Friday, 25 December 2015

FEMFORCE 173 IS OUT NOW!

Femforce 173 from AC Comics - Out now!
Femforce 173, featuring my story 'The Iron Wake', is out now! With art from the wonderful Jacob Bear and edits from Femforce main-man Mark Heike, it's a solo SHE-CAT adventure featuring the reappearance of a classic villain!

I'm blown away with how Jacob has brought the script to life and how Mark tweaked it. It's so satisfying to see an idea come to fruition like this, and I know that whenever I send a story in to AC, it's in good hands!

The issue is available for comic shops who may not usually stock it to order from Diamond, or there's a variant cover version available directly from the AC Comics website.

Femforce 173 - AC Comics online store cover
It was a pleasure to write this story for AC and again they were an absolute delight to work with. It pleases me greatly that I'll be back in early 2016 in issue 174 with a story featuring Femforce's iconic leader, Ms. Victory, alongside the giantess Tara! You can find full details of issue 174 over at the AC Comics website right now!




Sunday, 6 December 2015

Oh, so THAT's how.


It's been a weird few months. Some really, really nice opportunities have presented themselves and I'm looking forward to building on them in the coming months, but I do feel it's taken me a long time to get to the right place in order for these things to happen.

Essentially what I've found works best for me, obvious as it may seem, is to work on the things that will help you towards your goals rather than just the ephemera that surrounds those goals. I landed some really exciting writing gigs in recent months that have genuinely opened my eyes to the fact that the market is there for writers to make some progress.

The key? Being honest, being realistic and asking nicely. Of course, the most essential part of the writer's journey has to be the development of the content itself, but it's not always something you have to do alone.

The gigs I've been lucky enough to secure of late have all taken shape with the help of very good editors. It may have been limited to a few brief emails, but those little bits of encouragement genuinely helped the things I've pitched achieve the level where they'll get picked up.

I know my stuff won't be picked up every time – that's the nature of this writing lark – but finding people who understand the market and their audience as well as how stories work has improved the content I've been able to offer greatly.

So. Tips. Be genuine. Be honest about what you do. Be polite and approachable. Listen to feedback. 

I'm so very, very grateful to be able to do the things I get to do right now. It's so much fun. Hard work, yes. A little scary, yes. Exciting? Always.

Friday, 9 October 2015

FEMFORCE 173 - Back Where I Always Wanted To Be!




So. Femforce 173 from AC Comics is set to feature an original SHE-CAT story that I scripted. This issue is due to land at the end of November.

Writing comic book stories is SO MUCH FUN IT'S RIDICULOUS.

There's another thing that just happened which will be out in March next year, and before that something very cool starting this December, but more on those later. Still lots to come from me in the remainder of 2015!

BRB.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Writing Life Is A Busy Life

Wow, this month is disappearing so fast. Hell, the whole YEAR is. Busy times abound lately, with the day job, family and home stuff going on, the magazine, comics and more. It's been hard finding the time for the book projects lately, but I'm trying to get a few words in here and there wherever I can. After all, you're not really a writer unless you do the writing.

There's a lot going on in my head as well as outside of it, which is bringing up some interesting dilemmas. My non-fiction projects are way more popular than my fiction at present, so the idea that I should focus on that more instead of the stories is nagging at me somewhat.

The thing is, my dream has always been to write fiction. Thus the dilemma of selling books Vs writing what means the most to me.

Having said that, I don't mean the non-fiction/pop culture titles don't mean just as much to me, but fiction was always the main thing I wanted to do. That's the thing which makes my imagination explode.

Changes to my home and work routines have also meant that I've had to try and rework any form of writing schedule I previously had, which has resulted in me having a temporary backlog of Other Stuff I Need To Finish. The sites I write for haven't had much content from me of late, which I'll be rectifying shortly, and the books I have on the go at present aren't getting much closer to completion.

It's been said to me on many occasions that I take too much work on. This usually comes from the same people who don't understand why I write some material which I know I won't get pid for. I can't refuse to write something because it doesn't pay. If I think a gig will be fun to do, then I'll do it for the enjoyment and experience more than thoughts of financial gain.

Maybe that's what I should remind myself with the fiction, actually. Maybe I should focus a bit more on that again and get some more out there. Thus far in 2015 I've had numerous magazine pieces and interviews out alongside some online content and two comic book stories being picked up, but no book releases yet.

