December 2020 Wrap Up

I have to admit, I am feeling a bit spaced out today so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little all over the place with this blog. It seems that my usual end of year tiredness has gone to a whole new level this year in true 2020 style.

I had meant to write a full blog about the ‘Cry of the Firebird’ rewrite but was so wrecked from the rewrite itself, that November is kind of a blur. If you are on my Instagram (the only social media I am on regularly) you would have seen that I lost my German Shepard to cancer in the last six weeks too so I’ve been tired and devastated, and not fit for human consumption.

But I am back now and will give you a shorter update on Firebird, because I am still getting a lot of messages about it and books I’m releasing in 2021.

The Cry of the Firebird

Firstly, the new version is going to be released in September 2021. I say new version on purpose because I have, quite literally, re-written this book from scratch in past few months.

Why? There is a lot of answers to this question but the main one is that it needed to be. I wrote this first book nearly twelve years ago, when I was still learning what I was doing. Not only that, I didn’t have the resources I do now, I didn’t even have an internet connection, and relied a lot on the books (some outdated now) from my small town library.  The story and characters are still the same but everything from representation to pacing is better. I’ve always done my best in the research department but there was some fails that I wanted to fix up as well. I’ve learned so much in the past years and I really love this story and wanted to have it be the best possible version it could be. Now I can honestly say that it is.

How? I’m putting this in incase that people are wondering about writing craft. I don’t really believe in giving writing advice but this I have learned, and keep learning every book, that is PLAN YOUR SHIT. The first three Firebird books I was a hard core panster. It wasn’t until I started writing ‘Wylt’ that I discovered beat sheets and how I could plan in a way that was helpful and not hindering.

In my ‘Cry of the Firebird’ rewrite, I busted out my trusty beat sheets and rearranged the story in order to fit them. This is what I meant about pacing earlier. The original story had saggy bits, and so I rewrote the important info in these sections into other ones to help speed the pace along. I used a combination of Jami Gold’s Basic Beat sheet (I use her Romance Beat sheet whenever I write any romance at all) and Derek Murphey’s Plot Dot (I highly recommend checking out anything Derek does on craft, he has a good YouTube and so much resources). Both of these are like plotting for pantsers. I always do a major outline now, and how I get there I can let the pantser out a bit. If you want more info on how to plan and the different ways, I recommend you also have a look at Reedsy’s ‘What is Plot’ because it gives you a really thorough overview, as well as multiple story structure breakdowns you can look at.

As mentioned above, I have a lot of characters in this series and unlike Magicians of Venice, where I only have Penelope and Alexis points of view, the first three Firebird books have many. These I did my best to combine where possible instead of having them broken up into smaller sections. This helped speed up the pacing and also gives the characters more depth. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do more than two points of view in a story, but be careful, it’s easy to become messy.

I am going to be rewriting books 2 and 3 in the new year too, so if I learn more helpful tips, I’ll post them.

The King’s Seal (and other Magicians stuff)

The final instalment of ‘Magicians of Venice’ will be out in June 2021. It’s already gone through editing and I’m hoping to do cover reveals and give ARC dates early in the new year. This book almost killed me, and I mean that in the nicest way. It’s the biggest, most research heavy book I’ve ever written and even though its been a year, I’m still a bit in awe that I managed to pull it off. I love it intensely, I think it’s the best I’ve ever written and honestly don’t know what book is going to top it for me. I really love this series, but this one is my favourite and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Thank you to everyone who has been messaging me about how much you are enjoying ‘The Immortal City’ audio book! Unfortunately, I don’t know when ‘The Sea of the Dead’ will be out in audio too but as soon as I’m told, you guys will be too.

