Thursday, 29 November 2012

Recent doings and Revenants (slight return)

Hello. Excuse the dust. I've been doing stuff.
First things first- I think some time ago I promised those of you who cared some background info on my Doctor Who Companion Chronicle, The Revenants once it was no longer a free download and the chances of spoilers had reduced.

It started with the brief to do something with Ian Chesterton missing his family and home, so from that came the idea of putting him just near enough home in time that he could feasibly end his adventures early and return to his old life. The idea of missing families suggested setting the story just after Susan left the Doctor too. This had the advantage of getting William Russell out of playing two womens' roles in the play.
A daft Brighton Rock and Hancock's Half Hour shaped late 50s/early 60s idea came next, and left sharpish. I've been intrigued for years by Piers Britton's notion of 60s Dr Who as a clash of Modernism and Edwardian styles and thought a story where Brighton Mods were science fictional might work but it was too silly to sustain. Anyway, The Space Museum is already 60s Who's definitive Teddy Boys versus Mods in Space story.

David, the producer, suggested going down a Quatermass line instead and the new storyline became essentially two thirds of my later Counter-Measures story, The Pelage Project. The major differences were a completely different climax, a hinted at origin story for the villain Temple which is only homeopathically in the finished play and a large section at a school. Exploring the utilitarian, indoctrinating schooling of Pelage was a natural fit for Ian, and could be done without child actors in the Companion Chronicles format.
Child actors are tricky- their working hours are limited and the really good ones are in constant demand. Write a child part for audio and you can easily end up in trouble- you may get an adult impersonator or a child who's not up to carrying the weight of story you've given them.
Anyway, after that plot went to Counter-Measures I had to come up with a new one for Ian. I had the idea of doing something playing with folklore and magic influenced by the writer Alan Garner and a book by Mollie Hunter that had scared and enthralled me as a child, The Haunted Mountain. The Haunted Mountain's story is set in Scotland and it set me thinking about using Scottish legends, which in turn reminded me of an amazing holiday around the archaeological sites of Orkney and Shetland.

They're beautiful, mysterious islands and you can easily get in touch with that part of you that's scared of weird stuff in the night up there. There's also a real sense of time layered on itself too. Time as a space or a landscape, not a straight line. Sounds a bit bonkers but there you are.
I decided to do a story that suggested Time on Orkney was a mess (and it was probably at least partly the Doctor's fault) with fairies and ogres and so forth creaking at the edges of it. The twist was they'd all be revealed to be different people's visions of the other tribes they interacted with in prehistory- slight, non-Iron working, tribes became fairies warily trading with lumpen thuggish incomers, ogres. The idea was we share traditions of both 'species' because we're descended from both tribes and our traditions have intermingled. On Orkney the word 'Trow' covers magical beasties of both descriptions, fay and brutish.
There's a lovely, atmospheric Radio Scotland programme called When Standing Stones Come Down To Drink about Orkney and Shetland traditions which captures a lot of the atmosphere I was after I hope it's repeated some day, it's well worth a listen.

Anyway, that idea was a touch nebulous, involved and undramatic, and, as David pointed out, was likely to be vetoed by the BBC for including fairies. Fairies basically exist and are as you saw them in Torchwood in the Doctor Who universe. Anything else is going to be a hard sell. David suggested doing something a bit like Joe Dante's Gremlins instead. That was when I decided to invent the Marsh Wains. They're Marsh Children really (I spelled the Scottish word "wean" the less common "wain" to try and disguise that). They're based on the real preserved bog bodies you find all over Northern Europe, but mine are much gloopier and creepier, with the whole still being alive and being entirely made of peat thing.

They're also looking for family, or a replacement for it, just like Ian and the Doctor. The core story is (and I realised this in horror, only when I came to finish it) pretty much that Steven Moffat tells in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. It is also a "broken spring" story. No real villain just a technological mistake that needs resolving.
The never-ending magical battle of the dead on Hoy comes from Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. We're lucky that Barbara has read this. She is the world's greatest history teacher.
At one point I was going to have the Marsh Wains at the old naval base on Hoy. There's all sorts of exciting tunnels and oil and things there but it was too fussy for a story that's essentially an hour long two-hander. Janet's cottage was much more contained.
Janet's cottage is based on a croft interior from the Stromness museum and Janet herself is based on Janet Forsyth, a historical Spae Wife If the plot had carried on being about fractured time she almost certainly would have been her, and her miraculous rescue from Marwick's Hole would have been down to the Doctor's intervention. The Orkneyjar site above is terrific for lots of  Orcadian lore, actually. It's a really great resource. Go here after and then book a holiday.

