Two months until Small Places is live!

It’s two months to go until Small Places is out on August 3rd! There’s been a lot of progress – the paperback copies are now finished and looking great. Most of the merch has arrived, and I’ve got a range of bookmarks, grimoire-style notebooks, witches hat lapel pins, fantasy notecards … and one steampunk scorpion to give away. Everything looks incredible, and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out. You can see some of the content below – please excuse my amateur photography.

The tiny steampunk scorpion is probably my favourite here – it’ll be given away during a certain book tour later in August, so stay tuned for details!

I’m really delighted that review copies are now available, so if you’d like one, please let me know. I’d love to hear what you think about the book, so please contact me if you have thoughts, or would like to run a Q&A at any stage.

I’ve tried to leave plenty of time before launch – hopefully the fact that we’ve got two months until the official date will mean that there’s time for long postage delays (for some reason, Parasites took about five weeks to get to Canada, and three weeks to India) as well as time for you to get through your lengthy TBRs before August! That said, please don’t pressure yourself to speed-read – it’s more important that you enjoy the book 😊

In other news, I’m continuing to make slow progress with Dusk, although it’s always tough to split your attention between promoting one book and writing another (not to mention ‘actual work’ and life admin!) but we’re getting there. I’m feeling a little happier with how it’s working out, and hopeful that things will accelerate in future. Without giving too much away, our heroes are divided fairly early on in the book, so there are two parallel stories to follow. I’d written (and been dissatisfied with) one stream, and then started to write the other afresh – so once that’s finished, it should be faster to work with the other one and upgrade it, using some of the earlier details. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I’ll keep this site updated with my word count etc.

Small Places is coming!

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that Small Places, my new urban fantasy novel, is available for pre-order, ahead of its launch on Amazon on August 3rd. Small Places joins Jamie, a boy living in a country village, as he runs an errand for a friend of the family to collect medicine from a witch, Melusine, who lives in a hidden forest in the countryside.

Thirteen years later, strange earthquakes and storms are wracking Britain, Jamie’s parents have separated and his mother is suffering from cancer. He returns home to look after her, but receives a mysterious summons from Melusine. Figuring that if she needs him, she may be willing to help his mother, he meets with the witch, learning that the freak weather is being caused by something affecting the earth spirit, Gaia. Mel needs his help to find the source of the problems – and this means travelling to the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, hunting down clues, whilst simultaneously putting up with the irritable witch and dealing with his mum’s terminal illness.

It’s been an instructional (read: slightly painful) process, but I’m thrilled that it’s finally here. Looking back at the process, I finished the first draft on New Year’s Eve of 2019, and ran through preliminary edits by March … and then the pandemic happened and things *really* slowed down. Beta readers enjoyed it, but I did a relatively major re-write after my chief editor (and long-suffering partner) suggested a tweak that affected the entire book. Nonetheless, it’s a better book because of it, and thanks to the changes, we (most significantly) get to meet Jamie’s mum, which also affected a hundred and one other things throughout the book – including the ending!

As ever, you can see the content and trigger warnings on my site – please do consult them prior to reading, or get in touch if you have further questions.

If you’d like a review copy, please do get in touch – the kindle versions are ready for pre-order, and the paperbacks will be ready soon; I had a proof through today and they just need a little tweak. There’ll be a blog tour running with Storytellers on Tour from the 1st August, and merch, goodies and other bits and pieces are also in the works – so stay tuned!

What’s Parasites all about?

Parasites is about hope, adventure and found family, which are perhaps the three of the most important things in the world to me. It’s a science fiction novel in the genres of solarpunk and hopepunk; it takes place towards the very end of the universe, when the very fabric of space itself is cooling and contracting.

It follows two explorers, Kael and Alessia, in their exploration of thinnings: patches where two universes rub together, overlapping and allowing travel between worlds in different places. The discovery of thinnings has allowed the people on their resource-poor planet, Lyra, to survive and colonise other places in other universes.

Alessia’s father, also an explorer, died two years prior to the start of the novel, on a mission that – until now – she knew nothing about. But when Kael and Alessia find a message hinting at a ‘solution’ to the problems of the universe, she jumps at the chance to follow in his footsteps and uncover the secrets of the past, recruiting Basteel, a family friend and their bodyguard, to keep them safe.

Parasites is set across a weird and (hopefully) wonderful set of places; planets and space stations with their own cast of creatures and hazards. It’s a journey with friends.

I’m conflicted as to whether Parasites is YA: the protagonists are in their mid to late twenties, but the narrative is also fairly straightforward. It’s on the verge of being hard sci-fi, but my background in the sciences is flimsy to say the least: let’s just say that I’ve tried to make it accessible, which is something that runs through my fantasy books as well. There are no long lineages of characters to remember, no geography to memorise, no large casts, no tough scientific things to get your head around. There’s technology and magic, but it’s my aim to explain it all in a simple way that allows you to just be immersed in the story.   

You can read more about the book using Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature. If you’re concerned about trigger content, you can find a list of trigger and content warnings for all of my books on this page.

