Monday, December 30, 2013

An Extract from The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf

An Extract from 'The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf.'

   “Well, we found Kalix,” said Daniel. “And now we’re trapped on top of a crate. Any suggestions?”
   “She just needs to calm down,” said Moonglow. “I’ll talk to her.”
   Moonglow, standing on top of the large crate, leaned forward and caught Kalix’s eye. “Kalix, it’s us, Daniel and Moonglow. There’s no need to be upset, we’re here to help.”
   Kalix immediately made another furious attack on the crate, howling and snarling. Moonglow took a hasty step back.
   “That went well,” said Daniel. “Maybe you should offer her a cup of tea.”
   “There’s no need to be sarcastic. I’m sure the tea will come in useful. At least I tried to think of something helpful.”
  “So did I,” said Daniel. He was wearing a rather oversized coat. From his deep pockets he took a small music player and then, surprisingly, two small speakers. “You see? I came prepared too. I knew Kalix was probably going to be in some savage, bestial state.”
   “How could you know that?”
   “Since meeting Kalix I’ve learned to expect the worst.” Daniel plugged the small speakers into his music player. “I think this will calm her down.”
   Moonglow was immediately alarmed. “If you start playing some horrible doom metal Kalix will probably eat the crate.”
   “My doom-metal collection is not horrible,” responded Daniel. “You just don’t understand it. But anyway, that’s not what I’m going to play. You know” - he turned to look at Moonglow - “it sometimes strikes me you don’t give me enough credit for my intelligence. I knew the day would come when Kalix went completely crazy, and I’ve prepared for it.”
   Daniel pressed the play button. A gentle sound emerged from the speakers, an acoustic guitar played quite softly and two female voices.
   “What’s this?” asked Moonglow.
   “Marine Girls. I chose it scientifically as the best music to calm our angry werewolf.”
   Moonglow looked doubtful. “You chose it scientifically? How?”
   “When I was making CDs for Kalix, I noticed she usually likes music with female singers. And she likes things from the seventies and eighties. Probably the result of growing up with only the Runaways to comfort her. This is the most soothing music that fits the bill.”
   Moonglow was still skeptical and half expected the music to drive Kalix into an even worse frenzy. She looked down at the wolf, which was still prowling. But Kalix had stopped howling and was no longer trying to bite the crate.
   “I think it’s working,” said Daniel. At the sound of his voice, Kalix started howling again. With a look between them, Daniel and Moonglow agreed to be silent for a while. Kalix quieted down again. The music played out gently through the warehouse. Kalix stopped howling. She walked around in a circle a few times. As the first song ended and the next began, she lay down and began licking her paws.
   “I think it’s working,” Moonglow whispered in Daniel’s ear. She’d been standing rigidly in alarm since arriving on top of the crate, but now relaxed a little. Moving carefully so as not to disturb Kalix, she sat down. Daniel did the same. They sat and watched as the shaggy-coated wolf stretched out on the ground and yawned. Kalix’s wolf-mouth was huge, and her teeth were extremely long and sharp, but when she stopped yawning she looked quite peaceful.
   For a long interval there was no movement in the warehouse, and no sound save for the gentle songs of Marine Girls. Kalix lay motionless on the ground, occasionally twitching her tail.
   “She’s so beautiful as a wolf,” whispered Moonglow.
   Daniel made a face. Kalix was beautiful as a wolf, but she was also abnormally powerful. It didn’t take long for her to forget she was human and lose her intellect. It was mainly because of this that she very rarely made the full change. Few of the MacRinnalchs did, preferring to spend their nights as werewolves, the half-human half-wolf state that came to them quite naturally. As werewolves, their intelligence didn’t desert them.
   “So, do you think we’ll be here all night?”
   Moonglow shrugged. Unless Kalix made the change back to her werewolf form, it seemed likely. Though the day had been warm, the temperature had dropped and it was chilly in the warehouse. Daniel gallantly took off his large coat and draped it over both of their shoulders.
   “Do you want some tea?” asked Moonglow, still taking care to keep her voice down.
   Daniel nodded. Moonglow carefully drew her flask from her bag and some paper cups. She filled one for each of them, and they sat in silence, listening to the music and gazing down at the slumbering wolf.
   “Of all the strange situations we’ve been in since we met Kalix,” whispered Daniel, “this is probably the strangest. Trapped on top of a crate, drinking tea and listening to the Marine Girls.”
   Despite the strangeness of the situation, Daniel didn’t really mind the position he was in, next to Moonglow, snuggled up under his coat. Moonglow giggled.
   “What’s funny?”
   “This. Our situation.”
   “I suppose so,” said Daniel.
   Suddenly, Kalix woke. She lifted her snout and started sniffing the air. Then she stood up and looked up at them.
   “Is she about to go crazy again?” said Daniel.
   “I don’t think so. Look, she’s wagging her tail.”
   Kalix was indeed wagging her tail. Though still staring upward at them, her eyes were no longer blazing.
   “She’s scented the tea. I think she wants some.”
   “Are you sure?” said Daniel.
   “Kalix likes tea. Her family used to drink a lot at the castle.”
   They wondered how to get the tea to Kalix. Neither was keen to leave the safety of the crate just yet. Daniel and Moonglow did love Kalix, but they’d also seen her kill a hunter. Daniel fumbled in one of his many pockets. He produced a length of string, and tied it around one of Moonglow’s paper cups. Moonglow filled the cup. Daniel leaned over the crate and started lowering the paper cup.
   “Nice wolf,” he said. “Here’s a nice cup of tea. Don’t go crazy.”
   Daniel lowered the tea gently to the ground. Kalix sniffed at it for a few moments, then stuck her long tongue in the cup. The cup quickly spilled over but Kalix didn’t seem to mind, and lapped the tea up from the floor. When she’d finished she lay down again, and once more there was peace in the warehouse, broken only by the gentle music. Daniel and Moonglow leaned on each other for warmth and support, while down below Kalix nodded off to sleep, apparently pacified.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Some Readings

