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!
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 😊)
It seems to me that with the internet being the beast that it is, it’s very easy for people to only show the parts of them that they want to. People I’ve met on Twitter give their 140 character bio, and that’s all you see. People on Facebook only post photos of themselves having a massively good time, drinking and holidaying, so that we think they’re fun people to be around. But are we giving the internet community a true vision of ourselves? Is that even important? Well, to me it is, yes. I think that I want people to get a real feel for who I am, rather than just a Cardboard Cut-out Writer who hits all the artistic marks but has no real depth.
This post started off with me trying to think of something interesting and non-writing related to post so that my regulars (you know who you are! Thanks Guys and Gals!) don;t get bored of listening to me bash on about Greaveburn or the next writing project. And so I thought, “what else can I do?”. That led me in a round about way to the philosophical debate you see above. Let me know what you all think about internet personas and how realistic they are/need to be.
But anyway, in order to show you that I DO HAVE another facet to my personality (or what there is of it :D), let’s talk music.
Recently, I was bought a new guitar by my lovely girlfriend (Yes, geeks and Fuglies do get them sometimes, you know) and I have to say that it’s been hard to put down since. Now let’s not give any false illusions here, I’m no fantastic guitar player. Eric Clapton doesn’t come round my house asking for tips on how to play, neither does Joe Satriani ask me to get him out of a sticky situation with any of his compositions. I can’t read music, and I definitely can’t sing. What I do is find a song I like the sound of and then simplify it to the point that I can play along and it still sounds vaguelly recognisable. See? Honesty on the internet! It can happen! 🙂
But what kind of things do I like to play? Well, I’m a serious rock music fan. I don’t mean scream-at-your-mic-with-unintelligable-syllables rock. I mean rock that makes you tap your feet, sing along and play air giutar like a mental.
Foo Fighters are my epitome of awesome. Dave Grohl and the boys have managed to win God-like Genius Award, 5 grammys and the Brit Award’s Best International Band in the last year. Say no more. But I love the old-style rock, too. Give me some Boston (see the vid above), Styx, KISS, Kansas, Whitesnake….dear lord, I could go on forever…and I’d be forever happy. Let’s have another vid to emphasise the point:
Well, it’s finally that time I’ve been waiting for since November. The stars are aligned. In the dark treeline, the black mass is on the lips of the hooded monks. And on the central dais, hog tied and with fear in her eyes, is the sacrifice. We are about to invoke the spirit of The Editor…
Luckily for me, my Inspired Quill editor, Peter Stewart, doesn’t really need any of this. So, I send the monks back to their day jobs as civil servants, cut the sacrifice free and give her a tin foil blanket before making sure she’s home before 10 pm. The sacrificial athame goes back in the kitchen drawer with the spoons and pizza cutter.
The point of this elaborate introducion is this…
The edits for Greaveburn are finally back!
The last few months have been a steady stream of flop sweats and half-believed self assurances as my mind flits between ‘they’re going to tear my book apart and salvage its parts for the black market’ and ‘it’ll be fine, they like it enough to edit it, so they won’t be too cruel’. The former has definitely been winning in terms of brain space. In fact, when my inbox pinged, I froze. Do I really want to read this? Can I take the beating if the result is a complete rewrite/cutting of beloved characters/stylistic overhaul? The answer, as I’m sure you’ll guess, was ‘we’re about to find out’.
Email open, file downloaded, hovering of finger over OPEN.
Like some rabbid lipstick merchant had taken slashing across the pages, there was red text. EVERYWHERE. My heart sank. But I decided to read the actual words before checking the tensile strength of the light fittings for noose-application. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. Hell, the comments are GOOD! Useful! I find myself nodding, whisking through the pages focussing on just the comments rather than overthinking what I’ll do about them. They all make perfect sense. Little things I’ve missed with grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, all easily fixed with Peter’s expert suggestions. A few little vocab comments where words could be changed for better effect.
And all of a sudden, I was at the end.
What the hell had I been worried about? This guy knows what he’s doing. I didn’t find a damned thing that I disagreed with or anything I couldn’t easily fix. There were just as many positive comments as negative (although none were really negative, more like necessary highlights). It may have been preying on my mind for the last few months, being the first and last things I think about on a day to day basis, but it’s all come out ok. To be honest, as I read through the suggestions and comments and tweaks, I realise that with Peter’s help, this novel has the potential to go somewhere!
