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omega rising coverUntil the end of October, I am offering a chance to get hold of a free copy of Omega Rising, the first book in my Codename Omega series. 100 copies of the ebook are available – but it’s first come, first served so sign up quickly.

Simply follow this link and enter your name and email address to be sent your free copy. You can also choose to sign up to my mailing list to receive publication news about future books.


Jenny Harding has no money, no qualifications and no career history. A job working security for a big tech firm seems too good to be true. Maybe it is.

She is tasked with hunting down a group of thieves who have been stealing sensitive technology. Caught up in a battle involving alien forces, Jenny has some important questions to answer:
Who are the thieves?
What’s their real purpose?
And is she on the right side?


Omega Rising is available to buy on Amazon (UK link, US link). The Codename Omega series is continued in Traitor in the Tower (UK link, US link) and Hidden in the Signal (UK link, US link).

Cover Art Reveal: Hidden in the Signal

Hidden in the Signal cover

Those who oppose Grey’s Tower tend to end up missing or dead. Jenny’s friend Matt vanished while trying to uncover the Tower’s secrets. Jenny has promised to discover what happened to him, and she must keep those she loves from facing the same fate.

Meanwhile there is another threat looming. An alien spaceship is heading for Earth. Jenny and her allies must find a way to stop it but there may be another danger nearer to hand. Someone close to Jenny is keeping secrets – secrets that might hold the key to the spaceship’s mission, to Matt’s disappearance, and to what their enemies have planned.


Hidden in the Signal is the third book in the Codename Omega series, which follows the adventures of Jenny Harding, an ordinary girl who gets caught up in conspiracies and combat involving alien technology. The first two books Omega Rising and Traitor in the Tower are available now.

The evolution of a cover

Child of the Hive coverOne question I get asked whenever I give a talk about writing is how much control I have over the cover art so I figured I’d put my answer in full here. This is one of those things that varies considerably from publisher to publisher, and from book to book. I’ve spoken to authors who’ve had no say, or almost no say, in cover designs for some books. I’ve met authors who’ve hated the covers they were presented with. I’ve been lucky. For all of my books, I’ve been given a lot of input and I’ve been delighted with most of them.

I was astonished when Child of the Hive was published how much input I was given. The publisher sent me about a dozen different designs for the potential cover – and I hated them all. I don’t want to imply that they were bad designs, but they were bad for the book. The designer who’d created them hadn’t actually read the book, he’d just been given the text to go on the back cover and a couple of paragraphs of description. The end result was some designs that would have been great on someone else’s book (there was a creepy one with a child coming out of mist that would have been great for a ghost story) but that were completely wrong for mine. Shadows of Tomorrow draft cover

We had a few emails back and forth and then I was put on a phone call with the designer and I talked about what I liked and didn’t like about the different designs, what the disconnects with the book were, and so on. He went off and came back with a different design, which I liked a lot more. I asked for a couple of minor tweaks and then was given a cover design I was thrilled with.

When Shadows of Tomorrow was published, the publisher gave me a form to fill out with my ideas for the cover. I suggested a figure silhouetted against a portal holding a sword. They sent me a couple of drafts and, once again, I wasn’t happy with either of them. The covers showed what looked like someone standing at the edge of the sea, which didn’t fit at all, but I did like the font on one of them. The designer went away and came back with the final cover. Shadows of Tomorrow cover

When Shadows of Tomorrow came out, I really liked the cover. In person, it’s really dramatic. I’ve come to the conclusion though that it doesn’t work as well as a thumbnail on Amazon. It doesn’t look as interesting as other covers. So when it came to Between Yesterdays, I wanted to go with the same general idea but with more happening visually. The design they sent me was pretty good, but I wasn’t sure about the image they’d chosen for Abby. For one thing, in the book, Abby has quite dark colouring, which isn’t obvious in this image. For another, this young woman looks dressed for a party rather than a battle.

