Friday, 30 April 2010


Just heard that the Italian publishers Rizzoli - part of the RCS Media Group - are taking the Demi-Monde which is great news.

So now we've got Italy, Germany and Poland!

There's actually a strong Italian connection in The Demi-Monde 2. I've used the Marquis de Sade, Casanova and Machiavelli as characters and a lot of the action is set in Venice so I'm pleased it's going to get an airing in Italy.

Anyway Nelli and I love Italy - we had a great time in Sicily on one holiday - so hopefully this will give us a great excuse to go back.


Quercus have just sent the first iteration of the Cover to be used with The Demi-Monde: Winter. Although it's only a draft and subject to tweaks I think it terrific: very eye-catching and very steam-punky.


Well, actually not quite perfect.

It seems that the intention is that it should be distressed (which I think is a good idea) and that the various cogs and brass embellishments be toned down a touch (again a good idea). The map used is an old one too so that needs to be replaced. But these tweaks notwithstanding I'm still very happy with it.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


I've just heard that a Polish publisher, AMBER, have come in for the Demi-Monde. I've checked them out and they seem an excellent publisher with a very strong portfolio so I'm really quite chuffed. Apparently 'The Demi-Monde' is going to be their 'lead book' in the month it's launched.

I suppose it did help that quite a chunk of the book's action was set in the Warsaw part of the Demi-Monde and that one of the principal characters - Wysochi - is a very formidible Pole, but still...I'm pleased.

The Rees family has got quite a strong link with Poland. Nell's mother was born near Bialystok (like the guy in 'The Producers') in Poland but because of the turmoil caused by WWII she found herself in the Ukraine and thence to Russia. It's a very harrowing story: I'm hoping one of my daughters might one day turn it into a book.

My daughters used to play a game when they were younger where they'd try to work out just what nationality they really were. I'm half Scottish and half Welsh (though apparently there's a dash of Irish in there too) while Nell's half Polish and half Russian, so the girls are a real hodge-podge. It was always funny at their previous school when they used to bang-on about trying to make the girls 'internationalist in outlook' - they're got 'internationalism' in their blood.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I'm just polishing my backgrounder on ConFusionism and especially the impact of Qi. Qi is the energy source which permeates the Kosmos and energises all those organisms which are created from the Living. It is the unseen and the unseeable elan vital which give life and breath making the inanimate animate.

For many years it was believed that Qi was unmeasurable but the Covenite scholar Mozi had the insight to appreciate that whilst Qi itself is intangible its effects were not and hence developed the Qi Scale which (by analysis of certain socio-economic phenomena) allows an assessment to be made of the level of Qi prevalent in the Demi-Monde.

He went on to postulate the First Law of Qi which states:
Qi can neither be created or destroyed, it can only change form from Yang to Yin (or vice versa). In a closed system (such as the postConfinement Demi-Monde) the level of Qi will oscillate around an unchanging mean, also known as the Base Level

As can be seen the Ages of Yin and Yang alternate. This is the Cycle Theory of History (or as it is known in the Coven, HerTory) which underpins the Concept of Qi Equilibrium.

The thinker Too Zi rejected the Concept of Qi Equilibrium and by making amendments to the Qi Scale showed that the levels of Qi in the Demi-Monde had been rising inexorably for four thousand years. This allowed him to postulate a Second and Third law of Qi.

When two systems (the Demi-Monde and the Spirit-World) each in its own equilibrium with respect of Qi, are put in connection with each other there will be an exchange of Qi unless and until they come to be jointly in Qidian equilibrium.


Qi will flow from a higher level Qi system to a lower level Qi system.


Monday, 5 April 2010


Over the Easter weekend I've had to take break from writing Demi-Monde 3. I hate to stop but as I thought I'd written myself into the proverbial corner there was really no choice. I had to take stock and think. The dilemma I had was, if I'd gone on the way I was planning, I would have had to have one of my characters - Norma Williams - take a step backwards in terms of her development. Poor old Norma spent most of DM1 as a sort of virtual Penelope Pitstop lurching from one life-threatening situation to another and I'd tried to wean her off this in DM2.

But the plot of DM3 needed a victim and I was stymied as to who - other than poor old Norma - it could be. But like each and every time I drive myself into a plot cul-de-sac I can always take a long walk with Nelli and somehow - magically - something happens. I suppose just by her lending a sympathetic ear she helps to blow the fug away and all of a sudden EUREKA!

I decided that the answer lay in WhoDoo magic. Sheer sloth had prevented me writing my treatise on WhoDoo thinking, convincing myself that the part of the story relating to NoirVille - where WHoDoo flourishes - was quite straight forward so I wouldn't need a back story to use as reference. I was wrong. And now having spent three days steeped in voodoo, hoodoo, juju and girs-gris the plot has unfolded before me like a red carpet.

When you read DM1 (January 2011) you'll see that there is some reference to WhoDoo but it's very much en passant. However the plot hooks and eyes I left are enough for me to firmly anchor DM 3 to DM 1 and to provide me with my much needed damsel in distress.