King of Swords (The Tarot Kings. Book 1)

This is a fun project that I’ve been talking about here and there on social media. I have finished a draft of the first book and I am currently doing some final tweaks before I send it my editor in the new year. A few things I can tell you, it is paranormal romance adventure which means that even though the world has a lot of other stuff going on in it, it is a romance story. There is kissing and more sex and the focus is on the characters coming together. It’s going to be a big world that I want to get right in the first book, but also leave plenty to be revealed in the others. I currently have four planned and they are standalones, but with linking characters so you can enjoy it as a series if you want to aswell.

Why am I writing romance after something like Magicians? Because I really enjoy it, and 2020 has really taken it out of me so much that all bigger projects were shelved. The time I thought I had to work on bigger historical fantasy, I used up with Firebird rewrites. Let’s face it, all my books have romance in them, I just made it more obvious with this series. I wanted a Venice world that I could pick up and write in any time because I’m never going to get sick of writing Venice.

When? I’m aiming to release book 1 ‘King of Swords’ sometime in 2021 where it’s not going to clash with my other two releases. It will very much depend on how the editing process goes as well. I’m also going to release ‘The Lion and the Star’ a short story that features my main two characters meeting before the events in book 1. This will also have a decent sample of book 1 in it too, as I’m not planning on releasing any ARCS (at this stage anyway). This series will also be digital only, so sorry paperback fans. I really want to keep my indie branch as green as possible, and paperbacks are a massive pain in the ass for many reasons. I will have some cool cover reveals and descriptions to share with you all when I have a better idea around release dates.

That’s me done..this blog has gotten out of control so I’ll sign off. I’m doing a lot of planning and soul searching in what I want in 2021, and tending to this blog more is high on the list. I’m going to be doing my announcements here first over social media in the future so make sure you subscribe to get it in your inbox.

I hope you all have a great and safe holiday season however COVID permits,

Ames x

The Scent of a Magician: Decoding the Scents in THE SEA OF THE DEAD by Amy Kuivalainen

Amy Kuivalainen’s new novel The Sea of the Dead is here! Amy shares her fascination with scents and how she created them for the Magicians.

The battle for Venice might be over, but the war is just beginning… Penelope’s and Alexis’s adventure continues in this exciting second installment of The Magicians of Venice series.

Penelope has accepted her role as the new Archivist for the magicians, but with war brewing on the horizon and the tide of magic on the rise, she’s going to have to learn her way around this new and dangerous world if she has any hope of outsmarting their enemies.

When Penelope’s friend and fellow archaeologist uncovers a scroll containing a magical secret lost in the Dead Sea for two thousand years, Penelope and Alexis must travel to Israel to find them before Abaddon and Kreios get there first.

To defeat Thevetat and his followers, they’ll…

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Atlantean Magicians and Ancient Scrolls in Amy Kuivalainen’s New Release THE SEA OF THE DEAD

The much-anticipated sequel to The Immortal City is finally here! Author Amy Kuivalainen talks about how the Dead Sea Scrolls inspired her new release The Sea of the Dead and shares more on the magicians of Atlantis and what’s to come in the series and beyond.

“…lives up to its predecessor. Kuivalainan is working in a new space in urban fantasy, one thatincludes sweet romance, mystery, mythology, and alternative history elements, which onlyexpands the series’ appeal.”

Booklist

About The Sea of the Dead:The battle for Venice might be over, but the war is just beginning… Penelope’s and Alexis’s adventure continues in this exciting second installment of The Magicians of Venice series.

Penelope has accepted her role as the new Archivist for the magicians, but with war brewing on the horizon and the tide of magic on the rise, she’s going to have to learn her way around…

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THE Sea of the Dead is Live!

Happy Release day everyone! The Sea of the Dead is now live in Australia and I’m sure it will start popping up on all of your devices worldwide. This book was such a labor of love and so, so happy its finally out in the wild!

It’s a weird feeling trying to celebrate a book launch going into my seven month of lockdown BUT that doesn’t mean I won’t have a delayed party once they let me out. I’ll really, really need the night out by then.

Thank you to everyone who is reading, reviewing and sharing this series. It means the absolute world to me that you guys are getting behind my mad Magicians.

