Monday, 31 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous - Ship Customization

Here is some new customization images for ships in Elite: Dangerous.




Sunday, 30 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous - New Concept Art

Today's new concept is a rework of an earlier piece exploring some ideas for a more commercial station in the core systems.



Elite: Dangerous Author Interview C L

In the latest Elite: Dangerous author interview we meet C L who is doing something a little different with her project, find out more in the interview below.



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I'm a 3D artist currently working in the creative industry in UK, who is a big bookworm and an even bigger fan of the Elite series.

What attracted you to create a story within the Elite universe?
I love reading, especially science fiction and fantasy books. Of course, I also love games and Elite, so for me, helping to create a book set within the Elite Dangerous sci-fi universe is like having all of my favourite things wrapped in one package!

You're trying quite a bold experiment with your project, tell us what you're trying to do?
Elite Chronicles is a fun and exciting experiment to encourage everyone to unleash their creativity and collaborate to publish a book set within the Elite Dangerous universe. If you are a writer, you can write about your own character and story lines, as short as a paragraph, or as long as a short book; if you are a reader, you can vote and choose your favourite paragraphs to be selected to be the official story line. So effectively, the readers are directing the story and writers will get lots of direct feedback throughout to guide their writing.

Has anything like this been tried before?
Sure, there have been a handful of similar experiments recently. For example, in 2007, Penguin Books and De Montfort University launched "A Million Penguins", a crowd-sourced novel. They got 10 hits every second in the first few days, created 1031 pages of content and attracted nearly 1500 contributors, including famous authors such as Margaret Atwood.

What inspired you to take this novel approach?
More than ten years ago, one of my favourite novelists wrote: "the Internet will let writers and readers to engage together in one of human's oldest and best inventions. Writing will evolve beyond our imagination.” I believe in his vision, and I think that this evolution is happening right now in front of our eyes. With the wide use of smartphones and tablets, writing, reading and publishing is becoming a more accessible and truly interactive experience. Now everyone can become a writer, readers can help improve the quality of content and direct the stories themselves, and it will be easier to get work published for everyone’s enjoyment.

This is actually just a small experiment to prove a bigger vision for the future of creative writing and publishing. I want to continue to push the boundaries in this field and raise money for Elite Dangerous at the same time!

You're funding the project through Kickstarter, tell us about that and how we can help?
It took a lot longer than I expected to get my project alive – Kickstarter goes to great lengths to make sure you are a real person with a legitimate project. :) Timing has been tricky, as it has been hard to reach out to everyone over Christmas. However, with the New Year approaching, this is the best time to help start something new and exciting!

If you would like to support the project, we are offering some good value for money packages on Kickstarter. However, you can also help by spreading the word, clicking ‘Like’ on our Facebook page, or tweeting about us using the @EliteChronicles tag. Every tweet counts and every penny is important for us!

How will the story get started?
I'm hoping David Braben will help out with this. :p But effectively, everyone will have all the freedom to start the book their own way. Only the version which gets the highest number of online reader votes will be selected for the official story.

Many people have come up with excellent ideas for the main character on the comments page for Elite Dangerous. But the beauty of crowd-writing is that it encourages variety and imagination, and we will take on board the readers’ comments to choose a captivating beginning for the book.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
I have received a lot support from many talented people; they are the real heroes behind the project, who contributed to the artwork, the pitch video, and the ideas behind Elite Chronicles. I also have people volunteering to proof read and edit. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone for your support, and hope that we can continue to work together to make our exciting vision for Elite Chronicles a reality!

Thanks to Lin for sharing her thoughts with us, you can support her project via the link below:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1483152934/elite-chronicles?ref=live

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous - New Concept Art

Today we have a new piece of concept art for Elite: Dangerous. The image shows a civil war in and around an O'Neil space station.


