Fading Control (Dominions VII) is out now

The start of the end is here! Fading Control is now available to purchase, through all the usual places. Grab it now for 99c (or your local equivalent), but be quick – the price goes up in a few days.

They might have won the battle, but the war is only just starting.


Rodin heads west, into a fractured district, on the verge of collapse unless he can pull disparate forces together, once more putting his life on the line.


Cat, to the north, walks a tightrope deep within Authority, where those above him surely know of his betrayal, where he can trust nobody and nothing, where any wrong move may be his last.

And behind it all Authority moves, bringing pieces into play, dividing their enemies and preparing for victory.

Impact is out now

Cover of Impact (A Dominions Story)

Rodin has the contract under control, drawing the target in, ready for the removal. Not a simple job, but nothing too complicated.
But nothing happens in isolation, and Rodin has no idea how this contract will impact others‌—‌or himself.

Impact is a new release in the Dominions series, a set of four connected stories. It’s available from all the usual ebook stores, and is currently free*.

*If you come across a store charging for this book, please let me know (twiain@yahoo.com) and I’ll sort out a free copy for you.

Series starters for only 99c

One of the great things about publishing independently is having control over pricing. I’ve run promotions for books before, and have experimented with free (all my short stories and novellas in my Dominions series are still free‌—‌click here to check them out). And now, until the end of the year, I’m trying something else.

I’m offering the first novel in each of my two series for only 99c (or your local equivalent). Both books are available from all the usual ebook retailers (if you can’t find it on your favourite, contact me and I’ll see what I can sort out). So if you want to start a new series for a bargain price, take a look at these two.

Dark Glass (Dominions I)

Dark Glass (Dominions I)

The start of a dark Dystopian thriller series.

A professional killer forced to take a contract in a perfect society‌—‌and becomes his own worst enemy.

Shadowfall (Shadows Book One)

The start of a sci-fi/horror trilogy.

The company trained Brice for many things. But nothing can prepare him for what he must face when the shadows fall.

Free scary stories!

As it’s Halloween, I thought I’d let you know about loads of free anthologies of scary/horror stories, all compiled by Samie Sands. She’s been releasing these collections for ages now, and she’s currently got loads of them set to free.

You can find all of them by searching for her name in Amazon (most, if not all, are Amazon exclusive‌—‌apologies to those of you who prefer other platforms). I’d like to draw your attention to a couple that contain short stories I wrote:

Electromagnetism is filled with tales exploring the troubling side of technology, and contains my vaguely voodoo-based story Touch.

It’s Behind You deals with fear. My story in this anthology is The Reason We Run.

Shadows: The Complete Trilogy is now available

…and for a couple of days you can get it for only 99c (or your local equivalent).

ShadTrilogy3D_smallShadows: The Complete Trilogy

What hides in the shadows?

It started with a routine mission, but when faulty tech and a worsening storm force Brice and the rest of the crew to abandon their craft, they have no idea they’ll become the prey for a group of blood-hungry beasts.

And this is only the start of their problems. These creatures have a terrible secret, one the company will do anything to keep in the dark‌—‌even if it means the deaths of Brice and his colleagues.

This set contains the complete trilogy of Shadowfall, Shadowsiege and Shadowstrike, horror-infused science fiction where the stakes grow as the nightmare deepens.

Changing my approach to writing a series

I’ve recently finished reading Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, and one of the things that impressed me was how, over three separate books, the story changes. The second and third books don’t only move the story on, but also peel back multiple layers from what is already known, leading the reader to continually reassess what they already know. On finishing Acceptance (book 2), I had a strong urge to start the series again, to see how much of the ‘truth’ was already there.

The writer part of me can’t help wondering how VanderMeer wrote these books. Did he have the whole trilogy mapped out, or did the layers of the story reveal themselves as he worked on each book? Did he start Annihilation (book 1) with the idea of writing a single book and maybe seeing how things went after that, or was it a complete trilogy in his mind from the outset?

I’m thinking a lot about series at the moment as I’m currently working on the final three books in a nine-book series.

Normally, I work on books sequentially, only starting a book when the previous one is (almost) complete. I’ll have ideas for the whole series, and as I write one book I’ll be noting more detailed ideas for subsequent ones, but plans don’t always pan out‌—‌problems will become apparent as I write, or characters will do and say things that take the story in unexpected ways. While it’s possible to change a book in the process of writing it, changing previous books to fit in with these new developments is far more awkward.

I’m trying something different with this trilogy. The books need to work as stories on their own, but also be a satisfying close to the whole series story. I need to close all (or most) of the loops already opened, answering hanging question. But I also need to ensure that everything that happens in the concluding scenes has been adequately set up.

