Cover reveal: Of Falls and Angela

Cover artwork is pretty exciting. I’ve always got a buzz out of seeing the announcement then finding that the new designs are in fact completely frickin’ ace. Like when I saw the clothbound edition of I, Robot from Harper Voyager, all those gorgeous original covers for Iain Banks’ books or Ad Astra by Wayne Haag.

Well, I wanted a go.

I have recruited the talents of artist Jordan Grimmer and designer Martin Cox to get me some tasty cover artwork for Of Falls and Angela which is being prepared for publication on 13th Jun (yes, that is a Friday and no, I’m not superstitious).

Jordan has made me a pretty staggeringly good bit of artwork and – aww shucks, I’m gonna say it – was great to work with as well. He’s your man for helping you develop the concept and delivering the goods. Just have a look below.

Martin is similarly talented but I’ve worked with him for years at the day job so I’m taking him for granted now. Seriously though, he’s another guru. For one thing, he’s our designer at Unsung Stories (including the branding).

But that’s enough ado. So, with no more of the aforementioned, here’s the cover for Of Falls and Angela. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Of Falls and Angela



This is definitely into the territory of ‘A third of a book’. Having finished a big freelance job for a friend (hopefully soon to be self-published – more info at I’ve started on my own effort again. The good news is that I’ve kept up a good pace in week 1.

I’ve also found that the break has been ‘A Good Thing’. It’s incredibly daunting contemplating writing tens of thousands of words and making it all tie up at the end. Part 1 was a sequential affair, led by the action. A caused B, B caused C, D and E provided insight and it all culminated in a rather exciting F. Part 2 isn’t so simple though.

One of the things that has always impressed me about any book (good or otherwise) is how the little details start to add up to create the complete texture of a novel. During my break I’ve found little moments, lines, fragments of dialogues and ideas for themes popping into my head. Timely writing down of these things means I now have a framework for part 2. It may sound blisteringly obvious, but it’s only when you start doing it that you realise how vital this process is. Unless you’re one of those absolute bastards lucky people with a eidetic memory it’s not possible to hold it all in your head. It’s like Palpatine, the more you squeeze your fingers around your dream, the more details escape your grip.

Which brings me to here, just over 33k words. It’s another beginning so the only thing to do is plough on and not look back until the draft is written. Now I’ve staked out some key points though, I’m hoping there inevitable edit will involve less structural trauma. Time will tell…

A life of their own?

I’m currently on a self-enforced hiatus from my writing project on account of some freelance work. Aside from providing some always helpful cash, it’s has also giving me some time to plan the next part in terms of narrative and characters involved. Lots of notes are being taken, lists are being compiled, snippets of dialogue recorded before they evaporate, etc…

One of the thoughts that keeps coming back to me is about how the creative process works though. A conversation with a friend had some time ago came back to me. My friend was telling me how he had written a book once and found his characters most uncooperative, often pulling him in unplanned directions without his involvement. I found it a bizarre idea at the time, after all, who’s writing the thing?

Since then I’ve heard other takes on it. One person plans everything in great detail before writing a single word, another writes with pen & paper (already so archaic, eh?!) to slow herself down and force her to focus. Me, I’m increasingly finding that the trouble is getting the words down fast enough. The overall direction is planned in advance, and the details, well I make those up as I go along.

So where does that put me on the spectrum? It sounds like I’m a planner, feverishly recording everything before a word is composed, but it doesn’t feel like that to me. In fact, since I’ve been consciously thinking about it I’ve realised that new characters don’t get made up by me – they’re already there. I think through the scene, plan how it will go and what will happen to my protagonist and there they are, waiting patiently for me to get round to them so I can note their appearance, their defining characteristics, who they already are.

I do mean this quite seriously too, perhaps these are people I’ve met along the way in life, but they are the ones who wheedled their way into my book. In fact, all it seems is left for me to do is to put them somewhere and hopefully give them snappy lines of dialogue. So with my hand on my heart, Lode, Alphard, Regulus, Jonathan, Chloe Claire, Magic, Laurie, Dave and all the others I haven’t even met yet, I’ll do the best I can by you. I hope it does you justice.

A return to (the submission) form

Some time ago I gave myself a list of things to do. Now, barely 6 months since the last murmurings in this particular thread of the ether, I can give some kind of a sensible update!

  1. I have bought a flat. For those of you out there who are considering it, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. The sense of side-stepping fiscal entropy, and being able to make reasonable and mature decisions about your abode without having to run it past a cankerous letting agency is truly euphoric at points.
    For those of you who have already purchased a property, good Christ Almighty isn’t it stressful?! I have discovered all sorts of shockery that is entirely permitted within (perhaps even subliminally encouraged by) English property law. The Scottish system sounds vastly preferable!
  2. 28k words later I have finished Part 1 (of 3) of something that could perhaps be described as a novel. It’s not the one I originally planned to write. It’s something completely different, in fact. I’m not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign. I often think of it as just a fact; a persistant fact that has currently hit the heady heights of 1/3 of the target. It’ll do.

I’ll see about getting more methodical here too as well. There are lots of things to consider about the writing now, and I feel I have hit a pleasant amble, if not a full stride…

A brief declaration of intent

Short and sweet this; I have two ambitions for 2012.

  1. Buy, move into and enjoy living in a house/flat in London
  2. Finish at least a first draft of The Book I keep banging on about

Today saw my (and my girlfriend’s) offer on a flat get accepted by the vendor, so number 1 is looking likely.

Number 2, well number 2… I drafted 15k words of something between November and the New Year, which was shockingly productive of me. That wasn’t work on The Book though, that was something else that had been scratching away inside me.

I will no doubt use this as a vent for the various frustrations associated with these things, and I’ll try and keep it to the interesting elements of the second. Who knows, maybe i’ll learn something in the process?