Category Archives: Writing

Promise of Wrath: Cover

So, here it is, the cover for Promise of Wrath, and it looks fantastic. There’s going to be the first chapter put up at some point in the next few days, I hope. If you’d like to pre-order, links are below.

 

 

A powerful sorcerer. A forgotten past. Hellequin is back, and the end is near.

A terrible storm is brewing in London, and Nathan Garrett, the sorcerer known as Hellequin, is the only one who can stop it.

But his enemies have other plans. Harnessing the power of an ancient stone tablet, they cast Nate and his allies into another realm, where a bloody conflict rages between creatures twisted by magic. Meanwhile, with his friends’ lives in danger, Nate must put centuries of differences aside, and place his trust in one of his greatest foes.

Time is running out. Trapped and outnumbered, Nate must use all his wits and power to survive and find his way home before his enemies start a war that could destroy everything he holds close. Welcome to the penultimate chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles.

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Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Promise of Wrath

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There’s no cover, or blurb, but there is a pre-order for Hellequin Book 6, Promise of Wrath. And there’s a release date for the ebook version: 13th September (the print copy will follow in Nov).

UK

USA

However, because I’m feeling really nice, here’s the setting for the flashback sequences in Promise of Wrath;

Kingdom of Jerusalem. September, 1195.

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.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

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.

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.

Infamous-Reign
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.

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.

Full-time Writer

So, I handed in my notice today. I’ve worked at my job for 11 1/2 years, and been a published writer for 3 1/2 alongside it. It’s become more and more obvious that doing both is a recipe for a lack of sleep and a general disinterest in my full-time work.

My last day here will be the 18th December, after which, I’ll be a full-time writer. I’ll have news of future books in the next few weeks, I hope, but for now, I just wanted to share that I get to do something I’ve been hoping and dreaming about since I was 14.

It’s both incredibly exciting, and utterly terrifying. But a good kind of terrifying.

Nanowrimo

In a few days the yearly Nanowrimo will start. For those of you who don’t know what that is, basically people try to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

As someone whose job it is to write books, Nano doesn’t really have that special place in my year that it does for some. Every month I’m trying to get as much done as possible, and although I don’t set myself a 50k word limit to beat, I try to at least manage enough to be happy with what I’ve done.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like Nano. I think it’s a good way to meet people in your area, and it’s nice to have that comradery with people who are trying to do the same thing.

I’ve done it every year for the last 5 years, and while I’ve only manage 50k twice, I thought some tips might be a good idea. So here they are.

  1. Plan everything first.

Sit down and ensure that you know what you’re doing and where you’re going. Getting half way through the month and realising you have it all wrong is a bit crap.

plan

  1. Don’t edit/edit it’s up to you.

It’s the one piece of advice they give out every year. Never Edit. Personally I edit as I go, and that won’t change. But don’t spend all your time fixing that first chapter or paragraph, editing is fine, polishing can wait.

Ah, the classic editing pose.

Ah, the classic editing pose.

  1. Enjoy it.

If you’re not enjoying the writing, then it’s probably not working. The story you’re working on should be something that makes you excited, something that makes you want to sit down and write. No one wants to slog through 50k.

Enjoying it will result in this face too. That's fine.

Enjoying it will result in this face too. That’s fine.

  1. You may not make it.

As hard as this is to accept, you may not make your 50k. And that’s okay. You need to be happy with what you’ve done, and not everyone makes it to the end. Writing a story isn’t a sprint, so if you’re intending to continue on after the end of Nov, then you’ve got a long road ahead.

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And those are my simple tips. This year I’m going to be working on Helleuqin book 6.

Best of luck to everyone taking part.

Prison of Hope – UK Sale

Prison of Hope is on sale in the Uk for only £1. Now, I know it’s the 4th book in the series, but you don’t need to have read any of the other books to enjoy it.

Here’s the link to the book.

McHugh-PrisonOfHope-21030-Ft-Cvr

Blurb:

Long ago, Olympian gods imprisoned the demon Pandora in a human—Hope—creating a creature whose only purpose was chaos and death. Remorseful, the gods locked Pandora away in Tartarus, ruled by Hades.

Now, centuries later, Pandora escapes. Nate Garrett, a 1,600-year-old sorcerer, is sent to recapture her and discovers her plan to disrupt the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, killing thousands in a misplaced quest for vengeance.

Fast forward to modern-day Berlin, where Nate has agreed to act as guardian on a school trip to Germany to visit Hades at the entrance to Tartarus. When Titan King Cronus becomes the second ever to escape Tartarus, Nate is forced to track him down and bring him back, to avert a civil war between those who would use his escape to gain power.

Review:

“Okay, this was definitely a five star book. Steve McHugh definitely brought it with this fourth full-length book in the Hellequin series. Nate is definitely going into my top ten of serious badasses!” – Bittenbybooks

“Overall then a really great read, all of them, another strength being that you can read any one on its own, you don’t necessarily have to read in order. A series that I hope will run and run.

Highly Recommended” – Lizlovesbooks

“This series is a must read. The action, adventure and history keeps the reader engaged at all times. It is a story that incorporates the emotional side of the characters, their passion for justice as well as their conflict.” Onebooktwo