‘A Lonely War’ is Here!

We’re halfway through the summer here in the UK, even if it hasn’t felt much like summer at all. Maybe it’s a little bit more seasonal where you are, and you’re looking for something to read? Well then, this is the perfect post for you!

The third book in my steampunk/epic fantasy Flight of the Lady Firene series is now available! It’s called ‘A Lonely War’, and you can find the details below.

A Lonely War small coverHome should be where the heart is, but for Fleet Manteios it’s nothing but a place of obligations and bad memories. When she’s drawn back to Requies to attempt a reconciliation with her dying father, she finds it a changed city. Her estranged husband might still be there, but there’s a fresh sense of hope and freedom on the streets – and there’s trouble, too.

The last person Fleet expected to see has made her way to the city, and what’s followed her could put every life in danger. Fleet’s loyalties are about to be divided, between the family she abandoned, the friend who was once a foe, and the city she fled from – and which might not want to be saved.

I’m really proud of this book, both the themes that ended up running through it, and the choices Fleet makes during the story. It’s also the longest Lady Firene book to date, which wasn’t intentional, but sometimes you’ve just got to let the story go where it will.

Maybe you’d like to read it? Here are all the links:

Amazon

Nook

iTunes

Kobo (Coming as soon as I can! Kobo seems to be experiencing some publishing delays right now.)

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This Writing Life: Should You Stick to One Series at Once?

I’ve titled this post with a question, and before I begin, I’m going to be completely honest: I’m not sure it’s a question I can answer. This, you see, is a topic I’m currently wrestling with, and all I can do is summarise my train of thought, with the pros and cons that have occurred to me. And really, there are both, whether you choose to write a single series from start to finish, or jump about between books.

A little background: I currently have one unfinished series, with two books published, a prequel available to my newsletter subscribers, and another novel on the way. It’s a series that’s very dear to my heart, and I intend to write at least a couple more books (and I have tentative ideas for more after that). The problem is, I’m something of a magpie brain when it comes to writing — whilst I’m usually able to get to the end of a first draft without being distracted, as soon as that’s done, I want to be off and working on the new shiny thing, which isn’t usually the next book in the series, at least not right away.

What’s the problem with that? From a writing perspective, there isn’t one. You might struggle to get back into a story’s world when you return to it, having written something else in between, but the same can be said of taking time off to edit, or having a writing break for another reason. I tend to find instead that jumping around between projects give me a fresh sense of enthusiasm when I return to one, as I’ve had time to develop exciting new ideas and view previous books in a more balanced light. No, the cons, in this case, come from the publishing side.

Conventional wisdom, you see, suggests that it’s easiest to gain an audience (whether you’re self- or traditionally published) by a) writing a series, and b) producing the books in that series at regular intervals. There are plenty of exceptions to that rule, of course — George R.R. Martin, I’m looking at you — but it’s wisdom that holds true for the majority of writers. That means taking the time to write other books is suddenly off the agenda, particularly if you’re a slow writer, because it’s more important to continue the series you’re already in the middle of.

But oh, the lure of the new shiny story…! And so the circle goes. This is exactly why I don’t have any answers: because every time I come to start a new book, I go through this same dance. I want to write this new idea I’ve just come up with! Ah, but it’s about time I published a book in my current series — except it’s just not as exciting

Well, okay, it turns out I do have something of an answer, and it goes like this: do the work. For me, writing first drafts is easy. Editing is harder, and committing to a single series is harder still. Wherever you are in your writing career, though, sitting down and working every day (or at least on a regular schedule) is the most important thing. For new writers, that might mean hammering away until they finish their first book. For me, doing the work means making sure I keep up with at least one series — and if there’s time to write something else, that’s fine, but what I’ve started has to come first.

Sometimes, that just isn’t what you want to hear. It’s quite frequently not what I want to hear, which is exactly why I wrote this post. We all have to remind ourselves, from time to time, that commitments have to come before distractions; that whilst writing what you love is important, there’s a reason you started that series, or book, or short story in the first place, and that’s probably got more to do with love than the idea you only came up with two days ago. Whether we have waiting readers or not, we have to stay true to our own vision of what we’re creating — and if that’s a series, then we owe it to ourselves, as much as anyone, to do the work and finish what we’ve started.

