Cover reveal and something a little different…

Jesus, I’m terrible at this. November 2016 was my last blog post? Oops! But well I’ve been busy, what with the lack of motivation and other things…

But here we are! It’s spring 2017 and I have some exciting news – the cover art is done! Well the front anyway! =D

LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL THING! LOOK. AT. IT!  It was drawn by UK based Manga artist, Sonia Leong! You can find more of her amazing work here – or if you’re more social media minded, you can find her on Twitter and Facebook respectively.  The wording of the cover is being done by a chap called Ken Dawson of Phoenix Designs.  The rear cover is also being designed by Sonia and should be with us very soon! I can’t wait to see it!

As for the book itself, the editing is coming along nicely, I’m aiming to have the next set done by the end of this week. That will then mean another step closer.  I will apologise for taking an absolute age to get this done, but it’s not been an easy task. For those who have read the original publication, this time around, it’s a little different. Some things have fundamentally changed, but the premise is the same. But you have to understand when you change something so small in once place, it changes a lot of things elsewhere in the story, so you have to ensure it all ties up together.  It WILL be a better book for it, but you can’t rush perfection, or even me it seems!

Now, moving onto the “something a little different” part.  I’ve begun visiting two new ways of furthering myself as a creative individual. Firstly, I’ve begun a proof reading and editing course, run by Chapter House.  This will hopefully allow me to become a better writer and help me self edit my work a lot better than I currently have done previously.

Secondly, now this may surprise some, I’ve decided to get back into the world of voice overs and voice acting! Seven years ago, I took a masterclass course with Gary Terzza (if you’ve ever watched Channel 4 at length, you’ve heard his voice). This allowed me to do some of my own voice over work and try and make a career out of it.  It did land a few paid jobs, but unfortunately the relationship I was in at the time broke down and I had to move back home with the parents, it was only meant to be a short term thing. But fast forward seven years, I’m still there and my voice over work suffered for it. But I digress, in October 2016 at BristolCon, I met Diana Croft, a voice over artist who’s narrating some of my publisher’s audio books. We spoke very briefly, about VO and my work in the past and she encouraged me to join a programme called “Gravy for the Brain“, a voice over community run by Peter Dickson and Hugh Edwards. Now if you’ve ever watched X-Factor, you’ll know who Peter Dickson is. Maybe i’ll just type. “RHYYYDDDIIIAAAANN” and you’ll get it. The course is an absolute gold mine of information, I’ve learnt more in a week looking through this course than I ever did through a workshop.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the workshop, but I only had a few limited hours. Here, I’m getting everything I need! Thanks for the recommendation Di!

There we have it, Allan’s trying to make something of himself once more, let’s just hope that my parents can put up with me screaming into a microphone on a professional level, after all, they’ve done it during raid nights on Final Fantasy 14…..


Until Next time.



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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in author, Writing


Digging deep and finding nothing…

Where do you find motivation? I think I’ve lost mine, though I’m not entirely sure what I did with it in the first place.  I could have left it somewhere and I can only assume it was snatched by some young ruffian looking to exchange it for recreational drugs.

I wish it was something you could get at Argos. Float into your local store and speed flick through the catalogue with a poised finger, ready to prod the correct image and jot down the six-figure (or is it seven?) number that grants you permission to go to collection point A, where none other than ‘Saturday only shift’ Sasha grunts your order number at you and thrusts the item in your hands, informing you to have a nice day while sniffing up snot in her nose because she can’t be arsed to blow it with a tissue.  On second thoughts, maybe I don’t want to get it from Argos…

But therein lies the problem, I’m demotivated and uninterested in anything at the moment, so how do you get around this?

If I’m honest, I’m the lowest I have been for a long time. I’m uninterested in everything I’ve tried to do and the other night I even considered emailing my publisher and telling them to tear up my publishing contract with them because I had no desire to continue working.  Yes, even writing and prepping for my book’s release isn’t doing anything for me.

I have come to the conclusion that my career at my current job is pretty much over. The thought of getting up day after day and going into the office fills me with dread I’ve never even fathomed. I actually hate it,  truly hate it. Today I was so unfocused that I made several silly mistakes that could have proved quite costly -literally!

I’m sorry for all the negativity, but I find it hard to talk about it personally, so venting to the internet where I know no one will want to read this will help to an extent. But I know there is a lot of rebuilding to do, especially within my own life.  Career first, book second.

As yes, the book – that’s kinda in limbo at the moment.  The manuscript is still being checked over by my editor and the cover is still going through a WIP, so there isn’t really much I can talk about there – sorry!  Anything newsworthy I will pass on, but currently, I want you to be excited, not bored of the content I’m giving you. Please bear with me.

Its release is still scheduled for next year, I’m not sure when, though I am hoping to guest at Swindon Comic Con in 2017, maybe I’ll decide to launch it then.

But that all depends on where I can get some motivation. I wonder what time Argos shuts….

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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Uncategorized


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A small update….

Yes I know it’s been over two months since my last update, but hey I’m getting better!  I have been extremely busy editing, and i’m almost there!  A few more chapters and some final tweaks and it’ll go back to my editor for further slaughter.  I’m hoping it’s come a long way from where it was otherwise this could be an extremely tiresome and frustrating process.

