Posts Tagged ‘write’

Demon Rising is Live

June 2, 2017

500 pages and one masterpiece later, Stephan makes a horrifying discovery.Almost two years ago my brain was bubbling with too much Walking Dead and zombies when I figured I would like to write such a novel. Flicking over a unique take, a decided to do a fantasy as it seemed to me most zombie apocalypse shows and books were set in the modern world. What exactly would happen if the dead were unleashed on the land in the 17th or 18th century? Would the lower population numbers mean that it was less of a threat, unable to spread itself as much? Or perhaps tougher times would mean they people would be able to fight off the new terror. Would there be a supernatural reasoning behind it, bringing in magic and the unexplainable? Or would it have a scientific basis like many zombie apocalypse programs?

Nailing myself down in front of my laptop to actually complete this book, I started forcing myself to write a couple of thousand words a day. As usual my imagination shaped the pathway by book would take, coming up with ideas that I weaved into the novel. I decided that I would write it from the protagonists views, exploring the minds of each character and how they perceived the scenes. At that point I hadn’t read Game of Thrones so hadn’t seen a book done in such a way and it seemed like a different take.

By the end of the year it was finished with beta readers giving the thumbs up for the first five chapters. However, to my horror I realised I’d slipped back into past tense since chapter two! Having the change the tense of the whole book disheartened me and, with the year becoming busier than ever, I put down the quill and returned to the tedium of teaching and tutoring. Several months ago I promised to finish the redraft. I’d already written two short stories, Heart’s Siege and Into the Desert (only £0.99), based in the same world, stories taken from the characters backgrounds, and so I began to trudge through the chapters to finally reach the glorious day that is today.

I’m definitely not expecting big sales, possibly any sales lol, but its satisfying to finally publish my first book. There’s a proper cover being made but for the time being the one I’ve dug up seems pretty good. If you’re into fantasy books try Demon Rising , its only £3.10, and I hope you enjoy!

You can find out more about me and my books at my website www.hywelgriffiths.co.uk at my website. You can read snippets about the book and look for other info in my updates page here or even give me a shout on the contacts page!

Happy reading!

Picture taken from http://www.cartoonstock.com

Off to Amazon

June 1, 2017

After a heck of a lot of writing, redrafting and nail biting I’ve finally sent Demon Rising off to Amazon self publishing and its under review. Will chuck out the details once its up and running!

Snippit two

May 30, 2017

shaun of the deadAnother free snippit from Demon Rising that I’ll be publishing tomorrow. Remember, you can read my short story Into the Desert at Amazon Kindle here or another short story set in the world of Mariad, Heart’s Siege, here. Also, updates and info can be found at my website www.hywelgriffiths.co.uk.

In this snippit, Heinrich and Rondur have just about escaped the living dead and are fighting their way in through a crowd of survivors to get past Abendale’s gates before they are locked out. As they make their way to the front, mounted on horses, the undead start their attack on those at the back.

‘At the back of the crowd, like hyenas pouncing on trapped animals, the reanimated corpses are feasting. They leap on backs, swipe at legs, bite into necks. The desperate travellers try to fight them off but the crazed hunger makes them unstoppable.

One man strikes a rotten corpse back but a soldier with face slashed open from eye to neck gladly grabs at the exposed arm and bites in hungrily. Another person is pushed to the ground by the rioter next to him and she is quickly smothered by a pack of nightmarish creatures. They have no qualms about who they attack, no prejudice; anyone and everyone is their next target. With psychotic madness the crowd pushes the gate open and we swarm in, our horses forcing through to be ahead of the rest. Rondur does not stop and I can see why.

Behind they could not shut the gates in time and the guards, few that there are, can only let the remaining survivors through in a wave. The howls and groans echo out, a stench of decay filling the air, and we know what is to come. Taking a second glance at Rondur as he dashes away, I curse at his cowardice and leap from my horse, slapping her on the rump to make her speed away. I will need her no longer.

Pushing through the last stragglers that have made it in, the first of the dead comes before me and I strike out with the spear, plunging it into the yellowing head. To my amazement it collapses to the floor, and I turn to face another whose putrefied flesh has almost completely fallen from it’s bones. Bringing the shaft of my spear around in a sweep, hoping to knock it off balance, my blow clubs away the very bones that holds the thing aloft.

