In What Flesh Do Skins Inhabit?

The Nowhere Legion

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog and my only feeble excuse is a job in which the shift patterns were brutal and the embarkation on a long writing project which left me little time to devote to this. I know – it is not much of an excuse. In the year in which this blog has been silent, I have finished ‘The Day After Yesterday’, written ‘Ithaka’ and now finished ‘The Nowhere Legion‘. The good news is that ‘The Day After Yesterday’ is now in early rehearsals with Theatre Found and may see production in late November or early December. ‘Ithaka’ also was staged as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Five Minute Theatre Festival last year – which means I am now an officially produced playwright!

While I had been labouring with ‘The Day After Yesterday’. I had been starting up and chipping away at a Late Roman novel entitled ‘The Nowhere Legion’. This was launched as a weekly or so serialised story over on the Rome Total War mod site, TWC, under that rubric of an AAR. Just to explain, a traditional AAR is where the player of a RTW campaign game writes up short narrative excerpts which detail the style of play or the events inside the campaign world. The writing usually focuses on things like which army moved where, or what spy killed which general, or what enemy force invaded such and such territory, and so on. The AAR is a sort of diary of how the player runs the game on a fictional level. Now I have been writing these AARs for a couple of years now and exploring the medium as a writing genre in its own right. I soon moved out of the constraints of the format and used the gaming convention instead to illstrate my story. In other words, I reversed the dynamic. In my AARs you would read about a story and the ‘ingame’ shots were done in Custom Mode which allowed me effectively to use the RTW game as an illustrating tool. I soon found an audience for this style of writing and so with the launch of The Nowhere Legion, I was building up a weekly readership within the AAR community while at the same time encouraging that readership to give me feedback on the story itself.

A video of part of the climactic battle can be seen here!

It is rare in any writing medium for a writer to receive feedback and support in the writing process itself – and so I was especially grateful to those AAR readers who critiqued the work and also encouraged me in my attmpts to self-publish the work.

In a curious move from the playwriting, I have now dipped deep into the self-publishing world both at Amazon where the novel is now launched for the kindle and over at Smashwords where I have also serialised the first 4 parts of The Nowhere Legion and also published both my plays and a sort of manifesto to them!

What I will be doing over the following weeks is seeing how viable the whole self-publishing move is with the novel as that will allow me to see where I develop my next work – ‘Hadrianople’: a novel climaxing in the brutal battle in Thrace which saw the eastern Roman army and its emperor annihilated.

At the moment, the novel has been out on Amazon for a week and garnered 2 five-star reviews. I am giving myself a 3 month window here to see how it develops along with what kind of marketing strategies I need to drive it. This is a new world for me so it will be interesting to see what I can learn here!

I have emerged after a long silence and will blog in more detail later – but for now I really only wanted to kick-start this again as a way of framing the launch of the novel!

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