Updates – Plus Book Promo

20 Nov

Hi, everyone

It has been a very frustrating few weeks.

To sum up a long story, my youngest son caught a cold that spread to me very quickly, only worse.  It felt like a normal cold at first, then things got a lot worse.  I was already congested and miserable, but I suddenly develop a major attack of sinusitis that felt as though I had broken my nose.  I had to beg the doctor for antibiotics and got them, which seem to be having at least some effect on me.  I also had a chest x-ray that was, thankfully, negative …

And then I went through it all again, with a new bug.  (Or perhaps the old one simply didn’t go away properly).  Anyway, I’m coughing and I’ve got a sore throat and generally feeling tired and miserable.  Bad news under any circumstances, but worrying when you consider my health history.  I keep remembering that the coughing and wheezing I did in 2017 was the prelude to the lymphoma/chest infection that nearly killed me in 2018.  So … I’m just trying to keep going, not the easiest thing in the world right now.

Anyway, on to writing.

I’ve finished the first draft of The Prince’s Gambit, which is currently awaiting edits.  There’s been a bit of a backlog because my editor got ill too, but I’m hoping to bring out Standing Alone in a week or so, followed by The Family Secret and Gambit.  I hope you’re looking forward to them. 

I’m intended to do The Stranded, a stand-alone fantasy novel following a handful of students from another world who get trapped in ours, next, followed by either Endeavour (Ark Royal) or The Infused Man (The Cunning Man II)Endeavour pretty much won the contest on my Facebook page, when I asked for votes, but I need to go through the plot again to see how things shape out.  (Besides, The Cunning Man did very well – if you liked it, please review.)  I do intend to go back to Emily, and I have been putting together a list of notes for post Child of Destiny books, but I want Adam’s trilogy finished first.

In other news …

We have been able to take advantage of the relaxed restrictions by going to London and Legoland twice, which is a Lego-themed park (who’d have guessed it) near London that’s suitable for younger kids.  It was better than I expected, although John was too young for some of the rides and he … was … not … happy.  The park seemed in two minds about monitoring social distancing and suchlike – there were ‘test and trace’ app stuff everywhere, but no one seemed to be really bothering to enforce it.  London was pretty much the same – some places were insistent you book ahead of time, like the Imperial War Museum; some places didn’t seem to care in the slightest.  COVID doesn’t seem to have done that much damage to the shopping streets, but it hit the small booksellers badly – one bookshop I knew has vanished, another has been repurposed as a cafe.  It’s possible COVID just made prior trends worse – London was heading downhill before the virus – but the city is poorer without the bookshops.

Things are well on the way to back to normal here – the libraries have stopped demanding that you book in advance before you visit, at least for borrowing and suchlike – but there’s a lot of little nagging points that are getting on my nerves.  As I noted above, test and trace seemed to be more theatre than anything else; lots of people and businesses don’t seem to be taking it very seriously.  We haven’t had so many political headaches as people in the US – and I think there’s a lot more trust in the NHS – but we’re still done with it.  There’s just been too much damage, inflicted on the rest of the city.  Edinburgh has lost quite a few attractions, from the Butterfly Farm to a number of cafes and restaurants.  I think there’s also a lot of people quietly stockpiling everything from food to petrol, particularly now, which has caused other issues down the line. Quite how it will all work out I don’t know.

My son and I have been playing Sonic Mania too.  It’s pretty good, a welcome return to the good old days after the 3D stuff (I could never get into it), but it does have its problems.

Anyway … my friend Dale Cozort, whom many of you will know from Alternate History, has brought out a set of new books.  The Best of Space Bats and Butterflies III is a continuation of his collection of essays, stories and background details – not so much fiction as detailed timelines and suchlike.  Char is the story of a near-human woman who stumbles into our world, provoking chaos: The Marsh War is pure alternate history, set in a world where the US occupied the Ukraine after WW2: Snapshot is a universe in which powerful aliens copy small sections of human history, then paste them into a world where they can meet up and interact.  (If you ever read the Well World books, it’s a similar concept if different in a lot of ways.)  They are all on kindle unlimited, along with some of his older works, so give them a try if you like the sound of them.

