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Rival Distress – Cover Reveal

I suffer terribly from impatience! I haven’t even finished up the final short story for Rival Distress and other sci-fi short stories yet. I was supposed to be waiting a week or so to reveal the cover. I couldn’t resist. Here it is:

Rival Distress Cover

More on Rival Distress.

I’m keeping myself very busy editing, rewriting and prettying up the short stories that will comprise Rival Distress and other sci-fi short stories. So far, I am satisfied that 2 of the longer stories are in a suitable condition for submission to Lisa at Green Cat Books. There is also 1 much shorter story that is in the same condition. My quandary is that I have 6 longer short stories, only 2 shorter stories and I don’t know whether that makes a good mix. At present I’m leaning towards including the 1 shorter story in a foreword and making the collection just the 6 longer stories. I think that will be best (still trying to convince myself).

Anyway, I obviously don’t have too much spare time to prattle away here on my Bloggy McBlogface so I’ll keep this short and finish here. Below, please find a link to the Green Cat Books Autumn 2019 catalogue. Page 10 belongs entirely to yours truly and even includes a sneak peek at the Rival Distress cover design.

Green Cat Books Autumn 2019 catalogue

Announcing: Rival Distress

Rival Distress and other sci-fi short stories – is the working title for my next book. There is no release date as yet, however, I have been in contact with Lisa at Green Cat Books arranging the cover picture, the layout and title wording. I’ve also provided a short synopsis. All this is due to be revealed in the Green Cat Books Autumn 2019 catalogue. Once that has been published I will be sure to share the cover and synopsis on here and on my social media platforms.

This isn’t a long Bloggy McBlogface, I go away for 5 days tomorrow for a much needed little vacation in Northumberland. As a little teaser though, I can reveal that Rival Distress is a short story set in my Oblivion universe following entirely new characters, the crew of the BCRS Attenborough, as they travel towards a new star system. Regular followers of my Faceache – sorry – Facebook page will already be aware that Sergeant Corey ‘motherfucker’ Naylor is also making an appearance in a tale from his pre-Gene Weavers backstory. Expect ‘colourful’ language!

Gene Weavers: Revisited!

It was the first full length ,book-sized piece of writing I produced – and one of the proudest moments in my life when I finally held that first paperback in my hands. The product of an imagination that, when I started the novel, I did not know remained quite so fertile. That first book, number 1 in The Gene Weavers Sequence, led on to number 2: the follow up – Gene Weavers: The Faleen Factions. I kicked my imagination into overdrive for that project and greatly expanded the ‘universe in my mind’ inhabited by the citizens of the UIG, the PER, the Faleen, the Gene Weavers, the Raik’kula, the Pridoli – the Myth! I have over 20,000 words written in first draft for the third and final instalment. That’s where I pulled up short. I knew where that third storyline started and where it finished, but I drew a blank in the middle. I started working on a weekend project, inspired in a small way by the fiction of H P Lovecraft. That weekend project overtook book 3 as my main project and the Oblivion universe was born.

I haven’t been back to the Gene Weavers universe since then – three Oblivion Trilogy books later. Until now. I’ve very nearly finished the first drafts of a selection of short stories to release as a stand-alone collection in paperback and on the kindle. Something to give anybody interested in my writing, but who is unsure about committing to a trilogy, an easy introduction. I’ve finished a Department 44 short. I’ve made a start on a Corey Naylor short. This goes back into the swearing sergeant’s back story, prior to his first ever appearance in chapter 3 of Gene Weavers: Revelations.

Both of my story universes were created in my head, fashioned from my imagination, from certain aspects of science, from my love of space opera and the old 1970s/80s grand set piece battle sci-fi of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. How is it then, that I am having to do so much research and fact-checking of my previous books to make sure this Sgt Naylor short isn’t full of more holes than somebody (or something) he’s recently introduced to his VAR98 Assault Rifle?

Thankfully, being a short story, not featuring the Gene Weavers or any more than three characters who also appear in GW:R, I have quite a free rein. The planet involved is making its debut appearance, the situation has not been referenced before, it’s almost entirely freestyle. But the tech remains. Certain classes of vehicle, the weapons, MindMESH. They all have to match their descriptions and capabilities in The Gene Weavers Sequence.

The importance of worldbuilding! The importance of research! Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun, I don’t regret deciding to write a Corey Naylor story. It has made me aware of just how much rereading will be required to immerse myself back into the correct universe when I complete Gene Weavers book 3. Perhaps I should have pushed through the block and persevered with book 3 instead of launching into Oblivion. But I can’t change the past and I don’t regret writing The Oblivion Trilogy at all.

