An Interlude

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I thought since I have come out of hibernation, it might be a good time to tell you about a few things I’ve got going on. As I don’t do this too often, you could consider it a bumper newsletter! Here goes:

While giving the draft of my novel, The Enlightenment Machine, some space to breathe, I ended up plotting and starting to write another in the same world. Technically it tells the story of events preceding The Enlightenment Machine, so working on that has given me a good idea of what needs changing on the first for consistency and a stronger story arc. I also have a vague idea for how a third might go, so it’s looking like this might be a trilogy. I know how to set my targets high, that’s for sure!

Despite aiming to complete some longer works, I still love writing short fiction. I have so many ideas for new stories; if I stopped giving them a platform, they’d sneak their way into the novels and that would get messy fast. So, as well as the standalone pieces I post on the blog, I am working on a new collection. It’s going well so far, and I have plans to release it at the end of summer. This time it will be completely new material. These stories are a little longer than my usual flash – in the region of 2,000 words each – and have a running theme and a thread connecting them all. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to tell you more.

I’ve done more beta reads over the last couple of months, as well as some full critiques and editing jobs. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the latter. They have been a great exercise in improving my craft as well as hopefully helping others. I look forward to doing more of this sort of thing. Thank you also to those who are helping me to see my own blindspots.
Fragments of Perception

Fragments of Perception has been out for 4 months now and I am thrilled with how well it is doing. Thank you so much to everyone who has bought a copy and recommended it to your friends. I have 7 reviews on Amazon and 8 on Goodreads, all claiming the book was thought-provoking and unusual, most giving 5 stars.

If you have read the book, please do consider leaving a review as they make a huge difference to indie authors. If you haven’t read the book yet, you can find the full blurb and buying options here.
Book Reviews

My ‘to read’ pile (OK, bookcase) is still ever-growing, but I do love to have unread books around me; I find it inspiring. I’ve just finished Otherworlds by David Luke, and have started on Narrative Machines by James Curcio. The new Borne story by Jeff Vandermeer also just arrived on my desk, along with Brett Anderson’s memoir Coal Black Mornings.

I have decided to lose the ‘marks out of ten’ method for rating books here on the blog in favour of letting readers make their own decision from the words I use. I want Orchid’s Lantern reviews to be respected for their in-depth and well-rounded approach, and I think the score being so prominent was going against that a little. I may still use the traditional 1-5 stars in the footer if people prefer that?

I am open to review requests, but they must be within my genre interests for fiction (metaphysical, sci-fi, fantasy, weird) or for non-fiction (philosophy, psychology, mysticism). As always, I will give a full review to anything that gives me enough to say without spoilers, and a ‘group spot’ for brief reviews of everything else.
Orchid’s Lantern

I have been thinking about where I want to go next with Orchid’s Lantern, and it seems that the natural progression would be to invite guests to share stories and reviews on the blog. I am still working out the details of this, but watch this space if that sounds like it could be of interest to you.
Virtual Futures

On 20th February the first Virtual Futures Near-Future Fiction event of the year took place at Library London. Geoff Ryman was guest speaker, and several other authors were in attendance (including me) to share their fictional interpretations of the future of disease. I’m not a public speaker, so thankfully the organisers paired me up with a talented actress who read my story Toxic Duck Inc to the live audience. It was a great venue, a great bunch of people, and a very high standard of writing. I was honoured to be involved. Recordings of all of the stories will be soon available to view on the Virtual Futures YouTube channel, which is well worth checking out anyway.

If you are local and missed this event, the next one is happening on 20th March. The theme will be Virtual Persons, and I have another brand new story called The Test which will be featured. Tickets are available now from Eventbrite.

And that’s it for now. It sounds like there’s a lot going on, and there is, but I’m loving every minute of it. The light is coming back and I’ve found my most productive rhythm – dream and draft in the morning, edit and proof in the afternoon.

I love to hear your comments, so please do keep interacting on the page and anywhere else you can find me. I am on Facebook, but I’m a bit more active on Twitter.

16 thoughts on “An Interlude

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    1. Thank you. Novel writing is a very different beast to short stories. It’s been a bit of a struggle to switch my mindset into running a marathon instead of a sprint, but I’m determined to get to the finish line. This is a story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time. I hope your writing is going well too 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. There is something magical I feel in reading this recap if your current state. It evokes a Victorian vibe. Not sure if I am conveying myself properly, but can’t think of any other way to describe it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good job! The word that came to mind as I read what you’ve been working on was “natural.” You seem to be discovering your own path as you write and read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would say three things. The best laid plans. Theme and thread breed contempt as fast as familarity. Read one, read ’em all…Craft and art are not the same things. One only happens when the other disappears. The creative moment is evanescant. Output is forever. Be sure they deserve each other. And Good Luck!


    1. I have to disagree on the theme and thread thing I’m afraid. I’m not talking about every idea being the same thing said in a different way, or moving around a subject and never nailing it; they’re all very different. Think Cloud Atlas. This is the next natural progression from Fragments in terms of links and layers.

      Craft and art are indeed different things but we need both. My editing phase comes later because it requires a different mindset. I learn technicalities while editing and they subconsciously inform subsequent writing without getting in the way of inspiration and art. I think if you over-edit to the point of losing style, that’s when the art is threatened.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The best story I know about technique and art is Picasso wanted to paint his wife’s portrait. She said Okay, but I damn sure better be able to tell it’s me when you’re done. It was a beautiful, tradional portrait with style. If you understand something well enough like Picasso it’s not what you can do, but what you choose to do with what you can do.
        Jury’s out on the theme thing. We had that discussion about “Fragments.”


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