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New release and New pre-order

The Invisible Amateur is out this Friday! If you haven’t pre-ordered the ebook yet you can do so here and make sure that you get yourself a copy as soon as it’s midnight! Only two and a half days to go.

TheFemaleCharmMediumThe fourth book in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series is also now available to pre-order here and will be released on February 13th next year. Less than three months away!

Here’s a blurb:

Politics is Mycroft’s focus for the moment, but it calls him to Scotland, somewhere very much outside of London. When Sherlock refuses to help and instead enlists Amelia, Mycroft has to decide if his personal amateur is up to the task.

Despite all the scrapes and bruises, Amelia is still willing to learn from the Holmes brothers, but these latest lessons are on a whole new level. Does she have the skills she needs to survive? And is she really prepared for being in the Holmes world?

I’ve also almost finished the first drafts of 5 and 6 in the series and can confirm both will be out next year. Hopefully around early May and mid July respectively.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update 2

Just a little over half way through NaNoWriMo now and as of first thing this morning I’m at 48,609 words. If I was doing a normal NaNo count I’d be finishing today. Since I’m aiming for 69,000 that leaves me with 20,381 words to go. Not too bad although I’ve been slower the last week or so. It’s definitely not a level of writing I find sustainable.

I finished Mycroft 5 and have tentatively called it The Knight Who Started a War but I think that’s going to haev to change. As much as I like it it needs to be shorter I think.

As is normal I’ve learnt some intersting things. Not least all the symptoms of hypothermia. But the most unexpected – It seems protégé is the maculine form and for a female student you would call them a protégée. Had no idea about that until two days ago.

The hope is to finish Mycroft 6 by the end of this week or the beginning of next (I might actually take the weekend off). Then finish off a few other bits and pieces to get me towards the 69k I’m aiming for. Either way there’s still a fair amount to be written so I best get back to it.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update 1

I know I’m only a few days into NaNoWriMo but here’s an update of where I’m at so far.

Somehow in only two days I’ve managed to get about a third of the way into Mycroft 5. Still not a clue what the title is but I’ll probably figure that out soon.

As often happens my character’s keep surprising me and even themselves. Amelia turned out to be claustraphobic and it turns out Mycroft and Sherlock can sort of work together, but there’s evidently some history there I don’t know about yet. Daniels, the chauffeur, is also even more awesome than even Mycroft realised, and I even discovered that Mycroft does have a sense of humour! Who knew!

Research wise I plotted one heck of a route thanks to google maps. One of the most amazing tools as a quick way to be able to explain places. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have access to such a detailed map of pretty much everywhere in the world. Here’s a link for those interested. Yup Russia is involved.

Over the next week I want to get this novella finished so I can take a day off to plot the next one, as I have no idea what happens except for a few series related scenes. It does sorta need its own plot as well. After that we’ll see. I’d like to be about this far into the next one in two weeks time, maybe a little further. It all depends exactly what trouble Amelia gets herself into between now and then!

The Unexpected Coincidence: New Release

It’s only three days until the second book in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series is released and it’s already up for pre-order here.

TheUnexpectedCoincidence_mediumHere’s the blurb for this shiny new book (please don’t read if you’ve not read the first one, instead go grab that here while it’s free):

Amelia Jones has turned Mycroft’s world upside down but he’s oddly satisfied. For a woman she’s in control of her emotions and eager enough to learn that he finds enjoyment in teaching her, but she’s not perfect and Mycroft isn’t used to people making mistakes.

Spending time with the Holmes brothers came with a threat Amelia expected, but when the danger comes from her own line of work, she doesn’t know where to turn. Can she keep Mycroft happy with her progress, while also keeping herself safe?

To celebrate the launch there’s a facebook event on Friday with plenty of opportunities to win prizes, including having a character named after you in the fourth book of the series and you can check that out here.

Sneak Peak: The Unexpected Coincidence

I’ve been working on a bunch of different things lately, trying to get back into the zone of writing and I thought I’d share the first chapter of the 2nd novella in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series.

Mycroft took another sip of his tea from the delicate china cup Mrs Wintern had provided. It would have tasted perfect if it wasn’t for the lingering smell of formaldehyde. Sherlock’s flat never smelt normal at the best of times but his younger brother had a case and was experimenting on some severed body parts.

“It’s not that bad,” Sherlock said, disturbing him from his thoughts.

“What’s not?”

“Having to look over a crime scene for yourself.”

“Apparently not. You seem to enjoy it,” Mycroft replied, not sure whether to be relieved that his younger brother hadn’t read his current thoughts or annoyed that Sherlock had figured out the real reason he was there.