Never mind. Here’s a photo of what Sgt Corey Naylor (minus his Slipknot mask – not a huge fan, prefer Stone Sour) might look like:

coreytaylorAnd, just because I can, here are the Gene Weavers book covers:

 

 

Where’s My Usual Routine?

I’m all out of kilter. I used to have a good routine going. Mrs Lee would go to work in the week, so would Alex, and Kathryn had regular days at college. First, Kathryn completed her digital media course (and gained an overall Merit), then Alex got a new job working 4 days on, 4 days off. Now, the school holidays have arrived and Mrs Lee has 5 weeks off.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against them having time off and doing all that they’re engaged in, it just disturbs the regular routine I’d established between family, working part-time and writing. I’ve seen a marked drop in wordcount over the past few weeks, making me feel anxious about my rate of output. The potential future releases of my sci-fi short story collection and the fantasy novel keep slipping ever backwards.

‘Ok, so shouldn’t you be working on one of those projects now instead of boring us all with your moaning on here?’

Well, the easy answer is yes, but it’s not that easy. Advertising and marketing are essential aspects of being a writer too – the ones I’m least well equipped for. That includes hosting this Bloggy McBlogface, reaching out to my readership/interested parties, opening myself up for psychoanalysis (don’t, I’m not that interesting!) and ridicule. Regular visitors to my ravings will be aware of my penchant for forgetting to post regularly. It turns out that’s not an ideal situation. Looking at the hit rate for visitors/readers of my missives, the stats clearly indicate regular additions are required to maintain and drive readership. Therefore, whilst it may not look like it, this is also an essential part of my writing – a tiny jigsaw piece without which the full picture is incomplete.

The sci-fi short story collection will be finished first. After the break I’ve had from the fantasy epic, I fully expect to have to reread the two parts of the manuscript (approx. 110k-120k words in total), probably editing as I go, to reacquaint myself with the story so far and little quirks of characterisation etc. There is a plan drawn up, of course, but it’s cursory when compared to the first draft.

There are six short stories written and variously edited/tweaked. One of these keeps my mind occupied with wondering whether I wound it up too early. Knowing me, I probably will place the cursor just after it’s last word and extend it to twice it’s current length. I’ve very nearly finished a seventh, have an eighth started and a ninth plot lined. That ninth one should be fun to write as it concerns a slightly earlier time in the life of one of the easiest characters to write in The Gene Weavers Sequence. Oh yes, a certain swearing Sergeant will be hitting the pages again!

Of course, he will be hitting the pages again in the third, and final, instalment of The Gene Weavers Sequence. I’ve been thinking about that series more and more lately and feel quite eager to give it the finale it deserves. Time for some self-discipline: short stories first, finish the Fantasy Epic, then finish The Gene Weavers Sequence.

But there are so many other ideas flying around, too – one character and their setting is developing quite nicely in my thoughts. Ruthless. Steve, you must be ruthless with yourself – develop an iron will and stick to the plan. One thing’s for certain, there’s a lot of authoring mileage in me yet if all these ideas are anything to go by!

Shameless Self Promotion #4

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I shamelessly self promoted. Must be time for another. Here goes:

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Shawn Beamish is a young pilot happily working as a freight transporter on Wenlock, a primeval planet undergoing terraforming for future human colonisation. Timid, with few friends, Shawn has followed his scientist parents from one new planet to the next, never settled for long or resident on well populated 24th century human worlds. Happiest when flying, he has achieved his initial dream of attaining flight approval but has a newer, bigger dream to realise. One fateful day he gets his chance, his one good friend has wangled the opportunity for him. However, it ends up going horribly wrong and Shawn finds himself light years away and potentially the only surviving member of his family. How will the first contact with an alien species develop from its violent start and will Shawn discover his family’s fate?

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Two years have passed since Shawn was rescued from Wenlock and he has settled into a comfortable, happy life with the Lifesons. His adventures are over – or are they?

Out in UIG and PER space, events are unfolding. Some are in the public eye, others very much not. Humanity’s future is about to change forever.

Allen Lifeson’s group failed to prevent Benedict Chambers from striking an alliance with the Gene Weavers. They are about to regret that.

Captain James Lifeson is sent to investigate a mystery. Little does he know what will follow.

