An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.

Posts tagged “literature

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.

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.

Not Before Bed…the return

Oh yes, it has been a long time in the making but it’s finally here. The short story collection which I put together and self published before Greaveburn was accepted by Inspired Quill has finally come home. IQ have graciously accepted to reprint the old warhorse of nightmaresthat is Not Before Bed. With new editing, amazing new cover and even some re-hashings and new endings for some of my old work, the beast is definitely back.

The inimitable Charley Hall has produced a creepy cover, and there is even an internal illustration inspired by NBB by Chloe Lisa. It looks pretty great, I have to admit. I’m very chuffed with it. Check out the Tour Deets page for where me and the new books (The Adventures of Alan Shaw is still doing the preliminary rounds), or follow my Facebook page to stay up to date.

Other than that, feast your eyes on this juicy cover art and await the release date on 15.12.14 (Just in time to darken your Christmas, Horror-fans).

NBB ebook cover


Thanks for reading!

I’m still here!

I still exist, although in some pocket universe only vaguely visible form your own.

In one sense I’ve been a busy lad, in another I’ve been a lazy bugger.

After the last few years of uni courses, novels, signings, finding a publisher, working and everything else, I’ve decided to take some downtime. I’m not really writing now that The Adventures of Alan Shaw is finished and handed in to Inspired Quill. I’m keeping my hand in by tinkering with some poetry and haiku but nothing constructive (or any good, if I’m honest :D). But other than that I’m giving my brain some time to calm itself before the next push on Alan Shaw part two.

And with that has come a huge lull in my blog posting. If any of you are sad enough to be waiting for my misguided ramblings (Eh, Pete? ;D) then I apologise. But I’m fairly certain I haven;t left a void in anyone’s life 🙂

The Deedworthy Adventures blog has been going well, despite the fact that I’ve only been editing the posts of others and not really posting much of my own work. But people seem to be enjoying the adventures of the Airship Deedworthy and the action is really hotting up over there.

At some point, if it’s requested, I might post some of the poems I’ve been working on (or at least the haiku), but I’ll warn you, if you like poetry, your eyes are about to be offended.


Hope all’s well with your little pocket universes, too.

Thanks for reading.

Am I an author yet?

What is the benchmark for when you can finally call yourself an author?

It seems that anyone can put on their profile information that they’re a writer or an author, and that most of these people spend a lot of time complaining about how little of their time their professed title takes up. I never had that problem. Anyone who has been following my progress through the murky world of authordom will see that I’ve only just started to change my profile from “aspiring author” to just “author”. And that was only because my Marketing Womble, Leah, told me to do so. Otherwise I would have happily left it as it was.

Why is that? Performance anxiety perhaps. If I’m an author now, then that comes with all kinds of connotations. I should be professional, knowledgeable, prolific. I quite often feel like none of those things all at once. There’s still so much to learn, so much to do, so many more novels to write and characters to nurture, and I never seem to have all the time I’d like to fire off a few chapters or do all the little projects that I want to take on. But it has struck me lately that perhaps that’s what being an author is all about. The constant striving to be better. If that’s what being an author is, then I’m certainly striving my way forward.

I’m not saying that there’s a list of things that you must do to be an author/writer. Except perhaps one: write! But as I look back over the last few years I start to put together a few pieces of evidence that my low self esteem needs in order to prove that I’m becoming the author that I want to be.

I’ve had a book published (kind of an obvious one, I know), had several great signings, I’ve done workshops and talks in colleges and with writing groups, I’ve helped others to edit their own work, I’ve tried to impart a little knowledge on this blog to other aspiring authors, and I now have my second novel finished and submitted to my publisher (Inspired Quill) for the first round of edits. I’ve also helped to put together the literary area of next weekend’s Steampunk Doncaster convention, which was a great honour.

In short, I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky. That’s certainly how I feel.

But am i really an author yet? I suppose I may never feel like one, because I don’t know anyone who can describe to me what it feels like. Maybe I’m already there. Maybe I’m a mile away. Maybe I should stop asking stupid questions and just get on with the writing. But it took writing this blog post to realize that last option even existed. And so, with that in mind, I’m going to throw on my goggles, and enjoy the Steampunk Doncaster festival next week. Then I’m going to work on my comic book script, short film screenplays and other little projects while I wait for the novel to come back from the Editor. Then I’ll edit it…then it’ll be published and the whole signing/marketing awesomeness will start again. Then…who knows?

