Fantasycon Schedule

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Next Friday, I’ll be venturing down to York for my last convention of the year, Fantasycon. Fantasycon 2011 was my first ever convention in the UK (in Brighton), so I’m rather fond of it. Crazy to think how much things have changed in 3 years.

I have a couple of panels and one reading at Super Relaxed Fantasy Club.

11.00am – It’s the End of the World as we Know It – And I Feel Unsurprised
Does the popularity of dystopia in YA reflect a generation’s expectation of living in a nightmarish future?
Guy Adams (m), Janet Edwards, Leila Abu el Hawa, Jonathan Oliver, Laura Lam

12.00 Noon – Dead Parents, Burned Homesteads and Wicked Stepmothers
Is it essential to write out the parents before youthful characters can head out on adventures? Are adult figures always unhelpful or malign? Should writers search for ways to keep parents around — or do fantasies of a world without parents fulfil a real need?
Marc Gascoigne (m), Edward Cox, Emma Newman, Sophia McDougall, Glenda Larke, Laura Lam

9.00pm – Super Relaxed Fantasy Club

I’ll also definitely be at the banquet on Sunday, as I’m up for the British Fantasy Society for Best Newcomer and possibly accepting for Lauren Beukes in horror.

I’m excited to go to York for the first time, and plan to nip out from the con a bit to explore.

Vestigial Tales: “The Card Sharp” Blurb and Cover!

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And so I unveil the last cover and blurb of the Vestigial Tales to be released separately this year.

I started this project with a Drystan short story, and so I’m ending it with a Drystan novella: “The Card Sharp.” As before, this is probably best read after Pantomime & Shadowplay to know his character most fully, but you can quite easily read it as a standalone as well, if you don’t mind some minor spoilers into the character’s past. This is set before “The Snake Charm,” as well, and tells the story of what happened to Drystan after he left home but before he joined the circus.

Now I have to finish editing it! Because my schedule has been thrown off by travel and conventions, I don’t anticipate this one going live before mid-September.

Without further ado…

TheCardSharpCoverUntold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Card Sharp

“He always mourned that moment, when the high began to fade. It was like he moved from who he wanted to be to having to face the reality of who he was. He’d rather feel supernatural. More than Drystan Hornbeam, a seventeen-year-old-boy who had made a lot of foolish mistakes and didn’t seem to be changing his habits anytime soon.”

Before Drystan became the White Clown of R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, he was a Lerium addict struggling on the streets of Imachara. When a mysterious woman gives him a chance at a new life, he takes it, even if it means falling even deeper into the dark underbelly of the capital of Ellada. Drystan knows that selling Lerium to the powerful men and women who bet at the high stakes card tables is perilous, especially when he still battles his own addictions. Yet when he meets a man who can help him learn to cheat at cards and swindle them out of enough money to start a new life, he dives headfirst into more danger.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Add on Goodreads!

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As ever, art is by the incomparable Dianna Walla. For this one, we looked at a couple other Rider Waite cards, but specifically the Ace of Wands.

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I hope you enjoy it when it’s out!

Literary London: Loncon3

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The last of the conventions! Until Fantasycon in a few weeks…

By the start of the convention, I was already pretty tired. I didn’t end up packing my schedule quite as full as I did for NineWorlds, because otherwise I’d collapse. But even so, I still managed to see and do a fair amount.

On Thursday I had a panel at 11, which was “Reimagining Families” with Cherry Potts, Jed Hartman, David D Levine & Rosanne Rabinowitz. I didn’t anticipate the Queue of Doom, but I was able to use the panel to jump it, which I felt vaguely guilty about. As it was so early on the first day, I wasn’t sure how many people would arrive, but the room was packed. In the panel, we discussed polyamory in SFF, the prevalence of chosen families, and other books that look at non-normative families. While more and more in our world, people live in different types of families, there’s still that expectation of the default nuclear family. It was a great discussion.

I saw a bit of the opening ceremony with my friend (Hugo nominee!) Foz Meadows, and wandered about some more. At 1.30, I went to the panel on “The Changing Face of the Urban Fantastic,” with Paul Cornell, Robin Hobb, Freda Warrington, Liz Bourke & Sophia McDougall. During the panel there was a brief but furious storm, with rain lashing against the windows and thunder echoing the panellist’s words.

