Damian ConnollyDamian Connolly

Shepherds update and awards news

Hey there! Remember me?

The sites gone a little dark since the last post, where I released the first chapter of Shepherds: Origins and that's 100% on me.

Despite appearances, there's been quite a lot of things happening in the background that I never got around to posting about properly, but now my schedule has somewhat freed up, it's time to do a massive catchup post!

First up:

Shepherds: Origins

One of the main reasons why nothing's been posted in a long time is that I've been busy wrapping up the first draft of Shepherds: Origins. I can only do one thing at a time, so while my Things I'd Like To Do list has been steadily growing over the last few months, all of my free time has been taken up with this beast.

And I can happily say that I've (finally) finished the first draft!

As it stands it's over 84,000 words, or about twice as long as the first book. This one was a lot harder to write than the first one was. I'm not sure if that's normal for a second book, or if it's just because it was longer, but I learned a hell of a lot.

Origins is a prequel set a long time before Awakenings and tells the story of Limbo when it was much younger and how Shades came to be. You can read the first chapter here.

I also need to take a moment to shout out to my writing partner, Melissa, who's another author here in Bordeaux. We teamed up at the start of the project to keep each other on track, and to have someone to bounce ideas off of/burst through roadblocks. She's been great and helped kick my ass back in gear when I got stuck on the last chapter for weeks. Hopefully she'll let me share what she's been working on when she's ready to release it.

So what's next for the book?

Basically I'm going to let it sit for a few weeks while I work on some other stuff (more on that later). By that time, hopefully I'll be able to read through it with reasonably fresh eyes and rip it to pieces, so I can fix the parts that inevitably don't make sense, flesh out areas that need more detail, and generally make sure I've spelling my character's name properly throughout the book (ahem).

After a few rounds of that, it'll go off to an editor, who'll do the whole thing again, though this time properly. At the end, I should have something worth reading.

After all that's done, I'll start all the pre-launch work and getting all the dominoes in a row before hitting them a kick to get things rolling.

If you'd like to be part of the launch team, or be the first to get your hands on the book, make sure you're subscribed to the email list. There'll also be some goodies coming for subscribers around launch time.

Shepherds: Awakening - available on Kindle and paperback


Insiders are the first to get notified when Shepherds: Origins releases. As an added bonus, if you haven't read Shepherds: Awakening, you'll get the first 4 chapters for FREE!

I'm in!

Shepherds: Awakening

Despite completely neglecting my first book for the last few months, Shepherds: Awakening has been chugging away and has gone on to win some awards!

It won a 5 Star award for Readers' Favorite, the Official Selection in the Fantasy Category for the New Apple awards, and the Fantasy category in the Lyra awards!

Shepherds: Awakening - awards won

This officially makes the book and Award-winning novel™. Not bad for a first effort, and I'm obviously pretty chuffed about it.

While Origins is going through the editing rounds, I'll be stepping up the marketing on Awakening. Marketing is one of those massive subjects that I need to get stuck into. There's so much info out there and so many different tests to do that it's a little daunting, but I've been itching to get at it for ages now.

Like it or not, marketing is vitally important in allowing your book to reach its full potential and making sure that it doesn't get buried amongst the millions of other books clamouring for attention. I did the bare minimum for Awakening when it came out, and it's probably the area that I need to improve the most on. I'm one of those people that hate talking about myself, or asking people for things, so it's time to step outside of the comfort zone.

What's next

Over the weeks to come, while I try to forget my own book, I'll also be getting into to some short stories. I have a big file with all my ideas and it's time to start scratching a few off the list. First up is a short due for the end of May. It's a tight schedule, but it should be fun.

I'll be releasing them on the site and online and eventually as a collection, so again, if you want to be the first in line, make sure you're subscribed!

I also have a few different tools, games, and technologies that I'd like to get stuck into - the eternal curse of being a developer - but one thing at a time.

Alright! This post has gone on long enough. I'm writing this on an airplane on my way surprise my Dad for his 60th birthday. It involves lots of skulking around airports and waiting on lifts. Joy.