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8 things I'd like to share this week

Hello there!

How are you all?

It's been a hot week this week, with the UK in the grip of a heat-wave (or summer as it's called in other parts of the world.)

It's also been a busy one. Monday saw me shooting up to London for the Penguin Children's Books Summer Party, which was a lot of fun and gave me a chance to catch up with friends old and new. Thanks for Penguin for inviting me and also for the beautiful editions of Treasure Island and The Secret Garden which were in the goodie bag. I haven't read Treasure Island in years and this is just the impetus I need to dive back in. 

While I was travelling, I was plotting a new middle grade novel I'm writing at the moment. It's not a licensed gig this time, but my own characters and I'm getting really excited about it. I'm an outliner by nature, and now have a chapter breakdown until the midpoint of the novel (and a general plan of how I'm going to get to the end) but I must admit, I'm having to really fight the urge to dive right in and start typing!

However, I had to stop myself, as for the rest of the week, I was working on Warhammer Adventures, proof reading Book 1 – Attack of the Necron – and making edits on Book 2. Next week, I start writing Book 4 in the series and it features a Warhammer 40,000 race that I've been looking forward to writing. 

Anyway, enough about me. On with this week's links and recommendations...

1. Read a Han Solo Star Wars comic FOR FREE!


IDW have made this years Star Wars Adventures Free Comic Book Day edition available for download on Comixology US. 

That's an all-age Star Wars story to read for free!

Unfortunately, due to rights issues, it's only available in North America at the moment, but fans on that continent can click here to witness Han Solo and Chewie tussling with bounty hunters 4-LOM and Zuckuss.

The story can be read as a stand-alone, but also leads directly into Powered Down, our two-part Solo story in Star Wars Adventures #10 & 11.

The script is by yours truly and the art is by the wonderful Derek Charm. 

2. Star Wars Insider

Staying with Star Wars for a moment, I turn up in two recent issues of the official Star Wars Insider magazine.

Issue 181 sees me interviewed about bringing Jaxxon back to a galaxy, far, far away, while #182 sees me write my first articles for the mag, namely a history of Star Wars children's books, featuring quotes from a host of Star Wars authors, and an interview with author and illustrator Adam Rex. 

Find out more details here.

3. Be Creative

There has been lots of talk about toxic fandom recently, with fans of various franchises reacting angrily to the creative choices that have been made in their fictional universe of choice. 

It's been sad to witness  the rifts and divides this has all caused, with both sides of the 'argument' engaging in flame wars.

However, I was really impressed by comic writer Magdalene Visaggio's attitude over on twitter, which I'm sharing here as I think it has a lot of merit - and is also a good example of how a pro can react to this kind of thing. 

Great advice there. Fan fiction was how I got writing, and I'd also say that you can also write your own universe. If a franchise has disappointed you or made you feel it's not for you anymore, why not create your own worlds to explore?

4. Doctor Who by Robert Hack


Comic artist Robert Hack has been tweeting his Twitch-inspired Doctor Who doodles.

Just look how gorgeous they are:

For more of Robert's art, check out his Twitter feed and also gaze in wonder at his recent covers for Titan's Road to the Thirteenth Doctor mini-series

5. Introducing Friendo

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Friendo  by Alex Paknadel & Martin Simmonds, which comes out in September from Vault comics.

I can't wait to see where this one goes.

It's dark, sharp, SF satire at its best, a world where virtual assistants go very, very wrong.

You’ll want to read this when it comes out. You have until August 3rd to get your order in with your favourite comic store!


6. Come Spy With Me

Onto the books I've read over the last couple of weeks. 

Here's a fact that will shock precisely no-one: I love a bit of Bond. It's no wonder, then, that I picked up Anthony Horowitz's new Bond novel, Forever and a Day on the day of publication. It's billed as a prequel to Casino Royale, which I must admit worried me a little at first. Did we need an origin story for Bond?

However, after enjoying Horowitz's previous double-oh outing, I wasn't disappointed with his second shot at Fleming's crown, which feels suitably authentic. Horowitz nails the Fleming's voice, aided and abetted by the fact that there are fragments of original Fleming material in there. 007 himself seems a little off at points, but only because this is Bond on his first mission, so he isn't as experienced as we're used to, and literally makes rookie mistakes along the way.

While the ending felt a little rushed, it felt like a worthy addition to 007's case files.

Next I read The War in the Dark by Nick Setchfield.

I think I've just found a new favourite series.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve known Nick for years, but that didn’t influence how much I loved the book. It’s like Bond meets Constantine, an occult spy thriller set in 1960s Europe. Nick’s turn of phrase is just wonderful, and you can tell he’s crafted every single line. His locations are evocative and his chatacters intriguing. There's intrigue, a cold-war travelogue and a villain with a cooler-than-cool physical quirk.

I certainly hope we’ll see more of his particular brand of John Dee inspired espionage in future.  

The War in the Dark is out 17th July.


7. Ragged Alice

Congratulations to my pal Gareth L. Powell, whose new novella, Ragged Alice, was announced this week by Tor. 

You can read more about this supernatural crime story here. 

8. Shane Black interviewed on the Writer's Panel

Before I go, I want to recommend a brilliant interview with director Shane Black on Ben Blacker's The Writer's Panel podcast. It's a couple of years old, but is pure gold, full of writing advice and great anecdotes.

As you'd expect, some of the language isn't safe for work (or if you're doing the washing up surrounded by the kids), but stick your headphones in and enjoy. I've listened to it twice now. Once while out on a walk, and a second time to take notes!

You can listen here.

That's all folks...

Hope you find something there to interest you. Don't forget to keep sending me your recommendations too!

Oh, there is one more thing - I need to announce July's prize draw.

Every Cavletter subscriber is entered into a free draw every month and for July the prize is a signed copy of Resurrection Engines, fifteen steampunk retellings of classic stories and fairy tales.

The anthology includes Fairest of Them All, which is my retelling of Snow White.

The winner will be drawn at random from the subscriber list on 1st August. Good luck!

Until next time, stay safe my friends,

Bristol - 1/7/18

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