I send out an email newsletter on the first of the month featuring a look behind the scenes of what I’ve been working on over the previous 30 days, a book recommendation and a peek of just some of the geeky stuff that lines the shelves of my office / den.
I thought I would share an excerpt of this month’s in case you missed it. If you’d like to get this sent direct to your inbox in future you can subscribe here.
I hope you were able to have a good break over the winter holiday season. I had my first real downtime since the summer (mainly ‘cos I was struck down by a Christmas cold and couldn’t move from the sofa) and so caught up on my comic reading. One of the highlights has been the Joker War in Batman and Detective Comics. I love what James Tynion IV has been doing with the Dark Knight, really bringing Bruce’s humanity to the fore while regrouping the Bat-Family around him following the sad demise of Alfred (RIP Mr Pennyworth. Sob.) And best of all, it feels new and fresh, introducing intriguing new characters galore. I really recommend catching up if, like me, you’ve fallen behind. (I also recommend subscribing to his email newsletter which had some amazing thoughts about the comic industry in general and his Bat-plans in particular over the Chrimbo limbo.)
It’s fair to say that our lead up to Christmas was manic. It was dominated by press and marketing for The High Republic, some of which saw me transforming our kitchen into a green screen studio. Talk about light, cameras, action! The press day itself was bonkers. Four hours of zoom calls with various magazines and websites, as I was interviewed alongside the other members of the High Republic team; Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Charles Soule and Michael Siglain. Originally the plan had been for us all to be in one place for the launch, but 2020 got in the way of that and this was the next best thing. We were all a bit frazzled by the end, but there was a lot of giggles along the way and I came out of it with a new respect for the people I use to interview at these things back when I was a journalist.
The embargo for reviews of High Republic books lifted around the same time, and we couldn’t have been happier with the response! After years of secrecy, it’s bizarre —and more than a little nerve-wracking — to have it all out there in reviewer’s hands. And it won’t be long until everything is finally on general release too. Don’t forget to tune into our launch panel on 4th January, when all five of us will be discussing the publishing initiative as well as making some exciting announcements!
Away from the publicity blitz, I received notes on The Rising Storm from my various editors at Del Rey and Lucasfilm, as well as Story Group. Looking through them, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. There’s work to do of course, which I will be diving into next week, but I’m pleased to say there are no major structural changes to make. Most of the edits are changes needed to accommodate events occurring in other books and comics or suggestions to make key character moments really land. I have to admit I’d been holding my breath ever since I submitted the manuscript. At over 110,000 words, it’s the longest novel I’ve ever written, so to have such a positive reaction was a great relief. I’m really looking forward to working through everything over the next couple of weeks.
I couldn’t tackle them straight away as the rest of December was largely taken up by two very different projects that I’m working on with my buddy George Mann. The first is a new audio drama and the other a book that will be announced soon. I also submitted the final chapter of a graphic novel I’ve been writing over the last few months and compiled the writer’s bible for a new animated show I’m involved in, the pilot (which I’ve also written) about to go into production this month.
In the midst of all that, my wife Clare launched a new virtual assistant business which is extremely exciting. She’s already talking to potential clients and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do as she grows the business. She’s going to be handling any press and podcast requests that come through as well as running my site. I’ll post more about what she’s up to soon!
If you want a spine-tingling read to kick off 2021, then seek out this spooky gem by Jo Kaplan. Haunting in every sense of the word, It Will Just Be Us is beautifully written with a refreshing take on a haunted house that I will return to time and time again.
On my shelves
I get loads of requests to give folk a peek at all the geeky goodies that line my bookshelves so I thought that this newsletter was as good a place as any.
I’ll start with this Will Riker bust which perfectly sums up my thoughts on the last twelve months!
That little Gamecube Gonk droid is the work of For The Love of Old Toys who can be found on Instagram here!
This month’s Prize Draw – Shadows of Vader’s Castle
This month, I have a special copy of Shadow of Vader’s Castle up for grabs. The Halloween special was published by IDW last autumn and features art by Derek Charm, Nicoletta Baldari, Nick Brokenshire and Francesco Francavilla.
This copy has a sketch by me on the front cover (which also proves why I’m the writer not the artist!)
To be entered into the draw all you have to do is be a subscriber to this newsletter! We’ll pull the winning name out of the lava pits of Mustafar on 31st January and will let you know if you’ve been lucky. But if you’re not, don’t worry — there will be another prize in February!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse at my newsletter. Don’t forget, if you want to get this in your inbox at the beginning of every month (and be entered into that prize draw) then subscribe here.