If you haven't supported the Elite: Dangerous yet, then please do so via the link below:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/

Friday, 28 December 2012

Guest Author Interview - Alex Roddie

Welcome to the last guest author interview of the year, today we meet Alex Roddie. You can read what he has to say below:




Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I'm Alex, a writer of historical and mountaineering fiction based in Lincolnshire. I lived in Glencoe between 2008 and 2011 and have been an active mountaineer for several years now. The history of climbing in this country is an endless source of fascination for me: it's the most remarkable tale of adventure, heroism, and courage (with a liberal sprinkling of death and disaster). It exemplifies mankind's questing spirit and is a fertile source of stories! I am also a student of the 19th Century, and like to combine the two in my fiction.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I've been doing it all my life. Some of my earliest memories are of imaginary worlds built in my own head, and in time, I came to draw those worlds out and write the stories down. I have been attempting to write full-blown novels for about twelve years. It seems to be something I can't prevent myself from doing!

Who is your favourite author and why?
Difficult question. My passion for 19th Century literature has divided my reading habits; on the one hand, I am a devourer of novels by Dickens and Thackeray, but on the other, I need more contemporary material to provide balance. Recently I have been enjoying the historical novels of Ken Follett, and am currently reading Winter of the World. I also enjoy the work of Bernard Cornwell.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what do you like to listen to?
Music has powerful associative qualities for me and I use it as a tool to modify my mood. Mozart is great for providing energetic background noise; Beethoven brings out strong feelings in my writing; Dvorak's melodies take me back to specific places and times I have been. I can't listen to anything with lyrics when writing.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The research and planning stage! I get carried away in the enthusiasm of it all and plan meticulously. The birth of a new character is always an exciting moment.

And the least?
I procrastinate dreadfully, something I am always trying (but often failing) to fight. In fact, you could say I'm procrastinating right now as I write this ...

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Seek out as many critical opinions as you can, but do not doubt yourself too much: your work is unique and it has an audience. Success is only a matter of honing your skills, working with diligence and honesty, being patient (for years if necessary) and striving to reach that audience. Failure is only assured if you give up.

What are you working on at the moment?
A historical novel set in 1848, entitled Alpine Dawn. It is the story of some of the pioneers who helped launch the golden age of Alpine exploration in the 1850s, and how they find their greatest champion in the unlikeliest of places. Thomas Kingsley, a coward and fraud who is crippled by debt and insecurity, breaks free of the prison he has built for himself and discovers a new life in the Alps.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My first novel, The Only Genuine Jones, was published in October 2012 on Amazon Kindle. It's the story of two rival climbers, O.G. Jones and Aleister Crowley. Both are brilliant and ambitious, but each has a very different concept of honour and neither will admit the other is the better climber. In an alternative vision of late 19th century mountaineering, revolutionary equipment allows these men to risk death for the ultimate prize: an Alpinenorth face.

OGJ is available on Kindle here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009R2BBN2
Or on Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/248746
A paperback version is planned for February 2013.

You can find out more about my novels, and read my blog about mountain literature and everything else connected to the outdoors and the Victorian era, at http://www.alexroddie.com.

Thanks to Alex for sharing his thoughts with us. On Tuesday we welcome Paul Turner to the hot seat.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous - Red Giant Concept Art

Here we have a new piece of Elite: Dangerous concept art called "Red Giant", click on the image to view a larger version.


One Jump Too Many (100 Word Story)

A new 100 story has been used in the Indie Bargains newsletter - visit http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/ to sign up for the daily newsletter of  free and bargain Kindle books.

One Jump Too Many


Pilots like me jump into hyperspace every day. We take it for granted. We plot our course and with a surge of exotic energy tear a hole to the destination.
Without our neural implants we cannot perform the calculations quickly enough to perform the jumps. Even flight computers cannot calculate the permutations fast enough.
But brain and computer melded together can. But sometimes the connections break. And you don't know they've broken until you jump.
A hyperspace jump is instantaneous. That's not true, it takes nanoseconds. In hyperspace a nanosecond second lasts an eternity with a broken brain-computer connection.
Jump.



Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous Author Interview - Kate Russell

Today we welcome the latest of the Elite: Dangerous authors - Kate Russell. She's still setting up  her Kickstarter so I'll post again when it's available for you to pledge, in the meantime you can read what she has to say below:

Update! Kate's Kickstarter project is now live,you can pledge your support at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/katerussell/mostly-harmless-an-elite-dangerous-novel-working-t



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hello, my name is Kate Russell and I’m an Elite addict. Oh wait, sorry that’s Tuesday’s meeting. I’m a tech journalist and reporter writing about technology since 1995; started out in games but went on to become more known for reporting on Internet and mobile. The main things I do right now are hosting a weekly segment on the BBC’s tech show Click, writing columns for Web User and National Geographic Traveller magazines, freelancing, speaking and lecturing, and I am about to have my first book published (a business tome out March 2013).

When did you first start playing Elite and why did you come to love it so much?
In 1984 I was lucky enough to have a family that could afford a BBC Micro. My older brother was the techy one, studying computers in school whereas I got to learn home economics and needlework. When I saw the amazing world living inside his computer I remember thinking it must be some kind of witchcraft and I set about trying to understand it. Maggie Philbin, Ian Livingstone, Johnny Ball, David Braben/Ian Bell – they were all huge influences on me through the awkward teens. Funnily enough I have got to meet all of them except Ian Bell in the last eighteen months. I was contemplating this fact on 21/12 at 11:10 and actually thought, you know what? If this really is the end of the world I can die pretty happy at least.

Have you reached Elite status in game?
No. It was my older brother’s game and you know what they are like? I only just made it to Deadly in the time he wasn’t about so I could play. When Frontiers came around I was already working (that’s what you get for waiting 9 years to release a sequel!) and didn’t progress very far… in 1995 I got fully back into gaming when I became a games journalist (best job ever, though the money is pretty crappy), but I’ve worked hard trying to forget First Encounters so I’d rather not go there right now if you don’t mind ;)

What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always loved telling stories. As a kid I would act out epic plots with my collection of smurfs, and even working in news and technology reporting as I do now it’s all about telling stories; they’re just a bit more grown up and the people in them tend not to have blue faces. When I was little if I got really upset with my brothers I would vanish upstairs to write cross letter and then fly it downstairs on a paper aeroplane.

You’re funding your writers pack with a Kickstarter project. Tell us more about that and how we can support.
Pledge :-) And once you’ve pledged, share the link with others. I’m only asking for as much as it takes to buy the writers pack and pay the Kickstarter commission and fees, so 200 people bunging in £25 each will do it (and at that pledge tier you get a mention in the book!)… So I guess I’m asking people to donate a small amount so I can add another £4.5k to the pot, and I’ll donate the considerable time it will take to write and produce a story worthy of you… and trust me it will be the absolute best story I can write because I don’t know how to write any other way.

Can you tell us anything about the story you're planning to write?
No.. well yes.. but not much as it literally just occurred to me to do this the other night when I was fretting about ED not making the target – then some people on Twitter kind of egged me on, and here we are. I’ve always felt inspired by Douglas Adams, so humour will play a large part. I also love the unexpected. I’ve written quite a lot of short stories, many with vicious twists in the tail. It’s likely to be quite random in places too if all the upper tier pledge options get sold.

Do you have any other writing we can read?
Google ‘Kate Russell’ you’ll find plenty of scary stuff (and some very bad photos if you do an image search). I have a bit.ly where you can see my BBC videos, podcasts & some writing here: https://bitly.com/u/kateclick/bundles The interview I did with David Braben for The Next Web will probably be the most interesting for your readers in terms of judging who I am in relation to the game, and how I write: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/12/24/elite-dangerous-david-braben-interview/ 

What makes the Elite universe a good setting for stories?
When I first played Elite the thing that struck me most was how you could travel in one direction for hours and hours and never see the same place twice. It’s easy to dismiss that in today’s world, but back in 1984 it was mind blowing. I’d never seen a computer let alone flown through 3D space inside one. I imagine it feels a lot like peering into the Tardis for the very first time. In a world where the dimensions are that screwed up there has to be a lot of fantastic stories waiting to be told.

