Feeling optimistic…which is nice

Feeling optimistic…which is nice

hereReviewMy new novel has been out for just over a week, and there are already two positive reviews posted online. What’s more, they’re from complete strangers, so I know they’re genuine. This is a much more enthusiastic response to the novel than I had been expecting, and I am hoping it could be a sign that Ranidir’s Heir is going to do well.

The reviews can be found here and here, and there’s a snapshot of my favourite one above.

What does it mean to receive positive feedback? The absolute world. I’ve poured an awful lot of myself into all of my books, but none more so than the latest one. All the time I was writing it I was excited, I barely faltered at any stage, that enthusiasm remaining with me through the entire process. It somehow felt like I was producing something to be proud of, and to have such quick affirmation of that after its release is both a pleasure and such a major relief! It doesn’t matter how many friends and family tell you they think your work is good, you’ll never believe it, not really, until someone completely non-biased weighs in and gives you their own completely neutral opinion.

The human brain is funny like that. “I love you, I trust you, but when it comes to evaluating my work I’d much rather hear from Joe Bloggs over there”. It’s one of the few occasions when a stranger’s opinion is worth so much more than a friend’s, along with “does my bum look big in this”, “how did I sound at karaoke” and “is the spot on my nose noticeable”…

The other thing these two reviews have given me is the drive to crack on and get writing my fifth novel, which will be the third book in the Realm series. The prologue is done, the first chapter is underway, and the broad strokes of the storyline are in place, so if I follow my usual process I will finish this chapter, then make notes on the next few, write another one, make some more notes, and then repeat that process until the notes reach the end of the story and I can simply flesh them out into prose. I don’t know if this is a correct way to write a novel (is there a correct way?) but it works for me. If Ranidir’s Heir is anything to go by, the next one should take me somewhere between 6 and 8 months. It would be amazing if I can get a sequel out in 2017, it would mean I’ve written my first trilogy!

Of course, this latest book could go the way of Novels 2 and 3, and go on to receive a response that could best be described as “tepid”. “Lukewarm” would be stretching it a bit. And if that happens, well, I’ll just roll with it. It would delay the next book because I’d have to stop being a bohemian hippy author and get a proper job (and yes, I realise that looking after my infant son is a proper job, but it pays extremely well in smiles and pride while paying abysmally in actual cash money), but the next book would still get written and released. Because it’s in my brain now and has to come out, and besides, I now know that at least two people in the world would like to read more adventures in the Realm, and that is more than enough incentive for me.

I’ll never stop writing. Being able to do it full time would be a dream come true, but no matter what happens I’ll keep telling my stories and hoping that people like them.

Anyway, enough burbling from me, don’t forget you can get the ebook version of my novels for less than the price of a pint, and the paperback version of Ranidir’s Heir is now available to buy as well. If you do give them a go, I really hope you enjoy them. I’m proud of them, but then I am pretty biased…unlike Debi and Colin from the internet, my two current favourite strangers!

I hope everyone is well and life is treating you gently, thanks as ever for reading…and Stay Frosty, People.


Realmborn 2 Has Arrived!

Realmborn 2 Has Arrived!

The follow-up to my first novel, Realmborn, is now available on Amazon. Well, in eBook format, anyway. The paperback is a few weeks away still, but I am very proud and pleased to be able to say that, after six months of writing, various edits and touch ups, and more than a little blood, sweat and tears, Ranidir’s Heir: A Story of The Realm, is finally completed.

This novel picks up several years after the events of Realmborn, picking up the story of Jake Ranidir, who had decided, rather than returning to his adopted home in good old 21st Century Britain, to stay on in the Realm, the magical land of his birth. He did this in order to save the Realm from the evil invaders who had come so close to annihilating this nation of magic-wielding warrior-mages, and our story begins with Jake just a gnat’s whisker away from achieving victory and being able to return home to the beloved wife he left behind.

Of course, nothing good ever comes easy, and so it is when he is finally so near to achieving his goals that he and his closest friends are whisked back in time to save the Realm of the past, while Jake’s sons are drawn into this magical world and it is up to them to save the new Free Realm of the present.

With a host of returning characters, some exciting new protagonists, and a villain who makes the Realm’s previous bad guy look like a friendly kitten playing with a ball of wool on a bed made of candy floss, Ranidir’s Heir is an exciting return to a fantasy world with oodles of heroism, a smidge of tragedy, and more than a touch of twenty-first century attitude.

If I do say so myself…

On a personal note I am extremely proud of this novel, I think it is more tightly and effectively written than any of my previous works, while retaining the complexity and intricacy of my first book. I’m aiming for a more accessible fantasy novel, so I sincerely hope people enjoy the mix of action, humour and high-fantasy storytelling crossed with some modern-day narrative from protagonists who would be more at home down their local pub than doing battle with other-worldly invaders in a magical land.

I enjoyed writing my two stand-alone novels, Silver Soldiers and Metal Blade (and if you’ve not read them yet they have both been very well received and are well worth a look-see), but there is something about the Realm that is so much more satisfying to write about than anything else for me. In fact I have started some tentative early drafts of the first few chapters of another Realm-based novel, which may well be book number five for me. It’s a rich world, with so many stories to be told, and I hope that people will continue to enjoy these tales as I manage to transfer them from my brain to the page.

Ranidir’s Heir: A Story of The Realm, can be found as an eBook here on Amazon. And it costs less than a pint. Even in Wetherspoons.

Finally, here are the answers to a few questions readers have posed over the last year or so:


Q: Is the incredibly handsome, brave, amazing, charismatic and awesome character of Jake based on the author?

A: Yes. Obviously.


Q: How much coffee has been consumed during the writing of the Realm novels?

A: 17,356 gallons. Plus an espresso.


Q: When is the movie/TV series coming?

A: When enough people have lobbied Hollywood to make it happen (hint, hint).


Q: Does the first book, Realmborn, need to be read before Ranidir’s Heir?

A: Ideally, yes, though Ranidir’s Heir is still an exciting story in its own right, and explains various relevant aspects of the characters’ history throughout the novel. But yes, this novel is a direct sequel to its predecessor.


Q: Who were your inspirations as an author?

A: David Gemmel, David Eddings, Raymond E Feist, Katherine Kerr, Terry Pratchett, Lee Child and Harlan Coben. Not all fantasy authors, but I like to think I’ve taken a little inspiration from all of them in terms of pacing, imagery, identifiable heroes…I simply aspire to their lofty heights!


Q: Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash?

A: Too tough to call. Like asking “Ale or Wine”? Both, just at different times. Or occasionally together, but it can be messy…


OK, that’s enough rambling from me, I hope you all enjoy this novel, please do leave reviews, unless you hate it in which case hey, save yourself the time, no worries, it’s cool, go do something else…

And of course thanks for your continued support, it really does mean the world to me.

Stay Frosty, People (Something I find quite poignant now, following the tragic and sad news of Bill Paxton’s untimely passing. RIP, Hudson, game over, man, game over.)