As I come to the end of writing The Last Wars by Mike Shackle, my mind turns back to old friends and adventures unfinished and I can't wait. In anticipation, I've updated all the covers to the Jack Frey books, including that long-anticipated book 3, CRY WAR. I've also removed Cry Witch from general sale so the only place you can get it is to sign up to my mailing list and it's FREE. How about that then?
It's been over a year since my last blog update. Nearly two years since the last Jack Frey book came out into the world. It's as if I've disappeared.
The truth is I've been working bloody hard and life's been happening too.
In January 2018, I signed a three book deal with the best sci-fi fantasy publisher in the UK, Gollancz. The first book, WE ARE THE DEAD, came out in August this year. At the time, I foolishly believed that I would have the second written by the end of 2018, and then write the next Nathaniel Rane and Jack Frey books before writing the third Gollancz book.
How wrong I was. The second book, A FOOL'S HOPE, was the toughest thing I've ever written. I abandoned two drafts at 65,000 words before I finally finished it in June 2019. It was 230,000 words long. Then I had rewrites to do.
In the end, last year, I think I wrote about 500,000 words for one book. That's the equivalent of 5 Jack Frey books.
Because AFH took so long, I'm now behind schedule in writing the third book in the series, so I've started that and Jack and Nathaniel will have to wait a bit longer to find out what happens to them.
There was also life stuff happening. I now live in Vancouver with my family and work full-time in a day job in advertising again so writing time is even more precious/limited.
But all these are great problems to have. Canada is an amazing place to live, my family are happy and healthy and I get to write books. It just takes longer than I'd hoped.
Anyways, check out WE ARE THE DEAD by Mike Shackle. If you like my books, you like his!
I also did some very cool things this year - like appear at a book festival with other Gollancz authors and yes, that is me on stage with Tom Lloyd, Vic James, Joe Abercrombie and Garth Nix. Surreal.
Thanks for sticking with me. And I promise Mike Morris will be back in 2020. Have a great year.
Ideas come from anywhere at anytime but my book SWITCHBLADE came about because I was reading about how much debt countries around the world owed China. The US alone owed something like $1.5 trillion at that point, some 5 years ago.
Now anyone who's ever got got a loan of any sort knows that (a) you pay massive interest on money you borrow (b) the bigger the loan, the bigger the collateral you have to put against it and (c) if you miss payments, your creditors come after you and will seize that collateral.
So the question I asked myself was: what collateral had the US given China to borrow that much money? Was debt-collection a new way for countries to seize land and build empires? And from that a cyberpunk thrill-ride was born.
Why do I bring this up now?
Today I read an article about the debt crisis in Africa who owe China trillions of dollars. The Chinese Government denied they were empire-building by lending money they knew could never be repaid, using critical infrastructure as collateral for those loans.
This will only become a bigger issue as time goes on. Remember, China is a major investor in the UK's nuclear power plants and the US' oil pipelines and the farms in the mid-west that provide most of the countries food. (and that's on top of what the US government owe)
Read the story here:
It's been awhile since I updated this site and I apologize for that. I've been busy. Very very busy. I'm writing book 2 of my secret project and, I must admit, it's been kicking my ass on occasion. I've restarted three times and I've probably written about 400,000 words, most of which I've not kept. more often than not, I know it's just me being hard on myself but I want it to be the best it can be. However the end is in sight and so my mind is wandering to the next project (and the next).
I'm 30,000 words in Rane 2, A TIME TO FIGHT, so that will be the next one to tackle. He's off in the snowy mountains looking for revenge on the mage that messed up his life.
Then it's Jack Frey 3. CRY WAR
And then... it goes on. Words to write, worlds to conquer. What a great way to spend my days.
I'm also moving to Canada in the next couple of weeks and I'm so excited about that. My family have been there since the summer and I can't wait to be reunited with them.
I should've been writing. Instead I made a new cover for SWITCHBLADE. I'm not sure what version this is. I know it's the 4th published one. Before that I made hundreds of fake covers for it. Maybe one day I'll get someone else to design one but for now I'm happy with this.
I'm really busy on book 2 of my secret project. It's quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever written. Sometimes progress flies and other times it's like digging through mud. Sometimes I just need a break and switch off so I do a bit of drawing. This is a shot from book 1, and features a 19 year old girl called Tinnstra and a 4 year old princess called Zorique.
The wonderful author, Mark Lawrence, of Prince of Thorns fame, has been running a competition for the last three years - the Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog Off. It's a competition for... you guessed it .... self-published fantasy books, designed to bring visibility to the best the genre has to offer. 300 books enter (and this year was full within 48 hours of opening to applicants) and then top fantasy review blogs pick their favourites to go through a second round, continuing eliminations until only one remains. I've entered HE WHO FIGHTS this year and, in the first round, its being reviewed by the wonderful people at the Qwillery (http://qwillery.blogspot.com/). It's in a tough group with some excellent books and I've already added a lot to my TBR pile.
I've no expectations and I'll be happy if the book starts to find a new audience in the world.
In other news, I'm progressing with book 2 of my secret project. I always hate the start of new books. There's a lot of frustration in finding your feet and getting the story going. However I'm working with a cast of characters that I know well and I love being back in that world again. It's going to be challenging for me though as it's the most ambitious thing I've ever attempted. I'm also writing a new Nathaniel Rane novella as he hunts for the one who got away at the end of Book 1.
Big day today. I sent off edits on my secret project. It's a big book - 165,000 words and I'm super proud of it. Official news will come out about it in the next few weeks I think...
I've been doing lots of thinking about the next Nathaniel Rane and Jack Frey books over the last few weeks as well. I was going to put Rane on hold until next year and concentrate on Jack Frey and the secret project but Nathaniel doesn't seem too keen on that idea. So I might try and squeeze in a quick novella this month. It will be about the same length as CRY WITCH (approx 30,000 words) and I'll aim for the same vibe - fast, thrilling and fun.
The next Jack Frey book was going to be called CRY HOPE but I think that will now be CRY WAR. The Black Dogs are going to take the fight to the Nostros with Jack and Lin leading from the front. Trouble is Lin has a secret that might tear our heroes apart...
CRY WITCH and CRY FEAR are both coming out as audio books in the next couple of weeks. Read again by the amazing Simon Vance, they are truly fab. Out of everything that's happened, hearing my stories read out is the most surreal experience.
Finally in more amazing news, today I had my 25,000 download of my books . It's incredible to think so many people have read my stories. I am so, so grateful to all of you.
Aaaargh! It's been nearly two months since my last blog post. I hated it when authors disappeared from their blogs and I had no idea what they were up to.
The truth it seems is pretty boring. I've been working. Working really hard. Sometimes I think I've bitten off more than I can chew but then I remind myself that this is my dream and I'm really lucky to be in this position.
I'm in edits on my secret project and about a third of the way in writing book 2 of that series. I want to have the first draft of that finished by the summer.
After that I'm writing Cry Hope, the third Jack Frey book. I'm plotting that at the moment in quiet moments and I'm very excited about how that's coming along. (The plan at the moment is for 5 books with Cry War and Cry Victory to finish everything off.)
Then it'll be Nathaniel Rane 2. That is already plotted and waiting to write.
So basically I have more than enough to keep me busy for the next two years!
Thank you for all the support and making this crazy adventure worthwhile. I'll be back with more soon!
Professional day dreamer