Happy New Year From This Word Monkey!


Hola, and welcome to 2016.  I hope all your holidays were fun and filled with whatever libations you enjoy most. Of course now the break is over and it’s back to the keyboard….. kind’ve.

The fam and I have come down to Rye on the Mornington Peninsula for some R&R before the day jobs start again, but for some of the us the work never ends, eh?  So right now you find me in the hellish, temporary office slaving away…..

I know, it’s awful.

But seriously, with the kids ready for the beach at pretty much every moment and wineries to go explore I still do need to get the works down.  It’s now 7:45am and I’ve been up since six, editing down some sci fi background for Mantic games.  It’s important to grab what times you can to write, and if you don’t have any to grab, make some. History is written by the people who set their alarm clocks quietly very early and woke up before the screaming starts.  I think Napoleon said that.

But I think I hear the first stirring of little feet, so I have to go. Have fun.


I’ll Miss Sleeping


So here’s the thing – I used to love Doctor Who growing up. Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy were the Doctors at the time, and I hung out for each episode every week being enchanted and frightened in equal measure.

Then the show was cancelled and I grew up, until when the series was revived I was too busy to watch. If an episode was on TV when I was flicking channels I’d try and give it time, but when you have so many other things to do it carried on just passing me by.

Until yesterday, when I decided to make an effort to get back into it. So I googled what episodes to begin with and….

…look, this is a long winded way of saying the Weeping Angels are effing terrifying and I’m never sleeping again.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice

He’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice

Santa Claus is not subject to the data protection act

Well, it’s that time of year again when the world turns just that little bit more crazy. Count that double for me – I’m still getting used to a southern hemisphere Christmas where “Oh the weather outside is frightful” means a whole different thing and the outside Christmas lights are solar powered.

But even though my day job knocks off next week I do not, nosiree. First off I’ve been contracted by Mantic Games to write some more background for their incoming Warpath wargame. I’ve already done some with their Deadzone: Infestation tabletop game, so this is familiar ground, but fairly in depth, but I’ll get through it.

Secondly, and more importantly, Brood Parasites is chugging along nicely on Patreon, and need more words for the engine. The first audio chapter is up on YouTube and backer can expect chapter two before the week is out and the fifth chapter to their audiobooks before Christmas (thank you, guys!), plus I have to chase up the finished artwork for the cover. This is hugely exciting, but fair time intensive. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And then of course there’s the matter of Christmas with two little boys. But they’re good kids and very reasonably choose to sleep every night (with a loose interpretation of ‘choose’), so there’s always time at night… in between Doctor Who episodes.

Anyway, may your December be filled with happiness and good cheer and I’ll see you on the other side.


Juggling Writing and… Writing


Alternate title – State of the Pate #1

In case you missed it (and why did you miss it? I’ve talked of barely anything else for the past month) I launched Brood Parasites on Patreon early last month, a serialised steampunk novel, and I’ve been getting quite a few positive messages about it….. and I also keep trying to the type the title as ‘Brood Pasties’ which may or may not mean I’m constantly peckish.

Anyway, it’s going well so far.  Not a great many backers, but making enough to buy a yacht (even a small one) was never my aim with Brood rather to just get people reading my work.  I can only guess from the messages people are, but the the thing with hosting something such as a project on a different site means you lose any sense of traffic.  Which is a pain, but then again the trade off is I gain potential access to all the traffic on Patreon.com.

So, we’re plodding along happily, up to Chapter Three already and an audio version of each chapter on the way.  And by the Second Law of Sod a massive freelance piece of work falls in my lap.

Just before Christmas.

When my wife’s cousin will be coming from overseas and we’ll be hosting.

Yah, it’s like that.

I said in the project’s opening page paying work would have to come first, but you can’t half tempt fate by beginning something new and big.

However, in a very un-Michael like move I am prepared!  I wrote a very long way into Brood before I started just for such an eventuality.  I could very easily do nothing on Brood until this freelance project is over, and the Patreon would jug on its merry way.  I won’t do that, of course – any feedback or suggestions will be taken on board, but the thing is I’m prepared if need be.  Preparation and being aware of your possible workload is key, especially when you have readers and clients relying on your output.

So, it looks like I’m in for a hectic Christmas and new year, but it’s going to be hectic with decorating the house, little boys opening presents, and creating, for which I have you to be thankful to.


