Work very much in progress

As September has crept around I thought it was a good time to take stock on some of the things that I’ve been working on in 2019. As ever the times when you have the least to share tend to be your busiest periods of writing, so there is quite a bit to update you on.  The folder in this photo contains artwork from comic pitches my co-writer Steve Aryan and I have worked on over the past few years, so we’ve definitely been keeping ourselves and our artist collaborators busy.

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And there are plenty of things going on outside of what’s in that folder too. Much of this year has been spent on developing completely new projects.  Steve and I are in the early stages of development on a fantasy comic mini series idea and are also starting work on a TV series proposal for another concept.  (Check out Steve’s award winning fantasy novels here

Steve and I are a bit further along with a horror adventure comics mini-series, that’s all plotted out and we have an artist working on the initial pitch pages. I can’t say much more about that at the moment, but if you follow me on instagram you may be able to see a sneak peek as I occasionally post some work in progress there.

I’ve also been pitching quite a bit of non comics work that I’ve written solo. I’ve worked up a series treatment for a sci-fi audio drama series/narrative podcast and written the first two episodes, written a standalone straight up/non genre audio drama and also worked up a proposal for a horror screenplay too. I’m not sure where any of those ideas will go at the moment, but I’ll post here if they do go into development anywhere. Alongside this I’ve also been pitching comic series to some new contacts at a couple of publishers, including reworking some ideas that were already a little way along.

As well as all of these newer things, some of my longer established writing projects Seven Shades, Flux and Chalk are starting to gain traction and you’ll be hearing more about them in the coming months.

There is an over-sized one shot coming for supernatural western series Seven Shades, following on from the first four issues that series creator/artist Dave Clifford and I put out last year. Hell’s Belles is currently being lettered and a release date will be available soon from Deadstar Publishing (hopefully at Thought Bubble in November). And we are working on our next four issues for release in 2020 too. 

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Flux is a sci-fi book that I’ve co-written with Steve, with art by Maysam Barza, lettering by Sean Rinehart and logo design by Paul Nicholas. We have all four issues written and the art is currently taking shape on Issue 3. We’ll have more information on what we have planned for this series in the next few weeks and keep an eye out for the #FluxFriday hashtag on social media where we’ll be sharing things each week too.

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Chalk is an urban fantasy series, which I’ve been working on with artist Diego Simone set in the city of Winchester in England, ten pages are fully completed with letters by Sean Rinehart. If you liked my work on The Interactives and how that book blended real world locations in Monmouth, Bristol and London with fantasy elements then I think you will really enjoy it. Comparisons to Rivers of London have already been made by one editor and I’m currently reworking the overall proposal and doing script rewrites. I’m hoping that in some shape of form you’ll be able to read it next year.

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Not bad for the first eight months of the year as a part-time writer with a busy day job and there is more to come on the horizon too. I’ll try to update things here more frequently alongside social media as things progress.











Bags of Action podcast now on YouTube

I’ve been podcasting with Steve Aryan for a number of years, having previously been a guest host and interviewee on his long running show Grouchy Old Geeks (previously Comic Book Outsiders) that he does with Scott Grandisson.

Our podcast Bags of Action , where we spend about an hour mulling over an action movie from the past or present, has been running for a number of years. Our 64th episode (Creed II with special guest Barry Nugent) recently came out on the Geek Syndicate network and we try to get a new full length episode out about once a month.

BOA logo, designed by Azim Akberali

BOA logo, designed by Azim Akberali

We’ve covered some of my old favourites that Steve had never seen, like Blind Fury and Stone Cold, Netflix Originals like Triple Frontier and The Foreigner, classic films like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon and some embarrassing gaps in my viewing history like Big Trouble in Little China and Aliens. We don’t always agree on what makes a good film, or on how to pronounce Christophe Lambert’s name but we do always give each film a score out of five bags of action (with no half bags allowed). We also have occasional guest hosts like Barry from Geek Syndicate, Gavin from the Sidekickcast and former Marvel and IDW comics editor, writer and educator Andy Schmidt. You’ll find us on all good podcasting apps.

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As well as the main show, we have started to do quickfire 5-minute reviews of films we’ve seen between episodes.. You will find these and the main show on our new YouTube Channel, where we upload full episodes every Monday and 5 minute reviews on Tuesdays. If you like action movies please have a listen and make sure you stay bang up to date by subscribing to the channel.









Stephen Aryan - Magebane

I’ve been friends with Steve Aryan for a long time now, when we aren’t putting the world to rights we record our action movie podcast Bags of Action together and co-write comics too.

