Tag Archives: Seeker

Project Updates

So, what have I been up to in the past two months since post 100? Well, mostly I’ve been working, both on the day job and various writing projects. I’ve also been editing and selecting short stories for the South Wales Short Story Competition which is a bi-annual event run by Candy Jar Books.

forever_a_print_Front_ENFrom an editing point of view I’ve mostly been working on Space: 1889 & Beyond, going through all the books and re-editing them in preparation for the eventual print releases. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and like so many directors, the print releases give me a chance to clean up a few things I was less than happy with the first time around. In particular, due to the turbulent events of season two (behind the scenes, what with authors dropping out at the last minute, etc), I had to pass the final edits of Leviathans in the Clouds onto another editor so I could tackle head-on the problems facing the next book in the series. Despite the good job he did, it’s quite clear that the editor wasn’t too familiar with the series, and so a few continuity errors remained between the preceding book and Leviathans in the Clouds, not to mention several stylistic choices that do not fit with the rest of the series. The re-edits allowed me to clean this up. The biggest casualty of the behind the scenes chaos was The Forever Journey, and still remains the one book in the entire series I am very unhappy with. It’s not that its a bad book — there is much within the pages to recommend it, and the authors involved did the best they could with the little experience they had. But it is such an important part of the series, a turning point in so many ways, that I’ve always felt it should be bigger and never quite felt like the game-changing book it was designed to be. So that will be my next task, doing a major overhaul of that book. The trick will be not to remove anything from the story, and so change it to the point that it will overwrite the eBook, but to enhance the story, add things to it. I have in mind a whole new sequence set on Earth prior to the journey, which will likely be told in flashback so as not to ruin the present narrative of the book. It was that present narrative that was damaged greatly by the initial release, as the book was released out of sequence and a bookend scene needed to be written so it still made sense when released after A Fistful of Dust.

Work on the re-edits, however, are paused for a short while since I am, due to illness, behind on a few projects. Primarily among them is The Forgotten Son, book one of Project Hush-Hush. The first draft is due at the end of October, which is tomorrow, and I’m still five chapters away from the end. I have spent the last few days re-reading the entire book, as it’s been a couple of weeks since I looked at it in any meaningful way. Re-reading with the distance of a few weeks has revealed to me Bannersome problems in the narrative — not plot holes, or even plot development, but the kind of things only an author would spot. I may just be seeing issues that aren’t there, so I’m not going to tackle them until after my editor gets a chance to read the entire first draft. If they’re really there, I know he’ll spot them.  I think it may also be partly down to the responsibility that is inherent in this series; it’s always there in the back of mind. We’ve got the copyright of something that has been a huge part of peoples lives for so many years now, that we have an immense responsibility to get it right, to do it justice, and to honour the intent of the creator of the property. In some ways I felt the same responsibility when I developed Space: 1889 & Beyond, but this is multiplied by a factor of a hundred.

seeker-preview (2) copySo, that’s two writing projects. Finishing draft one of The Forgotten Son, and enhancing The Forever Journey. After these? Well, it seems the next few months will mostly see me editing — be it on Project Hush-Hush or Space: 1889 & Beyond or on a forthcoming novel for Candy Jar Books. All this seems like a great time to get back to work on Augury, book two of The Garden. This presents me with a few problems. The original plan was to only have a year gap between Seeker and Augury, but it’s been almost four years since Seeker was first released, and it wouldn’t really work to have the second book set in 2012. So I’ve been pondering ways around it — how to make a gap of three years work for the narrative. It’s tough as a lot of the narrative is period specific, and the original year-long gap served a very unique narrative purpose. Part of my solution is to write a short novel set between the first two books, which I’m probably going to call Tales of the Three, which will detail the lives of Celeste, Theodor and Erwyn (and those affected by these lives — including, of course, Frederick, Edward Lomax and Julius), covering the background stories that were hinted at during Seeker. These tales will be surrounded by a framework showing the fallout of the events of Seeker for these three characters. In so doing, I will be able to remove a lot of material originally intended for Augury, this in turn should allow me to advance the main narrative forward a few years and bring it more or less up to the present day once more. Or at least that’s the plan. Fingers crossed it will pan out. Still have several things to work out, but currently it seems the most likely way forward with the series.

