Soliloquy

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in Progress Report

This tapestry holds a secret. 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. “In quoting others, we cite ourselves.” — Julio Cortázar

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Shadeward Enervation is with the publisher

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in Progress Report

Placeholder cover for Shadeward Enervation 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!...

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Shadeward 3 is complete!

Posted by on Mar 5, 2019 in Progress Report

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...

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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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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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