Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is a story that is very close to my heart. I had the original idea in 2002 and it has slowly grown with the input of a variety of influences and inspirations.

Raven Kennedy: Raven began as the villain, Vincent, in my first novel “Dead End” (an idea which never came to fruition). The plot didn’t work, but I adored his character so I kept him and developed him as the antagonist in the fantasy world of ‘The Light and Shadow Chronicles’ (You may have met him in A Chronicle of Chaos or The Shield of Soren).

I loved the character so much that I took the idea of him and developed it in another direction—into the dark and depressed Raven in my next novel, The Phoenix Project.

Having worked with Raven for so long, I am very emotionally attached to him. Even though he is fictional, I feel that he is a part of my heart and soul. Hence this tattoo:

D.M. Cain profile picture - Raven tattoo

Raven also features as a major character in The Light and Shadow Chronicles. I don’t think I will ever write a book that doesn’t have Raven in it in some way. He is my muse and my access to my creativity.

The decline of religion: Religion plays an important role in my life, which is unusual, as I am agnostic. I feel that faith is beautiful and special. I, sadly, am not lucky enough to have it myself, but I don’t understand why people blame religion for the world’s problems. I wanted to portray a world which was clearly worse for the decline of religion in an attempt to show the benefits of faith.

Salverford prison: I travelled a lot whilst I was writing The Phoenix Project and many of the places that I visited helped to fuel my imagination and give depth to my work. On a trip to Rome, I visited the Colosseum and was inspired by the ancient building. The exhibits on gladiators gave me a deeper understanding of the life of a person forced to fight to the death. I was able to pick out certain details and use them in The Phoenix Project – such as the type of food gladiators were given to eat.

I also spent some time in Krakow, Poland, and visited Aushwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. I’ll never forget the horror of the place, particularly Block 11, the torture and incarceration block. The long, thin cell which Raven passes in the Ruby Tower dungeons comes directly from a cell I saw at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The descriptions of smoke billowing from small chimneys also come from things I saw at Auschwitz.Terror Haza Budapest underground prison cells

 

The place which gave me the most inspiration for Salverford, especially the underground cellars of Ruby Tower and the dark room, was the Terror Haza Museum in Budapest. This museum is the old offices of the Soviet Union Stasi and, later, The Nazi party’s Gestapo. Underneath the building, in the cold, dark cellars, is a grim and depressing dungeon of tiny, damp cells and a crushing sense of futility. I crept inside one of the waist-high cells and sat in pitch darkness and felt despair crowding in on me. This is where the ‘dark room’ was born.

 

The Colosseum:

I love the city of Rome. I’ve visited three times and have loved it more every time! Setting the finale in Rome fitted in well with the religion theme and gave the novel a focus, but I also enjoyed writing about a place I loved so dearly. The Colosseum was a great place for Raven to end up as an ironic safe place.

As I was coming close to finishing ‘The Phoenix Project’, I was preparing myself to write the epilogue about Rome. My incredibly thoughtful husband surprised and delighted me by treating me to a holiday in Rome for Valentine’s day in 2010. It meant that I was able to write that final chapter in Rome itself.

Rome Colosseum

 

Get your copy of The Phoenix Project here


RELATED LINKS:

The Phoenix Project

THE PHOENIX PROJECT by DM Cain – my review no.51

My editing process

 

 

Enough about me – tell me about YOU!

Hello fans of D.M. Cain! I’m writing to you today to ask you a few questions. I don’t want this to be a blog where I just talk at you – I want a two-way dialogue! So, tell me a bit about yourself.

Who are you? What are you interested in? What are your favourite books, movies, TV shows? (This isn’t a trick or a ploy of some sort – I genuinely want to get to know you!)

Is there anything I can do to help you? Would you like recommendations of other books similar to mine? Want to know how I got my books published? Would you like writing or editing tips? Want to discuss worldbuilding and extended universes? Or maybe you just want to know who I think would win in a fight between Deadpool and Black Panther.So-how-can-I-help-you

Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, drop me a line. Ask a question, tell me a fact, let me know about you, ask for help – anything!

I look forward to hearing from you! (simply reply to this post, fill in a contact form, or drop me a message on Facebook or Twitter)


RELATED LINKS:

About D.M. Cain

Contact

How I boosted my mailing list subscribers from 96 to 973 in a few days

My editing process

My editing process by D.M. Cain

My editing process is a long and tiring one, but strangely I wholeheartedly enjoy parts of it (especially the early stages.)

