Now available on Pinterest!

UnknownIn my continued efforts to keep up with social media, I’ve set up a Pinterest account. I thought it’d be a useful way to share with you some of the images of places, weapons, armour, and clothing that I draw inspiration from to add flavour to the Middle Sea World.

You can find me here: Pinterest

I’m slowly populating a few boards with images as they cross my path, but there’s a selection of everything, from some buildings that are pretty representative of what you might find in Ostenheim, to the swords they carry, the clothes they wear, and the armour that keeps them safe!

I’m completely new to Pinterest, so if anyone has any tips or suggestions, feel free to drop me a line! When I’ve a bit more time, I’ll try to split the pinned photos up into categories that are more specific to the individual regions, but for the time being, there should be enough to give a general sense of how I see the world my characters inhabit!

The long awaited Ostenheim City Guide…

Ok, I had an email recently reminding me about the Ostenheim City Guide that I was planning to do a while back. I have to admit, with all the work that's been going into getting the entire Wolf of the North trilogy put together, I completely forgot about it! I've dug out the old file, and instead of putting it up as a complete booklet - at least initially - I'm going to post instalments of it here on the blog. I'll be getting on to that over the next week or so.

In other news, the first part of The Wolf of the North trilogy will be going off for line edit shortly, as soon as I've made a few slight changes, so things are well on track with that.

I hope everyone's well!

End of year report!

Ok, first off, apologies for posting here so infrequently. It's not down to laziness on my part (well, ok, maybe a bit) but because I've been hard at work on my next trilogy, The Wolf of the North. I wanted to have at least a first draft of all three books completed before I move forward with the first one, and I'm almost at that point now, so hopefully not too much longer to wait! It's really hard to believe that over a year has passed since I released The First Blade of Ostia. Time really flies when you spend most of your day in a made up world!

By way of teaser, The Wolf of the North is set in the Middle Sea world, but with new characters and new locations that I haven't had the chance to explore before. It's also allowed me to look at the world from a different cultural perspective, and as small a thing as that might sound, it's been a lot of fun to take these ideas and play around with them from a different viewpoint. It's the story of a young man from the Barbarian North who, from an inauspicious start, becomes a legend in his own time.

Next year will be all about The Wolf of the North, but the fact that I've got a lot of the hard work done on it already means I'll have a little time for another character who's been simmering away in the back of my mind for quite a long time now!

That's about all I've got for now, so I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! Thanks again for your support and interest in my work!

Best wishes,

Duncan

Black Sails

I’ve just finished watching the second season of Black Sails, and enjoyed it enough to be motivated to write a post about it! I thought the first season was excellent, and this one was a solid step up, both in terms of the story and the characters.

The storyline is developing nicely and expanding to give the viewer a broader appreciation of the characters and the world they inhabit. A new character was brilliantly sinister, while others were developed to a much deeper level, Charles Vane in particular, who is threatening to knock Jack Rackham from his perch as my favourite character. Vane has been brought from a comparatively two dimensional psycho to a man with much more interesting dynamics, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where they take him in the next season. The sets are incredible, and the ship scenes brilliant. It captures the atmosphere of the period brilliantly, and shows the pirates as far more than plundering, rum swigging savages.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth a look. A word of warning however – it’s definitely for a grown up audience. Lots of nudity, violence, and bad language. It’s certainly not Pirates of the Caribbean!

Updates and an announcement of sorts…

Ok,  time for an update I think!

First off, there’ve been a few minor visible changes to the website, but a fair bit more going on under the bonnet (hood!). There’s still a little more to come, so please bear with me! Between renovating my apartment, minor knee surgery, and finishing off drafts for the first part of my next trilogy, finding time for everything over the past little while has been a challenge!

There’ll be a couple of more interesting things coming down the pipeline pretty soon, one of which is a new novella, called The Marcher Lord. It’s the story of a young, rural swordsman making his first journey to his capital city. It explores a region in the west of the Middle Sea world, called Mirabaya, so it’s been a fun opportunity to roll back the covers from another little bit of the world and explore it. I’ll be posting more about The Marcher Lord over the next few days. Expect plenty of intrigue and swashbuckling!

That’s all for now, so I hope everyone is doing well!

Changes afoot…

Fairly significant changes on the way as I’ve just moved host with my website to increase the functionality. It’ll be a bit of a work in progress for the next few days, so I apologise for the mess!

There will be writing related updates in a few days. I hope everyone had a good Easter!

Duncan

Things I watched over Christmas

My Christmas viewing revolved around a few box sets and some stuff on Netflix. First off was an A/B session of ‘Borgia’ and ‘The Borgias’. Coming to the European-made Borgia from the US-made The Borgias was a bit jarring, and initially I wasn’t at all impressed with the former. I like Jeremy Irons as an actor, and think he’s one of those actors who has gravitas to burn. However, after a few episodes, I thought John Doman—despite an American accent I gather a great many viewers were put off by—was far better suited to the role of Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI. As my esteem for him grew, so to did my opinion of Borgia as a whole.

The supporting cast were excellent, if they can be called that. Any of the major parts, from Cesare and Lucrezia to Alessandro and Giulia Farnese, could be considered leading players. Across the board, I thought the actors in Borgia were far stronger, and far better suited to the parts they played.

Both shows portrayed the period well, although once again I felt Borgia got it a bit closer to the mark. I like watching shows like this in an attempt to immerse myself into that atmosphere, as it is, broadly speaking, the period that the Middle Sea world is set in at the time of The Tattered Banner and The First Blade of Ostia. My inspiration files for weapons, clothes, and architecture are filled with pictures of things from the 1450-1650 period.

Overall, I think both series are worth watching, but if you only have time for one, I’d go with Borgia. This is the area of history that most interests me, and I can definitely see myself watching Borgia again in the not too distant future.

I also watched the new Netflix show ‘Marco Polo’ which I really enjoyed. We go from an area of history that I know quite a bit about, to one I know very little about. I’ve not made anything more than a cursory reading of Asian and Mongol history, which is something I’m going to have to rectify this year, as it really is fascinating. A very good show, with solid acting across the board—I thought Benedict Wong playing Kublai Khan was particularly excellent—and one which I’m eagerly anticipating the second season of.

I have the first season of the recent BBC version of The Three Musketeers next in the queue, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve mentioned before I think that The Three Musketeers is one of my favourite stories, so I’m interested to see what they do with it. From the bits I’ve seen, it looks pretty encouraging.

As a reminder, there are still signed copies of The First Blade of Ostia up to be won over on Goodreads. You can enter the competition by clicking here.

Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and is having a very happy new year!

Updates are coming…

…I promise!

I’ve been very busy getting the draft I’m currently working on finished. Next week is booked for going through some edits on my next book, and then I’ll hopefully have time to be a bit more diligent in keeping my blog updated! I haven’t forgotten about my Ostenheim tour guide!

Hope everyone is well, and looking forward to Halloween!