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Character Spotlight: Sherdan

This is one of my special characters. I love all my characters but a few always stick out in my head and this is one of those. He’s my first male leading character and although he’s far from perfect he’s still one of my favs.

I have two books out with him in now and I’m putting together the plot for a third, which feels kinda nice. I really like writing sequels. I suspect I’ll get bored of the characters eventually but for now starting a sequel feels a lot like visiting old friends. I just pick up where I left off.

Sherdan comes across as a complete meglomaniac at the start of the first book. He doesn’t care who gets hurt in his quest for the greater good. Has people tortured on almost a whim and is more than happy to bribe people or even blackmail them to get what he wants. He also even plays God a little with his enzyme and the people he gives it to.

Despite all that though, there is a softer side, he just tries to push it aside, thinking it’s weaker. He’s a scientist who, until recently, bought into the idea that we evolve and life is purely survival of the fittest. Compassion, love and mercy are often considered to be weaknesses by people in those schools of thought.

However, I love throwing my characters curveballs and seeing how they react. Sherdan soon falls in love, as all my MC’s often do. This is a really good thing for him and softens him in all the right ways.

Through Anya he does also get challenged about the idea of a God and what that might look like as well, which is a new thing for him. Whatever he decides he believes in it starts making him think about what he’s doing and whether he wants the destination he’s heading towards.

Overall Sherdan is one of those characters people love, despite all his many flaws and imperfections. You just can’t dislike him, even though you know you ought to. And no matter what he does I think he’ll always be one of my favourites. Maybe because he’s my first male lead. He’s just… rather special.

New Stuff in the Sherdan World

The anthology I was part of recently has finally been made free on Amazon.co.uk, so all those kindle readers out there can grab a copy and check out the 30+ authors contained therein.

In this collection I’ve got a short story about Sherdan and some of the people close to him, called Sherdan’s Road. It’s not long but it gives a bit of a glimpse at his future and the people in it at that time.

The rest of the collection is also pretty awesome and they are all themed around the title. That does mean quite a few of them are sad but they are well written and there’s more than a few that have happy moments and other awesome things in them.

It also gives a great overview of the sort of stuff all the authors write so it’s a great way to find more authors in different genres without risking any money.

The other piece of news in the Sherdan world is book 2! It’s being launched this Saturday via facebook as usual. There’s going to be the normal party with some quiz type stuff and prizes. The full list will be posted in the event when it’s finalised.

Here’s the blurb for anyone interested, although you don’t want to read it if you don’t want some of the first book’s plot spoiled:

Now that Utopia is established Sherdan has a full time job as a diplomatist. Everyone wants to know how his country is protected and whether they can persuade him to part with his secrets, but he has other things on his mind. Has Utopia come at too high a price?

When Anya left Utopia she expected to fit back into her old life, but too much has changed and God is not finished with her. Did she make the right choice in leaving, and will Sherdan let her return, even if she wanted to?

The second book in the Sherdan series continues the journey Sherdan’s Prophecy started, bringing the world closer to the end and whatever might follow.

So there’s the two new Sherdan things and Saturday is the big launch day. Do come join the fun!

My Writing Method

This blog was partially inspired by the blog of a friend. All writers seem to do things differently and it can take a while to find what’s best for each person sometimes so I thought I’d share how I write and see if it helps anyone else. And those who are curious about my working day can get an insight.

I’m not a plotter nor am I a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants without knowing what’s meant to happen next). I sort of sit somewhere in between. I get an idea, which is usually a scene or two between the main characters, and things tend to grow from there in my head. I often know where the book needs to end. I have some crucial plot moments and vague ideas of a few conversations that will take place but I rarely have the whole plot.

Once I’ve worked out who the characters are and their backstory I usually just start writing somewhere that’s part action and not too description based and just tell the story from there, until I reach the ending I had in my head, via all the crucial scenes I had before. What happens in between that is often as surprising to me as anyone else.