So, a little treat for you all, here’s an exclusive scene from the extended version of Serere, the prelude to Seeker, which can now be purchased direct from Lulu.com (and will soon be available globally for order wherever books are sold)…

ψ

‘We’re not liking this, Aly,’ Detective Inspector Carbis said, ‘are we?’

Rowe recognized the look in his dark eyes, but they had been friends since she joined the force. He was responsible for her transfer to CID. He trusted her instincts as much as she did, and he knew that she’d walk down whatever path she had to in order to solve the mystery. She didn’t care how dark a path it turned out to be.

‘You haven’t heard the worst of it, yet, Gary,’ she replied. This was, at least for now, still informal and off the record. They were meeting in a quiet corner of a pub near Hirst Park, Carbis drinking a bottle of Smirnoff Ice while Rowe downed a pint of lager. ‘I managed to track down the identity of the old man. His name was Cliff Goleman, and he went missing in 1917! At the age of nineteen.’

‘The same age as Robin.’

Rowe nodded slowly. ‘You saw Goleman’s body; did it look 104 years old to you?’

‘I don’t think I’ve seen a body that old, Aly, living or dead.’

At this Rowe smiled. ‘Okay, fair point. But according to the autopsy, the heart, liver… all the internal organs are consistent with a man of no more than sixty years.’

‘Then it can’t be the same man. DNA records didn’t even exist in… when did you say? 1917? This is insane, Aly. Insane.’

‘I know.’ Rowe grinned, and finished the rest of her pint. ‘The DNA results led me to Goleman’s grandson. He’s fifty-eight, by the way, and the spit of Cliff.’

Carbis shook his head. ‘No, I’m not buying it. How could you even have found out about Goleman’s disappearance? Our own record keeping was bad enough thirty years ago, let alone eighty-five years ago.’

‘Harry Goleman is a lifer at the Scrubs, so his DNA is on the system. Seeing his picture was a bit of a shock, since for a moment I was sure I was looking at our corpse. A bit of research later and I’m reading about his grandfather going missing at nineteen, only three months after his marriage, leaving behind a wife who was, unknowingly at the time, two months pregnant. The gears shifted in my brain.’

Carbis narrowed his eyes. ‘Knowing how your brain works, I’m not surprised.’ For a moment he looked down at the bottle in his hand, while Rowe watched his rapidly thinning crown. ‘What do you propose we do?’

‘Let me continue to investigate this. A man presumed dead eight decades ago turns up, healthy as a sixty year old – well, other than the complete loss of blood – next to eight pints of blood that should, by rights, still be in Robin Turner’s body, which is now missing.’ She paused for a minute, before delivering her final card. ‘We’ve not seen the last of Robin Turner.’

‘This is quite a limb you’re out on.’

‘I know, but it’s my limb. And I know I am right,’ Rowe added with complete certainty.

Jeremy Carver talks ‘Supernatural’ season eight

Season One promotional picture

It’s no surprise to hear that I love Supernatural – just read Seeker and you can see that – but it’s always a concern of mine every time the series gets renewed for another season. After finding it’s feet in season one, creator Eric Kripke made it clear he had a five year plan for the series, and that five-year plan came to its obvious conclusion at the end of season five. It was clear the series as whole would have ended with Sam pitted against Dean – the result being that they both lost. Sam in the cage with Lucifer for ever, and Dean settling down to an ‘apple pie’ life, his brother essentially dead. It would have been an awesome ending. But the series got renewed. Eric Kripke, although still about, gave up the reigns as show-runner and allowed Sera Gamble and Robert Singer to take over. Which they did for the following two seasons – ramping up the mythology and danger to new levels.

Each time I’m concerned that the show might go too far. I worry that the show will end with, as TS Eliot would say, ‘not a bang, but a whimper’. But now Jeremy Carver, who left at the end of season five to set up the American version of Being Human, has returned as the show-runner for season eight. And it seems that his two years away has given him a more distinct perspective. One perhaps he’d not have had he remained on the show.

The Winchester brothers, Sam & Dean. Changing, and trying to find out who they are.

