Author: Colin F. Barnes

Audio Deals Completed – Free From Literary Purgatory

Audio Deals Completed – Free From Literary Purgatory

Howdy readers. I’ve got some good news!

Over the last year or so I’ve been a little vague about what I’ve been working on. This was for a very good reason; I was in negotiations with Audible for audio deals that cover most of my backlist and for a new science fiction series I’m calling Solar Reach. Due to various reasons, it took a little longer to get these deals over the line than I had expected, but it’s all sorted now. The contracts are signed and things are moving into place.

So, what does that actually mean?

Firstly, it means that the two Blackstar Command books, Prominence & Magnitude—written as A.C. Hadfield—are going to be produced by Audible Studios and released as audio books. By the way, if you haven’t already read my other post, then surprise, I’m A.C. Hadfield! It was a pen name of mine all along, although I know many of you had probably already guessed. You can read more about that here.

Secondly, it means that by the year’s end you’ll be getting new novels from me. Solar Reach is a trilogy of books that I’m placing in a new setting I’ve been working on for a while. It is a unvierse that I intend to set a lot of my future stories in. The timeline will stretch from current day through to the far future. This will allow me to write almost any kind of story: standalone novel, trilogy, long-running series, novellas, short stories, and different genres, all under the one unifying umbrella.

The first set of books in that universe (yet to be named) is the Solar Reach. It’s a sci-fi story set in the not-so-distant future and based purely in our own solar system. It’s gritty, relevant, and as much as I possibly could achieve, based on realistically-extrapolated technology. Robots FTW!

The first book of the Solar Reach is already finished—although I’ll be making some changes to it to help set up this new universe—and the other two are plotted. I should be starting work on the second book in July.

When will these be out?

As mentioned, I’m hoping before the end of the year, but if the last 12 months have told me anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. Also, as Audible need about 90 days lead-time to produce the audio so that we can simultaneously launch the print, ebook, and audio versions, it means it’s more likely going to be towards the very end of the year, as I’m planning on having the 2nd and 3rd book finished while they produce the audio versions so that the entire trilogy can be released close together.

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I read a great book and the others aren’t available very soon. I’ll be sure to share any more news on these books as they progress. I’ll be posting excerpts and samples along with the cover reveals when my excellent artist has completed those.

It’s difficult to explain how much of a limbo state I have been in over the last couple of years. I’ve moved twice, had to deal with physical and mental issues, and got stuck in the decision of where to go next with my work. Now that the audio deals are done and that I’m committed to the new series, it should be full-steam ahead again barring Ragnarok or the Rapture.

To stay tuned for more information, it’s probably best to sign-up to my mailing list as that will always be the first place to receive news. You can sign-up here. Alternatively, I’ve re-joined Twitter and Facebook. Follow and friend me to stay in touch or just to say, “Hi!” I always love hearing from my readers.


I’m not who I thought I was – or why I stopped using pen names.

I’m not who I thought I was – or why I stopped using pen names.

I have a confession to make.

I am not who you think I am. I am not who I thought I was.

If you’re one of my readers or an online acquaintance, you may have wondered where I have been during these past few years. Where were my books? I briefly answered before with a lengthy blog post that I ultimately deleted for various reasons which are outside the scope of this post.

One of the shortest answers is: I was writing under different names.

I did this because I thought it made marketing sense to keep different genres under different names. This, however, became a logistical nightmare. Trying to market and promote three different people was wearing me thin. Trying to plan marketing and promotional tasks with such disparate identities and brands conspired to drive me to exhaustion and mental shut-down.

I stopped working. Lost in planning and scheduling, which, without fail, would break as soon as I eventually got back to work. One small error and a year’s worth of planning would shatter. I tried all this with the best intentions: to give readers a clear path through my backlist.

Space opera books under one name, post-apoc and cyberpunk under another, thrillers and mysteries under yet one more.

Recently, I finally came to the conclusion that none of this stuff mattered. So what if I had different genres under my name? My readers are smart, they’ll figure it out. If they don’t like something, they won’t read it. Ultimately, it was quite a simple proposition once I had hacked my way through the grabby mental weeds.

This realisation meant I could delete three websites and get rid of hundreds of pounds worth of hosting and domain fees every year, not to mention costs for running multiple mailings lists reducing monthly outgoings.

Simplicity is often the key to most endeavours. I just misinterpreted that. I thought to be simple in this case was splitting genres into clear boxes (names and branding), but that quickly introduced a whole host of complications, such as: which name do I put book ‘X’ under? What if a book combines genres? What if one series really takes off and demands more of my time? What will happen to the other less successful names?

It was all too much.

I nearly made the same mistake recently with creating yet another name for a new project. That name was to be Tom Defoe. But I soon realised this was yet another mistake. That’s what this post is about. An explanation of sorts of why things may seem weird to those who notice it. All that matters now is that all books that I’ve written are now going to be under my name regardless of the genre.

