Friday, 23 December 2011

'Sword of Lochglen' Issue 3 finally arrives!

...and well ahead of schedule, too!



It took a while, but Chaz & Frang at Fenriswulf Books are happy (and relieved) to announce that Issue 3 of the Scottish comedy/drama series is now out there in print format.

Chaz received the first print proof in the post today (remarkably quick service from Lulu.com, considering the time of year) and found no problems with the issue, barring a few artistic tweaks required for the front cover.

We'll be putting copies into George Cordeiro's 'Black Hole' comic shop in Dundee as soon as Chaz has received the first printed batch, but in the meantime you can buy it right here exclusively for the special price o' £1.99 direct from Lulu.com or from the Lochglen official site. Why this issue turned out cheaper than previous ones is known only to the bods at Lulu.com who keep fiddling with the pricing structure, but it means we won't be bothering to offer a digital download on this edition - as the print version will only work out a few pence cheaper than the PDF equivalent.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

'Lochglen' Issue 3 Nears Completion



Despite various obstacles and a couple of urgent personal commissions, Chaz has been racing through drawing and scripting pages for Issue 3 of the Scottish comedy/drama series, with only one page left to complete. That amounts to seven completed pages in four weeks - (but not achieved without a whole lot of corner-cutting, copy+paste, and digital trickery to produce the best-looking results in the quickest possible time). As there will be at the very least another one, if not two or even three issues to go yet, we've acknowledged that speed is of the essence to get a project like this finished and out there in a reasonable timeframe. The work has its fans and the next step will be to see how it shapes up on Kindle (although we reckon the lettering - in 6-point OneStrikeScript - will be a tad small for some devices). Chaz's complicated script is taking its own time to develop fully, but the effort's starting to pay off. At this rate, Issue 3 will be out in print and digital format in the next couple of weeks - well ahead of schedule (for once).

In any case, here's the sort-of probably almost-finished front cover artwork by Chaz and Frang for the forthcoming issue 3 featuring - Dr. Mackenzie, Mr MacFaddyen and the eponymous sword with all its jokey nudge-nudge-wink connotations.

News, updates an' a' that at the dedicated home page: http://swordoflochglen.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Chaz Talks Books with Morgen Bailey

Following on from Morgen Bailey's helpful guest post earlier, Morgen also recently hosted an extensive interview with Chaz, in which he discusses writing, books and publishing in depth on her blog.

It's a long interview but Morgen posts many of these with writers - and is always happy to hear from new people, so if you're a writer, feel free to drop her a line. Submission guidelines are clearly posted all over her site.

The full interview is right here.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Guest Post: 'Writing essentials’ by Morgen Bailey



It's been a while since we had a guest poster hre on FWB, but recently Chaz caught up with Morgen Baily (another insanely helpful fellow writer/blogger/etc) and invited her to contribute something.

So here's some helpful advice regarding writing style and technique, courtesy of Morgen:

American science-fiction novelist Jerry Pournell is reported to have said “I think it takes about a million words to make a writer. I mean that you're going to throw away.” I started writing for fun six years ago and more seriously three years ago and with three NaNoWriMo novels, one-and-a-half novels in between, three NaNoWriMo anthologies (a cheat on doing a novel this year but I still made the 50,000 words), part of a script, some poetry and loads of short stories under my belt, I’m pretty sure I’ve reached that target. How much of them I’ve thrown away I couldn’t tell you but it’s only a fraction, and if like me, you’ve dabbled before really knuckling down, you’ll feel better for it. It’s all about practice. If someone sat you in front of a piano, would they expect you to play a concerto? Would you expect that of yourself?

In my experience too many novice writers worry about finding their ‘voice’ and understanding their ‘craft’ early on. It can be a long journey, perhaps not as long as a million words, but as long as you write regularly (daily is the ideal but when does life afford that luxury?) you’ll get there… and here are a few basics to put in your suitcase:

• Probably the most used phrase when teaching writing is ‘show don’t tell’. If you have a character who is angry for some reason, saying ‘Andy was angry’ is a classic example of ‘tell’. Simply put, you’re not showing us how. If you wrote ‘Andy slammed his fist onto the table’ you are.
• Dialogue tags – it’s recommended that you can only go up to six pieces of dialogue (between no more than two people) without attributing it to someone. And there's nothing wrong with ‘said’. Don’t be tempted to look at your thesaurus and say ‘Andy postulated’. You could also avoid tags by another character saying “Oh Andy, that’s…” or in the description; ‘Andy laughed. “That’s…”
• Character names are important as we often get a sense of their personality by what they’re called. A Mavis is likely to be older than a Britney and would, usually, act differently. Avoid having names starting with the same letter; if you have a Todd talking to a Ted, the reader can easily get confused. Bill and Ted would be fine and as we know, they had a wonderful time back in the late 1980s.
• I’m a big fan of repetition… of not doing it. Unless it’s ‘the’, ‘and’ etc, a word should only be repeated if the second instance is to emphasise or clarify the first. For example, ‘Andy sat in the car. He beeped the horn of the car.’ You don’t need ‘of the car’ because we already know he’s in the car. If you said ‘Andy sat in the car. He beeped the horn and the car shook’ that would be fine because you’re clarifying that it’s the car and not the horn (because it’s the last object you mentioned) that’s shaking.
• Stephen King’s writing guide / autobiography ‘On writing’ has been the most suggested book in the interviews I’ve conducted. Amongst other things he’s notoriously against adverbs (‘ly’) and fair enough – in ‘completely dead’ you wouldn’t need the completely because dead says it all, and a character doesn’t need to be ‘sighing wearily’ because the sighing tells us enough, but adverbs are necessary in the right context. Again it’s all about clarification and fine-tuning.
• Every word has to count; does it move the story along or tell us about your characters? If not, the chances are it can be chopped.
• If you’re having trouble with a passage move on or leave it and return later with ‘fresh eyes’.
• Read. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your genre or not (one of my Monday nighters writes amazing sci-fi but has never read a word of it) but reading will help you see how a story is structured and balanced between dialogue and description; short sentences speed the pace, long passages slow it down.
• Join a writing group, get your work critiqued. Read your work out loud. It’s amazing what you’ll pick up when you hear it outside your head.
• Subscribe to writing magazines, go to workshops, literary festivals. If you really want to write immerse yourself in all things literary.

There are many more examples I could give you but all you need to remember is that it’s not about clever words (because that ends up becoming ‘purple prose’) but just getting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and having fun. When your characters take over (and they will) you’ll have the time of your life!

Morgen Bailey
http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Highland Flings

Chaz has now updated the slightly neglected 'Sword of Lochglen' webpage. As work on issue 3 rolls on, there's a new Origins of... page describing the influences which helped to create the series; new sample pages from Issue 3 in the Sample Art section - and a finished full-colour rough of the proposed cover to Issue 3 in the Cover Art gallery.

Currently, February/March 2012 looks like the most likely time for the release of Issue 3, entitled 'Tyrants & Teuchters'. ('What's a 'Teuchter' when he's at home?' our non-Scots readers may cry. Here's an online definition.)


A romantic moment as illustrated by Frang for Issue 3.

Friday, 18 November 2011

'Sword of Lochglen' - back in production

After the past year in which Chaz convinced himself (and everyone around him) that he had finally packed in drawing comics for good to concentrate on 'graphic fiction', a recent discussion with long-term Fenriswulf collaborator Frang has suddenly rekindled his interest in the historical Scottish satire, 'Sword of Lochglen'.

This bawdy, surreal and occasionally dark graphic novel features artwork by both Frang and Chaz, and the first two issues have already been made available in print, and digital format at the Lochglen webpage.

It's been over 5 years since Chaz lifted a pen to draw 'Lochglen', although Frang has since produced excellent work for the historical fantasy sequences which tell the tale of the narrator's romantic novel.