When talking about the previous two seasons, Carver says; “The one thing that struck me [when] watching season seven was I felt like the show got a little bit buried under its mythology. It became a little hard to tell exactly what was going on at times. The longtime fans all deserve intricate plot, but it felt a little burdensome.”

This to me is great news. But not as great as his goal for Sam & Dean; “Part of this season is realising they didn’t just spend several years together; they really matured in different ways. It’s one thing to get in a car with your brother in year one, but eight years later, you’ve both matured and grown. You’re both changing and trying to find out who you are. There’s a lot of that type of exploration for these guys this year.”

Gives me hope for the future of Supernatural. For more from Jeremy Carver, pop over to SFX.

Under the Covers with The Comic Guru

First of all, a little bit of Space: 1889 & Beyond news. Once again, the series dominates the Top Ten Best-Sellers List on Untreed Reads Store; that makes five months in a row now. And, as a result, all four titles can now be bought direct from Untreed Reads with a 25% discount throughout February. The perfect time to introduce your friends to this smash hit steampunk series!

Now for something really cool! I was recently interviewed by the Comic Guru himself, Kristian Barry, for his ongoing YouTube vlog. For those of you who do not know me beyond my writing, this will be a  nice little insight in to the person I am – the pure cheek of me! Check the interview out below, and please feel free to share it around.

And so it begins…

Totally Gratuitous Shot*

Welcome, dear reader, to 2012. It looks to be a pretty amazing year for me, with many projects on the go and quite a few being lined up for later in the year (including one potential project I simply cannot talk about now – but if it works out, trust me, you’ll all love it). I have set many goals for the following year, and one of those is to conquer America! Well, not through some massive invasion, but merely to get my works out there in the American market. I’ve already got all my eBooks out in the States, of course, but I’m an old fashioned guy and I want to be all over the US in print. And, by jove, 2012 WILL see it happen. Yes, I am determined.

For the first few months I will be very busy with writing. I’m currently working on a new novel, Cast from the Heavens, which will be a book in the ‘Scattered Earth’ series, published by Crossroad Press (yes, an American publisher! It begins here). This one will be quite a departure for me, no sense of the macabre, no supernatural, and very little science fiction. It will be a fantasy epic, in the same mould (hopefully!) as Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series of novels.  As soon as I finish this book, I shall be moving on to my half of Conspiracy of Silence, the series two opener for Space: 1889 & Beyond which I am co-writing with Frank Chadwick. I can’t say a lot about that one, really, since anything I say will only give away the end of series one, and that doesn’t happen until March. Needless to say, it will shake the universe of Space: 1889 & Beyond and the lead characters (Nathanial Stone and Annabelle Somerset) to their very core. And, if that’s not enough, co-currently with these projects, I shall continue to work on Augury, the second book of my Garden series. Oh, and of course, editing the first few stories of Space: 1889 & Beyond series two.

Issue #1 of THE PRIDE

So, I think that’s enough to get 2012 off to a good start. Needless to say, that’s not all I’m working on, or have going on around me, but it’s all I can talk about. Therefore, let me share with you a few other related things instead.

Seeker gets it’s first review for 2012 (well, it was written right at the end of December, but that’s close enough), which you can read HERE.

Space: 1889 & Beyond continues to hold its own at Untreed Reads, remaining in the Top Ten Bestsellers for four months in a row. To see the full list, click THIS.

And now something a little less connected. It’s all over Facebook, but I want to share it here. A short while ago, a few friends of mine released the first fully-fledged LGBT superhero comic, The Pride. The comic book and its creators have been nominated for various Eagle Awards. Please do pop by and support this wonderful comic by voting HERE.

For those of you interested in my person life – tough! No, just kidding.

I spent the Christmas period with my maternal family (and when I say maternal I really mean maternal – there’s so few males on my mother’s side), and the New Year with my paternal family. I’m no fan of Christmas particularly, but I do feel that spending time with those you love is important. Even more so this past year, ever since I lost my father in December 2010. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with the long and complicated story of my clichéd relationship with my father, but it’s one of those moments that you know you’ll never be able to go back and fix. So, being with my family is important now. More than ever.

Real Life Comics = Awesome!

