The New Chapter

A thread. Being a writer is a strangely reflective practice. You constantly look ahead to the next new project, something that fills you with excitement and joy, and yet you can’t help but look back as well. It’s been over two years since I wrote my first novel and I have gone back to the start – rereading The Dark Crown – for several reasons, and am discovering a number of things too.

First, it’s fantastic, much better than I remembered it being. I’m surprised how it still elicits an emotional response within me, even though I know exactly what’s going to happen.

There are things about it I would change; slightly too much detail, some of the prose are a little overdone, but I like what I’m reading very much. I think it is safe to say that as a writer I’ve developed since I wrote it.

My next project would be my hardest yet, because it moves away from the ideas I experimented with in my head for the previous 15 years. The energy will be different, but still focus on the concept of family; what it is, how it manifests itself, the toll it can take and the many forms it comes in.

I want to explore the difficult side of family; the awkwardness of having to conform, the challenges, what is often whispered, or only said internally, but never to the face of the person we might wish to.

The little voice of doubt at the back of my mind has returned – which is no surprise – and is also  another reason for the weird excitement I have about the new project. It shows I’m taking it seriously, but it also shows I also know what I have to get better at, that is the life of the writer always looking to get better and make the end product that little bit more perfect.

I have planned the next trilogy, in pretty tight terms, and caught the main beats which I have decided will be called ‘Masks of Anarchy’. The quick pitch is The A-Team meets the Walking Dead in a fantasy world – if that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. While on a roll, I have also drafted out the third trilogy – to be called the Broken Kingdom.

This will be the bringing together of eight books, and considering how well Marvel did the Infinity War and End Game so well, I want to create the same type of satisfaction I experienced when Capt. America was finally proved to ‘be worthy’. It’s going to take three years and if it works as well on the page as it does in my head, it will be something quite special.

To help to reach new readers and connect with more authors, I have also joined TikTok and am enjoying myself – if feeling slightly old with having to learn new skills. Child 1 has rolled their eyes at my lack of skills far too often for comfort.

All the new first trilogy books also have new covers and are much better for it- check out GetCovers  – they are awesome. As a gift to spread the word, I have also made my first book – The Dark Crown – completely free, and who wouldn’t want a two time semi finalist novel, of over 134k words, featuring magic, heroes and big cats? If you haven’t got it, click here.

The next book The Midnight Warriors will be out in early 2023 and I cannot wait to see where the adventure takes me next…

Off we go…

A new writing adventure began this morning at 7amWritingClub . A standalone project to be shared quietly with the publishing world. 1333 words of book five.

Next day typically for me. I start writing and the next day I conceive a huge change in creative direction. It’s going to be longer, darker and much more fun. I’ve also decided to cast Ian McShane as a main character, and how can that be a bad thing?

Awoke early next day and I put the time to good use walking the dog and finished plotting the script for my current WIP. Also mocked up a cover as part of the process to help get creative juices to flow. I can’t show you what is going to happen but here they are.

Off we go…

Three Reasons Why I Thank @SarahPinborough

I met Sarah Pinborough back in August 2016 – before her massive success with “Behind Her Eyes” – at the Dublin Ghost Story festival, and I owe her thanks for three different things.

The event was one of my first literary events and was something of a learning experience. She was both interviewer and interviewee on a few panels, and was hugely engaging and entertaining in both roles. This combined with the cosy atmosphere of the Freemason Hall – the venue for the weekend – and easy access to other authors such as John Connelly, Adam Nevill, AK Benedict and many others, made the whole weekend hugely enjoyable. She answered my questions with grace and good humour and even agreed to have her photo taken with me. That is the first thing I thank Sarah for.

Following the event, I began following her on Twitter – @sarahpinborough – and have done so ever since. She tweeted that she had been interviewed by the Bestseller Experiment and I duly checked out the interview. It was as I’d expected; funny, insightful and helped me with my writing. Partly because Sarah announced that the need to write everyday was “bollocks” – phew – and also because I found the podcast that would ultimately change my writing life. Without it I would have written nothing, or at least taken another 25 years to get anything down on paper. That is the second thing I thank her for.

The final thing I thank Sarah for is her book “Behind Her Eyes”. Which was my favourite book of 2017. It was launched to much fanfare, and a marketing campaign based of WTF That Ending. I demolished it in a single weekend. I was certain that I had worked out the ending, even two pages before the end I thought I had it – alas, Miss Pinborough blindsided me and produced an ending completely worthy of the WTF That Ending tag.

I shall reveal nothing about the book – no spoilers here – other than it is brilliant. The new Netflix show is released today and even though I know what is coming, I will be watching every minute gripped and smiling at wonderful storytelling.  

