LoneFire (Sept 2015)

Posted in Books | Temp

Half cyberpunk, half space opera, half  Tourettes Syndrome, LoneFire was started a long long time ago by a younger me. It’s raw in places and not as refined as it might be in others but always had a soft spot for this one. It’s not like most of my other work, but if you read and liked Empires, maybe there’s a connection there. Maybe in the swearing anyway.

There’s an excerpt here, so you can see what you’re letting yourself in for.

So what this is is a bit of an experiment while other projects are going about their usual business through more conventional means. Venture Press, as best I can tell, sit somewhere between conventional publishing and self-publishing.You can sort of see that from the cover and I dare say there’s a typo or two more than usual. Nevertheless here it is, so make what you will of it. I’m interested in criticism of the formatting and production and I’m interested to whether anyone actually buys a copy. If this works out then it could be a means to put out something more closely related to the Memory of Flames books.

Here’s the cover. Enjoy or not as your tastes take you. In the desperately unlikely event that I find any reviews that aren’t Amazon or Goodreads, I’ll be sure to put them up LoneFire coverhere…

Don’t Buy My Book – Adventures in Self-Publishing (29/03/2015)

Posted in News | Temp

If you’ve been reading these pages at all regularly, you’ll probably know that The Silver Kings is coming out in a few months and that that’s going to be the last fantasy Stephen Deas writes for Gollancz for a little while (Nathan Hawke is still a more open question). Now this is sort of annoying and sort of good. It allows (forces) the pursuit of other projects. But on the other hand, there was more to the story of that world that I’d wanted to tell. Long story short, I’m contemplating self-publishing at the moment. I have no idea whether anything will come of this, but part of that whole contemplation thing was a decision to self-publish a few shorter stories to see what happens and (much more importantly) figure out how to do it.

Last week I self-published a short story through Amazon. Here it is. It’s a story that appeared in the BFS anthology Unexpected Journeys published for World Fantasycon 2013. It’s about six thousand words. Problems I encountered with this first pipe-cleaning exercise

Continue reading “Don’t Buy My Book – Adventures in Self-Publishing (29/03/2015)”

Giveaway: Something Coming Through (22/2/2015)

Posted in Uncategorized

This week, at the same time as giving away a copy of some poor bugger’s book, I’m going to do something a bit different. We have an election coming in a few months (please do vote if you’re able), and with that in mind it seemed appropriate for this blog to adopt a more serious tone and start addressing more significant political issues than George Lucus’s radicalisation of the Care Bears. So here today are the official policies of the five main national parties in the event of an impending asteroid strike:

The Conservative Party has no official policy, but will issue bunker access passes to anyone based on how much tax they should have paid but managed not to. This is based on the post-apocalyptic social policy of natural selection: only fittest will survive, and only the biggest bastards will survive to rule.

The Labour Party refused to be railroaded in issuing a policy statement of any sort, but nodded lots at the suggestion that it would basically be exactly the same policy as the Conservatives backed up by vastly noisy denials and assertions that their policy will be something entirely different and much nicer, even while they’re quietly issuing the same passes.

The Liberal Democrats were too surprised to find someone interested in something they might have to say to actually say anything. Whihc probably doesn’t matter because no one would believe them anyway. Off the record one party member suggested they might try to form a coalition with the asteroid on the grounds that it would briefly be the one thing even more hated than them, but that strikes me mostly as wishful thinking.

UKIP didn’t have a policy at all, as usual, but after brainstorming with a few beers down the pub have settled on a plan to strap rockets to the backs of immigrants and launch them into the upper troposphere to create a human shield.

The Green Party take the view that an asteroid strike causing the extinction of the human race is part of the natural order of things and probably no bad thing, and state that it would be “irresponsible” to try and do anything about it.

No, I don’t the first fucking clue who to vote for either. But I do have a book to give away. This week it’s Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley, chosen because politics made me think of Empires: Extraction and that made me think of aliens. And having read a little, I think this might give The Death House a run for its money to climb to the top of the TBR pile. Here’s an extract from the author’s blog:

Something Coming Through isn’t about explaining away the alien: it’s about the difficulty of understanding it. The Jackaroo step in to give aid to humanity at a moment of global crisis. They are, they say, here to help. But they’re also wilfully enigmatic. They appear only as humanoid avatars. They deflect all questions about what they are, where they come from, why they are helping humanity, and what the endpoint of that help might be

Usual deal – comment on this post before Sunday 1st March and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy. If you have any other genre questions for our politicos, leave those in the comments too and I’ll see if I can get an answer – next week the five main party’s will address their plans for a zombie apocalypse.

No one has complained (so far) about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, but it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Am currently up to date with posting things.

Ed Cox Giveaway and Why Gavin Smith is Wrong About Ewoks (15/2/2015)

Posted in Critical Failures

Apologies first of all that there wasn’t a giveaway last week, this being on account of an unusually severe attack of the snots. Apologies second of all that this week’s planned article (an insightful interview with the main parties contending the May general election as to their policies for coping with the inevitable eventuality of a major asteroid strike) will now have to be deferred until next week, but there are some things that need to be said about my Elite/Empires co-author Gavin Smith and his recent downright prejudiced comments about ewoks.

Continue reading “Ed Cox Giveaway and Why Gavin Smith is Wrong About Ewoks (15/2/2015)”

The Yearly Round-up (30/12/2014)

Posted in News

2013 saw the publication of Dragon Queen, the first book in my second trilogy of dragon fantasies, and while I kept the world the same, I took a different approach to the writing of it. The politics are still there, the battles and the dragons and the magic, but Dragon Queen was supposed to have a much more intense focus on character. I think Zafir was and remains the best character I’ve ever written (but I’m a little biased by knowing what happens in the second and third books). Dragon Queen was well received by the handful of people who read and reviewed it, but the sad fact (for me) is that it didn’t sell. I suppose I have to take that as a reflection on the books that preceded it. Which is a pity, because it’s light-years better.

2013 also saw the release of three Nathan Hawke novels in quick succession, much more swords and sorcery. Three novels in consecutive months, under a different name, straight into paperback (which isn’t the usual Gollancz way) and with those glorious covers with nothing but the artwork on the front. They didn’t sell terribly well either, although they did better than Dragon Queen. If there’s one ray of hope for Nathan Hawke it’s that there’s still a steady trickle of sales, and that the second and third books are selling close to as well as the first, which suggests that maybe, on the whole, The Crimson Shield is a strong enough story to make you want more.

On the whole, 2013 didn’t work (actually 2013 sucked for a whole variety of reasons, professional failure being the least of them). So just as well 2014 hasn’t been about fantasy nearly as much. As well as the second Zafir dragon novel, The Splintered Gods, 2014 saw historical crime fiction, The Royalist, military SF (Empires: Extraction) and a co-written SF game tie-in (Elite:Wanted). Turns out I was also a lot less productive this year than I was in 2013, writing only a little over two hundred thousand new words over the course of the year as opposed to over half a million the year before. That had a lot to do with needing to have a real job for a bit.

Will this year’s titles sell? The Splintered Gods won’t. I guess by now you either like my dragons or you don’t, so whoever liked Dragon Queen will probably get on with The Splintered Gods, but it’s definitely part two of a trilogy.

