December post

Just a quick post to say I’m still busy writing, right down to the wire, and then I will be stopping for a bit over the Christmas holidays.

The Coward has been edited and has now gone back to my publisher. First thing in January will be the copy edit, the next stage of intense edits.

Also happening in January, is TBRcon, a FREE completely online SFF convention with over 85 authors taking part in a series of panels. More info about that can be found on my events page here. I’ll post the full schedule too when it’s made available.

Happy holidays.

Author Interviews

Tomorrow, part 2 of 2, of my interview with RJ Barker goes up on my YouTube channel. I will be doing regular interviews with other fantasy and science fiction authors so if you subscribe you will receive updates on new content.

RJ is the author of the Wounded Kingdom trilogy and the Tide Child trilogy, book 2, Call of the Bone Ships is published this month, book 3 next year. Both series are published by Orbit books and when I was published by Orbit, RJ and I shared an editor. We discuss his current series, influences, and stray off into other topics including good TV.

RJ Barker
The first half of my Interview with RJ Barker is available to watch here
Part 1 https://youtu.be/wSqPFCuY0Xo

Anna Stephens
Below are links to my interview with Anna Stephens, author of the Godblind trilogy and her new series, Songs of the Drowned. We talk about writing and her new novel out this month, The Stone Knife. During this chat we also discuss my new book, The Coward, will comes out 8th June 2021 from Angry Robot Books.

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/mNCPnOBoGQc
Part 2- https://youtu.be/0IQioNgPdII

Steve McHugh
Both parts of my interview with Steve McHugh, author of the Hellequin Chronicles, which wraps up with book 13 this December – Horsemen’s War

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/swGenAsxh9Y
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/X6sQh5GbXek

Angus Watson
Both parts of my interview with Angus Watson, author of The Iron Age trilogy and West of West trilogy from Orbit books

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/XaJiWp2QCIs
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/IjePIfb3fe8

More interviews coming soon.

The Coward – cover reveal

I’m delighted to be able to announce that the cover, and more information about my new novel, The Coward, is now available on Tor.com. The book will be published 8th June 2021, so less than a year to go. Click on the link below for more info!

Writing and Late Night Talk

As mentioned in my last post I’m doing some late night talks with authors. I’m speaking with Angus Watson this week and I’ve got another two arranged for the coming weeks. We’ll be talking frankly about writing, publishing, being an author and anything else that takes our fancy.

Once I have edited the videos they will then be available on YouTube.

On the same YouTube channel, I am also going to be regularly posting writing advice videos. So if you are an aspiring author, or you know of anyone who is, then please direct them to my new channel and ask them to subscribe.

There are 2 videos up there at the moment. An introduction one, explaining who I am, my background, a bit about the books and what I’m going to be doing on the channel.

There is also my first advice video about The Trap, which is something that many aspiring writers fall into when they start work on a novel.

If there are any topics you would like to see me cover on the channel, get in touch and let me know.

 

Authors Talking About Writing

Given that there are no conventions at the moment, a lot of stuff is moving online. I miss talking to authors about writing, characters, world-building and so on.

With that in mind I’m going to do a late night talk with Angus Watson on Tuesday 15th September.

If this one goes well I might do some more in the future.

Angus’s first series, the Iron Age Trilogy, debuted a year before me, also published by Orbit books. And this month, it will be 5 years since Battlemage was published. It’s also 5 years since the final book in his first trilogy, Reign of Iron, was published. So we’re going to celebrate that and talk about writing.

Tweet any questions about writing, books, publishing, whatever you fancy to @LateNightTalk3 and we’ll answer what we can.

The video will be uploaded to YouTube a few days after 15th September and I’ll the links.

Good and Bad Advice About Writing and Getting Traditionally Published

I’ve been working on this for a while in parallel with other projects. Over the last few months I’ve been working on an ebook for writers. It’s called – Good and Bad Advice About Writing and Getting Traditionally Published.

This is predominantly aimed at fiction writers and those looking to be traditionally published. The rules are different for non-fiction (which I touch on briefly in the book) and I have little experience with self-publishing, so I can’t really talk about that. I briefly explain some of the alternatives to traditional but not in any great detail.

The ebook is now available to pre-order. It will be published on 24th August.

ebook on Amazon UK

ebook on Amazon.com

This is a kindle ebook and it has a lot of information about good advice to listen to and bad advice you should completely ignore. I debunk a lot of the myths around writing a novel, debunk the rules people claim are necessary for success, information about writing a novel, finding an agent and then submitting to an agent.

Writing a synopsis is difficult and painful (and I still don’t like doing it), so I’ve also included my original synopsis for Battlemage (which then got me an agent) together with the back and forth correspondence from my agent. She explains what she liked about it and so on. Hopefully it will help you to write your own synopsis.

I also pull the curtain back a little on traditional publishing and explain the typical stages a book will go through from when you sent it to your agent to when it lands on a shelf in a bookshop.

There is information in there about lessons I’ve learned about being published, information about finding your style and other practical help for writers who are struggling.

There’s a lot of good information in there, plus some topics I don’t see people often writing or talking about. Hopefully it will help you if you’re trying to get published or find an agent.

If you know anyone who would be interested, please send them the link to pre-order the book, which will be published Monday 24th August.

ebook on (Amazon UK)

ebook on Amazon.com

That’s a wrap

So, a quick update from me. I’ve been on furlough from my freelance day job during lockdown. That’s the bad news. The good news is I’ve been able to focus more on my writing. As a result of less interruptions and with nowhere to go, I’ve finished the first draft of my current work in progress in record time. Normally a first draft takes me anywhere from 8 months to 13 months. I wrote this first draft in 6 months.

