My latest novel (or the first draft of it, at any rate), is available to read, for free, via Wattpad. So what is it about?
The City of Fallen Dreams is the first book in the After The Rising series. And interestingly enough, it had its first incarnation on this blog as the unfinished serialised story, On The Run, from 2017. There is very little left of the original story, of which I had written about 2000 words, but the new version, which comes in at around 52,000 words, used that original opening to create the world the story is set in.
I had so much fun writing this story. So much so that I’ve already started writing the sequel. It has a little bit of everything in it: paranormal, dystopian, mystery, magic, romance, action, adventure, historical, political intrigue and more besides…
Here’s the story summary:
What do a tarot reader, a violinist, a schoolboy and a detective all have in common? They are all trying to make a life for themselves after The Rising. But it’s not easy.
Three of them are on the wrong side of the authorities. One’s a prisoner. One’s on the run. One’s leading the resistance.
As for the other one? He works for the authorities. It’s his job to find two of them, and as for the third…she might be locked up, but her heart is proving to be the most elusive out of the lot.
But that’s not all. A Time of Mirroring approaches, according to The Temple in The Grove. And who doesn’t like a prophecy? Well, a lot of people aren’t going to like this one.
The City of Fallen Dreams is a dystopian fantasy where ancient spirituality and the modern world meet but don’t mingle. Not yet, at any rate.
You can read The City of Fallen Dreams by either clicking the book cover at the top of the post or by following this link. If you do have a read of it, I really hope you enjoy it.
One of the things I always try to do – but often fail at 😉 – is push myself beyond the limits of my comfort zone. And recently that has meant I have been trying to engage with any writing opportunities that I stumble across.
Since the beginning of July this has manifested itself in three different writing projects, with the three different goals.
Camp NaNo – July 2022
So you may remember how, for once, I was ahead of the planning game for July’s Camp (you can read about that here). You may also remember that things were a little up and down for the first two weeks of the challenge (you can read about that here). Well, I can now confirm that things continued in the same fashion for the rest of the month.
I went for another 10 days without adding a single word to the project, then added just over 1500 words (cumulative) over the next three days, and then nothing else. I ended July with 7466 words added to the project. Half of my goal.
However, I can’t be sad with that. My attempt at April’s camp this year was woeful and along with the new words added to the WIP, I also got a huge amount of world building, back story and planning complete. It’s not the win I was hoping for, but it is still a win. And, this was achieved alongside…
Submitting to a Competition
Part way through July, I stumbled across a UK literary agency (one of the biggest, in fact!) holding a commercial fiction / women’s fiction novel competition. Now, I don’t really enter competitions, submit to literary agents (it has been years since I had a go that!), or write commercial fiction very often. But what I do have is an historical romance novel that I am in the process of finding a home for.
When I saw how wide the scope was in terms of what they were looking for, I thought why not try, after all the worst that could happen is that they don’t like it, and the response time was nice and short (I think it was 3 weeks).
So I gave the story another edit (I can never send submissions out without going through them again, even though they are complete), and submitted it. I didn’t make the shortlist but I’m happy I tried. Usually I would have made some excuse to justify not bothering, but not this time, which is a win in itself.
And, whilst I was waiting to hear of the outcome for this story, I then saw an advert on Wattpad for this year’s Watty Awards…
A Writing Challenge
I was late in deciding to enter the Watty’s this year. Very late. Unlike other years I’ve entered, the submission window appeared very short, but I like a challenge. And a challenge this was. I wrote a 52,000 word novel in about two weeks. Actually it was probably closer to 12 or 13 writing days, and as you can imagine, some of those days were long.
In the few days running up to the closing date, I was spending 12 hours in front of the computer, and on the last day it was about 17 hours. On that last day, I was still writing the story, and trying to edit and upload the book, chapter by chapter, to the website.
The deadline for submission was Friday 19th August, and I can honestly admit, if I hadn’t been in a different time zone, I would not have made it. As it was, it was 2 AM my time, when I got the form accompanying my entry submitted. (For those interested, it is called The City of Fallen Dreams and I entered it into the wild card category because it has a little bit of everything in it).
Am I happy I did it? You bet I am. In the past I would have said the deadline was too tight, there’s no way I could have made it, and I would have just given up. Not this time. I pushed and pushed and pushed, right to the very end and I got it in before the deadline. Miraculously.
Would I do it again? Nope. No way. This whole experience is what I would describe as endurance writing. It felt like (how I imagine) a marathon to be. And I’m not that kind of writer.
One of the upsides to this style of writing was that I was completely immersed in this story almost continuously from the beginning to the end of it, and that was a really enjoyable experience.
The shortlist is announced sometime in October. Naturally, I have my fingers crossed, but I don’t expect to be on it. Why? Because for me, this was about pushing myself. This was about setting an almost impossible challenge and being able to actually meet it.
