A Monster’s Kindness

Several months ago, I was really excited when my novella, A Monster’s Kindness, was accepted by Less Than Three Press. It was due to come out in a couple of months.

This week, the publisher announced that they are shutting down operations. I think this is really sad for many reasons. A large number of the book recommendations on the Queer Reading List were published by this company, so this is a loss for the fans of queer sci-fi and fantasy in general, but it’s upsetting personally to me because of my book.

Thankfully the edits have been done on the text of A Monster’s Kindness, and I received a sketch from the cover artist who was hired. The folks at LT3 have said that they will pay editors and artists to finish projects that have been assigned, so it looks like I will get a cover design alongside the edited manuscript. Given that all this hard work has been done to get the book ready for publication, I will probably self-publish A Monster’s Kindness. It was always going to be ebook only because of its length, so I can take that final step of publication myself.

I think it’s a huge shame about Less Than Three Press. Most of the books in their online marketplace will only be available until the end of the month. If there was anything of theirs that you were considering buying, I guess now is the time to do so. While you still can.

Watch this space for news of A Monster’s Kindness.

Shadows of Tomorrow Book 3

I got some good news this week. A while ago, I sent the third book of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy off to the publisher. This week, I got a response and they have accepted it. I had hoped that they would, especially given that they published the first two books in that trilogy and even produced an audio book of Shadows of Tomorrow, but I still wasn’t sure. The contract I signed for the other books only gave them first rights of refusal on the book, not any sort of guarantee that they would publish it.

It would have been really awkward if they’d said no at this point, because finding a publisher for the third book in a trilogy that’s already had two books published would have been a real challenge. Anyone I approach would probably wonder why I wasn’t going with the publisher of the first two, so I’m really glad that I don’t have to be in that position.

We’re a long way from the book coming out, which I’m sure will upset one of my coworkers who has been asking for news about this book’s publication since about five minutes after she finished reading the second book. It takes a while for a book to go through the publishing process, with all the stages of editing that involves, but I will keep the blog updated as I get more news. Watch this space.

Acceptance

While I was on the writer’s retreat which I posted a review for last week, I finished off a novella. This was a gay, fantasy, romance about a man being sacrificed to a monster and finding that the monster showed him more kindness than his former neighbours. I submitted it to Less Than Three Press, a publishing house that specialises in LGBTQ+ romances (a number of their titles are on the queer reading list), and I received the automatic response saying that I would hear back from them in approximately six to eight weeks.

When I saw an email in my inbox less than a week later, my heart sank, because the response was so much quicker than I expected and, from experience, rejections are always significantly faster than acceptances. I saw that email and I knew that my story had been turned down.

Or not.

Apparently acceptances can be that fast because they had said yes. They sent me a contract to publish the novella as an e-book, which I have now signed. The book still has to go through the editing process, but watch this space for more news as it comes out.

This is the fastest I’ve ever had a story accepted and it’s made me more than a little excited. It’s always a thrill to have a story accepted, but to have it accepted in less than a week on its first submission is something different. I can only assume that it means they really liked it and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

The Problem of the Shiny New Idea

I’ve never been very good at focus when it comes to my writing. I can write a lot in a short period of time, but it’s not always for the thing that I feel I should be working on. At any given time, I might be actively working on a couple of books, another couple of fanfics, a short story, and have the ideas for half a dozen other stories bubbling away in my head like something on the backburner of the stove, ready to boil over.

The advantage of this is that I’ve never really struggled with writer’s block. If one of my stories is at an awkward place, I can write something else until I have a bit of inspiration about how to fix whatever is flagging. Sometimes this happens in the middle of a writing session. I’ll write a few hundred words on one project and then find myself stuck because I need to research something, or I can’t think of the right word, or I’m just not sure what should happen next. When that happens, I can flip over to another writing project and usually blast out a few hundred words on that instead.

This approach can also be useful with editing, because I can finish the first draft of a story and then go and focus on my other projects for a bit, and when I come back to that first story I can look at it with fresh eyes and spot the problems that need to be fixed.

The disadvantage of this approach is that the part of me going, “I really should finish the second draft of the third Shadows of Tomorrow book,” gets drowned out by the other part of me that goes, “There’s a shiny new idea over there.”

I have some time booked off work soon that I’m using as writer’s retreat. I really, really should spend that time finishing the third Shadows of Tomorrow book. Anyone want to make bets about how quickly I get distracted by a new and shiny idea?

Amazon Alternatives

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around strike action against Amazon because of their horrific workplace practices and their treatment of employees. There are horror stories from warehouse workers and delivery drivers about low wages, unpaid hours which push the wages below the minimum, ridiculous productivity demands and penalties meaning that workers pee in bottles because they don’t have time for toilet breaks, and the fact that vast numbers of employees are living in abject poverty while the CEO is worth over a hundred billion dollars, which is more money than a person could ever hope to spend in their lifetime.

Amazon’s profit margins are so high that they could easily pay all their employees a living wage and still be making billions, so there is no excuse for this mistreatment of staff.

As such, there have been calls for strikes. There has been some confusion over dates, but the current information is that strikes will be taking place over Prime day, to hit a major promotional event, with the strike between the 15th and 17th of July. Customers are being discouraged from buying from Amazon during the strike (and boycotting longer if you can do, until the company makes some changes).

As an author, so much of what I do is based around trying to get people to sites like Amazon to buy my books, but I don’t want to support Amazon during this strike action, so here are some alternatives if you’re looking to buy my books.

Shadows of Tomorrow and its sequel Between Yesterdays are both available from Waterstones and other mainstream bookshops.

The Codename Omega series, Omega Rising, Traitor in the Tower, and Hidden in the Signal, can be bought directly from Lulu as both paperbacks and ebooks.

