Andrew Toynbee's Blog
September 1, 2018
On September 21st, the Autumnal Equinox will be here.
For those who don’t already know (or haven’t read A Construct of Angels), it’s one of the two days in the year where day and night are of equal length.
Significantly for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the point where the nights start to become longer than the days, a process that will continue until the shortest day on December 21st, where the process reverses and we begin the long climb out of Winter.
The Autumnal Equinox features heavily in A Construct of Angels, as protagonist Sara Finn and her fallen-to-Earth Angel companion Michael discover.
If they are unable to prevent an anticipated demonic event on the eve of the equinox, the days will grow shorter and shorter until only night remains, and the Dark Realm beneath our feet will gain control of all the souls on Earth.
As the hours pass, chaos and darkness descend and Sara is bombarded by nightmares of a world scoured by dust and ashes.
With only six days remaining after Michael’s unexpected ‘fall,’ will the pair be able to uncover the reasons for the increasing disappearances, and the chaos that grips the City of York?
Find out in A Construct of Angels.
April 2, 2018
But space is more adult than we can possibly imagine.
Announcing a bit of a departure for me.
I’m pleased to finally release the first of a new series of novels in the science-fiction genre, but with a couple of twists.
(WARNING: contains contain adult material.)
Plucked In Space features adventure amongst the stars, comedy, and a snarky AI system that delivers laugh-out-loud one-liners.
So, thrills, romance and naughtiness and fun in the sun(s), all for a low, low price!
This novel has been published under a new name, a (sort of) reversal of my original author name Andrew Toynbee.
The reason? This series is markedly different from the taking-itself-seriously Angels of York trilogy.
Anyone who’s read those books (someone’s read them… there’s at least two people I know about) will find that this has a totally different feel, so I made the decision to separate the two genres completely.
Please take advantage of Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature. You may like what you see!
May 23, 2017
Now Available: What It Takes by Sonya Loveday
Is telling the one you love how you feel
worth the risk of possibly losing them forever?
[image error]Title: What It Takes
Author: Sonya Loveday
Genre: Contemporary Romance with a little Western Flair.
Release Date: May 18th, 2018
Gracen Lowell is on the hunt for a man—but not just any man. He has to be ‘the one’. Her only problem is that no one she’s dated has ever measured up to the charming qualities of her best friend.
Slade Owens knows no matter how much he loves Gracen, he’ll never be what she’s looking for. And he dang sure isn’t going to stick around to watch her fall in love with someone else. Slade leaving the Owens’ family farm for an out-of-state job should put enough distance between the two to allow him to move on with his life and Gracen to search for her happily-ever-after.
Gracen knows asking him to stay isn’t fair. Slade thinks leaving her behind is the only thing to do. Inexplicably drawn together, the best friends must decide if they have what it takes to own up to their feelings… before it’s too late.
Amazon –> http://amzn.to/2pHk2EW
Amazon UK –> http://amzn.to/2pByPzt
iBooks –> http://apple.co/2oUDiKZ
Barnes & Noble –> http://bit.ly/2qiNii3
Google Play –> http://bit.ly/2ps8G4u
Kobo –> http://bit.ly/2qfwyLt
“You coming?” he called to me from the porch. Both our bags were slung over one shoulder and Lucy, tail thumping against the worn boards, was sitting by his feet.
They were a picture, the two of them. Man and beast. My man and my beast, even if only in my dreams, I thought, catching the door handle and getting out of the truck as Slade made his way inside.
Closing my eyes, I pretended I was home and he was mine. He’d welcome me in at the front door with a kiss hot enough to sear my lips and melt me to the floor. We’d make it as far as the rustic living room before shedding clothes behind us in a trail to the bedroom.
I shook my head to clear it. That same moment had flashed through my thoughts so many times before.
Like auto play.
Before I could make it to the porch steps, Slade came back out. He caught hold of the door casing and stretched forward. My knees wobbled when his eyes met mine.
“It’s like coming home, every time we come here,” he said.
