Spinning Plates in the Dark

October 2018


Greetings... it's been a while. Summer happened (I mean, *properly* happened). Life intervened. But now the days are shrinking and I look longingly towards the fire and find myself with pen in hand once again. (I always have to have a pen in my hand even when I'm not using it... bizarre but relatively harmless personality quirk)

It isn’t often that I can claim to have five different projects on the go but now is one of those times.

Oddly, the most recent of these projects may be the one that gets finished first. This is a fairly short (possible novella length) work written in third person present tense, with two main themes running through it- the quiet desperation of a British seaside town as the tourist season disintegrates into the slow dark decay of autumn, and a man who witnessed something extraordinary and impossible when he was eleven years old and who has slipped in and out of reality since that time. It’s also about the interface between the ocean and the world we know and taps into that great black unknown, the watery depths beneath.

The second one is a standalone novel with strands of fantasy, steampunk, sci-fi and horror, and three main characters:

The Voice – second only to the three Empresses, he is the word of law throughout the Citadel, the vast and nameless metropolis which (as far as anyone knows) is humankind’s last and only community, a place of burgeoning technology, rampant disease and secrets known only to a precious few.

The Engineer – a master mechanical and structural engineer who works in one of the huge factories that provide light and heat throughout the Citadel, she is a virtuous worker, a cold and withdrawn young woman… and possessed of talents that even she cannot describe. Obsessed with reason and the boundaries of logic, she is about to discover that everything she learned is only the beginning, a surface barely scratched…

The Dark River – homeless, lawless, a creature of chaos who roams the cold and misty streets of the Citadel, she is a hidden, impossible power, held within a body that craves the meat of her fellow-citizens. Were she known to the people, she would be reviled- but she too has a part to play- as the core of a great force about to awaken as reason and reality begin to fragment…

The third project is a chaotic bundle of ideas at the moment, set in a world that can be best described as a futuristic Western, with benevolent zombies and demon trains. Once it has more shape to it, this work should be unlike anything else (to my knowledge) – but first I must take the clay…

The fourth and fifth… I can’t even describe properly at the moment. They’re little more than scratchpad meanderings evolved out of dreams – bleary-eyed scribbles committed to paper on the cusp of daylight before the vision fades. As and when they come into focus (as I believe they will) I will explain more about them.

As autumn (Fall to my American friends) deepens and the days grow ever shorter and colder, I find that the writing muse returns. Like many of us he likes to take a hiatus over the summer, and we’ve had a long hot one here in the UK. There’s something about the gloom of autumn and winter that kicks my writing process into gear, even though there are many days at this time of year when I want to do nothing more but sink back into the land of dreams.

Until next time…