TO DROWN IN DREAMS Now Available!

I mentioned in my last post that I’d been editing the second book in my Flight of the Lady Firene series, and sure enough, it’s now available on Kindle. Here’s the blurb:

Arjipur: a jungle haven built by pirates, exactly the sort of place Fleet Manteios and her brother Daryus should feel right at home – and somewhere they could make their fortune, if half the city wasn’t out for their blood.

Not only has Daryus made enemies by dabbling in the trade of the semi-magical drug gilgesh, but he and Fleet are about to run into an old enemy. Caria Maharin is an enforcer and head of the notorious Midnight Division – and she’s also the former owner of the airship Lady Firene. Nor is she the only one with an interest in the ship, or its crew: Arjipur has a new admiral, commandeering airships in the name of a war against an unknown enemy, and he’s got the Lady in his sights.

As Fleet fights to protect her brother, her ship and the city, she’s faced with a conundrum of her own: there are two very different men in Arjipur, both dear to her, and she’s going to have to decide where her heart lies.

To Drown in Dreams small coverSteampunk fantasy adventure! Airships! General shenanigans! What more could you want? Oh, a link to find it on Amazon? And not just that? A free book? That second link, incidentally, is the first book in the series, and if you happen to visit this blog entry between the 28th of October and the 1st November, you’ll be able to download ‘The Sky Below’ absolutely free. I say again, what more could you want?!

Less excessive use of wild punctuation? Okay, I’ll give you that one.

THE SKY BELOW Now Available!

I’ve been holding off on my latest release for a few months now (I think I started mentioning it back in April), waiting until I had the second in the series almost complete. Finally, though, it’s time to share my newest series, a steampunk fantasy adventure titled The Flight of the Lady Firene. Each of the books will work roughly as a standalone, whilst continuing key characters and a few plot strands across the entire series. Below are the details of book 1, ‘The Sky Below’:

Flyingship2My name is Fleet Manteios and I’m a pirate. It’s a cut-throat life, sure enough, but it gives me the one thing I crave after a stuffy upbringing and a disastrous arranged marriage: freedom.

When Fleet and her brother Daryus raid the airship of a rival pirate, the last thing they expect is to end up fleeing for their lives with only a single trinket to show for it. A return to the floating city of Numara in the hope of a safe haven also turns sour, as the city comes under siege from within. Shape-shifting wolves, sea monsters, and strange murders committed by even stranger creatures plague Numara, and Fleet’s ‘trinket’ seems to be at the heart of it all.

Soon, she’s attracting the wrong sort of attention from every quarter: vengeful pirate captains, priestesses, her estranged husband – and the mysterious Shan, who knows more than he’s letting on. As Numara fractures around her, Fleet is left facing the possibility that the item she carries is the greatest threat she’s ever known, and it’s going to tear the city apart.

‘The Sky Below’ is currently available for Kindle only (which you can find here), but that does mean if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can read for free. If you’re not a Kindle reader (or you just fancy a free copy!), get in touch, as I’m happy to send out review copies of the book in other formats.

More Book News Than You Can Shake a Stick At

It’s been a busy summer for me so far, between actual day-job work and putting together as many ebooks as I can possibly squeeze out in the second half of the year. However, I haven’t been remiss at attempting to take over the world– Ahem. Extending my existing catalogue to as many places as I possibly can. Here are a few details:

First up, ‘The Wanderer’s Word’, a semi-historical fantasy short story.

The Wanderers Word for web

Where king and his conquered subjects collided, only trouble could follow.

England, 11th century. William of Normandy has taken the crown and is travelling in procession across a land he now rules, but which continues to resist him.

Alden, newly widowed blacksmith of a village barely worth a name, has greater cares than a single king. His world fell into tatters the night he lost his wife and child, and now his only concern is to protect their grave.

Except Alden’s family were denied a Christian burial, and the site he chose instead is under threat from the king’s men. He’s not the only one who would see that ancient and hallowed place protected, but if Alden is to gain their aid, he’s going to have to make a deal with the Old Spirits who still haunt the land – and he might lose more than he knows in the process.

The Wanderer’s Word is a 6000-word short story, and a glimpse of a historical England that never quite was – but easily could have been.