Greta Garbo - or just a humble teashop waitress? Hero William MacFaddyen meets secret admirer Rose in brand new panels drawn for Issue 3 of 'Lochglen'.

Expected release date: Spring/Summer 2012.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Prey for Us: Exorcismus



Northern Spain, 1499 A.D.

Episode 2 of the supernatural medieval horror series debuted on Youtube last night. Picking up from the end of the pilot episode, Brother Domingo prepares to exorcise the Devil, who appears to have possessed the body of a strange peasant woman. Meanwhile Tacitus, our narrator, fears he may have inadvertently inspired Satan to come into the Benedictine monastery by his over-enthusiastic illumination of the temptations of Eve.



Will brave Domingo be able to expel the Prince of Darkness from the monks' wine cellar...? While Bernardo cowers in the cellar awaiting Domingo's return, the Abbot conducts mass, unaware of the supernatural drama unfolding beneath his feet. Here's the Youtube link for episode 2, 'Exorcismus'.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Gothic...? Me? With My Reputation?

Recently, FWB opened a new account over at Gothise.com. It appears to be a new-ish social network site for 'alternative' people, which these days may usually be interpreted to mean 'miserable teenagers who like dying their hair black', but which also has wider significance for the frequently dark and strange subject matter that we present here. Originally intrigued because we noted that this very blog was getting some referrals from the site, we thought we might as well give the members something to look at over there as well.

If anybody else is inclined to join up, then feel free to add us and expand the network.

We're not convinced yet how useful, friendly or successful this site will prove to be, but we have to do our best to get ourselves, and our works, out there. Don't we?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The 'Black Flag' Keeps Flying...

Somehow, Chaz's first (and, to date, only completed) graphic novel 'The Black Flag' continues to be FWB's best-selling book on Amazon UK - currently sitting at #2 and #3 respectively in the charts for Fantasy and Sci-Fi in the Graphic Novels Kindle chart.



Ironically, it's also the one book in the whole FWB catalogue Chaz has actively promoted the least, since it's a) over 10 years old and b) Chaz is still a bit scared how well graphite pencil art and small comic-book lettering will actually show up on a Kindle reader. It's also the most expensive in our Kindle portfolio (but it did take five and a half years to complete). But going on the basis that no news is good news, and that nobody has complained loudly at him yet, long may it continue ;-)

For UK readers, the Kindle book is available here.

For US readers, the Kindle book is available here.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Prey for Us - a New Animated Series



Here's something dark and creepy from the FWB stable in time for Halloween - involving monks, madness, magic and medieval machinations...this is the pilot episode for a new (occasional) series of short films. Things start off badly for the monks at Navarre with a case of suspected demonic possession, but following a failed exorcism, the Holy Officers of the Inquisition are summoned to tidy up the mess...and then the real horrors begin...



This started life as a comic strip over 10 years ago, when Chaz and Frang were working on the first issue of Yokelore, a fantasy/sci-fi/horror comic which never got past the first issue. Chaz kept hold of the idea of a gang of creepy monks, and eventually the project has begun to see the light of day.

Here's the Youtube link to the pilot episode, which sets the scene and introduces Tacitus, the scribe and narrator of the tales.

An illustrated e-book, based on the series, is now also in production.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Wish & the Will's No. 1 Fan Writes...

Fellow writer and publisher Alison DeLuca recently read the first three episodes of the series to date, and enjoyed it so much she decided to blog about it, right here on her site.

Thanks a lot for all your support, Alison (readers, be sure to check out her other blogs, too).



And in the meantime, here's something brand new - a sneak preview of the art for the cover of Episode 4, featuring Loxxi, Mr. Sundancer, and a pseudo-steampunk'd Gatling gun. Chaz isn't making any promises (due to other projects and ongoing commissions) but he hopes to have the text-only Kindle version of TWatW available before the end of the year.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Wish & the Will Reviewed...by a Fan

Recently, I ran a giveaway competition over at Natasha Larry's blog. Fellow writer and blogger Alison DeLuca won the competition to receive a bunch of digital Wish and the Will goodies - and she liked the first episode so much, she has just posted her review of Episode 1 on Amazon.com.

Getting reviews for the series hasn't been easy to date, due to the serialized nature of the episodes. It looks as if Alison's become the No. 1 fan of WatW so far. She's even planning a blog post of her own about the books very soon...

In the meantime, be sure to check out her blog and her works.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Proof Editor's Survival Checklist

Editing, schmediting, eh?

Yes, it can be a pain. But it's an essential one.

Let me start with my favourite author's quote, by Hemingway: "You never regret cutting anything out of a novel". And I never have, either – I probably have several novels' worth of excised material that wouldn't even make it into the most self-indulgent “director's cut”. Everyone edits a different way - I usually just bash down words first and then go back (repeatedly) and chip away, or add arms and legs, in what I call 'sculpturing' the writing.

Here's a few things I'd advise every writer to aim for in their editing:

i) keep it tight: don't waffle, stay on track. Don't do tangents. Consider 2 or 3 brief sentences over 1 long one. If you're stuck over a particular passage, try recording yourself reading it aloud, play it back, and see how it sounds then.
The ear (or indeed, the voice) often picks up on things that the eye doesn't.

ii) consider your vocabulary. Who's your audience? Are they likely to feel insulted, or intimidated, by your choice of words? That is, don't pepper your prose with Graeco/Latin highbrow terms if you're writing simple general fiction, or 'dumb down' either if you're aiming for a more sophisticated readership.

iii) avoid slang in the narrative voice - it's easy to slip it in, but it cheapens writing and makes it feel amateurish. Look out for it and kill it when you find it.

iV) cut down descriptive passages. Everyone writes them. But not everyone wants to read 'em. Readers need enough for the scene to be set, but not too much or they'll get bored and skim. Once they start that carry-on, you've lost them. On the other hand, don't skimp on setting - pick up on a few key points to suggest the mood, the surroundings, and how they relate to the characters. Be sure to consider all five senses - smells and sensations as well as sights and sounds.

v) Grammar, punctuation, spelling. Those three are so important, I'll repeat them: grammar, punctuation, spelling. Sounds picky, but it's not. Trust me, any serious pro editor/reviewer/book industry employee will bin anything that looks like it hasn't even been shown to a spell-checker. Ditto for paragraphing, layout, indents, etc. Reviewers will trash you for it - just check out some of the killer comments in the Self-Publishing Magazine (on serious, expensive ISBN'd books, not just typical Lulu fare). If you're aiming to be a pro, or stand alongside professionals, you have to look like you deserve to be there. Don't let down good writing and ideas by not tightening up the nuts and bolts.

vi) really READ what you've written. Don't skim passages, thinking “Oh, but I know this bit off by heart” - because you don't. If, like me, you tend to hammer out words fifty to the dozen to capture those valuable stream-of-consciousness seams of ideas, then chances are you'll miss out words, or even use the wrong word ('theres' and 'theirs' can often creep in unwittingly in a kind of subconscious word-association substitution type thang). Re-read such passages to death, to hone them and shape them to what they ought to be.

vii) dialogue. Less is more. Nothing reads more amateurish than two characters having a bitching argument for two pages which does nothing to either define character nor advance the plot. Yes, real people do talk like that, but as countless 'reality TV shows' over the years have shown, reality is actually incredibly boring. Drama, as Hitchcock said, is 'life with the dull bits cut out'. So identify all those dull bits, cut them out, and what's left ought to be a lot more interesting.
To see just how klunky and repetitive real dialogue can be, read the transcripts to JFK's tapes of the Cuban Missile Crisis meetings, or Nixon's Watergate tapes. Then watch one of the excellent movies based on those events, and see how completely different the dialogue runs.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

New Reviews for the 'Trinity Chronicles' !

