Confession time, my children. Gather round and judge the sinner. Today we have a new author willing to confess. Michael R. Baker has just released his debut novel, The Thousand Scars – book 1 of Counterbalance. Such a fresh new author can’t have that many sins, can he?

My confessions are great and probably a good example of what a mess I am on the good days! Here we go! When life gives you lemons, just say bugger off lemons and leave!

  • My first real stint into writing was when I was ten, and wrote a story called “Attack of the Silver Serpent” on my dad’s IBM computer. This was back in 1999…I think? Apparently it was so good it got read out in front of the entire year. All…five pages of it. I have a photo of it as well! With a green serpent on it…not silver. I have no excuse for the terrible dialogue either. (Insert Photo of the thing)

The thing!

  • I started creating the Counterbalance universe in secondary school, after a lot of study of ancient Rome, its wars with Carthage, the Punic Wars, and the Gallic tribes and watching a ton of the old show Time Commanders on the BBC. I ended up pissing off my English Teacher in 2004 a lot when I kept “borrowing” project books to write my battles in. From there, the world slowly began to take shape. They never got the project books back. Irony bit me on the arse though. I’ve lost those books!


  • I wrote a novel-length fan fiction of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Fandom from 2009 to 2013, based on friends I had during my days playing the card game competitively. I wasn’t very good playing it competitively but still managed regional tops to a point. The fan fiction gathered a huge fanbase online, winning awards on the forum it was published for the best fan fiction on there 3 years in a row I think. It even inspired a spinoff (A really bad spinoff). I eventually stopped writing it to work on my fantasy novel, but some elements taken from it ended up in my Counterbalance series.


  • I have been writing for six years. I still use the bloody semi-colon far too much.


  • My first attempt of Counterbalance was utterly appalling. Even by mid-2015 my naïve self-thought it was ready for publishing. It was utter balls, and I eventually scrapped the entire single behemoth it was, and split it into a series, completely remaking it from scratch. The Thousand Scars is my debut, and it is almost unrecognisable from 2015’s variant. To think a lot has changed in 2 years…


  • I have written 70,000 words of lore about the world surrounding Counterbalance. I will happily admit I know very little about the world I’m building.


  • A lot of the lore and places in Counterbalance is stuff I thought of last minute. Ask me about their lore and it will likely be me saying things as I go along. But that is the beauty of world-building!


  • It takes me too long to write a book.


  • I keep coming up with new ideas. I probably have two dozen projects in my Counterbalance universe.


  • The Counterbalance universe is an alternate version of Earth. After thousands of years of time, the world eventually forms into the world we know and “love.” That includes dinosaurs.


Michael R. Baker studied history at University of Sunderland, and at last he found a use for his degree. The idea for Counterbalance came off the back of an exhausting bus journey, ironically starting an even longer voyage into writing and publishing fantasy. Alongside his passion for storytelling and worldbuilding, Michael is an avid video gamer and cartographer, bringing his fantasy world and others from the mind onto paper reality. The Thousand Scars is Michael’s debut novel, and the first of the epic fantasy series.


Counterbalance tells the brutal story of a land in turmoil, as two desperate superpowers battle for survival in a war of terror and clashes of morality. A complex series, it involves bloody battles and sieges, vengeful necromancers, rampant mercenary companies, a young man desperately searching for a new home, and powerful conspiracies.

For good or evil, The Thousand Scars shall bleed the world… and they will save it. Or will they? The first book of the series is out now, the opening book of this epic fantasy series.