Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy, Happy New Year: The Wall of Night Book Two—Finished!

Giveaway Result!

Jeanine's post is up
so all the giveaways on this post are now closed off--and the winners of the books are:

Onge: for the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family,
ThatOneGirlYouKnew: for Kirsten Cashore's Fire.

Congratulations to you both!

And I'll be getting the postcards away today to everyone who has left their postal address on my webmail. :)

Thank you again to you all for participating--and don't forget that next month on 1 February I'll be chatting here on the Supernatural Underground with Beth-Anne Miller about her debut novel Into the Scottish Mist. I'm really looking forward to it!


I had all sorts of ideas for New Year posts, but today these were all superseded by the fantabulously wonderful fact that I have finished the manuscript for the second novel in The Wall of Night series—working title The Gathering of the Lost.

I know a few of my fellow Supe authors have also been going down to the wire with all sorts of deadlines over the holiday season, but mine has pretty much been that I want to finish the book No Matter What! And what an awesome feeling, reaching that final line and word—until, of course, Book Three (!) But for now I aim to kick back, put my feet up with a glass of something chilled (and probably with bubbles in it) and spend some quality time with both cat and man, both of whom have been just a little neglected of late!

For those of you who might not know, The Heir of Night, which came out in October, is epic or high fantasy, chock full of what Robin Hobb was kind enough to describe as “strange magic, dark treachery and conflicting loyalties.” The Gathering of the Lost carries on this grand tradition, but there is a shift in the action to encompass both more adventure—with knights in armor, quests, tournaments, flights and rescues—as well as romance. Our protagonists are older, you see, and find themselves in a country with a troubadorian tradition of “springtime love” …

Given both knightly adventure and romance, Gathering has been a lot of fun to write. And very interesting in terms of character development, because the central protagonists now have separate story threads to pursue rather than always being together. This does tend to make for more story goodness—and of course, being Fantasy, more world building fun and goodness as the characters encounter different countries and societies within their world.

It all begins, of course, with the blank page, which is both exciting—as I believe Beatrix Potter said, “You never know where it will take you” (or words to like effect)—and terrifying at the same time, and for exactly the same reason: Where will it take you? And once you have launched into the exciting and terrifying, exhilarating and exhausting process of writing a novel, there are not only all those “best words” to be crafted into the “right order” (Coleridge), but (as above) world building and character development, action and subtext, theme and structure—all to be considered and developed, worked and reworked again.

So getting to the end of the manuscript is always a red letter moment. You have such a feeling of achievement as you type in that final full stop. OK, maybe as a writer you never, ever quite stop, because there are always new ideas buzzing around, or spin-offs on the old ones. Finishing the book is more like ‘pressing Pause’: Time for reflection and to take stock, both of where you’ve got to and what you still need to do—as well as what you might like to do beyond this book, and what new projects could potentially lurk just around the corner.

Completing a manuscript on New Year’s Day is particularly significant in terms of that process of both reflection and looking forward. It’s what New Year is all about—and why I am doubly pleased to be posting today and able to share this moment with you. Not just to say “hey, I’ve finished!” which of course I’m over the moon to be doing, but to ask what achievements, big or small, you’re celebrating today, and what hopes and dreams, or concrete plans, you hope to realize in 2011?

I’m hoping to see The Gathering of the Lost in print this year, to finish The Wall of Night, Book Three (working title, The Riven Shield) and start Book Four. For hopes and dreams, I would love to visit the US and UK and get to Rome to see a friend there—a big dream, given the distance form NZ to just about anywhere, but I’m thinking of ways to make it happen and not short change the writing.

So how about you? What are you celebrating and planning, hoping for and dreaming of, this New Year’s Day 2011?

And a very Happy New Year to you all!



