Daily Stream of Unconsciousness: Review of Black Cross and Q&A With J.P. Ashman

A snippet of the excellent 5* review of Black Cross by blogger Tom Owens and a question from the Q&A I did with him recently:


“Well it doesn’t take long for Black Cross to get going at all. We are straight into it with the intriguing Lord Severun, who appears to be conducting some sort of magical experiment. Within a very short space of time it becomes apparent that it has gone horribly wrong, and the world of Brisance will never be the same again. It is a great scene-setter and drags you instantly into the narrative. Already questions are bouncing around in the mind and before you know it you are four or five chapters in and completely engrossed.”


From the Q&A:

“You will have been asked this question more times than is probably healthy – but I’m going to ask it anyway! Black Cross was self-published, initially on eBook but now in paper and hardback formats too. What advice would you give to aspiring authors and is there anything that you wish you had done differently?

Hire a good editor, one you can work with and who’s criticism you can take. Actually, just learn to take criticism, you’re going to get it, a lot. Don’t think self-publishing is an easy way out, or cheap. Research, take advice and take your time, you don’t have a deadline! Black Cross is a big book, which is partly why I decided to self-publish. If you want to submit a manuscript to agents and such, you should probably keep it to around 100k words. Actually, keeping it smaller than I did works for self-publishing too – we pay by the page to print!

Write short stories and enter them in competitions. Write flash fiction, say 500 words and stick to it. Writing such tiny stories teaches you to drop useless words as often as possible. An editor will teach you that all the more. Hire an editor and, did I mention this already? Hire an editor!

What would I have done differently? I would have hired an editor much earlier, that’s pretty much it.”


If you get the chance, hit the link below and read the rest. Tom has put a lot into this and has certainly plastered a grin across my face. I’m sure his blog will do the same for you!

Source: Daily Stream of Unconsciousness: Review of Black Cross and Q&A With J.P. Ashman