Black Friday Sale: Get CONVERGENCE For FREE

Featured Image -- 3583Today’s the day – head over to Amazon get my debut sci-fi thriller ebook, Convergence, for the low, low price of totally free!

This offer is good for today only, so act fast!

If you prefer the physical format, you can buy the Convergence paperback and save 30% by using the code HOLIDAY30 at checkout (terms & conditions here; offer good until Nov. 30).

If you’ve already read Convergence, please take a moment to leave a review and let other readers know your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be long at all, and I’ve seen reviews as short as “It’s great!” on other book pages. It will only take you a moment, but it can have a tremendous influence on other readers out there.

Here’s the synopsis:

Jonah Everitt is a killer, an addict, and a memory thief.

After being hired to kill a ranking officer of the Pacific Rim Coalition and download his memories, Everitt finds himself caught in the crosshairs of a terror cell, a rogue military squadron, and a Chinese gangster named Alice Xie. Xie is a profiteer of street drugs, primarily DRMR, a powerful narcotic made from the memories of the dead. With his daughter, Mesa, missing in post-war Los Angeles, Everitt is forced into an uneasy alliance with Alice to find her.

Mesa’s abduction is wrapped up in the secrets of a brutal murder during the war’s early days, a murder that Alice Xie wants revenged. In order to find her, Jonah will have to sift through the memories of dead men that could destroy what little he has left.

In a city where peace is tenuous and loyalties are ever shifting, the past and the present are about to converge.

Publisher’s Weekly* called CONVERGENCE a “smart splice of espionage and science fiction. … frighteningly realistic. Well-drawn characters, excellent pacing, and constant surprises make this a great cautionary tale about technology and its abuses.”

“From the opening page of Convergence I was hooked. The dystopian world building is well done and the descriptions are vivid. The technology is imaginary and different…great characters and plenty of suspense/action.” – Nicholas Sansbury Smith, author of Extinction Horizon and the Orbs series

Convergence is fast-paced, full of action and a thrilling ride from start to finish. There is violence, depth of feeling, explosions, car chases and tenderness. The book has everything and is perfect for those who like their SciFi gritty, edgy and realistic.”
J.S. Collyer, author of ZERO

“kept me on the edge of my seat the WHOLE friggen time! The writing is tight. The world building is incredible, and the story itself is pretty compelling! A+”
-Melissa “Book Lady” Caldwell, Must Read Faster

“A cyberpunk thrillride through a future America under Chinese rule. The conflict between the humanity of the main character, Jonah, and the things he has had to do to survive in this harsh new world makes ‘Convergence’ an absolute pleasure to read.” –

Also available: Emergence (A DRMR Novel, Book 2) for only $3.99.

Emergence-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

The Thrilling Sequel to Convergence

Still recovering from the events that befell her in Los Angeles, Mesa Everitt is learning how to rebuild her life.

The murder of a memorialist enclave changes all of that and sets into motion a series of violence that forces her into hiding.

Hunted by a squad of corporate mercenaries, with the lives of her friends and family in danger, Mesa has no one to turn to, but she holds a dark secret inside her skull. She has no knowledge of that secret, but it is worth killing for.

The ghosts of her haunted, forgotten past are about to emerge.

“Hicks writes like Philip K Dick and Robert Crais combined, making for clean, exciting prose. He focuses on the story and never lets go.” – Lucas Bale, author of the award-winning Beyond The Wall series

“It has all the gritty Cyberpunk of the first book plus a more fully-realized world in which to immerse yourself. Excellent.” –

“Excellent, fast-paced thriller with fantastic world building. Mesa is a troubled yet strong heroine that captivates you from the first page.” – E.E. Giorgi, author of Chimeras

Click here to buy Emergence!

Black Friday Sale: Get CONVERGENCE For FREE

The Cyborg Chronicles – Now Available for Pre-Order!


The latest anthology in The Future Chronicles line is now up for pre-order at Amazon, and you might even note my name gracing the cover (and alongside Hugo award winner Ken Liu, and Alfie Award-winner Annie Bellet)!

