Comic Con Extravaganza


Saturday 25th July Manchester Conference Centre and my first Comic Con in at least two decades. Strangely enough my first Comic Con was in Manchester but it was back in the Eighties and I’m not even sure of the year but it had to be between 80 and 82 because my son was born in the January of 82 and I never went to one after that. When you become a father you have other commitments to consider and I considered comics to be not something a grown adult should be indulging in, how wrong could I have been!

Of course since the 80’s the comic book industry has gone from strength to strength and has reached a wider audience than I ever thought possible. I no longer read comics but I’m still a huge fan of the medium and I incorporate certain elements into my writing anyway so for me the whole comic book universe has been a huge influence.

The last Comic Con I went to was just a large room with sellers with stands touting their wares. Hundreds upon hundreds of comics were on offer and I had never been in a room with so many in my life. That was it though, it was just comics, there may have been a few stalls selling other stuff, maybe some merchandising products and possibly a few book sellers but I can’t honestly say how many or even what they were for my eyes were immediately drawn to and remained fast on the comics. Now though it has grown to something that encompasses not only the super hero genre but Manga, Anime, Cosplay and various other things. I saw two actors from the series Arrow, Karl Yune and Katrina Law in a Q&A with an enraptured audience in the theatre which was possibly one of the fastest hours I have ever experienced. These two were incredibly entertaining, funny and humble and loved meeting the fans of the show which came across so well in the presentation. I saw and chatted with three actors from popular television here in the UK, Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred  from Doctor Who and Robert Llewellyn from Red Dwarf. I even had a photo taken with Andrew Lee Potts from Primeval who was there to advertise his new web series ‘Wireless’.

It took at least a half hour to get inside even though we had Priority Entrance tickets for the queue was half way around the building and I heard mention that there would be around one hundred thousand in attendance. Now I don’t have the exact figures of how many were there but the figure mentioned couldn’t have been far off and yet it never felt claustrophobic. it was packed without a doubt but the organisers had got it right and everything went off without a hitch so hats off to all involved.

To say it was a nerdgasm would be not far from the truth. It was the first time that I went to a large event and had not felt out of place. The atmosphere was relaxed and I truly felt at home there. Perhaps it was because they were all geeks like me, I don’t know but I do know I can’t wait for London in October because should my schedule allow and nothing untoward crops up before then, I will be attending.20150725_140822

Excellent review


Extinction has received this review from renowned blogger and reviewer Michael Thal.

Electrifying science fiction thriller

New Worlds, New Horizons


Over a decade ago NASA launched the New Horizons space probe and earlier this week we began to see the images sent back from its target, Pluto.

It’s a cold hard fact for a sci fi writer to have to digest that it took this probe a decade to reach the outer rim of the Solar system. I grew up watching Star Trek when the Enterprise would zoom through the Solar system and past the nine planets in a matter of minutes on its journey to other worlds. When I was still at school I had a book about the Solar system, in it was detailed drawings of each of the nine planets and all the data that, up to that point we had gathered about them. The illustrations were artists renditions obviously for at that time we hadn’t any detailed photographs but my imagination was captured none the less. I would sit for endless hours imagining travelling to the stars, my mind would wander where my body could not. So it’s not surprising that when Star Trek came on the tv, I was hooked from day one. Later when Star Wars upped the ante the game was really on. My love for sci fi was in full flight by that time and I devoured any material on the subject I could. My favourites always featured physically strong leading characters like the action heroes of movies but there never seemed any to quench my thirst. Not since Edgar Rice Burroughs and his John Carter of Mars and subsequent copies of that genre has any author written any sci fi action hero stories, none that I could find anyway. I’m not saying they aren’t out there, just that I never found any, so I wrote the book I wanted to read and the Col Sec series was born.

I’ve seen technology advance in leaps and bounds in just the last fifty years and I can only imagine what will happen in the years to come. Those advances are making it possible for us to view close up photos of the most distant planet in our Solar system but it has taken a decade for the probe to get in position. How long will it take for us to be able to see other new worlds, other new horizons as this probe continues its journey through our galaxy.

NASA is making strides towards perfecting a workable warp drive so who knows, maybe one day interstellar travel will be possible. Until that day I’ll just have to be content with writing about it.

