Today is release day for Blanket of Snow (After the Storm, #1), and what fun! This is the first of a series of novelettes (all about 20K words long - a one hour read) based on characters that we already know and love well, and focusing on their emotional states and their healing journeys, so the series lends itself to the novelette format.
When I first began writing in 2010, I was pretty keen on shorter stories. I liked the fact that in order to write a good one, it had to be short and snazzy; to-the-point, but not loose on detail; and it had to capture readers from the start and not let go, because you needed ALL of their attention for the very short time you have it. I liked all of that, and I felt some of that skill had been lost in the past few decades as commercial publishing houses favoured huge tomes over the shorter book (usually for financial reasons). With the emergence of eBooks, that financial reason is no longer valid - it's easy to pack a punch in a short story for an eReader and sell it for 99p, and people WANT this. What better for a one hour train journey than to be engrossed in a book you know you'll finish in time? It's perfect.
Writing Blanket of Snow was no less perfect. Not unusually for me (though it's been a while), this story came to me in a dream, and I knew when I woke up exactly how long it would take to write. My inexperience in 2010 failed to tell me that The Witching Pen Series would NOT be a series of novellas and that I was jumping the gun and possibly making a mistake by originally calling that series The Witching Pen Novellas. In my head, all the stories would be no more than 40K words, but I didn't know my writing well enough then. I didn't know that I would favour large-reaching arcs and plots that liked their twists and turns, and subsequently, half of that series was written as full-length novels, making the original series name (novellas) utterly pointless and inaccurate.
I have no such worry about After the Storm. There's a plot here, sure, but it's a mini-plot that buffers what the characters are emotionally going through - it's not the main focus - so I've been able to sit back and write a shorter story with full enjoyment in doing JUST THAT without doubt and without any external pressure. It reminded me of one of the reasons I love writing in the first place, and not least, one of the reasons why I love being an independent author: I can write for my pleasure; for readers' pleasure; for the characters' needs; all without having to unnecessarily expand the story, or dumb it down (or dumb it up) to fit a mold.
So I hope all Eye of the Storm fans thoroughly enjoy the After the Storm series, because it will be an insight into the main four characters that we simply won't get in the upcoming Aftershock series, because we won't be telling that series from the POV of the four Eye of the Storm characters - it will be from the perspectives of brand new (now adult) characters.
After the Storm will fill some blanks for fans, but also hint at a couple of future obstacles to come. There won't be any cliffhangers as such (remember this is not a plot-filled series), just these hints that will be touched on again in the Aftershock series, and possibly even the Blood Shadow series.
After the Storm will add a bit of depth to anyone who cares to read it, but at the same time, anyone who chooses not to won't be missing out on anything in order to understand what's to come.
It's fun. It's a lot of fun weaving worlds together. I hope you enjoy the read.
After some deliberation, I've decided that it is not cost effective to sell signed paperbacks from Bitten Fruit Books. I've been selling them from there for a few years now, but unfortunately, every year, after adding up the time and cost of importing the books, mailing them out, and keeping them in stock (and nice and neat as I cart them around to signings!), vs. the amount of orders I get, it's just not possible to maintain this.
However, you can still ask if I have a certain signed book in stock at any time, but the wait-length might be three or four weeks before I can get the book to you, as I won't be keeping them regularly in stock.
So from the end of this week, the only way you'll be able to purchase signed books from me is:
I'm sorry for any inconvenience, but this is a weight off my mind, and it means I can better concentrate on producing new books and all the admin that comes with it.
The Bitten Fruit Books website will no longer show the books for sale by the end of this week.
So, here it is, my end-of-year post, and I didn't expect to be typing this up in a dizzy, exhausted state as I battle a cold virus. So it's going to be a short post. Not sure I'll be awake for new year at this rate!
Nevertheless, I am looking forward to 2019. A lot has happened this year, and a lot of it has been subtle. Friendships have ebbed and flowed to the point where I'm not sure they ever really existed at all; but home has become more 'home' in some ways - I'm slowly falling in love with where I live; and in the midst of it all I've written two novels and one novelette - all of which kick off various new series of books. I'm pretty happy with that.
