Writer’s Retreat

I am spending the next five days at a writer’s retreat and I plan to get a lot of words done. I’m not restricting myself to a single project or setting myself a specific word count target but I do have a few goals of things I want to achieve in the upcoming week.

Polish the short story Circle of Memories and submit it somewhere.

Write something of Ridiculously Long and Complicated Urban Fantasy Thing. This story has been stalled far too long and I really want to get back into it so I’m going to read back over some of the previous writing to try and get things moving again. Even a few hundred words will be something.

Write the next chapter of The Third Way. This is a WIP on AO3 that’s been hiatus for far too long and people keep asking if it’s abandoned. I want to make it somewhat less dead.

Write a significant portion of the second draft of the fourth Codename Omega book. I finished the first draft ages ago, so now it’s time to go back through it and see if I can do anything about that slow chunk in the middle where I had no idea how I was going to get my character out of the trouble I’d got him into and it starts to drag. I also need to work in the dramatic backstory reveal I discovered during a random bit of writing after I’d finished the first draft. I don’t expect to finish the second draft in a week, but I can make good headway into it.

See if the as yet unnamed potential sequel to Wolf Unleashed can be made to go anywhere.

If I have time, write a few hundred words on one of the many other half-written beginnings of stories I have floating around.

The Codename Omega book is probably the most critical of these, but we’ll see how it goes. I will be posting word count and other progress updates as I go along. Wish me luck.

A Monster’s Kindness

A Monster's Kindness cover art

Long ago, the village of Shrind sacrificed people to the monsters in the forest. Now the howling has started again, and a village elder has chosen Parton to be the next sacrifice.

Left to die for having shared a kiss with the elder’s son, Parton receives more compassion from the supposed monster than from those who had been his friends and neighbours. In the heart of the woods, learning to accept himself may be a harder lesson than learning to accept the monster.

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A Monster’s Kindness

A Monster's Kindness cover art

Long ago, the village of Shrind sacrificed people to the monsters in the forest. Now the howling has started again, and a village elder has chosen Parton to be the next sacrifice.

Left to die for having shared a kiss with the elder’s son, Parton receives more compassion from the supposed monster than from those who had been his friends and neighbours. In the heart of the woods, learning to accept himself may be a harder lesson than learning to accept the monster.


A Monster’s Kindness is now available for pre-order. UK link, US link. The book is officially released on 19th Oct.

For some reason the cover art isn’t showing up yet on the Amazon page.

A Monster’s Kindness

Several months ago, I was really excited when my novella, A Monster’s Kindness, was accepted by Less Than Three Press. It was due to come out in a couple of months.

This week, the publisher announced that they are shutting down operations. I think this is really sad for many reasons. A large number of the book recommendations on the Queer Reading List were published by this company, so this is a loss for the fans of queer sci-fi and fantasy in general, but it’s upsetting personally to me because of my book.

Thankfully the edits have been done on the text of A Monster’s Kindness, and I received a sketch from the cover artist who was hired. The folks at LT3 have said that they will pay editors and artists to finish projects that have been assigned, so it looks like I will get a cover design alongside the edited manuscript. Given that all this hard work has been done to get the book ready for publication, I will probably self-publish A Monster’s Kindness. It was always going to be ebook only because of its length, so I can take that final step of publication myself.

I think it’s a huge shame about Less Than Three Press. Most of the books in their online marketplace will only be available until the end of the month. If there was anything of theirs that you were considering buying, I guess now is the time to do so. While you still can.

Watch this space for news of A Monster’s Kindness.

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.

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.

Book Progress

I just wanted to give you a quick update of where I am with my writing right now. What feels like quite a while ago now, a novella of mine called A Monster’s Kindness was accepted by Less Than Three Press. I’ve just had edits back from them, so I will be spending a lot of time in the near future going through those.

I don’t have a timeline for the publication of A Monster’s Kindness. It will depend on many things, including how long I take to go through the edits and whether another round is required after this, but this book should definitely be published sometime this year. I will keep you posted as it gets nearer to the time.

The third book of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy is finished. I’m just putting the final touches on that one before I send it to the publishers. I’m sending it to the same publisher that published the first two books in the trilogy, so I’m hopeful that it will get accepted quickly, but there’s no way to know for sure. Like any submission, I have to keep my fingers crossed. Again, I will keep you posted as I learn more.

I said in last week’s post that I’ve finished the first draft of the next Codename Omega book. I’m letting that one sit for a while. It’s actually good timing getting the edits back because it means I can focus on Monster for a bit to get some distance on Omega before going back and doing the second draft of that.

There’s something really nice about having all these projects in there different stages and seeing the progress moving towards all these new books.

Codename Omega Update

This week, I finished the first draft for the next book in the Codename Omega series. The working title of this book is Codename Blank Slate, but that may well change before it comes to publication. The story carries on from the events of Omega Rising, Traitor in the Tower, and Hidden in the Signal. It actually starts shortly before the end of Hidden in the Signal and we get to see some of the events of that book from a different perspective.

That’s actually the big difference between this book and the others in the series. The previous three books have all been from Jenny’s point of view, but in this story I switch and we get another character as the protagonist, telling the story of Jenny’s war from a different angle. I don’t want to give too much away, especially in case anyone hasn’t read the earlier books in the series, but it’s been a really fun perspective to write and we get to find out a lot more about some of the characters who have been a mystery in the earlier books. I’ve really enjoyed writing this book and I hope that comes across on the page.

I think it’s a really good sign when I finished this draft already knowing how the next book would begin.

There’s still a lot of work to do – I really need to tidy up some scenes in the middle – so it will be a while before this book becomes available, but I’m still really excited and I thought it would be good to share my progress with you.

Watch this space.