A Storm Hits Valparaíso – Released Today!

In 1810, José de San Martín deserts the Spanish Army and returns home to Buenos Aires to lead a bloody revolt against his former masters. Struggling with an increasing dependence on opiates, San Martín forms a secret army of thieves, mercenaries, slaves, and prostitutes to free Argentina from the Spanish Empire. A Storm Hits Valparaíso is an epic, 400-page historical adventure with a huge cast of characters whose stories gradually interweave, including: two brothers torn apart by love; a slave running for his life, a disgraced British sailor seeking redemption in a foreign land; an Indian trapped in the death mines of Potosí; and a Spanish general who deserts the army to raise the flag of rebellion against Madrid. A Storm Read More…

Around The World In 80 Drafts

Thailand might not seem like the most obvious place to start a historical novel set in early 1800s Argentina, but it made a lot of sense at the time. It was a cheap place to hole up for a few months and get some serious work done. The glorious weather, perfect beaches, and competitively priced drinks were just a bonus. One side effect was that I got used to writing in bars and restaurants. And on the move. Two essential skills for the modern-day wandering minstrel. That was five-and-a-half years ago. I finished A Storm Hits Valparaíso last night. As in, completely finished. Editorial suggestions incorporated, back-matter written, the whole enchilada. It just needs proofing, a cover, a blurb, formatting, some testing, Read More…

Exclusive: Chapter 3 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

The best piece of writing advice I ever received was write the book you want to read. The kind of books I love have a huge cast of characters, often starting in completely separate, exotic locations, whose narrative strands gradually interweave. I think readers – of any genre – like some kind of puzzle in the story. They like figuring out where things are going to go next. One of the writer’s jobs is to give them enough information here and there, and then pull the rug out from under their feet. If you do it too often though, you will piss them off. But if it’s all predictable, it will get boring too. This tension is one of many Read More…

Sneak Preview: Chapter 2 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

Last week, I gave you a preview of Chapter 1 of my forthcoming South American historical adventure A Storm Hits Valparaíso where you met Catalina, a feisty tavern-keeper’s daughter in the Chilean port-town of Valparaíso. In Chapter 2, the action switches to the other side of the world to introduce another of the seven main characters. While Catalina was my invention, Thomas Cochrane was very real and has been the basis for several famous fictional characters, such as Patrick O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower. In fact, his life was so fantastic I had to be selective in which parts of his history to present so as not to stretch the credulity of the reader completely. As I Read More…

A Sneak Preview: Chapter 1 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

I want to give you a sneak preview of my upcoming novel, which has the working title of A Storm Hits Valparaíso. I’m currently on the final pass, but it’s quite convoluted and could take a month or two before it is ready for the editor. I started writing this in 2006. It was a classic case of an inexperienced writer biting off far more than he can chew. It has seven main characters who all start in different locations and their narrative strands gradually interweave. In technical terms, it’s by far the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to write, and I have no shame in saying that at several points I felt it was beyond me, and walked Read More…