Forbidden Planet   18th October  6-7PM
Brixton East          19th October  Between  6 & 8PM

I've hardly done any readings in the past few years, because I'm idle, and also I don't like to travel. However the publication of The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf has produced a small burst of activity. Last weekend I read at the Brixton Come Together Festival, and I have two more coming up.

First, on Friday 18th October, I'll be doing a brief reading and then signing books at Forbidden Planet, London megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, at 6PM. Details of that here. You can buy books there and I'll sign them, or you can bring along any books you have that you'd like signed.

I did ask people on Facebook which day would be best, and the common opinion was that Saturday would be. However, arranging the Saturday date on offer would have required me to take quick, decisive action, rather than lying on the couch staring into space for 48 hours while I thought about it. So I'm doing Friday.

The very next day, Saturday 19th, I'm reading in Brixton. I'm part of a Poltroon Literary Salon event, who have a slot at 'chArt - a group exhibition that investigates the relationship between music and visual arts, organised by Bad Behaviour, a not for profit project set up in South London.'

This is at Brixton East, Saturday 19th October, between 6PM and 8PM, I'll be reading for around 15 minutes, and there will be other authors reading too.

Last week's event at the Brixton Come Together Festival went well, though it felt a little odd to be reading out of doors. Hazardous, really. I was expecting dogs to attack me at any moment. Fortunately that didn't happen, but it was probably a lucky escape. That reading was part of the Brixton Bookjam segment, and I think I'm reading again at Brixton BookJam in December.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf

My new novel, The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf, was published in Britain today by Piatkus. This is the third in the series of books about Kalix, coming after Lonely Werewolf Girl, and Curse of the Wolf Girl.