I think I’m trying too hard and not enjoying it enough. It’s time to have some fun. And perhaps bu myself a “Do not feed the Author” t-shirt.

What do you guys think is the point when you become an author?


Thanks for reading

Bonny Scotland

Hi everyone.

Well, this week I’ve mostly been relaxing. With the book finally out, I thought it a good time to take myself off and have some peace. Scotland was the destination, and more specifically, Comrie. Quiet, remote, quaint. And not a sniffle of phone reception to be had. Perfect.

We (me and Laura, that is) stayed in a little cabin just outside town with nothing but a unencumbered view of the countryside. We took walks up to the Devil’s Cauldron, a waterfall outside Comrie, and then climbed up to the Melville monument that looks over the town. It seemed like a good idea when we set off, but it was a loooong way up. However, when we reached the top, the view was totally worth it.

View from the top

As always when we go away, I took plenty of reading material. I’ve been really getting into the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman, so I took the next one of those, plus the next installment of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But, I never got to that latter one. Instead, I read an ebook by one of my mutual Twitter followers called Pete Ford (aka @TheVirtualMcCoy). Reading someone else’s work is always dicey, I think. I don;t mind doing it, but I always feel wary in case the work they’ve poured their heart and soul into is…well…crap. Thank the Lord’s chin hairs, then, that Pete Ford’s Pavonis is a little slice of awesome.

I hope I can do the premise justice…

Pavonis is a habitable planet (M-class to you Trekkies ;D) which the human race have migrated to after Earth becomes poisoned by all manner of unsurvivable pollutions. Two hundred years after they land, and the people of Pavonis have lost their old technologies when a madman destroys the ‘libraries’, a collection of all of Earth’s scientific and cultural (and everything else) knowledge. And so, in an effort to survive, the Pavonis folk have to return to steam and hydrogen power to propel their xeppelins, carriages and seaskimmers. But that’s just where the story starts. It seems that some bright spark managed to smuggle a copy of the ‘library’ away and keep it safe. But the bad guys, and their sticky little fingers, want it. When our hero’s friend thinks that he has found the library, the aforementioned bad guys have him bumped off, and so our hero steps to the plate to figure out who killed his friend and colleague, reclaim the library, and kick some bad guy behind while he’s at it. Written in the first person perspective gives Pavonis a real retro Sherlock Holmesy feel to it, like the old memoir style pieces, with action and intrigue and soem great plot points and description. Basically, it’s ace. A really fun read. And it’s Steampunk! What more could you want!? Go get it HERE, among other places.

Anyways, so that’s what I read while I was away. I also plugged Greaveburn a bit more. I’ve added it to Book Crossing, a great site that lets your books roam around and people can find them ‘in the wild’. Brilliant idea. But while trying to find somewhere in Glasgow to put the book down, I came across the lovely people at Biblocafe in the West End. Not only did they take a stack of my cards to put on display, but they took the copy of Greaveburn and they’ll be passing it around their Indie Bookstore reading group before dropping it off wherever they like. How cool is that? Let’s hope they enjoy it and feel compelled to review…

Speaking of reviews…(see what I did there?)

Greaveburn got another good one. Here’s the watered down version, because it’s a long one:

Predictable is not a word that applies here. What I found particularly striking is that the characters are above all human…The ‘good’ characters have their faults–serious ones. The ‘bad’ ones are haunted by their failings and surpass themselves. Nobody is what they might at first seem; nobody is all white–but there are those that are solid black, through to the bone… The imagery is strong–heavy gothic architecture, steampunk machinery, and yet there’s the feeling that even a city like Greaveburn could have a Hogsmeade moment when Christmas rolls around…The pacing is good, the storyline solid. What really counts, as far as I’m concerned, is this: I had trouble putting Greaveburn down. I found myself reading at 2am and had to force myself to stop and get some sleep; the temptation was to read just one more chapter. I don’t come across many books that do that. Need I say more?

Awesome. Thank ya kindly! If they keep coming like this, my head’s going to explode! Well, that’s been my week, folks. Apart from preparing myself for the Weekend at the Asylum convention next week, I have nothing more to tell. Expect a blog post about what goes on in Lincoln while me and the IQ team are there. Fingers crossed I don’t make a fool of myself at the signing! 😀

Thanks for reading.