Patreon

I am launching a new Patreon if you want to support my work. I’ve looked into Patreon before but never made a serious effort at it, so this new Patreon is me starting afresh.

You can sign up for as little as $1 and that will get you access to the patron-only feed, updates about upcoming works, early information about things like cover art, and, probably more importantly, an ebook copy of The Adventures of Technicality Man. Higher tiers will also give you access to my other books. If you sign up to the $5 tier, you can get ebooks of my Codename Omega series, and the higher tiers will get you physical copies of those books and my other works.

For most of the tiers, I will be sending the books out one a month until you’ve received all the rewards for that tier, and then new books as they are published. The reason for this was that I didn’t want someone signing up for a higher tier, receiving all the reward books, and then backing out, since that could end up costing me a lot of money.

I will also be offering book-related merchandise like bookmarks, tote bags, and printed cards. These will be sent out as regular rewards if you sign up for the higher subscriptions, so you will continue to get rewards between new book released. You will also have the option to prompt me and receive personlised short stories based on those prompts. Some of these may get published at a later date if I feel they’re good enough, but others may remain as patron-only.

I will be posting some bits of writing exclusively to patrons, including short-stories, background pieces of writing, and bits that ended up being cut for the published books. For example, in the Codename Omega series, I attempted a few different starts to that series, including one version that started the story from Navy’s perspective when he first meets Nuke. I plan on dusting off that piece of writing and making it available to patrons on the Patreon.

This is all pretty new for me, so I would appreciate any support you can give. If you are unable to support financially, I would really appreciate if you could share the Patreon links on social media.

If you can sign up, I will send you your free ebook of The Adventures of Technicality Man. I’m running a special offer for the launch. If you sign up at the $1 level before the end of August, I will also send all patrons a free ebook of Omega Rising, the first book in the Codename Omega series, which would normally be one of the higher-tier rewards.

Support me here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=512163

Shadows of Tomorrow Book 3

I got some good news this week. A while ago, I sent the third book of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy off to the publisher. This week, I got a response and they have accepted it. I had hoped that they would, especially given that they published the first two books in that trilogy and even produced an audio book of Shadows of Tomorrow, but I still wasn’t sure. The contract I signed for the other books only gave them first rights of refusal on the book, not any sort of guarantee that they would publish it.

It would have been really awkward if they’d said no at this point, because finding a publisher for the third book in a trilogy that’s already had two books published would have been a real challenge. Anyone I approach would probably wonder why I wasn’t going with the publisher of the first two, so I’m really glad that I don’t have to be in that position.

We’re a long way from the book coming out, which I’m sure will upset one of my coworkers who has been asking for news about this book’s publication since about five minutes after she finished reading the second book. It takes a while for a book to go through the publishing process, with all the stages of editing that involves, but I will keep the blog updated as I get more news. Watch this space.

Draft 2

I finished the first draft of the next Codename Omega book a while ago and I took a break to give myself some distance, so that I could come back to the story with fresh eyes. The problem is that I’m now struggling to find the inspiration to pick it up again when there are other shiny, new stories I could be writing.

This is a problem I have, because I always find the first draft the most fun part of the writing experience, as it’s the part where I’m figuring out the story and see how it all works. A second draft is an essential part of the process, but it’s more about fixing things, and I know with this book that that’s a large chunk in the middle that will need strengthening in a serious way. It will either need to be given more emotional impact or trimmed down so that the section doesn’t last as long. Or both.

I’m hoping that by publicly admitting on my blog that I need to get on with the next draft will nudge me into doing just that. After all, the book will never be finished unless I sit down and work on it, and I do want it to be finished because I had a lot of fun with a shift in perspectives in this book, compared to the rest of the series. I want to see how other people react to this change.

But I can’t publish it for readers until I’ve finished the writing process.

So this is a message to myself: get on with draft two.