Why do you think you can write a great Elite story?
Because I have the keys to the Tardis. Well, they are hanging just out of reach on a £4.5k hook, so if you could just give me a leg up…

If you haven't pledged to support the Elite: Dangerous game then please do so: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous Author Interview - Sean Curtin

The writer's pledge for the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter has proved very popular and has already contributed significantly to the game project. Speaking personally I'm looking forward to working with all these authors.

In today's interview we speak to Sean Curtin, read what he has to say below. If you haven't joined the game Kickstarter then please visit the link below:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/




Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Certainly.  I'm a Mechatronics Engineer by trade, who's currently undertaking a course in aircraft maintenance engineering as I wish to enter the aerospace field.  My main passions are vehicles and vehicle design and in particular aircraft and spacecraft.  Ever since I was just a youngster I've dreamed of flying through the skies and being able to go into space. I also enjoy writing Science Fiction as I believe it is imagination that is the main catalyst for innovation and enhancements to technology.(I believe it was Einstein who said 'Imagination is worth more than knowledge' ).  For me, technology is something which can enrich all our lives and will one day hopefully lead us to the stars.  It is my sincerest hope that we achieve colonies on the moon, Mars and possibly Venus within my lifetime but even if we achieve a permanent manned presence in orbit beyond the ISS, that will be amazing in itself.  I also enjoy an eclectic array of music and when I can,like bike riding and love flying.

When did you first fall in love with Elite? 
Pretty much as soon as I saw the title screen, I was in love with Elite.  There was simply no other game out there that even came close.  I did have a rather hard core space simulator on my XT called 'Orbiter', and I really enjoyed that as it was a hard core space shuttle simulator, but it suffered from the fatal issue of being somewhat jagged and was far from smooth.  Elite on the other hand was not only far superior in terms of it's ability to be played seamlessly but allowed me to travel amongst star systems with a freedom I'd never encountered in a game or to be honest since.  When I see Elite clones such as 'X' or 'EVE online' for example, I just see extensions of Elite but lacking the elegance of Elite.  So I've followed Elite through it's 3 incantations and recently it's fan produced freeware incantation OOlite as to me, it still hasn't been surpassed and with the dawn of Elite IV (Elite:Dangerous) I don't believe it ever will.

And what made you enjoy it so much?
For me, being a mad keen space kid, who dreamed of going into space the moment I saw Star Wars and the famous footage of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Elite captivated me by giving me a universe to explore anytime I had a spare moment.  Within Elite I could be what ever I wanted to be and there was so much in the game, it kept me going for hours on end.  If you got sick of dog fighting(which for some reason I never did), you could go and concentrate on trading and becoming mega rich.  If that didn't do it for you, you could discover hidden missions within the game, if that didn't do it for you there was always the bounty hunting.  To be honest I even just loved being able to dock a spacecraft with a rotating space station.  Sometimes I would load up a completely new game, just so I could practice manual docking.  At one point I became determined to see how long I could last without the auto docking computer as to me, real piloting is doing everything manual.  

Have you reached Elite status in game?
I did in original Elite.  For Frontier I confess I never got there as I wasn't all that concerned with becoming Elite, I just enjoyed jumping around from planet to planet.  For First Encounters however, I did obtain Elite status as I felt it would put me in a better position of finding the mysterious Thargoids(something I am hoping will be more of a regular everyday part of the game than an obscure race in Elite:Dangerous).

What inspired you to start writing?
There's been many sources and I'll just say a rather large answer to this question when it comes to writing, but mostly it's been my fascination with technology and dreaming up new ways in which to push the boundaries if you will, both with humanity as beings and with our love of exploration.  Ultimately, with science fiction, I find it's a way of practically putting forth scientific hypothesis if you will without the limitations often presented by physics and the nature of matter around us.  Science Fiction presents us with a medium for exploring the way in how we will go with science and technology and what we might actually do with it when we get there.  Add to that it's my kind of story writing, where you can simply have a lot of fun and create a world that's something closer to one you'd like to actually see become a reality.

You're crowd funding your writer's pack pledge, tell us how we can support your effort.
It would be really appreciated if novels yet to reach there funding goals were highlighted over those that already have. I'd like to see each and every one of those writers packs taken as I'd love to read other peoples tales of life on the Elite Frontier. Perhaps a note at the end of the updates highlighting the novels still to achieve funding and there current % as of the time of the updates.