You’re maybe wondering what names I’m talking about. It won’t take a genius to work that out if you have followed my news over the last few years across the interwebs. I already mentioned  Tom Defoe. The other is A.C. Hadfield. Although the latter is not quite as straight-forward as that, at least not for the first three, Prominence and Magnitude are me (with a little help from a friend for a portion of the second book).

So, Colin F. Barnes, A.C Hadfield, and Tom Defoe are all one dude. Or at least fragments of the one dude.

The majority of the thinking that had led me down the pen name path was my general neuroticism. Writing full-time for a living, stradling indie and traditional publishing, is frankly bonkers. It’s 99.9% uncertainty and 80% WTF! – Yes, the maths don’t add up, but we’re dealing with a decidedly non-Euclidean industry where nothing makes sense, logic is for the weak, and Salvidor Dali would reject the whole thing as being ‘too whacky.’

All that said, there is still the question of what’s coming down the pike. I’m currently in a limbo state of waiting for publishers and agents etc, but as soon as I’ve some concrete news I’ll be sure to share it here. Stay tuned!

Code Breakers Now In Audio

Code Breakers Now In Audio

Earlier this year I created a box set of the four Code Breakers novels. I didn’t think much of it at the time; I thought it would just give readers a more convenient way to own the whole series and save a couple of dollars/pounds in the process.

And then I got featured by BookBub, a large ebook marketing company. Things went a little crazy for a few months, shattering any expectations I might have had. The box set reached No.3 in the entire Amazon US store, sending me to the very top of the Science Fiction author rankings. Surreal times! It hung in the top 100 for what to me seemed like forever.

To date, this has been by far my biggest publishing success. There was a moment before I created the box set where I thought it would be a waste of time, that no one would want it when the individual books are readily available. Suffice to say I’m glad I gave my future self that little gift of ignoring the doubt.

Well, this extra exposure gained the attention of a number of audio production companies. Eventually, I settled with And now, I can proudly point you in the direction of the finished audio books for the complete series, including the prequel.

The narrator, Marc Veitor, has done a marvellous job and really brings the characters to life. He has narrated great books by authors such as: Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Haruki Murakami, Dan Simmons, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Vladimir Nabakov, Jim Butcher, David Weber, Jack Campbell etc…

If you’re an Audible subscriber you’ll know how it works already. If you’re not, when you join up, you’ll get a free credit that you can use for any book, so if you wish to listen to one of mine, it’ll cost you nada.

Here are the links to the Code Breakers audiobooks:


I hope you enjoy the adventure!

SOIL – New Release

SOIL – New Release

Soil300 I’m really pleased to announce the launch of my latest book, SOIL, book 2 of the Last Flotilla. It’s published by Amazon Publishing’s 47North imprint and I couldn’t be happier. This book concludes the story as set out in SALT and I hope all those who enjoyed SALT will get the same kind of kick from SOIL.

Here’s the blurb:

It has been almost three years since a mysterious natural disaster left the Earth submerged beneath the oceans, and still the sole survivors cling desperately to life aboard their flotilla. When they learn of a secret government facility located deep below the surface, an expedition party headed by Jim, the group leader, and Eva, a former cop, sets out in the hope of uncovering the truth about their drowned planet.

But when the ragtag submarine crew, riven by discord, united in distrust, finally arrives at the underground bunker, the scene that awaits them offers more questions than answers. What happened here to incite such shocking acts of violence? Who is responsible—and where are they now?

Jim and Eva are determined to follow the trail through to its dangerous end. But the farther they venture, the more sinister their world becomes. How high up does the conspiracy really go?

You can get your copy by clicking here.

So what’s next?

That’s a tricky question to answer as I’ve currently a number of projects on the burner and it really does depend on publishers, agents, and what I think is best to put out next. I’m currently working on a tech thriller, an SF mystery, and a space story that’s a little more literary than anything I’ve done before. However, as soon as I have more details to share, I’ll be sure to update the site and send out the news via my mailing list.

If you’d like to be notified of what’s coming next, you can sign-up here. 

Until then, stay cool and keep reading, because let’s face it, reading is better than real life 🙂

SALT – New Release

SALT – New Release

SALT Book CoverAmazon’s publishing imprint, 47 North, are publishing the new version of my post-apocalyptic thriller, SALT: The Last Flotilla Book 1, on October the 13th, 2015.

Those who have already SALT might be wondering what’s different. Well, apart from an extra copy edit to make a few things more consistent and some reordering of content, there are no major changes to the story, but I do believe it reads smoother, and has better pacing throughout.

For anyone who hasn’t read SALT yet, I’d suggest waiting until Oct 13th to read the latest version so you’re set up for the sequel, SOIL, in January, 2016.

Win a paperback copy (Offer now ended).

Amazon are kindly offering 20 paperback copies for anyone who enters the giveaway at Goodreads. All you need to do is to sign in to your account (or create one if you’re not already a Goodreads member) and follow this link: This is open to US and UK readers. The giveaway runs until October, 13th.

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