The Cyborg Chronicles is, for a limited time, only $1.99 so be sure to act fast. And if you’re in the mood for more be sure to check out the rest of The Future Chronicles titles. A few of them are still on sale for only $1.99 as well, but there’s no telling how long that will last.

My short-story, Preservation, is set in the DRMR world established in my two cyberpunk novels, Convergence and Emergence. Neither are required reading, as Preservation is meant to be read as a complete stand-alone story with all-new characters in an all-new setting. If you’ve not read either of my novels, this short story will be a good starting place. If you’re looking to get a jump-start on the DRMR books, though, feel free to grab those books now (or check back next week for a special Black Friday deal on Convergence).

Here’s the synopsis of Preservation:

Kari Akagi is ex-British Special Forces, augmented by her government to be the prime soldier. In the wake of a devastating attack that cost her her legs, she has a new mission – protecting South Africa’s endangered species as a ranger for the Kruger National Park game reserve.

And here’s a look at the not final cover (stay tuned for the final one!):

cyborgchronicles-not final

About The Cyborg Chronicles

“The best place to discover new SF authors, I think, is any of the anthologies coming from Samuel Peralta”

— Hugh Howey, NY Times bestselling author of Wool

Cyborgs. Part-robot, part-human. Even now, with our pacemakers, our holographic eyewear, our cybernetic limbs, it is difficult to deny that we are approaching an age when the line between humankind and machine is beginning to blur.

In the age of the cybernetic organism, the post-human being, in a world when your humanity can be measured by the number of electro-mechanical components that have replaced your biological limbs, what will be the measure of a man?

The Cyborg Chronicles features stories by Hugo Award-winner Ken Liu (The Grace of Kings) USA Today bestselling author and Alfie Award-winner Annie Bellet (Twenty-Sided Sorceress) and ten more of today’s top speculative fiction writers.

Pre-Order The Cyborg Chronicles Now At Amazon

The Cyborg Chronicles – Now Available for Pre-Order!

Review: The Trials (The Red Trilogy Book 2) by Linda Nagata

the-trials-coverAbout The Trials

In the wake of nuclear terrorism, a squad of elite soldiers must combat artificial intelligence and seek justice in this military political thriller, a sequel to The Red.

Lieutenant James Shelley and his squad of US Army soldiers were on a quest for justice when they carried out the unauthorized mission known as First Light. They returned home to America to face a court-martial, determined to expose the corruption in the chain of command that compelled their actions. But in a country still reeling from the nuclear terrorism of Coma Day, the courtroom is just one battlefield of many.

A new cycle of violence ignites when rumors of the elusive, rogue AI known as the Red go public – and Shelley is, once again, pulled into the fray. Challenged by his enemies, driven by ideals, Shelley feels compelled to act. But are the harrowing choices he makes really his own, or are they made for him by the Red? And with millions of lives at stake in a game of nuclear cat and mouse, does the answer even matter?

About the Author

Linda Nagata is a Nebula and Locus-award-winning author. Her more recent work includes short fiction “Nahiku West,” runner up for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the novel THE RED: FIRST LIGHT, a near-future military thriller that was a finalist for both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she also writes fantasy, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, and a programmer of database-driven websites. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.

My Thoughts

[Note: This review was originally published at AudioBook Reviewer.]

The Trials, book two in Linda Nagata’s The Red trilogy, picks up right on the heels of First Light with Lieutenant James Shelley and his Linked Combat Squad (LCS) facing trial for their actions in the prior novel’s climax. Thanks to his group’s rogue crusade in the wake of Coma Day, a large-scale act of domestic nuclear terrorism, and the reality TV series documenting his experiences, Shelley and his Apocalypse Squad have a huge swelling of public support to see them through their military court martial.

Nagata spends a good amount of time in the courtroom, interjecting the legalese with a few high-stakes action sequences and a heady dose of paranoia, before getting her soldiers back on the streets. As in the prior novel, this near-future military sci-fi thriller has plenty of adrenaline pumping action as assassins and mercenary hit squads seek reprisals against Shelley, while the combat unit goes in search of loose nukes leftover from the Coma Day attacks. Where First Light had a few globe-trotting adventures, The Trials, largely, keeps things stateside and we get some good set pieces in Nagata’s urban action sequences and a particularly fun part that takes the LCS onto a cargo freighter out on rough seas.

