Introducing: Jaq Pilakin

In the summer I was delighted to announce that my publishers, Inspired Quill, had accepted for publication the second book in the Anjelican Universe – intended to be release in June next year. I won’t call it a series because I hope to write connected books that can be read in any order but will still build up to tell the story of Galactic revolution, human history, the role of the Anjelican and the future of the Earth. But that’s all still to come…

In the meantime let me introduce you to the main protagonist – Jaq Pilakin (pronounced pill-ay-kin). She is a woman who lives in the city of Engalise. Those of you have read We Bleed the Same will know this place but if you haven’t it doesn’t matter. The city has some problems. It is under siege and it has been for decades. It has no laws – only a code of individual rights; and there are only ten of those. And there is no government. Only a City Corporation that licences individuals to protect these rights. For example, City Engineers who protect the right to movement by running and maintaining thoroughfares and transport networks.

Jaq Pilakin is licenced as a Freedom Protection Agent. This is someone who investigates violations against an individual’s rights and she specialises in the 1st right: life. Unfortunately, due to a previous case, she was thrown out of her old job with the City Corporations own subsidiary agency. Now she is independent and has to search for cases that have been overlooked by big agencies or independent agents with an established reputation.

Jaq is not a happy person. She is wracked by guilt over her previous life and pursues justice as a way to atone for her past actions. She drinks too much, takes drugs and indulges in as many vices as she can afford. Unfortunately, the money is about to run out and her case is a plumber who was unfortunate enough to be buried by rubble from an artillery strike from the besieging forces. Luckily for her, it turns out to be murder…


States of Independence and a new book

There’s a new book! Wait, what? Read on…

I should have open with an apology for being silent for so long. I’m sorry. Now let me tell you the exciting reason. I have been hammering away at the next book. Second novels are infamous in the writing world for being hard to do. It has taken longer. It is a bit shorter but people who have read it agree it is even better than the first! Now it is with my publisher who is considering what to do with it.

It’s in We Bleed the Same but you will not have needed to read it to enjoy the story. This one happily stands alone as well as enriching the universe. My aim in this saga is for the books to be readable in any order.  This time we meet a Freedom Protection Agent, called Jaq Pilakin, who is investigating an apparent accident of war and hoping it turns out to be a murder. Where the action in We Bleed the Same takes place over a whole year, this book’s action is over in three-and-a-half days. And yes, several of the characters you have already met do turn up.

So, I know you have been waiting for me to explain this somewhat strange post title. Well, States of Independence is a one day literary festival in Leicester, specialising in the independent press. It is free to get in and runs from 10:30am – 4:30pm in the Clephan Building, DMU, LE1 5XY.

The East Midlands Book Award 2015

So, after a flurry of excited tweeting a few weeks ago, I thought I probably should mention here too that I have been shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award 2015. This is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened. Well, I think so anyway. You can see the full shortlist and find out more information here:

In anticipation of the awards ceremony on the 30th June, there is going to be an authors’ panel next Thursday (18th June 2015) at West Bridgford Library:

The reason I am so excited about this award is that it is for “Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry or Plays” – it is not a specific science fiction award so this is an opportunity to lay our genre before a wider audience.

Reviews of We Bleed the Same

Okay, I’ve held off the narcissism as much as possible but it may be that you’ve found out about We Bleed the Same, like the look of it, and want to know if it is any good before you buy it. Well, here below is a selection of reviews, warts and all, that I hope will give you an idea of what people think about it.

I promise – the reviews on the links below, and the ones on Amazon (other online retailers available…), are all I can find as of the time of this posting. So, I am hiding nothing from you.

An excellent writer and reviewer called Siobhan Logan said:

Interesting SciFi author who I met at LonCon3, Jessica Meats said:

Physicist and gaming reviewer, Susie Cumberland said:

And you can find 12 reviews (2 of which are the ones by Siobhan and Jessica) on the Amazon website:






Okay, you may need a little more than that. I went to LonCon3 at ExCeL in London, which some of you may have noticed was the WorldCon. Yes, that’s the big science fiction convention, still devoted to the written word, where they judge and announce the Hugo Awards.

And I mean, wow!

I am still buzzing. Not just because my publishers, Inspired Quill, put together a great stand with inspired authors and an inspired message, which they did. Not because I sold some books and took a selfie with childhood hero, Robert Silverberg:


Not even because George RR Martin strolled past while I was working on my laptop and I didn’t even look up (#epicfail).

It was meeting all the conventioneers that made me feel wowish. The incredible diversity, friendliness, passion, knowledge and downright tolerance brought home to me the wonderful community I am trying to write for. Some who stuck in my mind were people I met again in civvies after seeing them in costume the previous day, the American lady who brought me a bag of M&Ms just because and the first ever stranger to tell me they liked my book. At one point I knew I was talking to a physicist, so mentioned that I had worked hard to make the science right. He bought it and then discovered that he works in astrophysics at Harvard. I twitched a little and considered snatching it back from him…

It was great sharing a stand with Sara (the supreme commander of Inspired Quill) and Matthew Munson and Ben Hennessy (fellow authors at IQ). There was a real sense of being in it together and between us we sold a respectable number of books as well as networking and promoting IQ’s social enterprise ethos. Here is a picture of my end of the table:


Yes, that is a giant gobstopper in the middle of the sweetie solar system. I believe it is the largest one can buy in Ashby de la Zouch – watch out for a future blog where I break it up to see if it really is multi-layered inside. We also noticed that if you line up several of my books in that configuration you can make one big window.

The dénouement of the conference was the Hugo Awards, so I will sign off with this picture of the after-party. Can you see two TARDISs?


Leicester Launch

Okay. On the 27th July (2014) we launched my book “We Bleed the Same” at The Exchange in Leicester’s cultural quarter. Here are the pictures from the event that made it past the censor. Thank you to everyone who came along! Especial thanks to my friend Jo, who stepped in with a pen when we could not locate the ones I had brought along. Yes, every book was signed with a pen advertising colostomy bags.

Me signing my first book:

An entirely edible solar system made from gobstoppers (of various sizes), space dust, popping candy, flying saucers and chocolate moon rocks:

Me and my very excellent publisher, Sara-Jayne Slack of Inspired Quill (she’s the one on the right):

The mayor of Ashby de la Zouch, Andrew Badger, came along. Thanks, Drew!

Members of the Wilkinson clan snorting popping candy:

Welcome to the Anjelican Universe

And so, my new career as a science fiction author started officially on 27th July 2014, with the publication and launch of my debut novel, “We Bleed the Same”. This and most of my future books (yes, there will be many!) take place in the same Anjelican Universe.
This blog will hopefully expand and grow in time but for now I have several ojectives. Blog posts will be split into specific themes:
1. My thoughts as a writer.
2. Explanations of aspects of the Anjelican Universe.
3. Whole sections that have been deleted or rewritten during the editorial process – you get to see the warty underbelly of the books.
4. News.

I am sure there will be changes over the coming months and years but, as with writing, the hardest thing to do is get started. Here we go…