I tend not to do resolutions as such over the new year, however, it is a time to reflect on the things missing from our lives, as well as all we've achieved. I do miss nature. I used to spend hours every week walking in ancient woodland when I lived near them, many years ago now. So, my 'resolution' for 2019 is to find an area of woodland not too far from where I live and spend some time there every week. I have conditions though: it's got to be magical, and it's got to be wild; it's got to have that "something" about it that makes you feel like you've stepped into Narnia or Rivendell. Some woods are like that - so old and untouched, they breathe for us. The woods I lived near used to be like that. (And if anyone's wondering which woods these were, they were Pewley Down and The Chantries in Surrey - yes, the setting for Eye of the Storm and where Lawrence Gunvald has his home.) I miss conversing with the devas and soaking in the wilderness, and I'd welcome it back.
All publication dates for 2019 are still on target for now, with Autumn's Fall coming out first on 5th March, and of course, Blanket of Snow will be released more imminently on 7th January. And I'm very much looking forward to writing Fathoms Deep.
Have a wonderful New Year, everyone. And may 2019 bring you unconditional love, and the truth of your heart's desire.
Have you heard? We'll be getting a little bit more from our favourite werewolves - you can thank my insatiable mind for that because this story came to me in a dream, just when I thought I was done writing books from Lydia, Lawrence, Ryan and Taylor's perspectives. Nope. There's a little bit more...
Four months have passed since the night of the fatal storm, and "peace on earth" has never felt so good despite the pack's sorrow at the loss of family and dear friends; sorrow that cut deeply over Christmas, and during last week’s wedding.
Mated to three, and now married into the Gunvald lineage, Lydia has taken comfort and security in her she-wolf, the animal's strength and wisdom taking her deep into the still-uncharted territory of Lawrence's wooded home – now her wooded home.
But storms come in many guises, and as the January snow clouds gather overhead, Lydia's finally forced to confront the secret she's been keeping from everyone, including herself.
This is a novelette - a one hour read (just under 20,000 words). More than one novelette will make up the After the Storm series - stories told from each of the main character's points of view in the months immediately after the fatal storm, concentrating on the emotional and mental healing they each need to go through. They stand on their own, and don't have to be read to understand any new series coming next. However, they'll hold little titbits of information for readers who want that little bit more (there is a little plot threaded throughout the novelettes).
Currently available in digital format only.
Pre-order the book from:
Blood Shadow: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel
Five years after her life changed forever, Jennifer Warren has put her past firmly behind her. No longer a werewolf, but human, she keeps herself to herself. But her anonymous 'friend' has started sending her notes again - there's a rare total lunar eclipse on the way, threatening to turn her shadows against her. Can you ever escape what you truly are? Blood never lies.
This book is so much more than werewolves, and the beginning of something great to come. Enjoy the story. xxx
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BDLJJYW/
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07BDLJJYW/
Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07BDLJJYW/
But it doesn't quite portray the sheer dynamism of the series to new readers who have never heard of it - they'll likely scroll right by - yet this series is just as adventurous as the Eye of the Storm series. So, The Witching Pen series is getting a facelift! The new covers have been designed and will be revealed in the next month. They're brighter; more colourful; still women-centric. They have more of an urban fantasy feel than any of the covers that have come before. I love them and can't wait to show you.
The paperback and the eBooks will share the same covers, and there'll be no light edition vs. dark edition going forward.
If you love the covers above and would like your paperbacks in these covers (whether light edition or dark edition) PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP, because once they're out of print, that's it - they're gone.
Here are the light editions below:
Omnibus paperback: I'm bringing back the Omnibus Edition of The Witching Pen series, but this time, it will INCLUDE The Last Dragon so you have the whole series in one book, and it will be sold as a special edition hardback. Yes - a hardback! This will be my first hardback, so I'm thrilled to bits. The eBook changes will come first, followed by the paperback cover changes; the hardback will take a bit longer. I'll give you more solid dates once I have them.
This is quite a project in itself, so please bear with me. The back matter in all the books will also be updated, and the single volume paperbacks will go off-sale before the new paperback covers come in.
Look out for the cover reveal in a few weeks.
That's all for now. I'll see you on release day. The sun is finally out in England - enjoy the spring :)
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coming 27th April, 2018.