It’s December already… how did this happen?
I’m feeling a bit off track after having two weeks holidays and a digital fast in November but I am back and (mostly) refreshed and ready to go again.
KINGDOM is out! Hurray! Thank you to everyone who is buying and reading The Blood Lake Chronicles at the moment, it was such a fun series to write. Make sure you leave a review so I know how you liked it. If you haven’t checked it out, and you love gothic fae stories with a dash of Arthurian myth you can grab book one for free right here.
As I mentioned above I’ve just come back from a holiday in Venice. I say holiday, but I was really there to put in some immersive research time for my next series The Magicians of Venice. I have to tell you, walking around the physical streets where I have spent so much time in my head was a surreal and special experience. I’ve taken a bunch of videos of key places in the story so that I can share them with you once the book is out. Venice is as incredible as people say, especially in Autumn when it wasn’t hot and there was next to no tourists. It was the perfect time for me to wander and write and chat to locals – and of course consume ridiculous amounts of delicious local cuisine, wine, espresso and pastry! If you haven’t already guessed I’m ridiculously obsessed with the new series. It has everything I love best; myth, magicians, murder and mystery.Here is the blurb for book one, The Immortal City :
In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.
Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.
Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.
As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks.
With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.
Eeeek! Can you see why I’m so pumped?? I’m currently polishing off my final edits to book two and getting it ready to send off to my editor, as well as finishing off my structural plan for book 3. I have seriously never micro planned a book series like I’ve planned this one. Every series and book is different but oh boy, has this one pushed my writing, planning and research to new and exciting levels. I really can’t wait to share it with you all.
While away in Venice I also went on a digital fast and tried to get some valued headspace to think about the ‘Big’ things surrounding my writing goals and career. It’s easy to get swarmed by all the THINGS that you are meant to do as a writer that has nothing to do with the actual act of writing. As an Indie, I’m also a publisher and a marketer and have that business arm to deal with. Next year, BHC press will be taking some of that responsibility with my next series but I still have my business to grow and market and you can bet your ass I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure The Magicians of Venice is a success.
2019 is going to mean less deadlines for me, so I’m going to be focusing on completing marketing for authors courses and hopefully throwing some university units into the mix. I’ve got some other writing projects I’m also working on; I’ve almost finished the first draft of the Aramis and Soren spin off book and then I’ll be jumping into the third Magicians of Venice book. Then there is a fun fantasy based in Melbourne that’s kind of like a cross between Chocolat, Night Circus and All the Crooked Saints, aswell as a new epic fantasy that’s growing in my brain ether that will hopefully be a bit like the love child of Game of Thrones and The Black List. They are exciting projects, but are big, ambitious ones that will require me to carve out a lot of space to work on so I’m going to try and implement some changes around time management and self care.
On that note…if you are on Twitter, you might have noticed my account has pretty much been in an admin mode for the past eight weeks. I’ve deleted my Twitter app and I’m only putting up the occasional update. This is because I’ve found Twitter to be a time suck that usually makes me feel shittier for going onto it. I’ve met some great people on there but for my own mental health state I’m letting it go and will keep it in its current admin mode. I always tell people to subscribe here on the blog for all the super important information but I am still very active on Facebook because I find the community more positive and I can do more with it as a platform, so if you really want to catch up with me on social media that’s the place to find me.
Okay, okay. Let’s talk about some other books, specifically what I’ve been reading since I was last here.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty has been on my TBR for a while and it rocked my fucking socks…this is probably the BEST epic fantasy I have read in a long time. I love, love, loved this story and world that it actually undersells it by saying its a reworking of an Arabian Nights stories. I’ve always loved djinn and King Solomon stories and this book delves into both, and recreating a fabulously rich take on them. Dara is by far my fave character but I can’t gush on the character and world building enough. I’m hanging out for book 2, Kingdom of Copper because the cliffhanger was an absolute kick in the ovaries. Check out The City of Brass here…but be warned you won’t be able to move until it’s done!
And because The City of Brass kick my ass so completely and left me with the worst of book hang overs ever, I went in search for more djinn / Middle Eastern mythology fantasy to try and soothe my RUINED heart and found these gems:
A Dead Djinn in Cairo is a the kind of novella that is so crazy good, rich and wonderful that you instantly want a six book series based in the same world. This is an insanely good story that’s a detective mystery based in a magically alternate and terrifying Cairo. Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi is such a BAD ASS of a character as she navigates bloody crimes and patriarchal bullshit with grace, wit and a well cut suit. P. Djeli Clark is a fucking amazing writer and I can’t wait to consume the rest of his catelogue. Grab a copy and settle in for a glorious ride.
In honorable mentions, and because I’m still hellbent on my Middle Eastern fantasy love at the moment…I’ve just started The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. It’s a new take on the Shahrzad story from The Arabian Nights and and even though I’m only a few chapters in, I know I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.
One of the few books I’ve read that has been a departure from the above obsessions, is Make Me No Grave by amazing writer and editor extraordinaire Hayley Stone. I was lucky enough to be given an ARC of this beauty of a weird west novel and this is what I wrote about it…
“Filled with morally grey characters this story has it all; mistaken identities, bank heists, mayhem and magic. Stone’s storytelling is in turn lean and lush, as this adventure of violence and revenge is played out through the eyes of Apostle, a marshal fighting his demons while trying to be the last decent man in the West. Tough as nails, flesh magic wielding,anti-heroine, Almena, gives Apostle a run for his money as the unlikely pair get thrown together in an attempt to enact their own ideas of justice. Apostle’s moral judgement is challenged every step of the way as he begins to realize that doing what’s right and obeying the law isn’t always the same thing.
Make Me No Grave is a rollicking Wild Weird West adventure perfect for fans of Red Dead Redemption, the Quick and the Dead and Wynonna Earp.”
If it sounds like your jam, I can’t recommend it enough for a good Christmas read when the relatives are driving you crazy. Get a copy here!
This blog has gotten huge so I’m going to get out of here and continue tinkering with my draft of Book 2 of Magicians of Venice and try and get over my post-holiday cold.
Have a great Holiday period, read lots of books and drink lots of nice wine,