Search This Blog

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Swords, sorcery and...sand

It seems like an age since I last released some work, but its only been seven months. Perhaps its the wealth of stuff I've squeezed in that time, or perhaps its because of other projects and distractions.
Anyhow, Darkness Rising: Loss is due for release at the end of the summer. I got the edits back from my friend, Nik, back in April, I think, but was focusing on some new material for DR6 at that time. I've completed the edited version, and now have the delight of showing off the brand new cover.

As with all my books, and many of the books on Myrddin Publishing, the cover is by the talented Ceri Clark. Ceri has managed to design this one whilst juggling the more than full time role of new mum. Something about exhaustion must work, because it's superb. Here is the front:

The star of the cover is Lady Orla, who will be familiar to those who read the series as the rather prim and ordered Knight of the Air who has ended up travelling with the companions. In this book, Orla really steps up a bit, dealing with a number of issues from her past and giving Hunor a great deal of support as he strives to lead them all.

The book is actually set in two locations. As with the prior two books (DR2 and 3) it follows two parallel plotlines, one with Emelia, Jem and Hunor; the other is with Aldred, Ekris and Unhert. Don't fret, they all link up in the end (well, in book five!!). The characters of Inkas-Tarr and Torm, minor characters in the last few books (to the point of readers commenting why are they here?), get a much bigger part in book 4 as they meet up with Aldred's group.

Aldred's journey takes him out of the Emerald Mountains and into South Artoria, where he travels to the famous city of Keresh and its fabled walls. It was a tough call to decide between an image of Aldred and a walled city, or an image of one of the seven in Emelia's group and a desert. In the end I thought the colours and feel of the desert were better suited for a cover.

In the desert of Pyrios, Emelia is struggling to hold onto her sanity after the events at the end of Book Three. The strains on both Kervin and Jem lead to frission in the group, compounded by the sense that Vildor is closing in on them fast. He has the black crystal, and also the aid of both the Ghasts and the demonic humours, who make a welcome reappearance in books four and five.

I'm hoping to get the book out at the end of summer, after our family jaunt to Devon. if you fancy an advance review copy let me know and I'll whizz one your way. And be sure to check out Ceri and her great website at

Definitely some Warhammer next time. Definitely.