When I was at Eastercon, I had a conversation with David, my editor at Guardbridge books, about book submissions and the process from his perspective. I did a video interview on the subject for my YouTube channel, but there are a few points of advice I thought it was worth highlighting here.

  1. Send Your Book to the Right Publisher

Guardbridge Books publish science fiction and fantasy, usually books that have something a little bit weird or different about them. Yet, I was told that they receive quite a lot of submissions from authors of Christian fiction. I once attended a talk by another editor who talked about how the publisher she worked for, which produced educational books and text books, received loads of fiction submissions despite the fact that their website and information clearly stated they didn’t publish fiction.

If you submit a book to a publisher that doesn’t publish your type of book, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. These days, a lot of publishers accept electronic submissions, but you might also be wasting paper, printer ink, and postage if you submit your manuscript physically. When you’re sending your book out to publishers, do a little bit of research to find out what publishers are likely to be interested. Check who publishes books that are similar in style to the one you’ve written. Don’t waste time sending your book out to publishers that will never in a million years publish it.

  1. Read the Instructions

Pretty much all publishers have submissions guidelines on their website. These include information on how to approach them (inquiry email, sample chapters, full manuscript) as well as information on the formatting they’re looking for. Most publishers like double-spaced, left-justified, 12 point font, and things like that, but once in a while, you’ll come across a publisher that has a particular format they want to see. You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t follow their guidelines.

There are similar variations when it comes to synopses. Some publishers want a 1 page synopsis, some a 2 page, or 2-3 page. Some will ask for 1000 words or 500 words. And so on. When I was sending my first novel out on submission, it felt like every publisher had their own rules for how long the synopsis should be.

You want to follow the guidelines of the publisher you’re submitting to. After all, if you can’t read their instructions, why should they trust you to write?

  1. Proof-read your submission

This was one that David didn’t mention in the video, but he did mention to me afterwards. The submission doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, especially since editing and proof-reading is part of the publishing process, but one thing an editor is going to do when looking at a submission is think, “How much effort is this going to take to get ready for publication?” A first page that has two or three typos in it is probably fine. A first page with two hundred is another matter entirely.

If the editor looks at your story and it seems like you don’t understand how to punctuate speech or spell common words, they’re likely to think that your book will take significant effort. If your book is absolutely mind-blowing in other ways, you might get away with it, but you are definitely stacking the odds against you. Publishers put a lot of time and effort into getting a book ready to be released into the world, and the more you can do to convince them it won’t be a trial, the more likely they are to be interested in your book.

Check out the video for the other suggestions and comments David had about the submissions process from an editor’s perspective, and good luck with your publication efforts.

Eastercon recap

Eastercon was a lot of fun as usual. It felt like the schedule was less busy than in previous years, but I still got to go to some interesting panels and talks. One of the highlights was the panel on black holes which was a last-minute addition to the program thanks to the recent announcement of the black hole images. This panel also talked about some general principles of astrophysics and the problems of “science by press release.” It’s also the only time I’ve heard an audience so enthusiastic about the subject of tensor calculus. Other highlights of the schedule included a talk on the way science is portrayed in movies (unfortunately there were technical difficulties so that session started late and ended up feeling a bit rushed), planning for the apocalypse (though I’m surprised it took half an hour for one of the panelists to suggest eating or executing by guillotine one of the other panelists), and the panel on administering fantasy worlds (which gave me a nice list of book recommendations to look into).

I was involved in a few items on the schedule. The first was an author reading on the Friday evening, which was a bit quiet. Most of the audience were friends of the other authors there as moral support, but one of the other people in the audience is apparently in charge of ordering stock at a Waterstones, and she was asking me questions about the availability of my books afterward, so I’m counting that as a win.

I was on a panel about anime recommendations which was the one I was a little worried about, because while I watch anime I’m by no means an expert on it. Still, I was able to make some suggestions based on my personal favourites and one of them got a whoop from someone in the audience, so presumably my suggestions had merit.