Chaz came home tonight to find not one, but two, reviewes waiting for him in his email inbox.

These were provided courtesy of Readers Favorite.com, who provide a free-of-charge book review service (as well as a paid-for premium review service). Chaz decided he had nothing to lose and submitted both books in the 'Trinity Chronicles' for their attention.

For a free service, Chaz is very impressed, and would recommend this to any writer seeking reviews. The reviews, though not long, show careful reading and understanding of the texts which makes the reviewer's points (both good and critical) profoundly valid.

'Venus in Saturn' is reviewed here.

And 'Maranatha' is reviewed here.

These reviews are also scheduled to go live on Amazon.com in the next few days, another exciting and helpful aspect of the RF review service.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Wish & the Will: A New Angle

While Chaz continues to puzzle over the finer details of Episode 4 (which will most definitely not be entitled 'A New Hope'). here's a visual sample of the forthcoming episode, courtesy of Mr. Frang.

Chaz commissioned Frang this year to produce a few pieces of artwork for the series, focusing mainly on architecture and aircraft design. As various forms of flying machine are integral to the books, and Chaz was never much of an aeronautics engineer, he was curious to see what Mr. Frang would come up with - and this one-man, hand-held flying device really caught his imagination:



We think this one ought to be filed under 'steampunk', even while Chaz has since refused to use that term any longer in connection with WatW.

As always, the first 3 episodes are still available for download from the banner links upon this very web page.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

'Angel of Vengeance' Descends to the Web



After juggling various client commissions over the past few weeks, Chaz finally made some time to pull together his previously-abandoned angels & demons/urban fantasy comic book project that was started about a year ago.

Knowing he no longer has the strength or the time to draw full-length comics anymore (at least, not within a reasonable timeframe), he's compromising these days and developing 'graphic fiction' - heavily illustrated prose - in this case, featuring cut-up panels from the old comics pages interspersed throughout the text. He's always loved the characters, the dark humour and the backstory to this tale, and felt it a shame it never saw the light of day after some great feedback from friends on the artwork on Deviantart. It also brings together a few of Chaz's favourite subjects - dualist cosmology, Enochian angel mythology, epic storylines and a cast of characters who are painted neither 'good' nor 'bad', but complex beings with deep virtues and flaws.

As such, "Angel of Vengeance - Episode 1: South of Heaven" has finally materialised.

We're still limited only to publishing these works as digital downloads via Lulu.com as Kindle still doesn't like big illustrations. Once that platform is up to speed we'll seek to expand, but in the meantime it's been fulfilling simply to bring this thing all together and come up with something that is interesting and a bit different. A lot of so-called "urban fantasy" these days seems to be aimed at teenagers or feature friendly werewolves or jolly goth vampires. No such kid gloves exist in AoV - this is adult-only material, both in image and word. Darkness and evil abounds, but at the core is a rather human, story, with extraordinary characters torn between opposing poles of love, pain and morality.

But don't take our word for it: Episode 1's out now, right here.


Art from Issue 1. All works (c) C. Wood 2011.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Chaz Interviewed on the 'Paranormal Wire' Blog

Writer and blogger Natasha Larry has just posted an interview with Chaz at her Paranormal Wire page.


Chaz discusses his work on the Wish & the Will fantasy series, tries to show some humility (and humour), and also has some free goodies on offer.

You can read the full interview here.

Thanks to Natasha for the support!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Chat with Rainy Kaye

Earlier this month, Rainy Kaye ran a little interview with Chaz over at her web base for world domination.

The full post is available to read, here.

As Rainy makes a good habit of helping to promote other writers and creators, I'm sure she won't mind me saying that if you're one of the above, feel free to drop her a line anytime. She doesn't bite.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Wish & the Will - on Wallpaper

Having twanged something in his shoulder early in the weekend, Chaz has been rather out of sorts lately. Weight-training may be one thing, but lawnmowers...grr (though it never helps that the grass is close to a foot long). In the meantime, to keep his hand in, he's come up with a few wallpaper designs based on characters from the Wish and the Will. 1024x768 only at this stage, but he may work on more as the series progresses. Enjoy!


Mr Jeth Sundancer


Miss Claudia


Captain Ssorg Ethdril Kthorn


King Paimon

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Geekz Still Going Strong

It was back in 2009 that Chaz first had the whimsical idea of creating a web comic based around an email technical support helpdesk (and in no way inspired by his own day job on an email technical support helpdesk). Some time later down the line, Chaz stumbled across fellow web cartoonist Jeff Swenson (the mind behind the Freethunk Freethinkers website - sometimes controversial, often edgy but always worth checking out), and that old webcomic idea returned fully-formed.

And so it was that the strip "IT's All Geek to Me" was born (a convoluted pun if ever there was one - hence it now being universally known as 'Geekz'). Well over a year later, and the weekly strip (updated every Monday) shows no signs of running out of steam, such is the bonus of working in an environment which feeds inspiration and ideas into the work. It also helps to have a colleague who is just as adept at coming up with strange and bizarre ideas and gags as Chaz is, and who can probably be named as the Geekz No. 1 fan (Mr. Dave, that's you - take a bow.)

Wouldn't it be great if all writing could be so easily inspired...with enough material to keep us going well into the foreseeable future?

'Geekz' is hosted by the most excellent Mr. Ofer Israel over at his 'Humor Portal', which can be every bit as daring and edgy. There's also a compilation 'Geekz' book planned before the end of the year, which will collect together the first 70-odd strips as well as some new content. Some of the earlier, then-topical iPhone gags might look a bit dated now but a true geek would never criticize such a thing - that sense of the retro just adds to the whole geekishness of the thing (we're hoping...)

'Geekz' has its own Facebook page with regular strip updates and some behind-the-scenes content too. Pop along and give us the thumbs-up if you like!

Monday, 1 August 2011

'Venus' on Kindle!

'Venus in Saturn' is now live on Amazon Kindle - in the standard text-only edition without any illustrations. Chaz has experimented by dropping his royalty share on this one to see if the lower price will attract more sales. In any case, this is still dark and creepy stuff - the darkest Chaz has ever written.

US Customers can get it here.

Our UK customers can download it here.

The third volume in the Trinity Chronicles series is now in production, and sees the return of many old characters from the first two books.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Venus in Saturn: Just Published!


At long last, the prequel to Maranatha is out there, in a special illustrated edition available only from Lulu.com.

While Maranatha was in many ways an occult thriller with some horror trappings, Venus has more of a horror mentality with much of the action (and weirdness) taking place in the mind of heroine Vanessa Descartes, and contains some of the most disturbing material Mr. Wood has ever written to date. (He concedes that if a writer can freak himself out while writing something, then it bodes well for readers who enjoy that kind of thing!) While avoiding gratuitousness, Venus is nonetheless a macabre exploration of the deepest reaches of the human psyche, and is recommended for readers who like their horror with a cold, cutting edge, and a forensic level of detail.

Still as complex and layered, however, Venus has been almost three years in production, and sets up the cosmic background for the third book in the Trinity Chronicles series, The Keys of Heaven.

Friday, 29 July 2011

A Touch of Science...

Today, we welcome another guest blogger in the form of Joe Mogle:

'Have you ever read a story that pulled you in completely? It didn't matter what the story was about, you just felt like it was real. Then again other stories, tales with amazing plots and creative characters, just never seem to have what it takes to draw you in. What is it that some stories have that other don't?

While there may be many possible answers, I would like to pick out two to focus on. But first, a science lesson!

Why do people react to aggressive behavior just as strongly as aggressive statements? The answer is in our brains. Our subconscious mind processes visual data from people and analyzes it, coming to conclusions about their psychological state based on appearance.

