Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas at last!

Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys has just become available to order on - just in time for Christmas!

Monday, 21 December 2009

The End of Time

Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys is now available at - and has been for the last 12 hours - It should be available in UK within the next 24 hours - but in the meantime, here's the opening chapter - The End of Time.

The explosion boomed across the sands and jungle and streets and mountains of Virporta Island. Windows shattered up and down Spudmore Avenue, and vibrated and cracked on Front Street. The ancient trees of the Black Woods shuddered. Seagulls (and other birds, which did not strictly speaking belong on the planet Earth) took to the skies, crying out in terror. An old and well-respected pteranodon named Kevin fell out of the sky and lay stunned on the hockey pitch of the Watchmen Academy.
'What the bleeding Nora O'Riley on a unicycle was THAT!' exclaimed Billy Barker, stumbling off his skateboard.
Maxwell Jones stepped off his own skateboard and dumbly pointed at the rooftops, too amazed to speak.
A huge mushroom cloud of soil and grass and leaves had risen into the air, momentarily obscuring the ugly shape of Pugg's Potato Factory. A figure rose above the cloud, like a cork fired from a Champagne bottle. The figure was dressed entirely in red. He flew over Spudmore Avenue, hit (and totally demolished) the chimney of Balthazar Kane's house, and came to a bouncing halt in front of the two stunned boys.
'Good morning Maxwell Jones, good morning Billy Barker,' said the huge man in red. He sprang to his feet and carelessly beat out the flames that were licking at his white beard. 'Just finished your paper round?'
'Juggernaut?' said Maxwell. The huge man was dressed in a red boiler suit and wore red Wellington boots and a jaunty red cap on his oversized head. He was covered from top to toe in soil, but seemed none the worse for his explosive journey over the rooftops. 'What happened to you?'
Cyril Jugg, or Juggernaut as he much preferred to be called, grinned sheepishly. 'Just a slight miscalculation, wains, nothing to get excited about!'
'What were you doing?' asked Maxwell suspiciously. 'You weren't messing around with Spankies, were you?'
'Spankies! What do you take me for? I'm retired, Maxwell Jones. I haven't touched a Spankie in weeks!' He said these words quite sincerely, indeed Juggernaut seemed offended by the suggestion . . . But Maxwell and Billy didn't believe a word of it.
Up until six month ago Juggernaut had spent almost all of his spare time running around blowing things up. Juggernaut was a Good Man, a name that Maxwell and Billy had come to understand actually meant superhero. Juggernaut had spent the last ten years on Vir, a planet that was the original home of the Good Men. There Juggernaut had fought the Long Men, former Good Men who had been turned into vampiric monsters. Juggernaut main weapon in his battles had been Spankies; spider-like robot bombs which, when they weren't assisting Juggernaut demolishing everything in his sight, rather fancied themselves as amateur comedians.
Maxwell and Billy had reunited Juggernaut with his wife Jaqui and his daughter Bella, and Juggernaut had declared himself retired from the hero business, and had settled down to the quiet life on Virporta Island.
Maxwell and Billy exchanged a knowing look. They both knew that Juggernaut had spent most of his "retirement" hunting monsters in the woods and secretly designing highly destructive weapons in his garden shed.
‘Are you sure you ain’t been messing with Spankies?' asked Billy, giving Juggernaut a knowing wink.
'Of course I'm sure! What are you suggesting?' Juggernaut exclaimed huffily. Another fire had started in his hair, and he quickly beat it out. 'I have a mole problem, that's all. It's nothing to get excited about.'
'Yes, moles.'
'Garden moles?'
'No, space moles! Yes, obviously garden moles, you idiot wain!'
Billy raised an eyebrow. 'And what were you using to solve this problem with garden pests? Bleeding dynamite?'
'Dynamite! Of course not! 'Where would I get dynamite?’ exclaimed Juggernaut. ‘I used nitro glycerine.'
'Nitro . . .?' Maxwell goggled at him. 'Where did you get nitro glycerine on Virporta Island!' Mrs Trimm, who was Billy's auntie and ran the island's general store, often boasted that she stocked absolutely everything anyone could possibly want or need. Maxwell wondered if that included high explosives.