The one I was really looking forward to though was the panel on queer baiting in mass market films. This was with a couple of people who I’d done queer representation panels with before, so I knew we could have some good discussions, and we all got to vent over the examples we found most frustrating. We also got into discussions about queer-coding vs queer-baiting, whether TV is doing better than film in terms of representation, and what things looked like in different parts of the world. All in all, it was a very fun conversation and a few people came up to me afterwards to say it was a good panel or mentioned it on Twitter. There’s got to be something good about any panel that ends in a call for revolution (though frankly I’m surprised D lasted until the last 30 seconds for that (they said afterwards that they’d thought they might make it through one convention without publicly calling for revolution, but they couldn’t help themselves)).

Guardbridge Books, who are the publisher behind Wolf Unleashed, had a table there, so I got to have a nice catch up with my editor. I did a one hour book signing at their table, which turned into a long conversation about our favourite books and tropes we find frustrating with someone who bought a book and the bookseller who was manning another dealers’ table across from us. That was fun too.

I also recorded a couple of interview videos for my YouTube channel, so look out for those coming soon. One of them was about the submissions process from an editor’s perspective, which I’m hoping will be useful for new authors looking to send out their first books.

One of the really nice things about doing these conventions is seeing people I haven’t seen for ages. It was nice to catch up with D, who was one of the people on the queer-baiting panel, and I met up with Francesca and Robert from Luna Press who I’ve met at these events before and tend to only see once a year, and I had some nice chats with the couple from Books on the Hill.

I also managed to continue my tradition of being randomly given a bracelet. In the opening ceremony, someone came to sit next to me on the grounds that I looked familiar so we’d probably met at a convention before. We talked for a bit and I admired her bracelets, at which point she promptly took one off and gave it to me as a gift. This is the second Eastercon in a row where a near stranger has given me a bracelet. It’s a trend I’m happy to continue if anyone wants to give me one next year.

Author Interview: Julian Adorney

The Dragon's Curse coverPlease start by telling us a little bit about yourself. 

I’m a writer and an adventurer, and for me those have always gone hand-in-hand. I’ve driven to meet strangers at 11pm at night. I’ve slow-danced to a Matchbox 20 song at 2am in an airport. I write stories that let me adventure in other worlds. I’m also a hopeless romantic—and of course, falling in love is an adventure unlike any other.

Now tell us a little about your book. 

The Dragon’s Curse is a fantasy romance novel, and it was an absolute blast to write. Here’s the short teaser:

Princess Esmerelda, hunted by an obsessed king, struggles to survive and find love in a world where the Gods themselves want her dead.

You’ve written some other stories. Can you tell us a little about them? 

I’ve written some weird stories, but the common thread binding them together is romance. I wrote a prequel to The Dragon’s Curse that helped me chart a path through a painful breakup. I’ve published a comedy zombie romance, and a story about a gay ninja who falls in love. I also wrote a comedy porn story for a class assignment, though for my parents’ sakes that one remains unpublished

Do you have a favourite character in your stories? 

Out of all the stories I’ve published, Esmerelda is my favorite. Her integrity, her kindness, her brilliant political mind, her sense of adventure; all captivated me. I was completely in love with her while I was writing her

How about a favorite moment? 

One of the big themes of The Dragon’s Curse is adventure: life off the beaten path is amazing, even when it’s dangerous. Because even when you’re in danger, you’re fully alive.

Parius (the hero) embodies this, and he thinks the following quote I’ve always loved.

“After their exploits in Farnust, he had made an enemy of a powerful king. He and Esmerelda needed allies in case Bason besieged Larus, and the odds were desperate. If the last few months were any indication, he had at most a couple of days before a monster or a sorcerer tried to put his head on the chopping block, and nothing but his wits to keep him alive.

“And on top of that, a beautiful princess sighed against him. Yes, life was good.”

Are there any authors you particularly admire? 

