Tag Archive: News

Publication Day Is Coming

After a lot of faffing, re-reads, re-writes, abandoning, resurrecting and general wasting time dicking around on the internet, I’ve finally picked a date to publish my novella. It’s been an ongoing project for some time – in one form or another about 2 and a bit years – but I’m biting the proverbial bullet and going for it. Had the final beta readers feedback and am now editing based on their suggestions. Once that’s done its one more read through and I’m good to go.

I’ve also gone with a professional designer to do the cover – the wonderful Susan Omand over at Omand Original  http://www.omandoriginal.com/ – who is working on the design based on my very rough sketched idea. I’ve gone for a retro looking cover a bit like the old 1950s movie posters, and chosen a couple of scenes from the story to highlight the technology present in the world I’ve created.

Once I have the finished cover I’ll do a post about the process and include my rough attempt and the proper version that will be uploaded to Kindle when done. I’ve already been on Amazon and created my account and put most of the details in I need to, all that remains is the novella.

At present it stands at just shy of 17,000 words, but I have the feeling it could be gaining  some with this final beta readers input. I already have the 2nd draft of the second novella done – and is already longer than the first – I’ll be looking to get that out to beta readers once part one is published.

I’ll be doing updates from now to P-Day, and there will be some serious pimping as well.

Oh yeah, what’s it called? Ha, ha, see not as organised as I thought. The overall series title is Life in the Fastlane and part one is called Brave New World.


Great news in my inbox yesterday, after the sad demise of Pill Hill Press earlier this year the newly formed Embry Press have now released Use Enough Gun: Legend Of The Monster Hunter III


use enough gun


Originally due for publication late 2012 by Pill Hill, the Monster Hunter series is now under the Embry Press umbrella. Miles Boothe – who runs Embry – also plans to release another anthology – Both Barrels – later in 2014 that will feature stories from parts I and II of the Monster Hunter series. This collection will feature my first published short story Groundhog Day. As and when I have publication news I’ll share.

Use Enough Gun features stories about hunts that have gone wrong, hunts where the hunter has to visit dark places within themselves to survive. My short story titled Jack features with its pages.

Really pleased to be published again.

Since January I’ve been working on my first full novel titled Life In The Fastlane. The first part was completed several months ago and has been out to Beta readers and come back with some great feedback. Part two was finished about a month ago and is at present fermenting on my hard drive whilst I work on part three. As the whole process seems to be going so well I thought I’d let a little taste of what I’ve been working on out of the bag for all to see, and comment on.

What follows is from the beginning of part two, the chapter is called Canon To The Left Of Me, Canon To The Right. I’d be grateful if anyone can give me some feedback, let me know what they think, let me know if they’d want to know more?

So without further ado fly you monkeys, fly….



Bennett’s knuckles were white as he gripped the armrests of his chair, all around him the bridge shook, annoying rattles and squeaks that he made a mental note of to tell the maintenance crew about when they returned to Los Alamos. Apart from that the bridge was quiet, the crew tense, to his left Patterson stood behind the navigator, his eyes locked on the readouts.


Lieutenant Kelso partly turned; her eyes still on her station. “We’re still at least fifteen minutes out sir.”

“Too long, increase speed.”

Patterson turned to look at him. “She can’t take the stress sir, she’ll shake apart.”

Bennett glared at him as he slammed his hand on the hand rest. “Then shake her apart damn it.”

He saw the look that passed between Patterson and Kelso. Bennett had seen the two of them together during R&R, he was glad his young First Officer had found something of interest other than his career, but he’d have to keep an eye out incase this blossoming relationship threatened the smooth running of his bridge. Patterson turned back to watching the navigators station, the intensity of the shaking seemed to increase. Bennett looked round, he knew his ship. She could take it.

The minutes crawled by, no-one on the bridge spoke, they all knew what they were heading into, all knew the seriousness of the situation. Bennett was about to ask what their position was when the speaker overhead crackled.

“I’ve managed to bounce a signal off an outlying drone.” Callum was a new addition to the crew, a communications expert who had proved his worth in upgrading the ships internal and external systems.

…there’s too many the skies full…”

“…the Mark Twain is going down, she’s on fire…”

“…tighten up the left flank, plug the gaps…”

Bennett recognized the last voice, Captain James Moorson of the Alexander M Palmer.