The cover art is being conjured as we speak. I say conjured because the artist that I’ve been so lucky to work with is obviously a magician and makes all sorts of beautiful art.  I’ll able to tell  you who it is soon, but there was a massive hint on my author page on facebook here.  Though you’ll have to be following me to see it, obviously.

I hope to have the edits done by no later the end of September, then we can get it sent to print. However, I’m going to be honest and say that we’ll be lucky to see it this side of Christmas, it may be a 2017 release yet. But we shall see.  I’m optimistic that it’ll be out before the end of this year, but I want it to be perfect. After the last publishing attempt, I owe myself that much at least.

I did however visit Melksham Comic Con this weekend, and It was good to catch up with some friends in the business, especially Sonia Leong, Ross Munro and Jon Lock.  I got some lovely art from Sonia and Ross, and also attended Sonia’s Manga Workshop which just proved to me that there was a reason I write instead of draw! In the afternoon I attended a small panel with Jon Lock and he spoke about his new comic project.  It was so refreshing to see that someone else was so enthusiastic about their work while experiencing the same headaches I am.  He’s also a very inspiring talker and reminded me why I’m doing this – because I want people to see my work.  Sod the fame and fortune, I just want people to enjoy my vivid imagination.

Hopefully next year I can attend a few cons myself too, but that’l be time/money permitting!

Looking forward to the future, I’ve got James Knight book two to finish as well as a Valeria Flintlocke Novella! So my hands are pretty much full.  I’ve also (barely) stared two new WIPs, one is a Fantasy, the other a Sci-fi.  They are years off yet, but one day, you never know.

Until then…..


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Posted by on August 28, 2016 in author, Writing


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Book Review – “Grey Stone and Steel” by Kate Coe

A review of a fellow Grimbold author’s new novella 🙂

Joanne Hall


PB, 126 pages, Kristell Ink

Buy Grey Stone & Steel on Amazon

Grey stone and steelGrey Stone and Steel takes up the ongoing story of Toru and his accidental partner, S’ian, where previous novella Green Sky & Sparks  left off. Toru’s lover Catter has left, unable to deal with the soulbond between S’ian and Toru, and now S’ian takes centre stage. She is sent to Aleric, a city under siege by Ziricon, an enemy nation intent on stealing the newly-discovered secrets of flight and “spark”, or electricity. Taking one of Toru’s Gliders to use as a reconnaissance craft, she is thrown into the midst of the battle. But her nascent mage powers and her unwanted soulbond to Toru cause suspicion amongst the people who are supposed to be her new allies.

Kate Coe packs a lot into this slim volume, moving the story that flashes…

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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


Being an author is easy right?


Being an author wasn’t as easy as I first thought.  When I landed my first publishing contract, the editing process was a lot simpler and everything seemed to flow right into place.  Granted, some of the decisions made were taken out of my hands, like the less than average cover, but mostly I had a say in what I did.  This time, I still have my own say, absolutely I do; but wow, I have a lot to learn about being an author and being a good one at that.

When Grimbold Books came along and snapped up my talents I was over the moon.  Their catalogue has come a long way since I originally submitted “James Knight and the Orb of Ziarn” to them and my book fits nicely into their list like it always belonged there.

When my edits came back, I was hoping that I wouldn’t have much to do at all, I mean it was edited before right and it was good enough right? WRONG, oh so wrong.  One of the questions my editor asked was,

“Is this a first draft?”   Ouch.

No, it wasn’t. It was a third draft! I read the editor notes and my heart instantly shattered into tiny fragments. She’d ripped my pride and joy apart, and I felt like my world had crashed down around me as two whole years of blood, sweat and tears was regarded as basic work.

I closed the email and left the edited manuscript in a folder to stagnate. I didn’t want to touch it. I was horrified by some of the questions asked and the changes suggested.  No one was going to tell me what to do.

Months passed and it suddenly struck me in a book shop that I was being a complete tool.  The vast volume of Paranormal romance glared at me from the shelves and I remembered why I’d written the book in the first place – So that I could bring something fresh and exciting to the Young Adult market.

My “Big boy” pants were ripped from the wardrobe and slung on, I had work to do.

As it stands, I’m about halfway through the edits, and I won’t lie, some I agree with, some I don’t, some I’ve reluctantly changed and gone with.  Part of being a “professional” is to decide when you need to let your pride go and take advice from someone who’s been doing this long before you even considered it and who’s edited some of the best books you’ve read.  One of which is now up for a Gemmell award!

My aim is to have the whole thing done by the end of June and sent back to the editor for her to sob uncontrollably into a glass of wine as she realises I’ve made it even worse.

As updated go, I know it’s been a long time coming, but that’s mainly where we are with the re-publish of “James Knight and the Orb of Ziarn.”

The sequel – it has a title now, but I’m not revealing it yet, is 80% done. I’m on the home straight, but there’s a chance that it won’t quite be finished anytime soon.  I have a novella that I’m working on which focuses on Valeria’s origins, which is something I’m finding very exciting!  However, with the addition of that back story and some of the re-writes for book one, it seems the sequel will need a complete re-write itself.