On average I write about 800-900 words per working day, although this is significantly more in November and less in the summer months. I find I work best in the winter and I love competing in NaNoWriMo. Most of my writing gets done in the afternoon or evening as I often use the morning to write blog posts, market, and read other blogs on various related topics to do with my profession.

I’ve mentioned several times before that my ideas get written into my tardis journal and when I’ve finished the first draft of a book I often spend a few days picking the next one to write. I don’t start editing anything right after finishing first draft as it’s still too fresh in my head and I do only a minor amount of re-writing as I try not to use the critical side of my brain at all but stay in the creative side (for more info on that read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog on the myth of re-writing).

When I’ve finished the second draft (which I don’t start for at least a month or two) the rest of my team get to look at it which is made up of a mix of different style editors and proofreaders. My team have been very carefully put together of a number of years and now consists of people I trust the most with my writing. They are people who get me and my style but still offer critisism and are good at picking up on certain things I struggle with.

When a book is close to being finished I commission the cover (if I’ve not already done so) and format the book myself for print and ebook. This is all stuff I try to fit into my mornings when I’m not writing but it doesn’t always work like that.

For a while I wrote everything by hand and also spent most mornings typing up but I switched to typing last NaNoWriMo and found I’m a faster writer now. I think it was important I wrote by hand those first few years. It helped me see my own mistakes quicker as I typed them and was good for learning discipline but now I’m a better writer it’s no longer necessary. I do sometimes miss my fountain pen though and will have the odd day or two where I decide to ditch the computer and write some stuff by hand and it often helps me get through a stuck point.

I also try to concentrate on only one book at a time. I’ve tried several projects at once but the temptation to only write the new exciting ones is too  much for me and the older ideas get forgotten and then they are harder to write when I do have to finish them but I know others who have several stories on the go at once and write whatever they feel like writing.

All  in all this process gets me writing about 220-240k words per year (although my average seems to be going up slowly year on year) and that results in about two novels per year plus the odd short story or two. either way you look at it I’m rather busy.

Ideas, Inspiration and The End of the World

At the moment I’m trying my best to get The Fire of Winter finished. I originally expected it to be about 100-110k long. Definitely the longest I’ve ever written but it just keeps getting longer, as you can see from the progress bar, I’m now estimating a good bit more.

The biggest problem with a book this long is my ideas and the research I need to do. So far this year I’ve had nine new ideas, several of which are the beginnings of a dysotopian world which lends itself very well to a series of stories. These are some of the most exciting sorts of ideas because they have the fun world building around them as well as the ideas themselves.

I’ve also read a lot of really good books lately that often make me want to try to write something similar. I’ve said before that the Sherdan series was inspired by the tv series the 4400. It also has political conflict in it that can be similar to the political strife in the Game of thrones series and I love loads of the characters in that. All of it serves to make me rather distracted from my current writing task.

For research I’ve also been studying the biblical end times prophecies (not an easy thing to do) with the help of a friend and it’s very distracting. I’m just aware it would be quite a lot of time out of writing if I don’t at least start studying it before this current book is finished and I want to write the next, but mostly it’s just making me very eager to write book three in the Sherdan series before I’ve even finished the current book.

Also I’m tweaking book two in the Sherdan series and having it proofread to get it ready for launch in about 5-6 weeks which makes me want to delve into the world of Anya and Sherdan again. Hopefully soon I can.

 

For Such a Time as This + Free Stuff

It’s my birthday today! Yup I have one of those things too. It’s the one day where I like getting attention and all that sort of stuff, but in true hobbit style I’m giving stuff away today, you know the sort of present like stuff.

The first of the things I’m giving away today is Wandering to Belong, my fantasy short! You can pick up a copy on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (or any other amazon ebook store) and you don’t have to pay a thing.

