The Moonsteel Crown (February 2021)

Posted in Books | Excerpts | Temp

The Emperor of Aria has been murdered. Dead Men walk the streets and the Empire has been thrown into crisis Myla, Fings, and Seth, however, couldn’t give a shit They’re too busy trying to survive on the cold, Sulk-struck streets of the city of Varr, committing petty violence and pettier crimes to earn their keep in the Unrulys, a motley gang led by Blackhand.

Until the Unrulys are commissioned to steal a mysterious item to order, by an equally mysterious patron, the trio are thrust right into the bitter heart of a struggle for the Crown, where every faction is after what they have. Forced to lie low in a city on lockdown, Myla, Fings, and Seth will have to work together if they want to save their skins. But for thieves, working together can sometimes be… difficult.

I Know What I Saw (October 2020)

Posted in Books | Excerpts | Temp

Imagine a heart ready to burst with joy. Christmas mornings as a child, passing your final exams, the thrill of a first kiss – all that and more. Imagine being able to reach and find those glorious moments whenever you want, the feelings fresh and intense, undiminished by time. Imagine sinking into them when the world grows heavy, always there whenever you call. If I describe my perfect memory to you like this, does it sound like a gift? Something precious, even something to envy?

From Divergent Suns (April 2019)

Posted in Books | Excerpts

Five years ago, Keon fled the colony world of Magenta to Earth, running away from his grief. Now he’s come home, bringing with him with the two things that between them have the power to unravel the truth: an all-consuming hunger to know what happened to his wife . . .

And me. A highly illegal simulated personality. LISS. ALYSHA RAUSE 2.0.

I did not ask for my creation, but here I am: a pseudo-Alysha built from a dead woman’s data and the face she showed the world, a ghost summoned to her husband’s side. Keon wants nothing more than to find out who killed me. The problem is, I think I already know.

From Distant Stars (April 2018)

Posted in Books | Excerpts

What do you get if you take every fragment left behind after someone dies? Every electronic message, every image caught on every camera, every word caught by every microphone? If you sent a computer program across the world and crushed every trace of a person onto a blank waiting canvas?

My name is LISS, and that’s how I was made. KEON made me in memory of his wife ALYSHA the embryo of an artificial intelligence fertilised with a dead woman’s data in a shell of metal and plastic. The United Nations Right to Uniqueness and Individuality Act makes my creation illegal on every world, yet here I am. Everything about me is the way you’d remember Alysha if you knew her; whatever mask she chose to wear for you, I wear it too. I talk like Alysha, sound like her, move like her. My gestures, my mannerisms, my smiles, all of them are hers; but the person behind those masks, the private inner person that was the true Alysha? She’s gone. In his head Keon knows that, but in his heart… His heart doesn’t want to know.

From Darkest Skies (April 2017)

Posted in Books | Excerpts

When a minor celebrity dies of an apparent drug overdose, Keon is drawn into a world of drug dealers and quantum chemists, of quasi-religious anti-technologist fanatics and the world of xeno-gens, hallucinogens engineered from Magenta’s native lifeforms. Cashing in old favours, Koen and Liss piece together his wife’s last days. As past and present converge he closes in on a conspiracy to re-engineer humanity from the ground up; ultimately he must choose between knowing the truth behind Alysha’s end or exposing a sinister cabal whose aim is to change the very essence of what it means to be human, no matter the cost.

LoneFire chapter one (sample)

Posted in Excerpts

Life can be a real bitch. People say that, don’t they? Life’s a bitch and then you marry one. Ha fucking ha, have another glass of sherry and then do please amuse me by choking on it. Life’s a bitch and then you die. Well, go on then, do us all the favour you nihilistic twat. Life’s a bitch and then you wake up? Still waiting.

The Protector – Prologue

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“What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames; or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us?”

John Milton, Paradise Lost

The Thief-Taker’s Blade (23/6/2015)

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1st Council Day, Month of Floods
Two days since we took possession of the Flying Shark, and it’s taken us that long to settle on the name. The crew wanted to call it the Sun-King’s Doom, but that would hardly serve us if we were to put in to any of the Sun-King’s ports, so the [...]

