Anyone who has been attempting to email me, Tweet me or generally contact me in any way what-so-ever this week will have noticed how anti-social I’ve been. (I’m sure you’re all big enough not to take it personally.) I’ve been consumed, gripped, and generally possessed by a sudden impulse to try my hand at a Kickstarter project: to raise money to purchase the rights to set a science fiction book in the Elite universe.
Writers are always being told they need to find their audience and write about something they are passionate about. I’ve found both. There’s a community of dedicated fellow fans of Elite and I’ve loved the games for years. It’s a no-brainer for me to have a go at writing a story in the setting but, as usual, there’s a catch: I need to buy the rights to the franchise…
So, if you’re a fan of science-fiction books or an avid gamer, why not come over to Kickstarter and take a look—I tell you a lot more there. There are some rewards on offer too if you want to give me a “kick” by pledging.
Thanks for your support, but the clock is ticking… there is less than two weeks left.
It may seem insincere to say I have the greatest respect for the Royal Family, but financial debates aside, I believe they all, and especially Her Majesty, have worked hard on behalf of charities, and for our country.
Two other facts are pertinent, however:
Firstly, The Queen is still a human being, Her Royal Biology no different from our own.
Secondly, when writing a poem about bodily wind, the more upper-class, and auguste the personage concerned, the funnier it is. It is simply one of the eternal rules of comedy.
So, this is not an attack on the Queen’s Royal Person, but rather an acknowledgement of the paradox that is royalty: that according to ancient tradition* they are God’s Appointed, sent to rule over, and take care of us, and yet, they are also human, and so subject to all of the daily comedies and tragedies of which the human condition consists.
So I offer, this, my humble poetic tribute to the humanity of our Queen, and hope that I may prevail upon the Royal Sense-of-Humour, not to hold this against me when one day, God willing, I will be nominated for a Knighthood. Continue reading
As I’ve recently discovered, creativity is a fickle thing, sometimes abundantly overflowing, at others, full only of empty promises. The elation of success, and the frustrations of failure, are part and parcel of the writer’s life, except for the lucky few. So, as my thoughts turned toward the nature of creativity, it happened I came upon a series of tweets from writer Anne Michaud about her forthcoming novel, ‘Wild Swan’. I asked some questions, and the more I found out, the more intrigued I became. Here was a writer in the grip of an unstoppable creative maelstrom. Ideas more subtle and profound than anything I had witnessed before were filling her head from dawn to dusk. Dumbfounded, I could only look on in admiration, and awe.
A tidal wave of envy swept through me. I must tap into this bounteous outpouring, before my own dribble of inspiration dried, and rather than a writer, I was left a mere shrivelled husk wearing human shape. So, unable to contain myself any longer, I decided I would risk it all and ask Anne for an interview. Humiliation, rejection – these only would have been my lot had Anne refused. However, she has been incredibly gracious, and deigned to grace my humble blog with her presence. It is my honour, pleasure, and nefarious plan to introduce Anne, and Wild Swan to you now… Continue reading
This is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction piece; Mankind is facing extinction, can they survive?
It was written for a competition on the Kelley Armstrong OWG forum. The brief was that it had to be less than 1500 words, should have a post-apocalyptic setting, could be written from any point of view, and had to contain, “animals,” and, “a forest.”
Please let me know what you think in the comments…
Another first for me as a writer – an attempt at ‘serious’ poetry (no sniggering at the back there!) that doesn’t rhyme. It’s got metaphors in it, so it must be the real deal…
The original idea came after a call for poetry from Chrissey Harrison, on behalf of The Great Escape website. This, and four other poems by other writers are posted there for your delectation. Just click the on the link. Enjoy.
The brief was to write a poetic piece about, “The Night Sky.” Initially I thought it would be easy, after all the night sky is easy to be poetic about, right? Too easy as it turns out…
Ever since “Twinkle twinkle little star…” poets have been looking at the starry heavens for inspiration, and to impress the bird who lives at no. 43; the one with the lisp, jutting chin, and boils. Sorry. Anyway, it took a long time to find an idea that wasn’t just going to be a clichéd re-hash of over-used themes. I hope I’ve succeeded. Please let me know what you think, and what you think it’s about, in the comments (and yes, you are allowed to say you don’t like it, although stating why will enable you to justifiably wear your air of intellectual smugness). I hope you enjoy it… Continue reading
This is my first attempt at writing something in the horror genre, and at writing a short piece of flash fiction. Please feel free to leave any comments below, I’d love to know what you think. I hope it makes your toes curl.
