more about my story or what Moorfields does – or if you’d like to donate some pennies to the cause! – then you can do that here >>

Aaaaand… if you fancy seeing a very tired, very red-faced hobbit, you can follow my updates on Instagram (@kfgooodacre.writing).


ONE MORE THING

I’m bringing back my book reviews! I’ll be starting with Circe by Madeline Miller and The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab. Watch this space!

 

2019 | My year of… why not?

 

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It’s that time of year again when everyone makes promises they keep for two weeks before reverting back to form. I won’t lie, I am one of those people too, although 2018 was slightly more successful because I managed one resolution (to update my blog every week) for a grand total of FORTY-ONE WEEKS.

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Then life got in the way and I failed spectacularly but never mind! I’ll finish off the Acres of Ink Challenge next year and I’d be delighted if you’d join me. I’ll be hosting the retweets over at @AcresofInk in 2019, so feel free to follow and get to know me over there.

Right. Recaps.


2018 was a rollercoaster of a year for me. Here’s a short rundown.

  • Jan 1st: I propose to my partner. He says yes!

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  • Feb 16th: Fiancé gets knocked down in a hit-and-run on our way to see Hamilton, breaks his leg in three places and nearly loses his foot. We get a lot of ‘in sickness and in health’ practice in as he then spends six months on the sofa.
  • July 20th: We finally have an engagement party and I start seriously thinking about my future. Where do I want to be in ten years? I’ve been collecting editing qualifications (not to mention editing stories for free) for years but haven’t taken the leap from my day job to full-time editor yet… will I ever?
  • August 1st: Fiancé can now walk again(ish) as long as he has his crutches. Progress!
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  • August 26th: Two good friends get married in the pouring rain, courtesy of the British summertime. It’s romantic as hell. I realise that we need to actually plan our own wedding because we haven’t done anything since fiancé got smacked by a car.
  • September 16th: Still haven’t seen Hamilton, but some wedding things are sorted.
  • September 26th: After several long talks with my fiancé, I decide that the time is now. I hand in my notice and set up Acres of Ink – my developmental editing service for fiction books. The world of publishing, here I come!
  • November 15th: Complete the edits for my first ‘official’ Acres of Ink client. They’re pretty chuffed, honestly, which means I am too. #jobwelldone #Icandothis

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  • November 22nd: Still haven’t seen Hamilton.
  • November 23rd: Annual writing retreat with @SEBerrow! Will I finally complete my second draft of The Winter Court?
  • November 30th: No. I did write 44k words of it, though.

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  • December 1st: Acres of Ink editing work begins in earnest. (Btw, there’s a promotion going on until end of January if anyone’s up for it). I discover that my doddery old cat Minerva is actually a lunatic during the day.
  • December 8th: My brother gets married. Meet screenwriter Charlie Covell (The End of the F**king World) at the wedding and successfully hide immense level of shock that my brother knows someone so cool. I get very excited about her next project.
  • December 21st: Finish my third official client and book a few more jobs in for the new year. Pause to wipe sweat off brow. Start thinking long-term…
  • December 28th: Still haven’t seen Hamilton.
  • December 29th: See a panto instead. It’s not quite the same.
  • December 31st: New Year’s Eve… start writing resolutions.


2019 New Year Resolutions


So, the one thing I learned from 2018 is to not settle for ordinary and that – if I try – I stand a really good chance of achieving what I want. Obviously, sometimes things don’t pan out (I have no idea when I’ll see Hamilton, for example) but you can only deal with what life throws at you in the best way you can.

SO.

To that end, I have five ‘Must Do’ Resolutions for the new year.

**dramatic drum roll**

  1. Exercise three times a week (Difficult to keep)
  2. Get married (Hopefully easy)
  3. Enhance Acres of Ink editing service by taking on experience roles etc. in publishing, to ensure my knowledge remains up-to-date. (Medium)
  4. Query The Elder Throne (Easy to send out; Difficult to get the result I long for)
  5. Finish The Winter Court once and for all (Medium)

What are your resolutions?


Have a lovely New Year’s Eve and a very happy 2019!

