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Book 4 release date

Posted by spooks101 Jan 28, 2018

At long last, after 2 years of work, Haldred Chronicles: Anna is finally being released!




My 4th book will be available from the 1st February 2018.  The final proof is being checked over, the cover is ready, and all I have to do is the technical stuff and it will be available on Amazon Kindle.




As a bit of history, the beginnings of this book were in 2012, as it was originally going to be the 2nd book in the series after 'Alyssa'. However, the story didn't quite fit with what I had planned at the time so it was shelved.




Now, after extensive updating to bring it in line with everything that's happened in the previous books, it fits with the series just right.




Without giving too much away, the new book takes the characters to a foreign land and will introduce the reader to several more nations of the Haldred Chronicles world.




I hope all of you will enjoy reading this latest book, just as much as I have enjoyed writing it.




Expect another blog update on the 1st February, announcing the official release and providing a link to purchase :).




One more thing.




I'm making all 3 of the previous books in the series (Alyssa, Kalla and Shade) available free on Amazon Kindle from the 1st February to the 5th February. So if you know anyone who might fancy getting into a new book series, please let them know!




Until the 1st my friends!

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Still good, still writing!

Posted by spooks101 Jul 20, 2017

I seem to be continuing the trend of long periods of time between blog posts, sorry everyone!


I've a good excuse though, as I've been very busy writing and planning.  Book 4 of Haldred Chronicles is progressing along very nicely. I'm onto my 2nd draft now, and the core story and characters are complete.


My plan now is to flesh out descriptions and details, fill in a few more scenes for key characters, and proof the entire book once done. After that, I should have a complete story that I can then confidently pass to a few trusted proof readers.  It looks as if it'll be finished by November as planned (if not before).


At the same time, I've found myself drifting back to the distant past of my writing lifetime. Years before I started Haldred Chronicles, I was writing a massive novel with the tentative title of "Adventure and other bad ideas" (thanks to Saul for the original title suggestion). This novel eventually laid the background work for Haldred Chronicles (it's set in the same time period) but was never finished, despite me writing over 77,000 words for it.


Now, with Book 4 heading toward completion, I'm thinking of giving it another go. It won't be a 5th Haldred Chronicles book, but instead will be a big stand alone novel set in the same place. Rather than concentrating on the Council of Peace and criminal investigations, this new novel will turn it's attention to a group of mercenaries and their adventures. Characters from Haldred Chronicles may pop in from time to time though. Time scale wise, it will be set after the current crop of the novels.


That's the plan anyway. I first have to finish book 4. All being well, the next time I post an update it will be to report book 4 completion!  Wish me luck. Till next time.

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plans within plans

Posted by spooks101 Jul 22, 2016

It's been a busy few months as Deborah and I adapt to the new arrival in our life. Little Logan is now nearly four months old and doing very well. Our little son is growing up quickly and our current prediction is he will be a mischievous one!


Whilst looking after the wee man has been my top priority, it doesn't mean I have been idle on the writing front.


I have massively expanded my Pinterest account with writing tips and tricks. Everything from story structure to simple grammar has been posted up and I've found it very useful to have this library of knowledge at my disposal. If you're interested, find my pins here:


In turn, I've continued to develop the 4th book in my Haldred Chronicles series. 'Anna' is taking shape nicely and I'm aiming to have the first draft complete in a couple of months. As in my previous blog post, I will see how it progresses but am not going to promise anything just yet.


I've also continued to write background for Wrathborn, a wargame system, as well as keeping my Black Library short story submission up to date.


Finally, just within the last few days I received my copy of "Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2017", which I shall be reading extensively for information on publishers and agents.


Till next time!


PS: this is the first blog post I've written and published completely on my BlackBerry Passport! Next, let's see if I can write a book on it!

PPS: unfortunately in my haste to publish this blog I managed to make a number of grammar errors.  My thanks to those who picked up on them and let me know; corrections have now been made.

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What's been happening?

Posted by spooks101 Apr 25, 2016


It’s been a long time since my last update, but during the last four months, a huge amount has happened.


The most significant, and most important, is the birth of my son; my first born.


Logan was born on the 1st April 2016, and my wife and I could not be happier.  The ‘wee man’ (a very common Northern Irish phase that applies to him perfectly) is doing very well and growing up fast.  It’s only been three weeks but we see such changes in him.  We are, as doting parents, taking a lot of photos.  Not all of which will be on Facebook.


In between recent daddy duties and preparing for the birth of my son, I have actually managed a lot of writing.


Within the last few months I have written a couple of fan-fiction stories for a wargame that I play called ‘Dystopian Wars’ by Spartan Games.  Its a game set in an alternative 1800's with a distinct Steam-punk style to both its background and game play.  The fiction pieces were for a friends gaming campaign to flesh out a small rulebook he was preparing, and I have included the longer of the two at the end of this blog post.  I hope fans of the game will enjoy, and I hope other readers will just like the story on it’s own.


I have also continue to do work on the Wrathborn wargame, fleshing out more background details and stories for the gaming system.  More work will follow in the coming months all being well.


I also very recently sent off a sample story to Black Library, a publishing house that produce novels for the sci-fi and fantasy wargames Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  They are currently running a competition to choose new authors and had requested submissions, so I duly threw my hat into the ring.  Hopefully they look on my submission favourably, but we see.


Finally, I have not been idle on the Haldred Chronicles front.





I have chosen ‘Haldred Chronicles: Anna’ to be the fourth book in the series.  This was one of the Haldred Chronicles books I was thinking of kicking off in December 2015.  I am now working my way through my original 19,000 words and updating the draft.  When I have time, and with a new born this is often a very mutable thing, I intend to work on the book and flesh things out.


My objective is to have a first draft done by the end the summer, and maybe release the book in November or December 2016.  Time will tell, but at least I have something to work toward.


