The Darkest CORE

Netherdei Book 2 release update.

The Count of Monte Cristo waited a long time for his revenge and I feel that my readers have been just as patient with the follow-up to The Shadow Sect – Netherdei #1.

Last year was very tough for me personally. Serious illness in my family – and other things – meant that I couldn’t write (in fact I couldn’t open my laptop for a while).

My deadline for submission passed, leaving me feeling even worse, although my publisher, Portal Books, were extremely supportive and understanding – which I am so grateful for.

What I can say now and what I take from this whole experience, is that I’ve poured so much of what I felt during those numbing, stagnant months, into The Darkest Core – Netherdei #2.

Last night, I submitted my draft for editing. I had a Japanese whisky (no ‘e’ in theirs) and sat down, reflecting for at least five minutes on my achievement.

Then, I did the typical writer-thing of wondering how the hell I could better The Darkest Core and surpass it in the as-yet completely unwritten Netherdei #3. That’s crazy, right?

Writers do this. They beat themselves up and don’t allow more than five minutes to celebrate what is a real success. Even if I missed the bloody deadline by a mile.

This is why I wanted to post today, after so long. To thank you all for supporting my writing journey. For messaging. Sending memes of your favourite characters and moments. For giving me a nudge.

The Darkest Core has been a labour of love, as well as a personal struggle. It has dialogue and prose that I’m most proud of, out of all of my work – and I’ve improved as a writer, just as my MC, Falken Calder is progressing immensely as a Cultivator.

You’ll never please everyone. You’ll find a critic almost everywhere. But, as my puerile mate, Warmund Tripp would say, ‘Fuck it.’

I just submitted a book that makes me proud.

I hope you love it.

positively insane stuff & Audio.

It’s been a huge lift for me to see that The Shadow Sect was selected by Audible as a Deal of the Day, which has seen it leap back up the charts to #3 in Audible globally and #13 in US Amazon (all genres).

I’m going to bed now and don’t expect it to climb further, but this is a wonderful, unexpected piece of insanity that is most welcome – and perfectly timed. It really is!

I’ve just seen the audio fly to being US Amazon Best-Seller for Science Fiction & Fantasy (and the sub-genres; Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy) and Horror.

If that isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is!

I’ve booked a writing retreat. I’d better get myself into gear for Netherdei #2!!

Huge thanks once again, to Joe Jameson, who narrated The Shadow Sect and deserves recognition for his great performance. The Ol’ Mumblecrust is still my favourite!

Unexpected wins, imposter syndrome & whoop there it is!

There is a glass award on my bookshelf of dreams, for a short story I wrote in 2017.

I wrote that story under a pen-name, because I was trying to build my confidence as a writer and work out what genre suited me.

The award night was to be held in an old London cinema, but I was in Spain at the time and a friend kindly went in my place – and got the shock of his life when he had to make up a speech on my behalf.

I love that award, because it gave me the confidence to write Ever Winter, under my real name.

Last night, my son and I sat up to watch a stream of the 2021 SOVAS Voice Arts Awards, as Ever Winter had been nominated via an incredible Dan Stevens performance of the audio.

It’s Dan’s nomination, of course. It’s about his brilliant performance. Yet, last night, the award was a royal ‘we’ – belonging to Dan, my son and I.

Being a typical dad, I couldn’t get the live stream to work and my tired lad went to bed and I did the same, only to wake up with a crazy number of phone messages, informing me that the royal we (Dan), had won.

I’ve genuinely never expected even nominations for any of my work, directly or otherwise, because (aside from Dan’s credentials), I write part-time outside of a day job and my books aren’t in the shops. Which is the measure for a lot of people who ask about my writing – ‘Why aren’t your books in the shops yet?’

Part of me is still in 2017, hiding under a pen-name and this is where the imposter syndrome kicks in.

Today, I gave myself a break. Any recognition at all, adds hope that I am heading in the right direction. To any writers reading this – give yourself a break.

My one regret, is not booking a plane ticket to the event, hiring a tux and trying to blag my way in with my Essex-boy accent, on the off-chance I might’ve got to meet rap legend DC The Brain Supreme, #DCGlenn #tagteam.