This is book 2 of 2, in the new fantasy duology coming from Angry Robot Books. Book 2 will be published in the summer of 2022. However, book 1, The Coward, will be published next summer. So I’m a bit ahead of my deadlines.

Time to take a little break, clear my head, and then get to work on the next project.

Here’s a link to the press release with more information about The Coward, coming next summer.

Conventions during lockdown

Because all of the conventions have been cancelled during lockdown, a lot more are going online.

I’ve already been involved in one, called CONtagion. A SFF convention and also meeting space on Facebook, which has links to panels, workshops, readings, blog posts and all sorts to keep you busy.

I moderated a panel about writing fantasy series and how most writing advice is about how to get the first book written or published. This panel is focused on the demands of writing a series of books. How do you keep it going? How do you keep yourself motivated? And how do you deliver something interesting to reading on time, every time? You can download the MP3 of the panel here

QuaranCon2020

I’m also getting involved with QuaranCon2020, which is running for the next few days from today, Friday 24th, over the weekend and into early next week. These will be live panels, on YouTube, via Zoom, where viewers can ask the panel questions at the end.

Friday 24th April 8pm (UK time) I’m on a panel – Fantasy book series, how long should they be? Here’s the link to YouTube for tonight

Monday 27th April 9pm (UK time) I’m on a panel – Magical systems in Fantasy.

The website with the full schedule for all panels is available on the QuaranCon2020 website here.

 

5 Cool Comics to Read

Something to keep you occupied during lockdown.

sleeper ed brubakerSleeper – This is still one of my favourite series of all time. It’s gritty and sometimes grim, but not overly so but it’s definitely not a comic for children due to the adult content (violence, swearing, sex etc). It’s about a guy who has some powers (no capes, no tights) that are kind of low key but useful and brutal, going undercover in a criminal organisation. It’s espionage with an edge as there is the constant fear that he could be discovered at any time and the repercussions if that happens will be very bad. It’s two seasons, well 2 x 12 issue trades. Self contained and an excellent read. Amazon UK

Y the Last ManY: The Last Man – Only slightly close to the knuckle given the current situation, however, it’s still worth your time. A virus wipes out every male on the planet except one guy, Yorick, and his pet monkey. It’s about his journey across America in a strange new world. Yorrick has lots of interesting and thought provoking adventures. This 10 trade paperback comic book series is also in development to be a TV series, coming maybe 2021 given changes to scheduling and so on. Amazon UK

joyride vol 1

Joyride – A fun sci-fi comic about a girl living on Earth during a particularly difficult time who just wants to get out and explore, have fun and find out what’s going on in the wider galaxy. So she steals a spaceship because Earth sucks, and together with two friends, goes off to have some adventures. It’s that simple. It’s fun, brightly coloured, not too heavy, but it’s sometimes emotional, often funny, and the whole thing is only 3 trades long from start to finish, so it is a self contained story with a satisfying end. Amazon UK.

locke and key vol 1

Locke and Key – You’ve probably heard about this because of the TV series, however, as with many things, the source material is better. The TV series crams a lot of stuff in and picks bits and pieces from across the whole 6 trades. This comic has more time and space to explore areas, take it’s time, sets things up gradually and creeps you out. When the TV show was first being advertised I spoke to a few people who thought it was a teen drama or YA series, and I can see why but the comic book is definitely not. It’s a lot more brutal than the TV series, scarier at times and it will creep you out. Also it is also a self contained story. The TV series is going off in its own direction, so even if you are watching you’ll get two different stories. Amazon UK.

Mister MiracleMister Miracle – This is a 12 issue, self contained story. While it is part of DC comics, you don’t need to know much about the character or the series beforehand. You don’t need to be a fan of superhero comics because it’s not about that. At all. I’ve spent hours with friends discussing this book. I’ve done a whole podcast on it where 4 of us talked about the themes and ideas being explored in it for over an hour and barely scratched the surface. The book is fascinating and it is the kind of thing you can reread and will get something different from it every time. If you want something to spell everything out and  give you all of the answers, then this isn’t that kind of book.

Very simply put, imagine if the Devil and God each had a son, and to ensure a form of peace between the two warring empires, they each raised the other’s son. That’s the basic premise. Scott Free, aka Mister Miracle, was raised in a hellish dimension by Darkseid, the epitome of evil. At the same time Orion was raised by Highfather, the epitome of pure goodness, in the equivalent of Heaven.

This story takes place years later when Scott is an adult. Scott has done it all. In the past he’s been a superhero but now he and his wife are just trying to live a quiet life on Earth. He’s a professional escape artist and celebrity. The story is about family. It’s about being an adult. It’s about faith and destiny. It’s about being a parent, but also being someone’s child and the expectations that come with that. It’s about freedom and choice. It’s about a hundred other things that I don’t want to spoil. It’s also an action and adventure story with a war, and duty, and honour. It’s a family drama with real weight and consequences. It’s also hilarious at times and very emotional and terrifying.

It’s one of my favourite comic books of all time. Read it. You can thank me later. Amazon UK

If you read any of them, get in touch and let me know what you thought or send me 5 comics you think I should read (self contained stuff only please).

Battlemage on sale – Kindle deals

I thought this was just a daily deal thing and it might now just be a weekly deal so it could end on Sunday, however, as of this minute, Battlemage is 99p on Amazon UK on Kindle.

So if you started with Mageborn, now is the right time to go back to the beginning and get a deal.

Also, Battlemage on Amazon.com is currently $1.23 but this could change at any minute as it doesn’t have the limited time deal sticker on it. So get it ASAP.