Allen Donnelly

Artist, Author, Whimsy Merchant

This is the official website of the science-fiction/fantasy novelist, Allen Donnelly.
It is the repository for info about books, poems, general geekery and stuff about baking

Art, Dahling!

It's all about the arts today!
I have found myself increasingly attracted to paint and the application thereof to bits of canvas (not news to you if you happen to follow me on Instagram).

I've even just built up the confidence to try selling prints (and assorted other bits and bobs. Even duvet covers and shower curtains!) of some of my scrawlings on Society6 and RedBubble, which you can check out with these links - https://society6.com/bigalien and https://www.redbubble.com/people/bigalien
This isn't to say I've stopped writing, far from it, but I do enjoy the immediacy of painting and the satisfaction of creating something physical. And if it should generate some money that would be most welcome - I know the starving artist is a time-honoured cliche but it's not one I particularly want to perpetuate.
Truthfully, I'd be lying if I claimed that I hadn't become a little discouraged with writing of late. As much as I write for myself, it's hard to maintain the motivation to devote months of effort to crafting a book when you release them to a collective "Meh" from the world, perhaps accompanied by a vague shrug. 
The arcane arts of successful marketing have continued to remain a mystery. Twitter remains the main avenue of communication but I've largely stopped tweeting out book adverts - it wasn't something I ever enjoyed doing and my tweets have virtually no impact at all. That being said, when I have tweeted about my books, or my art, I have appreciated every retweet more than I can properly express.
I'm still in the middle of editing my next novel, which I would like to release this year but it's proving to be an unruly beast that refuses to do what I want, so I paint stuff instead.
Like this, my latest effort, entitled Red and Wolf! This bad boy's a full metre across, biggest painting I've ever attempted (and the latest addition to my Society6 gallery, as it happens).

I was even thinking about live-streaming some painting on Twitch, but that requires a level of confidence I'm still working up to. Maybe someday soon.
Oh, and if you should want something specific painted then I am quite willing to accept money in exchange for such a service.
Right, I suppose I should get back to trying to edit this bloody book...or I could clean the wall...
Now, where did I put those cloths?
Who am I kidding, it's almost 10 o clock at night and all I'm doing is playing Warcraft.

Be excellent to each other, love art in all its forms (even mine) and try to pretend, at least for a moment, that everything's fine, it's all fine.
Al.

I remember...

...when all of this was fields, as far as the eye can see!
Well, technically it is all still fields, and open moorland, because I live in the middle of nowhere. Nonetheless, my point remains...

I'M GETTING OLD!

Older, anyway. Forty one, to be precise, for I was born on March the 4th, 1976 and this Saturday will mark the 41st anniversary of this momentous event.
In celebration, I have initiated the Birthday Protocol!
Which basically means I'm using it as an excuse to have a sale on my books and eat cake.
Since I can't offer you some of the cake (and I absolutely would if I could, honest), instead I have chosen to give (*adopts Bane voice*) the gift of literature to you, the people.
Ahem.
Anyway. This weekend, from the 3rd to the 5th of March, my first two books - Crystal Eyes and Heroes Wanted - will both be completely FREE to download from Amazon.
In addition, Sorrows Herald (the sequel to Crystal Eyes) and my latest, The Salvager, will both be on offer at significantly reduced prices from midnight on Friday to 11 pm on Sunday. I think. The time picking thing on Amazon's author dashboard was a little wonky.
Unfortunately, the discounts can only be offered in the UK and US Amazon stores although the free books are, I believe, universal. Why this is the case, I don't know. You'd have to ask Amazon about that.
So there you are, cake and awesome books! YAY!
You know what would be a great birthday present, to make me feel better about the slow trickle of sand through the hourglass of my life? 
REVIEWS! Please review them. Pretty please with a cherry on top.

What else is happening in the world?
(*looks at world*)
You know what? Never mind. Let's leave that horror show for another time.

That's it for now.
Until next time, be excellent to one another
Al
P.S. Here's a pic I took yesterday from my back door, just in case you didn't believe me about the fields. Usually there are just sheep and the occasional rabbit in there, this time it was a red squirrel...

Happy New Year!

What do you mean, I'm a week late? Well, yeah, okay. It wasn't meant to be like this...
New Years Eve: I had plans, man, plans. I was gonna say a heartfelt goodbye to 2016 in fine style, or at least as much style as a man living alone can manage.
And for half an hour, it was fabulous, everything was shiny and bright, I made a coffee and Irish cream. But then, about half way through my coffee, things started feeling a little too bright. And why were my shoulders suddenly cold? I mean, I wasn't wearing a jumper, but the shivering seemed excessive. Was the room spinning a bit? There was definite spinnage going on.
Fabulousness was swapped for a thick jumper, comfy slippers and a thick blanket (a present from my friend Karen that turned out to be invaluable), shininess swapped for heavy fleece.
I spent the next four-five days with a fever, curled up underneath the blanket, feeling like death its very self. So, basically, I cancelled New Year. It's not happened yet. I'm going to have another one once I finally shake off the lingering traces of whatever it was I caught.
So, on the negative side, 2017 got off to a fairly crappy start (not that it's officially started yet, not in this house). On the positive side, I got to catch up on a lot of shows on Netflix from within my blanket cocoon. Here's a run down!

