EVOLUTION OF
The next big influence was comic books. Around 1985, on the cusp of moving to New York, I bought my first comic book. It was a DC Star Trek edition showing Scotty urgently working on some machinery or gadget. This inevitably led to other comics of the time like The X-Men, Alpha Flight and The Defenders. While Star Trek was the only DC comic I collected, I had been converted to the more down-to-earth Marvel Comics.

While in Brooklyn, New York and with a group of other comic-book collecting school friends, I began to outline a comic book called The Starguards and their enemies, The Legion Knights. I wrote little stories and began linking them up. I also began drawing my characters even though I’m no artist, but I wanted to get a visual sense of my creations. Most of the characters have survived until today, but others like ‘Black Storm’, ‘Cross Cut’, ‘Minx’ and ‘Gazer’ have not (thankfully).

After High School, without a permanent job and deciding if to join the US Air Force or become an Aircraft Engineer, I continued to work on my creations. And lo, in 1989, I had perfected my craft and sent out my creations to my then favourite comic company, Comico, the pretenders to the comic throne and publishers of my then favourite comic book, 'The Elementals'. But from the rejection letters, you can see that I just had people in tights constantly fighting.
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Comico Letter 1                               Comico Letter 2 

The first letter also refers to my return to London from Queens, NY. Where was the characterisation; the plot? Oh, I thought, writing comic books wasn’t so easy then,but I still kept the stories, woeful though they were. However, the rejections did inspire me to change from creating comic books to writing a novel. So Cheers, Comico. In 1989, I decided to turn my comic book into a novel with proper characters and plots.
The genesis of The Starguards came in 1978/79 after I had moved to Canada as a 10-year old. The first big impact on the future of The Starguards was the television show ‘Battlestar Galactica’. I loved Sci-Fi anyway (being a huge Star Trek fan), but here was the added element of great spaceships, fantastic uniforms (yes, the brown ones with low-slung guns), and the mythology-bending story arcs. But, while I fantasised about creating, writing, or drawing a group of characters, nothing happened until the 1980s.
THE 1970S
THE 1980S
Finally, during a spell of unemployment in 2007/8, I became determined to finish The Starguards, due to two fortuitous online  discoveries.

First, in December 2007, I joined Helium.com, a knowledge-sharing website. There, I wrote short articles on many subjects; a few of which sold. I became the Ancient History sub-channel steward and later promoted as the Arts and Humanities Channel Manager where I and my team kept an eye on article quality, shared ideas, and wrote for fun and  a bit of money. With Helium, I gained confidence in writing for a public audience and sharpened my writng skills. I ended my stint as a Channel Manager in January 2011 in order to concentrate on The Starguards.

I realised the book was becoming an epic with its universe hopping, time traveling strands. The one thing the Starguards lacked for decades -was an ending. Not until 2010, almost 25 years after I had started, did I come to see the ending. In fact, the ending wrote itself. I think the characters knew the book better than I did and we reached an amicable agreement on how the book would end.

Second, in May 2008, I joined Authonomy, an online community of writers with the chance of getting critiques, advice, recognition, and possibly published. I uploaded The Starguards to the site among the thousands of other wannabe-published authors. Since then, I have received some good advice/critiques and taken it on board. I haven't brazenly pushed the book upon others as other writers have, believing a good book will find a way to shine on merit.
In 1990, I moved back to my native England in preparation to join the British Army. I brought over my Mom’s old type-writer so I could continue the adventures of The Starguards.

While my army career whisked me from England to Germany, Croatia, Canada and Belize, I continued to write and to draw characters even enlisting the help of fellow roommates who read over stories and commented on my pictures. At this time, a heavy metal music influence (Metallica, MegaDeth, Slayer, and Entombed) took over with a few stories written to music (i.e.The death of Spheron and Netherlord's introduction) with character costumes inspired by such music (Netherlord, Archron, and Decion among others). I also established my Starguard ‘bible’ –things that had to happen which were written in stone- and added a time line.

All of these came together when I left the army in 1997. From my dingy flat in Clapham Common Southside, I started to put all the stories together onto my new, trendy Font Writer. Characters and plots came thick and fast and as I entered the security industry, I had the time to write on night shifts. Less than a year later, I started uni as an aspiring archaeology student. And thus began the wilderness years for The Starguards.

Stories came in fits and starts, usually during exam time, which wasn’t conducive to either. New characters were added, sequel storylines, new projects (song writing for one) and interests interrupted, and work on The Starguards completely stopped. For almost 10 years, during job changes and an MSc in Archaeology, The Starguards lay unfinished. But it was not unloved.
While on Authonomy, I decided I would one day self-publish with Create Space, an Amazon company. To that end, I am in the middle of edits (with Anke Marsh), created The Starguards website, and had some awesome business cards created by Kelly O'Gorman at Say Print. I had hoped to be published by the end of 2011/beginning 2012.

But after attending the UCL Alumni event: How to get a book published in October 2011 and listening to the panel and other friends, I debated whether to continue looking for a literary agent to publish my work. So far, I am still on course to self-publish...

And so here it is, below, the first complete finished draft. There used to be a prologue, but it has been rejigged and mostly put into one of the three Appendices, which includes a neat family tree. At over 600 pages and over 226,000 words, the first of The Starguards trilogy is almost ready to go.

Thanks for reading...
THE 1990S
THE 2000S
THE 2010S
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