Today I passed another writing milestone. I finished the ‘author edit’ of my latest book – Shadeward Enervation.
This is nothing more than me going through the first draft and re-reading it, often shaking my head at bits of bad writing, fixing it, finding erroneous adverbs, deleting them, zapping bad grammar and poor word choices… rinse and repeat.
Compared to the actual writing of a story, it’s not much fun. But it’s a major marker on the journey to producing a book. It’s the point where I have to hand it over to someone else. In this case my publisher’s editor.
And she’s pretty brutal to be honest. The draft will come back with a lot of red ink all over it. Then I need to fix it all over again.
But, at this point, I can sit back a bit and leave the book for a while. I’m very happy with the story now. It’s upped the ante over the second book a lot. The characters are maturing, becoming both more powerful, more informed and more dangerous. Their actions have bigger and more dramatic outcomes.
This third book takes the threads of the first and second and winds them up tighter – with everything to be resolved, one way or the other, in the fourth and final book. Yes, the Shadeward Saga will conclude in the next book.
All your favourites are here. The driven Kiri, the inquisitive Meru and the troubled Zoella. The crew of the Mobilis, the priestesses, and the strange intelligence of Caesar from long ago. High above, Lacaille shines down upon all. Strange and wonderful secrets are, at least partially, revealed…
Hope you’re looking forward to it!
“From the ruins of blasted Ushgarak, she pledged that the Moonprince’s triumph would be short lived!”
Here, in the depths of the cold, at the Winter Solstice itself, it gives me great pleasure to announce another book!
I will be writing an official book based on the second of Mike Singleton’s epic games – “Doomdark’s Revenge.”
Once again, Chris Wild and I will be collaborating on the story. Cover design will be by the same artist as before (the hugely talented Jurij Rogelj) with the book being published by Fantastic Books Publishing, initially in ebook and paperback, with an audible conversion following on afterwards.
The current plan is to have the draft completed by the end of July 2019, with the book available in early autumn of the same year.
To introduce it, here is the trailer.
This is a direct sequel to “Lords of Midnight” and, just like as in the original game, will pick up the story immediately after the point at which Lords of Midnight finishes. Doomdark has indeed been defeated, but his daughter, Shareth the Heartstealer, vows a terrible revenge…
Back in 1985, Doomdark’s Revenge swiftly followed the success of Lords of Midnight on the ZX Spectrum, introducing new innovations such as multiple races and characters who had their own agendas and wandered about the map. Despite all this, the map of the ‘Icemark’ (the land in which the adventure takes place) was even bigger than before.
Doomdark’s Revenge is quite a different proposition to Lords of Midnight. Firstly, there are even more characters than before – a total of 128 compared with the 32 in Lords of Midnight! Now, each character has traits, behaviours, loyalties and hatreds, meaning politics will play a huge role in this story. Both Luxor and Shareth vie to recruit armies to their banner. Figuring out how to portray all this in a book will be one of the early challenges.
Next, Lords of Midnight (the game) was entirely a male domain. We reviewed this as part of constructing the novel and introduced Shareth into Lords of Midnight from the second game (so readers would be aware she was there). Shareth is the daughter of Doomdark himself and is the main antagonist of this second story.
Tarithel (who wasn’t mentioned in the original game either, but would have been around at the time) is the daughter of the Lord of Dreams. We gave her a bigger role in Lords of Midnight, but she has a central role in the second book and becomes one of the major protagonists.
Morkin and Rorthron also reprise their roles, though Corleth is a noticeable absentee from the second game.
The book will, once again, be faithful to a play through of the game itself. I’ll admit, right now, I’m not as familiar with the game as I was with Lords of Midnight, so I’ll be playing it regular in the new year on my twitch channel – come along and find out what it’s about!
Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge are the first two parts of a planned four piece series known as the “Midnight Chronicles”. Chris and I plan to continue our collaboration after Doomdark, and produce the “The Citadel” and the “Eye of the Moon” in due course.
Now I have both the time and the capability, I’ll also be working on the audio version of Lords of Midnight. This will be available via Audible (and via FBPs own store). The audible version of Lords of Midnight is expected to be available during the summer of 2019.
The first step will be to establish the lore of the upcoming book. This will be working with Chris and playing the game to refamiliarise myself with it. Writing is due to commence in April 2019 – you can follow progress here.
Dawn breaks… Join us as we venture into the Icemark, the frozen empire to the North of the land of Midnight. Time is of the essence, as Shareth has sworn… Doomdark’s Revenge!
I’ve been rather busy!