ALSO, Big News…THE KING’S SEAL the third and final book in the series will be out JUNE 2021. That’s right, no waiting a full year before getting the rest of the story. I’ve just finished a round of copy edits on this one and it’s honestly the best of me.

If you haven’t already, grab a copy of ‘The Sea of the Dead’ here!

There will be more ‘The Sea of the Dead’ related interviews and content coming in the next week so keep your eyes sharp and Happy Reading!

Ames x

August Update


Twenty-Seven days to go everyone! I’m so excited that this is almost out in the world. It was a hell of a book to write and I can’t wait for you to go on this next adventure of Penelope and Alexis. If you are into pre-ordering, don’t forget you can grab it from where ever they sell books. The hardcopies are going to be especially beautiful, I saw the proofs and I got all giddy over them – and I’m not someone who collects hard covers.

This past month has been crazy with the epic re-write/ structural edit of ‘The Cry of the Firebird’ (the above is some old and new inspiration for this series). If you are on my Insta, you would have seen me having a few moments of freak out over it. I tell you, trying to edit and restructure a book that you first wrote 12 years ago is quite the task…as in kind of a nightmare. It was good in a way because I saw how far I’ve come as a writer and could use all of that knowledge to bang it into a satisfying story shape. I was surprised how much I still love this weird story – and guys, it really is a weird one. Monsters and gods and mythological creatures galore.

A few of my older readers have messaged me having a bit of a stress moment on how I could be changing this book/series after it had already been indie released – I want to assure you that nothing of the original story is changing, I’m just ensuring that its executed in a better way. All your fave characters and monsters will be there. It’s just cleaned up. As a writer, I am hyper aware of releasing something like Magicians, which is my newest and the BEST of me, and then releasing older catalogue after it. The main purpose of these rewrites isn’t to ‘change’ the story but to pull it up to a standard I am personally happy with. It’s nothing like Magicians, but I am intent on producing the BEST possible version of these books. Also, I’m taking into consideration that the spin off books 4 & 5 have been written in the past two years and I want the tone of the books to be consistent and at their current state they aren’t. They will be though. The first new draft of ‘Cry’ has already gone back to my structural editing team to get their feedback and see what they think, and I’m really happy with how it came together. SO much of the changes is to deepen the characters and their backstory, to add some personal scenes back in that had been cut…and so there will be something new for older readers to enjoy too.

In other ‘Amy’ news, I have quit my day job. If the above editing job has taught me anything, it’s that I’m getting to the point that working a full time day job and trying to build a full time writing career is no longer viable. It turns out, even I have limits. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I will look at taking some short work contracts in the future if I feel like I need to, but I’m going to try and find a way to work smarter and not harder, to ensure cash flow and not lose my mind by working myself to burn out. COVID has fucked me a bit this year, like everyone, and being locked up since March has used what is left of my emotional storage bank. Something had to go – the day job was it.

What have you guys been reading? I am hanging out for ‘Piranesi’ by Susanna Clarke, that’s due to launch in September as well. She’s a fave author of mine, and it’s been a long time since ‘ Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ so I can’t wait to see what her magical mind creates this time around.

ALSO, because you know I love my indie romance, Nikki Kardnov is gearing up to release her next sexy Blackwell Djinn novel ‘That Forbidden Life’ is due to come out TOMORROW. I have been dying for Mads Blackwell’s book and I’m trying to clear my writing schedule a bit so I dive head first into it. I really can’t recommend this series enough, it’s such a cool take on Djinn and they are sexy as hell.

Nikki is also doing this really fun Greek Myth series at the moment, called’Games of the Gods‘ that I also recommend, if you are like me and NEED Greek myth retellings in their life.

