Current Projects

  • The Artemis Device
  • Smoke & Mirrors
  • Untitled Non-Fiction Book
  • Untitled Science Fiction Book
  • Pavonis Rewrite

The Artemis Device

I’ve been calling this one “gothic sci-fi”; it was inspired by Gormenghast and Dark City, among other things.

Current status: copy editing

~April 2015: The new “first” draft (I’m calling it that because from my publisher’s perspective, it’s a first draft) is now done and sitting in storage waiting for my copy editor to tell me she’s ready to see it. (She has at least one other major project on her plate at the moment, with a tight deadline, so Artemis is on her back burner, so to speak.)

07-Sep-15: That first draft went to my copy editor a while ago, and she suggested a bunch of changes. It took a while because of a lot of personal and work stuff going on, but I finally got that finished yesterday. Version 2 of the files are waiting to be uploaded to the publisher’s account.

07-Nov-15: I uploaded the files something like six weeks ago, but my copy editor is busy—for one thing, she had at least one other project that was coming up for release, and then she got married! I’m not in any rush; it can wait a while longer.

22-Nov-15: It’s more than a month since I’ve had any contact with my publisher. That’s anyone at the publisher, including my copy editor. Something’s going on there, I know, but I wish they’d tell me (and the other authors on their books) what it’s all about.

06-Dec-15: The publisher is not acquiring new titles, at least for the foreseeable future. That’s a potential problem; I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of making Artemis the first of two or three books, but that would mean submitting a script for a sequel to a publisher that didn’t handle the first book—and most publishers aren’t going to be interested. So I have no choice but to ask the publisher about cancelling the contract.

07-Dec-15: Writing yesterday’s update triggered something because I suddenly found myself working up a story for a sequel and AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH, laying down some bones for a third book. And I found the ideas compelling and exciting, to the point where I’ve decided to put away the notes for the Urban Fantasy story I was working on and instead continue with this. I have a working title for the third story but not for the second (that’s the way it goes), but that should change soon. Watch this space.

11-Dec-15: The whole hoo-hah at the publisher turns out to have been a big nothing. There’s been a little change in management, and that’s all, but someone seems to have got the wrong end of the stick and thought that things were circling the drain. Not true. I should be getting stuff from my copy editor in the next few days, and I’ve been assured that sequels aren’t going to be a problem. Panic over; as you were.

12-Dec-15: The story ideas for the sequel are coming along, so I’m adding a new section (below) for that. Updates here will be specific to the first book from this point.

01-May-16: My copy editor has been out of the picture for the last four months, but we were in touch a few days ago and drew up a plan; in line with that, I broke up the original chapter files into one file per scene and organised those into directories. She has those now; let’s see what she thinks of them.

29-May-16: My copy editor worked on the files while I was in the UK, and there were updated files ready for editing when I got back a week ago. I’ve been too jet-lagged, and too busy on catch-up day-job work, to get properly started—until now; it’s Memorial Day weekend and I seem to be over the time shift. Getting on with it.

18-Jun-17: Christ, has it been this long? I have got very little editing done, and while there are a bunch of reasons I really don’t have an excuse. MUST TRY HARDER.

24-Jun-17: Pushed myself to make an effort, and actually made some progress. Spent forty minutes on the phone with mom, and another hour on a Google Hangout with my brother — routine Saturday thing, but it did slow things down. All the same, I almost finished Chapter One. No such distractions tomorrow — the plan is to finish Chapters One and Two at the very least.

25-Jun-17: YAY I actually got Chapter Two done. As much as I could, anyway — for some reason the file for the last scene is kinda weird, in that it looks like my copy editor bounced the file back at me without accepting or rejecting any of my marked up changes, and apart from correcting the alignment of the title line made no comments or suggestions. I think she might have accidentally sent the wrong file. Then I went to make a dent in Chapter Three . . . and hit a problem: the latest files I have are my own. It looks like I never got the next version from my copy editor. It’s possible she’s put them on Google Drive and I’m looking in the wrong place. It’s so long since I worked on it, I don’t remember where we’d got to. Email sent, so hopefully we can get ourselves back in sync. Meanwhile there’s one last little bit of Chapter One that I need to revisit — I’m still not happy with it.

Smoke & Mirrors

This is a steampunk/SF novel with a twist. Primary inspiration was A Dream of Wessex (not Inception — a first rough draft had been written before the movie was announced). And I have a much better title, but I’m keeping it to myself at the moment.

Current status: complete first draft

07-Sep-15: First draft was completed some months ago and a preview copy sent to the publisher. They seem to be interested. Since then it’s had one editing pass but it’s going to get another one, probably with some serious rewriting of many scenes, before it’s in shape for submission. So I’ll be working on self-edits on this ‘script while editing Artemis.

19-Sep-15: Just finished another editing pass. The typescript is ready for submission to the publisher, but first I have to put together a blurb and a synopsis so that’ll probably be tomorrow.