I’ve always been told (as have you, for that matter, fellow Writer) that Editors are essential. They know their shit, if you’ll excuse the French. You should take their comments seriously and take them without offence or that horrible knee-jerk reaction that makes us scream “WHAT DO YOU KNOW!?” and stomp off to sulk. But you don’t really believe it until you’re on the receiving end of a bloody good Editor.
The point of this blog, dear friends, as well as to throw on the net whatever oddments cross my mind, is to teach. Looking back over previous posts, you’ll see all the mistakes I’ve made. All the assumptions and diversions that have led me not only down the wrong path but into the soul-sucking quicksands of Indie Writer Hell. And I want you to make these experiences your own. Learn from what I’ve done wrong and don’t bloody do it yourself (using Createspace if you’re not from America, for example. Waste of time and money, folks). But sometimes, just sometimes, I get to tell you about something I’ve done RIGHT. Not very often, mind. But here’s one of those times. Submitting my work for a proper read-through and commenting may just be the scariest and best damn thing I’ve ever done. INDISPENSIBLE is the word I’m looking for.
And now the hard work really starts. The revision stage. I’ve never hit this part before. Taking someone else’s thoughts on my work and moulding them not only as they suggest, but keeping with my own style and intention toward the novel. This is going to be a lot like a collaboration. I’m out of my depth again, folks. But I’m actually looking forward to it! Stay tuned for how well/badly this next bit goes 🙂 And when all’s said and done, this has made me realise something which, at the back of my mind, I’ve still doubted; that Greaveburn is going to be a reality. These edits are going to sharpen it up, make it really rock, make it a book that YOU might read soemtime soon. With discussions on potential cover art going on (more on that in a later post), things are rattling along at an alarming rate. Sometime this year, my book, my words, my characters and plot twists and dark descriptions are going to hit the public. It’s fantastic, and I’m suddenly petrified all over again, with a big old grin on my face 😀
It’s been one of those weeks, faithful Blog-Readers. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s been a week full of interviews!
Thanks to Magda at the Bulletfilms blog, you can read one of them HERE. Telling you all about Not Before Bed, the upcoming release of Greaveburn and…oh yes, there’s an AND…little tidbits about my WIP and other random information that I’ve never put into interviews before.
But the interview, I’ve been REALLY excited about is my spot on my hometown’s local radio station, Sine FM. What I was expecting to be a quick “fifteen minutes of fame” turned into an hour long grilling about everything from where I was born to what my (estranged) father used to do for a living. Awkwaaaaard! Then, on to the principles of Flash Fiction and eventually back round to a brief mention of Not Before Bed. It was extremely fun, extremely nerve racking, and you can listen to the whole thing right here:
Tip: Listen to part 1, and skip the first ten minutes 🙂
But before you listen, I’ll give you a little context to some of the things you’ll be hearing. I wasn’t the only person on the show, of course. In the small 10ftx6ft room, there were 9 people. That’s right. Here’s a run down of who else was there:
Craig McCann – Local lad and Olympic level fencer.
Steve – Mortage Broker
Another guy who’s name I forget – Tasked with finding Louis Tomlinson (another local lad and one fifth of One Direction) and getting him to come on the show.
Andrew Isaacs – The show’s presenter
“Negative Nigel” – Andrew’s co-host and apparently a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
And two “Private Investigators” who’s real names we weren’t allowed to use on the show.
A summary: A sword expert, a martial artist, two detectives, a solicitor (Andrew), a man who stalks Louis Tomlinson and a writer of Speculative Fiction. Does that sound like the set up for a Miss Marple adventure to anyone else? It was a bloody dangerous room to be in, I’ll tell you!
Now, this is where the pressure started 🙂 The “P.I.s” didn’t want to use their real names. And, since Andy thought that Writers have an inbuilt name-generator in their cerebral cortex, he gave me the task of coming up with a name for the female PI seconds before the show started. Asking her quickly what she was after, I got an unhelpful shrug and so I was heavily in the shit and expected to think of a name while balancing a ball on my head and riding a unicycle (or that’s how it felt). With nothing forthcoming from my nerve-paralysed brain, I went for the code-name Stiletto. I thought it was pretty funny. She, however, was not impressed hahaha. If you listen to the show, you’ll hear my explanation to the crowd of why I chose stiletto (double meaning, anyone?), and the awed silence afterward that I think proves that no one got it. Never mind 🙂
Anyways, since I’d already done my part, and Andrew had got me to mention my lovely partner, Laura, on the show as one of my prime supports to my publishing, it comes about that he chose her name to give to the female PI. So, if you listen to the podcast above, you’ll all understand the conotations of every time he calls her Laura Hall. Suffice to say, Laura herself (the real Laura) was highly amused that her name was used over and over again. She was pretty giddy about it when I got home and kept chuckling to herself.
