Posts Tagged ‘cover art’


This is a golden age for reading. Book lovers have access to masses of stories in multiple formats at excellent prices, instantly available upon purchase more often than not.

Is it a great time to be a writer though? There are those who say it is, and there are those who say that it is certainly not. As I’ve said before, the truth of it is somewhere in the middle –  easier than ever to become a writer, harder once you are to be successful. In real terms I don’t suppose the odds have changed much.

A common conception is that once you have that publishing deal, that’s that. Win! A Malibu beachhouse awaits! In reality it’s just the beginning. The hard part is getting noticed, and that is where I’ve been struggling. My original fiction has not sold satisfactorily, despite being well received. Is it my name, which is all at once weak sounding, all vowels and soft consonants, too masculine (Guy) but also confusingly feminine (Haley)? Do I choose subjects that don’t appeal? Are the plots too complex, too simple, too dull? Are the covers bad? Are the books indeed just rubbish? This latter tortures many a writer in the night, believe me.

I have a sneaking hunch it might have something to do with the fact that in the course of one month dozens of genre books are published in English alone. Your precious novel is an ant in a giant tsunami of ants bearing down on a solitary aardvark who has only recently eaten.

I try not to dwell on this too negatively, but examine what meagre information I have to plot how I can do better. That is, after all, the only way to succeed. To that end I’d like to draw your attention to the reissue of Champion of Mars, out on Kindle with a brand new cover shamelessly designed to appeal to fans of The Martian, and I have no problem with that. The unsuccessful John Carter of Mars movie probably didn’t help this book, perhaps the surefire hit The Martian will?

Better than the cover is the price, for Champion of Mars is currently available for a mere 99p, or equivalent, from Amazon (UK, US and others). If you’ve not read my original fiction Champion of Mars gives good flavour of it. I like to think it’s a pretty good novel, and I offer these reviews on Goodreads in support of my claim. There’s more about the book on this page.

If you do enjoy it, do me a favour, tell your friends and rate it online. Word of mouth remains the single best way to get noticed. If you don’t like it, I invite you to do the same. Fair’s fair.


At the beginning of December, I posted the cover to The Death of Integrity. The art, by Jon Sullivan, turned out to be only a placeholder. I was surprised, as I thought it grand. But then I saw the actual artwork. Oh boy. Here it is.


Chapter Master Caedis of the Blood Drinkers chopping up genestealers in this picture by Jon Sullivan. Note the classic colour scheme for the ‘stealers. My favourite touch is the light around Caedis’ sword. When drawn, the weapon displays past victories as holograms around the blade, and Jon has hinted at that brilliantly.

This is one of the best Warhammer 40,000 covers I’ve ever seen. BL have been spoiling me with book art, and this is another magnificent treat.

At last! I can tell you about some of the very exciting things that I know about and that you don’t, or rather didn’t know until now!

Today I can finally reveal not one, but two of my Black Library novels. In case the picture above doesn’t give it away, one is Skarsnik, about the infamous night goblin warlord.

I’m a big Warhammer fan, as you might know. I started playing in 1984 with the first edition of the fantasy game. That’s right, when there was none of this new fangled Warhammer 40,000 business and Toughness values were represented by letters. I was 11. I’m now 39, so I’ve been playing for 28 years. And I still play. I love it. (Playing for so long puts on odd perspective on things – I bought myself a little birthday gift on Wednesday, a box of plastic bikers for my 40k ork army. I’ve wanted these for ages. To me they are “new models”. They came out five years ago).

I’ve always been a massive greenskin fan, leading orcs and goblins since day one. For years they lost, but the last half decade has been kind to my green minions and they now win more often than not. It helps that Skarsnik himself is my army general. Want to see my army list? Here it is.

Skarsnik’s Stabbas

(I date all my army lists when I draw them up. This is the most recent variation on Skarsnik’s army, but it really doesn’t change that much. The last game I played with this was 7/5/2012. It represents but a small proportion of my greater goblin horde. No, I don’t have any orcs in my army, although I have Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs prepped for painting because they are very cool. Other orcs can go feed my squigs. Literally).

