Tag Archives: bags of action

Crash Landing – New Podcast

As you may be aware, maybe not, as well as writing novels and comics, I am also a podcaster.

Grouchy Old Geeks
IGrouchy Old Geeks‘ve been podcasting 11 years this July with my co-host Scott Grandison. It started out as Comic Book Outsiders but then morphed into Grouchy Old Geeks (as we both drift closer to middle age), where once a month we talk about comics, movies, TV, games and whatever else takes our fancy.

Bags of Action
Bags of ActionI also podcast with Pete Rogers (with whom I co-write comics) where once a month on Bags of Action we talk about an action movie that we’ve both watched in the previous weeks. We love classic action movies but we also dig into some of the modern blockbusters that have really surprised us.

Crash Landing
Crash Landing LogoToday sees the launch of a new podcast, Crash Landing. This one is more focused on books and fiction. It’s just me, talking to a guest, about 5 books that they couldn’t live without if they were being crash landed onto an alien world. So these are not necessarily their favourite books (although for some guests they are one and the same), they are books that are powerful, special and important to them and each episode I find out why. I love talking to other writers about process, their approach and their work, but often at gatherings with crowds there isn’t the time, space or sometimes just the inclination to talk in depth on these topics. Also at conventions when you get a group of writers on a panel you have to be considerate for the other and not just talk non-stop for an hour.

So this podcast gives me a chance to have a more detailed conversation with writers, one on one, about the books that shaped them and still hold special meaning to them. It’s always fascinating to hear a person’s choice and then see how it has influenced their own work and the direction of their life.

As ever, if you would like to support any of these podcasts, or others on the Geek Syndicate network, I would really appreciate it if you became a Patron via Patreon.

All podcasts are available for free on iTunes or via the Geek Syndicate website

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Post-birthday blog

Friday was another birthday for me, not a landmark one, so following that and a few other developments, I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up blog for the end of this month.

Today I just received copies of the French version of Battlemage – Mage de Guerre – from my French publisher – Bragelonne. So if you want more info or to get your hands on copy in French, their website is the best place to start. It looks amazing and I love the cover.

Next month Bloodmage comes out and I’ve got a few signing events around the UK. I’m really excited about this book in a different way to Battlemage. It was my début book and this is now a chance to show readers that it wasn’t a fluke, and I can do it again. It’s a very different kind of book, so there’s some anxiety about how it will be received if people are expecting more of the same. In some ways I think it is a more accomplished book, but that’s just me.

I’m also doing a Goodreads giveaway, and this is open to people all around the world. I will sign and post 5 copies to 5 winners. There’s still a week left, so you just need to be a member of Goodreads to enter which is free to join.

I’ve just sent back the proof amends for book 3, title currently not announced, which means that is the last time I will see it before it comes out in print later this year. So, technically in terms of writing for the Age of Darkness trilogy…I’m done.

So that brings me on to the next thing. I’ve made a start, and I have a stack of ideas and have written several thousand words in notes. Character arcs, exciting tentpole moments from the story, ideas for where I see the story going at a top level. Then I start breaking it down into segments and themes and chunks. I’m writing it all down and then I start to sift it into some kind of semblance of order. I’ve not booked to attend any conventions this year until Fantasycon at the end of September in Scarborough. So that gives me a few months clear to knuckle down and focus on this next set of books and getting some words done on the first draft of book 1.

Other things are ticking along in the background, comic book projects are still going and also I’m still doing two podcasts a month with Bags of Action and Comic Book Outsiders. There will be an announcement next month about the podcasts, and an adjustment, but generally not a lot will change. I still love doing it which is why I’m still doing them 8 years on from when we started.

Spring is here so that means it’s time for me to start planting stuff out again in the garden, fruit and veg. I never thought I’d become a bit like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life, but hey, it’s happened. I enjoy it, it keeps me active, and home grown stuff tastes yummy.  That also reminds me, now that I’ve moved to a new area of the country, there are a lot of different local breweries to try. So I might be posting a few more real ale reviews on the website soon.

