RELEASE – Rosa and the Shadowmaster

Three years after storming fully formed into my imagination, Captain Rosa Romano’s story is finally out in the world! My steampunk novella, Rosa and the Shadowmaster, is out today on Amazon. This story feels so personal. When I was a child, I yearned to read stories where women took charge, not only of the story, but their own destiny. Rosa Romano is the character I always wanted to find, and her fight to shape how the world sees her is one of the central themes in this novella.

However, any story with an airship descending upon Paris in 1901 wouldn’t be complete without a dash of sensuality, a splash of intrigue, a sprinkle of the Moulin Rouge – and in Rosa and the Shadowmaster, creatures of the night with a whole lot of bite…

Captain Rosa Romano craves the taste of danger. Rebellious to the core, when she hears rumours of the shadows that lurk within the arcane and dazzling Demorte’s Travelling Circus, she flies the Dante’s Dalliance into the heart of turn-of-the-century Paris to investigate. Death meets her and her crew at every turn, and the captain is determined to take her revenge on those who threaten the people she loves.

However, when a mysterious prophecy leads the enigmatic ringmaster, Ignatius Demorte, to set his sights on her, Rosa will have to fight not only against monsters who rock the very foundations of her world, but against something far harder to defy – the temptation to let seductive darkness devour her in every possible way.

Find it now on;

Amazon US

Amazon UK

and free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

LAUNCH PARTY – The Devil You Know

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW Book MarkTonight is the launch party for the anthology The Devil You Know, from Critical Blast Publishing. Isn’t the artwork fantastic?! I’m so pleased to be a part of the anthology, alongside some fantastic authors. The full line-up is:

Sarah Cannavo, Joseph Rubas, Daryl Marcus, Evan Purcell, R. A. Goli, Troy Riser, Kevin Kangas, Jared Baker, Erica Ciko Campbell, Henry Vogel, K. D. Webster, Hannah Trusty, Christopher Cook, Michael W. Clark, Wondra Vanian, Steve Oden, Andra Dill, Gerald A. Jennings, Cara Fox and Damascus Mincemeyer.

A brilliant group, some of whom I’ve worked with before, and others whose work I’m excited to discover. My story, ‘Dominion’, is one which I wrote a couple of years ago, then sat on for a while, waiting for the right project. When I read what Critical Blast were looking for, it seemed like the perfect fit, and they’ve been lovely to work with from start to finish.

Tonight, the team will be hosting a launch party on Youtube, starting at 7pm CT.  It’s a little late for anyone on my side of the world, so I might not be there myself, but it’s sure to be a lot of fun regardless.

Let’s face it – with Covid, there’s not many parties that we can get to right now, so if you’re free tonight, head on over and you can hear all about The Devil You Know and the great stories inside it.

Join the party if you can, and whilst you’re there, make sure to subscribe to Critical Blast on Youtube too!

COVER REVEAL – Rosa and the Shadowmaster

RATS_cover_final - CopyI’m so excited to share this with you all today! My steampunk novella, Rosa and the Shadowmaster, will be published for Amazon Kindle by the end of the month. Released through Memento Mori Publications, it dives deep into the shadows of Paris at the turn of the twentieth century, when Demorte’s Travelling Circus comes to town. Soon, a tangled web of secrets, intrigue and monsters weaves itself around Rosa Romano, and with a dash of airships, automatons and anarchy, she finds herself in a battle for not onlyher own life, but those of everyone she loves.

Check out the cover and let me know what you think! I can’t wait for this story to be out in the world.

Out Of The Darkness

So my blog’s been quiet for far too long. There’s no excuses, only a simple reason that unfortunately, I suspect too many of you will understand. The extent of my depression and anxiety has become so severe that over the past year, I’ve had to pare my life back to the absolute essentials just to get through each day. The impact of my fibromyalgia diagnosis has really played out over the past twelve months, and on top of that, I was recently diagnosed with postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder.

With all that written down, it’s easy to see how, despite how much solace I take from writing, it’s all been pushed aside for the sake of simply making it through. Everything has. Friendships have withered and wider family don’t understand. Life has been nothing but endless of sleep (or try to), study, children, sleep, repeat, punctuated by ceaseless pain and an anxiety that claws deep into every facet of my life.

Strangely, it’s coronavirus that’s allowed me to breathe. My family are all safely under one roof and my university course has ended early for the year, with my marks high enough to keep me on track for a First. In the last few weeks, I’ve been placed under the care of a fantastic psychiatrist, and she’s encouraged me to use this time to take stock of what makes me feel happy and safe – and more than anything else, it’s my writing.

