Following the post about my self-publishing method, which you can find here, this post is more concerned with what I write, as opposed to how I publish it.
As I’m sure you know by now, I write Science Fiction, Steampunk and Cozy Crime with a sci-fi twist. Breaking the genres down a bit more, if you had to categorise them, or search for the main themes found in my stories, you could say they were:
Science Fiction, Space Opera, Man on a mission, Corruption and Industrial espionage, Crime thrillers, Chase, Love and Loss, Redemption, Cozy mystery, Alternative History, Victorian adventure.
And my influences?
Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Phillip Reeve, Agatha Christie, M.C. Beaton, to name a few.
As well as a convincing and entertaining plot, I’m obsessed with making the location and the technology seem real, there’s no place in my worlds for anything that isn’t logical or functional. Everything is based on as much fact as possible, just modified and stretched a little.
I was inspired by the first Star Wars films way back when. The technology in them, although far in advance of ours in some ways, was based on what was recognisable. It was all a bit scruffy and prone to breaking down. When Han Solo pushed the button for hyper-speed on the Millennium Falcon, he wasn’t sure if it would work or not. Leia even offered to get out and push, if it would help. Maybe not what you would expect from a galactic adventure, but for anyone who has ever owned an old car, it was certainly realistic.
Try this short story for an example of how I try to invent believable technology; The tale of Christopher Padget.
I firmly believe that one day, we will leave this planet and set out to explore, ‘to boldly go’ if you like. Maybe it’s why I was drawn to write Sci-fi; because in my mind, I could see the future me doing the things I write about. One day, a part of my DNA will stand on another planet and see a sunset that I never could. In a way, I’ll be there.
And when we head out, we will take all our vices, prejudice and faults along with the good bits about us as a species. Who knows what we will find?
Here’s my prediction, I reckon that, in ten thousand years, as far as the inhabitants are concerned, the Galaxy will be ‘boring’ and ‘civilised’. Who knows, maybe then we can try to figure out how to visit the next one? Perhaps all our stories in the future will be about the glorious past, when space travel was a novelty. But I’m sure there will be enough adventures on the way.
Or we might meet alien life tomorrow. Now aliens are something I’ve never written much about, I don’t really know where to start with them. I find the whole idea of alien life fascinating but daunting at the same time. There is so much more to be considered than when you to write about humanity, at least with us you have a clue as to our basic motivations. Aliens could have a different way of looking at all the things we hold dear, where to start? One thing I do hope, if we ever meet a race that has conquered space, is that it’s grown out of aggression. But then, I find it hard to believe that our planet could be a threat to them and unlikely that we would possess the one thing in all the galaxy that they need.
I’ve only written about aliens twice, and each time, I’ve cast them as…, well, why don’t you have a read and see? Here’s a short story about aliens.
I’ve tried to imagine a future filled with hope, which is not to pretend that bad things don’t happen. Of course they do, my heroes will not always win, that’s life, even interstellar life. But there is always the possibility, the hope, that next time, things will be better. I believe in the eventual triumph of good over evil, and through my novels, I want you to believe it too.
If you open one of my books, depending on which one, you can expect: –
Galaxy spanning adventures with Dave Travise or Miles Goram.
Here’s a quote from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Dr. Gillian Taylor: Don’t tell me, you’re from outer space.
Kirk: No, I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space.
I love that quote, for me it sums up what my stories are all about. I like to think that I have ordinary people doing what to them are ordinary things, just doing them, as Kirk was, in space. To us, they are anything but ordinary, they are people on a mission, seeking justice, righting wrongs or simply in search of a quiet life. Through it all, they will still be people, in that respect no different in their aspirations than you or me.
I have the mundane as well as the amazing, there are all those planets to explore, each with their own characteristics and no, I don’t think that they’re all Earth-like. Some are, but some have no breathable atmosphere, or might be water or ice based. In the same way that places on Earth are dedicated to different things, I have manufacturing planets, garbage dump planets and everything in between, including those devoted to the supply of pleasure. Some of the inhabitants are rich and have spaceships, some are not and are happy with a horse and cart.
