Friday 15 November 2019

THE CHEAT CODE : A free-to-read exclusive original short story

One of my short-stories: "The Cheat Code" is currently available for for free at the Worldhopper's Guild.

Hope you enjoy.

He saw the cheat-code needed to manipulate reality - And saw everything, all at once.
Adam Mynott knew real magic.

A free-to-read exclusive original short story by CM Angus.
"A mind-bender you'll love" - @WorldhoppersG

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Sunday 27 October 2019

"What will the future bring?" at Hudds Indie Festival

Really Enjoyed reading some of my dystopian sci-fi from The Forge : Fire and Ice at Huddersfield Literature Festival & Cosmia Festival's “What Will the Future Bring?” event last night.

Huddersfield's Writing Community is alive and well.
Thanks again for letting me late-crash the party; thought I was going to miss it

The Forge: Fire and ice is published by Fantastic books publishing and available now as e-book and paperback from Amazon and other sellers.

10% of the proceeds from Fire and Ice go to the UK's largest Fibromyalgia Charity, Fibromyalgia Action UK.

Saturday 12 October 2019

How to steal back time with your tools and writing process

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about what tools various authors use for writing whether this be word,  scrivener, google docs or something else. As the route I took for writing the Fixpoint series appeared to be slightly different from the norm, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share what my process was in the hope that this might be useful to others.

Before I do that however I wanted to explain what led me to this process...

Writing is hard work and takes a lot of time

Without stating the obvious, writing is hard work. Save for a lucky few writing is "not your day job" and chances are, you've got a huge amount of other commitments, and spend a good few hours a week either commuting or sitting on the sidelines of kids' football, music, dance or martial arts classes. This was certainly the case with me and, to some extent, this is what led me to the writing process I gravitated to...

Accept that your writing is going to be fragmented

I quickly realised that if I was going to draft a novel, then the only way to do this was to take advantage of, some of dead time and as a result I needed to be able 
  • to write wherever I was on any device
  • to edit wherever I was
  • to be extremely distraction free 
By doing this, I reasoned I could make progress by multitasking the otherwise dead-times above.

Don't get tied to software - Markdown

Because of the reasons above I wanted to avoid getting tied to any specific piece of software and instead chose to write in a lightweight format called Markdown.


Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax. Its design allows it to be converted to many output formats. What this means is that you can keep your manuscript in Markdown but edit it with lots of different tools at the same time.

Example of Markdown
This means that the tool on your phone may be different to the tool on your laptop. It also means that if you fallout of favour with a particular tool you can swap it out. This was useful when the manuscript became too big for one tool to handle. The markdown software tools I use include

  • iA writer (Mac / Windows / mobile / tablet)
  • Byword (Mac / mobile / tablet )

Using these mean I'm able to write a sentence here and a sentence there across different devices.

Use the cloud

In order to hope between devices you need to be able to have all devices have a single document. For this I make use of apple's iCloud to store the manuscript. which means whatever device I use, I can continue at the last place I left off.

Distraction free

If you're anything like me you're easily distracted - here using Markdown helps a lot as this means I can use what are called distraction free tools like iA writer

Use byword on my phone

and even use old-school tools like the Alphasmart NEO2

Because markdown is just text this means that I have total-freedom in how I write and can even sit in the sun on vacation and read what I'm writing (on an old WP)

Review and edit

To review and edit, I similarly try to steal back time. to review I typically email the Markdown to and old series 3 Amazon Kindle (keyboard) - this lets me have a soak in the bath and read back what I've written - if I do need to make notes the keyboard's there to do so.

To steal time during the commute I get a device to read it back to me.

Using these hacks I'm able to squeeze a minute here and a minute there in otherwise dead time. 

Do I still need to sit at my laptop?

Of course I do, but given the amount of pressures and commitments al of us have,  I really believe that working in this lightweight way has enabled me to finish a full length novel which otherwise, I don't believe would have been possible.

At the end of the day there are no rules - do what makes sense to you, I just hope these words give you food for thought.    


Friday 11 October 2019

CM Angus - Fixpoint: Vol 1 Overstrike - Audio Teaser

The Fixpoint Series is a Speculative Fiction spanning 4 generations of a family haunted by the prospect of an approaching alternate reality where their child has been erased from history - The story has a strong narrative, and touches on themes of retro-causality, ethics and free will; It explores ideas of cause, effect and retribution and follows the path of Matt Howard, whose child, Ethan, is at risk, as he, his father & grandfather attempt use their own abilities to manipulate reality to discover and prevent whoever is threatening their child.

Overstrike (Vol I of Fixpoint) opens in 1948...