Elite: Wanted will probably do well enough. Don’t expect great depth of character or some startlingly original piece of world-building. It seems popular enough among Elite fans, but as with most tie-in fiction, it will doubtless struggle to reach beyond the game-playing audience. Whether there can be any more Ziva and Ravindra seems unlikely, and will depend very much on Frontier and their plans for further expansions of the game. Here’s a the most recent review I could find, which is fairly typical. “…a fast, frentic space opera that pays homage to Elite in the best possible way.” SFbook.com

Bulldog Drummond: Dead Man’s Gate is an e-book onyl novella I did for the small e-publisher Piqwiq. I have no idea AT ALL whether it’s selling any copies. The fact that the first novella went through three stages of editing and the second two are only going through one each smacks of desperately trying to save money, so I’m going to guess probably not, and apologise right now for the inevitable typos.

Empires: Extraction hasn’t been out for long and it hasn’t had many reviews, but so far they’ve all been pretty grim and they all like Infiltration better (OK, the two that I’ve read have. I haven’t read the SFX review), which largely sucks for me, but I can see their point that Gav’s aliens are better. Early impression is this is an experiment that didn’t work. I can’t see me and Gavin being asked to write a second pair of books in this form. There might be a different way to go forward.

The Royalist, by contrast, has enjoyed a rather kinder reception. Here’s the most recent review I could find; again fairly typical. “a very enjoyable and refreshing read that gave you a new understanding of the time and the New Model army and how it was anything but united” Reality is a Bore. A second William Falkland volume comes out next summer. If anything from this year is going to carry on, I reckon it’s this one.

2015: The Silver Kings comes out in the summer, the last of the dragon books I’ll be writing for a while. Like Dragon Queen it’s very much Zafir’s story, and all the better for it, though it does leave a few other things hanging as a result. That, for me, will be the pick of the bunch for next year because it’s so close to my heart. There are two more Bulldog Drummond novellas in the pipeline. Nathan Hawke has three Gallow shorts coming out in the first half of the year, and then I guess the title I’m most hopeful for is the second William Falkland novel: The Protector, but more about that closer to the time.

I have no idea what I’ll be writing in 2015. Another William Falkland novel, I hope. Maybe, if the Gallow shorts do well, there can be another Nathan Hawke outing.

Random End of Year Giveway (14/12/2014)

Posted in Uncategorized

News this week? Is there any? Not much. The third of my Bulldog Drummond novellas has finished editing. I enjoyed writing them, but I don’t think the first one has sold nearly well enough for there to be any more (I base this purely on the non-existant amazon ranking). There is an audio version now available, if anyone is into that sort of thing. Elite: Wanted looks like it’s kicking Empires’ butt, which wasn’t supposed to happen (yay – go Elite!). Nathan Hawke continues to fiddle with a few short stories.

Usually at this time of the year I do some sort of post that says where various projects are at. So . . .

The dragons and the thief-taker

There’s no sight of a US publisher for The Black Mausoleum, Dragon Queen, The Splintered Gods or The Silver Kings, or for the Thief-Taker series. Both should be available via online retailers, and this seems to have started working a lot better than it did a couple of years ago. They do all appear to be available from Amazon. Dragon Queen came out in paperpack in the summer. The Splintered Gods is out and The Silver Kings is into the later stages of the edit process and should come out in June, I think. This series seems to have settled into a set of devoted followers, to if you’re one of those, thank you. Zafir has been something of a ride. She’ll probably linger with me as one of the best characters I’ve ever written, but damn is she hard to live with.

Nathan Hawke

The omnibus is out there.  As with the later dragons books, there is no US publisher but it’s available from online retailers. There are three rather long short stories which are going to come out as e-books over the first half of next year. If they sell, there may be some more novels to follow – that’s down to Nathan’s publisher being convinced enough that they’re going to make any money out of them. I liked writing Gallow and I’d like to do some more. If you’re a Gallow fan, please help that happen by buying copies for all your friends as Christmas presents.

Gavin Deas

Elite was fun but it doesn’t look like there are going to be any more in the near future. Extraction/Infiltration hasn’t had nearly enough review coverage to turn into decent sales, I fear, but it’s a bit early to know for sure.

S J Deas

Lots of positive review coverage for The Royalist. The Protector, William Falkland’s second mystery, is written, edited, and coming out in June (I think, or maybe September) and the paperback of the Royalist comes out in March (again, I *think*). I’m hopeful this series will continue.

Anyway… Most of you are just here for the free book, right…? :-)

So this week’s giveaway is… a mystery. Several mysteries, in fact, because I’m going to rob a book from the Gollancz offices (they’re all on holiday until like the middle of March or something) for every five entries[1]. I’ll take requests, but I might not be able to honour them (in fact there’s a pretty good chance I won’t, but I’ll try). I’ll be keeping half an eye open for double entries, but only half of one ;-)

So – to enter the great random end-of-year book draw, all you have to do it comment on this post before January 1st and say hello or happy Christmas or something that’s at least not obscene and I’ll randomly select lucky victims for free books. That’s it, although if there’s a specific Gollancz title you’d like me to try and pilfer then say so in the comment! So far no one has complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, but  it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Am currently up to date, in that all recent winners have been posted. Obviously all the winners from this particular competition won’t be gettin gtheir books until the new year…

(it’s open worldwide, but deliveries outside Europe can take about two months)

[1] in the unlikely event that we get past fifty entries, I’ll have to drop the prize ratio in order to not go bankrupt…

Giveaway: Empires Extraction (1/12/2014)

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New for the last couple of weeks? Not much. The final edits for The Silver Kings have gone in. Copyediting over Christmas at a guess. Nathan Hawke polished off the Gallow short Dragon’s Reach and some extra-secret bonus material. Gavin Deas attended the Elite:Dangerous premiere and headlined the event, if by headlined I mean was the last person on stage before the night ended, which I do. There have been other developments about which I shall not speak, but which are going to mean quite some reduction in writing time next year.

Also Empires came out. There are some early reviews and articles for the truly committed over on the Empires page:

Did I mention that you can read the first chapter of Extraction here?

Now to the giveaway: I did Empires: Infiltration last week, so I suppose I’d better do Extraction this week. Yay! The Snarky Spaceships volume!

Covers 4

The covers are a bit of a clue as to the content. I think they’re well suited for what’s inside. In Extraction, it’s basically badass aliens, snarky spaceships and sweary SAS men. I think Gav give Infiltration a slightly darker, edgier feel, but then the novels have their differences in what’s going on around each protagonist. If you like you that sort of thing, the way the two novels both mesh and work on their own is pretty cool (yes I cutted and pasted that from last week AGAIN. So sue me).

Usual deal – comment on this post before December  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy. This week, since there was a Star Wars trailer(well, sort of) last week, I’m looking for suggestions for things that ought to be in Star Wars: Episode 7 or ought not to be. Or anything Star Wars related will do. Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Am currently a bit behind.

Book Giveaway: Infiltration (16/11/2014)

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This weeks sees the publication of Empires: Extraction and Empires: Infiltration, and since it’s alos Gavin’s birthday (so Facebook tells me), it seems only appropriate that I bow to that and give away one of his books for absolutely NOTHING AT ALL (and hopefully leave the lucky victim to then go a pick up a copy of Extraction, thus availing me of the several pence of royalty payment, hahAAA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAVIN!) Gav and I also did loads and loads of fun internet things in a futile effort to gain your attention, but frankly I think my best bet is to give away lots and lots of copies of Gav’s book…

Did I mention that you can read the first chapter of Extraction here?

The rest of the last week was spent doing the last edits to The Silver Kings, which now has a rather cool looking cover that I can’t yet reveal because it’s not quite finished and working on Dragon’s Reach. Actually, there’s quite a bit of Nathan Hawke stuff slowly bubblingat the moment, so here, for anyone who wants it and didn’t already read it, is chapter one of The Crimson Shield.

