Pressure

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One of the things common to us all is that at some point in our life we will have been under pressure or stress. Be it a moment that jumped up in front of us, say a bank robbery or seeing someone about to be hit by a car, or whether that it is the slow build up of a situation which requires us to endure some sort of pain to see it through, we have all had experience of these things.

When writing, especially action and adventure, or dark fantasy, there are situations where the characters are in wild moments I have never faced and one wonders how they would react. Personally, I have never looked a demon from the deep in the eye, swung from a hangman’s noose or faced strange creatures intent on taking my head off. And the only way I know to generate these feelings is to drift into the characters shoes, drawing on my own reactions to horrors I have had in my own life. Not that my life has been a rollercoaster of disaster, it’s been bloomin’ good to be honest. But we all have the well of dark moments to draw from.

Sometimes people say my books would look great in a movie, or that they could see it as a TV drama and I think I know why. When I write, I write describing the movie in my head. The creatures move for me, I hear the drop in the noose, I look into those demon eyes. And I then feel what comes. I don’t see words, I see pictures and then the job is to put that picture into words. The further distillation by the reader reversing the process hopefully brings the movie back to life.

It begs the question, are my characters real to me? Only in my head, only in the movie. And that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want a mad cap professor summoning up who knows what, an emotional father pulled from his family by every woman that walks past, or an ice cold winged femme fatale. Life is weird enough. And by putting these people under pressure the real emotions come out and hopefully the real life heroic decisions we make or fail to make, get brought to the surface.

If you haven’t got it already, you can purchase the first Austerley & Kirkgordon novel “Crescendo!” here. Read it quick as the follow up “The Darkness at Dillingham” is coming very, very soon!

Sarcastic Innocence – Here’s Nefol!

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One of the joys about writing fantasy, be it dark, urban or whatever, is that you can play around with the “norms” of society in one facet of a person while keeping their everyday traits. In my new novel, “The Darkness at Dillingham”, I introduce a new character Nefol. She’s the daughter of a priest, only twelve, and a sarcastic bane to Kirkgordon. But she’s also a stronger fighter than Kirkgordon and better versed in the weirdness of the A&K world than he’ll ever be.

This allows for the normal dynamic of senior and junior to be challenged and often overturned. And in that I believe lies an important point to the real world. Too often we quieten down those around us with less life experience or who are weaker in body or mind. And yet we get the most honest assessment from these people, too honest for us more often than not.

When taking Kirkgordon and pairing him with Austerley, the insane but highly driven seeker of the weird, Kirkgordon has a perfect forum to unload all he sees as wrong with getting your hands dirty in the occult world. But lest our hero becomes too high and mighty, here comes Nefol to show up his ineptitude and blast his fondness for all the wrong women! Ultimately the book highlights how paths to our redemption become blocked or at least sullied by others and that a little humility can help get us on the real path, the one so rarely seen from the mountian top!

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Coming soon from Carpetless Publishing “The Darkness at Dillingham” the second Austerley & Kirkgordon adventure. Not read the wild ride that is “Crescendo!”, the first A&K adventure then you can pick it up here.

Writing Update and a Sneak Peak at a new cover!

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So last time I was explaining that Book 2 of Austerley and Kirkgordon’s adventures, “The Darkness at Dillingham” was with the editor for a final pass and should be available pretty soon. But what else am I doing?

I have a mermaid fantasy based around a Scottish Island at second draft stage. The concept is that mermaids arrive on the shores of the island causing many different reactions ranging from hate to joy, wonder to disgust. A media circus ensues and the normal island life is upset as greed and then rumour cause many to fear the creatures. Meanwhile, a young islander finds and then protects one of the mermaids causing some comedy moments as he involves a woman of his dreams. All in all it’s a fun romp with some serious tones.

I have also embarked on another urban fantasy series but this time with a female protagonist. Scarlett is a bored call centre clerk who gets involved with a race to explain the signifigance of a prized glass which seems to be wanted by evil hands. It’s early days but it is fun to have to see everything from the other sex’s perspective.

Also in the mix is an allegorical piece set in a fantasy land, a world war one ghost story and the tale of a Singaporean bin inspector. Yes, I know, how rock and roll!

But back to Austerley and Kirkgordon. Book 3, with a working title of “The Nether Lands” is first draft complete. And when I say working title, I do mean working title as so far none have made it onto the final cover. But also at first draft stage and rapidly advancing is a novella piece to accompany Book 2 and which will be available in the hardback edition of “The Darkness at Dillingham”. It’s entitled “Cally”, and guess what, it’s about Calandra. Providing a more detailed back story to the characters is fun and certainly “Footsteps” helped bring Austerley and Kirkgordon’s relationship in “Crescendo!” to life for me.

And as promised, here is a cover reveal and it’s for “Cally”. Personally I think this is one of the best covers my artist has compiled for me. Jake has really grabbed Cally’s persona for me and the essence of the story in one picture. So I’ll leave you with the cover and look forward to talking more next time!

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If you haven’t got into the joy and wonder that is the Austerley and Kirkgordon series then you can find the first book “Crescendo!” here in all formats. The “Cally” cover was designed by Jake Clarke and you can see more of his work here.

That Difficult Second Book!

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Well, it’s been a while but here I am back on the old blog. Little did I know after getting Crescendo!, the first Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure, out there that the second would take so long. The crazy thing is that most of the difficulty has had nothing to do with writing or editing or graphics production. Instead it has had all to do with personal difficulties that have happened to the team involved in putting the books together.

It has been a trying time and one which has been frustrating but I have kept on writing through it all and now have a number of projects at the “first draft complete” stage and some even further along. But the even better news is that the second Austerley & Kirkgordon adventure is with my editor for a final pass. The artwork is complete as it can be before final production and it should be all systems go for launch in about a month.

This time Austerley and Kirkgordon are sent to the English seaside town of Dillingham for Austerley to recuperate before an important operation. But it isn’t long before the boys are getting into trouble with the locals. Composite monsters, a witch and more special agents, all wrapped up amongst ghostly pirates, give our boys the run around and drive one of the pair to a very dark place. If you thought they had it tough in the first book, just wait until Dillingham gets a hold of them!

And just to whet your appetite further, here’s a wee pic of the ebook cover. The Darkness at Dillingham, coming soon!

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If you missed “Crescendo!”, the first Austerley & Kirkgordon adventure then you can grab it here.