Lately, I’ve been making terrific progress with the first prequel to Tempest. I had 35k words down in semi-edited prose, the story arc was planned out, the characters were documented, there were three lovely plot twists, and a strong wrap-up. And then two unrelated things happened.

The first was we went on holiday. But the laptop stayed at home. Of course I made notes on my phone, but most of those notes concerned the not-yet-formed second Tempest prequel. My point is there was no serious writing, and that’s as it should be, on holiday. Though there was a lot of reading, and that’s also as it should be.

The second thing was not long after returning home I became unwell and spent three days flat on my back doing nothing but being ill. As I faded in and out of recsleep (that’s short for recovery sleep) little bits (bytes?) of information got pushed around my brain by a small section running on auto. But when I woke up this morning, at least 75% recovered, and after my brain had dumped the weirdest dream from its core memory, all the work that little section had been doing was there for me to mull over.

And yeah, I didn’t like the way the first (as yet unnamed) prequel was going. The start was good, and it had a strong second act. But somewhere along the journey it had lost its way. So I saved the WIP as file version 2, deleted 3,073 words, and shifted another 2,410 words to an archive which I may use again.

And now I’ve dumped the baggage I need to make what’s left of the WIP into a sharper, leaner, more focussed story. I need to not get side-tracked into unnecessary areas.

Sequel, schmequel

When I first started making notes about what would eventually become Tempest, the book was a stand-alone. It just felt that way, even while I was jotting stuff down on Notepad. And then I began work on the draft manuscript, and I hit a point early in the book (chapter four, if you’re interested) which felt pivotal.

‘Ooooh,’ I thought. ‘I can do something different with this.’ Or words to that effect. And that’s how an additional Notepad session was created, in which a Tempest sequel (actually, a prequel) began to take shape. Yay!

Except I said ‘a sequel’ (meaning a prequel) because after a few months of dabbling with the draft prequel, and yes that was while I was still writing Tempest, it became clear my notes laid out a different prequel to the one I’d roughed out at the top of the Notepad session.

So in my head, right now, Tempest is a trilogy:

  1. Tempest
  2. Prequel #1 (two years before Tempest takes place)
  3. Prequel #2 (immediately before Tempest happens)

We’ll have to see how it all works out.


Well, it’s taken just over a year, a couple of renames, a lot of self-editing, a professional edit in New York, and some more self-editing (which, to be honest, is a process that I will never completely finish), my second novel, Tempest has been thrust, blinking into the light of day.

Tempest has more than its fair share of twists and turns. Writing a synopsis, or even the cover blurb, without giving plot devices away is a hateful challenge. But here you go, have a look at this:

YOU are a 29-year-old hotshot former Special Forces helicopter pilot. You’re a combat veteran who can take down anyone who gets in your way. You’re an avenging angel, and you make people pay for their crimes.

Your problem is you are stuck in a time loop. You’ve lived the same year a couple of thousand times. Can you get out of the loop? Can you find a love that lasts past a year? And can you succeed with your biggest and deadliest challenge yet?

This is Tempest, my 2023 action, adventure, thriller novel. Tempest is widely available from wherever you buy your paperbacks and your ebooks and even your audiobooks. You can also get it:

Reading others

I used to get really precious about reading (lots of) books while I was writing a project. It didn’t matter if that project was a short story, or a novel, or an album review, or even if it was a writing exercise I’d given myself.

‘What if the thing I want to read changes me?’ I’d fret. ‘What if I read something and that something causes me to lose my momentum? Or maybe it could push what I’m aiming for out of my reach?’

This is the immaturity of an early stage writer. A well-rounded, mature, experienced writer would (after scoffing at these cutely sad thoughts) actually encourage the earlier me to read more, to read everything, and to read voraciously as if the reading appetite may one day leave me. It never has, obviously.

But one thing has happened as I’ve diversified my reading tastes and as I’ve continued to read as many books as I can (21 books read so far this year, as at June 2023), and that one thing is… learning. It doesn’t matter what I’ve read. Or who it was written by. I can guarantee that I have learned (or learnt, if you prefer) something from it. Or learned something new from that writer. It might have been a turn of phrase, or the way a particular passage was constructed. Or it could well have been how a narrative was delivered. Or even how two or three characters spoke with each other in the round, and how they reacted to each other.

What I’m trying to say here is that despite my preciousness and immaturity, reading has complemented my writing at almost every turn. I say ‘at almost every turn’ because to read something needs time, and dipping into reading time takes away my writing time. But reading is actually an integral part of writing. I love reading. I wish I could do more of it. I think I love reading as much as I love writing. This feels like a good point of balance in my life. Long may it continue.