What’s been going on since February?

I know, I’ve been terrible for blogging. It’s been four months, I’m sorry. All I can say is that I’m better at writing than I am at blogging / marketing / tweeting!

But it’s with great pleasure that I can announce that the first draft of the third and final book in the Navigator / Parasites trilogy, tentatively named Exodus, is finished. It was an odd book to write – I had a lot of freedom in the first book because I had a rough framework for where I wanted to go, but I could essentially make the worlds from scratch. The second had a few limitations, and a rough sense of direction, but I very much felt that we could still be exploring and experiencing the wonders of the universe.

Exodus was a lot tougher. Our heroes are on the run, up against the wall, and have a very, very narrow window for success and survival, not to mention big ambitions. They’ve got a lot riding on them, and although they’ve got some remarkable individuals on their side, they can’t pause for breath – and that’s not something that comes easily to Lyrans.

But we’re there, and I’m now starting the editing process, which isn’t wildly exciting to blog about or report on. I want to do a re-read of Parasites and Dusk to ensure good continuity – and if either of them get a tiny little sprucing up in the process, then all the better!

In other matters, one of the reasons why I’ve been quite quiet has been works on the house, which has been quite disruptive (and expensive). The house seems to have been cursed (hopefully not literally) with a number of leaks in a number of rooms, and rather than tackle them piecemeal, we’ve had major works done to correct them – which has been stressful, and often meant that I’ve not been able to write as much as I wanted to. I’m still slightly embarrassed to say that even when I had a full day to write (and only write) I barely managed 7k words. I did 4k in an afternoon at the weekend, which just goes to show the power of good mental health and the lovely Cherry Stream keyboard (scissor switches for the win!).

So I’m looking forward to bringing you all a new book soon – and then we can get onto the very exciting subjects of Grace and Vengeance, and the Slow and Gentle Wyrd, which I’ve been putting off to get Exodus done!

What’s been going on in February?

I’m very happy to say that I’ve been having a bit of a resurgence in my writing in the last month, and it’s mainly been directed at Navigator / Parasites 3. I usually find it quite hard to shift between narratives, so I’ve been doing chunks of Kael and Alessia chapters, and chunks of Basteel chapters, and I’m about 15 – 20k words further along than I was at the start of the year.

I have to be honest: this book is a slightly different one to the other two. In Parasites, our companions were exploring, and despite the difficult backdrop, I wanted a strong theme of wonder to come through the book. Kael and Alessia are explorers, discovering new and fantastic places, however dangerous they might be. In Dusk, there’s a threat, but for a great deal of the book it’s intangible, allowing us to look at new places with a more relaxed lens.

In the third novel, the Lyran people are in more immediate danger, and I don’t want to mess around with an illusion that that’s fine. In Dusk, we’re only seeing the first tentative conflicts between the Lyrans and the Tardigrades, and the Lyrans are more than able to deal with them, given their adaptability and resilience. In #3, it’s war, and Lyra is not equipped for war.

The book isn’t intended to be entirely bleak, and a great deal of it revolves around finding hope, and placing trust in friends, but there is absolutely a theme of sustained peril throughout. One of the things I’m trying very hard to get right is the old Parasites / Dusk spirit, but also bringing something new to the equation.

Either way, progress is good, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be done by the end of this year – if not before!  

What happened in the second half of 2023?!

Happy New Year! I hope you all managed to have a break over the festive season. As usual, an apology for the infrequent updates – life managed to get in the way of writing and editing in quite a significant way in the latter half of 2023, but I’m determined to make more progress in 2024, in a managed and kind way, of course.

Firstly – I’ve been doing a bit of technical tinkering over the break. Somehow, I’d managed to only buy the insecure version of my website address (http:// rather than https://) which meant that browsers occasionally redirected to a British property company! I’ve now got my SSL sorted, so there’s no redirect issue. Happy browsing!

