2018 has started just as 2017 ended - in a blur of activity. I submitted my secret project to my agent on 1st January, finished my Jack Frey novella on the 3rd January, sent it off to be edited by the wonderful Laura Hughes, wrote a series proposal for my secret project and made big progress again on CRY FEAR. A lot of work but I love doing this so none of it actually feels like work — and that's the best feeling in the world.
I'm super proud of my little novella too. It's 30,000 words long and hopefully it's a fun little trip into Jack's world once more. It's set while he's still a novice at Whitehaven, a year before he takes his vows to become a Knight of Saint Stephen. Obviously, it helps if you've read CRY HAVOC but it also works as a stand-alone. (If you haven't read CRY HAVOC, do so now! It's a great book, honest).
CRY WITCH is up for pre-order on Amazon now or you can get a free copy simply by signing up on my mailing list on the home page.
CRY FEAR is at 70,000 words at the moment, having gone under a lot of rewriting. Originally I thought it would be 90,000 words long when I finished but in reality, I think it'll be more than 100,000. I will have it finished by the end of the month by hook or by crook.
In other news, I'm listening to the audiobook of Paternus: Rise of Gods by Dyrk Ashton and really enjoying it. Not what I was expecting but all the better for it. I devoured the new Jack Reacher, The Midnight Line — a good book but not a classic Reacher. I'm really enjoying the BBC drama, McMafia and I'm listening to the new U2 record a lot, Songs of Experience.
That's all for now...
Sam Lucas posted the following up on an old blog post today: "Please get Cry Fear out! I can't wait to read it and get more into the universe. I listened to the audiobook on audible but will probably buy physical copy as well. I love your pacing and the fight scenes, the brutal nature of the environment as well, it's refreshing to see heroes that don't stand much of a chance." First of all, thanks Sam for your kind words and your enthusiasm. It really made my day to read your note. Secondly, Cry Fear is coming — soon. I promise.
The comment also made me look back at my old posts as I embarked on this self-publishing adventure. It was fun to see my enthusiasm and excitement as Cry Havoc found its audience. I did a dance of joy at selling 5 copies in a day. Amazing to think that six months later, over 15,000 copies of my books have been downloaded! And I still get a buzz with each and every one. It's a great honor to have people read my work (and enjoy it) and I'll never forget that.
I'm so excited by what 2018 holds and its all down to you wonderful people. Thank you.
A big week coming up. Lots happening. Exciting stuff. I can't believe it stuff. Keep your fingers crossed stuff.
I've finished the Jack Frey novella, CRY WITCH. That's going off to be edited any day now and then will be sent out to my mailing list after that. Not sure yet if I'll put it up for sale or not. It's a cracking little adventure set a year before Jack Frey takes his vows to become a Black Dog. He's asked to help out on a simple job that goes terribly wrong.
I'm back on CRY FEAR full blast too and I'm really happy with where that's going. No doubt I'll be plagued with self-doubt again in a few days but I'll enjoy it while I can.
In the mean time, here's the latest drawing added to the art section.
Goodbye 2017. In many ways you were amazing. In many ways you were terrible. I'm glad you're gone and can't wait to see what 2018 brings. However, there were lots of things I did enjoy over the last 12 months.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 was my standout favourite film. Indulgent in every way. It was beautifully shot and an awe-inspiring experience in IMAX 3D. I loved how nothing was rushed and nothing was expected. Rarely have I been transported into another world so effectively.
THOR: RAGNAROK was fab. In a grim year, it was one of the things that just made you feel good about life. I do hope though that it's success doesn't see all superhero films become comedies, in the same way I don't want every film to be dark and grim like Batman. My favorite character in the movie wasn't Thor or Hulk though, it was Valkyrie. Kick-ass women rule.
I have very mixed feelings about The Last Jedi. I'm hoping to go and see it again today. There was lots I liked and lots I didn't. However I'm glad I live in a world where there are new Star Wars films coming out regularly now and I love that Rey is a kick-ass character that doesn't need any rescuing from anyone.