'I made it myself . . . Or at least I was making it myself until my little accident,' Juggernaut's eyes glittered madly, and he went on excitedly, 'It really quite simple. You see, you take some garden weed killer and some sugar--'
'JUGG!' they all looked round at the angry shout. Balthazar Kane, father of Tamara Kane (one of the most unpleasant girls Maxwell had ever had the misfortune to meet) and editor of the island's newspaper, the Virporta Herald, was advancing on Juggernaut, a house brick held in both hands. Mr. Kane, who usually wore a natty white suit and Panama hat and had the shiny flawless complexion of a doll, was covered from head to foot in black soot. 'My CHIMNEY!' he bellowed. 'Look what you did to my CHIMNEY, you MANIAC!' He held up the bricks, either as evidence, or in preparation to beat Juggernaut over his sturdy head.
'Me?' Juggernaut's face took on an expression of wounded astonishment. 'I think you must be mistaken Balth--'
His words were interrupted by the loud whistling sound of a large object descending through the atmosphere. A large shed landed in the middle of the road with a splintering CRASH! Above the shed door were painted the words: "Cyril's Shed - KEEP OUT!!!" in large red letters. As they all stared at the shed in astonishment the door creaked open, revealing a sheet of paper tacked to the inside depicting a troupe of moles being blown into the air under a cheering stick-figure drawing of Juggernaut. Beside the drawing was a formula for making nitro glycerine.
'Ah,' said Juggernaut. The shed collapsed with a pitiful groan. 'Yes . . . ' a half brick feel from Juggernaut's hair and landed on Balthazar Kane's foot.
'I think we'd better get out of here sharpish, mate,' whispered Billy. Maxwell nodded in agreement.
They both climbed onto their skateboards and continued down Spudmore Avenue as Mr Kane was joined by Juggernaut's wife, Jaqui. Mrs Jugg was holding a burnt and blackened bedsheet, and both she and Mr. Kane were advancing on Juggernaut with murder in their eyes.
'See what I mean?' said Billy, when they had turned into Front Street and were out of sight of the growing mob of villagers who were all advancing murderously on Juggernaut. 'This place is just too flippin weird, Max.'
Maxwell didn't feel inclined to disagree with Billy. Virporta Island was weird, and it was, it seemed, growing increasingly weirder with every day that passed. This was proving to be an increasing problem for Maxwell, Billy and their friends.
Six months before Maxwell and Billy had discovered that Virporta Island was not, as Maxwell ha always believed, merely a rather dull little place were it was very difficult to buy comic books and almost impossible to watch cartoons on the island's temperamental TVs. They had discovered that the island was actually growing in order to cater for a flood of new islanders who had returned to the place of their birth to take part in a mysterious Test conducted by the sinister school inspector, Mr Vim. Maxwell and Billy had secretly followed Mr Vim; first to the frozen forests of Mab (where they had almost been torn limb from limb by the Beasts of Mab and the monstrous Nurgler) and then to Vir where, in the Watchmen University, they had met Juggernaut, fled the terrifying Long Men, been rescued (after a fashion) by Dr Lambton Arcania (a brilliant, if cowardly, scientist who also happened to be a talking chimpanzee) and they had also met Titus Mamble.
Titus Mamble had come very close to killing them all when Maxwell (more by luck than judgement, he now believed) had forced Mamble’s hand into the Astrosus Stone; a mysterious black jewel that had sucked Mamble inside of it to his certain death.
After that terrifying adventure Maxwell, Billy and their closest friends – Bella Jugg, Jamie Blip and Daisy Electra – had sworn to become Watch Men. They had promised to watch for weird and mysterious occurrences that might spell the return of Titus Mamble.
Six months had passed since then and – with the exception of Maxwell, Billy, Daisy and Jamie all celebrating their twelfth birthday on the same day – nothing unusual had happened. But on an island where it was not at all unusual for a passing tyrannosaurus rex to offer you a plate of scones, and where the village butcher, Boris Zubralenko, regularly flew to work, “weird” and “mysterious” weren’t words that had much meaning.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Nearly there...

