4 Years on.

4 years ago, on the 28th April 2012, I self published my first book, Crimes Against Magic. I sold 28 copies opening day. I was thrilled.

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4 years later, and after leaving the self-publishing world for the traditional a few years ago, I’ve had 5 books published, been in the top 10 best-selling books on Amazon US, and and have just handed the 6th in to my publisher after the second round of edits.

Joined all 4

I actually only remembered the milestone of 4 years ago, because my wife reminded me. Otherwise I doubt I’d have remembered at all, and not because it wasn’t important, or anything like that, but simply because so much has happened since then.

 

I’ve had a more traditional publisher for the last 2 ½ years, after 47North asked if they could re-publish the first 2 books and work with me on wherever the Hellequin Chronicles went. I said yes pretty quickly. As much as self publishing was very rewarding, and I’d done well enough through it, it’s also a colossal amount of extra work. Work where otherwise I could be writing another book. I’ve had a great time working with everyone there, and may that continue to be the case.

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So, that’s all up to now. 4 years as an author, and about 4 months of that as a full-time author. So, what’s next?

 

Well, this is going to be a bit of a list, and not everything here will happen within any kind of timeframe that I actually have, but it gives you a rough idea of what I’m working on.

 

  1. Promise of Wrath (Hellequin 6). This is the one people are asking me about, and I still don’t have a release date, sorry. I still have copy edits, line edits, and probably something else I’m forgetting, to get through first.
  2. A new book with new characters and nothing to do with Hellequin. It’s coming along nicely.
  3. Epic Fantasy book: I plan to start this after Divided. I plan on finishing it too. Best laid plans and all that.
  4. Warbringer: The big epic sci-fi I was working on needs a lot of work, so I have no idea when it’ll be finished. I promise my agent it will be finished though. Promise.

 

 

Both 3 and 4 here, don’t have publishers, so that work gets put behind the stuff that does. Oh, and I forgot book 7 of Hellequin. Gotta write that too.

 

So, after 4 years of being published, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. Bloodborne remains unfinished, and books remain unread.

Whole Lotta Sales

There are probably some of you out there who haven’t picked up the Hellequin books as of yet. I’m here to help with that.

Joined all 4

 

At the moment, the Hellequin Chronicles ebooks are on sale in 3 different countries. I’ll supply links and info below about each of them, primarily because I’m nice like that, but also because I want people to actually buy the books.

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1.

So, first up is the USA.

All 5 books are currently on offer for under $10. That’s a whole lot of reading for $10.

LINK

2.

Now to my homeland, the UK.

All 5 books are only £0.99 each.

         LINK

3.

Last, but by no means least, is Australia.

Each Hellequin book is only $1.49 there.

LINK

Lies Ripped Open Front Cover smaller

So, that’s it. Lots of sales, and all of them only lasting until the end of the month, so get them while you can. And if you do decide to take the plunge, I hope you enjoy them.

Superman Vs Batman: Thoughts

I’ve been to watch Batman VS Superman, and wanted to write down my thoughts on the film. Considering I had no hope of making this short enough to post on FB or Twitter, I figured writing them here would be a better idea.

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First the bad:

 

  • The story is nonsensical, and jumps around all over the place for no real reason.
  • Huge chunks of story are just forgotten about, or ignored because they’re clearly just there for future films, or because Zack Snyder forgot they existed.
  • Zack Snyder isn’t a very good director.
  • Everything is gloomy and dark. The entire colour palate to the film is like watching through fog. It’s annoying and utterly misses the point of a Superman film.
  • There’s no levity in the whole film. Compare it to something like Winter Soldier, which was still a serious film, but one that had humour, and excitement. Those aren’t in this film.
  • The CGI fights look pretty crappy in the darkness that blankets the whole film.
  • Lex Luthor is more annoying, twitchy dick, than evil genius. Also, his entire plot makes no sense for someone who’s meant to be said evil genius.
  • Every character in the Daily Planet is pointless and serves no purpose.
  • It’s too long.
  • It’s obviously just a set up for a future film.
  • Amy Adams is just there to be saved for the most part.
  • In 2016 we don’t need yet another Batman origin story. EVERYONE KNOWS WHO BATMAN IS, and if you don’t, then spend ten seconds on Google before you get into the film.
  • The ending is obvious, trite, and frankly insulting to the audiences’ intelligence.
  • Doomsday is dreadful and looks like the Troll from Lord of the Rings, a 15 yr old film.

 

 

Essentially, the story is all over the place, and the direction is a mess. So, that’s not great.

batman-v-superman-reviews

Now the good stuff:

 

  • Henry Cavill is a good Superman. He really is, even with all the moping he has to do, he’s still pretty good. If they just made him a bit more… Superman, and a bit less miserable, that would be brilliant.
  • Gal Gadot is a very good Wonder Woman. She doesn’t have a lot to work with, but what she does shines. I have high hopes for a WW film based on her work here.
  • BEN AFFLECK SAVES THIS FILM. He’s phenomenal as Batman and Bruce Wayne, managing to play a Batman who has been pushed far beyond breaking that he’s now willing to do some pretty messed up stuff in the name of what he believes. He’s brilliant and every second he’s on screen, he steals the film. I now want to see an Affleck solo Batman film.
  • The Batman action scenes. They’re brilliant.
  • Jeremy Irons.
  • Holly Hunter
  • That’s pretty much it.