Sweat is breaking out on me now, the effort of riding, fighting and keeping my mind steady have all driven my body hard. I know someone is at my side, and I raise my weapon to strike out, but rather than a monster I see a guard dressed in the red and yellow checkers of a strange and bizarre uniform. He holds his own against the dead that fight forward and I realise that we need to work as one to fight them back.

“To me!” I cry, striking out again, but this time the corpse almost tears the spear from my hands as is turns to hit back, oblivious of the impaling.

“Its head!”

His words ring home and the images of my encounters with these things flash into my mind. As Rondur and I had rode past, I had struck out at the chilling hands and mouths that had so desperately fought to feast on me. Only some had been felled and now I realise it is those whose skulls were smashed or heads had been impaled. It is their Achilles heel.

Several other guards appear, having fought his way through the mass, and we stand in a point. The people have fled, stalls abandoned and celebrations ceased, and in this deserted arena we three keep the invaders from their ceaseless march. Only that morning I had been new to the battlefield and yet now those experiences fill me with a confidence. I had fled that doomed battle and I will not flee again.

Thrust, parry and swipe, the spear dances a rhythm that I did not know I could play. The leaf of steal that tips the shaft cuts into flesh and stabs out at gaping maws, forcing them to keep at bay or ending their return to the living world. It is becoming instinct, the training and skirmishes with outlaws suddenly making me a warrior.’

People of Mariad

May 28, 2017

A few more days to go till I publish so I thought I’d share a bit of the world that has formed itself in my head. Remember that you can try out my work on Amazon kindle here with my first short story, Into the Desert. Its currently free so give it a try! You can also keep updated with recent happenings on my website www.hywelgriffiths.co.uk.


Mariad – This is the main location in the book. It is a small kingdom (about the size of Wales) which is cut off from the rest of the world (when you consider the Great Desert to its north is the size of the Gobi desert this tells you how small it is. However, they are relatively advanced in their technology (having cannons) and up to a 18th century way of thinking. It is cut off from the Great Desert in the north by the Feld Mountain range. The same range cuts them off from the lands to the east though there is a small pass known as the Eastern Gate.

Mariad once had plentiful supplies of gold, iron and other metals from its mines in the north east but these have now almost run dry. Once plentiful and trading with the east and west, they can no longer produce such resources and mainly trade in timber (from the Tyriad Woods) and agriculture. There are several small rivers that run down from the mountains but the main one is the river Aben that runs from the mountains in the east, through the kingdom and out into the Tyriad Woods. It is this river that is now used for trade as movement along the Eastern Gate has been banned.

The Eastern Gate is a pass that leads (unsurprisingly) east through the Feld Mountains. A large castle protects this pass, built after the invasion by the Valra who managed to decimate about two third of the kingdom before being halted and fought back with the aid of the Elves.

In the south, before the coast, lies a cursed wood known as Darkwood. It was, and probably still his, a home of the supernatural and a source of deep magic that Khazar uses to create his army of zombi.

On the coast there are a couple of major ports, used for trade, but there are also numerous fortresses with cannon that can keep at bay any attacks from the sea. Navel powers in this world are not great so there is little worry that someone will attack from the sea.

Abendale is one of the main cities of Mariad and has a huge timber trade in the Tyriad Woods. This is carried out in balance with nature, replanting in order to maintain their resources. The city itself was actually built amongst the trees, much in tune with the local ecosystem. However, most of the city was burnt down when Khazar attacked it (in Demon Rising) and now all that remains is the poorer district, south of the river Aben.

There are several watch towers around the Feld Mountains to look out for invasion where it is most likely (for example where the Tyriad Woods meets the Feld Mountains in the west). However, even though the mountains are thinnest here there is still no obvious pass and so invasion is highly unlikely if not impossible.

The capital is Ancora, a huge city that lies to the north. The city’s ‘castle’ is actually carved from the mountain and it is here that the King rules the land. Since the death of the last king, the current elected Lord (Emile’s father) has ruled and refused to give up power. With the next in line still disputed, ruling is supposed to be given to the three brothers in turn but instead one was ‘sent’ to the east as an emissary and the other was killed. Although Emile’s father has not declared himself king (as he knows this may cause a rebellion by the supporters of his brother in the east) he has become the defacto ruler (and a poor one).

