It always an exciting moment when you get to reveal the cover of a book. Whilst we’re always exhorted not to judge a book by its cover, if we’re honest, many of us do.
There’s a balance to be found in advertising what kind of book it is, following the tone of the times and coming up with something eye-catching that will work at different levels, both as a cover, but also as a thumbnail for the inevitable listings online.
The 3rd book in a series is also a bit… tricky. You’re not at the point where you are tying things up, but nor are you introducing too many new things to be resolved. You still have to keep the story moving along at pace, in order to ensure that the overall plot doesn’t ‘sag’ in the middle. Despite all this, there’s still plenty going on!
I’ve also had the challenge that the characters are growing up, and (in most cases) maturing a bit. This implies various things about their relationships and where they go. It’s been a challenge to balance that and move the characters on in a realistic fashion.
Enervation is now being finalised, and with no further ado, here is the cover. I hope you like it! There are various elements of the series included here, which fans of the series should be able to pick out. Let me know what you think.
This tapestry holds a secret.“In quoting others, we cite ourselves.” — Julio Cortázar
Palimpsests and blueprints
While a universe unfolds.
An axis of dying light
That spins in the black.
But alas I can see
Its stars are locked.
For me, Dihya,
I fear my script is lost.
As of a couple of days ago I finished all the edits for my latest book, Shadeward Enervation, book 3 of my ongoing SF saga.
This was a combination of my wife’s notes, a professional editor and 3 ‘beta-readers’ who give me advice on various aspects of the story.
This has taken a month or so to sort and means I’m technically on the 5th draft – which has now back sent to the publisher to be turned into a book. At the same time we’ll start collaborating on the cover design and get that prepped. Won’t be long now!
That rather clears the decks for other projects, not least the short story I have to contribute to the Twitch Anthology I’m working on. You can watch us working on this on Monday’s on my twitch stream.
After that, there are two more novels in the works.
First up is Doomdark’s Revenge, sequel to the Lords of Midnight. I’m happy to say that the plot for this has been ‘signed off’ (i.e. Chris and I have agreed the high level detail). This means I can crack on with writing it now.
The second is the final book in the Shadeward Saga, called ‘Expiation’ (you can look that up at your leisure – each Shadeward title has a very specific meaning). This will conclude the Shadeward Saga, leaving me to consider what else to do next with this universe.
There may be other stuff too, there are a few ‘irons in the fire’, so we’ll see what comes along. Stay tuned, folks! 🙂
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