By Strength and Guile – Trilogy Box Set

By Strength and Guile is an offshoot from the Royal Marine Space Commando series featuring a load of new characters as well as the legedary Marine X. Sent across the galaxy on a secret mission he doesn’t fully understand, Marine X must work with a new team to protect the Commonwealth from an old, old, enemy.

The story takes place over a few days between Dreadnought and Fleet. If you want to know more about Marine X’s mission and his new colleague, the always-gloomy Jackson, buy the By Strength and Guile boxset now!

Britain’s “greenest ever” day

This might not be the biggest news of the week, but it still seems like an important milestone:

The British electricity grid was the greenest it has ever been on Easter Monday, with 80 per cent of energy coming from zero-carbon energy sources at their peak.

Source

There’s obviously still a long way to go to reach net zero, what with transport, home heating, and agriculture still heavily carbonised, but I think we can see a way through the difficulties.

I’d like to think that the future we write about in our books is something our species will live to see (even if the details are vastly different), so it’s nice to have some good news, once in a while.

The Slate Line

I’m looking forward to taking my bike out this summer, but the Slate Line is exactly the sort of downhill run I won’t be going anywhere near. You’ll find me on the canal towpaths or on a gently sloping forest path, not careening around clifftops and over huge drops.

Fleet – Book 6 now available

It’s not often we launch a new book, but I’m really pleased to say that Fleet, book six in the Royal Marine Space Commando series, is now available to buy on Amazon.

Join Warden, Cohen, Milton and the indomitable Marine X as they battle the Deathless and face off against an old enemy, as Admiral Tomsk returns to seek his vengeance.

The Blog Awakes

Writing in lockdown is pretty much the same as writing at any other time. You sit in front of a computer hoping to spew words onto a page in an order that people will appreciate.

Then life gets in the way, and ambitions and goals get pushed aside to make way for unanticipated priorities.

So here we are with another long gap between books and an even longer gap between blog posts.

But this is about to change.

Hang on to your socks.

Project Updates

Lots of stuff going on at the moment. Here’s a quick update:

  • A Gathering of Arms, Book 3 of the Vensille Saga, is going through stage 2. That means taking the initial text and pulling it into some sort of readable format. There’s quite a long way to go but we’re looking good for January. Probably.
  • Gunboat, the fourth book in the RMSC series, is underway. We’ve done a lot of planning for this book and the next two in the series, so they should all hit Amazon before the end of the year. That’s the plan, anyway, and it would be a great Christmas present.
  • My as-yet untitled urban fantasy series progresses. Two and a half books in, I still haven’t settled on a project name but I’m working under the banner ‘Elves of London’. Portals, other worlds, magic and London. Should be a laugh, if I can get the rest of the books finished. I’m quite pleased with the way the first two have turned out.
  • Trant’s Tale was fun to write but it’s short. I’ve got some other short stories, all set in the same world, and I’ll pull them together into some sort of anthology. That’ll probably be out before the end of the year.

That’s a lot of words and a lot of work. Should all be possible but I’ve got to get on with it. 

And then there are the other projects, the ones we’re not yet ready to talk about. Maybe next month…

A Writer’s Milestone

Today is a bit of a personal milestone. On 21st August 2014, I wrote the first words of A Gathering Of Fools. 180k words later and numerous rounds of redrafting, the book hit Amazon in January. Sales have been a little slow.

But this post is about words written rather than books sold. And since deciding to write every day, I have:

  • Published two books in the Vensille Saga – 385k words
  • Written the third book in the Vensille Saga – 200k
  • written half the fourth (and final) book in the Vensille Saga – 100k
  • Two short stories – 17k
  • Published three RMSC novels, co-written with my brother – 150k words
  • Written two and a half novels in an urban fantasy series – 80k words

All in, that’s getting on for a million words typed. Plus six books published. And two more planned. And maybe another ten or twelve next year. I’m comfortably pleased with this, although it’s a lot less prolific than many authors.

Everyone always says that the most important advice for a new author is “write”. That’s true, as far as it goes, but if you want to finish a book and see it sell, I advise “write every day”. More on this topic later. 

Trant’s Tale, coming soon

Trant’s Tale is a short story, a novelette really (about 12,000 words) covering the back story for Trant, the river barge master that Marrinek meets when he sails from Riverbridge to Vensille. It came about because I wanted to explore some of the history behind the character and understand (or explain) how he came to empathise with Marrinek’s plight. On the face of it, their situations seem very different but, buffeted by forces beyond their control, they’re both victims, to some degree.

Trant’s Tale will be on Amazon soon at £0.99, and I hope you’ll pick it up and enjoy a short dive into the background of one of the saga’s minor characters.

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