In the meantime, on the 1st May 2016 the first two Haldred Chronicles books (Alyssa and Kalla) will be FREE on Amazon Kindle for a limited time.  So if you haven’t had a read of them, or know someone who’d maybe be interested in a little fantasy murder mystery and detective, head on over to (link

or (link

and grab a free copy of both books.  I hope you enjoy!


That’s all folks.  I leave you with my Dystopian Wars fan-fiction story and I hope you enjoy.  Till next time.


* * * * *

A Mystery Considered


Lord Alexander Stanwell-Howe shot bolt upright in bed.

“That’s it!” he cried, much to the surprise of his cat ‘Lady Hathaway’, the black feline jumping in fright off the four poster bed.

Quickly Stanwell scrambled out of bed, jumping into his slippers and practically running for his over-stacked work desk in the next room.  He lite an oil lamp sat nearby and started searching frantically through the documents upon the extensive oak wood desk.

“Yes, yes I’m sure of it!” he said, though whether to himself or to the many cats that quickly assembled round him was unclear.  He eyed a particular document, emblazoned with the seal of the Federated States of America.

“Ah ha!  This proves it!”

He looked to a particular tiger furred cat that sat, curled up on a nearby shelf

“The prime minister will need to hear this immediately Lord Barnsby!” Stanwell declared; the cats only 




reaction was to eye him suspiciously before seeming to fall back asleep.  Leaving the papers still strung across his desk, Stanwell marched confidently to his bed side.  He grabbed a small handle set into the side of his bedside cabinet.  He turned the handle several times, before a well-worn red button flicked upwards from within the mahogany construction; he pushed it and was aware of a bell ringing somewhere distant.

After a few minutes, Stanwell’s butler arrived.

“You rang my lord?” he said after opening the expansive double doors of his master’s bedroom and study. His lordship was by this stage changing into his day clothes.

“Yes indeed Winston, I must meet urgently with the Prime Minister and the Minister of War.  I have concluded something of great and frightful importance!  They must be informed at once!”

“Very good sir, though I should warn you it is two o'clock in the morning.”

Stanwell blinked in surprise at his man servant.  He strode over to the window to his bedroom, still buttoning his shirt, and pulled open the curtains; nothing but star-scattered blackness stared back at him.

“Well Winston, I’m afraid we shall have to dispense with the niceties of sleep.  This can’t wait and indeed, I fear we may already be too late.  Please communicate with them that I shall meet them at the Houses of Parliament, post haste!”

“Very well sir.” Replied Winston, hiding his concerns for his master’s sanity behind his neutral expression.  He hurried to carry out Lord Stanwell-Howe’s unusual request.

* * * * *

An hour later, Stanwell paced up and down the flag stones of the inner sanctum of the Houses of Parliament.  Around him the only observers were a couple of late night guards who eyed the unusual man wearily; his pacing was facilitated via his custom built mechanical chair, that he used when conducting government business.  The spider-like machine lurched up and down, steam hissing from joints of it's mechanical legs occassionally, though Stanwell gave no indication that the unusual motion was upsetting him.  Instead, his face appeared fixed in concentration; his single machine-eye, embedded where his left eye should have been, flickered blue and red as if he too were some kind of machine given human form.  Beside him, one of his small black cats kept pace with both chair and master. 

Stanwell did not speak to the cat as he prepared himself; he'd learnt through experience that chatting to cats in public was frowned on.

Just at that moment the Prime Minister arrived; it was three thirty in the morning so he was not in the best of moods.

“I do hope you have a **** good reason for getting me out of bed at this ungodly hour Stanwell!” the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, bellowed as he thundered from the parliament buildings main entrance, flanked by his heavily armed household guards and several nervous looking aids.

“I assure you I do sir!” Stanwell replied, immediately brought out of his concentration now that his summons had been answered.  “Is the Minister of War with you?"

"Well I wouldn’t say I'm with the PM, par-say." Came a voice, as Lord Strathgordon made his




appearance from a side door, slipping in with much less extravagance than the Prime Minister.  He regarded Stanwell through his goggle like glasses and tipped his top hat.  The PM simply glared at both of men as he came up to them, handing his cloak to one of his aids and straightening his waist coat.

"Get to it man, why are we here?" Ordered Benjamin.

"I have grave news gentlemen." Stanwell announced.  "An attack is imminent!"

Despite the late hour, Lord Strathgordon chuckled.  "My dear boy, we are at war.  An attack is always imminent."

Stanwell returned the smile.  "Indeed minister, but I mean imminent in a location we did not suspect was under threat.  I speak of the Indonesian islands!"

"Rubbish!" Grumbled the Prime Minister.  "Our latest spy reports indicate the Empire of the Blazing Sun would prefer no hostilities there.  It's too important for them and too important for us.  A major engagement would drain their resources to too great a degree, especially with their attacks upon the Russians."

"I would have agreed with you a week ago Prime Minister." Stanwell shot back, his mechanical chair hissing as it manoeuvred to better position him to speak to the two most powerful men in Britannian. "But I have been going over other intelligence reports, from other sources.  I have deduced a conspiracy is afoot; our enemies mean to deceive us!"

"Explain." Asked Lord Strathgordon politely, indicating with his walking stick.

"Our own intelligence has shown that the Japanese government would rather hostilities not begin in Indonesian; they require all their resources to strike against the Russian and American fleets.  However, I have studied the intelligence reports of our American comrades.  They detail the troop movements of the Prussians and French.  I have realized something in my deductions; several of our enemies army units are missing."

"Missing?" Asked Benjamin, his brow furrowing.

"Yes sir!" Continued Stanwell.  "For months they were reported in Europe and the Mediterranean, engaged on numerous fronts.  Then suddenly, reports on particular army units ceased!"

“Could the units not simply have been destroyed?” Strathgordon suggested.

“These are not companies or even regiments Minster, but entire army groups!  As successful as our engagements have been, and those of our allies, destroying an entire army battle group of any size is no mean feat!  I fear that these army groups have disappeared from the European and Mediterranean threatres, because they have been redeployed!”

