Tag Archives: NoMan’s

No Man’s Dawn: writing a bastard

Luk is a bastard. And he’s great fun!

He’s a version of the Knight from my Dresden writing, and a version of him also snuck into the Dresden RPG – Ryan wanted to play him for our next session. The character sheet was awesome to make; basically, if he can fight or screw his way out of a situation then he will, and if he can’t, then he’ll weasel out of it. He’s mostly looking out for himself, has a definite way with words, and is just generally a git.

He comes in to No Man’s Land, but he’s a bit less of a dupek at that point. No Man’s Dawn is a prequel, set about ten years before No Man’s Land…and I get to have Luk be his original, bastard self.

This is just the start of him; he gets worse! *big author grin*


But the first thing I do after I swing myself out from under the very comfortable duvet is pull out the two trinkets I stole from the crone in the Otherworld yesterday.

In the morning light, they look plain and dusty. One is a set of thin bracelets, held together with a leather strap woven down one edge; the other side jangles faintly as I pick them up. Seen through the Sight, this cluster of thin silver rings looks like it contains a fairly potent shielding spell, or maybe a concealment. I’d have to get someone a bit more knowledgeable than I am to have a look.

The second item looks, frankly, like a small red carrot. It’s heavy, slightly bobbled, pointed at one end and blunt at the other. It doesn’t look like it does anything.

I hold it in my palm and flick my Sight on. It’s magical, sure, and…it looks like it’s got some kind of trigger spell on it. You’d have to put magic into it to start whatever the magic is that it contains, and I’m not feeling that today. That’s a pretty good way to get your metaphorical fingers burned when the main spell sucks you dry. No thank you.

I put both of the items in one of the desk drawers, and sling the invisibility cloak over my naked shoulders. Polly’s got a long mirror leaning against the wall in the hallway, so I pad out to look at myself. To me, the cloak just looks like a cloak, but in the mirror I’m barely there. I’d guess that the spell has lost some of its potency here; the cloak will act as more of an attention-diverter than a true invisibility spell. Still, pretty useful.

I drop the cloak, enjoying the fabric on my skin, and spend a little while examining myself. I still look pretty good, even with my scars. The white, puckered lines trail down my cheek and neck and onto my side. My rib’s healed nicely, and you can’t even tell that my arm was broken. My cock took a bit of a beating, but that’s healed – although admittedly my balls didn’t. Oh well, it’s not like I wanted children anyway.

I pose for a while longer, and then run a hand through my hair. A bit greasy, but it’ll do. It’s not like my natural charm ever let greasy hair get in the way of a fuck.



No Man’s Sky: getting on with it

I put No Man’s Sky on hold back in January. I’d finished the first draft before Christmas and I’d just had it back from Ryan with comments and notes, and then…well.

I didn’t want to touch it again. I couldn’t face it.

But I was in the car with my housemate yesterday, driving though the darkness and listening to Lindsey Stirling. I had her album Brave Enough as my playlist for No Man’s Dawn., and the song we were listening to made me think of it.

And I decided that I could do this. I am brave enough.

I cried, I admit. I want him back. I want to know what he thought, discuss ideas, get comments, see that smile. I want to know what he’d make of new characters, of changes I make. It’s like missing a part of my heart and because it’s intertwined so closely into the No Man’s stories, it hurts all the more when I go back into that world.

But I love the story. I love the world. I want to finish No Man’s Sky.

So. It’s currently at 50k and I need to add another 20k. I’ve got some ideas, and I’ve just sent it on to my beloved Aunt and my other alpha for No Man’s Land, both of whom I trust completely. One will give me an overview and the other will scream at me when I kill people, which is exactly what I want, and hopefully they’ll both have thoughts on what I could add and what areas need extending.

Ryan gave me his thoughts on the story and he encouraged me. He loved the world. He was an inspiration.

I can’t stop writing. I won’t stop writing.

It just sometimes takes a bit of courage to open up the file and plunge back into the world.

A new story: No Man’s Dawn

You’ve probably spotted me squeaking about No Man’s Land, my post-apocalyptic grimdark urban fantasy (someone invent a name for the genre that’s less of a mouthful, please!) and I’ve been scribbling away at two sequels, No Man’s Sky and No Man’s Stars. And now I think I’ve got an idea for a prequel…No Man’s Dawn. (They’re working titles, yes.)

It’s set during the Apocalypse, but doesn’t necessarily require knowledge of No Man’s Land to read. I originally had the idea to set it in Stonehouse, but it’s now transferred to Salisbury; I lose some of the places, but I gain some characters. It might transfer back but at the moment I’m rather liking it.

That said…it’s going slowly. No Man’s Land was relatively easy because Ghost is such a good character; her relationship was easy to write, and her voice was clear in my head. Dee, so far, isn’t so easy. I’m not sure who she is, and that’s making it hard. I don’t really want to write first-person because I’m worried that she’ll be whiny, but at the same time, I love the focus that first-person narratives bring. Sooooo…I may end up rewriting. At the moment I’m just pondering plot and motives in addition to writing snippets!

Then Mari’s twitching body crumpled, revealing the urbane form of Jim standing behind her with his usual three-piece tweed suit, combed hair, and a scowl on his face. His eyes followed the body down, and then he looked up. “Are you hurt?”

Dee shook her head numbly.

“Good. Excuse me, I need to tidy up.”