Oblivion Cover

Sergeant Mint Harris is chief of police in Charlestown, a settlement on Obsirion II, a planet colonised 50 years ago by the British Corporation.

Nothing much happens there, and she likes it that way. However, a murder is reported, and other strange things are brought to her attention. Is there a connection?

Life in Charlestown is about to change, rapidly and irreversibly. The repercussions could impact all of humanity. Can Mint keep a grip on the developing situation, and how will it end?

TD44F cover

The essential follow on to Oblivion.

This collection of seven interlinked short stories and a novella picks up where the calamitous events of Oblivion ended. Mint and Roman are now resident in New Cambridge and members of the British Corporation’s Department 44.

Follow Roman as he reviews the Department 44 Files, searching for evidence of Varla K’dyamon activity, while in private he grows ever closer to his old boss. However, everything may not be as it first appears.

Meanwhile, the mess created by the destruction of the space stations has resulted in personnel landing on the wild, dangerously untamed equatorial continent of Obsirion II. Their eventual rescue by personnel from a scientific outpost leads to an unexpected discovery.

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Decades before the calamitous events in Charlestown, Captain Alice Davenport and the crew of the BCRS Fiennes suffered their own disastrous encounter with the Varla K’dyamon. Their spaceship destroyed, they find themselves marooned on Eskelon IV, a planet they were studying for future colonisation. It now appears to be their permanent home with no chance of rescue. Furthermore, the outcome of the Varla K’dyamon’s battle with an ancient alien defensive system is unknown. The greatest threat to their survival may come from space, not from their new habitat.

Roman and Mint continue to work for Department 44, desperately seeking knowledge and weapons that may allow them to combat the threat posed by Tiada Vejour. But, they aren’t the only ones hard at work on Obsirion II; plans and projects are coming to fruition in Charlestown. The malevolent alien still plans to enslave the entire population of the planet and call surviving members of its clan to a vast source of energy.

Random Mumblings!

Ok, so it is – yet again – far too long since I provided any kind of update on my Bloggy McBlogface. It isn’t really that there’s nothing to report, it’s more that I’ve kept myself busy and had bugger all to relay to you!

I got creative and handmade some promotional bookmarks, displaying my releases to date, to give out at the book festivals I have recently attended. Cue a photo of said bookmarks:

Bookmarks

The festivals didn’t go too badly. I was flying solo at Lowdham but got to chat to plenty of people; traders and visitors to my stall. I even made a few sales. Whereas Lowdham was a 1 day event, half a stall at Newark Book Festival was mine for both weekend days. I shared the stall with my good friend (and authorly stablemate) Richard Tyndall, so there was no shortage of quality banter and conversation. Again, I sold a few books, handed out some free bookmarks, met other authors – a big hello to AE Warren (https://www.aewarren.com/?fbclid=IwAR2FjNFkX9dqkfYf0dGMZ_z1tHLV9V8CPc-f-bFtq36Re7S7f2Y82iyIy50) – and traders. I had put some thought into my stall display beforehand and embellished it with some great A4 sized space-themed pictures. A flash of inspiration that (quite rarely) proved successful was to purchase some space-themed bookmarks to offer for sale. Some were especially good quality and required no embellishment, others I laminated to provide longevity. Needless to say, quantity wise, I sold more bookmarks than books. I’m currently saving ideas of other bookmark designs, thematically different, to add to my portfolio. Here’s a photo of my half-a-market-stall from the 2nd day at Newark:

Sunday Stall

The writing is progressing well. I’m well over halfway through the Fantasy Epic with the rest of the storyline plotted out; it just needs to be converted into prose! If I was writing one of my previous sci-fi books the wordcount would already be way beyond the completion point, which poses an issue. It becomes easy to get jaded when I see the wordcount increasing to such altitude but the end still being some distance away. Therefore, I decided to write some sci-fi short stories to provide my juvenile little ego with a boost – you can start and finish a project! The process has been thoroughly enjoyable and has included some forays into writing as a narrator in the first person, and even – shock, horror – some stories with no military element. It looks increasingly likely that the short story collection will be my next release. Watch this space – pun entirely intended.

Music-wise – no change. I’m going through a heavy phase of listening to Nightwish and Epica after a brief interlude listening to lots of Rush. The laughable and slightly surreal inclusion, as I play music videos on the smart-TV via You Tube, is the proclivity for adverts to play between tracks for K-Pop bands – my daughter likes that genre and also watches the videos through smart-TV. Hopefully she’ll get her first job soon and the K-Pop will reduce in regularity.