For the record – how the Black Dawn became a series

I need to set this up first, otherwise shooting myself in the foot, which I plan to do in a minute, isn’t going to work.

When a writer needs to explain something about their work, whether before or after publication, it’s as though they’re intimating that the work is incomplete. In groups I’ve run and classes I’ve taught in the past, whenever writers read their material aloud, rather than giving everyone an introduction or preamble, I always encouraged them to dive in and let the writing speak for itself.

That’s the pure way, the artistic way – takes some courage but it was always worth it for the feedback from listeners hearing it ‘cold’ rather than prepped.

Ahem. Now then…

*aims Glock at tarsals*

Seeing as it’s been almost four years since the Black Dawn series was published, there’s something I want to tell you.

*squeezes trigger*

Between them, Black Feathers and The Book of the Crowman have close to a thousand ratings on Goodreads, which is lovely.

Keeping an eye on Goodreads reviews is a great way for authors to gauge how their work is received by a wide selection of booklovers.

In fact, if it wasn’t for Goodreads, I’d never have discovered that hardly any readers understand why these two books became a series.

Here’s the truth: Continue reading

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Paper. Hats. Lots of paper and hats.

Since my last post, I have been like a man lost in a room piled high with A4 paper.

It was a large room, more of a gymnasium really, and it was VERY full. To make matters worse, someone wearing a hat that said ‘Writer’ on it had typed an idea all over those sheets of paper – a pretty outlandish idea, if you ask me.

Anyway, someone had to go into that room wearing an editor’s hat (and NBC/HAZMAT suit) and sort the mess out. That someone was me.

But, to be fair to all parties, the person who filled up all the sheets of paper with the outlandish idea in the first place was also me.

It’s a good thing I have so many hats, so that I can do all these jobs. I have a vacuuming hat, a grocery shopping hat, a laundry hat, a school run hat, an ironing hat, a dusting hat, a cleaning the litter tray hat, a cooking hat and a washing up hat, among many others.

Fortunately, the one hat I don’t have to wear at the moment is an agent’s hat. I’m happy about this because I really don’t like the agent’s hat and doing the things that wearing it makes me do. I’ve been lucky enough to find someone who is willing to wear the agent’s hat for me and do all that agent’s hat-wearing stuff – one of those things being reading an early draft and then sending it to people who like to wear commissioning editor’s hats.

Hoorah!

However, wearing the agent’s hat could mean that he doesn’t like all the pieces of paper enough to show them to people in commissioning editor’s hats. This, I feel quite strongly, would be a Bad Thing.

On the other hand, the man in the agent’s hat might throw his hands in the air and yell “Far out, writer’s hat-wearing dude! Awesome bits of paper, and all in the correct order! I’m going to show people in commissioning editor’s hats what you’ve done here.” This, I’m almost certain, would be a Good Thing.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, it’s another little milestone that takes the process from finished first draft to finished first submittable draft.

And, now, I put on the first of my waiting hats – there are many, to be worn at the several waiting stages of the process to come.

*twiddles thumbs*

*Thinks paper and hat thoughts*

The End = The Beginning. (Maybe.) :-)

Some weeks ago, I began a new novel, the details of which I posted here. Then I disappeared. Novelists do that.

This is me reappearing and saying, “Tada!” because the first draft is complete.

Having shown my agent the six-page outline in August, I felt confident to get on with the writing. I went at it daily for about eleven weeks, only missing days when it was unavoidable – perhaps five or six absences across the whole stretch.

The novel had to come in at under 150K so that it won’t be too long to sell (mss above this word count incur a significantly higher printing cost). I squeaked in at 146K, leaving some wiggle room.

There’s a good deal of editing to do before there’s a presentable draft, then it’s time to wait for a verdict from my agent. A thumbs-up means the piggy goes to market next year. A thumbs-down…well, let’s not talk about that.

Anyway, I’m back so, “Hello and hope you’ve been well!”

Tales of New Mexico – on sale now

While you’re waiting for me to finish my next novel, you can read two dark stories set in the south-west of America.

If you’re a Goodreads person, it’s ready to add to your shelves.

If you’d like to buy direct from Black Shuck Books, go here.

Or, if you prefer those other folk, who keep all their stock in a floating warehouse in the South American rainforest, you can go here.

Happy reading and keep a change of underwear handy!

A new book in the pipeline?

It’ll be several months before there’s much more I can really tell you about this, however, I thought I ought to let you know you that I am writing a new novel. So, if I seem a little distant or otherwise preoccupied, it’s because I am spending almost every hour of the day living in (and writing down in story form) a total and utter fantasy.

Rest assured, however, that less tweeting, updating and blogging is leading to something far superior to and, I hope, more enduring than, any links, pics or blather I might otherwise share online.

What’s the book about?

Well, all I’ll say at this very early stage is that it’s epic fantasy and by far the most unusual thing I’ve written. It’s ecological/environmental to a degree and is an idea that has been gestating for well over twenty years.

In fact, this was the first novel I ever tried to write and never came close to completing – there’ve been a few of those, though it happens less often these days, I’m glad to say. A few months ago, I was telling my daughter about the world I’d envisioned and the story that might have unfolded. She said, “Dad, you should go back to the beginning and write that story again.”

So that’s what I’m doing.

I may check in a couple more times before Christmas but, for the foreseeable, it’s head down and no distractions.

Even if I manage to finish it this time, there is, as usual, no guarantee that this novel will even see publication. But which writer ever let that stop them doing what they were born to do?

See you soon and thanks for your patience.