“Range?” Bennett barked.

“We’ve reached the outlying ships.”

Patterson looked across at the Tactical Station. “Lower the shields, launch our drones, reduce speed…”

“Belay that, take us in flank speed.” Bennett saw Patterson turn to look questioningly at him but chose to ignore him.

The shutters that protected the bridge windows snapped shut, the lights brightened and everyone looked to their stations. They now relied on radar and the drones to be their eyes. Bennett swung a screen across in front of him and watched as the Vegas headed into the battle.

“They’ve launched airmines.” Patterson looked at Bennett, his eyes imploring, they both knew the danger the mines meant. He nodded at his First Officer.

“Reduce speed; let the drones to clear a path.”

They were still a long way out, when most people think of an aerial battle they have images of ships tightly packed together, daring maneuvers, one-on-one dog fights. In reality a battle can cover several dozens of square miles. Ships like the Vegas need a lot of room to move, she could take a mile just to turn and face the way she’d come. Real airships were not designed to behave the way the ships in the movies did.

The outlying ships were those that were damaged and were trying to return to base. Below, plumes of smoke rose from less fortunate ships, black smears on the landscape, debris scattered over hundreds of yards.

“I’m picking up a UFS transponder signal.” Callum adjusted some dials. “It’s the Palmer, she’s taking a pounding.”

Bennett looked to his screen calling up Callum’s station feed. The image was blurry, being bounced across miles of debris strewn sky and via several booster drones. The Palmer was smaller than the Las Vegas. Smoke was pouring from the rear section of her single gondola and her envelope looked to be deflating. Several smaller ships surrounded her, taking pot shots. Standing off was a larger shape, nearly equal to the Vegas.

“We have a lock on that ship yet?”

Patterson looked at him concern on his face.

“Transponder identifies it as the Luigi Galleani.”

Despite the situation Bennett smiled, the Galleani was the most powerful ship the Soviets had this side of the Rockies; a dangerous opponent but a great prize.

“Zero in on the Palmer, deploy the rest of our drones give then some cover. Bring the main batteries to bear on that ship.”

Around him his crew carried out his orders, they knew what to do; they were the best to come out of the academy in the recent draft. They had to be to get a berth on the Vegas, Bennett was very picky about who he would trust with the safety of his ship.

The Ship lurched, a loud clang reverberated overhead. They were taking fire, the enemy knew where he was going and were trying to slow him up to give the Galleani a chance to move to face him. But the Vegas was the most technologically advanced ship in the air, no matter which flag was painted on the side, and she was built to take a lot of punishment.

The images of the Palmer and Galleani grew on his screen, Bennett could make out the damage the smaller ship had suffered, yards long rents in her envelope, gaping hole in the aft of the gondola. He could imagine the damage inside, the casualties.

“What’s the state of the rest of the battle group?”

“Six ships down, the Denver and Mississippi have withdrawn with heavy damage. The remaining three are holding their own trying to keep the worst off the Palmer.”

“Time we evened the odds.” Bennett looked across at Patterson. “Deploy the hammer.” Patterson nodded and turned to the vacant station at the rear of the bridge. Callum got up from his station and joined him.

The station was a new addition, something that hadn’t been there a few months ago. The wood frame was bright, polished. The metal gleamed. Central on the wall above was the screen of a Difference Engine, Callum slid into the chair and typed in a command into the keyboard below. The screen came to life, a confusing muddle of symbols and formula. Patterson sat at the second chair and accessed what looked like a basic navigation station.

“Coordinates locked.” A set of numbers appeared on the screen in front of Callum. “Power levels at maximum, target acquired, Fastlane formed.” He punched a command; Bennett looked back at his screen in time to see the side of the Galleani’s envelope bulge outward then rupture as something big and lethal shot skywards.

Callum cheered behind him, Bennett suppressed his excitement. He watched as the missile – that was little more than half a ton of solid metal with one of the new diesel engines bolted on the side – arc round and ploughed back into the top of the envelope. The Soviet ship sloughed sideways as the envelope lost its integrity. The hammer shot out the bottom of the rear gondola, flame and debris following it out. Fires raged within the ship, she began to lean over, turning on her axis, before beginning the slow, graceful fall earthward.