So here I am. I can’t type as fast as I could before, and the fibro side-effects prevent me from processing the words as clearly as I’m used to, but by writing in short, repeated bursts, I’m determined to build writing back into my daily routine. I see more short stories and poetry in my future, but the edits on my novel, The Strange Case of Doctor Magorian, are nearly complete, so my aim is to start sending that out to publishers by the end of the summer – and to check in more regularly here!

Sherlock Holmes Kickstarter Ending This Week!

The Kickstarter for Sherlock Holmes in the Realms of Steampunk is ending in just a couple of days. I’m delighted to share that it’s been hugely successful, passing the second stretch goal over the weekend, but there’s still time to join us and pre-order your copy, as well as some of the other fantastic rewards that Belanger Books are offering to our backers.

My story, ‘The Silver Swan’, will be opening the first part of the two-volume anthology. If the idea of classic!Holmes pitting his wits against mechanised swans in steampunk London intrigues you, then please check out my interview with Derrick Belanger, learn about the other fantastic stories and authors, and join the Kickstarter before it closes at this link.

KICKSTARTER – Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Steampunk

The Kickstarter is now available to reserve your copy of the new anthology from Belanger Books, Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Steampunk! Divided into two volumes – Tales of a Retro Future and Mechanical Men & Otherworldly Endeavours – the Kickstarter is open until March 21, 2019, and has already hit its funding target within hours of opening.

My story, ‘The Silver Swan’, will  be opening the first volume.

Tales of a Retro Future – Volume one of the anthology features stories with a focus on steampunk inventions. See airships cloud the skies, robotic swans attack, and apparatuses appear to raise the dead.

Mechanical Men and Otherworldly Endeavours – Volume two of the anthology features stories with a focus on robotic creatures and otherworldly adventures. See Holmes team up with intelligent animals from an alternate Earth, switch bodies with Dr. Watson, and travel to another dimension.

Take a look at the Kickstarter and see some of the great rewards on offer for our backers – and do let me know if you get yourself a copy of this brilliant anthology. I can’t wait to read all the stories myself!

RELEASE – The Death of Nostalgia

A deeply personal and dark story of mine was recently released in Issue 1 of The Society of Misfit Stories, from Bards and Sages Publishing. I love this story, even though I spilled out far more of my soul when writing it than I first realised. It’s twisted, unapologetically gritty, and I think I’m more than a little bit in love with the two central characters.

Rules were made to be broken. Wings were not.

Those incontrovertible truths had dictated Melusina’s life until now. Forever dancing the line between the two, she had managed to balance the demands of serving in the court of the Fae King with her insatiable fascination for the mortal realm. Until today.

That was why Melusina found herself propping up the bar of a rundown Georgian tavern in the wrong side of London, knocking back neat bourbon like it was going out of fashion as the handful of Monday night patrons flocked around her, drawn in by the glamour she wore like a shield.

If anyone was looking for her, they wouldn’t think to come here. In the paroxysm of her grief she gravitated towards the ramshackle pub, defiantly out of place amongst the modern buildings surrounding it. Like her, it was a relic from another world.
The White Hart was the antithesis of the place she called home until today. Its brash vulgarity and shadowed corners should not have been able to draw her in, but for one thing.

Humans.

Nestled in amongst a whole host of talented authors, you can pick up the anthology for half-price until March 1st, 2019 with the coupon code XL39J at Smashwords. Let me know what you think!

Upcoming releases

Happy New Year to you all! As we look ahead to 2019, it seems an apt time to fill you all in on my writing plans for the coming months. In terms of new work, my main focus is working on the edits for The Strange Case of Doctor Magorian so that I can begin looking for a home for it in the summer. If anyone knows any publishers looking for steampunk novels with a strong feminist backbone, please give me a nudge!

As for short stories, I have a few ideas I want to get started on, but my degree is eating  into a lot of writing time at the moment. On the plus side, it is producing a lot of creative material that might be worth developing at a later date, and whilst I’m taking a brief hiatus from writing new stories, I can devote what little free time I have to promoting my upcoming releases. I’ve signed all the contracts over the holiday season, so I’m thrilled to share with you all that the following will soon be available:

The Death of Nostalgia will be featured in the February 2019 release from the Society of Misfit Stories. This was a story that took a dark and deeply personal twist when I was writing it, but coming in around 8000 words, I was aware that it was at that particularly awkward, in-between length that makes it a hard sell. Fortunately, it found a great home in next month’s release, and I can’t wait to see how the new format works for this issue.