Stanwell reached into the folds of his coat, producing several rolled up parchments.  He unrolled one and held it out for the two ministers to see.

“An intelligence photograph, one taken not long ago near Indonesia, perhaps only two hundred miles distance.  One of several.  It was not marked as important when first I came upon it, but I fear it is.”

The black and white photograph appeared to show nothing more than a dark shadow in the sea, obviously photographed at great distance and in stormy weather.

“I took the liberty of enhancing it.” Stanwell said, unrolling another page.  This one showed more of




the shadow, and several notes that Stanwell had made.  At the top of the page, the words ‘Metzger B’ were written in black ink.

“A Prussian battle robot.” Said Strathgordon, adjusting his glasses as he peered at the parchment.

“Difficult to see considering the photograph was taken during rough seas." continued Stanwell.  "I did further cross referencing with other reports.  I was not only able to identify the robot but confirm that this particular battle robot was attached to the 23rd Reserve Iron fleet.  One of the fleets now missing from the European threatre.”

Strathgordon and the Prime Minister exchanged looks.

“This better not be a wild goose chase Stanwell.” Grumbled Benjamin.  “or I might reconsider retaining you as my advisor.”

“I assure you Prime Minster, it is not!" Stanwell quickly retorted.  "I have many reports and analysis documents just like this.  I will gladly turn them over to prove my point; our enemy is moving.  They are redeploying army and naval battle groups to Indonesian in preparation for an attack.  It will be headed by the Empire of the Blazing Sun, but it is their Imperial Bond allies who will provide the lions share of the manpower and firepower.  This will leave the Japanese free to continue their attacks elsewhere without undue drain on their resources.”

“Prime Minster, with your permission I would like to convene the War ministry immediately to consider a response.” Strathgordon asked.

The Prime Minister nodded somewhat reluctantly; he let out a breath.

“Very well, see to it Strathgordon.  I will have an emergency cabinet meeting organized in the morning.  Stanwell, you best prepare yourself.  This will be a busy week if what you say is true.”

“I shall Prime Minster!”

Stanwell saluted, an unnecessary gesture from a civilian but the Prime Minster returned it anyway, shaking his head as one of his aids returned his cloak and he turned to leave.

Strathgordon and Stanwell watched him go.

“Good work Stanwell.” Said the Minister of War.  “We’ll consider carefully how best to respond.  We may well have to call on our own allies to aid us in this endeavour.”

“I agree my lord.” Nodded Stanwell.  Despite his manic nature, his face turned serious.

“I fear this clash will involve all of our own Grand Coalition allies and our enemies in the Imperial Bond.  The fate of all of the Indonesian islands may be at stake!”


* * * * *


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What should I write next?

Posted by spooks101 Dec 17, 2015

What should I write next?


Keeping to a trend, at last, a blog update!  Sorry for taking so long.



To update you all on my writing, I attempted Nanowrimo 2015 in November, but sadly I only managed 7,000 words on my concept novel ‘Haldred Chronicles: Titan’.  I got the characters and a lot of scenes fleshed out but I just didn’t make the time to finish it off.



However, I still started the novel well, and it now joins several other ideas that are more than just a few lines on a page.  Hence the title of this blog post.



2015 has been a great year.  Haldred Chronicles: Shade was released in August, and recently all 3 of my novels are now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format (check them out HERE for the UK and HERE for the US!).  I’m very glad I now have a proper starter ‘trilogy’ of novels and judging by reviews, people are liking my writing.



2016 is going to be a busy and exciting year for me outside of writing, but I still want to keep writing even a little bit.



To do this, I want to start 2016 by properly kicking off another project.



That’s where you, the person reading this blog post, come in.  Help me choose which idea to pursue.



Here are the options:


        Haldred Chronicles: Titan = "Victoria and Co find themselves on the world's first ‘tourism’ ship, but someone plans on spoiling the party..." = This was my Nanowrimo 2015 novel and I got to 7,000 words with it.  Should I finish it in 2016?


        Haldred Chronicles: Anna = “Victoria and her team travel to the mighty Magra empire to investigate a series of deadly seaborne raids from mysterious attackers.” = this novel was originally to be my 3rd book but ‘Shade’ took over.  It’s set in the Magra empire, a Chinese/Japanese themed land were villages along the sea have experienced deadly raids by unknown enemies.  I’ve already written 19,000 words on this and developed some interesting characters.  Should I continue?


        Haldred Chronicles: Fey-hacking = “Courier-fey provide secure, reliable, almost instant communications across Larrick City…or do they?” = Courier-fey are like text messaging in the world of Haldred Chronicles.  After reading a brilliant book about the News of the World hacking scandal I thought to myself, what if something like that happened with the Courier-fey in my world?  This story at the moment has only a couple of introduction scenes, but I like them; one involves a talking cat.  Maybe this is the novel I should write in 2016?


        Adventure and other bad ideas: Sophie’s story = “Sophie Dalvich, a barmaid at the Broken Dreams tavern, finds her cartography and map making skill’s requested by a group of mercenaries.” = This was to be the BIG novel, way before Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa was written.  It was what established the Haldred Chronicles world but the story itself was never finished.  Despite this, even in it’s draft form it is over 75,000 words long and has an entire cast already created for it.  It concentrates on a group of adventures operating in Larrick City, from many different cultures and races, banded together on various mercenary missions.  I could go back to it, refine it, and produce it as a huge spin-off novel.  Should I?



So those are the options.  Titan, Anna, Fey-Hacking or Sophie’s story.  The titles will probably change but the concepts are there.



Vote by replying to this post with the name of the story you like.  Likewise, PM me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr (now that Tumblr has instant messaging!) and let me know which one you like the look of.



Then I’ll make 2016 the year of that novel.



Thanks everyone.  Till next time!



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Well the date is almost upon us, and I’m glad to say we are on schedule.



