Jul 31, 2014


We've been having a stressful time lately, on a couple of fronts. It's been a hard couple of weeks, but we've had amazing support from friends and family. Thank you to everyone who's given advice, offered to lend a hand, or just listened to us.

I want to take the positive from this. We have learned from this, and we have achieved from this. We've restored order to our house, in fact it looks the best it has since before we lost Conor. We've learned from mistakes and will do better in the future. We've set our goals and will achieve them.

We've gotten our physical environment in order. Now it's time to do the same for our hearts and minds.

In addition to being eternally grateful to those who've supported us, we have a new affirmation:

I am strong and respected.
My children are happy and loved.
My home is peaceful and safe.
My life is prosperous and joyful.

Jul 29, 2014

Wow, Orders!

All of a sudden people are placing orders for their copies of Memory War!

I'm not sure what sparked this, but I'm confident that the orders I've already received over the last week should just about cover the costs for the launch, if I'm smart.

Obviously I have to send the order to my publisher in plenty of time for the books to be delivered, so hurry up and order your copy.

I don't know if I've said it before, but I'm very proud of this book, and humbled that so many people are eager to see how the story ends. I hope it's everything you guys hope it'll be!

Jul 24, 2014

Memory Wars Cast

I think most writers dream of seeing their book turned into a movie one day. I certainly do. And of course, you want the right cast. Often when I write, I keep particular actors in mind, to help me keep characters' personalities and appearances consistent. Over time, these images in my head can change, and with the Memory Wars, this is certainly the case, as many of the actors I previously used as inspiration have grown a lot older since I first started work on the series.

So here's the dream cast, if the Memory Wars were to be made into a movie series:

Nathan Shepherd
- Stephen Amell

Elena DeSantis
- Mila Kunis

Cynthia Keller
- Jessica Biel

Cadence Brooke
- Tiffany Hines

Sam Kinnon
- Chris Hemsworth

Mike Shepherd
- Martin Sheen

- Steve Buscemi

Laura Lucas
- Rachel McAdams

Vincent Dorian
- Tom Hiddleston

Jonah Creek
- Stanley Tucci

- Henry Cavill

- Angelina Jolie

Jul 22, 2014

Sales at Your Book Launch

With the launch of Memory War less than seven weeks away, I wanted to talk about something which every author needs to consider: Sales.

Whatever your feelings on the romantic idea of the author, toiling away on their novel, or the relationship between art and business, the fact is that authors these days need a keen business mind, particularly when it comes to the big events like the release of your latest book. You can't sit back and assume the book will sell itself; you've got to get out there, find your target audience, and spread awareness of your product.

Now, a book launch, alone, will never be a huge money-maker. Unless you're one of the top-name authors in the business (in which case, you don't need my advice, and could I have an endorsement, please?), your book launch really is there primarily to help you celebrate the achievement of getting that book out there. The secondary goals are to spread awareness of the book and hopefully sell enough copies to either convince the bookstore to stock copies afterwards, or (if you're having it somewhere else) to pay for the costs of actually getting the event arranged to begin with.

This advice might at first seem to not be relevant to those who have their launches in a bookstore, but some stores might have difficulty ordering stock themselves, and might ask you to provide the books on the night, and arrange a rate at which they'll sell them.

Remember that while you're there to have fun and enjoy that lovely giddy feeling you get as people walk around with your book in their hands, you also have to pay your bill.

The big money comes from two things: (A) venue hire, and (B) books.

This year I'm happy to say that the Trinity Bar has offered me space at no cost, so I just have to worry about providing some food and ordering books to sell.

My advice to anyone providing books for their launch themselves is to take pre-orders, and as much as possible, only order copies that you've already been paid for. There's a horrible, sinking feeling that comes from looking at your sales and realising you don't have enough to pay back your supplier. Plus it turns the launch into a guessing game where you try and work out who'll come and how many copies they'll buy, and work out how much stock to order so you have enough to sell to everyone.

Avoid the hassle altogether and just offer pre-orders. If you've got some cash spare, it can be nice to have some extra copies on hand to sell to people who might show up without having RSVPed, or if anyone forgot to place their order, but you can always take more orders on the night, and avoid the stress of watching your cashbox for the moment you reach your break-even point.

That's what I'll be doing this year. I might have a couple of spare copies with me, since I get a few free from my publisher, but I'll only be ordering as many copies as are ordered, and for the rest I'll be taking orders on the day.

Jul 17, 2014

Choosing Gender

I thought I'd take a break from talking about Memory War today and discuss gender choice in writing. This has been a hot topic all year, what with debate over whether or not Dr Who should have female Doctor, how Ubisoft could have avoided the PR mess over the co-op avatars in Assassin's Creed: Unity, and most recently, Marvel's announcement that a woman will become the new Thor.

I remember talking about this with friends over the last few years as my writing career has slowly built up. One of the things I've come to think about lately is my earlier reasoning for choosing the gender of my characters.

I'll own up, way back when I was still figuring out how to get published and wondering what I could write, I had this misconstrued idea that there were too many women protagonists in the kinds of stories I liked. So I decided I was going to "even the odds" by making sure to write an urban fantasy with a male protagonist. Well, five years and a lot of new experience and research has told me that Younger Me was very, very naive.

Even so, I thought that I should still write male protagonists because "that's what I knew." I figured I could write a man better than I could write a woman. Now, bear in mind I was still perfectly happy to write plenty of female supporting characters, so I don't know what to think of myself there. Was I of the opinion it was okay to risk botching a supporting character like that, but not the protagonist? Of course, the idea of learning how to write a woman didn't cross my mind. What was my problem?