It had been a week since Mycroft had realised his own people were too incompetent to do what he needed and still he hadn’t gone himself. Coming to see Sherlock was always his last resort. Most of the time his younger brother was only too eager to go take a look at a crime scene or evaluate a suspect but Mycroft had found him in the middle of his own case.

Since Mycroft’s abduction along with Amelia Jones Sherlock had changed his tune a little. His younger brother seemed to think it was good for Mycroft to be in the thick of the action. He, however, felt as he always had, that it was far too much effort when he could get someone else to do it for him.

“You could get Amelia to do it?” Sherlock plonked himself down in the armchair opposite Mycroft. He had a smug grin on his face. He put his cup down on the nearby tray to buy him a few seconds to compose his voice.

“And why would I ask her? She’s hardly suitable for the task.”

“She’d be perfect. I’ve taught her plenty and I’m sure she’d love to help you catch the people who took both you and her. I’m sure the event was more traumatic for her than you, even with your aversion to getting physically involved.”

“Which is exactly why I would never involve her further. The last thing I need is a woman’s emotions clouding a delicate situation. And besides, I’ve not even seen her since. It’s not as if we’re even acquainted.” Mycroft rolled his eyes and hoped his brother would drop the subject. He didn’t want to talk about Amelia. Every time she was brought up he ran the risk of giving something away about their arrangement and it was bad enough that Amelia spoke to Sherlock often.

“Then I can ask her. I’m sure she won’t mind.” Sherlock grinned and got up again to go back to the kitchen table which was covered in laboratory equipment.

“No, she won’t have the time. She starts another book tour tomorrow and they have her signing all over the country. It seems the new book is a big hit.”

“So you’ve been keeping an eye on her then,” Sherlock said as he stared down the microscope lens.

“Of course. She’s an acquaintance of yours. For her safety I thought it best.”

“Perfect,” Sherlock muttered under his breath right before taking the specimen out from under the light. “I’m sure it has nothing to do with the novel, does it brother of mine. The one she re-wrote for you. I suppose you feel she ought to be thanking you considering how well it’s selling.”

“Nothing of the sort. I only know that part because she seems to have charmed Daniels.” Mycroft let out an exasperated sigh. “Every time I come back to the car he’s got one of her books in his hands.”

“Well, she is very charming. But if we’re done here. My case is waiting and I really have a lot to do.” Sherlock put his hand out towards the door and gave his brother another brief smile.

It was fake, and Mycroft knew he’d outstayed his welcome. With another sigh that was a last attempt to sway Sherlock into helping he got up and nodded his parting.

“Have a good day, brother of mine, and try not to cause an international incident,” Sherlock said as Mycroft was part way through the door. He rolled his eyes and ignored the jibe. It was meant to annoy him and he wasn’t going to give his brother the satisfaction of seeing his success. But it wasn’t the only part of their discussion that irked him. Sherlock had focused on Amelia much more than Mycroft was comfortable with and even worse, he was going to have to look over the house himself. He’d gone to Baker Street for nothing.

When he stepped outside the sun was shining and helped to take the chill off the late November air, but he knew the wind had a bite to it that reminded everyone it wouldn’t be long until Christmas. Not wanting to be out in such cold when wearing nothing but his favourite suit, he took several quick steps to the car and the door Daniels already had open for him.

“Back home, sir?” the chauffeur asked once he was back behind the wheel.

“No, Moffat Road in Thornton Heath. Number eighty-nine. And try to avoid traffic. I want this dealt with as swiftly as possible.”

“Of course, sir.”

Mycroft gazed out the window as his driver did his best to wind through the traffic and ensure it didn’t take too long to get to their destination. For a few minutes he let the details he picked up from the passers by go through his mind, noticing a young woman evidently having an affair and two teenagers who were about to try and rob a local shop. He knew they wouldn’t succeed or he might have got out his phone and sent a quick text to the chief of police.

When the people in the streets failed to keep his interest he re-focused his thoughts to business. Since his little adventure with Amelia, where both had been abducted from the Thames barrier in Silvertown, he’d been trying to track down the terrorist group responsible. It didn’t make it easier that the North Koreans and Russians appeared to be working together on this.

Of all the countries causing concern they were two of the worst. Russia was making threatening moves in Eastern Europe and North Korea was adapting to its younger leader. Like all people who were brought up knowing they would run a country the Korean was a spoilt brat used to getting his own way. Despite knowing all this, it didn’t help in finding the terrorists who’d tried to flood the capitol city. There was no guarantee they were acting on orders and not simply some extreme group of mercenaries who happened to have aligned goals. Whoever they were, they had plenty of funding from somewhere.