One book is ready to go, a novella is 2/3 done and my next full-length novel is also around the 2/3 mark. I may out all three of these out simultaneously. There's something I haven't done before. That could be fun.

I mean, if it's not fun, if it doesn't bring satisfaction or some form of enlightenment, then what would the point be?

Time to go tell myself some stories. And then you.

Catch you soon. - Andy

Thursday, 6 August 2015

What Do Music Journalists Listen To?


As a music journalist, I do seem to get asked quite often exactly what I listen to. I always struggle with that question, as the answer changes so often. I usually answer with something like “Stuff” or “Anything that appeals.” I would wager that music journalists who say they only listen to the most underground stuff and nothing else are absolute liars. If we only ever listened to one type of music, we wouldn't be able to be objective about any of it when we write about it.

Music isn't one thing. Genres are good things to have when trying to describe what we listen to or what category a band is when reviewing their work, but beyond that, music should just be music. As a guitarist for the past 25 years, I am primarily drawn to guitar based music, and in that arena my particular poison is hard rock and old-school heavy metal. Those are my roots. The thing to remember is that roots grow, and once they have grown tall they will bear fruit.

Crap analogies aside, you should always respect your musical roots, but never be afraid to build on those foundations and develop your tastes. Writing for Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine, I'm known primarily as a rocker and metalhead, and that's fine. That's my meat and potatoes. That's the lifeblood for me. However, that's not the be all and end all of my music library. Not by a long way. I believe you can't appreciate music properly unless your aural diet is well-balanced.

The blues were a big part of my musical youth, and my love for the blues continues to this day. Then there's classical music and film scores. Rockabilly and 50s pop music. Industrial and old-school EBM. Trippy electronica. Contemporary pop music. Nerdcore. A lot of 80s chart stuff. A few country songs. Some hip-hop. A lot of soundtracks. The list goes on.

At the other end of it there's the extreme metal, the black and death and thrash and grindcore. That's offset by my deep and abiding love for AOR and symphonic metal. Then there are the thousands of individual songs I own from different artists which I bought just because I liked those songs even if I wasn't that keen on exploring those artists further.

As I write about music, I get sent a lot of it from bands and record companies and PR companies, but
I still buy music. I prefer physical copies, but I'm not averse to purchasing downloads. I just like to have something I can look at, read the liner notes to while listening. That's not to say physical media is a better thing. I just grew up with physical media, so that's what brings me reassurance alongside the tunes. Music isn't a throwaway thing. Music is the soundtrack to lives, and in many of those lives it becomes an integral part of every day.

Music should be delved into, lest the good stuff be lost amidst the massive amount of other material out there. The influences of your influences should be given a chance. After all, the musicians you loved adored them for a reason. On another track, it's very easy to dismiss things as being crap, but at least listen to them before making that decision. Give things a chance.

Music for every mood is an essential in my life, as well. Music has the capacity to sooth and inspire as well as energise. Building a music library which offers me something for every quirk of my fluctuating emotional state has been a beautiful experience throughout my life, and long may it be thus. Music has been there for me in my darkest times as well as my very best times.

It has seen me through nights I never thought would end, heartache, elation, worry and joy. For almost eight years now, music has been a part of my professional life and continues to do everything that it always did. Music has always been there for me, and I couldn't cope without it. What do music journalists listen to?

Music. We listen to music.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

SECRET WARS #4 – MARVEL COMICS

Secret Wars #4 
Marvel Comics 
Writer: Jonathan Hickman 
Art: Esad Ribic

I'm really not a big fan of massive event stories like Secret Wars, Convergence and the like, as I feel they sometimes take the focus away from great stories and instead overloads the reader with continuity, not to mention very quickly draining the wallet of the reader very quickly.

That said, there have been some very strong comics coming out of Marvel's current Secret Wars event, such as A-Force, X-Men 92 and the main title itself.

I've started checking Secret Wars out at the recommendation of a good friend and I haven't been disappointed. The idea of a patchwork world ruled by an omnipotent Doom is intriguing, and the main title is being handled well.

This issue deals mainly with the relationship between Doom and Strange, with another very familiar face arriving in the latter half of the book. This is a good approach for this stage of the story, as it stops things becoming overly confusing with the countless realities mashed together into one world.

