Lords of Midnight, revised publication date

Posted by on May 17, 2018 in Progress Report

Folks, I know that you’ve been eagerly awaiting the debut of my first fantasy novel, The Lords of Midnight. I’m afraid I’ve got to announce a further delay. We’re now looking at the beginning of September this year for release. We’ve been working hard on prepping the novel – it’s a chunky 150,000+ words. Editing, typesetting and all the other prep for publishing is well underway and in good shape – the book itself is done. We had some issues getting the cover ready in time and these have now been sorted, but unfortunately not in time for the publishing slot we were aiming for in May. Publishing slots are time-bound (each book is lined up and has its place in the queue), if you miss your slot you have to wait for the next available one. Unfortunately we’ve missed our assigned slot. It wouldn’t be fair to other authors to jeopardise their go live dates. The next available slot for us is September. We could have squeezed things for May, but that would result in a potential compromise of quality, something that we weren’t prepared to do. It’s never good to rush things unnecessarily. We’ve been waiting for this particular book since 1984 –  I hope 3-4 months further delay won’t be received too badly. We’ve only got one chance to relaunch this and we want to ensure it’s the best we can do. In the next few weeks we will be able to reveal the cover for the book, so stay tuned for that and we’ll be able to bring you some more concrete info about pre-release and formats. Apologies for this additional delay, but we’re confident the final product will be worthy of the wait! We’ll be able to launch at the Fantasticon convention, where (other than book launches) you’ll be able to avail yourself of traders, tabletop games, livestreaming, video games (modern and retro), virtual reality, musicians and special guests. Any questions, please tweet or ask below in the...

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A year to the day, remembering Salomé

Posted by on Apr 29, 2018 in Lore

A year ago today one of the characters I created in my book Elite: Reclamation was ‘killed’. Kahina Tijani Loren, or Salomé, the erstwhile Senator of the Prism system, was assassinated when trying to reach the Tionisla system. Either a spoilt brat, an explorer, a war criminal, a heroine, a terrorist, a freedom fighter or a mad woman with a fondness for oratory – depending on your outlook – her story came to an end on the 29th April, 3303 (2017). She aimed to expose the actions of and incite a revolt against shadowy powers that she claimed were manipulating humanity. At least, that was the narrative. I’m grateful for those who have catalogued her life and put it all together on the Elite Dangerous Wiki for folks to review. Authors have always killed favoured characters off, either as part of the plot, or even vindictively, citing the “kill your darlings” advice (sometimes attributed to G.K. Chesterton). This can generate shock, upset and outrage in the reader. It depends very much on what the author intended. Others might ask why the ‘death’ of a fictional character matters anyway. But Salomé’s death was different. It wasn’t the author who killed her, but a player of the game the novel was based upon during an in-game event. That in-game event, and the notoriety that surrounds it, remains a moment of note in the history of the Elite Dangerous game. Some say it was a triumph, that it showed the possibilities of community generated content, player group interaction and involvement. Others consider it a disaster, a foregone conclusion, a confused mess, an event that should have never taken place, a publicity stunt or shameless self-promotion. Many will subscribe to aspects of both views. I’m grateful to Frontier Developments for covering the event on their livestream, newsletter and the in-game aspects. Also to Obsidian Ant, who interviewed me beforehand, the streamers who attempted to cover the event live, to Lave Radio, who covered the aftermath of the event, those who worked so hard with me on the event and those who took part. There are many many articles online about it. This one from Polygon is by far the most accurate, as Charlie Hall was the only journalist who had the courtesy to check facts with me. Other online material ranges from the poorly researched or one-sided, through to the credulity straining (but of course, oh so compelling!) conspiracy theories. What you consider to be the ‘truth’ of the matter is entirely up to you. What actually surprises me is how many people are still talking about it, even after all this time – but here is my reflection on it, a year to the day. First, I’ll try to explain what I intended. The original objective, looking at it now, seems quite pedestrian. All I really wanted was for players to determine the...

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Lords of Midnight is complete!

Posted by on Apr 14, 2018 in Progress Report

At 10:40 this morning I made the final tweaks to the final draft and sent the manuscript back to the publisher. It’s been a long and weary road since completing the first draft back in December last year, but the difference between the two documents is striking. The final draft is polished, sharp, better structured and (hopefully) devoid of typos. Editing isn’t my favourite activity – I don’t know many writers who actually ‘enjoy’ it, but it’s utterly essential to the art of crafting a good story. The editors scalpel can be painful to wield, but those cuts and incisions do make for a better book at the end of the day. I am very happy with the final draft of Lords of Midnight. Chris and I have been back and forth through the lore of the game and the sequels, through all of the manuals and gameplay, even through some of Mike Singleton’s notes. We have consolidated all the existing lore, worked through the discrepancies and tried to use our judgement to decide on what Mike’s vision would have been where it wasn’t clear from the game or existing material. We’ve created arcs which span beyond just a single book, mindful that we hope to be able to write more stories in Mike’s amazing worlds. We have tried to answer, where it makes sense, some of the open questions about Midnight itself and provide a bit of history of the world via the characters that have experienced it. We made special effort to flesh out and differentiate the characters of Midnight; the primary cast of Luxor, Morkin, Corleth and Rorthron and the eponymous ‘Lords’, along with the other characters fans will be expecting to see. Conscious that there is a next book in the series with additional characters, we have woven in backstory for them too, to allow them to segue into the events of the following stories without simply ‘appearing’ in the narrative. Next book, you say? Yes! It was (and is) our intention to continue on with what we are currently calling ‘The Midnight Chronicles’. Lords of Midnight the game goes straight into Doomdark’s Revenge, the story doesn’t end here by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve worked on the lore and the structure of this book to ensure we can continue into others. I’m very excited about writing Doomdark’s Revenge and then continuing further with the saga. I’ve enjoyed writing my first fantasy book. If it is well received and sells well then it is very likely that more books will come – the commercial success does dictate whether we’ll be able to continue. For now then, it’s back to the publisher. Cover art and typesetting is next on the list and with the book due to be available towards the end of May. Night is almost over and the eastern sky grows bright. Not...

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