Now to the giveaway:

Covers 4

The covers are a bit of a clue as to the content. I think they’re well suited for what’s inside. In Extraction, it’s basically badass aliens, snarky spaceships and sweary SAS men. I think Gav give Infiltration a slightly darker, edgier feel, but then the novels have their differences in what’s going on around each protagonist. If you like you that sort of thing, the way the two novels both mesh and work on their own is pretty cool (yes I cutted and pasted that from last week. So sue me). This week’s giveaway is Infiltration. There’s a possibility I can get Gavin to sign it, but it’s also possible he may be grumpy about giving his books away again.

Usual deal – comment on this post before November 23rd and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy. This week I’m looking for the most preposterous thing you can think of about any alien invasion story ever.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Am currently a bit behind.

Empires: Extraction (10/11/2014)

Posted in News | Temp

Yesterday (at the time of posting) was Rememberance Sunday. Between one sporting event and another, I think we observed a good few minutes of Silence. I suppose, what one is meant to do in those quiet moments is to reflect upon the horrors of war, all the lives lost and the reasons why. Rememberance Sunday was born from the first world war, and I doubt many of us really know why that happened in anything except the most general terms. I’m certainly quite sure that I don’t. Some more recent wars have been a bit clearer, others have been equally murky. A lot of them seem rather unnecessary.

In a couple of weeks the SF novels Empires: Extraction and Empires: Infiltration come out. Like Elite: Wanted, these both have a colon in the title and are coming out under the name of Gavin Deas on account of having been co-written with Gavin Smith. Unlike Elite, we each got to do our own whole novel in Empires. Although most of the events are set in 2015, Extraction starts twenty years earlier, in Bosnia, in 1995, with the massacre of Srebenica (or at least a part of it). Around that time I was exchanging a few letters with a Slovenian girl I’d met on a train a couple of years before and who happened to be into the same music as I was, and yes, OK, Slovenia wasn’t Bosnia, but it wasn’t exactly Scotland either. We didn’t talk about what was happening to what was once Yugoslavia, but it shamed me later to realise how ignorant I was, which is why this week’s giveaway is the way it is.

It’s also quite sweary, that opening chapter. I’m sure there are genteel squaddies out there, but I haven’t met them yet.

Other news: here’s a review for Elite: Wanted…

“I’ve enjoyed “Wanted” much more than I was supposed to enjoy any tie-in novel. Deas and Smith spin a mightily interesting yarn and I’ve especially enjoyed the way personal lives of characters influenced their decisions and often completely changed the course of events. This is in spirit of the original Elite which was not about heroes as such – it was more about small people trying to find their place in an endless, violently merciless environment. Having said that, the story does end up rather abruptly. Final 30-40 pages are some of the finest sci-fi I’ve ever read and admittedly I wanted to read more.” Upcoming4me

And here’s a review for The Royalist…

“Deas … integrates history and narrative knowledgeably, with wisdom that shines through in Falkland’s voice based on his experience of the tragedy of war.” The Historical Novel Society

The rest of the last week was spent working on a third Nathan Hawke story, Dragon’s Reach, which is centred around Oribas and Achista and what happens when Gallow isn’t around and the forkbeads are out for their revenge.

Now to the giveaway:

Covers 4

The covers are a bit of a clue as to the content. I think they’re well suited for what’s inside. In Extraction, it’s basically badass aliens, snarky spaceships and sweary SAS men. I think Gav give Infiltration a slightly darker, edgier feel, but then the novels have their differences in what’s going on around each protagonist. If you like you that sort of thing, the way the two novels both mesh and work on their own is pretty cool.

This week’s giveaway is a copy of Extraction and Infiltration. There’s a possibility I can get Gavin to sign Infiltration so they’ll be a matched pair. You can read the first chapter of Extraction here.

Usual deal – comment on this post before November 16th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victims for a free copy. This week’s “game” isn’t game, really, but I’d like to know what else we should remember, lest we all forget. Or if that’s too touchy or difficult a subject, just comment and say “hi”  to enter.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Am currently up to date with sending things out except theat Dragon Queen T-Short from months ago which I still haven’t had printed but I haven’t forgotten either!

Empires: Extraction

Posted in Books

“This groundbreaking collaboration between two Gollancz authors tells of the invasion of Earth by two different alien races – at the same time. Two men become aware of the threat, and must work to sabotage the invasion plans and see off the aliens. Each book follows one hero, uncovering the threat to humanity and the world from their point of view. Each book can be read on its own, and will give the reader a complete, kinetic, fast-paced military SF story. But read both books and the reader gets something else – another view of (some of) the same events and crossover points, culminating in [redacted, but the cover might be a clue]. The two books can be read in any order, but together they tell the story of humanity caught in the crossfire between two deadly alien races, who have made Earth their battleground…”

So there’s the blurb from the publisher about what Gav (Gavin Smith) and I were trying to do with these two books.

“Two alien races have fought a long and bitter war among the stars. And now their conflict has bought them to our world, and the end of humanity is nigh. We have something they want, something which can’t be found anywhere else in the universe. Neither side can afford to show their hand too early and attract the attention of their enemies, but their plans are in place and their agents are at work. When two men – a soldier and a policeman – stumble into the alien plots, their investigations will lead them to the aliens and, eventually, to each other. And to war.”

And there’s another. I think that about covers it. Speaking of covers…

Covers 4

Hopefully it’s clear enough that these two novels are joined at the hip. Gavin wrote Infiltration and also a couple of short scenes  in Extraction.

The opening chapter of Extraction is here.

“A neat idea, neatly executed.” The Financial Times. Presumably because we didn’t flatten the City after all.

“Once the action kicks in there is some brilliantly realised military science fiction on offer.” The Book Bag. (This is one of those irritating reviews where someone actually pays close attention and is critical and says stuff to which an author ought to pay attention. Yes, I did cherry-pick this quote).

“Taken as a whole the books just about work. EMPIRES INFILTRATION is the better by a country mile.” Frightfest. Le sigh.

“Fast-paced and blackly humerous with a spattering of decent characters, and the crossovers add to the fun.” SFX (more quote cherry-picking – if you prefer you can have “One tenth Iain M Banks-lite … 90% is half urban thriller, half Michael Bay’s Transformers” I’m not sure that was meant in a good way, but I’m shallow enough to like it).

“All round a cracking piece of fiction and something that a lot of Science Fiction fans can really get behind especially as the tales not only keep you hooked but leave you wondering throughout if mankind can triumph against such odds. Magic.” Falcatta Times (a review of both Empires books at once)

And finally a few odds and sods. Articles and the like.

A few fun facts about neurotransmitters. Sci-Fi-London

Gav and I interview each other. Wondrous Reads. And criticise one another… SFFWorld

Another extract at GeekPlanetOnline

Empires: Extraction – chapter one

Posted in Excerpts | Temp

Bosnia. July 13th 1995. Under the auspices of the United Nations, a squad of four special forces soldiers witness one of the worst atrocities in Europe since the end of the nazis.

They also witness something else.

Giveaway; War in Heaven (26/10/2014)

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s SF season here at the moment, we Elite out a couple of weeks back and Empires next month and a proposal in the works for something with another SF bent. Edits for all of next year’s titles are now done all bar the shouting and a bit of polishing.

Speaking of dragons, The Splintered Gods has a review from Falcatta Times:

“The writing is always to the point, it gets to the meat of the matter and with some of the subtle hints and wordplay within generates a story that is pretty unique out there.”

Anyway, none of you came here to hear about that, so on to business. Since Empires is coming out next month, it’s probably about time I started giving away a lot of Gavin Smith SF again (we wrote Empires together), on account of the imagined loss of sales annoying him greatly. This week I have two copies of War In Heaven for the taking.

