An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.

Author Archive

Moving along nicely

Hi everyone!

Well, things are finally looking like they’re hotting up in my little bubble of existence. I’ve finally gotten some writing flow back, after months of creative drought. Just in the last week, I’ve written the opening chapter to Alan Shaw’s third volume of adventures, poetry (which I still suck at but enjoy) and been catching up on articles and blog posts that people have been waiting for for months.

More than that, Inspired Quill have started the editing process with The Adventures of Alan Shaw volume 2 and apparently it’s going well. I had a lovely compliment from Sara, The Boss, who asked if I’d already sent it to an editor beforehand. For someone with crushing confidence issues, that really meant a lot. It’s hard to tell if you’re improving as a writer, or whether you’re just coasting. It seems I might actually be learning! Who knew that was possible, eh?

In other news, my blog on living with depression, Down Days, has now had over 3000 views. It shot up by about 200 in a single day when I posted yesterday in an unexpected explosion of interest. How nice is that? If you have any experiences to share, poems, posts, or artwork, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. It’s very rewarding to share your story, both cathartic and helpful for others.

Well, I’ll let you get back to your weekend.

Thanks for reading!


At the movies

Hi readers!

Again, it’s been a while. Sorry about that. The Down Days blog has been eating up most of my time and I’ve found it such a refreshing writing experience that I just can’t help myself. Still, I’ve been up to some other things, too…

After taking a little break from the signings/events circuit last year to get Alan Shaw 2 finished and off to Inspired Quill, I’ve done a few more events. Some lovely Steampunk events, and planning for more in the future. That’s gotten me bitten by the bug again, as it always does. So many lovely people are asking for the Alan Shaw sequel now, that it’s quite a boost for my confidence which was waning, to be honest.

I’ve started work on a new novel, as well as the obvious sequel work and finishing off Emi (which is pretty much the bane of my life. I just can’t seem to get in a flow with the damn thing). The new book is in the cyberpunk genre, all synthetic humans and media overcrowding. It’s lovely and shiny and new in my head and that’s always an amazing feeling for an author. I’m hoping you’ll be reading it as soon as I can get my finger out and finish it.

What else?

Oh yeah, I’ve finished my first script! I’ve been asked by a small production company to send my ideas for them doing short films based on the Not Before Bed short stories. Of course, I started with the titular story. It’s a total of three pages long (inadequacy issues, eh?) but it was really fun to do. Let’s hope that they can do something with it. I’d love to see some of my short stories on a screen at some point. How cool would that be?

That’s all from me right now. I hope you’re all doing well and that your own projects are steaming along. Oh, and since I’m rubbish and haven’t done this yet… Happy New Year!

(Hey, it’s still January, so it totally counts)

 

Thanks for reading.


Back to Hopeless Maine (or did we ever leave?)

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you guys know about the release of a project that I’m very passionate about. Written and illustrated by the incomparable Nimue and Tom Brown, the brand new edition of Hopeless, Maine graphic novel has been uneashed upon the populace!

Here’s how Tom and Nimue describe their brainchild:

Hopeless is a strange, gothic island off the coast of Maine, cut off from the rest of reality for the greater part. Hopeless Maine is also a graphic novel series, the peculiar child of Tom and Nimue Brown. Here’s a little taste of island life.

Now what made me fall in love with these Graphic Novels was the artwork; a visceral Gothic masterpiece of landscapes and creatures that slithers in the dark reaches of the imagination like nothing else. I loved it from the very first images. Then, I read it, and fell in love with the brilliantly simple storytelling that gives plenty and leaves plenty, too, so that the reader can’t help but soar away on flights of their own dark fantasy.

