Finally, after months of long-distance familying, I'm back with the clan and in Vancouver. To say I'm happy is an understatement. As fun as Dubai was, I'm very excited to be somewhere more culturally right for me. It's even snowed to give me an extra special welcome.
Plus there are loads of very cool cafes to write in. This one does a mean hot chocolate for cold days:
Book 2 is touching 140,000 words now. I had to go back and tweak a few things that came from the copy edits of Book 1 but I'm storming forwards now. It's going to be a long book when its finished and I expect to get very heavily edited afterwards but that's all part of the experience working with a great team at Gollancz.
It's only 4 months now before WE ARE THE DEAD is out in the world. Hard to say how I feel about it. Excited. Scared. Disbelieving? I was in a cool sci-fi/fantasy book shop called White Dwarf in Vancouver on Sunday and it was crazy to think that my book will be on similar shelves soon...
I'm back in Dubai for a few weeks, just closing off the last of our lives here. It's been an amazing place to live but too much of a rollercoaster ride at times. I'm looking forward to some stability in Vancouver when I return in February.
I'm also about 130,000 words into book 2. There's a momentum behind my writing which is good and I'm getting my word counts done despite some pretty horrible jet lag.
I'm staying in a nice hotel that has a great lounge to write in that helps.
I'm trying to get fit again and I've been out for a few runs. I'm still coughing my lungs up though which kind of takes the fun out of it — a memento from my two bouts of pneumonia I've had over the last few years. I need to find a solution as I love running and I want to run a half marathon in May in Vancouver.
I'm very happy too that there is a new series of Punisher on Netflix. I've watched three epsiodes so far and enjoying it a lot.
On 13th June 2019, WE ARE THE DEAD will be in the shops in the UK. Unreal to think so but it's happening. Exciting times ahead!
I'm making steady but slow progress on book 2. I'm now at 120,000 words with lots of revising to do on earlier chapters. I've a horrible feeling the book could be nearer 200,000 words when it's finished but let's see...
What an amazing year it's been and I couldn't be more excited about the year ahead. It's still hard to believe that next year I'll be abe to walk into a book store and see my book on the shelves. It's a dream come true and I'm a very lucky man.
I've still got lots of writing to do on Book 2 though between now and next year so, until then, have a fab time over the festive season and have a wonderful 2019 too.
The end of the year fast approaches. I leave on Monday to join my family in Canada for the holidays and I really can't wait. I've been apart from them for four months and hated every minute of it. To say I'm excited is an understatement!
Book 2 is moving along at a pace now. Everyone is in trouble. Exciting times.
I've just heard that WE ARE THE DEAD is with its copy editor now, the wonderful Lisa Rogers, who also happens to work on Joe Abercrombie's books. I'm a huge Abercrombie fan so I am really excited about that!
Apparently the cover is nearly ready to share with me. I was hoping to see it this week but apparently it'll be ready early next week - most likely when I'm flying across the world.
I'm powering on with Book 2, hoping to get it finished by the end of the year. This won't be helped by my moving to Canada to rejoin my family and, of course, the holidays but I'll get there. It's got real momentum at the moment and, I think, I'm living up to my promise to make everything worse for all my characters.
In book 1 news, WE ARE THE DEAD is now coming out on June 13th 2019, that's one month earlier than was planned. There should be ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) going out in the world early 2019... eeek. I'm also hoping to see The Cover this week. Something else to freak out about.
In non-book news, I finally saw Ant Man and The Wasp this week and I have to say — I think this is one of my favourite superhero movies, I loved it. I really loved it. Exciting, funny, well-acted, smart script, pacy.... well recommended.
I'm now hard at work on Book 2 of The Last War trilogy and also working my way through copy edits of WE ARE THE DEAD (while also dealing with a day job). Some nights I'm completely frazzled by the time I close my laptop, especially when Microsoft Word is playing up with my Mac. I'm really not a fan of that program. I write my drafts in Scrivener and that is just perfect. Word not so much. And that spinning ball that pops up when things aren't working? I just want to scream then.