Bennett looked round at Callum’s beaming face.

“It would seem Professor Sykes isn’t full of hot air after all.”

All Rights Reserved © Philip James Norris 11th June 2013

2013 is a big year for me, December 3rd I turn 50, so I’m using that milestone as a target and aiming towards it with my writing projects for the year. I decided late last year that I’d been setting myself some unattainable goals, goals like getting a novel written in a couple of months, working on several projects at the same time. All I was doing was painting myself into a corner, and getting frustrated because nothing was getting finished.

As part of the plan to regiment my projects, I had a splurge in November with an alternative NaNoWriMo. Instead of a novel in 30 days I wrote, edited and submitted four short stories, they are all out and waiting on responses (well one was rejected fairly quick, Lightspeed magazine lives up to its name with a superfast turnaround time, but has since been resubmitted elsewhere). Over the Christmas period I spent a lot of time reading scripts, I was preparing my mindset for the main project of 2013.

About four years ago I wrote a novel, it was for a competition and didn’t get anywhere and has been sitting on my hard drive ever since. What I have decided to do this year is re-read that novel and adapt it into six 60 minute episodes. The idea is I’ll submit it to the BBC Writers Room. I’ve already started on the pilot/1st episode and have a rough first draft laid out. the plan is to get a complete first draft of all six episodes done by June/July. After that I’m leaving it for a couple of months before going back through for the second draft. All being well sometime before my birthday I hope to have all six episodes done, polished and in a submittable state.

Of course the script isn’t the only project. Alongside it I’m plotting for a horror novel that should be ready to start writing May/June time (the plan is to use the couple month downtime after the script first draft to do the bulk of the writing). and I’ll also be doing some short stories and Chuck Wendig’s weekly flash fiction challenges.

All in all I hope 2013 to be a productive one, and hope that one of the seedlings I’m cultivating might take root.

RIP Neil Armstrong









News has broke of the sad passing at the age of 82 of Neil Armstong, the first man to walk on the Moon. As Commander of Apollo 11, he and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin spent nearly three hours on the Lunar surface.

Earlier this month Armstrong underwent surgery for blocked arteries. No news has been released yet as to the cause of death.



San Diego Comic-Con 2012

For the past few days San Diego Comic-Con has been host to thousands of SF & Fantasy fans eager for the latest news on their top shows and movies. I collated some of the news here for shows and films I’m interested in.

First up…

Marvel – Phase Two

With Marvel Avengers Assemble the studio announced the end of their Phase One releases. Phase Two would contain Iron Man III, Thor II and Captain America II. The plan is the second phase will lead up to the second Avengers film. Over the course of Comic-Con more information has been released.

Thor: The Dark World is the title for the God of Thunder’s second outing and has a release date of November 8th 2013. As yet no further details are known regarding plot and casting, Chris Helmsworth will be reprising the role of Thor.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the title for Steve Rogers second outing and has a release date of April 4th 2014. No further details are known, but in the comics The Winter Soldier storyline was about “Bucky” Barnes who was Steve Rogers sidekick during WWII. It was a Cold War tale with “Bucky” revived without his memory and brainwashed by the Russians as an assassin. I’m not sure if they will use the same storyline or update it maybe with “Bucky” being radicalised.

Ant-Man was announced but no release date yet. He is a superhero who was at one time a member of The Avengers,  in the comics various characters have assumed the name, the original was Henry Pym, a brilliant scientist who invented a formula to alter his size.

Iron Man III is filming now, and footage shown confirms that Sir Ben Kingsley is playing The Mandarin, a long time enemy of Tony Stark.

Guardians of the Galaxy are another superhero group like The Avengers, except they are from the far future alternative time-line. Marvel have announced this film as a bridge between the three sequels and Ant-Man film and the second Avengers outing. In the after credits clip of the Avengers we saw the main adversary behind the attacks on Earth, this was a character called Thannos, it is believed both superhero teams maybe involved in battling him.

The Walking Dead S3

The trailer for season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was shown. This series covers events in the town of Woodbury and introduces a character known as the Governor.

