Friday update: 12th May 2023 - The beginning of something new!

The lowdown about a new project I'm starting, plus news, events and music I think you'll love!

Hello there! Every other Friday, I post an update that gives you a round-up of my work, things you might have missed and a few recommendations as well! Let’s dive in!

My work

Lots of things have been happening, including lots of meetings about projects at different stages of production, but there’s only one thing I really want to talk about today.

I’m writing a new novel.

Let’s get the first question out of the way: no, it’s not Star Wars. It’s something new. Something for me. It’s a spec novel, meaning that it hasn’t been sold in advance and has no guaranteed home. I need to write it, in full, for my agent to take it out to publishers, and I started it this week.

And by starting I mean I gathered all my notes together, wrote out a VERY loose outline on index cards, created a new Scrivener file on my computer and came up with a plan. And the plan is this:

  1. Follow the loose outline, which has a beginning, a general sense of the end and some beats for the middle, and develop further as I go, seeing where the characters and world takes me.
  2. Try to write at least 20,000 words a month, but pledge right here and now in front of all my wonderful subscribers that I will NOT beat myself up if I don’t hit that target. This is being written around other work, specifically comic and animation scripts. Those are the priority and have deadlines (and fees!). That said, I do want to keep the momentum going. If I manage 20k a month, I will have a completed first draft of about 100,000 words by mid-October. If I get there quicker, great, but if I get there later, the world is not going to end. After all, who knows what the next five months will bring?
  3. I’m only going to talk about it here on this newsletter. It can be our little secret. Talking about it here is a form of accountability for me, and I’m also hoping that you will be my cheerleaders! My deep-set imposter syndrome isn’t just raising its head about all this; it’s roaring at the top of its voice and trampling buildings like a 164,000-tonne kaiju. Will you help me combat it by cheering me on? I hope so!

I don’t think I’m going to get into specifics of plot and character at this early stage, but if you’ve read my previous work the book’s subject matter and themes won’t surprise you. Or maybe they will by the time I’m finished. Time will tell. All I’ll say at this point is that it’s a story that has been going around my head for a very long time. I tried to get it out by writing it as a screenplay, but that didn’t work. It feels like a novel, so (hopefully) that’s what it’s going to be.

I’ll let you know how I’m getting on in future posts, but in the meantime if you have any questions about the book or how I’m planning to write it either reply to this mail, or ask me in the comments.

A change of date

Unfortunately, due to rail strikes this weekend, Titan Books had to postpone The Other Side of Never event that was due to take place at Forbidden Planet in London on Saturday. But all is not lost. It will now be taking place on Saturday 17th June, from 4-5 pm. Put it in your diaries!

A big thank you!

Before we get onto my end-of-week recommendations, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who upgraded their subscription to my new paid tier. You should receive an exclusive email next week with news about our first video get-together.

Also, shoutouts are due to my first-ever founding members and Thomas Summers. One slight issue I've discovered is that Substack doesn't actually give me the name of my subscribers, only their emails, so these shoutouts are trickier than I thought they would be. Thomas, I hope I got your name right!

Both my founding members and paid subs will be entered into this month’s prize draw to win a signed copy of the Mike Mignola Celebration Exclusive Jaxxon annual, complete with a doodle by me! Full details of the draw and other paid tier benefits can be found here!

Stuff you might have missed

Things I enjoyed and think you might too…

I might have mentioned once or seventeen times how much I’m loving Substack. One of my discoveries this week was who publishes a piece of music every month. This meditation is particularly beautiful. Have a listen.

Meditation 019 | Gathering Light
Listen now (3 min) | Thank you for being here for the nineteenth installment of this newsletter. » I’ve become aware of the fact that you, my dear subscribers/listeners, tune in to this newsletter from nearly 80 countrie…

Speaking of music, my plotting / planning soundtrack of choice this week has been Marco Beltrami’s Renfield score. I watched the film a few weeks back with George and loved it for the fun romp it’s supposed to be (and thought Cage was superb as the Count!) Beltrami’s soundtrack is the right mix of camp, emotional depth and gothic Universal horror, especially the subtle Swan Lake motif. The album is going to become a favourite of mine, I’m sure.

Renfield (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Marco Beltrami on Apple  Music

Thinking about it, would you be interested in a post from me on the soundtracks I listen to when planning stories and how I use music when working? Let me know in the comments.

Fan Art Cosplay Friday

Actually, I shouldn’t cross out art, because cosplay is an artform in itself. Cosplayers of the world, I am forever in awe of you.

A special shout out to Lia who cosplayed as one of my brand new Path of Vengeance characters on publication day no less.

Lia, I love your take on Shea Ganandra. Everyone go and follow Lia on Insta and Twitter!

And while we’re talking outfits check out these incredible High Republic pants created by Twitter user Kay Vanto (which is a very Star Warsy name!)

You can check them out in more detail here!

That’s all, folks

But before I go, I need to share another subscriber's pet, in this case, pets plural as we unleash the cuteness of Selina and Robin, subscriber 's cuddly cats.

They make me want to curl up and take a nap!

If you want your furry, feathered, or even scaly friend featured at the end of one of my updates, post their pic on this thread or reply to this email!

As always, please share this newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy it! I love having you all here!

Stay safe!