There’s a surprising amount of work involved in leaving work. I’ve had to write up a bunch of detailed handover notes for my successor at Lloyd’s, and it’s quite surprising how much you actually know and do, which all has to be documented and training provided. Still, I’m getting there – only another two and a half weeks to ago now before I’m ‘out of work’.
That is, in the traditional sense. I’ll be a freelancer, plying the uncharted waters of self-employment with only my own expertise to rely on. Gulp. 😉 Somehow I suspect I may be busier than I was before…
I do have a plan though, and that plan is full of books and audio. You can see the detail on my ‘Work In Progress‘ Page.
The first highlight though, is the long-awaited (and sorry about that!) 3rd installment in my ‘Shadeward’ series.
Set on the tidally locked exoplanet Esurio in the starsystem of Lacaille 9352, book 3 “Enervation” picks up the action right after we left our characters in book 2 “Exoneration”.
Zoella, Meru and the crew of the Mobilis have fled Drem just as the priestesses of Drayden have invaded it. Kiri has learnt many secrets and is plotting her own schemes. All the while the planet itself is becoming more and more unstable as Lacaille’s flares worsen.
In book 3 the situation deteriorates further, and the ambitions of the antagonists becoming even more conflicted. The major characters you know will grow in new (and sometimes surprising) directions. Major revelations about the strange past of the planet are revealed and the scene is set for book 4, which will close off this particular series, but open up even greater mysteries for the upcoming expanded Shadeward universe.
Contracts are signed up for book 3, so writing (which is already reasonably advanced) will build apace before long (pesky day job!). Book 3 is currently due in May 2019.
I’ve also been working hard on prepping my audio rig. PC and all the associated hardware is now built, tested and working well. For the technical amongst you, this comprises a Win 10 PC with a low latency SSD, a phantom powered Audio Technics AT2020 microphone, sound baffle, a Sony amp and a pair of Tannoy bookshelf speakers (ideally these would be monitor speakers, but I had them spare and couldn’t really justify the extra expense at this point). An old Nexus tablet has been repurposed as a prompt, which avoids the ‘rustling paper’ problem.
The first audiobook out (April 2019) will be Shadeward 1 “Emanation”, quickly followed by the more recent “Lords of Midnight”.
Overall, my study is pretty much complete, I just need to clean it up a bit ensure everything is as quiet as possible. Fortunately the furniture is already pretty stable and solid, but it is a amazing how much noise you’re aware of when you try to record. My initial tests picked up the fridge in the kitchen below, the washing machine (on fast spin) in the utility room… and also a massive great helicopter that decided to fly overhead at exactly the wrong moment!
I am fortunate that I live in a cul-de-sac, so passing traffic noise is minimal, however people do seem to want to mow lawns and saw things in half at the most inconvenient times! 😉
In other news I’m prepping my next novel in collaboration with Chris Wild. Doomdark’s Revenge will be worked on immediately after Shadeward 3, and is currently due for launch around August 2019. I’m looking forward to this one immensely as it will be rather more ‘free’ in the lore sense than the original “Lords of Midnight” which was somewhat shackled to its origins as a Tolkien pastiche. With Doomdark’s Revenge we will pick up the story of Luxor, Morkin and Rorthron, but with an additional focus on Tarithel who has a much more significant role to play in this second story.
They all face off against the sorceress Shareth the Heartstealer, the ruler of the northern Icemark and daughter of Doomdark himself. All of which promises to be another excellent and exciting story!
I’m also going to be expanding my twitch streaming presence with the extra time I have. Just the other day I qualified for their ‘affiliate’ programme, and I’m planning some additional streams in and around the world of writing. I’ll also be doing some gaming too, as first I need to relearn Doomdark’s Revenge. There may be some other stuff in there too, so stay tuned over at twitch.tv/drewwagar.
There are also a few other irons in the fire, biding their time for now. More on those when I have some progress to report.
Don’t forget that you can also sign up my newsletter, which I plan to publish about once a month from next year.
So, a few more weeks and the new career will be full-time. Not long now!
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’ve always written my books and stories around, and often in spite of, my day job. I took the advice I was given at school… study, work hard and get a ‘proper’ job.
So I studied Computer Science at university and my career has exclusively been within the IT domain since – that’s 26 years of a quite traditional ‘career’ revolving around a 9-5 job Monday through Friday, though it was more like 7-7 with some weekends thrown in! I’ve worked out that unpaid overtime was probably something like an extra year or so over that period – so I’ve certainly ‘done my bit’.
This constricted the amount of time available to me for writing, and whilst I’ve managed to crank out quite a bit of work (6 full length novels and a few short stories) since I properly started back in 2011, time has always been the issue I couldn’t do a great deal about.