The Wissfornjarl, sadly, does not exist. Similar figures do but him I invented, the name is just the Norse words for wise old chief. Similarly, the barrow the TARDIS is discovered in has not been found on Hoy yet. There are several broch mounds there and there could well be more, but we've not found them in quite the area I put Janet's home. Ideally, I wanted the TARDIS to be inside The Dwarfie Stane but annoyingly the Neolithic engineers didn't get the proportions quite right for stuffing police boxes in.

The, as yet undiscovered, barrow is much more like Maeshowe This does raise a question though. The barrow would be likely to have been closed up about 5000 years ago (though there's evidence these days they were popped in and out of for generations), did the Doctor go back that far?
He might have done. He might be the sole reason Time is messed up on Orkney. He might be the sole originator of the myth of the Wissfornjarl. He might have lived the 5000 years between him and Ian and Barbara a day at a time or tried a speedier, technological approach to get back to them. On the other hand he may just have spent a few years or decades on Hoy. I deliberately left the options open for the listener.

One of the things I like in folkloric stories are the gaps for your imagination, and this is purposely one of those. All we know is that, while he waited, the Doctor read a selection of books he seems to know well in later years that it seems unlikely he did when we first met him! I think that book the second Doctor has with the sea weed creature listed in it is one of them.
Barbara's place in the modern day is a similar gap in the story. I think she's now dead and seeing her equivalent is part of what brought Ian back to Orkney. You don't have to think she's dead though, and I don't want you to either. If she is I'm certainly not going to be the one to tell you.

Second things, second- I've been writing some more for Big Finish in recent months. Another thing for Ian and another set slightly later in the first Doctor's era which I've done the first draft of but which has much more work awaiting (the secondary characters aren't quite there yet).

Third things, third- I'll be writing a marginally Who related but in no way Who story for Obverse books at the start of next year, but right now I'm going to write something with no series name above the title for a change and see how that goes.

Friday, 7 September 2012


The very wonderful Matt Kimpton has died.  He was 35.
About 1% of what you need to know about him is here.  I probably only knew about 7% of what I needed to.
He was funny and kind and clever.  That's the main other thing you need to know.

"We will sing of him in the great mead hall, and, because he will be a hero then, we will get things wrong and fail to tell it all and rewrite details as we recount his story.
"He will be a pebble smoothed into story and reduced to mere legend, but those of us who knew the man will always know a man is more than a story that shifts from teller to teller, more than a beacon in the dark and more than any number of symbols you can wrap up and carry in words."

I will miss my friend.  I'm so glad he was here and so grateful to the people who loved him, cared for him and helped make him who he was.

Breathe easy, Matt.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Counter-Measures is go!

It's here at last, the first four instalments of science fiction thriller, Counter-Measures were released on Thursday!  It's a series of audio dramas from those lovely people at Big Finish that lives somewhere in between the BBC's 1950s Quatermass and 1970s Doomwatch series and, despite being a Doctor Who spin-off, it requires no Doctor Who knowledge whatsoever.  Our heroes are two scientists and an RAF captain who were caught up in bizarre alien goings on with the Doctor in 1963 and have now been reunited in a government funded team investigating the odd.  It's gritty and witty, action-packed and tense, has an utterly exemplary cast and sounds beautifully 60s. 
The series has had a gratifyingly great response so far, with lots of lovely comments already.  Mine (pictured below) is episode 3 and the whole boxset is eminently buyable right now, and as if 4 hours of top-notch drama isn't enough you get an hour of the creators talking about it on a bonus disc too.  Imagine!  Whole minutes of me chunnering with little thought or preparation but spoken aloud not typed.