To help the discussion along and just to reiterate my “Happy New Year” to you all, I’ll send a personalized Book Cover’s Postcard (shown left) designed by the artist who did The Heir of Night map, to anyone who comments on this post before the next Supernatural Underground author posts AND emails me a postal address through my website: contact[at]

And because neither of last month’s giveaway books was claimed (!) I’m putting them up for giveaway again: the latest
Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family, and Kirsten Cashore’s Fire. [Open to all Supe followers, US or international.]

To enter the draw (which will be via Random Number selection), just add a comment on this post; again the cutoff is
before the next Supernatural Underground author posts. As always, you can earn points (i.e. the number of times your name goes into the draw) by:

+1 Posting in the comments section

+1 Linking to this post on Twitter

+1 Linking to this post on Facebook

+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground or my
Helen Lowe on Anything Really blog on your own blog/website.

Just post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment. And don’t forget to check back after the closing date to see if you’ve won, or leave an email address where I can get in contact with you.


Next Month: 1 February

On next month's post day, 1 February, I will be inviting my friend and fellow author, Beth-Anne Miller, to join me here on the Supernatural Underground. Beth-Anne has a brand-new Romance novel, Into the Scottish Mists, coming out from The Wild Rose Press on February 4. So Beth-Anne will be here to tell us all a bit about the book and her path to publication—and I know you’ll all show her your wonderful Supe support. :) Meanwhile, for a sneak preview, you can find Beth-Anne at


Onge said...

Congrats on finishing book 2!! They sound like really good books. I think I may need to start reading them. Thanks for the giveaway.

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Woo! Congrats :). Must be such a good feeling to complete a manuscript.

Great giveaway too.

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Ps I linked to Twitter and facebook : )

Helen Lowe said...

Thanks Onge & TSB--things are definitely feeling mighty fine right about now! :)

Christine said...

What an awesome way to end an old year! Congrats on finishing your book!
What a gorgeous cover by the way!
Happy New Year!

Llehn said...

Congrats. Make sure you celebrate with lots of chocolate :D Happy new year!


jamireed said...

congrats on your accomplishments. Be proud, there are so many who only wish they could write.

SandyG265 said...

Congrats on finishing your book.

1 entry
sgiden at

Sullivan McPig said...

Congrats on finishing book 2!!
And happy new year as well ofcourse

thatonegirlyouknew said...

Happy New Year! And congrats! That's so exciting! Thanks fo much for the giveaway again, someone's loss is perhaps my gain ^_^

I'd like to win Kirsten Cashore’s Fire.

+1 entry for commenting

Giada M said...

Congratulations, Helen! :D
Happy New Year!!! ^*^

(No need to enter me in the giveaway, as I already own both books.)

Crystal ♥ said...

Congrats! What a fabulous way to end the year and start a new one. And I love the cover as well.
Happy New Years!

posted on FB
button on blog

Danielle Gorman said...

Happy New Year everyone. What a great way to start the new year off with. Thanks for the giveaway.
+1 comment

Lea U. said...

Congratulations on finishing book #2! And a Happy New Year!
Great giveaway *crossing fingers*
+1 comment

Anonymous said...

Can't believe no one claimed their prizes!!!


Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!! Let's hope it's biger and brighter!!!

in Germany
who doesn't twitter or facebook...boohoo!!!

Teril said...

Congrats on The Gathering! I cannot wait The Heir rocked my sox with its great characters and plot.

For the book give away:

+1 I posted
+1 posted info on blog


Happy New Year!

Ashleigh said...

What a wonderful way to bring in the new year. I love that feeling of accomplishment when a story is completed. And I can't believe prizes went unclaimed. That's just crazy.

+1 comment

Helen Lowe said...

Happy New Year--again!--to all of you, but you can never say it and mean it too many times, can you?! :)

And thank you for all your supportive comments--finishing a manuscript "is" a wonderful way to finish the old year and begin the new and of course I am excited that there are readers out there who are excited to read what I write! And one thing that I think is the best thing about the book form of story as opposed to film and tv, is that the reader is so much part of it all--the process becomes interactive, with the reader imagining and re-imagining the writer's vision.