Any of you who work in corporate life will be very much aware of the soulless desks, office politics, downsizing/rightsizing/outsourcing, endless (and often pointless) meetings and paperwork, death-by-powerpoint, checkbox mentality and sheer stress involved. Add to that the increasingly heavy burden of compliance and regulation and the constant yearly mantra of “Do more with less!” (wouldn’t it be nice one year for top brass to say “You know what? This year how about we do less with more?” 😉 ). The higher in an organisation you go, the more all this compounds. Responsibility and accountability is a heavy burden.
I’m good at my job, and I have worked with some amazing people throughout my career. But it was sapping my strength, leaving me with less and less to offer to family, friends and fans. It’s not my passion – that lies elsewhere.
My passion, as you probably know, is writing. If I’m honest, it always has been – I was writing stories from childhood.
So it’s with the full support of my family, with great excitement, and a little trepidation, that today I’m announcing that I’m stepping out of the rat race. I’m working my notice at my current employer, and from January 2019 will be writing full-time.
There is clearly some risk involved in this, not least the finances – there’s still a mortgage and bills to pay. However, we’ve decided that life is simply too short not to chase your dreams. For a while now I’ve been asking myself “If not now, then when?”
My books clearly have a readership and I don’t think it’s too self-aggrandising to claim I have a fan-base out there waiting for my next book. Around me I have seen work colleagues, old friends and famous people in the media dropping dead at ages not far from (or in some cases younger than) mine. My life expectancy is around 80 years, give or take, so I mostly likely have 32 years to go. It’s impossible to predict what the future holds and I don’t want to put it off any longer – who knows how many years I actually have?
As the quote goes… nobody on their death-bed said “I wish I’d spent more time in the office!”
“If not now, then when?”
I will give this my all. Those of you who know me personally will be aware that I’m fairly tenacious. 😉 I’ll be blogging about the experience throughout – which may make for an interesting book in its own right at some point in the future.
What does this mean for you? Well, it mostly means more books and more often! I’ll maintain and improve my writing, the quality you’re used to; the characterisation, the dialogue and the description – everything that is a hallmark of a ‘Wagar’ book.
I’m currently working on the precise schedule, but I can confirm Shadeward 3 : Enervation will be next! Right now the rest of the Shadeward Saga and a complete set of Midnight novels (with Doomdark’s Revenge being the first) are in the process of being confirmed and planned.
It will also give me the chance to respond to any left field opportunities that come my way; tv, film, writing commissions, contributions to game narrative, lore, rather like the Elite Dangerous Kickstarter back in 2012. So if that’s of interest to you or your company, please get in touch. You can see my portfolio for details of what I’ve done before.
I believe that I can punch out 3, perhaps even 4 books a year now and I’ll be hitting the ground running on Jan 1st. My plans also include more audiobooks being provided as well – I have the equipment to do all of this. I’ll also have the time to promote myself and my books at conventions and events throughout the year. Make sure you sign up to my newsletter in order to be amongst the first to be informed of the latest happenings and releases!
Time has been the limiting factor – not anymore. I should be able to do more streaming as well, more than once a week.
I want to write books for you all to read. That’s my passion, that’s my ambition. That you’ve supported me this far has spurred me onto greater things. Now it’s up to me to rise to the challenge of going full time with all the risks and opportunities that affords.
That’s my news – hoping to have you all along for the ride. 2019 is going to be an interesting year!
With the imminent official launch of “The Lords of Midnight” just a few weeks away at Fantasticon 2018, it gives me great pleasure to let you all know that you can now get your paperback copies of the book from Amazon.
It’s quite a different experience from the ebook! The paperback version is 533 pages long, so quite a tome, even for a fantasy novel. You get the same front cover as the ebook, but you also gain the rear and spine covers too. Inside there is a map of Midnight across two pages.
There certainly is something very satisfying about holding the finished work in your hands after all this time. If you’ve been holding out for a physical copy, now is your chance. 🙂
I’ll be signing copies of the book at Fantasticon if you planning on attending, there’ll also be another opportunity, in Kent, for a book signing later in September. If neither of those work for you, please reference my ‘Signed Copies‘ page for details of how you can get your copy signed by me.
A week and a bit on from the launch of “The Lords of Midnight” and the first reviews are in (beware – minor spoilers if you haven’t read the book). It’s with a little bit of relief, and big dollops of appreciation, that I’m able to report that the book has, so far, been well received!