Also I’ve got an excerpt of my latest release, For Such a Time as This, for you to read below, you can also get that on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

***

“Ishtar! Grab the damson pudding, over there, that’s it,” the bustling older cook yelled as he added two more jugs of wine to the trolley in front of him. Ishtar did as she was instructed, placing the dish in the final space on the laden vehicle.

She leapt out of the way as Malden pushed the little cart towards the door. He would take it up to the waiting room right outside the dining hall, giving Ishtar and the other assistant cooks a moments respite.

Ishtar slowed her pace as she checked on the hot puddings still cooking in the oven. In less than half an hour another damson pudding, two more cherry and almond cakes, four giant apple and cinnamon pastries and a cocaya bread and raisen pudding would go up with another large helping of red wine.

She gave the other three females a few instructions as they waited for their chef and master to return. Despite Ishtar being a simple slave like the other girls they did as she asked without complaint or fuss.

Not wanting to be idle when Malden returned, Ishtar rolled out more pastry into a long rectangular shape. The pastries seemed to be a favourite with the guests Andreas was entertaining that day. She sliced up the soft dough while her mind drifted to other things. She had made this dish so many times she could do it in her sleep.

Malden returned as she was ladling the apple mixture into the centre of the final of the six pastries.

“Good, good Ishtar… Where’s the cinnamon. Ah here it is, sprinkle that on them. Kimi, put that over there, good, good. Now let’s get started on another… Thank you Penalay.” Malden continued on telling his assistants what to do as he bustled around as well.

For the next twenty minutes all of them rushed around the kitchen preparing, stirring, slicing, mixing and fetching to create another trolley laden with food. The task of pre-empting what the feast would run out of was their sole purpose.

When Malden left with the next serving Ishtar paused to slow her rapid breathing. Her feet ached and she silently said a prayer to Tanayth that the feast would end soon. They had been in the kitchens for the last fifteen hours and there would be at least two hours of tidying and preparing for the following day.

Ishtar almost dropped the pudding she was retrieving when Malden came rushing back in. His slender frame quivered before her and no words came out of his opening and closing mouth. Her eyes went wide; silence was not normal. She rushed the dessert onto the nearest surface and went to him.

“Fetch that stool Kimi,” she said as she took his arm to support him.

“No, no, I am fine,” Malden found his voice and waved everyone away. “We can stop cooking. The feast is over.”

All the girls smiled and put down their tools. Ishtar stood waiting for Malden to explain what had happened.

“The Queen, she… she didn’t come.” He paused and she opened her mouth to ask what he meant but got no further. “King Andreas sent for Hasina and she refused him. She would not attend the feast.”

All the girls gasped.

“What did the King say?” Ishtar’s eyes were wide with fear.

“She’s to be beheaded. Immediately.”

The three girls whispered amongst themselves and Ishtar put her hands over her mouth to stop herself from making any embarrassing sounds.

“All of you can take a break for a few minutes. You’ve all been working very hard today.” Malden turned from them and busied himself tidying his kitchen. The three younger slaves rushed from the room, still talking amongst themselves. Ishtar gently tidied beside Malden, stacking the empty bowls as he put their contents in containers or the bin.

She watched him while she worked. His hands shook as he fought to keep going. If she kept busy near him she knew that he would soon tell her everything he was thinking.

“Why didn’t she do as she was asked?” The King doesn’t like to look the fool and his advisers are even worse. Listen carefully Ishtar, don’t ever give the King reason to be angry with you or ever upset his favoured people.”

“I won’t Malden. I’ll always do what you tell me to. The King thinks you’re the best chef in existence and we’re all leading easier lives because of it.”

Ishtar pictured her little room on the floor above. She had the good fortune of Malden’s favour and Malden had the King’s. Very few slaves had their own private rooms.

Malden had been kind to her ever since she had arrived, showing her how to hide her elven nature so none of the humans realised she wasn’t one of them as well as teaching her to survive. He had warned her several times of what they would do if her true race became apparent.