Corset!

Corset!

Afterwards, there was a lot of greeting old friends and getting lost in the airport hangar of the Excel Centre. I bought a corset in the dealer’s room and proceeded to wear it over my normal outfit, and it looked quite cool, if I do say so myself. In the evening I went to the YA Set in London panel, moderated by Tom Pollock and featuring Edward James, Ian McDonald, Gillian Polack, and Liesel Schwarz, which was interesting though it featured more on London and why it’s such a strong location in fiction versus YA especially. I stayed around for a bit more before making the trek back to Kim’s house, where I was still staying. I was really starting to crash at this point, and felt grumpy most of the evening. A half-decent night’s sleep helped me ready myself to do it all over again…

Friday I also had to trek back fairly early to get to the Excel Centre for my 11 am signing slot. It was really nice to see the Hobblings, who are a group of people who post on the Robin Hobb yuku board. I used to post on there a lot a few years ago, though I don’t as much anymore. I still interact with a lot of them on Twitter/Facebook etc. I was touched that they came to keep me company, for I didn’t have a large queue of signers by any stretch. I also had one fan come and I signed her Kindle case! Louise Buckley of Tor also came to hang out so I wasn’t sitting there alone, which I really appreciated.

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Reading. Photocred: Adam Christopher

Again, not too many panels, though I was able to not only go to listen to Kim Curran read from her awesome book, GLAZE, she was kind enough to let me jump on and read a bit of FALSE HEARTS. I did have a reading on the Monday, but it was too close to my flight so I wouldn’t be able to make it. Afterwards we stayed in the room to listen to Lauren Beukes read from BROKEN MONSTERS before she had to head to the airport and fly back to South Africa.

I hung about in the fan village for a little while, and then Marieke Nijkamp, Sarah Benwell and I snuck into the “Trouble with Teens” panel a little late. This panel featured Julia Rios, Suzanne van Rooyen, Amy McCulloch, Eric Senabre & Janet Edwards, examining the obstacles with writing a teen-centric story. One thing I really appreciated was that they made sure to ask the actual teens in the audience what they thought.

I think at that point I went back to the hotel room and hung out for a bit, and then went to the party at the Fox bar, thrown by Tor UK, Jo Fletcher, SFX, and, in the upstairs bit, Titan books. Total squee moment: I got to see a bit of FALSE HEARTS in print in the Tor samplers!

 

There was face painting! And a magician! Tom Pollock didn’t end up getting his face painted, so I accommodated him by drawing the London skyline across his brow. At one point, I tried to be sensible and go to bed and a half-decent time, but before I knew it, I was at the ceilidh. And so I stumbled to bed quite late once again.

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Face painting! Photocred: El Ashfield

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Full effect. Photocred: Nazia

Best selfie ever: Ewa, Kim, Mahvesh, Me, Anne, Jared. Photocred: Mahvesh Murad

Best selfie ever: Ewa, Kim, Mahvesh, Me, Anne, Jared. Photocred: Mahvesh Murad

Saturday morning, I went to Amy McCulloch’s kaffeeklatsch, and then afterwards wandered around the dealer’s room for a bit. I spied Robin Hobb and said hi, and managed not to go pink and stammer like the first time I met her. There was an exhibition of Darwin’s pigeons for one of Robin’s earlier works as Megan Lindholm, so we got to pet a pretty curly-haired pigeon.

At 1, I had my own kaffeeklatsch, and was pleasantly surprised when seven people ended up turning up! I’m still not exactly sure what you’re meant to do for a kaffeeklatsch (which didn’t have coffee). I ended up doing a short reading of FALSE HEARTS and then rambling on about different things for a while. Afterwards I think I hung around for a little while and then went back to the hotel room. I read while my roomie Kim napped, then nodded off myself when she headed out. A few hours later, I staggered out of the hotel room to the Gollancz evening party, and stayed up chatting until 2.30 am.

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Den Patrick looking fetching wearing my elf ears.

Sunday was the last day of the con for me. I was feeling worn pretty thin by this point. I queued for the Robin Hobb interview with some fellow Hobblings, which was lovely. Jane Johnson did a great job asking the right questions, and since they’ve worked together for 27 years on many different books, it’s clear they’re comfortable and have such a mutual respect for each other.