I’ve been making steady progress on The Slow and Gentle Wyrd, which was meant to be a seasonal release at the end of last year. That definitely didn’t happen, but I’ll come back to it throughout 2024 and hopefully schedule its release for Christmas 2024. It’s a feel-good, comfy, cosy, low-stress read, and should be a little shorter than Small Places, so again, not a long or stressful read.

We’re also moving along nicely with Navigator / Parasites 3. It’s all planned out, although the actual writing and execution sometimes moves a bit differently to the plan. I often find that when I’m writing split-perspective novels, I want to continue writing from one perspective when I’m really in flow, which means a bit of hopping back and forth, cutting and pasting chapters and so on. Ultimately, it gives better continuity and flow, so I’m usually happy to go with whatever my brain commands! Mind you, there’s a lot to be done – it’s currently at 25k words, so we’re about a quarter of the way there, without any kind of editing etc. It should be finished this year, but I can’t be more specific than that.

In terms of other bits and pieces, I’ve been enjoying a number of rereads in the last few months. I’m about three quarters of the way through William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, which is an all-time favourite of mine. I’ve also been doing a re-read of Laurell K Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series, which I never finished; the story / narrative side of things seems to evaporate around book three, but it’s all on my local library’s app, so I’m willing to give it another try! I’ve always been fascinated with modern takes on the fey / faerie, and book one is superb.

Otherwise everything has been fairly quiet – I definitely needed a bit of a rest and a break, and hopefully it’ll supercharge the months to come!

What’s been going on in July? Three new projects

I’ve been a bit lax in posting this year, but after some time off, I’m feeling a bit more determined and energised. I’ve been working on three different projects – which you can see in the ‘books’ section – but I’m delighted to be able to tell you a little bit more about them here as well.

First, we have the third (final and as-yet-unnamed) book in the Navigator series; this is the culmination of Parasites and Dusk, which sees Kael, Alessia, Basteel, Caroline and Slyph take on their biggest challenge yet. On the back-foot in the wake of the Tardigrade invasion, they attempt to rally the Lyran forces and come up with an effective plan in the face of complete disarray. As a nation of explorers, fighting is not in their nature, but there is little choice. With Basteel separated from the group by many universes, both groups attempt to re-unite before their entire population is decimated by the near-unstoppable force.

I’ve had this book planned out for a while now, but it’s been a little difficult to get going – hence my flitting between three books at the moment. I’m determined to get back into it and give the explorers the finish they deserve!

Secondly, I’m continuing to rewrite the first book I ever wrote. I’ve been toying with this for years; initially it was all in the first person, and I’d decided to rewrite it in the third. On reflection, I’d like to be truer to the spirit of the original while incorporating elements of the newer content, so I’m starting again, using some of the source material and reverting to first person.

Grace and Vengeance is a curious story, set in a modern world where the faery and humans coexist uneasily, with ‘factions’ in the middle, organisations set up to protect and mediate the effects of the fey. Over the years, the political climate has shifted, and people no longer believe that they can live in harmony with the fey. As tensions build, a beaten down schoolboy is thrown into the middle of this decades-long conflict with a group of friends, and the oncoming storm will either make or break them.

Finally, I’m also working on a fairly chilled out book, The Slow and Gentle Wyrd, which is an Alice in Wonderland-style peaceful adventure, designed to be a beautiful recharge for the winter months. I don’t know if I’ll actually have it finished by winter, but we’ll see! It sees our MC, Sam, fall through a magical door in an airport bookshop, and accompanying a boy on his rite of passage adventure of the Autumn City, encountering wonderful and magical people and places throughout. It’s sheer indulgence, very much inspired by the likes of Lewis Carroll, Clive Barker’s Abarat and Jackie Morris’ books.

And that’s it! It’s been slightly slow progress, but hopefully I’m mentally on the mend and will keep you updated on progress on all three.

Another pause

I’m struggling again. I’ve not written much this year – 10k words or so on the third book in the Navigator / Parasites series – and although I’ve sort-of kidded myself that I’ve been focusing on promotion for Wild Court, I think I need to hit pause for a bit. The words aren’t coming, and when I look back at what I’ve done, well, some of it is ok, but other parts just feel clunky. So I’m going to pause on it for a bit and have a think about what I really want to be writing.