You can be one of the series' eminent buyers right here!  Do it now, before the planet is doomed.  While you're there, you might also want to pre-order this, a Doctor Who story by me.  It's out next April so only order it if you think we're just a bit doomed and will make it to next year, or think we're so doomed you may as well just throw all your money away now.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Sykes and a... Gift

I imagine there's been a lot of talk in the recent obituaries of Eric Sykes about his silent or at least silentish works from The Plank to The Big Freeze, but to me they're not the core of his work. As well as being a gifted and shrewd physical comedian, Eric was a writer and a prolific one.
He wrote comedy for all the greats of his age- Frankie Howerd, Tony Hancock, The Goons, as well as vast quantities of Educating Archie, the radio hit of its day, long before penning his own hugely popular TV sitcoms Sykes and a... and Sykes. It's not over-stressing things to say British comedy was reshaped by him. Without Eric there'd have been no Associated London Scripts, and without Associated London Scripts there'd be hardly anything worth having.

In some ways the silents represent Eric's weakest work because they fall back on fairly broad and sometimes rather hackneyed comedy and some star names that can sell them, and the reason for that is that they weren't scripted, so much as put together as loose scenarios and then made up as they were shot. I think it shows. Eric's forte was in sketch and sitcom structure rather than film plotting, they don't really build, and the lack of organisation and troubled production that lead to definitely comes through on later entries like The Big Freeze. It's the work of a man who could come up with ideas quickly and plentifully and get away without structuring them too much, starting to struggle. The Plank is wonderful but it let him get away with a working method that brought diminishing returns.

Go to Eric's scripting work for his true genius. Seek out his Frankie Howerd monologues and his 60s TV work in particular. The BBC DVD The Best of Sykes does a fair job in giving you a flavour of the latter alongside his more often seen 70s series. The Network Sykes DVD will give you an even better idea of his 70s work and a hint of just how fraught it all was behind the scenes.
Eric wasn't a complete saint, but who is? He could definitely be intolerant and definitely held grudges as the regrettable absence of any mention of his long time manager Beryl Vertue in his autobiography attests, but he was undeniably brilliant.

I was lucky enough to spend several hours with him a few years ago, interviewing him with an audience and later dining with him, my wife and his agent, Norma. He was a dream interviewee, I was able to ask him a few comedy anorak questions and cue up some stories I was sure he'd get a big response with, and away he went, flying- a man who could hardly see or hear making hundreds howl with laughter. He was clearly lifted by the adrenaline, the applause and our love.
He was charming afterwards at dinner too, if occasionally indiscreet in that way only a rather deaf man who's known hundreds of famous people very well can be, but also revealed a little more of the more complex man behind his cheery, always on stage persona. The bottom line is he was lovely.

He was magnificent, you know.

 Photograph- Paul Thompson, National Media Museum.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

They say "never apologise, never explain"...

... I'm sorry, but what's their reasoning?

Just popping up very briefly to say I've enjoyed reading responses to my Doctor Who story The Revenants online but there's been a suggestion a couple of times that it contradicts the following TV story The Rescue by adding too much time between The Doctor's farewell to Susan and that story, and, you know what, that's probably the one criticism I'd disagree with.
You see, if you go into the expanded fiction, there are already a full novel and at least four short stories in that gap and even if you don't bother with the books, there's already been some kind of gap. The Doctor has changed cravat. That's how mind-bogglingly long the break is.

The dialogue in The Rescue taken to put this story close to its TV predecessor has the Doctor briefly expecting Susan to with them in the TARDIS and then Ian and Barbara discussing that moment later on.
Ian says "all the old associations are still in the Ship" and they can't expect the Doctor to "say goodbye to Susan and forget her the next minute".
That's the nearest we come to a problem- how you choose to interpret that idiomatic expression. Yes, I imply a lot longer than minutes have passed in my story but I hope I've also hinted that the length of time the Doctor will remain emotionally involved with his travellers is surprisingly long and that Ian and Barbara have come to realise that.

I've actually tried quite hard to tie into the beginning of The Rescue. My story ends with the Doctor back in the TARDIS after some time from it, back with "the old associations" for the first time in years and deliberately prefigures the shared humorous glance between Ian and Barbara after the Doctor warns them not to open the TARDIS doors while in flight in their opening scene. I've even suggested an origin for that oh-so-mysterious new cravat!
I absolutely agree that David Whitaker envisaged no gap for new adventures between these TV stories when he wrote The Rescue, but I do think there's a gap there to exploit (enough of us already have), and I hope you'll forgive me making Ian's remark a little woolly retrospectively to slide another story into it.

