Shadeward Enervation is on its way

Posted by on Nov 14, 2018 in Progress Report

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...

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Leaving the Rat Race

Posted by on Oct 8, 2018 in Announcements

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...

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Lords of Midnight Paperback available!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in Announcements

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.   You can order your copy direct from Amazon UK or from Amazon...

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Victory went to the Free!

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in Progress Report

Hi folks, 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...

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Lords of Midnight Ebook Launches!

Posted by on Jun 21, 2018 in Progress Report

It is dawn and the Solstice has arrived. With it comes the Cup of Dreams which brings new welcome, and the ebook version of the Lords of Midnight! (Paperbacks are coming in September) 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)...

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