She stood a little taller than the other human girls her age, but being thinner stopped anyone being too suspicious. She had dyed her silver hair a dark brown and wore a head band to hide the points of her ears. No one even suspected.

“Go on girl, take a break with the others,” Malden said as he shooed her out of the room. She soon found Kimi, Penalay and Olivian sitting in the nearby courtyard. They looked up at her as she came over to them with a thousand questions on their young faces.

All three were younger than her and had been captured together from one of the last human settlements that stood against the King. As such they had known each other before arriving. Whenever anything happened they always banded together to talk about it.

Ishtar found it difficult to get to know them. They were strange to her and she had been alone for a long time, but Malden encouraged her to make an effort and the girls were always pleasant to her face.

“Do you really think that Queen Hasina will be beheaded?” Kimi asked. All of them had wide eyes that darted around the courtyard, almost expectant of someone jumping out from behind the trees to behead them too. Ishtar couldn’t help smiling at their naivety. The kitchen was a world apart from the King himself.

“I think so, she disobeyed the King,” Ishtar replied.

“But doesn’t he love her?”

She shook her head.

“Even if he did he would need to show he cannot be disobeyed. But there is no need for you three to fret. We are all safe here with Malden. He has looked after me since I was five. He will look after all of you as well.”

Ishtar went and sat with them on the stone bench. The conversation subject changed to their cooking and the feast they had managed that day.

A few minutes later all their names were called from the kitchen and the trooped back to their work. Malden and his helpers would need to get some of the food prepared for the following day.

The King always requested a particular cake in the afternoons and the fruit in the recipe would need to soak in brandy all night; and the pastry and dough would need time to settle.

Ishtar threw herself into the last of the day’s tasks with as much effort as she could muster. The sooner everything was done the sooner she could rest her feet. Rushing around the whole day had caused the arches in her feet to ache remorselessly each time she put weight on them.

Malden continued his running commentary of the activities and requirements of the kitchen to the four girls. They all worked hard but Ishtar the hardest. Her stamina kept her going longer than the others and the heat from the many ovens affected her the least of all of them.

“Put that over… that’s it, thank you Ishtar,” Malden said as she pre-empted his command. “Now where’s that fruit mix?”

“It’s already finished and soaking,” she replied, pointing to the bowl Malden sought.

Two hours later Ishtar swept the last of the dust, flour and dropped food out of the door into the courtyard for the birds. Malden was the only person left in the kitchen with her. Everyone else had been allowed to go off to sleep.

As soon as she had finished her final task of the day she put her hand to her forehead and wiped away the few beads of sweat which adorned it.

Taking her by surprise, Malden hugged her. He then held both of her hands in his and looked at her, a gentle light in his eyes and a parental smile on his face. She waited, expecting him to explain his thoughts but he did not. Instead he let her go and waved her out of the room.

“Go on now, go get some sleep.”

Ishtar did not need telling twice. She scurried off to her little room as fast as her weary legs could take her. Fortunately, she did not have far to go. Her private room sat only a flight of stairs and short corridor from the kitchen. It nestled in the wall of the great castle and had just one small window to the outside, not that she was ever there when the sun was up to send any light through it.

She sank into the straw mattress on the wooden bed frame, which creaked and groaned in protest of even her light body. A small set of candles lit the otherwise dark room, casting an ever changing and flickering glow over her few possessions.

In one corner stood an old wooden wardrobe. Its surface had lost any varnish it had once been covered in and Ishtar had to avoid getting splinters whenever she opened it. Her desk sat beside and appeared to be the newest of her furniture even though it had been Malden’s father’s for twenty years before she had been born.

On top of the desk sat Ishtar’s most treasured possessions; her sewing box and materials. She made clothes and other pretty accessories when she had free time from her duties, although that was seldom.

Malden had given her a few small coins for mending some clothes of his and a few more when she had made the uniforms the new girls had needed. It had not been much as the King frowned upon the slaves making money but it had bought her everything she’d needed to make the few things she could make time for.

