So here we are, the final cover reveal of the week before Note to Self, Time Rep, Time Rep: Continuum and Time Rep: Pandemonium are released tomorrow. But the difference with Time Rep: Pandemonium is this isn’t a re-release – it’s a brand new book, finishing off the Time Rep trilogy:
I hope you enjoy this new chapter in the Time Rep saga!
And just for kicks, here’s what the three Time Rep covers look like side-by-side:
Once again, huge thanks to Kit Foster at Literarty for doing such wonderful designs!
So you’ve seen the new covers for Note to Self and Time Rep, and now I’m pleased to reveal the new cover for Time Rep: Continuum:
What do you think? Pretty snazzy, right?
Again, huge thanks to my artist Kit Foster at Literarty for these designs – I hope you agree they look wonderful. Stay tuned tomorrow for the reveal of the cover to the new (and probably final) book in the Time Rep series, Time Rep: Pandemonium…
Continuing our run-up to the re-release of Note to Self, Time Rep, Time Rep: Continuum, and the brand new finale to the trilogy, Time Rep: Pandemonium on Friday 14th Febraury, I am delighted to reveal the new cover for Time Rep, designed by the wonderful Kit Foster:
As I’ve said in previous posts, this is a new and improved Time Rep with some little tweaks here and there that I think improve the overall reading experience. More details on the changes I’ve made can be found in a post I did a month or so back, but in summary: no swearing, better jokes, less filler, no Darren Bell, more Zoe!
Stay tuned tomorrow when I’ll be revealing the new cover for Time Rep: Continuum, with the cover for Time Rep: Pandemonium being revealed on Thursday!
Okay, bye for now…
That’s right – the day is almost here! I am delighted to announce that I have four books coming out at the end of this week: re-releases of Time Rep (which has had a slight re-write), its sequel Time Rep: Continuum, Note to Self, and a brand spanking-new book concluding the Time Rep trilogy called Time Rep: Pandemonium. So if you’re struggling to figure out what to buy your loved-one this Valentines Day, why not give them the gift of a book? And maybe some sort of romantic gift to accompany the book, just so you don’t get in trouble?
Joking aside, I want to offer huge thanks to my wonderful agent Ethan Ellenberg for republishing my old books and allowing Time Rep: Pandemonium to see the light of day. It’s actually been over a year since I finished writing it, so to see it finally appear on Amazon available to buy will be amazing. I also want to thank my editor Raelene Gorlinksy for all her help and advice in prepping the new books for release, as well as her efforts for editing Time Rep: Pandemonium.
So here comes the sales bit: as a specal offer to entice new readers in, the e-book price for Time Rep will be a highly-reasonable $0.99 for a limited time only, with the other books retailing at $2.99. So please tell all your friends! I’ll post the links to the books on Friday, as well as putting some stuff up on social media.
The books also all have new covers, so this week I’ll be previewing each one in the run up to release day. I want to credit Kit Foster from Literarty for all his hard work on these – I hope you agree they all look awesome, and if any of you ever write a book and a looking for a cover artist, I can highly recommend him!
So first up, here’s the new cover for Note to Self:
Stay tuned for previews of the covers of Time Rep, Time Rep: Continuum and Time Rep: Pandemonium this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday!
I’ve got to admit – I’m getting pretty excited about Time Rep and Time Rep: Continuum being re-released, as well as Time Rep: Pandemonium – the conclusion to the trilogy, which is being released for the first time. I’ve just finished working with an artist on new covers for the three books (which I’ll be showing you soon, just as soon as I know the release date for everything ), and I’ve got to say – I think they look pretty awesome. So watch this space for those.
But another opportunity the re-release of the books has given me is to actually go back and make some improvements to the first book. As some of you are probably aware, I started writing Time Rep when I was at University, which was almost twenty years ago, and I’ve learnt a lot about writing since then to know that there are some things I would have liked to have done differently. So I went back and changed it, which felt kind of like going back in time and changing the past, which is quite apt…
Now, for fans of the original Time Rep, and to quote Douglas Adams: don’t panic. I’m not going all George Lucas on this and writing a ‘Time Rep: Special Edition’, adding loads of pointless deleted scenes back in, changing the way characters behave (we all know Han shot first), and deciding to add in an atrocious musical number somewhere for kicks (I’m looking at you, Return of the Jedi ‘Special Edition’).