After my last blog update the novel completion process went into overdrive.  I have been working at updating and tightening the story structure, adding detail and descriptions where necessary, filling in plot holes and strengthening the story.  My proof readers have done an exceptional job and have helped me get to this latest draft.



The final phase is upon us.



On monday 24th I spent the day finishing my final draft.  This draft has now been passed to my family for a final check over.  After they read through and give it the ok, I’ll make my final modifications and release the book on the 31st.



Two years of work will at last be unleashed onto the general public.



My next blog post will be to confirm the release and provide those all important advertisement links!



Whilst it has definitely proven to be ‘that difficult third book’, in the final assessment I have really enjoying bringing it’s many characters to life.  I hope all you readers out there will enjoy.



Till the next and final blog post about Haldred Chronicles: Shade!

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2015 update!

Posted by spooks101 Apr 23, 2015

I seem to be continuing the trend of blog updates at random times!  As usual life has been very busy but I’m glad to report, in all the right ways.




Deborah and I enjoyed a wonderful time away in the great city of Boston for a week in April.  Having returned, we now hope to be moving into our new house in May and are making preparations for this.




Before leaving for Boston, I printed out all 250 pages of ‘Haldred Chronicles: Shade’.  Those 250 pages are the official, 96% completed 1st draft.  The first 6 chapters have been proofed by many of my proof readers, and then passed to my family for a final check over and story suggestions.  Once armed with these completed and checked over 6 chapters, I will then modify and update the rest of the book to 2nd draft standard, taking on board any comments on structure, flow etc.




After that, it will just be a case of finalizing and the book will be finished!




At the same time, my fantastic illustrator Mat has once again really delivered the goods on the book’s cover art.  I hope to post up some of the fantastic prep-work he’s been doing for this latest project and I’m really looking forward to premiering the book cover art once the time comes.




As regards a final publication date, that I don’t know.  Whilst a huge amount of work has been done over the last few months, the book it still not finished and with a house move coming out, I don’t want to set a definite date.  Instead, I’m going to grab whatever free time I can to complete things and only publish once it’s done.  Rest assured, once I’m in the ‘definitely finalized’ stage I will be shouting such news from the rooftops!




Some definite details about the latest book I can confirm now.  It will be my biggest work to date.  The 1st draft is already 62,000 words and set to grow as I update and edit chapters and scenes.  In turn, it is also my most complex and detailed plot.  I hope this serves as an encouragement as apposed to a discouragement to my readers; I have thoroughly enjoyed writing so many twists and turns; I hope this comes through in the story.




So I’ll keep writing and all being well, the next update to this blog will be to confirm the book is ready!




Until next time




* * * * *

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A post before the battle...

Posted by spooks101 Oct 28, 2013

Well, November is almost here and with it, the November writing competition at  Preparations are being made.




First, sadly, I’ll have to suspend this Blog to give me time to write.  I’ll need to write around 1,500 words a day if I am to get anywhere near my goal of finishing a novel by the end of the month, so unfortunately I will probably only post about once in the next month; just to let people know I am still writing and how far I’ve got.  This will probably be in the middle of the month.




Secondly, I will of course suspend work on Tales of Larrick City.  I hope in the next few days to get it up to 10,000 words at least (at 7,600 now) and leave it in good form but we’ll see what time I get.  The plan is still to be in December with the 1st Draft’s of 2 books; it would be fantastic if I manage to do that.  I like a challenge!




Finally, I just want to wish all the very best to everyone doing Nanowrimo this year.  Friends, family and fellow writers, good luck to you all and successful writing!




Until the next Blog post, all the best.

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Other people's blog's...again!

Posted by spooks101 Oct 25, 2013

As I’ve been working away on Tales of Larrick City (now up to 7500 words) I’ve again been taking a look at a lot of Blog’s out there.  Here are 4 posts in particular that I found very interesting.




First up, a post up by Toddi Gutner on the Entrepreneur site.  This post is all about your LinkedIn profile and gave me a lot to think about regards my own presence on the network.  It has a lot of hints and tips about improving how you as individual can present yourself on the network, although it is primarily aimed at company profiles.




Second, another ‘how to’ post, on, well, how to Blog!  It lays out in concise and practical terms just how to Blog properly and I’m already reading through it and thinking ‘yeah, I missed that step’.  Very useful for putting you on the straight and narrow and making yours updates not only more relevant to what you do, but also more interesting in general.  I hope to implement the suggestions in future posts.




Next, a more writing centred post by Diane Mae Robinson on the Imogen Knight Blog. It’s about how to write a good children’s story.  Although only aspects of the post were relevant to what I’m doing (my stories are primarily directed toward teenager / adult level) it’s very well laid out and provides excellent advise.  Well worth the read for any writer of fiction.




Finally, if you’ve had enough of ‘advise’ post’s, here’s a fantastically funny post by the legendary Conan O’Brien, who has recently become an influencer on LinkedIn.  Yes, I’m scared too!

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Plans within plans...

Posted by spooks101 Sep 21, 2013

It’s been over twenty days since the release of the second book in my fantasy detective series ‘Haldred Chronicles’.  I am very happy with the response.




So far, I have two five-star reviews on Amazon for ‘Haldred Chronicles: Kalla’, which is just fantastic.  As well as this lots of people are now reading the second book and thoroughly enjoying.  Likewise, I have seen a further uptake on book one so the ‘cascade’ effect is taking shape.  I hope this continues.




Here’s the link on Amazon for book two, if anyone is feeling very kind and wishes to purchase or even better, review!




Looking to the future now, I hope to start ‘official’ work on ‘Tales of Larrick City’ very soon.  My original intention was to leave Haldred Chronicles writing for about a month, then start into it again, but I have found myself already writing little scenes here and there.  That and I’ve been writing other stories as well.




One of which you can catch over at the Aeronautica ‘Airspace’ forum (




I warn you, this one is written in haste and not as well polished as my published work but I hope you enjoy.  As before (from last year), it is a companion to the wargaming campaign currently ongoing over at the forum, and is of a different style to that found in Haldred Chronicles.