As an honoured part of the Hopeless, Maine blog tour, I’ve been blessed with the presence of one of Hopeless’ denizens, the utterly creepy Owl Demon:

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Owl Demon. To confuse matters, residents of the island of Hopeless, Maine tend to call anything unfamiliar a demon. This has included especially funny looking chickens, and a parrot who came ashore with a shipwreck. It’s difficult, when faced with some of the island’s resident life forms, to ascertain exactly how unnatural they are. However, if you scrutinise them closely, you will see that genuine demons seldom have plausible anatomies. They don’t need to, on account of being demons. Laws of physics and biology hold no interest for them. If you stop to scrutinise an entity for long enough to identify its demonic status, this is probably the last thing you’ll ever do. Understanding the nuances of islander demonology (assume it is a demon and run away) makes a good deal of sense if you aren’t interested in having your body parts slowly rearranged. For much the same reason that islanders do not look too closely at the anatomy of demons, no one asks too many questions about where the demons actually come from.

Cooking instructions: if you were even thinking about it, seek medical or spiritual help as a matter of urgency.

Brilliant isn’t it? And the graphic novels themselves are cover-to-cover with darklings and demons, nightmare creatures and cryptozoological monstrosities.

For newbies to the series, the books are available from all good comic stores and online sites. The best place, however, would be The Book Depository where you can get the preceding volumes as well as the latest instalment, Gathering.

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I can’t recommend the work of the Browns highly enough.

Go get it. Get it now. Before it gets you!

Thanks for reading.


A shift in perspective

Hi everyone,

So, I think I’ve had a bit of a realisation moment regards the novel I’m working on. I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, as such, but it’s certainly kicked me in the backside.

Basically, I realised that I was writing my Cyberpunk novel from the wrong perspective. I think that 3rd person is the crutch I always lean on. At least, it’s the reflex direction that I tend to take. But, as I was reading through the last part of my current WIP, (the cyberpunk novel, that is, not one of the other thousand books I need to get finished) I realised that the perspective should be first person. What better way to describe life in Shika-One City than fro behind the eyes of my protagonist? Especially since I’m trying to get across a very particular speech pattern, colloquialisms and, as I’ve mentioned before, a completely gender-neutral society. Do it through Xev’s eyes! (Xev’s name will probably change, but it was what popped into my head from the first, so I’ll deal with it for now.)

The bad thing, of course, is that I now have to rewrite the first 25k of the book that I’ve already written. The great thing is that I haven’t written anything in 1st person in ages and it’ll be fun to do so. I have to admit that I love a challenge and this is a perfect one.

My other fore-brain project, Emi, is also going pretty well. I’ve just re-read the whole thing from the beginning and I think that it reads alright. It’s another of those challenging things to write so I guess the real proof will only come out when someone reads it. I don’t think that IQ will publish a novella, so I’ll have to publish it myself. But that’s ok. It’ll be a nice little thing to add to my signing table.

And Down Days continues to do very well. We’ve had over 2000 hits over there, from all over the world. Every post has some kind of interaction or comments and the followers are mounting swifter than I could have ever imagined. The posts are proving nice and easy to come up with, too. That’s probably because my depression rears its head in some way almost every day, but I’m trying to see silver linings. With plenty of experiences to share, there’s plenty to write about.

I hope all of your writing projects are coming to fruition, too.

Thanks for reading.


The latest event

Hi everyone!

Just thought I’d pop in and see how you guys are doing. So…what’s new with you?

I attended an event over the weekend called “Mines and Monsters” in Eastrington. It was a nice little event in a village hall, mostly focussing on Minecraft and pitched toward kids, but with some other geek-fest stalls. It’s the first one I’ve done in ages. I had the “opportunity” to get up on a stage, put a box on my head and play Minecraft (something I’ve never done in my life) while blinded and facing the opposite direction from the screen while kids screamed instructions at me. It was bloody hilarious and I was laughing the whole time inside my giant box-head. Suffice to say, I did not catch the pig I was supposed to be slaying. Which was confusing, because I thought that Minecraft was about building things.

I am such an out-of-touch old man hahaha

I think with Alan Shaw volume 2 not being out yet, that I was waiting for that before heading out again. That might sound crazy, but I hate feeling like I’m peddling the same old books each event. That’s also the reason that I haven’t attended any Steampunk events this summer, despite a flurry of emails to do so (which is always nice of folks). But, for some reason, I decided to accept this one, and I’m glad that I did.