07-Nov-15: My publisher isn’t acquiring new titles at the moment so I decided to go traditional; that is, I’m trying to find an agent. I found a couple through Writer’s Digest on Twitter, and sent queries. Then I signed up with QueryTracker and found a bunch more, and hand-picked seven and sent out queries. Of those nine queries, I’ve had five rejections so far. Of the other four (based on QueryTracker timelines) I’m expecting responses from two any time now. One in particular looks like someone I’d particularly like to work with and I really hope he’s interested.

11-Nov-15: I received another rejection email the day before yesterday. That’s the way it goes. Meanwhile that agent I mentioned in the previous update (the one I said I hope to be able to work with) hasn’t responded, and my submission is in the middle of a bunch of submissions from other authors, which he has answered (according to QueryTracker). Not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad one. I’ll give it a few more days, but in the meantime I think I need to check to make sure I followed his submission guidelines properly. (Update to the update: It looks like I might have misunderstood the submission guidelines—which is embarrassing, given how careful I usually am in sticking to them. In my defence, the guidelines are not as clear and unambiguous at they might be. I’ve drafted another query, and if I don’t see a response to the original query by, say, Friday, I’ll send it.)

19-Nov-15: I decided I’d given that agent long enough without a reply. Either he basically binned the query because it didn’t follow guidelines properly, or it got lost somehow. I re-submitted with the additional stuff, being more careful this time. And twenty minutes later I got a form rejection. That leaves a sour taste; this guy was on Twitter talking about how not updating other agents you’ve queried when you get an acceptance is rude, but to me a form letter on a twenty-minute bounce makes me feel like he didn’t even look at the thing before throwing it out. Also… so many sites talk about making sure you address queries to the right person the right way; but apparently it’s ok for an agent to send a form rejection that starts Dear Author. (I take the time to look up your name when I’m writing the query; you can’t take ten seconds to put my damned name on the top line when you reply?) These are reasons writers say bad things about agents. Well, fuck it. It’s still in the queue with two other agents. Patience.

06-Dec-15: Still waiting to hear from the last two agents. According to QueryTracker, one of those could respond any day now. Expect an update right here, soon.

07-Dec-15: The agent I was referring to in yesterday’s update came back with a form rejection. That leaves one agent, who (judging by what I see in QueryTracker) could easily be a couple more weeks getting back to me. So I’ve found three more agents to send out queries to (in the UK, this time) and those will be going out shortly. [Personal note: we all get rejected; that’s par for the course. But no matter how many times I say that to myself it still gets depressing, just getting form rejections with not a word of encouragement. So I guess I’ll try rewriting my queries a bit before doing the next batch. Maybe that’ll help. Maybe not. With no useful feedback of any kind, it’s impossible to know why these are being rejected. Is it the writing that’s the problem, or the query letter? If you’re an agent and you’re reading this, throw me a goddamn bone here.]

31-Dec-15: I found a publisher that doesn’t usually accept un-agented submissions but has an open submission period running until the end of January. After paring down the synopsis as much as I can, I’ve gone ahead and put in the submission. I might not hear anything for three months, so I’ll still be submitting to agents in the meantime. Watch this space.

01-May-16: Never did hear anything back from that publisher, so at this point I’m not quite sure what to do with the ‘script. I’m seriously considering self-pub on Smashwords.

Untitled Non-Fiction Book

New as of June 2017; I just came up with the idea a few days ago when I was at a writing workshop and it occurred to me that most of the questions from people new to writing (read that as: even newer than me) were about the process of developing a story. I had the idea of expanding on a set of blog posts I wrote here, and building it up into a short book that I could self-pub on Smashwords.

Current status: outlining

25-Jun-17: Blog post text has been saved as Google Docs, as a start point to be expanded on. I’ve also written the first couple of paragraphs of an introduction.

Untitled Science Fiction Book

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of months. I have a character I like, and four separate stories that follow each other to build into a bigger character/story arc. Very early days yet.

Current status: at the ideas phase


Another steampunk/SF. This one was written, self-published and then unpublished, and I’ve been thinking about rewriting it completely for submission. Among other things, it was written in first-person, which in hindsight might have been a serious mistake. Or not. And the title sucks. It’s also badly paced (things like this are why we all need professional editors). However I still think it’s a good story with some good ideas, and I’d really like to have another shot at it.

Other Projects

These had some work done on them but are now on hold, at least until some of the above projects are complete or close to it, and possibly permanently.

Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia sequel : Unlikely this will ever happen, unfortunately (but not completely out of the question). I did have a preliminary timeline mostly worked out; that’s about as far as it got before other things got in the way (the main thing being that The Artemis Device was submitted for publication and took priority).

Artemis II & III: Again, possible but unlikely at this time. II has a partial timeline, and III was at the ideas phase as far as I can remember. (Note to self: dig out what I have and remind myself how far these got.)

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