“Turn the page” at the 2nd Halifax Festival of Words

Really enjoyed reading at “turn the page” at the 2nd Halifax Festival of Words last Saturday. 
A fun evening with a huge amount of diverse talent. 
Hosted by the book corner in Halifax's historic Piece Hall "Turn the page" is an opportunity for poets an authors to show what they've got. 
As an author, I found myself in the minority however and am determine not only to return but to have a crack at verse next time. Many thanks for the opportunity to join you for the evening.

Wednesday 25 September 2019

CM Angus: Halifax Festival of Words

Looking forward to reading not such much a taster as a nibble of Book one of the Fixpoint series as part of Late Night Turn The Page at the Halifax Festival of words on the 5th of October.

Turn The Page is a poetry and word night at the Book Corner. Founded and hosted by Katie Atkinson and co-hosted by Katie Ashwood. They are very excited to be returning to the festival after last year’s sell out event.

A full programme for can be found at the festival website.

Sunday 1 September 2019

Interview and charity anthology launch at Fantasticon 2019

While visiting Fantasticon in August, John Hoggard and I spoke to Best-selling author Danuta Kot about the release of the Latest charity anthology from Fantastic books publishing: The Forge: Fire and Ice.

This is a Dystopian Sci-Fi anthology and contains contributions from myself, Danuta and John.

Like many of FBP's previous anthologies, this generates a donation for a nominated charity - in this case the UK's largest Fibromyalgia Charity, Fibromyalgia Action UK.

Danuta Kot: Welcome to the launch of Short Story Anthology, Forge: Fire and Ice. Two of the authors have agreed to come up onto the stage and talk about the book with me. So, I think we should get started.

Danuta Kot: The Forge: Fire and Ice is a collection of short stories based around the theme of fire and ice, and it's an anthology of sci-fi, speculative fiction, fantasy and sub-stories that really can't be classified. […] If you like sci-fi, if you like speculative fiction, if you like things dark, and if sometimes you like things funny as well, I highly recommend this.

Danuta Kot: So, first of all, I'd just like to ask two of the authors to say a little bit about the stories they wrote. So, John, how did you interpret fire and ice?

John Hoggard: Well, for me, and I confess that one of the editors when they sent it back said "this story seems to have come out of a novel." And I was like: "yeah it did actually." So, my story, Fire and Ice, [began a] really long time ago in my teens, long before YA was a YA thing, I start to write a novel, about a group of kids who get sent into another world and I wrote about 180,000 words, and I just went "yeah, this isn't going anywhere." So I just stopped.

John Hoggard: But I really liked some of the characters and I liked the idea of that fire and ice, so when the idea of the Fire and Ice anthology came out I went "I think I'll blow the dust off that." And sure enough, it took a little bit of shoehorning, which the editors spotted, but I did get it down into that concept of two dynamically opposed elementals, which is how I interpreted the story, being trapped in a single object, which was a sword. It was the story of how that sword needed to be reforged into its two base components so that it could do a mission. So that's my interpretation of fire and ice.

Danuta Kot: Thank you, John. Okay. And our second author is a short story writer and novelist, C M. Angus, and when I read your story, the saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably is," sort of came through my mind. I don't know if that's a fair assessment. But would you like to tell us something about your story?

C M. Angus: Absolutely. With Fire and ice, I took the view, not of a literal interpretation of fire and ice, but tried to make it more of a commentary. The idea was that you could be fired, and put in suspended animation, literally fired and iced.

C M. Angus: With that, one of the things I tried to do was work things in a number of levels, so you might notice in the story no one's got a name, none of the characters have any names apart from the computer. It's a very dystopian way of looking at things, where apart from the artificial intelligence, no one's got an identity, no one seems to care who the character is, or where he's come from. Unfortunately the way that society is going recently seems to have a lot of these trends. The idea was to create a social commentary while still being entertaining at the same time.

Danuta Kot: Thank you. You've both just touched on something that I always think is important with short stories. That, I mean, though all three of us, novelists as well as short story writers, that in a novel you've got a lot of space, you can move around, you can explore a lot. In a short story, every word counts. And as you were saying, the simple fact that the characters, your characters, don't have names, carries a tremendous amount of information.

Danuta Kot: John, which is more difficult to write for you, a novel or a short story?

John Hoggard: I think for me, the writing of the novel was fine, but editing a novel is terrifying. Whereas, writing a short story, and for me I write an awful lot of flash fiction, which is even shorter format again, so for me I find short story writing easier because I can go "I didn't like that, just bin it." Whereas with a novel I go "I've written all of these words and they've got to go somewhere." So, I feel obliged to keep editing until it's right. But with the short stories, sometimes you just go "no, it's not working." And you're just prepared to move on from it. So for me, short story writing's easier.

Danuta Kot: What do you think, C M. Angus?

