April – Dusk is Live!

Dusk is live!

[Full disclosure – this post contains minor hints as to what happens in Parasites]

I’m absolutely delighted that Dusk, the sequel to Parasites, is now live on the Amazon store. It’s been a fun book to work on, but for a while, I wasn’t sure if it would actually get written! The last two years of the pandemic has been a difficult time to write in, and Dusk was fairly problematic at best. Now that it’s here, I’m thrilled with it; the cover art came off brilliantly, and it all looks fantastic.  

One of the major challenges with Dusk was how to bring back – and continue – some of the themes, characters and mysteries that I’d started in Parasites. I had a number of notes for continuity from Book 1, but I certainly hadn’t planned it out the entire trilogy in depth. I needed to explore things like the unresponsive creatures that the duo finds, the continuity of the communities that Kael and Alessia come into contact with, and I also wanted to spend a lot more time exploring Lyra itself, all the while, driving the main plot forwards.

Then there were broader things to look at, like what happens when you add more resources to a resource-poor world; what do they do with these resources, and what does it do to the social and political climate of the planet? I really wanted to spend some time with the various colonies and outposts that Lyra established. What would they be like? How would the colonists behave? Would they have their own cultures? All of this gave me a pretty broad canvas to play with, and one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed tinkering with.

However, it was pretty clear that the overall plot of the trilogy couldn’t move forwards if we spent all of our time on Lyra, so that meant splitting up the main crew. I’d already spent a bit of time writing as Slyph in Parasites, and in Dusk, we see chapters from not only Kael and Alessia, but also Slyph, Basteel and Caroline, Basteel’s partner in crime. K&A are fairly calm and happy-go-lucky in Parasites, but when the tension ratchets up, and things really matter, it’s a test of their characters – and an opportunity to explore what they’re really made of.

 Now it’s out in the world, I’m keen to know your views on it – what did you think, what did you like, what didn’t you like?

February: Dusk is almost here!

We’re getting close.

In December, I’d been through two edits of Dusk. I’ve just finished the fifth (I think – it might be six) and am ready to declare the core manuscript finished. Editing is generally something I don’t really enjoy, and for me, is a sure-fire way to remove whatever enjoyment I take in reading (especially after the third or fourth re-read!) but I’m taking the fact that I still enjoyed parts of Dusk after the last re-read as a good sign.  

There are still a host of things to do; it needs a cover, it needs a map, it needs print formatting, the physical version will need a look over. We’ll need to sort out the details of whatever promotional stuff – tours, giveaways, gifts etc need to be sorted, and I’ve just been working out minutiae like the copyright page, the content and trigger warnings, so on and so forth. But we’re really close!

And … I’m also leaning towards the possibility of plunging on with the third book in the trilogy, rather than trying to get back to finishing Wild Court, the other urban fantasy novel I’ve been working on, on and off, for a few years now. WC (oops…) has been on/off for a while now, and although I’m making steady progress, it’s something I’d rather work on when I feel passionate about it, rather than forcing myself to finish the last 40k words.

We’ll get there.

Anyway, that’s about all the news I have at the moment – stay tuned, and we might even do a cover reveal for Dusk at some stage soon…

What happened in August? Dusk, Small Places and Wild Court updates – and BBNYA news

Hi solarpunk fans! I hope that you’re all faring well. I didn’t get around to doing a July update, so here’s August – I’ll be honest with you, 2020 is a tough year and progress has been superslow. But we’re getting there.

So, where are we at right now? Well, Dusk is currently sitting at just over 58k words, but my writing brain does not want to engage over about 27 degrees Celsius. It’s also quite difficult to know exactly what percentage of the book that constitutes – the book flips between two different parties of people, and after struggling to shift my brain every chapter, I’m just writing the entire storyline of one before moving to go back to the other later on.

I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but it seems to sit best with my head, so I’m going with it!

Small Places, my urban fantasy title, is getting close. It’s been read by two beta readers and a sensitivity reader, and generally got positive and constructive feedback. It’s now being read by – gulp – my wife, who has a laser eye for detail. She hasn’t read any of my work before, so this has been a fairly nerve-wracking affair so far. I’m pleased to say that her feedback is all incredibly useful, but that doesn’t make it any easier, psychologically!

She’s also extremely busy with her job at the moment, so that’s slightly slowing things down. The book is dedicated to her though, so I thought it only fair to give her a look at it first. Once she’s done, I’ll give it a final read to make sure everything is consistent and smooth, then it’ll need to be print / kindle formatted … but then we’re good to go! I’m excited to have you all read it at some stage, although I wouldn’t recommend reading it seven times in one year, which is essentially what I’ve done so far. 

I’ve also got to level with you about Wild Court. It’s stalled again. It really needs a huge amount of focus, inspiration and love to get going, so once I’ve finished Dusk, I’m going to see how I’m feeling. If I’m in a good place, I’ll strip it back, re-plan it and absolutely run at it. If not, then I’ll either work on the third book in The Navigator series, or the sequel to Small Places, although the latter is only half planned out at the moment. I guess that makes Navigator 3 more likely…  

In other news, I was absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for the BBNYA Awards – Parasites is currently in the Top 30 shortlist, with the Top 10 to be decided by September 30th. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!