And in all honesty, it’s possibly a number of factors hitting me all at once. I’ve never really gotten on with summer – I’m much more of a spring / autumn person – and the hot temperatures in the UK leave me feeling drained and lacking energy. I’ve managed to settle professionally for a bit after a few wrong moves, but I have some family goings-on that also require my attention.

I also suspect that simply pressuring myself to write one thing and one thing only (although I have occasionally dipped into my old novel re-write) has had the opposite effect and just made things grind to a halt. So I’m going to be kind to myself for a while, think about what I’d love to write rather than what I should write, and see where we get.

Although I’m sorry that it’ll mean a slower resolution to Kael and Alessia’s adventures, hopefully it means a better one in the fullness of time!

Wild Court – Expanded ‘About’

I’ve been holding back from posting too much about Wild Court, for fear of spoiling it, but I’m also acutely conscious that as an indie author, this doesn’t always work in my favour! I’ve tried to expand a little bit more on what it’s all about without giving too much away – here goes nothing…


There are boundaries, invisible to the human eye, that keep us safe from the threat of the nightmare worlds. Worlds inhabited by a mass of creeping, biting, gibbering creatures. Creatures of boundless appetites, creatures that feed on terror, creatures that we cannot touch, but that cause us to bleed, suffer and die on contact.

There are secret organisations fighting to maintain these boundaries. Organisations that have fought, deceived and made peace for our benefit. Organisations that have feverishly tried to arrest the decline in empathy that causes the boundaries to erode.

These organisations are losing.

Lincoln is a retired demon hunter, grown cynical with age and bitter at being called back into the field at a time of emergency. Ben and Matt are two friends, united by a love of nerdy sci-fi, Nando’s and dad jokes, divided by anxiety and a laddish toxic masculinity.

Alice is a gifted archaeologist, hunting a biblical secret left untouched for thousands of years, funded by her mysterious and paranoid benefactor, Hugo. Chloe is an ageless orphan, twisted by an ancient disaster, worshiped by her own cult.

Together, they’ll travel the world, learn that magic is not dead, meet gods, fight monsters, discover the brutality and gentleness of humankind, see bravery, cowardice and uncover dark secrets – not least of all, about each other.

From Bracknell to Svalbard, from our world to others, this is Wild Court.

Happy New Year! What’s been going on in January?

Happy New Year! I hope that you’re all doing well and enjoyed – or survived as best you could – the festive season. I had a slightly unusual break, finished a job just before Christmas and then going to the states for a family occasion, landing back in the UK on the 23rd. We had a great time, but I strongly recommend that anyone considering getting a red-eye, then dragging all of their bags across London in the middle of a train strike should strongly look at other options!

Thankfully, the rest of the break was much more restful, and I got some great books for Christmas – some of Jackie Morris’ work, which I adore, plus a good selection of non-fiction and fiction, as well as a number of old Doctor Who books that I rescued from my parents’ house and have been working my way through.

After finishing Wild Court last year, I thought I’d take a brief hiatus in the latter months, although I’m not quite sure if it was a good idea. It turns out that it’s quite easy to become discouraged and out of the habit of writing, so I’m very happy to return to ‘work’…

As much as I ever plan what I’m going to write in a year, I have to admit that my plans have changed. I started (and finished) planning a heaven / hell / humans epic fantasy last year, nominally titled The Witch-Lord’s Apprentice. It’s great fun, but it’s essentially stalled for some reason. I also wanted to continue with the Small Places duology / trilogy, but after revisiting my plans for that, I’m just not happy with how they’ve turned out, and think I need to do some serious re-thinking in the interests of being fair to Jamie, Mel and V.

