Kingdom’s Fall on Wattpad, and ALL THE FEELS.


Yesterday I put up the prologue to Kingdom’s Fall on Wattpad. At approximately 450 words long, I did not expect it to light many fires. In my head, I thought, “I’ll stick this up now, just so it’s there, and when I get to maybe the end of chapter 1 or 2, when there’s a bit more to read, I can start trying to promote it a bit…or something.”

This is not a prevarication. I literally have the most handy-wavy approach to things where I kind of guess what will happen and then just blunder in going “Woo!” (wave both hands in the air when you read the “woo” for greatest effect) I swear I plan my lessons, though. Most of my lessons.*

I did not anticipate the reaction of my friends on Twitter, who picked up the casually-tossed ball of my story and ran with it like they were collectively piling toward the endzone. It was a massively heartwarming experience to see so many people going “look at this thing this guy did!” that I actually felt bad for only having put up the prologue. But not bad enough to put up any more just yet.

Still – 100 reads in the first 24 hours was beyond my expectations. YOU GUYS. Thanks again, all of you. Your support means the world to me. I will bring cake to the next con, I promise.


I was torn over the choice of two or three updates a week. Tuesdays and Fridays seemed like a good starting point in my head: that it would be better to have fewer updates (and have to field the occasional – if any come – request to hurry up) than a relentless storm that people just get sick of hearing about. I might need to tweak it, but we shall see how things go.

Finally: the cover. I made the cover myself using an image from Unsplash – a site that delivers Creative Commons-Zero images. It’s simply pure luck that I found some images on there that suited my needs. I did all the editing online using ipiccy (shout out to Taran Matharu for the tip) and within an hour of starting I had a couple of cover mock ups that I asked my other, better half to choose from. I could have spent some money on it – I even looked at licenses for fonts that would look amazing on a cover, as opposed to the bare bones selection on the web editor – but with two weeks until my next pay comes through…I thought I’d go for the cheap and cheerful option of doing it myself.

Anyway. So that is one of this year’s projects. I hope you enjoy it.


*students of the world – if you turn up to find you’re doing a poster in the lesson? Your teacher probably got mixed up as to what lessons they were doing and has planned yours on the fly.

Memetics ahoy! The Next Big Thing.

Tag! I am apparently it, courtesy of Jennifer Williams over at her ‘blog. She tagged me alongside Emma Newman, Adam Christopher, and K T Davies, which is a hell of a compliment over and above the tag itself.

I don’t know where the meme started or how many people have taken part along the way – it would be nice to see a ‘blog with all the Next Big Thing posts linked in order as it has spread.

Anyway. On with the motley.

What is the working title of your book

Kingdom’s Fall

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Alt.Fiction 2009 and NaNoWriMo. I came off a year-long dry spell in my writing – partly due to work, partly due to me hanging on to the idea that I could fix a manuscript that was irretrievably broken – and wanted to completely start over. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and wrote a 65,000 word novel called “The Thousand Fold Blade”. It was awful, but I liked some of the ideas.

After leaving it on my hard disk over the winter, I came across a writing exercise that I did in Mark Chadbourn‘s workshop at Alt.Fiction. It wasn’t bad, so I opened a new document, set it as a prologue, and started again.

What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy. It started as Sword and Sorcery, but got progressively more Epic as I wrote it. I jokingly described it in an email as Sword and Gunpowder and Sorcery and Danger and Kisses and Lols, but then I wrote all the kissing out.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Oh, Gods.

Vincent Regan as Commander Gray.

Adrien Brody as Aiden Baird.

Molly Quinn as Shana.

Uhm…I’m not au fait with teen male actors for Cuan so I’m going to have to opt for the obvious default, Wil Wheaton circa 1987.

There are more characters but I am TERRIBLE at this so I’m just going to skip it.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Generic fantasy sizzle line! Woo! Read this in your best trailer voice!

In a world threatened by a power beyond man’s understanding, four people will try to save their kingdom – if they don’t destroy it in the attempt. 

Also, I was once asked what my five word pitch would be. I pitched it as: “Badass adventurers have feelings too.”

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Hopefully represented. I’m going through the agony and the ecstasy of the submission cycles at the moment. I got asked about this at FantasyCon – why am I choosing traditional routes over self-pubbing, and while I would like to self-publish something at some point in the future, I’d really like to see my work through the lens of a professional editor.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I feel really awkward about this question, even more so than “who would play them in a movie?” I was massively influenced by Robin Hobb’s Assassin Trilogy and Fool’s Trilogy. Those books are amazing and I would be seriously kidding myself if I said I could compare. The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Lieber? The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I sat down at the keyboard wanting to write, and a fantasy novel welled up to meet that desire. One of the big things that I wanted in my novel was a sense of mystery about the magic. There were a glut of blogs and discussions about how important it is to have a completely logical and consistent magical system and that it needs to be nailed down so that the reader isn’t lost. A recent example of this is allomancy in Brandon Sanderson’s books, and while I enjoyed the books overall at times it felt like I was reading a DM’s guide to the magic system. I wanted there to be magic in my world but I wanted it to be rare, and slippery. I wanted it to feel genuinely threatening for them to come up against it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s got some fantastic characters, and they all get time on the page to make their mark. Pretty much everyone who has seen the MS has come back telling me about their favourite, and they have all been different. Also, there are some heartbreaking moments in there. No kisses, though – not until book two, at least.

What stage is your book at now?

At submissions. After the first beta edit I sent out a couple of queries and got some good feedback, so it has had tweaks and is now back out in the ether trying to find a home.

And that’s it!

So…I guess the next thing to do is tag someone, although I’m not sure who has and has not done this.

Den Patrick. If you do not know his name, then you will soon.

Tom Pollock. He has a book out already. It is ridiculously good. Buy it.

Icy Sedgwick. Dropping new flash fiction weekly and the world is all the better for it.

Liz de Jager. Possibly the most enthusiastic reader and writer I’ve met online. There’s some tough competition out there, but she nails it.


The man with the plan.

Kingdom’s Fall is getting very close to submission now. And no, I haven’t thought of another title yet.

I’ve had some responses from beta readers so far, and they’ve been positive and constructive. This doesn’t quite work and that needs more clarification and overall it has added up to what I’d call more tweaks and fixes than outright revision. I’m pleased with how the book is turning out post-revision (with a month spent not looking at the manuscript at all, the beta comments were like a spotlight on the problems) and now I’m thinking that by the time we’re back from Sweden in mid-to-late September, this bad boy should be ready for submission.

Or, to sum it up in a word, eep.

I have no strategy for this, as such. At some point I am going to have to write the synopsis. At some point I am going to have to write a cover letter. At some point I am going to need to crack the spine on the Writer’s & Artist’s Yearbook (wait, I bought that in 2010?) and make a list of people to submit it to.

At some point, it’s going to have to go out the door.