Naturally I was well up for it when Nick Kyme at The Black Library suggested I write a novel about Skarsnik. Nick worked for me when I edited White Dwarf magazine, now I kind of work for him. A strange reversal, but a fruitful one. Our earlier association means he knows full well how much I like my goblins.

I’ve put up a page on Skarsnik here with a brief breakdown of the plot, so I won’t repeat myself, but I will tell you some of what I am trying to do with the story. A lot of people see goblins as funny, comic relief characters (why, just check out The Black Library’s own blog post to see how prevalent this attitude is). Granted, they are funny, but they are also vicious, wicked, baby-eating horrors of the first degree. “Ooh! Look at the funny goblins”, gamers say. Yeah well, you wouldn’t want to be bound to spiky stick in a stinky cave with a lot of them standing around you. They’d have knives, and they’d be laughing. Not so funny now, are they?

Come to think of it, you probably don’t want to face mine on the battlefield either.

So, I wanted to capture both sides of this character. You’ll see how amusing and horrifying goblins are as we watch Skarsnik trick, wheedle and stab his way from sporeling to king of Karak Eight Peaks. For non-goblin fanatics there is plenty of skaven and dwarf action, with a little bit of the Empire thrown in. Truly, Skarsnik is a cornucopic fantasy delight.

Now to the other project. Sharp eyes might have seen this on Amazon. Yes, I’ve also written a Warhammer 40,000 novel called Baneblade. It’s about the tank of the same name. Although I wrote this book quite a while ago, and it is actually out some time before Skarsnik, the arcane nature of publishing dictates that I can say only that it’s about a young lieutenant of a noble house who joins a veteran baneblade crew. And that’s your lot.

By the Emperor, there’s more! I’m also writing another book for BL called [REDACTED] about the [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] who must [REDACTED] before [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] is [REDACTED]! I’ve not finished writing that yet but I’m having a lot of fun with it. More later when I am free to talk.

Of course, none of this is out for a while, so why not (blatant plug time! Please forgive me, I have to eat) check out my Richards & Klein books. A buddy-cop adventure series set in the 22nd century that pairs a dour, ex-military German cyborg with a wiseass super computer in a trenchcoat. Click here for more on both books, and free R&K short stories “The Nemesis Worm” and “Ghost”. You may also like Champion of Mars, an epic tale spanning millennia from the next century to the far, far future of the Red Planet.

There are further free short stories here on the site (of varying vintage, so perhaps not me at my best, but still interesting). There are some others you can buy if you wish at The Angry Robot Trading Company.

Right, you’ve been good and read my pleading for you to buy my books. In return, please feel free to ask me anything about anything – including these hot, newly announced BL titles – in the comments. Games, journalism, GW, Mantic, SFX, White Dwarf, whatever. I will answer what I am allowed to. Think of it as an interview by you, if you like.

If you’re into wargaming, you might want to follow me on this blog and/or on twitter, as there will be another announcement on the little toy men front soon. Plus there’s all the SF/Fantasy/Horror reviews, interviews, features and so forth you get regularly on this site. On twitter you might have to put up with a bunch of stuff about dogs, beer, social issues, the environment and children, but I do talk about gaming, SF and writing sometimes.

Thank you for your attention. Guy out.

Look! Look! Look! It’s the cover of my next Richards & Klein novel, Omega Point! This is book two (or should I say part two?). I say part two as really, the first two books are one case. But buy lots, then I shall be able to write more novels featuring this intrepid, post-human investigative duo. I really want to, you know. And I swear that, until the big finale at least, it will be one book per investigation from now on in.

If you don’t know Richards the Class Five AI and his ex-military German cyborg partner, check them out. I’d urge you to  nip out and buy the book, but if you prefer a taster can download “The Nemesis Worm”, a short novella featuring another of the pair’s cases, either off Amazon, or here on this site. Oh, they’re detectives, in the future. It’s way cool, really.

The cover art is by Neil Roberts. Ain’t it grand? Go to Angry Robot’s website for more. I’ll be putting a page up for the book myself this week.

