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"!