Anyway, in the end it's all interpretation and it's all pretend. Thank you to all of you who've taken the time to listen to the story and comment on it, I've found everyone's views interesting. I hope those of you who disagree with my reasoning here can at least understand it.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

They Should Have Called the Magazine Ian

Doctor Who Magazine 448 is now out in the UK at least (though I see at least one Australian seems to have already got access to it), with contents including Ian Chesterton, Ian "Chunky" Gilmore and a few words from me, as part of a feature by Cavan Scott on Big Finish audio-drama Counter-Measures. Amusingly, we writers seem to have said a few quite similar things, so poor Cav has had to create a couple of relay quotes of us almost continuing the same thought at one point.

It also contains the code to freely download an audio drama I wrote for Big Finish last summer called The Revenants (the individual episode titles for those curious are, rather prosaically, "The Marsh-Wains" and "The Wissfornjarl").

Brilliantly, there are already some listener created covers appearing!

The one above by Nick Giles is my current favourite.

Gratifyingly, response to the play seems to be broadly favourable so far, though obviously you can never please everyone. A few listeners seem to found the story a bit straight-forward, a couple of others seem to have missed the implication of the ending so I've clearly not got everyone on board, but hopefully there's a good few people in-between who felt neither short-changed or under-informed.
It's deliberately quite leisurely and 'literary'- William Russell is such a lovely reader it's daft not to try to use that, and I tried to slightly mimic the slow-building almost John Buchan style of David Whitaker's first person Ian novelisation Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, and, I hope, reflect some of the style of early TV Doctor Who which I always feel is much more about suspense than action.

I'm really pleasantly surprised to read some people found it scary, particularly as I was yelping like a complete wuss at the film The Awakening last night, a really rather controlled and old-fashioned ghost-story. I've never thought of myself as a spooky writer so it's particularly nice to see I've caused a few shivers down spines here and there.

I'll talk more about the story in a few months when everyone who wants to hear it probably will have (apparently it can take around 3 months for Doctor Who Magazine to reach all the countries it sells to), but as a tiny taster I'll let you know now that I spotted halfway through writing that there was potential for a small continuity clash with an old Doctor Who prose story that's now out of print called Set In Stone. For that reason I tweaked a late speech slightly so it fits with the events of Set in Stone if you know it but hopefully still makes sense if you don't. I doubt most people would care about this or even notice usually but I'm always aware that the people who do notice really do care a lot so it's worth seeing if you can address these issues where you can. Expect more tedious stuff like that in early September.

You should buy the magazine, you know- me, Glen McCoy and Neil Gaiman all sharing our wisdom in a single volume. That's special.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Revenants

The issue of Doctor Who Magazine that comes out next week contains a very special free gift. It's an audio play written by me for you to download and disparage!

It stars the very wonderful William Russell and Sharon Small, was directed by the lovely Lisa Bowerman, produced by the incredibly patient David Richardson and features sound design and editing by the ridiculously modest Toby Robinson. It's set in that gap between The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Rescue not enough people have used (I've left you a space for your Venusian Lullaby and so forth don't worry).

As a download it has no CD cover, so if you're the kind who likes that kind of thing I've mocked up a quick and dirty template for one for you to disparage even more. I'll wager far better fan produced ones will be forthcoming.

Enjoy, if you're one of those as does.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The End of an Era

I made this and, because a few people have been kind about it, I thought I'd bung it here too, just in case you read this but don't follow my Facebook and Twitter witterings. Could happen. Unlikely, but you never know. Apologies if you've seen it three times now and are heartily sick of it.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Alchemists Update

And straight after the announcement comes... announcement of postponement!
That's why I didn't give you any pre-order links the other day. Despite the cover being revealed in print a few days ago (curse magazine run-in times), we've known since just before the magazine came out that the CD now wouldn't be able to get through all the post-production, approval and manufacture mallarkey in time for July.
Nothing sinister in this, it's just our April recording date fell through, and that was really the last feasible point it could be done and still be released on time (March recording was the initial plan but dates for that proved unschedulable).

The release is now set for next year, which has a couple of bonuses for me- one, it won't now be released at the same time as the Counter-Measures box set, so I'll only have one set of reviews to deal with at once (good or bad, reviews are tricky beasts and I've yet to master indifference), and two, my story that takes place as 1933 begins and made to fit in with the TV of 1963 will come out in 2013. That's definitely tidier.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Alchemists of Sound

This was scanned, or maybe photographed (I'll be honest, I've not asked) from the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine. It's the CD cover of a Doctor Who audio drama and if you squint you can see what might just be my name listed as the author. I've not read the accompanying text yet, snow means we've had no post so my copy's not here.

