Idle Thoughts and Updates

9 Jun

It’s been an interesting few weeks, for sure.

Right now, I think I’m still a little in shock about the election results. Truthfully, I didn’t blame May for calling the election (and she had a run of bad luck) but she also dropped the ball multiple times. That tends to happen when you have politicians who don’t even have to win election to get into office – they can’t even muster voters, let alone inspire the people. My preliminary analysis – I’ll write more later – is that May failed to keep the BREXIT coalition together, at least partly because she proposed a set of horrible policies and because she looked weak on terrorism. I don’t know if a Tory-DUP government can actually work – and frankly it’s one hell of a dangerous gamble, because the numbers are too small to provide any certainty – but I suppose it’s better than the alternative.

My general belief is that May would be well-advised to move ahead with BREXIT as possible, then pass the buck to another Tory to lead the party into the next general election.

Anyway, on to somewhat less political matters.

I’m currently 13 chapters into The Longest Day, which appears to be shaping up reasonably well. (It’s classed as Ark Royal X because I don’t think I can class it as II.5.) It’s actually quite different from the majority of my recent stuff, as it follows an event – the Battle of Earth – rather than a single starship or fleet (or person.) This allows me to fill in some of the blanks from the earlier books – something I had in mind from the start – and explore a few other aspects of the universe, such as the different nationalities involved in a major war. Keeping everything moving along at the same pace is a bit of a challenge.

I’m hoping to get it up for pre-order by the end of the month and go live on 1st July (touch wood) but we will see.

I’m still torn on what to write afterwards, though. I’m leaning towards The Gordian Knot – SIM 13 – but that would mean switching a few books around, as Graduation Day needs to come out fairly close to The Gordian Knot. On the other hand, I can leave Cat’s Paw and it’s sequels to mature for a while.

I do plan to write the ‘male teacher in a magic school’ story at some point. Given the plot I have in mind, it might make sense to write it as a stand-alone in the Bookworm universe, although it might not fit quite right. I could stick it in either Schooled In Magic or The Zero Blessing, but it would have the same problem. (Probably less in TZB.)

Beyond that, a couple of people suggested an urban fantasy that wasn’t a thinly-disguised romance novel and someone suggested a cross-dressing story – boy pretends to be girl, for whatever reason. I do plan to give that one some thought, although – in the real world – I think it would be a little unrealistic. Coming to think of it, I do have my semi-Roman story universe to dust off and write.



58 Responses to “Idle Thoughts and Updates”

  1. Dick Moncure June 9, 2017 at 10:44 pm #

    Augh! semi-Roman story universe!!! please! The noblest story of them all. Nice counterpoint to yesterday’s election, which loosely translates to, “We don’t trust ANY of you miserable bastards running the country.”

    The Longest day is VERY good, thank you.

  2. matthew June 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    I would love to see the Gordian knot.

    • AnInnocentBystander June 15, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

      +1 really looking forward to more Schooled in Magic books!

  3. Jared June 9, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    I would be excited to seem more SIM. And a male lead would be awesome. It’s sometimes very annoying that most books out there have female leads. Of course I thinks it’s because females make up the majority of readers. LOL but still.

    On another note, do you have any thoughts to when you might start book five of a LEARNING EXPERIENCE?

    • chrishanger June 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

      Not yet. I have a plan featuring two older characters, but I don’t have a solid idea as yet.


      • Daniel June 10, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

        Let it simmer until its ready. I really like the learning experience series. However the next step in that series seems like it might be a tough one for humanity

      • chrishanger June 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

        It will be.


    • Sprout June 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

      I think this one depends more on the perspective of the searcher rather than actual contents of the books. There are a lot of either out there (male&female), but if you’re looking specifically for one or the other,
      you’ll only end up disappointed. There’s about 50% chance that next book you’ll be interested in will have a protagonist with a contrary gender.

  4. Ade Wood June 9, 2017 at 11:00 pm #

    I like the ark royal series, haven’t had the pleasure of the other series. Finished We Lead this afternoon, would really like you to follow up with either The foxes or Susan’s travels although I am sure to keep the series interesting is getting more and more difficult. Still I will read the next one with pleasure.

