Con-report: Sci-Fi Scarborough

Hi everyone,

I return to you all with tales of great revelry and joy. Last weekend was Sci-Fi Scarborough, situated in the seaside town’s elegant spa. It’s one of the few events that I make sure to hit absolutely every year and that’s because it’s unerringly one of the best.

In true Sci-Fi Scarbs style, there were a host of folks from TV and film to meet with this year being dominated by MONSTERS. Actors who played the Silence, and Weeping Angels of Doctor Who, a genuine White Walker from Game of Thrones, a Harry Potter Death Eater and the sculptor/artist behind your favourite movie creatures, Brian Muir. Luckily there were a couple of good guys with Jimmy Vee (R2-D2) and Dominic Keating (Enterprise) providing tactical support.

As always, the market areas were stacked with geeky relics and also amazing artists and authors (and then me huddled in a corner). More importantly is the atmosphere of Sci-Fi Scarborough. From the second that you step in and all through the experience, you just feel good. The staff are perpetually lovely and helpful (even with how exhausted they must be) and everyone who attends is happy and having a good time. The cosplay was on point as well with some incredible outfits that had taken people a lot of effort to put together.

On a personal note, Sci-Fi Scarbs is always a pleasure. Whereas some events have you thinking “do I really want to do this to myself again?”, Scarbs has me looking forward to it months in advance. Not only because I’ve met incredible people who have become fast friends but because it’s one of the most receptive conventions for authors that I’ve ever been to. It seems that while some events are dominated by POP! figures and plushies (although I have a weakness for those myself), the attendees at Scarborough just love EVERYTHING. Art, books, nicknacks, autographs, you name it, they love it. From an author’s perspective, it’s great to come back year after year and have people return to my table for the newest book or asking questions about writing. As we know, fellow writers, sometimes you can feel like you’re working in a void and getting no feedback, throwing your work to the wind with no idea of where it lands. Events are the best place to get in touch with your readers. I come away from Sci-Fi Scarbs every year with my faith renewed and fingers itching to write the next book so I can have it ready for next year. The Scarbs geeks are not only lovely but hungry for cool stuff and I’m very lucky that they like my stories.

Best part of the weekend – Coming third in the very prestigious Geek Quiz on Saturday night with our annual quizzing group Voldemort’s Backing Singers. That’s one place better than last year and we were all cheering like a cheery thing that cheers. I got a signed piece of artwork from the goody bag that we shared out.

Funniest part of the weekend – Listening to Dominic Keating swear profusely at whatever football team he was watching on his phone on Sunday.

Cringey bit – Having to watch someone winning a copy of The Adventures of Alan Shaw in the raffle and then swiftly google it on his phone. The Voldemort’s Backing Singers made this especially cringey, the little sods 😀

Honourable mentions to those people who I see every year and who always make my day are (I won’t put surnames for privacy reasons, but you guys know who you are):

Lynn and Mike – The hosts with the mosts (Pasta and rum? Perfect first night!)

Meshell and Brad – Our curry gurus

Amy (Emily!) and John – Lovely to meet you and looking forward to geeking with you again

My fellow members of Voldemort’s Backing Singers – Third place, guys! Woohoo!

And in the readers category:

James, Katie, Becky and Aoife, Tracey and Bob, and every one else whose names I forget every damned year but I’m trying very hard to remember. Thank you so much for coming back to Alan’s stories. I really appreciate your support.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll keep you all posted on Alan Shaw 3 which is in the works as we speak and the possibility of a few other upcoming projects.

 

Thanks for reading!

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The Next Book Cometh

Hi everyone,

We’re getting pretty close to an incredibly exciting time. Well, I’M excited 🙂

Not only is Old Haunts (The Adventures of Alan Shaw book 2) so close to its release date that I can smell fresh ink on the air, but the re-cover of book one is looking goooooood.

You might remember that we had a little trouble with the cover for book one as we had an artist also do the internal covers for the individual adventures, but that person disappeared only a couple of weeks before we went to print. That meant a huge panic as myself and Inspired Quill CEO, Sara-Jayne, scrambled around trying to find a new artist. Suffice to say, at such short notice, we were not successful. But with signings booked in and events to attend, we needed a book.

So, I stepped up.

That’s right! Yours truly did an art and drew the pictures with my own not-so-fair hand!

Suffice to say, I am no artist. But we got The Adventures of Alan Shaw out in time and many people have enjoyed it since (I hope). Still, it always bugged me that book one wouldn’t match the others, and so when me and Sara got our heads together for Old Haunts, it was the perfect time to ask a huge favour from my already very accommodating publisher.