Actually the CD doesn't exist yet, and if you squint more you can see the guest cast appears to be the same as that for a story set some years after it. That's not a clue to the story, it's a clue that that part of the cover art hasn't been finalised yet! I'll tell you who the guest actor really is later, probably next month.

The story is set both in Germany in the 1930s and before the first televised Doctor Who story. The reason for the latter flows from the former. Producer David Richardson suggested putting the Doctor's granddaughter Susan in that historical setting, and I felt it would be a mistake to put her there with her TV companions, Ian and Barbara. It's a period they'd know well and there was a danger they'd end up explaining it all to the Doctor and Susan, potentially unbalancing the drama and making the story more about them than our featured star.

So there we are, this is what I was writing in January, it's set pre-Quinnis and post-Frayed if you've come across those other bits of pre-series set Who and that's probably all you need to know until it eventually comes out apart from that I'm very excited.
When we're closer to the actual release date I'll drop in links to order it and all that, but that's all a very long way off still...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What to do if a Tory or Lib Dem approaches your home

When they come canvassing, talk to them.
Talk to them for ages.
Tell them not to walk away as you tell them what you think of them because you're being reasonable.
Tell them every second they spend with you is less time they'll spend with the less reasonable people further down the road who simply want to kill them for what they've done to this country. Wish them luck.
You do not have to mean it.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Power of No

I did something a little bit unusual for me recently. I turned down work, or more accurately turned down the possibility of work. It's not something a freelance ever does lightly, but I'm really glad I did.

It was for a job I'd had some ideas for, one of which got fairly fully developed and which I was very enthused by, but they weren't really gelling with the commissioner and it was suggested I come back with a different proposal. I had a bit of a think and realised that actually the problem here was me, and the most sensible way to tackle that was remove myself.

Basically, I'm not the kind of writer the commissioner really needed for that project because the idea I'd felt a strong sense was the right one for me didn't match their vision.
I felt the best that could happen next would be that I'd come up with an idea I liked less that I'd work up feeling it was inferior. Something decent might emerge but it would be a difficult creative process trying to fit in where I naturally didn't.
More realistically, with my instincts clearly being at odds with the desired direction for the project, I suspected any new idea I came up with would be rejected too. With deadlines looming it struck me the wisest thing to do was withdraw and let someone else have a crack, rather than mess around people I've a lot of respect for.

I've said yes to things when my instincts told me to say no in the past and ended up doing work I'm not proud of. I don't want to do that again if I can because I invariably get deeply involved in my work and while I can accept other people not rating it the bottom line is I have to.

So now I'm writing something else, in an entirely different genre and entirely on spec after a very gratifying run of commissions, but the important thing is it's to please me first and hopefully others later.

Monday, 5 March 2012


We saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel yesterday, and it's not bad. It won't, I think, ever surprise you or particularly challenge you. It's a pleasant film with a great central cast, a smattering of funny lines and a thin story. The Full Monty conquered the world on far less.
There are a few little niggles though, all of which could have been avoided. It feels like one tiny rewrite away from being a more satisfying film, and the details that are wrong feel so obvious I can't help wondering whether it's one rewrite more or fewer that would improve it. These are things that feel like they must have been in the script and got lost along the way.

So, if you think you'd like to see the film with all its twists and turns intact (even though they are tiny and you'll anticipate them all) SPOILERS FOLLOW...

1) Maggie Smith's character journey as Muriel is muddied and her hidden strengths go unhinted at for far too long. Surely, her interest in organisation should have been expressed alongside racist suspicion in her exasperation at the management of her health care, her flight and the bus journey to the hotel. It's a tiny addition in the portrait of her intolerance that would have gone unnoticed until the reveal of her efficiency with a spreadsheet. As it is the revelation comes a little bit out of nowhere in the middle of her story.

2) Muriel also asks, apparently without guile, where Tom Wilkinson's Graham goes every day. He dodges the question, yet a minute later she is able to tell Penelope Wilton's Jean that he goes to the Public Records Office. There's either a big subplot about Muriel gone here or the Graham and Muriel scene has been cut down either in the writing or the edit and once had that revelation in it. It's a jarring mistake that's easily avoidable.

