Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sword of the North: First Chapters Available Online!

I've made the first two chapters of Sword of the North available to read on this very website!

Click here

These chapters were first published in the UK mass market paperback of The Grim Company - but until now readers from other parts of the world had no way to read them short of importing the aforementioned hallowed tome.

Note that these are from a non-final draft and hence may contain errors, with minor details still subject to change. But they'll hopefully serve to whet your appetite for what will no doubt be the epic fantasy release of 2015...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Two Recent Interviews

Okay, so they're not that recent - but there's a good chance you might've missed them. Both interviews were done back in June to tie in with the Gemmell Awards nominations. Unfortunately, The Grim Company eventually lost out to Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood in the Morningstar category. I'm reliably informed it's an excellent book, so no hard feelings. *Sharpens sword*

The first interview was for the Gemmell Awards site itself:

Alex: The Grim Company is a book that captures a much darker mood for fantasy, something we are seeing more within the genre. Where do you think this grittier style has emerged from?
Luke: I'm not sure you can pin it on any one thing. Rather, it's more a confluence of factors. Both TV and film have moved in a decidedly darker direction in the last 10-15 years. Martin is certainly the king of the "grimdark" movement as it pertains to fantasy – though I suspect he might be reluctant to wear that particular crown. In essence, I think consumers demand more honesty from their entertainment. That's what "grittiness" should be about, really: embracing the darker truths of the human condition as well as (not at the expense of) the heroic.

The second interview was done by the excellent David Emrys for his blog "Written With A Sword":

With a second name so close to ‘skull’ it’s little surprise that you went for the grittier, and excuse the second pun, ‘grim’ side of fantasy. Was this something you had planned for, or did the story darken/realise of its own accord? 
Luke: Having such a grimdark-friendly name was obviously fate at work. The only other avenue open to me was Olympic rower, and even with my prodigious physical gifts I'm not certain I'd have improved Team GB that much.
When I began writing The Grim Company I was already working on a teen-rated fantasy CRPG set in a pseudo middle-eastern fantasy world. I had to make the two projects very different, to avoid feelings of repetition or crossover. With my gaming project taking place in an "exotic" setting, I decided to go in the other direction with the novel and play with some familiar tropes whilst embracing an edgier tone.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Grim Company - International Gallery

As of this writing, The Grim Company has been published in eight different languages. Interestingly, most of my European publishers have gone with the UK helmet motif rather than the stylised and suspiciously hirsute image of Jerek the Wolf which adorns the US cover. My personal favourites might well be the Russian and UK paperback covers. Physically the Italian edition is very pleasingly sized, just small enough to fit into a large pocket, but they all have their own unique charms in the flesh. I'd be interested to know which of the covers below catches your eye?

UK Paperback

UK Paperback









Saturday, 4 October 2014

Achievement Unlocked: Copyediting

It's been a lengthy silence on ye old blogge; apologies if you've been feverishly checking for updates every morning for the past five months only to hit the back arrow moments later, hopes and dreams for the day irrevocably shattered. I will do a much better job of keeping this blog updated in future. Probably.

The good, no, fantastic news is that after three hefty revisions, the finished manuscript for Sword of the North is now in the hands of my esteemed copyeditor at Head of Zeus! Overall it weighed in at just under 154k words: reasonably hefty by the standards of most novels and a respectable size for an epic fantasy tome. No doubt it will lose a couple thousand words during the copyediting process as redundant words and even paragraphs are ruthlessly pruned. On the other hand, it might gain some words too. But hopefully not too many.

It's been a long two years of writing, but I find myself happy with how Sword of the North has eventually come together. According to Amazon, the revised release date for the North America edition is now May next year, while the UK edition is still pencilled in for March. I'll provide confirmation on this very page once I have it. A simultaneous cross-Atlantic release would be nice - but my editors have been very patient and if there is a slight release delay Stateside, it'll be my own fault.

So what's next? While I wait for the script to arrive back from the copyeditor, I'll be brainstorming book three, Dead Man's Steel, and catching up with some reading and gaming. There's also the ongoing process of house-hunting to ensure my stress levels remain high. Now my wife and I can afford to be picky (or at least pickier) the number of options has increased exponentially. Hence every slight inconvenience or omission with a prospective property becomes a cause for much cogitation. Ideally we'd find somewhere spacious and modern, with a dedicated office that lets in plenty of light. Even the grimmest of grimdarkers needs the sun occasionally.

To make up for my radio silence, I'll have a stream of updates to post over the next week or two, including some rad photos from my two con appearances this year and the beginnings of a project only the most foolhardy would even contemplate to undertake...