Friday, 21 October 2016

#amwriting (warning: spoilers)

21.10.16 Welcome to some random ramblings. Just back from NYCC (which was awesome!) and back to writing - Book Five - which is cool. I'm going to try NaNoWriMo this year, not completely within the rules as I've started the book already, more to get my word count up. It's around 500 a day at the moment which isn't enough. I'll let you know how I get on here, together with some stuff from the new books (I'm working on LC's second book too) and some bits and pieces from the other books that are inspiring the new ones (hence the spoiler warning!) :)

21.10.16 "First thing I ever taught her - don't get involved with the target. And she goes and falls for one of yours." Frank O'Brien, HR.

21.10.16 10pm 1,500 words - yay! :)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

#SummerReading #LoveToRead

50% off Thieves’ Guild eBooks until the end of July

Apologies that I haven’t been in touch for a while – I’ve been writing! I have loads to do if I’m to hit the targets and deadlines I’ve set myself and the main thing is that I’m loving it. I have to say as well that I’m really appreciating the feedback and comments from all the people who have been in touch after reading my stuff. I’m not sure people realise how much a few words can mean – so many thanks once again.
My latest news is that I’ll be at the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia again this year (in just a couple of weeks!) and also I’m really excited that I’ve been asked to go back to the New York Comic Con again in October. It’ll be great to meet up with everyone we met over there last year. As far as gallivanting goes, that’s all I’m booked in for at the moment. Weekends have become rather precious lately.
Also newsworthy is that Kheris Burning is now available on iBooks and Kobo. I dabbled with making it exclusive on Kindle but I love being able to say that it’s out there for everyone, however you read your eBooks. I know you can get a Kindle app for an iPhone, but it’s cool to be able to get it direct from iBooks.
And, all the Thieves’ Guild books are on offer at Smashwords for the rest of July. Residual Belligerence is free, of course, but you can get 50% off all the rest if you’d like to stock up on your reading for the summer or if you know anyone who might like to read them too!
That’s it for now. I’ll get back to the gang and the dramas of Book Five and LC’s second book! Thanks again for all the support. Hope to see you again soon at an event. Have a good summer!
Best wishes,

Sunday, 12 June 2016

How long does it take to write a book…?

As far as frequently asked questions go, this is the one that won at MCM London this year, along with the slight variations of “How long have you been writing these books?” or “How long have you been writing?”
I love talking to writers at events and my answer seemed to inspire everyone I spoke to… it’s been a long time.
I’ve been writing since I was in junior school and I’ve been writing about these characters for almost twenty five years. I have a curled-edged old notebook from around 1992 with LC, Sean, Hal Duncan and Gallagher all sketched out in outline with the basic plot of the whole thing and some random scenes that have actually appeared in the books in some form or another. NG turned up around then too (without a name, hence the FNG tag) and I have a load of short stories and more random scenes written from his POV in first person, which was always lots of fun. I think that’s why I like writing NG so much.
I started writing the first actual book, RB, in 2007 when something pretty bad happened. Hil turned up, took me by the scruff of the neck when I was in dark hole and said, “I’m going to tell this story.” He became my first real main character and writing that book was my way of dealing with a lot of anger and pain, that, to be honest, I think I needed to go through before I could really get any of it right.
RB came out in 2011 but it only took me about a year to write. The rest of those five years was faffing about, plucking up the courage to do something with it, half-heartedly sending it out to a couple of agents (who said it was good but that they didn’t ‘get’ it) and then a year of getting it ready to be actually published (the whole proofreading, typesetting, cover design and whatnot) which coincided with us setting up Sixth Element Publishing, and starting to work on other people’s books.
BD took me a year and a half to write and I pretty much had that done and finished before we brought out the first one. Book two came out at the end of 2012 so that also took about a year to get ready once it was written.
HR is another story completely. I had other stuff going on at the time that wasn’t great and I didn’t want to let NG go. This is why it’s so much longer than the first two. By Christmas of 2013, I’d already spent almost four years writing it and I was nowhere near the end. I hadn’t done any promotion for the first two books and still found it hard to admit to anyone that I was writing them. That was when Hatt connived with Andy and Steve at Sci-fi Scarborough and booked me in for my first convention, telling me that I was going to finish it and I was going to launch it properly. I had four months to finish writing it, edit it, get it typeset and proofread it. I was still checking it with ten minutes to go before the print deadline. (I ran out of time – and if anyone has a first print run copy of that first edition, I apologise for the typos in the last few chapters.)
I didn’t sleep for three weeks before that first event at Scarborough but in the end it was great. The reception we got for the books was awesome and right from the minute the doors opened, we had such great feedback it made me feel I could actually do it. At the end of that first weekend, the guys said to me, “See you here next year with Book Four?” I didn’t have a single word of it even scribbled in pencil but how could I resist?
So I wrote, revised, edited, proofread and published WD in less than a year. But that was relying heavily on the momentum of carrying on the story from the end of HR. Last year at Scarbs when we launched WD, again I had the whole, “Yay, see you next year with a new book!” So I couldn’t not. I actually started writing DF last summer, but it was all so intense after the end of WD, it was a bit much. I made the decision to have a slight breather from the main big story and write LC’s story as a kid, which was a lot of fun. Again, I managed it in a year but that was on the back of almost ten years of writing books about these characters, and ten years before that writing bits and pieces, so twenty years all together of living with and getting to know them and where they’d come from. So yes, I can write a book in a year, but that’s been on the back of an awfully long time of big thinking.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