Try something new


When I set out to write Resurrection which was to be Book 5 in the Col Sec series I had the story firmly planted in my mind, I had the antagonist, the settings everything I needed for another great addition to this rollicking series. As I began to write it though there was something missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I changed the layout, I changed the title and a whole mess of other stuff but nothing I did got me the results I wanted. So I put it to one side whilst I thought it through.

During this process I came up with an idea for another set of characters I’d used in a previous book. So I began to write this story and I quickly realised this was what I was missing.

Let me explain a little more. Other authors who have series out have written short stories to introduce other characters, for example James Rollins wrote Tracker, a short read which introduced Tucker and Kane who featured in Bloodline. This story gave the necessary background into these two new characters and made the reader want more. I thought I could try something new and so I embarked on a little experiment.

Captain Tony Storm and his team of Hacker and Cowboy featured heavily in Ronin, Book 1 in the series and I thought I would give them an adventure of their own. Extinction brings these guys and their new teammate, Hellcat into the forefront of the action in a short adventure that despite its fewer pages has no less impact on the safety of the Confederation. Indeed as the title states they are thrust into a situation that could lead to the very extinction of humanity if they are not successful. Not only does this short story leave you breathless but it acts as a bridge between Retribution, Book 4 and Resurrection which will now be Book 6.

Extinction will be released soon.

Jan.Extinction - High Resolution

Amazon… A virtual marketplace, or Big Brother?


imy santiago

A couple of weeks ago I read the third installment of a series I really loved. I will refrain from sharing the name of the novel and its author.

Like any reader, as soon as I finished reading, I wrote my review. When I tried posting it on Amazon (I did buy the eBook, just like any normal and decent human being would), I received a rather concerning email.

I will not share the screenshot of the email as it does contain the title of the book and name of the author. In its place I have copied the body of the email below.

Dear Amazon Customer,

Thanks for submitting a customer review on Amazon. Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:
http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines

Here I was, thinking I had included an…

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Hollywood’s grip on a cash cow is slipping


During my recent city break I went to see the new Jurassic World movie and before I go any further I must admit I enjoyed every insane; stupid, ludicrous minute of it. Having said that you have to wonder when Hollywood will lose their grip on a cash cow such as this franchise? Will sanity ever prevail and will they allow something like this to die a normal death, I think not.

Spoiler Alert; for those of you who haven’t seen the movie I suggest you look away because for the purpose of this post I will be discussing certain aspects of the story.

I’ve seen on the internet various theories of who certain characters are and what their motivations are and there are various nods to the previous movies, which I quite liked and I think this is where the problem lies for me. If they hadn’t made so many references to the earlier movies then I think this would have worked quite well as a complete reboot of the series. Because they made this as another entry into the series and had made so many references to the earlier work it sort of made the plot nonsensical.

In the first movie the park is set up with good intentions which they later learn in hindsight was a bad idea in a very long line of bad ideas. They hadn’t learned their lesson by the end of this movie so they tried again, then yet again. So by this movie you were left wondering, “What could possibly go wrong?” This was obviously a hypothetical question because we all know the answer, everything.

Now I know for this type of movie to work you have to suspend belief, which I’m quite prepared to do for the sake of a good few hours entertainment but it beggars the question, how long can this go on? How long will Hollywood carry on with this action before sanity prevails and they allow franchises such as this one and maybe Terminator, another series that despite all the wow flash bang and wallop of the new movie is showing signs of strain, to die a natural death.

For me Jurassic Park was a fantastic movie and should have ended there. For me there was no need to try and do it bigger or better. Each time they attempt this they detract from the impact the first movie made and they erode its unique quality.

Now all this may sound a little hypocritical of me seeing as how I am writing a book series and I would have to agree somewhat. I have no qualms about making a series of movies on the same subject, one of my favourite franchises is the Bond movies. With this particular series though, even though it was showing signs of wear and tear it bounced back bigger and better than ever, as I’m sure many of us are hoping the new Star Wars movie does with that franchise. If these movies are done well then they will entertain and the Hollywood bosses will remain happy as the cash flows but when they show signs that they are running out of ideas and the plots are simply one long WTF moment then in my opinion, it’s time to lay it to rest.

Jan