Okay, got a little serious there. Let’s liven this post up, by sharing a few other things. Right now I’m reading Max Ehrlich’s The Edict, as well as a book on British myths and legends (the former is purely for my own fun, the latter is research for the book I’m currently writing). I’m also immersed in the usual DVD marathons; right now it’s Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica and Blake’s 7 (interesting to note, I love science fiction on TV and film, but not a huge fan of sci-fi in print). I am also highly distracted by Real Life Comic. I came across it a few weeks back, only to discover it’s been running for over TEN YEARS! Eek! Still, not to be deterred, I started at the beginning and have read seven years worth of daily comics in three weeks! Check me out. Or is that sad? Dunno. I suggest you all go and check it out HERE and see how long until you become addicted. Greg Dean is a genius! (Although Tony might not agree. Yeah, that’ll make sense when you read the comic.)

So, there you have it. A rather random post to start the year.

See you out there! 🙂

*sex sells! If this is popular I may just include a gratuitous pic in every post.  😉

An Augury About The Gardan Saga

The Comic Guru is sucked into Seeker

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. 😉

In other Garden news, Seeker was nominated for a Rainbow Award, that of Best Paranormal Horror 2011 (Gay). Alas, it did not win, but it did get an honourable mention, and one of the judges had this to say about it; ‘ Boy, there’s quite a lot of story here. It isn’t my usual type of read, but I thought the author did an excellent job of weaving so many details into an intriguing plot.

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.

Mock-Up Cover for 'Augury'

‘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.

Garden Poll

Thursday 1st December will be the day I officially start writing book two of The Garden saga. I’ve got a new publisher for it, although I can’t say any more than that at this point. However, before it’s release I shall be releasing an exclusive e-interlude, a short novella focussing on one of the lead upyr, in the same way that Serere, the e-exclusive prelude, focussed on Frederick and how he came to be obsessed with finding the Seeker.

Here’s your chance to influence the focus of the new interlude. Vote below for the upyr you’d most like to read more about, and if you want to tell me what it is you wish to learn more about, then please comment in the box provided.

 

The best of Anne Rice and Stephen Donaldson

Well, well… the sales of ‘Seeker’ are still driving forward, with it doing quite well during its first two and a half weeks of publication. No word on the sales of the print version as yet, but I do know that the eBook is at number #7 on the fantasy chart at OmniLit.com. The book is now listed at almost every e-retailer, and is available to order in almost all high street booksellers.

Now let me share with you this marvelous review from author Anne Brooke, in which she says; “In my younger days, I lapped up with great joy both the vampire novels of Anne Rice and the vast and fascinating fantasy novels of Stephen Donaldson and, to my mind, there’s been nothing to beat either of them since. I’m pleased to say now that I’ve been at last proved wrong in that assumption. Andy Frankham-Allen’s ‘Garden Saga’ fantasy series, of which Seeker is the first, takes the best of both those authors and combines it into a slow-burn, deep and surprisingly rich novel of one man, Willem (or Will) who, like Donaldson’s magnificent leper hero, Thomas Covenant, isn’t at all what he thinks he is. Frankly, I was gripped from the first page and couldn’t put the darn thing down.” To read the full review, why not pop over to Vulpes Libris?

In other news, Space 1889 & Beyond is gearing up, with the first four of six stories now commissioned. Story one, “Hearts of Stone” is being written by yours truly, and story two, “Vandals on Venus” is being written by award winning fantasy author, K. G. McAbee. The authors of stories three and four will be announced as soon as the contracts are signed and sealed. In the meantime, why not whet your appetite by popping over to Frank Chadwick’s new 1889 blog, in which he rounds up all news pertaining to the rapidly expanding Space 1889 universe…

Getting it out there…

It’s been a week since Seeker was launched and I hear sales (both print and digital) are doing quite well. It’s quite an exciting time, really, with many comments coming my way like ‘it’s worth way more than £10’ and ‘an exceptional fantasy novel’, and my all-time favourite so far, ‘this pulls you into it, better than Twilight.’ A phrase I will never tire of hearing. My publisher and I are currently working on setting up a few signings across Wales and England, and I’ve been invited to a signing in Ireland, too. No dates as yet, we need to wait until the book is properly on the system (which takes a couple of weeks), and then we shall see. I’ll announce the dates as and when I get them, of course.

