I have released a new novella ‘Deadly Journey’ on Smashwords, as a free download. This novella is the sequel to ‘Deadly Relics’.
Starsin, an army cadet and minor member of the nobility, has escaped from a prison colony in the far north of the Virnal-administered Empire. He hopes to contact fellow rebels by traveling south, but disaster strikes, and his physical and moral courage is tested to the limit.
This is a short story collection from two Welsh sisters writing as CL Raven. This is a collection of traditional folk tales rewritten with a dark-fantasy feminist twist. The first story opens with ‘Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess called Snow White. Who the hell calls their child that?’ – an opening line that prompted me to buy the book. The opening story ‘Long Live the Queen’ is told from the point of the wicked stepmother as she tries to get rid of that irritating goody-goody, Snow White.
The other nine stories are in a similar vein, and most have modern settings. The same characters, for instance Prince Charming and Snow White, appear in more than one tale, and I feel it would have been better if they hadn’t, as there is an impression of the same ideas being re-cycled. Mostly the tales are entertaining, in a bawdy kind of way and quite well constructed. Occasionally, the bawdy humorous tone seemed overdone and getting too like fan fiction.
The book is quite well produced, with no obvious typos and each chapter is opened with a traditional-style illuminated letter, e.g. ‘O’.
Worth checking out if you like modern dark fantasy with a touch of humour.
You can find out more about CL Raven and their other books on their website clraven.wordpress.com
I have republished ‘Earrings’ on the Smashwords platform as ‘Deadly Relics’ with a new cover. Various download formats are available – no need to own a Kindle.
It is on half price promotion till the end of July. Deadly Relics – smashwords.com
EDGE-Lit 6 was held on 15 July 2017 at the Derby QUAD, Derby, UK. EDGE-Lit is a popular science fiction, fantasy and horror writing event, offering workshops, panels, readings and book launches. Guests this year included well-known and not-quite-famous authors, notably Joanne Harris and Samantha Shannon. In additions there are dealers’ areas.
I attended panels on ‘Think Small: What are the Benefits of Working with Small and Independent Presses?’, ‘Epic! Why is High Fantasy Still Riding a Wave of Popularity? and ‘New Voices: How Hard is it to Break Into Fantasy Fiction?’ All offered interesting insights. I also attended a lively workshop with Anna Stephens on ‘Character POV’s – How Many is Too Many’ which revealed that most writers present used a modest number of close 3rd person narrators but one or two used a lot more.
Small press and self-publishers were well represented in the dealers’ rooms. As the scheduled programme was quite full I did not manage to look at everything. The day concluded with a book raffle (didn’t win) and the Gemmell Awards Ceremony, which I missed as I had a lengthy train journey.
In addition to the freebies in the Con goody bag, I bought Samantha Shannon’s ‘The Bone Season’, Tony Cooper’s ‘The Resurrection Tree’, ‘Myriad Lands’ a collection of diverse fantasy inspired by legends from around the world (Guardbridge Books) and C L Raven’s ‘Disenchanted’ a collection of recreated dark-fantasy tales. CL Raven are two lively sisters from Wales, dressed for this occasion in dark-fantasy costume. I had to buy their book after laughing aloud over the first lines.
In summary, I found this a worthwhile and enjoyable event. Everyone I met was a published writer, an aspiring writer or a writer/publisher.
This ran from Fri 30 June to 2 July 2017. Venues were scattered around the town with most being at the University of Buckingham. I attended two events on the Sunday.
First impressions were not favourable. I arrived at the place identified by the postcode and had to ask where the Festival car park was. Then I had to ask (twice) for directions to the actual venue, which had been moved to a marquee. Signage was lacking. In the interval I had to ask twice for directions to the toilets, which were in a building in another street some way off. How to Write Like a Pro with Judith Allnatt and AJ Mackenzie. This talk by an experienced author and a multi-book husband-wife team gave some useful guidance on how to go about creative writing, from start to finding an agent. I made various notes. How to Publish Like a Pro with John Mitchinson and Sheila Crowley. The title of this talk was slightly misleading, as despite the write-up in the printed programme, self-publishing was not covered at all. John Michison runs Unbound, a crowd-funded publisher. This is an interesting concept – books are taken on subject to sufficient funds being raised via Unbound through crowd-funding. Figures mentioned were £4000 to launch an e-book and £11,000 to launch a hardcopy. (As an aside, one might comment that with figures like these, self-publishing authors should maybe just give up now.) Sheila Crowley is a successful agent, and her talk was mostly about best-sellers. The need for an author to find a good agent was stressed.
My novel “The Plain Girl’s Earrings” is now available on Amazon (US & UK).
The ruthless Virnal Order rules over the Empire of Satine by fear, guile and an iron hand. Lethal poisons from a past cataclysm are leaking from the ground, causing sickness and death. Unseen insurgency seeks to overturn the established order.
Cadet Starsin only ever wanted a simple life, pursuing his own selfish interests, maintaining a mistress and adding to his meager army pay by trading in ancient artifacts. But when he witnesses the cold blooded murder of a much admired officer by Virnal enforcers, Starsin feels impelled against his instincts to protest. This marks him down as a trouble-maker and potential rebel.
Implicated in sedition, and with both the Virnals and a mysterious adventuress named Lannaira Hajan taking an unhealthy interest in him, Starsin’s mundane life is turned upside down. His own ambiguous past threatens an explosive revelation.
Take a journey across a troubled land with Starsin, as he battles the Virnals, uncovers shocking secrets and finds that he is not the man he thought he was.