Laura and Laure hanging out in the green room. Photocred: Sam Eades.

Laura and Laure hanging out in the green room. Photocred: Sam Eades.

In the evening, I was able to go to the Hugo pre-party as Foz Meadow’s +1, and felt super cool. But I had to duck out pretty soon because at 7 I had my last panel, which was “There are no New Stories, But…” with John Hornor Jacobs, Pierre Pevel, Jon Wallace & Kari Sperring. This was a bilingual panel! Our moderator Kerri translated for Pierre, who spoke in French. I was quite proud of how much of the French I could follow. We discussed tropes and how often if you reach for them time and time again, it can be a product of laziness and result in poor storytelling. Yet, at the same time, we all recognized that certain tropes speak to us and there’s a reason they’re so perennial.

Afterwards, I chatted with another Hobbling Skywolf and awesome Hermitknut cosplaying as the Fool!

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My photo turned out really blurry so here’s a better one I borrowed from Bookpunks – check out their page to see other cosplay photos.

I stayed for most of the Hugo ceremony, and near the end realized that I was about four feet from David Tennant! That was cool, but by then, I had no more fuel in the tank. I went back to Kim’s and the next day flew home.

I’ve come down with a bad case of “con crud,” and the head cold is only just now going away. Must now get back into the swing of writing! :-)

“The Snake Charm” is FREE for the next 5 days!

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For the next 5 days,  the first Vestigial Tale, “The Snake Charm,” is free on Amazon. Please consider downloading and stepping into R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. Any help spreading the word about it would be greatly appreciated.

I’m very curious to see how this promotion will do, and if it results in any bumps in sales of “The Fisherman’s Net” or “The Tarot Reader.” As usual, I’ll report my information monthly.

the-snake-charm-cover

Untold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Snake Charm

“To most, Drystan was just another buffoon in the collective of clowns. But behind the inane grin, he saw everything, keeping the secrets he discovered close, like precious gems to barter.”

Mutiny is brewing in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. When Linden, the leader of the clowns steals one of the ringmaster’s most prized possessions, Drystan, the white clown, finds himself caught in the middle. Tasked with retrieving the Lethe, he’s forced to betray Linden or risk his troubled past coming to light. But the Vestige artifact has its own history and its own power. Drystan will learn what it can really do, and who it can hurt.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Add on Goodreads!

PURCHASE:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil / Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

PRAISE:

“‘The Snake Charm: A Vestigial Tale’ by Laura Lam is the prequel to the brilliant ‘Pantomime’ series – excellent insight into the beloved character, Drystan.” – VADA Magazine 

“Can you imagine a dwarf knocking out a mammoth? That’s what The Snake Charm is; small but packs a punch.” – David on Goodreads

“‘The Snake Charm’ can easily stand alone as a story, but it’s such a tempting morsel I hope readers will want to go on and read the books if they haven’t already done so.” – Nico at about.com 

“Everything I love about the Pantomime books, with the exception of their protagonist – this is a prequel story – is here.” – Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow

“You all know how much I loved Pantomime and Shadowplay, and the universe of these books. This was an interesting look at a powerful and potentially terrifying Vestige artefact (I think it’s pretty cool that these tales are all going to be centred around different Vestige artefacts, because they’re fascinating and I can’t wait to learn about other artefacts!), and I liked getting to know Drystan a bit more. “- Cynthia at Jellyfish Reviews

ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9929428-0-9

Buzzfeed List and Nine Worlds Workshop Table

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My Loncon report is still in progress. In the meantime…

While at the con, I found out I am on a Buzzfeed List. Initially it was called “21 of the Best British Sci Fi and Fantasy Writers you Should be Reading” but then it changed to the more clickbaity headline of “21 of the Best British Sci Fi and Fantasy Writers You’ve Probably Never Heard of.” Aww yeah. Damien Walter, the compiler of the list, said on twitter it had about 60,000 views though, which is roughly the total amount of views of this blog over the past 3 or so years I’ve been running it. *blinks*

At Nine Worlds, I ran a workshop on writing LGBTQI characters in SFF. A few days before this, I put out a call on Twitter for character portrayals in SFF that were either positive, negative, or conflicted. I collated most of them into a table. Initially I was going to print them out for attendees, but I had no idea how many people would show up. I probably would have printed about 20, which wouldn’t have been enough–about 50 or so people came to my workshop! So here’s the list. There’s plenty on here I haven’t read. Feel free to comment with thoughts, additional examples, spark debate, etc. If I have time, I’ll come back and update the table now and again to reflect the comments.

