Tag Archives: novels

So,Where Are We?

A comment by one of my readers  about whether the Panylraeans — the aliens of the first book, Sorrow Mystica – return in later novels got me thinking about how I have arrived at a position where I know there will be at least seven novels (Nodes 0 and 2-6), and possibly eight if Node 1 (Operation Flashlight) ever gets finished. And possibly more. And that the Panylraeans may not (but then again, they might) return.

So – to begin at the beginning. The first of the Dereham Nodes to be written is the one recently published, Raven of Dispersion. As it was my first novel, there were things I wasn’t happy with, so several million rewrites occurred. Okay, so several million is an exaggeration. About twenty drafts.

During these travails I helped Kevin Goodman write his UFO Warminster: Cradle of Contact. After we finished that, Kevin suggested we write something else. Knowing of his interest in science fiction and UFOs, I suggested fiction with a sci fi bent. Of course, Kevin wanted aliens in there somewhere. I wanted to subvert such notions. So we kind of compromised on a Ruth Rendell-style sci fi involving aliens, contactees, relationships and… well… read it, and you’ll see how it all came together. But, because Raven already involved the paranormal and young people looking for flying saucers, I thought it might be fun if we set at least part of Sorrow in Dereham, the ufological hotspot I had already invented for Raven. The seeds for a series were thus sown.

After I’d finished writing Raven of Dispersion and was editing that and Kev’s book, I had an idea for a novel I thought of as “Band Novel”, that would move the characters of “Raven” to 1984 — older, possibly wiser, possibly madder in some cases, some of whom would be, yes, you guessed it, in a band. So I started making notes.

However, while I was making notes for “Band Novel”, I was looking at some of my old writing notes, and noticed one that involved a hitman. What, I thought, if a bunch of young Wiltshire hippies were confronted with somebody who claimed he was a hitman? Wouldn’t they just think him delusional? And what if they started following him around. What would happen? And so The Ethical Hitman — the next novel to be published — took shape.

Meanwhile, Kevin had become interested in what had happened to some of the characters from Sorrow Mystica, and what they might get up to after that book finished. So he started sending me rough ideas for a kind of thriller spy-type book. Given that I’d already started working on The Ethical Hitman, and knew “Band Novel” would happen at some point in the future, I could see ways to tie all these together, and make fun interconnections between all the books.

Kevin wanted  what was to become Crossing the Line to be a spy-thriller-guns-explosions type of book. But I wanted to subvert that. So, we compromised on a Ruth Rendell-style spy-thriller-guns-explosions type book. Yes, we were mashing genres. We wrote Crossing really quickly, enjoying ourselves immensely, finishing it and the drafts of Sorrow while I was still on draft 12 of Raven.

Sorrow Mystica and Crossing the Line are set in 1971/1972, while Raven of Dispersion is set in 1976. It made sense then that, when I decided to self-publish, the novels should be released in the same order as their timeline.

So next then will be The Ethical Hitman, Genial (both set in 1976), and then German Overalls (set in 1984).

Kevin and I are also working on Panlyrae: A Message for Mankind and Operation Flashlight, which would be nodes 0 and 1, and will be set in the 40s/50s/60s. These could be released at any point in the series.

And then, there might well be something set on the planet Panlyrae at some indeterminate point in the age of the universe. I have ideas…

There might also be something about a couple of characters from Dereham dithering about whether to take a trip on the Settle and Carlisle railway. This one will be a hoot. I might need Kevin to subvert the rather Ruth Rendell-ish, Anita Brookner-ish nature of it with guns, bombs, aliens and spies.

Raven of Dispersion – Node 4

Finally! Node 4 of the Dereham Connections has arrived.

Not quite in time for Christmas, unless you’re very quick – but it is finally published this year, at least. The book is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon, and available to order as a paperback from other places, I should imagine.

Raven of Dispersion is set in the imaginary Dereham, somewhere in an imaginary corner of Wiltshire, in a very real long, hot, summer of 1976. The mysteries that swirl about the town are about to entangle the young and the arrogant in ways they can’t imagine.

Six friends. Charlie, James and  Imogen, Stuart and Kate, Paul. They walk the sun-soaked hill tops, searching for answers, looking for UFOs. They talk about the occult. They drink, flirt, smoke and kiss.

Charlie had always fancied Imo. Tall, beautiful Imo. Everybody loved her.

Imo loved James. Except… Except, James was fond of his brandy, and at eighteen had already started down a road that led, Imo feared, to drunkenness and dissolution.

Imo was, however, happy that her best and oldest friend had fallen for Stuart. Handsome Stuart. Flirty Stuart. Lots of girls fancied Stuart, even Imogen once – much to Charlie’s chagrin. What Charlie feared most was that Imogen would one day leave James and take up with Stuart. Why he feared this outcome above all else, Charlie wasn’t sure. So when he fell for Paul’s younger sister Jane, he felt he could at last put all that nonsense about Imo behind him. It wasn’t like he was obsessed or anything. No, he wasn’t like that at all.

