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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.

Excised Lecture… Modern Athréak History

One of the difficult things about writing science fiction is sneaking in your world building without info-dumping or committing the heinous atrocity that is known in the trade as “author intrusion”. This challenge is compounded if, as in “We Bleed the Same” you are writing the entire book from a single character’s point of view.

When I was writing it and needed to get on without getting bogged down I would put in a gap with the information I wanted to convey and would return later to figure out how to get it in. However, on one occasion – almost as a joke – I got Danny (the hero) to attend a lecture on Modern Athréak History. Then to my surprise my cold readers let it pass without comment, so I left it in when I sent it off to the publisher. People kept letting it through; I assumed it must just be a fantastically written lecture scene…

It was the third editor who finally unmasked it for the info-dump it was. So, for those who want to know a bit more about how and why the Empire, Athréa, the FFAIO and the Simplaerosian Kingdom are all fighting over one muddy patch of land – here is the deleted lecture. (The start of it remained included in Chapter 37.)

“One of the lectures focused on how the current military situation arose. The lecturer was an elderly man with white hair and a twitch below his left eye, which got more pronounced when he became animated on certain points. He wore an old fashioned Alliance uniform and a cravat from where his Adam’s apple would bob up as he spoke in a supercilious tone of voice, peppering his speech with convoluted sub clauses.

Due to the prevailing political situation, the Angel City, Engalise to the modern amongst you, was a natural choice for the Federation in setting up its headquarters. When we became a significant threat to the Empire a few decades ago, the Emperor at the time, old Pastan Victorious it was, an oxymoronic moniker if ever I heard one, ordered an expeditionary force to invade and destroy the city. He reasoned that, as it was completely independent, it was not a part of Simplaerosia and, therefore, it would not breach the Alliance to attack it. The Simplaerosians concurred with that assessment but pointed out, bless their hearts forever, that there was no way to get to Engalise without crossing Simplaerosian territory and so, with all the ferocity that their advanced technology afforded them, launched attacks on all the Imperial forces breaching their borders.’

‘So, how did we get hooked up with Simplaero?’ asked a woman on the front row.

‘Ah yes. Well, the Federation was defending Engalise, which had encased itself in a huge sink field, and the two co-operated militarily to expel the Empire. The strange, and most would say expeditious, thing was both the Empire and Simplaerosia regarded Athréa as a localised matter and continued with their Alliance in every other corner of the Galaxy. So, we have the peculiar phenomenon of Simplaerosia fighting with us on Athréa and against us in other theatres, although, in reality, both sides try to avoid that as much as possible. It is entirely in Simplaero’s interest to have the Empire bogged down in fighting us.’

‘Bogged down?’ asked the man next to Danny with a snort of derision. The lecturer looked genuinely surprised at the sentiment expressed.

‘Why yes. The naval casualties we necessarily suffer are a classic guerrilla campaign. The resources the Empire must expend in keeping us down are out of proportion to the threat we currently pose. More significantly, Athréa has become a mincing machine. For decades Emperors who could not afford to lose face or allow the Federation to operate unmolested, poured troops on to the planet, only for them to be pulverised. An army unit that lands on Athréa never leaves.’

A murmur of satisfaction rippled around the room but the lecturer looked irritated.

‘Please, everyone stay focused on what is important. Remember the sacrifices of the Athréak people, the descendants of the ancients, who still called themselves Anjelican despite massive interbreeding with the human occupiers. They have to go about their lives with war all around them…'”

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: http://siobhanlogan.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/puny-and-angels.html

Interesting SciFi author who I met at LonCon3, Jessica Meats said: http://plottwister.blog.com/2014/08/30/review-we-bleed-the-same-by-david-wilkinson/

Physicist and gaming reviewer, Susie Cumberland said: http://wordofthenerdonline.com/2014/09/review-bleed/

And you can find 12 reviews (2 of which are the ones by Siobhan and Jessica) on the Amazon website: http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1908600306/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_link_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

 

 

 

LONCON3

Wow!

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:

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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:

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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?

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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:
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An entirely edible solar system made from gobstoppers (of various sizes), space dust, popping candy, flying saucers and chocolate moon rocks:
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Me and my very excellent publisher, Sara-Jayne Slack of Inspired Quill (she’s the one on the right):
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The mayor of Ashby de la Zouch, Andrew Badger, came along. Thanks, Drew!
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Members of the Wilkinson clan snorting popping candy:
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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…