C M. Angus: I agree. If you're writing a novel you're agonizing about "am I doing justice to the characters? Am I doing this right?" With a short story, because there's often a deadline, you can realize "It's the day of the deadline and I haven't started yet." And then you've got three hours to do this thing, and sometimes the best ideas go when you're under the most pressure. And when you try to do something that is really to the point, being under pressure, working to a deadline, really helps.

Danuta Kot: It's a completely different process, isn't it, because of the time pressure, I think. I mean I love writing both, I think I find novels slightly easier simply because of the space and the lack of time pressure, but I agree with you, John, the editing is an absolute nightmare.

Danuta Kot: One of the things that struck me when I was reading The Forge; I used to be a major sci-fi fan when I was in my teens and early 20s, and then science fiction and fantasy were on the whole a very, very optimistic genres, despite 1984, A Brave New World, on the whole authors saw the future as a good place to be, and they saw science as something that benefited humanity completely. When I read The Forge, I thought "no, everything's changed." This is true with so much sci-fi, it's dystopias, it's apocalypses, or an incredible takeover by cynicism and big business. What do you think about that, C M. Angus? How does it strike you?

C M. Angus: I think that's true, but I think, as ever, Art is just a mirror of society. I think it says an awful lot that 50 years ago, this year, we were putting men on the moon, and the absolute optimism in the same year, you had things like Woodstock, the optimism there of things could be wonderful, and things could be better, was a sign of the times. And then carried through, almost ten, twenty years afterward. Now, fast-forward now, you've got the banking crisis, you've got Brexit ripping everything apart, climate change, then it is no surprise that one of the main genres in movies is zombie movies. It is the Apocalypse, because people want that escapism, they want something that in some level mirrors their experiences. I think it's a little bit depressing, but I think it's just a mirror of society.

Danuta Kot: Yeah, I would agree with you there. What do you think, John?

John Hoggard: I agree. I mean, I grew up reading my dad's science fiction as a kid, so he gave me Asimov, Archur C. Clark, EE Doc Smith. And it was shiny and it showed that the human race had gone beyond the Earth, and was pushing out into boundaries, and discovering new planets, and was just being pretty good about to. And look at what we do to the Earth Mark 1, in the moment, I'm thinking we have the science, but as a species we don't seem to have the will to make the changes to actually make it better. [We were] going to change the world, [with] clever layers of technology. And none of it has come to pass, mainly, I suspect, because we're really good at doing what we've always done, which is just getting by. And that doesn't leave very much to progressive species.

Danuta Kot: It's a real shame we haven't got Earth Mark 2, it seems really we could do with it right now.

John Hoggard: We'd screw that one as well, I'm afraid.

Danuta Kot: I was rereading John Wyndham recently, very excellent sci-fi writer, and I reread The Chrysalis and The Kraken Wakes, and I noticed that these are dystopic novels that head inexerably towards doom and apocalypse, very well done. And yet right at the end in both cases, he tags on not quite a happy ending but hope. Almost as if, in those days, people couldn't face the prospect of the end. These days, I think we're much more ready for it. And I think The Forge: Fire and Ice, these stories reflect that in a whole range of ways, through the darkest of stories to some very dark, wonderful humour. Anyway, thank you for listening. Thank you both for this conversation.

John Hoggard: Thank you very much.

C M. Angus: Thank you.

The Forge: Fire and ice is published by Fantastic books publishing and available now as e-book and paperback from Amazon and other sellers.

10% of the proceeds from Fire and Ice go to the UK's largest Fibromyalgia Charity, Fibromyalgia Action UK.

Thursday 8 August 2019

Friday 2 August 2019

Book deal! Elsewhen Press to publish Fixpoint volume 1

I'm pleased and super-excited to announce that I've just signed a deal for my novel - Overstrike: Volume 1 of the Fixpoint trilogy.
Overstrike should be released in 2020 the independent publisher publisher - Elsewhen Press - Elsewhen specialise in speculative fiction and have over 70 titles from around 30 authors, including the bestselling Christopher Nuttall.

I spoke to Peter Buck from Elsewhen earlier this week and could not be more excited about joining the "Elsewhen family"

The Fixpoint Trilogy is a set of 3 novels with each book tackling different aspects of discontinuities in time.

Vol 1:Overstrike spans 4 generations of a family haunted by the prospect of an approaching alternate reality where their child has been erased from history.

It touches on themes of retro-causality, ethics and free will, explores ideas of cause, effect and retribution and follows the path of Matt Howard, whose child, Ethan, is at risk, as he, his father & grandfather attempt use their own abilities to manipulate reality to discover and prevent whoever is threatening their child.

Vol 2: Chimera is currently in planning.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Fire and Ice

Just finished confirming the edits for a short story being published in FBP's Fire and Ice Sci-Fi dystopian anthology to be released later this year.

This is currently being edited under the working title "The Forge"