My reading has been pretty slow lately as it’s been busy with book 3 work, but I’m gradually getting to the end of Assassin’s Quest. I am enjoying it, but the book is very dense and about 800 pages, so it is taking me a while. My to read pile is mocking me, so I’m going to try make more time to read as it becomes a bit quieter for the next few months. Right, time to get back to pondering the next big thing.

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February worklog

I thought I would do a quick post about what I’m up to at the moment on various things.

So, book 2, Bloodmage, is completely done and dusted. My publisher, Orbit books, has just sent me the latest version of the cover and I think it looks really good. So that is all set to come out in April.

In about a week’s time the copy edits on book 3, currently untitled, will be coming back to me. I’ve then got a couple of weeks to turn it around and send it back to the publisher. After that, a few weeks later, I get a physical proof.

So at the moment I have a window of time where I’m not writing. I won’t lie. It’s weird. After doing it all the time, almost every day, to suddenly not be working on a novel seems odd.

Not writing at all doesn’t sit right with me, so I’m writing down notes for the next big thing. In theory it will be a new trilogy, but it is very early days, so that might change. In the meantime I’m also working on what is currently a novelette, but depending on how long it runs, it might turn into a novella. It’s set in the same world as the Age of Darkness, and it shines the light on a couple of characters. It is an interesting side adventure they went on together. Chronologically it’s set before Battlemage, so it doesn’t spoil anything, but if you’ve read book 1 already then there are pay-offs.

I’ve just finished doing an Author roundtable Q and A over at SFF World which you can read here. The questions were mostly about process  and more general as there were three of us.

The comic book projects roll on. Flux, co-written with Pete Rogers is going well. We’ve just finished the Issue 3 script (out of 4) and we’re fairly happy with it. Artwork for issue 2 is still coming in and we’re going to start working on Issue 4, and extra content soon. I’ve also got about nine ideas written down for some other mini series and am having trouble deciding what to pursue next. I think a bit of a head to head Skype chat with Pete is what is required.

The podcasting is still going well. I have monthly chats with Scott for CBO and the same with Pete for Bags of Action, where we talk action movies. Later this month I’ll be doing face to face podcasts with both of them, which will be weird, as you learn certain rhythms when doing it over the internet. Seeing the person talk is just odd. Pete and I recently saw Creed, so we’ll be talking about that very soon for Bags. We’re both big fans of the Rocky franchise so it will be an interesting discussion.

Soon I’ll be announcing some events in the UK for the launch of Bloodmage in April, so keep checking back. The first of these as gone up already on the Events page, and I will add more when confirmed. I suspect I’ll be attending a couple of conventions this year but I’m not sure where or when yet. Pie in the sky idea for 2017 is to attend NYCC in October, but right now it’s just a cool idea. Let’s see if it actually happens.

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Podcasting Legends

I’m giving that title to someone else, not me, namely Scott Grandison, my partner in crime on our podcast of eight years last week, Comic Book Outsiders.

When we started podcasting we had a sign at comic book conventions on our table that said – Ask us about podcasting! Several times an hour, people came up to the table and asked, so what’s a podcast? Eight years on, there are thousands of podcasts being produced all around the world, they’re on iTunes to download, celebrities even produce their own podcasts.

A year before we started, there were a few other podcasts I listened to, one being Geek Syndicate, from two more worthy of the  title Podcasting Legends, namely Barry Nugent and David Monteith. They’re one of the reasons we started in the first place and they’re also still going to this day, nine years on. So hats off to you both, gentleman.

To celebrate CBO’s 175th episode last week, we asked Barry to join us for a completely unplanned hour of geekery. We talked about anything and everything, we had a few mini rants, got some stuff off our chest and we celebrated some awesome stuff. It reminded me again why I like podcasting and how brilliant it is as a medium for connecting people with common interests. It’s also takes me a lot less time to explain why I like something than write the equivalent. Long-term discussion and analysis on the internet is not that common, and it would take a long time to read, but I can have the same discussion with six people in 30 minutes on a podcast. Good luck transcribing that!

