Welcome to the Pictoria website:
Pictoria is Book Four in The Ammonite Galaxy series.
SYNOPSIS: Six, Diva and Grace are back laughing together in the sun on Xiantha. Grace seems to have come to terms with the wounds from her fall, and Diva, still blissfully unaware of what a recipe for disaster it might be, is determined to take Six to Coriolis.
Then Ledin arrives for a visit, and the magnificent black canth linked to the orthogel entity is discovered to be desperately ill. But Arcan is well, so how can that be possible? And why are the other canths excited, instead of worried?
The answers can only be found on Pictoria, but once there, they find the visitor missing, pulled across the galaxy by the force of the Dessite minds. To rescue him will mean risking their own lives on the Dessite homeworld.
—But have the Dessites already learned enough to conquer Pictoria and the binary system?
This is the cover:
The Ammonite Galaxy series so far :
Book One, Valhai - you can find out more from www.valhai.com
Book Two, Kwaide - go to www.kwaide.com
Book Three, Xiantha - go to www.xiantha.com.
Book Four, Pictoria - You are here!
Book Five, The Lost Animas, here.
Book Six, The Namura Stone - go to www.thenamurastone.com
Book Seven, the Trimorphs, here.
You can find out more about the author here
There is a plan of the system in the "About Pictoria" page
From the author:
Pictoria leapt into my imagination and, once there, it was impossible to forget it. I can visualize every detail of the planet, and as soon as I could see the planet, things just started to happen there. Although some of the threads in Pictoria carried on from the previous three books, the planet muscled in and insisted on having quite a say on what was to happen. I was spellbound writing it, and hope that it will come alive for readers too.
Each book has to have something in it that I feel is absolutely and uniquely special. When I decided to write this series, it was one of the conditions that I set myself. This series is not just a story; it is much more than that to me. I didn't sit down to write A series. I sat down to write THE series for me. The one I had to write. The one that only I could write, because perhaps no other author would see things exactly this way.
This is an impression of Six and Ledin on Pictoria:
Here is the translation of part of a podcast interview in Spain with Gillian Andrews:
What made you write a series like this?
Hah! Good question! I wish I knew. It is actually a question of needing to write, rather than wanting to write. It was a sensation of incompleteness, almost of slight dissatisfaction. I had a great life, great family, enough money to get by, thanks to my husband’s job. What was missing? I needed to write the Ammonite Galaxy series.
I always knew I wanted to write ... from about ten years old, at least. And, in my early twenties I actually managed to get around eight books written, of which one was picked up by Robert Hale – a huge success story for me at the time. Of those eight books, looking back with hindsight, not much is worth salvaging. But it was great practice.
Unfortunately, the novel they picked up was not commercially successful, which was disppointing. I was very unhappy with the cover, too, and I stopped writing, ran out of steam. Around that time I met Damina, had a couple of kids, got married, and spent the next few years being pretty busy just with life.
Then I realized that there was something missing, despite everything. I felt as though I needed to do something more. And it was just at the time when self-publishing was becoming easier and easier. So, one day, I sat down to learn how to make a book cover, and that was the beginning.
Then, you made the cover yourself?
Absolutely. A complete no-no, I know! But I need to get the cover fixed in my mind, so that I can visualize part of the scenery. When I do audiobooks, I also get the music out of the way too. Then, if I get stuck, I go back to looking at the cover, listening to the music, and that tends to unstick me.
Of course, there is a big downside to that. You get too attached to the covers you have blocked up yourself, and – at least in my case – I had no experience in that sort of thing. So the original covers were very amateurish. You gradually get better, but I have never been able to rid myself of the temptation of telling the story in pictures, and this is really not the best way to make up a book cover.
Another problem is that everything is a continual learning curve, and you have to change covers, improve on them. This can be counter-productive. On the other hand, if the book would never have been written at all if you hadn’t done it that way, then that might just be a valid argument.
Do you have your books professionally copy edited?
Hah! Another very sore point. Every single piece of advice out there is ‘never copy edit your own book’. But ... what they don’t tell you is that an over-zealous copy editor can cripple you for life! And, another factor is the cost of doing it in the first place.
I have been an English teacher, so I know a fair bit about grammar. That, then, is my choice. I use several techniques of em dash usage which I adore, but other writers probably hate. The thing is – it is MY choice. After the rather painful experience I had with traditional publishing, I learnt the value of keeping control of your own writing. I have read many comments on the internet by so-called copy editors who seem to feel their mission is to standardize everything. And that is something I would hate. I want to decide on my content. So, no, I never ever use copy editors. What I did for the whole Ammonite Galaxy series is to read for Podiobooks. I have found that reading out loud will pick up around 96% of the mistakes, at a rate of two or three per page. The rest usually jump out and hit you in the face the first time you pick up the print copy, spoiling the pleasure of finally seeing the thing in print. It is extremely frustrating.
But ... and it is a BIG but ... there is a major downside to doing it yourself. It is absolutely true that an author simply cannot catch all of the mistakes. Your eye just will NOT do it. It knows the content, expects a certain word, so sees that word.
I was once told by a reader that there was a major typo on the very first page of my first book. I could NOT see it. She told me the paragraph. I could NOT see it. She told me the line. I could NOT see it. Then she (pretty fed up with me by this time) copied it and sent it to me. OMG! It was HUGE! I felt mortified. I had to correct and re-upload the whole file to Amazon.
Do you consider yourself a success?
I don’t know what constitutes success these days. I thought Nathan Lowell was a huge success when he reached 500,000 downloads on Podiobooks. When I got there, he was at the many-million mark, and it felt very small fry. How many books do you have to sell to be successful?
In a sense, it is a huge success to produce something somebody, somewhere likes. That, to me, is the starting point. What actually keeps me going are the comments (and they are not as common as you would think) from readers who love the whole series, who are waiting for more, who write with encouragement. They are what kept me going in pretty lean times. I wanted to finish the series for them.
I have continuously felt alone in this whole venture. I think writing is one of the loneliest things you can do. Some writers band together and exchange encouragement. Didn’t work for me. The only time I reached out I was rejected pretty damn quickly! And I hate promoting my work, which means I don’t really talk about it very much to anybody. In any case, where I live there is literally nobody around who is even remotely interested in it. So, no, I don’t consider myself a success. But I don’t consider myself a failure either ... and those are very big, very comforting words to be able to say. And the sensation of incompleteness is almost gone!