News From The Front….. /Pathe Voice


There is no other word for this. It’s awesome. Just awesome.

War photographer Matthew Callahan has used every gram of his professional experience (and his admirable collection of Clone Trooper toys) to document the conflict of the Clone Wars, and the results are staggering…

Galactic Warfighters Bridges The Gap Between Science Fictional War And Reality

Galactic Warfighters Bridges The Gap Between Science Fictional War And Reality

There are so many more, and they’re all worth your time checking them out on either Matthew’s website or Instagram.


Deadball – Drainpipes for Strike Posts


Isn’t it, wasn’t it, mmh? (if you were a teenager in 90s Britain that’s hilarious, trust me).

Yes! Mantic Games has just released ‘Drainpipes for Strike Posts’, an anthology of short stories based around their wildly successful Dreadball game. It features stories from such talents as Guy Haley, David Guymer and, ooh, me!


The Dreadball universe is nice and open, and what’s lots of fun to write in, I hope you like it. The anthology is available through Mantic Digital for thethe low price of three British Pound, guvna. SO why wouldn’t you go read it?


Brood Parasites Chapter Two, and Some Audio Book News


So let’s get the immediate out of the way, Brood Parasites Chapter Two is up on Patreon for your reading pleasure. Go read, go nuts.

Next, after receiving the final audio version of my story 1884, I can now say that Brood Parasites will also be getting an audio version! The book will be read by a talented voice actor friend, Kenneth Craig, who’s voice runs like melted chocolate…. ahem, sorry about that.

Anyway, chapter one will be available to one and all, and after that the files will be accessible by patrons only. But you are a patron, right…?

1884 in Living Audio


I just received the final recording of the audio version of my story 1884, published in Cthulhu Lives! from Ghostwoods Books, and my but is it a cracker. And voiced by Alisadir Stewart too, he who owns and voices many of the Escape Artists pod casts.

I couldn’t have asked for a better person to voice a bleak horror story.
The full collection will be released on Audible soon, and you better believe I’ll be bringing it up here.

Hey Ho, Here We Go


And so it begins.

After all the hinting, on Sunday I began a serialised novel on Patreon. So far so-as-much-as-expected-it-would-be, although I haven’t pushed the project beyond my own Twitter and Facebook accounts yet. It’s hard to try and drum up a buzz when all you have is one chapter up. The rest shall come, but I have s schedule and it shall be kept. This is a serialised novel. Not Nam. There are rules.

Test Ad #3

But what I’d like to do here is address why Patreon. Why not go the traditional publishing route of approaching an agent and then hitting the established publishers, or putting the whole thing finished on Amazon? Well, for a few reasons. I’d always thought traditional publishing would be the way forward. I even have a published friend who said they would give my finished MS to their agent, bypassing the dread slush pile. But the thing is, I want control. The horror stories creeping ever insistently into the news about how writer’s pay is going forever down (while big name publishers’ profits are going up) meant I didn’t want a part of that rank pie. You know Amy Schumer? She seems nice. But the news she was recently paid $8m for a single book of her life (she’s my age and hasn’t lived through a war – how interesting could it be?) automatically made me think, “And how many mid-tier authors were shuffled off the pile to make room for her?” I didn’t want to be one of those authors, deemed unworthy of attention if I don’t make the New York Times bestseller list every release.

So why not Amazon kindle?

Because hundreds of thousands of others have already had the same thought. It’s hard to be heard amid all that noise. Of course many do, and they work for it. But with that work comes a large dose of luck. Luck is of course essential in any endeavour, but launching a book on the good ship Kindle requires a good dose more than usual.

And also, and here comes my socialist sense of fairness again, and call me crazy if you want, but I think a company, especially one as profitable as Amazon, should pay their taxes.

So, where does that leave me? I wondering the same thing when I learnt about Patreon. Ongoing crowd funding support and, and this was the big sell, an open conversation with backers. It gives the opportunity for communication directly with the consumers of your art in a way which hasn’t been available before.

So, in a nutshell, that’s why. It’s a little more scary doing it this way. The idea of someone looking at a finished product and taking or leaving it is one think, the idea of someone taking Brood Parasites now and leaving it midway through and me seeing it is something else entirely. But I still hold this is the way for me. Let’s see how it goes.