No, if anything, I’ve taken the opportunity to tighten up the first book a bit – removing a bit of filler that I’ve always felt slowed down the pace, adding / changing some of the jokes (taking out ones that in hindsight just weren’t that funny and hopefully adding in some better ones), and taking another look at some sections that I feel I can write a bit better, now that I’m a bit more experienced. I felt sometimes I was a little lazy and leant on clichés jut to get to the end of the sentence, and I know I can do better than that.
Another thing a light re-write has enabled me to do is add a touch more foreshadowing to events that happen in the later books. You see, whilst I did have something of a plan for Time Rep as a trilogy when I was writing the first book, I didn’t really know the specifics of what was going to happen in books two and three, so couldn’t really reference them. But now, with all three books written, I can drop in that little non-spoiler reference to something that’s yet to come – something subtle enough to pass a first-time reader by, but rewarding when you finally get to the part when you realise what that seemingly innocuous detail was referring to. And for those readers new to Time Rep that won’t know the book was re-written to include foreshadowing, it will also make me look super-clever for being able to think so far ahead, which is a bonus. So don’t tell them.
Another change I’ve made is the removal of a character entirely – Darren Bell, Geoff’s annoying next door neighbour who he meets at the beginning and end of the first book. At the time, I think Darren (although not based on anyone I knew) was supposed to represent the kind of people I don’t get on with, and the scenes were only there to allow a nerd to stick two fingers up at an arrogant narcissist. But looking back, the scene was only really motivated by my own prejudices, didn’t really achieve anything, and we never heard from Darren again, so I decided it was better to remove him from the story altogether. In Darren’s place, we now get to see more interaction between Geoff and Zoë, who has a much more pivotal role in books two and three (particularly in Time Rep: Pandemonium, as you’ll soon find out), which I feel works a lot better.
And one final change I’ve made is to remove all the swearing, just because it’s so unnecessary. Looking back, I don’t really think it added anything to the dialogue, and if that means parents might be more comfortable reading this to their kids as a bedtime story, then that’s good (though they may want to gloss over the part in chapter five where Eric tells Geoff he’s taken a semen sample from him to check for diseases)
So anyway, I think there’s only a few weeks to go now before all three books are out, along with Note to Self, which is also getting a new lease of life. I do hope you enjoy the new and improved Time Rep, and for those close enough to the book to spot the difference between old and new, I hope you agree with the changes I’ve made.
Now, back to writing my treatment for that alternative Star Wars Episode VIII!
As any author will tell you, the difficulty with writing a series of books is that unless you’re J.K. Rowling and have a dedicated fanbase who will happily devour one Harry Potter book after the other, the further you get into writing that series, the fewer people will stay with you. On top of that, you may attract new readers who start reading the later books without having read the prior ones, meaning that unless you’ve got some means of quickly ‘onboarding’ them, they’re going to get pretty lost pretty quickly.
With that in mind, I’ve started Time Rep: Pandemonium (the third book in the Time Rep series) with a brief summary of everything that’s happened to our hero Geoffrey Stamp up to this point. This isn’t just for new readers, but also for people who might have read the last book a few years ago and need a re-cap of events to save them reading the previous books again.
So anyway, here’s the opening to Time Rep: Pandemonium, which starts with what I call “A brief history of Time Rep”.
WARNING – the following contains spoilers for both Time Rep and Time Rep: Continuum. If you haven’t read these books, do not read on…
Back in the 21st Century, it was a pretty complicated thing for most people to get their heads around, much more complex than say, a cheese sandwich. If you’d asked the average person on the street to describe a cheese sandwich back then, they’d probably have been able to do so right away, because no matter what time you’re from, a cheese sandwich is basically cheese between bread, and it doesn’t really get much more complicated than that. Yes, there are some debatable nuances to the definition (such as whether the bread needs to be buttered, what type of bread works best, should the cheese be melted or not etc.), but the basic principle of a cheese sandwich is pretty easy to understand. Cheese + bread = cheese sandwich.
But things would get a little tricky if you walked up to the average person on the street in the 21st Century and asked them “what is time?”