The yacht they’d held him and Amelia on hadn’t been small and so far they had moved house twice since Mycroft had become aware of them. Each time they’d sent someone into an estate agent with the deposit and several months rent in cash. On top of that, the first house Sherlock had found had been left in such a hurry that there was technology and money left behind. Most of the computers had been wiped clean but Mycroft had found enough information to know it was the right place. The police had completely bungled the attempt at catching everyone, alerting them to the discovery and giving them time to run.

He’d been praised for saving London, despite Amelia being involved, but since then the trail had been difficult to follow. Little head way was gained until his brother helped him track a lead to a second address. The address Mycroft was now being driven to.

Over half an hour after setting off Daniels pulled the car over to the side of Moffat road right in front of the driveway of house number eighty-nine. It looked worse than Sherlock had said. The drive had once been bricked over but areas had sunk while the bricks themselves had worn and crumbled. Weeds grew up in the cracks and a large pile of rubbish filled one corner of the front yard.

As Daniels opened the door he was assaulted by the smell of the rotting refuse. He wrinkled his nose up in disgust and hurried over to the front door. Before he made the six steps to the porch he’d managed to fish his skeleton keys from his pocket. Pretty much every door in London opened to these.

Once inside he paused in the hallway and surveyed the area. It smelt musty but nothing that opening a window wouldn’t fix. There were a few sparse furnishings in the living area and he expected to find the rest of the house in a similar state. A couch with old cushions sat near a coffee table. No television or music player of any kind and no lamp shade.

The curtains were drawn in every room, but all the doors were open everywhere, including up the stairs he could see to his left. Thankfully, the material hanging over the windows was thin so enough light from the shining sun still bled through to the rooms. So he could see the detail he might need, he pulled a small torch from his jacket pocket and shone it at the floor in a path to the sofa.

The carpet was yellowing and threadbare in several places, but traces of dirt from some kind of boot still lingered near the very edge of the sofa. Mycroft pulled an empty envelope and a small spatula from another pocket and scraped up some of the residue before sealing the packet and tucking it safely back. He could have his brother analyse the make up of it and tell him where it had come from.

A glance at the sofa let him know the occupants had put a plastic covering over it. There would be no evidence for him to find. Although he didn’t expect anything in the kitchen to aid his search he put his head through the doorway all the same and looked over the appliances.
A fridge and freezer combo stood on the far wall. He knew it would be empty but he went over to it and checked anyway. On his way back to the living room he opened the oven and the few cupboards but they were unused and dusty from neglect.

He sighed wishing this sort of process was quicker but Mycroft knew he had to be thorough. After decades of sending his little brother he couldn’t do a worse job.

With a sigh Mycroft padded up the carpeted stairs, using his torch to scan important locations as he went, such as the bannister and the walls at ankle height. Not even a scuff mark appeared beneath the bright light.

Each of the three bedrooms contained a single or double bed frame with a clean, barely used mattress. None of them had a single stain or blemish although he noticed the surfaces weren’t perfectly even. They had been slept on, but just like the couch the occupants had protected them from the transference of any dirt, sweat or substance.

He took his time to look over the floor around each one, hoping to find a hair or flake of skin, but he could spot neither. The bathroom was equally as unhelpful. The shower looked like it had been hosed down and the faint smell of bleach lingered in the air. Whoever was in charge of these men, he had them being far more careful than terrorists of their type usually were.

After two hours of combing the house for clues, Mycroft gave up and headed back to his car. Other than the small scraping of dirt he’d found nothing. It made him feel a little better about the competence of his own men as they’d reported a similar story, but it didn’t solve his problem. Somehow the terrorist cell was staying one step ahead of him.

Once he was on the way back to his house, Mycroft thought over everything he knew and had done in response to the recent threat. He had under cover operatives in Ukraine, Russia and South Korea as well as several working on the case in London, but so far none of them had found anything useful. He knew if he sent his brother to one of the countries the information might be found immediately, but the British best weren’t normally so ineffective. He also knew his brother disliked leaving London almost as much as Mycroft disliked being anywhere but the house or club.

He sighed and knew he would have to do some more digging himself. At least until Sherlock snapped out of whatever notion he’d got himself into over Amelia. She wasn’t ready to help with the sort of work he needed, that was something he knew even she would admit.
By the time the car arrived at his house grey clouds had pulled in and covered over the sun sufficiently to bring an early evening. It would rain, something that had happened surprisingly little for November in England.