The script and art are solid, and while it's part of an event story which rebuilds a universe from chunks of other realities, it's surprisingly low-key. Now at the halfway point, it'll be interesting to see how this epic story is brought to a suitable close. A good issue, but not one which rocked my world.

7/10

Friday, 10 July 2015

HARLEY QUINN & POWER GIRL #1 – DC COMICS

Harley Quinn & Power Girl #1 
DC Comics 
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray 
Art: Stephane Roux 

According to DC, this miniseries tells the story of what happened between two panels in HARLEY QUINN #12, and why not? This is a ton of fun from writers Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, who specialise in this kind of screwball but affectionate romp, and they're on good form here.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl find themselves flung through a teleportation portal and into a bizarre landscape of small creatures and giant monsters, which provides both a lot of comedy and a fair bit of action for the price of admission.

The story is a little bit silly in places, but that works well with the characters. The interplay between the hyperactive Harley and the superhero bluster of Power Girl is a delight throughout, and lifts what could have been a muddle of an issue right up.

Ending with nice cliffhanger for the next issue, it's an entertaining sci-fi yarn with lashings of the comedy we've come to expect from the characters and the creators. The script is tight and paced well, and the art of Stephane Roux is exquisite. There's so much going on in the facial expressions that the characters really come to life on the page. A raucous and fun read.

8/10

BLOODSTRIKE #1 - Image Comics

BLOODSTRIKE #1 
Image Comics 
Story and art: Rob Liefeld 
Colours: Jeremy Colwell 

I picked this up mainly due to nostalgia. I'd read bunch of BLOODSTRIKE comics in their original 1990s guise, and figured it would be fun to revisit those overly muscular purveyors of violence and one-liners again. Written and drawn by the much maligned yet actually pretty solid Rob Liefeld, this is an M rated version of Bloodstrike rather than the initial version I remember.

Thus there's a hell of a lot of gratuitous gore (including Cabbot chewing his own arm off in an early scene), nudity and swearing, which took me right out of the issue and ultimately soured the title for me. The art is exactly how it was in the nineties, which was cool to see and my favourite thing about the issue.

The story is decent, as are the panels of stylised action, but the giant penises and severed heads on display weren't really what I wanted to lay money down for. I still have a lot of love for Liefeld (he drew a ton of the comics which grabbed my attention back in the day), but I won't be following this series further. Sorry fella!

5/10

STARFIRE #2 - DC Comics

Starfire issue 2
DC Comics 
Script: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils: Emanuela Lupacchino
Inks: Ray McCarthy

I'd heard good things about this title on the iFanboy podcast, that it was quirky and good natured and fun. They weren't wrong. This is a really nice, fun comic title with a pleasingly straightforward story which isn't bogged down with continuity or forced involvement in a crossover or anything.

Starfire is drawn in a typically sexy superheroine manner, but it's never gratuitous, instead having an edge of Cheesecake. The story of the issue is essentially Starfire rescuing people from a storm, but there are some sweet little character moments which give the action some depth.

The human characters are well realised and add some grounding to the tale. I would expect nothing less from Conner and Palmiotti. Lupacchino's pencils are kinetic and stylish, refined further by McCarthy's inks. A proper comic book. Marvellous.

8/10

Service is resumed

Hey all. I haven't been having a great time lately with one thing and another, hence the lack of regular posts. I've had some health issues and other stuff to deal with, and while those are ongoing, I want to get back in action. So here I am. There'll be some reviews and some pieces on the writing life to come. I love you all. Even you.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

FEMFORCE 172 - Full Solicitation info for my comics debut!

Here's the full solicitation information for issue 172 of FEMFORCE from AC COMICS, which will contain my first ever published comics work. I am hugely excited about this, and I really hope those of you who check it out will enjoy it. Massive thanks to Mark G. Heike at AC Comics for this amazing opportunity. 

You can order the issue from all good comic book stores and through the June issue of PREVIEWS. Here's the full rundown of the issue, along with info on the GIANTESS incentive! 