Other stuff, I’m busy with all sorts of book stuff, so I’ve taken a step back from my other podcast, Bags of Action. So in July Pete Rogers, my other co-host, discussed Kury Fury and Predator: Dark Ages with Gavin Jones from the Sidekickcast. Next month Pete and Scott will crossover in some kind of weird summer blockbuster event with Arnie and Stallone in the same film, and discuss Aliens, so watch out for that.

Nine Worlds Geekfest

Next week, Scott, Barry and I are once again co-running the Podcasting track for Nine Worlds. We’ve got all sorts of interesting and thought provoking panels, educational ones, a guest speaker and the legendary, Annual Podcaster Games, which is the ultimate geek quiz. The winning team each gets to take home the coveted golden microphone trophy, so do not miss that if you’re going, it’s at 11.45am on Saturday.

I’m also appearing on a couple of panels at Nine Worlds on the Book Track, so keep an eye out and if you’re going I’ll see you there on a panel, at my reading, or most likely, in the bar.

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June Podcasts

It’s not quite July just yet, so I thought I’d do a quick post on this month’s podcasts.

Bags of Action Episode 23 is out. Pete and I talk about Salt, starring Angelina Jolie. This espionage, action thriller was originally going to have Tom Cruise in the lead, but it was later rewritten for a female lead. We talk about that, what happens in the film and there’s been news about where the film might be going next. In the current era of remakes (Point Break, Robocop, Total Recall, Big Trouble in Little China, the list goes on and on) there might be a sequel to this film, which only came out in 2010, so it’s not that old.

Click here for more information or search for Bags of Action on iTunes where we talk about a different action film every month.

In Comic Book Outsiders we have a comic book heavy month, after last month where we focused a lot more on TV. This episode I do one of our favourite sections, Challenge Scott. This is where I pitch three comics to my co-host and try to get him interested in at least one of them to pick it up. So far he’s always picked up and read one or more, so 100% success rate so far. For our main feature we discuss Gateway Comics. These are comic you can pick up and read if you’ve never read any comics before.

If you want to get into comics, but don’t know where to start, this episode is for you. We talk about a broad range of comics across many genres and throw out a lot of different titles. And we barely scratch the surface. We could easily have talked for hours on this subject. So if you want a few ideas of where to start beyond what we talk about in this episode, get in touch.

Click here for more information on CBO episode 174, or download the podcast from iTunes.

As the book stuff ramps up I’m taking a break for a few months on Bags of Action, so Pete will continue the monthly schedule with a number of guest co-hosts and I’ll be back in either September or October. I’m hoping to be able to continue doing CBO once a month though.

I suspect there will be more book news in the coming months but I’m sure I’ll be posting about other stuff as well.

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April bits and pieces

It is almost May and as the year races by I’m desperately trying to hold on to the seat of my pants and get stuff done. The first draft of book three is under way, and I’ve had a couple of months now to get my head back into it, completely ignore the other two books and focus. It’s been going well so far despite having to attend two funerals in two months and of course Eastercon. But despite such events being so draining I always come away feeling reinvigorated and so far that has continued as I chip away at the wall of book 3.

Two comic book projects are now cooking with gas. Flux, co-written with my good chum Pete Rogers and drawn by Maysam Barza, is getting beaten into shape and we’re editing and revising the story, making it better and leaner. When we hit a bump in the road, rather than make it even more complex we’re stripping it back, getting to the core of the story and it’s going very well.

The Promise, also co-written with Pete, and drawn by the extremely talented Simone Guglielmini, is now getting to the place where we are hoping to be able to submit it to a publisher this year. Simone has proven to be as passionate about this project as us which has been so rewarding and he’s been brilliant at throwing ideas at us, as well as sketches and amazing pages of art.

This month’s podcasts, on Bags of Action Pete and I wrapped up part 3 of our trilogy to Kurt Russell, with Tango and Cash, which was really a vehicle for Sly Stallone. You can find more information about it and listen to that here, by clicking on the link below, or via iTunes.

Click here to download Bags of Action – Tango and Cash

Over on Comic Book Outsiders, Scott and I managed to fill up a whole episode with some of the latest news from comics, films and film trailers and TV. We discussed the new wave of Marvel TV but there are no spoilers as I’ve not seen any of Daredevil yet and Scott was only halfway through. You can find more information about that here or again listen via iTunes.