Snot, bogey, luge, luger, buger; its aliases are many, but even in its brief life there can be found the hands of fate, pathos, and drama.
This is my first attempt at poetry in, well, decades. It is written in a style vaguely reminiscent of Roald Dahl. It isn’t pleasant, and I’m not sure if it’s even good, but for whatever it is worth this poem is mine, even if it takes courage to own.
I believe you have had sufficient warning, please proceed at your own risk, as no responsibility will be accepted for any distress, emotional or mental, that is caused by the reading of this piece. Comments, and critique, are welcome. For your delectation: I hope you enjoy:-
Things may have appeared static since the last post but, like watching a burrowing badger, none of the effort shows on the surface… Feedback Feedback is now coming in from final-stage gamma readers—the news is good; two have already said they’ve had to go back and re-read chapters for mistakes because they were gripped. When they did re-enter crit mode, the worst they found (so far) were typos and a couple of basic continuity issues that were easily fixed. There is still a significant amount of feedback to come, but if it keeps errors in the released book to a minimum it’s worth the wait. Cover After six concepts and over twenty rough drafts, the cover design has been finalised. I received some immensely helpful pointers from Colin Barnes, a friend of mine who is trained in graphic design and has been releasing his thriller/SF books with custom covers for … Continue reading →
Good news this week: Out of the Darkness has been approved by Frontier. That means it stands alongside the contents of the game and the other fiction as part of the official canon, the Elite universe as envisaged by David Braben and brought to life by the Frontier Developments team. After a year and a half, this feels incredible—to have contributed something to the ever-growing epic that is Elite: Dangerous. But how ‘Elite’ is Out of the Darkness? I know what I think, but you’re going to want evidence, aren’t you? Tweeted questions (not mine) about whether David Braben has read any of the fiction go unanswered. Emailed hints, submitted alongside legitimate scene content queries, about whether Michael likes what you’ve written are studiously not acknowledged. (Yes, mine. Sad? Maybe, but writers want to know what any reader thinks, and doubly so when that reader has the power to require a re-write!) Does … Continue reading →
What’s the Novel About? If you’ve been wondering, here’s the current blurb: Moira Dolan, an investigator for The Proteus Collective, is forced to take on a dead-end case. How did an elite pilot, his family and their ship disappear in a well-policed star system? With so few leads, it seems her boss wants her to fail. And where is her loser brother, Keagan? Torn between her only family and last chance for a career, her journey between the stars reveals more of herself than she ever wanted to know. As the pieces fall into place, Moira and some new-found allies uncover a conspiracy: mankind is no longer the galaxy’s apex predator, and a plot to destabilise human space could cost of millions of lives… Approval How much of the blurb will remain relevant depends on the the approval process, which is ongoing. I’m hoping to hear something back later … Continue reading →
The Good News Out of the Darkness lives! It’s a real book; Elite settings, characters, plot, themes—it’s all in there. The first gamma draft is complete, and pretty polished. The Scary News It’s very existence in in great peril. The book is currently with Frontier for approval. Death can come in many forms… can Out of the Darkness survive? If so, will its soul remain intact, or will it be torn asunder, rendered a mere shadow of its former self? Only one man knows… which side of Michael Brookes’ personality will the novel draw out? This? Or this?! We should know in a little while… So, backers and would-be readers, as we wait, let us focus on the positive, make optimism our banner, and raise our heads and sniff the roses… the Roses of Success! More Good News We have a proof-reader—qualified, experted an’ everfink! I want to thank the awesome … Continue reading →
Unless you’re an Elite virgin or you’ve spent the past few months on a distant moon brushing your herd of verrix, you’ll know that May is Elite: Dangerous fiction month. There’s a flurry of book releases: seven novels and an anthology, from publishers Gollancz and Fantastic Books. Now all the cover art has been released, I thought now was time to celebrate the occasion by bringing them all together for a delectable dalliance with design. I think you’ll agree, the artists have done a great job; each cover captures the drama and character of the Elite universe. At time of writing, the three Gollancz novels (Docking is Difficult, Nemorensis, and Wanted) will be available from Amazon from 15th May, 2014 (pre-orders are open), and the four novels and anthology from Fantastic Books are now available (And Here the Wheel, Lave Revolution, Mostly Harmless, Reclamation, and Tales from the Frontier). Formats: ebook, … Continue reading →