Writing Update #1: Oh Wow I’m Actually Writing

For a writing blog, there seems to be very little writing going on.  I am fully aware of that, but fret not!  I have been hard at it over the past few weeks.  I’ve been on mid-year university break which has given me some unobstructed writing time and boy have I been using that time as much as I can.

After doing a lot of scheduling and time management, I’ve decided to cut out a lot of the projects I said I was working on in that earlier post.  I’ve done a lot of thinking about each project, and decided whether they will be postponed for a while or postponed indefinitely.

Firstly, I’ll say what has been scrapped entirely.  Kings of the Bloodstone aka my Gothic fantasy novel has been postponed indefinitely, with a very high chance of it being cancelled.  After realising the market was flooded with vampire novels a few years back, I knew that my vampire story would probably just get muddled up in the mix.  Along with that, I had done very little work on it and the plot was all over the place.  It may rear its head later on down the track, but for now Kings of the Bloodstone is going to be filed away.

My second project, Man and Machine aka my science fiction novel has been postponed, but not indefinitely.  There are other things I want to work on at the moment, but I am very passionate about this project and I don’t want to forget it all together.  This one was starting to move along, and a lot of the planning is done and first draft was already starting to come together.  But it will be placed on the back-burner for now while I focus on my main projects.  But don’t say goodbye to Man and Machine forever, because like another famous cyborg story it says “I’ll be back.”

Finally, what are my current focuses right now?  Oddly enough, I chose the project with the least work done on it to be my main project.  Both Kings of the Bloodstone and Man and Machine had far more work done on them, but I decided to put the spotlight on my un-named fantasy/adventure novel.  It’s going under the working title “Vessel” at the moment, and in the few short weeks after deciding to put my focus on it, it has rocketed to first place in terms of how much content there is.  The planning is completely finished, and I am about a third of the way into the first draft.  This is certainly something considering that all I had at the start was a rough plot and some ideas for characters.  But now Vessel is well on the way to becoming my debut piece, and I hope it will be.

Along with Vessel, I am also continuing on with my Revan story.  This multipart series is more a personal project that will be published on Fanfiction and Ao3 rather than being published.  The first draft of the first novella is nearly complete, and I’ll be starting to revise it soon.  This will probably come out first, so Star Wars fans make sure you keep an eye on this blog, because I will be announcing its release here.  I did mention in my earlier post this was my biggest project, but I have switched it around with Vessel, which is taking most of my attention.

So there you have it.  Rise of Revan will hopefully be out by the end of the year, and I am working away on my first novel.  Feel free to send in questions or advice, as it will always be appreciated.  Any publishers out there are VERY welcome to send me a message.

Keep writing everyone!

Lisa W

Book Reviews by Someone not Qualified to Review Books- Damiano (Damiano #1)

Damiano (Damiano, #1)Damiano by R.A. MacAvoy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought the Damiano series because it was cheap on Kindle and the idea of Renaissance history blended with fantasy intrigued me. At first, I didn’t expect much but it became clear after just a few chapters that my expectations would be greatly surpassed. It had been a very long time since a book has gripped me as much as Damiano.

The book’s premise is what intrigued me in the first place- it is a story set in our real, historical world except that magic exists and is closely tied to faith. Despite being fantasy, this premise is done in a way that feels real. Mythical beings such as the angel Raphael and a talking dog existing in real locations amidst real conflicts blends the fantasy and historical aspects of the story together in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

At first, the writing style perplexed me a little. At times it can be hard to follow, but once you get used to its poetic style it becomes easier to read. In fact, once you start to understand the way this book is written you start to really become drawn into it.

I didn’t like any of the characters at first. They all seem infuriatingly naive, especially Damiano. But you start to learn that that naivety is an integral part of the characters, especially in a book with Christian themes about goodness and innocence. The whole book is about how this naive, young boy comes to realise the reality of the harsh world he lives in, and this tale is told beautifully.

