I’m starting a new job on Monday. Yep, that explains the level of quiet on here for the last couple of months. I did talk fellow author G S Jennsen into doing some talking for me back in May, (and if you didn’t check out her post on futuristic tech yet, here’s your chance). But hell yeah, I’m working as a ranger again in two days time, and that means more spare time for the writing. So let’s not waste any…he says after watching Game of Thrones Series 6 and drinking scotch for the last two days. Time to stop consuming and start getting back to creating something of my own.

The Talent Show series is still alive and well. Book 3 will be called Deception Crossing, a title I like so much that I seriously want to see it on a cover right now, but I’m holding the guns. I’m not nearly ready for that yet, but I’m underway. I dug out my 50K NaNoWriMo scribbles for Book 3 and got to work on deciding what to keep. It’s actually been years since I wrote anything in the 3rd person past (I’m beyond the limits of just having Shadow’s POV now), and it took a week of reading my old hero Steve King to get me back in the groove with this, but I’m there. Thanks, Different Seasons. That copy I picked up on my 33rd birthday (yeah I added another year in June too) really did the trick.

I won’t share a blurb yet, but here’s a teaser for those of you who’ve read Ghost of the Navigator: I’m really starting to like Dakota Silverwood as a character. He had all of two scenes in GOTN, but made a pretty fine mark on both, and I was already getting the vibe about him becoming a major player. I tried him out during NaNo. Oh boy does he work, in so many senses of the term…

…which is perhaps why I’ve also found a cameo for him in my side project, Welcome to Sentago.

Now what can I say about this book? I realised the other day that it’s actually 4 years in the making now. Two of those saw me barely touch it at all, but it was often on my mind. I started it in 2012, shortly after taking a couple of brave steps in real life. To celebrate them, I created Oscar ‘The Otter’ Murdoch and started making him do brave stuff as well. Like get on the wrong side of his murderous boss, and escape from a sinking cruise liner, making the swim for his life to get back to Sentago’s shores (hence the nickname.) Then I had him meet a character I called Screft, the son of a powerful senator. When I tried these characters out with a sketch that I later entered in a writing contest, part of the competition spec said ‘Must feature a character that isn’t human.’ So I tried out ‘What if Screft was a shape-shifter and not really the son of a senator at all?’

Still with me? Cool, here’s a first draft blurb:

Screft is a Kendrii – a form-shifting assassin whose ability to mimick humans is unrivalled on his home planet. After escaping execution for revealing he prefers human beings to his own kind, he’s hiding on the planet Carnathia and pulling a fight scam in the province of Sentago to survive, and to fund a secret project to fix him in human form permanently. He’s stolen the son of the powerful Senator Galbraith for his new identity, and he’s intent on keeping it forever.

 When Screft meets Oscar Murdoch, a disgraced former fleet pilot looking for atonement, he comes up with a plan that can both make them the funds they need and keep it above board, but Oscar’s history with Screft’s kind means he can never know the truth. Screft has to get that money for more research fast, especially now that his psychotic brother Perno has come to the city, and is lending him and his new business partner the kind of help that could get them worse than killed.

 This is the bloodiest, sexiest, funniest story I’ve written yet. All with an edge of something vaguely serious behind it. An yeah, I set it on the much fabled Carnathia from the Talent Show books after asking myself ‘What’s this planet Shadow’s trying to reach actually like?’ Will the two sets of characters ever meet each other? Perhaps. The storylines certainly interlock. I’ll probably resist the idea of making WTS the official Talent Show Book 0 because the style is so different, but anyone who dips in to both will find plenty of neat little twists and surprises.

I’m world building on a pretty big scale now. I’ll keep you posted when I have some sort of model to put on a shelf for you.

Ah what the hell, let’s share WTS’s first few pages…


(Please keep in mind this is only a second draft and may contain some mistakes, or room for improvement. You’re getting this for free. No refunds!)


(Edit: Let’s keep this update short like updates should be. Follow this link to check out the teaser…)