And so … I hear my sons downstairs.  I’d better go make them breakfast.

As always, if you like my work, please leave reviews.  Or send comments straight to me.  I’m always willing to hear them.


Dale’s Blurbs

Snapshot: Book 1 of the Snapshot Universe

Alternate realities you can fly to.

For eighty million years, the Tourists have taken Snapshots of Earth, creating living replicas of continents. Life in the Snapshots quickly diverges from the real world, creating a universe where humans and animals from Earth’s history fly between Snapshots, exploring, fighting, and sometimes meeting themselves.

In 2014, the Tourists’ newest Snapshot catches Middle East Analyst Greg Dunne rushing toward Hawaii to join his wife, who just went into labor. The new Snapshot doesn’t include Hawaii, cutting Greg off from everyone he loves.

Greg is thrust into the aftermath of a hidden, decades-old massacre, where Germans from a pre-World War II European Snapshot battle ranchers from a Korean War-era U.S. Snapshot,a fun house mirror version of the  US cut off from the world since 1953.No Beatles. No Internet. No Personal Computers. No cell phones. No Vietnam War.But an endless new frontier.

The prize in this struggle: an ancient, wild Madagascar Snapshot. Whoever controls it can fly to Snapshots where dinosaurs still roam, Indians rule the New World or Nazis or Soviets control Europe.

Caught between powerful opponents, and joined by a woman nearly driven mad by her past, Greg struggles to survive in this cutthroat new reality, to remain faithful to a family he may never see again, and to find a way back to his original Earth.

Set in a unique universe and played out in the shadows of larger social and technological issues, Snapshot is a fast-paced story of power and revenge, and an intriguing speculation of what we might have become.


Char of the Real People walked out of a mud-hole she didn’t walk into, wearing a deerskin skirt and carrying a crude spear. Then the murders started.

Char is a unique blend of police procedural and alternate reality, with county sheriff Francine Hart relentlessly pursuing clues–footprints and blood samples–that point to a murderess who is human-like, but not our kind of human.

Whatever else Char of the Real People is, Sheriff Hart discovers that her quarry is brilliant and supremely adaptable, eluding police again and again. Can even the smartest fugitive escape a modern police dragnet and get back to her own reality?

American Indian Victories

Have you ever wondered what would have ever happened if events in the past had gone differently? Have you ever wished that the American Indians hadn’t gotten the short end of the stick? American Indian Victories delivers over twenty realistic, well researched alternative history scenarios where the American Indians do significantly better than they did historically, along with a fiction excerpt set in world where Europeans never reached the New World and a novelette set in New England’s most bitter Indian war. Scenarios include:

  • What if the advanced Indian civilizations of Mexico and Peru had exchanged technology and ideas before Columbus?
  • What if a civilization equivalent to the Aztecs and Incas developed in eastern North America?
  • How could one shipwrecked sailor change the fate of a continent?
  • What if Carthage had colonized Mexico before the Punic Wars?
  • What if the Spanish conquistadors had set up independent kingdoms?
  • What if the ice age animals of the New World had survived to be domesticated?

Fair warning: The scenarios make up around 80% of the book and they do assume a fair amount of interest in and knowledge of history. The fiction should work for most science fiction readers.

The Best of Space Bats & Butterflies

Space Bats & Butterflies Book Three is yet another eclectic collection of the best alternate history or time-travel stories, book excerpts, essays and world-building exercises from the ninety-plus issues of a long-running Alternate History zine.