In The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf, Kalix has an eighteenth birthday party, attempts some self help for her many personality problems, struggles to control her substance abuse, is employed by her werewolf sister as a model, attends a debutantes ball, and finds herself in brutal conflict with the werewolf hunters. Here's a little more about the book on Piatkus's website.

Friday, August 02, 2013

New Werewolf Book, Lonely Werewolf Girl Promotion

I am gearing up for the publication of The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf on the 29th August. By which I mean doing nothing at all, really. But the book will come out anyway, even if I have been spending all my time playing Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 on my Playstation. Good games, I enjoyed them both.

In a pre-publication promotion, Lonely Werewolf Girl is on sale at Amazon Kindle this month for just £1.49. So, if you need to read the first book about Kalix MacRinnalch and learn quite why she is such a troubled young werewolf, and why her werewolf clan is generally not that impressed with her, that's a good opportunity.

I've been trying to produce a small promotional interview with myself for the launch of the new book but, for various reasons have failed so far. Next attempt may be more successful. Or may not be, given my total incompetence at almost everything.

Simulation Bleed, my free web serial, is progressing well. I update this on Mondays. At this moment, the main characters are in the middle of an X-Ray Spex gig in a small pub in Putney. Where, by co-incidence, I was myself, quite a long time ago.

Having finished Mass Effect, I have no good Playstation games to play. And I don't have any really good anime to watch either. I've been watching Samurai Champloo, which was produced by the same people who made the really excellent Cowboy Bebop. It's fairly enjoyable, but not up to the same standard as Cowboy Bebop.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Won a Haiku Competition. Yes, That's What I Said.

I can remember winning two things in my life. First, the junior crossword in the Sunday Post when I was a child, for which I think the prize was a ten-shilling postal order. Second, the World Fantasy Award for Thraxas

Adding to this list, I'm now winner of Pankhearst Haiku Noir competition. Well, one of their five winners.

Pankhearst recently published Cars and Girls, four femnoir stories. Observant readers may remember that I mentioned this book enthusiastically only a few weeks ago. Remembering this, they may wonder, is there some literary corruption here? Have they just given him a prize because he reviewed their book, and will now probably mention it again?

Well, I wouldn't have minded that, because any scam is worthwhile to get your book some publicity. However, the judging was both blind and fair, as described by the judge herself, Kate Garrett, in her post about the competition, where you can read all five winning haikus.

So there you have it. Millar, casually turning his hand to another art form, walks away with a prize. It's another fine effort.

Haikus seem to fit well with noir. Though not to Japanese poetry purists, I expect. Here is my Haiku Noir -

Cold Japanese Beer
drips over her stilettos.
She's quick to reload.

Which I still like, although, as with everything I've ever written, disappointment and loathing will no doubt set in soon enough.

I appreciated the postal order from the Sunday Post as a child, although the Sunday Post, despite being something of a Scottish institution, was then, as I assume it is now, a dreadful newspaper.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Thraxas Final Triumph

With the publication of Thraxas Under Siege, I have now completed my Thraxas project. All nine Thraxas books are now available from ebook stores. I strongly recommend you buy some Thraxas.

This turned out to be a bigger project than I'd anticipated. I'm fatigued. I am now lying on the couch, staring into space in celebration. For the next few days - weeks - months, possibly - I intend to do nothing except play on my Playstation, starting with Mass Effect 2, which, fortunately enough, just arrived in the mail.

Thraxas at - Amazon Kindle (UK), Amazon Kindle (US), Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Sony

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Cars and Girls / Aristophanes

I've been reading Cars and Girls, four femnoir stories, the first book published by Pankhearst Independent Writers Collective. I do like the book, and was almost moved to review it, until I remembered that reviewing books takes effort and dedication which I just don't have. The authors involved in Cars and Girls are Zoë Spencer, Tee Tyson, Madeline Harvey and Evangeline Jennings, and as Evangeline Jennings is a Facebook friend of mine, it seemed easier to just ask her if she'd like to write something about it. 

