Monday, December 8, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway - The Kingdom Lights by Steven VS

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a $50 Amazon/BN Gift Card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Balancing life and writing

This is a very difficult thing to get right and I don’t think anyone ever fully does.

When I first started writing it was during my time at medical school. All university degrees can be stressful and medicine is no different. It involves many lectures, a lot of time in the hospital picking up practical skills and communicating, and then there are the hours and hours of studying afterwards. The sad truth is that there was little time for writing during term time.

So when I did write it was always during the summer holidays. Like many other writers I have always wanted to write novels, to tell stories that would inspire people the way I was inspired when I was younger. So this I found highly motivating and pushed out a novel, one over two summers. Of course neither was much good – in fact they were pretty awful, but I learned a lot from them.

For the Kingdom Lights, I took a different tact. Instead of trying to blitz it, I let the story breathe a little and wrote it over an eight month period or so. I was doing my Masters Degree at the time, so I had a little more breathing room.

If you are a university, or your kids are little more grown up, and you do have that extra time – utilize it! People will often say “I don’t have the time” but really break down where that time is going. Surfing the net aimlessly? Watching day time television? I’m not saying you shouldn’t do these things, but in moderation. Set yourself deadlines like – today I will write 1000 words and so on. And that’s how I did it – even if I only wrote for thirty minutes a day, I said to myself I would write a minimum of 5000 words every week. And bit by bit the novel came together.

Of course if you have a full-time job things start to get a little crazy. When I started working as a doctor I was blasted into the ground with long hours that involved working weekends, nights and these truly soul-crushing thirteen hour surgical on-calls and for a long time I didn’t write.

Then I said to myself well what is a writer that doesn’t write? And there is always a silver lining – always weekends off or days off after busy shifts. It was a grueling experience at times, but sometimes there is no quick fix or magic bullet, you just have to write. And remember whatever you write, whatever, something will always be better than nothing.

In a world where cities float, airships sail the skies and mythical creatures are summoned in a pinch, Celes Vale is distinctly average. Living in the shadow of his talented cousin and his powerful aunt and uncle, Celes is resigned to a future of soot, factories and well, more soot.

But on the night of his twelfth birthday everything changes. A blinding light, a whispered voice and in an instant Celes becomes the first ordinary child in history to develop magic, sending him on a fast-track ticket to the greatest of the floating cities, Gardarel. Boasting grand, elegant buildings wrought from shimmering white stone, the entire city appears as though it has been built from light, and so it has come to be called the Kingdom Lights.

Though some welcome Celes, others want the dirt-ridden up-start off their city preferably head first. Nowhere is this clearer than in the attitude and actions of the beautiful and haughty Lady Ban and her sneering nephew, Marcus Blackwood. But Blackwood, with his gang of goons and unimaginative one-liners, is soon the least of Celes s problems.

With a little magic and a lot of detective work, Celes and his group of Scurriers and Wisps unravel the dark truth behind Lady Ban s prim, perfect smile an alliance to the villainous Wardens and the masked man who leads them. However, in his attempt to expose Lady Ban, Celes unwittingly stumbles onto an even darker conspiracy a plan that could lead to the complete destruction of Gardarel itself.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Light. Beautiful, pulsing, bathing him in its emerald glow…his eyes were peering open now, his mind fumbling for thoughts and memories, a taste like metal upon his tongue. “Are you hurt?” said a voice, faint, distant. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but I didn’t have a choice.” “Choice?” the boy croaked. He tried to reach up, but his hands had been bound, thick ropes cutting into soft flesh. I’m back in the Gravity Rooms, he realized, though the chamber itself had been transformed entirely. The emerald light now dripped with the crimson of hundreds of Flare Crystals, as though an angry swarm had surged forth against a far larger beast. “I know why you’re here, but can’t stop this.” As his eyes began to focus, Celes saw the Warden standing before him, draped in a white cloak, his iron mask half-hidden beneath his hood. It was strange, so strange to find the spectre amongst shadows for once illuminated. “You can’t,” said Celes his lips cracked, his thoughts dizzy. What’s…my head, I can’t think… “You can’t destroy Gardarel. Please. I know you’re working for Lady Ban. You don’t…you don’t have to do this!” The Warden took a knee before him. “I do,” came the whispered reply, soft and sad. “They made their choice; and I, mine.” About the Author:
A resident of the sleepy coastal town of Bexhill, East Sussex, England. Steven graduated in the summer of 2013 from the University of Southampton with a Bachelor of Medicine Degree and a Master’s Degree in Global Health from Sussex University – where he spent the majority of his time in Shawcross writing this novel!

In between writing and dreaming Steven is a medical doctor and has worked at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Princess Royal where he fights the system with quirky lanyards.

Steven’s debut novel steampunk fantasy The Kingdom Lights is out on October 17th published by Neverland Publishing.
Buy the book at Amazon.

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  1. I liked hearing his strategies for balancing life and writing!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  2. Thats always the trick in life BALANCE I am still trying to find that