Could we re-cover book one?

Luckily, Sara was pretty much thinking the same thing and so not only do I get to share the next stage of Alan’s story with you, but we get to give you two super sexy covers as well!

For those of you who have been keeping track, you’ll have seen book two’s cover already. But, over the next month or so as we build up to the official release, I’ll be sharing tidbits, quotes, insights and that elusive first book recover, too. I really hope you guys like it.

You can already take a look at Old Haunts on Amazon along with some blurbage and coverage. There’s also an option to pre-order if you’re feeling that way inclined.

I’ll be hopefully getting back to the blogging a little more now that I’ve finished…wait…I’ll tell you next post 😉

Thanks for reading!

Emi: The Search Begins

Hi everyone,

With the completion of my dark fantasy novella, Emi, I find myself at a familiar point in the writing-to-shelf process. As my usual publisher, Inspired Quill, doesn’t print novella length fiction (and I can’t blame them as they’re stacked with new author releases right now, too), I’m on the hunt.

What am I looking for? A needle in a haystack. The story is far too long for magazine publication as almost all won’t take stories over 10k words and fewer serialise. I need a publisher who not only publishes shorter novels (Emi weighs in at around 25.5k words), but one that’s willing to take a chance on a very different kind of story. The romantic in me aspires to the likes of Clive Barker whose novella The Hellbound Heart is a personal fav and legendary in the horror genre (it was the story on which Hellraiser was based). However, good old reality tells me that I’m definitely not Mr. Barker.

I know that I can’t possibly compete for the attention of the likes of the BIG publishers such as Tor or Gollancz, and they often have such strict criteria for stories that my genre-ignoring efforts never meet what they’re looking for. I need an indie publisher, just like IQ, who are willing to just read it and, hopefully, they’ll like it when they do.

I’m starting to remember how much I hated this part of the process. Surfing the net isn’t the right word when it comes to looking for publishers and publications. Trawling, perhaps? Net cast wide, tugging along. There are so many publishers and publications out there, all trying to get themselves noticed, their work out there, their dream fulfilled. And then there are the other authors like me, smothering the publishers with our queries and submissions. We’re insufferable, we really are.

It sounds terrible, but we don’t just want to find any old publisher, either. Find one that’s too new and inexperienced, your book will never be seen. Find one that has an ego and you’re equally scuppered. The minefield extends as far as the eye can see. And this little tug boat, along with a fleet of others, just wants to find a safe harbour where we can drop off our fish.

I think I might be stretching this metaphor a bit far, now.

But, you get what I mean. While we’re all happy to just get our work in print, we also need to be careful that we don’t sell ourselves short. That book that you’ve worked was hard work, and you want it to do well. So you need a publisher who will work with you, and help you to reach your goal with a view to helping them make a little money and gain recognition right along with you (if you’re lucky enough to get some, of course).

If I can’t find a publisher, I might go back to self-publishing like I did with Not Before Bed all those years ago. It’s a daunting thought as I’m very aware that I suck at it. That’s why Inspired Quill have been so amazing. They know what they’re doing and it means that I don’t have to. Still, needs must, and the few people who have read Emi have said it’s the best thing I’ve written (not hard, I know). It’d be a shame if it never saw light of day.

So, there we are. I just wanted to share with you all where I’m at. In the meantime, the work on spreading the word about Old Haunts: The Adventures of Alan Shaw #2 continues ready for March next year. I can’t wait for you guys to read it. I hope you all like it.

 

Thanks for reading!

Alan Shaw is back!

Hi everyone,

Over the last week you might have seen on my Facebook page that Old Haunts: The Adventures of Alan Shaw volume 2 is officially finished and on its way!

We have a brand new cover and blurb for you (take a look at the bottom of this post) but we also have news!

Firstly, you can head over to Amazon and pre-order the next book RIGHT NOW!

If you do order from Amazon, the book will not only arrive with you as soon as humanly possible after the release on 24th March. Obviously I’d be more than happy to sign those copies if you bring them along to any signing or convention in the future (for people who’ve expressed a worry that they can’t get them signed).

Secondly, I can reveal that the first book in the series will also be getting a super-sexy new cover to match the new one! So by the time I’m doing the signing rounds, you’ll be able to get a matching set. If you’re anything of a book geek as much as me, that’ll please you no-end.

That, of course, means that the original design with my own illustrations on the cover and on the inside will have been a limited run only and so that’ll be nice for my early supporters and readers to still have those. That feels like a nice thing to do. What do you guys think?