==========

AC COMICS JUNE 2015
PREVIEWS FOR AUGUST 2015 SHIP
Femforce #172
Company Name: AC Comics
Title: Femforce
Frequency: Quarterly
Issue/Number 172
UPC Code: 799475804861-17211
Retail Price: $9.95
Discount: Maximum Discount 50%
Format: Standard comic book size, saddle-stitched
Dimensions: 10" X 6.50"
Page Count: 80 pages
Color: Black and White (with color covers)
Intended Audience: All ages
Genre: Action/adventure/superhero/glamor
Country of Origin: USA
Ship Date: August 25th, 2015
Writers: Stephanie Heike, Mark G. Heike, Andrew Hawnt and Mark Holmes
Artists: Rock Baker,  Jeff Austin,  Scott Shriver , Mark Dail, Paolo Bodini, Jacob Bear, Alejandro Alvarez and Juliano Sousa
Cover Artist: Dell Barras

Synopsis:

While the FEMFORCE team struggles with internal problems and SHE-CAT's personal life gets MORE muddled, a mysterious threat stalks. On Dhagor, NIGHTVEIL faces both her mentor AZAGOTH and the villainous VIVARNA. STARDUST remembers more dark secrets from her past, The BLUE BULLETEER risks a haunted house and TARA races to victory.

Special Notes:  For every 3 copies of FemForce #172 purchased, retailers will receive 1 copy of Giantess Comics #1 free. Recent events at FFHQ have left security there compromised, and even as our intrepid heroines try to decide what to do about the situation, a sinister entity plots to take advantage of it.

SHE-CAT seems determined to pick up the threads of her ill-fated relationship with Jack Hughes, but three obstacles stand in the way- former beau Mike(The SCARLET SCORPION) McCluskey, a strange group of freakish misfits- AND Hughes himself.

 NIGHTVEIL, still without her Cloak of Darkness and alone on Dark Dhagor, must deal with her mentor AZAGOTH's disappointment at her loss of the powerful mystic artifact while helping the Dhagorians throw off the oppressive yolk of the evil VIVARNA.

In a pensive moment, STARDUST once again thinks back on the shameful incident from her formative years that led to her abandonment of her Rurian roots.


Also out of the past, Laura(The BLUE BULLETEER) Wiight has a brush with supernatural forces long before her days as NIGHTVEIL, in a haunted house story set in the late 1940's, and a young TARA wins a key prize while upending the malignant forces working against her.


AND in a second, BONUS Stardust story, Dusty faces the mysterious menace of TRAXXIS!!  


As always, this issue of FEMFORCE is 80 pages of great ''good girl" art action and adventure featuring the FF team in both group and solo action. No staunch FF fan can possibly be disappointed. If you LOVE your FEMFORCE book just the way it is, order your copy and you'll get just that.  B

UT- for fans looking for something a little bit DIFFERENT, we're trying something NEW for AC in conjunction with FEMFORCE #172.  
Recently, we put out some "test feelers" online about the possibility of a new FREESTANDING title devoted to GIANT-SIZED females; to be called (appropriately enough)  GIANTESS COMICS.

The response from interested readers was impressive enough that we are going to try out the title. In the past, we've done experiments like this in a "flip-book" format, basically sharing space in an issue of FEMFORCE.  
This didn't always make hardcore FF readers happy, with the perception being that such "guest-features" could be cutting into the total number of actual FEMFORCE pages in the given issue they might appear in.

Well, not THIS time; we are debuting GIANTESS COMICS #1 as a separate, complete, freestanding 24-page black and white full-sized comic book (with it's own spectacular full-color painted cover by Paolo Bodini)- NOT in any way a part of FF #172.


If THAT'S not enough, to promote this new title and concept, we are offering the book ABSOLUTELY FREE, one copy available with every THREE copies of FEMFORCE #172 purchased. If you HAVE to get a copy of GIANTESS COMICS #1, just make sure that your smiling local comic book retailer orders you three copies of FF #172- and tell him you WANT the FREE GIANTESS COMICS #1 that comes with them.


It'll be wall-to-wall giantees action, written by genre specialists including Eric Johnson and Eric Lindberg, with superb art by the same AC regulars that illustrate FEMFORCE every issue. If this special promotion is well-received, we will consider making GIANTESS COMICS an ongoing title in future.  So- anybody out there that remembers our late, lamented GARANTARAMA-THE COMIC BOOK feature- or just wants to see AC do more giant woman stories in general, make sure your retailer orders enough copies of FF #172 to make this free offer a success.

