Wednesday, 14 January 2015


It is finished!

A few days ago I hit the publish button on the third and final book in my Iron City Trilogy, entitled Iron City Revolution. I sent it out there into the big wide world, and it was the most terrifying and nerve-wracking of the three books to date.

I honestly thought it could not get any worse after releasing my first book. Back then, I was terrified that nobody would by it, and if they did, they would hate it. I bit my finger nails to the quick watching and waiting for that first damning review that would expose to the whole world what a phony I was in thinking I could be a writer. Luckily, it never came, and so far, all the feedback I have had has been positive. Wonderful!

And then, book three. All of the fear and trepidation I felt upon releasing book one was magnified. So some people bought book one? So what? It doesn't mean they liked it, and it certainly doesn't mean that they will go on and buy book two or book three. What if they actually did though? What if they liked the first book, and then hated the other two? Would that mean the first one being enjoyable was just a fluke?

These were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head while I waited for Revolution to go through the amazon review process, and for the most part, those dread-filled thoughts have persisted. That is probably because so far, there hasn't been a single sale of book three.

But that's all right. In a way, that fear is a good thing, because it means that I care what people think. It means I want to try and put out the best writing I can, because to do otherwise, just invites disaster and I don't think my fragile ego can take it. (Ok, it's not really that fragile. I am pretty thick skinned. At least I think so. I guess when I get my first bad review, I'll know for sure.)

Aside from all the fear though, is a sense of accomplishment. Not that long ago, I was not sure I would ever finish even a single book, and now, I have three done, and a completed trilogy to boot. I've proven to myself that I am capable, and that alone gives me a great boost in confidence and the desire to keep on going.

I'm looking forward to moving on to something new, and meeting some new characters.

I can't wait!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Where has the time gone?

This past month, I got so caught up in the thrill of writing, and in letting the ebb and flow of the words wash over me, that I completely forgot this blog was even here! The fact that I didn't have much to talk about, other than another "I'm still here, and I'm still writing book three!" type post is beside the point.

So what has happened since my last post? Well, Christmas, obviously, and I got print versions of my first two books as gifts to go on my book shelf. I think they look great. I'm biased, of course, but I'm also very harsh with myself, so when I think something I have done is pretty good, it generally means something. I'm looking forward to getting this third book out there so I can complete the set.

Speaking of the third book... It is almost done! As of yesterday, I have about three chapters left to write in the first draft. That's roughly 10,000 words, which I can probably get done in a few days. Assuming I can find the time of year of course. There has been so many distractions lately (aforementioned Christmas, and I also had to do a stint of jury duty recently), that I sometimes started to feel as if I had been writing this final volume for months longer than I actually had.

There was also a sense of urgency to get it finished. I wanted it available for January, in hopes of new kindle owners seeing a completed series and grabbing copies. In addition, my sales completely dropped off the last week (ten days actually) and I was panicking! I needed something new out there, and soon.

I've calmed down a little now. There's still work to be done. The last few chapters, and also the editing work. Not to mention the formatting and the book cover. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and I am so excited to see this trilogy come to fruition!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Finale

Two days ago I started writing the third, and final volume in my Iron City series. So far, it is going well, with the first couple of chapters under my belt, and hopefully, by the end of today, the first 10,000 words written.

This is the big finale, the end game, so to speak. I know roughly where it is going, and how it is going to end, but how I am going to get there is so far, a mystery. One thing I'm fairly certain about at the moment, is that is is probably going to be the longest of the three volumes. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not, but there it is.

I'm extremely excited about this book. Mainly because it will prove to myself that I have what it takes to complete a full series of books. That's no mean feat. Granted, it is only a trilogy as opposed to a long running series, but to me, it is still something of an achievement. For the longest time, I was not even sure I could manage to finish a single novel, and now I have two, with the third on the way.

The working title, and probably what I will end up calling it, it Iron City Revolutions. I already have the cover for the kindle version done and ready to go, though the paperback version will have to wait until the book is actually written. It ties in nicely with the other two books, and it will be obvious that all three belong together.

It's been one heck of a ride, filled with all the highs and lows that you might expect, from the anticipation of hitting the publish button, the excited waiting, followed by dread when no actual sales appear. There were times when I really began to feel like I couldn't continue, that there was no point to it. Then someone would tell me they enjoyed the read and couldn't wait for the next volume, and that would give me the boost to carry on.

I've come to realise that, whether or not the book sells, I enjoy the experience and creativity far too much to give it up any time soon. Which is a good thing, because I have a lot more ideas just waiting to break out and jump onto the page.

I can't wait to share them with the rest of the world.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The One in the Middle

I've been a little quiet lately, but I had good reason. I have been writing and editing the second volume in my steampunk trilogy of books: Iron City Uprising. Today, I hit the publish button and let my work fly off on it's own for the first time. My own little bird, leaving the nest for the first time.

It's a little scary, a little intimidating, but there is only so many times I can reread the work, only so many changes I can make to 'improve' the writing, before it become a compulsion. Eventually, I had to take the plunge. And today was that day.

It is great to have it out there, in a finishes state, ready to be devoured by anyone with an interest. But it is intimidating too. I have no idea if anyone will buy it, and if they do, whether they will actually enjoy it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; hitting the publish button is hard. And scary. Mostly scary.

Don't misunderstand, it's exciting too. There's always a chance, however slim, that the book will take off for some reason; go viral like that video about the cute cat. And the excitement lies in waiting to find out which way it will go. Am I going to wake up the next day with hundreds of purchases? Or, more likely, will I wake up to the fact that nobody has even looked at the book, never mind bought it? I have no idea which way it will go.