Ishtar rarely got to wear the items she made but it didn’t stop her making them anyway. Her latest creation was an elegant dress, similar to something she had seen the previous queen wear once. It had a flowing floor length skirt which tapered backwards into a small train and a deep v neckline.

However, the dress was not finished. The hem was many feet long and she only managed a few minutes sewing each day by candlelight. If Malden knew she was making herself late for bed every night making the dress he would get angry and stop giving her any money at all, so she only did a little here and there to not arouse suspicion, and tonight she wouldn’t do any. The feast had gone on so long she needed to sleep.

How to make the most of your writing time

Often in the early stages of a writing career, and sometimes even in later stages, there can be a lot of demands on your time. This often results in reduced writing time. When you’ve not got long to write you don’t want to be wasting it by not writing, so I thought I’d explain some of the things I do to help get the most out of the time I’m spending writing.

The fairly obvious one is cutting down on the distractions. Mostly no internet, but sometimes I also find I need to go somewhere else. Somewhere I can’t answer the phone, the cat can’t meow at me to let her out or play with her, and I can’t see my emails coming in, or anything else that might distract me.

Depending on how rich I’m feeling, and the weather, I often go to a nearby park or a cafe. I always take paper and my favourite fountain pen if going to the park and I take my really old, but light, laptop to the cafe. It’s about 8-9 years old and just can’t handle the internet anymore. Which means no distractions and I also feel like I’m going to a workplace.

On top of that I’ve found going to a cafe makes me feel guilty about procrastination and spending too much time doing other things. I am spending money to be there so I better be working or it’s a waste of money. At least, I tell myself that and find the motivation helps.

However, a lot of the snatched time can’t be done somewhere else so I employ different tactics when I have to be at home. Firstly I check a few basics, like making sure the cat has food and water, then I cover the basics for myself. Being dehydrated can really slow the brain down so a pint glass of something water based comes with me to my writing area, sometimes even two pint glasses. This is especially important if you drink a lot of caffeine. Caffeine needs water in your body to work properly and it also drains your body of the water molecules so drinking extra water at the same time or just before works really well.

I again switch to my really old laptop so my distractions are limited but I know a lot of other writers also unplug their internet and often the phone too. I also found that it was really good to let certain people know that it was my writing time and during writing time I wasn’t to be disturbed. At first not everyone in my family understood but now the first thing my mother asks if she phones during the day is, ‘you’re not in the middle of writing are you? If you are I’ll phone back later.’ If you tell people not to disturb you because you need them not to, they will learn to respect that boundary.

The other thing I find that helps is taking five minutes during the day, before I intend to start writing, to think about where the story is at and what I want to write in the next section. I often do this in bed in the morning before I’ve got up but I find the shower works well too, as does a loo-break. I’m not really a planner but I find it helps me get into the flow a little quicker when I do get to sit down and write if I already have a vague idea of what I am trying to write.

Finally, I have also worked out when I’m most productive during the day. For me, mid-afternoons, about an hour after I’ve eaten lunch, is the best time to churn out the words. My brain just seems to be happier to work then so this is when I plan in most of my writing time. I found this out, pretty much by trial and error and keeping a track of how many words I wrote per hour and when I started.

It’s taken a little while to get this routine going but I’ve found that perfecting it and working out what I need has over doubled the amount of words I can write in the same amount of time.

Marvel fan fiction

I recently had an idea for a new superhero that could be easily set in the Marvel universe and shortly after that had a creation idea for her, so I thought over the next little while I could try and write some fan fiction. I’m not going to write huge amounts but I’m going to aim to write a little bit more every week.

I figured the best place for this kind of thing was probably wattpad, as they allow the serial nature of writing a story in installments. Seeing as I talk about Marvel films here a fair bit, I thought I’d share my story here too.

