(Lack of) Progress report (23/2/2017)

Posted in News | Temp

After a year of back and forth…

Neither Gallow nor William Falkland look set to make a return through conventional publishing. Sorry. I’d love go back to both of them but I have to write what pays for the foreseeable future. There are still stories happening but they have to stay under wraps for now.

Thank you all for your support. Zafir, Gallow and Falkland are all as dear to me as they are because of you.

TTFN

-Steve-

Captain’s Log, Stardate… Holy crap, is that the time?

Posted in News | Temp

No, I’m not dead. Yes, I’m still writing. No, there won’t be anything new out from me this year. Yes, a good chunk of that is my fault for heading off on an entirely different tangent now the Silver Kings is done. For some reason I’ve been writing screenplays for the last year and a half. I promise to go back to novels just as soon as this doesn’t work out. Or as soon as it does. Until then, service

will

be

.

.

^___^___^___^___^_________^___^_______________________________________

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…

The Protector (July 2015)

Posted in Books | Temp

Summer1646. The First Civil War is over and England licks its wounds. But the killing is not yet done.

William Falkland, former favourite of King Charles turned reluctant investigator for Oliver Cromwell, seeks his missing family. Time and again his hopes are destroyed; but Cromwell is not finished with his former intelligencer. Summoned to London, Falkland is introduced to a young man of letters – a polemicist and pamphleteer by the name of John Milton. His cherished sister Anne has vanished, apparently abducted by supporters of the king.

Falkland’s task – to identify the culprit and return Anne unharmed – will lead him to a brutal murder buried in the maelstrom of the War and to a secret that must be snuffed out at all costs.

Protector_visual low res

The Protector was published in hardcover on July 30th 2015. Early reviews have been entusiastic.

“I was captivated from the first sentence…” Linda’s Book Bag

“…a thoroughly enjoyable and involving Civil War mystery…” For Winter Nights

“I heartily recommend both books to you.” Dorinda Balchin

“The Best 5 historical books of the season.” Sunday Express

The Protector – Prologue

Posted in Excerpts | Temp

“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)

Posted in Excerpts | Temp

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 [...]

Publishers Weekly on Dragon Queen (23/6/2015)

Posted in News | Temp

Review in full from Publishers Weekly, 2015:

“In prose sometimes as elegant as a gold and glass airship, or as stark as a dragon destroying an entire city, the worlds Deas carefully built in his previous Memories of Flames novels are slowly torn apart. Bellepheros, Grand Master of the alchemists’ Order of the Scales, is kidnapped by Taiytakei slavers so their sea lords can exploit his control over immortal dragons. They need a dragon rider, so they capture the fallen dragon queen Zafir. The Taiytakei have also enslaved Tuuran, former soldier in the Adamantine Order that answered to Zafir, and Berren the Crowntaker, a warrior cast into another’s body through sorcery. Bellepheros is charmed by the compassionate witch Chay-Liang into building a dragon eyrie, Berren seeks to undo his curse with the help of Tuuran’s skills and companionship, and revenge-bent Zafir swears to destroy all Taiytakei everywhere with her dragon, Diamond Eye. All of them race toward a major clash that may appear in future books but is only hinted at in this installment. Deas’s dense tale unfurls a fantastic multiverse where a queen can become a slave but a slave can change worlds.”

It’s been a while since I got excited by a review, but for Publishers Weekly I make an exception.

The Silver Kings (June 2015)

Posted in Books | Temp

Published in the UK on the 18th June and appears to be available in the US as well via internet vendors.

There is no warmth in the ancient fortress of the Pinnacles, timeless bastion against the dragons. The dragon-rider Hyrkallan is a harsh king with a loathing venom for all who practise alchemy. His consort is the mad queen Jaslyn, who once woke a hatchling dragon because she thought there could be peace between men and dragons without the poison of alchemy, a madness that came to her after Speaker Zafir beheaded her mother. The union between this king and queen once carried the desert realms of the north to war and victory, but there is neither love nor desire nor affection between them. Hyrkallan dreams of glories he will never see returned. Queen Jaslyn thinks of the simple things she cannot have. To be with her sister Lystra. To be with a dragon and fly once more. To be left alone and never be touched.

Together and apart Hyrkallan and his queen lay tattered claim to realms now ruled by monsters. They make their home with a thousand souls inside the Moonlit Mountain, above the fire-gutted dragon-wrecked majesty that was once the Silver City. Safe within their fortress they search the endless tunnels for relics of the Silver King, the ancient half-god sorcerer who once tamed dragons. It is said, in whispers, that the old queens of the Silver City were one by one driven mad by the half-god’s Enchanted Palace, whose white stone walls shimmer with their own inner light.
The last of those queens was Zafir, vanished when the dragons shattered their chains of alchemy.

The Black Moon has returned, Zafir is coming home and the dragons are waiting. Will anyone be able to stop them?

silver king7-1 low res

The Silver Kings is a direct sequel to The Splintered God. Read it on its own and it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Or maybe it’s utterly wonderful, who knows. But it’s the tenth book in a series and draws on all of what has gone before, soI’d be surprised if it works well on its own.

Excerpt: in which Zafir returns to the world in which she was born.

Be honest: you’re not going to read this unless you’ve ready some of the rest, not the last volume of a series like this. And I’ll be honest too – nor should you. It won’t make a great deal of sense. So reviews are unexpected and largely by the by – at this point you’re either in or your out. But I’ll post them up as and when i stumble across them anyway.