Game Of Thrones S3

Season 3 of HBO’s Game Of Thrones began filming last week. Unlike the first two seasons casting announcements have been scarce as it seems the producers have saved them all for Comic-Con. Season 3 will air on March 31st 2013.

A brief breakdown as to who is who.

Mackenzie Crook has been cast as Orell, a wildling who is a close advisor to the King-Beyond-The-Wall Mance Rayder. Crook is probably best known to UK viewers as Gareth from The Office, he also stared as one-eyed Ragetti in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Paul Kaye has been cast as Thoros of Myr, Thoros is a Red Priest like Melisandre. But unlike her Thoros likes to drink and fight. He is a one-time drinking partner of Robert Baratheon. In the books he went with Lord Benric Dondarrion to bring Ser Gregor Clegane to justice on Ned Stark’s orders (S1). Kaye shot to fame in the UK as “Dennis Pennis” a “shock-interviewer” who insulted celebrities whilst interviewing them. He stared in many shows throughout the early 2000s.

Richard Dormer has been cast as Lord Beric Dondarrion of Blackraven. The character did appear briefly in S1 when he was despatched by Ned Stark to bring Ser Gregor Clegane to justice, the producers decided to recast for S3. Dormer is an actor and playwright.

Clive Russell has been cast as Brynden “the Blackfish” Tully, the uncle of Catelyn , Lysa and Edmure. In the books Brynden was introduced in The Game Of Thrones, but because of the trimming down of the Riverrun/Tully storyline it has been delayed until S3. Russell is a well known actor and has appeared in countless films and TV shows.

Tobias Menzies has been cast as Edmure Tully, he is the younger brother of Catelyn and Lysa, and nephew of Brynden. Edmure is not a great warrior and lacks Catelyn’s political skills. Menzies played Brutus in Rome.

Tara Fitzgerald has been cast as Selyse Baratheon, the wife of Stannis Baratheon. She is a devotee of the Red God had staunch supporter of Melisandre. Fitzgerald is a star of stage, screen and TV, most recently as Dr. Eve Lockhart in BBCs Waking The Dead.

Ellie Kendrick has been cast as Meera Reed.

And Thomas Brodie-Sangster has been cast as Jojen Reed. Meera and Jojen are the children of Lord Howland Reed, a staunch ally of Ned Stark and one of his closest friends. In the books they are sent to Winterfell to pledge allegence to Robb Stark after Ned’s death, they are there when Theon and the Ironborn take the fortress, then they escape North with Bran Stark. Brodie-Sangster is most famous for staring alongside Liam Neeson in Love Actually, Kendrick recently stared in BBCs Upstairs Downstairs.

The Hobbit

With principle photography complete on both Hobbit films, some of the cast and director Peter Jackson were at Comic-Con promoting the first release. During an interview with TheOneRing.net Jackson admitted the posibility that there could be a third film in the offing.



An interesting year or three ahead, and come this time next year we’ll have Comic-con 2013.


There it is, the title of my current WIP. A short story that became a novella that’s becoming an obsession.

Originally it was just a short story entitled Gypsy’s Kiss, about a down-at-heel PI pounding the mean streets of Bournemouth, hey if you’ve never been there don’t say it ain’t mean. But halfway in the adventures of my hero, Toby Jones, began to take on more and more depth, like the proverbial snowball becoming an avalanche. Into the end third of the short I realized the tale I had to tell would never fit inside the confines of a short story, so off came that hat and on went the novella one, a nice nifty one with a feather and peak.

Once I’d settled on the fact it would be a longer piece other stories began to come to mind, events in Toby’s and his worlds past, present and future. As these little snippets mounted The Ballad Of Toby Jones title came into my head. It felt good, it felt comfortable, it felt right.

All I’m going to say now is it is set in an alternate world, does not involved aliens but does have Gypsy magic.


All Rights Reserved  © Philip Norris July 2012



Adventures In Writing

Been a busy couple of weeks writingwise. First some updates…

My short story Jack has been accepted for the forthcoming last part in the Pill Hill Press Monster Hunter anthology. The last instalment is entitled Use Enough Gun and yesterday Miles Boothe posted the final table of contents.