Usual deal – comment on this post before November 2nd  and I’ll randomly select two lucky victims for free copies. This week we’re playing Bad Alien Invasion Supermarket, so you need your comment to come up with something to do with bad alien invasions, by which I mean stupid stuff that make no sense which one might encounter in bad alien invasion stories, and the comments have to be in alphabetical order. So for example, A is for Androids with Off Buttons, B is for Bloody Hell, Lasers Are Not Visible In A Vacuum, etc… You get the picture. You can stretch the the alphabetical point as far as it will go, but if you don’t play the game, your entry is VOID. HAHAHAHAHAAAAA.

You can enter as may times as you like but I’ll count the first two entries – the rest are just for fun and showing off.  Extra points for humour and originality and just for once I’ll throw in an Angry Dragons mug if you make me laugh, smirk or otherwise amuse me.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

Brief Update (7/10/2014)

Posted in News

No giveaway this week, but I’ll make up for it next week with two copies of Elite: Wanted. In the meantime, here’s where things are at.

For new fans of William Falkland – I’m expecting the edits for his second outing imminently, and you’llbe seeing him again next summer.

For dragon fans – the edits to The Silver Kings are a little over half done and you’ll be seeing Zafir and the dragons again next summer too. I’m reasonably content that this is going to be a fitting end to the series, possibly the best book of the sequence or at least on a par with Dragon Queen.

For Gallow fans – I’m contracted to write three 10k(ish) short stories for Gollancz. The first, The Anvil, is now post-edit. The second, Solace, is with my editor. The third. . . exists as a vague idea in my head. I don’t have dates for these. There’s an omnibus edition of the first trilogy available as an e-book and, allegedly, as a paper book too soon, but I don’thave a date for that either. The omnibus does include some bonus material not in the original novels.

For Bulldog Drummond fans, the second novella is withe the publishers with all my work done. The third, The Jaguar Mask, is in for edit.

The physical version of Elite: Wanted comes out next week, and then Empires is out on 20th November, to this site might go all a bit SF for a couple of months…

Back again in a week.

The Books

Posted in Uncategorized

Correct as of 26th July 2014. I will periodically update this for major changes.

Historical Fiction as S J Deas (William Falkland)

William Falkland has spent six years fighting for the king. It’s four years since he last saw his family, and all he wants to do is go home; but first, to save himself from Parliament’s noose, he must play the part of Cromwell’s reluctant intelligencer. The first William Falkland book, the Royalist, is published by Headline in September this year. The second William Falkland mystery, featuring John Milton (a wonderfully colourful character, it turns out) will come out in 2015. We’re still debating the title, but expect a Paradise Lost quote.

Royalist-cover-201x309

Historical Fiction as Stephen Deas (Bulldog Drummond)

Bulldog Drummond (a character first created in the 1920s by HC McNeile) is a retired verteran of the first world war with too much restless energy on his hands and a penchant for adventure and trouble. I like to think of him as James Bond’s occasional uncle. More than a dozen Bulldog Drummond books were written between 1919 and 1940, along with a similar number of movies. Ian Fleming cited Drummond as one of the influences behind the character of James Bond. At present three Bulldog Drummond novellas are in the pipeline (Dead Man’s Gate (2014), The Faceless Men (due 2014), The Jaguar Mask (2015)). They will be available as e-books only through Piqwiq.

Stephen_Deas_Drummond1_Dead_Mans_Gate_250Stephen_Deas_Bulldog_Drummond_and_the_faceless-men_250Stephen_Deas_Bulldog_Drummond_and_the_Jaguar_mask_250


Science Fiction as Gavin Deas

Elite: Wanted (May 2014 e-book, October 2014 hardcopy), a tie-in novel to the game Elite:Dangerous. Co-written with Gavin Smith under the name Gavin Deas. Empires: Extraction (November 2014), another partnership with Gavin Smith, co-released with Gavin’s Empires: Infiltration.

wanted cover - lo resEmpires-Extraction-FrontEmpires-Infiltration-Front

Fantasy as Stephen Deas: A Memory of Flames:

Click here for Maps and Gazetteers

The Adamantine Palace (2009) is in print in UK/Australia/NZ/SA, France, USA, Germany and Poland and might or might not be on its way to Bulgaria. The King of the Crags (2010) and The Order of the Scales (2011) are in UK/Australia/NZ/SA, France, Germany and US bookshops but NOT Poland for reasons beyond my control.

The Silver Kings series The Black Mausoleum (UK August 2012) is a stand-alone novel in the same setting as the Memory of Flames series. Dragon Queen (2013), The Splintered Gods (2014) and The Silver Kings (2015) pick up threads and characters from the Memory of Flames series and also pick up some threads from the Thief-Taker’s Apprentice series and The Black Mausoleum. There are no overseas deals for these (you’re not as sorry about that as I am) but it should be possible to get them in the US. That’s going to be that for the dragons at least for a while.

adpalaceCover first draftORDER OF THE SCALES draft coverTBM front coverDragon Queen lo-res coversplintered gods cover

Fantasy as Stephen Deas: The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice

The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice (2010) is out in the UK and Poland. Parts two and three, The Warlock’s Shadow, (2011) and The King’s Assassin (2012), are out in the UK. Allegedly all three are available now in the US as both physical and e-book editions. Some left-over threads of the story are picked up in Dragon Queen.

thieftakers apprentice coverwarlocks shadow cover - shrunkkings assassin new

Fantasy as Nathan Hawke: Gallow

The Fateguard series: The Crimson Shield (2013), Cold Redemption (2013), The Last Bastion (2013), all published by Gollancz under the pen-name Nathan Hawke

cover lo-rescold redemption cover lo-resCover artwork lo-res

The Nathan Hawke site has an interactive map and some extra short stories. All three books are out in paperback. An omnibus edition is available as an e-book and a print edition is on its way in later 2014 – the omnibus has all the extras included in it. Three short stories are in production for Gollancz to be released early next year (I think).

The Royalist – Cover and stuff (8/7/2014)

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No Giveaway this week, nor probably for a while, as there’s going to be something of a redesign of the website going on over the next couple of months ready for stuff that doesn’t have dragons in it. September 25th sees the publication of The Royalist, a historical mystery detective thriller thing set in the English civil war. Here’s the blurb and the cover.

“William Falkland is a dead man.

A Royalist dragoon who fought against Parliament, he is currently awaiting execution at Newgate prison. Yet when he is led away from Newgate with a sack over his head, it is not the gallows to which they take him, but to Oliver Cromwell himself. Cromwell has heard of Falkland’s reputation as an investigator and now more than ever he needs a man of conscience. His New Model Army are wintering in Devon but mysterious deaths are sweeping the camp. In return for his freedom, Falkland is despatched to uncover the truth.

With few friends and a slew of enemies, Falkland soon learns there is a dark demon at work, one who won’t go down without a fight. But how can he protect Cromwell’s army from such a monster and, more importantly, will he be able to protect himself?”

Royalist-cover-201x309

Notice the cunning use of a fake middle initial to totally hide who the author really is . . . oh, never mind. Then in October and November the Elite novel comes out in hardback and Empires follows it. So there’s going to be some rearrangement of the site to be less dragony and more with the spaceships and the muskets over the rest of summer.

Book Giveaway: Blood of Elves (10/3/2014)

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Maybe it’s a sign of something when a book you wrote comes out and you didn’t even know. Admittedly not a big book. But it was fun. Got a bit of steampunk yearning out of my system too (it has an airship, OK).

