Sekrit Projekt Reveal

So, having mentioned having a sekrit projekt, here’s what it is: I’ve decided to follow up on the Under Smoke City fragment I posted last week. What does this mean? Well…

First of all, I now have a Patreon page: [External Link]

This Patreon is specifically for Under Smoke City, although once that is finished (in around a year at projected rates) the Patreon will be used for other, similar side … Continue reading

Wednesday 25th October, 2017

Well, I skipped last week due to being on holiday / away from the desktop computer. As something of an apology, I posted something else that occurred to me while away: a steampunk riff on the opening of Under Milk Wood. Strictly speaking, the idea occurred some time ago but didn’t really surface as something I wanted to have a play with until I was away.

I’ve not progressed much on the WIP, Feintheart, since the last weigh-in. We’re only at 12,000 words and I need put in a few hundred more before I add an edited older chapter as I’m currently alternating between old and new chapters. We haven’t quite got to the stage where the old chapters need ripping up and putting back together again to account for changes but it’s only a matter of time.

Final bit of writerly news: I have started asking questions about sekrit projekts, which can only mean one thing. I haz one! Aside from being something that all the cool kids seem to be sneaking about doing, I have a side project that seems like it may benefit from me doing it in a totally different way from my normal if I’m going to do it. There may be a reveal in the next week or so.

And not writerly news, I have a second distinguishing feature:

A tattoo of a mouse with the motto "if it were not an art, the strong would always win"

Designed by Reece Suleman, Inspired by Mouse Guard and HEMA

The quote in the picture is “If it were not an art, the strong would always win”, which comes from a translation of the (probably) 15th Century Nuremberg Hausbuch (MS 3227a), often called the Döbringer MS as it has his name in a margin and has been attributed to him several times. This is probably erroneous but no-one knows who put it together, only that the fencing material in it (which is the bit the quote comes from) is based on Johannes Liechtenauer’s art of longsword fencing. Either way, it’s an awesome quote, now paired up with a historically inaccurate mouseketeer armed with a cup-hilt rapier, because awesome stuff I like.

(Yes, this also means that I failed the journeymouse tattoo / thousand books challenge because I couldn’t wait.)

Under Smoke City Fragment

Here’s a bit of a noodle from this morning that I may come back to and extend further. However, extension will require a lot more work as the parallel I used breaks down. Basically, this is a sort of steampunk version of / borrowing from Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood that entered my brain some time ago but woke me up this morning needing some exercise. I’ve yet to work out what character names would … Continue reading

Wednesday 11th October, 2017

Not much to report this week – although you may want to keep an eye on the tag #OctoberFrights on both Twitter and Facebook as some of my fellow writers are posting under it as part of a blog hop at the moment. There’s a giveaway involved at some point, too. There’s a good starting point here: [External Link]

In terms of my writing, I’ve doubled the words on the Feintheart WIP to 7,000 – although around 3,000 of those are old words from it’s previous life as the City of Dreams novella.

I may be late or skip next week’s update as I shall be busy, but I shall try to make up for it by coming up with somethign worth posting around it so there’s something worth rounding up when I do get to the diary post!

Wednesday 4th October, 2017

I’m pretty sure we’ve got to the part of the year when I legitimately get to say things like “Where has all the time gone?” and “Doesn’t it go by so fast?” Obviously, it doesn’t go by so fast when I’m doing something boring but one day you look at the date and realise you’re in the tenth month of the year and OH MY DOGS! WHY HAVEN’T I GOT ANYTHING DONE! Or something.

Anyway, I have written and posted a flash fiction piece, Me, you and the dog, too that I won’t spoil for you by talking about it but I will warn you that it seems to have made one or two people cry. As I said to one of them on Facebook, I apparently didn’t get enough love and hugs before going to bed the night I thought of it. If it hits you in the same way, I apologise in advance, but you know I’m also going to be feeling insufferably smug because it means I can actually write.