It’s tempting to say that I had no doubts whatsoever that I’d done a good job, but that simply isn’t the case. “Pride cometh before a fall” is a familiar cliché, but it’s often true. You can think you’ve done a great job only to discover that folks didn’t like what you created. I’m always nervous before I launch a book, and this one was no different. Rather like my original Elite story ‘Reclamation’, there was an awareness that I was dealing with a venerable and very well-established franchise with a long history dating back 34 years. You muck these things up at your peril, the weight of fan expectation is significant.
Chris and I had long discussions about how we could deal with the overly Tolkienesque background to the story, the complete lack (by 21st century standards) of diversity in the original game, how to adapt the lore to cater for the inconsistencies between games and potential future novels, how to expand on the lore without writing ourselves into a corner, how to deal with the vast number of characters and do justice to them all. This was tricky stuff, particularly when a change to that lore could upset fans who are particular on a given point. Folks, particularly after thirty four years, have very concrete expectations and understandings of how things work.
All that said, it seems we have navigated those rapids and stayed afloat. At the time of writing a full 10 5 star reviews have been submitted to Amazon, many of which have praised the work Chris and I undertook on the lore and design of the story. That’s come as a welcome relief and a growing sense of achievement over the last week or so. It seems we pulled off a successful novelisation of Mike Singleton’s seminal adventure game, which bodes well for the future.
It’s also been heartening for me to see that I’m bringing new readers to my work, and that many are transitioning from my Elite books, to Shadeward and now onto (what I hope will be) the Midnight Chronicles. It means I’m not a ‘one trick pony’. Like an actor who doesn’t want to get typecast into a particular role, I was keen not to be just ‘that guy who wrote stuff for Elite’ either. The Midnight Chronicles and my Shadeward series are showing me that I can tell stories that folks want to read outside of the cockpit of a Cobra Mk3.
I’ve also transitioned from pure SF to pure Fantasy in terms of a move of genres. I’m not a big fan of genres per se, as I feel they may artificially constrain story-telling. However, there are differences between SF and Fantasy and having now done both I’ll say that I find fantasy is easier overall in terms of having less constrictions on what you can do. SF is much more rigorous, particularly ‘hard’ SF. That said, my approach has been the same, concentrate on the characters and the adventure and don’t ‘try to be clever’ – my stories are designed to be very accessible, readable in straightforward chronological order and don’t employ clever literary slights of hand. It’s a combination that seems to work.
I’m also conscious of the community of readers who’ve got me to this point. I’ve been thinking of ways to ‘give things back’ to the folks who’ve read my books and supported me along the way. One of these is my upcoming Twitch stream. I’m planning to answer questions regarding the ‘craft’ of writing and something of an insiders view of what it’s all about. I’m by no means an expert, in fact my highest academic qualification is a ‘C’ Grade O-Level in English Literature from 1986. However, writing a book that people enjoy reading isn’t the same as passing an exam, and I have now published 6 full length books which folks have enjoyed. That’s given me a certain experience of what works and what doesn’t and I’m looking forward sharing that and comparing notes with other people. If you want to join that you can follow me here > https://www.twitch.tv/drewwagar on Mondays at 8pm UK time.
So, many thanks to all of who have read Lords of Midnight, and particularly to those if you who have reviewed it! Reviews really do make a massive difference to the book’s visibility, so please review if at all possible. In this case, the success of Lords of Midnight will have a direct bearing on the likelihood of being able to write the second one, Doomdark’s Revenge. If you want to see the ongoing story, please, please review the current one! 🙂
The ebook is now available for general release. Folks who have pre-ordered should be getting their copies imminently. I hope you all enjoy it – certainly Chris, Dan and I had a lot of fun putting it all together. We hope we’ve done Mike Singleton proud.
Arise, Midnight! Arise the Free! Peril and doom lie at our gates. Waken your valour, arm yourselves with courage! We ride to conquer Doomdark forever! Arise Midnight, arise!
See you at the Tower of the Moon!
Amazon Kindle – http://getbook.at/TheLordsOfMidnight
Non DRM formats (Epub, Mobi and PDF) – https://www.fantasticbooksstore.com/lords-of-midnight-all-formats.html
I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about a couple of things; fan interaction and giving something back to the community of folks who’ve followed me on and off through the years.
I’ve had quite a bit of email and twitter interactions with folks regarding my books, about the stories, the background lore, characters and so on. There have also been quite a few queries on the ‘art’ of writing, or basically ‘how do you go about it?’ It seems there are plenty of folks out there interested in what it takes to write a book. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I have “been there and done that” to an extent.
Emails are slow and ponderous, twitter is quick and fun, but rather limiting and it’s also hard to ‘store’ for reference in any meaningful way. Facebook is somewhere in between. Youtube is full of guides of course, but there’s not much opportunity to interact with an offline video. A few people have suggested Twitch.