Thank you, PaPa Legba.

Anyway, I'm off to see 'Kick Ass' now.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

HerEticalism and ConFusionism

I'm currently about 50,000 words into The Demi-Monde 3: Summer with the action moving from the Quartier Chaud (where DM 2 was set) to the Coven. The Coven has a racial mix which is orientated towards the East (Chinese, Japanese and Burmese) and a gender mix which is skewed 2:1 in favour of women. The religion here is HerEticalism which I've defined as follows:

HerEticalism is the official religion of the Coven. Developed by Empress Wu, HerEticalism is based on female supremacy and the belief that if the Demi-Monde is to survive and flourish it must be protected from misMANagment - the aberational and perverse rule of nonFemmes (aka Man) - which in turn will require the subjugation and ultimate elimination of nonFemmes. HerEticalism rejects heterosexual sex, believing it to be an artificial socio-political construct by which nonFemmes have oppressed Femmes. Instead HerEticals practice Femme2Femme sex known as MoreBienism. HeEticalism teaches that the utopian condition of MostBien - of the achieving by Femmes of political, religious, economic and sexual supremacy in the Demi-Monde - will only be secured when the male of the species has been eliminated from the Breeding Cycle. More radical HerEticals - the Suffer-O-Gettes - are of the opinion that the ultimate expression and apotheosis of MostBien will require the total elimination of all nonFemmes.

As I guess you'll have twigged the Coven is run by the most extreme examples of ultra-radical Feminists and it's been quite interesting doing my background research on the stuff written by people like Andrea Dworkin, Helene Cixous , Marilyn Frye and Valerie Solanas. Before I delved intothis I had no idea that such movements as anarcha-Feminism and Separtist-Feminism even existed so it's been a real education and the SCUM Manifesto and ideas about a Lesbian Utopia have been inspirational.

I had a lot of fun concocting the nomenclature that I'd be using with regard to HerEticalism. In the Coven 'woman' is a bondage term for the female gender so in order to avoid the lingusitic contamination of patriarchal-centric speech the terms 'Femme' is use for woman and 'nonFemme' for man. Femme2Femme love, romance and sex is referred to as MoreBienism and those who practice it are MoreBiens. Of course this has been lampooned throughout the Demi-Monde with the Femme followers of MoreBienism being ridiculed as LessBiens. The Feminine Utopia is called MostBien.

The problem I had was that as the Coven is largely Sino-Nipponese in orientation I had to find a way of meshing HerEticalism with Eastern philosophy and I did this by surmising that this Eastern religion - ConFusionism - was usurped by HerEticalism. The back story is that during 993 and 994 AC (After Containment) the revolutionary forces of HerEticalism and the reactionary forces of ConFusionism jockeyed for position and power within the Coven. Finally in 995 Femme Wu felt strong enough to act and during the Fight for the Forbidding City forces loyal to Wu stromed the Imperial Palace, executed the Emperor, his family and all the ConFusionist lackeys and running dogs responsible for the maintenance of a Femme-oppressive and patriarchal Coven. The Coven was proclaimed a HerEtical Sector in 996.

After coming to power the Empress Wu decreed [Decree 995/chop: Regarding the Eunuchisation of the Covenite Civil Service] that henceforward any nonfemme working in the Covenite Civil Service, serving in the Covenit Army, or having duties and responsibilities within the walls of the ForBidding City had to be a NoN [the Covenite term for a eunuch; it's a corruption of 'he ain't got none']. This led to a mass exodus of nonFemmes from the Coven matched by a equal number fleeing NoirVille and Shaka Zulus venomously misogynistic HimPerialism.

So that explains why there are more women in the Coven than men, and why there are more men than women in NoirVille.

All well and good. BUT as there was now an undercurrent of ConFusionism in the Coven I needed to get straight in my own mind what ConFusionism is. I spent almost two weeks researching Eastern philosophy and if I'd spent two years I doubt if I'd have been any the wiser.


Eastern philosophy is subtle, esoteric and enigmatic: I didn't have a chance. So, Folks, this is Rod Rees' definition of ConFusionism:

ConFusionism is the religio-philosophical system that held sway in the Coven until it was toppled by HerEticalism in 996AC. Although it is now outlawed in that Sector ConFusionism (and especially its subForm, WunZianism) still informs much of Covenite life, thought and moral attitudes. Based on the teachings of the mysterious Master as recorded in the two preConfinement MasterWorks, the iChink and the BiAlects, ConFusionism differs from all other religions in the Demi-Monde in that it refuses to provide a definitive guide to its followers as to what a ConFusionist should believe and how they should act. This 'confusion' inherent in ConFusionism is a result of the Master's teachings being represented by the diametrically opposed views of two mythical opponents and their inability - and, it must be said, ferocious unwillingness - to Fuse these views into a single teaching.

What this means if I've now completed BackGrounders to:





HimPerialism; and


So all I've got left to write are RaTionalism (I'm dreading that) and WhoDooism. I can't wait.