Bravo and thank you, Sarah Pinborough.


Good things take time. Glorious things take even longer.

Thus, I find myself having to delay the release of Coven of Shadows until the 15th December. I’m annoyed, both with myself and with circumstances. But it cannot be helped. I know won’t be happy with the book if I put it out now, and in truth it needs more work.

I am close and it is written – all 115k words so far – but it is not good enough. I have also had a fleet of other ideas enter my head, that I want to weave into it, and in the longer term it will make the Souls’ Abyss a stronger and more interesting series of books.  I am very pleased with the front cover, see below, it’ll be the look and feel of all my covers from here on in.

Added to this, my writing process has really tied me in knots and increased the time it’s taking to get everything done. I normally dictate and get the contents transcribed. Otter is a brilliant piece of software, but like all dictation packages, it doesn’t get everything right. It’s partly because I just talk and expect it to sort everything out, but it doesn’t.

So, I am having to go through everything line by line (350+ pages) and check it properly. Whilst doing so I’m adding more content and trying to link everything together. It is rather messy and, in the future, I think my system is going to have to change, it’ll save me both my time and my sanity.

I’ve also had a real bout of Imposter Syndrome – doubt in your own abilities, thinking everything you write is rubbish and any success is based on luck, not talent. It has been made worse, especially when I‘ve read and come across other work that is so fantastic. It is a proper psychological thing, and I’ve struggled to shift it this time around.

Normally I’d breeze through it, but not this time. My confidence has been hit, and it’s slowed everything down. I’ve been reading or listening to a lot of books on Audible, and there is some superb stuff out there.

I’ve also finished a book recently that I really didn’t enjoy. I won’t say who or what it is, but I found it vast and epic, and utterly bewildering. To the point that I could not remember people, places, or activities. It completely ruined, what was a decent story, with unnecessary depth. And not depth in a good way, world building depth, not character depth. I couldn’t care less about the history of elves, etc. I want to know about the character, not the entire bloody history of the world.

It has sold massive numbers and is part of an acclaimed series. I wondered if I needed to do such things to my books going forwards, but I really don’t want to. Partly because it’s not who I am and also because it’s such a killer of the story for me. Yes, have detail, but not so it overshadows character and is detrimental to the story.

I’m going to write about imposter syndrome properly after book 2 is released on the 15th December. I’ll have more to write about then and I need no more delays at the moment…

Until next time stay safe.

The Trouble With Peace – a review

Reading time – 2 mins 27 seconds.

The wait for a new book from your favourite author is always a torturous affair.  The date lingers in the diary; they reveal the cover, hints from the author on social media, the adverts, the trail of breadcrumbs from advanced readers, and you inwardly curse them for having what you want so badly.

And thus, it was the case with my wait for Joe Abercrombie’s new novel, The Trouble with Peace.  The time passes slowly, rushes over the final weekend and then you have it (signed limited edition from Waterstones, if you must know) and then you read.

You devour, you absorb the words; wishing you could write such a thing.  Then you near the end and the feeling of sadness creeps upon you like the first chills of winter. 

Then you are finished, and that is that. Another book read. But you want more, to spend time in the company of the characters and their adventures. This was also the case when I finished it this morning. Longing to spend more time with them and to see what happens next. Like a spell has been cast and you are powerless to resist.  And I am powerless to resist.

I won’t reveal any spoilers, but may hint at a few cryptic things, so beware.

When I read A Little Hatred last year it was good, but I struggled with the shift in time period and the gradual introduction of The First Law: The Next Generation.  But it was necessary, Joe had said in many interviews he found the straight continuity of fantasy books annoying.  The fact worlds never seem to progress beyond swords and shields.  So, it was a difficult ask to both satisfy fans of the First Law books and also move the narrative forward some 30 years, but overall A Little Hatred managed it rather well.

The Trouble with Peace is brilliant.  I absolutely loved it.

It gripped me in a way that few books have in recent years.  Best Served Cold is my favourite fantasy book ever, and this book comes a very close second.  It is more political, more twisty, has greater depth and emotional heft; and it is all the better for it.  I grinned like an idiot when two old faces turned up again. Gasped as a long-held question about parentage was answered.  And I booed when someone didn’t die.

I long to be back in this world, to see what happens next, because everything is to play for and who knows which way it will turn next.  One thing is for sure, next summer when the next book is released, I will be at the front of the queue to spend yet more time with characters I love and characters I love to hate.

Long live the King, the King of Fantasy – Joe Abercrombie.

Semi finalist!

Something exciting happened today.