Steve is also the award winning author of the Age of Darkness trilogy (Battlemage, Bloodmage, Chaosmage) and Age of Dread trilogy (Mageborn, Magefall, Magebane), both published by Orbit books. If you are a fan of fantasy novels I’d highly recommend checking these out. The latest book Magebane comes out in August and you can pre-order it here.

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To celebrate Steve is doing a series of events, currently he has plans to be in Glasgow and Birmingham, with talk of a trip to Swansea too. You can find out more about those events and his upcoming Reddit AMA here.

His debut novel Battlemage won the decidedly metal Hellfest Inferno award in France, and you can see Steve picking up the award and being interviewed about it in this video.



Seven Shades and Stephen Aryan at MCM Comic Con

If you are heading to MCM Comic Con at the Excel Centre in London at the end of this month, look out for a particular comic book and a certain fantasy author too.

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If you’ve haven’t picked up supernatural western series Seven Shades by yours truly and artist Dave Clifford yet, you will find all four copies at the Deadstar Publishing stand in the Comics Village.


Although I won’t be in attendance my ongoing co-writer and podcast partner Stephen Aryan, will be there, alongside the likes of Frank Miller and Chris Claremont. If you’d like to catch him at the show, here’s where you’ll be able to find him.

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Saturday

17:00pm – 17:45pm – Creator Stage: So, you want to be a writer

If you’ve ever wanted to be a writer than this panel is for you.  Moderator and Author Ed Cox (The Relic Guild trilogy) joins authors Marieke Nijkamp (Before I let go) Stephen Aryan (Magefall) Lucy Hounsom (The World Maker Trilogy) Tim Pratt (The Wrong Stars) and Jeanette NG (Under the Pendulum Sun) as they discuss what it takes to be a writer.

18:00pm – 18:30pm – Forbidden Planet SIGNING

Stephen Aryan (Magefall) Tim Pratt (The Wrong Stars) Lucy Hounsom (The World Maker Trilogy) Marieke Nijkamp (Before I Let Go) Jeanette NG (Under the Pendulum Sky)

Sunday

12:00pm – 12:45pm – Creator Stage: Orbit Presents

Orbit Authors Nicholas Eames (Bloody Rose) Tasha Suri (Empire of Sand) Mike Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts) Tade Thompson (Rosewater) Heather Child (Everything About You) RJ Baker (King of Assassins) Stephen Aryan (Mage Born) talk all things Orbit

15:30pm – 16:00pm – Forbidden Planet SIGNING

Daniel Polansky (A City Dreaming) Stephen Aryan (Magefall) Christa Faust (Batman: A Killing Joke) Tim Pratt (The Wrong Stars)

16:00pm – 16:45pm – Creator Stage: Writers Block

Authors Tim Pratt (The Wrong Stars) Daniel Polansky (A City Dreaming) Marieke Nijkamp (Before I Let Go) Christa Faust (Batman: A Killing Joke) and Stephen Aryan (Magefall) discuss the dreaded “writer’s block” and the various ways that it can be overcome.

Something old, something new...

I decided that I wanted 2016 to be a year where I procrastinated less and wrote more, and so far that's be going to plan, as the year has gotten off to a very productive start.

Title - TBC

(Comic short) 

In January I took an idea that had been in my head for about four years and finally put it on the page as a short story. It doesn't have a title yet, but I already had it accepted for an anthology title once a suitable artist is found. This story ended up taking on a life of its own and went in a slightly different direction than I had planned and the ending wasn't what I was expecting. I think the story is all the better for these changes though. 

Working Title - Viva Las Venus  

(Comic mini-series) 

Re-evaluating old work has been part of this year's plan too. Looking back on unfinished projects and deciding whether to ditch them and move on or give them another chance has been a wise move. 

This space opera project started life about ten years ago and I wrote the whole mini series for submission to Visionary Comics. I've gone back to the concept a few times over the years, but disliked so much of what I'd written that I could never quite get past it. This time I ditched a lot more, kept the world and the two main characters but dropped parts of the high concept. I also brought in characters from two other sci-fi story ideas that had stalled in the early stages. Creating an ensemble piece gave the series a new life and pushed me to take the story further and I'm really enjoying working on it. I think two pages from the original book have made it into this new version. 

I wrote Issue 1 in January and did two rounds of rewrites in February. The plan is to do some more rewrites this month and then to look for a suitable artist while working on the other issues.  

Title - The Package

(Short Film) 

    

 

 

This project started life a short comic script in about 2009, when I first came up with the idea. Two years later, having lost the original script I wrote it again, following the same plot and that version has been sitting on my hard drive ever since. Every now and then I'd consider pitching it to an anthology title, but it never quite felt like the right fit.  

