Allen Donnelly

Artist, Author, Whimsy Merchant

This is the official website of the artist and science-fiction/fantasy novelist, Allen Donnelly.

Filtering by Category: Random Musings

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,

Salvaging some pride - New Book!

Another hilarious blog title, because my next book's called The Salvager. And the blog's title is "Salvaging some pride". Salvaging, see?
It's a gift, it really is.

So, The Salvager, a fun and exciting tale about friendship, adventure, giant robots, human consciousness and beer, can be yours to own on July the 25th!
In fact, you can pre-order it from Amazon right now and I would greatly appreciate you doing just that. Ah, go on now!
Also, please tell your friends if it sounds like the kind of book they'd be interested in.

I really like this book. Obviously, I'm biased, but I think you might like it too. It was a lot of fun to write and I love the characters.

What else has been happening? Well, not a lot. Once I finally heard back from Angry Robot that they didn't want to publish The Salvager (more fool them. I'll show them, I'll show them all!!!11!one!) I've been working on getting it ready for self-publishing. 
Other than that it's just been slowly walking the dog (oh so slowly, poor old bag of bones - her, that is, not me), trying my hand at watercolours and playing Overwatch (man alive, I'm addicted to that game, but please, for the love of all the gods, nerf Torbjörn!).

That's it really. All that remains for me to say is BUY MY BOOK! Please?
(Man, I've got the hard sell down to a fine art)

I'll leave you with a painting of a, er, whale? Probably? Something like that anyway.

Wait, where am I?

I have moved house, all is chaos and cardboard! I have no idea what's going on.
If you're at all interested, I now live in a small town in Cumbria, north west England, by the name of Kirkby Stephen. It's a nice little house with a small garden that looks out over a green hillside on which sheep wander. The dog likes to bark at them, which I'm sure my new neighbours are thrilled about.
The only downside is that the previous owner must have been on a lifelong quest to rid the world of cigarettes by smoking them all - the walls are stained a lovely shade of emphysema brown. I'm spending most of my time trying to scrub them down at the minute. I stink of cleaning fluid.
Here's a sample:


I've also just turned 39, so there's that.

There's not been a lot of writing work this last couple of weeks. Hopefully going to try and get back into it soon. Got a release to set up for the Crystal Eyes sequel and I've another story I might try sending to a publisher.

Heroes Wanted is doing okay on Amazon, had some good reviews, at least on the UK site. There's not a single one in the US! Come on, you beautiful American types, you know you want to throw me a few stars! What can I do to tempt you?

Right, I'm off to cope with the existential dread about the inexorable, pitiless march of time that I always get for my birthday (I'd rather have got a bike) by playing Heroes of the Storm.

2015, eh?

So far...could be better, could be worse. Kind of meh. Is it 2016 yet? No? Bugger.
I was holding off doing much promotion for Heroes Wanted (available at all good eBook retailers) after Christmas but I'll probably start again soon. I meant to start last week but, well, started out on Monday morning thinking "Huh, I must have been sitting funny, got a bit of an ache on the left side of my lower-back". By Monday afternoon I was lying flat on the floor gasping at the painful spasms - huzzah for kidney stones!
Middle-aged ailment - Achievement Unlocked!
Incidentally, if you hear a terrible screaming then it may be because the stone has finally worked its way through to the, er, "exit point", as it were. An experience that someone on twitter said was second only to his spine shattering in terms of pain.

On top of all that, I just dropped the last bit of my cheese pasty on the floor. Truly, this has become the year of horror.

My ageing carcass aside, I've been editing Sorrow's Herald, the sequel to Crystal Eyes, and what I'm tentatively calling Once Upon A Mech In The Desert, an entirely new sci-fi story. I might change the title though. It's a cool story but still needs some tweaking. Here's a slight spoiler: there are mechs in it. Also a desert. No desserts though.
Suddenly I want cake.

Who am I kidding, I always want cake.

I'm gonna have some cake.



And I'm back...

I have returned from the land of endless bookshops that is Hay-On-Wye to the buzzing metropolis of Grimsargh.
It has been a very enjoyable week away in a little cottage that I rented with my friend Karen. We meandered about, looked at ruins, achieved an admirable run of stopping at pubs for lunch that were closed on the day we were there. Barbecues were had, wine was drunk and games were played.
We tried out The Discworld tabletop game and The Lord of the Rings card game.
The Discworld game was a lot of fun. Not too hard to understand, lots of fun little cards and effects. Plus, I won 2 out of our 3 games, so there was that.
The Lord of the Rings card game, however, seemed madly complicated to our inexperienced eyes. It's a cooperative game, you and your friend against the game, and it's fair to say that the game kicked our arses. Even when we got a moderate understanding of what we were doing we still got stuffed. That's one that might get put on a shelf and abandoned.
The only real downsides to the week were the uncomfortable seats in the cottage (not a big thing but it was hard to get comfy) and, for me at least, the low door lintels - for those of you who were keeping track of the #allenheadtrauma hashtag on my twitter feed, the final total was 8 brain-rattling impacts between my head and some fairly solid pieces of wood.
I must confess, as nice as it was on holiday, it's also nice to be back among the comforts of home...and to be somewhere where I can walk through a door without either bending double or braining myself.
Here are some pics I took while we were there

And now I'm back, preparing for what could be a wild ride - my Kickstarter project has been approved, now I just need to pick a date and start pimping it. I'm thinking that I might push the big green button next Saturday, the 6th of July (July? Already? What the hell happened to the first half of the year?).
However it ends up (and I hope it's a success, obviously) it should be an interesting, educational experience, hopefully uplifting, potentially a bit depressing - we shall just have to wait and see!