Yet the brain goes even further. When we read descriptions of aggressive behavior, some parts of our subconscious respond as if there was a real person acting aggressively in front of us. Preposterous? Nope. The Id (one of the three parts of consciousness described by Freud) doesn't know the difference between imagination and real life.

This little quirk, which leaves us in cold sweats after nightmares, can be harnessed to sharpen works of fiction. Not surprisingly, books that explain the science of body language and mannerisms may give new depth to old characters. Insights into the minds and emotions of a not-so-talkative person in a story are now simple. By combining simple facial expressions with body positions, new facets of your characters can be expressed. For example saying 'he looked enraged' doesn't quite have the same feel as 'his eyes widened under his furrowed brow as his nostrils flared over his grinding jaw.' The second line uses an Id response to make you feel the situation in a way that the first can't.

A great new way to write up people in your works of fiction, no doubt. But you can go further with the other point I'd like to discuss. That other point is in the environment. Symbolism, like body language, creates a sense of reality, though for the setting rather than the players in the tale. The Id processes symbols just like it processes body language. We have certain emotional responses to particular objects and images. Most of us will feel a tingle up the spine when looking at a spider or a snake. Though some people will feel different. Each culture has set values or views for some symbols. A snake may be evil to one group and holy to another. Knowing what each symbol means in each culture helps to create a truly realistic setting, which draws your reader in further.

Just like body language, books of symbols and their meanings can be found at the local library or online.

This simple bit of science can have a great impact on your writing.'

Thanks for the very interesting contribution, Joe - and one which Chaz especially appreciated, being a keen exponent of this type of psychological characterization himself.

Be sure to visit Joe's author site here.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Creating a Niche vs. Writing the Blockbuster


An author guest post, by David Mark Brown

Like all of us, I have made infamous decisions in my life which have long outlived their immediate effects. For instance, dropping off the football team to try out for cheerleader -- in a small Texas town. (You know, the land of Friday Night Lights and King of the Hill. I made alternate by the way, but was offered the job of mascot to save the town from scandal. And no, I've never fully recovered from the psychological effects of being a pubescent, wedgie-shield.)

One such decision I have made more recently has been to deep six my long held dreams of being a New York Times best selling author in exchange for pursuing a more attainable, double-digit salary as a professional niche-genre writer. When I say, "niche-genre" I don't mean science fiction or romance. I don't even mean paranormal urban fantasy or steampunk, the shooting stars of sub-genre genre fiction. Nope. In my case I'm referring to dieselpunk weird western alternate history pulp, with a twist of granola. (And yes, you saw the word western in the mix, otherwise known as the kiss of death).

I call it Reeferpunk, and it was what leapt from the fire once I finally developed the cojones to ask myself the million dollar question -- "What were you born to write?" Screw market forces. Forget the critics, the agents, the gatekeepers, Oprah. Throw away all the lectures given by snooty professors on how the short story is the only true form of American literature. Lose the personal desire to impress and mold society. Push Henry Thoreau off the docks at Walden Pond. And finally fly the double bird in the face of reason.

What can I write that no one else can? It's a matter of calling. I don't suspect that I've perfected the answer yet, but I'm closer than I've ever been. And it feels good.

A series of preliminary questions rattled around my brain before I could answer the big one. First was the simple question, "What do you enjoy reading?" When I first asked myself this simple question I was in the midst of my fifth rewrite on a novel that I would've never picked off the shelf (unless my reading club had dictated it).

I like science fiction. I like thrilling and speculative stories based on real human desires and characteristics put to the test in outlandish situations or alternate realities -- human stories in sensational environs. I like fast-moving yet brain-punishing fiction. I like Frank Herbert's Dune and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Shadow.

Then came the question, "What do I know?" I'm no scientist. I'm a liberal arts slacker through and through. I'm no Isaac Asimov (I can grow some wicked sideburns, but that's where the comparison ends). History and political science, those are within my grasp.



Finally came the questions, "Who am I? And what has made me what I am?" Born and raised in rural Texas, I grew up working on a ranch. I attended university in the midst of the Rocky Mountains at the U of Montana (the Berkeley of the Rockies) where the police were on record saying about marijuana, "it's so common we hardly try to stop it anymore," and the school paper published editorials on how to weatherstrip your dorm room so your R.A. would never know. I'm the Redneck Granola.

What more did I need to know? All I needed were the яичка ("eggs" in Russian) to put the answers together and write the royally whacked-out speculative fiction I've been called to write -- invent the niche-genre that is David Mark Brown. Maybe later in my career I'll be talented enough to write what others want me too. But for now I'm writing refried alternate-history about what could have become of the southern half of North America if cheap oil never got cheap (due to the birth of the evil nation of Texicas), and instead brilliant minds devised an early cellulosic ethanol from the wondrous cannabis plant. Mein Hanf! (Spanish, Russian and German in the same post!)

As for reality? Well, thank God for ebooks, the digital wrecking ball of the publishing industry. Current conditions seem perfectly suited for the self-published, super-niche ebook. Forums, facebook groups and hashtags on twitter make it easier than ever before to participate in cultural and literary ghettos of our liking. To survive as a professional writer of super-niche genre fiction all I need are the enthusiastic downloads of 15,000 fans.

New York Times? Not a chance. But at 70% of $2.99 for two books a year I'd rather have my 15,000 fans for fiction I was born to write, than a pipe dream and a job at Home Depot.

Will it work? It'll probably take a miracle. You could always download the book (available for pre-order now!) and find out for yourself.

Thanks for the cool post, Mark. And a big nod to Erin Mehlos for the crazy and utterly brilliant cover artwork. Chaz is currently reading a complimentary copy of Fistful of Reefer and a review will be forthcoming on this very blog in the future...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Fenris Wolf Pack


Taking a break from fantasy and dark thrillers for a time, Chaz has recently begun work on a new book for the Fenriswulf catalogue: an Alaskan wilderness adventure for younger readers, that currently goes by the working title of Prince of the Hunt. Looking for something simpler than multi-layered epics of cosmic complexity, this slightly whimsical tale is definitely a case of "something completely different".

Originally conceived some years ago as a movie script, the simplicity of publishing via the Amazon Kindle platform has resurrected this idea, and it is now well into production of the first draft. The stars of the story are wolves, and the tale is written with just a hint of Kipling (the Just-So stories have long been some of Chaz's favourite bedtime tales for...decades).

The illustration here depicts the main hero of the piece, an exile named Cikuq, who ventures out to found his own pack with two young orphans...and meets an unlikely ally on the way. A tale of courage, thrills, and deep friendship soon blossoms. Release date: likely late summer, or early autumn.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Wish and the Will: Episode 3 Now Available!


Chaz published the text-only Amazon Kindle version of Episode 3 over the weekend. Somehow we've also managed to bring the price down, too.

The fully-illustrated version will be available in due course via Lulu.com, once the interior artwork is completed - this will take a little while due to current client commitments.

Here's the blurb:

Back in the City of Old Mid, outlaws Jeth Sundancer, Renzo K. Castello and Claudia get their 'biggest ever bank job' off to a shaky start when a bank manager confuses a vault with cask-conditioned whisky. Once underway, however, unexpected spanners are thrown into the works and Claudia is once again reminded that being a natural redhead has lethal disadvantages.

Therein they encounter a Droxen lavatory repair man, who may secretly be the legendary saviour of the Grotmongers, a race of repulsive sewer-dwelling creatures who believe he will deliver them into a promised land of light and wonder (as foretold by the quatrains of Justin the Pustulant).

Desperation and misunderstandings combine to push Claudia and Jeth into an impromptu music-hall appearance in front of the Daemonlord Prince Marbas, and a highly excitable audience of Sli'ix aristocracy. But Marbas and his lords have eyes only for one beautiful performer – and it isn't Claudia.

