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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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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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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