Free Online Convention

Quarancon started in 2020 as a free online fantasy and SF convention because we were all locked up and not allowed to go out and play in person at events. Now, two years on, the convention is still going and it starts this week.

There are lots of panels with your favourite fantasy, horror and SF authors from all across the world. It runs from 7-11th April 2022. You can find the full schedule here, and all of the panels will be streamed via YouTube etc.

I will be appearing on 2 panels, this Friday at 9.30pm (UK time) on True Villainy.

My second panel is Saturday at 7pm on Positive Representation of Mental Health in SFF.

I’ll see you there.

Charity Cat Calendar

Are you a writer? Do you have cat? Do you want to make your cat famous and raise money for a good cause?

If you have a book in print (traditionally published, self published, small press) and a cat, then check out the following link for all the info.

Short version, cat rescue charities are often run by volunteers and they get by on donations. Even a small amount of money will help them a lot, to rescue more strays and look after cats.

We’re going to create a cat calendar for 2023 and feature cats that belong to authors, or maybe it’s the other way around. All money raised will go to help a UK charity. If you don’t have a cat but want to help, then you’ll be able to buy the calendar later this year.

All the info is here

More bookish news, and upcoming events I’ll be taking part in for the rest of 2022 will resume shortly.

January Update 2022

How it is 2022 already? What? How? The last 2 years have been…..unique.

Anyway. At the end of this month I’m taking part in an online SFF convention, TBRCon. More info is available on the Events page here. My panel is on Sunday 30th January.

Other stuff, I’m currently editing The Warrior, book 2 of 2, in the Quest for Heroes duology, from Angry Robot Books. That is coming out in August this year. We have some exciting things planned, some stuff I really can’t talk about just yet, but watch this space for more info when I can share.

I’m also busy working on a new thing. A new project. There might be some news it soon. Well, soon-ish. The first draft is done and I am waiting for news.

Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for author interviews with great fantasy and science fiction authors. There are also videos if you’re a writer interested in fantasy, worldbuilding, or just getting traditionally published.

An Evening with Joe Abercrombie

This coming Wednesday 13th October at Waterstones Birmingham at 6.30pm I will be taking part in an event to celebrate the launch of Joe Abercrombie’s latest book – The Wisdom of Crowds. This is the final book in his Age of Madness trilogy and the tenth novel in the same world.

I will be there, asking Joe questions about the series, its development and his influences in telling this particular tale of a world going through an industrial revolution.

Copies of The Coward will also be available for signing.

Tickets and more information are available here.

September Update

Just a short update this month.

Book news

The title of the second book in the Quest for Heroes duology has been out there for a while, but if you didn’t know I can reveal that it is called The Warrior. I’ve seen the cover and it looks really good. I’m very happy with it and can’t wait to show it off.

I’ll be getting my edits back on that in October, so it will be all ready for June next year. In the meantime I’ve got to do some edits on the new secret book. So those two things will keep me busy until the end of the year.

I’ve also finished something else. A novella. I’ve been working on it, on and off, for a while, but it is done and I’ve sent it off to a few publishers that accept novellas. So now comes the awful waiting. I did consider self publishing it, but right now I just don’t have the time, so I am hoping it finds a home somewhere.

Live stream and interviews

The YouTube channel is continuing to grow. I recently did my first livestream with Alexa Donne, who is a traditionally published YA author from America. I also spoke with Professor Tim Leach who as well as being a writer of historical fiction also teaches Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. I really enjoy talking to other writers, finding out what influenced them and how they became writers. If you haven’t done so already, check out the YouTube channel for weekly videos on writing and interviews.


This coming weekend I will be attending Fantasycon 2021 in Birmingham on September 24-26.

I will be there Friday and most of Saturday. The Broken Binding is also attending in the dealers room and I will be signing books for them at some point. If you are coming to the event and want your books signed then don’t be shy, I am happy to scribble on them. Look for the tallest person at the convention and if it’s not me, it’s David Wragg and I’m sure he will be happy to sign them instead!

July update

Tomorrow The Coward will have been out for a month. It’s been a hectic time, that’s for sure. Lots of interviews, blog posts, live events, social media reviews and Instagram stories. The book and I have been everywhere. The reception has been very positive but it’s still not over yet.

Reddit AMA
This Friday on Reddit/fantasy I’ll be taking part in an AMA with other Angry Robot authors from 8pm UK time for a couple of hours.