Week 41 | Favourite sub-plot

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 41


My second favourite sub-plot in The Elder Throne is the relationship between Madam Sage Begonia and Spindle Larkspur.

Madam Begonia is the Head of the Knowledge Circle and Spindle is her very enthusiastic – but incredibly messy – student there. Spindle is well known for jumping from one research topic to another without first clearing away previous work, and it drives Madam Begonia absolutely nuts. There is a constant war going on between them and it actually leads to an important discovery that relates to the main plot.

My favourite sub-plot is one I can’t share as it contains too many spoilers for The Elder Throne and for future books but I will say that it also involves Madam Begonia.

Week 40 |A day in the life of your villain

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 40

As I’ve mentioned, the main villain of The Elder Throne is the UnSeelie Commander Janus Atropa. Now, there are things I can’t say about her daily routine for spoiler reasons but here’s a general glimpse of how she spends her time!


Dawn Get up, bathe in icy spring water
Before breakfast Private sparring session with one of the following – Val Talloak (air magic), Moloch Penwith (earth magic), Glendunn Sludge (fire magic).

Breakfast

After breakfast Inspection of the troops; observation of training sessions, followed by a sparring demonstration with a squad leader picked at random – keeps everyone on their toes and emphasises her strength to new recruits.
Mid-morning Bathe and change. Reading – border patrol reports, missives from other UnSeelie cities, political updates.

Lunch

After lunch Continuation of political updates; meting out justice / hearing cases
Mid-afternoon Punishments and executions from the aforementioned cases
Before dinner [redacted for spoilers]
Dinner If a public dinner – habitually taken with one of the heads of the Three Families or their heirs: Mire Blackwood; Val Talloak (of the Vale line), Arum Vale. If a ‘private’ dinner – with [redacted] or [redacted].
Before bed Private research on one of three topics: war tactics, blood magic or the New Moon legends.

There is a secondary – almost tertiary – villain mentioned above, by the name of Arum Vale. His daily routine is simple and constant, and can be summed up in two words: “plot revenge.”

 

Week 39 | Your book is now a film. Who is in your dream cast?

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 39

“Dream casts” aren’t really something I think about as I find it unlikely that The Elder Throne would ever be made into a film and – if it did – I doubt I would have any input in the casting decisions.

However, I’ve been honing this series for a few years now and I’d be lying if I said I’d never come across an actor and thought “They’d be perfect for XX,” if only on a purely visual level. So, although I don’t have everyone, here is the ‘Dream Cast’ for the few characters I’ve stumbled across:


Aberon3 Holly Knightshade

Aberon Gladiolus

Holly Squires Commander Knightshade Valerian
DC: Nigel Havers DC: Rachelle Lefevre

DC: Jason Isaacs

Janus.jpg Sage Leander

Commander Janus Atropa

Sage Begonia Lord Leander Goodfellow
DC: Rachel Weisz DC: Lyndie Greenwood

DC: Eddie Redmayne

Bracken Wisteria Quinlan

Lt. Fearghal Bracken

Wisteria Wisp Quinlan Marsh
DC: Bradley James DC: Dame Maggie Smith

DC: Algee Smith

Mythe Tythe Moloch

Mythe Morcant

Tythe Morcant Cpt. Moloch Penwith
DC: Nicholas Hoult DC: Ed Skrein

DC: Jason Statham

Cobb Azalea Clematis

Mrs. Cobb

Azalea Burgeon Lady Clematis
DC: Archie Panjabi DC: Nicole Beharie

DC: Anna Chancellor

Blossom Cathal Arum

Blossom Valerian (Blackwood)

Cathal Valerian Arum Vale
DC: Keri Russell DC: Chris Hemsworth

DC: Mads Mikkelson

You’ll notice that I haven’t ‘cast’ Anna, Priya, Burr or Spindle – I’m afraid they remain solely in my head for now!

Week 38 | What is your villain’s biggest regret?

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 38

The main villain of The Elder Throne is Janus Atropa, who is the Commander of the UnSeelie Court. The position makes her the de-facto ruler of the Court, as they do not have a royal family or a hereditary leadership.