The launch itself went quite well, I thought, although it began for me the day before. Saturday 19th March; I was visiting my sister in Southend, England, one of the main locations of Seeker, and while there I figured I’d drop a few promotional posters off. One such place is a small coffee shop called Cafe Reviver, run by a friend of mine called Gary Willis. While there, Gary offered the use of his cafe as a place to do a signing – an offer I intend to take him up on later this year, most likely in the summer. So if you’re in Southend during the summer, look out for this bearded chap sitting outside a cafe on Queens Road surrounded by books. From there I popped into the Halfway House, a former place of employment and also a location used in the book, to drop off another poster and catch up with some friends. There I got into a conversation with a former-customer of mine, Linda Knights (all the time I worked there and I never knew her name), in which I discovered both she and her father, Charlie, love reading. They got quite excited about me releasing a book, and promised to pick up a copy as soon as it hit the shops. So, I consider the trip to Southend successful. After my brief visit to the Halfway I was picked up by my very good friends Ryan Hunter and Ben Theobald (who were travelling all the way to Wales just for the signing – that’s dedication!), and began the long journey back to Wales; a journey which proved to be rather amusing, especially when, by the time we reached the toll booth at the Severn Bridge, the three of us we bouncing and singing along with Christina Aguilera and ‘Fighter’. I looked at them, laughed, glanced around at all the other cars and said, ‘can you spot the gay car?’ Shame on us!

The actual launch took place on the Sunday, March 20th, and I have to admit that during the lead up to it the nerves were beginning to set in. Ryan, who was to do a reading (maybe!) thought he’d be nervous. Ha! He had the easy part. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, and after a bit of faffing around regarding parking meters, we met Tim, head honcho of Hirst Publishing, to help him carry boxes of books to the venue. Boxes of my book! What a strange feeling. As soon as we got to his car, Tim ripped open a box so I could finally see my book. And it was awesome! Everything up to this point (the short stories published in the official Doctor Who anthologies, the eBooks, even the proof beta-copies of Seeker) – everything! – paled in comparison. Finally, after many long years I was holding the fruit of my labours. Not only that, but the summation of the dream I’d had since I was sixteen. And yet, somehow, I managed to contain my excitement. I was intent on not being some excitable geek, but rather the seasoned author. Calm, collected, reserved, and maybe, just maybe, a little cool.

The venue was the King’s Cross Bar, and the staff there were incredibly helpful. Setting up the stage, complete with hanging chains, and allowing me to reorganise their tables (which we did put back when we were done!). Flyers were already on every table, just to inform those who came for breakfast. We arrived plenty early, which did mean a lot of waiting around, and an anxious publisher who wondered how many people would turn up, and when, and what time should we start and… yeah, you can imagine. Me, I just took it all in my step, after all we did have plenty of time and there was no immediate rush. Slowly, but surely (as the saying goes), people started to arrive. Primarily there were many I knew, friends and family invited, but there were plenty of others, too, just general visitors to the pub who were a little curious as to what was happening. Alas the first potential disaster struck near the time of the ‘event’, when I discovered that my cousin could not make it to do her reading. It bothered Ryan more than anyone, though, as he didn’t like the idea of doing one alone, so I managed to persuade Jolene Ferries to read the piece my cousin was due to read. Problem solved, disaster averted.

Tim took to the stage to do his introduction, only to find that the mic didn’t work anymore. Another potential disaster that was an easy fix; dislodged batteries, no problem.  In his introduction Tim pointed out that I was the first author he took onboard without even reading their book, simply because ‘Andy was recommended to me by Gary Russell, and if Gary Russell doesn’t know a good writer then who does’. As introductions go, that isn’t too shabby. Cut to Ryan, doing his reading. He said afterwards that his whole body was shaking with nerves, but despite an initial stumble over a few words, I think he acquitted himself very well indeed. This is the passage he read;

She leaned in closer and whispered his name in his ear. Sam reacted with a start, his movement so sudden that Lilly almost fell over, but she regained her balance in time for Sam to rip off his glasses and point at the mirror.