Twitch has, up until recently, been almost 100% about gaming. Streamers will play a game and folks will watch, comment and interact. I’ve avoided this up until now because: a) I’ve never had the time to play games to the degree that some folks can and b) there are so many streamers already talking about the games I do play that I didn’t really think I could add much.
However, Twitch themselves are in the process of opening up their environment beyond games. They have a new ‘Creative’ category where people ‘make stuff’. That could be anything from Origami to Welding, as long as you have a webcam, a microphone and a topic of interest, you’re set.
So… I’m going to start my own Twitch stream and focus on writing. I’ll be recording the streams and making them available via Twitch, YouTube and, hopefully, a podcast too.
So how’s this going to work then?
I’m going to try to keep it short and sweet, and hour at a time, once a week on Monday evening (8-9 pm UK time). I’m working on the topics, but here’s an early list of things I’m likely to cover:
- So you want to be writer? (What does it take? How much time do you need? What tools, equipment? How do I start?)
- World Building (How do I construct something from scratch? What do I need? How much is enough?)
- Writing Clichés debunked/explained (“Write what you know”, “Show don’t tell”, “Why most of what you were taught at school was wrong”)
- Fatal flaws (The things everyone does at the start which you need to not do)
- Characters (How do you make an interesting character, what must you avoid,
- Points of View (How to ensure you don’t confuse the reader and make a mess of your story)
- Description (How do you bring the environment to life, how far to go and knowing when to stop)
- Polishing your writing (Review, editing, word choice, finding your style)
- Getting the book out there (typesetting, covers, ebooks, formating, paperbacks, hardbacks)
- Publishing options (Self, Direct, via Agent)
- How much money can you actually make? (Costs, time and expectations)
- Writing for Games (How does it differ from a book, how’s it done, challenges and difficulties)
- Writing in someone else’s universe (The good, the bad and the ugly!)
Wherever possible I’ll use actual examples, so you can see the difference as we go. Rather than a game being in the window, they’ll likely be a copy of Word instead! I’ll be showing some behind the scenes stuff from my own books so you can see the process for yourself. Of particular interest will be the background doc for Elite: Reclamation, which will allow you to see the creative process behind the construction and writing of that novel. I’ve also kept all the previous drafts and the editing notes, so you can see how rough the early work is and the difference between those and the finished work.
Along with all that I’ll do ‘request’ type shows if viewers have particular preferences for things.
I’m also planning to do provide some sneak peeks of my upcoming books and discuss plot points and content of my books if there’s interest in delving into those as part of the discussions.
So… that’s the plan! The stream will be at 8-9 pm on Mondays, probably from July. If you have suggestions for other topics to cover I’d love to hear them, please comment below, tweet or facebook them to me. Look forward to seeing you all on Twitch!
It gives me enormous pleasure to bring you some great news about the official Lords of Midnight novel, now two years in the making!
Whilst paperbacks are still scheduled for September, Fantastic Books Publishing have been able to bring the publication of the ebook version forward.
- The ebook is going to be available from the 21st June.
The eagle-eyed amongst will immediately spot the significance of the date. This is the Summer Solstice itself, furthest point from the Witchking’s height of power in the depths of Winter, an auspicious moment upon which to launch the book and also the two year anniversary of the moment when the book was announced. Paperbacks will follow in September as previously mentioned, hopefully with a pre-order option in August.
- The ebook is now available to pre-order via Amazon, so you can be first in the queue when it is released.
With all that happening there is one more thing to reveal. We’ve been working very hard on the cover design for the book in the last month. The artwork is by Jurij Rogelj, the same artist who created the graphics for Chris’ remade version of Mike Singleton’s original 1984 ZX Spectrum game. We’ve worked hard to capture the essential ‘Midnight-ness’ in the design, introducing bits and pieces from the game that should be instantly recognisable to existing fans, but in such a way that newcomers to Midnight will be enticed in as well. The bloody sword of battle hangs poised across the lands of Midnight, night fell and the Foul were abroad. But now, dawn breaks!
- Here is the cover of the official Lords of Midnight novel, the first of the “Midnight Chronicles”
Yes, that’s right – the first of the “Midnight Chronicles.” Chris and I very much hope to continue on to Doomdark’s Revenge, the Citadel and the Eye of the Moon too given a positive reception to how we’ve treated Mike Singleton’s legacy in this first book. Everyone has worked very hard to get this book to this point and we’re confident we’ve done a great job, combining writing, lore, research, editing, typesetting, cover design and promotion. Now it’s heading your way wonderful readers. We all hope you love it!
The ice-bound landscape of Midnight is waiting for you to explore it once more…
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 comments!