I initially write my books using two methods. I spend a few hours a week sitting in cafes or restaurants with my trusty notebook, where I will hand-write sections of my story. It’s a bit old-school, I know, but there’s something special about cutting off from technology and getting back to basics with good old pen and paper. I often find that this is when my creativity truly blossoms.

The Shield of Soren The Light and Shadow Chronicles DM Cain handwritten
A handwritten page of The Shield of Soren

The other way that I write large sections of my novels is through #Writestorm sessions. These are amazing short power bursts of writing that I complete with other author friends, during which we race to write as many words as possible within a given time. The work I produce in these sessions is often quite rough and needs heavy editing, but this process allows me to get a large number of words down quickly.

editing paper amediting DM Cain

So, after my initial draft is written, my first edit begins. I wouldn’t dream of letting a real editor even glance at an early version, so instead I print it out and edit it myself on paper. Again, doing the work on real paper somehow allows me to see errors more easily and not get distracted by the screen flickering and e-mail notifications popping up.(Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks editing on paper is the way forward)

This is when I do my initial line editing changes, including picking up the ridiculous typos that I’ve made during writestorms!

I also try to pick myself up on the errors that I know I am prone to making: Starting every sentence with a proper noun or pronoun (I’m terrible for that…), lots of ‘looking’, passive voice, unnecessary detail.

Once my line editing is complete, I do the whole thing again. I start from the beginning and edit it through for overall plot consistency and to check it fits in with the timeline of my greater series (when editing my fantasy books). I tend to make errors to do with times of day, weather, etc and need to check for those. Sometimes I need to add new chapters or take out unnecessary chapters to improve the overall plot structure.

Then, when I’m happy with my version, it goes to my editor – the amazing Pam Elise Harris. No matter how well I think I’ve edited it, she will still tear it to shreds! I pull my hair out, fret over things, lose sleep through anxiety, then finally actually sit down and make the changes. It is ALWAYS 100% better after the changes she has suggested. She does 2 or 3 passes over it and then, when we’re both happy with it, it goes to the proofreader.

Sophie Thomas – another amazing member of my team – reads it through, picks up anything we’ve missed and points out anything glaring that we have forgotten about, or been too close to the book to see. Then it’s finally ready!


Related Articles:

Dos and Don’ts of running a book stall

#Writestorm – a concept that changed my entire philosophy about writing

 

 

Dos and Don’ts of running a book stall

On Saturday March 10th 2018 I held a stall at the Coalville Writes literary festival. It was my first author event of this kind and therefore, a steep learning curve!

Here’s what I learned about running a book stall:

DO:

  • Prop up your books with little stands so that they are clearly visible. If your books are just lying down flat then people will only see them when they come right up to the table. You need people to see the books from far away. A fellow stall holder and author, Matt Beighton, did a particularly good job of this with his large foamex boards of his book covers:

Matt Beighton Coalville Writes author book stall

  • Have eye-catching banners – My banner for The Phoenix Project was the best tool I had for drawing people towards the stall. Lots of people commented on it or stopped to read it (and I could then pounce on them and engage in a chat!)

The Phoenix Project D.M. Cain book stall

  • Smile – Even though we just see ourselves as struggling authors desperate for  readers, some people may be intimidated by our title as a ‘professional writer’. Make sure you smile and are as friendly as possible.
  • Talk to people – As with the previous point, get out there and talk to people. Don’t stand behind the stall as it puts a barrier between you and your readers. Strip that barrier away and engage with people by standing out at the front.
  • Use this as an opportunity to get mailing list signups – even if people don’t buy a book on that day they might later if you keep in touch with them.
  • Offer free stuff/competitions – I did a competition to win a £20 Amazon giftcard in exchange for people signing up for mailing list and buying books. I also handed out free bookmarks and chocolates  – people love free stuff!

DON’T:

  • Sit down – It makes you look unapproachable and it would turn away many a customer who just want to chat to you. Do everything you can to strip down the walls between author and reader.
  • Forget to take change – I initially planned to sell all my books for £10 but then changed to include a deal where people could buy two books from the series for £17 – but I forget to bring any change! So when somebody bought the pair I had to run around trying to find some change for them!
  • Come unprepared – I not only forgot change but I also had to run to the local shop to buy sellotape, string, post-it notes and all the other little things I had forgotten!
  • Be intimidated by people – Yes, they’re your customers. Yes, you have to do everything you can to get them reading your work, but at the end of the day they’re just people. Don’t be afraid, don’t panic – just get out there and talk to them. Don’t ‘sell’, just chat!
  • Use untrackable competition entries – As part of my Amazon giftcard giveaway I allowed people to earn multiple entries into my competition by doing different things. People earned 10 entries for buying a paperback, 5 for an ebook, 1 for following on social media and 1 for signing up to the mailing list. Of these options, only the paperback sales and the mailing list signups worked. And that’s because they were were things people could do easily, there and then. It would be too hard to track who signed up on which social media platform. And why would people stand at my stall and buy an ebook and then have to show me an email as proof? Too hard! Make sure all entries are as easy as possible and can be done there and then.