  5. benbailey12373 June 9, 2017 at 11:10 pm #

    Please please please please please write Gordian Knot next. Got to have a major operation and that would chear me up x

  6. bretwallach June 9, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    chrishanger wrote: “…someone suggested a cross-dressing story … semi-Roman story universe…”

    In my opinion, a really excellent cross-dressing/disguise story in a semi-Roman universe is Jonathan Moeller’s Ghost series (the “ghost” is a spy in a semi-Roman universe and cross-dresses the vast majority of the time starting in book 10). Moeller makes it seem quite realistic given the whole thing is magical fantasy.

    Other than that, my vote is for anything and everything SIM.

  7. wolfcry June 9, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

    The last SIM book felt a bit like a middle book and the fact that after Gordian Knot next up would be Graduation Day is a plus. It’ll be cool for Emily to finally be done with school and get out in the world more. Don’t get me wrong I liked the Fists of Justice, but it was mostly just economics vs religion, plus getting rid of Caleb.

    • Goblin June 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

      I liked Caleb but I understand that she needs a full life including the up and downs of romance. He’s a well developed character so I imagine he’ll be around.

      • chrishanger June 21, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

        Yes. He’ll be seen again.


      • wolfcry July 9, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

        Yes of course, by “getting rid of” I meant an end to the whole courtship and romance. He’ll still be around as a friend, the post romance awkwardness should be fun.

  8. Bob Wilson June 9, 2017 at 11:55 pm #

    Thoughts?? Yes.. I have thoughts, but I will limit myself to one! And that is more A Learning Experience…!!!

  9. Daniel June 10, 2017 at 12:18 am #

    I like roman world with magic story ideas.

    Sim 13 is a GREAT idea of course

  10. Catherine Howat June 10, 2017 at 12:37 am #

    Will you consider doing at least one following Susan Onarina in her survey ship command?


  11. Fira June 10, 2017 at 1:27 am #

    I’d prefer more SIM or tzb.

  12. FarWalker June 10, 2017 at 1:45 am #

    SIM and more SIM of course. If you do something Roman please please please do not base it on a lost Roman legion in an alternative universe. I get so tired of that plotline.

    • chrishanger June 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm #


      I had something else in mind


      • Daniel June 10, 2017 at 10:11 pm #

        Oh good. Like people have said the lost regiment has been done so many times

  13. thundercloud47 June 10, 2017 at 4:44 am #

    I’m easy to please. I’ll read what ever you write!

  14. PhilippeO June 10, 2017 at 6:06 am #

    ” Beyond that, a couple of people suggested an urban fantasy that wasn’t a thinly-disguised romance novel and someone suggested a cross-dressing story – boy pretends to be girl, for whatever reason. I do plan to give that one some thought, although – in the real world – I think it would be a little unrealistic. ”

    Ugh, most cross-dressing story is not very good.

    They usually 1) create unnecessary “historical” limitation (girls cant be knight, boys cant learn magic, etc) that no longer ‘relevant’. Its might be issue in 1980s, but now novel about such limitations is in oversupply. And at end of story such limitations is abolished ‘easily’, making absurd why such limitations continue to be implemented.

    OR 2) treated gender difference more as joke.

    ” – is that May failed to keep the BREXIT coalition together, ”

    neither May or Corbin even talk about BREXIT, nobody want to talk about BREXIT. politicians, Left and Right, nobody dared to tell British public that eventually they must make choice, either lost both free market and free labor movement, or keep both.

    Election is more about dementia tax and free university.

  15. Dan June 10, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    I’d like to see the SIM books come next

  16. Alexey Gladkich June 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    The cross dressing story… it sounds like some bad perverted concept from some lame anime. Mine most honest first impression.

    On the other subjects, I’d love to see the continuation of SIM as well as ZB.