Interestingly – and unusually – her predecessor was also her father, Thorne Atropa, making her the first UnSeelie to inherit Court leadership from a family member since their last (overthrown) king, Ruari.

The snag (and Janus’ biggest regret) is this: to be made the new UnSeelie Commander, competitors must kill the old one in combat.


Janus AtropaJanus killed her father in cold blood in order to take control of the army for her own ends. Having more (misplaced) affection for his daughter than she ever had for him, Thorne kept her at bay using defence moves only, not wanting to hurt her. He needn’t have worried; Janus was, by this point, a far superior fighter and the battle was over very quickly.

Janus is many things but she is not sentimental. A fierce, talented warrior who deals out death with a calculating and callous eye, she has butchered hundreds on and off the battlefield. It is a bit of an anomaly that she feels anything at all about her father’s death: it would be more accurate to say that she regrets the fact he’s dead, rather than regrets she was the one to kill him. Her last living parent and the only one she actually liked, Thorne taught Janus everything she knew, training her as a warrior despite her mother’s protests.

Respecting Thorne’s legacy and acknowledging his worth as a mentor, Janus still raises a glass of his favourite mead (which she personally despises) to him on his birthday. No one knows this but her.



Four more facts about Janus:

  • Janus is one of the New Moon Children, legendary warriors found in UnSeelie folklore – but, importantly, not found in Seelie folklore. In order to be a New Moon Child, one has to be: a) a descendent of one of the Three Families [Blackwood; Atropa; Vale]; b) conceived during the New Moon three months before their parents’ marriage and c) born during a New Moon. Legend tells that they are gifted with indomitable warrior skill – a fact that Janus proves daily.
  • One other New Moon Child exists: Commander Knightshade Valerian, through his UnSeelie mother Blossom Blackwood. Janus discovered his status when they were teenagers and delights in the fact that he is completely unaware of it, having been raised in the Seelie Court. Her hope is that he will one day fight by her side, instead of always against her.
  • Janus has battled for her continued reign as UnSeelie Commander on no fewer than seventeen occasions. Her challengers didn’t stand a chance.
  • When Janus was thirteen, she had the opportunity to save her mother Pomona from death. She deliberately chose to do nothing, such was her hatred for the unassuming, gentle woman. Janus considered her mother weak and has no regrets about this decision.

Week 37 | Which writer would you trust to finish your book if you weren’t able?

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 37

This is the trickiest question in the whole challenge.


SEBerrowI’d like to say S.E. Berrow as she is my most trusted writing partner (going on 10+ years now) but, let’s face it, she’d turn The Elder Throne into a decidedly adult book featuring Knightshade Valerian instead of a children’s series with Anna Squires at the helm. Plus, if I died, bequeathing her a potential fifteen novels to write, I wholeheartedly believe she’d resurrect me just to kill me again herself. So, that’s Berrow out of the picture.

 


To answer this question, therefore, I’m going to jump into the realms of fantasy and pretend I have access to all the famous children’s writers I admire. My first choice to write Elder Throne if I were not able would be… **drum roll** Derek Landy.


Why Derek Landy? Three reasons.


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Firstly, he’s a fantastic children’s writer, whose stories have just the right amount of dark edges to them. If you’re not familiar with the Skulduggery Pleasant series, I highly recommend that you check it out. So that’s the first reason. Given some of the **** he’s pulled with Valkyrie and Skul, I doubt he’d have any qualms with where the Seelie Court Series is heading. I mean… what?

Secondly, Landy is Irish. Although my books are set largely in the fantasy realm of the Seelie Court, this is located in Ireland and, therefore, I feel that someone with a good background knowledge of the place could only help with that pesky ‘authenticity’ thing.

Thirdly, Derek Landy is hilarious, both on paper and in person. All children’s books should have some element of humour to them and I think he could serve up a wonderful slice of laughter in my absence. Oh, who am I kidding, he could probably write this series better than I could…

HOWEVER. He will never get the chance – even if for some mad reason he agreed to it – because I’m sticking around until these stories are told.