 

Without Affleck, this would be a colossal mess of a film with few redeeming qualities. As it is, he drags it kicking and screaming up to a film I didn’t mind watching.

 

Just one thing. Stop letting Zack direct Superman. It’s clear he doesn’t get Superman, it’s clear he just wants slow-mo and explosions. Give the next Superman film to someone who understands the character and let them go nuts.

 

Also, DC seems determined to do grim and gritty with these characters, and it just doesn’t work. They’re so far behind the Marvel films in terms of fun characters, action and story, it isn’t even a competition. Compare this to something like Winter Soldier, the Avengers, or Iron Man, and it’s not even in the same league. It’s a real shame because they had the chance to knock it out of the park, and they barely managed to hit the ball at all.

 

I hope the Blu-ray extended version fixes some of the problems with the story, but I doubt they’d fix it to the extent it needs fixing. Essentially, it’s a pretty poor film, but with one incredible performance, which is certainly not what I would have said about an Affleck superhero film. It’s not awful, but a bad story and bad direction mask the goodness inside. Glad I saw it, but it’s not even in the top ten superhero films of the last five years, let alone of all time.

We Got A Dog (and I guess some writing stuff)

This post is probably not going to be of an interest to everyone. There is some writing stuff, as book 6 went off to my publisher today, but this is more to do to do with photos of the puppy we just brought home.

Her name is Korra, she’s 8 weeks old, and she’s a German Shepherd. Bask in her cuteness.

 

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Essentially her job is to make a mess, look cute, bite my feet and sleep.

 

I’m off to start a new book, which is very exciting, but I may have to leave my office on occasion to play with the new puppy. Just occasionally.

Dear Self Published Authors.

Hi, how’s things? I’m sorry to say, but this is going to be a bit of a rant.

You may not know this about me, but despite the fact that my main Hellequin books aren’t self-published anymore, Crimes Against Magic originally started that way. In fact, I’m still self published with my novella.

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I know it’s hard work, and getting your name out there is difficult. I know it’s not just about hard work, and long hours, but there’s a lot of luck involved too. On top of actually writing the book, you have to juggle a whole of other stuff lot. But here’s something you should know, and it’s important.

Get.

An.

Editor.
A good one. One you have to pay for, not Bob who works in accounting. Get someone who knows their shit. And if you have a friend who is an editor, then awesome, but otherwise find someone. Pay them. An author needs an editor like everyone needs water: You can manage without for a while, but eventually it’s going to catch up to you and the you’re ballsed. It’s not the best analogy, but it’s been a long day and it’s as good as you’re going to get.

I love seeing people succeed in something they love doing. It’s awesome. But to succeed you need to do it right. So, when you’ve got your awesome cover, and the story is great, and you’re really happy with it. Think to yourself, did I get this professionally edited? If the answer is anything but, “yes, of course I bloody well did” it’s the wrong answer.

Now, I’m not talking to all self-published authors, and hopefully this won’t result in a deluge of pissed off people all thinking I mean them, because the likelihood is, I don’t. There are tons of brilliant self-published works. Right now, I’m reading a self-published work, and it’s fantastic. Because apart from having an awesome cover, and a good story, it’s edited. Professionally edited.

For those of you who this is about, who I am talking to. I really can’t stress how important it is to get your work edited. Yes it costs money, but if you don’t, I can pretty much guarantee you’re not going to be selling a huge amount. And if you were serious enough about writing the book in the first place, be serious enough to act like a professional.

Rant over.

USA Hellequin Sale

This is going to be a brief post as I just want to bring to everyone’s attention the sale going on right now in the USA.

 

All 5 Hellequin books are only $1.99, and with book 6 out this year, this is the perfect time to get stuck into an action-packed, urban fantasy.

Here’s the link:

Amazon.com

Joined all 4

 

What’s Next?

I figured today is probably the time to tell everyone about what I’ll be doing now that my entire working life will centre around writing. That and drinking.

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years, who have purchased and enjoyed my books, who tell their friends and family, who e-mail or message me to say how much the enjoy the books and Nate’s adventures. You’re all awesome and I wouldn’t be able to write full-time without your support. Thank you.

Now, on to what I have coming up. I have several projects I plan to get to in the next 12 months, but as I have a contract for 2 of them, I’ll get to them first.

Hellequin Chronicles Book 6 has a title: Promise of Wrath

And the second book I’ll be writing next year is the first in a new series (it’s set in the Hellequin Universe, but has nothing to do with those books). The book is called: Divided.

I also got a few other things to work on. Basically I’m going to be very busy. Which means I won’t be able to say, “sod it,” and go play Fallout 4. At least not too often.