All of this works well thanks to the characters. The title itself, The Trials, reaches beyond the courtroom drama and into the personal space of Nagata’s soldiers. Since we see things through Shelley’s first-person account, we get to spend an awful lot of time inside his damaged headspace and it’s wonderfully portrayed. He’s got more than a few things to mentally sort out in the wake of First Light, and here he’s grappling with the fallout of his actions, how it impacts his relationship with his father, his place in the LCS, and the world as a whole. His whole life is now a trial in its own right.

The technology on display is cutting edge and perfectly believable, while the political trappings of Nagata’s work proves scarily prescient in light of current day trends. The Linked Combat Squad is comprised of cybernetically-enhanced soldiers bound together by cerebral interfaces and outfitted with armored exoskeletons. Shelley sports a few additional next-gen upgrades thanks to the medical procedures he underwent in First Red, including a pair of robotic legs that would make DARPA envious. And then there’s the mysterious overarching element of The Red, an artificial intelligence weaving its way through the world and subtly manipulating events and people, including James Shelley.

As a military SF thriller, it’s difficult not to imbue the story with a few political elements, and the series thus far has revolved around the actions of some incredibly nasty industrial defense contractors that instigate wars at home and abroad for fun and profit. It’s a bit difficult (at least for this reviewer) not to see shades of Haliburton and Blackwater in the narrative, particularly as the rich and shady villains carry on in such egregious ways that Eisenhower would be turning over in his grave at how little heed Nagata’s world has paid to his warnings of the military-industrial complex. The Red series, thus far, is certainly a product of its time in a post-9/11 world where issues like drone surveillance, NSA overreaches, domestic spying, and the militarization of police forces have become so commonplace that they’re almost as innocuous as texting.

On the narration side of things, Kevin T. Collins returns to give voice to this first-person perspective in the life and times of Lt. James Shelley. With a runtime of sixteen hours, Collins is able to keep the pace moving along nicely and rendering Nagata’s words with a smooth precision. I enjoyed his work in the prior novel, and it’s good to see this continuity in narration. In my review of First Light, I dinged Collins a bit for his handling of shouted dialogue, and I have a similar complaint here. Chalk it up to personal preference, but I would have liked a little more oomph in the performance in those moments where Shelley and company are screaming commands and demanding attention. Collins opts to go for a slightly raised and airy inflection that makes for a spoken shout, which really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Overall, the narration is fairly consistent and makes for easy listening, with the production values earning solid marks throughout.

While The Trials is not quite – and even then, only barely – as rewarding and surprising as First Light was, it is still wonderfully executed and proves that the author’s Nebula-nominated debut was no fluke. A high-stakes thriller, propulsive action sequences, awesome military tech, and a world inhabited by richly developed characters and nasty political scheming, The Trials has it all. Nagata takes all of these elements and unflinchingly takes them on their natural progression to craft an immensely satisfying and action-filled story.

Buy The Trials (The Red Trilogy Book 2) At Amazon
Review: The Trials (The Red Trilogy Book 2) by Linda Nagata

Review: The 6th Extinction by James Rollins

the_sixth_extinction_usaAbout The 6th Extinction

A remote military research station sends out a frantic distress call, ending with a chilling final command:  Kill us all!  Personnel from the neighboring base rush in to discover everyone already dead-and not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated:  every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria.

The land is entirely sterile-and the blight is spreading.

To halt the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma must unravel a threat that rises out of the distant past, to a time when Antarctica was green and all life on Earth balanced upon the blade of a knife.  Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will discover the truth about an ancient continent, about a new form of death buried under miles of ice.

From millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past to mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, Sigma will face its greatest challenge to date: stopping the coming extinction of mankind.

But is it already too late?