In the first instance, they’d have most likely thought you were a tourist speaking to them in pidgin English and told you it was time you bought yourself a watch. If you’d then made it clear that you were actually asking them to describe the concept of time and that no, this wasn’t part of a long-winded ploy designed to persuade them into giving you their credit card details and adopting a giraffe for a year, they’d still struggle to come up with a satisfactory definition.
The first stumbling block most people came across when attempting to define time was whether they considered it to be a ‘thing’ that existed in itself (much like our old friend the cheese sandwich, which would happily go around existing as a cheese sandwich regardless of how someone chose to conceptualise it in their mind, unless of course that person chose to eat it), or whether time was merely an abstract man-made mental construct designed to provide some sort of framework to a sequence of otherwise incomprehensively chaotic events that would ultimately end with the destruction of the entire universe.
A bit like Brexit.
That’s not to say people in the 21st Century didn’t have a good old go at defining time anyway. But with the scientific understanding of temporal physics still in a relative state of infancy, such efforts were akin to a three-year-old trying to describe what a mid-life crisis might feel like. The Oxford English Dictionary defined time as being ‘the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole’, while the science fiction author Ray Cummings once wrote that time was ‘the thing that stops everything happening at once.’ Both good attempts, but neither came anywhere close to getting under the skin of time and revealing its true nature. In hindsight, such descriptions were about as simplistic as describing the character of Hamlet as being ‘some Danish bloke with a few family issues’.
You see, once scientists began to understand how time could be manipulated – how it was possible for someone to travel from one moment to another, and most importantly, how it was possible to change past events and alter the future – a new definition was required. Indeed, much of the latter half of the 22nd Century was spent agreeing on the best way to describe time, now that humanity had a better idea of what it was dealing with. Elaborate forums were set up to arbitrate the best wording; the greatest scientific minds collaborated to distil such a complex piece of understanding into a concise paragraph; and over time, the definition slowly began to take shape, with each individual word being painstakingly agreed upon before going on to be signed off by another independent panel of scientific stakeholders. To say this process was laborious would be an understatement – it took four months just to decide whether the first word of the description should be ‘a’ or ‘the’.
Finally, after several years of heated debate, careful diplomacy, and linguistic wrangling, the final definition was agreed. And to safeguard against possibility of anything being leaked before a nice venue had been secured to announce the wording (ideally somewhere with decent canapes and a good nightclub nearby to host the after-party), the complete wording was not recorded digitally. Instead, it was written on a single piece of paper and locked in a vault whilst the scientists went on to argue about what the most appropriate sort of table centrepieces would be for an announcement of this magnitude.
The argument over these centrepieces took another month.
Unfortunately, the intern who was given the task of opening the vault and retrieving the written definition went on to throw it in the office shredder with some old receipts by mistake, and so had to hastily make something up off the cuff and hand that over to the head scientist on the night instead. And so this is what was finally published – the 22nd Century’s definition of time:
Time /tʌɪm/ noun
A non-spatial hologrammatic-like projection of possibilities, simultaneously finite and infinite in size, which interacts with human consciousness so as to be naturally experienced as a linear flow of causal events, but with malleable properties that can be subject to both natural and manufactured influences whereby perceptions of speed, directional flow and positioning within the projection can be altered.
All the scientists present at the announcement knew this was nothing like the wording they had agreed (the definition was supposed to begin with the word ‘the’ for starters), but everyone was too embarrassed to say anything. And so the definition literally stood the test of time, despite being made-up on the spot.
The table centrepieces were a real hit though, so that was a plus.
Unlike most major technological breakthroughs made over the course of human history (the invention of the wheel, the discovery of electricity, developing microwavable mashed potato that didn’t taste like wallpaper paste, etc.) it was a very long time before the discovery of time-travel had any real impact on society – several hundred years in fact. This was because the international scientific community was worried that any misuse of the technology posed such a monumental risk to the fabric of the space-time continuum, its application should be vetoed until sufficient safeguards were put in place to avoid the total destruction of the known universe. Indeed, many alternate realities actually ended up destroying themselves by discovering time-travel and not imposing sufficient controls before proliferating the technology (one such world even allowed people to travel back in time to watch TV programmes they had missed instead of just recording them, for goodness sake), so this cautionary approach was felt to be a wise move, which many scientists congratulated themselves for insisting upon.