'Evangeline, I liked your story, but as I have no journalistic skill at all, and am really too lazy and incompetent to make anything up, would you like to say something about your book? Without droning on too much, obviously.'

To which she replied - 

'Cars & Girls is a punk rock book. We learned a couple of chords and set out to change the world.

I can think of two analogies. The first doesn't work when you get deep into the detail but in many ways our book is akin to the old Fast Product "sampler" First Year Plan which featured the early work from the Mekons, Gang of Four, and Human League among others. The better fit is probably the Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch EP. Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley working together to produce something flawed but beautiful and everlasting. I hope.

I forget when I had the idea for Cars & Girls or where it came from, but I'm a huge fan of noir and pulp fiction and the intention was always to take those forms, push their boundaries, and subvert them. My own story Crown Victoria is probably the most overtly subversive - I don't think that's a spoiler - but the whole thing is what Courtney Love would describe as a "big, raw-boned bunch of fucking sex". If we asked her. Which we haven't.'


While I enjoyed Cars and Girls, I can't take too much modern literature, and have subsequently been lying on the couch, re-reading Aristophanes, greatest of the Athenian comic playwrights, and long time favourite. I wonder if Aristophanes was reviewed at the time? I don't think so. I don't think there were Athenian theatre reviewers. Though i suppose there could have been. Maybe some people scribbled down their thoughts and pinned them up in the Agora.

...Aristophanes really lays into Hyperbolus, just like he used to lay into Kleon, before Kleon went and got himself killed in action...

I like it that Hyperbolus, the angry Athenian orator and politician from the fifth century BC, survives to this day in the form of the word Hyperbole. No one could have guessed that would happen at the time. Cloud Cuckoo Land, a phrase still used today, comes from Aristophanes, and you wouldn't have thought that would survive for two and a half thousand years either.

I also like it that even though Aristophanes' plays are full of comic slapstick and fantastic elements, such as giant flying dung beetles, and visits to the underworld, they still give the best picture available of normal daily life in ancient Athens. A much better picture than you'd get from the great tragedians, for instance. If you were only to read Aristophanes, and suddenly be transported back to Classical Athens, you would at least have some idea of what to expect.

I've only seen Aristophanes plays twice on stage. Once at the Young Vic, and once somewhere else I can't remember. I didn't like either production. They weren't nearly funny enough, or obscene enough. which Aristophanes really should be.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Thraxas at War. Buffy Comic Problem.

Thraxas at War, seventh book in the series, now available as an ebook. As Thraxas book nine has already being published, it means there are now eight of the nine available, and just one more to go before the ebooks are up to date. Thraxas rumbles unstoppably on, which he does have the bulk to do. As he has been known to say, when criminals see him coming, they know they've got a problem. 

Amazon Kindle (US), Kindle (UK), iTunes, Kobo, Sony

I'm still receiving Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics regularly, thanks to the efficient subscription department at Reed Comics. As the comics are an official, Joss Whedon sponsored continuation of the series, I sort of feel obliged to buy them. But I'm not enjoying them that much. I've never particularly liked the artwork, and nor was I ever that keen on there being thousands of slayers. (Not sure if there still are thousands of slayers, I've got a lot of unread comics.)

However I'm unable to let go. I seem to be trapped into regularly buying comics I don't really enjoy. I lack the willpower to do anything about it. I don't know what the solution is. Just buy them for the rest of my life, I suppose.

I wish the Buffy bot had made another appearance. In the TV series the Buffy bot always did its best. It had a friendly personality too. I liked the Buffy bot, and regretted its tragic demise. It deserved another outing.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Adventure Rocketship!

Adventure Rocketship! is a new series, somewhere between an anthology and magazine, or possibly a magazine in book form, edited by Jonathan Wright. I mention it partly because I'm interviewed in the first issue, and partly because it's a really good enterprise and I'd like it to succeed.