Rondur’s biography

May 26, 2017

Six days to go, and I don’t mean till summer! With a warning of spoilers here’s a biography of one of my favourite characters, the rogue Rondur.

Remember, you can read my short story, Into the Desert, for free for the next four days (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Into-Desert-Mariad-Sh…/…/B01N2YO19I) and if you like it make sure you leave a review! If you don’t then don’t leave a review? 😀 Seriously though, I always like feedback as to how I can improve my work so you can give me a shout on my website www.hywelgriffiths.co.uk.

There’s also the snippet from my novel I posted yesterday that can be found in my page updates (just below Rondur’s biography).


Rondur

Heart’s Siege: Fourteen years before the events of Heart’s siege, the Elven Ambassador Alta falls in love with a human named Elsha. She falls pregnant with Rondur and thinks she will never see Alta again. Rondur is brought up by another mother, Elsha’s father being strictly against his unmarried daughter having a child. For while Rondur doesn’t know his mother, but soon he begins to meet her every once in a while, knowing her as a friend.

Rondur supports Steffan when Theissen frame’s the king’s grandson for treason. A young boy of 14, he is part of the garrison that holds Darech. Altra tries to convince his son to leave. However, when Rondur finds out that Theissen threatens to kill his true mother, he opens the gates in the night to allow them entrance and so end the siege. The guilt of this act leading to so many deaths lives with him for a long time and it mars Alta’s opinon of him. The guilt leads him to his rogue lifestyle with no ambition or aim.

After Death: When Rondur hears of his sister’s disappearance with Ethandril, he vows to find her. This sets him off on six months of travelling between pubs and inns, resulting in nothing much that a lot of alcohol consumption and gambling. Finally, we enter the events of Demon Rising.

Demon Rising: Rondur is a typical rogue, gambler and pickpocket, living off the pubs as he travels from inn to inn. He is a lady’s man and flamboyant but can fight when cornered. He gets annoyed at himself when women have the better over him, as he was when Emile used him for her pleasure. He would prefer to run to save himself, which some may see as cowardly. He sees this as survival. Slightly selfish he does think of others but usually puts his own needs first. However, is one selfless act is that he searches his sister, hearing of her sword whilst in the Woodcutter well. He is not an alcoholic but does drink. He also has a close relationship with his horse, Gypsy, a golden nag. They have grown used to each other and Gypsy usually ignores his roguish tendencies. She is not overly fast but can gallop if needed.

He has flowing shoulder length, light brown hair and usually wears a waistcoat and tailed-coat. He has a closely shaved beard and pointed, waxed (when possible) moustache. He also wears a bandolier as he lived in the Lost Lands for a while and owned a rifle, now gone. He also carries a set of brass knuckles to use in emergencies.

After being seduced by Emile at the Woodcutter, he manages to escape the slaughter by diving out of the bedroom window and crashing through the roof of a well. He is stuck until Heinrich wakes up and rescue him. The two manage to escape and make for Abendale. They arrive as the town is attacked by dead and Rondur manages to escape into Abendale, leaving Heinrich who refuses to let the guards die. On his escape he bumps into Emile once again who has been trapped. Showing his affection for her once more, he aids her rescue by killing two of the attackers.

Rondur returns to the governor’s house where Emile tells him he last saw Wilhelm, whom she knew had the sword of Valen. Finding the streets overrun with dead and the Strigoi Olrev attacking Heinrich, he manages to kill the vampire after it slays Gypsy. Heinrich and Rondur escape from Abendale and eventually split when they are far enough away. Rondur deduces that Wilhelm, who he now know has the sword Ethandril, will be escaping via the river westwards.

Snippet from Demon Rising

April 29, 2017

zombie.jpgSo for anyone who is interested in the book I have just written, here’s a snippet for you to try out.

At the water mill, the undead are trying to force their way in, driven by a hunger for Aldar’s flesh. She and her family try to keep the dead out but it is an impossible task.

‘The sailor, a mass of blood and shredded skin, slams into the creature and his hand hits me, pushing me back and leaving a print of red blood. Even as it leaps upon him, tearing his top apart to expose his soft belly, he looks up with pleading in his face.

