A Thousand Hits, A Smattering of Hints

Oh, my.

Well. That particular milestone crept up on me a lot quicker than I’d anticipated. It seems incredibly churlish to whine or complain about the rate at which the hit counter is racking up hits, but still. It’s scuppered my plans a little, but I suppose there are worse problems to have when building a platform.

This honestly means so much to me personally, especially given I haven’t actually released any content yet, and that it’s the contents of my blog and social media interactions that are generating these hits. I know I’ve been fairly blasé over the last couple of months about how I’ve begun this platform purely as a way of marketing my work, but it’s been a very enjoyable ride all the same, and posting on this blog and on my socials has honestly become one of the highlights of myweek.

That said, I’m not entirely sure how to mark this occasion, seeing as I don’t have another blurb or anything like that to share like last time. It’s waaaaay too early to release the Prologue, as I’ve said a fair few times, and I think that’s something I’d save for 1500 or even 2000 hits, as either would be closer down the line to when the novel is released.

If I had a flashy new book cover to show you, I probably would. But I can’t, so I shan’t.

What I can show you are the things I’m working on right now.

I knew quite a long time in advance what the title of the Legion That Was sequel would be (indeed, it’s previewed on the last page of the manuscript). And, having scrawled a lot of rough notes in my notebooks about how the series is going to unfold, I’ve got a fair idea of how the plot is going to unfold as well.

I’m not going to say too much about it right now as Book I isn’t even out there yet, but this second Book is going to focus once again on Orbus and the crew in the years following Legion That Was, and how old allegiances continue to grow and change.

It’s also going to be a lot (a lot) more action-based, and is going to include quite a few real-life characters – namely the rising star Germanicus, his fey and and enigmatic brother Claudius, and of course, big bad Tiberius who’s only just taken the top job after Augustus croaks.

I’ve put a few lines into the document already – just in the Prologue, nothing more – as the Prologue is going to just be one, quite short, quite iconic scene, and I’ve known for ages just how it’s going to play out.

And dear freakin’ god, I can’t tell you how it feels to type the words ‘Book II of the Ironbreakers’ into a document…

But anyway.

That isn’t where my focus really is at the moment. I’ve still got a lot more research and outlining to do before I plunge into it again (which I’ll probably doing in the next few months, while I’m waiting for Legion‘s edits to be finished), and I’ve already had my fingers in some other pies in the meantime.

I haven’t really talked about it much on here, but one of my biggest literary influences (outside of historical fiction, at least) is M R James, and his long litany of ghost stories that somehow never seem to grow old. Each Christmas Eve we’re usually treated to a Mark Gatiss adaptation of one on BBC Four (somehow, one of my most rage-inducing moments of 2020 was that the pandemic denied us a new one last year) and the way James starts each short story utterly afresh, with whole new characters and settings, but somehow manages to build up the exact same air of eerie suspense is something that’s never ceased to amaze me.

Nope. Nothing funny going on in that old library…
…or this courtroom. No, sir. No, ma’am.

I think I mentioned a few posts back that I’d always wanted to try my hand at a few ‘Jamesque’ ghost stories of my own, in a vaguely similar form and fashion – short, detached stories, that each managed to convey the air of menace and intrigue in a fairly small wordcount – which could be enjoyed in bitesize chunks or as a bumper main course.


Over the last few weeks, I’ve got about 5000 words into my first attempt at a ghost story.

It’s taking a fair while longer than I’d have hoped (like every writing project known to man, basically), but it’s been a highly enjoyable ride so far. It’s the first time in about ten years that I’ve tried to write any contemporary fiction, which has definitely reawakened some long-neglected literary muscles. A challenge, but a pleasant challenge. For some reason I find fantastical or long-historical settings and stories easier to relate to and write about than the mundanities of 21st Century life. Make of that what you will.

I’d hoped it’d cap off at about 10,000 words, but at the moment I think realistically it’s going to actually hit around 15,000 or so. Which isn’t a problem, to be honest.

I’ve got a few other short ghost stories planned out in my notebook, and depending on how quickly I finish The Ebony Tomb I may start the next one sooner rather than later.

The plan is that I’ll release The Ebony Tomb (and any other shorts that follow it) on Amazon for £0.99 each, so I’ll finally have a (small) body of work out there that people can consume and review. Even if I get pummelled by lots of delays, I should have one or two stories out before Legion That Was gets released in autumn, so that anyone who wants a little flavour of my work can get one, fairly cheaply, before the novel arrives.

For now, the shorts are only going to be eBooks. Long term, once I’ve got enough of them to slap together, I’ll hopefully release them as a proper anthology that exists in paperback as well. That probably won’t be for a while though. A couple of years at the very least. These are fun to do, but I don’t want them to get in the way of actual novel writing.

So yeah.

Ebony will hopefully be done in the next week or two, and dropping on KDP not long after that. I’ll make a suitable fanfare on here and my socials, and I’ll make sure there are links to purchase it all over both.

Feels like a big moment, really. To actually have written fiction available to buy.

But before I dash, I just thought I’d share this little giggle. I assume a lot of you, like me, were rocked by the Line of Duty season finale 8 days ago, and the explosive revelations it gave us.

But flicking through my Facebook, I’m sure you’ll be equally astounded to see that Nigel Boyle, the man who plays Ian Buckells…

…looks, in real life, like this.

I won’t lie to you, people. My jaw is definately on the floor.

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