The first issue is entitled Let's All Go To The Science Fiction Disco, and, to quote the back cover, it concerns 'the strange region of space where science fiction, popular music and counter culture meet.'

Quoting more from the back cover - because that's how good an investigative journalist I am - there are new stories from Lavie Tidhar, Liz Williams and Tim Maughan, interviews with Mick Farren, The Orb, Michael Moorcock, Bill Nelson and China Miéville, and new writing from David Quantick, NK Jemisin, Jon Courtney Grimwood, and Jason Heller. That was a lot of typing from the back cover, so I apologise if I spelled anyone's name wrong, I'm not that good a copy typist. In fact my typing all round these days is getting worse. Sometimes when I use the spell check almost the entire page lights up with errors.

The Cover art is by Stanley Donwood, who has designed album sleeves for Radiohead. (I also have a short piece of fiction in the magazine, but it is so short, less than a thousand words, that I can't really plug it as a major sales point.)

Publication date for Adventure Rocketship! is 16th May. There's a launch party at Forbidden Planet in London on the 16th, and another launch in Bristol, also at Forbidden Planet. I hope these go well. I was invited to the London launch, but I won't be there. I haven't mentioned my problems with agoraphobia for a while, but at the moment I don't feel up to travelling to a public event. But I know Jon Courtney Grimwood will be there, and Lavie Tidhar, and I'm sure it will be a good event.

Adventure Rocketship! Let's All Go To The Science Fiction Disco - ISBN 9781906477738 - On Sale May 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seven of Nine, Thraxas Noir

The re-issuing of Thraxas and the Dance of Death as an ebook means that there are now seven of nine available. Aha. I loved Seven of Nine. I think she's the only character that has ever made me watch I show I didn't really like. I never thought Star Trek Voyager was all that great, but when Seven of Nine was introduced, I liked it a lot more.

But apart from that, Thraxas and the Dance of Death, which is book six in the series, is now in electronic bookshops everywhere. With book nine already being published, that only leaves seven and eight to come - Thraxas at War, and Thraxas Under Siege. They will be available soon.

Here is part of the introduction to Thraxas and the Dance of Death

'When I began writing Thraxas, I planned for it to be rather darker. More noirish. Sort of Dashiell Hammett meets sword and Sorcery. Thraxas does share some elements often associated with the hardboiled school of American detective fiction. He's a solo investigator who's tough, and ready to defend himself. He drinks a lot and he's poor. He exists in a corrupt urban environment where he comes up against organised crime. He distrusts the police and tends to be hostile towards authority. He's loyal to his clients, and prepared to go a long way to defend them.

Despite these elements, Thraxas didn't turn out very noirish at all. Partly because Thraxas's huge appetites for food and drink can drag him out any prolonged burst of soul searching. Thraxas can be affected by the poverty and corruption which surrounds him, but a good bowl of stew, and five or six beers, will usually make him view the world in a more optimistic light.

And also, I think, because Thraxas and Makri turned out to be something of a comedy double-act. At times their relationship seems to consist mainly of bickering and mutual insults, but really, Thraxas is rescued from a potentially bleak world by the presence of the young female warrior. Makri is too spirited and intelligent to be intimidated by Thraxas's blustering. She gives as good as she gets, and consequently they become friends, quite quickly. Thraxas is still walking down unfriendly streets, but he's no longer on his own.'

Thraxas and the Dance of Death now available at:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thraxas, Hobbits, Exhausting Debauchery

As Thraxas and the Sorcerers arrived in shops, or rather, at ebook distributors, I lay on the couch, watching The Hobbit. Various thoughts floated though my head -  I'm enjoying this film - I wish someone would bring me a cup of tea - Where did I put my comfy slippers?- Could you really have eagles that big? - What else can I steal from Tolkien? - that sort of thing. So, I've now seen the Hobbit, long after everyone else, as always. Good film, though making the book into a trilogy seems to be pushing it a bit. But I will no doubt watch the next two just as keenly. I have always loved the Hobbit. When I first read it, there would have seemed no prospect that it would ever be made into a film.