Omega Point is out 24 April in the US and Canada, and 3 May everywhere else.


How is this for a great picture?! This is the book cover for my upcoming novel Champion of Mars, out from Solaris sometime in the first half of 2012. I really wanted something that captured the story’s tone; a blend of Planetary Romance,  post-microchip Hard SF and pure adventure, and the artist delivered.  His name is Dominick Saponaro, a very talented dude, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The faceless man to the front is the titular champion, Yoechakanon Val Mora, hero of the dying days of mankind. A lot of the story takes place  in the very far future, a long time after Mars has been terraformed, with a parallel storyline in the near future, and a series of short episodes set in times between. It’s an unusual structure for a book, but one that I hope will work well.

Yoechakanon is partly inspired by the hero of William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, but more influential is a series of dreams I had when I was very young. In these nightmares, really,  a man with no face chased me again and again over a parched desert landscape. One night he caught me, and leaned his face into mine. His face was not composed of solid matter, but a tingling field not dissimilar in feel to static electricity. Terrifying, but after that he troubled my sleep no more. Dominick’s vision is scarily similar. (In the book, Yoechakanon wears a suit of smart alloy armour, he does have a face under there!)

The lady to the rear is Kybele, his lover and companion, a spirit — as these far future Martians call AI, although AI is not quite the right word for what she is.  She doesn’t have a physical form as such, so her inclusion is poetic licence. There were also no pteranodon-like creatures in the book, but I think they look so cool there are now!

Visit the website for Dominick’s Swashbuckle Studio here.

Onto another cover, that of Reality 36. You may recall my posting of an earlier version of this. Apparently it was not popular with the people who buy books to sell, and that is a very big problem. This close-up of a robotic face — one of Richards’ android ‘sheaths’ — has gone down much better. Reality 36 is out this August.

Whoop! Hello chaps. I feel quite justified saying hello, you know. I know people read this, as I’m averaging around 30 hits a day on this blog, even when I don’t post anything. So, first up — thanks for reading, whoever and wherever you are.

If you wonder why the long radio silence, especially in light of my pompous pronouncements about not letting this thing wither on the vine, then I’ll tell you. I’ve been working on SFX for the last five months or so, initially  editing their news section while their editor was off on another project, leaving their deputy editor (and news editor) in charge. Editing the news was once my actual day job, you know. It was great to be back, like going home almost. And even better to be in an office where the conversation doesn’t just concern Thomas the pigging Tank Engine, or where the other people don’t throw enormous weepy fits when they don’t get their own way (well, not often). Please understand, I love my son and love spending time with him, but occasionally it’s nice to be able to concentrate on something for longer than three seconds.

After the news came SFX Special 49: Best of British 2011. This is the third SFX special edition I’ve edited, and although they’re damn hard work, it felt  good to be exercising all those editorial skills I spent years acquiring. But, all done now. See that in the shops 28 March. Buy it, so they give me more work.

Big news is the image to the left. This is the cover for my very first book, Richards & Klein: Reality 36. It’s out in August from Angry Robot. Exciting eh? It’s got a robot and a cyborg with a gun on it, and that tells you the single most important thing about the book: IT’S FUN! I’m notoriously, whingeingly self-critical, despite my superior air and northern bluster, but I’m pretty happy with it. (It’s also got a detective story, a great world, cool characters… but I reiterate: FUN! and may I also say EXCITING!)

It’s a mark of how busy I was at SFX, actually, that although this cover was finished weeks ago, I’ve not had the time to blog about it.

Work also proceeds apace on the cover of my Solaris novel, Champion of Mars. I’ve seen the rough, and by God it looks amazing. I can’t wait to put that up here. I’m going to get a print of it to hang on my office wall. That’s when I get an office, it’s not hopeful right now, but that’s a story for another day.

I’ll be working on the second draft of my first Black Library novel, Baneblade for the next few weeks, but I’ll also be blogging here and posting some of my other work on the site regularly. My next magazine job is a ways off now, so it’s writing all the way (and dog walking. I should get round to putting a page up for Magnus actually, he’s getting big…)

See you around.