‘It’s you!’ he shouted, then staggered backwards.

Lilly moved quickly to steady him. He blinked a few times, and looked around wildly.

‘What… where… who…?’ His eyes came to rest on Lilly. ‘You. Where am I?’

‘Sam, it’s me, Lilly. Come back to me.’

For a moment he just looked at her, and the hatred written over his face made her heart ache. Whatever he was seeing, or whoever, had caused him so much pain. She placed her palm against his cheek.

‘Sam,’ she said, using her most calming voice, ‘come back to me. Wherever you are, you don’t need to be there anymore.’

Before she realised she was going to do so, Lilly tiptoed and placed her lips against his. At first there was no response, but slowly Sam’s mouth opened and their tongues met. For what seemed like an eternity they remained like that, their tongues gently probing the other’s mouths, but then pulled apart.

Sam smiled at her.

‘Lilly, what are you doing here? You should be at work.’

‘It’s almost seven,’ Lilly pointed out, nodding to the carriage clock on the mantle.

‘Seven?’ Sam walked up to the clock, examining it closely. ‘But it…’ He turned back at Lilly. ‘It was four o’clock when I put those shades on. I’ve been out of it for almost three hours.’

Lilly’s first thought was that she should be worried, but other than some dried blood on his ears Sam seemed okay. Still, three hours…

Ryan may think he was nervous, but it never showed, indeed Ryan received a round of applause for his reading. Then it was time for James Gent and me to take to the stage. James was also nervous and, although I shared those nerves initially, as soon as I stepped on the stage my nerves blinked away. In many ways I like to entertain, and so I sat down, relaxed, raised my mic and just got on with it. Intent on making sure people understood a little something of Seeker and keep them amused, too. Which I think we did a pretty good job of. James asked his questions, I answered them, talking about the themes of sexual identity, and how in many ways the two leads, Willem and Jake, are flip-sides of the same character. We also discussed the difficulties of re-inventing vampires, and promised there’ll be no sparkling in ‘The Garden’. By the end of the discussion I think it’s fair to say that we got across the point that Seeker ‘is good’.

The rest of the launch was taken up by people mingling, enjoying the sun, me sitting at the table signing books (we went through a box of twenty in total), and sending Ryan and Lisa out to blitz the streets with flyers to let people know that Seeker exists. They even nabbed one or two people outside Waterstone’s.  Just as I was about to wrap up for the day, a girl in yellow came over, and bought a copy for her nan, who apparently likes ‘books like this’. I’m hoping so, otherwise it’s a nan who’s in for a bit of a shock. The launch ended with some fun pics of the the remaining group, and my tipsy mother who managed to down a whole bottle of wine in an hour.

It wasn’t until much later that I realised somehow Jolene managed to get out of doing her reading. So, sorry, Ry – she hoodwinked ya! 😉

People keep on asking how many books we sold that day, and I keep pointing out that it wasn’t a sales drive, but a launch. It was all about getting the book out there, making people aware of its existence, and this we did. With the help of freebies from Rainbow eBooks, a prize in the shape of a Rubik’s Cube, and free wine, we managed this in style! So, big thanks to all that came along.

It’s been a week since, and already one shop is stocking the book; The Comic Guru in Wood Street, Cardiff. Sales are doing very well; I went through a box of twenty books myself in two days, and I know that Hirst have received a fair few orders since, not to mention a ‘bunch’ of sales for Seeker in the first two days at Untreed Reads.

If you’re looking for a decent read, then you could do a lot worse than checking it out directly from Hirst Publishing, or Untreed Reads Publishing (if you buy the eBook from UR, you can get the exclusive prelude, Serere, free). The digital edition is slowly appearing in the listings of most e-stores, and the print version will soon start appearing in all good book retailers.

Until I have signing dates and locations to announce, why not pop over the to blog, The Accidental Author, and read Jesse Greever’s interview with me, where I discuss the writing of Seeker and a little of what’s coming up.

One Week to Launch

Just one week away from the launch of ‘Seeker’… Here’s the final excerpt, to whet your appetite.

 

‘I need to talk to you about Curtis.’

Jake’s good humour left him abruptly and he sat up straight, casting a quick glance to the hallway beyond. ‘What about him?’