I've been thinking for a while that the concept is much more suited to film, so took the plunge and wrote it a third time last month, this time as a short film. The cringeworthy dialogue from the 2011 version has all gone and despite the plot being essentially the same, the characterisation is stronger, the pacing more interesting and the overall finished script far more satisfying. It's coming in at eighteen pages currently, so would be pushing twenty minutes so my next job is to try and get it back to fifteen minutes.  Once I've done that I'll start thinking about ways to get it made. 

Title - Break

(Short Film) 

Another short film, which I've been mulling over for the past few weeks prompted by a specific call out for submissions. The submission has some specific criteria that the story has to meet and at one point I did consider reworking 'The Package" to make it eligible. In the end I decided that having two shorts written was a better plan than trying to make that story into something it wasn't intended to be. I got the plot for this one down on paper yesterday and I'll need to have it written, polished and submitted by the end of the month. 

As well as these projects I'm also working on 'Seven Shades', a supernatural western comic series with artist Dave Clifford (Dexter's Half Dozen). It's based on an idea he had, which we fleshed out together in January. I'll be doing this one Marvel style, to allow him to really flex his artist muscles and I should be starting work on Issue 1 very soon.

Sci-fi mini series 'Flux' which I'm co-writing with Steve Aryan (Battlemage) is gathering pace. Artist Maysam Barza is hard at work on Issue 2, Issue 3 is written and we're in the process of tightening up the breakdown for Issue 4 before we start scripting it.

Lots going on, hopefully I can maintain this pace throughout the year. 

 

 

Battlemage - coming in September

Stephen Aryan, my co-writer on comic mini series Flux (along with a few other titles in development), has his debut novel coming out next month. Battlemage is the first in his Age of Darkness epic fantasy trilogy, coming out through Orbit Books. 

“I can command storms, summon fire and unmake stone,” Balfruss growled. “It’s dangerous to meddle with things you don’t understand.”
Balfruss is a battlemage, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears and despises his kind.Vargus is a common soldier — while mages shoot lightning from the walls of the city, he’s down in the front lines getting blood on his blade.Talandra is a princess and spymaster, but the war may force her to risk everything and make the greatest sacrifice of all. 

Magic and mayhem collide in this explosive epic fantasy from a major new talent.

Make sure you pre-order your copy and find out more about his work here

Work very much in progress

It's not exactly the latest news from San Diego Comic Con, but it did think it was about time I posted about the progress of the various mini series I'm working on. 

Flux - I'm co-writing this sci-fi crime series with Stephen Aryan, with Maysam Barza on art duties and Sean Rinehart on letters. Twenty pages of Issue 1 have been inked and once the final two pages are complete, we'll be prepping for colouring and lettering. The script for Issue 2 has been through a few drafts and it is currently getting peer and pro feedback over on the Comics Experience workshop. We hope to have the full four issue series completed this year and released early in 2016.

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Fifteen-Minute Heroes - This super-hero series has art by Cheuk Po and letters by Tomas Marijanovic. Issue 1 has been coloured and Issue 2 is written and is about to be re-written, following the latest round of feedback from the Comics Experience workshop.  

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The Promise - This crime series is also co-written by Stephen Aryan, with Simone Guglielmini (Near Death) on art. The whole book is plotted out, we've written much of Issue 1 and have a pitch package that we've been sending out to prospective publishers. 

The promise

Saturday Mornings - This all ages fantasy book is plotted out and half of Issue 1 is written. It was recently submitted to a publisher for consideration. Artist/s TBC. 

Beta Wolf - I'm in the very early stages of this action series, having changed the title and made some major plot improvements to the initial idea I had. Plan is to complete the plot and move onto scripting very soon. Artist TBC.  

Viva Las Venus - This is a very old space opera idea I had, which I've given a major overhaul recently. In the very early stages and won't be plotting it fully until other projects have moved further along. Artist TBC. 

The Rush - This is an experimental sci-fi series, put together with a writer's room approach. The five issue first arc has been plotted out by myself, Stephen Aryan and Cy Dethan (which some initial assistance from Chris Lewis). Three issues have been written, one each by Steve, Cy and I. We'll be coming to this book soon and planning to have a different artist on each issue, much like Zero from Image Comics. 

Forgotten Planet - This sci-fi adventure was originally developed with artist Azim Akberali. Later I returned to the book with Giancarlo Caracuzzo (Random Acts of Violence) and we ran two failed Kickstarter campaigns with Scar Comics. At some point I would like to revisit this and may attempt crowdfunding again.

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Hopefully with so much going on, there will be plenty of my work on the stands next year.