There’s not huge plot in mind for this yet. I’m not even sure who the badguy is going to be, but I thought I could start at the start and just see what happens. Who knows I might end up with loads of super hero stories, I might not but sometimes I just have to write something because it’s fun, not because I want someone to pay me for it.

So here’s the link to what I’ve got so far – Loki’s Creation

The Plan: May 2013

And another month bites the dust! April felt like it flew by for me and March too (I know it’s been two months since I did one of these)

I got up to all sorts in the last two months, most notably I finished the first draft of Sherdan’s Legacy so that has now entered the editing stage. I also wrote two short stories in that time. One is a fantasy short which will also be published sometime this year and the other is a very short short set in Sherdan’s world about 5-6 years into the future from the end of Sherdan’s Legacy. This will feature in an anthology with a whole bunch of other authors shortly.

I’ve also received a huge number of new reviews of several of my published works over the last two months. Most of them really good, especially of Chains of Freedom. I’ve also now got an email list for new releases, so if anyone wants to make sure they hear about my latest books then just head here and sign up.

In March I managed to write 21.5k and this month I’ve hit 14k, bringing me up to a total of over 80k words this year, which is way ahead of where I was last year.

This Month I’m hoping to get the edits for Sherdan’s Legacy all done so I can send it off to my proofers, as well as do the last fixes on For Such a Time as This to get it ready to publish in June. I’m also in a month long May thing with competitions and prizes etc. I should be able to post detail soon. It should be fun and a Kindle fire is up for grabs.

Hopefully on top of all that I will manage to get some writing done but I’m not expecting a lot. 10k would be nice 15k would be awesome. Either way I have a feeling I’m going to be aiming to finish the Fire of Winter in June using Camp NaNoWriMo as a motivation tool to write the 40-50k I’m going to need to do by then.

Learning the Craft of Writing

A lot of people start out on  the journey of writing a book and never finish and I’ve talked about the things I often do to help myself finish the things I start, but today I want to talk about the next stage.

Often when the very first story is finished it’s not that great, and it can be very tempting to sit down and edit right away, wanting to get it ready to show others. I’ve found it’s better to leave the book for a few weeks. When I come back to it I find it easier to spot the mistakes because my brain has had time to forget what I meant to say. Also, during that time of reading and writing in between I’ve already grown a little more as a writer (at least I’d hope I had).

It can also be tempting to just keep editing. And then edit again, based on the rules we’ve learnt since the beginning and the suggestions of those first few readers. While this does help a little, it can actually kill that precious voice and style that is unique to each of us.

When the pen first hits paper (or our fingers press those keys) we are in our creative mode. The words are flowing from the more subconscious part of our brains. The part that more intuitively knows what it’s doing. It’s been reading books and words since we were kids so it’s picked up on more than the conscious part of the brain has. It will already have an idea of who it is and how it should sound too. But near the beginning of our careers our critical side, the part a lot of people edit in, is not so clever. It’s read those books too but it used to just enjoy them. It never looked at the way other authors did things. A blog I read recently even goes so far as to suggest we shouldn’t really edit in our critical mode because it will never be as good as our more intuitive creative side.

Everyone who writes is different, there’s no one way to do things and I think this includes how we edit. I have found, as I’ve written more books the need to edit has lessened. I’ve got better from reading books and finding tips all over the internet in a more intuitive manner so my first drafts are getting closer and closer to perfect (If you don’t include typos and other grammar issues I’m still struggling with) and my editing is getting less and less.

If I’d spent all that time editing up the first few of my stories (which really aren’t as good as the work I’m doing now) I don’t think I’d be as good as I am now.

In short what I’m trying to say is, read the how-to’s and learn what you can from reading other books, but when it comes to your own work, do as little editing as you can get away with; at the very least typos, grammar and structure editing. Then spend the rest of the time writing something new, with what you’ve learnt from the previous attempts. You’ll get better, faster that way.