Positive Negative Conflicting Answers
Otherbound, Corinne Duyvis Baron Harkonnen, Dune The Last Herald Mage Series, Mercedes Lackey
Characters in Mark Charan Newton’s books (transgender, gay, etc) Illario, Mary Gentle Austin & Robby in Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Bonnie in Rapture of the Nerds by Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow Jack Randall in the Outlander series The Steel Remains, Richard Morgan
The Culture Novels, Iain M. Banks Problematic portrayal of a gay man in Windrose Chronicles, Barbara Hambly Andrew in Buffy
Malinda Lo’s work Riddick at one point offers to turn a lesbian character straight in the latest film. Cutter and Judah in the Iron Council by China Mieville
Transgender character in Shadows on the Moon, Zoe Marriott   Izana from Knights of Sidonia
Transgender character in Eon/Eona, Allison Goodman (plus crossdressing-but-straight protagonist)   Orson Scott Card
Vintage: A Ghost Story, Steve Berman   Willow in Buffy (bi-erasure)
Daja in Will of the Empress, Tamora Pierce   Anne McCaffrey (blue and green dragonriders)
Anthem in Coda, by Emma Trevayne   Darwin in The Four Realms by Adrian Faulkner
Nick in The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon   The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Kylie Chan novels    
Lord John Grey in the Outlander series    
Havemercy & sequels by Jones & Bennett.    
Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters from Babylon 5    
Okha Soyan in Bloodhouse, Tamora Pierce    
Pen in the Skyscraper Throne series, Tom Pollock    
Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin    
Ro in Owl Stretching by K.A. Laity    
Makaria and Hypatia in Romanitas by Sophia McDougall    
Nyx in Infidel, Kameron Hurley    

 

Literary London: Fantasy in the Court and Broken Monsters Launch

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In between the two cons I’ve attended in August were some additional events. Last Tuesday was the Fantasy in the Court event at Goldsboro books, presented by Tor UK and Harper Voyager Books. I was rather excited as it meant meeting my new publisher for the first time! So as the bookstore and street out front filled with genre people, I met my editor, Julie Crisp, my publicist, Sam Eades, and plenty of other people from Tor. I flitted through the crowds, seeing faces I’d just seen at NineWorlds and others I’d see again at Loncon.

After a few hours, we went out for dinner and chatted some more! I was able to meet Lauren Beukes for the first time and she’s the absolute nicest.

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Lavie Tidhar, me, Oli Munson, Jason Arnopp


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Kim Curran, me, Savannah Lotz, Oli Munson, Mahvesh Murad, Sarah Lotz (this photo and the previous one by Scott Andrews)


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Me with Peter F. Hamilton (photo by Julie Crisp)

The next day, Kim and I managed to escape the insanity and had a much-needed massage. Then it was off for more socialising! Wednesday there were about five publishing things on throughout London: The Gollancz Fest, an Orion party, Lauren Beukes’ launch, Titan/Angry Robot signing…and I think something else? Spoilt for choice, I decided on Lauren Beukes’ launch for her new thriller, Broken Monsters, and it was so awesome! I didn’t manage to take any photos of the actual venue, but you can see a bunch here on the Killer Reads blog. There was an app you could use to analyse your tweets to see what sort of monster you are: I had psychopath. The gallery was full of evocative photos of Detroit, where the novel was set, and Monster Munch was a thematically-linked snack provided. The coolest part was writing down a secret on a tag with UV ink, and then pulling back the false wall to the UV lit room behind, where you hung up your secret to reveal it. My secret’s in this photo, but I won’t tell you which one is mine…

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Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead (photo by Killer Reads)

It was such a cool event. Lauren did a reading and had a short presentation about her research to Detroit for the book. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Broken Monsters.

After that was more dinner and then tottering off back to Kim’s to face plant into bed.

Next post…Loncon!