I entered the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) – basically an international fantasy book competition – back in June with my debut novel: The Souls Abyss: Book One – The Dark Crown.

The first review was good and following additional feedback, I’ve improved the grammar and altered the front cover.

Today I have been told that they have chosen it as a semi-finalist and I’m thrilled. https://weatherwaxreport.blog/2020/09/19/spfbo6-semi-finalist-announcement/

I hoped they would like it, but to make the semi-finals is more than I had hoped for and I just wanted to share this excellent news with you.

If you fancy buying it (and why wouldn’t you being a person of excellent taste) you can find it here and I’ve lowered the price to the cost of a cup of coffee.

Have a great weekend and I’ll let you know how it does.

September = some surprises

Hello, welcome.

Please excuse me for being cryptic – there are some very interesting things that should happen in September. I am being patient and can’t say too much, but – fingers crossed – I will be able to let you know about them soon.

Anyway, September has arrived, and I have moved up a gear.  I was having difficulty leaving The Dark Crown alone. It had been out for a while and continues to sell well. However, I was not happy with it.

So I decided to go through it again, tidy up some of the language and rectify some grammar issues. I also added to the last chapter to give it more emotional punch. I’ve also tweaked the front cover following some advice I received. The end product is a book I am much happier with and will now leave alone.

Book two – Coven of Shadows – is moving along ok.  There is one particular chapter that I was having real difficulty finishing. Being stuck in the same one for so long really sucked. It drained my momentum and gave me the feeling that I was making no progress.

To help change things, I split it in two.  It makes sense to do so and will save readers from having to go through such a huge chapter. This gave me the feeling – perhaps falsely – that I was making progress.

The second half of the chapter is still causing me problems, but the end is in sight.  The other things that have made a difference are that I’ve also introduced another major character – a bad one – and it has added some fresh impetus to the chapter.  It also signals the start of a new set of challenges for one of the main protagonists.

In my last update I spoke about Imposter Syndrome, something that all writers suffer from. It is the negative voice that you hear, telling you that your writing is not good, that no-one will read or like your work and generally tries to convince you to give up.

It is something that has been pertinent this last month because I received my first 1 out of 5 star review on Amazon. So I have decided to write a whole post about it and how it has affected both me and my writing.  It’ll be out in a week or so.

Things I am looking forward to this month are the new Joe Abercrombie novel ‘The Trouble With Peace’ and getting into a new fantasy author Philip C Quaintrell.  He’s been around for a few years and although I know I’m late in finding him, he sounds brilliant and his books have some of the best front covers I’ve seen.

Also, go see Tenet, it’s in cinemas and is brilliant.

Take care of yourself and each other.


Summer slowdown

August, wow.  Where is 2020 going?

This month has been one of slowing the pace, writing-wise.  Summer holidays have kicked in, as has the need to concentrate on things like work, exams, and other such stuff – which is much less fun.

The fun stuff has been my first two reviews on Amazon for The Dark Crown.  Both are five stars and I’m really pleased.  This, along with my sales reports and feedback I’ve received, shows that people are buying and enjoying the book – which is fantastic- but without reviews it is difficult for authors with a small profile or fanbase to showcase their talents.

Reviews really are important for self-published authors, and for anyone who has released a book. It strikes me it is something I hadn’t considered before, nor (I’m ashamed to say) something I’ve done much about. I will make a conscious effort to leave reviews for all the books I’ve read and enjoyed.  

This month, I also received my first sales payments for both eBooks and paper copies.  I’m not in a position to retire just yet, but it was an important milestone.

Writing wise book 2 – Coven of Shadows – is written (all 107k words of it).  The process now is doing the second draft, and it is coming along in fits and starts. Some days it flows easily, and I feel as though I am making excellent progress.  Other days it’s like wading through treacle, pausing after every sentence, and wondering if it is good enough. 

It all comes down to the insecurities that all writers have – ‘Imposter Syndrome’ – the fear that they are a fraud and at any moment readers will twig and denounce them.  It is a voice I hear occasionally, but I am getting better at telling it to ‘go away’, on some days using less polite terms.

It’s also something I’ll cover more thoroughly in my next post offering hints and tips that have helped me get through it and make the positive messages stick.

Editing book 2, I am finding little things that I’d forgotten about; things that have made me smile, and on one occasion dance around the room as a new character made their first appearance.  It’s like meeting old friends again; something we can all appreciate given various lockdowns around the world.

I am back onto Audible and very much enjoying Garth Nix’s epic Angel Mage. It mixes fantasy with an interesting magic system and I am intrigued how it will pan out in the second half.

Enjoy the gorgeous weather, and don’t forget to leave book reviews where you can.

Take care of yourself and each other.