My steps faltered at his words. “It’s special… this place. You can feel it.” My fingers dipped and swayed against the slight breeze that flitted through the trees.
There was something extraordinary about it, but nothing I could physically point out. It was more like a feeling. A welcoming. Like it was a haven that spoke to something deep inside me.
Lucy poked her nose past Slade, panting with a huge doggy grin. He didn’t look down at her.
“Are you planning to stay out there the whole time?” he asked. There was something different in the way he gazed at me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it almost felt like something more.
“Can’t really go inside when you’re standing in the doorway.” I smirked at him, trying not to show my confusion.
“Tell me something, Gracen. And be honest,” he said, unmoving.
Nervous energy shot through me, every single point of awareness standing on end. There was a look in his eyes I thought I’d glimpsed a few times before, but it had always been gone as quick as it came. I’d always brushed it off as my imagination, conjured up because I wanted it so bad. But this time, there was no mistaking it. It held promises unspoken. Secrets long buried.
I could feel the pulse at my neck hammering as if my heart had dislodged itself and was working its way up and out. My arms tingled as if my skin were made of wildly flapping butterfly wings, and my stomach twisted around a giant rock of something molten that emptied itself down into my legs. The two halves of my body were at war with one another—one wanted to fly away, the other to sink into the ground.
March 7, 2017
I’ve been a lot less active on this blog lately, and with good reason… I guess. One million words don’t write themselves, unless there is such a thing as a Contiguous Word Generator for Windows available. If there isn’t, you can have the idea. I don’t have time to write the software.
My gift to you.
That said, if you type a couple of words into your smart phone (For example, Why don’t we… or What if we…) and select whatever the autocorrect throws up for a couple of sentences, you might have the beginning of a short story. The longer you’ve had the phone, the better it works. Let me know what you come up with in the comments. (Mine said: Why don’t we… utilize the same community as Brooke’s sister? Could be her first time in the UK.)
I know that sounds random, but now I know from the above that my phone has been quietly memorising my plot ideas…
Aaanyway, my endeavour to prematurely wear out my keyboard continues. I’m working my way through 2017 with more short stories, and I’m already three weeks ahead of my (largely provisional) target of 1/4 million words per annum (I know, I’m slacking this year, compared to 2016). Word count isn’t everything, of course. However, it remains the best way to track my progress, IMHO. For now, it’s still tricky to quantify quality or ideas.
The ideas continue to flow, helped by key words. Five seemingly unconnected words can be enough to prompt a new story. Last year, many of the subjects revolved around shifters and vampires. This year, they have a distinct sci-fi, time travel and romantic aspect. Who knows what I’ll be writing about by the end of the year?
With that thought, I shall get back to my keyboard
January 24, 2017
My marathon, two-year adventure has concluded, and now I look to the next twelve months with new ambition.
Somehow, by randomly pressing keys on five different keyboards, I put together 97 short stories and two novels, and after 24 months, I ended up with a grand total of 1, 013, 548 words. As an average, that works out at around 1400 words per day, which isn’t far short of NaNoWriMo pacing.
Little wonder then, I’m struggling to ease up in 2017. In the first week, I managed to keep my word count down to 5,000, although I was editing for about half of that time.
I’ve no intention of aiming for another million word target, but I’ve set myself a provisional target of 250,000 for 2017, which will allow me to keep track of my writing, and utilise the spreadsheet I created during my 2015/16 sprint. If I reach the quarter-million mark during this year, great.
October 31, 2016
Now available on Amazon.
Or Read for free on Kindle Unlimited.
The Vows We Make
Book 4 of The Six Series
Mark and Paige’s story.
Some vows can be deadly…..
Mark and Paige are living in sin—that’s what any man of the cloth would say. All they want is to get married, but they refuse to exchange vows without their best friends—the Six. As they wait to hear back from them, Mark and Paige can’t help but feel they’ve been put off… forgotten.
When the threat of an enemy stalking them is brought to light, the call is made to bring them into the secretive world of Cole Enterprise.