Received the final cover proof of Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys yesterday (December 10) with the publishers, New Generation, confident it will be published within the next week - Well, I know what I want for Christmas...!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Newbottle Primary all stars

I recently ran a writing workshop with some wonderful kids from Newbottle Primary school and promised to put their beginnings to stories online - here they are - quiate a lot of talent here, I'm sure you'll agree.
Thanks again to you all for making the event such fun - and I will pick a winning beginning to receive a copy "Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys" when it comes out -which will be very, very soon...

Newbottle Primary School beginnings

‘Run!’ yelled Sam. The dark mist was all he could see. He could hear the sounds of creatures that had once been living but no longer were.
Jack Wright

It was 12 o’clock 3rd of July 2011. I woke up at 4:01am I was bright red. There were footsteps in the hallway. I hid under the blanket. I closed my eyes and opened. It was just a dream.
Harry Loftus

It was one Monday morning. My mum Barbra shouted, ‘Come on now Maxwell in now we are having sausages for tea.” But somehow he could run extremely fast! He could fly and he was also in a superhero company fighting bad guys but there was this man with the super powers. What happens next.
David Softley

One gloomy morning the alarm clock rang at exactly 7 o’clock. Every single person in Brialea woke up. There was a big explosion in the street.

It was the 4th of July, 2013 in and ordinary city, in an ordinary town, in an ordinary village but the boy who lived in number 11 Denelium Street was in fact the complete opposite of ordinary.
Charlotte Steel

It was Monday evening, my mum Barbra shouted, ‘Come on Chloe, in now please!’ ‘Okay,’ I replied. ‘What’s for tea?’ ‘Well, sausage and chips and beans for starters, then a big gateau, chocolate, for afters,’ ‘Mmmm!’ ‘Here you go. Enjoy.’
Rebecca Leadbitter

It was not an ordinary village.
It was not an ordinary school.
It was not an ordinary town.
Matthew Marvell

One gloomy morning the church was getting robbed. BOOM! The windows went boom, the robbers came out. RUN! Shouted the robber. The police came – NE-NOR-NE-NOR
Luke Brice

It was a lovely sight but then a sudden crash filled the room. I ran up stairs to find a beautiful area covered in trees and waterfalls and tropical birds flying over my head.
Imogen Bell

One dark August morning it was a cold and dark day at Houghton Kepier School the strangest thing happened.
Joseph Ridley

One morning Maxwell got a potato clock. What is a potato clock? It is made of potato.
Jordan Riseborough

It was 12 o’clock 3rd of July 2011 I woke up. At an unusual island a boy with a quite barmy mam. They did not know about clocks and there was no such thing as football. Back the boy, his dad was Santa but different...
Isaac Tate

In a spooky hut there were two people called Tommy and Mark. Tommy screamed, ‘What’s that! That creepy thing coming towards us!’ Mark replied, ‘Well all I think it is is a shadowy figure creepy towards us!’
Craig Galley

It was dark and gloomy in blood world. The zombies were rising from the grave on the Island of Doom. Who will win...?
Callum Melvin

A piercing scream echoed through the dark gloomy night.
Katelin Steel

Smaller and smaller the house went until it vanished.
James Smith

On one snowy night 2009 you can only hear shots of AK47 and M14 and people begging for shelter and food, and especially water. Some people get shot and some people get trapped.
Rhys Snaith

It was a normal day at the Secret Service in the Carribean.
Alexander Davison

On the dark misty night you could hear birds flapping their wings with nothing to see. There was a THUD! THUD! THUD! In the distance.
Kyle McCullough

Most people think that ghosts don’t exist, but if you walked down a dark lonely lane you might change your mind.
Sophie Carruthers

It had been a long day for Olivia. No one knew but secretly Olivia had secret powers! One day Olivia was on the computer and suddenly she found herself in another world. Out of the bushes came a dragon, a blue and green dragon, a blue and green dragon with glittering wings!
Olivia and the Secret Dragon!
Emily Bartle

Once upon a time there was a dog called Spot who had a teddy bear called Minks. Spot and his parents went out to look for Minks because he was lost. He was lying on the ground in the play park. Spot ran and got it and then they walked home happily ever after.
Charli Gill

One sunny day there was a little girl called Julie and she remembered that it was her birthday. So she ran into her Mum’s room and started to bounce up and down on her Mum’s bed. But she realised that her Mum and Dad weren’t there.
Eleanor Alderson

