Mmm, perhaps I need to do a little less ranting here, not to stop pissing people off, but to keep myself sane. Really, if you look for it, there’s enough in the media every day to get one frothing at the mouth. Perhaps the anger is rather like depression: it’s there first and then looks around for an excuse to exist. Nice thoughts. I’m closing on 50,000 words of Line War and maybe I should deliver an early RSI warning: I think this is going to be a big one. I keep going in to writing say section of the story and come out the other side of it having not quite got there. Plenty of drama, but the aim I set out to achieve each time seems to take two sections. Also, at 50,000 words (which for me is usually more than a third of a book) the war itself has hardly got past the digging of trenches stage. I mean … I’ve only blown up one world for goodness sake and the death toll hasn’t moved into eight figures yet. A hundred edited pages of Hilldiggers are behind me and more are on the way. I’ve had two reader’s reports on it and on the whole they’re good. Sales are looking good too. The hardback sales of Polity Agent are over half again those of Voyage of the Sable Keech, but then I’m finding that I’m getting more readers coming back for more in the Cormac sequence than I am with stuff set on Spatterjay, which was rather surprising. What else? My weight hovers at about 12 stone, despite the fact that we’ve nearly polished off a barrel of homemade stout (this weekend I’ll be making five gallons of bitter), fitness seems good, despite the cigarettes and, really, I seem to be on top of everything. I just wish I had another set of hands and another brain to keep up with demand … note to those wannabes out there, if you really are aiming for publication success and not just pissing around, produce loads of stuff, loads, because if you do get there, it’ll all soon go.

11 thoughts on “Waffling.

  1. I'm surprised about Sable Keech not doing as well as Polity Agent. I read Gridlinked first and then The Skinner and although I liked Gridlinked (and have bought every subsequent book) I *really* liked The Skinner to the point where I'd put it down as my favourite Sci-Fi book. Only thing I can suggest is that your building alot of momentum with the Cormac sequence.

  2. Sales of the hardcovers of Sable compared to Polity probably have more to do with the print runs for each and the publisher's reluctance to do further runs and end up with lots of expensive hardback sitting in a warehouse. However, it does seem to be the mass-market paperback versions of those books in the Cormac sequence that just keep rolling out.

  3. mmm waffles.

    i am torn between skinnerism and cormacia… sadly, for me, it's the gridlink. sometimes? i pretend my bluetooth headset for the cell is one.

    but seriously, the momentum thing rob mentioned is a powerful element. where is it all going, hey? that sort of thing. with blegg being outed, as it were, it is on the seat edge i await to see if cormac will receive a similar fate.

  4. Interesting words… and yes I am in the latter category of silly bastards who dream and piss around with writing.

    Trouble is, and this is truly pathetic, the noise my PC makes drives me ***ing insane so I have a little ongoing project to shut the damn thing up. I am slowly getting there but the thing is still making this audiable grating thrum despite investing in some new quiet components. ****er! Oooh and don't get me going on about Microsoft stuff else I will need to join your anger management class.

    If it were not for the other half I would log on to Apple and happily spend an eye-watering sum on a nice silent toy (that would no doubt have to go back to the warehouse to fix some dodgy ailment within a few weeks.)

    Pen & paper… hmmm tried that… seemed to work better than the PC, but no good for polishing an almost complete story.

    Essentially I need to sort myself out and stop making excuses else I won't get started until I am a creaking old fart – and thats the whole point, there has got to be a better way of making a living than working in IT 😉


  5. Both are good and I go to lengths to obtain them, but I started with Spatterjay. Also, Cormac doesn't have Sniper or Sailing Ships. I haven't read Polity Agent yet. I'm hoping to start it around the winter solstice. My brother gave you a an interesting endorsement last night. "The Polity feels like the future."

    It ultimately boils down to do you want to read high seas adventure or Agent Double Oh Bad Ass.

  6. I want to read about weird alien ecosystems and human interaction with same, so the Spatterjay books scratch my itch better than Gridlinked. I can't say anything about the later Cormac books, because Line of Polity still hasn't arrived from Amazon.

    I recently picked up a copy of The Engineer Reconditioned, and most of the stories fit my requirements. Finding another story featuring Erlin was a pleasant surprise.

  7. I think Splatterjay has more potential, but its maybe not hitting the mark (for me) as well as the Gridlink Sequence.

    I like the captains, love sniper and loved how Vrell got away. But at the moment enjoying Cormac books more. But its not that Cormac is my favourite character. Just finding more of the cormac books to enjoy.

    Maybe its a pace thing. Or maybe there is more unfolding in the Cormac area, and the need to know whats going to happen.Which is always a powerful driving force.

    The Prador war area has potential.


  8. Kirby, I haven't yet decided Cormac's fate, but as you know I'm not one to easily kill off characters.

    MR, if you want to make money, become an estate agent. Took me twenty years to get where I am now, which though a nice place to be is still one I've entered while well on the road to old-fartdom.

    Novawasp, ah, but Cormac does now have a freaky spider drone called Arach. No sailing ships, but a spaceship called Jack Ketch with a hobby for collecting execution devices seems cool to me.

    Nick, The Line of Polity should scratch your itch, since there's plenty of the weird life. In The Engineer ReConditioned the stories Spatterjay and Snairls are the ones I used as the basis for The Skinner.

    And Skar, when Spatterjay was first published in a magazine called Grotesque, its title was put down as Splatterjay … I guess it's an understandable mistake. Maybe, some time in the future, I'll do the whole Prador War … maybe a series of books…

    The opinions here are a bit of a microcosm. Every one of my books is someone's favourite. All that varies is the intensity of the reaction e.g. Cowl is one that has been hated and loved in equal measure.

  9. I have my heroes in both series, as mentioned before, the character you have given to Sniper is truly an inspiration. Spatterjay wouldn't be the same without him. I look forward to seeing how Arach develops working with Cormac.
    I think overall Cormac is the series I look forward to the most. To be honest though, Ive read all your books and always feel at a loss when I finish the latest one.
    Keep up the good work Neal.

    By the way, how on earth do I get signed copies of your books, I have only managed to acquire 2 so far, they are rarer than hens teeth 🙂

  10. I think using the smaller book format as in the Prador War, is a nice way of doing a sample of a new area. Seeing how its received, and also seeing what it sparks within the writer … that would be you Neal btw.

    I would be intrigued to see what happened to the 2 drones in prador war, 5.5 thousand years down the line. Did they evolve ? Become more than the drones they started out as. This would put them well beyond the Splatterjay books.

    Intrigued to see what Vrell does when he returns to the Prador kingdom (Does he return, or does he bide his time for a big strike later on). How long do the Prador live for. Since the king of the 3rd kingdom may have been around a long while. Mmmm many musings.

    I think on my earlier post. I think the need to find out whats going on, is a common driving force. With the cormac books, its galactic in scale.

  11. Hi Neal, this was the only way I could find of contacting you about the signed copies you mentioned in my comments yesterday.
    The only signed copy I have managed to acquire so far is Cowl, any hardcover copies you could sign and send of your books would be greatly appreciated. 1st's would be nice but not necesary and I'm not excpecting you to come up with the whole collection 🙂

    I only collect hard back editions and I have almost completed the unsigned 1st edition collection, I think my quest to find a 1st Gridlinked may last long but the fun is in the chase.

    Please contact me at peter@sengelow.com with costs and you'll make someone a very happy.

    p.s don't forget to bring back Sniper sometime…we all miss his sense of humour 😉

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