December update

Somehow it is December already. It seems like only yesterday (actually February) when I was in Paris, picking up an award for Battlemage in French. The year has gone by really quick.

So, December 1st and I’m now working on the first draft of book 3 in the Age of Dread trilogy. The copy edits for book 2, working title and probably real title Magefall, are done and were sent off about a week ago. I’m now trying to keep all 3 books in my head, focus on what happened in book 2 and make sure book 3 works well and lands properly, plus I need to make sure I tie up as many loose ends as I can, because this is the end.

I’m writing something different next, not set in the same world. That doesn’t mean I won’t come back to this world, and I have a couple of seeds of ideas in the back of my head already, but after 6 books and 1 novella, and about 10 years, I need a break. Battlemage came out in 2015, which is only 2 years ago, but I was working on it for 2 years before that with my agent and then my editor, and before that I was working on writing it for a few years. So a change is good. It will keep me fresh, stretch me to do something different and new.

Publishing schedule
At the moment, the novella, Of Gods and Men, (available digitally and in audio) will be coming out in February 2018, then Magefall in October 2018 then Mage3 in October 2019. So in theory, the new book I am going to start writing next year in the summer will be coming out in 2020. I’m Doc Brown without trying somehow, with half of my mind here in the present and half somewhere else in the future. I constantly find myself travelling back and forth in time. When someone asks me about a book it can take me a couple of seconds to work out which book they’re talking about and this is the reason why.

Christmas
As is my tradition, and as is right at this special time of the year, I will be writing one or more posts on my favourite sports, World’s Strongest Man. The qualifiers, the heats, and then the glorious final. There won’t be any more writing updates this year, so happy holidays everyone and I’ll see you in 2018.

 

New Novella – Of Gods and Men

Of Gods and Men novellaI’m delighted to announce that a new novella I’ve written has been revealed today, along with the awesome cover! Of Gods and Men, a digital and audio novella is set to be released in February 2018 by Orbit books. So there’s only a few short months to wait!

This story can be read at any time and it will still make sense. If you’ve read the first trilogy, the Age of Darkness (Battlemage, Bloodmage, Chaosmage), or even just the first book, then it provides some info and background that feeds into the second trilogy without spoiling what’s to come.

If you’re completely up to date and have read Mageborn and are eagerly waiting for the next book, this gives you something new  to read in the meantime that fills in some background on a much-loved character…or two. There are also a few easter eggs in there as normal for loyal readers.

And, if you’ve somehow stumbled across this post and have not read any of my books before, but want something lighter and shorter to try before wading into a trilogy, then you can read it and the story is self contained enough that it will also make sense.

The title also gives you a big clue in some ways about its structure and one of the non-fantasy influences for the story, but it doesn’t reveal any spoilers.

Mageborn launch events

Just a quick round up to say I had a fantastic couple of launch events in Birmingham and London last week to celebrate the publication of Mageborn.

In Birmingham, RJ Barker and I were quizzed by Tom Bissell about magic, writing, our influences, and all the while we and the audience enjoyed a nice glass of MAGE real ale brewed by Fownes Brewery with help from myself. Below are some photos from the evening’s entertainment, which also included a brief game of Bluff my Call (not related in any way to a TV show that had a similar name).

In London I sat down with Ed Cox to have a more intimate one on one chat covering a wide range of topics ranging from our origins, the place where we write every, our parents, influences, world building, magic and exciting books we were looking forward to seeing in the coming months. It was a lot of fun to dig into each other’s origin story and to chat to some new people afterwards.

Later this month I’ll be taking another trip down south for the MCM Comic Con at the Excel Centre (October 27-29th) so if you’re in the area come along, say hello and get a book signed.

MAGE is born….or brewed

Today I went over to Fownes Brewery in Gornal to help them put the finishing touching on the special edition real ale I helped them brew, MAGE. This real ale was specially commissioned to tie in with the publication of my new novel, Mageborn, book 1 in the new Age of Dread trilogy. Today at the brewery we were labelling up the bottles and boxing them up. Behold the tasty, delicious darkness that is MAGE, a 5% porter.

I also had my first taste and I was super nervous. What if after all of this I didn’t like it? In the past I’ve ordered or bought beers and in theory they have all the things I like, but when I actually taste them it I’ve been disappointed. I am hugely relieved to say MAGE tastes fantastic. I really like it.

It was really special to see it today having been there at the beginning. And don’t they all look gorgeous lined up together in neat rows in that box! The beady eyed amongst you will also notice there is an abbreviated version of the Mageborn summary on the label as well. I’m pleased to say bottles of MAGE will be there on Wednesday night in Birmingham at the Mageborn launch to drink or take away for later.

Summer might be over, but today it didn’t stop me from sitting out in the sunshine this afternoon and enjoying a nice dark beer. Cheers!

 

October and November events

It’s less than a month until Mageborn is launched so in a few weeks time I will be leaving the writing cave and venturing out into the wide world to meet other people. Seeing an author in the wild is a rare event so you should try to get to at least one of these events before they go back into hibernation for winter.