“Have this taken to my brother,” Mycroft said as he got out the car and gave the envelope to Daniels. “Be careful with the contents.”

Daniels nodded and tucked it into his own pocket, ensuring it remained the same way up. It might take a day or two for Sherlock to get around to the experiment and then another few days for him to bother passing the information on to Mycroft but it was some progress.

Once inside Mycroft went straight to his study. He was late for his afternoon tea, but the usual tray with teapot full of hot water was there. The biscuits weren’t. He clamped his mouth shut over the desire to yell for some, knowing he had told his housekeeper not to bring them for a few weeks. Although his supernatural abilities gave him a younger man’s metabolism, he still had to be careful what he ate. If he wanted to keep to a healthy weight he needed to manage his diet.

When he pulled open the nearest desk drawer he noticed the thud as his spare mobile phone jerked against the edge. The light on the bottom flashed green to let him know it had a message. He frowned.

Only Amelia Jones had the number and it was quite a large coincidence for her to be contacting him today if his brother hadn’t followed through on his threat and told her about his difficulties. As he grabbed the device he started to think of all the ways he would punish Sherlock for the betrayal. When he managed to pull the text up on screen the lines on his forehead deepened even further.

Stage 2?

Her question gave nothing away but impatience and definitely didn’t give him an indication of why she’d decided to message him now.

Is your lack of patience the only reason you messaged? I won’t reward impatience.

Mycroft pressed the send button before he thought that his message sounded angry, but he wouldn’t apologise for it. If she chose to message him because of something Sherlock had said to her it would only fuel the temper that already simmered. It didn’t take long for her to respond. He flicked the screen on again hoping she had a good answer for him.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound impatient, I just noticed that it has been ten weeks since you last sent me a message. As always, I await your instructions.

He exhaled and considered the reply. If Sherlock had prompted her she’d have said. Lying to him wasn’t something she’d risk when she was so eager to learn from him.

After leaning back in his chair he thought over her request. Ten weeks was a long time to leave her without a lesson of some kind, but he’d had little time to think about it since their last communication. It would take little effort from him to begin the second stage of her teaching and he knew just the person to start her off. He used his main phone to send instructions to one of his agents before typing a one word reply and sending it to Amelia.

Tomorrow.

The plan: 2015

This is a little later than I hoped but it took some more tweaking to get it straight than I thought. My plan for the year.

I’ve got quite a lot written that needs to be published and a lot of it is already with the editors so I expect there to be quite a flurry of releases this year. I’m hoping I might even manage one per month. The first expected release is a fantasy prequel of mine, The Hope of Winter, within an anthology called Flights of Fantasy. It’s to raise money for another good friend who has been diagnosed with cancer.

The next few releases will be collaborative works, also mostly sci-fi and fantasy. There will be more on those as they get closer. I also have plans for lots of Mycroft Novellas. The second and third are written but I also want to write at least two more this year.

On top of that I’ve got a significant chunk into the sequel to With Proud Humility. I fully intend to finish that this year and then get started on the next one of those, although the last one might not be done in time to publish this year.

With the collaborations and all the Fantasy stuff I have already that’s looking like 10-12 releases. I’m very excited, although I’m aware that’s going to be a lot of hard work. I’m sure it will all be worth it.

Here’s to a productive story filled 2015

NaNoWriMo Update 4: 2014

So it seems that I keep losing Tuesdays and always find myself thinking it’s Monday until far too late to blog. I think that says a fair bit about my mental state at the moment.

I have now finished the second of two Mycroft Holmes Novellas. As I suspected the second wasn’t quite long enough to tip me over the edge of 60k mark I was aiming for but I’ve got a few other bits and pieces I can write this month to take me over for the monthly total although I won’t be using it as part of the validated word count on the official NaNoWriMo website.

The last weekend I took off, however, and I definitely won’t be working too hard this week so we’ll see how high the monthly count actually gets. I’ll post it next week as it will probably be my highest monthly count ever.

In terms of the Mycroft novellas I’m going to let them sit for a few weeks before I begin the process of second drafting them both, but that will probably be done quite easily in December and then handed off to my editor. For now I’ve got a bunch of other stuff I simply have to work on but I’m finding myself quite kean to delve into more in the Mycroft world so who knows what I’ll work on after this. More Mycroft isn’t technically on my schedule yet but I don’t like ignoring the inspiration if its tugging me in a specific direction wo the schedule could go out the window entirely.

For now though, time to get back to the other stuff I neglected while writing the last three weeks.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Update 3

So I’m almost three weeks into the month and I’m almost there. I’ve written a total of 49,227 words so far this month, leaving me with only 10,773 to go to hit my target.