My characters are traders, journalists, captains of ships and industry, criminals and low-life wheelers and dealers. There’s corruption, corporate misdeeds, kidnapping, all played out on a larger stage, with all the attendant scope for excitement and adventure. What I’ve tried to do is construct, for the reader, a world of the future that they can relate to.
The Balcom Dynasty
The Dave Travise Adventures
Fantastic machines and a good cup of tea, my Steampunk world.
Steampunk is a throwback, a return to the worlds of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. My world is based on life in the 1850s, grown up. There is no oil, electricity is a novelty (referred to as “Statics”) and all the real work is done by steam engines, coal gas, intricate clockwork machines. And there are some pretty cool costumes as well.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have things; if our Victorians hadn’t slaughtered all the whales and turned to what was then known as ‘rock oil’, who knows what they might have become? My world has robots, cars, jet engines, all the creature comforts you could desire. The big difference is that things are done slightly differently to how we do them now. They’re all possible without oil or electricity, those things just make them easier. The sciences have also progressed in different directions; so that in some ways, they are more advanced than we are. As for the adventures themselves, well they’re what you would expect, we have power crazed megalomaniacs, strong women, soldiers with clockwork arms and bemused civil servants who are out of their depth. All the time trying to do normal things, stay alive, find love, right wrongs.
At the moment, there are two books in my Steampunk series, plus a third that’s in progress. There will also be a standalone, set in the same world, coming soon.
Devious criminals up against an accident prone and very reluctant amateur detective called Andorra Pett.
Andorra Pett is a lady wronged. And in true lady wronged fashion, she’s upped and left it all behind her. Accompanied by her best friend, who’s also feeling the need to get away, they’ve headed out to start again. Sounds like a familiar premise? Well, maybe it is, except that my twosome have left the confines of Earth behind and taken running away to the max. The Andorra Pett stories are set in the near future. In them, the Moon and Mars are settled and there’s a space station off Saturn, mining valuable minerals from the rocks that make up Saturn’s rings.
Surely that’s far enough for anyone who wants to get away? The trouble is, as we all know, you can run but you can’t hide. Not from your past, or from getting caught up in the events that happen when you least expect them.
That’s when you discover, as Andorra does, that you might just be cleverer than you realised. There are currently two Andorra Pett stories, with a third one half completed and a fourth in planning.
I have five books currently in production, the first one, Life and Other Dreams, will be released in March 2019. Click the picture to go to the pre-order page.
The other four are in edit and pre-production, they will appear when I’m happy with them, probably later in 2019. But I do have covers to show you. Three are novels, the fourth is a textbook (my world building course) in eBook format, including all the exercises and some bonus content.
Last but by no means least
We come to my short stories. These pieces are the lifeblood of my longer works. These are the backstories, the tales borne from my desire to explain, the ideas that woke me up in the night or had me scribbling notes in all sorts of places. I even typed one on my phone while waiting at a Blood Donor session when I just had to get the idea down before it was lost forever.
A few of them are available FREE on this site, just go to the FREE STUFF tab at the top of every page to see what’s currently on offer. There are Steampunk and Sci-fi tales and Flash Fiction pieces. There are also two collections currently available to purchase, one of each genre.
That’s a bit more of an idea about what I do.
Up to now, I’ve ended up writing series, although that’s not by default, everything has started out as a single, stand-alone adventure. It’s just that as I develop the stories, I can see so much more that could happen, or has happened to my characters. And not only them, the peripheral players often get the chance to have adventures of their own, if I or my readers think that they are interesting enough and have a story to tell. Because a lot of my sequels have been prompted by readers comments or questions. Which is great, it’s nice to know that people are paying attention and asking me questions about my characters.
There are a lot more details on my Portfolio page or on my Amazon Author page. There are links to look inside the published novels and extracts from most of them. And on my Free Stuff page, you can find…, well Free Stuff. There are Short Stories and Flash Fiction pieces to show you what I do.
Not forgetting my shop, where many of my novels are available to purchase directly from me. And, if you’re quick, there’s 50% OFF, until Feb 1st. Just use code welcome1 at the checkout.
I’ll be back with another Showcase on Thursday, see you then.