 

 

Last Day At Work

 

So, this is it. This is my last day of full-time employment. As of 3pm this evening, I am a full-time author. To be fair, it’s about time, trying to write full-time and working full-time isn’t good long-term.

I’ve worked at Siemens, doing Data Analysis, for 11 ½ years. During that time, I’ve met some incredible people who made coming to work worthwhile. I’ve also met some of the worst people I’ve ever had the displeasure to encounter. But they can fuck off, as I’ll never have to see them ever again.

For the last 3 ½ years I’ve been working at Siemens and being also being a published author, and being able to write full-time is something I’ve dreamed of since I was about 12 years old.

After 3pm this evening, I’m done. I’ve brought in enough cake that I think it quantifies as a ‘shit load’, and I’m going to see Star Wars this evening with my wife and daughter. Then I have a weekend off, before I’m going to be getting on with the business of writing.

So, thank you to all of those people who made coming to work worthwhile and entertaining. To everyone who was a pleasure to work with, who was a friend, thank you for the support you gave me when I started writing, and continue to give me now.

I’m not going to miss my job. I’m going to be doing something most people never get to do. I’m going to be doing my dream job. I’m going to be writing stories. Personally I can’t think of anything better to do for a living.

Starting Out

Because I’m a terrible person, I completely forgot about a question I was asked on Twitter over a month ago. So, to Jack, I’m very sorry.

I figured there’s no time like the present. Jack’s question was about starting to write. Now the following tips will work for me, and they might work for you, but don’t take them as gospel. Each person needs to find their own way of writing, and what works for me might not work for you.

With that said, here are my tips for getting started (for this list, I’m going to assume people already have their story idea and characters, because that’s a whole separate list).

 

 

Have An Outline

I know some people don’t like to have a plot worked out before they start writing, they like to wing it. These people are crazy. I’ve done it myself, I’ve sat down with only a barebones idea and started writing, and for me it just means everything takes five times longer to finish.

From about book 3, I realised I need to have an idea of where I’m going. I like to know what I’m going to be doing that particular session of writing. So, I have an outline of the chapter, or chapters, that I’ll be working on.

The outline isn’t overly deep, mostly because I tend to add or remove things as needed, but it gives me something to get started with. I see it sort of like a sandbox Videogame. If someone hands me a game and says, “This is a sandbox game. You can do anything you like.” I’m more likely to just run around and see what I can break, or if I can get that car to jump off that ramp I saw twenty minutes ago. I’m unfocused. But if someone hands me the same game and says, “This is a sandbox game. But here are the story missions.” I’m more likely to at least have a plan what I’m going to do. I might run around blowing stuff up for half hour, but I have an end goal.

I find it similar with writing. My outline for work gives me enough to get on with (usually how the chapter will end, start and anything major that needs to happen), but how I get from the beginning to the end is entirely up to my own imagination.

Lies Ripped Open Front Cover smaller

By the time I got to Lies Ripped Open, I was using detailed outlines for every chapter. They still changed as the story went through (Remy was never in the original outline), but they really helped.

 

Get Comfortable

I know it sounds obvious, but wherever it is you’re going to be writing, make sure you’re comfortable. Make sure you have a drink or some snacks (if needed), because you don’t want to have to get up and leave to get a drink when you’re in the middle of something important.

 

Music

Personally, I can’t listen to music with words while I’m writing. So, I use soundtracks. I have a collection of movie and videogame soundtracks that I put on when starting, something to get me into the mood of what I’m working on. So, for action scenes, I use the Dredd soundtrack, or Mass Effect. Something like that. It doesn’t always work, and sometimes I just want quiet, but I find music can help set the scene.

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Two Steps From Hell are fantastic for when I’m writing.

 Let Yourself Start

At some point, you just have to get on with it. The hardest bit of starting is the start. Yes, I know that isn’t helpful, but it’s true. Get over that first sentence, or paragraph and you’ll have a much easier time of it. And you’re never going to get over it, if you don’t sit down and actually start writing. It might be awful, it might be the shittiest writing ever committed to page, it doesn’t matter, because it’s something. It’s something to get those creative thoughts flowing, and it’s something to build on.

 

STAY AWAY FROM THE INTERNET

Seriously, if you’re going to try writing, going online, “just to check something,” is not going to help you. There are programmes that will remove all connection to anything not the page you’re writing on. If you need them, then go right ahead. I find it helps to have a ten minute break every hour to check FB, Twitter, my email, or whatever. Sometimes, that doesn’t work out, but it all depends how deeply in the moment of writing I am.

 

So, there are some ideas. Hopefully some of them will help. And if they don’t, hopefully some of them will lead you to those that do.

Hellequin Sale

In other news, all 5 Hellequin Chronicles books are on sale in the UK for the month of December.

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At only £1 each, that’s a lot of reading for not a lot of money.

Here’s the link if you want to go pick yourself up a little something:

Amazon.co.uk

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