Other plans afoot are more work on the various websites and networks that I am now part of.  The likes of Authonomy (, The Indie Writers Network ( and the Kindle Boards (  I hope to take a more active part in these internet sites over the next while, as well as many others.  This should increase exposure for the books (and the insanity of them of course!)




The ultimate objective is to be published by an official company.  As such, my other big project for the next few months is to prepare a basic synopsis and detailed synopsis for submission to publishers.  The intention is to write them up for both books and so I have a good variety to send on.




So I’ve lots going on and I hope you will all continue to enjoy the fruits of my labour.  Thanks again to everyone for there fantastic support and encouragement over the last while.  Thank you all of you.




Until next time, lots more to come!

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The wait is over...

Posted by spooks101 Aug 31, 2013
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As I said in my last blog post, I have designated the 31st August 2013 as my launch day.  Now it’s a race to finish up everything and get it all prepared before then!




I have been busy working my way through a print out of the novel, making corrections, adding detail and basically tidying everything up.  It’s a very good experience, particularly the elimination of repeating words.  Proof readers of my previous novel will remember the original drafts that were packed full of constant uses of the word ‘quiet’ instead of ‘quite’, as well as the evitable overuse of the word ‘said’.  Fortunate then that the original novel was proofed so well, good job everyone!




Another idea has also come to mind.  Several people have suggested the idea of a launch day and I must say, I’m very interested in having one.  The basic idea is to hold a launch event at a functional room somewhere, probably in my hometown Newtownards, on the evening of the 31st August.  I will of course post up more details nearer the time.  I definite think it would be a fun thing to try, even just the once.




So it’s at last all coming together.  The book is almost done and if I organize it right, there will be an official launch event for it too!




I shall keep everyone informed on the blog and my Facebook page.  Stay tuned!

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Battle against sickness!

Posted by spooks101 Apr 23, 2013

I really do hate being sick.  Unfortunately until the meds that the doctor has prescribed kick in I must endure a rough cough and various aches and pains.  Bleh.




Still, I have managed to do a lot of writing despite feeling ill so that’s good news.  Draft three is proceeding very well indeed and if I can just get over this sickness I can make a final push to finish the book!




That and I had a really good chat with Mat about the second book’s cover art.  Mat did the first books cover and has some really good ideas regards the next cover.  Many of you will have seen his work on the Facebook page and on the various blogs here and there.  It is good news that he’s up for having a go with book two.




Apart from that I’ve still not been able to source a printer for the first book as I’ve not been able to take a proper look through the Writers and Artists handbook.  That plus as I said before the cost of printing it on my own is prohibitive.  So a printed version of book one is sadly still far away.  I’ll keep trying through.




Keeping with tradition, here’s another short story for you all to enjoy.  This one’s original premise was ‘waking up in a room and not knowing where you are’.  This one is a break with my normal writing style as it’s from a first person perspective.  Hope you all enjoy.  Till next time.




* * * * *




I opened my eyes.  What I beheld, was definitely not what I had seen before I fell asleep.


A blank featureless white ceiling, a single neon light flickering above me.




This isn't right.




I felt stiff, as if waking up from too much running the day before; too much exercise.  Except I hadn't exercised the day before.  I'd been at home, relaxing on my day off, doing very little other than pottering about the house and watching some documentary.




I rose, slowly, feeling my muscles ache.




This isn't right.




The room itself was much less blank than the ceiling as I glanced around.  I had been lying on some kind surgery table.  Directly in front of me was a heavy looking metal door with no handle, and what looked like a keypad set into the white wall beside it.




I rolled my shoulders, my muscles still aching.  I looked at my hand.








Black lines criss-crossed it.  Oddly spaced, as if they ran...




Ran under my skin.  I looked up both my arms, noticing with horror how the black lines crossed all over my arms, right up to were I couldn't see them anymore under the white surgery garb I wore.




This isn't right!  What the **** is going on?




I was becoming scared now.  I looked around the rest of the room.  By the far wall, the oddest of things was hung.  It almost made me flinch off the table.




It looked for all the world, like a suit of armour.  I had at first thought it a man standing, regarding me, the way it was propped up by the wall.  It was painted in random colours of green, black and brown all over.  Pouches adored its belt, a huge knife secured on one hip.  The armour was angular, alien to my eyes.  I didn't recognize it...




Mark 4 Avenger Armour.




The thought came uncalled for, making me blink in surprise.




What was that?  Where am I?  This isn't right.




I am Jonathan Taylor, I am 26 years old.  I have a wife, Jessie, and 2 daughters, Emma and Laura.  I work at...




Delta assault unit, 3rd platoon, Special Operations.




I felt cold sweat breaking out over me. What the **** was going on?




This isn't right!




Ignoring my muscles, I got down off the surgery table and hobbled over to the door as fast as my still tired legs allowed me.  Frantically I typed on the keypad, noticing it had spaces for 4 digits on its small digital display.






A load buzzer sounded.  I tried again.






The buzzer again.  Frustration boiled in me.  I gritted my teeth.






Buzzer.  The sound mocked me and I screamed at it.








This isn't right!




Downloading mission data




I gasped as my eyes went black for a second, my vision blurring.  I felt dizzy, grasping at the walls for support before sliding to the ground. I felt sick, my stomach muscles tightening.  Then, just as suddenly, it was gone.  My vision returned and the nausea abated.




Missions launch: 3 minutes.




Where were these thoughts coming from?  What was going on?




This isn't right!




“Please don your armour plate marine.”




“Who are you?” I yelled at the room, looking round for the source of the sudden, alien voice.  It was a female voice.  I knew the voice...but from where?








Real.  Your not Jonathan Taylor.  Your not married.  You don't have kids.  Now get your S*** together, and don your armour marine.  Your oscar mike in 2 minutes 30.




I stand up, blinking.




