Steven J. Pemberton's Blog

March 1, 2023

February's Writing Progress

Progress continues on Command Authority, though not as quickly as I'd like. I added 4,000 words this month, so it now stands at 146,500 words.

We took a somewhat unscheduled holiday to visit friends and relations in London and Hertfordshire, and I decided to have a break from writing. I went to a couple of small museums I hadn't seen while we were living there (Sir John Soanes' House and the Charles Dickens Museum), and I picked up a couple of little ideas that might make their way into Command Authority or some other story.
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Published on March 01, 2023 16:04 Tags: writing_progress

January 31, 2023

January's Writing Progress

Happy New Year!

Progress continues on Command Authority. I added 8,500 words this month, so it now stands at 142,500 words. That's long even by my standards. I've identified a few scenes that I'll probably cut.

I finally joined a local writers' group in Blackpool - the same one my mum was in, back in the 1980s. They've been around a lot longer than the groups I've been in before now, and they're more formal (they have a committee and an annual subscription), but they seem friendly enough. They have periodic writing challenges, which might provide input for a new book of short stories. No doubt I'll have more to say about them in future posts.
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Published on January 31, 2023 11:38 Tags: writing_progress

December 31, 2022

2022 Retrospective and Goal(s) for 2023

It's that time of year again, where I laugh at how optimistic I was twelve months ago and set myself up for more laughter in twelve months' time.

This is what I said I wanted to accomplish in 2022:

- Finish Command Authority. Not done, but I have written about 57,000 words of it this year, so it now stands at about 134,000 words. (Hard to believe I originally thought it would be a short story...)

- Start a new novel, probably a third Dragonrider book. Not done.

- Write another Doctor Fung story. Not done.

- Publish an audiobook of Racing the Storm and Other Stories. Done. It's available from major audiobook retailers.

- Publish an audiobook of The Mirrors of Elangir. I started recording this, but stopped when I found out we'd have to move, because I wasn't sure if I'd finish it before the move. A new room would have different acoustics from the old one, and I didn't fancy tinkering with one set of recordings to try to make it sound the same as the other.

One thing that wasn't on the list in January was that I published a novel written by my late mother. It's called Greatcroft and is historical fiction set in early 19th century England. It's available from Amazon in ebook and paperback. Profits from it will be donated to Alzheimer's Research UK.

The main reason I didn't achieve as much as I wanted this year is that Breda and I moved to Blackpool in August. Anyone who's ever moved home will know that it takes a lot of time and mental energy (and money!), especially if it's a long-distance move, like this was. I've mostly settled into a writing routine, but there's a lot to do before we can really consider this house a home. Accordingly, I'm going to commit to only one goal for 2023:

- Finish Command Authority and come up with a proper title for it. I thought of a couple of possibilities recently, but they didn't convey the genre properly, and were both massive spoilers for the current ending. (It's had three or four planned endings already, and I might well change my mind again before I'm done.)

Come back in twelve months to see how misplaced my optimism was!
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Published on December 31, 2022 13:07 Tags: writing_progress

November 30, 2022

November's Writing Progress

Work on Command Authority has been slow this month, adding only 2,500 words. It now stands at 125,000 words. Partly it's that I've been studying more of Mum's writing to figure out how far it is from being publishable. And partly it's that I spent far too long on a high-school physics problem that I set myself to ensure that the relevant part of the Command Authority timeline is accurate. Even after making some "simplifying assumptions" (an asteroid travelling in a straight line at constant speed - close enough to true over a few weeks of its orbit), it was quicker to write a computer program to try all possible solutions until it found the right one.

(And yes, we still haven't finished unpacking, but at least all the furniture is now in the right rooms.)
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Published on November 30, 2022 14:36 Tags: writing_progress

October 31, 2022

October's Writing Progress

I wrote about 4,500 words of Command Authority this month, so it now stands at 122,500 words. I can see a satisfying ending in the not-too-distant future, but I keep thinking of new twists that require me to write a lot more words to deliver on them.

Blackpool hosts an international fireworks competition in October, so we saw four very good displays this month, only two of which were spoiled by rain.

Readers who know us well won't be surprised to learn that we still have a lot of unpacking to do...
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Published on October 31, 2022 15:33 Tags: writing_progress

September 30, 2022

September's Writing Progress

I'm gradually establishing a new writing routine (which isn't all that different from the old one). I managed about 8,500 words of Command Authority this month, so it now stands at about 118,000 words.