One Less by Steven Gepp
Shame of the Huntress by Gregory Casey
Viral by Dev Jarrett
The Demon and the Manuscript by Marc Sorondo
Red December, 1879 by Brian Panowich
In the Dark and Quiet by Joshua Reynolds
Vermin by Blaise Torrance
Jack by Philip Norris
The Shape of a Cage by J.W.Whalen
Victims by Mike Phillips
Blood Devil by Eric Scott de Bie
Night of the Wolf by Nathan J.D.L. Rowark
Cautionary Tales by Jennifer Barnes
The Bear Trap by Daniel Durrant
Arrival by Christopher Nadeau
The End of Things by T.W. Garland
Hell Knight by Angel Propps
The Longest Night by Helen Yates
Weapon of Choice by Paul Starkey
House Hunters by William Wood
Second Chances by H.J. Hill
Soot by Jireh Smith
The Predators of Winter by E. Dagforth
Skin and Bone by Jonathan Templar
Hell’s Ambush by Derek Anderson
Fail and Cry by Miles Boothe

See me near the top. This is not the final line up for publication but the order in which they were accepted.

Next up is something I have known about for a few weeks now but was asked to keep under wraps whilst other writers were contacted. I recently submitted a short script – about 7 minutes – for the Twisted Showcase second season, I’m pleased to announce that my script has been picked up and filming will commence over the summer.

I’m really pleased about this as this is my first attempt at writing a script and has come out well. As yet there is no title, the original title didn’t really fit with the theme so the producers are considering other options.

So this leaves me in a good position, in the coming months I’ll have two short stories in print and a script filmed. Still in hand is the fantasy short I have in with The Fantasy Faction anthology.

As soon as I have publication/release dates for the above I’ll post.

For the past couple of months I’ve been assembling a collection of my short stories and re-reading them. As I’ve gone through I’ve been selecting stories to be included in an anthology I’m planning on self publishing on Kindle. Initially I had a couple of dozen stories, all un-published and some rejected submissions. To date I have whittled that total down to ten and then down to five. I know have the four that I intend to include selected and have been giving each a re-read and edit.

As of last night I have two stories edited, polished and prepared. The anthology will be a mix of genres. I’ve already opened an account on Amazon for the Kindle self-publish, and already registered the title.

I feel now the time is right to begin to get the anthology “out there”. I’ve tweeted about it several times, but as I plan on getting the rest of the stories edited and ready so I can publish early in the summer, I think I should begin now a heavier push to get it noticed. The plan is from now until publication date – I’m looking at June – I’ll post regular blogs about the progress.

For now all I’ll give you is the titles of the first two stories.

Pretty Maids All In A Row – has appeared on GeekPlanetOnline, but I have revised it and added to the overall length. It is a horror story seen through the eyes of a 14yr old boy.

Darkness Falls – was submitted to Pill Hill Press for the first book in their Monster Hunter trilogy. It is a monster horror pitting a local sheriff against an ancient horror.

The final two stories, one is a steampunk and the other an alternative history fantasy, but maybe more of them next time.


Tales From Beyond The Event Horizon, Pretty Maids All In A Row & Darkness Falls © Philip Norris 2012


Hot on the heels of his Last Words update last week – http://www.joeabercrombie.com/2012/03/13/last-words/ – Joe Abercrombie has posted another, more in-depth, update about the first rough draft of (A) Red Country.


Some interesting insights into how Joe works, and how the whole process is going. Some interesting questions raised as well. In his previous post Joe had the title A Red Country, here he uses Red Country? So I believe there will be two different titles for the UK and US markets, one with the A and one without, perhaps he’s trying both out to see how they feel.

More interesting is one line near the end of the article where he is talking about the characters that have appeared in previous books. – They need to feel consistent and vivid, and as a result I probably need to do a read through of the First Law and Best Served Cold – so he only needs to re-read First Law and Best Served Cold. From that can we assume there will be no characters from The Heroes making a return? Also, we already know that Nicomo Cosca is in the new book – hence the re-read of BSC – but why would he need to re-read First Law, there has been no mention so far of any characters from there?

Or has there?

A lot of speculation has been hinging on a certain character by the name of Lamb, he is the step-father of the central figure in the story. All that Joe has revealed so far about Lamb is that he has a bloody past, bloodier than most. Makes me wonder even more if this is a subtle clue that perhaps Lamb appeared in First Law but under a different name.