Author: Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

Copies are in

Never King books

Copies of the Never King by James Abbott (me – under a pseudonym) arrived today – and they look rather nice indeed. Quite the striking, chunky tome. The novel will be published mid-May, so expect a little more genre noise about the title to follow in the coming weeks.


Whisky Updates

diageo bottles
Did I mention that I’m going to be reviewing for Britain’s leading whisky publication, Whisky Magazine, next year? That means I’ll be paid to drink. Imagine that! It’s tougher than you think though… Anyway, given that many of you might not even know about my whisky website, that’s the route I took to get there. Building on my novel writing, blogging assiduously for five years, which then led to writing articles for the magazine. And hey presto! A great gig. I think that’s the thing with writing, no matter which direction you take: always build on what you’ve done before.

Anyway, in the meantime here are some things I’ve been up and tasting to in the world of whisky, if you’ve not been following the blog.

1) I went to the Diageo Special Releases event, which was an incredible opportunity to taste some rare whiskies.

2) My favourite whisky of the year, when value was taken into consideration, was The Macallan Edition No. 2, with second place going to the Kilkerran 12 Year Old.

3) Other good ones include this anCnoc 35 Years Old, a brilliant Bunnahabhain Moine Rum Cask, Glenfiddich Project XX, and the new Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990. Oh, and the Ardbeg Twenty One was also very good – a new and rare Ardbeg from a time of limited production.


Major German Rights Deal for The Never King

Hot off the press…

Beatrice Lampe at Blanvalet has acquired German rights in fantasy novel THE NEVER KING, written pseudonymously by Mark Charan Newton as ‘James Abbott’, following a hard-fought auction, from Sarah Harvey – Senior Rights Manager at Pan Macmillan UK.

Bella Pagan acquired world rights from agent John Jarrold and the book is scheduled for UK publication in May 2017.

This compelling standalone fantasy is a tale of revenge, oppression and heroism, influenced by the work of the late, great David Gemmell. It’s action-packed and tells the story of the legendary Xavir Argentum, former commander of an elite warrior cadre. Xavir was framed for an atrocity during an epic battle and was imprisoned for life, taking him out of the running for the crown itself. Then while powerless to influence events, the kingdom he’d sworn to protect fell into the hands of a tyrant. It will be up to a few – a mixed bag of rogues and heroes – to right some great wrongs. But first, Xavir must make his escape…


The Never King

never king james abbott

A new novel, under a new name… This is what I’ve been working on the past couple of years. It’s a bit of a different direction – very much in the centre of the heroic fantasy sub-genre, rather than the fringes of the fantasy genre – and for that reason we considered a new name. Here’s the blurb:

Xavir Argentum is the legendary former commander of an elite warrior cadre. But Xavir was framed for an atrocity during an epic battle and imprisoned for life, taking him out of the running for the crown itself. Then, while powerless to influence events, the kingdom he’d sworn to protect fell into the hands of a tyrant. It will be up to a few – a mixed bag of rogues and heroes – to right some great wrongs. But first, Xavir must make his escape…

It will be published in May 2017. Not long to wait.


Agent Change

A minor update. I’ve recently switched literary agents to James Wills, of Watson Little. There’s plenty of advice out there for writers for getting an agent in the first place, but not so much changing agents mid-way into a career. I’m sure other writers sometimes have more structured and precise reasons for doing this sort of thing, but for me it just felt the right move to make, and it was done so in a perfectly polite manner. So there we go.

And, I’ll hopefully soon have something to say – and something to show – about a current book going through the publishing machine, which is being released by Pan Macmillan next summer.

Oh, and there’s a baby on the way in our household, very nearly due, hence the relative silence on here (but not on my whisky website).

As you were.


Article Series in Whisky Magazine


Many of you know about my whisky website, but I’m extending further into article writing on the subject. This month’s edition of the industry’s top publication, Whisky Magazine, features the start of a series I’ve written on the history of Scotch whisky advertising. It’s currently shaping up at about four articles, going from the mid 19th Century to the present day. The first section is all about how – very broadly speaking – companies started off as family merchants but, as their whiskies began to reach new markets around the world in the late 19th Century, they began to release whiskies under brand names. Naturally it was all about blended whisky, for the most part.


University Club Library, New York City

University Club Library – New York City
I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated – or had significant updates! – but publishing and writing is slow… I’ve been buried in structural novel edits from my publisher, along with writing and researching quite a few articles for Whisky Magazine (I’m very much enjoying non-fiction). I’m actually reading quite a bit these days as well, which makes a change; I’m two-thirds of the way through Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels, and enjoying them a lot. Anyway, for now, here’s a picture of University Club Library, in New York City. I’m sure even Kindle readers can appreciate this.


Bruce Springsteen – New York City Serenade

This is one of my favourite Bruce Springsteen songs. It reminds me a lot of Underworld, by Don DeLillo. (Here’s a post on that novel from almost eight years agoChrist, eight years.) Clearly both are different; but for me it’s more a case that they zoom in on little street portraits, and those vignettes create something greater than the sum of the parts.

What I’ve been working on recently completely avoids cities, but songs like this really make me miss writing about them. (Or the made-up people who inhabit them.)


Latest Whisky Reviews

Octomore 7.4

I am writing many things about whisky still, including a few articles for Whisky Magazine. I hope to have more news on all writing fronts soon – things do work slowly in publishing – but for now, here’s how I’m spending my online time over at my whisky website.

I was sent a review of a powerful new Bruichladdich single malt, the Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak. I was also able to compare it against a secret single cask whisky that I acquired at the distillery whilst on honeymoon.

Recently I interviewed a man called Mark Reynier, who resurrected Bruichladdich many years ago and is now setting up a new and impressive venture in Ireland. And in other reviews, I sampled a very old and rare whisky from Rosebank distillery; enjoyed a little sample of a cask strength (strong) whisky from Glengoyne; and was unimpressed with a sample of the new Glenmorangie Milsean.