So I’m working on these new books simultaneously. I planned then all, and I’ve just had a very intense few months writing the first drafts for all three (385k words, well over 1000 pages). And already, I’ve stumbled on issues that I can now correct.

An example‌—‌I found a solution to a particular problem in the final act of the last book, but it relied on a character using a specific skill. This was something that fitted the character, but not something I’d mentioned in other books. If I used this skill with no set-up, it would feel like a deus-ex-machina, a ‘get out of jail free’ card. But now, I can seed this skill earlier, so its use at the end doesn’t come out of the blue.

Another example‌—‌there was a whole sequence of scenes I wrote in the third book that, on reflection, added too much confusion in that book, and were far more suited to being included in the book before. Not a problem‌—‌drag those scenes into the second book’s file, and insert them wherever appropriate.

Of course, there are problems with this way of working. If I’d concentrated on the first book, it would probably be getting close to completion by now, ready for release by the end of the year. But I won’t be able to release any of these books until well into 2021.

There’s compromise in everything, though, and on balance this new method seems to be working better for me‌—‌I’m crafting better stories, both individually and as a series, which is my primary concern here. It’s allowing me to more fully immerse myself in the overall story too. In fact, I fully intend to work in this way with the next series I start.

Writing’s never static‌—‌there’s always more to learn, different strategies and tactics to explore‌—‌so I’m sure my process will change again.

Final collection of short stories now available for free download

Millenary 5 coverTwenty more excursions into darkness.

There are vampires and mysterious alien invaders. There are mobsters and shut-ins. There are those struggling to come to terms with loss, those nearing the end of their lives, those eager to make their mark on the world. There are conflicting realities and future nightmares. There are bitter lies and painful truths.

Some escape the darkness, others are consumed by it.

Millenary 5, the final (for now) collection of my 1000-word short stories, is now available for free download (click here). And if you want more short stories, the previous four volumes are also still available (and, yes, they’re free too)‌—‌click here for more information.

Time for a change

Last week I put up my hundredth short story, and it feels like an ideal moment to pause and take stock.

I started this site/blog back in 2016, a few months before publishing my first book (Dark Glass). From what I understood at the time, regular content was vital. So I planned to add something each week, alternating between short stories and posts on various aspects of books and reading. At the same time, I continued working on novels and other stories, while also learning (constantly learning!) about various aspects of marketing and advertising.

With a family and a full-time job, it was a lot to take on. But I persevered. I’ve added new content every week while also completing nine novels (and a few other books).

It’s been getting harder, though. Over the first couple of years, I’d have a few posts and stories in hand, but recently I’ve found myself working on them at the last minute, sometimes only starting the post or story a few days before my self-imposed deadline. That might show some kind of work ethic, but it doesn’t always give time for sufficient editing. Nor is that kind of pressure sustainable.

So it’s decision time.

Writing books is far more than tapping away on a keyboard. There’s planning, then writing, followed by many rounds of editing. After this, there’s marketing‌—‌cover, product description and back cover copy, advertising and so on. To do this effectively requires both time and money. The whole publishing/writing industry is in constant flux, so I also need to keep up to date (I do this mainly through a number of podcasts.)

As I’m not a full-time writer, I need to find a way to make it self-sustaining without risking burn-out. To do this, I need to focus on two areas‌—‌producing stories and finding readers who will appreciate them.

The first of these areas‌—‌producing stories‌—‌is the ‘writing’ stuff (including planning and editing). I’m currently working on a trilogy of books, with the aim to publish them in the spring of 2021. Work’s going well, but I need to be focused, and use my time effectively. I can’t afford to be side-tracked (too often).

The second area‌—‌finding readers‌—‌involves some ‘book production’ (cover and product description) along with all the marketing stuff. This is huge, and I know I can’t do everything. But producing books isn’t free, and I need to cover these costs somehow‌—‌so I have to market. At the moment I’m spending a lot of time understanding Amazon Ads, and I don’t want to lose momentum in this.

While my website/blog could come under marketing, I don’t feel that the time spent is adequately compensated by the benefits (getting my name out there, finding new readers and so on). So it’s no longer a priority, and I’m scaling it back.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to add anything new. I’ll still write short stories (they’re fun to work on, ideal as a break between longer projects, and a great way to improve my writing), but I won’t tie myself to one every fortnight. Nor will I limit myself to 1000 words. And I’ll still add posts, but only when I feel I have something to write about.

This might not be too infrequently, though. I’m constantly learning, and one of the best ways to consolidate learning is to summarise it‌—‌which, for me, means writing it down. If I have this stuff already written, then why not run it through a couple of editing passes and post it?

So I’m not going away, just shifting priorities.