  • Spain Joins the Axis.
  • A Rocket Race in the 1930s?
  • Could you save Poland from the Nazis?
  • Alternatives From Little Known but Pivotal Wars
  • Rif War
  • Boer War
  • Communeros Rebellion (Spanish Civil War in 1519)
  • Alternate Technology
  • Electric World
  • Confederate Bicycle Dragoons
  • US Synthetic Rubber Industry Fails

Fiction stories and excerpts:

  • It’s 1949. After an alternate World War II, US troops occupy the western Soviet Union and Stalin wants his country back.
  • Descendants of the Spanish Conquistadors become pawns in a Great Power struggle between the US and Tsarist Russia.
  • A girl from a stone-age alternate reality stumbles into a modern paintball game, a murder and a remorseless police manhunt.
  • A mysterious doctor brings murder victims briefly and painfully back to life to help solve their murders.

Nazi Treasure Hunt Book One: Marsh War

Marsh War is an alternate history novel set in the aftermath of an alternate World War II where Hitler went for Moscow rather than the Caucasus in spring 1942. As a result, World War II in the east stalemated deep inside Soviet prewar territory. The Soviets were too weak to push the Germans out, even when the western allies pushed into Germany. Diehard Nazis fled to the German-held Soviet Union and held out there for years until the western Allies crossed into Soviet territory and destroyed them.

With the Soviet Union battered and partially occupied, the United States emerges from World War II as the World’s only real Great Power. Great, right? Not really. In 1949, two years after they destroyed the last conventional Nazi resistance, the US still occupies large parts of the western Soviet Union and has been sucked into the treacherous politics of the Polish/Soviet border regions, with nominal allies close to war with each other over economically valuable and ethnically mixed areas.  Stalin pursues his intrigues in this dangerous region, while Nazi remnants scheme to regain power.

While the US settles in for a postwar boom, US occupation forces in the Soviet Union search for missing German scientists, Nazi advanced technology and looted Nazi treasures. They also search for missing loved ones and brace for a coming war they are woefully unprepared for.

8 Responses to “Updates – Plus Book Promo”

  1. Marshall Ellis November 20, 2021 at 5:14 pm #

    Hadn’t thought about the Well World books lately. I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Chalker and talking (or listening) at some length in the middle of the night at a convention I was helping to run, where he was the author guest of honor. I don’t remember whether I had already read those books at the time. His GoH speech included the story of being contracted for a surprisingly large sum to write the later ones. It also included – 30 years ago! – railing against the politically correct movement. He had run into it on the campus where he taught. Anyway, the works you described sound intriguing.

    • terrag32256 November 20, 2021 at 7:34 pm #

      I’m really looking forward to the Family Secret. How many books do you anticipate for this series?

      • The Admiral November 21, 2021 at 8:22 pm #

        I’d like answer for that too. It feels like things are progressing extremely slowly in this series.

  2. Philip November 20, 2021 at 6:49 pm #

    Lots of news there. Mostly good. Apart from the bit about health. Normally, I tell people to run a mile from health advice from the Internet, but here is a bit I will suggest, take or leave as you see fit:

    There is. If you look around, a lot of evidence that immune systems are negatively affected by vitamin D3 deficiency, and that most northern countries population is deficient. Scotland sees little enough sunlight, and people are not out in what there is.

    I started taking 125mg daily, with vitamin K2 to ensure that calcium gets deposited in bones, and not arteries, when COVID started. Since then, no colds or flu … Now, a lot of that is probably due to masks and isolation, but not all.

    Just a suggestion…

  3. filipboa0637 November 21, 2021 at 12:54 am #

    Hope you get well soon !!

  4. Kris November 21, 2021 at 6:06 pm #

    You have my utmost sympathy for your continued health blahs.☹️ And my healing prayers will be redoubled. We all may need your continued writing but your health is the most important issue atm. May He hold you in your hour(s) of need!! God Bless.

  5. Clark November 21, 2021 at 6:55 pm #

    Sorry you’ve been ill, and I hope you and your family get better soon.

    If you were wanting a new spin on an old idea, I was thinking you could write a 3-5 book closed series on some space marine ooo-rah combat kicking a$$ & taking names.. lol Between book 1 and 2 of Learning Experience is that 50-year gap where humans involved in the war started turning the tide… just a thought for you 🙂

  6. Joaquin Castillo Escoriaza November 22, 2021 at 4:32 pm #

    Get better soon and keep up the good work

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