However, events soon take a turn for the sinister as the forces of law muzzle the growing cries from the people of Old Mid for political representation and an end to tyranny at the hands of the Daemonlords. And as Duke Barbatos, Lord of Justice, begins to pursue his own agenda, a new and terrifying threat is unleashed from the secret cellars beneath the Headquarters of the Gang, the Duke's elite secret police...


(That is, in fact, Mr. S on the front cover...in one of the weirder scenes to grace this quirky series so far.)

Here's the link for UK readers.

Here's the link for US readers.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Warm Fuzzy Feeling Inside!

No, Chaz hasn't been eating Vindaloo curry or drinking ginger wine again. But he did check his bank statement recently and found that he had been paid a small amount of money from a cheque he took to his bank last month...

A rather special cheque, as it happens, as this was his first ever royalty cheque, courtesy of Lulu.com! The sum was a princely $20 US and serves to illustrate how little a creator makes at Lulu if they wish to have any hope of keeping a sensible pricing structure on their books and other products.

The problem was, he couldn't pay it straight into his business account - the bank charges for that would have been more than the cheque was worth! - but by some jiggery-pokery arranged by the very helpful staff in his local branch, he managed to pay it into his personal account and only got hit for £7-odd charges for cashing a cheque in a foreign currency. But 50% of a cheque is better than -10% and besides, it's the symbolism of the thing which counts.

Ironically it's also likely to be his last cheque from Lulu too, having parted company with them for print completely, and only keeping on the fully-illustrated editions of The Wish and the Will, which at present are too big and colourful to be accommodated on Amazon's kindle platform.

Maybe in a few years' time he can expect to find a royalty cheque in the post from Kindle, too...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Wish & the Will: An Illustrated Excerpt

Presenting a recent illustration for the epic fantasy series, episode 3 of which is due out soon...a Karityldian warrior chief of the tribe of people to whom one of the heroes, Captain Ssorg, belongs. The Karityldians are native to the mountains and jungles of Garuda, and their story is not unlike that of the Zulu nation at the hands of the British in the 19th C. The following excerpt is from a field guide published after one of the earliest expeditions to the Karityldian homeland...



Karityldians: A singular and quite abominable reptilian race to be found in the jungles of the North-Eastern Outlands, sufficiently far enough from the hub of our great civilisation to prevent offence to our refined sensibilities. Their primitive hunter/gatherer society could benefit from several thousand seasons' worth of contact with our own infinitely superior culture. Central to their society is the ludicrous belief that they are somehow superior to other races by virtue of their great antiquity and adherence to absurdly primitive spiritual beliefs which refer to unknowable, unseen beings referred to as “gods”. In short: I humbly propose to their Daemonlordships that an expedition be launched to exterminate these monstrosities and claim their mountainous jungle lands in the name of Middengarth's Geological and Surveying Society.

-From Notes on the Peculiarities of Diverse Races of Middengarth, And Why Gnoems are Better than All of Them by Grath Galladon, Gnoem first generation explorer

Text and art (c) Chaz Wood, 2011. All rights reserverd.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Writing For Fun, Profit and Other Reasons...

Another guest post from Chaz - this time, over at Natasha Larry's Paranormal Wire page.

This was a little piece discussing the relative merits (and otherwise) of commercial writing, writing for personal pleasure, and whither the twin may met.

Read the full article here!

Thanks to Natasha for having me. Check out her page and her friends while you're over there!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

To Illustrate...or Not to Illustrate?





Chaz has a new guest blog article, 'A Problem in Promotion' over at Rainy Dark's writers' and bloggers' page. In it, he addressed the nature of illustrated fiction, and the preconceptions surrounding it, an issue which is very pertinent to Fenriswulf Books at the moment. The Wish & the Will series is being produced both in text-only and fully-illustrated e-book editions, while Maranatha has just seen its second revised edition, without the original illustrations.

The article ought to be of interest to any writer who is considering illustrations for their works, or anyone with a passing interest in the concept of illustrated fiction, as distinct from the more common 'graphic novels'.


Read the full post here.



Left: illustrated page from Episode 1 of The Wish & the Will: Sundancer's Regret

Monday, 6 June 2011

Labels, Genres, and Pigeonholes...

Chaz recently contributed an article on the use and value of labels, genres and pigeonholes in promoting and publicising fiction to a friend's blog. The post addresses general issues of promotion, and also deals with his current progress in determining exactly how to promote the 'Wish & the Will' fantasy series - specifically, how far one should go in making use of sub-genres and categories to reach one's target audience.

Read the full article here and show Julieanne some support on her page while you're there!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Book Reviews: Chaz's Views

Chaz just got another guest article featured over at Erin o'Riordan's 'Pagan Spirits' blog - all about the value of reviews for writers (with just a hint of personal experience thrown in).

Read the whole post here.

We hope you find something there of interest. Be sure to check out the rest of Erin's pages while you're there!

Friday, 27 May 2011

'The Wish & the Will'...Slight Return





Chaz has been thinking (and working) hard on restyling the visual identity of his current series of steampunk-flavoured fantasy adventures of late. The web poster above is the first of his new attempts at adding some depth and distinctive design elements to the books, as well as hinting at their medieval occult and magical origins.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Guest Post: “Wolf Bites” by Erin O’Riordan



Introducing a brand new guest blogger this week, Erin has compiled a collection of lupine links for fans of wolfish writings, in tune with this very blog's own mascot...



'Fenriswulf is the perfect name for a publisher of quirky, eerie, dark fiction. The Norse myth of the terrifying son of Loki who is unleashed at the twilight of the gods, after his fellow wolves have devoured the sun and moon, fascinates and terrifies. Fenris even appears in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The wolves in my writing tend to be less horrifying and more sensual, but they also refuse to be leashed or tamed. In honor of fiction’s nocturnal, howling canines, I present these short bites of some of my favorite wolf tales.

“The Bella Coola Indians believed that someone once tried to change all the animals into men but succeeded in making human only the eyes of the wolf.”
-- Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men

“I noticed her when I went to the bar to refresh my Manhattan. She stared at me. Her eyes were piercing. They were green, I think. If not green, then yellow. Lupine…She wore a silvery gray dress with black spots. It must have been an animal print, because I could not (indeed, still cannot) shake the impression that she was covered in a silvery gray fur.”
-- “Animal Appetites” by Erin O’Riordan, Encounters Magazine Fall 2009

“Thy desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starved and ravenous.”
-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

“Badhu shook her head. ‘Hairy, with eyes the color of honey. His teeth are too large for his mouth, and sharp. He bites, and he makes wild noises. He’s one of those men who shifts between the worlds of humans and of animals. In the land where I was born, we know of men who live in the village as men, and in the forest as elephants. He is one of them, Raven. Only not an elephant, but a wolf.’ Raven snorted. ‘You sound like a Polish peasant woman, talking about werewolves. There’s no such thing. He’s just a fisherman, one who happens to like to bite.’”
-- “Fall of the Estrela” by Erin O’Riordan, Midnight Times Summer 2008

“Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue.” -- “Speak of the wolf and you see his tail,” French proverbial equivalent of the English “Speak of the devil”

“The most curious legend about my nautical ancestress, however, regards her third child, a boy named William, also called Guillermo after the Spanish fashion. William was born later in Rachel’s life, when she was in her forties. Family legend has it that while raiding a Portuguese slave vessel, Rachel took as her prisoner a crew member who spoke no Portuguese. His name was Milos, and he was impressed by the Portuguese from the Adriatic isle of Vis, now part of Croatia. The Croatians recognize Vis for two things: its superior fisherman, and the strange legend that claims the inhabitants of Vis are werewolves.”
-- “Olivia Going Native” by Erin O’Riordan (unpublished)

