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Out of this World! - SF and Fantasy books for 99c, 7-8th October

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Hedge Witch, Book 1 of the Cloven Land Trilogy, is on sale this weekend as part of the Out Of This World! 99c/99p promotion. Tons of cool and funky books on offer - grab them while you can!

Read all about it here.

New Cloven Land short story

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Cloven Land short story The Waters, Dividing the Land, is published in the Untethered Realms Sprits in the Water anthology today, the fourth and final volume in our Elements series. This volume contains eleven short stories from eleven different authors.

A haunted journey on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the Lady of the Lake lurk in dark waters. Raging storms and magical rainbow fountains. Water is spectacularly beautiful but also treacherous.

My story is set at the time of Hyrn, and describes how the river serpents of the Cloven Land trilogy became what they are, and also how Hyrn ended up where he did. At some point I'll bundle the stoy into the Cloven Land box set, too.

To celebrate the release there's also a giveaway containing lots of cool prizes - a water magic treasure box, gift cards, ebooks, and much more:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Last Trap published in Abyss & Apex

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Fantasy short story The Last Trap has just been published in Abyss & Apex magazine.

This is the third short story I've had published in Abyss & Apex, following on from Museum Beetles and Her Long Hair Shining. Always great to appear in this fine magazine.

Swan halted half-way up the wall of the North Tower of Emperor Xanthe’s palace. The wind had picked up for a moment, gusts threatening to pluck her off and hurl her to the distant ground. She dug the spikes of her climbing gauntlets as far as she could into the cracks between the granite blocks and hung on. She’d allowed for this. A slightly windy night was best. In still air the clinks and scrapes from her ascent might be heard from inside the tower. The noise covered her just as the darkness of the moonless night did.

A few feet farther up there was a single window, the only break in the entire wall on that side. In her two years of planning she’d toyed with using it as a way inside. Cut through the slab of translucent quartz with a diamond-tipped blade. The arched window was narrow, but she could squeeze through by temporarily dislocating a shoulder. She was slight enough to fit through gaps most male assassins couldn’t. But it was too obvious; the window was clearly one of the traps laid by her opponent. The nameless, faceless Steward whose defences protected the Emperor’s life...

Read the complete story for free here.

What the Darkness Is

Friday, 22 September 2017

Fantasy short story What the Darkness Is is published by Metaphorosis magazine today, my second appearance in the magazine after The Stars are Tiny Lights on a Perfect Black Dome last year.

This is one of my favourite short stories. Sometimes a completed story ends up in a different place to that originally intended. The darn things have a life of their own. This one, though, I feel like I nailed. Couldn't be prouder of it.

There's a nice review of it from a reader already: "loved this brilliant story about the power of storytelling! It made my morning."

Happy with that. You can read the story here.

Story published in Analog

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I have a story published in Analog. Yowza, I enjoyed writing that sentence...

My tale Climbing Olympus appears in the September/October 2017 issue of the magazine. It's a short story sale of "now I can die happy" proportions.

Analog, publisher of science fiction and fact since its launch back in 1930, was the original home of Anne McCaffrey's dragon stories, Frank Herbert's Dune universe and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. And now, a story of mine.

Thrilled, absolutely thrilled...

Godstar completed

Sunday, 3 September 2017

So for the past year I've been mainly working on Godstar, a galaxy-spanning science fiction novel that harks back to the golden age of SF stories with big, cool ideas and vast spans of time and weird aliens. I've enjoyed writing it immensely and I'm thrilled to have completed it (if a book can ever be considered "complete"). At 122,000 words it's the longest thing I've ever written.

I've already started submitting the novel to agents. Got a good feeling about this one. Watch this space...

Amazon Review Policy Madness

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pretty obviously, Amazon get a lot of things right, and they offer a valuable platform to indie and hybrid authors, as well as your traditional publishers. But they do also get some things badly, badly wrong.

A case in point: there's a review on the UK Amazon store of my Cloven Land trilogy that contains a major plot spoiler. There's a character in the books who is not what they seem, and I very carefully seeded subtle clues and hints throughout the trilogy before making the big reveal at the end. This review baldly states who that character is as well as their true nature. Grrr. It's hugely frustrating that someone would do that. By the sound of it the reader missed all my hints and just assumed I'd bunged in the surprise with no forethought. Doesn't justify what they did but maybe makes it more understandable.

What's really bad, though, is that it turns out plot spoliers do not contravene Amazon review guidelines. Seriously. They won't remove the review, or ask the author to amend it, or even put some sort of "Warning: plot spoilers" tag on it. So, if I post a review of a whodunnit and state who the killer is, that's absolutely fine by Amazon. I think that's pretty shocking.

Obviously Amazon can't be expected to read every book and look for spoilers. But if the author says a review contains a significant spoiler, then Amazon should surely respect that. I can't help wondering if they'd react differently if a major publisher quibbled over a review.

Disappointing, Amazon. This policy is wrong and needs to be changed.