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!

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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!

Updates…

Ok, the Ostenheim blog series is taking a little longer than expected, as I’m juggling a few balls at the moment. For now, another photoshop teaser will have to do –

Old Book CoverI considered doing the whole thing in this style, but reckon it will be easier to read by putting them in regular blog posts.

It will also be delayed a little longer as I’ve something else coming down the pipeline which will be taking pride of place next week, but more of that anon!

 

The Knights of Dark Renown…

I’ve always made it a policy not to comment on other writers’ work, one way or the other, but I can’t help myself this time! I finished The Knights of Dark Renown by David Gemmell last night, and it’s easily one of the best fantasy books I’ve read.

It’s the first time I’ve read Gemmell, and I’m looking forward to getting into the rest of his stuff. It’s been quite a while since a book has kept me up until 3am without realising how late it is.

All work and no play…

Well, I’ve been pretty rubbish at keeping up with my blog posts — I’ve just noticed that it’s been over a month since my last one. The same reason as I gave last time still stands, which is that I don’t have any interesting news to report!

I blame that entirely on the fact that I’ve been working pretty hard on getting all my releases ready for this year. The final part of the Society of the Sword trilogy is awaiting copy editing, the book to follow has just returned from its developmental edit, and the one to follow that is being readied for developmental edit. All work and no play, as the post title indicates.

It’s around this point with a book — approaching copy edit — that I usually settle on a title. I never like the working titles that I give them. As such, I’ve almost settled on a name for the final part of Society of the Sword. To whet your appetite, here are a few that didn’t make the grade:

-The Final Intrigue (bleh)

-The White Banner (even more bleh, and almost completely irrelevant to the story!)

-Soren’s Big Day Out (ok, I just made this one up. And it’s not even that funny… I’ll get my coat…)

As to what I’ve almost decided on? Well, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to wait a little longer on that one!

Hope everyone’s well!

Updates…

I haven’t posted in a while, as I haven’t had a lot to say!

The final part of the Society of the Sword Trilogy is back from developmental editing, so I’m working on that at the moment. It’s still on track for a late spring/early summer release. As always, you can sign up to be notified of when it comes out here.

Otherwise, nothing else of interest to report. I hope the year is going well for everyone so far!

Google Play and other news…

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all had a good holiday.

I had my usual plan of watching my way through a stack of classic movies that I’d bought in the run up to Christmas, but in the end I only managed to watch a couple of them. I spent quite a bit of time working on the book I plan on releasing once the final part of the Society of the Sword trilogy is out (which is being edited as I type). I think I mentioned it about this time last year when I was working on the first draft. It’s allowed me focus on an aspect of the Middle Sea that I didn’t really get the chance to spend much time with in Society of the Sword, and it’s nice to explore something different within that world.

In other news, both The Tattered Banner and The Huntsman’s Amulet are now available on Google Play’s bookstore. I’ve been hearing good things about Google Play lately, so thought it was time to get a presence there!

Otherwise, all the best for 2014!

On productivity…

My copy of Grand Theft Auto V arrived this morning, and I’m taking a break to stave off the onset of repetitive stress disorder in my trigger finger, so thought I’d do up a little graph of my productivity levels at the moment. Let’s just say I’m hopeful it doesn’t take too long to complete, otherwise there might be some readjustment of release dates…

Image

Updates…

Not a huge amount to report at the moment, I just wanted to post something as things have been rather quiet hereabouts lately.

My excuse for the silence is that I’m working hard on various things at the moment. Part 2 of the Society of the Sword trilogy is still away being edited, so I’m working on the second draft of what will be my next release after the trilogy is all done. It’s a stand alone story, and I have to admit I’m quite excited about it!

On success…

Someone posted this Michael Jordan quote over on the Kboards forum a few days ago (here) and I really liked it so thought I’d repost it.

I’ve missed over 9,000 shots in my career.
I’ve lost almost 300 games.
26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed.

-Michael Jordan

Wikiquote attributes it to Nike Culture : The Sign of the Swoosh (1998), by Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson, p. 49. I haven’t read it, so if I’m mistaken on this, feel free to correct me in the comments below and I’ll update.

With such an uplifting quote, I feel the need to restore balance and impart a little misery. Here’s my least favourite piece of advice, which I’ve just heard on TV and am thus reminded of it.

You have to manage your expectations.

Eugh. ‘Nuff said.