“Go.” And then his screams ring out in my head as it rips his abdomen open before me and I shriek aloud, my stomach close to releasing its contents. Instead, something inside me kicks in and I scramble into the house, shouting for my brothers. Running in I cry out in shock as I see father slumped against the wall. Darting to his side I drop to my knees, clutching his lifeless fingers. I weep, tears falling from my cheeks onto the cold floor below. A warm arm wraps around me and I look into my brother’s face, comforting but as pained as mine.

“They are coming through!”

The words come from somewhere in the background but my mind does not recognise the voice. It seems that nothing registers at the moment, that I am lost in my own world. Even as my brother lifts away from me, rising to his feet and disappearing from my side, I struggle to come back to the now.

Opening my eyes I looks across at my other sibling who seems in the same state as I am. I rarely see my brothers hurt, never crying, yet here is one of them with jaw locked in an effort to fight back the tears. He is failing. His lips tremble and moisture collects, trickling a pathway down his cheek. With a sudden movement he grabs my father’s chest, causing the body to shudder. He clutches the pale body tight to him and father’s head flops over like some rag doll.

Then, with sudden movement, father’s jaws open. Hands clamp onto my brother’s side, and teeth rip open my brother’s neck with one frenzied bite. Blood sprays across me, fountaining into the air. Screaming I can only watch as my brother’s eyes bulge in shock and then he pushes with all his might to force the reanimated corpse back against the wall. Even as father lunges at him full of ravenous hunger, he clutches his neck in a useless attempt to stop the blood escaping. Instead he simply coughs and splutters, spewing up the red fluid as he falls forward.

I scream again.’

If you’d like to read more of my stories you can find them at http://www.hywelgriffiths.co.uk or read more about my world at my Facebook page here alternatively, if you want to jump straight to kindle to find my works you can buy the short stories Heart’s Siege here or Into the Desert  here for just £0.99.

Picture taken from http://www.pixabay.com

The Waterfall

April 28, 2017

Waterfall‘The hot fat sizzles in the pan, hissing and spitting as it melts away. Smelling the golden scent of bacon my stomach complains, urging me to hurry up with breakfast.

With a playful shove, my wife and love pushes my knee to the side, bending to push small wood cuttings onto the fire below the grill. She gives a less than elegant grunt as she straightens herself, weighed down by her swollen belly that holds our child. Without thought I reach out to help but a hard stare makes me roll my eyes and turn back to the cooking.

“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Mister Gregorick.” But the warning is playful more than threatening. I should have known better than to try to aid my feisty independent soul mate. She is beautiful and everything I dream of. Green emerald eyes, shoulder-length hair that is tied back in a ponytail, and a broad frame that has more than once aided me in a fight. Now she is frustrated that she has to stay at home.’

While redrafting continued I went on to write three short stories about Mariad, all set in years before the zombie apocalypse. Although all fantasy, they went into exploring other genres too. The Waterfall, just a 7k story, was a hunt down the dragon tale that was fairly straight forward. The paragraphs above are taken from it, and although I enjoyed writing it I decided not to publish it. I might put it up on kindle for free.

The Waterfall got me thinking about how I could explore the characters more. In this one, I based the story around Wilhelm’s father (although you don’t find out till the end) and Valen due to her short life Demon Rising. I enjoyed writing more about this Elven character and certainly hope to write more about the Elven world in future.

My Last Scene

April 26, 2017

stake vampireEmile, Wilhelm and Aldar were sorted, it was just Rondur and Heinrich to finish off. I wanted to end it on an exciting note and this I managed. After setting Olrev on fire by ripping the Governor’s curtains back, Rondur had saved Heinrich’s life when he burst in through the window. What fun! Fleeing out of the zombie swarming city became a priority and they headed for the back door.

It was easy to picture the back yard; large but quaintly decorated with a sizeable stable. The Royal Welsh flooded back to me, and how the show sheds had the stalls either side with both a back and front entrance. I’d been in my share of stables and realised this could be the ideal way to escape. A spare horse to escape on and they could burst out the back of the stables where the undead hadn’t invaded yet. Perfect.