 

Literary London: Nine Worlds Geekfest 2014

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Last weekend was the 2nd annual Nine Worlds Geekfest at Heathrow in London. Last year I heard nothing but amazing things, so I was glad I was able to go this year with my friend Erica, who was visiting from California.

nineworlds2I arrived Friday morning, with just barely enough time to check into the hotel before my first event. Note to self: don’t do that again. It was a bit stressful as I didn’t get a chance to unwind so I was more nervous. My workshop was writing LGBTQ+ Characters in SFF. I think at least 50 people showed up in the end, which was fantastic. I had people do a brief character sketch at the beginning of the workshop and then went on to discuss the importance of well-rounded characters, what are common stereotypes and how to avoid them, the difficulty of queerbaiting in fandom, and a few other subjects. I tried to have a lot of interaction with the audience so it wasn’t just me yammering on the entire time, plus some people in the audience were able to answer certain questions far better than I could. At the end of the workshop, I had people share some of their character sketches if they wanted, and the ones shared were of many sexualities or gender identities.

Later on I attended to “Looking Forwards” panel with Lauren Beukes, Nick Harkaway, Sarah Lotz, and Fabio Fernandes. It was an excellent panel, discussing what the future holds and what that means for the fiction we read. Superheroes came up, and Lauren mentioned how there was a group of vigilantes in South Africa who would serve justice without concrete proof if they believed the person deserved it, which of course raises a lot of questions of what is justice. Nick Fabio mentioned his native Brazil, and Sarah mentioned being a recent victim of violence and how a surveillance state in certain respects doesn’t scare her–had she been watched by CCTV, perhaps that violence could have been avoided, for instance. Harkaway also mentioned that he’d rather everyone in the world was 1% nicer and more empathetic rather than having a superhero, as that could make a much bigger difference to the world.

Afterwards I had dinner with Team Mushens (authors represented by Juliet Mushens), as there were many of our posse in attendance. The con menu at the hotel restaurant was not the best, and we had the angriest waiter ever. Peter Newman was a brave man, asking for the tap water we ordered three times until we finally received it after about 45 minutes.

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New Voices Reading

Next, I had a reading on the first night of New Voices. Stephanie Saulter had a brilliant idea last year to get a large group of new writers together to do lots of short readings, as it’s difficult as a new writer to 1. fill a room when you’re an unknown 2. read for half an hour or so when you’re still new to this whole reading-in-public thing. So there were a bunch of writers reading for 5 or so minutes. I was planning on reading good old Pantomime, but Juliet told me I should read from my new book, and I listen to her, so I did. It was the first-ever reading of False Hearts and it seemed to go down well. I really enjoyed the other readings as well, especially the Seventh Miss Hatfield by Anna Caltabiano, which was just released last Thursday.

Saturday, Erica and I meant to get an early start for some 10am panels…but that didn’t happen. Kim Curran and I went to the Brain Hacking tech demo through the Future Tech track, though, which was brilliant. Two PHd students were discussing the ways we currently map brains and how electrical stimulation can affect learning new tasks. I’ve studied this topic a fair amount for False Hearts so it was relevant to my interests. They also showed how you could make your own brain stimulator, but as soon as they put up the electrical diagrams, I knew it was far beyond my non-engineer capabilities. Maybe I can get someone from my work to help me make one…? ;-)

One day I did lazy cosplay adding some ears to my usual outfit. Instant urban fantasy elf.

One day I did lazy cosplay, adding some ears to my usual outfit. Instant urban fantasy elf.

After a brief break for food, it was back to see “Where are the Women in the Creative Industries?” with Kim Curran, Juliet Mushens, Laurie Penny, Shalegh Rowan-Leg, and Dr Will Brooker. The panel looked at women within journalism, film, advertising, and publishing, discussing how strides are being made but there’s still a long way to go for total balance.

The next panel I attended was “Westerns: They’re Your Huckleberry,” which had Jared Shurin moderating Will Hill, Stark Holburn, John Horner Jacobs, and Joanne Harris (of Chocolat fame). There was a lot of discussion about how at the moment Westerns have been amalgamated with many other genres, but perhaps there will be a resurgence of straight Westerns again soon.

That evening there was the second New Voices panel, which had plenty of Team Mushens again in attendance. After yet more Cards Against Humanity, Saturday came to a close.