And Paul? He had studied the occult masters, and was a neophyte no longer. He knew how to perform the Banishing Ritual and Regardie’s Healing Ritual of the Middle Pillar. He had seen Raphael and Ariel. When he and James whimsically decide to work the paths of the Kabbala one night on Copsehill, what could possibly go wrong?

Everything…

Because when the Raven of Dispersion enters their world, a slow spiral into madness begins.

Raven of Dispersion at Amazon

 

 

Genial

If I’m a bit rubbish at blogging — which I am — it’s because I am so busy editing the other things I’m writing, squeezing in some blogging is difficult.

This blog entry is more an informercial really. 🙂 My recent distraction has been editing a novella – Genial: Being the Courtship of Simon and Julie. This is only draft three of the text, and I expect at least a couple more. But the novella is set in 1976, which is 40 years ago. And 40 years ago was the best summer most people will remember ever. Hot blazing sun for weeks on end, it was as Mediterranean as the UK will ever get. So, I said on Facebook I would create an ebook of this early draft for free if enough people liked my status, in honour of that summer. Well, about ten people did (I don’t have many Facebook friends!), so I’ve created an ebook in various formats for most readers, available from the dropbox links below.

The blurb:

It’s the summer of 1976 — the dazzling summer, the long hot summer, the summer when the sun shone and would shine always and forever  — and young old friends Simon and Julie drift through the glorious lazy holiday that stretches before them, wondering what they should do about the loves they left before the summer began. As they share time together under the blue skies and in the sultry heat — in the pubs of the town, out on the hills and in the fields, and riding in cars with the wind in their hair — their lives become languorously entangled. Can this entanglement last longer than the summer? Or is it only a creation of the magical Mediterranean weather? Their story is episodic, picaresque, sentimental, romantic. And most genial.

It is Node 4.5 of the Dereham Connections. Everything connects.

You can get your hands on a free copy at one of these links:

Have fun!

NODE 3 – “Crossing the Line” Published

The second book in the Dereham Connections series has now been published. Node 3, Crossing the Line was finally unleashed upon a suspecting world a few weeks back. Here’s the blurb…


Peta Shepherd had already crossed the line. Archie Conn might know why, and Harry Roberts would cross lines to find him. Emily Freeman had crossed a line, leaving the US and moving to London to be with Len Stone, Peta’s friend, Archie’s nemesis. Her head was full of secrets; why was she leaving? Colonel Skinner would cross lines to discover why, and to keep the Brits off his back. Mick Edge would cross lines to discover why the Yanks were operating on his soil without his authorisation, and what Archie had learned from Peta Shepherd about the aliens she had once talked to.

And Archibald Franklin Conn? He had crossed many lines in his time – but the line he was about to cross would put him far beyond the pale.

In the end, all lines cross – and the outcome changes lives forever.


The book is available from Amazon as a paperback and as a Kindle book. Here’s a link to the paperback.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crossing-Dereham-Connections-Steve-Dewey/dp/0993222226/

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I am currently editing Raven of Dispersion, Node 4.0 in the Dereham Connections and it should be published some when in July/August…

Node 4 – Raven of Dispersion

So, after the contactees and spies and conspiracies of the early 1970s, Node 4 — Raven of Dispersion moves us into the middle of the decade, and the long, hot summer of 1976. We leave behind characters that we have followed through the two preceding novels. Now, instead of spies and contactees and night-club owners, we become involved with young adults.

But I don’t like to think of this as a young adult novel — the characters are simply young; when I was that age, I didn’t think of myself as a young adult. I just thought I was brilliant and knew everything.

The characters in Raven of Dispersion are burgeoning intellectuals, exploring the world of ideas through the unconventional route of UFOs and the paranormal, and their first explorations of T S Eliot, Karl Marx, DH Lawrence,  Colin Wilson, and so on. Of course, being young, there are feelings to contend with  — love, and that new-fangled word, relationships.

It is at this nexus of love and the unconventional that things go a little bit awry. Because the young can be just a bit too sure of themselves, certain that they know what they are doing. And the young might also think their experiments — with balloons and lights, let us say — can surely have no consequences beyond the scientific.

And yet one balloon, and one set of lights — mixed with a pinch of beauty and one lovin’ spoonful of psychosis — are the ingredients for a proper brouhaha.

 

Node 3 – Crossing the Line

Having established that all the Nodes in the Dereham Connections have some linkage to Dereham, how are they connected?

Well, I can’t tell you too much without giving several games away. While all the books are designed to stand alone, inevitably, things happen in the books that will affect other books.