Speaking of which, Wonder Woman was another great film that just made you feel good. Considering it was a film set in World War I, it shone with love and positivity.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was Logan, a film about old white men who'd screwed it all up. A brilliant, brave film. I loved it - even though it touched a few raw nerves.
Finally Atomic Blonde. An 80's flashback. Loved the style, the action, the clothes, the music. Great fun.
Without a doubt, my favorite of the year. A fresh take on GrimDark. Swords, magic, incredible characters and scary monsters. The audiobook is incredible too.
Another new author. This is fun and funny. Sits hand in glove with Thor: Ragnarok. When the world's crap, you need art like this to make it better. Bravo.
Peter finishes off the Demon Cycle with style. He does it so well. I'll miss these characters but can't wait to see what he does next.
I discovered Enrico Marini this year. His Scorpion series has been going awhile but I loved it. His linework and use of color is effortless. I wish I could draw half as well as he can. He also had a brilliant Batman book out at the end of the year, The Dark Prince Charming.
Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark continues to be my favorite anything. Very excited by the potential TV series too. Incredible world-building. Great cast. Amazing artwork.
The Old Guard by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez was also incredible. Guns, immortals by the modern world. Nice.
So there you have it. A few of my favorite things of last year. I hope 2017 was good to you. If it wasn't, don't worry - 2018 will be better. It has to be. Good always wins out in the end.
I can't believe we're in December already! What a year it's been! I've done so much and learned so much and, without over-stating things too much, it's changed my life quite dramatically.
I lost my day job in the beginning of the year which obviously shook things up quite a bit. I'm lucky though that what I do, I can do on a freelance basis - so I could still work without having an actual employer.
The other upside of this is it allowed me more time to write. Instead of stealing moments early in the morning or at lunch time or late at night, I had and have whole days now where I do nothing but write. It also gave me the incentive to self-publish the books I had written. I owe a great deal to the Bestseller Experiment Podcast who showed me the Indie world wasn't the horror I thought it was.
I am overwhelmed on an almost daily basis at how well my books have been received. I am thankful to every single person who has bought a book (or two) or read them on Kindle Unlimited. I've also discovered a whole host of authors in the Indie world to read. I'm presently reading Wolf Of The North by Duncan M. Hamilton. (Great book).
I've added some new book cover designs to the Jack Frey section, for Book 2, CRY FEAR and a novella, CRY WITCH, which will be out early next year. I must admit I wanted them out quicker but I want to get them right and have them be the best they can be. I also have a Secret Project in development that has taken up my time as well as a nasty bout of illness.
Another new section to the website is for my Art. If you've been following my blog, you'll have seen some drawings I've done for fun. I thought it would be good to keep them all in one place...
The audio book for CRY HAVOC is out on December 19th, just in time for Christmas. It is incredible. I'm so proud of it.
CRY FEAR is booked in to be edited on Jan 1st. I've found a new editor, the wonderful Laura M. Hughes, so hopefully all the typos and things like that will be a thing of the past. Laura is not only a great editor, she's an excellent author too. Her book, Danse Macabre, is out on Amazon and perfect for the Neil Gaiman fans out there. Once Laura has worked her magic, CRY FEAR should be out mid-January. I'll send a free copy out to everyone on my mailing list first before it goes for sale on Amazon.
CRY WITCH may well be out before then. It may well be out before the Holidays...
I don't know how many times I've read CRY HAVOC. Too many times if I'm honest. Not enough judging by the typos that escaped the earliest versions I released! (Hopefully I've got them all now). But this is a story I know inside out. However today it feels brand new again.
I received the audio recording of the book and I've spent the morning listening to it. Read by the incredible Simon Vance, it's brilliant. I almost don't recognise the book I wrote. It gives it a whole new dimension, a freshness that I couldn't imagine possible. It's a real "pinch me, I'm dreaming" moment.
The guys at Podium Publishing have done an amazing job. I'm so happy.
