First Look at Knight Fall – Reminiscent Exile #3

Okay, team,

As promised over on the new Facebook page, when we snuck past 200+ likes, I’d post the first few chapters of Knight Fall. Well, here we are:

Knight Fall – Chapters 1 & 2

These are raw chapters, a few edits away from gold, but strong enough to stand on their own! Looks like Declan doesn’t get to enjoy any downtime!



New Release Mailing List

Hey, folks,

So just a quick one today – if you’d like to get an automatic email and be the first to find out about my new releases and what not, click here:


You’ll only ever get an email once or twice a year, once you’re subscribed, and it’ll be when a book is out and available! I also swear not to use your email address for nefarious purposes.

Long days and pleasant nights,


In which Joe wins a prize…

Good news, everyone!

I am pleased, humbled, rather giddy, and just generally excited to announce that I am a proud recipient of the Guardian and Hot Key Books Young Writer’s Prize! Huzzah–huzzah indeed!

What does this mean, you ask? Well, along with a bit of a skip in my step, it means I’m stepping onto the clear, crystal shores of traditional publishing, with my first novel geared toward a Young Adult audience – The Rig!

Check out the cover and synopsis:


(click to make biggerer…est)

Catchy, no? The blue is blue and the hand rather handy. I love it. Here’s a bit about the story:

Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake…

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.

And then awesome things happen that you can read about in September – the 5th of, to be exact – when the story is released. Until then, here’s the first chapter.

My story was selected out of hundreds, along with a story from my fellow winner Katie Coyle. The judging panel included YA author Will Hill, Julia Eccleshare, John Newman, Elen Caldecott and students from Evelyn Grace Academy and Thongsley Fields Primary School. I’m told they liked ‘The Rig’, so that’s encouraging.

So my thanks to all involved, for choosing my story. It is a good story, if I can say so myself. One of those that came out on the page almost as clear as I saw it in my head. Rare, that. Coveted, even, among creative types.

Roll on September!




Shortlisted for the Hot Key Books & Guardian Young Writer’s Prize

Some excellent and rather humbling news, everyone!

My young adult novel, The Rig, has made the short list (top five out of hundreds) for the Guardian and Hot Key Books Writer’s Prize next year at the London Book Fair. This is exciting on many levels.

But also deliciously validating.

My time spent in the word mines chopping away at this story was not in vain.

Now, unfortunately there’s a bit of a wait to find out if I come out on top – around March, 2013 – but to have made it this far is simply wonderful, and taking a look at some of the competition, I fear I am in remarkable company. I am also the only dude in my category, which is somewhat intimidating on certain levels.

So yeah. Good news is good.



Z-APOC: When John Met Sarah

Further good news, everyone!

The first part of my serialised gruesome zombie story just went live on Amazon. Check it out:

Here’s the rather gripping synopsis:


For John Allen, the end of the world began with a slutty pumpkin…

A year later, scavenging alone in the apocalyptic wastelands, John searches for a rumoured food distribution centre. In the the ruins of Wyong, a town just north of Sydney, he encounters Sarah Bell, another survivor – hiding a dark secret about the hordes of roaming dead, and holding the future of humanity in her hands.

Thrust together in a world gripped by horror and sickness, John and Sarah must make choices that could mean surviving another day – or falling to the endless waves of walking dead.


You can pick it up here.

Recently, and with the ever-increasing rise of the almighty e-book, the industry has seen a swing toward serialised stories. Z-APOC represents my humble contribution to this not unwelcome trend. I’m intending to release one part every five to six weeks, and then the whole thing as a collection further down the line.

Rather excited about this. An end of the world story with a twist!

Again, get yourself some awesome right here.

On Keeping a Writing Log

One of the biggest problems I’ve found while playing this writing game is the actual writing bit. That is, sitting my ass down and blending some fine Irish word whisky. To that end, I’ve started keeping a writing log. A writing log, you say? What, oh you magnificent Shakespearean word smith, does this writing log entail? Well, I’ll tell you.

A spreadsheet.

Click to enlarge this bad boy

The real benefit, I’ve found, of doing this is I actually get to see the progress being made, day by day. Or lack of progress, as the case may be. Regardless, my word count churn out has increased significantly since I started keeping track of just what I’m accomplishing each day. This all comes back to another key I’ve found that unlocks my awesome and devastating writing ability–set a word count target, and stick to that word count target come hell or high water.

Plan to a point – then just start writing. The best, most well thought out plan in the world does not a novel make. I enjoy having written, I don’t so much enjoy the writing part. At least, not always, so have a solid target. Treat this like the work it is.

Commit to a daily word count based on your lifestyle/schedule. A 1,000 words a day is not unreasonable. If you have a solid enough plan, that could be hammered out in 30-60 minutes. Consider that at a 1,000 words a day, you’ll have an average sized novel in two months. That’s worth the commitment.

Or, if you can, 1,500 words a day. 2,000. Have a target, sit your ass down, and don’t get up until you’ve met that target. Hardest part about writing a novel is finishing the damn thing.

You won’t know if it’s worth your time until it’s done. What you produce may need scrapping. But it may not. Or some of those words may carry over into another, better story, which benefits from what you learned the first time.

You’ll make mistakes, we all do. But finish – don’t give up or switch projects. Finish. A bad finished novel is worth more to you than a dozen half-finished manuscripts.

And keep a log of your awesome progress.



Cover for Broken Quill – The Reminiscent Exile #2

Well ain’t this exciting:


Yes, that is a badass eye patch and wistful bottle of scotch. Looks like long, dark times to come for our intrepid, drunken exile–Declan Hale.

Drawn and designed by the incomparable Vincent Chong, of course, who also created the cover for Distant Star. As you can no doubt tell, there’s somewhat of a resonance between the two covers. I think I prefer this one, however, as Broken Quill is turning out far better than I’d hoped.

Current word count: 42,174

Estimated word count: 70,000

Estimated completion date: October 27th, 2012

Better get writing!