Still, Node 3 is called Crossing the Line. In Crossing the Line, several lines are crossed. Spies spy on people they really shouldn’t, agencies operate where they’re not allowed and chase information fruitlessly. An agent falls in love with the sister of the woman he was watching. Security services work with terrorists. A bad man becomes much worse. And all because Peta Shepherd might finally have discovered something and told nobody except Archibald Franklin Conn. Everybody is searching for information. Many people are searching for Archie, for various reasons. All Archie is searching for is an easy life.

Set in London, South Wales and Reading, in late 1972 and early 1973, Crossing the Line is the book that has least to do with Dereham. And yet the events in Dereham, described in Sorrow Mystica, are the impetus for the drama in Crossing the Line. And the man who Archie becomes in Crossing the Line reverberates through the connections and has consequences in 1976, in Node 5.

After the vague sci-fi feel of Sorrow Mystica, Crossing the Line crosses into the spy and thriller genres. There are no aliens or spaceships, no skywatchers or paranormal mysteries. But the aliens we meet in Sorrow Mystica, and their channel, Peta Shepherd, provide the McGuffin that propels Crossing the Line.

Crossing the Line should be available early in the new year.

Why Connections, and Why Nodes?

The perspicacious among you might have noticed the subtitle to Sorrow MysticaDereham Connections: Node 2 — and wondered what that was all about…

Well, the novels so far written are all connected in some way. They are a series, a chronicle, or what have you. Informally, they were known for some time as The Dereham Chronicles; but that implied they were all set in the imaginary Dereham — that they were a chronicle of the town. However, the series is not so much about Dereham, as about people whose lives intersect and are in some way influenced by events in the town. (Although, if the books also lead you to want to move to Dereham, I’ll have done my job.)

Still, I wanted to give notice that the novels are connected in some way. I thought an overall title like A Dance to the Music of Time might work. But then I thought something like that might be a bit too… precious… for some scifi-spy-thriller-paranormal-romance-based novels; such a “series” title might make the books appear as, “that is to say, literature”, as Henry Miller once wrote. And the fact that at least one of the books is not set in Dereham bugged me. And then one day I concluded that the books were about the connections
between the characters in them; it was the connections that were important. And that’s how Dereham Connections came to be.

And then I saw each novel as a coming together, a meeting point, of the strands and webs of the lives I was weaving, where the connections created a knot, a tangle of wires — a node. And that was how each book came to be called a Node. So why is the first book Node: 2? Because there is no Node 1. Not yet, at any rate. All the Nodes are ordered by when they are set – starting in 1971 for Node 2, and ending in 1984 for Node 6. But they might yet be published in a different order; expect the unexpected.

Anyway, here are the nodes that we — co-author Kevin and I — know for sure will be published over the next year or so:

Node 2          Sorrow Mystica                                                    
Node 3          Crossing the Line
Node 3.5       Genial — Being the Tale of the Courtship of Simon and Julie
Node 4          Raven of Dispersion
Node 5          The Ethical Hitman
Node 6          German Overalls

Only Node 6 remains unwritten — but I know what it’s about. There are notes. And it has to be written. Nodes 2 and 3 are co-written with Kevin. Nodes 3.5 through 6 are written solely by me.

There are other nodes in the pipeline, but they remain a little vague (and depend on my co-author)…

Sorrow Mystica

So, finally, the first book in the Dereham Connections sequence — or chronicles, or volumes, or loosely-connected series, however we might think of it — has been published.

Titled Sorrow Mystica, it is set in the early 1970s in London and Wiltshire (yes, in the imaginary town of Dereham that provides the name for this blog), and also in 1950s California and at some unknown point on the planet Panlyrae.

So, what is it about? The blurb is thus:

Gang member turned hippie Len Stone searched for enlightenment and experience. He’d tried it all – gurus and mysticism, journeys to the East, drugs and religion. But then, on a grubby bookstall in the cold streets of London, Stone chanced upon Panlyrae: A Message for Mankind, the story of Ed Freeman and his contact with aliens.

Intrigued by Freeman’s story, he hoped he too could learn the secrets of the universe through interaction with benevolent aliens. And then, in the nightclub he managed, he met a young woman, a runaway, and thought he’d found at last his soror mystica, his mystical sister. Together, they began to explore alien worlds.

When Stone employed a handsome bruiser to mind the doors, however, he let trouble in rather than keeping it out.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the planet Panlyrae look on, unable to intervene, yet deeply and obsessively fascinated by the planet they appear to have discovered.

Spanning continents, decades and worlds, Sorrow Mystica is a tale of alien contact, intrigue, mirage men, espionage, and death. It is also an exploration of narrative, fiction and truth.

If Sorrow Mystica is the first in a loosely-connected series, you might wonder about later books. Have they been written? How many are there? How do they connect?

Well, yes, all but two have been written. There are six, possibly seven books in the series. If one of them doesn’t get written, it won’t matter to the series. How they connect, though, will be subject of further posts.

Sorrow Mystica front cover

Sorrow Mystica
(Dereham Connections: Node 2.0)
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US