It was simple. I wasn't really considering the implications of my choice of characters. It wasn't that I was ignoring women, or pushing some MRA agenda. I just didn't realise that gender choice was an important part of the writing process. Because at the time, I wasn't exposing myself to the same range and variety of authors and bloggers I am today. I hadn't the feintest idea of the problems of female representation in entertainment.

So Nathan Shepherd wound up being a man. I'm not sorry I made this choice. And in fact, I still managed to play on the assumption of the male hero, because part of Nathan's journey in Locked Within, and part of how he become stronger and grows into a hero, lies in remembering his past life as Katherine O'Reilly. In essence, the hero gains strength from embracing the feminine side to himself.

I've heard, and (please forgive me) used the excuse of "I'll write a female protagonist if the story calls for it." Ugh. How come we never see anyone say I'll write a male protagonist if the story calls for it"? Because to many people, a white male hero is the default assumption.

Not that there's anything wrong with writing a book about a white man. While my Lady Raven series features a girl as the protagonist, I'm certainly going to keep writing books with men in the leading role. Because I enjoy writing male characters. I enjoy exploring platonic relationships between men and women (something I feel is seriously under-represented in fiction). But it won't be my default anymore. It'll be a choice, and I'll own it as a conscious decision in my creative process.

Everything that's in a book is the writer's choice. It hasn't been forced on them, and it certainly isn't the only way for the book to be. So authors should own their decisions. Write a male character, or a female one, or a transgender one. It's okay to write whatever the hell you like, so long as you're doing it because you've made that conscious choice, and you're not following a blind assumption that it somehow "should be" a certain way.

Jul 15, 2014

Entries Are Closing

Today's the last day to get your submissions in for the Memory Wars Casting Contest! I'll leave it until midnight tonight, GMT, to fully close off entries.

The lucky winner will have their chosen cast revealed on July 24th, and be the first to receive a signed copy of Memory War.

Jul 10, 2014


My wife and I are off to the wedding of one of our oldest friends today, so there won't be a proper blog post.

Instead, I'll remind everyone of everything that's going on as we get ever closer to the release of Memory War:

Book Launch - If you're in Dublin in September, RSVP to the launch party on the 6th, and help us celebrate the epic conclusion to the series.

Ask The Author - Stop by my Goodreads page and ask me anything you like!

TV Tropes - Check out the new Memory Wars Trilogy page on TV Tropes, and add some examples of your own.

Pre-Order - Order your copy of Memory War ahead of the launch, either from Amazon or directly from me.

Blog Tour - If you'd like to help promote the new book, sign up for the blog tour and host an article, interview, or review.

Casting Contest - The closing date of July 15th is almost here. Send in your dream cast for a Memory Wars movie series, and be in for a chance to win a signed copy of the third book.

Jul 8, 2014

Ask The Author

From now until the release of Memory War, I'll be answering your questions on Goodreads. Drop over and let me know what's on your mind, what you'd like to know about the previous books, what you can expect to see in the new one, and what my plans are once Nathan's story is finished.

Sign up on Goodreads and join the fun!

Jul 3, 2014

Writing Goals Update

In the midst of getting things ready for Memory War's release, I'm painfully aware that I have to keep focused on what's to come after the book is out. I have Lady Raven due out later in the year, but I have to keep writing so I've got stuff ready to come out in 2015.

To that end, I've set myself the goal of completing two novels by the end of February 2015. One of these will be the second Lady Raven book, while the other will be for traditional publishing.

Unfortunately, looking back at the number of book ideas I've talked about on this blog, and then let fall by the wayside, I think it's best if I keep the details of new series under wraps until I'm certain they're going somewhere. Fact is, most book ideas never get written, and I'm certainly no exception to this. Writing a book is hard, and takes a lot of commitment. Some ideas have to be let go, because your time might be better spent on a more solid concept, for now, instead of struggling through something that isn't working.

This isn't because I'm having trouble deciding what to write next. I swear. Why are you looking at me like that...?

I'd love to take a week off from work, and each day just write as much as I can for a different book, and by the end of the week see which idea looks the most promising.

So that's where things stand, as regards my future writing. Lots to consider, and I really need to decide what new series to write next. One thing is for sure, I do not want to repeat the stress I put myself through last year. 2013 was a rough year, writing-wise, and while I need to get my writing back on track, I can't afford to run myself into the ground like I've done in the past.

Don't forget, you can still sign up for the Memory War Blog Tour, and enter to win a signed copy of the book. If you'll be at the launch on September 6th, don't forget to pre-order your copy.

Jul 1, 2014

TV Tropes

TV Tropes is a wonderful, terrible thing. It's a fantastic tool for analyzing narrative structure and storytelling techniques, but it's a huge time-sink, and if you're not careful, you'll wind up losing hours of your day to it.

It also happens to be a handy place to let people know about new books, shows, and movies. Unlike Wikipedia, they have no rules or guidelines against creators adding their own work, so long as they accept that once a page is created or an example entered, the community can edit or remove it if they feel it's no longer relevant, or have comments of their own to make. It's kinda wonderful how it's grown so successful based just on a shared love of stories and how they're told.

I've added a page for The Memory Wars, with a hefty set of initial tropes that can be found in the series. I've refrained from going into any detail on Memory War there, at least until the book has been out long enough for people to read it, and any examples that might give away the plot of the series have been spoiler-tagged. Please take a look, and if there's any examples you'd like to add yourselves, create an account and share your thoughts!