Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Black Templars

Posted: August 28, 2014 in Fiction, The Black Library
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Well. Well, well, well. The first totally original post for some time (does that review I wrote last week count? Barely). Sorry about that. I do intend to write about my experience moving back to my home town, and pen a farewell to Somerset – something I’ve been meaning to attend to since before I left. I’m ten weeks overdue.

However, that’s probably more for my own benefit than your interest. So let’s talk about The Black Templars instead. Those of you who read my Black Library fiction will have noticed that I’ve written a few stories concerning the Knights of Dorn. I think I can now safely confirm that I am currently working on a new Black Templars story arc. This is really exciting as it’s the first line of Black Templar fiction since the new codex came out. So far, the following have been released:

There are more on the way. It’s perhaps worth noting here that ‘Only Blood’ and ‘Season of Shadows’ make a mini-arc, with ‘Only Blood’ coming first. The stories I’m writing comprise two strands, those about Helbrecht, and those concerning characters of my own invention. Armageddon provides a crossover point for the two.

I know the Black Templars have a lot of fans, and I’d like to invite you to comment here. Ask me questions, put me right, make suggestions. I enjoy talking. Let’s talk!

Finally, I’ve started my own Black Templars force. I’ve never actually had a proper Space Marine army before, so this is a new hobby journey for me. If I can take some decent pictures, I’ll put them up here on the blog at some point.

Until later.

Praise be.


I’ve moved. I’m back in Yorkshire, and after a week of waiting I finally have the internet.

I’ll write something about the great relocation soon, but for now here’s notice of a bunch of Black Library stories I have out this week!

First up, Evil Sun Rising, a Red Suns Meks novella (those cheeky green tinkerers from Engine of Mork). Is this the longest ever Ork POV story? I think it just might be…

But wait! Uggrim and Snikgob’s adventures continue in ‘The Klaw of Mork’, the world’s only Ork audio drama (so far).

And we also have ‘Season of Shadows’, the first in a series of Black Templars stories I have been writing. Expect much more of these.

It’s raining Haley! Er, forget that. It sounds weird.


I’ve been offline for the last couple of weeks. I’m still moving, I’m still on my own, I’m slowly going potty. Eight weeks this has taken! When will I get to move?

Ahem. Sorry.

My lad has had another week off school, shunting all my work into the evenings. Resultantly, blogging rather went down the list of priorities.

But as I’ve just completed my rough draft of my next Black Library novella, I will get back into the swing of burbling on to no really good end right here, and have a little time to bring you this.

Here’s something a bit different. A few people (and I mean primarily you, John Salter) have asked if I’ll be doing more Richards & Klein. The answer to this question is, as always, yes, but I have to prioritise immediately paying work, and any further stories featuring our near-future detective duo will probably be self-published. In short, you may have to wait.

However, I have been working on something. Below is a very, very rough draft of the opening to a new Richards & Klein novella entitled “His Master’s Voice” (alternate titles could include “Richards & Klein Go Dogging”), in which Otto and Richards go looking for a lost dog. Let me know what you think. Inspired by The Island of Dr Moreau and the excellent Dogfellow’s Ghost by Gavin Smith, this will be the last R&K story for some time with verbose animals in it, I promise. If enough people bug me about it, I’ll finish it off this summer, okay? If enough people buy it, I’ll write another R&K book. I’ve ideas for three further, long stories: one set on the Moon, one set on Earth (emphatically not in the Grid), and one that takes in Japan and in the outer solar system. Bear in mind, I started writing this two years ago, so if you want to see any of that, you really are going to have to bug me.

Rough draft-y things here include no proofing, unfinished writing, shortened scenes, and obviously no ending. I also haven’t decided when to set it. I’d like it to go after Omega Point, but if it does then one has to wonder why Otto isn’t fretting about his, um, problem more. We’ll see.

Click “read the rest of this entry” to, pretty obviously, read the rest of this entry. In this case, the story. Look! Here it comes…

(more…)


I haven’t written a general update for a while, but having read Aaron’s post on this matter on Wednesday, I thought I’d do one too. Me, I’m totally original.

So, in brief…

I still haven’t moved yet. I’m still waiting for the conveyancing on my new house to go through (note to non-Brits − in England this takes FOREVER, even in Scotland it’s easier, and that’s part of the same state). This is taking a long time. Help.

My wife went North six weeks ago. Aside from the odd weekend, I have been playing single parent to a large dog and a fractious child. I have new-found respect for single parents, and for whisky.

I’ll write a heartfelt and slightly drunken post about leaving Somerset when it transpires that I can actually LEAVE.

Sadly, it transpires that Doctor Magnus (the big dog mentioned above. He’s not my live-in shrink or anything) has hip dysplasia, which means that I’m probably not going to be able to work him any more (except as a psychiatrist). Life sucks sometimes, but he’s mostly okay.

Work wise, I’ve pretty much sold myself to the Black Library for the whole year. Valedor and The Last Days of Ector are out at the weekend. I’ve been writing lots of BL stuff the last couple of months. Audios, shorts, novellas, and prepping novels. You name it, I’m doing it. I’ve got other stuff on for other people, but it’s either pretty minor or SHHHH! secret.

