• The Shorthand Prince

    The First Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    Go to this book
  • The Last King Incarnate

    The Second Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    go to this book
  • The Lost Armoury

    The Third Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    Go to this book
  • The Great Scribe

    The Fourth Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    go to this book
  • The Scholar Quest

    The Fifth Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    go to this book
  • The Card Collector

    The Sixth Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    go to this book
  • The Immortal Queen

    The Seventh and Final Book in the 'Three Cards' series

    go to this book

The Three Cards

Set of 7 pulp fantasy books...

The Three Eyes

Next set of fantasy books. I'm currently writing book 1, called The Stars from the Dead
Graphic Novels
I like to have a bit of a draw, but writing is my passion.As such, I struggle to make much headway with my graphic novels. Updates, and new drawings, will show here...

Story Addict

By Tom Care 19 May, 2016
I've been working a bit lately on the pieces of the machine that aren't directly exposed to the reader. My upcoming book (The Stars from the Dead, as you know by now) is deliberately built around a series of complexities, from politics to exploration, climate change to terrorism, and religion to magic. There's a lot that bubbles on in the background, a lot that the reader might only glimpse (unless I spend some time on appendices, hmm...), a lot of perhaps mediocre things that must occur behind the scenes to lend credibility to the main storyline.

For me it feels crucial to really work hard on the details here. I'm placing a lot of value in the character building this time round, following feedback on earlier books, and people are affected and shaped by the complex world around them. We are all partly constructed by nature, but nurture has its influence too, and so to understand the person, I must understand what nurtures them. So it follows, the more love I put into the world, the more the world will produce people for the readers to love. And love to hate.

Having a rich tapestry underpinning the presentation of the story should help me to monitor continuity in the story. In my experience, readers are eagle-eyed and will pick apart inconsistencies without even having to put too much thought into it. They instinctively recognise when pieces of a puzzle don't fit, or have been lazily jammed together. Why would I risk their enjoyment of the book? If they stop to scrutinise the story's failings, then they'll like the book less. They might even put the book down for a bit. They might not pick it up again. I don't want that, I want a relationship with my readers where I hold up my end of the bargain, and we all follow my adventures together. I owe them the detail, visible and hidden alike.
By Tom Care 11 May, 2016
Reading: Lake of the Long Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Writing: The Stars from the Dead
Watching: Daredevil, Southpaw, Bates Motel
By Tom Care 04 May, 2016
So I'm definitely going to waste too much on a blog that virtually nobody read. Talk amongst yourselves, I'm on a roll...
By Tom Care 27 Apr, 2016
I hate writer's block. My normal tactic is just to hold down the backspace button until I can't bear it any more. That's when you know you're back to the quality work. I can't quite bring myself to do that this time.

Partly this is because what I'm writing is quite complex, and trying to re-conjure those threads is a bit daunting. Partly though, it's because I don't think what I've written is bad. It's just wrong somehow, it needs an inquest, not an execution. 

So my standard plan for attack need to be reconsidered. No more gung-ho choppy-choppy. I need to be a bit more sophisticated. It's making my head hurt...
By Tom Care 20 Apr, 2016
My new book is very much written in two parts, the first part being a sea voyage, the second part being the time spent on land. They are very different arenas, with different constraints and opportunities.

When at sea, the environment is very closed and familiar - and risks being monotonous and boring, just as most trips at sea can be.

On land, all boundaries are torn down. The characters are no longer confined by the ocean, and the pool of players can be added to on a whim. That's particularly handy, given how fond I am of killing them off...

There is a concern though, that the reader will suddenly be presented with a story so very different from what they have invested themselves in. Will it disaffect them? Will I lose readers at this point?

I've done my best to lay groundwork in the form of precedents. That should hopefully make the second half of the story feel as though it was planned (which it has been (this time!)).

As to when it will be ready, which is the top FAQ at the moment, I'm aiming for the early part of 2017.
By Tom Care 11 Apr, 2016
If you can make it so the reader can see the picture you had in your head, using only words, then you have succeeded.

A good example? Anybody who read the Hobbit before they watched any of the Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptations will say that Gollum was exactly as they had imagined him.

So how can we achieve the same result? Sometimes it can just be about writing down what it is you see in your mind's eye, other times you may need to think a bit more out-of-the-box. I recently read a description of a hover-car racing along a desert that was compared to a brush of yellow paint tracing through grey water. I've paraphrased and not done it justice, but that was pretty good and so I could see the image.