However, you can still get that cover for the time being, so if you do want it, I advise you grab one while you can.

Now for a quick break, take a look at the new cover and blurb!

2017-547 Craig Hallam, b02AS2 Blurb

 

I hope that tantalises your literary taste buds!

And now, before I sign off, I’d like to make a short plea for assistance. You’ve all been so supportive over my entire burgeoning career as an author. I’m incredibly grateful for everything you’ve all done. If you could keep helping as you have been, it would be greatly appreciated. Some easy ways that you can help are:

  1. Share posts, images, posts and your opinions of the books – Likes are very much appreciated and really make me feel supported. But Sharing’s where it’s at. That’s how more people will see the books and hopefully help me to keep writing
  2. Reviews and ratings – Even a quick star rating on Amazon and Goodreads makes a huge difference to visibility and getting the word out
  3. Get involved! – You know we still have a Reader Gallery right? Get in there! Take pics of yourself, your pets, or your postal delivery person with the books. Do a drawing of your favourite character. Have the Greaveburn logo tattooed on your forehead! (Ok, not that one). Every conversation that you start on Reddit, or twitter, every hashtag and picture is essential to my total world dominatio…I mean, helps me to keep writing.

Thank you so very much, everyone, for your constant support. You’re all amazing and I feel an appropriate amount of affection for all of you 😉

 

Thanks for reading, my lovely Weirdos.

Embrace the Weird!

New projects and old

Hi everyone,

So, I figured I should probably update you guys on the flurry of WIPs that I’m constantly working on. If I’m repeating myself, I apologise, but I think most of this will be new information.

Here we go…

 

Down Days – My insight into living with depression was released over a year ago as a free ebook, and the ongoing blog that followed it is still going over at http://www.downdays.org. When I started with the book, the idea was to release it for free as I believe that money shouldn’t be a barrier to people getting information that they need, especially about something as vital as mental health issues.

However, now that we’re a year on, I’ve stretched Down Days as far as I can on my own. And so, I’m looking for a small publisher to possibly take it on. Check the blog for more info on how far I’ve gotten with that.

Completion – Possibly impossible

 

Emi – A horror fantasy where all the characters are already dead and the creatures of Japanese mythology walk the earth. You might have gleaned from my last post, but Emi is now completed. It’s a project that I’ve been working on since way back in Greaveburn times and continued as I worked on The Adventures of Alan Shaw one and two. Finally, it’s done and…I’m really proud of it. It’s bloody weird, but I think it may be my favourite story I’ve ever written. Which says a lot since I love my novels.

Now, it’s time for Emi to fly the coop and I’ll be trying for serialisation in magazines before novella publication. It’s too short for Inspired Quill, and possibly too weird.

Completion – 100%

 

Cyberpunk novel (working on a title) – A story inspired by my love of William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick and Katsuhiro Otomo. Themes surround the human condition, evolution gone stale and social progression. Written with non-gender specific pronouns and focusing on the characters lives in the futuristic Shika-One city, I’m hoping to really push myself to try something new. Also, this book currently has a soundtrack and I’ve been describing the music that the characters listen to without using lyrics, band names or genres. I never do anything the easy way…

Completion – 60%

 

And now…introducing…

Aethertide – My first attempts at a comic book, I’ll be working with the excellent Katherine Ellis, writer and artist of the Crankrats webcomic. Although still in the embryonic stages, I’m hoping to have a lot of fun with this. Olivia Heward is a genius scientist, studying the origins of the powerful substance known as “aether”. After a slight miscalculation, she’s hurled through the extra-planar space between realities on a wild adventure.

Tell me that doesn’t sound like a riot to write! And hopefully it’ll make a fun graphic novel for you all to read.

Completion – About 20%

 

Well, that’s the update for now. Hope it’s whetted your appetite. Alan Shaw volume 2 will be with you soon, guys, I promise.

 

Thanks for reading.

New Look!

Hi everyone,

So, just a quick post to let you all know that the blog has a new look. Instead of having to trawl through my terrible posts first, you should now hit some pics and details of my books. Hopefully the whole thing is easier to read and use.

If you have the time to check it out, I’d appreciate it. Please feel free to let me know if you find any broken links etc.

In other news (just to make this posts a little less boring) I’ll soon be sharing guest posts from my fellow Inspired Quill authors! They’re nice folks with a lot of talent so I hope you’ll greet them well.

I hope you’re all having a good weekend. I’m off to plot a comic book (May Cthulhu save me).

Thanks for reading!