I’m at the Horus Heresy Weekender from Friday night (tonight, I suppose), so you can guess some of what I’ve been writing (exciting times). But really, I’ve a staggering amount of GW-flavoured stuff on the way. (Well, it seems staggering to me, but probably only because I have to write it. ‘Meh!’ you’ll probably say when you see the list. ‘That’s not staggering.’) If you see me weeping in a corner over my tattered, bloody fingers, buy me a drink. I promise to consider prioritising the favourite projects of those people who do.

I finally finished my work on the big, non-fiction project The Sci-Fi Chronicles I’ve been editing. This is a big relief, as I was going nuts looking at timelines. But it’s shaping up to be a handsome tome.

Hobby wise, I’m still a little bit in love with The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game, and have been painting up a force of Second Age Elves, mainly so I can use them as First Age Elves and play “Fight Morgoth”. When I’m done, I’m going to restage Glorfindel’s battle with a Balrog for laughs.

However, I’ve been adding to my Ork army in dribs and drabs, and am very excited about the new Warhammer 40,000.

And that, yeah, that about covers it. I’m very close to finishing putting all my archive Death Ray material up on this site, which is another minor, yet pleasing, thing. Three issues to go!


If you’ve been over to the Games Workshop or the Black Library sites today you’ll have seen that I’ve two new books coming out next weekend! Both of them detail the fate of the the Imperial Valedan system, whose five worlds are caught between the closing jaws of two Tyranid hivefleets.

Valedor centres on the system’s eponymous prime world. All of Valedan was once inhabited by Eldar. Too close to the heart of the Eldar star empire for the inhabitants to survive Slaanesh’s birth, too far for the worlds to be drawn into the Eye of Terror, it is in Eldar parlance a “True Star”, a place left deserted. Usurped by human colonists millennia ago, now man has been scoured from the planet. The Eldar return, fearing the chance melding of the hive fleets could spell doom for the entire galaxy. So great is this threat, that a gathering of Eldar kindreds occurs which has not been seen since the Fall…

The Last Days of Ector is a prequel novella set in the lead-up to the Tyranid invasion. Ector is a sub-arctic hive world whose twenty cities are lucky enough to each be overseen by a single Space Marine. Can these noble Crimson Castellans save at least a portion of the doomed population?

The books tie in with the latest Apocalypse Battlezone book, called, unsurprisingly perhaps, ValedorThere’s some tasty new models out with it too.

If you want to know more about Valedor, pick up White Dwarf, as there’s an interview in there with me about it (I’m not sure if it’s next week or this week), where I talk about how I tackle writing from an alien perspective. There’ll also be a short interview on similar topics up on the BL website next week. I had an absolute blast writing both these books, and if you’d like to know more about them please feel free to ask questions in the comments thread.


I had my very first Horus Heresy meeting yesterday. No, I’m not going to tell you what it was about, or what project it concerns or any of that stuff. Sorry, I just can’t. I can say that it was the coolest meeting I have ever not been to.

I had to attend via Skype. I’ve always been dubious about teleconferencing, most of the times I’ve been involved it’s worked very badly. This time it went like a dream. Not quite as good as being there, but not far off, with the added bonus that I could take my lad Benny to the park at halftime. Yes, despite being a parent for five and a half years, I still managed to agree to a meeting bang in the middle of the Easter holidays. To be fair to me, ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem. Emma’d take some time off and take care of Benny, but she was away up in Yorkshire ahead of our move there (I booked the meeting before the Great Migration North was on the cards, really I did, really!). Credit due to junior Haley that he behaved so well. Good boy.

Although not a week goes by without me reading of how work, powered by the internet, is creeping deeper into personal time, my work/life balance is playing out nicely thanks to digital technology. In my case, it’s a powerful tool to allow me to do things I otherwise couldn’t, like being able to parent and yet still be involved. I suppose I’m one of them there digital artisans cutting edge types write about. Long live the third industrial revolution. Hopefully it’ll benefit everyone eventually, then we can all spend more time mucking about on the swings.

Usually, I would attend a meeting like this, primarily because it’s just nice to get out of the house. Human contact’s low in this line of work, and I need it.  And to sit with giants, in whose mighty company I no longer feel ashamed! Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, Gav Thorpe, Nick Kyme, David Annandale, Laurie Goulding, Lindsey Priestley… most of whom I’ve known for years. Even so, I’ve not had very many meetings on shared creative work beyond magazines, especially ones like this where we all have an equal stake (by which I mean I was not in charge). I was a little cautious, partly because I’m still not convinced I’m wholly up to speed on the Horus Heresy, partly because I didn’t really know what to expect, especially from myself. I can suddenly become irritable and defensive, you see, because I’m a terrible misanthrope half the time (and an awful attention tart the rest) who likes to get his own way.

But it was remarkable. The others were very supportive despite my first-timer gaucheness. Ideas were  flying, and not simply good ideas, but ideas that built on each others’ to create something greater than we’d manage on our own. Like a night in the pub full of whimsical storytelling, or a great RPG session, only this time, we’re weaving the universe. Weaving it! Like cosmic Norns man! Far out!

Another aspect of my 50/50 personality is the split between vile cynic and irritating optimist. Mr Cynic lost out, this really was quite something. I can’t wait for the next one, or for you to read what’s going to come out of what happened yesterday. I can honestly say I want to do more work like this. Lots more. Thanks chaps for such a positive experience.