This leaves me with two projects: finishing the last in the Navigator trilogy, and re-writing the first book I ever wrote, which I’ll probably do in reverse order. The latter is a low fantasy novel, where humans co-exist uneasily with the faery, and powerful groups – the faction – work to manage the faery, but are hated by the humans. The story follows a group of school friends who are sent to a research institute for their summer internships, and become embroiled in a conspiracy and political struggle between the factions that has been simmering for decades. I first wrote it in the early noughties, and really love the concept, but my writing has changed a lot since then!

I’m also going to publish Wild Court, which is a fantastical look at the impact of declining empathy in our society. In WC, empathy powers the barriers between our world and the nightmare worlds that border it, and our protagonists are dragged right into the middle of things at the worst possible time. There’s plenty more on my blog about it, and I’m delighted to be able to bring it to you this year. It’s in production, and the wheels are turning, so bear with and it’ll likely launch mid-year.

That’s about it for now, but you’ll be the first to know when things change. Until next time, take care and read well.  

Going on hiatus*


We’re there. Kind of.

I’ve finished another two rounds of editing on Wild Court, and am pretty happy with how it looks. Of course, in my mind, that translates to ‘I alternate between warm and contented feelings about it and not knowing if it’s absolute trash and wanting to climb under a rock and hide rather than risk showing it to anyone’.

That makes for six re-reads of all 123,000 words, which is quite enough for anyone to lose sight of whether a book is any good or not, encouraging beta feedback or no. I’ve done some loose formatting to make it query-able, drafted up a synopsis and query letter and submitted it to a load of agents.

In the dream scenario, obviously, one comes back interested and we progress to trying to find a publisher. In the other scenario, I’ll have it formatted, commission some cover art, manage a book tour and sort out review copies, having it self-published on Amazon. Either way, you get to read it.  

I’m keenly aware that I’ve been doing this for a while, and it’s been ages since I’ve not had a book on the go. I’m also aware that I need to write Parasites 3 and Small Places 2, not to mention all the other concepts I’ve been throwing around, but that I’ve been doing this through a variety of stressful jobs, not to mention a pandemic. Although Parasites was only published three years ago in 2019, I started seriously writing my first book in 2011, so it’s been over a decade!

So I’m going to try taking a break, or at least, slowing down or not pressuring myself to write and edit so much. I’ve been pushing myself a bit relentlessly, at the cost of enjoying the process, so while Wild Court is being queried, I’m going to take the rest of the year off – unless I really feel like writing. I have a full-time job as well, and I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to ‘only’ have life admin to do; writing always looms over you when you’re a writer, and I’m not keen on that feeling. 

Anyway, I hope to bring you happy news of one sort or another at some point – I’ll leap back on here if I get as much as a whisper of a full manuscript request – but in the mean time, I’m going to catch up on my gaming, my reading, and maybe put my feet up a bit.

* Isn’t ‘hiatus’ a strange word? I don’t think I’ve written it that much before. Too many vowels.

October / September / August / July (!) Updates – Slogging, not Hiding

As most of you will – hopefully – know by now, I love writing. What I don’t love, as some of you will know, is editing, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four months. I finished Wild Court in early June, and have been editing, reading and re-reading it, which has been driving me a little wild.

Editing is a hugely detailed job, and there’s nothing that kills your love and affection for a book than reading the same 122,000 words five times over. It’s also tremendously boring to update people on; there’s a well-established tradition in the writing social media sphere where authors mention how many words they’ve written that day. Editing is a little harder. I suppose we could say ‘I read / edited 6,000 words today, and removed 100 of them, and corrected the bit where I wrote ‘chapter ninteen’ (thanks, Small Places, I’m still not over that) – but really, it’s a bit dull.

Anyway, five drafts later, I’d really lost sight of the wood amongst the trees, and decided to send it to beta readers. That also takes time because they’re extremely dedicated people usually with other real jobs as well, so there was a lengthy pause.

I had the feedback back, some of which was extremely useful, and then was absolutely, completely unable to act on it for about three weeks. I couldn’t even open my last draft. It was weird. You don’t hear much about editor’s block, but I guess it’s a thing.