Willem held up a hand, and said quickly; ‘Don’t worry, he’s not been harmed or anything like that. I’m just concerned for his wellbeing.’ He let Jake relax a little before asking; ‘How many times has Curtis stayed here in the last two weeks?’

Jake thought about this. ‘Three, four?’

‘Three, right. Two of those nights have been in the last three days. I don’t know what’s going on with Ren, and right now I don’t much care, but a kid Curtis’ age needs stability, not pulled from pillar to post.’

‘Agreed. So what do you suggest?’

‘I’m not sure, exactly, but I’m seriously thinking of bringing the Social in.’

Jake’s eyes widened in surprise, although Willem wasn’t sure why. It was a natural conclusion after the last few weeks. ‘That is a seriously bad move, guy, get them involved and Lawrencia could end up losing Curtis.’

‘Want to explain to me how that’s a bad thing?’

Jake shook his head, and threw his cigarette into the back yard, without even trying to stub it out first. ‘How this for a start; if Curtis ends up in Care you might never even get to see him again. He gets put up for fostering, next thing you know he’s lost in the system, just another unwanted child. Name changed. How long before you lose track of him?’

That hadn’t occurred to Willem; he had only been thinking that Curtis was in danger around Jimmy, and unfortunately by extension his sister. ‘Worst case…’

‘Scenario? Yeah, I’m hearing that a lot. Someone needs to consider these eventualities, Will, cause it seems like your brain isn’t functioning properly at the moment.’

‘Oh, come on, just ‘cause I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone a bit?’

Jake didn’t answer; instead he stood up and left the kitchen. Willem narrowed his eyes, but followed nonetheless. The two of them stopped by the lounge and looked in on Curtis, who had fallen sleep watching CBeebies.

‘Tell me, Will, do you really want to lose that kid? ‘Cause I know I don’t.’

Willem stepped back and rested against the wall. He closed his eyes and let out a breath of air. Now he thought about it, Jake was right. He opened his eyes and looked at Jake, who was still looking into the lounge. Jake loved Curtis; as far as Curtis knew Jake was as much his uncle as Willem was. Blood didn’t matter in this case; it was the familial bond that counted. ‘What do you suggest?’ he asked.

Jake never took his eyes off Curtis. ‘Speak to her, work something out. I don’t know the details, but there is shit going on you’re not aware of, guy, and I’d lay money on Lawrencia waiting for help from her big brother.’ He looked back at Willem, and there was something in his eyes that made Willem believe him. ‘Maybe you can become his legal guardian, temporarily at least, until she gets rid of that dead weight?’

Now it was Willem’s turn to be surprised. ‘Come on, really? Even if Lawrencia did agree to that, how can I look after him full time? My workload is…’

‘Not insurmountable. Way you tell it Steve is amazing at his job, so I’m sure he could take a whole load of weight off your shoulders there.’

‘I suppose.’ Willem mulled it over, and he had to admit the idea did have much potential. Jimmy would never stand for it, but Jake would no doubt happily take care of that, and once Curtis was out of harm’s way Willem didn’t care two shits about what happened to Jimmy. Getting Lawrencia to agree, though, that would be a tough one. She’d take it as a personal attack.

‘Okay, let me think this over, and when I get back we’ll talk more.’

‘Cool.’

The launch takes place at The King’s Cross, Mill Lane, Cardiff, from midday to two. All are welcome to attend; not only will Andy be on hand to answer any questions, but he will also be discussing the themes of the series, as well as why it is that vampires are still so popular, and the difficulties of finding new things to do with such an old myth.  Copies of the book will be on sale, which Andy will happily deface at no extra cost. For every book bought and signed, a place in the free-prize draw will automatically follow.

From 9pm, the usual Sunday night karaoke will be taken over in celebration of the book’s release; and it will be a Vampire Themed night. The three winners of the prize-draw will be announced throughout the night!

‘Seeker’ is published by Hirst Publishing, and will also be available as an eBook through Untreed Reads Publishing (who have also published an exclusive eBook prelude to ‘Seeker’, available now).

