I haven’t posted many actual updates since the first book in my series came out. Rest assured, I’m already in the swing of the next two books in the series.
Book 2 – Stealing From Thieves: I got feedback from beta readers which was mostly positive, but did point out some things to correct, which I have done. The book is almost ready to begin the editing phase. I did plan to have this book finished by the end of 2020, but the feedback took longer than I anticipated. Now I’m planning to have it published by Midsummer this year, and hopefully to have the paperback ready to publish at the same time as the e-book.
Book 3 – Outcast’s Alliance: I’m looking over the first draft which I wrote at the end of last year. I expected it to be full of plot holes and errors, which it is, but not nearly as many as I feared. Dare I say it, it’s actually pretty good. Or at least it will be once it’s edited. Once I’ve finished making notes, I’ll be starting the second draft. I plan to have this book finished and ready to publish by the end of 2021.
Other books: I just can’t help myself. Even with these other two books to write and one to promote, I’m still developing ideas for future books in the series, and other series. I just don’t know which one I will work on immedietly after I’ve finished this current trilogy. I’ll probably leave it up to whatever the readers want the most. I’m already planning two one-off sequels to the first Tales From Undersea trilogy focusing on some of the secondary characters who have already proved popular with readers (and with me!). I’m also planning a dieselpunk trilogy set in the same world but moved ahead to the 1920s and set in an underwater version of New York City. A non-related series I’m also developing ideas for is a series based upon the Jules Verne books (can you tell yet that I like Jules Verne?). But that is still in the very early stages of development, so I can’t say anything else about the plot or characters.
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I hope that everybody had a fun and safe Christmas and New Year and that you’re now getting back into the swing of work. Or maybe you’re still working through those Christmas sweets!
Traitor’s Revenge, the first Tale From Undersea, is now out in both ebook and paperback format from Amazon. Formatting and putting together the physical book myself was a real headache, so I’m especially proud now that it’s done. I know that the international mail service still has a lot of restrictions and delays (I still haven’t received all of my Christmas presents!) so I hope they will be resolved soon. I will also be doing a ‘wide’ release on other websites soon.
I’m also hard at work on the next few books in the series. I even started working on an additional novella during my Christmas break, when I was supposed to be resting!
Here’s hoping that 2021 will be kinder to all of us!
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After three years of work, my debut novel and first book in the Tales From Undersea, Traitor’s Revenge, is out now on Amazon!
I know I said it in the book’s acknowledgements, but thanks again to everyone who helped with the book and supported me over the years. I hope to put out many more books in this series!
I’ll be launching the paperback at a later date, as well as publishing the book on other platforms.
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“I won’t mind getting away from those sailor superstitions. I’ll be glad when we can retire and I can finally get my own place on dry land. Free of otters,” Rico said.
“He’s just a baby, he can’t help it,” Shiro retorted, cradling Kappa.
“I can’t sleep at night from that thing screeching.”
“You’re never on time for your shift, anyway.”
“The only cries I should be hearing at night are from whoever I’m-”
“Not in front of the baby!” Shiro yelped, covering Kappa’s ears.
Rico forced his hands away, leant closer to the snuffling otter, and loudly said, “I was just saying to your master that I want to hear-”
“If you traumatise my baby again, I won’t bother patching the cracks above your bed the next time there’s a leak,” Shiro said, pulling Kappa away.
“Just another reason why I need my own place,” Rico said, retreating to the corner to polish his pistol. “I’ve never had a house of my own before,” he added with a dreamy glint in his eye.
“Me neither. It will make a nice change,” Shiro said, staring wistfully at nothing in particular as Kappa chewed on his sleeve.
“You two won’t miss our adventures?” Marina asked, finally putting her book down. It was impossible to concentrate on reading with those two quarrelling, anyway.
“Maybe a little,” Rico said, pausing his polishing for a second to stare at the wall. “We have had some good times on this old clunker.” He knocked the metallic wall, listening to it echo and ripple throughout the entire room.
“Like the time we ran into that dragonturtle,” Thandi said with a grin.