The new cover for “Orb of Ziarn” has been discussed and I have an artist working on that for me. She’s absolutely amazing, so expect the cover to reflect her skills.  I also commissioned another artist to do some sketches to add to a project the publisher and I have come up with and they are sublime. I want to share them with you, but my publisher will literally take a finger/hand/arm. So you’ll have to wait a bit longer for them.

Hopefully by the end of June, a huge leap in progress would have been made.  I’ll try to be more on top of things, and this blog.




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Posted by on June 6, 2016 in Writing


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So, guess who’s a signed author again? =D


Yes, that’s right! I have been lucky enough to land a publishing deal with the wonderful Grimbold Books! Hooray! It’s been a year and two months since I had the unfortunate news that my previous publisher was going out of business, but the waiting, stamping of feet and huffing has clearly paid off as I have managed to bribe secure a fantastic deal with them.

Grimbold books is run by Creative Director Sammy Smith and Editorial Director Zoë Harris. Who have been working together since 2011, and are now full partners in crime…or so they tell me!  They are passionate about bringing readers the best books in the genres they love.  Now, a bit of trivia, ‘James Knight and the Orb of Ziarn’ has been on the radar of Grimbold for sometime, but when I first submitted, It didn’t quite fit in with the rest of their catalogue, but fast forward nearly two years and they were in a position to give it a new and hopefully – permanent home! 🙂

So the plan at the moment is to re-launch ‘James Knight and the Orb of Ziarn’ in June 2016, with a brand new edit, and sexy new cover art- hopefully, all being well, designed by a fantastic artist who is simply the best at what she does.  I can’t give too much away at this time, but suffice to say, if you thought my book was awesome before, it’s about to get a million times better!!

So stay tuned to my Blog/Twitter/Facebook (links are clicky!) as more details are announced.

Now excuse the outburst but…F**K YES!!!!


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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


A little snippet of book two…

Well we can’t leave today on a downer now, can we?

So I’ve decided to let you all have a read of the prologue of the Sequel to “James Knight and the Orb of Ziarn.”  Of course, if you haven’t read the first, there might be slight spoiler. But it doesn’t give too much away.

Let me know what you think! 🙂

Tweena’ Skyelorne looked longingly at the lush green fields and pale blue rivers below her. The cooling breeze collected her auburn hair and plucked each strand before carefully laying it back across her shoulders. She loved sitting up here, this was ‘her’ place; at the summit of Mt. Sol, many miles away from the capital city of Solveil. No one else came here and that’s what made it so personal. All her stress would be carried away by the wind and her angst would wash away down the trickle of streams that ran from the mountain all the way to the Great Salt Lake that kept the city away from the mainland.

A glass covered airship skimmed the clouds above her changing her gaze from the floor to the ultramarine sky. It was rare to see the clouds this high up, they were normally below, way down below. She watched as the gleaming craft sped down the usual flight path that trade ships would take into the city – her city.  Well, it should be; she should have been sat on the Golden throne of Skyelorne, but following the first sorcerer war, the people revolted against the monarchy because of the Kingdom’s involvement. Many people were lost in that horrific, pointless war that was caused by an overzealous sibling.

Following the end of the war a Republic was formed, the political race headed by a man named Gideon Mohmlapse. His clever campaign forced a landslide victory when the referendum took place and the royal family was forced into normality.

Queen Skyelorne, the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom was banished by Mohmlapse as his first act in the newly formed republic, forcing her out of her out of her home, telling her to ‘take that wretched curse’ with her and magically sealing her in a crystal tower at the summit of Mount Sol.

The ‘curse’ was the tool she’d crafted centuries before, one she’d shared with her brothers and sister, one that helped them save the world from Sorcery – The Staff of Skyelorne.

With the Queen and the ‘Cause of their demise’ gone, Mohmlapse appointed himself Viscount of Solveil and High Ruler of the Republic of Skyelorne.  He wanted a fresh, new start for his new Republic and ordered for all history and prior knowledge of the Kingdom erased and all ancient texts destroyed, circulating new texts effectively wiping all existence of the City, the Republic of Skyelorne and Southern Continent off the face of Exoré.

Tweena sighed, she hated thinking of the horrible things that had happened in the past, and she always vowed that the Viscount would pay for what he did, but nothing ever came of her vows. They were constantly wasted, empty threats that fell on tone deaf ears.  But it wasn’t all bad, today was Tweena’s birthday and she was content enough to know that she would be celebrating it on her own, like last year – and the year before that, and the year before that. Come to think of it, she’d always spent them alone – no one came to visit her at all! How unfair!

A Corah fluttered down onto the ledge in front of her. The deep blue feathers of this native bird were seamless and it ‘tweeted’ to her before flying off again, bobbing across the waves of the wind.

Why thank you Mr. Corah, it’s nice to know you remembered.’ Oh well, she’d get over it, it was only just a birthday after all, there would be plenty more. But she was still a bit miffed by the whole thing. She’d at least thought someone would have come to congratulate her on her 1000th birthday.

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Posted by on September 15, 2015 in Uncategorized