MJG Fall update 2018!

Mike Grist Life Leave a Comment

Has it really been 6 months since I last posted an update?

That is sorely slack and I am sorry – but it is not for lack of writing-focused endeavors. On the contrary, since I last blogged I have written 1.5 books, edited an old book up to a fine shine, and plunged into a whole new writerly genre.

At the same time, over the baking summer we hosted my wife’s sister and 2 kids for two weeks – a big deal for us as we’ve never hosted anyone, let alone a whole family!

On with the details:

1.5 books and a whole new genre

This is the biggie – and something I’m ridiculously excited about. For a year or so now, as I was finishing the last books in the Last Mayor/Zombie Ocean series, I was thinking I wanted to write a thriller.

In the real world.

Something I’ve never attempted before. Sci-fi and fantasy were always my genre. I’d never thought of anything other than that, and rarely read anything other.

Now I’ve written a thriller!

What can I say about it? It’s a Jack Reacher/Dexter hybrid, where the hero is a cult leader who goes around breaking evil cults. The tagline?

It takes a cult-leader to kill a cult

I was surprised by how enjoyable I found the process of writing in the ‘real’ world. That real has bunny-ear quotes because my thriller is definitely a heightened reality – but not very different from your thrillers of the 24, James Bond genre. It goes bigger, in some ways.

So far my Dad and step-mom have read it. They both read it in a couple of days. This is unprecedented in several ways – my step-mom has never read a book of mine – fantasy is not her bag. She picked it up not expecting to like it.

She read it in a day. Said she loved it.

My Dad read it in three days. He called me in the middle of the day – something he’s never done before – to tell me he thinks I’ve got a bestseller here.

Wow, right? I know it’s family, but I’ve written 14 books so far, and never had this reaction.

So what’s different? Really it’s the pace. The hero and his development is not so very different from Amo or Ritry in the Ruin War series – except this guy starts off bad-ass, and has about 5 times more conflict situations than in any of my previous books.

The battling, and solving tricky situations in fresh ways, is constant. Chapters are shorter. Arguments faster. Violence more total.

So, yes, exciting.

When do you get to read it?

Well, that is trickier. I am submitting this book to agents/publishers – something I haven’t attempted in years. I hope to get it into major bookshops.

At the same time as I wait on hearing back, I am writing book 2. I will also write book 3. If no agent/publisher wants this series in say 6 months, then I will put it out myself. 3 books at once, BANG BANG BANG.

I know you’re on this list as an sf/fantasy fan, but I think you’ll like this series and this character. As I say he’s like the bad-ass latter Amo, while hes dealing with similar cult-stuff that Amo dealt with in the Laws, with all the wacky bunkers, and finally in the Light as well.

So, yes, on with book 2, and wish me luck with agents/publishers!!


Edited Mr. Ruin to a fine shine

Some of you read Mr. Ruin – now titled Soul Jacker. It has been a long process to edit this book. When I first wrote it, it was impossible. I see that now.

Not only did it have complex, underexplained concepts, it also had great mounds of extremely dense low-frequency vocab, tied up in a narrative structure that was purposely, and for no good reason, complex.

Why did I write it like that? I wanted to make the book a puzzle or a maze. I thought that would be fun. For some people I am sure that it was.

But for most people, they want to read and be entertained, while being perhaps moderately challenged. Mr. Ruin was like reading math algorithms and trying to make sense of them.

Not fun.

Now it should be. I straightened the narrative out completely – I was worried this would ruin the story, but now I think it transforms it in a wonderful way. The stakes, the emotional core, are all now very clear. Before they were completely hidden.

Now I have to do the same for book 2, which is already a daunting task. Then three. I am doing this at the same time as I write the thrillers.

So, when can we see these? Probably in? months also. These I will defiitely publish myself, three books as a BANG BANG BANG.

And then?

I dont know what I do next in sf/fantasy. The thrillers can keep going on one side. Any ideas? 😉


And in other news…

Other than writing, we had family round to stay for two weeks! My wife’s sister came from South Korea with her 10 and 12 year old boys! We’ve never done this before, so the whole thing was an adventure.

They don’t speak much English, and I don’t speak much Korean, so that was challenge 1, along with teaching them how to navigate around London, and finding food they could eat happily, and getting along when all three of them were crammed into one room together!!

We didn’t cram them in – that was their choice. We had two blow up double mattresses in the living room, so the whole space was sleepable from two sofas across the beds. Like a giant bounce house – but still tight.

It was an awesome visit – we went to Cambridge and did punting on the river, went to Hastings and stayed by the sea, they went to Harry Potter studios (we’ve been before), lots of London museums, and some BBQ days at home, hanging with neighbors.

Fantastic and draining and important and great fun over all. I’d post photos but they’re private people, so instead you get more pictures of me, writing…

And that is it for this update. I’ll try to be in touch more often for sure – letting you know how I’m progressing on these books and all this editing. 6 months of work without a release! It’s a long time to go. Hang in there with me, it’ll be worth it, I promise!

Me writing at my standing desk (chest of drawers) with Lincoln helping!

Writing at my sitting desk with Churchill to help!

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