The Silver Kings – Homecoming

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Zafir stood on the eyrie rim, as close to the edge as she could be. The eyrie flew steadily across the sea, towed by dragons, its handful of growing hatchlings soul-cut and enslaved by the Black Moon’s knife. Mighty Diamond Eye laboured beside the other dragons, red and gold scales alight in the fire of [...]

The Crimson Shield: Chapter One

Posted in Excerpts | Temp

Sarvic turned to run. A Vathan spear reached for him. Gallow chopped it away; and then he was slipping back and the whole line was falling apart and the Vathen were pressing forward, pushed by the ranks behind them, stumbling over the bodies of the fallen.

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.

The Royalist – chapter one

Posted in Excerpts | Temp

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?

The Sin Eater (Unexpected Journeys, 2013)

Posted in Excerpts | Short Stories | Temp

The Sin Eater first appeared in Unexpected Journeys, the BFS anthology published for the 2013 World Fantasy Convention.

The Splintered Gods: Excerpt

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Chapter one…

Elite: Wanted – an excerpt

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Meet Ziva Eschel, bounty hunter.

Bulldog Drummond: Dead Man’s Gate

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Chapter Two: An Inspector Calls. In which our hero is appraised of the curious riot of the 14th of March

Dragon Queen Excerpt: Fickle Fortune

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The Taiytakei take their most dangerous prize of all.

Dragon Queen Excerpt: The Bloody Judge

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Ten years have passed since Berren the Crowntaker came back to take what was his in The King’s Assassin. Ten bloody years.

Dragon Queen Excerpt: The Alchemist

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Bellepheros the alchemist left the Veid Palace of Furymouth having failed to find a murderer. On his way home he vanished. Murdered, or so the story goes.

The Black Mausoleum – Chapter One: Kataros

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True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason.

Grumpy Jonnic (10/1/2012)

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Some days it seemed that every other Marroc in Andhun was called Jonnic. The harbour was full of them. There was Angry Jonnic and Laughing Jonnic and Fat Jonnic and Thin Jonnic and about a dozen others. Now and then, Grumpy Jonnic wished he’d been bald or red-headed or something else more obvious, but fate [...]

The Black Mausoleum – Chapter Two: Bloodsalt

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Some parts of the dragon-realms fared better than others, when the War of Speakers came to its head and the rogue dragons burst out of the mountains and swept across the desert. Me? I wasn’t in those parts. And Bloodsalt? That fared worst of all.
– Skjorl

The Warlock’s Shadow – Taster

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That mysterious past the thief-taker has? Anyone out there really think it *wasn’t* going to catch up with him. And Berren. And be bad?

The Last Dragon

Posted in Excerpts | Short Stories

The Genre for Japan appeal was launched in the Spring of 2011 to raise money for victims of the recent earthquake near Japan. Many people gave generously of their time, their creativity and their money. I offered up two days of my time, Many suggestions were made as to what could be done with it, and I honestly didn’t expect much interest. But there was, and an interest that far exceeded my expectations. This story is the result of that auction, written on request for the winning bidder, Michael Amouyal. Michael, I salute you.

The Order of the Scales – Taster

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They hate us. They fear us. They revile us. They outlaw us. And as they do these things, they forget what we truly are. But we do not. We remember. For we tamed dragons.

The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice (taster)

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Berren is one of “Khrozus’ Boys,” the splat of unwanted bastards that the army of Khrozus the Butcher left behind at the end of the civil war. A life of petty larceny and clearing crap off the city streets looms large, until one day he goes to watch a rare public execution and what he sees changes the whole course of his life.

The Adamatine Palace (trailer)

Posted in Excerpts

Trailers… Much more fun than writing a synopsis!

King of the Crags (taster)

Posted in Excerpts

Bear with me on the numerous typos and other mistakes littering this passage. The keyboard writes and having writ moves on, and doesn’t come back to sort that sort of thing out until the very end.

The Adamantine Palace (taster)

Posted in Excerpts

I heard a rumour… It was just a rumour…
I heard a rumour… What have you done to her…?

-Siouxsie Sioux: Arabian Knights-

The Snow Fox (New Horizons, 2008)

Posted in Excerpts | Short Stories

Probably the first thing I ever finished that was worth reading, this started life as an exercise in descriptive prose and ended up surprising me. With thanks to Lord Byron.

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