So. Thraxas and the Sorcerers now available for sale, meaning that six Thraxas ebooks have now appeared since December. Which is a good effort by anyone's standards, and I have no hesitation in heartily congratulating myself for getting this done. There are now only three left to publish, and they will be out soon, making the full set available as ebooks, including the new one, Thraxas and the Ice Dragon.

Thraxas and the Sorcerers on sale here - 
Kindle (US), Kindle (UK), iTunes, Kobo

The ebook publishing has been going very well, though it has left me quite weary. I am obliged, as a member of the Ancient Secret Society of Lascivious Authors, to host a debauched sex party whenever I have a book released. Of course, this is usually only once every couple of years. But with the rapid re-issuing of all my Thraxas books, the sex parties have been much more frequent. So with the energetic young models pouring into my modest flat and partying through the night, re-enactments of 100 days of Sodom being staged in the kitchen and so on, well, I'm becoming quite fatigued. I'll be pleased when it's over.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thraxas and I are Visiting Elves at the Moment

Thraxas and the Elvish Isles has just appeared as an ebook. Turai being as cold the Ice Queen's grave, Thraxas sailed south for a while. It was a rare excursion from his normal life in the city streets, though not from his excesses of food and drink. Even while surrounded by Elves, Thraxas never loses sight of the central importance of getting a lot of food and drink inside him.

Kindle: US, UK, CA - iBooks -  Kobo

Thraxas and the Elvish Isles is book four in the series. So, with book nine, Thraxas and the Ice Dragon, already being published, I'm now more than half way through my ambitious project to unleash the entire Thraxas series into the world of ebooks. This is going well. Once again, thanks to the people who have given them good customer reviews when they've bought them.

I have also been surrounded by Elves, in a way. It's been snowing in London in the past few days, making it a very poor start to Spring. Not having any Elvish Isles to sail to, I've turned the heating up, and retreated permanently to the couch, applying myself to the first Skyrim downloadable extension, Dragonborn. This, scandalously late, was only recently released for Playstation, though other formats have been available for a long time. So I am once again battling my way through hostile environments, mowing down all opposition, and generally giving hostile wizards, Elves, dragons and bandits a hard time.

In-between I've been reading a biography of Somerset Maugham, one of my favourite authors. Maugham was a great storyteller, even if a reluctant one at times. He really wanted to be a playwright rather than a novelist, because he found it tedious describing things. He thought it would be easier just writing dialogue. I can sympathise with this. Who wants to be describing things all the time? It can be really tedious. Nonetheless, Somerset Maugham was a really fine novelist and short story writer, and I've learned from his technique.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Let Down by Tomb Raider

I'm a huge Tomb Raider fan but I'm disappointed in the new game. I've played the Tomb Raider games right from the start, on the Playstation 1. I've always enjoyed them - apart from the aberrant Angel of Darkness - but I'm not enjoying this as much as I thought I would. It's not that it's a bad game, it's just not Tomb Raider.

Previously I've liked Lara Croft's solitary exploration of gigantic, fantastic tombs. It's like entering in to some sort of brilliant alternative world. Her solitude felt peaceful. So far in this game, there is nothing like that. All the tombs I've come across are small, grubby locations, put in almost as afterthought, and there is certainly nothing peaceful.

Really it's just a gigantic fighting game. You land on an island and fight your way through. There really is a lot of fighting. Sometimes it feels endless. It's well done, but it is not what I want from Tomb Raider. I'm puzzled as to why they've gone this way. Aren't there enough fighting games already? I'm sure there must be. While shooting my way through yet another horde of enemies, I keep thinking 'I wish I was in a big Egyptian tomb, exploring and solving puzzles.'