I went back to the publisher and asked for a different Abby for the cover, and was thrilled with the final cover design they offered me. Between Yesterdays cover draft

The same sort of thing happened with the Codename Omega books. I gave ideas, they sent designs, I asked for changes. The Codename Omega books are self-published so I was given a lot of say in the design because I was effectively hiring the designers to work to my specifications. I wasn’t surprised that I was the one calling the shots with those covers, but I was surprised how much control I had with the others, especially having heard stories from some other authors about how little say they were given. I guess I’ve been lucky so far when it comes to covers.

 

Cover Cross Stitch

Omega Rising cross stitch completeI’ve been continuing my efforts to turn my book covers into embroidery patterns and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get brighter cover art – I keep running out of black thread. I have now completed my Omega Rising cover and need to get it framed up to match the Between Yesterdays cross stitch I’ve already completed.

These take a long while to sew. My sister gave me the pattern for the Omega Rising cover as a Christmas present and I finished sewing it in August. I’ve started the Child of the Hive cover now. At this rate, I might just about finish it by my birthday next year.

With the release of the Mischief Corner Books quarterly and the upcoming third book in the Codename Omega series, I’m never going to finish with this project.

Cross stich covers

I’ve always enjoyed creating things and stories are not my only outlet. My main outlets, other than writing of course, are jewellery making and embroidery. A while ago, I came across Stitch-a-Photo from DMC. There are other programs out there for turning photos into cross stich charts, but Stitch-a-Photo was nice and simple. All I had to do was send them an image file and they would send me the patterns. I decided it would be fun to try turning my book covers into embroidery.

The first book I tackled was Between Yesterdays. This book had only recently come out when I embarked on my mission to turn it into embroidery so I started with it even though Shadows of Tomorrow is the first in that series. The process to sew the title took a while. Here’s a photo of the work in progress (albeit nearly completed):

cross stitch between yesterdays

And here’s the finished embroidery:

Between Yesterdays cover cross stitch

The second book cover I decide to tackle was Omega Rising, the first book in the Codename Omega series. I think it says a lot about the speed of progress if I say that my sister gave me the pattern for this one as a Christmas present. Here’s my progress so far:

Omega Rising cross stitch 1Omega Rising cross stitch 2  Omega Rising cross stitch 3

When I (finally) finish this, I’ll have to decide which book to transform next. It will probably be either Child of the Hive or Traitor in the Tower, which is the second book in the Codename Omega series. Any thoughts?

child of the hive cover Traitor in the Tower front cover

Codename Omega background snippets

omega rising coverThe first-person narrative style of the Codename Omega books, Omega Rising and Traitor in the Tower, is fun and an interesting way to tell the story, but it does mean that everything is from Jenny’s perspective. There are ideas I have for the other characters that are almost certainly not going to make it into the books because there’s no reason for Jenny to know and most of these things aren’t going to have any noticeable impact on the plot. I thought it might be fun to share some of these little bits of character background, so here is a list of background details. Most of these are never going to be mentioned in the books but one of them is surprisingly important. I’m not, however, going to tell you which of these things is the important one.

  • Thomas started playing D&D because he misunderstood what Matt meant when he said he liked roleplaying. Thomas has a reputation to maintain, and explains these evenings as a “discussion group on combat theory”.
  • Navy picked his codename as a tribute to Captain Scarlet, but he lets the rest of the team assume he’s named for the military force.
  • Bats and Navy still argue about the fact that Navy vetoed Batman as a codename.
  • Nuke’s codename was originally meant to be Nucleus, but Navy called him Nuke in combat because it was quicker to say, and the shorter name stuck. Traitor in the Tower front cover
  • When he was in his first year at uni, Navy successfully cooked Christmas dinner for twenty people using only two Baby Billing ovens, a microwave, and a kettle. He’s more proud of this accomplishment than he is of successfully teleporting a person to a moving spacecraft.
  • On the first Mother’s Day after they became a couple, Thomas sent Matt’s mum flowers and a card. Matt forget it was Mother’s Day.
  • Nuke doesn’t have a bed.
  • Princess chose her codename years before she met Nuke.
  • Blaze used to be in the army.
  • When Navy first found out about Nuke, Nuke didn’t want anything to do with him. Navy just kept bringing him food until Nuke accepted that he now had a partner whether he wanted one or not.