It’s taken me a week to recover from these crazy 6 or 7 weeks of challenging myself, and I’m still going to take it easy for a few more days yet. But it has got me thinking of what challenges I want to set myself next.
Do you set yourself writing challenges or writing goals? Or maybe you find they hinder your writing more than help it? Let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts on this…
I wrote 14,005 words in Week 4, or rather between 22 – 30 November, bringing my total for the month up to 50,053. This week’s numbers were divided amongst the following projects because, as I stated here, I am a NaNo Rebel (again) this year:
My Historical Romance Novel – 6489 words. If you follow my page on Facebook, you will already know I completed the first draft of this novel on Friday 27th November. Woohoo! As that was my main goal for the month, I feel pretty chuffed that I managed to hit one of the goals I set. As I started writing the novel back in June, I think enough time has passed since I wrote those early chapters for me to go back and start rewriting / revising / editing.
The Dreamer: An Andromache Jones Mystery Novella – 0 words. I got no new words added to this story last week. However, over the course of the month, I added a total of 7241 words, and uploaded 6 new chapters to Wattpad. Part of me wishes I had got another chapter or two complete, but another part of me is just pleased to see progress has been made…
Oath Broken – 0 new words written No words and no planning this week…If I’m being honest, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t add anything new to this project over the month, accept for a little planning. 😦
The Goddess Retreat – 0 new words – Still nothing on this project…Yeah, it’s definitely on hold…
Free Write Sessions – 7516 words. I’m very pleased with the random poetry and pieces of flash fiction I’ve scribbled away at over the past few weeks. I now have 14500 words in various styles and stages of completion to work through and see what’s what.
So that’s a quick review of my final week. Over all, I’m pleased with the numbers and progress made across the two projects I worked on, and it has helped set my focus for the coming month’s writing.
My December goals:
Start rewriting / revising / editing of my Historical Romance Novel
Complete The Dreamer: An Andromache Jones Mystery Novella
If you joined in, how did you get on? What are your writing goals for December? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to message me over on the NaNoWriMo site if you’d prefer! You can find me by searching for my username: Sammi Cox.
My start to 2020 has been very quiet blogging-wise, and for that I apologise. Although I have been absent, I have been writing and editing, and have had some of my flash fiction and short stories published in a couple of anthologies, but more on that next week. For now I want to talk briefly about my experiences on Wattpad, specifically last year…
The first question that might come to mind is, “Why?” The answer is simple: On the 1st February 2020, the Wattpad-based Open Novella Contest (ONC) returns for its third year. (Note: it’s not affiliated with Wattpad but run by the Ambassadors Team, who apply to volunteer to give their time to the Wattpad community).
The contest is simply this: write a novella (20,000 – 40,000 words) in response to one of the many prompts issued on the day the contest opens, and have it completed within 12 weeks.
I had so much fun entering it last year. I loved every minute of it and it was one of the highlights of my year. For the 2019 contest I wrote The Winter Ghost, which I have since edited, sent out to beta readers and I’m currently working my way through my final edits, in the hope that it might see publication, in some shape or form, in the not-too-distant future.
So why am I telling you this? In my opinion, if you were thinking of joining the Wattpad platform, now would be an interesting and exciting time to do it, at least in my opinion, and in terms of joining in with this particular contest. I’ve found the community surrounding the ONC to be supportive and encouraging, as are all the participants I’ve had the pleasure to interact with, many of whom I’m still interacting with a year later.
Wattpad works best for writers when they interact with others on the platform. That is one of the main ways users find the stories you publish. And, with anything, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it (on the whole). A contest like the ONC gives you a framework to connect with others. Last year I found writers were eager to discover new-to-them writers, but also to see how other participants interpreted the same prompt they had used. And, there were some mind-blowingly brilliant stories written for it.
So there are my two pennies-worth of thoughts on the subject, and just so you know, I’m not affiliated with Wattpad or the contest 😉 I will be joining in again this year, and like in 2019, I’ll be posting progress reports here on the blog as the contest unfolds.
If you’re on Wattpad, you can find my profile page here. Follow me and I’ll follow you back, or drop your profile handle in the comments below and I’ll follow you – that way, I can read what you’ve been writing. And, if you are on the site, will you be entering the Open Novella Contest?
Have a great weekend, and happy reading and writing!
It’s been a while since I posted a writing update, and with NaNoWriMo starting at the end of the week, I thought now would be a great time to post one…along with some random photos from my media library…
I decided early on (for once!) that I was participating in NaNo this year. It will be my eighth year joining in. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks, though I’m still unsure what I will focus on – yes, I leave it late every year (it’s becoming a tradition, I think) no matter how long in advanced I’ve been preparing for it. Never mind.