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Despite my earlier assurance that I would dedicate more time to maintaining this wondrous blog, I find myself yet again with a gaping hole between posts. The obvious excuse is that life has been crazy busy. It’s not a bad one—work has been bonkers since I took on a management role; my workplace has been under Torquemada levels of scrutiny from outside agencies (nothing to do with my practice, honest); my mum’s been ill; got three kids; wife working hard and trying to sell our house (click on link below to buy it on Paypal)... blah, blah.
Yet the truth of the matter is motivation, eroded by weariness. I simply ran out of things to write about. Blogging is something that needs continual inspiration, and what little time I could free up for leisure pursuits not involving the family, were spent editing and writing the latest instalment in my fantasy opus. The longer you leave it the more... meh you get about it. And then you think, does anyone really want to read about my thoughts? Most thrills in my life revolve around work in Intensive Care and Anaesthetics and confidentiality stops me going into too much detail. I could write about my family, but I’m not certain that anyone beyond close friends would really want to read it.
So the inspiration faded, and I’ve taken a hiatus to work on Darkness Rising 4 and 6 (yes, there is a five, but it is on a back-burner). I’ve picked up (or rather rekindled) a new hobby in the interim. And... well, I’m back.
With a fresh approach. As Jack Nick said in Batman 1 (the cheerier 1980s version)- ‘This town needs an enema.’ And indeed, this blog does. So what am I going to do in this re-boot?
Well, first of all I sort of separated out my writing/reviewing interests into another blog- The Roaring Mouse. When I was flush with time that was cool, but if I ain’t got time for one, then I certainly ain’t got time for deux. So from now on this blog will have any book reviews, interviews, book features, cover reveals, blog tours, guest posts that previously went to the little mousey blog.
Secondly, I think its important (as I acknowledged in the Mini-me post I did last year) that I am a geek. Utterly. For many years I skirted around the idea, playing down my love of fantasy role playing games and DnD. The other week I was chatting with the husband of one of my wife’s oldest friends and we discovered a common love of geekdom. And I got to thinking if you can’t shout it from the rooftops at 41 then when else are you going to do it?
So this re-boot is also going to focus on comics (which I did already), fantasy, RPGs, Warhammer, Sci-fi, gaming, Dr Who, nostalgic sci-fi from the 80s, music. Me, in other names. Films, less so, because I never watch them anymore. Television not so much, as I only watch soaps and housing programmes at the moment.
And of course rambles about nostalgia, the kids, what bits of work I can talk about, family life, holidays, middle-life crises... all in a random dissociated manner, with no theme or cohesion whatsoever.
As I see the followers leaving in the manner of the men dressed as women heading for the boats on the Titanic, I might have a quick ponder on re-boots.
What is it with Hollywood? Do they consider the viewing public to have the attention span of Dori in Finding Nemo? Can they not come up with ideas beyond re-invention? Now I say this in the face of not having seen the Superman re-re-boot. My bruv has seen it and says it was a good film, although scanty on the laughs front in the current fashion of dark broody angsty superhero movies (presumably designed to make a flying alien story that bit more believable). It’s on the see when out on DVD list which actually is all the films I see at the moment that aren’t made by Pixar.
But its getting irritating. New Spiderman movie... liked. Liked the skinny kid. Liked the classic hard-luck Spidey story as it fitted with the comic’s style. The Lizard, well, OK... finds Spidey identity... yawn. Can we have a Spiderman film where they don’t find out who he is? Otherwise we’ll have to have a really naff cop out, like they did in Dallas where Pam found Bobby in the shower and it was all a dream. I used to write stories like that as a kid at school.
(What did you do this weekend? (Cue Fineas and Ferb music) I wrestled with alligators, found a lost Inca Temple, designed a nano-bot and gained spider powers... then I realised it was all a dream)
Child Psych referral...
I digress. Oddly in the Spiderman comic, when they wanted to REBOOT, they decided he would make a pact with zee Devil (an extra-dimensional demon called Mephisto, who has crazy hair for Satan) who just altered reality, got rid of his wife, and made his identity secret again.
So, back to Spiderman. I did like the film, and the way they stuck with him been a teenager (although too cool and lacking in round glasses Ditko nerdiness) but, damn it, I liked the first three films. I liked Toby Maguire, and Kristen (stand me beneath a deluge of water and kiss me) Dunst, and Dafoe, and Albert Octopus. They were great, and they followed an arc, and... why not continue that arc? Show him maturing, fresh challenges? Spidey with a kid. All those villains that could be used, without having to spend half a film telling an origin story again, slightly differently.
Do we only get three films this time? And Batman. He’s done his 80s versions (first two great, third starting losing the way, fourth... Mr Freeze... ‘Ice to see you.’), then his hose-pipe in car exhaust trilogy (still need to see number three, loading up on Prozac before hand). What next? Another re-boot? Another reimaging? The Darker Knight? And what will they do with the Justice League film. I read today that they might have a Bats vs. Supes dust-off (as per Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, but presumably without the incontinence pants).
See, re-boots create problems. What do you regard the prior ones as? How do you avoid copying parts, and drawing comparisons?
I like what they’re doing with the X-man Franchise. We have three good movies, then two prequels, plus a solo Wolvie movie. Then we have a way of bringing the prequel set-up and the modern set-up together with a nod to one of the best story-lines in the comic book. Well thought out, and fresh. And Marvel also coming up trumps with the films orbiting around the Avengers franchise—Thor 1-2, Iron Man 1-3, Captain America 1-2—now Guardians of the Galaxy (with Dr Who’s Amy Pond and her shaved head!!!!). It feels fresh, not repetitive. I’ll even forgive them the re-imagining of the Hulk in the Avengers, as he was finally done to perfection, without re-booting.
My honest worry is that they will seek to re-boot films that I hold dearly. I fret with the idea of Star Wars, or Indiana Jones, or Back to the Future 1 being re-done. Because it says, ‘I’ve run out of ideas.’
And the re-boot of this blog was prompted by such a period, of ideas (and time) running thin. But my palate is colourful, and there so much to talk about, even if I’m the only one listening.
Next time... perhaps some Warhammer and models... perhaps some book stuff and covers... or perhaps something about lyrics in songs.
S’good to be back.