I think we can all agree that a great idea for a magic trick would be where the magician pulls a pregnant woman on stage. His assistants help the pregnant woman onto a bed and then she gives birth. The doctor holds up the baby and everyone cheers. Then the baby starts aging super fast. He grows and grows until the audience realizes: IT’S THE MAGICIAN!
The room erupts in applause again even though the woman and her husband are a little like, “Jesus Christ! What about our actual baby!?” No problem! The magician gives the couple some t-shirts with his tour dates on the back. Unfortunately, he’s all out of the “Large” size so he’s forced to give them a size too big.
The couple begins walking back to their seats, but the magician calls out.
“Wait!” They turn around. Thank God! It must be about the baby’s wherabouts!
“I found another large t-shirt in this pile,” says the magician.
The crowd cheers again! Nice to see all the loose ends tied up.
So, I hear you ask, what was with all the suggesting that this year was going to be especially busy, busier as it went on, even? Surely Aidan’s off to school in September, and then you’ll have a bag more time to work?
Yes, and no. You see my girlfriend’s pregnant, due in September. Once more my offspring shall stalk the earth, etc.
(Obviously I’ve known for ages - the start of the very same week I found out Headline couldn’t offer on MURDER PARK, in fact. Quite an up and down few days that was. We’ve been keeping schtum until the first scan, just to make sure it has the right number of limbs, tentacles, a huge glowing eye in the centre of its forehead, etc., exactly as expected.)
I’m refusing to have anything at all to do with naming until scan 2, but she’s already nixed “Killfuck Soulshitter”.
So now we know that I’m not going to get a contract for another urbany thrillery hard-to-classify type book, at least, not yet, what the hell, I hear you cry, are you going to do? Your publisher seems to still like you, but you’ve got to come up with something, right?
Why yes, mysterious stranger, I do, and thank you for asking. “Go forth and write horror!” my agent said. “You’d be brilliant at that.” And so I duly carved together a full blown by-the-chapter outline and sent it to him, only to find out that it was too confusing and complex (and also possibly not horrible enough). Thankfully it seems I just tried to combine two stories in one, and last week I finished extricating and outlining the first of those to send back to him. The second will follow in due course, and then he can take his pick. The aim is to have that novel done by the end of August.
At the same time, I want to try to hedge my bets somewhat. I have a surplus of ideas (thanks, in part, to the pitching round when I found out Headline couldn’t go for another LEVELS-type book) and a shortage of time, a shortage that’s only going to get worse as the year goes on. So to make the most of the first while dealing with the second, I’m intending to run off a sideline in novellas at a wildly optimistic rate of one every two months (which means that by September, I’ll have three done). As much as I hate a bandwagon, these will go out via Amazon and on direct sale here. They’re likely to vary quite a bit in terms of content and even (to an extent) genre, and I confidently expect that they’ll sell well into the single or maybe - maybe - double digit numbers each. (I obviously hope for more, but I’m no salesman.)
Hopefully this’ll give me more fingers in more pies, as it were, and keep my income options flexible. And while I know I could in theory write another novel instead of three novellas, that doesn’t address the idea surplus. And for side projects, a shorter form feels better; not such a mountain to climb each time.
And then, come January, barring weird changes in dead tree sales meaning a regular pub deal for it has been resurrected, the currently near-finished MURDER PARK will come out in its own e-dition.
The charming, sexy Steve Mosby has said some very nice things about TRG:
The Razor Gate, by Sean Cregan
Or by John Rickards, as some of us know him, but the Cregan name differentiates his vaguely SF, industrial, biohazard noir – this and last year’s The Levels – from his earlier crime thrillers. There’s a danger in reviewing your friends, but The Razor Gate is certainly his best work so far. The plot involves a new serial crime – people (known subsequently as “Clocks”) are abducted at random and implanted with tiny biological bombs that will kill them in exactly one year’s time. They know it, and yet nobody can stop it. It’s an idea ripe with potential both for philosophical reflection and for action, and John delivers both here in spades, as a reporter attempts to discover the truth about the people behind the “curse”, and a rogue cop hunts for the same in order to save his Clock girlfriend. But what impresses even more about the book is the atmosphere and setting: the world-building. It’s all so coherent, so pungent (in a good way), without ever being over-bearing. You frequently want to pause the story and just look around – learn a little more about your surroundings – and the book is so well-realised you get the impression John already knows stories about every location here, no matter how briefly mentioned, and every single character.
Basically, this is great stuff. You should read this. It’s a fucking crime of culture that book 2) – say – is a massive bestseller, whereas this, with all its invention, all its passion and obvious intellectual investment, is not.
Also, I’m using “biohazard noir” from now on.