Sherdan’s Prophecy: Chapter 39

Sherdan couldn’t say how long he had cried over Anya’s letter. The whole evening passed in a blur of re-reading the same painful words and trying to get Anne to leave him alone and go home. Now and then, the tears gave way to angry outbursts where he cursed Anya for coming to see him in the first place.

She had left her kitten behind and the sight of the abandoned gift only pained him even more. Anne had the good sense to take the poor thing with her when she finally went back to her own family.

He had completely lost his desire for food and ignored everything he was offered. He considered getting a bottle of brandy but knew if he started drinking today he would go too far. There was also a small part of him that wanted to feel the pain he had in his heart: the deep ache of longing to see Anya’s face again.

Sherdan wandered aimlessly about the house; first in her room, staring at its emptiness, then in his study, gazing at the screens he had first watched her on. All of it felt like daggers twisting in his core and knowing Hitchin had been taken from the country made it all the worse.

In times like this his friend would have sat with him, reassuring him with words from his visions, stopping him from being alone in the dark.

The documents Miss Miller had given him lay forgotten on his desk since he got back. He remembered them and picked them up. If Hitchin couldn’t be there in person perhaps reading his words would lessen some of the loss he felt.

He knew the second vision was in the leather bound journal he had seen Hitchin fetch recently but Sherdan felt more curious about the typed documents. He flicked through the pages, checking the dates. There appeared to be an entry for each day and, as far as Sherdan could tell, it appeared a more thorough diary than the hand written one.

Sherdan frowned, puzzled about why Hitchin would keep two, vastly different diaries. He stopped flicking through the pages when he reached mid-December in the previously unseen version and started skim reading.

As he read, he grew more and more stunned. The day after Anya arrived, Hitchin had written at length about her, despite Sherdan having not yet said the intruder was a woman. Hitchin had met her. He had been in the lab she had run into when she had been breaking in.

Sherdan’s jaw dropped open as he continued to read.

I knew then Sherdan would develop a crush on her and I am going to need to keep and eye on them both. I won’t let Sherdan’s fascination with the opposite sex put our plans in jeopardy.

He couldn’t read on for a moment, overwhelmed by what he saw. After a pause Sherdan skim read through until Christmas where Anya was mentioned again.

I sat with Sherdan a lot today. His talk of Miss Price has me very concerned. She should be treated like any other security risk but he has her locked in one of his bedrooms. He is a fool for thinking she will be safe there. The only way to save him from ruin is to break her. The guards were close and Sherdan will have to finish the job. I have already told him I think another vision is on the way.

I know if I convince him it is meant to be, that he will force her to give him a child and have her completely submissive to his every will. He will just need pushing in the right direction and the brilliant thing is, it was Sherdan himself who gave me the idea. The guards that interrogated her told me only yesterday that they thought he had stopped the interrogation to take over himself. He had said as much over the radio.

Once I have thought about all the details I will tell Sherdan he is meant to have her and he will do everything else for me. Maybe one day I will tell him the truth but not until the next female has taken his fancy. For now this project is more important.

Sherdan couldn’t read any further. He felt sick at the implications of what Hitchin had written. He had almost done exactly what Hitchin had expected him to and only Anya herself had seen through it. No wonder she had left him.

The country they had been planning may well have achieved all its goals but at what price? The damage they had done, he had done, to an innocent girl just because of the paranoid worries of one man. Even if the vision had been true he realised he hadn’t deserved her.

It had crossed his mind that evening on several occasions to demand Anya return to him but he could no longer do that. She was better off without him and far from his country.

He put his head in his hands and wept. Anya wasn’t meant to be by his side and now he found the person he’d always thought would be there, had been against him. Sherdan really was alone in the dark.

The End

Yup, that’s the end! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this novel. If you have and want to say thanks in a financial way, please consider purchasing a copy of the ebook, and if that’s not something you can afford right now please let others know how much you enjoyed the novel, so hopefully they can enjoy it too!