His clothing didn’t look rumpled at all. Dee decided that she would scream once he’d left.

But instead, Jim held his hand out over Mari and muttered something. The body burst into flame.

Dee did scream.

A second later, no sound was coming out. Dee felt her throat burn but she wasn’t screaming.

Jim just gave her an irritated glance, and then nodded as the body at their feet crumpled into ash and then vanished into smoke. “There. Done with screaming?”

His matter-of-fact tone made Dee’s mouth shut abruptly. She nodded.

“Are you ok?” the older man asked in a softer tone, suddenly looking concerned. “I know she was your friend.”

“You. You killed her.” It somehow came out flatter than she’d intended.

“She was about to eat you.”

“Eat me.”

This time the look was frustrated. “She was a vampire, Dee. That’s what they do, particularly if they’ve forgotten who their friends are.”

Vampire. Dee felt too numb to take it in.

Jim’s frustrated look turned into a scowl. “We’re going to see your parents. Now.”

New Anthology: You Are Here

you are here coverI’ve got a short story published! If you’ve met Ghost (which you have, briefly, in No Man’s Land snippets) and you want to see more of what she’s like….well, go and have a read of Mapping Out The Future. It also involves sarcastic protagonists, Gods, fairyland, thefts and a tattoo if any of those catch your interest!

This entire episode really started when I got a note from a certain Molly Parsons. I knew her by reputation – could be a model for the M&S catalogue as long as their criteria is “owns most of their clothing already”, do-good charity supporter, definitely-not-wicked sorceress, and soccer mom who drives a minivan and supports her kids with all the ferocity of a maternal dragon who’s just had her clutch threatened. That sort of reputation.

Information on the anthology can be found on the website, or you can get it on Amazon UK, Amazon US or Smashwords. It’s also on GoodReads if you want to add to your TBR pile!

There’s also a short from (amongst others) Lindsay Buroker in the collection, who is a rather awesome self-pub indie author. If you want a review copy, let me know and I can have an e-copy winging your way asap.

Maps define our lives as they define our world. 
What were once the priceless resources of a brave and lonely few as they set off into the unknown are now carried in the pockets of billions around the globe. But they were never merely lines on paper – while depicting our geography we infused them with our intelligence, our desires, our imagination, and our memories.
Yesterday, we mapped the world only after we discovered its secrets. Today we map the mind and the body and slowly unveil the universe before we set off into its infinite domains. Maps may have changed, but they are also changeless: they will always guide us.
This anthology charts eighteen worlds which are beautiful, frightening, alien, familiar – sometimes none of these, sometimes all. These stories cover every corner of the speculative map, featuring horror, science fiction, steampunk, high fantasy and more, in styles ranging from the literary and the lyrical to the pulpy and the thrilling.
Wherever you find yourself, there’s only one thing you can ever know for sure:  
Now go explore…

On agents and findability

So, as you maaaaay possibly have twigged, I’ve finished the first novel in the No Man’s series. The second (No Man’s Sky) is in process and the third (No Man’s Stars) is planned for NaNoWriMo.  No Man’s Land is currently with beta-readers and is then coming back to me for whatever work needs doing, and then…well, it might be in put-out-into-the-world state, which means I have to work out how I’m going to do that.

With the GreenSky series, I knew I was on to a losing battle with the conventional route of agents or publishers – they simply didn’t accept novellas at the time (although Tor now is), and so going to an indie press was my first choice. For No Man’s Land, while it’s an odd genre (apocalyptic urban fantasy) it is a full-length novel, and frankly, I think it’s amazing. Yes, I’m biased, but I’m really, really proud of it! So…I’m going to try submitting No Man’s Land to literary agents and see where that gets me.

Essentially, my process is going to be;

  • Try a select group of agents that I think will like the genre/work.
  • Try a wider group of agents (eg. they have ‘fantasy’ and ‘sci-fi’ in their descriptions).
  • Check to see if any of the big publishers have open subs periods – unlikely, but worth it on the off-chance.
  • Work out who of the smaller presses is likely to appreciate it (Grimbold is a pretty high contender) and submit during an open submission period.
  • Reconsider what I want to do with the work; either try to self-publish, or put it on a dusty shelf and cry for a while.
  • Write something else and start the whole process again.

I’m currently doing my research and trying to find agents. My first port of call was the trusty Writer and Artist’s Yearbook, and…yeah. Hmm. I know everyone rates it, and I have used it previously, but in this case I opened it, flicked through it and shut it again. Quite frankly, I can’t be bothered with the amount of effort and research that it takes just to find out that the agent isn’t accepting submissions at the moment, or doesn’t take a specific genre of fiction…the transfer from page to screen and the lack of real-time information is very frustrating, for all that I appreciate having the list all in one place.

So, I’ve gone a different route. I’ve thought about authors who write in the genre, or whose work I think is roughly similar, and looked at who their agents are. Emma Newman, VE Schwab, Steve Aryan, Pete Newman, Brent Weeks, Laura Lam, to name a few! That gained me four names in half an hour, all of whom have websites with submission information and all of whom are open to queries. Much easier!

So I’m going to start putting together a query letter and, when I get the beta back, polishing the first three chapters (or 100 pages). I’ll see how much work needs to be done on the novel, of course, but at the moment I’ve got Christmas as a deadline – so we shall see!