What these scientists didn’t appreciate was the fact that such a destructive fate almost befell our own reality, were it not for the success of an against-all-odds mission undertaken by a crack team of temporal agents from a dystopian future of decaying causality, whose last-ditch efforts to create a time-portal enabled them go back and secretly influence everyone to be more cautious when using the technology. This mission undid all the mistakes made in the original timeline, straightened out all the paradoxes, and narrowly avoided the complete annihilation of our entire reality, changing history so things stabilised into the timeline we exist within to this day.
But that would be another story, were it not for the fact that technically, none of it ever happened.
It wasn’t until midway through the 31st Century that time-travel finally became accessible to the general public, and this was largely thanks to the work of two scientists: Dr Eric Skivinski, and his protégé, Jennifer Adams. Skivinski’s breakthrough was in developing an algorithm that would allow a supercomputer to recreate an accurate model of the space-time continuum, predict the impact of somebody travelling back in time, and prevent any changes from being made. Meanwhile, Adams’ contribution was in developing a computer powerful enough to run the algorithm, which ultimately took the form of a lattice of artificial micro-black holes, which were used to process the vast amounts of information required. It would still struggle to run the 1994 video game Nascar Racing at a steady frame rate though.
With this technology in a place, Time Tours was born – a travel company that allowed people to travel back to any point in history for their vacation. As long the supercomputer predicted that a journey back in time wasn’t going to change anything in the present, tourists could go back and experience anything from watching the pyramids being built in ancient Egypt, to seeing Centurions take on Barbarians in Rome’s Colosseum, to watching people in the 21st Century document every bloody second of their lives by taking pictures on their phones of their children, that amusing thing some guy did in a pub, that time it snowed, what they had for breakfast, etc.
The supercomputer also allowed Time Tours to identify certain individuals throughout history who were so insignificant, they could safely be employed by the company as ‘Time Reps’ without having any impact on the flow of the space-time continuum. Time Reps essentially acted as tour guides for their native time periods – it was their job to meet tourists from the future, show them the sights, and make their stay as comfortable as possible, just like a regular holiday rep. Within twenty years of being operational, Time Tours had almost 300 ‘known’ Time Reps working for them throughout history (the ‘unknown’ ones being those individuals who might have been working in the past as Time Reps, but who hadn’t technically been identified and employed yet by the Time Tours of the present-day), and these people all had one thing in common – no matter what happened, their activities were conducted in complete secrecy. They never revealed to anyone in their own time period what they really did for a living.
That was, until one Time Rep decided he was going to break the rules.
That man was Geoffrey Stamp – a Time Rep initially thought to be less significant to the space-time continuum than certain types of mushroom a couple of years ago, but one who had soon proven everybody wrong by saving the world from being invaded by an alien race known as the Varsarians within two days of being employed. And more recently, he’d followed that feat by saving humanity from itself, changing history to prevent Jennifer Adams from leaving Time Tours and setting up a rival time-tourism company called Continuum, which would have gone on to pervert time travel technology by allowing people to disappear into their own personal timelines with the powers of a god; powers that would cocoon people in their own echo-chamber realities, desensitise people to the consequences of their actions, and cause the eventual stagnation of human civilisation. It would have been a similar fate to what almost happened to humanity with the proliferation of social media, until everyone realised in the middle of the 21st Century that anything anyone ever said on it was just a complete load of bollocks.
Having recently thwarted Continuum’s plans and changing the course of history for the better, Geoff now found himself in a reality with a few subtle differences to the timeline he was used to. But they were good differences – a bit like coming home to discover someone had rearranged the furniture slightly to give each room a better feeling of feng shui.
One difference was that in this reality, Jennifer Adams had never left Time Tours to set up Continuum, and was now working as the company’s ‘Director of Change’. On top of this, Time Reps were now represented by a Time Rep Council – a group of people who stood up for the rights of all Time Reps and made sure they were being looked after properly by the upper management. This was unheard of in the timeline Geoff was used to – originally, Time Reps weren’t even paid, and had restrictions placed on them in terms of how they lived their lives to prevent any changes from happening to the space-time continuum.
Not anymore though. Now, Time Reps not only earned a salary, but they also had more freedom to make changes to their lives through a change-request scheme, whereby Time Tours allowed them to alter their previous destiny just as long as the changes fell within certain parameters (i.e. they didn’t result in creating a temporal paradox which in turn would cause the destruction of the known universe).