But we’re back on now. I’m some way through a sixth edit of Wild Court, taking into account the beta feedback, and having made a couple of relatively major changes along the way. I’m doing one on-screen, and one on-kindle, and then there’s a few formatting tweaks to do before I query or publish.

So there you go! I’ve not been hiding – I’ve just been slogging.  

Wild Court: An Introduction

A young aristocrat safeguarding a terrible secret, sponsoring an archaeology graduate obsessed with angels. An all-knowing orphan worshiped by a mysterious cult. Britain’s finest example of toxic masculinity and an introverted librarian. Together with a retired demon hunter, they’ll face the apocalypse.

This is the (very short) blurb for my new urban / low fantasy book Wild Court and to say that I’m absolutely delighted to have finished the first draft is quite an understatement. I thought that it’d only been four years in the making, but looking back at my notes, it’s been closer to seven, if I disregard its very early origins.

This book started off as a dream. A very bad dream, but it essentially formed the basis of the bestiary that I wanted to play with, and sat stubbornly in my subconscious for quite a few years.

Then I took a difficult job near Holborn and took to taking long walks at lunchtime to clear my head. Although I disliked the work intensely, I loved the area. I could reach Covent Garden, the Piazza, the Royal Opera House, Waterstones and Hatchards in Piccadilly, all in my lunchtime. Then one time, I walked past Wild Court, just off Kingsway, at precisely the same time as I was wondering how on earth some of my colleagues could be so devoid of humanity and empathy, and an idea took hold.

What if it was endemic? What if empathy really was declining? There are some scientific signs and studies that say it is, but I was thinking more about it as a source of inspiration. What if empathy and kindness served a purpose? What if that decline could have potentially disastrous consequences, and what if there was an order of hidden magicians, monitoring this decline and helping to remedy minor breaches of the peace? What if said order was squirreled away not far from where I was standing, just round the corner from Belgo and Leon, and maintained training facilities in completely inconspicuous, sprawling industrial parks like those in Bracknell?

Suddenly I had more than idea, but it just so happened that we were going away on holiday the next day, so – as I do – I bought a large notebook from Paperchase and began to scribble notes. I wrote thirty-three pages of notes somewhere between London and Edinburgh, and from there, began to flesh out the storyline.

Characters seemed to fly into my head; readers of Small Places might recognise facets of Jamie about one of the MCs, but given the timeline, it’s actually the other way around: Jamie reflects Ben. I do like my characters to have comedic foils, and wanted to turn this all the way up, so we gained Matt, a loud, laddish character with twin streaks of toxic masculinity and loyalty a mile wide each. I needed someone with significant brainpower – two someone’s, actually – so we have Alice, a researcher who has dedicated her life to unravelling a mystery, and Chloe, a mysterious orphan worshipped by her own personal cult.

I changed jobs, and all seemed well, until the new role also came with its own problems, and things slowed. I went on holiday to Aberdeen, with the ambition of making it a writing holiday, but ended up doing quite the reverse; I’d been finding it harder and harder to write, and eventually simply stopped, deciding that I’d come back to the 50k words that I had down at another time. In the meantime, I wrote Parasites, and then Small Places and parts of Dusk.

Then, during the late pandemic, I felt the urge to come back to Wild Court – there was a particularly bleak section that I thought was quite fitting to where we were in time, and I scribbled down another 40k words or so, but again, pausing because of more job-related difficulties.

Finally, with yet another change of job, and the launch of Dusk out of the way, I started to blurt out entire chapters, writing 16k words over the long Jubilee weekend. I missed the celebrations, but I think it was worthwhile.

Now I’m starting the editing process. We’re getting there. I hope to bring a few excerpts when I’ve done some polishing, but for now, rest assured that there’s monsters and magic and librarians and archaeologists and snark and dad jokes and villains and eccentric millionaires and retired demon hunters and found family and stark wildernesses and forests and an all-knowing woman worshipped by her own cult and Norway and Bracknell and dick jokes. It’s been a labour of love, but I really, really love it. I hope you do too.