An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.


The Adventures of Alan Shaw – Cover Reveal!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can finally share with you what The Adventures of Alan Shaw will look like! I’m so pleased with how this cover turned out. Without further ado (and because I can’t hold it in any more), here it is:

Oh yes, he's on his way!

Oh yes, he’s on his way!

And this is only a taster!

Don’t forget that inside the book there’ll be another five covers, one for each of Alan’s adventures and each one is more awesome than the last one. I’ll release the others as they become available so expect further Steampunky awesomeness!


Thanks for reading.

The Adventures of Alan Shaw – Teaser #2

Ladies and Gentlemen, Air pirates and Automatons, it is with great pleasure that I can now reveal the title for the novel in all it’s golden glory:



My Steampunk movie cameo

That’s right, someone had the ill-conceived idea of putting my face on a screen. What madness is this!?

At the recent Steampunk Doncaster event, movie enthusiast Martin Currie decided to make a short film. And somewhere a long the line someone who I once thought of as a friend (Looking at you, Adam McSkelly) decided to get me involved. this resulted in us shooting a silent movie with super overacting and chasing around.

(It was actually pretty fun hehehe)

Anyway, here’s the video. Let me know what you think of my acting debut! :D


Thanks for readi- watching!

The Adventures of Alan Shaw – Delays

Alan Shaw should be on shelves right now. But he isn’t. And I’m just a bit gutted.

You see, we have had issues with book cover artists. It’s a long story so I won’t pore over it, but suffice to say the artist we had demanded more money at the very last minute before we were supposed to publish.


The main problem? Even when the artist in question decided to retract the demand for more cash, I couldn’t bear to think of my writing wrapped in pictures by someone so unprofessional.

And so I said no. And Inspired Quill agreed that we would simply go elsewhere with someone that we can trust. You see, the Alan Shaw contract is for three books, each with six illustrations, and that’s a lot of work and a lot of pay for someone who really wants the work. And I’d rather give it to them than the person we were working with previously.

Still, that means that Alan Shaw won;t be with us for a while longer.

The positives?

I have a much greater piece of mind about the future of the novels. You see, although my artistic skills aren’t great, I’ll be doing the artwork myself (with some outsourcing for the colouring because I’m colour blind and don’t trust myself). This means that although the images might not be the best line work you’ll ever see, at least the characters look exactly like they do in the book. Or, at least, as close as I can get them with my meager skills.

So Alan Shaw might not be here until September. But hopefully it will look dandy by the time we’re done.

Bear with me, true believers.


Thanks for reading.

GAME OF THRONES as a cheesy ’80s TV show

Craig Hallam:

I want this as a ringtone! Reminds me of the old Xena and Hercules tv shows.

Originally posted on The Red Pen of Doom:

game of thrones

Now, having only seen bits of GAME OF THRONES doesn’t stop me from loving this video, and wishing they could make an entire episode like this.

Nailed it, didn’t they?

For comparison, here’s the most epic ’80s synthethizer music intro ever, from AIRWOLF:

Let’s chat for a second about why GoT is such a huge hit. It’s not like he invented something brand new, and no, J.R. Tolkien didn’t, either. He borrowed from Nordic myths.

GoT seems to have become huge not despite the fact that major and beloved characters might die at any time, but because of that fact.

It’s completely unlike your typical TV series, which is based on one or two major stars and a cast of bit players. The stars never die, though if a major star leaves the show to give Hollywood a shot, the series often goes kaput.

Think of STAR TREK except Kirk…

View original 134 more words

My Steampunk leather vambrace project

If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know about my new obsession being leathercrafting. It all started with a need for affordable kit for LARPing when armour and essential accessories are so damn expensive. So, I decided to make my own.

After being pretty pleased with my armour and vambraces for Empire LARP and how well they stood up against an Orc onslaught, I thought I should try something to spruce up my Steampunk outfit for book signings etc.

Here’s the thing…I look an idiot in a hat. No hats for Craig! But no matter how fancy the pocketwatch or spiffy the penholder (which I made from some old test tubes a while back) my Steampunk gear was missing a little something.


For I have leathered me some Steampunkery!