I stumble toward the armour.  My mind was a whirl of emotions and memories.  I blinked, trying to dispel a thousand different images parading before my minds eye.  Battles, friends, visions, missions.  My eyes teared up.  What was happening?  What's going on?




They'd cleaned up the armour plate pretty good.  They could never get the bullet impacts completely clean, of course, but you had to hand it to the armourers they'd done a **** good job.




I grabbed the Avenger chest piece, always the first piece of the jigsaw, feeling its reassuring weight.  It had saved me more than once these many years.




I slide the armour over my head and let my arms slide through.  I blinked.  That was odd.  My eyes were teary.




“Delta 7?” came Marian's voice.




“Yeah yeah.” I muttered, continuing to suit up.




“Delta 7 are you?...”




“Yeah, I’ll be Oscar Mike shortly ok?” I called in the direction of the door.  **** if I knew were the microphones were in this place.  I never did after awakening, but it seemed the most logical place.




**** women.




I was fully suited up in 2 minutes, everything except my XM3000 rifle.  Ammo pouches, grenades, combat knife, everything else was ready to go.




I took a last look round the preparation area.  The **** place always freaked me out.  I had always meant to ask the **** docs why they got us to suit up in such an odd place.  Probably a psychology thing but still; freaking weird.




I dismissed the thoughts.  I had bigger things to worry about now.




“This is Delta 7.” I spoke into my helmet response mike. “Inbound 30 seconds.”




Now...what was the **** door code?

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I hate having the cold :(

Posted by spooks101 Mar 18, 2013

Unfortunately I have had the cold this past week on and off so haven't had a chance to write a proper blog update.


However, progress is being made on the 2nd Novel, 2nd draft.  I reached the halfway point on the 16th March and am continuing to write well.  In between sneezing of course.  I've also been reading the Writers and Artists Yearbook and its making a lot of sense.  Starting to get a strategy for publishing together but its slow going.


As a little treat, the short story I present to you this week is my Paradiso Fan Fiction competition entry from a couple of months back.  I hope you all like, especially the Infinity the Game players. 


Hope you all manage to avoid the cold.  I can advise against the experience!


* * * * *


Friendly Fire

By Vedal Slayer

Marie-Ann, 1er Regiment de Para-Commandos, stood up, reaching for the computer tablet secured on the transport planes low ceiling.  Long blond hair, tied in twinned braided ponytails, cascaded down her back.  Her sharp feline features frowned ever so slightly as she unlocked the two security tabs that held the tablet in place.  She paused for a moment, green eyes blinking.  She let out an exasperated sigh.

“They're called hips Jean-Paul, and you can stop staring at them.”

She glanced over her shoulder, as the young Jean-Paul rather lamely found the ceiling of the MX-47 assault transport suddenly very interesting.  The new paratrooper was a youthful eighteen years old and evidently straight out of boot camp.  For a paratrooper he seemed very wet behind the ears and despite excellent scores in parachuting and heavy weapons use, Marie-Ann had her doubts as to whether he was the right kind of soldier for the Ariadnian Expeditionary Force.

But needs must.

Moi-du.” muttered Claude, seated opposite the young man and shaking his head, doing nothing to mask his amusement.  Claude was the most veteran of the three of them, two years on Marie-Ann's four year service.  He was a big man, perhaps too big to be a paratrooper.  He had wide shoulders, thick powerful muscles and a wicked sense of humour.  He was the groups support gunner, cradling his light machine-gun as they awaited the drop point.

Rolling her eyes, Marie-Ann retrieved the tablet regardless and twisted to sit down again.  As she activated the battered computer and waited for the digital display to boot up, she glanced over again at Jean-Paul.  He was still managing to look embarrassed behind his jump goggles.

“Were there no beautiful jeunes filles at the training academy?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes madam, but...ah”

“But what?”

There was a long, awkward pause.  Mercifully for Jean-Paul, Claude broke the silence with typical directness.

“But none of them had as perfectly formed an arse as yours, Madam Sergeant.”

Jean-Paul seemed to go bright red, while Marie-Ann glared across at her partner.

“You know the rule.  You get one per jump, that's it.”

Claude shrugged his huge shoulders with an accompanying boyish grin, seemingly unaffected by Marie-Ann's demeanour.  “That's why I made it a good one.”

“I'm surrounded by man-idiots.” muttered Marie-Ann as the tablet came alive at last, the aged and scratched interface screen lighting up.   Immediately it displayed the mission area overlaid by a 3D satellite geo-image.

“The coordinates command passed to us mean we should be able to rendezvous with the patrol party relatively quickly.  That's assuming we've been provided with accurate maps this time.”

“Hmpt.  Lots of trees.”Claude said sagely, leaning over to look at the tablet display.   “Did our honoured hosts remember we don't use the fancy jet pack toys?”

“The exact words used were 'be assured the clearing will be large enough to allow for parachute drop'.”  She cast both of them a sideways look.  “The O-12 people use the word 'assured' far too often for my liking.  At least we're not jumping into a fire fight this time, just a meet up with a standard combat sweep.”

“Assume the LZ will be tight” Marie-Ann said next, reaching above her to stow the tablet.  “Keep good control of your chutes and a close eye on your oxygen.  Don't get dispersed, we want to all land in one piece.  Understood?”

“Yes ma'am” replied the boys in unison.

“And Jean-Paul.” Marie-Ann eyed the new recruit as she spoke, flicking her twinned ponytails back behind her head and securing them with a hair clip.


“If I catch you staring at my *** on the way down...”

She locked him with her brokers-no-argument stare and paused to allow him time to go red.

“I will eat your spleen.”

Claude leaned in, his expression one of mock seriousness.

“She will too.” he stated truthfully.

* * * * *

“Not bad,” commented Marie-Ann as she kept her rifle up, covering Jean-Paul who was busy pulling his pack and chute into the safety of the clearings edge.  “you jump well.”

“Thank you ma'am.”