 

‘Seeker’ launch…

My new (and first) novel is launched two weeks today, and this is an open invite to anyone who loves to read. Booksellers, journalists, reviewers, you’re all welcome. The launch is taking place at The King’s Cross, Mill Lane, Cardiff, CF10 1FF.

Enjoy this extract…

Ste sat down and started leafing through the sheets of paper that were on the desk. ‘What’s next, then?’

‘Well,’ Willem began, giving up on even considering a fourth chair, ‘I want you to take notes, make sure we get everything said down. Don’t want to slip up on this. I’m still finding it hard to believe that Kurt would try to scam me like this, it’s so not a Kurt thing. And yet the evidence…’

‘… Pretty much says string the idiot up by the short and curlies,’ Ste said, all trace of humour gone. ‘And haven’t you learned from last night that people often step out of character?’

Willem thought back to last night on the webcam, and nodded. Yep, that was definitely new for him. ‘Maybe, but there are character types that people usually fall into, read about it on Wikipedia. Let me see; melancholy, sanguine… erm…’

Ste nodded slowly at this. ‘Right,’ he said, even slower, ‘and we all know that Wiki is written by experts in their fields. Only, you know, not. People are not like characters in a book, dude, you can’t define them so easily, slotting them into particular personality types. People shift and change their attitudes, their desires, everything, all they need is the right… incentive.’

There was distant smile on Ste’s face as he said this, but Willem wasn’t sure he wanted to know the why of that. Instead he kept his tone light. ‘You really are the insightful professor of life, aren’t you, Mr Krueger?’

‘What can I say, Will, I’m multi-talented. And you know, there’s plenty going on in my world you’d not believe even if I did tell you. Not unless you experienced it yourself.’

Willem narrowed his eyes. ‘Is that an invite?’

‘Don’t know, dude, wouldn’t be up to me. I’d have to ask Robin.’

‘Right, the mysterious Robin. Anyway, what did you say the other day about your mixer menu?’

‘True that.’ Ste nodded, lips pursed in thought. His face broke out into a wide grin. ‘Maybe I’ll have to speak to Robin. I know he wants to meet you.’

‘You two talked about me?’

A dark shadow passed across Ste’s features, but an instant later it was gone. He leaned forward. ‘Anyhow, I meant what’s next with you and Charlie?’

‘Oh. Him,’ Willem said, waving a hand as if Charlie was the last thing on his mind. Ste was clearly not convinced by this attempt at indifference, so Willem sat down in the chair he’d prepared for Kurt. ‘Gonna meet up with him this weekend.’

‘Ah.’ Ste sat back and steepled his fingers, with a smile on his lips.

‘Ah what?’

‘Nothing, just glad to see you’re doing something about this. Been a long time.’

Willem nodded. He couldn’t argue with that, really.

‘Yeah, that’s right. Jacen.’

Willem whistled. ‘Now there’s a name I haven’t really thought about in a long time.’ And it really had been a long while, Willem realised, a good three years in fact. Jacen and Willem hadn’t worked out too well, obviously since they were no longer dating, mostly because Jacen couldn’t deal with Willem’s commitment to his work. Jacen wanted to go off and do stuff, experience the world a little, and he wouldn’t have it when Willem tried to explain they’d have plenty of time for that later when they were financially secure. Jacen had quickly found someone else, quite an adventurous guy from what Willem had since heard. ‘I wonder where he is now?’

‘Probably off doing what you should have done a long time ago, Will,’ Ste said, and let out a gentle cough.

‘Still not too sure, though,’ Willem said, wondering what it was about Ste that made him want to open up so freely. ‘I mean, Ren’s fucked off again and I’m stuck with Curtis tonight. Not that I mind, since I love spending time with him, obviously, and better him being with me than around Jimmy, but what happens when I’m away? She can’t just knock on my door whenever, then.’

‘So?’ Ste held his hands up to ward off the words that were about to erupt from Willem’s mouth. ‘Seriously, it’s not your problem. You have your own life, and every once in a while you need to remember that.’

‘That’s a selfish attitude there, Ste.’

‘Probably, but as someone once said, once in a while you need to give yourself permission to be selfish. You can’t carry everyone all the time. Eventually you’ll buckle, and I hate to break this to you, Will, but you’ve been buckling for a while now.’