Mycroft 2 netted me 32,252 and I’m at just under 17k for Mycroft 3 so if it’s as long as its prequels Mycroft 3 should take me over the 60k mark nicely, although that does seem to be where I might hit a snag. At my current place in the plot I’m only expecting Mycroft 3 to get to about 25k which would leave me 2-3k short of my target word count. Right now I’m not sure about the best way to solve that problem, but there’s a chance it won’t be. I’ve never been amazing at estimating word counts so I could be wrong.

I definitely don’t intend to add filler to Mycroft 3 just to make the count although the plot is the simplist of the 3, probably why it’s coming up short, so I could try and think of a good twist to add somewhere. Alternatively I could settle for not hitting the 60k. I’d have finished the books so my task would be sort of done. My other option is to start something else or continue one of the other projects I’ve got on the go, which I think will be the most likely.

Research wise, Mycroft 3 has been the easiest of the books. It’s mostly winding down on plot threads I’ve created in the previous two and focuses a little more on the relational side of things. Mycroft might even finally decide he likes Amelia. That’s all stuff I don’t need to research so other than looking a little more into a martial art I’ve been able to just keep writing.

My aim is to try and finish Mycroft 3 this week. That leaves me with somewhere between 8-10k to write in 3 days so I’d best get back to it.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Update 2

It’s Tuesday again and still November so I’m still busy writing away. Well actually I’m not, but that’s because I’ve taken a day off. The second Mycroft Adventures novella is finished as of yesterday evening. I’ve written over thirty-two thousand words in just ten days. My aim for the month is still sixty thousand so I’ve got almost twenty-eight to go.

The Mycroft novella really took on a life of its own and really wrote itself which was a pleasant feeling. It’s also given me plenty of ideas for sequels so I think there will be at least five or six of them. The next of which I will probably start writing tomorrow or the day after.

Research wise I did quite a bit of random stuff for the second half of the novel as well, including looking into rare Russians coins from 1897 and more map searching in London for accurate times to different locations. Finally I wrote and borrowed a few more riddles.

So far it’s been a very good NaNoWriMo and I’m hoping writing a third Mycroft story will make it even more awesome.

NaNoWriMo 2014 – Update 1

Well so far I’m ahead of target (although I forgot that I was meant to blog this yesterday). As of right now I’m at 13288 words and a good way of the plot  into my Mycroft novella. I’ve also updated the side widget to show where I’m at and you can probably see that I only plan to write about another 20k of this story. I haven’t decided what I’ll do after that so I’m expecting to need a couple of days right in the middle of November to decide what I’ll be doing to hit that 60k mark I’m aiming for.

At this point in time I’m considering starting on the third Mycroft story but it is the haziest part of the plot in my head (the two stories after are very clear in an annoying sort of way). It would be the most satisfying way to spend the rest of NaNo though and probably the one most in keeping with the rules, but I could work on Victorious Ruin instead. I at least have that vaguely plotted out even if it’s a bit slow going on the writing front. And for the fans waiting eagerly for Victorious Ruin, no matter what I decide it will be what I finish once I’ve done NaNo.

But back to how it’s gone so far. For the most part I’m actually sticking quite nicely to my plan and the plot notes I have to hand, although Mycroft is up to quite a bit more than I originally visioned. That’s probably a good thing because this story was going to be a bit weak on his side of things otherwise. International Crime stuff is very new for me so I’m quite literally making that bit up as I go along and hoping it won’t fall apart before I reach a satisfying conclusion of some kind. If I need to I can add in hints and clues that make Mycroft look clever during the second draft.

In terms of surprise elements. I have riddles. Wonderful Mycroft riddles. I wasn’t expecting this at all and it was just a series of ideas that snuck themselves in and led that way so they’re there to stay. Probably the only surprise so far but a good one.

I tried to do as much research as I could before I began but I’ve also had to pull up maps of London a lot and scout out areas. There’s a little hommage to one of the Sherlock writers, Moffat, in there for people to spot and I’ve had to look up quite a few things to do with stalkers and the sorts of things they write in letters. That was a little creepy. I also need to research a disease or condition someone elderly might have that requires constant supervision but I’m going to leave that for after NaNo, for now I just have (Disease) wherever it should be mentioned, which is only twice so far.

With all that said I should probably get back to the writing, and probably watching V for Vendetta, because it’s the 5th and in Britain that means bonfire’s and fireworks and possibly a Guy called Fawkes. enjoy if you’re celebrating that this evening or at the weekend!