Ignore that huge spilled dye puddle over there

Ignore that huge spilled dye puddle over there


Using a Steampunk watch bought by the missus, and a Victorian pen bought by my good friend and favourite shop girl, Fran Rockett, I bought some pinc nez glasses from eBay (only a tenner, so not too shabby) and some little glass bottles. Removing the strap from the watch, I just used the mechanism and put the whole thing together!

It probably took about four hours to make, I think, if we ignore the drying time after I wetformed it. And here it is with the rest of my Steampunk gear, ready for the Doncaster Cosplay Convention a few weeks back.

What do you reckon?

What do you reckon?

I feel like a proper Steampunk now!

And, since cosplayers, Steampunks and other geeks are generally the nicest people you could hope to meet, I got plenty of compliments and people asking where I’d bought it. That led to me wondering….could I make these things for other people more regularly? I don’t mean starting a bloody Etsy shop and charging through the roof for a stock item that a million other people have. No, I mean doing only bespoke items for people, to their own designs (or as close as I can make it), as one-off never to be repeated pieces.

To know that I was helping people to make their perfect item, and helping to maintain their individuality and that wow-factor of seeing things you’ve never seen before…that would be pretty rewarding work. Without mentioning it to any one else, I’ve already had three orders! Just randomly. I’ve already made a small vambrace for Jess, a girl I met at the Cosplay Convention who was going to her prom in Steampunk attire. How could I resist the call to assist a fellow Steampunk?

Here she is with her kit with the vambrace I made:

vambrace2 jess vambrace












That was the first time I’d used metallic dye, too, so it turned out ok, all things considered.

Here’s Fran Rockett wearing some cuffs I made, this time with a more LARP feel to them.

Fran pulls the "Ill never grow old" Peter Pan pose.

Fran pulls the “Ill never grow old” Peter Pan pose.

I don’t have any close -ups of these because I’m useless, but they were engraved with a shield and wings motif so that she could use them for her LARPing adventures. Man, that engraving is a pain in the posterior. I definitely need more practice.

So there you have it, folks, a little more leather obsession from me. I promise to talk about something authorly next time ;D


Thanks for reading.

Leather…my new obsession…

Ok, that title is a tad misleading. I haven’t gone kinky on you. Not yet, anyway.

I’m talking about my new hobby, leathercrafting.

It all started with my first LARP event earlier this year, and the fact that I wanted to try to make as much of my own stuff as possible. Since I needed armour, that meant learning to make things from leather. And so the obsession began, because leathercraft is bloody fun!

I started small. I wanted to make something that I could try to sew together.  A jerkin, perhaps. And so that’s what I did. I got my kit from eBay, and some cheap leather from a place called Fabworks near Huddersfield, and I got to work. After bleeding fingers and swearing and stabbing myself in the hand with my sewing awl several times (apparently I dont learn from pain), I managed to make this:

Not bad...for a human...

Not bad…for a human…

I later dyed it a dark brown for a friend’s Game of Thrones party. But I can’t find a pic of that. Suffice to say, it did well as monstering kit for the LARP event.

But if I was going to survive at LARP, I’d need some armour. And so a project was born. Here’s a photographic story for you…

So, I set up a workspace and starting cutting things out.

So, I set up a workspace and starting cutting things out.

Rivetting things together is just an excuse to bash stuff real hard.

Rivetting things together is just an excuse to bash stuff real hard.

But eventually it started to look like this.

But eventually it started to look like this.

Should probably make it a little prettier. So I edged it with some leafy bits

Should probably make it a little prettier. So I edged it with some leafy bits

Probably going to need some vambraces so my forearms don't get bruised when I inevitably got hit

Probably going to need some vambraces so my forearms don’t get bruised when I inevitably got hit

Wet-formed to my mannequin, Manuel.

Wet-formed to my mannequin, Manuel.

Time for some colour! (note to self, dye things BEFORE wet-forming next time)

Time for some colour! (note to self, dye things BEFORE wet-forming next time)

Vambrace close-up!

Vambrace close-up!

And there you go! It took a couple of weeks of picking at it in short bursts to get the whole thing finished, but I’m pretty proud of it. I got the snot kicked out of me in the LARP battles and never felt a thing so that has to be a good result, right?

Anyway, the addiction continues. I’ll post more projects in the future.


Thanks for reading.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,697 other followers