It can be lonely being an author. All of your readers seem so far away, sometimes, and the reviews can be slow or non-existent which makes getting feedback really tough. For someone like me who loves to know what people did and didn’t enjoy so that I can keep working to improve with each book, that void of contact can leave me feeling cut off.

Then there’s the other bonus of selling my books to folks: I get a real kick up the arse about finishing the next one. Every time someone asks which of my books are part of a series, I look at the solitary Alan Shaw volume and think “dammit, finish the last one so its ready when volume two gets out”. Think how awesome it would be to have an actual completed series out there. All the ideas are in my head, after all, I just need to get them down.

But, as many of you will know, focusing on one project at a time isn’t exactly my thing. Right now, I have six separate book ideas in my head, three of which are on the go, one of which is written but needs tearing apart because it’s old and rubbish. And I love them all equally. They’re also ridiculously different styles and themes.

Why do I do this to myself?

Oh yeah, because I can’t help it and I love making things up 🙂

Anyways, that’s me for now. Inspired Quill are working on the edits for Alan Shaw volume 2 and I’m typing as fast as I can to finish the last book, for those who are waiting to find out what happens at the end of the series.

See you all soon!

 

Thanks for reading.


To the keyboard!

Hi everyone,

Well, after that horrible down period comes the upswing. This is the part that I wish I could ride forever. My fingers can hardly keep up with my brain. I’m still leaving Alan Shaw 3 to stew for a while. The ideas are coming thick and fast with one in particular that has tickled me into thinking that it’s brilliant (I’ll probably change my mind later), but I think I need a break from the Steampunk world. So, I’ve tinkered with my Cyberpunk novel a little, adding another 1k words. That seems to be going very slowly but I think I need to get into a flow with it, is all. The one I’ve picked up this morning, on a complete whim, is Emi. Remember that one? It was a while ago since I last talked about it:

Two dead humans, a man and a girl, wander through a post-apocalyptic landscape where the creatures of folklore and myth have returned. With their humanity forgotten and no purpose or destination, what could possibly happen?

I still love the idea of this story and I can’t wait to finish it. I think it has real potential to be brilliant…if I don;t mess it up. Right now, it feels a little disjointed and choppy, but it also fits with the style of the book. The character have no human drives or needs, only distantly remembered values that have no bearing or place in their new world.

I love books like this and I’ll admit that it’s a little experimental. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going, or if it has a story at all, but these characters keep going from encounter to encounter and I’m totally hooked on what weirdness will come out next.

It’s also going to be quite short, as I find most experimentally odd novels are, but that’s no bad thing. I think it might actually work in the story’s favour. I guess well have to see.

Anyway, I’m off to write more. Hope you all have an excellent writing day!

 

Thanks for reading.


Apologies for last week

Hi everyone,

If you were around last week, you’ll probably have guessed that I was having something of an authostential crisis. With three books out already and one on the way, and with three others that I’m working on as well as keeping this blog and Down Days up-to-date, plus keeping my Dungeons and Dragons column over at Geek Syndicate going, I think perhaps I was feeling a little out of sorts.

Sometimes it seems that all you do, as an author or writer, is throw things out into the thin air and watch them float away, never to receive any feedback. Of course, I expect nothing less. I’ve been doing this for quite some time and I expect no dizzying heights of fame or fortune. It’s just something that I love to do. However, living that sometimes vacuous existence can wear you down.

Plus, my publisher, Inspired Quill, in a recent meeting, has suggested that I should look for other publishers for future novels. This was under the guise of them suggesting a larger publisher for my books. However, there is always that thing at the back of my mind that says “The other authors are better and they’re wasting their time with me”. I can totally understand that mentality. They are running a business after all, and they need to collect authors who write in more mundane genres. I guess maybe I need a publisher who has Speculative Fiction as a larger part of their business plan.

So, that’s the plan. I need to find a new publisher. I also need to finish the next book.I also need to stop whining. Plan!

In the meantime, let’s hope that more people find my books and that one of them decides I’m a goddamn genius…

 

Thanks for reading!