There’s the blurb, and here are the links. This one is Amazon only, for the time being, which also means you can pick it up via Kindle Unlimited, if you’re so inclined, at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

I’ve also been adding my first YA fantasy novel, ‘Sanguine’, to a few new stores. You can now find it at iTunes, and at the subscription services Oyster and Scribd.

Happy reading!

‘Star of the Everlasting’ Now Available

Late last week, I blogged about my forthcoming fantasy novella, ‘Star of the Everlasting’, the first in the Ark & Fable series. I’m pleased to say the novella is now available for purchase! Hurrah! For anyone who missed it, here’s the blurb:

In the cliff-top city of Ardom Wave, there are the nobles, the criminals – and those in between.

As middlemen ‒ or middlewomen, in their case ‒ Ark and her partner Fable tread the fine line between those in power and those most definitely not, all while keeping their heads down, staying ahead of the law, and always turning a profit.

Their ‘fine line’ is under threat, though, and Ark’s about to break her three cardinal rules. The first: never let a job turn personal, even when a face from your past comes calling. Lady Vesper might tug at Ark’s heart-strings, but as a noblewoman with a string of dead husbands, she’s a dangerous woman to get close to.

Except Vesper claims to have changed her ways and wants to escape the city ‒ an escape Ark would be willing to provide, if it wasn’t for rule number two: stay well away from magic.

Because Vesper is up to her elbows in the artifact trade, and if Ark is going to dig her out, she’ll have to break the most important rule of all, the one separating the middlemen from everyone else. She’s going to have to get her hands dirty.

To see the cover, and a few more details of the story, have a look at my previous post on the subject here. And, more importantly, to find the book on Amazon, go HERE.

It’s exciting to have another story out there in the world, particularly one that I hope will be the first in a series. I’m also experimenting with Amazon’s KDP Select program, in an attempt to give the novella an initial boost. There is of course a caveat there: the novella will only be available for the Kindle, at least for now, but if you’re not a Kindle owner, don’t despair! As with ‘Sanguine’, I’m happy to send out review copies in your choice of format – just leave a comment on this post, or send me an email (details on my About page).

It’s fair to say I love this series: I love the city (although I wouldn’t want to live there!), I love how much fun I had writing it, and I especially love the two central characters. If you fancy reading about ancient magic, crime capers and gun-fights, all with a twisty, twisty plot, I hope you’ll love them too.

‘Sanguine’ Now on Libiro

I may have been busy working on my new Ark & Fable series of novellas, but I’m also determined to get my YA fantasy ‘Sanguine’ onto as many ebook sites as possible. (I do keep meaning to include Smashwords in that, incidentally, but it just looks more complicated than any of the other sites and I keep putting it off.)

Today I’ve added Libiro to the list, an ebook store dedicated to books by indie and small press authors. It’s a really nice site and very easy to use – and even provides a choice of ebook formats for readers – so I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for something different to read this summer. It’s also been a pleasure to use as an author, which is always a plus!

So, without further ado: Sanguine, available now on Libiro, for your reading pleasure!

‘Star of the Everlasting’ Cover Reveal!

It’s only been a couple of months since my self-publishing début, but I’m never one to let the grass grow under my feet (unless it comes to actually mowing the lawn, at which I’m very lazy…). ‘Star of the Everlasting’ started life as a short story back in December of 2012. However, I have a real problem writing short stories, in that I continually try to cram too much plot in. By the time this particular story was at 12k words, I had to admit it really wasn’t going to be ‘short’ at all, and that to make it work, it needed a bit more room to breathe.

And the result is here! That unnamed short story became ‘Star of the Everlasting’, the first novella in my Ark & Fable series. It’s got gun fights and ancient magic and a city built on colossal stone pillars. It’s also got Ark and Fable themselves, the titular characters, a pair of ‘middlemen’ who negotiate between criminals and the city’s highest echelons, always in the name of profit. Well, perhaps not always, as you’ll discover if you read the novella…

So, on to the cover!

I think my partner has excelled himself this time, and I absolutely adore this cover. It’s dark and moody, and really sets the tone for the setting as a whole. It also shows a key scene from the story… and that’s as much as I’m going to say about that! However, you might have noticed the little logo in the middle of the cover, which – close up – looks something like this:

This was my partner’s idea, much as I’d like to take credit for it, and a version will appear on each novella in the series, tying the covers together.