His Destiny
One unusual day it was the end of the beginning. This person lived upside down and had an alien as a mum. He never had any friends and his pet was a dragon. His dragon was a big softy. Also his mind controlled his special powers. His dragon loved kittens.
Yasmyn Hood

It was a cold, frosty morning as Luke woke up with the smell of bacon shimmering in his mind.
Anya Dyson

There was a Jelly Man next door to me. Every day he says, ‘Jelly good day to you.’ I don’t know what it really means but always I can hear a noise coming from his house ... I and Jelly live at Shiney Row.
Megan Duffy

There once lived a little gril called Sarah. She lived at number 44 with a brown door and she had a brown dog called Murphy. She lived on an island called Zig Zag.
Jenna McCann

It was Saturday morning and the yellow bright sun rose like a fizzy lemon, and mum was calling, ‘Amy hurry up we are going to be late!’ ‘Late, what are you on about?’ I said. ‘Aahahaha what there it is the blobby snotty monster again!’ ‘Where?’ I said, looking scared with a little shiver down her back.
Emily Wood

One day there were three dragons, they all had powers. The red dragon he had the power of fire, there was a white dragon she had the power of ice. The last dragon had the power of water and he was turquoise.
Sophia Elliott

Suddenly there was a beautiful glittering array of parrots flying across the misty waterfall, which gleamed in the burning sun. It was paradise. Mermaids swam in the deep sparking ocean and flowers sprouted in the meadows where dew drops covered the tall trees of the valleys. I just lay there on the sandy beach looking into the mountains as the sunset on that magical day that changed Rose’s life.
Beth Garrigan

The past now the future which is upon us. Today is yesterday, which is tomorrow, which means this is the day, this is finally the day.
Victoria Chrystay

There was a blood thirsty vampire lurking in the attic ready just to jump out and suck my blood any second now!!!!
Molly Watson

One sunny morning Mia woke up by her monkey alarm clock saying, ‘Oo,ar,ar!’ repeating it 100 times. She finally woke up at 22 Sunnyside Estate. Her mam was shouting, ‘Get up, get up!’ On an 8 o’clock school start. She was meeting her best friend Sophie Carr.
Amelia Elizabeth Longford

The ground shook as Bill Adams came down for a death defying leap that saved his life.
Emilia Hepple

A scream pierced the night as it shattered the downstairs windows, along with deafening me. I couldn’t hear them telling me what was a matter so I could help! I guess they were in danger.
Devan Gibson

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be trapped in school with a killer ghost. At midnight on the day with monsters rising from the dead.
Charlotte Marvell

One day there was a red dragon. He was a very fiery dragon. The red dragon had fire powers. He burnt the town and the dragon made friends.
Dan Moralee

Crash went the sound of me and my friend getting electrocuted into a game. I was swimming in an aquarium of fish of all sizes. I wished upon a star to get home. I said a spell, Mikrere time easy I was back home.
Louise Jopling

It was 2nd of October 2009 in the state of Florida and everybody was walking along the beach, including David. He was not a normal boy. He was 10 years old and lived with his grandparents in a seaside house.
Matthew Hutchinson

One magical morning there was a little girl called Ellie and she was an unusual girl because she has powers to climb walls and defeat evil.
Faye Wardhaugh

Suddenly I heard a door slam. I went to see what it was. I touched the back door and it sucked me into a different world. It had slime all over it. Then something touched my leg I couldn’t see at all...
Rebecca Wilson

It was the morning of Christmas and everyone was down in the living room and there were no presents. They had been stolen by the fake Santa. The real Santa had been locked up in fake Santa’s bag.
Luke Hall

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Diary of a nobody

I have had the rather weird experience of buying a diary for someone who doesn't exist today. I thought it would be a good idea to write Jake Silex's diary as an actual diary and then pick the best bits to drop into the Isle of the Dead. Why is Jake writing a diary? All will become clear - it is very, very important!

The pic, incidentally, is not of the diary I bought but Henry Jones Snr's Grail Diary from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. So a picture of a fictional character's dairy to illustrate a story about a fictional character's diary. Oh, my brain!

An apology to everyone who has been following my "writing diary" on Twitter (virporta@) - my wife has been ill lately, so though I have been busy writing Isle of the Dead (now 80 pages + in) I haven't typed any of it up yet. I hand write everything before typing it up. Don't ask, it's a habit I can't get out of! But there will be extracts from Isle of the Dead appearing on Twitter again soon, and Jake Silex's diary will appear here soon too...


