Monday, 20 November 2017

My Science-Fiction Debut...

Lasers, spaceships, light opera. I'm so proud.
Since I was old enough to hold a pen, a large part of me has wanted to write science-fiction filled with spaceships, lasers, and explosions. Inspired mostly by repeats of Star Trek on BBC 2 in the mid-1980s, as well as reading Douglas Hill's Last Legionary series, replete with titles like Day of the Starwind and Deathwing Over Veeyna.
But... I've always had pretensions of producing quality work, and it became clear that my grasp of science and maths weren't up to producing the sort of SF that you could actually read without a scientist judging you. I was finally put off, honestly, by the forum fallout over my "deliberate mistake" in a charity Doctor Who anthology back when I was 21.
And now I've written a novella called Zip Zap Boing, wherein my hero hang-glides, from a laser-spewing drone fighter, between dog-fighting spaceships. It's utterly bonkers, and any forum ninjas can bugger off and thrash themselves silly watching The Martian if they're that bothered about scientific accuracy. And Wooden Pen Press have published it in, ahem, Pew! Pew! Bite My Shiny Metal Pew! My inner 8 year old who used to write Doctor Who stories in smeary blue biro in A6 notebooks from the village newsagent is nodding and saying to me, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do."
I think I've written the sort of story that I always wanted to read, and more to the point that I always wanted to write. It's now available from Amazon (universal link).

Next up, I'll be writing a sequel which will be out in mid-December. And before that... a second Chantecoq book. It's been a busy year, and I didn't think I'd get to mid-November and still have two books to come out, as well as one in the pipeline for 2018 already!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Swelling wordcounts

I've never written a novel.

This is sometimes a shock even to me. I've translated novels, and I've been self-publishing those translations, along with my shorter fiction, since 2012. But I've never actually completed a novel.*

Then somewhere along the way, those short stories began to get longer. I'd long stopped submitting to the sort of magazines who insist on 2,000 - 3,000 word limits, and was writing fiction with a view to submitting to small press anthologies or, well, self-publishing, which pushed me towards 5,000 - 6,000 words.

My first novella was in 2015, scraping over the line for novella status at 17,000 words. I then spent most of 2016 buried in short story writing for collections including Summer's End and A Treasury of Brenda and Effie.

This year, I've completed three full-length novellas. Apocalypse Barnes, my comedy zombie tale, came out in July and has done very well. Zip! Zap! Boing! is my first foray into space opera, and will be out in early November, in the anthology - ahem - Pew! Pew! Bite My Shiny Metal Pew! My mother is so proud of me...

Rounding off this mid-length trilogy is Street Shamans: Rudy on Rails. No precise release date just yet, but hopefully this will be landing early in the New Year. The Street Shamans series is a cyberpunk series, with shades of urban fantasy and comedy (some are more overtly humorous than others).

While Rudy on Rails may, after editing, just scrape over the 40K mark that seems to be the bare minimum accepted length for a novel, this does rather point out an obvious next step in my career.

2018 will be the year I finally get a novel out there.

Watch this space.


*Well I have, but you're never going to see it.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Zombies on the Streets of London...

Coming Soon: Apocalypse Barnes
Can you believe at one point last year I was updating this blog twice a month?

Anyway.

Apocalypse Barnes is now available for pre-order from Amazon at $0.99 or £0.99, depending where you are. That's a discounted price that will increase shortly after the official publication date of 17 July.

This 30,000 word novella is a story I began writing over four years ago, when it was based on the end of a dream I'd had (I hate even the thought of writing anything inspired by dreams, and almost everything I half-remember from that fevered night's imaginings has fallen by the wayside during the creative process). Zombies roaming the streets of Barnes, that affluent suburb of South West London just over the river from Hammersmith and Chiswick.

I've not spent the last four years working on this book. It's spent whole calendar years undisturbed and gathering dust on my hard drive while I worked on things like Story Of My Escape, or Of Mice And Men And Sausages. But it's been the idea that just won't quite go away. It was enormous fun writing about the area where I live. Really looking at places I visit every week, to see where a zombie might pop up, and how they might be avoided.

But it's a balancing act as well. Barnes residents will recognise almost every location used in the novella. But it also has to make sense to readers who've never visited the area. So I made a very early resolution to resist the temptation to write friends and family into the narrative; writers who do that sort of thing not only risk damaging their personal relationships, but it also gets pretty boring to read a book full of someone else's private jokes. So apart from one or two people's quirks who were just too hilarious to resist - and zombie Roger McGough - the classic disclaimer is true. Any resemblance to persons living or dead (or in this case both) is purely coincidental...