News that can’t be told…

Aargh!

It is fantastic when you’ve signed a contract for a book of whatever kind. I’m delighted, and looking forward to sharing the news and contents, but I can’t yet announce it due to necessary publishing constraints that I very much agree with.

It is associated with what’s one of my favourite genres, SF, but more news when the day comes… 🙂

Different books, different approaches

I’ve started another book this year, this time YA, but still SF. One of the things that stuck in my mind from last years helping out with the Summer Reading Challenge is just how much some of the younger readers loved the books they read – and what it was they liked about them.

It would be great, I hoped, if I could inspire that joy through a book.

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Signing: Shards in Exile

I’m delighted to have signed the contract for a full-length science fiction novel for the Beyond the Gates of Antares universe. The current working title is ‘Shards in Exile’, though that may change depending on how the publishers (Winged Hussar) best see fit.

It features two characters from the episodic novelette I’ve already had published: Freeborn Prince Batu Delhren and the isolated Ghar Commander, Shaltok 12-41-9. Both have to deal with Ghar and Freeborn political intrigue as well as the everyday problems faced by those in the Determinate, on the borders of civilised space. More? Batu has an uncomfortable encounter with an insane NuHu and a militaristic drone civilisation whilst Shaltok finds the more he succeeds the more he is perceived as a threat by those close to the Ghar Supreme Commander.

Both find that they only way they can survive in the tempestuous politics of the Antares Determinate is through exile…

Publication date? Next year, some time. Cover? None, yet – that below is just a holding image. I’ll produce updates as it progresses.

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‘The Honey Killer’ now in paperback

Whilst the two books are not yet linked on Amazon, The Honey Killer is now also available in paperback.

It portrays the growth of an ‘moral’ assassin from a young lad in 1939 to a grown man in flashbacks from his life in 1984 – when his life and career appears to be coming to an end. The scorn of his father, throughout his younger years, he seems to have no options but to kill to protect himself, his brother or his ailing mother as, one by one, his guardian ‘Angels’ ar etaken from him. Amongst his many tools of the trade is honey – known to the Greeks – and a copy of a herbal he is given to read as a boy.

As he chases, then is chased, around Europe the assassin finally returns to the place in which much of the book is set: rural England, the central south, particularly the beautiful garden he built for his mother (and himself) in Collingbourne Regis and the care home he bought for his mother in Snoddington Beeches. When all seems lost, he comes to a reconciliation with the person who hates him the most, and rediscovers an Angel who has been there all the time…

The book arose from a Fiction module I took on my MA, though is heavily altered from what was submitted/ First readers and proof readers loved it, stating they had to ‘go back and start all over again to actually proof it as I got caught up in the story’. Wonderful feedback!

Hope you enjoy.

The fruition of an MA project

I’m delighted that ‘The Honey Killer’ is finally available on Kindle:

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This was a book started as an MA project, a deliberate exploration into a different genre for me (hence the pseudonym) but one which I found quite useful. It traces the history of an assassin – an ethical assassin, but a killer, nonetheless – from his appalling childhood involving isolation, bullying and manipulation through to being a loner who knows how to do one thing only: kill in strange and unusual ways.

It is also a book about a platonic love, about worship of individuals who show kindness, and about reconciliation. The settings – London, Paris, Amsterdam adn the fictional village of Snoddington Beeches – are all based on my own experiences working here and in Europe. The history, from Operation Pied Piper (1939) onwards is as accurate as a work of creative fiction can be.

What’s interesting from a process perspective are the changes that were made after it was assessed for one of the MA modules. I’ve blogged about the realisation before and that the book was missing a character, but having added much more to the character (I’ll leave you to guess which one it was) the book took on a much more rounded form. It enabled an ending that reflected and completed much of the interaction throughout the historical components of the book (even the narrator’s ‘present’ is 1984).

Whatever teh experience and learning, for me, it’s wondeful to see something from the MA in print. 🙂

Developmental Shorts: Beyond Reasonable Doubt

I’ve just added another page to the Developmental Shorts menu, this time Beyond Reasonable Doubt, the winner of the 2014 Orwell Society Dystopian Short Story competition. The prize is a good one for students and is judged by some key figures in the academic world. The guide for the competition went somewhere along the lines of ‘write something that Orwell would have approved of’.

There are deliberate nods to 1984 throughout, including one I thought was really obvious but which no-one has spotted or yet commented upon.

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