At the beginning of October, I had thought to allow myself to start a New Writing Project, even though I have so many unfinished WIPs awaiting my attention. Sigh. Yet, I have been making very good progress with one of my Wattpad novels, Oath Broken (very brief summary: the story of Oathbreaker told from Celyn’s perspective, which starts four months prior to the events of Eleri’s tale. You can find the first 17 chapters that I’ve uploaded so far, and the original story, amongst other works, by checking out my Wattpad profile here.)
So, now I’m wondering if I might be better to just carry on with this. But…Not sure. I’ve already drafted all the November chapter uploads for Wattpad and today I started on December’s so I could, in theory, set it aside without affecting my upload schedule…hmm…tough decision… I have a feeling I won’t have made up my mind until Friday morning…
If anyone wants to add me as a writing buddy over on the NaNo site, my profile name is… Sammi Cox. Original, I know. 😉 You can never have too many writing buddies…well, that’s what I think. Which is funny, because all mine seem to have been deleted when NaNoWriMo changed over to their new website this year. Again, sigh. So, if I was buddies with you before, please add me as a buddy or send me your profile name (in a comment or email, etc) so I can add you again. On the upside, I really do like the look of the new site.
The Winter Ghost Beta Reading
At the end of August I put out a call for beta readers for my fantasy novella, The Winter Ghost. The feedback I’ve had so far has been better than I could ever have hoped for, and I’m so grateful to those who have offered their time and effort to help me out. When someone tells you not only that they enjoyed your story but want to read more – or hope for spin-offs with their favourite characters – well…it’s just the best feeling in the world!
I have sent out a few emails that haven’t got a response, so if you volunteered back in August but didn’t hear from me, I think something got lost out there in the interweb somewhere. If you would still like to beta read The Winter Ghost, please let me know…
My plan (imagine me laughing maniacally as I typed that) is to dedicate December to the editing of the manuscript. This means there is still plenty of time for more beta readers to have a read of The Winter Ghost. If you think this is something that you would be interested in, here’s the link to my original post, The Winter Ghost – Beta Readers Wanted, where you will find all the information you might (I hope!) need, including what The Winter Ghost is about, what I am asking of you as a beta reader, and how to get in touch if you think this is something you would like to do. As I mention in this post, I don’t expect you to do this for nothing – I’m offering to beta read in return for anyone beta reading for me.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are you working on this November? I would love to hear your plans…
I’ve recently been busy with my entry for a Wattpad writing challenge, the Open Novella Contest, hence my prolonged absence, for which I apologise.
Using one of a set of vague prompts from all manner of genres, you had to write a minimum 20,000 word story (up to a maximum of 40,000). It started in January, and deadlines were set by which you had to reach a certain number of words. If you reached the milestones by the deadline, you could submit it to the contest and hopefully qualify for the next round, if it passed the judging criteria. The final deadline was 2nd April and not only did you have to meet the minimum word count of 20,000, you also had to have the novella complete.
Rather surprisingly, I’ve made it through to Round 3, the final round, along with a whole host of amazing stories penned by some amazing writers. The results for the contest are still pending, and to be honest, I don’t expect to make the longlist because the competition is so fierce, but I have loved every minute of it. It was such a fun challenge to participate in, and I now have another fantasy world in which to set stories, as well as a whole host of characters who want their stories told. What more could I ask for? 🙂
What’s The Winter Ghost About?
At nineteen, Rhyshard Pellian, son of Tershard Pellian, Lord of Kamvor, has been told by his father that he must take on the role of Acting Lord for the duration of winter. Sent to a town he can barely remember, to watch over a people he cannot recall, he is in a strange place, surrounded by strangers. But things are set to get all the stranger…
Folklore and real life are about to collide…As winter closes in on the town and the weather worsens, rumours of The Winter Ghost are whispered. Is this the year the ghost is set to return, leaving terror and death in its wake?
And what does this mean for Rhyshard Pellian? Mysteries and secrets abound as the Acting Lord of Kamvor does all he can to avert disaster. But is it enough?
* * * The Winter Ghost is a paranormal mystery set in a fantasy world.
Where can you read it?
You can read the novella by following this link to Wattpad. If you do have a read of it, don’t forget to let me know what you think! 😉
A week has passed since the end of November, giving me a few days to think and reflect on this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I didn’t win, but I got a lot more done than I thought possible, which is no doubt due to me being a NaNo Rebel this time around, meaning I could focus on anything I wanted…the theme this year was a multitude of little projects…
Let’s Look At The Numbers
39376 words in total
4 short stories completed
382 notes left on phone
6 book reviews written
5207 words written on One Christmas novella
2572 words written / edited for Oath Broken
Creative Writing spreadsheet updated
What I Did v’s What I Hoped I’d Do
Naturally, I’d hoped to reach the 50,000 word target, even though I knew before November started it was going to require a monumental effort. Realistically, it was never going to happen, especially when I picked up a cold at the beginning of the month. That being said, I’m happy that I hit 39,000 – and this included 9 “no writing” days.