Speaking of Greek Myth, another series I’m recommending is Alessa Thorn’s ‘The Court of the Underworld‘ series.This is a paranormal romance series that follows Hades (my boyfriend), as he and his Court run a new city called Styx in modern day Greece. It’s not just romance, it has loads of action and kick ass female characters and is all about the ‘villains’ getting their HEA (bonus – its in Kindle Unlimited). What’s not to love about that? ASTERION is book one, and you guessed it, is a re-telling of the Minotaur myth, AND it’s on sale at the moment for only $0.99…so TRY it here.

This blog is getting a bit out of control, but I want to update people wanting to know what’s happening with my new series ‘Tarot Kings.’ I submitted a short story of about 5k words to a 1001 Dark Nights comp recently, and while they didn’t ultimately pick it up I’m still thinking of releasing it later in the year. I’m going to make it a bit longer, because I can, and it would be a great way to have a teaser into this new, sexy, complex world. It would be like a 0.5 King of Swords, as the events in it happen a year before the events of book 1 and have the main characters having an encounter. What do you think? Would you be into that? I’m still mulling over it, because I would want to ensure that you wouldn’t have tooooo long to wait before the release of ‘King of Swords.’ Watch this space!

I hope you are all keeping well and safe and reading lots of good things that make you happy,

Ames x

 

July Update

I have found a quick block of time to write an actual newsletter this month…so how are you? Here in Melbourne, we are back in COVID lockdown and I have to admit, I’m getting over it. I’ve been locked down since March and even as an introvert, it’s starting to have it effect on me. One of the bonus’s is I have been reading a lot, and I have put some recommendations at the bottom of this of COVID reads that have been getting me through it.

In writing news, The Immortal City is getting an audio book which I am so excited about that I can’t even. I know I’m either going to be totally freaked out listening to it, or want to climb under the nearest table but I am still really excited about it.

I am gearing up to start a draft of the first Tarot Kings novel in August. For those who are on my Instagram where I spend most of my social media time lurking, you would have seen me talking about Tarot Kings.

For those that haven’t…Tarot Kings is going to be based in a future Venice, where magic has returned and the New Serene Republic is being ruled once again by a Council of Ten, with representatives from the four major magical houses based around (you guessed it) the Houses of The Tarot. It’s going to have a bit of a fun modern medieval vibe where magic and tech interact with each other.

Lots of magical creatures and fun. I currently have four books in this world that are kicking around my head and will be standalones, with characters crossing paths here and there. I’ve never written a series of standalones so I’m looking forward to the challenge. It might end up awesome or a total mess but I’m keen to jump back in and use up some of the research I did for Magicians and never got to use.

Okay onto my COVID Reads!

You all know, I have a girl crush on Jennifer Armentrout, but boy, did I love ‘From Blood and Ash’. It’s her first jaunt into epic fantasy and it was so good. It’s an epic fantasy world, with vampires. There’s nothing about that I don’t love. The next installment is out in September (praise rapid release) and I’m absolutely hanging for it. I love Poppy and Hawke is like next level fictional crush material. If you want something to really distract you from the current hellscape that is 2020, here it is.

With the current craziness of working from home and trying to figure out how to live in the world of COVID, I haven’t had a great attention span and I have found solace in novellas, specifically paranormal joy that is 1001 Dark Night offerings. I’ve always loved their stuff and my big find has recently been this Rebecca Zanetti bundle of Dark Protectors. Not only did it get me out of my reading funk but also made me do a big old binge on the rest of the full length Dark Protectors books.If you want a quick romance read with very cool world building look no further.

My current binge obsession is with Ilona Andrews and their ‘Hidden Legacy.’ I have had a bestie of mine trying to get me into Ilona for the past 5000 years but it never hit right when I tried to get into them. Then came Connor and Alessandro from Hidden Legacy for me to fall madly in love with. This series came at the exact time I needed it, and I binged the shit out of it.

I can’t wait for the next book out in August! I should also make a note that this binge also kicked off an Innkeeper series binge but I loved the Hidden Legacy world the best.