Work is currently suspended on the last dragon book (I want to call it Black Moon now but that’s probably already taken, right?) while I wait for a alpha reader to read everything except the last act (which isn’t written yet). I don’t know who the hell told Zafir she could just take over this series but I suppose one doesn’t argue with a dragon queen. Copy edits for Empires are done, the edits for the second Bulldog Drummond novella are done and there are rumours of possibly a third. This week’s project is a structural going-over for the second civil war mystery, in which the poet Milton figures fairly prominently.

This week’s giveaway is Sapkowski’s Blood of Elves because I like Geralt and yes the gaesm were fun too (the first more than the second) but I do mean the books. Gollancz has a new one heading out soon. Poke me on Twitter (@stephendeas) and I’ll see if I can give away a copy of that too when it comes out.

Usual deal – comment on this post before March 10th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the book. This week I encourage you to explain to me why elves so often have wierd-looking curvy swords, or why dwarves always have axes, or why orcs have . . . whatever it is that orcs have. Or just point out the typos in this post (it’s past midnight, dammit. My fingers are slurring). Amuse me, if you will, but you don’t have to to enter.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Recent winners, I have (just about) cleared my backlog again – they’re all in the post!

Book Giveaway: Truth and Fear (3/3/2014)

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I think I might be re-titling the last dragon book. Possibly. All but the last act are drafted. Last week was spent editing my second Bulldog Drummond novella (of which more when I know anything about it) and there might well be a third. Copy edits for The Royalist are done, copy-edits for Empires are underway.

Genre, if you didn’t already know, managed to make some mainstream news over the weekend. Or here’s a different take on it. Whatever your view on the final outcome, not our finest hour. But never mind. If you’ve been following my giveaways over the last couple of years, you’ll have noticed that I keep giving away copies of Wolfhound Century because I really like it and it’s really different. So here’s the sequel. Richard Morgan has it about right.

Usual deal – comment on this post before March 10th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the book. This week I encourage suggestions for who would be a sufficiently SAFE master of ceremonies for an SF convention. Amuse me, if you will, but you don’t have to to enter.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Recent winners, I have cleared my backlog – they’re all in the post!

Giveaway : Wolfhound Century (29/1/2014)

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It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book giveaway or indeed said much at all here. November was eaten by NaNoWriMo and December was eaten by The Silver Kings and copy-editing The Splintered Gods and editing Empires and and and . . . and mostly by the looming spectre of having to go back to having a day-job. But that’s all behind now. The Silver Kings is sitting at about 120k words and will grow to about 220k. The tentative schedule for 2014 is this:

March: Sekkrit project comes out. I think. Who can say? I have no idea. I haven’t seen the proofs yet so who knows…

April: Dragon Queen comes out in mass-market paperback and you’re ALL GOING TO BUY IT, RIGHT?

June: The Splintered Gods comes out and The Silver Kings is supposed to be delivered

August: Sometime around here the novella Bulldog Drummond: Dead Man’s Gate might happen.

November: The Royalist comes out. Maybe Empires comes out. Who can say…?

So this week’s freebie is Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins which I still think is awesome and yes, i know I’ve already given it a couple of airings on the blog but it deserves another. If you haven’t heard me say it before, this is a wonderfully atmospheric espinonagey politically thrillery thing but what really sets it apart is the setting that feels so like an alternate inter-war Russia that you don’t really notice that it never actually says so and yet has giants, space-angels (I think), sentient rain and sentient forests. And it’s gloomy and broody and rains all the time and I like that sort of thing. Something Graham Greene might have written except after the first draft he got smacked round the head by a sentient walking hut and it was rewritten in a Siberian forest by Baba Yaga. There’s a bit of an undercurrent of quantum uncertainty and the overlapping of many worlds too. And then just when you’re really getting into it, some bastard (and I think I have to point a finger at the author here) shows up with a garotte and practically executes the novel mid-sentence, calls that an ending and we all have to wait until Spring next year for the next installment. Nevertheless, this is SF that sits beside Dune for me. It was wonderful. You can visit Peter’s site here.

Usual deal – comment on this post before February 3rd  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the book. No game this week since it’s the first time back for a while, simply comment to enter.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Recent winners, I have cleared my backlog – they’re all in the post!

Name That Spaceship: (04/11/2013)

Posted in News

Last week: polishing off the penultimate rewrite of Bulldog Drummond and the Faceless; editing Empires: Extraction; going to World Fantasy Con. I’ll put up another extract from Empires later this week. This week I’m working on the sequel to The Royalist as a NaNoWriMo project. To follow my progress and/or find out what the hell that even means, you need to hop over to the Fantasy Faction site. Here’s the starter.

This week’s giveaway is a bit different. One of the nice things about conventions is that you get to see all sorts of people when they’re a bit tipsy and more pliable than usual to be tapped up for favours. If you follow the acquisitions news from Gollancz, you’ll already know that when the Kickstarter funding drive for Elite: Dangerous was launched, Gollancz bought the rights to publish three tie-in novel titles. In theory, then, there are three Gollancz novels coming out next year set in the Elite universe. If you’ve been following with *particular* interest (say because you happen to be a Gollancz author who pitch in to the Kickstarter, not that that actually narrows us down all that much, it turns out), you might have noticed that there haven’t been any announcements as to who will  be writing them and when they’ll be coming out.

Naturally, from my position of privilege, I shall not be sharing the INSIDE INFORMATION I have on the subject. What I will share, however, is the opportunity, acquired during the World Fantasy Convention for one of you to name a spaceship in one of the elite tie-in novels. Any thing you like provided is doesn’t break some other copyright and isn’t likely to cause offense (both Gollancz and Frontier would have to be OK with it). The ship is currently a Diamondback called the Sword of Alexander and exists in the narrative as something for the protagonist to ostentatiously have a fight with (I believe it puts in a good show for itself before it goes down). There is the possibility that the name might make its way back into the game database for the Elite universe, but I absolutely can’t say anything definite one way or the other about that.

To enter, you have to comment on this post before November 10th AND you have to finish this sentence: “Officer, I crashed into the space-station because…” The author who’ll be using your ship name will choose a winner by some opaque process not subject to any scrutiny next weekend. Enjoy.

Book Giveaway: Proxima by Stephen Baxter (10/9/2013)

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The summer of SF is over and it’s back the dragons and finally settling in to the edits for The Splintered Gods and gearing up for what might be the last dragon book for a while, The Silver Kings, for which some actual planning might be required. He’s a bit of the current chapter one of The Splintered Gods.

Tuuran picked his way back out of the shattered tower, through the litter-strewn ruin between cracked and crazed walls of enchanted Taiytakei gold-glass, boots crunching on a carpet of broken glittering shards. The ruin of the palace was quiet now, deserted except for a handful of Taiytakei soldiers poking through the rubble for anything precious that might have survived when the towers had come down. Most of the soldiers had moved, rooting out the handful of defenders too stupid to know a lost cause when it stared them in the face from the back of a dragon. In the next yard along, through a beautifully elegant ruby-glass arch that had somehow survived, three soldier crouched around a litter of tumbled stonework and twisted metal and glittering broken golden shards, prodding at it. Tuuran had no idea what they’d found. As he watched, a palace slave, miraculously alive, crept out of some hiding place and ran away. No one tried to stop her. No one paid attention. There wasn’t anywhere for her to go.

Crazy Mad was sitting on the edge of a wall, looking out over the cliffs and the sea and the burning city. The dragon was gone but Crazy Mad’s eyes were set in its wake. Tuuran sat beside him and nudged him. “Some nice loot in there,” he said. “You should grab some while you can.”