“Or when we found that floating island full of hidden rum barrels,” Warwick added.
“Or the time I fought a narwhal with my bare hands!” Vernon said.
“That never happened!” Julius laughed.
“It did too. I’m putting it in my book,” Vernon said, tapping his quill against the pages of his manuscript.
“But…but retirement will be good too,” Rico said, polishing his gun harder.
“Yes, it will be nice to focus on writing,” Vernon added as he fiddled with his quill.
“Good for you,” Marina grumbled. “I’m only sixteen and my mum is already making me retire.”
“What’s so bad about that? I wish I could have retired when I was sixteen,” Warwick guffawed. “Could’ve saved myself a lot of bother.”
“She’s only doing it because she loves you, Marina. You know that. She wants you to have a better life than all of us have had,” Kei said.
“I’m happy with my life already. What are you going to do with your share, anyway?” Marina asked, looking straight at Kei.
“Well, I won’t have to put up with you lot anymore, for one thing,” Kei said, returning her a tight-lipped smile.
“As if you could go without us for more than two seconds.”
A metallic ringing brought their talk to an abrupt halt and made each of them freeze. The alarm. An approaching enemy. Their card games and books were quickly abandoned as each of them hurried out the door, scattering to their stations.
Coming to Amazon December 6th!
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I’m very excited to reveal the cover of my debut novel, from the wonderful people at Purple Dragon Design.
Here it is:
Traitor’s Revenge is the first in the Undersea series, a YA steampunk/flintlock fantasy series with submarines, pirates, vikings, and mythological sea monsters. You can read the first three chapters here.
This debut book is the result of over ten years developing my writing skills and three years writing the first book. It’s my first step to becoming not just a hobbyist writer but a professional author.
The Amazon e-book release will be in early December, and the paperback and wide (non-Amazon) releases will be coming after that. I’ll be posting all updates on this blog, as well a regular excerpts of the next two books.
Newbie dragon hunter or ‘draker’ Takita has recently joined the crew of the airship Queen Zaza to work of her debt. But with the price of dragon oil dropping and drakers being treated with increased suspicion, the ship’s crew are barely skimming above the poverty line. Yet to Takita, it is worth it for a life of adventure, new-found friendship, and delicious dragon meat.
What drew me initially to this series was how similar it is to a steampunk series I’m currently writing, so I thought it would be useful research (that’s a good way of justifying procrastination). Yet even if I wasn’t writing steampunk, I would have been drawn to this series anyway by the gorgeous animation, exciting adventure, and the robust cast of amusing characters.
These characters are one of the main draws of the series, being well-rounded and highly likeable. It is almost a shame that the series only lasts for 12 episodes, meaning there isn’t enough time to flesh out all of them. I can only hope that a second season will give some of them more focus.
Food and cooking are a common theme throughout the series, and it is heartwarming to see how cooking up the dragon meat brings the cast together. Even as a vegetarian, a small part of me wants to try the dragon meat!
As a rookie, Takita helps to ease the audience into the world of draking. It also helps that there are several one-off episodes to ease the viewer in before the series gets to the darker and more dramatic multi-episode story arcs.
The stylish animation looks as if it came straight out of Studio Ghibli. The dragons each have unique designs and terrifying powers which sets them apart from the standard fantasy fare.
Although it is established that the dragons are a threat to humans in this world, the fact that they are hunted, butchered, and used as a commodity will put a bad taste in the mouths of some viewers. The parallels to real life whaling only make it more awkward. Yet even this establishes an interesting moral dynamic, as it is made abundantly clear how much the Queen Zaza is struggling for money and that the crew are only hunting dragons because it is their only means of survival in a harsh world which has all but rejected them.
For any viewers who can stomach it, Drifting Dragons is a great show for any fans of steampunk adventure or exciting fantasy.
My verdict – 5 out of 5.
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“Move aside. I’ll take her,” a new Viking joined the fight, the others parting to let him pass. Judging by his age, the quality of the axe in his hand, and the commanding tone of his voice, Alethea guessed that this was the Viking Chieftain.