About the Author

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sigma Force series and other novels. Blending science and history, his action adventure novels have been praised as “enormously engrossing” (NPR) and “smart, entertaining adventure fiction” (New York Journal of Books). Before pursuing a writing career, Jim obtained a degree in veterinary medicine and established a successful veterinary practice in Sacramento, CA. He currently resides in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

My Thoughts

I’ve been a fan of James Rollins for a number of years now, and yet I can’t help but feel that his series of Sigma Force novels are getting a little long in the tooth.

His tenth iteration, The 6th Extinction, carries with it a whiff of ‘been there, done that’ malaise and the typical Rollins formula has been reduced to a simple template. If you’ve read the series thus far, you know exactly what you’re getting. Frankly, that’s a shame. There’s no surprises, to the point that you can predict exactly what happens when and where in the narrative with striking efficiency. From an author that used to keep me glued to the pages and in constant suspense with an adrenaline-fueled read, this book only managed to inspire boredom and apathy.


Going in, you know that the Sigma team will be split in half, with the A-team and B-team focusing on their own A and B stories before converging for the finale. You know that there will be good guy scientist commandos versus merciless bad guys intent on devastating the world and siccing their own army of commandos against the Sigma boys and girls. There’s a Dog in Danger subplot, and since The 6th Extinction is all about a man-made renegade virus that could potentially eliminate the human race, you know that dog will get infected and that he will make a full recovery. When the book opens with Painter and his fiance prepping for their wedding day, you can rest assured that their lives will be quickly interrupted with a crazy global threat, but that everything will get resolved just in time for their happy nuptials to take place. You know that Gray will be dealing with his father’s Alzheimer and agonizing over the choices he must make to care for his dad, simply because that’s become an ingrained part of his story for ten novels now. I know Alzheimer is a rough and awful disease and that it is not the least bit simple for those dealing with it, or their family. But reading the same schtick for ten books now has grown into a frustration, right down to Gray repeating a decision from an earlier book under the auspices of Second Chances. I wish Rollins either had something new to say about Gray, his father, (or even the rest of team Sigma for that matter) or would just freaking move on already. There’s even multiple ticking-time bomb scenarios, stacked one atop the other in the forms of an actual nuclear bomb, a rampaging virus, and multiple infections that could spell death for these unfortunate ancillary one-off characters if a cure isn’t found in a matter of hours. About the only cliche not stuffed into The 6th Extinction is the tired ‘days away from retirement’ device.

While I completely dig the science and sense of authenticity Rollins is able to breath into these thrillers thanks to meticulous (or at least seemingly meticulous) research, it’s heavily lacking in other areas. While the plot elements of rogue genetic engineering, biohacking, and ancient, almost alien-like lifeforms surviving in shadow ecologies are ridiculously strong and interesting, the story element surrounding these devices is pretty blah. Particularly the characters, who may get shot or dismembered from time to time, only to bounce back virtually unaffected or any worse the wear. It was cute at first, but now lacks even a glimmer of interest. Which is compounded further, since this is a book centered on a mad, perilous viral threat to all of life on Earth as we know it, but there’s never really any true sense of danger. Rather than moving along at a breakneck, frenetic page, it feels bloated and sluggish under its own weight. There’s no surprises here, and the stakes don’t feel much at all like stakes because you know everything’s going to be OK. This may be Rollins’ most risk-averse formulaic comfort-read effort yet. Sadly, I found myself far too bored far too often.

At this point, one Sigma Force book is pretty much the same as the next, just swap out one bit of cutting edge science for another, change the name of the mysterious far-flung locale hiding Mother Nature’s deepest, darkest secrets, slap a new cover on it, and hit the bestseller lists. I’m sure Rollins is contractually obligated to turn out new stuff in this series for his publisher since it’s a no-brainer cash grab for both of them, but still, these stories need to get seriously shaken up and the author desperately needs to break the mold.

Or, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just too tried of prolonged, open-ended, never-ending series reads. Maybe I’m just too old for this stuff, or maybe I’m just growing more finicky with the books that fill my scare free time for reading. I obtained this book from my local library, and maybe the time that elapsed between requesting it and obtaining it meant a swing in desire and this just wasn’t the right book at the right time for me. Maybe. Just maybe.