My latest novel, Wolf Unleashed, is available directly from the publisher, Guardbridge Books or through Waterstones and other major bookshops.

The ebook of Child of the Hive, my first novel, can be bought from Smashwords.

My superhero parody, The Adventures of Technicality Man, is only available for purchase from Amazon, so to support the strike, I’m giving this book away through Instafreebie. Through until the end of July you can get a copy of this ebook for free.

I hope that if you want to buy my books, you will consider buying them from somewhere other than Amazon until the demands for better treatment of workers are met.

Wolf Unleashed – now available for pre-order

I’m delighted to announce that my latest novel, Wolf Unleashed, is now available for pre-order. This is a book I’m really proud of. I’ve poured a lot of effort and emotion into this book over the past few years and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

Remember: werewolves are people too.

Cover art for Wolf Unleashed

Werewolves are kept as slaves. Exploited to perform dangerous labour, or kept as exotic pets by rich sadists who want a status symbol, werewolves have no rights.

When Crystal’s brother is bitten by a rogue werewolf, her family is advised to think of him as dead. But she refuses to forget him.

Looking for news from within the werewolf community leads her to purchase Thomas, a rebellious werewolf with a string of abusive former owners. Crystal and Thomas must learn to trust each other enough to help solve each other’s problems. Together, they can work to build a movement aimed at bringing rights and justice to all.

This is an urban fantasy, paranormal romance with a difference. It teems with intersectional issues of race, gender, and sexual identity. This is a story of injustice and anger, of love and compassion, of rebellion and hope.

5 Stars – “It was a story that drew me in… I enjoyed how the story developed and how werewolf slavery was tackled by some very brave characters. They took on a fight against a system that needed to be changed, and often it looked like they would be torn apart… I wish there was more of this quality writing out there. A fantastic read!” — Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Order now

Cover Art Reveal

I am thrilled to present the cover art for my latest novel, Wolf Unleashed.

Cover art for Wolf Unleashed

Wolf Unleashed is a story of injustice and anger, of love and compassion, of rebellion and hope. It explores themes of oppression and prejudice that echo the real world. This is a book I’m really proud of that I’ve poured a lot of emotion into and I can’t wait to share it with the world. I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.

The official book launch is going to be at Follycon, this year’s Eastercon, in Harrogate. I hope to see some of you there. If not, I will be making announcements soon when the book is available for purchase.

 

Book updates

Hidden in the Signal coverI realised recently that I hadn’t added Hidden in the Signal, the third book in the Codename Omega series to the My Books page on this blog. I’ve remedied that mistake now. The information on the third instalment of Jenny’s adventures is now up.

Hidden in the Signal continues the story of Jenny’s fight to uncover the truth of Grey’s Tower and to fight against the alien threat hiding on Earth.

Keep an eye on that page because I will soon be adding details of my upcoming book, Wolf Unleashed. I just sent the last chapter of edits back to the line editor today. I think there’s just one more round of checks before the text of the book is ready to go. We will be launching the book at this years Eastercon, Follycon, in Harragote over the Easter weekend. I will also be giving a presentation on the representation of gods in science fiction at the convention. The agenda is still being finalised so I don’t know if I will be on any panels, but I will let you know if I am.

If you’re going to be attending Follycon, come along to the book launch and say hi.

Wolf Unleashed – progress update

I’m spending a good chunk of time this weekend going through line edits for Wolf Unleashed, my upcoming book. Line editing is one of the last stages of the editing process, once any big issues with the story, structure, pacing, and so on have been fixed. At this stage, an editor goes through the book line by line and makes tweaks, fixing a typo here, or adjusting the word order there to make a sentence flow better.

Through this process, I am still the author. There have been points in this manuscript where the line editor has proposed a change and I’ve left a little comment saying, “Actually the point I was trying to get across was this and I think the original way does that better.”

There have been other moments when the line editor has suggested cutting a few words because they don’t really add to the story, but I’ve insisted on keeping them because they hint at something about the character that won’t be revealed until later. One on occasion, the editor got confused by a mention of two characters’ mums, and left a comment wondering which mum I was referring to, and the answer to that was both of them because they’re a couple, which is going to be explained properly in a couple of chapter’s time.

Going through an editing process, the author still has control, but it’s important to note that there are a lot of changes I haven’t argued with. A lot of the time, the editor is doing things like changing “that” to “the”, or putting in a synonym to avoid a repeated word, and I read the suggested sentence, agree, and move on. Line editors are an important part of the book writing process. They add a layer of polish to a story to prepare it for publication.

There’s still a little bit more editing to be done on Wolf Unleashed, but I’m looking forward to a launch for it at Eastercon this year. The convention, Follycon, is going to be in Harrogate over the Easter weekend. If you’re attending, you can come talk to me about the book, hear me read some extracts, or get your hands on one of the first copies.

Cover Art Reveal: Hidden in the Signal

Hidden in the Signal cover

Those who oppose Grey’s Tower tend to end up missing or dead. Jenny’s friend Matt vanished while trying to uncover the Tower’s secrets. Jenny has promised to discover what happened to him, and she must keep those she loves from facing the same fate.

Meanwhile there is another threat looming. An alien spaceship is heading for Earth. Jenny and her allies must find a way to stop it but there may be another danger nearer to hand. Someone close to Jenny is keeping secrets – secrets that might hold the key to the spaceship’s mission, to Matt’s disappearance, and to what their enemies have planned.


Hidden in the Signal is the third book in the Codename Omega series, which follows the adventures of Jenny Harding, an ordinary girl who gets caught up in conspiracies and combat involving alien technology. The first two books Omega Rising and Traitor in the Tower are available now.