This book is very much unlike the books I usually read as it is mostly devoid of fast paced action. But I found I enjoyed this book much more because of that. This story does not need action to string it along- instead it uses your connection to Damiano and your desire to know what will happen to him next to keep you invested. Just like its been a long time since I’ve read such an investing book, its been just as long since I’ve cared for a character in a book as much as I cared for Damiano. When the conflict comes to a point towards the end of the book, I could not stop reading because I just had to know what would happen to this young boy and his dog who I had become so attached to.

Don’t let the book’s age or Christian themes get in the way of you reading it. It is a beautifully written book that is unlike any other book I have read. It’s style may be an acquired taste for some, and it takes a bit to get over the unusual writing, but once you do, you will find yourself with a fantasy novel unlike any other.

View all my reviews

All the Fun of Medieval Times Without the Death and Disease- My Day at the Abbey Medieval Festival

If you’re anything like me, you probably get bored of your seemingly boring, normal life, right? And sometimes you wish you could live in a much more exciting period of history- like medieval times, or the Renaissance.  After all, it was a world of sword fights and knights and kings and queens!  But it was also a world where everyone died by age forty and most spent their lives knee deep in cow dung.  But I have found a way to experience all the joy of yesteryear without all the death and cow dung!  And that way is the Abbey Medieval Festival.

The Abbey Medieval Festival is a long running medieval festival at Caboolture, Queensland, Australia and is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.  I had high expectations when I arrived on a sunny but cold Saturday, but those expectations were still surpassed.  I attended with the companionship of my partner Noah.  Upon arrival we were greeted by a gypsy dance group jingling away.  Their vibrant dancing distracted us from the ye olde mud road that led into the festival.  Very authentic.

I know this sounds cliche and cheesy, but once you step past the gates of the festival, it really is like stepping back in time.  Laid before you in a wide clearing among the trees are dozens of brightly coloured tents and arenas, and even a trebuchet or two.  Rather than other festivals that merely present a glimpse into medieval life, Abbey goes the whole way and transforms the field into what actually feels like a real medieval camp, complete with not one but TWO medieval inns.  While there were casual festival goers like me in normal clothing, the large majority of people at the festival were gowned in period attire- ladies in beautiful dresses and headscarves, men in fur lined cloaks and armour.  Even the sounds and smells around you take you back to ye old times- from the moment I entered the festival I could hear the sound of a lute nearby as well as the clanking of armour.  Even the air smelt how I would expect a medieval festival to smell- smoke, leather and oddly enough, cinnamon donuts.

Once I’d managed to take in my sudden transportation back in time, Noah and I made our way to the Castle Arena for the grand opening parade.  The festival’s attention to historical immersion shone again as the participants in the festival were introduced as if they were attending a real tourney.

20170708_093732.jpg

After the grand parade, we had ten or so minutes before the tourney.  I followed my nose back to the scent of those cinnamon donuts and found them being hawked by a man wheeling a cart of donuts shouting “hot cinnamon donuts!”.  I purchased three cinnamon and jam donuts and they are by far the best jam donuts I have ever had.

Next up was the “Tourney of Two Houses” presented by the Company of the Phoenix. Remember the tourney from Game of Thrones?  It’s just like that except you get to experience it in real life.  Everyone cast aside their knowledge that it was a re-enactment. We cheered on for the fight, gasped when a knight suffered a blow in combat and shouted words of encouragement to our favourite knights.  For that brief period of time, I really did feel like I was there in a real tourney.  The modern world seems far away at the sight and sound of clashing swords.