Dan stevens / Ever winter best sci-Fi nominee at sovas 21

Next Sunday 19th December is the annual SOVAS Voice Arts Awards, being held at the Guggenheim in New York.

It felt so cool to write that bit. ‘Oooh, Guggenheim!’

I’d like to think it’s just Covid that has restricted my travel to these prestigious awards, but being honest, I’m just not important enough – and would probably increase the drinks bill substantially.

A year ago, I was ridiculously lucky and equally blessed to have Dan Stevens narrate Ever Winter for an audio book for Podium Audio – and boy, did he perform the hell out of it.

His scenes with Martin, in particular were just perfect and Dan was extremely cool, kind, reassuring and humble, when we had a zoom call about the characters and dialects, before he went into the studio to record.

Dan has been nominated as Best Voiceover (Sci-Fi) and is amongst brilliant franchises I adore (Alien, Firefly and Ready Player Two) and the likes of RC Bray, who is a titan in the audiobook world.

To have my indie offering to the world spoken of with the big ballers is too cool for a guy from a little place called Barking in Essex.

The hosts and presenters of the awards include Trevor Noah and Joe Mantegna.

You can watch a live stream of the Awards at @ 6.30pm ET / 3.30pm Pacific time or 11.30pm Londonbabytime.

This is the first awards thingy I have been linked to since becoming an author. I don’t know how they work, I don’t know how difficult it was to get to the nominee stage and just what that means, but I am so proud and regardless of the outcome, I again would like to thank anyone that has given my work a try and taken a punt.

That being said, if we do win (‘We’ being talented Hollywood Marvel Dan and me as his new best mate), by some chance – I am going to spam the hell out of that!

Good luck to all.

Thanks again to Podium Audio – a wonderful team, each and every one of them!

If you haven’t seen Ghostbusters yet, why?

Willow comes out on TV next year and they’d better give Val Kilmer a cameo, or else.

#sovas #danstevens #voiceartsawards #voiceartists #everwinter

free stuff, a little blog update & my view on instant everything.

I decided that I may as well use the ‘blog’ feature on my own site, to do just that.

Because Insta is visual, Twitter (which I am useless at) has zero word-count and whatever I write on Facebook, my nan ends up seeing and starts to comment randomly, not understanding about the concept of what is a ‘private message’, or completely in the public domain.

“She’s done me like a kipper a few times.”

My nan is Joyce, which is where Queen Joyce comes from in The Shadow Sect. Also, Iris (in Ever Winter) is the name of my cat. So, it appears I’m kind of lazy with character names in a lot of cases…

FREE STUFF – I am posting on the Litrpg facebook group this Friday 26th November, with a chance to get free Audible promo codes. 5 in the US. 5 in the UK. You just need to come up with a wonderfully weird pub name that you’d like to go to with that rascal, Warmund Tripp.

If it’s original and bloody brilliant, I may ask your permission to use it in Netherdei #2. There are never enough boozers for Warmund Tripp.

A LITTLE UPDATE – The Shadow Sect launched so well (#1 Best seller in 10 categories on Amazon in various countries) and is nearly 500 global reviews on Amazon and counting, Portal Books are extremely pleased with it so far, which means I’m now writing book two like a fiend – with a target release date of summer 2022 tbc. I will use this blog to announce the name for Netherdei 2 later on.

INSTANT EVERYTHING – We all sat home in the pandemic, smashed the life out of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky, then purchased Disney+ because it was new. And every time we finished a series we were annoyed that the next is at least a year away. (My son asks me weekly when Stranger Things 4 is coming out).

We are used to everything being instant – and this is from a guy who would wait 30 minutes for a computer game to load on my Commodore 64, ‘back in the day’, only to discover when I’d finished my dinner, that the game had crashed and hadn’t loaded properly. I had patience once, but I’m now the instant everything guy too.

But not when I’m writing.