The game is annoying at the start too, when Lara is so weak. For some reason the game makers decided she needed a new origin - though Lara Croft already had an origin - and this involves making her weak and frightened. She does become stronger later, which is better, but I didn't really see the need for her to be so puny in the first place. When they make new games with male heroes, I don't think they generally make them frightened and hopeless at the start.

Sometimes with games you get moments which are just so good you can hardly believe they did it in a game. I've had that feeling playing Tomb Raider in the past. I recently had it again playing Portal. But there are no moments like that in this Tomb Raider game. Just endless sneaking and fighting. There is nothing beautiful in it, like in previous games. No astonishing graphics like recent Final Fantasy. It's all grime and dirt, and it's all the same really. And if this isn't bad enough, Lara's voice is nowhere near posh enough. I expect Lara Croft to sound like an English aristocrat, not my next door neighbour.

So I am disappointed by this game. It's high quality fighting I suppose, but it's really not Tomb Raider.

[ Character note 1 - If you're going to have a voice-over actor doing a Scottish accent, make sure he can pronounce 'Loch' properly. 'Lok' is fine for non-Scots, but no one from Scotland would pronounce it like that. ]

[ Character note 2 - They made Lara's breasts smaller. Obviously, this is a step forward for the world. As soon I saw her new, smaller breasts, I immediately thought - That's good, how dare the previous games objectify women by giving the character huge breasts. No doubt it is a great relief to everyone that they are smaller in this game. ]

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

After Seven Years, a New Thraxas Novel

Seven years after the last Thraxas novel, I've finally produced a new one. Thraxas and the Ice Dragon, book 9 in the Thraxas series, is now available at Kindle (US), Kindle (UK), Kindle (CA)NookKobo, eSentral, iTunes/iBooks.

There are many reasons why it's taken so long: some publishing problems, some other things I was busy writing, a little poor health. Then there was Tomb Raider, Oblivion, Skyrim, Portal 1 and Portal 2 to get through, among others. It's not like I could just ignore these games. And when you add in my ever-present desire to lie on the couch staring into space, you can see that it's not easy finishing a book these days.

But here Thraxas is at last, stepping ashore from the small boat in which he left the City of Turai in the company of Makri and Lisutaris. I don't want to give anything of the plot away, but will mention that in the overwhelming crisis which is unfolding all around him, Thraxas does show his mettle with a spectacular victory in a pie eating contest, demolishing all opposition.

Thraxas and Ice Dragon

'Thraxas and Makri drift ashore in the distant land of Samsarina, in the company of Lisutaris, Head of the Sorcerers Guild. After a miserable voyage on a leaky fishing boat, Thraxas just wants to drink beer, but there are other matters to attend to. Turai has fallen to the enemy, and the armies of the West are gathering. Before war breaks out, there's the great sword-fighting tournament, which gives Thraxas the chance of almost unlimited gambling, if only he can persuade Makri to enter. Makri is surprised to find herself looking after a baby dragon, and even more surprised to discover that Thraxas has a romantic past, one which leads them into a murder investigation in an unfamiliar land, where hostile forces oppose them at every turn.'

This is an ebook only. There won't be a print edition, at least not in the foreseeable future. If you don't have an ebook reader, you can download free apps from Kindle, Nook, Kobo etc that will allow you to read their ebooks on your computer.

Thraxas books 1, 2, 3 and 9 are now available as ebooks. Books 4 to 8 will appear soon. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Even More Thraxas, and the Brixton BookJam

The third Thraxas ebook - Thraxas at the Races - has just been released. I appreciate this sounds rather similar to my last blog, wherein the second Thraxas ebook was released, but I can't help that. There are nine of these books and each one is getting its own blog; it's the least they deserve. I suppose I could spice things up for the public's benefit, perhaps with an interesting Thraxas-related tale, like for instance the story of the glamorous sex-shop assistant, the spanking paddle, and the missing consignment of adult goods - which did lead to me missing a Thraxas deadline - I have been considering relating this for some time - I will think about it - but the main thing is, Thraxas at the Races has now emerged into the world. 