20170708_110739.jpg

Next on our program took us a tad further in time to the Renaissance.  One of my favourite local re-enactment groups is Prima Spada who teach and perform historical Renaissance fencing.  Where as medieval knights are clad head to toe in cumbersome armour and swing their swords wildly, Renaissance swordsmen put more focus on fashionable combat.  With capes and rapiers, Renaissance fencing shows that the Renaissance was a less barbaric time, although just as violent.  Combat was like a dance with impressive footwork.  Prima Spada exemplified a number of popular Renaissance weapon combinations- sword, rapier, sword and buckler, sword and knife, two handed sword, and my personal favourite, sword and cape.  While the medieval tourney combat gets your heart racing for its sheer violence, Renaissance combat is more of a pleasure to watch.

20170708_113149.jpg

Sound your trumpets, as it was now time for the joust.  Rather than a re-enactment, the Abbey jousting is a real competition that attracts jousters from all over Australia and the world.  I officially have to say that jousting should be a mainstream sport again and all quarrels should be settled with a joust.  Each jouster had their own look, style and colours, and even their own personality in the way they rode around the field and presented themselves. The joust really gets you to get behind your favourite jouster, and announcer made sure that everyone knew how to give an almighty HUZZAH.   Little did I know that there is more to jousting than just two people riding at each other with pointy sticks.  There’s scoring involved, making it all the more competitive.  Seeing the ends of the jousting sticks break off on the other’s shield and flying into the air is one of the most exhilarating things ever.  Unfortunately we had to abandon the joust early because the stands lacked shade and it had gotten very hot.

received_1861635984087217.jpeg

Deciding it was time for a ye old meal and beverage, Noah and I made our way to the Stag Inn.  If you ever wanted that authentic medieval inn experience, the Stag Inn delivers.  It was hard choice between the steak pie or the venison stew, but I opted for a good old fashioned pie.  Noah had the goat pie, which I avoided since I am still unsure about goat meat.  With hay underfoot and a haybale as our seat, we enjoyed our very delicious peasant pies and washed it down with apple cider.  I nearly opted for one of the many ales and meads the inn sold, but I was feeling a little sunstruck and alcohol probably wasn’t the best idea.  The air was filled with the smell of cooking meat and smoke from a nearby campfire.  And like every good inn, it was filled to the brim with boisterous, loud men talking and laughing heartily.  The only thing that could have completed the experience was good tavern fight.

20170708_132844.jpg

Briefly after lunch we decided to quickly glimpse the end of what could be my favourite sport- Turkish Oil Wrestling.  I don’t have much to say about this save that it involved two sweaty, oiled up buff Turkish men rolling around on the ground attempting to slide their hand into the other’s pants.  No really, look it up.  That’s what they do.  Easily the most homoerotic sport in the world, and very *cough* interesting to watch.

abbey-medieval-festival-turkish-oil-wrestling1.jpg

After catching the end of another tournament, we decided to take the time to explore the dozens of encampments before us.  Many sold goods you would never find anywhere else- swords, shields, bows and arrows, leatherworks and jewelry, as well as a plethora of other medieval wares.  I was very close to buying an authentic drinking horn.  Noah was just as close to buying a sword.  Like most medieval wares, we probably would never use either, but they make great conversation pieces.  Strolling through the encampments is one of the best things about these festivals, because you can really take your time to enjoy the atmosphere.  The best part is that the people in the encampments are acting out real medieval activities.   I spent a good five minutes just watching a man string a bow.  From fletching arrows, turning a spit or helping another put their armour on, everyone went about their activities like it really was a cool July afternoon in the 1400s.

20170708_100603.jpg

There were a few more displays and tournaments that afternoon, but we decided to call it a day at this point.  I don’t think I could’ve handled much more medieval immersion without spontaneously starting to speak in old English.  After a quick flit around the stalls to spend the last of my money, we finally bade farewell to the Abbey Medieval Festival and returned back to the modern day.  For one amazing day, I got to leave this sad, modern world behind in exchange for the glories of the past.  For one day, I could pretend I did live in a world of chivalry and crusades, of knights and ladies and of swords and horses.  And for that, I thank the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Interested in next year’s festival?  Check out the link below

Abbey Medieval Festival