“No one does dragons like Deas…” Upcoming4me

Hugos, Puppies and Terrorists (20/4/2015)

Posted in Critical Failures | Temp

This is supposed to be a post about the Hugo slate, but I’m going to digress for a while first.

I grew up in England in the seventies and eighties. My memories of that time are of (among other things) a background noise of Irish terrorism. I lived in a conservative part of the country, both upper and lower case, and “terrorism” was universally how it was presented. A lot of people where I lived commuted into London to work. Occasionally a bomb went off. They hit train stations for a while, now and then, which is why there haven’t been any litter bins in London stations for a very long time. We didn’t talk about it much. It was a bad thing that was going on in the background. Occasionally my dad would be late home when he was working in London because of a bomb threat, but not all that often. Even when he worked in Northern Ireland for a few years, it was still background noise. It was only decades later that I put the pieces together. My dad was a chemist. His area of particular expertise was explosives (we still have some German chemistry textbooks from his days in university straight after the second world war, because back then Germany was the cutting edge when it came to blowing things up). He worked for the Ministry of Defence, for a while he worked in Northern Ireland. I’ll never know for sure because he’s gone now and so I can’t ask him, but for a while, somewhere in a lab using science, I think he hunted bomb-makers.

We rarely talked about it. It never intruded much on our lives. I was aware of it, and later, when I was older, I was aware of the causes and the grievances. My one and only point with all this, really, is that it didn’t change how we lived our lives, what we did, who we talked to, where we went or what we thought. The mantra of the times, whenever it came up in conversation, whether in politics around the dinner table, was that we should carry on as we were, keep on with our lives as though nothing was happening because otherwise the terrorists would win. I don’t know how well we really did that as a society at the time. I didn’t live in Northern Ireland, I’d heard about internment but I didn’t really know what it was; yet it seemed to me at the time, living in my rather narrow bubble as it was, that the philosophy, at least, was right. Looking back now, it seems that civilisation eventually succeeded. The terrorists changed many individual lives. The response of the state changed many lives too, and very little of it for the better, but in the grand scheme of things we didn’t fundamentally change. Thirty years on, people have largely stopped blowing each other up. The landscape is much the same, but for the most part there are words instead of violence.

In a way I have deep anxiety that we are losing this new so-called “war on terror.” This time we are letting it change us. We are letting it make us be afraid, and amid that fear we are shrinking the cage in which we live and giving away little pieces of the freedoms we have allowed ourselves. It’s an old adage in politics: fearful people are easier to control. I hope, thirty years from now, I’ll be able to look back and relax, to see that yes, we wobbled like we did before, but we got over it, and we didn’t let fear win, because fear is what lets monsters grow among us.

So look: the puppies of all various adjectives are not terrorists. They gamed the system, that’s all. And before anyone rushes to change that system, have a good long look around at all the other awards out there. The Hugos aren’t broken and they don’t really need fixing. You don’t like the slate? Go to Worldcon and vote no award. Threats of disrupting the awards for the rest of time are just that, threats. Don’t let fear or anger or outrage change us. It’s sad that people feel they have to be this way, but don’t try to shut them up and don’t try to keep them out, because that’s when some far worse monster slowly grows behind you.

Villains (part two) 5/4/2015

Posted in Critical Failures | Temp

About the author: Her Holiness the Dragon Queen Zafir, Speaker of the Nine Realms, has played both pro- and antagonist roles in her career as a fictional character. She is either the aloof fist of authority to be respected and feared, a liberator of the oppressed and enslaved, or a dragon-riding genocidal psychotic tyrant bitch-queen from hell, depending on your point of view.

The Villain with a Thousand Faces (Part Two): The One-Line Backstory

Continue reading “Villains (part two) 5/4/2015″

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)”

Villains (part one) (15/3/2015)

Posted in Critical Failures | Temp

About the author: Her Holiness the Dragon Queen Zafir, Speaker of the Nine Realms, has played both pro- and antagonist roles in her career as a fictional character. She is either the aloof fist of authority to be respected and feared, a liberator of the oppressed and enslaved, or a dragon-riding genocidal psychotic tyrant bitch-queen from hell, depending on your point of view.

Continue reading “Villains (part one) (15/3/2015)”

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 (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 – 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.

Isms (27/6/2013)

Posted in Critical Failures | Temp

I should be writing a book right now. My writing partner is going to cry because I’m not. But it’s turned into one of those days where I mostly just want to kill myself[1] and I haven’t got the Bock[2] for wrangling with the personal problems of two women from the thirty-fourth century right now. So here’s a story about lions and zebras instead.

One upon a time on the Serengeti there lived herds and herds of zebras and pride after pride of lions. There also lived all sorts of other animals but for the purposes of this story their relevance is precisely as an excuse for the numbers of zebras and lions to be about the same. Yeah, take that ecology and damn did those lions eat a lot of wildebeest. And for a long time there was a sort of steady situation in which lions ate zebras any time they felt like it and zebras basically felt pretty shit about life but on the whole they didn’t make a fuss and kept quiet about it because it generally wasn’t a good idea to stand out from the herd when there were always a hungry lion about the place. But as time went by, they slowly got more antsy about it. Some baboons took surveys of the zebras, asking them how they felt about the general state of affairs. Significant disenchantment was noted. The zebras started talking about making some changes. Continue reading “Isms (27/6/2013)”

I Have Nothing To Say So Here’s A Cat Picture (10/1/13)

Posted in Critical Failures | Temp

The Ferg