Before there was CRY HAVOC, there was SWITCHBLADE — a sci-fi thrill ride through 23rd Century Hong Kong. It was the first book I self-published, during which I learned a lot. I have a huge amount of love to the book. In fact I once described it as a blood-soaked love letter to a city where I spent nearly ten years of my life.
However I never really liked the cover. I redesigned it once before but again there was something not quite right about it so, as an act of procrastination from writing Jack Frey book2, I redesigned it again. So here's cover 3 for SWITCHBLADE, available at an Amazon store near you.
In the 23rd Century, the Chinese Empire stretches from Shanghai in the East to Los Angeles in the West, and is now expanding its influence into the stars. But not all its citizens are happy. Terrorists plan to strike the very heart of the Empire and only one woman can stop them.
Choi Ziyi is one of the deadliest people alive and there isn't anything she won't do to keep the Empire safe from harm. But, as the bullets fly and friend becomes foe, Ziyi is thrown into the dark heart of a far-reaching conspiracy where no one is who they seem.
Dive in to a dark and violent cyberpunk thrill ride you won't be able to put down.
I'm making good progress on book 2 of Jack Frey's adventures, CRY FEAR, and I'm really enjoying being back in the world again. It's strange in a way writing a follow up to a book that you know so many people have read and enjoyed. Previously I've just written for my own amusement. Certainly I've pushed myself to create the best book I can with each novel but real people have expectations now. CRY FEAR is very different to the first one because it happens in a very short period of time (whereas CRY HAVOC took place over some 12 years) and it's set in one location — Arbour, the capital of Abios.
The plan is to have the book ready to be published at the end of October.
More and more great reviews have come in on Amazon and Goodreads. Most 90% of people have rated the book 4 or 5 stars with 50% of those being 5 star. Again thank you to everyone who has taken the time to do that.
A friend of mine also made a very cool book trailer for me. I just love it. Especially the blood sound effect at the end.
Now I'm off to watch the Game of Thrones finale!
When you write a book, it's a long, lonely process full of emotional highs and lows. One minute you think you're writing something really amazing and then the next, you hate everything. However, there's nothing like the feeling when you put it out into the world and see if people want to read it. And not just read it, if they like it too.
CRY HAVOC has been on sale for one month now and there's been a real steady climb in the daily numbers so yes, people are reading it - hurrah! Better still, it's been getting some great reviews. Reviews mean everything, particularly for a new Indie writer. We need people to take a chance on us. Yes, you can have a great cover and a good blurb but it's the stars and comments that persuade the vast majority to give a book a go.
Today's 5 star review was great: "I have to say I loved this book. The two main characters were both real people with flaws and great strengths. The story line was really interesting with some twists and the dialogue believable. The book moved along at a good pace too. I only wish the next book was out."
To read such lovely words means a lot to me too and gives me energy as I progress with book 2. I hope to have it out in the world in October but stay tuned for updates.
In other things, one of my favourite comic book series is back - MAGE by Matt Wagner. It's the final part in a trilogy about a man named Kevin Matchstick who is the reincarnation of Arthur Pendragon.
If you love well-written, beautifully drawn comic books, check this out. The first two issues are out on Image Comics
I saw Atomic Blonde at the cinema the other day and really enjoyed it. I'm a child of the 80's so I grew up with the music and the fashion so it hit a great nostalgic vein for me too.
There's a particularly brutal 11 minute fight scene that's supposed to be one continuous shot that's amazing and very realistic. People get tired, hurt, desperate and you feel every blow.
Where I think the film failed was the way it tried being too clever, too many twists for the sake of it. Again it all comes down to story structure. Another great bit of advice from John Yorke's Into The Woods: If you don't have a certain scene, does it effect the story in any way? If the answer's no, then cut the scene.
I'm also about four episodes into American Gods. I know I'm late to the party but I'm really enjoying it. It's beautifully shot and edited and just ever so weird. I have no idea how well it's done but I'm not sure what the audience is - it's lots of things and nothing in particular. And did I mention weird? It's got me watching though.
I'm playing catch up with the last season of Vikings and of course, like everyone else, I'm watching Game Of Thrones. And like everyone else, I loved the latest episodes where the dragon does his thing.
I've had a lot of fun over the last few days plotting out the next Jack Frey book. I used to find plotting very difficult. In the past I used to have an idea and then chase it to see where it went. While this is fun, it's incredibly time consuming as there is lots of waste and false starts. The original drafts of CRY HAVOC are unrecognizable from it's final form and I think I deleted about two more books' worth of material. However I've gotten much better at it recently - mainly thanks to John Yorke's book INTO THE WOODS. It's a fascinating study of the structure of story and it gave me the right questions to ask myself as I plan a story's beats. If you're a writer, you need to read this book.
I'm never going to write a detailed outline as that would kill a lot of the magic for me but knowing what will happen in each act is a massive help.
CRY HAVOC continues to do well and that also is a massive boost to see. Writing a book is a long, lonely experience so it's great to see so many people reading it and enjoying it. Now back to work...
Two more reviews on Amazon today:
"This book is an excellent start to a fantasy series, the characters felt very real, and it was never certain as to what their fate would be, in terms of "world-building" i was left a bit wanting, however i didn't feel like that took away from the story, it is just something that i felt could be added into the next book, Morris makes you care about the characters he wrote about, which is a very difficult task, i would ask him to make us care about the world he is writing about in the same manner. Overall am very happy to have purchased the book and will look forward to the next installment." 5 stars
"Good story that is well written. I would have given it five stars but the author goes back and forth between two separate story lines for slightly over half the book until they merge into one - this is a pet peeve of mine. I look forward to the next book." 4 stars
Reviews mean so much so I'm really grateful to everyone who takes the time to not only read CRY HAVOC but also leave their thoughts on it. I've been very lucky that the vast majority on Amazon and Goodreads have been 5 and 4 stars. Writing a book is a long process, 90% of the time alone with our characters. Then there's the trepidation when you put it out into the world...
I've been working social media a bit this week. I've set up my author's page on facebook so come along and say hi. Page likes are always appreciated. Plus I've update this site a bit, with a dedicated CRY HAVOC page and easy links to Amazon.
I'm hoping to finish my Jack Frey novella, CRY WITCH, in the next few days and then start on the official follow up, CRY FEAR. I've begun plotting out the book so hopefully that will help with writing time.
I finished rewrites of my big book yesterday and sent it off to my agent. Today I'm going back to Jack Frey. I've my novella to finish off and then I have to start planning the official second book in the Jack Frey series, CRY FEAR, when we discover what happens when a Nostros is loose on Albios.
CRY HAVOC continues to do well. Yesterday topped over 9,000 page reads on KU. Sales dropped quite a bit though but the previous day's was 16 copies. So in two weeks, I've sold 110 copies and had over 40,000 page reads in KU. I know these aren't blockbuster numbers but it's super encouraging and I must remind myself: it's just the start.