On a similar note, I am now 3,500 brand spanking new words into the Feintheart WIP – that is 3,500 words that hadn’t been written for the City of Dreams novella I’m ripping apart to make it. So some of the original chapters will go in with varying degrees of editing, new material is going in to adjust the plot(s) to fit the Feintheart framework and some of the old material will be totally discarded as it gets left behind by the new plot(s). Related things that may or may not interest you:

  1. “Feintheart” is a play on “faintheart” (meaning coward) and “feint” (meaning a pretence, used in fencing for a false attack that encourages a particular response), so while a faintheart is a coward, the feintheart I have in mind is basically the kind of person who plays a strategic game of their own through all their interactions. This feintheart is not a point-of-view character and may not appear to be a main character by the end of the book, so it probably won’t remain named after them. Incidentally, “faint” and “feint” come from the same etymology but took on slightly different meanings.
  2. I have spent the last few days trawling the Internet for information about Commedia dell’Arte, specifically the masks and characters. Not that I’ll be using them but the WIP has an equivalent masked comedic performance thing going on and I thought loosely basing it on what we came up with would be easier. Which it was, aside from the getting so obsessed with working out the WIP version that I didn’t go to bed until silly o’clock last night.

I’ll end with the reminder that I’ve moved (most of) my writing related Facebook stuff to its own page (here: [External Link]). I will still be tweeting most things and these will turn up on my personal FB profile as that’s what Twitter is linked to – and my Twitter account is all my interests – but the page should make it easier for people who aren’t FB friends to follow the writing related announcements. I also make sure to repost any book related giveaways by writing friends and things I think may become part of my general reading/writing research. I intend to do some Commedia dell’Arte stuff tomorrow.

Me, you and the dog, too (Flash)

Download as PDF

I came back and you were in a bad way, which I guess is only to be expected with the news you’d just had. I could barely look at you because the thing I always loved about you was gone. Your smile is rare but you always – well, almost always – have those lines at either side of your mouth that suggest you’re amused by everything. … Continue reading

Wednesday 27th September, 2017

Well, we survived Swords & Sourcery and Academie Glorianna are considering whether we have the wherewithal to do it again next year and how. Feedback so far has been gloriously positive – and thank you to everyone who attended for making it such a positive event.

I’m now in a position to start planning The Next Thing(s), so I’ve put up some event reminders for the upcoming York pub meet and Sledge Lit, which I shall be attending as a punter. I’m also starting to look at my calendar for next year and will probably start putting up some events (both fencing and writing) for that in the next month or so. I won’t be making it to By The Sword 2018. They have sold out tickets in a matter of days. Good for them, not so good for me!

I’m also starting to catch up with the idea of alpha and beta readers for the recently finished Aurora 1st draft and who to approach for reviews of the recently accepted The Knight’s Daughter. I don’t know when review copies will be available and so on but if you’re interested, drop me a line and we’ll make a list of willing sacrifices volunteers.

I haven’t started work on the next WIP, yet – Feintheart, although that’s unlikely to be the finished title – but should do in the next few days. Expect to read my gripes about it in the not-too-distant future.

Final thing to mention: I’ve decided to follow all the cool kids and move my writing related stuff to its own Facebook page (here: [External Link]). I will still be tweeting most things and these will turn up on by personal FB profile but the page should make it easier for people who aren’t actually friends to follow the writing related announcements.

Wednesday 20th September, 2017

Only three days to Swords & Sourcery and I’m trying not to be too wound up. It’ll all be fine and I’ll enjoy it when it’s here. Although I probably won’t decide I enjoyed it until the day after, because that’s the way I handle stress!

However, in happy feelings land, the lovely Michael (S) Collins of Other Side Books [External Link] has agreed to rehome The Knight’s Daughter, the first of my Greenwood stories. (No, the other two haven’t been rehomed, they’re still in states of disarray / first draft.) Which rolls in nicely to my official announcement that the first draft of Aurora is complete. Once S&S is out of the way, I shall be looking at chasing up the alpha readers and recruiting some beta readers. And the Feintheart story refuses to listen to me deny I have time for it this week and keeps attempting to (re)start with moments like:

It starts in a tavern. Because all adventures start in a tavern, right?


The hero should be a fallen prince, or some noble’s bastard, or a farm-boy desperate to prove himself. Or all three, for preference.

This is not the unreliable narrator / snark knight I was looking for. Especially not when I have other things to think about.

(These are tropes references. If you want to fall into the TV Tropes black hole, you can find out about unreliable narrators here: [External Link] and snark knights here: [External Link])