But the long hours and brain ache is worth it. Especially when I see the book is now up on Amazon UK for pre-order. No one told me of course. I had to find out by accident. But there it is - 11th July 2019. Wow. It's really happening.
And then I see at the bottom, my publishers have put "PERFECT FOR readers of Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, and Peter V. Brett." And I do a happy dance once again. What company to be in... :)
It's been a bit of a crazy week what with the official announcement of my book being bought by Gollancz. I've no idea why it would have an effect on me as I've known for six months now but somehow reading about it makes it all feel so much realer. I know that makes no sense but it is what it is.
However, in the middle of this wow feeling of "My book is being published" is also the nitty gritty of getting on with book 2. It's now at 90,000 words. Stuff's happening. I'm feeling happy about it and I'm going to enjoy that while it lasts (before another loop of "this is crap").
I also have a title that I'm pleased with but I've not told anyone yet. It's my little secret for now! :)
When I finally got to tweet out that my lovely little book will be published by Gollancz, I said in typical British reserved fashion, "Obviously I'm very happy about this." To be honest, happy doesn't quite describe it. I'm over the f@£$ing moon to put it mildly. And even though I've known about this since February, I'm still jumping up and down with joy. If I was agile enough, I'd probably do a few back flips as well.
When I started writing seriously all those years ago, this was what I wanted — a book with my name on it next to the Gollancz logo.
What a journey it's been. Up a big mountain. For now I'm going to catch my breath, enjoy the view, do another happy dance or two, then get on with the slog up the next mountain that is book 2.
Writing is a weird thing. So much happens in isolation, where you undergo a daily battle where reality does it best to batter your dreams, where life does it best to make you give up and walk away and forget about those stories niggling away in your mind. But for some reason, you keep going. You keep writing. Then the very thing you've worked so hard for happens and you can't tell anyone about it because publishing works at such a slow pace. And you just get on and write more, almost unsure that the dream is actually happening. But then something wonderful happens and you know that, yes, it is happening. The dream is real.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this:
WE ARE THE DEAD by Mike Shackle to Gollancz
Gollancz have acquired, at auction, the debut series from Mike Shackle. The first title, WE ARE THE DEAD, will be published in 2019.
The war is over. The bad guys won.
For generations, the people of Jia – a land where magic has long since faded from the world, clinging on in only a few rare individuals – have been protected from the northern Egril hordes by their warrior caste, the Shulka. But on the day that Tinnstra, daughter of one of the Shulka’s greatest generals, is to face her greatest challenge at the academy where all future Shulka are trained, the world is turned upside down. For too long, Jia has focused its defences on the mountain strongholds in the north. But the Egril have rediscovered magic, courtesy of their god-king Raaku. Soon, rents in the fabric of the world open across Jia, from the mountains in the north to the sun-drenched coastal towns in the south – and, through those portals, pour abominations too monstrous to imagine. An invasion has begun.
In moments, the war is over. Resistance is quashed. Kings and city leaders are barricaded in their homes awaiting banishment and execution, the Shulka are massacred, and a helpless people submit to the brutality of Egril rule.
Six months later, Jia is a cowed and divided kingdom. The Egril have proven cruel overlords. Public executions, terror raids, and brutalised people are the new normal, as the people of Jia think only of surviving, day to day.
Jia’s heroes have failed it. They are all gone. And yet… there is still hope. Soon the fate of the kingdom will fall into the hands of a schoolboy terrorist, a crippled Shulka warrior and his wheelchair bound son, a single mother desperate enough to do anything she can to protect her baby… and Tinnstra, disgraced daughter of the Shulka’s greatest leader, who now lies dead by Egril hands. A princess, five years old, has survived the occupation – and now the future of a nation lies in getting her safely over the seas, to where new alliances can be forged and the tide of war turned. Somehow, these people will have to find the heroism deep inside them – or die trying.