A roar from Iku-turso interrupted their fight. Each of them instinctively covered their ears, forgetting that they were all wearing diving helmets.
“Chief,” one of the Vikings said over the sound. He was a tall Polynesian man with ink black skin and long hair which flowed in the water. His Viking attire was decorated with patterns and symbols of the Polynesian islands and a shark toothed club hung from his holster. The man looked as if he could punch through walls and kill an elephant with a single fist.
“Not now, Inoki,” the Chieftain said, not looking at him as he swam closer to Alethea, who gripped her own sword tighter. She considered how quickly she could draw her gun from her holster and fire, or how quickly she could draw Robert’s gun from its hidden pouch if she needed to.
“Chief, it’s about to rip the Fenrir apart. We need to leave now,” Inoki said, placing a large hand on the Chief’s shoulder.
Alethea risked a glance to see that the creature, blood pouring from its cut tentacle, close to tearing off the Fenrir’s hull. Glances between the Vikings told them that they would have to leave, without the stone.
“Damn you pirate arseholes. Think you rule the entire ocean,” one of the more particularly violent Vikings said, throwing his axe to the ground in frustration. It took him a moment to remember that he was underwater and desperately grabbed it again before it floated to the surface.
The Chieftain said nothing. He kicked himself off his crewmate to cross the distance to Alethea. She barely raised her sword in time to clash against his axe.
“I hope you don’t think Redscalp’s treasure is yours to take, Barracuda,” he growled.
There was something in his voice which shook Alethea. Something which bothered her even more than the axe in his hand or the monster roaring close by.
“Who are you?” she asked without knowing why.
With a motion so swift it made her gasp, he grabbed her arm and pulled her closer. She could see his face clearly through his helmet. She could see his greying red hair streaked across his forehead and his dark brown eyes, looking straight into hers as if he were inspecting her. Even in the cold Nordic sea, her blood seemed to boil.
“I already told you, I’m Petturi Konna. And I am the rightful heir to Redscalp’s treasure. It’s what I’m owed.”
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If you could name one thing in common with all your favourite books, it would probably be that they all have an excellent premise. Perhaps it is a new twist on an old genre, a unique location, or a fascinating character. It is the thing which made you choose the book over thousands of others on the shelves.
But like me, you might have frequently found yourself drawn into a book by its excellent premise only to find that the content of the book is severely lacking, or not what you were expecting. These are some of the books I have read which I had high hopes for but which I felt weren’t carried out well (this is all opinion based so don’t get your panties in a bunch if I slag off a book that you like):
Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher
The premise: A teenage boy travels to a remote English villa to find out what happened to his missing father, and uncovers mysterious secrets.
The execution: Mystery, time travel, steampunkish tech, faeries, and some other stuff I just didn’t get all jammed together into one book. This book had a strong opening, but then threw so much stuff at me all at once that I barely had time to take it all in or keep track of what was going on.
The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien
The premise: A story about Elizabeth of Lancaster, sister of King Henry IV and a little-known figure of history.
The execution: Medieval soap-opera melodrama and problems which were either solved way too quickly or just seemed to solve themselves eventually anyway.
Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks
The premise: A highly different fantasy which is set not in another world or the distant past, but in the post-apocalyptic far future.
The execution: Just another bog-standard sword-and-sorcery fantasy. There are so many things that could have been done with this premise- Magic duels in the ruins of skyscrapers, contemporary stories becoming folklore, everyday modern objects viewed as sacred artefacts. If you want this same premise done much better, read the Mortal Engines series instead.
The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable
The premise: A teenage orphan and her friends get the chance to travel to a remote palace in Russia and uncover hidden family secrets.
The execution: Cliched characters, a protagonist who is barely active in her own story, and huge, completely noticeable plot holes.
Dragon’s Child by M.K. Hume
The premise: An origin story for King Arthur, focusing heavily on the Roman Britain setting.
The execution: Murder, rape, torture, paedophilia, slavery, and just plain uncomfortable reading.
What are some books which you thought were going to be great but severely let you down? Tell me in the comments below.