It served as a good reminder to try and take the time in my own writing to ensure I have immersed the reader in my world.
By Tom Care 04 Apr, 2016
I'm so keen to get so many different things done, that they're all clambering on top of each other to try and dominate my attention. It's time to take a breath, and a little step back. Can I get everything done? If so, there has to be a way to do it in a more organised manner.

Of course, the busier we are, the less likely it is that we'll like we can perform this crucial triage. Please note, I've neither done any of the things I should be doing, nor taken the step back. I've written a blog post instead...
By Tom Care 29 Mar, 2016
If you hadn't picked up the vibe from me yet, I can confirm that I really am not optimistic about my upcoming financial exam. It's a bit of a downer really, as studying for it really ruins the work/life balance too.

I'll be glad to get it out of the way. don't get me wrong, it is good that it furthers me in my profession, and better helps me to understand all of those complex components of personal finances, but it's dull and difficult and it couldn't be more different from the pleasure of writing fantasy novels.

2 weeks to go. I can't wait, regardless of the result.

Story Addict status:
Watching: Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead
Reading: AF4 Investment Planning, Litany of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
Writing: This blog, and that's about it really...
By Tom Care 21 Mar, 2016
Okay, so it's pretty much my own fault for blindly agreeing to take a work exam at the same time as the tax year end (a busy time for those of us in the financial advice industry...) but now I'm stressed, which makes me pissy. It also makes me less creative, which makes me really really pissy.

I just want to write, so if there are any mysterious benefactors out there willing to fund my fanciful stories, please get in touch. Failing that, I guess I could always take a sick day *koff-koff*...

At least it's Easter this weekend!!
By Tom Care 14 Mar, 2016
You can only feel sorry for those people who sit and read my book in my presence. I keep interrupting..."which bit are you on now?"..."what do you think so far?"..."which bit just made you laugh?"...I'm insufferable.

That probably says more about me as a person than a writer, but I'm not about to self-psycho-cross-analyse what that means.

On a side note, I seem to be more in love with writing than ever before, prompting all sorts of questions such as "should I quit my day job?" and "why am I doing x,y,z when I could be writing instead?"

Story Addict Status: Critical
Watching: The Returned, Horns, The Book Thief, The Walking Dead (tonight, yay!), Better Call Saul, The Martian, Ted 2
Reading: The Book of the New Sun (still!) by Gene Wolfe
Writing: The Stars from the Dead, end of tax year letters to clients about their pensions, witty blog entries
By Tom Care 07 Mar, 2016
I don't want it to be too different from the first half, and I've tried to write plenty of precedents for the weirder things that are yet to happen. For me, as the writer, I've been excited at the prospect of discovering a new continent, and having that immense blank canvas upon which to play.

But for the reader, well they've been stuck on a boat with me for the first half of the book, so it might be quite a shock to see this new world. I'm hoping it will be fun for the reader without losing any of what they liked about the beginning.

I always had some pretty stunning things planned, and tried to bear those in mind, shaping my characters so that they are ready to react to the new culture, and interact in a way that showcases how this new world ticks. I imagine this is going to be an aspect I have to keep going back and revising. Books, to a great extent, write themselves sometimes.

Whilst trying not to go too crazy, I also don't want to dilute this new world. Striking the right balance will be tricky, and is it is so subjective, I'm sure not everybody will agree on whether or not I've got it right...
By Tom Care 04 Mar, 2016
In this blog I'm going to refer a lot to the book I'm writing, called The Stars from the Dead. It's a much bigger project than the books I've written before. I am trying to make it more involved and more engrossing. There should be more detail and I want you, the readers, to really get to know the characters.

These are the things that I had heard the most from those kind enough to give me feedback on my first series of books, and so I've really tried to knuckle down and get that done.

I'm halfway through The Stars from the Dead now, and I think it's time for a couple of people to have a read and let me know what they think. Of course, before I subject anybody to my books I like to give it a once over. This is now taking me longer than I thought it would. I write faster than I read, it seems...
By Tom Care 23 Feb, 2016
Some proper blog content to follow shortly, but suffice to say I'm as addicted now as I ever have been!

Writing: The Stars from the Dead
Reading: The Stars from the Dead (getting it ready for a halfway-point edit), The Book of the New Sun, Framing Ink
Watching: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and all things Marvel (most recently Guardians of the Galaxy)

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