The Corsair’s Daughter is in Issue 9 of Broadswords and Blasters, to be released in April 2019. Unashamed fangirling will now commence! I love B&B. Cameron and Matt do a fantastic job of compiling fantasy and sci-fi short stories in the old-fashioned pulp fiction style. I’ve been following them since they were new to the market, and every issue has delighted me, introducing me to many great authors and stories. When I conceived the idea for The Corsair’s Daughter, I knew instantly that I wanted to place it with Broadswords and Blasters. To my great delight, they snapped it up within a couple of days of me sending it to them, and come April, you’ll all be able to read my story of pirates, monsters and the greatest treasure of all…

The Silver Swan will be featured in the Sherlock Holmes steampunk anthology from Belanger Books, with a Kickstarter campaign beginning in April 2019 prior to the anthology’s release. Whenever I think detective mysteries, it has to be Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle. I started out with Miss Marple, then graduated to Sherlock Holmes as I moved into my teenage years. The universal appeal of Holmes has withstood the test of time, and as much as I like the modern adaptations, it’s the classic stories which truly hold my heart. I couldn’t resist the urge to try my hand at writing in Doctor Watson’s voice (see earlier blog post) with a steampunk twist, and I’m overjoyed to be a part of this project. More to follow!

Anamnesis will be in Moonlit Dreams, Moonlight Nightmares, to be published by Antimony and Elder Lace Press (date to be confirmed). I don’t want to give too much away about this one, but it was probably the darkest and most intimate story that I wrote last year. It really took on a life of its own, growing from an initial one sentence premise into a quietly tragic, horrific tale that stayed with me long after I wrote it.

Finally, The Eyes Have It is to be part of the anthology Behind Eyes of Glass, from Fantasia Divinity (release date to be confirmed). This was one of those stories that grew from a pun of a title into something far less comical and darker than I expected it to be.

And that’s it for now! I’m thrilled to have these five upcoming releases to start the year with. Fingers crossed 2019 brings at least a few more…

Why I Won’t Be Doing NaNoWriMo Next Year

In which I discuss NaNoWriMo, chronic illness and mental health.

So I won NaNoWriMo this year; approximately 66000 words written during November. Sure, it’s an achievement, but proud though I am of the words I wrote and the stories I created, I’m paying the cost now. Under the pressure of trying to keep up with the word count, I used far too many of my spoons.

For those unaware of the metaphor, the spoon theory encapsulates the daily battle of weighing up tasks with the energy they cost and the pain they cause. When living with chronic illness (in my case, fibromyalgia), the spoons are limited and everything from getting out of bed to preparing food takes more of them away each day. The graphic to the left, courtesy of Dysautonomia International, breaks it down. As November went on and the word count went up, I realised that the number of spoons I started each day with was rapidly decreasing, but NaNoWriMo creates this strange kind of internalised pressure that means the fear of failure is too powerful to want to back down, especially when I knew that I’ve completed the challenge in numerous years with ease. Of course, back then I wasn’t living with fibro, but when my illness has taken so much from me, I was determined to prove (to myself, more than anyone else) that it couldn’t take this from me too.

I tried to break it down and take some of the pressure away by not creating a single, stand-alone novel from scratch. Instead, I gave myself the target of exceeding 50000 words by finishing the first draft of The Strange Case of Doctor Magorian, and then writing as many separate short stories as necessary to get over the finishing line.

I did it. A complete first draft is ready to be edited and I wrote four short stories too, one of which has already sold. At first glance, a success. Yet I haven’t been able to write since the end of November. I’m writing this now from my bed, curled up with my laptop whilst I wait for the codeine to kick in and bring relief for an hour or so. I have an appointment with my doctor on Thursday to discuss stronger painkillers, because the pain and exhaustion are so severe now that last night, my husband had to feed me. I couldn’t lift the spoon to my own lips.

No spoons left.

That’s why I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo next year. I’m burned out, both physically and mentally. This time of year isn’t particularly conducive to taking some time out, but I have no choice. Christmas preparations will have to wait, meet-ups and parties to catch up with patient, understanding friends one more hurdle that I can’t clear this year. I can’t cope with them, and I am well aware that my determination to push through my body’s warnings and finish NaNoWriMo is largely responsible for that. For now I’m just hoping that this flare-up settles in time for Christmas with my daughters. Next year, I’ll be cheering you all on from the sidelines and reading this post back to remind myself just why 50000 words aren’t always worth the cost.

RELEASE – Broken Wings

My story, ‘Broken Wings’, was recently published in Witches vs Wizards by Zombie Pirate Publishing.

The ground rumbles ominously, the earth surging and shifting to the iron will of the powers of old. Lightning sparks the air with forked tongue, darting between two venerable channelers, ragged yet regal, each wrestling wicked tempests to do their bidding. Their magicks are diametrically opposed, their powers equally limitless, their intentions shrouded in mystery; theirs is a battle for the ages. This surely means death for any mere mortal looking on. This is the beginning of the end. This is WITCHES VS WIZARDS. Packed with magical tales of pure unadulterated fantasy, this collection of short stories features eighteen authors from all around the world.

The Kindle and paperback versions are available to buy now from Amazon.