Well, this is it, the end of 2011. It’s been a rather interesting year for me personally, and a brilliant year for my career – although, even that is only a stepping stone to bigger things. Roll on 2012, I say!
Big thanks to all my loyal supporters!
To wrap the year up, here’s a rather amusing episode of Comic Guru TV (stay for the end, that’s hysterical!).
I am very pleased to announce that Abattoir in the Aether will be released in the New Year, and to that end here’s a very exclusive extract from the forthcoming book…
Nathanial could only assume it was a man, though its height and bulk surely made it one of the most uncommon sort. He was cloaked in dark green, with a matching wide-brimmed hat pulled over his eyes to keep even the room’s sparse candlelight at bay. Thick, imposing boots covered feet large enough to stomp a bear in half. The hands, seen clearly from the cloak’s sleeves, were wrapped in bandages greying with wear, as was the chest and face of the man who now stood before them.
Nathanial scrambled to his feet. The nightmare man stomped into the room, the panel door sliding into place behind him as if it had a life of its own, and he seated himself behind the desk without so much as a word. Nathanial was confused as to whether he should sit or stand, but upon seeing Hague settle into the chair beside him, decided to follow suit.
The nightmare man spoke, and his voice was deep, echoing through the study like a controlled detonation. “Mister Nathanial Stone,” he said. Something in the violence of the voice, as if it had to crash the ramparts of the man’s face to leave his lips, was too much when taken with the enormous, ruined body. Nathanial was instantly frightened of the man.
“Doctor van den Bosch, I presume,” he said with a stammer.
“Mmmm. Excuse the gloom. I find electric light no longer agrees with me, and so I tend to keep to the darker parts of this place to avoid the discomfort.”
“I rather like the ambience, actually. One might think I was back on Earth, if the bay window behind you didn’t peer directly into the aether.”
“Indeed. I must say, Mister Stone, I was rather surprised to find you out here. May I ask what you were doing in a crippled flyer with the niece of Cyrus Grant in tow?”
Nathanial had no desire to tell him everything, and he most certainly did not want to reveal his recent adventures on Venus and Mercury. “I’ve been doing some travelling as of late. Our flyer took damage negotiating an aether vortex, and since then we have been limping toward Mars in hopes of finding a dock to make repairs. You should know, Doctor, that I had no idea such a station existed this far out,” he added, even though it was not entirely true, he had heard vague rumours of such a thing from Director White while working at Chatham, although he had almost forgotten about it, until now. “Nor did I know the space around it was restricted by any government. If I had, we most certainly would not have passed through.”
“Yes, but pass through it you did, and now you are in my care until it can be decided what is to be done with you and your friend, Miss Somerset.” Van den Bosch lifted a report from the top of one stack and began to thumb through it. “So, you’ve deduced that this is a station. That demonstrates something of your acumen. Tell me, do you know the purpose of this place?”
“Know?” Nathanial asked. “I know nothing. Your men have been quite careful to shroud everything in secrecy.”
“Secrecy must be maintained. It is our mantra. Do you know this word?”
“I do. I deduced this must be a structure of some incredible dimensions, if it could house as few as three cutters without difficulty and the sheer amount of floor space I have crossed in coming here. No aether flyer currently in service could hope to have said dimensions. That leaves a station.”
“Apply your powers further.”
“If you wish. We’re on a heliograph station, not a research station, as I’d initially believed.”
Van den Bosch clapped his enormous hands together so hard the resulting shock made Nathanial wince. “Very good! How did you come by this deduction?”
Nathanial smiled. “By mention of your name, of course. If this were a scientific post, out here to study the aether and its anomalies, yours would be a long-term position, to be held by someone on the downside of their career, but you are still in your professional prime. No one with your rather formidable reputation would allow himself to be tied to such a post unless it were either a short-term one, one destined to bring him great acclaim, or both. The construction of a heliograph station in itself is not something likely to grant you any sort of acclaim at all, given that two have already been built. That leaves a specific kind of heliograph station, one which has been placed at a strategic spot, not orbiting a planet or satellite, but one that has achieved its own, special orbit.”
“Toward what end?” Van den Bosch was clearly enjoying these questions.
Nathanial shrugged. “To speed communications between Earth and Mars, no doubt. The two spend many months of each solar year separated by the Sun. A heliograph station, or rather two such stations, placed in strategic positions could facilitate year-round communications between the planets, and when a station is built on Venus, the Empire would have in place a fast, efficient means of interplanetary network, thus giving us a distinct advantage over our competitors.”
“Excellent! I can see now why your reputation has grown so recently. You are mostly correct in your deductions.”
Nathanial arched an eyebrow. “Mostly?”
“And you don’t plan to tell me how I erred?”
The eyes beneath the hat were suddenly small and intense. Nathanial, who had been growing increasingly at ease with the man’s presence, was reminded then to whom he was speaking. Here was a man who was used to getting his way, one who would not think twice about destroying the reputation of anyone who got in his way.
A very good thing happened on 24th November, I met with a publisher. The result of said meeting was an interest in picking up The Garden saga of novels, beginning with book two. This will, of course, be great news to those who’ve read Seeker and eagerly await the second instalment (which, I’m happy to say, is at least 98% of the readers – always the first question I get asked is ‘when’s the next book?’). This also means I need to write, and so I am deep in the world of Jake, Sam, Celeste and the upyr once again. The book also needed a new title, and that has become Augury – a portent, an omen, but of what? Tune in next year to find out. 😉
Seeker has also been featured in this week’s Comic Guru TV. The Comic Guru is one of the premiere comic shops in Wales, and is based in Cardiff. The owner, Kristian Barry, has been a supporter of Seeker since it was released back in March, and has, over the last six months or so, become a very good friend indeed. So big love and thanks to him for the continued support, and the wonderful comments in the webcast.