Anyway, none of you came here to hear about that, so on to business. This week’s book giveaway is Proxima by Stephen Baxter, which hasn’t quite come out yet, which I haven’t read and I’m not at all sure I want to part with. Since the cover image is lifted from the Forbidden Planet website, I might as well lift their review as well . . .

Usual deal – comment on this post before September 14th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy.

This week we’re playing SF Pseudonym in case I need a second nom de plume for Empires: Extraction and the Sekkrit Projekt. To enter the competition, you have to play the game and come up with a suitably daft pseudonym. You can enter as may times as you like but I’ll count the first two entries – the rest are just for fun and showing off.  Extra points for humour and originality and I’ve still got the Angry Dragons mug if you make me laugh, smirk or otherwise amuse me.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

Empires: An update (6/9/2013)

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Back in April, I announced an SF collaboration with fellow Gollancz author Gavin Smith: “Caught between battery-farming and annihilation, can mankind find a way out in the face of Gavin’s personal guarantee that at no point will any vastly technologically superior alien races be defeated by a single big shouty man with a large gun or by some sort of computer hack? Find out next year . . .”

I’m pleased to say that my Empires: Extraction is ready to submit and Gavin’s companion volume is going through the proof-reading. It’s been slightly delayed due to being gazumped by another project that affects both of us but it’s basically on schedule. When it actually comes out is up to Gollancz. The results, though are some sort of monstrous hybrid of my penchant for extreme physics and Gavin’s special forces expertise.

What we’ve ended up with isn’t quite what we thought we were going to do but I’m pleased with the result. I don’t think I can claim any great depth of commentary on society with this one, just snarky spacehips, aliens, deranged sentient hallucinations, sweary SAS men, lots of guns and explosions, I get to be rude about the Cleggeron and we just won’t mention what Gavin gets up to across the Atlantic (mostly because it’ll get cut in the edit ).

Here’s an (unedited) extract:

June 28th, 1600 hours, One hundred miles east of Damascus

The cloned Fermat construct approached from the east. It had become irritatingly difficult to conceal itself crossing the desert. It could cloak itself perfectly well from all the standard senses and sensors but moving at any kind of speed close to the ground would throw up clouds of dust that would then be hard to conceal. It could stutter in little wormhole jumps and the natives wouldn’t be any the wiser but then there was the matter of who else was in this system. The Shriven appeared to have exceptional sensor arrays hidden somewhere and they might pick up the muon trail the stutters would leave behind. It couldn’t allow that. It wanted to optimise its chances to take them by surprise.

It settled for riding in the back of a native truck, concealed and invisible. It had engineered a xeno-fungus whose spores made their way into human nervous systems and made them entirely suggestible. It was a calculated risk – anything more complex that would have allowed more reliable subjugation might have aroused suspicion from the Shriven but it needed pliable natives. It considered flying but again the elimination of its own signature would have been imperfect.

The truck was slow. The clone took the time to flit its consciousness among the several hundred tiny drones that now orbited the earth. Individually they were simply things, barely even self-aware, but the network they made was showing interesting phenomena that even the Irrational Prime wasn’t picking up lurking out among the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. Most of all, the orbital network was showing consistent steady signs of pion decay somewhere in Damascus. The network had it pinned down to a few dozen yards. The clone would do the rest.

It assessed the tactical options it had prepared for whatever it encountered. Shortly after it did that, the truck ground to a halt at some sort of native checkpoint and an exchange of conversation occurred. From the back of the truck, the Fermat couldn’t intervene without giving itself away. It seemed that the conversation went logically enough but it nevertheless ended with the soldiers at the checkpoint hauling the driver out of his truck, dragging him behind a shed and shooting him in the head.

The Fermat considered this for an instant then unshrouded itself and climbed out. It didn’t trouble to not to scrape its armoured limbs against the side of the truck. The two soldiers who’d shot its driver came running back from behind the shed. They took one look at the clone and started shrieking as they opened fire. The Fermat phased so the bullets passed straight through and ignored them. It swept its hand across the soldiers’ hut and the rest of the checkpoint. For a nanosecond, magnetic fields several quadrillion times stronger than the earth’s own ripped apart the atoms of everything in front of it. The checkpoint disintegrated.

The Fermat turned to the two soldiers left behind it. One had fallen to his knees and was praying. The other was trying to reload and shaking too much to do it. The clone killed both of them by stopping their hearts. It left the praying one and hauled the other body into the truck, propped it up behind the wheel and infected the corpse with a modified version of its fungus. While it was waiting for the body to reanimate, it rewired the truck and took control. The dead man just had to sit up and loll there, that would do. An hour later, that was what it was doing. Another six and synaptic decay would be too far advanced for the deception to work any more but that was more than it needed.

“So your idea of stealth is to set off a magnetic pulse they’ll feel in orbit and create walking dead men?” asked the Irrational Prime.

The Apprentice is a fun and rapidly moving fantasy novel with elements of coming of age and rite of passage, along with thieves, villains, pirates, rogues, wizards who seem to do nothing wizardry and pubs. Plenty of pubs. – See more at: http://www.nudgemenow.com/article/the-thief-takers-apprentice-by-stephen-deas/#sthash.CBGZZJ5n.dpuf
The Apprentice is a fun and rapidly moving fantasy novel with elements of coming of age and rite of passage, along with thieves, villains, pirates, rogues, wizards who seem to do nothing wizardry and pubs. Plenty of pubs. – See more at: http://www.nudgemenow.com/article/the-thief-takers-apprentice-by-stephen-deas/#sthash.CBGZZJ5n.dpufA curious did-not-finish review:  “The Adamantine Palace was difficult for me to walk away from, as the storyline was actually quite interesting – it kept me trying for about 100 pages. I liked the world, I liked the plot, and I liked the dragons.” at Nikihawkes.com. It’s nice to see a reviewer put up a review of something they didn’t like rather than quietly ignoring it. We could all do with more of that.

Book Giveaway: War in Heaven by Gavin Smith (2/9/2013)

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It’s been a summer of SF. I spent last week polishing up my half of my second collaboration with SF author Gavin Smith (the first being something we finished earlier in the summer but of which I cannot yet speak). I could say a lot about the pains and pitfalls of collaboration but I think we’re still talking to each other. The up-side is a whole different perspective, imagination and way of writing. I think we did a good job on the one we submitted in early August and that ought to be the hard one since we’re both writing one novel between us. We did that by setting up the structure between, alternating chapters (occasionally bits of chapters) and then swapping them back and forth. That seemed to work out OK. Our other collaboration, Empires, which we started last year but got overtaken by that-about-which-I-cannot-speak, being two separate novels that show the same events from different perspectives, should have been easier. In the end, I’m not sure whether it was or it wasn’t. There are certainly things we could have planned better. Like choreographing the destruction of Docklands before either one of us set down to write it. But we’re there now. I have a submission-ready draft waiting for Gavin’s comments, Gav’s close to finished and so it’s pretty much back to dragons for me in the next few days.

Speaking of dragons, Dragon Queen has a first review from Falcatta Times:

“If you love a book that has fantasy elements, political double dealing and proceeds to give manipulate the reader then you really have to read Stephen’s work. The story is dark, it has a cracking pace and when you add into this an author who knows how to manipulate not only the reader but also the characters to showcase both their strengths and their weaknesses all round makes this compulsive reading.”

Anyway, none of you came here to hear about that, so on to business. This week’s book giveaway War In Heaven by Gavin.