Really excited to announce that the audio book of CRY HAVOC will be out on 19th December narrated by the amazing SIMON VANCE. He narrates Brent Weeks' books, Stieg Larsson's, Guy Gavriel Kay's, Richard Morgan's, Brian Steevely's and many more. I can't wait to hear what he's done with the book.
CRY FEAR is coming along well after losing a month or so through illness. I'm way behind on schedule though which is a bit disappointing for me (and everyone else waiting for it.) I must admit I'm feeling a bit of pressure with this one as well as I want it to be be the best thing I've done. I'll probably post the first chapter with next month's newsletter. I also need to relook at the cover as I'm going off slightly what I'd done originally for it. It was going to be another imag eof Jack but now I'm thinking it might juts need to be a Nostros... it is called CRY FEAR after all so it should be a little scary...
Still feeling pretty sick but not quite on death's door as I was a week ago. I've actually managed to get some writing done and made good progress again on Cry Fear. It's also very strange writing a sequel to a book that so many people have read and who are looking forward to the next installment. I've never written a book before knowing anyone would ever read it past immediate family (and sometimes not even then). It's a whole new experience!
HE WHO FIGHTS is doing very well in the UK and Australia. It went as high as no 2 yesterday in Oz and is no 12 in the UK charts as I write this. It's not taken off in the States yet but I still have hopes for it there too.
I also passed my 10,000th download this week of my books. 10,000 books in essentially 4 months! It's a crazy number. I look back at the launch of Cry Havoc and was excited when I'd sold 8 copies in one week. The average indie book on Amazon sells about 250 copies. (Switchblade has sold about 200 copies in nine months.) But Cry Havoc is at 8500 copies and HWF is at 1500. Crazy. I am so lucky that my books have found an audience that enjoys what I write.
Thank you to all of you for making this journey possible.
It's been a strange couple of weeks since I last posted. I went down with a nasty case of flu which wiped me out and spent the day yesterday being tested for pneumonia. Hopefully the results will come back negative but even so I've fallen behind on my schedule because of it.
HE WHO FIGHTS continues to do well. The book has reached no 18 in the UK Low Fantasy charts and no 4 in Australia. Traction has been a bit slower in the the US which is interesting as it was the complete opposite with CRY HAVOC. It's just so exciting for me to see my book in the same charts as heavy weights like Peter Brett and Mark Lawrence and a certain GRRM.
There have been some lovely reviews too. A couple have compared HWF to David Gemmell and that's a massive compliment as I love his work. Legend got me back into reading fantasy again in my early 20's. I picked up a three book collection that had Legend, Waylander and The King Beyond The Gate. I still have it now even though it's battered and brown with age (and a bit stinky).
CRY HAVOC now has over 200 ratings on Goodreads with a 96% approval and 73 reviews on Amazon of which over 50% are 5 stars. I think I will always be surprised at how well received the book has been. I look back now at some old blog posts and I was so excited when it had sold 3 or 4 copies and now it's passed the 8,000 download mark. I can't thank everyone enough for their support.
Now on with CRY FEAR and apologies for the coughing.
I heard last night that the audio book of CRY HAVOC is being recorded next week with the most awesome narrator. He's done the audio books for nearly all my favourite authors. I am so excited to see what he does with Jack and Lin.
HE WHO FIGHTS continues to do well. It's been getting good reviews - nearly all 5 stars. Thanks ever so much for the love.
I did get one 2 star review because the reader didn't believe an elite military unit could be made up with people from different nations. "No we can't all get along," he said. Now I do believe we can all get along - especially in times of great darkness. However Nathaniel Rane is a member of the Legion Of Swords and I actually based this on the French Foreign Legion, an elite military unit made up of people from different nations.
The same reviewer also believed Lin, the heroine from CRY HAVOC, should also be a man...
Seriously though, I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to write, rate, review any and all of my books. I keep saying this but it makes a massive difference to the sales and sales are what allows me to keep doing this.