And now, just for you followers of this blog, a very exclusive treat. The first scene of Augury…
Jake was in a good place.
True, life could still be as tough as nuts, but he’d made it. Not to say his life was now perfect, it was far from that, but he was at least in a space he could call good. Well, compared to the two longest weeks of his life back in March. He tried not to dwell on those weeks too much now, but once in a while the memories and accompanying feelings would come around and smack him in the face.
‘You still there?’ Conrad asked.
‘Yeah. Yeah, sorry, guy,’ Jake said into the phone, his ubiquitous Californian lilt as affected as ever, as he opened the front door. It was all Conrad’s fault anyway. They had been talking about how much things had changed since they’d first met, a topic that was always bound to bring back certain memories. Still, good place, he reminded himself. ‘Come on, Curtis!’ he yelled up the stairs, and said into the phone in a softer voice, after hearing Conrad’s hiss of annoyance, ‘ah, sorry.’
‘Right, ’tis cool.’
Jake could hear Conrad’s smile in his voice. Sometimes Jake reckoned that if Conrad was any more laid back he’d spend his whole life on his back. Jake grinned at the mental image that brought forth.
‘So, yeah,’ he continued, dragging his mind out of that particularly dirty gutter, ‘we’re heading off to the station now. He should be there soon.’
‘Looking forward to it?’
‘I guess. Haven’t seen each other in what seems like forever.’ Jake paused. He couldn’t back down now, either way. ‘Curtis is eager to see him, so yeah, should be fun.’ As soon as he mentioned Curtis’ name, the toddler came bobbing down the stairs. Jake didn’t even bother with the safety gate that Willem had installed anymore. Curtis was walking so much better these days, full of the bubbly life a three-year-old was supposed to have. He’d changed a lot since Jake and Lawrencia had come to their ‘agreement’. Jake smiled to himself; Will would be very happy to see his nephew, too.
‘What about you?’
‘Huh?’ Once again Jake was miles away. He seemed to do that a lot these days.
‘Are you eager to see him?’
Jake didn’t answer straight away. Sure, he was looking forward to it, but there was a part of him that…
‘Okay,’ Conrad said, cutting into Jake’s thoughts, ‘look, Jake…’ He stopped abruptly, and Jake could just about make out someone trying to get Conrad’s attention. Probably his sergeant. ‘Yes, sir,’ Conrad’s muffled voice said. ‘I need to book,’ he continued to Jake, ‘so text me soon, yeah? Let me know if tonight’s defo on.’
‘Sure thing,’ Jake said, and ended the call.
Curtis stood at the bottom of the stairs, wearing the jumper Jake had bought him for his birthday last month. He had told Curtis it was from ‘undle’ Willem, and Curtis had corrected him saying it was uncle. Getting the kid into playschool was paying off for sure. And since it was a present from his missing uncle, Curtis had decided that the jumper was his favourite and thus had to be worn almost every day. Or at least the three days he stayed with Jake, since Jimmy refused to allow the boy to wear it. Merely because it was ostensibly a present from Will.
‘You ready, champ?’
Curtis shook his head. ‘No. I get cold outside.’ He stretched up for his coat hanging on the rack by the door, but couldn’t reach.
Jake lifted the coat off the rack and held it higher. Curtis started jumping for it, but Jake kept moving the coat around, making Curtis jump and run around in circles. Laughing. Jake loved it. Such a happy kid now.
‘Come on, let’s wrap you up,’ he said, and knelt down next to Curtis. As he zipped up the coat, Jake asked; ‘Where we going?’
‘We going to Paddytum, and get some mamylade for my toast for breakfast before school tomorrow.’
Jake grinned. ‘Yeah, kind of.’ They were certainly going to Paddington, that much was true, but not to get marmalade. Jake had already secretly stashed some in the glove compartment to give to Curtis later. The kid would never know. They were going to meet someone. A very special someone, and already in his mind Jake could see the big smile on Curtis’ face when he saw who it was.
Curtis reached out for Jake’s hand, and he took the chubby brown hand tightly. Curtis smiled up at him. Just before closing the door Jake glanced across the passage to the kitchen beyond. The house, Will’s house, had his own touch to it now. He wasn’t sure how Will would like it.
Space: 1889 & Beyond continues to be a hit for Untreed Reads Publishing.
The best-sellers list for November is in, and I can reveal that at #1 is Mark Michalowski’s ‘The Ghosts of Mercury’. An impressive e-début for Mark! For the third month in a row my own ‘Journey to the Heart of Luna‘ remains in the top ten, rising to #4, while KG McAbee’s ‘Vandals on Venus‘ enjoys its second month in the top ten, currently at #6.
A big thank you to all who’ve been following the adventures of Nathanial and Annabelle, but please, don’t let this mean you can rest on your laurels. Go and tell all your friends about this best-selling series, and help us dominate the steampunk genre! 🙂 And, as an incentive, all three titles can be purchased directly from the Untreed Reads Store with 15% off the RRP until December 15th!
Now, before I share this with you, let me point out that I do not endorse this, and neither is it endorsed by anyone else involved in the production. However, it is free and, as far as I can work out, making no one else money, so I’m happy to share this with you. Simply because it’ll be nice for people to hear this, unfortunately, unavailable audio drama I wrote back in 2006.
The Lunar Inheritance, my Space: 1889 debut (and, thus far, only audio play), can be listened to completely free of charge at 4shared.