Amazon gift voucher competition poster

As my first author event of this type, I think it went well and I learned a lot. Next time, I’ll be following my own advice and hopefully will get even more sales!

What tips do you have for holding a stall? Tell me in the comments below.

Coalville Writes literary festival

Coalville Writes Literary Festival

This Saturday I will be appearing alongside Stewart Bint at the Pop-Up book fair as part of the Coalville Writes literary festival in Leicestershire (10.30am – 4.30pm) Why not pop along and see us? You can buy signed books, get some free goodies and enter a competition to win something cool (prize yet to be decided!)

authors writers Coalville Writes

Related Links:

My first radio interview!

D.M. Cain’s Books

 

New fantasy titles coming this year!

So, I’ve been out of the loop for a while now (thanks to my gorgeous new arrival <3) but I am pleased to say that this year I am back with two new titles in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series!

Two novellas – ‘Genesis of Light’ and ‘Origin of Shadow’ will be released in 2018 and I will begin edits on the recently completed full length novel ‘The Sins of Silas’. How exciting!

Instagram poster 1.jpg

Brand new fast-paced fantasy

My brand new epic fantasy novel The Shield of Soren has just gone live on Amazon!

Grab your copy here

What an amazing journey the author leads you on! With remarkable characters, a sensational and catchy story line, and a captivating ending, you won’t want the story to end.  Amazon reader

The characters are superbly written. Amazon reader.

This is a great fast-paced fantasy with very memorable characters. Amazon reader.

Soren postcard front 2

Epic-immersive-fantasy-The-Shield-of-Soren

The Shield of Soren – cover reveal!

COVER REVEAL

I’m so excited to share with you the cover for my upcoming release! This next installment in The Light and Shadow Chronicles is called The Shield of Soren. Set thirty years before the events of A Chronicle of Chaos, this novel covers the story of mischievous trouble maker, ten-year-old Soren Nitaya and the events that change the way he will see the world forever.

The Shield of Soren full cover.jpg

BLURB

Ten-year-old Soren Nitaya’s marked talent makes him the youngest soldier ever to become an apprentice to the legendary warrior, Raven Lennox. As a prince of Alcherys, he will be expected to fight in the eternal war against the Brotherhood of Shadow when he reaches sixteen.

But is the young prince up to the task when he’s more interested in causing mischief than in mastering weapons?

When one of Soren’s adventures goes off course, he unwittingly unleashes a deadly threat. It appears that an age-old prophecy is finally coming to pass, and Soren and his family must take a perilous journey deep into their enemy’s land. Does Soren have what it takes to save his country before the Brotherhood destroys everyone and everything he loves?

SorenandChaossidebyside3D

The Shield of Soren EXCERPT

With a loud clang of metal slamming into metal, the final bolt was undone. Reign slowly pulled the door open, and Vincent found his breath catching in his throat.

High-pitched whimpering came from the tiny bundle of rags cowering at the back of the cage. Her long silver hair parted for a moment and Vincent could see her wide, silver eyes, terrified and innocent. Vincent’s skin prickled with discomfort. He hoped that Reign had a damned good reason for capturing a small child like this.

Beside the glass cage were two oil lamps, both resting unlit. Reign reached up and took one down. Then, in a single savage moment, he slammed the lamp onto the floor of her cage. The girl screamed in terror and covered her head with her hands, but he hadn’t been aiming for her.

The shattered glass gave way to a stream of oil that spread out in a pool across the floor. This seemed to scare the girl even more, and she began to cry quietly, sobbing into her clenched hands.

Reign looked back at Vincent. Excitement flashed in his eyes as he drew a match from a box in his pocket. A small flare of light, a flicker of sulphur and a small flame danced on top of the match. With another laugh, Reign tossed the match into the glass cage.