Right now, I certainly don’t find myself in any rush to read Rollin’s next effort, The Bone Labyrinth. I’m sure I will one day, in the hopes that his books can excite me the way they did when I first stumbled upon Ice Hunt quite a while back. I used to buy his books religiously, but I think those days are at an end. For now, I’m quite content with waiting for an ebook copy to turn up in the check-out queue at my library, or for it to hit that sweet $1.99 price point. Or maybe this was just a misfire for Rollins and he can rediscover his groove and remind me why I used to enjoy his cunning romps around the world and into the corners of lost dark continents.

Buy The 6th Extinction At Amazon
Review: The 6th Extinction by James Rollins

Tails of the Apocalypse

FB-Ads-Title-Date-PFV-sidebar-21-1024x536Tails of the Apocalypse is a new doomsday anthology that features our four-legged friends as the main protagonists, or, in some cases, as the central point-of-view character. It’s available for preorder and releases Nov. 20, for a sweet price of only $4.99. It’s a cheap read, but one that can have an enormous impact on the lives of our furry friends.

For each book sold, $1 will be contributed to Pets for Vets. The aim of this organization is to help rehabilitate returning soldiers, who may be disfigured from war, emotionally scarred, or suffering from PTSD. It also helps save shelter dogs by giving them a forever home. In short, it’s a beautiful win-win for both involved. As a reader, you get to do some good by contributing to a worthy cause, and also get a solid dose of short stories to enjoy. And who doesn’t like that?

About Tails of the Apocalypse

***$1.00 from every copy sold benefits Pets for Vets (***

The Doomsday siren calls on civilization’s last day. Natural disaster. Nuclear war. Pandemics. These are the ways the world ends.

The Walking Dead meets The Incredible Journey in 14 incredible tales of nobility, self-sacrifice, and unconditional love as told by today’s most talented independent authors. Humans will learn an old lesson anew—that animals, the heroes in these tales, might just make the difference in their quest to survive one more day amongst the debris of all that once was.

Seven stories set in all-new dystopian landscapes. Seven stories set in the bestselling post-apocalyptic worlds of David Adams’s Symphony of War, Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania, Nick Cole’s Wasteland Saga, Hank Garner’s Weston Files, E.E. Giorgi’s Mayake Chronicles, Deirdre Gould’s After the Cure, and Edward W. Robertson’s Breakers.

You’ll come to love these new heroes as you love your own pet. Their tales are heartbreaking. They’re exhilarating. They’re unforgettable.

Buy Tails of the Apocalypse At Amazon


Tails of the Apocalypse

A Not-NaNoWriMo Writing Update

bigstock-burning-computer-keyboard-170261961Another November, and another annual National Novel Writing Month is upon us. Although I’m not taking part in NaNoWriMo, I thought it would still be a good time to give you a little update on what I’ve been working on. Coincidentally, though, my current Work In Progress is expected to be (at least) a 50,000 word novella, which I hope to have completed by the end of November.

I started writing Mass Hysteria! over the summer, with the blindly optimistic hope that I could finish it before my wife delivered our first child. Naturally, the story kept growing while time grew more and more scarce as we approached our September due date. And since Baby Hicks was born, free time has been…well. What is this “free time” you speak of?

Whaddaya mean you need to find time to write? #fuggitaboutit

A photo posted by Michael Hicks (@mphicks79) on

Mass Hysteria! will be a return to straight-up horror for me, following my shorter detour into this arena with last year’s Consumption (which, incidentally, received this great review from SCREAM Magazine). It’s a dive into some natural horror, in which Mother Nature gets its aggro on against mankind and the food-chain gets flipped upside down…and then things get crazy from there. This past weekend involved writing a fairly strange and gruesome scene that I’d sort of been putting off, but finally plowed through. I’m now in the homestretch and think there’s maybe two or three more chapters worth of material left to cover before I hit THE END on this first draft.