So order FEMFORCE #172 for August through the June 2015 Previews catalog with your local comics retailer to get 80 pages of great GGA action, AND a chance to get a FREE GIANTESS COMICS #1!!

BELOW ARE THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE INCENTIVE PROMOTION GIANTESS COMICS #1, IF NEEDED 

Company Name: AC Comics
Title: Giantess Comics
Frequency: Unknown at this time Issue/Number 1
UPC Code: 44268377266700111 (revised/corrected 4/23/15)
Retail Price: free with the purchase of three copies of FEMFORCE  #172
Discount: N/A
Format: Standard comic book size, saddle-stitched
Dimensions: 10" X 6.50"
Page Count: 24 pages
Color: Black and White (with color covers)
Intended Audience: All ages Genre: Action/adventure/GTS/glamor
Country of Origin: USA
Ship Date: August 25, 2015
Writers: Eric Johnson, Eric Lindberg and Mark Heike
Artists:   Dan Gorman, Rock Baker and others
Cover Artist: Paiolo Bodini

Synopsis:

A brand new story  featuring ALL the AC giantess characters -THUNDERSTEP, MARLA  ALLISON, TARA, GARGANTA, DINOSAUR GIRL, ROWENA, FANTASIA, SHAKIRBUTI and THREETA as QUEEN DRUSILLA  goes on a "Multi-World Tour!! Plus, Eric Lindberg's medevil gentle giantess ROWENA  is back with "Rise of the Dark Lady!" Wall to wall giantess action!

Special Notes:  This book is FREE with every THREE copies of FEMFORCE #172 ordered

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Making My Comics Debut

It's a wonderful moment for me right now. After being a comics fan for most of my life, I'm finally crossing over to the other side of the panels and becoming a comics writer. Well, the writer of one story right now, but I am now looking for other comics gigs too as this was so much fun.

The title? FEMFORCE! AC Comics picked up a script of mine for a solo story featuring their popular character STARDUST, and by all accounts it will be arriving in Femforce 172, out in August! 

Pencilled by Scott Shriver and inked by Jeff Austin, the seven page backup story sees Stardust face off against a new villainess linked to her origins.

With this, I feel like I've come full circle. It was Femforce issue 68 in the nineties which was the first place I saw my name in print. They published a fan letter of mine when I was 15 and I've treasured that ever since.

During all of my years as a writer, from the early days as a comic shop blogger, through my years as a music journalist, pop culture columnist and author, there was always the wish that one day I could be part of a comic book.


In a frenzy of random pitch emails and brainstorming a little while ago, I got in touch with AC about the possibility of writing something, and suddenly it's on it's way! Well, not suddenly, but after plot discussions and a fevered evening writing the script.

It was a great learning experience for me as a writer, as it was my first experience at writing for a character I didn't create and also working in some nods to continuity and the character's history, and I'm grateful for it. It was a challenge, but a challenge that I found energising.

I want more.

I'm looking for more comics gigs in the near future, as quite frankly, this was too much fun not to follow up on. It uses a different set of writing skills when writing a comic script, the style sitting somewhere between a screenplay and prose.

 So I've done it now. I'm going to have my work in a comic. Even if I never get to do another comic script ever again, I've made it into the medium I always dreamed of, and I am thrilled.

To be continued?

(I'll post the full solicitation info for the issue this week!)

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Comic Book Retrospectives – A Current Indulgence

Ah dammit, I think middle age has finally settled in properly. I've started getting the urge to write retrospective pieces. I finished one today on a certain nineties comics event (which should arrive soon on a certain site), and had a lot of fun writing it. So much so that I suddenly have half a dozen other ideas for further retrospectives.

Is this just middle age talking, or am I actively wanting to revisit stuff that I love?

Probably a bit of both, really. Nineties comics are often derided, and in some cases quite rightly so, but that was the era in which I came of age and the era I remember the most fondly in terms of stuff I was reading. Writing restrospectives is the perfect excuse to revisit things you love, but it does run the risk of discovering that those things weren't as great as you remember. That's an odd feeling, but an interesting one.

It's interesting to observe how your tastes change, how your mind evolves and how the different eras of your life start to seem like chapters.