Vincent gasped as the oil ignited in a rush of intense heat. The entire floor of the cage burst into flames. Vincent tried to rush forwards to save the girl from a fiery death, but the heat was too intense. A hand tapped incessantly at his shoulder, and he tried to brush it away, but Reign grabbed hold of his hand.

“Look! Look!” Reign shouted excitedly, pointing at the cage.

When his eyes fell upon the cage, Vincent froze to the spot, his eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “But…how?”

The girl, who Vincent had assumed would be burning in agony, was somehow floating above the flames, hovering at the top of her cage. From her back sprouted two enormous wings of the purest white feathers Vincent had ever seen. The two beautiful white fans could only just fit within the confines of the cage, and as she beat them to stay afloat they fanned the flames beneath her.

It wasn’t just her wings that dazzled Vincent with their purity. Her whole body had adopted an ethereal, almost ghostly, silver aura, her hair shimmering with radiance. She didn’t seem too frightened any more, but there was a definite hint of sadness in her gentle eyes.

Vincent studied her carefully, struggling to catch his breath, which he hadn’t realised he had been holding. “What is she?” he managed to croak.

Reign grinned and draped an arm across Vincent’s shoulder. “She, my friend, is an angel.”

 

D.M. CAIN BIO

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for Creativia Publishing. The Light and Shadow Chronicles series features a range of books which can be read in any order. The first of these to be written was A Chronicle of Chaos. The Shield of Soren will be released in March 2017. She is currently working on the next novel in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series, The Sins of Silas, as well as two complementary novellas entitled Genesis of Light and Origin of Shadow.

Cain has released one stand-alone novel: The Phoenix Project, a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. The Phoenix Project was the winner of the 2016 Kindle Book Review Best Sci-Fi novel Award.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story The End was published in Awethology Dark: an anthology by the #Awethors.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.

 

LINKS

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dmcain84/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/dmcain

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DMCain

 

Excerpt from upcoming ‘The Shield of Soren’

This month my new novel in the Light and Shadow Chronicles – The Shield of Soren – will be released.

Soren cover reveal image 3.jpg

I am excited to reveal the first excerpt from the book:

With a loud clang of metal slamming into metal, the final bolt was undone. Reign slowly pulled the door open, and Vincent found his breath catching in his throat.

High-pitched whimpering came from the tiny bundle of rags cowering at the back of the cage. Her long silver hair parted for a moment and Vincent could see her wide, silver eyes, terrified and innocent. Vincent’s skin prickled with discomfort. He hoped that Reign had a damned good reason for capturing a small child like this.

Beside the glass cage were two oil lamps, both resting unlit. Reign reached up and took one down. Then, in a single savage moment, he slammed the lamp onto the floor of her cage. The girl screamed in terror and covered her head with her hands, but he hadn’t been aiming for her.

The shattered glass gave way to a stream of oil that spread out in a pool across the floor. This seemed to scare the girl even more, and she began to cry quietly, sobbing into her clenched hands.

Reign looked back at Vincent. Excitement flashed in his eyes as he drew a match from a box in his pocket. A small flare of light, a flicker of sulphur and a small flame danced on top of the match. With another laugh, Reign tossed the match into the glass cage.

Vincent gasped as the oil ignited in a rush of intense heat. The entire floor of the cage burst into flames. Vincent tried to rush forwards to save the girl from a fiery death, but the heat was too intense. A hand tapped incessantly at his shoulder, and he tried to brush it away, but Reign grabbed hold of his hand.

“Look! Look!” Reign shouted excitedly, pointing at the cage.

When his eyes fell upon the cage, Vincent froze to the spot, his eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “But…how?”

The girl, who Vincent had assumed would be burning in agony, was somehow floating above the flames, hovering at the top of her cage. From her back sprouted two enormous wings of the purest white feathers Vincent had ever seen. The two beautiful white fans could only just fit within the confines of the cage, and as she beat them to stay afloat they fanned the flames beneath her.

It wasn’t just her wings that dazzled Vincent with their purity. Her whole body had adopted an ethereal, almost ghostly, silver aura, her hair shimmering with radiance. She didn’t seem too frightened any more, but there was a definite hint of sadness in her gentle eyes.

Vincent studied her carefully, struggling to catch his breath, which he hadn’t realised he had been holding. “What is she?” he managed to croak.

Reign grinned and draped an arm across Vincent’s shoulder. “She, my friend, is an angel.”

 

Stay tuned for the cover reveal on Friday 10th March.

In the meantime, why not pick up a copy of the first in the series?

http://mybook.to/ChronicleofChaos