3) There feels to be a character beat missed at Graham's cremation. Jean should be expressing, no matter how discreetly, a number of conflicting feelings that move her on- I'd expect some revulsion at the custom given her other reactions to aspects of Indian life and regret about what she'd invested in Graham as well as grief. The scene really should be a further illustration of how far she's moving from her husband who's embracing the culture. As it is, it seems her story just stops for a bit to simply portray sadness. This feels like it's just one brief wordless cutaway from being resolved, and maybe an editing rather than writing issue. The notion Jean is conflicted vanishes when it should be highlighted, even by as little as a held reaction shot.

4) The story of Judi Dench's Evelyn teaching the call centre workers how to talk to older British people doesn't have enough pay-off. I feel Dev Patel's Sonny's eventual declaration of love to Tena Desae's Sunaina or their shared confrontation with his mother, and ideally both, should be laced with communication lessons learned, and could possibly even be done by 'phone to make it easier for the characters. It feels such a natural pay off I find it hard to believe it wasn't there at some point. What we have is probably easier to make immediate and visual but I feel there's a big thematic call back flapping around those scenes wanting to get in, and it seems daft to have kept it out.

Anyway, you might enjoy it. It has no explosions and a great cast and I liked it for what it was, even though I'd have loved it if it'd been 5% different.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Writing about writing is like writing about writing about writing

So here we are limping to the end of February. We're not quite at the end though. This year we end it with one of those pathetic little leaps we get every four years and are still expected to get excited about, rather like an Olympics.

I'm also, more or less, at the end of a script, it's an interesting place to be- still utterly and stupidly obsessed with something made up, almost at the point where you can let it go, to either plummet or fly from your hands.

There's a kind of hysteria at this stage where proper perspective is more skewed than in any number of those MC Escher prints your maths teacher put around the walls to make you feel like looking back down at your quadratic equations. This is why I'm only capable of writing about writing just now, the last refuge of the self-obsessed before they disappear up their own singularities.

I'm quite proud of this script at the moment, though I'm not blind to its flaws. I was there while I was putting them all in. I think I'm especially proud of it because the initial idea scared me witless, researching it took me to depressing places and yet I still managed to pop a couple of jokes in it. With a following wind what it is it'll be announced properly in a few weeks and the play based on it will be out in the summer. I say "play based on it" because a script isn't the same thing as a play at all, in the same way a map's not an actual place.

Actually, that reminds me of the inordinate amount of time I spent looking at maps (some of places that aren't there any more) to make the geography in this story work, all for what ultimately became maybe three or four glancing references in the finished thing. Some might argue that whole process was unnecessary, just prevaricating before knuckling down to doing the actual proper writing, and I would tell them to 'shush' feeling they were a bit close to a nerve, but I do think it's quite an important part of the writing process- getting to know far more than you will ultimately tell, and only occasionally just arsing around.

You have to accelerate into what you're writing just like you have to slow down at the end. The two main tricks are starting and stopping, which is what I'm about to be doing. Any minute now.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Update

Happy New End of January!
Yes, um, I've been doing other stuff. I hope 2012 is treating you well so far. I've spend most of it in that funny writing and researching dance. You've a deadline but you don't feel entirely ready to fly so you're reading 'round at the same time as you're writing up your thoughts. Slowly, over the process your words get less provisional, the research tells you less and less you didn't already know, the deadline looms up and your confidence grows.

The thing I'm writing now has recently been announced, but it hasn't been announced it's by me, yet. Quite right too, I've only just delivered the first draft there's so much that can happen still down the line. It is however a great and slightly alarming boost to the system to see something you haven't finished yet already up for sale. It was the same when I was writing my book, and cover redesigns kept being emailed me. It all feels a bit unreal, but does encourage you to take care at busy junctions lest a bus suddenly overrules the slightly previous publicity material.
I'm quite pleased with it, though I've already spotted one small change I need to make due to shifting the setting of it a couple of months, but that can wait 'til I get notes back.

So next there's something else completed but unannounced, a couple of projects for me and trying to get an idea together for another possible bit of work.
The trick is going to be fitting everything in and getting a bit of exercise in. I've been a bit of a slug the last 3 or 4 months, it's time to get a bit of light and energy.
Hopefully, I'll have some more to tell you next month.