It’s Been Quiet…

Hi everyone,

As usual, a gaping void of blog posts exists between us. And, as usual, I’m sorry about that. I’ve been super-duper busy, though, if it makes it any better? What have I been up to? Well, let’s see…

Since Old Haunts (The Adventures of Alan Shaw Book 2) has been released, I’ve been trying to hit as many events as possible, spending more time online marketing and suchlike and, of course, I’ve been writing!

The third Alan Shaw novel has been started, with the first story complete (barring edits, of course). I’ve also been contacted by Katherine Ellis, the artist and writer of the Crankrats and Nix webcomics. We chatted about maybe working together on a comic when we met at the Steampunk Asylum weekend last year. Some of you might remember that I was working on the script. Well, Katherine’s workload has finally made a gap large enough to work on something new and so I’ve been working on finishing that comic so that it can become a reality! I’ll do a proper post all about it, soon.

I’ve also been doing some editing work for a local magazine, Doncopolitan, which has taken up some of my time. As I’m sure you creatives out there know, paid work has to come first and that has meant that the blog has had to take a back seat to a lot of other things.

So, how am I going to make this blog post void up to you?

Like this!

Coming up soon, I’ll be sharing some guest posts from fellow Inspired Quill authors Dorothy Windsor and Mark Cantrell. And I’ve also had the idea to do some posts on tips for new authors. Surviving the first signing, rejection slips and balancing the whole work/life/writing/signing colossus on the head of a pin. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to talk about, yet, but I guess we’ll find out together.

With that, I will leave you once more. I’m off to put some more words to Alan Shaw 3.

 

Thanks for reading!

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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!

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!

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!