Friday, 13 November 2009

Work, work, work

Now 60 pages into Isle of the Dead - Billy is eating Ground Hens (sort of a cross between a chicken, badger and duck) and is about to meet up with a very unexpected old friend ... And the deadliest prisoners in this particular world.
I am also about to start writing Jake Silex's diary - pages from which I will begin publishing online soon...

Friday, 16 October 2009

Visiting strange places...

This has been a productive week - now a good 20 pages into The Isle of the Dead, and have just made my first visit to the Killian's home, The Village Green - which is alluded to, but never really described, in the first two Maxwell books. I think you'll like it. You'll probably want to live there. One of our heroes has just had his first meeting with the 20,000 - which is bad, bad news for him.

When The Burning Boys comes out you might just be able to work out who the 20,000 are ... but I doubt it!

John Gallagher, my long time friend and occasional collaborator has already agreed to put together the cover for Maxwell 3: Isle of the Dead - he obviously likes painting deranged dinosaurs (sorry, Killians).

Next week I will start work on the Maxwell "Bible" - this is for me, really, character and location descriptions to keep everything straight ... for instance Byron and Brian have different coloured eyes - one green, one blue - but which is which? Errr...even I'm not sure! I will probably publish bits of the Bible (that sounds a bit odd, we'll call it the Realmpedia Guide to 101 Worlds!) over the next few weeks and months, which will keep you entertained as I try to save Maxwell and Billy from ... but that would be telling!

Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys coming soon!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Let's roll!

The cover for Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys is ready to go - details on publication date asap!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

First tentative push at the mountain...

Just wrote: "Super Maxwell and the Isle of the Dead - Prologue: The Burning Boys" - here we go again...!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Burning Boy Blurb - take 1

Watchmen Academy welcomes new students - please refrain from flying during school hours.

Maxwell Jones is no ordinary 12 year old – he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, freeze objects solid at a touch, and speak to any animal in any language in the known universe – but with teenage t-rex Trevor Smethurst running amok, his mum Bettie creating ever more deadly potato-based inventions, and his best friend Billy Barker being crowned the hedgehog messiah – it’s no wonder that Maxwell hasn’t noticed that the world has already ended.

As the Eternal Engine’s power is unleashed Maxwell and Billy must join forces with the most unlikely of allies to stop history’s greatest warrior … the Burning Boy.

Too long .... perhaps the longest sentence in history...? Hmm!

Friday, 2 October 2009


Thank you very much to the children of Newbottle Primary School. 42 Y6 children aged 9-11 joined in a Maxwell workshop and wrote the first line of their own stories. They were absolutely wonderful - and 'll publish their stories online as soon as I type them up.
Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys goes to the publishers within the next week - fingers crossed for a Christmas publication date!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

No more words...

Well ... Sort of.
Finished this morning (6.45am) with the words "Maxwell Jones, Billy Barker and the Good Men will return in Super Maxwell and the Isle of the Dead" - so that's that, my new publisher has asked for Burning Boys in the next fortnight, John Gallagher is putting the final tweaks to the cover and we're all done...
Except the blurb - the fifty or so words I need to put on the back of the book. This is a nightmare, and almost the hardest part of the job ... but I will post my blurbs while I flounder to get it right over the next fortnight...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Super Maxwell - reloaded

This week sees my final work on Super Maxwell 2 - and next week (as well as appearing at the Houghton Literary Festival) sees me redrafting Super Maxwell 1 - The Last Heroes - for a 2nd edition which will fit in better with the continuing story (saga?) - so if you want a First Edition of Super Maxwell and the Last Heroes you'd better move fast - in a month that edition will disappear from your bookshop and Amazon forever!
I've also decided to start work straight away on Super Maxwell 3 - I will still be working on my new non-Maxwell book in the new year, but I just wanted to make sure Maxwell 3 (The Isle of the Dead) is ready for Christmas 2010 ... So will be sharing snippets from that with you soon...