Sunday the first panel we went to see was the African Speculative Fiction Panel. It was interesting, but the entire panel was white. It wasn’t meant to be–one of the panelists was in a car accident on the way in and he was okay, but it meant at the last minute a few more panelists came on. It still meant that there were no black African voices heard on the panel, which I found problematic.

I was meant to have a signing at 1 pm, but I got the times messed up and thought it was 2. So unfortunately I missed my own signing, but at least a few people found me later on and got me to scribble on their books. :-)

Next, I went to see the Epic Fantasy panel with Scott Lynch, Gaie Sebold, Rebecca Levene, Elizabeth Bear, and moderated by Den Patrick. I particularly enjoyed their discussion of using and subverting tropes to reflect the world we live in today.

At 5 pm, I had my last event, which was participating on the panel for Female Protagonists in Young Adult Literature with Juliet Mushens, Anna Caltabiano, Tom Pollock, and moderated by Rowan Williams-Fletcher. We discussed what do people really mean by “strong” female characters, does strength necessarily have to be physical, or does it mean women taking on more traditionally male characteristics, for instance. It was a great discussion.

champagne1By that time, I was definitely flagging, but I had a nice, lower-key evening. I had dinner with my agent, Juliet, and we toasted my recent deal, and then we played Cards Against Humanity until it was time to sleep and finish the first con.

As so many people have said, Nine Worlds is a particularly special con. It stands out from the rest – it’s overall a younger crowd, it mixes ALL sorts of geekery tracks, cosplay is encouraged. I loved that I could go see things on the future track or crafting panels as well as books and literature. The con itself is very respectful of everyone and it’s a safe space – there were gender neutral bathrooms, quiet rooms if you needed a place to unwind for a bit, and a firm harassment policy was in place. It was my first year going but I think I’m going to make it a priority con for me.

Next post…the events between the two conventions!

The Tarot Reader Fan Art

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One of my favourite readers, Laya, has done it again and made some really awesome artwork for my latest Vestigial Tale, “The Tarot Reader.” Check it out! I love the detail on her work and how she brings whatever she draws to life.

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Cyan reading Oli’s palm.

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The Tarot spread for the blurred man.

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Cyan as the High Priestess

The Third Vestigial Tale: “The Tarot Reader” is now Live!

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Today is my birthday! Last night, the third Vestigial Tale went live. I liked the idea of having something out on my birthday – it’s like a two-way present. If you purchase it it’s the best present because you’re supporting my work, and you hopefully get a story you enjoy in return.

The Tarot Reader

This is the longest of the four stories I’m releasing, at 25k. I really enjoyed writing this story. It stars Cyan, a prominent character in Shadowplay. This can be read on its own before reading the Micah Grey books, but you’d probably get more out of the story if you’ve already read Shadowplay and met her through Micah’s eyes.

It has circuses, tarot reading, scary visions, romance, lion tamers, and more.

This is exclusive to Amazon for 3 months, after which time it’ll go up on Smashwords and other distributors. That means that if you have a Prime membership or joined Kindle Unlimited, it can be borrowed for free and I’m still paid for it, which is a nice perk.

Please consider purchasing. All proceeds from these sales are being earmarked for self-publishing Micah Grey #3, which should be released next year. So far I’ve made enough to cover ISBNs and some to help recompense Dianna Walla for her amazing art. Any money made this month will go towards Micah Grey #3 cover art or editing costs.

the-tarot-reader-cover

Untold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Tarot Reader

“Cyan didn’t want to read fortunes.”

Cyan Zhu is the best tarot reader Riley & Batheo’s Circus of Curiosities has ever seen. Too good, some say. She reads the cards, but she can also tell more about her customers than they could ever suspect. Two people walk into Cyan’s cart to have their fortunes told and change her life forever: Oliver, a sailor with a pretty grin, and a mysterious man with a blurred face, who sends her terrible visions that might come true.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Add on Goodreads!

PURCHASE: 

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil / Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

ISBN: 978-0-9929428-3-0

Tales of a Hybrid Author: Month 2: “The Fisherman’s Net”

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waterhouse

Background if you’re new to my blog: I’m self-publishing some short stories/novellas set in the same world as my Micah Grey series (Pantomime & Shadowplay). There’s going to be a bit of delay in getting the third book to market (probably self-published as well) after Strange Chemistry closing, and so these will hopefully help break up the wait and teach me about the process.