Usual deal – comment on this post before September 7th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the series. This week we’re playing SF Supermarket again, so you need your comment to come up with something to do with SF and the comments have to be in alphabetical order. So for example, A is for Android,  B is for Bloody Hell, Lasers Are Not Visible In A Vacuum, etc… You get the picture. If you don’t play the game, your entry is VOID. HAHAHAHAHAAAAA. However, I’ll spice it up a bit this week: Not only do you get to win a copy of  War in Heaven, you get a brief cameo appearance in Empires: Extraction. Just be warned that there’s a good chance of being either shot or eaten by aliens.

Anyway, to enter the competition, you have to play the game. You can enter as may times as you like but I’ll count the first two entries – the rest are just for fun and showing off.  Extra points for humour and originality and just for once I’ll throw in an Angry Dragons mug if you make me laugh, smirk or otherwise amuse me.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

Book Giveaway: Mystery Book (26/8/2013)

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It’s been an odd week. Back from holiday is always a weird feeling. Then one of our cats was missing when we got back and didn’t show up for a week ( by the end we were assuming he’d been hit by a car and died in a hedge – in actual fact, he’d taken to loitering around the back of the local steak restaurant where he was being fed scraps of steak and premium salmon, then been taken in by the restaurant owner, whose partner is a veterinary nurse and works at a pet spa. So while we were imagining him dying by the roadside, cold and in pain and alone, actually he was being bathed, cleaned, brushed, pampered and living on food I largely can’t afford to eat myself . You really couldn’t make this shit up. He’s not entirely pleased to be back). And in the midst of that, there was the final death-rattle of my stupid pleurisy thing from earlier in the summer, which largely consisted of “you’re fine, go away, there categorically never was anything to this more than random infection and your chances of randomly dropping dead are not severely inflated as was initially posited but in fact exactly the same as they ever were,” which turned out more of a relief than I’d expected.

In the middle of that, some writing happened, some of which involved getting stroppy with my Empires co-writer on account of me being stressed about lots of other things. If we’re still talking to each other by the end of this, we really should do a panel on co-operative writing. Anyway, there’s another draft of Empires: Extraction now and this one doesn’t turn into an 18-rated version of Transformers in the middle. And I polished off the first of two Bulldog Drummond novellas, of which I’ll say more later.

This week’s book giveaway is a mystery. I have a number of books available but I’m not going to tell you what they are. Comment here saying what book you’d like to get and I’ll pick someone at random and see if either I have it or Gollancz can spare a copy (hint – pick a Gollancz title…). You can enter as may times as you like but I’ll count the first and if everyone asks for the Republic of Thieves, I’d point out that IT’S NOT OUT YET. And I’ll sulk.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

If you’re still here, last week said I’d put up some photos. Here are some photos:

Jordan and Cornwall 138

For your inner Ezio

SMALL Jordan and Cornwall 221

In God’s Country

SMALL Jordan and Cornwall 318

Big thing is big

SMALL Jordan and Cornwall 415

The Lone and Level Sands not being terribly Lone and Level

Book Giveaway: Dragon Queen (5/8/2013)

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Nothing Can Hurt Me

Nothing Can Stop Me

Another week and so far I appear to be not dead and, in fact, largely better. The last couple of weeks have been spent largely on SF stuff again. There’s now a whole first draft for Empires: Extraction (working title) which may need reining in a little as I appear to have gone Michael Bay all over Docklands, Limehouse and parts of the City. Never mind, eh? The last few days have been spent making further revisions to the sekkrit project which is due for submission at the end of the month. I’m told I can talk about it next month. Otherwise I’ve been working on a Bulldog Drummond novella (see last week’s announcement), a good chunk of which is set in Docklands, Limehouse and parts of the City. This is confusing. The same pub, for example, appears in both. Captain Drummond keeps getting strange flash-forwards of the scenery of East London a hundred years in the future, ravaged by nuclear fire…

Cold Redemption (Gallow book 2) comes out on Thursday. Dragon Queen comes out in less than two weeks now and I have a few copies, a tiny precious few. Dragon Queen is my attempt to keep all the good stuff from the first series but with vastly more world building and character depth (hopefully sort of like The Black Mausoleum).  So it’s not going to be quite the relentlessly fast roller-coaster of The Adamantine Palace but on the other hand you do get an entire last act that should read like Call of Duty: Dragon Warfare if I’ve done it right. There are some tasters here and here and I’ll put up another one on Thursday – and here it is. . .

You wanted to know more about the Taiytakei: here they are. And possibly they just made a very big mistake.

Dragon Queen lo-res cover

I have two copies to give away. One here and one on Twitter. Usual deal – comment on this post before August 10th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the series.

This week we’re playing Dragon Supermarket. So you need your comment to come up with something to do with fire and dragons and the comments have to be in alphabetical order. So for example, A is for Absolutely Run Like Fuck When You See One, B is for Burn, etc…

Anyway, to enter the competition, you have to play the game. You can enter as may times as you like but I’ll count the first two entries – the rest are just for fun and showing off.  Extra points for humour and originality and just for once I’ll throw in an Angry Dragons mug if you make me laugh, smirk or otherwise amuse me.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

A Lazy Life of Sex and Mojitos (26/7/2013)

Posted in Critical Failures

I signed a new contract a couple of weeks back. I’ve got another one to sign right in front of me. I’ve got an offer on the table for some more. The last few weeks have been one big sigh of a long-held breath of thank-fuck-for-that. Because things have, for a while, been a little tense.

Now and then, when people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write books, they act as though this is some amazing thing that makes me somehow immensely special. I’ve taken to simply rolling with that. I’m not sure I buy it. I think what I used to do was actually more challenging and took more training and more skill. For some reason it doesn’t strike me as all that clever that I write books. In part, I think, that stems from the sense of having pulled some great con trick on life so I get to do this thing that I largely greatly enjoy and somehow scrape a living out of it.

Now and then I also meet people who assume that being a writer equates with being rich. I’d laugh except it still hurts too much (stupid infection)

So far this year, then, work has consisted of the following:

  • Copy-editing and proof-reading various manuscripts coming out this year. Totally about 550k words.

  • Two proposals (unpaid) written for series of novellas / short stories. One has turned into a contract, one hasn’t and probably won’t.

  • Editorial revision of a ghost-written piece of about 100k words

  • Manuscript delivered for editing (The Splintered Gods, 210k words)

  • Speculative manuscript delivered (title TBA historical fiction, 80k words – kinda hopeful this one will sell)

  • Speculative manuscript delivered (SF, 100k words – no idea if this will sell)

  • Half a manuscript delivered for editing (BigSekkrit SF, 40k words)

So that’s 430k words delivered so far this year. For reference that’s about equivalent to A Storm of Swords.

The rest of the year is going to consist of:

  • Another manuscript delivery (Empires: Extraction 80k words)

  • Two novellas delivered (announcement soon, 30k words each)

  • Editing The Splintered Gods and BigSekkrit

  • One more speculative manuscript bashed into shape for delivery of about 120k

  • Starting work The Silver Kings or something else.

Which will bring the word count up to about 700k for the year, consisting effectively of three contracted novels and three speculative ones. In order to make ends meet this year, one of those speculative ones needs to sell for something more than a bottom-of-the-range advance. That’s to keep a family of four going who have fairly low overheads but with a penchant for an occasional extravagance.I guess if I was single without dependents I could get by on half that. And then it’s a different game again, I suppose, if you have a second income from somewhere.

In order to do this, I’m sat in front of a laptop working for 5-6 hours of almost every day of the year.

Don’t take this as a gripe in any way – I work a fairly average number of hours every week, I get to do it wherever I can take a laptop at whatever time of day I feel like and I’m largely beholden to no one doing a job that I largely enjoy. My point – my only point – is that for most of us, it’s not the lazy life of sex and mojitos that some people seem to think, dammit.