They had jumped successfully onto the O-12 cleared area.  Their hosts had at least got the location information right.  Around them the forest was awash with trees and creepers, the atmosphere thick with moisture and unnaturally silent.

“I could almost forgive you for leering at me on the way down.  I do hope you enjoyed the view.”

Marie-Ann was rewarded with another deeply embarrassed expression from the young man, an expression that was all too quickly becoming his trademark.

“Now, hand me your spleen.”

“Comms appear awfully silent madam.”reported Claude, interrupting the two of them as he moved up to crouch beside them.  The cheekiness was gone, replaced with the veteran soldier that Claude truly was.

“We should at least be getting background chatter from other units.” Marie-Ann frowned.  “I don't like it.”

“Could be the forest?” Claude hazarded, casting his eye round the seemingly endless greenly that encompassed them.  “This planet is strange, even more so than home.”

Marie-Ann had to agree.  Paradiso was alien, much more alien than Dawn and that was saying something.  The clearing they had jumped into had only been cleared a few hours ago, some of the trees still showing signs of chemical destruction.  Yet it had still been hazardous.  The lush forests here were voracious, regaining the land they had lost with vigour.  The native species were openly hostile; Marie-Ann had already crushed the head of a snake that had snapped at her as she was clearing her chute .

The planet doesn't like us.

“Claude, take point, we'll proceed on mission.  I'll take the comms.  Jean-Paul you'll take six.”

She was business-like as she gave her orders.

“During which,” she added, “You will keep your eyes everywhere except my backside.”

She glared at the young recruit and he had the good sense to cower before her.

Satisfied, the three of them headed cautiously into the deep jungle.

* * * * *

“What the **** is going on?” Marie-Ann hissed to no one in particular, leaning up against the nearest tree for cover and sighting down her rifle.

“I do not know madam,” said Claude next to her, training his weapon likewise.  “but it sounds very much like our patrol is in contact and raising Merovingia brand havoc.”

They had been moving through the jungle for only ten minutes when the sounds of fighting had drifted through the dense foliage; the whip crack of automatic weapons mixed with the tell-tale rumble of explosions.  It was not a good sign.

“But with who?  That doesn't sound like alien weaponry.”

“No.” agreed Claude.  He cast Marie-Ann a rare serious look,  “Sounds more familiar.”

Marie-Ann put her hand to her ear, activating her short range comms link.

“Delta four, this is Maverick six, we're moving in on your six o'clock, requesting sitrep.”

“Maverick six...Delta four.” replied the radio almost instantly, the connection heavy with interference, a strong French accent responding.

“Heavy co...multiple tan...pan ocea...”

Jean-Paul looked round from a few feet behind the two veterans. “Did he just say...?”

“Watch your six!” snapped Marie-Ann almost automatically, causing the youngster to flinch and resume his watch.

“Delta four, Maverick six.” Marie-Ann again spoke into her microphone,  “Repeat please, did you just say Pan Oceania?”

“Maver...confirmed...heavy con...oceania!”

**** it.

“What do we do?” asked Claude.

Marie-Ann's expression hardened.  “Our job.”

“Claude, weapons free, you know the drill.  Jean-Paul with me.  We'll flank them.  Wait for my signal.”

Oui madam” said Claude.  Immediately he rose from his position and was bounding quickly through the thick jungle, making his way through the creepers and trees toward the fighting.  Marie-Ann beckoned Jean-Paul to follow her, her posture hunched as the two of them took the route at an angle to the source of the shooting.

“Time to go hunting.” she stated bluntly, rechecking her rifle and flicking the fire selector to automatic.  “And time for you to live up to your grenade launcher scores Jean-Paul.”

“I will Madam.” stated the boy.  Marie-Ann looked over to find the newbie rechecking his weapon, winding the clockwork mechanism of his grenade launchers circular magazine in preparation.  His reply had been very businesslike; she decided that was a good sign.

“Lets go.” she ordered.

* * * * *

“In position” Claude radioed 5 minutes later.  Perfect timing thought Marie-Ann as she and Jean-Paul made it to their own starting position.  What they saw brought back painful memories of the corporate battles that had ravaged their own planet.

They had come out on a low ridge, over looking a battle in progress below them.

The area was obviously a drop ship landing site, though by the looks of it not one that had been recently used.  The whole area was encompassed by thick tree's and creepers, the buildings obvious only by their outlines amongst the greenery.  A battle was in full swing.  Tracer fire criss-crossed what seemed to be an evenly matched fight between Ariadna troops and a Pan Oceania squad.  Even through the tree's and bushes Marie-Ann could see the dark blue uniforms of several Metro's exchanging fire with Fusiliers taking shelter in a bombed out and overgrown bunker.  Nearby the bulky form of an Orc trooper, braced by a tree trunk, was blazing away with his MULTI-rifle at a heavy machine-gun Moblot position.  Individual or group duals were taking place all across the site but mostly around the smoking remains of a dropship visible at the far end of the relatively clear landing strip.

Here and there, bodies lay where they had fallen, evidence of a battle that had been taking place for some time.

Marie-Ann took it all in, grim faced.  Determination gripped her.

So much for friendly fire.

She pushed her comm-link.

“Cover us Claude, I'm going for the left flank.”


Seconds later the familiar angry rattle of a Ariadnian manufactured machine-gun echoed through the forest.  With a hand signal Marie-Ann bid Jean-Paul to follow her.  They ran quickly, dodging through the low hanging vines and tree trunks as Claude blazed a path in front of them.

An Orc trooper emerged from the tree line to their left, MULTI-rifle up and scanning for the source of the machine-gun fire.

Marie-Ann fired a three round burst into the giant armour suited figure, causing him to stagger back into the foliage, his own return fire flying wide.  She dived for cover behind a thick tree trunk as Jean-Paul came up beside her.  Sensibly, the boy had switched to his rifle, his grenade launcher slung over his back.  She patted him on the shoulder, and signed to him their attack plan.

Three, two, one.