My final binge series is an indie one, and its also in KU which is a bonus for me because I read them ALL in like a week…its Deborah Wildes ‘Jezebel Files’ books. Like Hidden Legacy its a PI set up in a world of magic (specifically Canada) and its a freaking blast. Not only is it hilarious, the main character is great and the love/ hate interest has ruined biscotti for me forever (read it and find out why). I’m really obsessed with Levi. It’s a problem (or is it?). I highly recommend checking it out as they are great and probably saved my sanity back in June.

Okay that’s all from me. I hope that you are all wearing your masks and staying safe. If you’re like me you’re about ready to throat punch the next person who uses the phrase ‘unprecedented times’ or tries to talk about their fucking iso-bread fixation (I didn’t bake before iso, and I’m not about to start now – please for the love of God, stop asking). So take a deep breath and remember we all hate 2020, and try and be kind to yourself and others.

Ames x

BHC Press Acquires Firebird Fairytales Series by Fantasy Author Amy Kuivalainen

Here’s the big news that I’ve been sitting on since October!! Make sure you duck over to my Instagram and watch the video 🙂

Joni Firestone at BHC Press has acquired world rights to the Firebird Fairytales series by fantasy author Amy Kuivalainen. Titles include Cry of the Firebird, Ashes of the Firebird, Rise of the Firebird, The Exorcist and the Demon Hunter, and Of Starlight and Midnight.

Also included in the deal is The Blood Lake Chronicles spinoff featuring character Eldon Blaise. Titles include Wylt, Blaise, Kingdom, and Once.

“The idea for the series came to me while on a flight,” says author Kuivalainen. I’d just finished reading a short story by Neil Gaiman where a woman is given a firebird egg for her mantlepiece. I wondered if a firebird egg hatched, would people go on quests looking for it?”

Amy_photo twoDrawing upon her love of Russian and Finnish fairytales, Kuivalainen based much of her inspiration on Russian myths about Baba Yaga and Yvan…

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‘The Immortal City’ for your ears and Author Shoutout

Hey Everyone!

As some of you know, I’m currently on a small social media hiatus  BUT  I am stopping in quickly to let you know that my beloved Magicians are being featured on fellow author Victor Acquista’s podcast ‘Podfobler Productions’! It was so fun (and kind of spooky) to hear an audio narration of ‘The Immortal City’ and have my own words spoken back to me.It’s made me really hope that I get to hear it as an audio book one day. You can check the episode out anywhere where you get your podcasts, but also on Facebook, YouTube and Spotify (I’ll share this link in my Instagram stories).

Like Magicians of Venice, Victor’s newest thriller novel ‘Serpent Rising’ deals with some of the theories around Atlantis, but ones that I didn’t touch on (namely what I call the Egypt Connection -Thoth, the Emerald Tablets and Atlantean descendants). That means more Atlantis goodness for everyone! You know I’m weak for anything Atlantis, so it’s going to be an insta- buy for me when its released on 6th of August.Heres a description (also, how GREAT is that cover!)

Ever since her great aunt left her alone in a cave when she was ten, Serena Mendez has been haunted by the traumatic incident. Now she’s an unemployed, pill-popping twenty-one year old suffering from nightmares and PTSD. When her psychiatrist suggests she visit her great aunt to get to the root cause of her ailment, she reluctantly agrees it’s time to confront the past.
Accompanied by her geeky friend Bryson, they travel to a Navajo Reservation to meet with her great aunt and return to the cave where it all began. But what she discovers points to an ancient conflict between the Illuminati and a Luminarian sect with origins to Atlantis—and she appears to be at the center of it all. With more questions than answers and only a handful of clues, Serena embarks on a mystical journey across six continents to learn more.
But sinister forces oppose her. Pursued by a powerful enemy, Serena must evade capture and fulfill her true destiny. Can she expose dark secrets and a hidden conspiracy? Or will those who wish to remain in the shadows find her first?
You can pre-order and learn more information about it here.

 

I am hoping to get you a full June update to you soon that’s going to be chock full of news too, so keep an eye on your inbox.