When Geoff discovered this new-found freedom, he knew exactly what he wanted to change about his own life. For years, he had been in love with Zoë – a girl he’d been close friends with since his childhood who now worked for the post office, delivering mail to all the houses in the local area, including his. Before becoming a Time Rep, he’d always lacked the confidence to tell her how he really felt about her, afraid that any hint of romantic affection might ruin their long-standing friendship. However, having saved the world from an alien invasion and surviving numerous life-threatening situations, asking a girl out suddenly didn’t seem quite so daunting a task, and he was desperate to ask Zoë out on a date, tell her about his adventures, and share his true feelings with her to see if she felt the same way.
Until now, Time Tours wouldn’t allow any of this. In order to maintain his cover, they insisted that Geoff lie to her about what he did for a living, pretending that he worked as a regular tourist guide, meeting people from his own time period and showing them around. And if this dishonesty wasn’t frustrating enough, Geoff wasn’t even been allowed to ask her out, even if he did keep his job a secret – the dangers to the fabric of the space-time continuum, Time Tours had argued, were just too great.
But in this new reality, it seemed the Time Rep Council had convinced Time Tours to be a little more flexible about what Time Reps could and couldn’t do with their lives, and Geoff was delighted to discover that he had been granted permission to pursue a romantic relationship with Zoë (though whether she would be interested in him remained to be seen).
There was just one condition: for the sake of humanity’s existence, if Zoë did agree to go on a date with him, on no account would he even breathe the words “Time Rep” to her…
 The centrepieces that were eventually chosen were small clusters of birch candles sprayed with glitter, which were suspended in a reverse-time vacuum so they appeared to burn backwards, the wax un-melting over the course of the evening until you were left with a pristine candle at the end of the night that could be taken back to Ikea for a full refund.
 To this day, no-one is sure what led to the demise of social media. Some argue that its popularity waned when people began to question the utter banality of what was being talked about (favourite shoes/biscuits/fascist dictators etc.), and the baffling popularity of the format’s most prolific users. Jeremy Jeremy for instance (2020 – 2085), was an enormously influential user for years, until everyone realised the only reason he was famous was because his first name was the same as his last name.
So there you go! I hope you enjoyed that brief excert from Time Rep: Pandemonium, which will hopefully be released later this year (I’ll let you know the release date as soon I find out!) In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a few more chapters from the book, so stay tuned…
That’s right – I’m very excited to announce a third book is coming in the Time Rep series, meaning I can now call it a trilogy! It’s called Time Rep: Pandemonium, and kicks off right where the last book left off. I don’t have a release date yet but I’m hoping it will be later this year. And between now and then I’m going to post some excertps from the book, reveal the cover art, etc. so please keep checking back here for more information.
In the meantime, I thought you might be interested to read the blurb I’m working on for the back cover:
Imagine you’ve just done something that might have broken time.
Cause and effect are no longer on speaking terms, sequences of events aren’t flowing the way they should, and reality has become a warped and fragmented mess.
sound Doesn’t ideal, it does?
That’s exactly what happens when Geoffrey Stamp reveals to his friend Zoë that he’s a Time Rep – a tour guide for people from the future who travel to the past for their vacation. Everything he does was supposed to be kept a secret from the people in his own time (for reasons quite extensively explored in the previous two books), until Geoff decides he’s fed up of doing what he’s told.
It’s just a shame that time has now decided to misbehave too.
Faced with navigating a corrupt reality of splintering timelines, Geoff and Zoë must work together to make sense of what has happened without losing their minds. But as the past descends into a blur of conflicting recollections and a disturbing future seems unavoidable, it appears other forces might be at play, exploiting the fractures in time for their own sinister purposes.
Why has time broken? And if cause no longer produces the right effect, how can Zoë and Geoff possibly fix it?
Right, I’ve got a lot of news to share. Since my last blog post, all this stuff has happened:
- I’m now represented by Ethan Ellenberg, who is awesome.
- I’ve been working with Ethan and friends to get my published books re-released.
- I’ve written two more books – a futuristic murder mystery called The Electric Detective, and another book in the Time Rep series. More details on both of these soon.
- I’ve got a great job at London’s Natural History Museum, which means I get to walk past a Stegosaurus (called Sophie) every morning.
Stay tuned for more information and some excerpts from my new work!