“Darling it is no joke, this is lycanthropy
The moon’s awake now with eyes wide open
My body’s craving, so feed the hungry…”
-- Shakira, “She Wolf” lyrics

" ‘I’m never too tired to cook for your kind,’ Oliver said. ‘Werewolves are my favorite customers. Do you know why?’ Matthew shook his head. ‘Because you’re omnivores. You have the sophisticated palates of modern human beings, and the raw instinctual thirst for blood of ancient predators. No ingredient is off the list. It brings out my…’ He paused, looking Natalie up and down. ‘…Creativity.’”
-- “Oliver’s Famous Clam Chowder” by Erin O’Riordan. Love Bites, Torquere Press, 2008

Video trailer for “Oliver’s Good Night Kiss:”

Guest blogger biography: An adolescence of staying up late on Fridays nights, eating junk food and watching films such as Satan’s Cheerleaders has influenced Erin O’Riordan. She reads obsessively and writes compulsively. Her favorite lycanthrope is Werewolf Flanders. Erin says, "Howl at ya girl at www.aeess.com, preferably at midnight while the moon is full." '

Many thanks for that, Erin. It was great to see something new and different.

Be sure to drop by Erin's places online, or contact her, via the following:

Visit her Pagan Spirits blog
Find Erin on Facebook
and on Twitter

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Wish and the Will Episode 3: A Sneak Preview

Episode 3 of the quirky comical steampunk fantasy series is well under way at present. Chaz is working on bringing a wealth of new characters and increasingly surreal situations into the series, all of which combine to create an intricate weave of weirdness and wonder. Due to the epic scale of the work, Chaz has just hired long-time artistic partner-in-crime Mr. Frang to provide some art and design works of a technical nature, and we hope to be showcasing some of those on this very blog in the near future.

In the meantime, here's a sneak preview from one of the aforementioned scenes from Episode 3, wherein Mr Sundancer and Miss Claudia, in ever-desperate attempts to evade the clutches of the Constabulary, inadvertently find themselves on stage during a Royal Command Performance...for an excitable male-only audience.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Chaz Interviewed on the 'Upper Kingdom' Blog

Thanks to the readers/writers social networking site Goodreads.com, Chaz met up with writer Farida Mestek, who was seeking other authors to interview for her blog, The Upper Kingdom.

She posed some very interesting questions, and the full interview is now up on her blog, right here. There's talk about Chaz's earliest days as a writer, as well as details of Maranatha and The Wish and the Will.

Be sure to check out her other pages and interviews while you're there.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Wish and the Will Episode 2: Promo Trailer

A new promo trailer for Episode 2 of the 'Wish & the Will: Sundancer's Regret', again featuring the further voice talents of Mr Dave Allison. With his help and collaboration, we may end up even extending these into small animations (rather than glorified slideshows), as he is proving particularly adept at producing individual character voices for many of the cast!



I feel the first effort was a bit too epic and ambitious for its own good, so I'll be making shorter, snappier clips in future. In any case, it's great to have somebody else on board the Fenriswulf boat who's enthusiastic about the projects and getting involved.

(If any browsing reader is interested in Mr. Allison's voice talents, he's readily available for all occasions, including weddings, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs.)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Guests Bloggers & Writers: Welcome!

Following the recent flurry of interest in Rainy's recent and very helpful guest post, we'd now like to extend this offer to any blogger or writer who has something to share. We're now looking for guest posters for this very Fenriswulf Books blog.

Whether personal experiences, advice, or anything interesting relating to the world of writing and self-publishing, we'd be interested to hear it.

Generally we'll accept mostly any pieces that are on-topic: self-publishing, fantasy/sci-fi/thriller writers, graphic artists who also write - graphic novels, writers' experiences when it comes to dealing with Print on Demand suppliers, etc. Feel free to contact us with ideas for content.

All-out promotional items won't be considered at this stage but if you can give it a spin and tell an interesting story of creative development, discovery or personal advice along the way, then feel free to include links, images and such. Also if anyone's interested in banner or link exchanges - as a graphic designer I've no problem throwing together a banner for someone who wants one, so long as we can add our banner to your page in return.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Where to Find Your Audience: A Guest Post by Rainy

In the first of what we hope will be a new phenomenon here at the Fenriswulf blog - featuring guest bloggers and writers with something to say - here's Rainy getting us off to a flying start with a thoughtful article on targeting your potential readership. We've shared many interesting views on promotion and marketing for the indy and self-published writer in the past, and that looks set to continue. So, take it away...

When Rainy Kaye isn't plotting world domination, she enjoys coaching others about it on her blog. She also likes fluffy kittens.

The word "platform" is making authors squirm more than ever. Because publishing houses are cutting costs, writers are turning to self-publishing, and the internet is becoming the primary avenue for marketing, artists are becoming aware of what it means to create their own platform. For some, a platform is the matter of pinpointing where their art belongs and then amassing followers of the genre.

But what about those who are carving out their own niche? Where do the entrepreneurs of the artistic world begin? Creating a platform with defined followers is hard enough, but it requires even more creativity for those who aren't following a well explored path. More work, yes. Impossible, no. Here are a few ways to get started:

What is it at the essence? No matter how creative your project is, it's still something familiar at its core. For example, it's still electronic music, a comic book, or handmade art. Forget the enthusiasm (or horror) that you've created something never seen before, and strive to find its most basic foundation.

What makes it different-and why does anyone care? Now that you've concluded what makes your project like everything else on the planet, decide what makes it different. Write down three points that make it unlike anything else you've seen, and what that means to your potential audience. These are your selling points. Even artists with a fairly common niche has to understand what makes their work the same, and then what makes it different, than others on the market.

Now, sum it up. I've talked many times about how important it is to be able to explain your work in 140 characters. This has nothing to do with Twitter; it has everything to do with the short attention span of your potential audience. If you're marketing something extremely different, you should be able to tell someone what it's like, why it's different, and why they should care, also in about 140 characters. Work this into your normal pitch. You do have a pitch, right?

Once you've completed the above-and I do mean, completed it, not just skipped down to the next steps-consider where to find your people. I know, you want to get right to the people, but if you don't know how to pitch your idea to them, then you're only going to annoy them. And depending how different your work is, you may have a limited audience, anyway. Have a perfected pitch before you even think about talking to people. Then try these ideas:

Branch out your partnership. You may feel like there are no partnerships available because your work is so different. Wrong. Check out the first step above, when you concluded what your work is at the core. Now find others who also fall into that simple niche. Remember, most people are also trying to promote their own endeavors, so they are often willing to exchange links or other promotional activities even if your projects are slightly different. Ideas don't have to be identical to be successful together.

Consider your audience's other interests. This one is not fool-proof and certainly doesn't apply to all artists. However, for some, it might be the golden ticket. Consider what other entertainment your potential audience might like. For example, what movies and TV shows would they watch, what music would they listen to, what book they would read, what locations would they hang out at, etc. Not sure what your audience would be into? Chances are, many of these answers will be the same as your own.

Go get 'em! Now that you have a solid pitch and can answer what your project is like and why it's different, as well as have an idea of who your potential audience is, go seek them out. Join standalone forums and community groups (GoodReads, Facebook, Ning etc) on not just your "essential" niche, but ones pertaining to your audience's potential other interests. When you find someone who enjoys your work, mesh into their world. Get to know their friends (don't spam!), comment on their blog (don't spam!), follow them on various social networks (don't spam!).

Finding, and then creating, your platform is never easy. Take the time to understand a few simple rules of thumb, such as why a pitch is so important, and that people usually have a pattern to their interests and tend to hang out with like-minded individuals. Then you'll not only be able to develop your platform, but meet interesting people along the way.

Thanks again, Rainy.