I think the rest of the year is going to be more of the same, a mix of editing book 2, working on comic book projects and then getting ready for the launch of Battlemage in September. I’m at events in August and September, so that’s going to be a hectic time and then next year I’ve got two books coming out. So this year is going to seem like a gentle breeze and a warm up compared to 2016!

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February’s Podcasts

As mentioned last month, the Podcasting network I am involved with has had a face lift and a kick in the pants, and now we are back on track with a regular schedule and more new content.

Pete Rogers, my co-host on Bags of Action had some very nice things to say about then new website and new logo. You should be following his posts anyway so take a look at his website. This month’s episodes are:-

CBO – Episode 170 – In honour of our first guest on the new Crash Landing, our main feature is about our favourite detectives from film and television, plus all of the latest news from geek culture.

Bags of Action – Episode 17 – Big Trouble in Little China – the classic John Carpenter, Kurt Russell film about weird things going bump in Chinatown. It’s a film full of weird magic, karate kicking, cheesy one liners, weird CGI things, flying men, swords, guns, lots of punching and even the odd romantic moment!

Crash Landing – Episode 1 – The first of a new monthly podcast. Every episode we maroon a guest on our crashing spaceship. They have one hour to salvage humanity’s most important cultural artefacts before they crash land on the planet of their choice.

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Podcasting empire

I’ve been podcast for over seven years now and the landscape has changed dramatically in that time. When we started not many people really knew what podcasting was and the number of podcasts and people listening was a fraction of what is today.

Coming up on eight years on from when we first started in July 2007, my co-host and I have done all sorts with the podcast and it has led to all sorts of opportunities, personally and professionally. I’ve attended comic book conventions and spoken on panels about podcasting, their place in the new media landscape and taken part in discussions about whether or not it’s a form of journalism. I also co-ran the podcasting track at the Nine Worlds Geekfest convention last year and will be involved again this year.

Professionally I’ve used the editing and sound skills I learned from a hobby in two of my jobs. One was to introduce podcasting to a large global company who wanted to keep their employees up to date in a way that was mobile. So I trained a couple of other people on good technique, introduced them to the software and how it works, and off they went. I’ve also used the same skills for video editing and my voice has been used on several demonstration videos which I put together.

On a personal level, podcasting has allowed me to speak with some amazing creative people, writers and artist from several mediums, plus independent filmmakers. This was sometimes on the Book Club where we spoke to authors, and sometimes on Comic Book Outsiders.

We’ve now reached the point where after so many years we’ve settled into a rhythm and are still enjoying what we do. With that in mind I thought it might be worth giving a little bit of information about the podcasts I’m involved with, as part of our mini podcasting empire!

Comic Book Outsiders – Once a month I co-host this comics and geek related podcast with Scott. This was the original podcast we started in 2007 and we are still going. We talk about things in the news, comics books, TV, films and games, we discuss meaty topics, we have guests on to talk about their work and we highlight hidden gems that don’t get as much attention as they should.

Bags of Action – Once a month I co-host this podcast with Pete Rogers. If you love action movies then this is the podcast for you. We talk about the ridiculous stories and the wonderful chaos common to this type of movie. From gun fights that go on forever to fist fights that defy gravity and common sense. Every month we discuss and dissect an action movie and always have a good time recording it. Sometimes we go off the rails a bit and dig into some of the trivia, or we just wander off into other areas if the film is poor.

Crash Landing – Once a month Scott sits down with a special guest. Fortunately they have been rescued from a dying earth. Unfortunately the rocket ship they are on is going to crash land. They have to decide which popular media they want to save, books, films or comics, or a combination of all three. What could they not live without on their brave new world? As well as talking about why they love their choices we find out more about our special guests each month.

The website for the CBO network has more information on all of the podcasts, plus ways you can get involved and even support the podcasts. It’s all on iTunes as well so give one or more of the podcasts a try and let me know what you think.

