The Reality of Being an International*, Bestselling**, Award-Winning*** Author!

*I’m from England, I live in Australia, and my publisher is American. By default, I have sold books to an international market!

**For one moment of one day, the digital sales of my book got to Number 2 in a very specific category.

***Entirely fictional…I just wanted to use the ‘rule of three’ in the title. It looks better.

So, the reality then, because that’s what we’re left with…is that nothing much has changed at all. In fact, to paraphrase Arnold Rimmer, the thought occurs that we haven’t budged a smegging inch! Well, that’s what it feels like. I know I have a book out there. Two in fact. Three if you include novellas. Four if you include anthologies. But life trundles on as it ever did. Not for me the rabid auctioning off of my rights to the highest bidder…I’m just going to work, doing what I always do, and complaining about not having the time or energy to do what I want to do…what I love. Because I love writing stories. And I want people to read them and to get some semblance of entertainment from them. But lately there has been a little misconception doing the rounds among some family, friends, and acquaintances. It’s quite funny actually, but I think it’s about time I set the record straight, because the misconception, bizarrely, is that I’ve made it! (Whatever that means!)

I’ll admit, from a distance, it might look pretty cool. I released a book, lots of people came to the launch, I did a little happy dance about selling out every copy, then I did a bookshop signing and the same thing happened there, and then I bleated all over social media about the charts, then I bought a guitar (with my earnings), and then we moved house and now live on acreage with the most ridiculous views.

So, I can see the problem. From the outside, it does look kind of impressive, but the other day someone asked me if I was going to quit work and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.

They thought I was rich!

I laughed so hard I nearly shat! (super special brownie points to anyone who knows this gross but excellent reference).

The reality is I’ve sold a few hundred books, made a few hundred dollars (I get 10% or so of physical sales, it’s not a lot), the guitar was dirt cheap, and we moved house because we’re romantic idiots with more passion than sense.

But there is another side to this somewhat narcissistic tale. I am, indeed, an international, best-selling, award-winning author! Well, two out of three isn’t bad. But I did write a book or two. People have bought them, read them, enjoyed them, and reviewed them. And for one brief shining moment, this happened…

But more than that, I’ve had the most lovely messages from friends and complete strangers, and I’ve made friends because of writing.

Then just last week, I spent a bit of time in the primary school attached to my work (it’s a P-12 college) and a young girl asked me if I was ‘the one who wrote that book’, and I got to say yes! (after I checked that she meant Albert the Great Australian Dragon and not the adult book about a drunk guy seeing dead people!) We had a cracking chat about talking dragons after that.

Look, I’m not saying I’d turn it down if an agent decided to start a bidding war with the Top 5 publishers and it crept into six-digits, but I am genuinely content carving out my own little corner.

Thank you to everyone who has come along for the ride. I can’t promise riches, but I can promise some ridiculous stories.


The Sluagh Sidhe

One of my all-time favourite fantasy novels is The Sword in the Storm by David Gemmell. It is a wonderful alternate historical fantasy about the Rigante tribe facing off against the ever encroaching armies of Stone.

For the historical buffs, yeah, you’re just one letter away from Brigantes and Stone is… drum roll, please… Rome.

But the story is superb and the folklore Gemmell weaves throughout is amazing. In particular, I always loved the Sidhe; a strange, mythic race connected to the land. Not quite fae, definitely not human, but something else entirely.

And now I find myself, thirty years later, putting my own spin on familiar legends. My latest book is an idea I’ve had rattling around the old noggin for about ten years. It started with a simple idea and then a title.

The idea: what if the Roman Ninth Legion did indeed vanish…and the children were left behind?

The title: The Children of the Ninth.

That’s all I had. Literally the idea and the title. I thought about it on and off for years… particularly when we spent a fair amount of time pratting around on Hadrian’s Wall in 2018/2019.

Various iterations (in my head) involved dragons, time travel (thanks, Doctor Who!), underground civilisations, and good old-fashioned brutal warfare, but I never put pen to paper. Until last week.

Last week I started writing. No plan. No idea beyond the basic premise and a nagging thought it should be geared as a middle-grade horror (because there’s very little out there between Goosebumps and Stephen King…and kids love scary books!) I spent bloody ages picking out cool Roman names for my characters then I killed one of the buggers in the second chapter! I genuinely have no idea what I’m doing.

Today, I hit eleven-thousands words and the Bean Sidhe made an appearance, which is really cool because I didn’t know what the hell that was this morning. I just wrote a creepy old hag into the story and then I did some research on Scottish mythology and folklore. The creepy hag became the Bean Sidhe and now she’s about to summon the Sluagh Sidhe, which means ‘host of the sidhe’ or sluagh na marb, ‘the host of the dead’.

These are dislodged souls, or the unforgiven, and they tend to attack in a great flying crescent-shaped horde. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but it’s going to be fun finding out.

What was perhaps even more fun finding out was the origins of The Sidhe in one of my favourite novels. I mean, I probably should have known, but until a few hours ago I thought Gemmell himself made it up. Silly me. I’m a little bit disappointed he didn’t use the alternative spelling though.

Sith really has a ring to it.

I wonder if anyone has used that before?

Thanks for reading folks x

The one written at 4am about whatever is rattling around my tired mind.

Well, 343am to be precise. I’m wide awake. Again. It’s a relatively normal occurance but I am getting a little bored of approaching the wee hours from this direction. It was a lot more fun when I was a young man coming home, putting a pizza in the oven, and then promptly forgetting about it as I passed out on the couch. But now I’m just… awake… and thinking.

Here’s a list so far…

1) if the Ninth Roman Legion simply vanished overnight in mysterious circumstances and left all the children behind, what happened to the women in the camp?

2) is there a special place in hell reserved for vanity publishers who masquerade as traditional publishers?

3) what’s that sound?

4) why is that video of Tim Minchin’s Matilda set to Dragula so freaking good?!

5) how much horror is too much horror for middle grade readers? There seems to be a huge gap between Goosebumps and Stephen King, which reminds me of…

6) the time my wife and I were shopping for clothes for our daughter and Kel loudly proclaimed, “there’s literally nothing between princess and whore!”

7) why is an extremely old lady running incredibly fast towards you such a scary image? (Give it time)

And of course, the old faithful…

8) if I fall asleep now how much sleep could I possibly get before I have to get up and function?

That vanity press one though… does my head in!

Win my books by buying my books

The Book and the Blade is a ‘Kindle Daily Deal’ on June 22nd, which in itself is kind of cool. But because I’m a muppet and desperate for attention I’ve decided to turn it into a competition. Buy it today for cheap, show me proof of purchase, and I’ll enter your name in a draw to win a paperback version of The Book and the Blade, plus Albert the Great Australian Dragon (for kids, and big kids), AND Reindeer Games (definitely not for kids!)

This is open worldwide, because I’m an idiot.

Sales links are here…




I’ll draw the winner on Sunday 25th and let you know!


Happy Birthday to Good Omens!

A twitter thread, which I’m hoping appears below in the correct order