It's also a nice little reminder of a more simple time in the comics industry. I mean, back in the day we may have had foil embossed covers and characters with ridiculous physical proportions, but we didn't have gigantic crossovers which it was impossible to follow. Sure, there were events, but not quite to the same extent as today's bloated, meandering crossover fodder.

So basically I'm taking from this urge the apparent fact that I'm a bitter and jaded aged geek with a fondness for nostalgia. I don't have a problem with that. Now, where did I put that stack of early WildC.A.T.S. issues and my stash of Malibu comics?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Hear me babble about movies on May the 12th!


On the 12th of May I'll be co-hosting my favourite radio show - STRAIGHT TO VIDEO! The people behind the eclectic  film-geek-and-film-soundtrack show asked me if I'd be interested, and the answer was a resounding HELL YES. Expect a lot of VHS talk, a lot of film geeing and some damn fine soundtrack tunes. You'll be able to listen in worldwide at www.rockstarsglued.com. Please do tune in! There may be a little announcement in store...

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Friday, 13 March 2015

Terry Pratchett And The Sound Of Pages


I was lucky enough to meet Terry Pratchett on three occasions, and each time he greeted me like an old friend, as though we were picking up a conversation we'd left behind on our previous visit. In reality I was just one of many, many people who had queued to spend a moment with the man who wrote some of the greatest books that had ever been published.

He was gracious and friendly and pleasant, adding messages and pressing ink stamps of Discworld characters onto books as he chatted with everyone. I remember one evening seeing him with a bag of frozen peas at the ready to soothe his aching hand after signing for so many people.

The true depth that his work worked its way into our lives has only really become apparent for many people since news broke that he has passed away at the age of 66. The stories, the characters, the style, the humour, the satire, all of those things have now crystallized in our minds once again. The books are wonderful, and his legendary status was further cemented by his fascinating nature in conversation, his love for Orang-utans, his wit, his honesty regarding his fight against Alzheimer's disease and his will to carry on.

His loss has hit me harder than it probably should have. I may have spent a few brief moments with him, but I didn't know him. I just admired and enjoyed. I was just another fan, but he made everyone he met feel like the most important person there. With his passing we have lost a treasure of a man, a cherished mind and personality.

But we haven't. Not really.

Here, let me explain with my own brief tribute.

The Sound Of Pages 

News travelled fast. Very fast. “The End,” the final tweet had said. The news sites picked up the moment quickly. He had gone. People began to hear the news right around the world that a life had been cut short, a wonderful mind had succumbed to ill health. A man that many saw as an inspiration, an entertainer, a genius, had gone. 

Across the world there was mourning. Across the world there were stories shared of what his creations had meant to people, the things his unique vision had brought into the lives of millions. 

Around the world, hands reached up to shelves and pulled out well-worn paperbacks and hardbacks. Favourites that had been there throughout entire lives. 

Around the world, the sound of pages rose, turning with the world, rising like a whispering wave. Inside that sound, between those turning pages, there was the sound of laughter, the sound of adventure, the sound of wizards and witches and idiots and heroes and more idiots and a rather hairy Librarian, the sounds of people who lived in a carpet, the sound of real society being pointed at, the sound of years of stories being rediscovered, remembered, relived. 

The pages continued to turn, and as the legend of those stories was ignited anew, they would continue to turn for generations to come. In the sound of pages, between those adventures and gasps and snorts and explosions and chases and schemes, deeper, between those wonderful things, a softer sound was there. 

In the sound of pages, the great man breathed again.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

My HALESTORM cover story - out now!

My interview with Lzzy Hale of rock giants HALESTORM is out now - the cover feature of our current issue!


Friday, 27 February 2015

Leonard Nimoy: We have been, and always shall be, your friends


Hearing about the death of Leonard Nimoy has been a poignant and strange thing today. He was an incredibly talented man, loved by his colleagues and fans across the globe, and leaves behind a legacy like no other. The things he did, the decades spanned where his work had become part of the backbone of popular culture, the number of things he created which have entered the lexicon of our lives is astounding.

His sad passing has made fans new and old revisit some of his greatest moments as Spock, the many glorious moments from TOS, the iconic and now even more poignant death of Spock in The Wrath of Khan, along with all the other moments which further strengthened his legendary status.