PACING – My first book, Ever Winter, paced slowly in the first half, then, after an event that effects our MC, the pace quickens. It was intentional, because that book has much to do with mental health as it does survival, even if it doesn’t say that on the tin. The second half is when Henry’s mind is frayed and he is all over the place. A handful of readers never got that change in pace, or the link, but if you go back to it, it’s quite obvious.

Similarly, The Shadow Sect is a slow burn – but for different reasons. The Shadow Sect is book one of hopefully, a long series and it sets out a world and shows that to progress, in terms of magic, takes time. Think about the title of the sect at The Orrery; ‘The Ardent Lunar Sect’. Ardent. The pacing of The Shadow Sect changes at the point a key event changes everything – at the point where our main character has toiled so much to get where he is – and put up with so much. When I write, I think I’m that kid with the Commodore 64. The worlds in those games had to load up, so you could enjoy them in 8-bit splendour. Some people will get it. Others won’t. Writers shouldn’t try to please everyone. It’s impossible.

On a serious note, where the hell did the American accent come from?

People from England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy – from all over – moved to this new land, to start a new life. At some point, after some time, the American accent came out of that cocktail, of people all speaking in a common tongue of English – and I find that amazing. The dialect in Ever Winter is based on my wonderment at that idea.

I love language and words. Which is why my books have old words thrown in. Forgotten, brilliant words that we have kind of lost. The Shadow Sect has some absolute gems.

I’m not throwing these in to be pretentious. I mean, we celebrate new words going into the dictionary each year don’t we? They get noted. I throw the old words in because – well – wouldn’t it be great if you were in your local pub and a guy gets angry with another guy (as guys often do) and in all seriousness the first guy says to the other, ‘You sir, are a snollygoster!’


I would very much like to be there, as that kicks off.

If you have any questions you want me to answer in this blog, send me a mail.

Enjoy your week.

Go and see Ghostbusters.


The Shadow Sect – Netherdei Book One, my Western Cultivation / Epic Progression Fantasy debut is available on audio, narrated by the brilliant Joe Jameson (of Prince of Thornes, Warhammer: Priests of Mars & Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters fame).

Thanks to you all, The Shadow Sect launched so well as a #1 Intl Amazon bestseller in 13 categories, including Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Myth & Legend Fantasy and Asian Myth.

This audio version reached #3 globally on Audible (all categories/genres) and #13 in US Amazon (all books/genres).

I like to describe The Shadow Sect as ‘The Witcher meets Wuxia’ and it follows one servant boy who starts his life as little more than a slave, to becoming a warrior and cultivator.  It builds to set up (at least) a trilogy, has epic battles, power progression and is set in a world full of monsters and darkness.

You can hear a sample on Amazon of Joe performing an excerpt of chapter 1 (a prologue of when Falken is a small boy). This really demonstrates Joe’s skill as a performer, switching from the wagoner to (in that scene) a four year old boy, seamlessly.

Joe contacted me at the start of the project and asked me how some of the characters sounded. He’d already prepared and made notes and had his own ideas on how they should be portrayed and even how the bard’s songs should be sung in the inns!

Today is the first day that I get to listen to the audio myself and I can’t wait to see what Joe has done to bring this story to life!

Here’s the link to the audio if you want to dive straight in:





Dan Stevens narrates Ever Winter

Narrated by award-winning actor Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, FX’s LegionEver Winter is a vivid and eloquent story of loss, rehabilitation, and revenge set in a post-apocalyptic ice world.

Winner of the Audiofile Earphones Award and the SOVAS Voice Arts Award Best Sci-Fi Narration 2021.

Far from the savage remnants of humanity, Henry and his family have managed to survive the grip of desolate, perpetual winter on a vast tundra that was once an ocean teeming with life. When the family is discovered, their peaceful existence is shattered and their lives changed forever.  

Henry’s siblings are kidnapped, leaving him alone in the ruins of their home. Broken, altered, and tormented by all that has befallen him, he is driven to wreak vengeance upon those who assume him dead…by any means necessary.

Fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven will enjoy the raw, emotional pull of debut author Peter Hackshaw’s writing.

Ever Winter Audiobook | Peter Hackshaw |