Finally, it’s time for the blurb (not necessarily the final blurb that’ll make its way into the ebook, but it’s close enough):

In the cliff-top city of Ardom Wave, there are the nobles, the criminals – and those in between. As middlemen – or middlewomen, in their case – Ark and her partner Fable tread the fine line between those in power and those most definitely not, all while keeping their heads down, staying one step ahead of the law, and always turning a profit.

A fine line that comes under threat when they’re faced with conflicting requests from two equally wealthy clients, either one of whom could cause serious trouble if they don’t get their way.

The way out requires breaking Ark’s three cardinal rules. The first: never let a job turn personal, even when a face from your past comes knocking. Vesper might tug at Ark’s heart-strings, but as a noblewoman with a string of dead husbands, she’s a dangerous woman to get close to.

Except Vesper has changed her ways and is looking for a way out of the city – a way Ark wouldn’t mind providing, if it wasn’t for rule number two: never get involved in magic.

Because Vesper is up to her elbows in the artefact trade, and if Ark is going to dig her way out, she’s going to have to break the most important rule of all, the one that separates the middlemen from everyone else. She’s going to have to get her hands dirty.

You might have guessed that ‘Star of the Everlasting’ is rather different from my last self-published book. Whilst ‘Sanguine’ was a YA novel, this is firmly in adult territory (although, in all honesty, I don’t write huge amounts of sex, graphic violence or swearing in anything), set in a very different world. It’s also the first in a series, and I’m going to be trying a few different things when it comes to publication. For the first few months, at least, it’s going to be an Amazon exclusive, so I can gauge if that makes any difference to initial sales (I’ll say more about this when I do a more general self-publishing post). I’ll also be trying to get the next couple of novellas out as quickly as possible, with a novel-length omnibus to come later.

So, there you have it: ‘Star of the Everlasting’, coming soon to Amazon, and setting in motion events for a whole string of stories. I’ll have more release details soon, but for now, enjoy the cover, and let me know what you think!

SANGUINE now on Kobo

I feel a little as if I’m spamming my own blog (if that’s even possible) with links to my new profiles and new ebook at the moment – until I remember that’s actually called self-promotion and it’s a) quite useful if you ever want to have any readers, and b) a perfectly legitimate thing to do on your own blog. But y’know, I’m both British and female, so actually talking about ‘something I’ve created’ in public makes me want to dive into the nearest hedge for cover.

ANYWAY. Enough of that. Here’s the news: you can now buy Sanguine for the Kobo! Hurrah! I absolutely adore my Kobo and would probably read everything on it if I didn’t have such an obsession with buying actual books (which I then feel obliged to read, for some strange reason), so it’s very exciting to be able to offer my novel on a device I love so much. This is also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, an alternative for those who are currently (or permanently) avoiding Amazon due to their shady tactics in the bookselling business. I’m not entirely sure whether the Kobo version will work on other e-readers, but it’s supposedly being sold as a DRM-free .epub, so I have a feeling it should (if I can confirm that either way, I’ll update this post).

If you’re a Kobo owner, though, and fancy a slice of YA fantasy replete with assassins, illusionists, necromancy and blood magic, please head over here. I think you might like what you find.

SANGUINE Now Available

After sitting on the ebook for several weeks whilst I got a few things straightened out, I decided it was time to take the plunge and make Sanguine available for sale. You can see the full details, including cover art and blurb, in my last post, but here’s that all important final piece: the buy link!

I’ll be starting the slow and steady process of sending Sanguine out to online reviewers over the next few weeks, but for anyone who’s been following this blog for a while and is interested in what I’ve been up to, there’s the end result. Unfortunately, it’s only available for the Kindle so far, as each book-selling website has its own file specifications and complex uploading process to make an ebook available. Rest assured though, I’ll be doing my best to bring Sanguine to as many ebook markets as possible ASAP.

So, there you have it: the culmination of a long and occasionally arduous journey. I’m not going to beg for sales, or indeed reviews, but I will say this: if Sanguine looks like your cup of tea, I would absolutely love you to read it, review it on Amazon, blog/tweet/post on Facebook about it. This has been a complete experiment from start to finish and I don’t have any real expectations about what happens next. My only hope? That a few readers out there love Sanguine as much as I loved writing it!