Book Giveaway – The Thief-Taker Series (22/07/13)

Posted in Uncategorized

What do Charlemagne, Catherine de Medici, Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Ghandi, Rudolph Valentino and I all have in common? Pleurisy. Which was and still is like being knifed in the kidney every time you take a deep breath and so not much got done last week except a great deal of practice in controlled breathing. I’d like to mark it down as research but to be honest, any character who has this shit is pretty much going to lie very still taking very shallow breaths and whimpering until they either get better or die. And if they absolutely have to do something, it’s going to come with an extremely bad temper and a great deal of shouting and roaring in pain. Maybe they could function if they have access to something like morphine. A lot of morphine.

Also included in last week’s research was the discovery that A&E will indeed turf you out in your knickers and a dressing gown at 5:30am on a Sunday to “make your way home.”

I’m back to working on SF stuff. Empires: Extraction (working title). The whole of Europa has been turned into a neutrino detector, American special forces have come face to face with an alien in the Libyan desert and I think I’m about to break Docklands. Also, lasers, in the vacuum of space, are INVISIBLE.

INVISIBLE!

You know who you are.

Dragon Queen comes out in less than four weeks. Have I mentioned that one of the major characters is a cross-over from the Thief-Taker series? Have I? Here’s the opening of Dragon Queen is case I haven’t.

The King’s Assassin came out in mass-market form a couple of weeks back. Kind of over-shadowed by some other stuff, sadly, but week’s giveaway is a complete Thief-Taker set. All three books, signed and lined by me.

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Usual deal – comment on this post before July 27th  and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the series.

This week we’re playing Thief Supermarket. So you need your comment to come up with something to do with thiefly characters in fantasy, SF or real history and the comments have to be in alphabetical order. So for example, “A is for Always keep your caltrops handy,” “B is for Buried Treasure,” “C is for Cutpurse.” etc. etc.

Anyway, to enter the competition, you have to play the game. You can enter as may times as you like but I’ll count the first two entries – the rest are just for fun and showing off.  Extra points for humour and originality, not that extra points actually translates into anything useful :-p

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

Empires – An SF collaboration (25/4/2013)

Posted in News

Once upon a time there was an author who had an agent who liked the notion of shared worlds. The author quite liked the notion too but couldn’t for the life of him see how to make them work (yes yes there are examples I know). And it came to pass that the author mentioned these things to his editor and his editor stubbornly refused to acknowledge the difficulty and pitfalls in setting up any collaborative project never mind actually pitching it and marketing it and selling it and even came up with a suggestion that the author had to acknowledge might work and a possible collaborator and the author had to agree that yes, indeed, he might have some fun with that. In fact all in all the author walked away from that particular meeting with the distinct impression of having been set up, although apparently he wasn’t.

And so Empires was born, the monstrous hybrid that will be a Stephen Deas / Gavin Smith creation, a pair of interconnected SF novels to be released simultaneously in the summer of next year. In Gavin’s Empires: Infiltration, the Pleasure, the ultimate in galactic drug peddlers, have found a perfect drug in the neuro-chemistry of a retarded but sentient species on a small and insignificant world. Do they come in peace as they say? Maybe they do but they certainly want something. In the counterpart, Empires: Extraction, the coldly mathematical Weft have become aware of a compound that causes them a crippling and ultimately lethal addiction and they’d like to know where it’s coming from. They’d like to make it stop in a very permanent way.

Caught between being battery-farmed and annihilation, can mankind find a way out in the face of Gavin’s personal guarantee that at no point will any vastly technologically superior alien races be defeated by a single big shouty man with a large gun or by some sort of computer hack? Find out next year . . .

Bibliography

Posted in Uncategorized

Correct as of 19th June 2015. I will periodically update this for major changes.

Historical Fiction as S J Deas (William Falkland)

William Falkland has spent six years fighting for the king. It’s four years since he last saw his family, and all he wants to do is go home; but first, to save himself from Parliament’s noose, he must play the part of Cromwell’s reluctant intelligencer. The first William Falkland book, the Royalist, is published by Headline in September this year. The second William Falkland mystery, The Protector featuring John Milton (a wonderfully colourful character, it turns out) comes out in July 2015.

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Historical Fiction as Stephen Deas (Bulldog Drummond)

Bulldog Drummond (a character first created in the 1920s by HC McNeile) is a retired verteran of the first world war with too much restless energy on his hands and a penchant for adventure and trouble. I like to think of him as James Bond’s occasional uncle. More than a dozen Bulldog Drummond books were written between 1919 and 1940, along with a similar number of movies. Ian Fleming cited Drummond as one of the influences behind the character of James Bond. At present three Bulldog Drummond novellas are in the pipeline (Dead Man’s Gate (2014), The Faceless Men (due late 2015), The Jaguar Mask (late 2015)). They will be available as e-books only through Piqwiq.

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Science Fiction as Stephen Deas

LoneFire (September 2015, e-book only): half space opera, half cyberpunk, half Tourette’s Syndrome and something of an experiment in something between conventional and self-publishing.

LoneFire cover

Science Fiction as Gavin Deas

Elite: Wanted (May 2014 e-book, October 2014 hardcopy), a tie-in novel to the game Elite:Dangerous. Co-written with Gavin Smith under the name Gavin Deas. Empires: Extraction (November 2014), another partnership with Gavin Smith, co-released with Gavin’s Empires: Infiltration.

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Fantasy as Stephen Deas: A Memory of Flames:

Click here for Maps and Gazetteers

The Adamantine Palace (2009) is in print in UK/Australia/NZ/SA, France, USA, Germany and Poland and might or might not be on its way to Bulgaria. The King of the Crags (2010) and The Order of the Scales (2011) are in UK/Australia/NZ/SA, France, Germany and US bookshops but NOT Poland for reasons beyond my control.

The Silver Kings series The Black Mausoleum (UK August 2012) is a stand-alone novel in the same setting as the Memory of Flames series. Dragon Queen (2013), The Splintered Gods (2014) and The Silver Kings (2015) pick up threads and characters from the Memory of Flames series and also pick up some threads from the Thief-Taker’s Apprentice series and The Black Mausoleum. There are no overseas deals for these (you’re not as sorry about that as I am) but it should be possible to get them in the US. That’s going to be that for the dragons at least for a while.

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Fantasy as Stephen Deas: The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice

The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice (2010) is out in the UK and Poland. Parts two and three, The Warlock’s Shadow, (2011) and The King’s Assassin (2012), are out in the UK. Allegedly all three are available now in the US as both physical and e-book editions. Some left-over threads of the story are picked up in Dragon Queen.

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Fantasy as Nathan Hawke: Gallow

The Fateguard series: The Crimson Shield (2013), Cold Redemption (2013), The Last Bastion (2013), all published by Gollancz under the pen-name Nathan Hawke

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The Nathan Hawke site has an interactive map and some extra short stories. All three books are out in paperback. An omnibus edition is available as an e-book and a print edition is on its way in later 2014 – the omnibus has all the extras included in it. Three short stories were released over the first half of 2015: The Anvil, Solance and Dragon’s Reach:

Gallow shorts covers

If you’re still here, what follows is a list of all of my published work of any significance – novels first, then short stories – in chronological publication order. If you’re really, really interested, you can click on a title to see details, full-scale cover images and any reviews I happen to have noticed. I used to pay a lot more attention to that sort of thing for the earlier books.

Summary Bibliography

Posted in Excerpts | Important

Correct as of 19th June 2015. I will periodically update this for major changes.
Historical Fiction as S J Deas (William Falkland)

William Falkland has spent six years fighting for the king. It’s four years since he last saw his family, and all he wants to do is go home; [...]