Personally, something which has stuck with me for years now is his performance onstage with a number of other Star Trek luminaries in Alien Voices: The First Men In The Moon, a live adaptation of the HG Wells classic. Hearing Nimoy perform without the expectations that came with him being in costume as Spock gave me the first real taste I'd had of his versatility. As much of a Star Trek fan that I am, the thing I'll remember the most is that powerful performance. I must revisit that soon.

Leonard Nimoy's passing has also made me think about how things continue to change around us each day. The heroes I grew up with will one day all be gone, replaced by things I can't imagine and which I won't understand as I age myself and move away from being in the loop about the latest cultural changes. It hasn't happened yet, but it comes to everyone eventually.

However, even when heroes such as Nimoy are claimed by failing health, the eras they created that defined generations of fans around the world live on in the recordings, the continued passion of the fans and what we pass on to future generations. It's important that the wonderfully creative work of people such as Leonard Nimoy isn't brushed aside and forgotten by future lovers of the fantastic. The original series may seem quaint now, but it was groundbreaking when it first aired. It changed perceptions. It challenged established ideals. It changed popular culture forever.

Leonard Nimoy was an integral part of that change. That zeitgeist. That cultural shift.

What an incredible thing to leave behind.


Monday, 16 February 2015

More words in, more words out



I really need to finish reading some of the books which have found their way into my bedside table. The above pictured books are recent additions to the library which appears to have taken over our house, but I've not had chance to finish any of them yet. This has had a knock-on effect with my writing, as the more I read, the more I'm able to write. It's a well-worn bit of advice for writers to read as much as possible in order to develop and maintain their craft, and the proof for me is that when I can't get the time to read enough, my productivity also suffers. 

I've certainly noticed this recently. With a full time day job, two small children, work on the house and my regular freelancing, time available for my books is at a premium. Energy is a rare thing too, as sleep has been a scarce creature since becoming a father again. 

All of this sounds like me making excuses. I'm really not. It's just important to me that people know I'm working hard to get to the place I've always wanted to be with the stuff I write. It's not been easy lately, but I'm battling on. I love doing this. I promised myself and those around me that I would carry on, following the experiment of putting out A Stolen Fate, and so here I am. I'm really enjoying it when I get the time to actually get some words down into the various files, but I would really like those moments to be less infrequent.

February 2015 - portrait of a caffeinated hack
One way I've got around the lack of time at home is to work on my commute, during which I've actually made a hell of a lot of progress this past few months, making my magazine deadlines easier to fit in with daily life, work and my unending desire to get the stories out of my skull and into the skulls of others. However, recently even those times have been fruitless, as they've been taken up with me either feeling too ill or sleepy to concentrate, or with me trying to focus on whichever book I'd taken out with me and failing miserably due to tiredness.

Thus my productivity has wavered somewhat. The less I read, the less my brain is well-oiled enough for hefty bouts of writing new content. The books I have scheduled to come out this year are all on target, but there's so much more I want to get out there for you. I mean, what else am I going to do with all this stuff?

Incidentally, I had 90 minutes of free time today with no other distractions and got another 1,500 words added to the current novel. It just goes to show you.

So the point is simple. Keep reading and you'll keep writing. Keep it varied, too. Read widely. Read voraciously. 

Oh, and if you see me nodding off with a book in my lap, give me a poke, yeah?

===

PS My blog will now have a conscious focus rather than the random jumble of stuff which it's had since I started it. I'm going to gear it more towards the life of a semi-pro hack trying to fit in interviews with rock stars in the middle of getting the kids to bed and then getting something done on the novels.
So yeah, a new start from here.

BTW - look out for my interview with none other than Lzzy Hale of the mighty HALESTORM at the end of the month in our next issue.

Friday, 9 January 2015

ROGUE SOUL - THE NEW NOVEL - APRIL 6TH

Cover to be finalised - but this is close!
ROGUE SOUL, the continuation of the story which began with A STOLEN FATE, will be released on April the 6th. The Shadow Children return, and this time they're not alone.

The events of the first book have stirred up forces darker than the undead heroes of A Stolen Fate have ever imagined. Secrets will be revealed, new mysteries discovered and a threat like no other must be overcome, or the fundamental rules of existence may be shattered forever.

The Shadow Children will face their origins, or lose everything.

Full blurb coming soon. Rogue Soul will arrive in trade paperback and Ebook from Dreamrider Media in April.