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Colour cover - 1st draft

John Gallagher's newest work on the Maxwell 2 cover - showing Maxwell, Trevor, Bettie ... and a very significant murder of crows...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Chop-chop - some merciless editing

The rewrite of Super Maxwell 2 continues at a vicious pace. The following has been cut from the book, as it doesn't, on reflection, really move the story forward. Major Tom Richards is a key character in Super Maxwell 3 - so here is his first "unofficial" (he'll appear a few pages later in the final book) appearance in the Eternal Engine saga - if you want to know more about The Immortals look them up on Wiki: - or (if you're old enough) read Frank Miller's 300 graphic novel!

‘Major Richards, sir, 5th Immortal Regiment.’
Mr Vim eyed the soldier without comment. He was dressed in the black uniform of the Dragon Rouge but, where the uniforms of many of the men gathered on the platform were pristine black, Major Richard’s uniform was a faded, dirty grey, though the golden button on his tunic still gleamed, as did his broken-healed boots.
‘Are you a practical man, Major Richards?’ asked Mr Vim.
‘Yes sir,’ the soldier replied. He held his arm in the Dragon Rouge salute – his forearm held horizontally across his chest. Mr Vim tapped his arm now and he lowered it to his side. ‘Been on the battlefield since I was fifteen, sir.’
‘A practical man fighting monsters in an army of immortals.’ The other soldiers on the platform, whose plump necks mushroomed over their collars, unlike the skinny, dirty neck of Major Richards, chuckled. Mr Vim grinned his arid grin, and all laughter died instantly. ‘The practicalities of your assignment are this, major. I require eight of your men with stretchers to carry these children into the tower with me. You, and the remainder of your force, will protect the tower from all invaders. Do you understand my orders, major?’
The major turned and barked an order and eight men, dressed like Richards in faded grey with long, dirty hair, marched onto the train carrying stretchers.
‘The Immortals, Major Richards, traditionally consist of a force of ten thousand men, and have done so for over three thousand years.’ Mr Vim took a step towards the major. ‘I would be interested to discover why that elite force has grown into what can only be described as a combination crèche, sideshow and market.’
Major Richards snapped to attention. ‘Sir, the Dragon Rouge have been stranded on this crap hole – excuse me miss,’ he nodded to Daisy as she passed on a stretcher, ‘Stranded on this planet for twelve years, sir. During that time we have suffered rebellion and wars with the Beasts, the Wooden King, and factions within our own army, sir. Many of the people here today are farmers, sir, the families of the Immortals who are no longer actively engaged with the Dragon Rouge. We returned here—‘
‘To see if I would show up?’ interrupted Mr Vim. ‘Rebellion, war, my army fractured and weakened. That is what twelve years in the wilderness does to history’s greatest army, is it?’
‘Twelve years beneath a starless sky under constant attack by monsters. Sir.’ Major Richards replied levelly, staring ahead over Mr Vim’s shoulder. ‘Twelve years without a word and with no way home. ‘ He looked Mr Vim in the eye and smiled grimly. ‘Only history’s greatest army could survive that, sir,’ he said.
‘And did you doubt I would return, major?’ asked Mr Vim.
Richards stood to stiff attention. ‘I’m a practical man, sir.’
‘Go about your business, then major.’ Major Richards saluted. ‘The tower is safe?’
‘As safe as it can be, sir. As you may know guns and artillery don’t work on this world.’
‘I do know that, major, ‘ Mr Vim replied acidly. ‘But I assume that swords and arrows do work?’
‘Yes sir.’
‘Then get on,’ Mr Vim replied. ‘We have history to make, my practical young major.’
Outside Mr Vim’s appearance was met with the hissing of unsheathed weapons and ten thousand swords rose in the night air in salute. Mr Vim adjusted his cloak against the rapidly falling snow, and followed Major Richards’ men into the shadow of the Clock Tower.
Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys (2010)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Not quite Burned out...

‘MAX!’ Billy screamed, raising his burning fist, fire reflecting blood lust and madness in the running soldiers’ eyes. ‘MAX – DO SOMETHING!’

...and so I've finished the first draft of Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys - phew! Just a fortnight of revisions to look forward to now. The above, incidentally, isn't the end of The Burning Boys - the last word in the book is "hand" ... and the first word is "The"!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Is this a deadline I see before me...?

Just 35 pages away from finishing Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys - and then, of course about 2 weeks of rewrites - but if all goes well and John Gallagher finishes the cover on time it should hit the bookshelves before Christmas (please Santa!)

