Friday, January 27, 2023

Lockdown Tales II and War Bodies

Things have been getting busy on the writing/publication front. Last year, upon finishing up with War Bodies I was a bit undecided about where to go next. I put together a few collections, one being Lockdown Tales II which has now been published by Ian Whates over at Newcon Press. Here’s the cover of that along with links above to Amazon and the new page I’ve just made on my website.

Meanwhile, Macmillan has released the cover for War Bodies. I love this piece from Steve Stone. Oddly, the intended aim was for a different ‘war body’, but smacked right on target with this one. Readers familiar with my stuff will need no explanations.

While selecting the novellas and short stories I included in Lockdown Tales II I also rejected a few. One of these was a novella concerning parallel worlds – one of which is the Committee Earth of the Owner books (The Departure, Zero Point & Jupiter War). ‘Fly Pills’ (working title) was another of those that started with a weird dream and though I enjoyed where I went with it, it just did not feel right nor did it tie up neatly. I started playing with it, steadily expanding it, and realized a number of things. Firstly it did not have a suitable antagonist. The antagonist of the novella was essentially a dystopian earth the characters were escaping from. Secondly it was something I needed to explore on a larger scale. I have since finished the first draft of that exploration with a book of 195,000 words, which is 25,000 larger than my largest The Line of Polity.

Now, while editing backwards through that book I’m thinking about what next. It could be I’ll do some more stand alones or it could be that I’ll launch into a new trilogy. Damned if I know at the moment.  

New Covers for Mindgames: Fool's Mate and Runcible Tales

Judging by some of his posts on social media Vincent Sammy has been busy producing artwork for publications for Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, but now he’s got round to doing some more for me. I’ve been in no hurry with all this and suggested he get on with them time permitting. 

When I’d just about reached the stage where story rejections were not so common for me, I threw together a selection of foundational Polity stories. Runcible Tales was taken by the small press publisher of ‘chapbooks’ Piper’s Ash just before I got taken on by Macmillan. The guy continued selling these for some years afterwards until closing down his press with the stories reverting to me. Now the collection is up on Amazon Kindle and POD but was sorely in need of the new cover you see here.

Mindgames: Fool’s Mate was my first book for which I actually got paid a decent amount: £1,000. I dislike the title the publisher foisted on me but am not sure it’s worse than the original To Die but Once. MFM always seems to me to be statement to which the reply should be, ‘Yes, they do indeed.’ This was another one in need of a new cover which Mr Sammy has provided.