Additional: Rainy asks - "What creative ways have you found an audience for your project?"

Feel free to post a comment and share your views.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Wish & the Will: Live on Kindle!

As promised previously, Fenriswulf are now throwing (just about) everything they have at the Amazon Kindle platform. The brand new, revised 2nd edition of Maranatha is now out there.

And the first two episodes of The Wish and the Will: Sundancer's Regret have just joined them:

Episode 1.

Episode 2.

Unfortunately, the limits of the Kindle platform have meant that we are unable to present these editions with the full-colour illustrated steampunk experience that is The Wish and the Will - however for those hungry for more, information is provided in the Kindle e-books to obtain these (free of charge).

And for good measure, here's the brand new promotional trailer for The Wish and the Will, which has just debuted on Youtube:



Busy old weekend so far, really.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Wish & the Will Continues


Due mainly to the long-term holdup with Lulu's ISBNs, Chaz got cracking on with the steampunk fantasy serial...and has rather forgotten how to stop. Episode 3 is now well under way, with a good number of illustrations for that, and the fourth and final episode now in the bag. The entirety of Book 1: Sundancer's Regret will, at this rate, be completed inside the next couple of months. In truth, Chaz is enjoying working on this project immensely, and we hope this shows in the final product. Episode 1 is due out on Kindle in the near future, inspired by recent sales of Maranatha and The Black Flag (the latter which was seen to be sitting at #82 in the top #100 for Graphic Novels in the sci-fi and fantasy categories last week!)

However, due to the limitations of that platform, it has had to be shorn of all the full-colour illustration work which has become such an integral part of the stories - however, the complete, unexpurgated versions are always available from this very website, in PDF format. Just click on the WatW banners on the left.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the sneak preview image from the fourth episode of Sundancer's Regret. There'll be many more to come soon...

Thursday, 28 April 2011

'The Black Flag' Flies on Amazon Kindle


Chaz originally submitted his first full-length graphic novel to Amazon's Kindle program back in December, then promptly forgot all about it during that period of the lousiest weather ever, becoming officially self-employed, and doing lots and lots of commission works while stuck in the house.

In the meantime, 'The Black Flag' has shifted a respectable number of copies both on the UK and the US Amazon sites - something Chaz was very pleased and surprised to discover tonight. Now that the Kindle project appears to be bearing some fruit, this is definitely a medium into which Fenriswulf Books will be planning more releases in the future (despite some of Chaz's earlier dismissive comments regarding the future of the e-book reader...well, times do change!)

Channeling the likes of 2000 AD's Slaine through the mythical Irish background of the Morrigan and the Battle of Magh Tuireadh, 'The Black Flag' pushes the notion of a Celtic revolutionary underground through a darkly futuristic vision of the British Isles. Anti-heroine Georgina Buadach Macdubhgaill invokes the myths of the good gods of ancient Ireland to bring blood and battle to the streets of London...and in the process, draws another cycle of history to a brutal conclusion.

Here's the link for UK Kindle shoppers.

And for US Kindle shoppers.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

This is the End, My Friend…

No, not of Fenriswulf Books or anything, but of the long-winded Lulu.com support query involving our missing block of ISBNs.

Seven weeks after the support query was first raised, and last night Chaz received his details as originally requested. While the relief has been tangible and welcome, it’s not encouraging that this simple query took so long to resolve, and seems only to have been accomplished with a good deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth, not to mention prodding Lulu’s support agents, and their public Facebook provile page, with long sharp objects.

So, the arduous mission in to the heart of darkness is over, and a new era can begin: when Fenriswulf can once again publish and globally distribute its current and pending catalogue of new books. This awkward voyage has resulted in Chaz’s original plans to release the new edition of Maranatha on Easter Sunday being completely shredded, but no matter – the book ought to be out in the next few weeks, with its new prequel, Venus in Saturn, to follow soon after (or as quickly as Chaz has figured out how to use Lulu’s new global distribution services).

As such, normal service is resumed!

Monday, 25 April 2011

The Wish and the Will Episode 2: Now Available


...and it's STILL only £0.99 as well!

In the world of Middengarth, where fairytales and folklore are history, and magic still lingers in the air, strange things are afoot...

Outlaws Jeth Sundancer, Renzo K. Castello and Claudia have been chased out of Middengarth City by the forces of law and order, and now struggle for survival in the harsh realm of the Outlands. Herein, they have to contend with a crusty riverboat captain and his rag-tag crew; a psychopathic First Mate on board a trading vessel and an incredibly ill-fitting corset, all on the road to the 'biggest bank job ever'. Things are further complicated when Renzo & Jeth's old friend, Smiffy Smurkin, takes an instant dislike to Claudia on account of the colour of her hair and threatens their entire operation. How can our hapless anti-heroes hope to throw a spanner in the clockwork wheels of the tyrannical Daemonlords against such continued opposition?

You can download the new episode right here.

The characters now also have their own Facebook page!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Lulu.com Reply...at Last

Further to an earlier (and rather belligerent) post on this very blog regarding Lulu.com's lack of response to Chaz's ISBN problem (now 6 weeks and climbing), and a few comments and responses on the front page of their Facebook profile, Chaz has finally found someone at Lulu who has been willing to apologise for the delay, acknowledge his patience in this matter, and escalate his query.

That was really all Chaz had been wanting to hear from someone - anyone - at the company, yet it has taken 1 month of waiting, regular emails to their support team and finally the threat of public humiliation in front of Facebook's half-billion users to get a result. But Chaz is happy that at least some movement on the issue has occurred, with promises of the case being put to the top of the queue.

We shall wait and see. With luck, our next major releases: Maranatha (2nd edition) and Venus in Saturn will be out before too long, with Last Rose of Summer to follow. In any case, we'll keep you posted.

P.S Chaz has now removed the earlier 'complaint' post leveled at Lulu's customer service teams. It served its purpose at the time, to vent his frustration in public and try to raise some awareness of the issue, but its time has now passed. And it is now time, as they say, to move on. (Ironically, it also proved the most viewed post on the Fenriswulf blog this year, by far...perhaps our readers enjoy rants and complaints?)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Wish & the Will Comes Alive on Facebook

While the silence in the Lulu.com corner continues to be deafening, Chaz is continuing work on the surreal fantasy digital e-book series, 'The Wish & the Will' (which at least doesn't require ISBNs to get out there). The series has already attracted some interest and sold a few downloads, so Chaz is understandably keen to keep the momentum going.

As such, he has recently decided to set up a fully interactive and in-character Facebook group for readers and interested parties:

The Facebook Group is here.

Currently the principal five characters are in the process of bickering among themselves as they struggle to get acquainted with the wonders of social networking, and take each other to task both on matters related to events in the books, and elsewhere. If time allows, Chaz hopes to expand the cast of Facebook personalities to include 'bad guy' individuals and even some of the strange and sinister Daemonlords who rule the fantasy world of Middengarth.

Monday, 11 April 2011

'Surfeit of Mandrake' Reviewed...on Amazon, and Elsewhere


While 'Maranatha' has been notching up some good press in recent months, that other stalwart of the original Fenriswulf catalogue, 'A Surfeit of Mandrake', hasn't been so lucky in finding reviewers of late. Possibly because anthologies are so difficult to review and sum up, especially ones as eclectic as this which features poetry, drama in blank verse, short stories, artwork, comic strips and a mini sci-fi saga as the centre piece.

However, that's all changed now thanks to the extremely generous and helpful Trevor, over at Bookophile Reviews. True to his every word, he's written a damn fine review and shared it not only at Amazon and his own blog pages, but at Goodreads also (where Chaz and Fenriswulf have a growing presence).