Can you tell I'm still bubbling this morning! (It is this morning on the 2nd here) Although of course I woke up and thought--I have to tidy up this, and fix up that, with the manuscript (ms for short), but that is still a vastly different space to be in than when you're still shading your eyes and squinting ahead, trying to see the end of the 'long and winding road.'

Btw, for those who like to follow book process, although I will try and keep you up to date with my monthly posts here as well, I also do regular updates on my blog--you can 'check up on progress' [winks] under the Categories headings of 'My Books', but more usually "What I've Been Doing ..." in the sidebar.

Cindy L said...

How exciting Helen!! I hope you enjoyed your New Years. Good luck on Book Three! I am spending the day relaxing with my family.

+1 comment


Patricia Lynne said...

Congrats on finishing! For 2011 I'm hoping to have my own story published. A more current goal is to find another job I love since I'm moving away from current amazing job. That's it for me, the rest of the time, I plan to see where life takes me.

Casey H said...

Congrats on finishing you're novel!!

For 2011, I'm hopping to write/finish my second novel and find an agent...fingers crossed that something good happens!

Cath's Chatter said...

There's always a great sense of accomplishment when you finish something isn't there?
I however hardly ever finish anything!!!....except a book...I'll always finish reading a book!!!!
Congrats on finishing book 2, and I hope you do get to do your traveling:)

Helen Lowe said...

Thanks again for the best wishes--and I'll keep my fingers especially crossed for those of you looking for great new jobs, and to place stories/find agents as I know just how hard it can be ...

'All digits crossed' has definitely become one of my favorite expressions since I've entered the writing game! Another though, is 'keep going' and I did a post around this on my blog recently, sparking off Jeaniene Frost's post here (on the Supernatural Underground) on the path to publication. My conclusion, that 'keeping going' really is a vital ingredient to life, the universe and everything, including writing! :)

If you're interested, here's the link to my "Keeping Going" post, which includes a link back to Jeaniene, just in case you can't easily find her post here, and also to a relevant post by Phil Plait:

BTW--great to receive so many requests for book cover post cards (and no one's missed the deadline, so don't worry about that!) I'll be getting them all away as soon as the post office opens again, which I think is the 5th here. :)

mariska said...

Congrats to you ! and Happy New year too :)

What i hope in 2011, lots of love, lots of happiness, lots of books for me :) well to all of my family and friends too.

+1 comment

+1 tweeted :!/becunique/status/21408160459784192

+1 posted in FB :

total 3

cuniquas at gmail dot com

linaramz said...

Wow big Congrats on book 2! I've been really looking forward to reading the first and hope to soon!

Thanks for another chance to win! I'd love to win Fire by Kirsten Cashore!

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sable Grace said...

YAY on finishing book 2!!!!!!!!!!!! Very awesome Helen!~H

Helen Lowe said...

Thanks again for the best wishes and keeping the comments coming--I'll definitely keep the giveaways open until the next Supernatural Underground author posts (which I think may be the 4th.)

I had a small get-together with friends last night to celebrate 'having a manuscript', and although I feel a little guilty to say so given all the terrible weather in so many other places, it was so warm and calm (unusual in a city of constant wind) that we sat out in the back yard, under the wisteria and the stars until the 'wee small hours' just to enjoy ... :)

Sharon S. said...

love the postcard! And congrats on finishing book 2. I am looking forward to reading it :) We are going on a family vacation to Yellowstone/Jackson Hole this year. I have never been west of Tenn. so I can't wait to see that part of the country. Basically I want to keep my family healthy and happy (as well as myself).

susied said...

It must be a good feeling to know you've worked hard and book 2 is done! I look forward to reading it soon :)

+1 comment

Whitby1734 at aol dot com

Helen Lowe said...

I hope you enjoy that holiday, Sharon--and thanks for the congratulations susied. :)