Can you tell us about the story you plan to write?
The central character is a hard working spacecraft enthusiast who works for a ship wrecker(who was inspired by Bob Iascatti, from Elite:First Encounters). This is the story of his struggle to put together a space worthy starship and venture out amongst the stars.  I'd like to keep the main thrust of the story as a surprise for readers however I would like to add that I've been thinking of a a few nice additions to some of the spacecraft and look forward to presenting them if there approved for later use by the software designers in the game(as the novel is based around Elite:Dangerous, I'm determined to keep it firmly hinged on actual aspects within the game so as to ensure it's instantly recognizable to fans who may very well want to explore features of the novel in the actual game).

Do you have any other writing we can read?
On my campaign page at: http://www.indiegogo.com/EliteDangerousTSFT/x/1863929, there is a slice from a trilogy of books I'm currently working on.  This is unedited and shown so that people will have an idea of what they are getting in terms of writing style. I'm a firm believer in honesty and never promising anything that I can't deliver.  Having said that I have tried to give the impression of an extremely fast thinking genetically modified human being in that snippet. The characters for Elite:Dangerous will be markedly different.

Why do you think you can write a great Elite story?
Straight up, I'm not going to say I'm any better than any other writer out there as I prefer to be supportive of all other serious writers out there.  What I will say, is that I have a passion for the game, believe in it's future and have a serious love of science fiction spacecraft in all there dreamed up incantations.  For me, there is no greater deed that we could do for future generations than to build spacecraft and machines to allow us to expand beyond the earth.  Science Fiction presents a method of inspiration.  That's what got me into the line of work I am in today and as a huge Elite fan, I believe my inspiration will allow me to deliver a great Elite story which I hope will inspire others too.

What makes the Elite universe a good setting for a story?
On one hand you can easily put together a classic space opera style story filled with the typical good guys versus bad guys story lines.  On the other hand, you could also blur the line between the good and bad guys by presenting the economic issues which are prevalent in the Elite universe.  Elite is also a framework with an emphasis on quality and encourages new ideas by it's very nature, which is the ultimate writers tool.  This to me is: The galaxy is your oyster and you can do and be anything.

Do you have anything else you'd like to share with us?
If my project doesn't make it, then I still hope I will get a chance to meet all the other authors out there and promise not to shoot you down in the game.  :)   I wish every success to all the other authors and really look forward to reading this new Elite material.  (It's terrific, we now have an Elite, game book, another collection of stories in the pipeline and 3 other full on Elite novels in the pipeline just to begin with).  I'd certainly like to add another and have the chance to write a great Elite story for you all.  By backing this project you will be helping to contribute a very nice backing amount to the Elite:Dangerous game.  This is my way of giving something back to Elite, which is what were all so excited about.  

Thanks to Sean for sharing his thoughts with us, please visit his project at http://www.indiegogo.com/EliteDangerousTSFT/x/1863929 and give him your support.

Guest Author Interview - Larry Garner

Today we welcome Larry Garner (Animal) to the guest author interview, you can read what he has to say below:




Please introduce yourself - who are you and what do you do?
My name is Larry Garner, and I'm 60 years of age. I acquired the nickname Animal while serving in the US Navy in 1972, and it stuck. I live in the US, in the mountains of Colorado. I grew up here, but was gone for many years, first in the US Navy, then other places around the West for a number of years at a time.

I'm mostly a welder and fabricator, but have also done custom painting on motorcycles and automobiles. I've built farm equipment, trucks for the oilfield, and lots of other miscellaneous gear. I have spent over twenty years promoting charity events to benefit the families of sick kids is the area I was in at the time.

I've raced cars, trucks, and hermit crabs. I'm an incurable gearhead, and always have a project or two in the garage.

I'm married to a wonderfull woman, and have identical twin sons

What first inspired you to start writing?
I'm an inveterate story-teller, and people have been after me for decades to put my stories down on paper. Reluctant to do that, I finally to write a book, totally fiction. I found early on that I really enjoyed the writing process.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I don't use an outline or any form of guide for where the story is going. I write what the characters tell me to write. I enjoy that approach immensely. I never know what's going to happen until I've written it down.