The new 'Mandrake' review is online at Amazon, here. While you're at it, pop across to Trevor's pages and show him some support too! If you have a book you'd like reviewed, drop him a line - he's a great guy to chat with, as well.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Wish & the Will: Episode 1 Now Available!

THE CARDS ARE STACKED...

The world is in turmoil!

In the solitary city of Middengarth, the strange and sinister Daemonlords rule the inhabitants with ever-increasing firmness. The great City Clock stands still at one stroke before midnight, and the whispers on the street are that soon the Clock shall strike - to signify an event of literally world-shaking proportions that none could ever foresee.

In the Outside, the untamed lands far beyond the City, a cruel warlord known only as the Moderator kills or enslaves all those who wish a new society free of the Daemonlords and to exist in peace.

But one insignificant human is worrying only about his own skin. That is, until Fate decides to lend a hand.

When down-on-his-luck gambler Jeth Sundancer reluctantly teams up again with old partner Renzo K. Castello to perpetrate the 'biggest-ever bank job', the brainchild of the appealing but mysterious Claudia, he soon wishes he had stayed among the anonymous outcasts in Middengarth's Warrens...

For Jeth Sundancer; sardonic, weary and distrusting of his only friends; the cards do indeed seem to be stacked.


You can download the e-Book version of Sundancer's Regret: Episode 1 right here. 77 Pages, illustrated in full colour. Price: 0.99 GBP.

Read more about the Wish & the Will series here.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

'Maranatha' picks up a 5-star Amazon review already!

It took a while, but it finally happened...some very kind (and happy) reader has left her thoughts on the recently-added Kindle edition. This was a very welcome surprise when Chaz last checked on his presence at amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Maranatha-C-Wood/dp/0955975107/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301581546&sr

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Forthcoming Fenriswulf Fiction…with Freebies?!

Things haven’t been quiet on the Fenriswulf Books front of late – in fact, they’ve been positively deafening (or at least that’s Chaz’s excuse for not getting enough sleep of late).

While Lulu.com go about the interminable process of trying to re-discover Chaz’s remaining block of ISBNs (purchased in 2008 and now seemingly lost in their cavernous system somewhere, and still no customer support in 4 weeks of emailing and livechat), Chaz has pushed on ahead with 2011’s release schedule as follows:

Trinity Chronicles - Maranatha (2nd revised edition): to be released ASAP
Wish and the Will: Sundancer’s Regret, Episode 1: ASAP!
Trinity Chronicles – Venus in Saturn: scheduled for summer 2011
Last Rose of Summer: Late 2011

Jolly good, you cry. Glad to hear Chaz is so busy and creative. So what about those freebies you spoke of earlier?

Well, we’re seeking “beta readers”, as they seem to be referred to in these circles, or kind people who love reading, with lots of time and their hands, who don’t mind going through the proof of a text and providing constructive feedback and opinion to the author.

If anybody out there would like to take part in this, we’re currently looking to gather opinions on Venus in Saturn and Sundancer’s Regret, ideally within the next 4-8 weeks. Leave a comment here or send us an email and we’ll pop you a proof of the text in PDF format. Your payment, should you wish it, will be a free copy of the finished product (signed, print edition of Venus, full-colour illustrated edition of Regret in e-book format) when all the work is done.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

'Maranatha' - New Teaser Trailer revealed

The old, twitchy black-and-white trailer has now bitten the dust. Chaz decided to reveal his newly-completed full-colour illustrations of the main cast of 'Maranatha' in the form of a new and much-improved teaser for the forthcoming second edition of the Trinity Chronicles novel.

The soundtrack is a little quirkier, and as such fits well with the whole Fenriswulf ethos. (Trivia note: part of the audio was achieved by Chaz himself throat-singing through an echo box).

The new trailer is on show at the bottom of this very blog page. Alternatively, you can catch it right here, on Youtube.

Monday, 7 March 2011

'Maranatha' Finds Another Review

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, some of Chaz's new-found friends and associates have proved to be very helpful and accommodating, with a special mention here to Mary and Gerry at Our Book Reviews Online.

Gerry made the effort to contact Chaz beforehand to discuss the book's content and influences, and also seems to have genuinely enjoyed the read.

The full review is on the Book Reviews blog, here.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Maranatha: the Second Coming

The new edition of Maranatha is effectively in the can, with work completed on the new front cover:



We felt it was about time that Vanessa Descartes got included in the artwork, and now that the interior black and white illustrations of the old first edition have been removed, Chaz saw a prime opportunity to come up with a brand new portrait of the Trinity Chronicles' heroine.

Release date for this new edition is tentatively set for this Easter, assuming our current problem with assigning ISBNs can be overcome by Lulu.

Monday, 21 February 2011

'Maranatha' in the Self-Publishing Press

Well it took some time, but finally Chaz's campaign to find some serious press for Maranatha is beginning to pay off. The following write-up appeared in the Winter edition of The Self-Publishing Magazine and is reproduced with permission, and without any 'judicious edits':

"...Religion-peppered thrillers are fast becoming cliches these days, and Maranatha immediately suffers by sporting a pedestrian cover with a tagline that sounds more like the fusion of two computer games than an introduction to a novel. Wood demonstrates flair and potential in his writing style and some passages draw the reader in. But this is not sustained throughout the text and clumsy, overly-descriptive passages rear their heads at opportune moments and jar with the edge-of-your-seat pace the novel needs to create to hook and hold the reader.

The presence of pictures is a puzzle as one thing Wood does excel in is the creation of characters. Indeed, the illustrations do push the novel into graphic novel territory, which in turn pushes the text towards a niche genre. Holding onto an understanding of the plot without a degree in Theology can be a struggle at times, but Wood keeps things just on the right side of accessible to the average reader. A lingering, almost voyeuristic preoccupation with the precise details of the violence of the murders in the story does mar things somewhat, and feels unnecessary given that there is a fine line between ritualistic murders and a gore fest.

Maranatha reeks of talent and potential but often finds itself treading water. The cover does not stand out or entice, which is a shame as, nestled on the bookstore shelf, it could easily be missed or passed by. Clumsy phrasing disturbs the flow of the thriller, but there is method to the madness of the plot and, if you like your thrillers to have that touch of the ritual and 'outside normal', then this is the book for you."

Chaz was very happy with that, deeming it fair on all counts. The presence of the illustrations and the issues with the cover are of course documented in this very blog (all the way back to late summer '08) when he was making the first steps into the big world of publishing, and was not at all confident in his own abilities as a book cover artist. Now over 2 years down the line, and Chaz has just completed his second official book cover commission (Dr. Frank English's Magic Parcel children's series), and far happier with his abilities as recent postings of the forthcoming Venus in Saturn cover will show. With the core text of Maranatha now over 5 years old in places, he has also learned a trick or two when it comes to writing in that time.

As a result of the above, Chaz is now in the process of revising Maranatha for a new, second edition, this time with no interior art, a full-colour pictorial colour, and Trinity Chronicles visual identity to tie it to Venus in Saturn and the forthcoming sequels. The text will also be given an overhaul and this new edition launched around the time that Venus goes live, in March or April this year. He's long wanted to make changes to the original edition since it was first released, but with the strict rules governing what can and cannot be altered under the same ISBN decided to leave it until he could resolve all the issues in one go. And Troubador's review has helped to do just that.

He's also now considering quoting the last line of the review on the cover...

The Self-Publishing Magazine is published by Troubador. Review content (c) 2010 Troubador Publishing Ltd., used with permission.

Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners

Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners
Because Chaz is a fan of these guys and their music. Help support the British metal music scene!

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'Sword and the Ring' Book 1

'Sword and the Ring' Book 1
Now Available...in print, or in Kindle format

'Sword and the Ring' Part 1 Book Trailer

'Malaria 9' Book Trailer

"Maranatha" video trailer - for the new 2nd edition

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