Sunday, 19 May 2019

Madness and Magic

Hi Guys,

Just a quick post to say - Yes! It's out! And I'm buggered! (Also my eyes have gone a little wonky! Editing has to be the most awful part of writing ever invented!)

Now on to the next books. Callum is off to the editor shortly - Shh - don't tell her, it'll be a lovely birthday surprise! And then I'll finish off Winged Fool (yeah the title may need some work!) and then off to Baen Publishing (hoping of course that they haven't read Madness and Magic and discovered a bookshop in it called Baen's Books!)

Cheers, Greg.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Writing Up A Storm

Hi Guys,

Just to keep you up to date on where things are at with me. First, Madness and Magic is still with the editor. But progress is being made and I hope it'll be out in the next month or two.

And while that's being edited I've been working on two other books.

One of them, possibly to be called Callum or Chase - since that's the hero's name - has finished it's first draft and is now in the sitting around phase, waiting for me to mull it over a bit. I'm not completely convinced with the ending and some of the language needs sharpening up a little. It's the tale of a hedge (wizard) caught up in a war he wants no part of, between true wizards and the fae. I don't know if that will go the self publishing route or be farmed out around agents and publishers yet.

The other book - I want to call it Wings, but the name is already taken by the tv series and trademarked - is the corollary to the Arcanist. In essence it starts out with an identical protagonist - a third son of a noble family blessed (or cursed in this case) with magic, and technological skills. But everything departs from the first tale because of one small change in the world build. In his world, magic and technology undermine one another. So spells weaken and damage technology around them, while technological items weaken enchantments etc and make spell casting problematic. Our hero lives in a technological city (think steampunk) and when he discovers his magic is forced to flee the city and head to the magical lands to the west.

This book, I'm thinking will go initially to Baen Books, given that they have an open submission system and like works to be focused on magical systems. I just hope that they don't read Madness and Magic, since the hero in it is called Baen and has a book store called Baen's Books!

Ah well, such is life!

Cheers, Greg.

Monday, 18 March 2019


Hi Guys,

So, I'd guess everyone has heard about what happened in Christchurch on Friday. Certainly everyone in New Zealand has. And I'd guess most kiwis are a little like me, shocked and horrified by such a terrible act of violence. All of us will be saying - this is New Zealand - We don't have things like this. Not in Godzone.

But it seems we do. Even if the offender has to come here from another country to murder innocent kiwis who were doing nothing more than praying. (Note that I will only refer to him as the offender. I do not want to use his name and give him a single ounce of fame.)

My heart of course, goes out to the victims and their families. To lose their loved ones in such a brutal and senseless attack must be beyond our understanding. All I can say is that you have my prayers as you do those of all kiwis. 

This is a good country filled with good people, and we apparently let in one rotten apple. We have to make sure we never do that again. And quite frankly we have to get rid of all semi-automatic weapons. That will be my submission when the enquiry is put out for public comment as it surely will be. Let the gun makers cry into their empty bank accounts!

But I want to take a moment here to talk about the revolting ideology commonly called white supremacy. And to express my rejection of it speaking as a white half Aryan man.

Now I'm sure the neo-nasties will try to defend what they believe in. Just as I know that their entire belief structure is a lie. And I'm not just talking about the long since discredited doctrines of racialism and Nordicism. I'm talking about the lies all neo-nasties tell themselves.

It's not just the lie that one race is somehow inherently better than another. It's the lie they cling to in their beds at nights. In their hopes and dreams. That the white race (as if there were such a thing!) is somehow great - and so by extension, are they.

This is patently false. One race is not better than another. And even if one were, these individuals would be the exceptions.

Consider the concept of greatness. The one as espoused by Nietzsche (who only got it half right) and completely misunderstood by the Nazis. Ask yourself, what is a great man - or woman? What defines him or her?

Well one of the things is self awareness. Self knowledge. The very things the neo-nasties clearly don't have. You see a great man or woman looks inside him or herself, especially when things go wrong. He fails a test, doesn't get a job, doesn't earn a high salary or gets hounded by the police. Whatever it is, whatever failure has beset him or her, a great man looks first for the source of failure in him or herself. And when he finds it, he fixes it. He gives up drinking, works harder, stops breaking the law - whatever is needed. In so doing he becomes greater.

But a neo-nasty like the offender and his cohort? They don't do that. They look outside. They blame other people. They didn't get a job? It must be because the system is rigged to favour those brown people. It never occurs to them that the person who did get the job worked harder, studied harder, didn't do drugs or alcohol and didn't get a criminal conviction. And so it goes on. Always, for every failure in their lives, it must be someone elses fault. It could never be theirs!

Another of the things that defines a great man or woman is courage. And courage doesn't mean that they don't know fear. It means that they don't give in to it.

But the neo-nasty gives into fear without hesitation. Just listen to the snippets of the manifesto that the latest offender published. Why did he do what he did? Because there was an "invasion" of people who were different to him. He was terrified that he would be left alone and unemployed, inadequate in a world where people better than him succeeded. That's not courage. That's cowardice.

And then there's weapons - a form of power. The great man or woman doesn't need weapons. He doesn't need to use force to exert his or her will on the world. S/he knows s/he is right and carries with him / her an inviolable authority. Why would he need to use force? He doesn't. The great man knows his thoughts and beliefs are right and that others will see that and accept it.

The neo-nasty on the other hand, craves weapons. S/he craves anything that will make him or her stronger. And the reason for that? Because he or she knows deep down inside, that he or she is weak, even if they can't admit it.

This is the nature of the white supremacist. And of the offender who killed all those innocent, unarmed men and women and children in Christchurch. As well as so many others.