You can also keep up with me and what I’m up to on this blog, my twitter feed and (less frequently!) my Instagram page. You can also email me on mail [at goes here] theabditory.co.uk.

One last thing – if you were hoping this book was something to do with the Oscar-winning Korean film, I apologise – but I hope that I’ve piqued your interest!

Engineering Identical Hand Twins?!

Do you remember that episode of friends where Joey finds his ‘identical hand twin’? Well, I’ve just had a similar episode, only with books … kind of.

Somehow, I saw a tweet the other day from Darran Handshaw, asking “Any other authors with a science fiction fantasy novel set in a ruined futuristic city with an engineer main character want to cross-promote?  Let me know!”

And what are the chances? Parasites, my sci-fi solarpunk exploration novel features exactly this – although this is really only one location, and one of the main characters … but it’s a remarkable coincidence.

I’m not saying that we’re going to run away to Vegas together and make millions (although neither did Joey) but it certainly made me laugh, and I’ve already downloaded Darran’s book The Engineer: A Chronicles of Actaeon Story, which is very much intriguing me! If you’re interested in Darran’s work as well, you can find it on Amazon UK here and read the very positive reviews on Goodreads here. I’ll be updating and doing a full review once I’m done!  

Thank you!

It’s not easy being an independent author, especially when you’re hoping to (one day) not be independent. It’s pretty tough when you know that being a writer is a dream for so many other talented individuals out there, people who are often smarter, more established and less weirded out by the whole prospect of self-promotion than you are.

Thankfully, I’ve found that the book community – writers and bloggers alike – is pretty much nothing but supportive (ok, some of y’all are crazy but you’re still supportive with it!) so I wanted to take a moment and say thank you. You’ve all taken time out of your busy lives to read my stuff and I appreciate it more than you can know.

So a huge thank you to my first set of reviewers, Traveling Cloak, Alex J Books, Stevo, Natazha and Alex, and an equally huge thank you to those who have it on their TBRs, Erik at Genre Book Reviews, Nighty, Kriti, Nadja, Lori, Ollie and Cassidee.

For the latter group, I really hope you enjoy Parasites – and even if you don’t, I’m so grateful that you read it and I’m really looking forward to reading your thoughts about it. There’s currently five and a half thousands words chucked into a word document with rough ideas and structure for books two and three so at this stage, you’ve potentially got a chance to affect later books!

Uh, or, well, the cessation of efforts on later Parasites books and my return to fantasy, which is actually more of my natural homeland 😛  

Again, as an Indie writer, there’s a strong temptation to just keep writing ‘book one’ of something until it gets picked up by a traditional publisher, but all of your kind words have strongly contributed to some serious thoughts about Parasites books two and three. While I kind of need to dedicate a book to my wife at some stage, you guys will get a huge shout out after that, promise!

That was pretty raw, so thank you all again, and happy trails.

Which authors do people best?

I wanted to spend more time on authors, because something struck me the other day and I wanted to explore it a little. There are clearly some writers that I love, others that create immersive worlds. But one thing that strikes me is that a lot of us create idealistic worlds, with flawed villains and great (often flawed) heroes … but some writers are especially gifted at creating very realistic people and I wanted to call out a few specifically.

  1. Arthur C Clarke: I’m always struck by how well Clarke gets people – or more importantly, societies, even in fantastical settings. I remember reading the Rama series for the first time and being downcast by how everything goes to hell and back again, the importance of understanding and compassion. Somehow, despite the fact that it’s set on a giant space station with crazy aliens, Clarke manages to portray an amazingly human science fiction story.
  2. Julian May: May has huge skill in constructing an array of very human characters. Statesmen, gutsy students, precocious geniuses – no-one is flat or two dimensional in May’s world. It obviously helps that she has a lot of time and many, many words to do it in (Intervention is huge) but I absolutely love the depth of her people.
  3. Becky Chambers: I’m not quite sure that Chambers exactly fits the bill here, but Chambers certainly has the view of humanity that I want to exist. Her characters are always kind, do the right thing and I’ve been left with a big warm and fuzzy feeling after reading her first two books.
  4. Adrian Tchaikovsky: I’ve ‘only’ read the Shadows of the Apt series, but I was blown away by how Tchaikovsky constructs very nuanced, very human characters. They do have a lot of time to develop – which makes it more impressive that he manages it so effectively – and they don’t always develop in positive ways, but over the course of the series, you slowly realise that there’s a master at work.

Book bloggers and reviewers ahoy!

Review copies of my YA sci-fi solarpunk exploration novel Parasites are now available! If you review in any form and would like a copy to read, please contact me on twitter at @many_writings or email me on mail [at] theabditory.co.uk. I don’t have an infinite number of copies (that would be weird for everyone) so may run out, but if you’re keen, please contact me.

I slightly struggle for comparisons – you can read a better descriptor here or see a sample on Amazon – but if you like Becky Chambers or Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer trilogy, enjoyed the Mass Effect games or other space exploration titles, this may be up your street.