A lot of them! Holly Lisle, for writing amazing books under brutal conditions. J.K. Rowling, for creating a world that captivated me since I was 8 years old. Sarah Maas and Brandon Sanderson, for being true masters of their craft. John Milton, for writing Paradise Lost while he was going blind. Kelly Moran, for writing romances that leave me crying (happy tears). The list goes on….

If you could sit down for a chat with any author, living or dead, who would it be? 

J.K. Rowling. Hogwarts has always absolutely enthralled me, and I would love to learn more about it.

Do you have a special place for writing? 

I love writing at Barnes & Noble.

What advice would you give someone who is just getting started writing novels? 

Two tips. First, read a lot. Read everything—good stories, bad stories, science fiction and romance and political thrillers.

Second, trust your Muse. Your Muse can pull rabbits out of its hat that will leave you amazed. If you need help getting in touch with your Muse, I highly recommend Holly Lisle’s course How to Think Sideways. I don’t get anything for recommending it, but it changed my life and made writing fiction 120% more enjoyable.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m pretty tight-lipped about current projects, because in first draft I’m still exploring the story so it’s hard to talk about. Talking about a first draft is like trying to describe a mountain when you’ve just started climbing it. I don’t honestly know enough about the story to describe it yet. As a favor for reading this far, though, I will drop one tidbit: it’s written in words

Eastercon Schedule

I will be at Eastercon from the 19th to 22nd of April and at the convention, I will be involved in a few different items.

Firstly, I will be doing an author reading on Friday evening at 5:45. I will be doing readings from Wolf Unleashed and Shadows of Tomorrow, maybe more if I have time. It will be a shared session with other authors David Allen and Ian Creasey.

On Saturday, I will be doing a book signing for Wolf Unleashed at the Guardbridge Books table in the dealers’ room. This will be at 1pm on the Saturday until 2pm.

On Sunday, I am in two panels. One is at 10:15 in Discovery 1 and is on the subject: Beyond Studio Ghibli. We will be talking about our favourite animes, making recommendations, and offering ideas for where to find new anime to watch. Nothing remotely to do with my books, but it should be a really interesting one.

The second Sunday panel is at 5:45 in Bleriot. It’s on queerbaiting in mass market genre films, and I’m really looking forward to this panel. I’ve done LGBTQ+ representation panels with one of the other panelists before and we can usually have some good discussions. I think this is going to be a really interesting subject to go into. I’m expecting this to be a lot of fun.

Bath Comic Con

Piles of books in preparation for conventionI spent most of yesterday at Bath Comic Con, which was a relatively small, one-day con. It wasn’t a great day for sales. It seemed like a lot of other people in the dealers room were struggling, and I wasn’t helped by being tucked into an awkward spot in the corner. Still, despite the challenges, I met some nice people and sold a few books.

I talked to another author who had a few books for sale, including one about a private detective fighting the mummy on the Titanic, which sounds like a lot of fun. I may have to give that one a try sometime. A table set up with books and items to sell

I also talked to a woman who works in a library in Bristol about the possibility of stocking some of my books, and a couple of creative writing students who were interested in the process of getting published.

A Monster’s Kindness

I have been working on edits for A Monster’s Kindness this weekend and it feels like I’ve crossed a boundary point. I moved a scene from a little way past the mid-point of the book to a point about eight chapters earlier, which necessitated a significant rewrite of that scene. I’ve now reached the point I stole that scene from so I’ve had to do another significant rewrite to fill the hole. This is probably the largest point of rewriting in the book. Most of the rest of the edits are fixing the odd sentence here and there, putting in a few more details, or adding a few paragraphs occasionally where tension needs to be increased.

So having just completed this rewrite of a whole scene, it feels like I’ve crossed over some threshold and what’s coming from this point on are the quick changes, the short fixes. It’s starting to feel like the home stretch.

That’s a nice feeling. I’m seeing the story come together and I’m looking forward to sharing it with the world.