Slotted for recruitment by the very agency that stole their chance at a normal life, Mark and Paige have to adjust to their new path as secret agents in a war they didn’t even know existed.
What neither fully understands is that nothing will ever be the same… and some vows are deadlier than others.
CHANGE WAS ALL AROUND ME.
Everything was different. My life. My dreams. All of it.
Maybe some of it was for the best. Maybe it would push Mark and me to make more of ourselves than we would have on our own.
Crossing my arms tightly, I stepped out onto the dock and made my way to where Mark stood looking out over the water.
Coming back to the cabin and being around our friends after such a long absence from both had enveloped us in something like a constrictive hug. Both needing it, while desperately trying to come to terms with it.
“Hey,” I said, stepping up beside him and sighing when he pulled me into his arms.
I leaned back, turning my head slightly to fit into the crook of his neck. His cheek brushed against my hair and he asked, “Can you believe this place?”
I snorted. “No. But then again, we are talking about Jared’s parents, so…”
“True. It still feels the same here though,” he answered, watching the water ripple along the surface with the wind.
Arriving at the cabin, or what used to be the cabin, had sort of floored us all. No one knew what to say when we’d got our first glimpse of the new and improved place.
What used to be one story with a kitchen, living room, and six bedrooms with bathrooms was gone. Its replacement was two stories, ten bedrooms with full bathrooms, a massive open-floor kitchen/living room, a movie theater room, and a game room. Grant and Nadia had gone all out to make the cabin a place where all of us could live together, for an unforeseeable amount of time.
“It’s like they just knew…” I said, leaving the rest of what I was thinking unsaid. It wouldn’t do any good to dwell on the things none of us could change.
“How are you holding up with all of this?” Mark asked.
I sighed deeply and closed my eyes. “Honestly? I don’t know how to feel right now. It’s like this huge war being waged right here,” I said, poking my finger against my chest. “I’m happy to see everyone. We’re here together—just like we wanted—but for all the wrong reasons. I’m missing classes and work. I don’t know what to do with myself. My life is literally on hold at this point.”
He hugged me tighter. “Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it. If you want to leave, we’ll go. They can’t hold us here.”
I snorted. “Can you imagine the look on all of their faces if we just walked out with our suitcases behind us? No. I love you for that though. It’s nice to hear you’d do that to make me happy.”
He kissed the top of my head. “I’d do anything to make you happy, Paige.”
The Vows We Make is Amazon Exclusive!
Don’t have a Kindle?
All you have to do is download the Kindle App to your tablet or phone!
Not long after the completion to the Casted Series, Sonya tried her hand at Contemporary Romance.
Thusly, the Six were born with The Summer I Fell.
In 2015 Sonya joined forces with best friend and fellow author Candace Knoebel. Together the duo created the Game of Hearts Novels. The series has two published titles: Love Always and Runaway Heart. Knoebel and Loveday will be releasing the third book in the series in 2017..
or more information about releases, and appearances, follow Sonya on Facebook
August 7, 2016
As I pass another significant milestone in my (crazy?) attempt to write one million words in two years, it occurred to me how much my outlook on the craft of writing has changed in eighteen months.
(Image: At night, by Georg Charwat)
In 2015, I embarked upon my personal challenge to write half a million words before the year ended. By the end of December, I was able to claim 502,000 words written in the form of stories, outlines and synopses. I’d fully intended to throttle back in 2016, but a busy first few months saw the numbers continue to rack up. As March came around, I realised I was already on target to complete 125,000 in the first quarter (4 x 125k = another 1/2 million, yeah?).
So I thought, why not go for the full million?
Yes, I know I planned to calm down in 2016, but my momentum was building, and by July, I’d achieved 3/4 million, and was (almost) on target to complete the full million by the end of the year.
It was an irresistible target.
*Pauses for breath*
Those who know me will have noticed I’ve been less active on social media and blogging since I began this crazy journey. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day, and something had to give. But just so you know, I’m planning to throttle back, to calm down, and take it easy with the writing in 2017.