But in the end, it doesn't matter. I enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed following my characters on their sometimes emotional, sometimes dangerous adventures. And I enjoyed finding out where they would end up. It was as much of a surprise the second time around as it was for the third.

So book two is done. One more to go, and I'll have a full set.

Wish me luck!

If you are interested in reading the book (and I sincerely hope you are), you can find it at the link on the right. In fact, you can find links to both the first and second volumes there, both with brand new covers.

However, if you are too lazy to go look, or just can't be bothered sliding your gaze to the side, the link is right here:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I know, I am too soft.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Putting some 'Punk' into Steampunk

I expect anyone reading this right now already has a pretty good idea what steampunk is. For those that don't here's a quick and fairly brief explanation.

It is generally considered to be a sub-genre of science fiction which typically features steam powered machinery, usually incorporating a Victorian aesthetic. It also often utilises futuristic technology envisioned as being powered by steam engines. Some of the usual tropes of steampunk are airships, goggles, and twist on the Victorian fashion style.

A few examples of the genre at work come from some of the great science fiction authors of the past. Jules Verne for instance, with his portrayal of a submarine long before they had been conceived or invented, and of course H.G. Wells and his time machine and Martian invaders.

This is as far as most people get, and that's fine; unfortunately, it's forgetting an important part of the genre: the 'punk' element. There is a very good reason punk is used there, and it's because there is an idealogical and political focus to the genre, that in my mind is just as relevant as the other elements.

Punk culture is generally looked at as one of rebellion, personal and social freedoms, and of course, anti-establishment ideals. Unfortunately, this aspect is usually forgotten when most people think of steampunk. Or perhaps overlooked in favour of the more visual and stylised elements.

To me, the 'punk' is just as important as the 'steam', and it's that focus which has been a big influence in my current trilogy of books. A running theme throughout the series is one of revolution, where a small group of idealistic freedom fighters struggle against an oppressive regime in an effort to change their culture and society. My aim was to get across the sense of rebellion, idealism and struggle for personal freedoms. I'm not sure how successful that has been, but I hope it at least shines through in some way. I guess time will tell.

Of course, that's not to say that I don't love the steam element just as much. There is something aesthetically pleasing about mixing the modern and the old that I find fascinating and exciting. Whatever else you might think about them, the Victorians had a certain style which can be very appealing.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


One odd thing that I have noticed since starting this journey, is that ideas have been flowing far more frequently and more freely than they ever did before. I had been wondering why this might be; I hadn't been thinking any differently, as far as I was aware, nor had I been doing things in a different manner. So why the new ideas? Then it suddenly hit me.

The idea of being published has been at the back of my mind for a long time, years in fact. Up until recently, the options were fairly limited. Basically, they were restricted to finding an agent and hoping they get you a publisher. Or skip the agent and go straight to the publishing houses (even less of a chance than the former).

The problem here was that whenever I would think about writing something, I was not thinking about writing for the audience, I was thinking about writing for a publisher. In other words, any idea I could come up with had to be something that I felt would be suitable to submit to what I imagined as being grim-faced, red-pen-wielding monsters who delighted in rejecting anything outside of what they considered to be marketable and capable of selling. Of course, with this in mind, my stock of ideas rapidly dwindled.

As you can imagine, having this self-imposed restriction, however subconscious it was, would have a negative effect. I found my ideas growing more stale and less interesting as time went by. They had to appeal to a broad audience, which meant they could not be too niche or too narrowly focused. The characters too had to have a broad appeal; that meant they could not be too quirky, so as not to alienate the less flamboyantly inclined.

One has to wonder why you would want to write at all, given those circumstances.

Then along came self-publishing. Suddenly gone was the need to sell an idea to a publisher. Instead, I could write in any genre I wanted, to as narrow a field as I wanted, and there was nobody to tell me otherwise. Granted, there's still possibility that they won't do well, but that is beside the point. Now I was free of those horrible, stifling restrictions. The possibilities were almost endless.

This, I realised, was why the ideas had begun to flow again.

It must be rather a common problem I imagine, this mental block on the imagination. Whenever you stop writing for yourself, and by association, your audience, you restrict yourself needlessly, and that is a mistake. Stifling creativity is a terrible thing, especially when it is your own creativity.

Well, happily I no longer need to worry about it. I can write what I want, when I want.

And I am so much happier for it.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Middle Part

The last few weeks since uploading my first book to Amazon has been spent busily tapping away at the second book in the trilogy, tentatively entitled Iron City Uprising.

So far, things have been going pretty well, and I'm roughly a third of the way through my first draft. It is looking to be somewhat longer than the first book, though not by a significant amount. At least that's the plan. I am hoping to have it finished, with luck, by the end of next month at the latest. Barring any unforeseen occurrences of course.

In any case, I thought it was worthwhile sharing a passage from one of the earlier chapters in the book. This section is for a new point-of-view character, though not a new character to the series. Feel free to comment on it if you wish. I have relatively thick skin.

The largest, and most attention-worthy machine was in the very centre of the far wall. Built from thick poles of iron welded together, it reached from floor to ceiling and took up almost half of the wall. In between the iron bars were sheets of foggy glass that obscured what lay within. Pipes and flexible tubes snaked across the floor and penetrated the structure near the base. The other end of the pipes were connected to a huge beast of a steam engine that was fixed to the side wall and was constantly bellowing fresh vapours up towards the ceiling. More than anything, it reminded Rosalind of a strange, metal and glass coffin. Considering what it contained, the analogy was rather apt.