In the meantime, as the world feels like its going completely mad, please listen and be kind to each other and to yourself,

Ames x

The Sea of the Dead Cover Reveal!

Loook at all of this beauty! Yes, that is a thunder storm over the Dead Sea in Israel and it is magnificent. I’m so proud of this book and I can’t wait for you all to read it! I’ll put the full description below BUT I wanted to list Five Things you can expect to see in the next installment of ‘The Magicians of Venice’ :
🌙 More background, stories and shenanigans about the Magicians (Zo’s previous life! Phaidros & Aelia try ‘playing nice’! Alexis and that One Time He Screamed in Existential Dread Naked in the Desert!)
🌙The Dead Sea Scrolls & morally dodgy obsessed academics.
🌙 Magicians Go Abroad & have Adventures.
🌙Unexpected Sea Monsters.
🌙Marco Dandolo & Lyca – The Team Up You Never Knew You Needed.
Here’s a full description but ❗️WARNING ❗️it does contain spoilers for Book 1:

The battle for Venice might be over, but the war is just beginning… Penelope’s and Alexis’s adventure continues in the second installment of The Magicians of Venice series. 

Penelope has accepted her role as the new Archivist for the magicians, but with war brewing with the priests of Thevetat and the tide of magic on the rise, she’s going to have to learn her way around her new and dangerous world if she has any hope of outsmarting their enemies.
When Penelope’s friend and fellow archaeologist, Tim, uncovers a scroll containing a magical secret lost in the Dead Sea for two thousand years, Penelope and Alexis must travel to Israel to find him before Abaddon and Kreios get there first.
To defeat Thevetat and his followers, they’ll need to find a weapon capable of ending him for good, and as her old life collides with her new, Penelope will pay the ultimate price to keep the secrets of the magicians safe.
🌙You can request an ARC here on NetGalley:
🌙Pre-order it here: (link in the bio)
BHC Press site: https://bit.ly/2Tn207S (This site has links to all the other sellers so check it out!)
🌙Add it to your Goodreads:  https://bit.ly/3bPKkZ2

I’m going to some more ‘The Sea of the Dead’ themed blogs between now and September and they will be as spoiler free as possible!

I hope you are all well and safe,

Ames x

Maas Destruction: What to read after Crescent City

Hey everyone,

I am seeing a heap of recommendation lists circling around about what to read after Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood, and I decided to throw in my 2 cents worth. Why? Because a lot of the recs are really random and YA. CC is absolutely not YA and while I get that SJM’s fan base started in YA, I’d be really reluctant to rec anything YA and call it similar (especially the same 10 trad YA books that everyone recommends for everything, all the time). Also, I’m not seeing many indie recs in these lists which annoys me a bit, because paranormal and urban fantasy indie is fucking awesome, to the point that its super rare for me  to actually buy trad in these genres. So here is my list of trad first:

  1. Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning
  2. Dragonbound by Thea Harrison
  3. Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

These three are book 1’s of series that SJM has previously claimed have been huge inspirations and favorites of hers….and believe me, after reading CC, you can really tell. I also really love them (especially Dragon Bound), and highly recommend them to everyone who wants to venture into this genre. Thea is hybrid and I love her indie series a lot (oh my god, Moonshadow is everything) so can’t recommend her enough.

Okay, onto indies:

  1. Sin and Chocolate by KF Breene
  2. Pestilence by Laura Thalassa
  3. The Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter
  4. Fury Rising by Yasmine Galenorn
  5. A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter

These are also book 1’s of some of my fave indie series. Elizabeth Hunter gets mentioned twice because one series deals with angels, the other vampires. I could on forever about my indie list because they are writers who have not only inspired my writing but my love of indie publishing. These guys absolutely kill it in every way and I won’t stop recommending them ever.

Hope this list helps you find some series you’ve never tried before, and they they help with the CC hangover/ Maas Destruction, which is still killing me too.

 

Ames x