They both ducked round the tree and fired at the same time from kneeling positions.  The Orc trooper, not expecting two attacks from different angles was caught unawares.  Both paratroopers emptied a clip into him, bullets ricochetting off his armour plate.  He staggered back before one of the bullets hit a weak spot in his neck armour and tore out his throat.  He collapsed back, gasping for breath with sickening wet gurgles.

Marie-Ann wasted no time, bounding toward the fallen enemy.  She dropped her empty magazine as she ran and had rammed home a fresh one by the time she covered the distance to the fallen warrior.  She kicked the MULTI-rifle from the mans grasp as he brought it up in a last futile gesture, before stamping on his already wounded neck.  She heard the distinctive crack of bone and the trooper lay still.  Jean-Paul joined her, having switched back to his grenade launcher.  The boy's adrenaline was up now.

She patted him on the shoulder again, pointing off to the left.  The boy nodded, moving up from his position and...

The bullet impacted through his shoulder, spinning him round and rolling him onto the ground.  Marie-Ann's weapon was aimed and firing half a clip in the direction of the crack of the sniper shoot.  Up a tree her bullets shredded the timber to dust and caused something to flinch, its form translucent like water.


Wasting no time she was up from her crouch and grabbing Jean-Paul by his backpack.  The boy was in pain, cursing through clinched teeth and trying to bring his grenade launcher round to fire.  Marie-Ann fired another long burst one-handed in the direction of the Croc.  She must have succeeded in keeping the snipers head down for no more deadly rounds came chasing her.  She was able to drag Jean-Paul round behind the tree they had previous used to ambush the Orc.

The boys breath was coming in short rasps of obvious pain.

“Lie still.” she ordered, dropping her guns empty magazine and reloading a third time, now more concerned as she cast around for more enemies.  Her hand went to her comm-link again.

“Delta four this is Maverick six, I have one man down, requesting medic.”

“Confirmed Maverick six, this is Delta three.” came a surprising clear reply.  “I'm inbound.”

“Watch your route, we're under sniper fire.”

“I know.” said the Emergency 112 medic as he leapt down beside Marie-Ann.  He was fortunate not to get a face full of rifle-butt.  She didn't bother to ask were the **** he had come from and just let the man do his job.

“Watch yourself.  He's up in the trees.”

“Not for long.” said the medic, nodding to his right before he bent to the task of checking Jean-Paul.  Marie-Ann frowned before looking to were the medic had indicated.  From the undergrowth nearby rose the formidable form of a Moblot, carrying a primed panzerfaust.

Their was a flash and hiss, then a thump as the rocket hit the tree were the Croc trooper had been.  A body fell with the shower of leaves.

Good shooting.

“Delta six to all Delta call signs.  Enemy is falling back to a dropship.  Let them go.  We'll deal with them later.”

“He's just letting the bastards get away?” cursed Marie-Ann, looking to the medic for an explanation.

“Yes I am.” Said the Moblot coming up on the three of them, dropping his panzerfaust as he approached.  He evidently didn't fear any additional sniper fire for his pose was relaxed.  “They didn't come here to fight us.  We just happened to interrupt their little party.”

He pointed across the clearing.

From the direction of the destroyed dropship, Marie-Ann could see a Metro and a Chasseur hoisting a wounded man in muddy work fatigues, his leg a bloody bandaged mess.  He looked Asian, his uniform dark orange and yellow.

“Yu Jing.” stated the Moblot bluntly.  “Engineer by the looks of him.  He should be able to tell us why this mess happened.”

“Bastards.” muttered Marie-Ann, her attention now returning to Jean-Paul.

The doctor had removed the boys jump goggles and his face was contorted in pain.  He was very pale.

“How is he?”

“In pain, but stable.” Stated the medic.  “He's lucky, the bullet went straight through him.  For once we should be thankful they use armour piercing rounds.”

Marie-Ann nodded.  Losing a rookie on his first combat jump was the height of bad luck.

At this point Claude appeared, coming upon on them as the Ariadna forces regrouped.  In the distance, the sound of weapons fire had been replaced with that of chopper engines; the extraction craft were inbound.

“**** of a first day for the boy.” commented Claude as he looked over the rookies wounded body.

“Doc says he's stable.” said Marie-Ann.  She looked up at the big man and gave him a rare smile.  “But your right.”

“At least...I'll have a war wound.” breathed Jean-Paul.  Marie-Ann looked to him in surprise, finding the boy looking up through his pained expression, trying to smile through the discomfort and the effects of the medics meds.

Despite the situation both she and Claude laughed.

“That you will boy.” chuckled Claude.  “For the jeunes filles!

* * * * *

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Keeping out of trouble

Posted by spooks101 Feb 10, 2013

Good progress this week.




Main thing is that I have at last printed out what I’ve done so far on the second novel, which is good because it means I’ll be able to look through the 52 pages and start filling in the blanks so to speak.  At present I have a lot of good scenes but not necessarily enough scenes to link all of them together.  I also need to figure out names of new characters, better descriptions of characters and locations, and tighten up the storyline.  All is doable, just need to sit down and do it.




I also had a fantastic brain storming session this week with a good friend (thank you Jo!) so a lot of new ideas have blinked into existence and I’m trying to figure out how to either integrate them into this new novel or into the series.  We shall see!




Added to this I’ve the next in our story competition challenge series.  This time the challenge is to write a story based on a favourite song.  Unfortunately I’m already behind in this (nothing written yet!) but I have chosen a song; a particular Johny Cash number that should do the necessary nicely.  I hope I can do the legendary man justice.




Also, the wargames club which I’m part of has recently started up an ‘Infinity the Game’ campaign and I’m going to be writing some fiction for it to tie together the various factions and battles.  The plan is to do this mission by mission (12 missions in all so 12 separate fiction pieces to write) as well as battle reports and painting so we’ve the complete package.  Just like all the writing I’m doing, I just need to schedule time to do this.




Plenty to look forward to, plenty to keep me out of trouble.

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