It was a complete mind-f**k of an evening, and an absolute blast, too. I’m hoping I’ll get to do it all again when Greaveburn is ready to be released later this year. Who knows who I’ll end up int he roo with this time!?
As you can see, my little blog has had a make-over. I’ve retro-fitted the whole thing with a slightly Steampunky edge in a homage to the recent acceptance of Greaveburn to Inspired Quill (IQ) publishing. In the true Steampunk tradition, I’ll no doubt be tinkering away at it for quite some time but the rivets and stanchions are there for now.
Speaking of Steampunk and Greaveburn, I’ve recently bought tickets to the Asylum Weekend Convention 2012 in Lincoln’s historic city. A whole weekend of ‘punkery with loads of great exhibitions, entertainments and of course the fabled Bazaar Eclectica where ‘punks fence their wares. I’ve been in touch with Tinker, the convention’s organiser, and he’s been kind enough to offer me a spot in the exhibition area. So there’ll be me (in my neo-victorian gear, by Jove!) and copies of Greaveburn for sale and even signing if you’re that way inclined.
But there’s more…the enthusiastic and very helpful Tinker has also offered me a spot on a panel, potentially alongside the likes of Robert Rankin, Toby Frost, Sam Stone and others! Of course, I accepted, but I’m PETRIFIFED.
It strikes me that the good thing about going nowhere with my writing is that I always know what to do. All of a sudden I’m very far from home with no map and the nagging sensation that I’m going to make an ass out of myself! Still…I’m excited enough that I’ve completely forgone sleep since signing to IQ.
In other news…I’ve re-released Not Before Bed in print (only from the american Amazon, I’m afraid) but it’s also now available for your Kindle (all over the globe). I know, the sensibility isn’t very Steampunk but than again neither is Not Before Bed. I think those short stories deserved one last flourish of attention before I pass it into the hands of fate entirely. While my Horror writing has served me well with some great publications that I’m very proud of and practice with submissions etc. I think I’ve moved on, now. Not Before Bed was an earlier me, one who was still finding his feet. Greaveburn is the next step in the journey, not away from those much-loved old stories and everything they taught me, but moving a little down the road to where there are whole new set of things to learn.
Hi everyone, and welcome to the blog post I never thought I’d write.
Those of you who’ve been reading my blogs for a while now (even since the beginning?) will know exactly how long I’ve waited for this moment. It’s been a year and a half of hard work, trawling through the literary agencies online and off, making my submissions fit their precise and often wildly different criteria. The hardest part, as always, has been the waiting. Then there’s the mountain of rejection slips, most very nice, that came without fail every time. That’s a whole lot of envelopes and whole lot of stamps. I think I’ve kept Royal Mail in business all by myself! 🙂
But the time has come. The time when I can make this announcement. Something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a teenager, and working towards with bleeding fingers for the last five years.
Milking it? Me? Oh, ok. I’ll get to the point.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, after much searching and sweating, Craig Hallam (slipping to third person for effect) has found himself a publisher!
Yeah, you heard right. My debut novel, Greaveburn, has been read, liked and accepted to the loving embrace of Inspired Quill publishing house! I’ve put off writing this post for almost a week now, mostly because I’ve been making little squee noises in the back of my throat and wandering around dazed since I got the email. But now I think it’s time to share my fantastic news!
As I’m sure you can all imagine (writers and readers alike) I’m over the moon. I’ve had to choke it back a little, letting Laura do most of the celebrating on my behalf, and letting my professional self take the reins. I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I’m trying not to think about who will be the first person to buy it. Nor my first bad review or (hopefully) my first good one. No signings or promotions ahead of me. I’m definitely not imagining what the cover will look like…although I could draw you a picture if you like 😀
It’s hard to stay in the moment but I’m doing ok. I want to enjoy this little nibblet of a win but don’t want to throw it around until there’s nothing left to play with. There’s a lot of work to do from here on in. Thinking about the first round of edits, for example, is making little brown cakes in my undercrackers. But it’s also going to be fun. And the IQ team all seem fantastic, so far. My alloted editor, Pete Stewart, is a Steampunk fan so Greaveburn will hopefully go down well.
Anyway, I thought you should all know, being true believers and wonderful supports throughout my struggle. When it eventually hits the shelves, shiny and awesome and without a single spelling mistake (unlike these posts), be assured that you’re all invited to the party and, by God, there’ll be hangovers the next day!