But eighteen months of writing at near-NaNo pace has taught me many things.
First of all, I realised I needed to be organised.
Although my spreadsheet is not yet as graphic as the one on the NaNo site…
…I managed to put together a useful sheet that charts every word I write, although it still lacks the nicety of a graph(I will address this soon).
At the end of each day, I have a list of stories, both current and historic, on which I manually insert the word count of the project I’m working on, and it updates this, the daily count sheet.
A third sheet then tells me how many words I still need to write in order to reach my target of one million.
If I write less, the requirement rate rises. If I have a good day, and manage to write a few thousand, the requirement rate falls. You get the idea.
Without this, I would have little idea of my progress, and couldn’t plan my writing targets. Heck, if I hadn’t counted up how much I’d written in the first place, I could never have aimed for the half-million!
The uppermost spreadsheet allows me to chart my slow days, and my best days. Most of my writing happens mid-week, so I have an additional target cell for the ‘four day week’ period. If can fulfil those days, the rest of the week takes care of itself.
The second thing I learned was the need for self-discipline. It’s a quality needed by any writer who is serious about their craft. You might already know this, you might be learning this the hard way, or you might be blissfully unaware of the need, in which case, enjoy writing at your own pace. It’s wonderful, but not necessarily productive.
For me, the spreadsheet keeps me motivated. Creating a target of one million words is a harsh motivator, but an effective one. It’s quantifiable. If I don’t work hard, my assigned workload creeps up, and if left unchecked, it would reach a point where it becomes impossible. For now, 1,600 words per day is feasible, although I would have preferred it to be lower. That will only happen if I increase my output, but I only have a finite number of free minutes in my day.
You might prefer to set yourself number-of-chapter targets, or number-of-minutes per day targets. Work with whatever fits best into your life. For me, the word count ties in nicely with my short story work, which is measured (and paid) by the number of words produced.
The third thing I became aware of was the need for constant inspiration. My clients, for the most part, leave the subject matter up to me, although I’m supplied with a few words to point me in the right direction (e.g. romance, adventure, vampire, shifter, werecat, paranormal, time travel, sci-fi etc). This means I constantly need to dream up new scenarios for as-yet unwritten characters, and the stories must differ enough from each other to avoid brain-mashing confusion as well as potential plagiarism (of my own work!) issues.
The plus side of this is I often end up with spare story ideas, which I can then use to create short stories under my own name. Several times, I’ve begun writing for a client, only to realise the story has greater potential for an extended series, so why waste the idea on a one-off?
With that in mind, I keep the proto-series idea for myself, and write something new which better suits a one-off HEA (Happy Ever After) tale.
May 1, 2016
Following a minor glitch at Amazon (where they failed to acknowledge my .mobi file upload), the formerly pre-orderable ‘A Fury of Angels’ is now fully live!
Apologies to anyone who used the pre-order option and received a message to say it wasn’t available.
April 8, 2016
After the mad rush of 2015 and the stunning realisation that I’d managed to type half a million words in the form of short stories and a novel, I decided to ease back for 2016 so I could spend less time with my head down and enjoy the view.
The result? In the first quarter of 2016, my word count is already at 138,000. 138k x 4 = 552K!
So much for easing back…
Could someone please pass the fingertip balm?
April 5, 2016
April sees me unusually organised with my work.
With ‘A Fury of Angels’ out for beta reading, I’ve already listed the book provisionally on Amazon, and its now available for pre-ordering, should anyone be keen to read it.[image error]
There’s plenty of time for me to make final changes to the MS before it goes live, but I thought I’d set myself a publication deadline in order to get this, the final story in the (first) trilogy completed and put to bed.
Put to bed? Nah!
It ought to be rising with the lark, ready for the day ahead, its tummy filled with tasty breakfast!
Just to demonstrate that Amazon’s pre-ordering system works, I found this whilst browsing:
Also available for pre-order in Japan. Don’t you love the 21st Century?
Have a great day!
I must now Write On. Half a million words aren’t going to write themselves!