Archive : Category

Projects On The Slate

POSTED ON August 19th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

At the start of this year I set myself a huge challenge – to write four novels in 2014.  A few friends said I was crazy but as I replied  I have good processes now and even if I ended up with just one completed novel it would be better than nothing.  As long as I didn’t let quality slip, anything more was just a bonus.

Eight months in, and I’m really happy with the progress.  I’ve written about a quarter of a million words so far (some good, some not so good) and already completed one novel with everything else progressing along nicely.  I’ve lost a few weeks due to house buying but hope to try and claw that back in the last third of the year.

Scrivener Article At Fantasy-Faction

POSTED ON August 12th, 2014  - POSTED IN Reviews, Writing

This month over at Fantasy-Faction I ask the question “So What’s The Fuss About Scrivener?”  This article on the popular word processing software for writers seems to have generated a lot of positive response so please check it out!

Nine Worlds Meat Meet

POSTED ON August 11th, 2014  - POSTED IN Travel, Writing

I’ve been feeling a bit frazzled lately.  My friend and fellow writer, Stephen Aryan, suggested that I needed a good convention and perhaps he was right.  I’ve been working incredibly hard this year and have become a little frayed around the edges.  Couple this with day job stress, trying to buy a house and ongoing recuperation; I could really do with getting away from my desk to recharge a little.

This was my first Nine Worlds convention.  A lot of friends had gone to it last year and had great time so I was expecting a lot.  And to be honest, it delivered.


POSTED ON August 7th, 2014  - POSTED IN Travel, Writing

I’ve been so incredibly busy, what with novels being both written and edited, BFS Award judging, house buying, and the like, I realise it’s been a few weeks since I updated the blog.  It’s always the way when the most is going on that I update the least!

However, if you to see me in person, I will be at a couple of conventions this month.

The first is Nine Worlds this weekend in Heathrow, followed by Loncon3 in London the following week.  I’m not participating in any panels so you’ll mostly find me in or around the bar; but feel free to come up and say hello.  As always I have a convention game to play. so be sure to ask me the rules!  This one could be a lot of fun!

Hope to see some of you there!

Five Reasons To Cast Your Novel Article At Fantasy-Faction

POSTED ON July 14th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

This month over at Fantasy-Faction, I’m giving you five reasons why, instead of creating characters from scratch, you should instead ‘cast’ the roles with actors and actresses.  From the comments it seems a lot of you are doing this already.  But if you are not there’s some compelling reasons to try!

News Report On Burlington Bunker

POSTED ON July 10th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

If you’ve read The Four realms, you’ll remember the underground bunker where Darwin & Cassidy find D’Toeni.  As some of you are aware, this location is loosely based on Burlington Bunker in Wiltshire.  The location isn’t open to the public and there are very few photos of what was intended to be seat of government in the event of a nuclear war.  However, this news report I found on the BBC talks about it being utilised as a data centre and shows some of the site.

What do you think?  Could you imagine Mr West and his fellow aliens prowling those halls?  I still reckon it would be a good lair to re-establish the Vampire Council.  If only the aliens hadn’t got there first!

Some Four Realms News

POSTED ON July 3rd, 2014  - POSTED IN Publishing, Writing

With Black As Knight out the way, I spent some time last night scheduling the remaining work needed to get the final draft of The Thieving King done.  It’s a huge, complex book and I really started to appreciate all the planning I put into this draft which should make it easier now I’m in the meat of the novel.  Still, I reckon I can get it done by my internal deadline, even allowing for all the other craziness that’s currently going on in my life.

But, as if to remind me Thieving King needs to deliver as much as its prequel, I got a couple of bits of good news about The Four Realms.

It appears that The Four Realms is current on offer at Amazon for just £1.02 in the UK and 99c in the US! So if you’ve been considering picking the book up then now is a good time. I have no idea how long the promotion will be running for, so best not delay.

The Four Realms also recently got voted as one of Reddit R/Fantasy’s Official Underrated and Underread Fantasy. Whilst the main vote is now over, there’s an ongoing poll over at Goodreads.  I’m currently sitting at #16.  So if you loved the book (or indeed loved any of the others listed), please be sure to go vote.

Which leads me to the last point. If you’ve read the book and love it, or even if you didn’t, please be sure to go and rate the book at places like Amazon and Goodreads.  Aside from being a major ego boost when someone posts how much they loved your novel (and trust me on days when you discover massive plot holes and have unco-operative characters, you need it!), small press books like mine really, really depend on word of mouth and reviews at places like Goodreads or Amazon.  You honestly have no idea how much.  False platitudes aren’t going to help anyone but honest reviews might just help someone find a book they love.

It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation.  You need honest reviews to get people to consider your book and possibly buy it.  But you need people to buy it so they can review it.  So if you have two minutes to either rate or review, I’d really, really appreciate it.

The Edit Is Done!

POSTED ON June 30th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

It’s done!

After a mammoth effort, the edit on Black As Knight is done! And a day ahead of my self-imposed deadline as well.

There’s a weird feeling when you complete a massive piece of work like this – an emptiness accompanied with a massive sense of accomplishment. I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

This is the first of four novels I’m looking to complete this year, and whilst, at first glances, it may look I’m behind schedule, I have one novel completed, one half-way through the final draft, one awaiting to be edited and another still being planned. Not bad when you consider this year has seen me plan and go on a top secret trip of a lifetime and buy a house in another part of the country.

I’m especially proud of Black As Knight. This is a novel that reads like it’s written by a much better writer than I give myself credit for. I might be the only person who loves this novel but I honestly don’t care – I’m so proud of it. If writing is an activity you primarily do for yourself, I’ve written myself my new most-favourite novel.

I’m incredibly hard on myself as a writer. I’m my own worst critic but I’m really proud of the work I’m turning out this year. I’ve still got a long way to go but this novel really pushed me. I’ve worked really hard and it’s almost quite emotional seeing all that hard work come together in a completed novel.

I have a few final bits to tidy up and then it’s off to beta readers. I hope they love it as much as I do. But that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to polish the hell out of it before submitting it to agents and publishers around Worldcon.

No rest for me though. I’m straight into finishing the final draft for The Thieving King. It’s going to take me a few days to get my head around the change in style but I’m hoping to get that novel done by the autumn when I move onto Thunder which has turned from a SF Storm Chasing Thriller to a Supernatural Storm Chasing Thriller. I’ve promised myself that book will come in well under 100,000 words.

Miscellania For A Sunday

POSTED ON June 15th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

A lot’s happened in the last couple of days, but none of it really detailed enough to constitute its own post.

I appear to be buying a house.  Have found a dream property, complete with its own writing building at the bottom of the garden.  Will constitute a move to Wiltshire and a little work to get it all ship-shape but at the moment it’s all subject to contract and I’m full of a mix of excitement and terror.

Simon let me know about his piece for the Daily Dot on Jay Lake.  Well worth a read.

Not sure if this will work or not,  but the people I went storm chasing with had an intense hail intercept last night.  Incredible video and photos my friends have since posted to facebook show them all smiling so they seem to all be OK