And the least?
Proof-reading

What is your favourite period from history?
Probably the 1880's in the western US. Desperados, gunfights, heros and villains.

If you could wriye anyone's biography, whose would it be?
Steve McQueen

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone....and don't be afraid to change directions in the middle of a story. This book is not at all what I sat down to write.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm still promoting "D-E-D, DEAD", my first novel, and am preparing to narrate the audio book, and am pursuing film companies about a film version.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
D-E-D, DEAD is a novel about a man dealing with his urge to dismantle an outlaw motorcycle club he belongs to, because of their manufacture and dealing of methamphetamine, as well as the prostitution of young women.

His conscience wins out over feelings of loyalty, and the resulting chaos leaves him running for his life. Hiding out in southern Tennessee in 1990, he stumbles across information that causes him to resume his crusade. This time, he has help. An old miltary friend, some locals, and two strong women join in to put an end to the meth trade of the local chapter of the same motorcycle club, as well as save some young women from the situation they're in.

Set in southern Tennessee and northern Alabama, the tale is full of action, fast cars, unforgettable characters, and the best as well as the worst of us.

The print version is avilable from my website at a discount, or from Amazon.com. There is also a Kindle version available, and it's always free to Prime members.

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/D-E-Dead-ebook/dp/B008EDD5OI/
US: http://www.amazon.com/D-E-Dead-ebook/dp/B008EDD5OI/

The audio book is slated for release in early 2013, also from my website http://larryanimalgarner.com

Thanks to Animal for sharing his thoughts with us, on Friday we welcome Alex Roddie to the hot seat.

An Odd Quartet Free Today And Tomorrow

Merry Christmas everyone, as part of the Yuletide fun my short story collection 'An Odd Quartet' is available for free from Amazon today and tomorrow.

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/An-Odd-Quartet-ebook/dp/B009QJMMPC/
US: http://www.amazon.com/An-Odd-Quartet-ebook/dp/B009QJMMPC/

Have a good day!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous Avatar Pics

Here are some Avatar pics for Elite: Dangerous in 256x256, 128x128 and 75x75 sizes.





























Saturday, 22 December 2012

Elite: Dangerous - New Concept Art

Here we have a reworking on one of our earlier concept pieces for Elite: Dangerous:


Elite: Dangerous Support Banners

People have been asking for support banners they can use on forums and comments, so here is a selection.

Click on the images to get the full size version.









Missile (100 Word Story)

A new 100 story has been used in the Indie Bargains newsletter - visit http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/ to sign up for the daily newsletter of  free and bargain Kindle books.

Missile


I'm hanging from the pylon waiting. I never get bored of watching. I'm always ready.
My sensors sniff a patch of heat close by. I let my pilot know by beeping in his ear.
The plane banks, the scent now stronger. I gain a lock and I'm filled with ecstasy. I warble at the pilot in my excitement and he releases me.
I drop from the wing and fire belches from my engine. I rush along the scent following it to my destination. It tries to escape, but I hit the enemy and exult in the moment of our demise.



An Odd Quartet - Free For Christmas

As a thank you to my readers old and new and those yet to be An Odd Quartet will be available for free download on Christmas day and Boxing day (25th and 26th December).



If you like your tales dark and with a twist make sure to download this book. If you can't wait until Christmas then buy it now, it's only 99p (77c) - I'm practically giving it away :-)




Friday, 21 December 2012

Guest Author Interview - Jim Webster

In today's guest author interview we welcome Jim Webster, you can read what he has to say below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Me? I’m Jim Webster. I farm, I do freelance writing. I’ve written on everything from Agriculture, through Military History and Wargaming, Role Playing and now Fantasy Novels.

What first inspired you to start writing?
It was a strangely mercenary thing. In my early twenties I realised that I was going to have to do something to boost my income, agriculture has a habit of not putting your amateur status at risk. So I started doing articles for wargaming and role playing magazines and then moved into writing for other outlets. So really I’ve spent a lot of time learning the trade, and finally, I decided I’d try my hand at a novel.

Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight into writing?
A bit of both. I did a short piece for A Splendid Salmagundi and with that I just dived in and wrote it. But that was a story I knew. I’ll give a lot of thought to the plots, normally when walking, but I don’t write a plan down.

What attracts you most about the fantasy genre?
I’ve always liked it. I especially like the murky area where fantasy fades into sci-fi but I like it all really. I suppose it is the sense of liberation and travel. In a good fantasy story you don’t just meet interesting people, you travel to such fascinating places. Good fantasy has a richness that other genres struggle to match. In fantasy even the squalor can be more squalid.

As a writer do you read a lot as well? Who is your favourite author?
I do read a lot. My favourite author is Jack Vance, who nicely bridges fantasy and Sci-fi. Also I have a real liking for the books of Ernest Bramah. Especially those about his Chinese Story teller, Kai Lung.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The creativity, the ability to get something down on paper (or screen) and to read it through and think, ‘yes, it works’. Also I just like telling stories.

And the least?
Frankly I’m not sure there is much I don’t enjoy. Because I do a variety of stuff, I rarely get to the situation where I find myself trapped in front of the computer staring at the screen. I can go outside and do things that also need doing. I even get enjoyment going through the edited document, looking at the editors comments and re-evaluating things.

One bit I’m not good at and don’t really enjoy is the ‘selling’ side of it. And for the vast majority of writers now, if you don’t sell your work, no one else will.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Firstly, forget about it being art, don’t be pretentious, it is a craft, a trade. So practice the craft. It will take time, you’ve got to learn your trade. I’d recommend that the aspiring writer started off submitting articles, perhaps even freelance stuff to local papers etc. After a few years of that (and I mean years) then start on your book. But once you’ve written it, it will need editing. I don’t care who you are. It is virtually impossible to edit your own work. Find yourself a decent editor. There are good freelance editors out there who don’t charge the earth. Probably under £200 for 100,000 words.

My method is
1) Write it
2) Forget it. Just put the book aside and get on with something else. Ignore it for between three and six months.
3) Come back to it, work through it again. Edit it yourself. You’ll find yourself rewriting passages, adding bits, putting in extra plot detail or whatever.
4) Send it to the editor.
5) When it comes back, read all the comments, and then methodically work through the book again. You do not have to accept all an editors recommendations, but you ought to have damned good reasons why not. I always email the editor to explain why I haven’t acted on his suggestions. When I put my explanation in an email, it makes me justify it properly.
6) It goes back to the editor. Most good editors have the second read through as part of the same package.
7) When it comes back read through it again, you’ll still pick up the odd typo.
8) If you can get a proof reader, have them go through it at this stage.
9) Now it is probably fit to publish. So publish it.
10) Now start selling it!
11) This bit really comes a lot earlier. Because when at 2) you were putting the book away and forgetting it for six months, that is when you did 11) which is write the next book.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment my third Fantasy Novel set in ‘The Land of the Three Seas’ is with the editor. This is ‘Flames of the City.’ I’ve just posted it off and now should really be getting on with my first Sci-Fi book, which might or might not be called ‘A Nice Discrimination.’

Also the fourth novel set in ‘The Land of the Three Seas’ in written, but it hasn’t had my edit before being sent off to be edited properly.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Well hopefully, by the time you’re reading this, my second novel, ‘Dead Man Riding East’ will be available from Amazon as an e-book. This is a sequel to the first book, ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’, in that it is the further adventures of the characters from that book, but it can be read as a stand-alone story. As with all these things, timing is out of my hands, but trust me, I’ll leap up and down and tell people when it comes out.

Swords for a Dead Lady: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Swords-Dead-Lady-ebook/dp/B006C4C8OO/
Dead Man Riding East: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Man-Riding-East-ebook/dp/B00A8MTB46/

Thanks to Jim for sharing his thoughts with us, on Tuesday we welcome Larry Garner (or Animal as he prefers to be called).

My Books on Goodreads