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That’s a wrap

Quick general update. This month has been flying by. It’s been super busy in the day job, and I’ve been stacked up at night with various things. Probably the most exciting news is that the proof of Battlemage is done! I spotted a few things, had a few more fed back to me from the publisher and I’ve sent back my comments on them. So that’s it. I’m done. That’s a wrap!

There are some tweaks to be made to the cover, but that’s not up to me and I’ve already sent in my comments. So now book 1 is completely finished for me (there’s still the whole printing and binding thing, but it’s probably not a good idea for me to do that!) and the next time I see it, Battlemage the book will be a thing. A physical artefact that I can hold in my hand. The final sum total of years of work by many people. It’s very scary and also the prospect of seeing the book is one of the most exciting things in my life. It is literally a dream come true.

So now I’m trying to get my head back into book 2, then send that off and I will hopefully have a gap of a few months to sink back into book 3 and make some good progress.

Other stuff, episode 169 of the Comic Book Outsiders podcast is out now which I co-host. We talk about some of the latest geek news, and then in terms of comics we revisit The Fuse, Letter 44 and Southern Bastards. Also episode 18 of Bags of Action is out, part 3 of our trilogy to Arnie and we discuss Predator, a classic film of the late eighties.

The newest comic book project I’ve been working on, and actually the one I can say the least about, is proving to be the most exciting and it is racing ahead. It’s proving to be both incredibly challenging and also very rewarding because of it’s unusual nature and the approach. Hopefully I can share some more details about this soon.

So, in the meantime, it’s back to work on the second draft of book 2, enjoying the current mid-season break of TV shows as I have less to distract me. In April it all kicks off with Eastercon, Dyprosium, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and a bucket load of new Marvel Lego to go with it. Lots of awesome stuff to look forward to.

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CBO – The Relaunch

Last month, Scott, my co-host, and I did a soft relaunch of our podcast, Comic Book Outsiders, for a third time. We’ve been going for over seven years now, and this is more of a refresh than a total relaunch. We’ve got a new theme tune, which is more relaxed and chilled out than previous intros, to reflect our approach, but we’re still going to be producing similar content, just on a more regular basis.

As well as doing CBO once a month, we’re also going to add a new podcast to the network. As soon as I can say more about this I will. I think it’s something different, and quite new, which is increasingly difficult to find with podcasts these days. When we started there were not that many around, and we had to explain to people what a podcast was! Technology moves so quickly it’s hard to believe. I’ve seen 2 year old children swiping tablet screens and knowing how to turn them on and off.

Anyway, back on podcasting. Also on our network, I co-host Bags of Action, a monthly podcast about action movies, where Pete Rogers and I cackle as we dissect modern and classic action films. We’ve just completed a three part Salute to Swayze, and are now moving into a trilogy dedicated to Arnie. We always have fun recording it. This was the initial requirement Scott and I had, and that if it ever stopped being fun and started to feel like a job we’d stop doing it. We came close a couple of times over the seven years, which is why our output and schedule varied at times .

Since we started Comic Book Outsiders our plan has always been to highlight hidden gems and spotlight comics, books, films and TV shows that deserve more attention. Over the years we’ve spoken to some amazing comic book artists and writers, novelists, film directors and people whose work cross several mediums. This is absolutely the best thing about doing the podcast. Talking to amazing people who are out there creating amazing content.

Our approach remains the same, as we both have quite eclectic tastes, and my comic reading horizons have definitely broadened over the last fifteen years. We do enjoy mainstream media and will discuss it, like some of the best films but I’m constantly challenging myself and Scott to step outside our comfort zones.

In the first episode of our relaunch, we had a Challenge Scott section, a semi-regular slot where I pitch Scott three comic books and try to get him interested enough to pick up at least one of them. Further down the line we then discuss the comic book. Last episode I pitched Letter 44 from Oni Press, The Fuse from Image comics, and Southern Bastards from Image comics. In the end Scott went with SB, because it sounded the furthest out of his comfort zone and the story intrigued him. I think it will be a really interesting discussion which we’ll be having as part of the January episode. So if you want to get involved, have read any of the three mentioned, and have an opinion on SB, then get in touch.

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