February's adventures in writing and general geekery!

The round-up of all my latest news and releases, plus... Agatha Christie?

February's adventures in writing and general geekery!

It's been a year since I relaunched this newsletter. What? HOW?! Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me and joined the chats and the video hangouts (I really need to find a way to bring those back, you know!) I appreciate every single one of you! You're the best!

Today's newsletter has slipped from its traditional Tuesday slot to its new home on Wednesdays, because, well, Wednesdays mean new comic book day so it makes much more sense to put it out when my new stuff is hitting the shelves! Plus, we all need a boost on Wednesday, and talking to you lot always provides that for me!

That was the month that was!

So, what did February bring? Quite a bit of writing, that's for sure. I wrote two issues of my new creator owned comic that was teased by Vault at the end of last year, plus issue two of Union Jack the Ripper, my Marvel book set during the upcoming Blood Hunt event.

Then there have been meetings galore. George Mann and I continue to work on Strange Matter, our creative studio/production company. The animated TV series proposal I talked about in last month's round up is in with the streamer and we popped into their London offices last week to talk about future projects too. Meanwhile, a creative company who's output we absolutely LOVE has asked us to look at a number of their properties to see if there's anything that spark story ideas and so we're getting together in Oxford later this week to delve into those. There are a lot of coals in a lot of fires at the moment, meaning that we're busy, busy, busy, but honestly couldn't be happier. I often joke that my to-do list is the same as when I was ten: superheroes, Jedi and dragons! I am so, so grateful and it is all down to you wonderful people who have supported me over the years, reading my stories and cheerleading me on! Thank you! I'll keep you updated with what happens!

To keep up that tally I started last month, here are the latest numbers for 2024:

  • TV series proposal: 1
  • Comic series proposal: 1
  • Comic pages written: 130

And that doesn't include the ongoing High Republic planning and plotting, an invitation to write new stories by both Marvel and DC, work on a TV series idea George and I are concocting with a pal, a new division of Strange Matter working in a medium that is VERY dear to my heart and the germ of an idea for a new spec movie script.

Phew! It sounds a lot and it is, all part of the hustle of getting a company off the ground, plus the usual business of being a freelance writer. At times the constant plate-spinning does get too much and overwhelm rears its ugly head making it difficult to keep your energy up, your to-do list growing to Godzilla proportions. At those times, even the funnest* things on your list can seem like a chore. To combat that I remember a tip I heard productivity and habit guru James Clear give a while back: when feeling downbeat there's an easy way to change your mindset. Instead of saying, 'today I have to do such and such...', say: 'today I GET to do such and such...' It sounds so simple, but makes a real difference, instantly making you feel grateful for any given situation and reminding you that, hey, things could be a lot worse!

Give it a try and let me know how you get on in the comments.

Other adventures

Away from the actual business of writing, it's been a bonus month too! While in London, George and I had the pleasure of hanging out with Jane Wu and Alan Taylor. Jane is the director behind Netflix's hit Blue Eyed Samurai series which has been, quite rightly, wowing audiences around the world. If you haven't watched it, stop what you're doing (yes, even reading this newsletter) and go watch episode one immediately. The show takes adult animation to the next level and will be seen as a real watershed moment for the industry in years to come.

Oh, and as I shared over on Instagram, the classic British comic fan in me was really impressed by the gentlemen's toilets (words I didn't expect to type!)

Back home, I had a great time at the recently re-opened Bristol Beacon experiencing the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's Best of Williams and Rutter tour.You can check out the running order here, and can imagine the grin on my face when they opened the gig with my favourite William's piece, the Superman march! Oh, the restorative power of incredible music. It's fair to say I was running on empty when I plopped into my seat as the orchestra tuned their instruments, but walked out with a bounce in my step after the last encore (a cheeky number from Pirates of the Caribbean!)

Definitely keep an eye on the BSO website to see when they're touring again.

Saturday took a fancy turn as I was invited by the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society to the dedication of a new plaque to celebrate the marriage of Dame Agatha Christie in 1914, the ceremony that may not have led to the most illustrious marriage but gave us a name that will go down in literary history!

Yes, it was raining, but we didn't care, huddled beneath our brollies as Clifton-educated TV and film director turned crime writer Tim Sullivan gave a brief talk about the importance of Agatha Christie's work before Peaches Golding, the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, dedicated the plaque itself. The ceremony done, we retreated into Clifton College for some welcome refreshments and I was extremely grateful to be invited to attend a talk by Tim for the college pupils in their majestic library, which I'm pleased to say had an extensive graphic novel area!

Tim gave some great advice to the kids, the one that particularly chimed for me, even after all these years, was that confidence is the biggest problem to overcome in any creative endeavour and that to succeed you need to be 'brave enough to fail constantly!' As a certain wizened Jedi master learned in my part of a recent Marvel series, 'Failure the greatest teacher is!'

One last thing that has made me smile: I've continue to fit out my new studio which now is graced by this Vworp-tastic time piece courtesy of TARDIS Cabinets UK...

The clock face features one of my favourite quotes from Doctor Who:

"We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one!"

Out today and coming attractions!

Don't forget that Star Wars: The High Republic #4 is out today! If you missed it, last week I shared a little behind-the-scenes info about how this issue relates to the origins of the series back in 2020.

You can find a preview of the issue over at AIPT, or check out this super-cool video intro by the Broazium boys!

Looking towards the future, Dark Horse has released Rachael Stott's ominous cover for Star Wars: The High Republic - Saber for Hire #3.

Here's the solicitation:

Ty Yorrick versus the Nihil. The former Jedi turned monster hunter comes face-to-face with a Child of the Storm, but who . . . or what . . . is behind the villainous Nihil’s cowl? Meanwhile, Ty’s aggrieved apprentice initiates a mission of his own: to rescue the Republic Chancellor’s son!

Talk to your friendly neighbourhood comic store to pre-order your copy today!

Oh, and while you're there, pop into a bookshop and pick up the next High Republic novel - Defy the Storm by Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton - which came out yesterday!

Ask me anything!

Just time for one quick question this week, this time from subscriber Kora Czifra:

"Hello! Are you coming to any US based comic cons? I would love to buy a signature on one of my comics."

Hi Kora! At the moment, the only US comic con I'm planning to visit is San Diego Comic Con in July! Hopefully, I'll see you there?

But tell me, what stateside conventions should I be visiting? Let me know in the comments?

And don't forget you can ask your own questions in the comment section or via my 'Ask me anything' form.

That's all folks!

Thanks for reading! Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for some big news this Friday!

I know, I know...I'm such a tease!

As always if you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, forward this email to them or point them in the direction of www.cavletter.com where they can subscribe.

Until next time, take care of yourself and each other!

*I know some people don't think funnest is a word, but I like it!