And the reason I wanted to say this? Because while this atrocity was carried out by one man, he was aided and egged on by so many others. All those who supported him. All those who took his feeds and distributed them.

I don't know if it's possible to track you down and expose you to the world. Since you so bravely decided to name yourselves as anonymous! But I do know that if you hold the same views as the offender, then you are the same as him. And if you encouraged him to do this, then you are as guilty as he is.

Don't come to New Zealand. You're not welcome here.


Monday, 25 February 2019

Magical Science

Hi Guys,

This time I thought I'd turn to a slightly different aspect of writing - magical science. Or put another way, science that simply isn't possible.

Now as you know I write space opera and one of the impossible sciences that's fairly much vital to the genre is faster than light travel. To those purists among you who only read so-called hard science fiction, this is pure fantasy. And who knows, maybe you're right. But maybe, you're wrong. It all comes down to whether the theory of relativity is right. And for my part, while I don't intend to expound in great detail about the problems I find with the theory, I would point out one important fact. It's a theory. Therefore I feel quite comfortable inventing and using various methods of FTL travel in my books.

There are however, other scientific principles that I have a harder time allowing to be broken. One of them as you may know - since I actually wrote a book about it - is the concept of disassembling and reassembling someone and expecting them to somehow live through it. Yes this is the Star Trek transporter! This device, invented because the show was low on budget and they couldn't afford to create sets of shuttles etc, if it worked would actually be a killing booth that murdered a man at one end and created an exact duplicate at the other, Or according to others a nearly exact duplicate with bits of fly mixed in!

Having said that, there are other, similar ideas which for me at least, don't pass the sniff test. One of them, which pops up all over the place, is the idea of somehow uploading your consciousness into a computer to become a digital immortal. To me at least, this is pure nonsense. It will never be possible. Yes you may be able to make an exact digital copy of your brain / mind one day and put it out on a network of some sort. That seems perfectly plausible. But what isn't plausible is that that copy will be you. It'll just be a copy. You'll still be where you were in the real world - though quite possibly dead.

Time travel also falls within the spectrum of impossible science for me. I don't accept that time travel is possible in anyway - and not just because of the inevitable paradoxes it would cause.

And while I'm at it, mirror universes are also out. Parallel universes are fine. But mirror ones where there's an exact duplicate of everyone on Earth living the same lives? No. That's fantasy too. I mean think about it - an exact duplicate universe with just one tiny little change as they all inevitably have? That change, no matter how minor, after its been experienced by every person in the mirror universe for millions of years, is no longer minor. The butterfly effect would have kicked in and it would be extremely unlikely that any single person in our universe would have a duplicate in the other one.

I could go on. I could mention the bizarre mish mash of diseases that turned up in the Helix tv series - none of which made any sense. Or the immense windstorms on Mars that apparently blow people around like confetti when the atmosphere there is only one percent as dense as that on Earth. Then there's the Xelayan heavy worlder from the Orville. Yes she may have vast strength. But unless she also weighs thirty or so tons, when she hits a metal wall with all her strength, she's the one who's going to be bouncing off it!

My point here, is that everyone has different limits to what they will accept as believable, and when it comes to basic scientific principles you have to tread very carefully as authors. Because it doesn't matter how you spin it - whether you try to gloss over the impossibility without any explanation, make up some pseudo scientific sound basis, or simply assert it as scientific fact - the moment you cross these boundaries, you're going to lose readers.

As someone once said, as a writer you can be allowed one impossible thing in a story, but no more. So treasure it and use it wisely.

Anyway, Cheers, for now,


Thursday, 10 January 2019

New Year, Old Resolutions

Hi Guys,

So 2019 has finally rolled around, and I for one cannot say goodbye loudly enough to 2018. That's mainly because it ended in such a cruel way. Christmas day I unwrapped the most miserable present ever - a cold! And ever since I've been coughing away my nights instead of sleeping, sweating my clothes out, enduring the pain of a bleeding sore throat and a sinus filled head, and wondering when death would finally release me from this torment! Of course my blessing was a joy for those around me as I also lost my voice nearly completely for two weeks and sounded like a punctured tire losing air! Even now I can barely make myself understood. (My family are so happy!)

Which leads me to my first resolution for 2019 - I'm never getting sick again! I've considered the issue carefully, decided that there is absolutely no upside to being ill, and made my decision!

Another resolution came to me yesterday when my book cover artist Yvonne Less of Art 4 Artists sent me the completed cover work for my next book - Madness and Magic: The Seers' War - and damned if that isn't a beautiful cover! The book itself is still with the editor, and will probably be out in February.

Anyway, this was a book I loved writing - it made me laugh even as I wondered what was going to happen next (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I'm a pantster rather than a plotter before and so really don't know where my books will go before I finish them). Madness and Magic is another steam-punk(ish) fantasy about a wizard and the perils of being part of a family of madmen! 

And so I decided that I really need to write more books this year - or rather publish them. Two and a half for 2018 was really not good enough. So this year I'll try and stay focused on particular books instead of starting new ones half way through. It won't be easy but I will try to tame my muse.

2019 will also be the year I try to get a little fitter - proof that I can be just as deluded as everyone else when deciding on my resolutions! But really if this illness has taught me anything, it's that my twelve step program (attempting to walk twelve steps every day!) has not been enough to keep the germs at bay. So this year I will attempt thirteen steps a day - maybe even fourteen! Possibly lose a few pounds too so that my scales don't keep telling me to get off every time I stand on them!

So those are my resolutions for this coming year. I hope that all of you will have similarly achievable ones!!!

Cheers, and Happy New Year, Greg.