We went up Blackpool Tower for Breda's birthday and did the usual "I can see my house from here" routine (actually, we couldn't, as there's another building in the way). We also attended the switch-on of the Illuminations for the first time in (mumble) years. I'd heard of only one of the musical acts in the warm-up concert, which served as that week's "damn, I'm old" moment.

The house has given us a few unplanned expenses this month, and I'm sure there are more to come. Nothing has caught fire or injured anyone, but if I had a forwarding address for the people we bought the place from, they'd be off my Christmas card list by now...
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Published on September 30, 2022 15:12 Tags: writing_progress

August 31, 2022

August's Writing Progress

The move to Blackpool happened on time, and went about as smoothly as could be hoped. We're gradually settling in, though we're still unpacking. None of the boxes were labelled, as we paid the movers to pack everything for us, and I think they were in a hurry to get us moved out within the timetable they'd promised. (Both of us were astonished at how much stuff we'd managed to cram into a two-bedroom flat in twenty years.) It was nearly two weeks before we found the kettle!

Against my expectations, Breda hasn't yet got bored of looking at the sea.

I haven't fully established a routine for writing yet, so progress on Command Authority has been slower than I would've liked. But I've written about 3,500 words of it, so it now stands at about 109,500 words.
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Published on August 31, 2022 14:37 Tags: writing_progress

July 30, 2022

July's Writing Progress and A Farewell of Sorts

A day earlier than usual, because I'll probably be too busy to post tomorrow. Breda and I are moving from Hertfordshire to Blackpool next week, and we still have a lot to do to get ready. (Mostly, to get rid of as much as we can of twenty years of accumulated clutter before the movers arrive...) I'm moving to be near my family, and she's moving because she loves the sea. I'm keeping the day job. I've been a home worker since 2005, and the pandemic just got rid of the one day a week that I travelled into an office. (Almost everyone I need to talk to day-to-day is in a different timezone from me, so to them, moving 200 miles barely registers.) We'll miss the friends and the social life that we have here, but we'll stay in touch over the internet as much as we can, and we're excited to be starting a new chapter in our lives. And who knows - some of our friends might've meant it when they said they'd come to visit ;-)

In writing news, I added about 10,000 words to Command Authority, which now stands at 106,000 words. I figured out how to break the fusion reactor (see last month's post) and, even better, figured out how to have it deliver much less power than it's designed to when the characters get it working again. That forces them to choose between running the ship's engine and running life support. Spoilers...

As of writing this post, the Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords still has a day or so to run, so if you haven't got yourself a free or cheap copy of one of my books, now's your chance. Go to to bag a bargain. Death & Magic and The Mirrors of Elangir are free, and the others are 50% off.
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Published on July 30, 2022 04:19 Tags: writing_progress

June 30, 2022

June's Writing Progress

I've been plodding on with Command Authority. I wrote about 5,500 words of it this month, so it now stands at about 96,000 words. My current headscratcher is how to damage a fusion reactor on a spaceship badly enough to make the safety systems shut it down, but not badly enough that it's obviously beyond repair.

For the month of July, I'm taking part in the Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords. The first book in each series ( Death & Magic and The Mirrors of Elangir ) are free, and the others are 50% off. Go to and grab a bargain!
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Published on June 30, 2022 11:33 Tags: writing_progress

May 31, 2022

May's Writing Progress / Greatcroft is on sale

My mother's novel Greatcroft is now on sale in ebook and paperback from Amazon.

Here's the blurb:

England, 1805. Sir Edward Warstone is ill-prepared to become the squire of Greatcroft after the death of his father. He has sisters to marry off, brothers to set up in professions, a big house to keep from falling down, and not enough money to make all of that happen.

Henry Warstone hopes to gain recognition for his work as a naturalist. George Warstone hopes to finish his studies at Oxford and become a partner in his cousin's law firm.

Eleanor Warstone hopes for a legacy large enough to let her marry her sweetheart. Charlotte Warstone hopes for a legacy large enough to allow her not to marry.

But none of those things will be possible if they don't find out who forged their father's will and declared Edward illegitimate.

Set against the backdrop of the English countryside, and with a cast of memorable characters, Greatcroft is a sweeping tale of love, duty, honour, and most of all, family.

Amazon USA link:

Amazon UK link:

Or search for Greatcroft or her name, J M Pemberton, on your local Amazon store.

All profits from the book will be donated to Alzheimer's Research UK.

Apart from that, I finally resumed writing Command Authority last week. I've written about 3,500 words of it since then, so it now stands at just under 90,000 words.
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Published on May 31, 2022 13:25 Tags: release_announcement, writing_progress