(Quite) Interesting fact - the first and last words of The Burning Boys are "The" and "hand".

Obviously I don't want to spoil it so I won't be publishing any more long extracts online - but you can follow me on Twitter now - I'm "virporta" and find out how the promotion for BB goes ...

In the next fortnight I will start posting extracts from my next book The Tell Tale Boy.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Back from the Beeb

Had a great meeting with the BBC - everything crossed that my script "Tell Tale" gets through to the next stage.
Meanwhile...Maxwell 2 is very close to completion and I am in talks with an old friend, underground comic book artist John Gallagher, to do the cover. Results will be posted as soon as they are ready!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Nearing the end of the line...

Beneath the distant mountain peaks spread a vast encampment. Tents, campfires, horses and thousands and thousands of people spread across the plane. Daisy had seen encampments like this one before. This was a living army camp, with soldiers, wives, children, peddlers, teachers and doctors all living under the falling snow. As the train slowed Daisy saw soldiers scrambling up towards the carriage. Orders were shouted and men in flying black capes raced horses ahead of the train.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Super Bookmarks!

The wonderfully talented Phil Gibson, cover artist for Super Maxwell and the Last Heroes has produced a new Super Maxwell bookmark, featuring one of my favourite characters - Byron Brian. The two-headed parrot will return in Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys, as General Brian Byron!

Friday, 10 July 2009

All the way to the B-B-C!

Bit of good news - I've been accepted on a script mentoring scheme at CBBC and am off to London on July 28. Super Maxwell on telly ... It's a start!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

June 10

I've taken a little time out to write a TV pilot called "Tell Tale" - I'll tell you more about this later ... Right now getting back on the Last Heroes publicity trail ... More news soon!
The picture is of my school friend Steven Mustard - the real Billy Barker! - at home reading Super Maxwell in his pool in the US - guess you can see which one of has had the more successful career paths - I've got a paddling pool (with a hole in it!) - Oh to be JKR!

Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys...Page 381

He liked Maxwell, he liked the boy a lot, and given, well … given a slightly easier challenge Dr Arcania would have done his best to save Maxwell. He was sure he would. But the truth was, the universe would be a much safer place if Maxwell Jones was dead.
But Dr Arcania still paused, and looking over his shoulder he found himself whispering; ‘I’ll be back, Maxwell.’
The he grabbed the goldfish bowl and ran. He risked a terrified glance at Jake and Tale, but they were still playing their silly fight game, and then ran through the open door.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Burning Boys page 320

First thing I typed today...
Maxwell was in a huge, cathedral-like cavern which was carved in the dead centre of the icy heart of Eris. Columns rose from the stepped floor to black vault of the ceiling. In the centre of the cavern, in a large round basin lit with fierce lights, stood Dr Arcania’s most precious treasures.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Burning Boys page 206

Last thing I typed today ...

Billy had a moment to look up and realise that the chattering old steam engine had been replaced by a gleaming sleek arrow of metal. Then the bullet train accelerated through the sound barrier with a silent burst of speed that shattered the few windows that were still unbroken in Virporta Village several miles away.
Billy was flicked off the train’s back like a fly off a car windscreen.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Local fame at last!

Made it into my local paper, The Sunderland Echo, today - just in the nick of time before my signing!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Burning Boys page 178

Last things I typed today...

Dr Silex simply laughed. ‘I am a teacher, Jones, because I love mathematics and I love teaching. I do not love children, I do not even like children. I only thank the Gods I never had any of my own.’

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Realmpedia - definition 3

Xenomorphic Transopticals (TXs)

From Realmpedia, the free cross-world encyclopaedia

For other uses, see Superman's Spectacles

History: Although originally patented in 1807 by prolific Martian inventor Mardarke Wilson (1752-1925) the current standard model of Xenomorphic Transopticals (TXs) were created by disgraced genius Professor Lampton Saint Bernard Arcania (AD 674-). See 'Eternal ‘Eternal Engine’ CLASSIFIED, ‘Titus Andronicus Mamble’ CLASSIFIED, ‘The Realms 10 Most Wanted’).