  17. Tony June 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    Yes! SIM 13 please.

  18. Xtriver June 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    The Gordian knot please

  19. Geri June 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    Gordian Knot! Love the SIM books!

  20. Jeremiah June 10, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

    SIM please….just sayin’

  21. Big Ben June 10, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

    I’d enjoy more SIM, but I actually think TZB has more potential. Emily is destined to become a One Punch Wonder … one of the most powerful individuals in her world politically, economically and magically. I love following her on her journey through life, but isn’t the end becoming a bit obvious?
    A character who can’t overcome any obstacle with sheer brute force is more exciting to travel along with (at least fictionally!) And having nuclear-equivalent weapons basically available with a thought is the very definition of sheer brute force.
    The problem with developing a powerhouse hero character over a long series – the bad guys have to keep getting badder and the situations more implausible in order to challenge the protagonists ever-increasing abilities.
    Still lots of fun to read, though!

    • benbailey12373 June 11, 2017 at 12:13 am #

      Not sure I entirely agree with you. She can’t freely use the nuke spell for fear of others analyzing the spell or working out what she did. Also, she’s not capable of going against a whole bunch of sorcorers etc so I don’t think it’s a problem.

    • G June 11, 2017 at 6:38 am #

      Emily still has a long way to go to reach lone power equivalent power. And In many periods of history, one person has emerged as very powerful/influential. Think the dukes of Marlborough or Wellington or the Austrian Metternich, who created the concert of Europe in the 19th century. The story gradually shifts to the complexities of how skillfully power is used and their are always limitations. Emily’s story has a long way to go…

    • Yanai Siegel July 3, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

      SPOILER ALERT – Fists of Justice spoiler contained herein.

      The best part of FoJ was that Emily needed to use logic and persuasiveness to get to the point where her expertise and her ability might save the day.

      Lawyers get a bad rep for some of the more blatant and cringeworthy tactics that make up “good” lawyer stories (or jokes), but in practice a good advocate always seeks a way to change an opponent’s mind with the least amount of force – a weapon is truly anything that can change an enemy’s mind. In FoJ, the right argument shattered the Justice forces. Of course, there were a few raging loose ends that needed to be tied up… But fewer than if Emily had relied on force alone from the start.

      And a taste for justice is hard to forswear…

      My vote is for SIM, but I will buy and read anything you decide to publish at this point. Good hunting!

  22. Craig June 11, 2017 at 12:26 am #

    I would like to see what happens with Susan in Ark story line, perhaps in Star Trek fashion going where no man or woman has gone before.

  23. Anarchymedes June 11, 2017 at 2:19 am #

    Whatever you do, please no more superhumans and superheroes. No batmen, spidermen, cockroachmen, or other verminmen flying around in ridiculous outfits. And if wonerwomen want something to do, let them rip off those headscarves and strangle their ISIS hubbies with them, rather than trying to win a world war with a sword.

  24. jtbiggs June 11, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    I’d love to see you tackle the apocalypse with rpg (video game) elements genre.

    There are a lot of amateur stories (half completed) available online in this genre, but very few have any hope of being published. It can be written to appeal to fans of urban fantasy, litrpg, and apocalypse novels. Also it can develop toward a world with magic sci-fi tech and space travel which can turn or really cool.

    • chrishanger June 12, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

      A story set in a post-apoc world? Or something along those lines?


  25. Sprout June 11, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

    I’ve always been partial to the girl cross-dresses as a boy trope, for whatever reason. The other way around could be fun, if it’s done in an original and fun way. Probably will be a harder sell, but worth trying as there’s not a lot of stuff like that out there.

    Also, more Rome please! The medieval to Rome story ratio makes me want to cry.

    • FarWalker June 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm #

      A male to female cross-dresser is kind of hard to make work. You can’t get rid of a male’s adams apple and the male voice is deeper. Personally I think I can find something more interesting to read than a true cross dresser type story.

    • Vapori June 11, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

      Oh I would love a roman or other antike story world, Chinese, Greek type worlds or times would also be interesting.

      when talking about rome Its often a bit confusing after all the republic or empor times were quite different.

  26. Michael Blair June 11, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    Rather by accident I enjoyed a couple of cross dressing stories, Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede (and now I am glancing around guiltily with the suspicion it might also be be a romance, a genre I thought I had managed to avoid) and an Elizabethan muder mystery (woman pretending to be her dead brother) but boy as girl seems weird, the only example I can think of is Achilles!