WIP: what’s next…?

Book Five! We’ve even got a title for it already: Darkest Fears (Thieves’ Guild: Book Five). It carries on the main big story from the first four books and I’m well into it already. I won’t give away who the main character is (although if you’ve seen the draft cover, you might be able to guess) but the whole cast from the other books are in there, and it’s all as intense as ever as the story builds even more.
It’s good to be back to the main drama but I’m glad I took the break I did to write LC’s story as a kid. It’s been fun and I must admit, I still can’t help dabbling in my notebook with bits and pieces from his next story.
But back to Book Five… I need a new album from Linkin Park and another bottle of Kraken Black Spiced Rum and hopefully it should all go to plan (…as if that ever happens!).

In the meantime, Kheris Burning (Thieves’ Guild Origins: LC Book One) is out next week. It’s available now for pre-order in eBook at Kindle and iBooks and in paperback at Amazon or Sixth Element Publishing

And we’ll be at Sci-Fi Scarborough on 9th/10th April. 
Hope to see you soon!

Best wishes,

Friday, 29 January 2016

What’s coming up in 2016?

Hello! I haven’t blogged in an age because I’ve been busy with Kheris, the next book due out in April, and no, it’s not Book Five, it’s a side-step. It’s the Thieves’ Guild universe and it’s the same characters, specifically LC, but ten years ago when he was a thirteen year old kid caught in a warzone on Kheris.
I am writing Book Five, and planning Book Six, but I think after the end of Four, I needed some breathing space. It’s all been quite intense. If I thought the end of Three had left me standing at the edge of an abyss, the end of Four left me reeling. And what’s coming up in Five and Six is tough, for everyone.
The idea to take a step back started when I first started going to comic cons. I’ve had so many people ask if these books are suitable for teens, and my standard answer was yes, why not? There was no such thing as Young Adult fiction (YA) when we were kids. We read science fiction, we read books. My hubs was reading James Herbert and Isaac Asimov when he was eight. My only reservation was that there are some strong words in my stuff. I edit a lot out. And the few that remain are there for a reason. And I am aware that the language gets stronger as the books progress. But it made me think. I looked into what makes a YA book and it was awesome to see everyone say keep the language, keep the realism, keep the action and tension, give the characters a tough time, because that’s what we all want to read about, whatever age we are. Action adventure scifi is escapism. It’s rollercoaster good guys and bad guys, space battles, aliens, pirates, assassins and bounty hunters, heroes running around with guns, cats and dogs living together… If you love that stuff, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
But… the one big thing that everyone seems to agree on is that kids like reading about kids. So it got me thinking about LC. He never talks about what happened on Kheris when he was thirteen. So I just wondered, what if he did…
So that’s what is coming out in April at Sci-Fi Scarbs this year. Before then, I’m venturing out into Stockton for my first proper bookshop book signing at Drake's, then staying in the north-east I’ll be at the Newcastle Film and Comic Con in March, and then after Sci-Fi Scarborough in April, I’ll be at MCM London in May, back in Stockton for Kapow in June and then down in Kent for Invicta Con in August. After that, who knows! I’d love to go back to NYCC. And once Kheris is finished, I’ll be getting back to big story: Darkest Fears (Thieves’ Guild: Book Five) due out April 2017…

Kheris Burning (Thieves' Guild Origins: LC Book One) is due out April 2016. Sign up for my newsletter at to get news on release dates and events.