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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New Book Cover!

*puts on ominous voice*

The time has come.

It has arrived.

On a shelf near you.

*cough* *cough*

As promised, gentlefolk. Another exciting moment in the life of the Adventures of Alan Shaw series. Not only was the second book (Old Haunts) published just a few weeks ago, but now the first book has had a long-awaited makeover.

Guaranteed to look even sexier than a sexy thing while adorning your book shelves. I share with you, the new covers side by side for the first time!

 

Now THAT’S a series!

What can we spot in there?

Alan looking badass. London skyline. Airship. Automaton. Creepy villain. A few cogs thrown in for that Steampunk feel.

Oh yes. It is fair to say, my friends, that I’m feeling pretty good about those covers.

But what do you think? Feeling their mesmerising awesomeness compelling you to read? Eager to find out where that airship’s heading? Intrigued by what lies beneath that villainous shadow? Let me know!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Old Haunts Update!

Hi everyone,

So my latest novel, Old Haunts (The Adventures of Alan Shaw book 2) has been out in the world a whole week!

It’s an odd thing as it seemed to take aeons to be released and now that it’s here time is flying once more.

I mostly wanted to say thank you to everyone who shared, commented and of course bought the new book. You have no idea how much your support means to me and how extremely helpful it is to have people spread the word to their own circle of family and friends.

A few folks have said they’re waiting to catch me at one of the events on the Tour Dates page so that’s something to look forward to. Scarborough Sci-Fi convention at the end of April is always a highlight of my authoring year with so many fun and friendly people there to meet and re-meet (our group came only a point away from winning their annual grand geek quiz last year. So close!)

So, Old Haunts has been doing well and held a pretty high Amazon ranking for the first few days of it’s release. That’s great for a little indie author like me and I’m very pleased with it. A few people have even got back with reviews already! And they’ve all been very kind and made me feel, as always, like telling Alan’s story is worthwhile. It also helps me get over the next hurdle…

I should probably write the next book! Eek!

While I have plenty of ideas, I’ve barely touched Alan’s third outing. After finishing Old Haunts I worked on a couple of novellas that have been scratching away in my head. Now they’re done which is great but I really need to get back to Alan, now. I just need to find a name for a very important character and then I’ll start, honest 😁

Anyway, thank you all again for your constant support. I feel very lucky to have you all

Thank for reading!

(This blog post was typed thumb-wise on my phone so apologies for the lack of pictures etc 😊)

Old Haunts is here!

Gentlefolk!

It is with great pride and excitement that I can now officially say Old Haunts (The Adventures of Alan Shaw 2) has been unleashed!

AS2 3D

My fourth novel with Inspired Quill and second book in my Steampunk adventure trilogy, Old Haunts is already selling like hotcakes with lots of folks having pre-ordered after reading book one.

I feel very lucky to have such enthusiastic readers. I really do appreciate you all.

For those of you who haven’t picked it up yet but would like to, you can buy it directly from Inspired Quill or from Amazon.

You can also help out by doing two simple and quick things:

  1. Share it! Likes are lovely but shares really help to reach new readers
  2. Rate it! Hitting some stars on Amazon or Goodreads is super helpful

Also don’t forget that if you send me a pic of your book and your location, you can join the Readers Gallery and World Map! It’s just a bit of fun, but fun it certainly is 🙂

Thank you again, everyone, for all your support. It means the world to me that my little novels are out there in the world.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

Embrace The Weird!

 

 

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!

The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume 2

Morning everyone!

I come to you today to share some great news (well, I think it is, anyway). The sequel to my Steampunk epic adventure, The Adventures of Alan Shaw, is completed and ready to rock!

That’s right. The edits are done, the cover is complete, and it’s ready to wing its way to your shelves.

But wait…

As I’m sure you all know, it isn’t as simple as that. First, we must perform the ritual of book marketing whereby many innocent posts and tweets are sacrificed to the Dark Gods of Publishing. Inspired Quill have provided me with some teaser material to share with you all in little tantalising nuggets for the next week or so, possibly ending in a giveaway of some kind that I’m sure I’ll figure out when we get there (I’m so organised it hurts).

Anyway, over the next week I’ll be releasing the cover, the title, the release date and the blurb for all of you to salivate over (or possibly not, but I have to hope, right?) and, with that in mind, I would like to give you the first teeeeasery tease. A sliver of the book’s cover!

Title Teaser 2[2340]

Is that a cog I see? Who’s the dark blade-wielding figure in the background? Is that a revolver and duster I see before me? Could that our first peek of our damaged protagonist?

I hope you’ll all agree when I say…

Squee!

 

I’ll see you all in a couple of days for the next reveal…the title!

 

Thanks for reading!

Go big or go home

Hi everyone,

This morning, this author has submitted a story to one of the most prestigious magazines on the planet. My novella, Emi, is winging its way to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, as we speak (or as I type).

Now, let’s not get excited. I think that F&SF is the second longest running magazine of its kind, and possibly the highest selling. This is a huge market. Also, Emi is a little longer than they typically accept and will probably have to be serialised, which is something that they haven’t done since…well, a long time. The only one I actually know of (as a non-reader) is The Gunslinger by Stephen King. So, you see what kind of high expectations the magazine has.

With all that in mind, my chances of getting in are particularly slim. Wafer thin. Leaf on the wind light, and just as easy to blow away.

But, if we don’t try, we don’t succeed, am I right?

If I’m unsuccessful, there is an upcoming open submissions for Tor Books’ novella imprint that I’ll have a go at. That one is similarly unlikely. But after I’ve been rejected by those two, at least I can say that I gave it a go and then move on to other publications.

If any fledgling authors such as myself are reading this, then I hope you take heed of these words. Go big or go home. Try everything. By only going for “smaller” magazines etc, you’re selling yourself short. Let someone else turn down your work, don’t do it for them. You see, a rejection slip isn’t someone saying to you, “this is the worst thing I’ve ever written. You should give up.” Unless, of course, it literally says that. Generally, rejection slips are from someone who has a thousand submissions to get through, who has a very tight criteria to adhere to, and who must, for the sake of their sanity and their job, make pretty quick decisions about the fiction that they accept.

In order to be accepted to a publication, your work has to hit their eye-line at the exact moment that they’ve had their coffee and the sugar from that donut has worked its way into their system. It has to be the right time of day. Not too early that they’re half asleep, not too late that they’ve read a hundred submissions already.

Basically, if the person considering your work is not too tired, not too wired, not trudging through a fictional mire, and ready to hire, then you’re on to a winner.

And if not, then try somewhere else. Or, if you want to be sneaky, then take any advice they give, rewrite, and resubmit to the same place. You never know. Next time, you might hit their sweet spot.

I’ll keep you updated with how it goes.

 

Thanks for reading, folks.