    • Michael Blair June 11, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

      Of course I am now wondering how it could be made to work!

  27. Vapori June 11, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    I liked cross dressing or gender bender stories mostly for comedic aspects but lately those with political or historic perspectives have been overdone, some are good most not so much in my option.

    Well would like a Dungeon story the economic aspects of a dungeon, maybe how to influence or build a dungeon and the impact a huge but dangerous treasure trove has on society, maybe even with a dungeon pov.

  28. MAD-ness June 11, 2017 at 11:41 pm #

    Sign me up for SiM. 🙂

  29. Mark Møllegaard June 12, 2017 at 11:56 pm #

    Beyond that, a couple of people suggested an urban fantasy that wasn’t a thinly-disguised romance novel it is hard to find good books on that theme

  30. Velma June 13, 2017 at 5:59 am #

    Gordian’s knot please! I have pretty devoured this series and
    Completely fallen in love with the characters

  31. Goblin June 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    SIM 13 of course. As for the cross dressing book have you considered LITRPG?

  32. nrere June 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    If I have to choose one, I want more SIM! But I love those books and I always want moore and mooore, really. On the other hand, a boy cross-dressing story would be a challenge. It is really an interesting topic. Why would a boy need to cross dress in the first place? For what reason? And most importantly, what would he disguise himself as? A lot of interesting story could come out of it. There are hardly any boy cross-dressing story, well I guess there are more in animes and mangas, but still. There are other types of characters that are great actors who can dress and play anything, now those are fun and interesting characters, to be able to play the part of both men and women successfully. I would be curious what kind of story, the boy cross-dressing would be.

  33. Becca June 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

    Pleaseeee do SIM book 13!!!! My heart is still breaking for Emily and i sooo need to see how she’s doing

  34. Rex Wiederanders June 19, 2017 at 3:43 am #

    I would really love to see Emily graduate, and the sooner the better. I like TZB, but I am more invested in SIM.

  35. Lumion June 19, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    I would love to see the perspective of a teacher in the World of SIM. Mainly because the whole SIM series revolves around being taught. I am not sure if Emily would be a good teacher at the moment. She wanted to become one, but I think she would need some experience bevorhand, maybe with an adoptive daughter. If she will become a teacher an additional story might not be really necessary at all in my opinion, cause she will have that storyline sort of covered and your worlds differ in to little points to make it truly a new interesting book to read.
    So what I want to say good idear, but preferably in SIM with Emily

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

      IMO Emily doesn’t have the patience to be a teacher now.

      She’d have a hard time dealing with a student who “just doesn’t get it”.

    • chrishanger June 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

      I may do that at some point. But it would be better in a separate universe.


  36. Jill June 20, 2017 at 9:13 pm #

    I always enjoy the SIM books. Perhaps even a standalone or a branching off of the main story would be fun.

    However, I am eagerly waiting for the next book in The Royal Sorceress series. After voraciously consuming the first three books, it was a tough wait until the 4th came out. That series must not sell as well since it’s not spawned as many sequels as some of the others, but it’s an intriguing alternate history.

    • chrishanger June 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm #


      There’s two more planned, but – like you said – sales weren’t so good.


      • Conrad Bassett Jr. June 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

        More SIM. I am interested in Lady Barbara perspective as to why she chose to mother Emily. I am also interested in what will become of Frieda, and what Barbara will do next.

  37. Ihas July 1, 2017 at 3:39 am #

    How to kill four birds with one stone:


    A young Zed, riding high on the hubris of his recently gained Mastery and confident in the miracles of alchemy, sells a gender change elixir to a wealthy merchant couple who have struggled to bear a male heir for decades. Years later, the distraught couple demand that he enter into a magical contract to “make a man” of their teenage son, who unexpectedly developed magic but was expelled from Stronghold for excessive cross glamouring. Nor can he divulge what they did. How can Zed refuse? Meanwhile, students are disappearing, and it has something to do with an ancient demon master and … GASP … a missing Roman legion!

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