Both of the Mageborn events are free but you need to contact the organisers to reserve a seat.

Wednesday 4th October – Birmingham Waterstones – RJ Barker and I will be in conversation, with Tom Bissell setting the questions. We’ll be talking about being a published author, magic, world building and having a bit of fun, and maybe a beer or two.

Thursday 5th October – Blackwell’s Bookshop in London – This time I’ll be sitting down with the fantastic Ed Cox for some one on one discussion about writing other races, magic in our worlds and our origin stories. I’ve sat with Ed before on panels but never had a chance to do a proper uninterrupted chat so I think it will be a really interesting discussion.

End of October – I’m probably going to be appearing at another event in London, more info when I have it.

Sledge Lit – Saturday 25th November – This one day event in Derby will have a host of fantasy and science fiction writers on panels talking about all manner of things related to fantasy, science fiction and horror. There will be workshops as well and there are guests of honour. I’ll be on some panels and signing books. You have to buy a ticket to attend this one day event.

That should be it before Christmas, but you never know…..

 

New Podcast Interview

I recently recorded an interview with Hank Garner, the host of the Author Stories podcast. We had a great time talking about my writing process, how I got started in writing, when I first realised I liked telling stories, as well as where Battlemage came from.

I had a great time chatting with Hank as he has a really relaxed and easy going manner and the time flew by. Check out this episode, but also the other episodes where he talks to dozens of fantasy and science fiction authors. The podcast is also available on iTunes.

Listen to the episode

Author stories podcast

Beer and books

Fownes Brewery LogoI am delighted to announce that I will be working with a local brewery, Fownes, to create a special limited-edition real ale to celebrate the publication of Mageborn.

Next month I will taking a trip to Fownes Brewery, based in Gornal, Dudley, to help them brew and bottle a special beer ahead of October’s launch. I have been a long term fan of real ale (there are even a few reviews on this website) and wanted to do something special to celebrate the start of this second trilogy.

A few months ago I paid Fownes brewery a visit to discuss my cunning plan. Over a cup of tea (it was before midday) I found I had a lot in common with brothers Tom and James Fownes, the brewers,  including a love of fantasy books, comics, the animated version of Hobbit from years ago, Jackson and Livingstone fighting fantasy novels and, of course, real ale. My favourite type of ale are typically dark beers and porters, which they also like to brew, so it sounded like a match made in heaven!

As a result of the brothers common interests the brewery and all of their ales are fantasy-themed. Just look at the gorgeous artwork they have on their beers!

We actually tried to sort out a real ale a while ago, and for those with keen eyes, the brothers have a cameo in Bloodmage. But at the time I was living in another part of the country and it was more difficult to coordinate. Now that I’m in the West Midlands it was very easy for me to pop over to chat it through.

So, I will provide more info on the real ale, such as where and when it will be available once I’ve brewed it, but by the time Mageborn comes out in October, it will be ready, if not before!

I also hope to have some bottles with me at both Mageborn signing events in early October in Birmingham and London. Fingers crossed.

And that’s a wrap

Just a short post to say the first draft of book 5,  (well book 2 in the new Age of Dread trilogy), is done.

The first draft is raw, rough and it still needs a lot of work, but the main framework of the story is now done. I’ve had this story in my head for over a year and it’s taken me months and months to gradually shape the idea into a real thing. It’s changed a bit, despite planning it ahead of time, and I’ve already got a few things in mind I need to revise before anyone sees it. Then once I’m relatively happy with it I will send it on to my editors.

I know it is going to be edited several times and I’m going to be revising this text for the next year or so, but even so I want to get this current version to a comfortable state. There are a number of things I need to fix. Namely writing tics. Things I’ve realised I’ve started to develop, and some I didn’t even know I was doing but have been pointed out by other people. They’re crutches or cliches I might use too often so I’m going to file them off for starters. Other things are part of the plot that already stick out like a sore thumb. Polish the dialogue to make it more natural. There’s a list.

Now is actually the best time to do this, because once it goes into the publishing process I’m on much tighter deadlines, and working on the next book, so my focus is split. I’m ahead of my deadline at the moment so I have time to knuckle down and sort it now. Hopefully by doing so it will pay off later when I get my first set of editorial notes back on this new book. That’s the plan anyway.

Once this goes off to the publisher it’s back to fleshing out my notes for book 6 and then the hard work of a first draft begins again! No rest for the wicked and all that.

French Interview

Earlier this year I went on a very quick overnight visit to Paris to attend an event to celebrate the first Hellfest Inferno Prize. This was at the offices of my French publisher, Bragelonne, and it was also my first trip ever to France. It was a great party atmosphere and everyone was having a lot of fun, as the video shows.

I was a finalist up against some incredible fantasy writers and was delighted to be nominated. After a public vote I was announced as the winner.

Below is a link to an interview in English with French subtitles I conducted while I was there, intercut with me picking up the award, talking about my books and my influences. There are no spoilers in the video so it doesn’t reveal anything from the plot.