Some time ago I revised my novel, Seeker, for publication by Candy Jar Books. (It will be released in a new paperback format soon – just working out the details.) And after seeing the way people are struggling with the isolation brought on by the Coronavirus outbreak, I made the decision to release the book digitally in the meantime. And completely free!
So, one chapter at time, I’m giving you all access to the book. For a limited time. It won’t be here forever, but it will be here for a short while. Thus far chapters one to five have been released, and they’re all collected below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.’
Followers of this blog will remember how I said right at the beginning that I am rubbish at keeping up with blog entries. I think it’s fair to say that a gap of three months is all the proof needed. Although, in my defence, I have been very busy in the interim. Thus, this entry will be a bit of an update, bringing all you lovely readers back up to speed on where things are with my various projects.
First of all, ‘The Garden’ saga begins very soon indeed. What is it? I hear you ask. Well, essentially it’s a four-book urban fantasy/horror series, and book one (‘Seeker’) is being published in print and electronic formats simultaneously by Hirst Publishing and Untreed Reads Publishing. It is a series I was ‘clearly meant to write’, according to my editor at Untreed. Here’s the blurb…
Meet Willem Townsend: London-based entrepreneur; loyal friend; loving uncle. He seems to have everything going for him, but deep down Will is trapped by work, family, and the sheer mundanity of daily routine. Stepping outside his comfort zone he begins an internet romance and, despite the reservations of his best friend Jake, Will arranges to meet his lover for a weekend getaway.
The weekend passes, and not a word is heard from Will. Jake organises a search for his friend, fearing the worst, and as Jake’s frenetic hunt progresses, he begins to realise that Will may have meant more to him than he was willing to believe.
In Southend, a naked man is found in a garden, suffering from a trauma that he cannot recall. And when the memories come flooding back, they are borne by blood. He holds the key to a secret world where the price of entry is death…
The book launches on March 20th at The King’s Cross bar in Cardiff, and will be on general release (both in print and eBook) from Monday March 21st. You can currently pre-order the book directly from the Hirst website. Those of you wishing to attend to launch, can find out more about it on this Facebook page. Everyone who attends the launch and gets a copy of the book signed automatically gets entered into the prize draw, the winners of which will be announce throughout the Vampire Themed Night bash at the King’s. One of the prizes will be a coupon for a free copy of the exclusive eBook prelude being published by Untreed Reads…
Which brings me to, ‘Serere, A Prelude’.
The novelette will be released at the beginning of March, and will only be available online (it will not be available in print – at least not in 2011, if ever), and serves as a introduction to ‘Seeker’ specifically, with a few hints of things to come in book two (the title of which will not be announced until near the end of 2011, for reasons which will become clear to those who read ‘Seeker’). And, as a taster, here’s a small excerpt from ‘Serere, A Prelude’…
Isobel Shelley waited, as she promised she would, but it was getting dark and the rain had started to fall. Not that either thing bothered her personally, but it was terribly inconvenient. She lifted her lantern, which she did not really need, of course, but appearances were important, and looked out to the northern carriage way. The Green was quiet, most people safely indoors, sheltered from the cold, but Isobel could not be sure she wasn’t being watched. Newington Green, home to the free-thinkers and dissidents, had history, and the people who tended to gravitate to this place knew better than to take things for granted. Probably one of the many reasons she loved living on the Green.
The sound of hoof beats crunching gravel drifted over to her, and she focused on the approaching shape. A gig pulled by a single horse, two people jostling about in the carriage as the wooden wheels managed to find every ditch and trough in the path. Both figures were dressed in the finest cloth, one looking down, his head bobbling about as if he were asleep, but the second, holding the reins in his hands, was looking firmly ahead, mindful of the mood of the horse. The gig slowed, and stopped right next to Isobel. She smiled, finally able to see the countenance of the young driver.
Young and as radiant as ever, Hareton Wesley smiled down at Isobel, and tipped his bicorn hat. “Miss Shelley, you are still a diamond of the first water, I see. A pleasure indeed.”
Isobel curtsied slightly, with a smile of her own. It had been some time since she had seen anything of Hareton, and was not displeased to see him once more. “Young Master Wesley, an’ you and the gentleman like to follow me?”
The gentleman in question looked up, clearly not asleep. An austere looking man of some fifty years (which certainly meant he was older), he raised an eyebrow at Isobel and edged his lip in the form of a very slight smile, which looked somewhat strange on such a Friday-faced man. Hareton looked at him, no doubt awaiting instruction, and the gentleman nodded. “As Miss Shelley says, so shall it be,” the gentleman said, in an accent that sounded almost German, although it had a cadence that Isobel could not quite place. She was not particularly well travelled, but accents did not usually stump her so. “Do lead on, dear lady.”
“As you wish,” Isobel said and tuned away, lantern still held aloft, and led the way across the Green.
Next up, although announced elsewhere, I can finally announce it to all those who read this blog; at the end of 2010, after much hard work and much discussion, Untreed Reads Publishing have secured a licence to produce original eBooks based on Frank Chadwick’s Space 1889. This steampunk series will consist of two novels which bookend four novellas, written by well-known genre authors. I am the series Commissioning Editor and Creative Consultant, which means I’m responsible for putting the whole thing together. Quite a task it’s proving to be at the moment, but amazingly good fun, too. Further information will be released over the forthcoming months, including a definite launch date.
Due to the busyness of me, this does have a knock-on effect on Legacy which was being released at one book a month. So far three volumes are available, and can be purchased here, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK. Volume 2.2 will be delayed a little while, but as soon as I have time in my schedule I shall get on to it. Once again, I will keep you updated on developments there.