Only it had to be better than that. That’s when I had the idea to have Olrev back in the game. As Heinrich came out into the yard to tell Rondur of the escape route, he was met by the giant strigoi clamping his teeth into Gypsy. I’d downloaded a horse acting out a death in a film and it allowed me to paint quite a sad picture. Drinking the blood, Olrev was regenerating despite the sun and he was about to turn on Heinrich.

Good old Rondur to the rescue again, plunging Heinrich’s broken spear through Olrev’s heart from behind and finally defeating the vampire. It was a sad moment, striking vengeance for his pet’s life and I knew how he felt having had my own cat put down. It can be pretty upsetting and yet they had to keep moving. Ideally, I hope it stirred emotions in the reader as well.

Lets Twist Again

April 25, 2017

hammerIn a bitter fight the dark side of Emile has emerged and now two of the muggers lie dead. This was to be the end of Emile’s part in the book, with a sneaky twist that developed her character further.

I’ve always liked the idea of promoting equal rights and, although scientifically I definitely thing there are differences both psychologically and physically between men and women, there are a lot of ways equal opportunities between the sexes can be promoted. Having both Aldar and Emile as female characters in the book helped and not keeping to the stereotypic damsel in distress line was also guided my story down this path.

However, it had been Emile’s character that illustrated the strength of a woman, how she could manipulate the men (and woman), and how her survival was not in the hands of her so called bodyguards. She had forced her way out of the psychological shock caused by how close she came to being sacrificed, had conned Joseph into heading for Abendale rather than the capital Ancora, and was now heading out for the West Gate on her own. Even when she was mugged she beat one of them to death with a hammer.

What ultimately shows the strength of her character (or her sneakiness) is when she cons Rondur out of his sword. After being rescued by the gambler, someone who evidently has developed feelings for her despite his usual nonchalant attitude toward women, she swaps information for his blade. And then leaves him weaponless. Ultimately, her survival is more important than a suave seducer and once again she is able to out think the man in the story.

Actually she leaves him the hammer. She isn’t all that bad.

You can find out more about my world at my Facebook page here or you can visit my website here. The book has now gone out to the beta readers though I’m looking for a few more.

Picture taken from Lilly Potter pinterest and originally from http://www.jimbodetools.com

Death

April 24, 2017

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere had to be a death. Any good zombie book has a load of deaths, and not just the bit part characters who get ripped to shreds. Valen had died at the start but we never knew her, she was just telling the readers that death could happen to anyone. Helmvich was killed next but then Khazar resurrected him as a strigoi. Of course he’d ‘died’ a second time but he was the bad guy, you’d expect it, and the twist of him becoming trapped by the water rather than destroyed was more interesting. The first big death was Tom, but then again I didn’t really like Tom. He was sulky and of all the characters I hadn’t really bonded with him, it was easy to have him lose his jugular vein and the majority of his blood. Who to chose, who to chose?

I liked Wilhelm, Emile and Rondur. I just couldn’t kill them yet, I wanted to explore their characters more before finally knocking one or two of them on their heads. They had to appear in the sequel. This pretty much left Aldar and Heinrich. Who to chose, who to chose?

Aldar was ok, her character was developing and I liked her changing from a romantic infatuated girl into a survival woman. She hadn’t yet gone that way (in fact I don’t think she does anything big in the book) but that could happen more in the sequel. At the time, I wanted the sequel to end with the beginning of Demon Rising in the mind of Heinrich (an idea that has now since been dispersed) so I was left with…um…no-one to chose, no-one to chose.

Then it hit me, the best kill I could use to move the reader. Gypsy. Ok so I haven’t mentioned Gypsy in my blog before so perhaps an explanation is due. Rondur has a horse (called Gypsy) with quite a personality and someone I really did want to write more about. Really. But someone had to die. People like animals, people like animals with cute loveable faithful personalities, people would be shocked when the strigoi Olrev sinks his teeth into her and slays her in front of Rondur. Sigh, poor old Gypsy…

You can read up on Wilhelm’s biography, recently posted on my Facebook page here or visit my website here to find out more about my writing and myself. If you want to go straight to my library to see Into the Desert and Heart’s Siege (two short stories based in the same world as Demon Rising), just click here.

Picture taken from http://www.ichregistry.com/gold.htm