Editing this one is going to be a bit of a doozy I think-slash-fear. I’ve already had to cut out a particular subplot involving events in DC since it just wasn’t flowing well with the main Northern Michigan-based narrative, and there’s more than a few things that need fleshing out and clarifying. But I still really dig that subplot, which means although my work will (should) be done soon on Mass Hysteria! prime, I’ll then begin working on a companion stand-alone side-story that I’m tentatively calling Mass Hysteria!: Checkmate.

The plan is to have both these titles released simultaneously sometime in 2016, budgetary concerns (read both time and money) permitting. They’ll be independent narratives, but set in the same “world” and facing similar events and consequences. Each will give readers a full story in their own right, but reading them together will provide a larger A and B story. Or at least that’s the plan…

Alongside writing, I’ll also be proofing final edits for my short story, The Marque, and giving a read over on some of the other stories to be collected in Crime & Punishment.

Crimeand-PunishmentMy story is a bit of cosmic horror by way of the apocalypse turned wild, wild west. It’s gooey and gory and inspired quite a bit by Eastwood westerns. I’m waiting on edits and suggestions to come through from Lucas Bale and Alex Roddie, and I was given a sneak peek at the forward from Samuel Peralta. If there’s an award for Best Damn Foreword Ever, Sam’s is a sure-fire winner, let me tell you.

I also recently completed edits on a short story, Preservation, which will be seeing publication in The Cyborg Chronicles, with an ETA of December. Keep an eye out for the cover and more release details as soon as I have them! Although Preservation is completely a stand-alone story, it is set in the DRMR world established in my novels, Convergence and Emergence. Preservation introduces us to all-new characters (a Wounded Warrior with plenty of cybernetic enhancements) and an entirely new setting (Africa’s Kruger National Park) than the central storyline told in the two DRMR books, so there’s no required reading prior to enjoying this short story. My hope is that it will act as a gateway to these novels, though, and introduce new readers to my work.

chroniclesThe Cyborg Chronicles is part of the line of The Future Chronicles anthologies, spearheaded by Samuel Peralta, and which, taken as a large body of work in its entirety, has featured the likes of Hugh Howey, Lucas Bale, Anthony Vicino, Ernie Lindsey, Susan Kaye Quinn, Ann Christy, Jennifer Foehner Wells, Peter Cawdron, Therin Knite, Ted Cross, and loads of other great authors.

In The Cyborg Chronicles, I’ll be sharing pages alongside Hugo Award winner Ken Liu, whose debut novel The Grace of Kings released earlier this year, and Hugo nominee and USA Today bestseller Annie Bellet. This a huge, huge honor for me, and having the chance to appear in a Chronicles anthology has been a dream of mine since starting this whole indie author venture a year ago.

So I think these projects will carry me through the rest of this year, and hopefully 2016 will be just as productive as 2015 has been. Now, what’s happening your world, writers?

A Not-NaNoWriMo Writing Update

Guest Post: ‘Getting Out There’ by J.S. Collyer, Author of The Orbit Series

12063334_10153185699362308_8299883923781373917_nHello everyone. First I want to thank Mike for allowing me to do a guest post for his wonderful blog. I hugely admire Mike as both a reader and a writer and look to him for inspiration for both my own writing and on what to read next.

I wanted to write this post not only to share details about my latest SciFi novel release, Book 2 in the Orbit Series ‘Haven’ (reviewed by Mike last week), but also to prompt any new writers who are hesitating on jumping into the deep end to take the plunge. Because, let me tell you, the whole ‘I just released a new book’ thing never gets old.

Wanting to be a writer and actually getting a book out there, or even written, sometimes feel like two separate places on either side of a deep, echoing canyon. Bridging the gap is daunting. So daunting in fact that sometimes new writers don’t even try, or try only as hard as adding a paragraph to an old manuscript every couple of weeks, following agents on twitter or joining writers’ groups online. All these things, and I know as I’ve been there myself, are helpful and feel good and may help you learn some technical skill, but don’t actually get you anywhere real on their own.

The trick? Write a book.

No, I’m not kidding.

Sit down, get it written.