Online Event
On Wednesday 21st July at 7pm (UK time) Glasgow in 2024 and Angry Robot Books presents Bastards, and Battles, and Banter. Cameron Johnston and I will be in conversation to talk about our new books. The event is FREE and more info is available here.

Until recently I wasn’t sure if I would be attending any events in person. This whole year has been pretty unpredictable and there’s more uncertainty ahead. However, at the present time, I have now signed up to attend my first convention in 2021. I will be attending Fantasycon 2021 in Birmingham on September 24-26.

More information is about the event is available at the link above. I have put my name forward to be on some panels, but if I’m not on any then I will be hanging around, probably in the bar. 

YouTube channel for writers
In addition to working on stuff related to my books I’ve been doing lots of interviews with other authors, talking about how they started writing, found an agent, how they were published (traditionally or self published). We get into all sorts of areas like worldbuilding, characters, how they plan their stories or not. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly videos about writing from lots of SFF writers.

Signed Books
If you want to get a hold of signed copies of The Coward but also any of my other books then The Broken Binding has copies. They are local to me so I’m hand signing everything, not using bookplates. They have lots of other SFF books that are signed or have bookplates, so take a look, and they ship worldwide.

May Update

the coward book cover

We’re getting through May which means the publication of The Coward is nearly here. As you might imagine, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Here’s some stuff I can share that’s going to happen soon.

You can pre-order copies from just about everywhere and here’s a handy link with a lot of buying options, depending on where you are in the world.

In conversation with David Walters – FanFiAddict

I’ll be in conversation, live with David Walters, over on his YouTube channel on Wednesday 2nd June at 8pm (UK time). If you tune in you’ll find the two of us chatting about fantasy and SF, TV and films, conventions, and you can ask questions in the chatroom about my books, writing and publishing.

You can subscribe to his YouTube channel here, and there are lots of other great author interviews to watch in the meantime. There are also a couple of panels I took part in from a few months back as part of TBRCon so you can watch even more of me if you really wanted.

Forbidden Planet Live Event – Online

On Wednesday 9th June at 7pm (UK time) there is an event with Ed Cox and I, in conversation and editor extraordinaire, Simon Spanton will be moderating our chat.

Admission to this exclusive event is FREE with the purchase of either a  signed copy of The Wood Bee Queen or a signed copy of The Coward – available to order here. And in fact this weekend I am going to my local Forbidden Planet store to sign their stock of The Coward and I suspect Ed will be doing the same at his local branch. So you have 3 weeks to sort this out. If you just want to buy a signed copy of The Coward then you can do that directly on the Forbidden Planet website here.

Signed Books at The Broken Binding

In addition to signed copies of The Coward, there are also signed copies of all of my books available from The Broken Binding. The website has a lot of awesome signed books with bookplates. The bonus for me is they are fairly local in the UK, so I can drop by and sign books directly without bookplates. So it’s possible to get a completely signed set of all seven of my books. That’s never been available before anywhere so that’s utterly unique to The Broken Binding.

There will be a lot of blog posts and articles in the coming weeks. As ever the best place to keep up to date on all my news is here and via Twitter.

YouTube Channel

Just before I go, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I have writing advice videos and lots of author interviews. I have chatted with lots of great fantasy and science fiction authors such as Nicholas Eames, Anna Stephens, RJ Barker, Steve McHugh, Angus Watson, Gabriella Houston, Barry Nugent, Stephen Deas, Mike Shackle, Andrea Stewart, Tim Pratt, Ben Galley and Jeremy Szal.

April Update

Quarancon 2021

This Thursday night at 7pm (UK time) I’ll be taking part once again in Quarancon. This is a totally FREE online science fiction and fantasy convention with panels. It runs April 8th to April 12th. The panels will be broadcast live on YouTube and then available soon after if you didn’t watch them live, but if you do watch live then you have an opportunity to ask the panellists questions.

The full schedule for the convention is here. And the YouTube channel is here.

To Wait, Or to Buy

There’s a great article you should read that looks at the impact those people who wait for the last book in a series to be published before picking up the first and the impact that can have on the book writing business. For mid-list writers like me, if people wait then it can mean that a series is cancelled by the publisher before it finishes and the end never arrives.

The article talks to several authors about their experiences and how it impacted their work.

New Author Interviews

I’ve recently done some new author interviews. Last week I spoke to Gabriela Houston, a debut fantasy novelist, about her Slavic-folklore inspired fantasy book, The Second Bell. We talked about her influences, getting published, trying to explain things to non-writers and in part 2 I also go into a bit of detail about the genesis of The Coward. Also if you’ve not already, please subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Before Gabriela I spoke to Peter McLean who contributed to the above the article and he talks about the fact that despite his books being optioned for TV, the series was still cancelled by his American publisher and if not for his UK publisher it would not have concluded. We discussed this a little in his interview with me as well.