Thraxas at the Races is now available on Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kobo, and at other locations very soon. There is more about this at Thraxas.comThraxas and the Ice Dragon, number nine in the series, is currently approaching the distribution chain, and will be available in around three weeks.

Last week I read for the second time at the Brixton BookJam, at the Hootenanny pub in Brixton. There were fifteen readers at the event, and a large audience. Everyone is meant to read for five minutes, a format that works well. I was on last, and probably rambled on for more than five minutes, reading brief pieces from The Good Fairies of New York, Lux the Poet, and Curse of the Wolf Girl. It was a very good literary event.

The Hootenanny used to be called the George Canning. That was a proper name for a pub. George Canning was a British statesman, and Prime Minister in 1827. There was even a statue of him outside. I deplore the fact that a pub which was once named after a British Prime Minister should now be called the Hootenanny. Not that this is the fault of Brixton BookJam: the name changed more than a decade ago.

There was a time when I was a very frequent visitor to the George Canning. In those days it wasn't actually all that nice a pub but, unusually, it was open till midnight. Twenty or more years ago, British licensing laws were so restrictive that virtually every bar closed at 11pm. So people used to come out of pubs in Brixton and hurry along to the George Canning, for some more drinks in the extra hour of drinking time. Many evenings I would meet practically everyone I knew in there, all having a late drink.

These drinking hours laws have all been relaxed now. Technically Britain no longer has laws about drinking hours. I think it's legal to sell alcohol in bars at any hour, though these opening hours can be regulated by the local authorities. Perhaps if I remained in the bar long enough, if would be called the George Canning again when I emerged. I'd be pleased at that.

So. A third Thraxas book, now available. Ninth book, not far away. After that the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eight books will follow on shortly. But as I have been droning on here more than I intended, I will not now have time to tell the story of the glamorous sex-shop assistant and the missed Thraxas deadline, so will have to leave that for another time.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More Thraxas. And complaints about Children's TV

The second Thraxas ebook, Thraxas and the Warrior Monks, is now available on Amazon Kindle, Kindle UK, the Apple iBookstore and Kobo. It will be available at other locations soon. The third ebook, Thraxas at the Races, will follow in a week or two, and shortly after that, the next one to be published will be my new book, Thraxas and the Ice Dragon. This has been ready for a while now, and it's time it was published. Once Thraxas and the Ice Dragon has been released, the others will be issued, and it won't be too long before the entire series is available as ebooks.

I am enjoying this project, and am inspired, as I have always been, by the punk rock spirit of the Sex Pistols. In all artistic enterprises, ignore all other opinions, and do everything exactly the way you want. I have maintained this philosophy throughout my whole writing career. 


In today's Complaints About Children's Television News, I'm fed up waiting for Nickelodeon to start showing Avatar Legend of Korra. This is the sequel to Avatar, the Last Airbender, which I really enjoyed.

Nickelodeon showed this series in the USA in April, and still haven't broadcast it in Britain yet. It's ridiculous. Don't these people realise that if they hold a show back for months and months then everyone will just find it on the internet somewhere? What do Nickelodeon expect to happen? Their viewers all to just wait patiently? No doubt all the kids who watch Nickelodeon are quite capable of finding them streaming somewhere. As are rather older authors, who happen to be fans of Avatar. So I found it online and I've started watching it. Take that Nickelodeon, for showing a programme last April in the USA and not showing it here yet. I'm positively insulted, especially as I pay for your channel in my cable package. Although I'm still grateful for Spongebob.

Legend of Korra hasn't really started that well. The Avatar world seems to have made a great leap forward in technology since the last series, and the cartoon now exists in a world of industrial revolution/sort of steam punk. I'm not sure it's an improvement. And Korra isnt that likeable a character. So far I'm three episodes in, and not enjoying it that much. But maybe it will get better. The Last Airbender was so good, I haven't given up hope.