No, I’m not joking. You think it’s obvious but not having a manuscript to work on or to approach agents with is the biggest stumbling block I’ve seen many promising new writers trip on time and time again. The major obstacles to getting something written (in my experience, usually worrying about whether your book will be any good, what people will think of it, whether your facts will be straight or whether it will even get published) are not sinister and evil and should be squashed, they are also redundant as you will never have to confront them unless you’ve actually written something.

I’m  not saying don’t be prepared. By all means, seek feedback as you go, make plans, take a course or get a book about writing (I recommend Stephen King’s On Writing), but don’t get yourself into such a knot of preparation you’re afraid to commit even a single word to paper. Just get yourself a plan or a premise and have at it and see where it takes you. You’d be amazed at how quickly a manuscript can come together and once it has you’re committed. You’ll motor forward because there’s no going back.

Don’t worry that your first draft is pants. It’s meant to be pants. Big, baggy, shapeless, unattractive pants more times than none. Polishing, editing and refining is when the story really comes into its own and where you really get to roll up your sleeves and show that script just how much potential you have. So don’t worry if, once you’ve geared yourself up to get a book written, that the script doesn’t feel right, or if it doesn’t feel good enough or even if its riddled with plot holes and cliché. All that can be fixed. You can’t fix anything if you haven’t written it.

Once you have a book, then you can get to work on everything else. Whether you decide you want an agent and, through them, a traditional publishing contract or if you want to self-publish  or go through a smaller, independent publishing house like me, (Dagda Publishing I believe are currently looking for submissions if you wish to look: you can’t even begin to approach any of it if you don’t have a script. So get it written! You have the power to do it, it is all down to you, you call all the shots and it’s fun. Ok, so it’s hard work, it’s nights of hair pulling and forehead-clutching, it’s early-morning Google fact-checking and it’s facing the fact that you will need to kill some or parts of your darlings. But there’s nothing else like it and it’s why we do what we do.

I won’t approach getting entirely to the other side of the canyon, i.e., going through all the pros and cons of the all the ways of getting your book actually published (though I will say: once you have your manuscript, do your research. There is no right or wrong way to get published but they all require work, commitment and determination and how long or painful the journey is can depend on whether you’ve chosen the right path for you) because there are many, many such articles out there that will explain it better than me and this post is just about that first step. Writing your book. Because once that’s done, you’re officially on the path and that’s where it all begins.

20140617051506-ZEROTest001I wrote my first novel, Zero in 2013 and it came out last year. I was lucky enough to have Dagda Publishing already interested in my work as I’d contributed a couple of short stories to some of their anthologies (which I discovered through those half-trying methods of getting out there – following publishers etc online – proof it is still worth doing!), but even their interest wouldn’t have been enough to get me anywhere without an actual novel. So I wrote one. And having done that, I knew I could write another. And I did.

Haven, my latest release, is book 2 in the Orbit Series, sequel to Zero and came out over the weekend. Both books have done well amongst fans of Science and General Fiction alike thanks to the efforts of both my publisher and the promotion work I have taken on myself. And now the third is on the way too.

And let me tell you, the late nights, the hard work, the worry the doubt and the fear about the quality of your work or what people will think of it (or what people DO actually think of it once the reviews start coming in) all pale away to mist in comparison to the fiery, invigorating feeling of seeing your book published, whether it’s your first or your hundredth. Whatever you do to get there, it is all worth it. And is more than possible.

So what are you waiting for? Where’s that first draft? Put the time aside and get it down! Because once you’ve done that there’s no stopping you.

I still have a long way to go and many more books in me, but being two steps further along the journey than I was two years ago I have found is the best incentive for continuing down the road, wherever it may take me.

10600417_1567612493494314_4555780136065848840_nBook 1 in the Orbit Series is called Zero and has been described as ‘James Bond meets Firefly’. It is out now on Amazon:

Haven, book 2 in the series, which has been described as ‘cinematic, full of breathtaking moments’ and is out now for Kindle and as Paperback:

Details of all publication and more thoughts on writing, publishing and promoting SciFi on J S Collyer’s WordPress:


Twitter: @JexShinigami

Guest Post: ‘Getting Out There’ by J.S. Collyer, Author of The Orbit Series