Book News

The new, secret, book is currently with my agent and I’m awaiting feedback on the first draft. In the meantime I’m working on my grimdark-ish, fantasy crime novella. It’s weird, and possibly niche, so who knows where it will turn up and I may end up self-publishing it, but it’s very early days at the moment.

In the meantime the countdown begins to The Coward. Only a couple of months away now. So expect more interviews and blog posts about it in the near future. It’s available to pre-order from all good bookshops here.

March Update

Just a quick update on what’s going on with various projects.

The Coward – It’s just under 3 months until the book is published on 8th June. I’m busy working with the publisher on various things to get the word out. So closer to the time expect a flurry of posts, interviews and so on. I expect more individual reviews to start coming in fairly soon from those who received advanced reading copies of the book. It will also be available on NetGalley very soon, so more people will be picking it up there to read and review ahead of publication.

I should also point out that book 2 of 2 in the series (it’s a duology NOT a trilogy) is written and the first draft is with my publisher. I will begin edits on that later in the year.

The New Book – This is the first in a new trilogy. I can’t say very much about it, not even the title, mostly because it’s very likely the title will change from my original! However, what I can say is that the first draft of this book is done. It’s also a bit of a whopper for me. My books tends to drift in the 110-130K space, but this is currently 146K, and I suspect with editing and later drafts it will only increase and easily break the 150K mark. So maybe 550-600 pages in a normal book. Maybe.

This book was difficult to write for a number of reasons, which is actually a good thing, as it challenged me. I never want to write the same thing twice and become lazy and predictable. It’s very different to anything I’ve done before but it’s also closer to our own world than any of my other books. It is fantasy, and is not historical fantasy, but it does have historic elements. Ugh. It’s hard to talk about. Let’s just say it’s inspired by historic events but there’s a lot of creativity in there as well.

Weird Book – So with the New Book sent off to my agent for feedback, I’m moved back to working on Weird Book. This is an odd project. I previously abandoned it as I didn’t know know if it would find a home and still don’t. It’s a very cross-genre book. It’s different there again to all my other books and an odd duck. I’m enjoying writing it though and it is stretching different muscles, so that’s a good thing.

SF Book – This is something I’ve co-written, also a first. We have a first draft but after some thought and discussion, we felt that we had only scratched the surface of the world we created. So we’re going back to the drawing board and are in the process of restructuring it and rebuilding it, to focus on other areas and I think it will be much better for the additional work. It’s a backburner project, so we are not rushing it. Co-writing is another challenge which keeps me fresh and open-minded.

Other Projects – There are a couple of screenwriting irons in the fire but no news to report on them. Early days but they are ticking along nicely.

That’s about it for the time being. I’m still doing interviews and writing advice videos over on my YouTube channel here, so take a look and subscribe. My most recent interview was with Andrea Stewart, the author of The Bone Shard Daughter.

Making notes on ideas for book 2 of the new trilogy, and scribbling down things for what I want to do after that. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year and by 2022 I’ll be able to walk into a bookshop and attend events in person. Fingers crossed.

First review of The Coward

the coward book cover

Publishers Weekly is the first mainstream industry website to review The Coward. They have normal reviews and then starred reviews.

The Coward received a starred review.

The review in full said:

Aryan (Battlemage) takes an unlikely band of heroes on a nail-biting trek into a frozen world in this impressive fantasy, the first in the Quest for Heroes series. The legend of Kell Kressia is celebrated throughout the Five Kingdoms. Kell, initially an unwanted tagalong with the land’s greatest heroes as they set out to kill the Ice Lich that brought a killing winter down upon their world, is the one who beheaded the Lich and returned as the expedition’s only survivor. But Kell harbors deep guilt over the secret that his success was pure luck—and that his martyred fellows were all horrifically flawed.

Now 10 years later, a new threat rises in the Frozen North, and Kell is the natural choice to put it down. He reluctantly takes up the mission, joined by a small band of warriors and misfits, each with secrets of their own. Hunted by humans and horrors, they face reckonings with Kell’s guilt and their world’s past.

Packing in an epic’s worth of action and feeling, this thought-provoking fantasy argues that even the most vicious monster battles are less harrowing than the struggles within men’s souls. This is a knockout.