Al's Place

I welcome you to my new blog


February 2014

Will history repeat itself?

The Descent of Mark Johnson

History is set to repeat itself.

Last night I was working on edits for Chronicles book 2 (The Descent of Mark Johnson) — don’t ask me why — I didn’t realise until I went to close down that the edits I were doing were on book 3 (Mark Johnson Returns).

Three years ago, I was laid up because my tendon tore and left me bed-ridden. I was writing so much it became like a drug and I couldn’t stop. My friends feared I would have a breakdown if I didn’t take a break, so, they told me to take time off from writing.

I think the syndrome has returned because I was working on the story for an hour and never noticed the differences in the story. I should have been alerted by the length of the book first of all, but nothing clicked. Even the change in the story didn’t register with me.

The big difference this time is if I am not writing I get edgy, as I feel for some reason I am letting the readers down. Then I think “Nobody cares anyway,” but I still can’t sit still for long.

Mark Johnson Retuns


The dawn opens your eyes


In the beginning, when I read about the success of others it gave me hope for my work. The more success stories I read, the less I believe I will see a small bit of joy. This contest is really a “Butch Cassidy” moment, we remember the part at the end when they come charging out. That is how I feel now, 15 months ago I got forced out of a contest winning position, the people above me got asked for work and I was left begging favours for nickels and dimes.

The other version is the equally famous ending to “White Heat” with Jimmy Cagney shouting “Look Ma, top of the world!” If I go out now after two months of good sales, I can part with a contented heart, knowing I gave it a go.

In the beginning

Three years ago when I started on this journey, I had some small ideas and some larger plans. Most of the larger plans fell by the way side and the smaller plans came to flourish.
One of the big plans — foolish as it turned out to be — was to try and get a story in the Black Library collection along side the likes of Graham McNeil, Dan Abnett and James Swallow. Oh, what folly did I dream back then. Other less ambitious dreams included seeing a book of mine in a book store and going on a book tour. Not that the tour would happen, as I am too shy.

Lesser dreams have began to flourish in hope. These include selling enough e-books to make $10 a month, having a book which sold ten copies in one month and writing stories people liked to read.

When I started the “Forgestriker” the idea for “Sons of Baal” came from the Warhammer 40K series about a chapter of Supermarines called “Blood Angels.” The “Sons of Baal” had no recognised colours or markings, this allowed me to think of my own schemes. In the ranks of these Super heroes of the Empire, the lowest rank is a Scout. When I started the story, my idea was for a group of soldiers flying back to Baal to redeem their honour, after being considered cowards and deleted from the annals of warriors.<a
Sons of Baal Book Cover

It was only after I started writing that the idea of the Sons of Baal being stranded in dead space came to me. Though “Sons” hasn’t faired well in the sales, the two e-books after it in the series are doing well and
Forgestriker Pic 3

Return of the Lost, book 3 in the Forgestriker series
Return of the Lost, book 3 in the Forgestriker series

Behind the Scenes

A page which allows you access to what goes on when I write my books, before they go for sale.

My first entry in the Steampunk genre and a good seller at Amazon. The story is based on a true mystery.

Behind the Scenes.

The new era



 The end of February 2014 could well mean a new beginning for my work. 

 At the end of the month the result for the cut to make the top 6 stories in the  Friends of the Merril Collection Sci-Fi contest will be announced. My hope is to make the cut, getting this far will be a big boost to me. This year I joined Draft2Digital and in less than a month I sold more books than in a year on Amazon. My previous best seller for a month was Holding Richmond — my Civil War & Vampire crossover — but the new monthly sales leader is the second book in the “Forgestriker” series (Forgestriker).


In the coming quarter, I hope to emulate the success of 2012 when Chronicles of Mark Johnson won an award for excellence at with my latest book, which is a slight change for me, as it is a romance. I am known for my ghost stories and this is no exception. “A Sailor’s Love” is a romantic ghost story tinged with erotica & spirituality.Image

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