  • Brooklyn 99 - binge-watched the 3rd series on New Years Eve. As wonderful as ever, the perfect antidote to a burgeoning fever.
  • The Expanse - that's some damn good sci-fi. Highly recommended. Thomas Jane's hair is quite distressing though.
  • Shadowhunters - cheesy garbage. Just needed something trashy as a brain cleanser after the next show on the list
  • The OA - Flatliners with interpretative dance and a lot of WTF. Well made, beautifully acted, but I have no idea what the point was
  • Van Helsing - not great, not terrible. Quite enjoyable in a post-apocalyptic kind of way
  • Troll Hunters - animated thing from Del Toro. Only a few episodes in but enjoying it so far

No writing happened. In fact, this is the longest I've stared at a computer screen in ages and my head is definitely starting to protest. I still have to finish the story I was writing for NaNoWriMo but it's not going to get back to that for at least a couple more days.
So anyway, Happy New Year, I hope it's a decent one for all of us who aren't bigots or fascists.
I'm not going to say anything more about last year - let's just pretend it never happened.
I got some more nice reviews on The Salvager and Heroes Wanted, so thank you to whoever left those. It's impossible to overstate how much those reviews matter, especially to a small-time author like me. I'm just saying, I wouldn't object to a few more...
Right, the world's getting a bit fuzzy again so I'm vanishing back inside my blanket cocoon to watch some more Troll Hunters.

Later, lovely people,
Al

And that's November done!

What a month, eh? I know, I know, let's not talk about it.
Let's be positive - I've done NaNoWriMo! 
Are those straws clutched in my hand? I rather think they might be.
Anyway, I've just gone past the 50,000 word mark on a novel despite the crushing, existential angst that is the default emotion of 2016. I consider that an achievement in itself, although to be honest, this year, just finding the will to get out of bed in the morning should earn you a medal.

This novel, which I've called The Beating of an Iron Heart, is actually the same novel I did for the 2014 NaNoWriMo (then called simply Ironheart - see, I came up with that name first, Marvel! You know, in the unlikely event that it ever gets popular enough to warrant attention from anyone who would care).
And there was another attempt at it earlier this year. Basically, this is my third try at getting this damned story to do what I want. It remains to be seen if this one will work out.
Hope springs eternal, right? Man, that phrase sounds hollow this year.

I don't have much else to offer, it's cold (except in the Arctic, but let's not talk about that either because Jesus Christ it's all just too much), and I'm going to pretend that everything isn't going to hell and have a coffee and Irish Cream to celebrate. I might even have a second chocolate biscuit.

Finally, congratulations to everyone who took part in NaNoWriMo this year!
Let's do it all again in 2017. Hopefully I'll actually have finished this story by then and the world won't have ended. Fingers crossed!

Al

This year...

I can't even make jokes about 2016 being awful any more, it's just taken too much and given back nothing but misery, sadness and fear (unless you're a Leicester City/Chicago Cubs fan).
Seriously, fuck this year.

Since the results of the American elections came in, in between bouts of incoherent screaming, I've come up with several pieces of searing, scorching rhetoric, all of which I've deleted because what the hell's the point? I have no real insights to offer, nor any solutions, and many better writers than I am have already laid out everything I wanted to say.
I'm an utterly obscure sci-fi writer and mediocre artist who lives in the arse end of nowhere in northern England, as middle-aged, middle-class and white as they come. All I can offer is support and sympathy and maybe a distraction from the awfulness that is the world.
For what little it's worth, I've made The Salvager free on Amazon from now until the end of the weekend. It's a fun, lightweight sci-fi story about mechs, friendship and a boisterous, bisexual Irish woman in a wheelchair who pilots a mech. It's not going to change the world at all but it might help you forget about it, at least for a couple of hours.
It does feature, as one reviewer noted, a lot of sand. Lots of sand. It's set on a planet that is largely desert, sand is inevitable. If sand is not appealing then this may not be the book for you.
It's normally priced at 3 bucks (or, the way the British currency's been going, about £100 by the time you read this). If you read it and it think it doesn't completely suck, consider donating the money you didn't pay to one of the many American charities set up to help the people who will likely suffer the most under the rule of the racist orange fuckwit with a ferret nailed to his head.
Here's a non exhaustive list of possibilities, there are many others you could choose from:

The Human Rights Campaign
The Trevor Project
Trans Lifeline
Planned Parenthood
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

And even if you don't have the cash to spare, just give someone who looks like they need it some support, even if it's only a smile or a hug (if they want a hug - I'm not suggesting just leaping on people).

On the day after the election, I saw on twitter that it was also the anniversary of the death of Dylan Thomas, the great Welsh writer. These words from one of his most famous poems seem apposite for these dark times:

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Right, I'm going back to my NaNoWriMo novel, I've fallen behind on my word count.
Stay strong, be good to one another,
Al