Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cover Story



Okay, so it's been a while. Sorry.

However... I have an excuse for my long absence. Amongst other things, I've been writing a new book. In its way, it's a sequel to 'The Written World' (i.e. 'Unreliable Histories' and 'The Endless Land'), except that it involves none of the original characters. Oh, and the world they inhabited has changed beyond all recognition. I don't know if that meets any of the formal criteria for a sequel - possibly not - but I don't suppose it really matters.

Anyway, I've just sorted out the new cover. And here it is.



Monday, 7 December 2015

Speaking Out for Indie Writers



I'm indebted to Richard Vobes of Book-Snippets.com for producing a 5-minute audio extract from my novel, Unreliable Histories. His reading can be found here: Unreliable Histories on YouTube.

Richard's Book-Snippets is a new site dedicated to helping readers to find stories by unsung writers and giving those same writers a new and innovative platform for promoting their works. Though still young, the site already features a host of excerpts from talented writers such as Jemahl Evans, Jeanette Taylor Ford, Lucinda Elliot, Phillip D Curwood and Sue Harris. Comedy writer Robert Wingfield also has an excerpt there, and we can expect more comedies to come soon.

(Apologies to all those I haven't mentioned but it's perhaps testament to the site's success that, already, the list is getting pretty long.)

It's an interesting way of encouraging readers to engage with new works and I really hope it takes off. It's certainly a fascinating experience to hear one's own words spoken by someone else. In my case, I chose an obscure chapter featuring one of the book's lesser characters - a young apprentice named Tymacht Jul. He recurs fleetingly throughout the first book and since most of the comments I receive typically refer to only four or five key characters, I thought it might be nice to give him an outing. His chapters are short asides from the main action and I thought one of them might work well as a short, self-contained extract.

Richard has clearly invested a huge amount of time and effort into this new venture so please do show your support by visiting the site and having a poke around. There's some good stuff there, I promise.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Rising up the Slush Pile



November got off to a good start. I heard that Unreliable Histories had made the list of top 5 novels  in 'The Slush Pile' - a new, online competition that aims to put writers in touch with literary agents across the world.

It's an interesting concept - essentially a vetting process that seeks to present beleaguered agents with a selection of writings that the Slush Pile's editorial team consider to be the best of the bunch for any given week. In theory, agents can use it to devote their time more usefully to books that experienced writers have already judged and deemed worthy of further examination. It's a no-promises sort of deal but agents are undoubtedly very busy people, so there's a certain logic underpinning the whole idea.

To any of my indie author friends out there, might I suggest you give this one a look? 
A basic competition entry costs nothing and the top five novels are promoted to a list of participating agents in the UK / US. There are also paid options that promise useful feedback from the team.

It will be interesting to see what sort of following the site develops and whether it provokes any response with respect to Unreliable Histories.  It's early days - the site only launched today (3rd November) - but it's an idea that I hope finds traction.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Due Thanks

I think it's important to say 'thank you.' It's probably an 'upbringing' thing and hearty congratulations are no doubt due to my parents but however that feeling came about, now it's sort of ingrained.

For example, if I'm poised by a pedestrian crossing and a driver slows to let me across, I don't think I'd be physically capable of moving my legs without first having offered a grateful wave and a clearly mouthed 'thanks.' Conversely, if I'm the driver and a pedestrian crosses without displaying the same simple courtesy, I get cross. I mean, I know they're within their rights and everything, that the Highway Code is on their side and that crushing them beneath my wheels would be something of an overreaction but nevertheless... I think the world needs a few more expressions of gratitude.

With that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amazon reviewer Mary Jane for a very detailed and considered review of The Endless Land. (The sequel to Unreliable Histories.) It contains some lovely comments, many of which I will certainly be repeating to my friends until such time as they ask me to stop.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Wild Places



I'm currently reading The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane and, goodness me, that man can write. The book is filled with just the most beautiful descriptions of Britain's dwindling wildernesses. Part celebration, part exhortation and part elegy, it's a bittersweet joy to read. This is what the English language sounds like when an author has mastered prose.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Next Steps



At what point can a writer consider a book finished? I mean, seriously, I'd like to know. When does an author sit back and think: 'That's it; that really is as good as I can make it'? If experience proves anything, it's that such a moment can never really come.

I've just finished the revised second drafts of both my novels and, thanks to lots of helpful feedback from many indie authors (and those kind editors at Harper Collins), I have to concede that the new versions are considerably improved. They've donned the magical boots of critical analysis and have marched leagues ahead of the originals.

I'm pleased about that, naturally, but it makes me wonder how much further they could go. What new changes might a chance comment from an enlightened reader yield? What fresh re-workings might stem from a moment of idle musing?

More to the point, at what point does one put the keyboard aside and turn instead to the sobering business of marketing?

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Bittersweet Joy of a Perceptive Review

I'm a little embarrassed. I've been outdone.

Whenever the topic of my books comes up in conversation, the most common question I'm asked (apart from "who are you?" and "will you please let go of my arm?") is what the two novels are about. What usually follows is a lengthy period of esoteric rambling on my part, accompanied by uncomfortable looks on the part of the listener and their slow shuffling towards the nearest exit.