On my NaNo list, I aimed to complete 4 unfinished stories from my (ever-growing) list of incomplete projects, one a week. I managed to do this. Yay! And I did manage to lavish some attention on another 3 short stories (but didn’t finish them), edit a small collection of flash fiction / short stories and write a detailed plan of another story.
And, in the spirit of trying to finish unfinished stories, I also came across a novella I had started writing a few years ago. It’s not the sort of story I typically write, but I’m having fun with it and I think it’s sometimes worth writing outside of your comfort zone, just to see what happens. Anyway, for those interested, it’s called “One Christmas” and is a contemporary romance, with a bit of humour and (hopefully) suspense thrown in for good measure, and you can read it here, via Wattpad, as I write it. I’ll post more about it at a later date…
I had wanted to reduce the number of creative writing notes (including scenes, chapters, short stories, flash fiction and poetry) on my phone to between the 125 – 150 mark. I failed at this, epically. Although I began with 526, there are still 382 notes waiting to be written somewhere I can’t easily delete / lose them.
I had started November seriously behind my book reviews over on my book review blog, Sammi Loves Books. So, I thought it would be a great idea if I added this to my list of organisational tasks to complete in the month, as motivation to get back up-to-date. I wrote and posted 6 book reviews; I had hoped to clear it completely before I added anymore books to the pile, but I didn’t. There were still four books left over, plus the books I’ve finished since then.
Oath Broken, the story of Oathbreaker told from a different character’s POV, was supposed to be one of my main focuses for November. In reality, I didn’t get much done on it at all, only 2500 words, a quarter of what I had hoped. So, I am a little disappointed with this, if I’m honest, but the story feels like it’s in a good place now so I shouldn’t grumble too much…
I got just under 3900 words written for what I’ve been calling Novel #3 on my WIP list (Oath Broken is Novel #2). I didn’t manage any words at all on Novel #1, which again is a little disappointing. One chapter would have been nice…
Another task on my list of organisational projects was updating my Creative Writing Tracker, a 20 page spreadsheet that helps me keep a track of all and everything to do with my writing. I started it back in 2015 and after a few years it needed a little bit of TLC. Things needed moving around, layouts needed changing, sheets needed updating / deleting / replacing. So, I gave it a bit of a makeover – it might be a spreadsheet, but it can still look interesting as well as being functional! I am pleased to say, this task was also completed as part of my NaNo gaols 2018 – although it only earned me a nominal 1000 words towards my total word count.
The idea of the NaNo journal was good one, and I enjoyed keeping it for about a week…*Sigh* But with feeling unwell, exhausted and trying to find time to write, this probably wasn’t the right year to try and implement it, at least, not in terms of daily entries. If I do have another go at it next year, I will try may be twice a week.
So that’s the rundown of my NaNoWriMo 2018. In no time at all, April 2019 will roll round and with it Camp NaNo. 😉
So two weeks ago I mentioned that Oathbreaker made The Wattys 2018 Longlist…
Well, yesterday I got some more good news…
Yay! Woohoo! I really can’t believe it…I’m speechless…completely overwhelmed…
A big thank you to everyone who has been reading, voting and commenting on it. I really appreciate the support it has received so far.
I know it sounds cheeky – and I find it very hard to ask as marketing etc doesn’t come naturally to me (I’m actually cringing as I write this, just so you know) – if you could spare some time to check out a chapter or two it would mean the world to me. The more people who read, vote and comment…the more people who enjoy my story, well…you know…
If you have a moment, please have a read of my latest novel. It’s currently available to read for free via Wattpad…Click the book cover below for the link…Thank you so much for your support ♥
~ Oathbreaker is now available to read in full on Wattpad ~
Longlisted for The Wattys 2018 – 31 August 2018
* * * Shortlisted for The Wattys 2018 – 14 September 2018 * * *
Eleri, priestess of the Green Lady, has waited for so long to marry her tribe’s champion, Celyn. Finally, the date is set for Midsummer’s Eve, when the tribes have gathered in the valley to celebrate the longest day at the stone circle perched up on the hill. But nothing is as it seems…
A glimpse of a bird circling over the stones foretells of doom…and maybe even death.
An oath is made. An oath is broken. And Eleri’s life changes forever…
Oathbreaker is a story inspired by ancient history, mythology, and the landscape. Set in the Iron Age, where there is no distinction between history and mythology, and where magic is as real as the ground beneath your feet, Oathbreaker charts the journey of Eleri, Priestess of the Green Lady, and the unusual quest she finds herself forced to make…
If you enjoy historical fiction, myths and legends, fantasy, adventure and romance, you might enjoy this too…