Application: Used primarily to alter a person's physical appearance when travelling to alien worlds, the TXs (popularly know as "Superman's Spectacles") are also used to transform an individual's appearance to protect their identity among their own species. The term "Superman's Spectacles" comes from the popular human comic book character Superman, who looked identical in his guise as Clark Kent, wearing only the unconvincing "disguise" of a pair of spectacles. Though the XTs have retained this comical name, wearing them entirely transforms an individual's physical appearance and even, if desired, can change a person's gender.

Problems: Created to allow an individual to blend seemlessly into society in any of the 101 known worlds, the TXs translation programme is dependent on processing at least 50 common words - therefore when first entering an alien society it is wise to "speak when you're spoken to".

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Friday, 20 March 2009

Super Maxwell on the radio

I was interviewed on the Jonathan Miles show on Radio Newcastle - you can hear it at:
As well as interviewing me, they also recorded an extract from The Last Heroes (chapter 12) - results - on to stage 2...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Keeping the wheels oiled...

Some definate progress on getting "The Last Heroes" on the map today, with my local Waterstone (Sunderland) agreeing to stock the book on the shelf, and Border Books in Newcastle sounding me out about doing "an event" ... whatever that may be? Waterstones also presented me with the terrifying prospect of a signing at their store on April 18 ... Oh, well, if nothing else it will give my friends and family the opportunity to take the mickey out of me in public!
I have also managed to get my local paper (Sunderland Echo) to review the book and am getting interviewed on BBC Radio Newcastle next week - I will post a link if I don't make too much of a fool of myself!
There may be some problems with the odd deal my publisher has struck up with book shop profits ... but all in all more positive than neg today - just hit page 150 of the next Super Maxwell book ...

Realmpedia - definition 2

From Realmpedia, the free cross-world encyclopaedia
For other uses, see The First Tribe.
The Brundhahz are believed to originate from the planet ‘Earth’ (see also Sol 3) and are now almost entirely based on Virporta Island, though some are reputed to live in Borneo (see also Krohns).
Appearance: Blue skinned, and covered in thick quills. The quills are believed to be mostly used in mating rituals, but recent research has discovered that quills on the Brundhahz’s males wrists contain highly toxic poisons. About 1.5 metres (5 foot) in height they are said to resemble large blue humanoid hedgehogs.
History: Reputed to be the oldest civilisation in existence (see also Primians) Brundhahz civilisation attained technological perfection 10 million years ago, and then quickly declined. Brundhahz are reputed to be immortal, and to have created the inter-planetary Intersections.
Current status: QUARANTINED (see ‘Eternal Engine’ CLASSIFIED, ‘Titus Andronicus Mamble’ CLASSIFIED, ‘New Combination’)
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Thursday, 5 March 2009

Watchmen Academy welcomes new students - please refrain from flying during school hours!smsml.jpg
Super Maxwell and the Last Heroes, the first book following Maxwell Jones's adventures across 101 worlds, has been published by YouWriteOn and Legend Press.
You can read the first chapter below...
You can keep coming back to Super Maxwell+ to find out more about my trials and tribulations as a first time published author, read exclusive content through Realmpedia, and discover more about progress on the second Maxwell Jones book, Super Maxwell and the Burning Boys as I desperately try to finish it by October 2009!
Super Maxwell and the Last Heroes costs £7.99 and is available at or WH Smith or can be ordered at all good book shops.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Realmpedia - definition 1

Virporta Island
From Realmpedia, the free cross-world encyclopaedia
For other uses, see Vir Porta (apocalypse).
Virporta is a sub-tropical island based on the planet ‘Earth’ (see also Sol 3) in the CLASSIFIED ocean, also in the CLASSIFIED and CLASSIFIED oceans (see also the ‘Virporta Flock’). The 88 km² island (latest info 5000 km²) is divided roughly in half between Good Men and Brundhahz; it is the smallest inhabited land mass in the world (NB – no longer applicable, see ‘Vir Test’).
Known ports: 2 (train and ferry)
Known breeches: 7 (unclassified)
Education: The Watchmen Academy, (founded 4276 BC) 5-12yrs old (Old Combination) zoned with Watchmen University (zone disabled 2046 (OC), 1999 (New Combination).
Current status: QUARANTINED (see ‘Eternal Engine’ CLASSIFIED, ‘Titus Andronicus Mamble’ CLASSIFIED, ‘New Combination’)
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