Slow news day

It’s been a month since my last post, mostly because a weekly statement of “I wrote some words and read some books” doesn’t quite provide the word count to warrant a blog post. There have been other things happening, mostly those annoyances that come with everyday life (like the central heating boiler breaking down, the car leaking coolant and a radiator in the house springing a leak), but nothing of real consequence.


The Vasini Chronicles II is coming to the end of its first draft. Hopefully it will be wrapped up by the end of March (and won’t spill into April). It will then be told to sit in a corner and behave for a little while before I start the year-or-so’s work of editing it. It’s already way longer than I expected, although it will get shorter as I clear out all the bits that don’t need to be in it. I won’t reveal anything about the set up or what happens just yet. There’s plenty of time to do that.

A Divided River, the first of the Tales from Vasini (the companion series to The Vasini Chronicles) is coming together. It’ll contain two stories (a short story and a novella) and is on track to be out over the summer.

I was putting a draft of A Divided River into a storage box yesterday when I came across an early draft of The Silver Mask that my wife had marked up with some comments. When she reads a draft, along with her thoughts and corrections, she usually adds some doodles as a reaction to what’s happening in the story. At the end of the Chapter 12 of The Silver Mask, I received this:


It’s the first and, as far as I’m aware, only drawing of a cankera.

The length of string

I have noticed a little trend when talking to people about The Vasini Chronicles – there seems to be an assumption that it will be a trilogy.

It’s understandable, in someways. People tend to like things that come in threes, it seems to fit an assumed natural order to the world. And given all the trilogies out there, it does seem like we’ve become programmed to think of ongoing stories in terms of three installments (although this ignores how many novel and film series don’t follow that format).

So how long will The Vasini Chronicles be?

As long as it needs to be to tell the story, which looks likely to be six novels.

I say it “looks likely to be six novels” to give myself a little leeway should I get midway through and discover six novels is too few (or, possibly, too many).

Early on when I was developing the ideas for Vasini, I realised that there would be scope for more stories than just The Silver Mask. As I worked on The Silver Mask it became apparent that there was an end destination for the story of Doctors Fox and Reid, a natural outcome for what had developed out of those initial ideas and the events that started in the first novel. The question, though, was how many steps (novels) would it take to reach that natural outcome? I thought four, then five. After some actual planning, I realised it was more likely six. I doubt it will stretch to seven, unless there’s some factor I haven’t considered that will expand this particular story.

Alongside these six novels will sit what, for now, I’m going to term The Tales from Vasini, a companion series of short stories and novellas that will explore parts of Vasini outside of the story of Fox and Reid. The first should be out later this year.

So that’s the plan. Like a piece of string, it will be twice the distance from the middle to one end, but it won’t be a trilogy. It won’t necessarily appear quickly, but hopefully it will appear regularly.

Thank you

The New Podler Review of Books have announced their choice of the very best independently published books from amongst their 2016 reviews and, it appears, The Silver Mask is in their top three.

Feeling somewhat chuffed. Thanks guys.

And thanks to everyone else who has taken a chance on The Silver Mask (and The City Between the Books/The Bridge People).

Welcome to the city between the books…

Don’t forget to wrap up warm and remember your emergency spoon.

They’re here…The City Between the Books & The Bridge People – my two new short(ish) stories – are now available to buy as an eBook on Kindle and iBooks. (As always, for those outside of the UK, please try your local Amazon or iBooks store.)

In The City Between the Books, Lex’s time at university isn’t going well and, on a cold November morning, things get worse. Searching the stacks of the university library, Lex finds that the books can lead to strange places, places that are maybe better left unexplored, especially if she wants to finish her essay on time.

In The Bridge People, Hannah’s summer holiday has been spent exploring the woods and learning games from her grandparents. However, when her mother falls ill, Hannah goes on a quest for chicken soup in the hope that it will cure her. But, to get the soup, she’ll have to cross the bridge to the shop. And there are things beneath the bridge. Horrible things, worse than any of her fairytales, who scare even her mother.

For those who haven’t had a chance to read The Silver Mask, you’ll find an excerpt from the novel in the eBook as well.


Inside Vasini 3: The Government

Vasini is ruled by seven elected officials: a comte – the city’s leader – and six seigneurs who each have responsibility for a specific portfolio, such as sanitation and public waterways, referred to as a baronnie. This government is scrutinised by seven elected médiateurs.

The elections are hard fought between Vasini’s two political factions – the Kingfishers and the Scarlets – with each side trying to muster the support of the city’s elite. It’s not unheard of the elections to lead to violence between the two sides.

A letter to M. Renard final.png

Popping my cork


Back when I was working in community regeneration, I was given a bottle of champagne as a Christmas present by my line manager at the time. It was a generous gesture and gratefully received. However, I’m not a fan of champagne, so it ended up in a cupboard with the thought that I’d open it when I sold my first book.

It’s ended up living in four different cupboards in four different houses over the years. But, last night, it was finally drunk. Surprisingly, it hadn’t gone off.

I actually sold my first book a week ago now. I have no idea who bought it. It seems like it may have been someone living in Europe. But, whoever it was, thank you. I hope the gamble of trying a new author is paying off.

And thank you to everyone else who has taken that gamble over the past week. I hope you’re enjoying The Silver Mask.

Inside Vasini 2: The Founding Laws

Vasini existed for centuries prior to the fall of the deities. However, ‘modern’ Vasini is considered to have been founded 68 years after the Fall as a result of two key events: the beginning of the construction of a wall around both the city and the nearby farmland; and the signing of the Founding Laws by the leaders of the city at that time, most notably Thomas Everett.

The Founding Laws Page 1 Final.png

The Founding Laws Page 2 Final

Almost there

The Silver Mask proof copyI received the proof of The Silver Mask paperback today.

It’s an apt description ‘proof’.

For something that has been, until now, thoughts in my head and text on a screen (or, at most, a print out) – and, therefore, infinitely changeable, malleable – it is now a very real, solid thing. The proof copy is evidence that The Silver Mask actually exists in a permanent and real form now. And, oddly, I don’t seem to be too scared of that.

Let’s see what happens when it’s out in the world and other people can touch it though. Maybe the fear will kick in then.

Until then, I’m just going to enjoy the fact that, to quote the end of every X-Files episode, “I made this”.