And so ends the second month of being a hybrid author. In July, I put up “The Fisherman’s Net,” the second story. This one is the shortest and the cheapest, at 99 cents. I also dropped the price of the first story, “The Snake Charm,” down to $1.99 for most of the month. However, it didn’t seem to impact sales at all. I suppose those who want to buy it aren’t that bothered one way or the other by the $1, so I put it back up as the difference between the 35% and 70% royalty makes a pretty big difference.

“The Fisherman’s Net” isn’t exclusive to Amazon like “The Snake Charm” is. It’s on Smashwords and has distributed to: iTunes & Scribd, but doesn’t seem to have appeared yet on Kobo, Oyster, Flipkart, etc. I’ve also created an account at Nook press and tried to upload the second story, but it didn’t accept my epub. I need to contact them about that but I haven’t had time. Overall, though, Amazon still seems to be by far the main player.

Total Sales:
Paid (Amazon): 73
Borrowed (Amazon): 3
Paid (Smashwords): 5 (52 samples downloaded though – I like that you can see that)
Total for July: 81
Total Sales to Date: 176

Per Story:
“The Snake Charm” at $1.99: 11
“The Snake Charm” at $2.99: 11
“The Snake Charm” borrowed: 3
“The Fisherman’s Net”: 56

Total Gross Income for July: £32.49 ($54.72)
Total Gross Income to Date: £138.54 ($233.33)
Costs: £132 for 10 ISBNs
Total Net Profit: £6.54 ($11.01)

Hooray! I have now made enough to buy like a coffee and a muffin from Starbucks! Though, if you factor in that I’ve only used 3 ISBNs so far, then you could say I have made around £100 in profit, which isn’t too shabby. However, that will probably go towards paying Dianna Walla for her awesome cover art. She generously offered to do it pro bono, but now that I’ve broken even on costs (and got the Tor deal) it’s only fair that she be rewarded for the work involved.

kdpmonth2

Amazon Sales Data – July

I’m pretty happy with these sales, considering I’ve done very little to promote, aside from putting up on my Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. Sales are still pretty even across the US and UK sites, with the odd sale here and there from Canada. No European sales this month.

Has it impacted sales of Pantomime & Shadowplay? Still unsure. Though I was finally brave enough to peek at my Amazon Central sales numbers the other day, and they had gone up a little. That could be due to other factors though: had a few posts on Tumblr about my books go vaguely viral (this one has over 6,300 notes!), and there was also the recent announcement of my Macmillan/Tor deal.

Reviews: 
“The Snake Charm” on GR: 25 ratings (14 reviews)
“The Snake Charm” on Amazon: 6 (US),  7 (UK)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on GR: 8 ratings (5 reviews)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on Amazon: 1 (US), 1 (UK)

If anyone has read the stories and wouldn’t mind putting up a rating/review on Amazon or Goodreads, I’d be very appreciative!

Plans for next month: Upload the third story, “The Tarot Reader.” I think I’ll go exclusive to Amazon, much as I dislike giving them a monopoly, because it is useful having the stories available for borrowing for Prime customers and I’ll be able to do a Kindle Countdown deal eventually. I might try a Countdown for “The Snake Charm” sometime next month as well to see what effect that has on sales. I’ll also finish editing the fourth story, “The Card Sharp” and possibly unveil the final cover this month.

I’m still enjoying putting these up, and it’s been such a great learning experience so far.

I’ll leave you with the covers and blurbs of “The Snake Charm” and “The Fisherman’s Net.” Please consider picking up one or both if you fancy.

the-snake-charm-cover

Untold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Snake Charm

“To most, Drystan was just another buffoon in the collective of clowns. But behind the inane grin, he saw everything, keeping the secrets he discovered close, like precious gems to barter.”

Mutiny is brewing in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. When Linden, the leader of the clowns steals one of the ringmaster’s most prized possessions, Drystan, the white clown, finds himself caught in the middle. Tasked with retrieving the Lethe, he’s forced to betray Linden or risk his troubled past coming to light. But the Vestige artifact has its own history and its own power. Drystan will learn what it can really do, and who it can hurt.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Add on Goodreads!

PURCHASE:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil / Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

“Can you imagine a dwarf knocking out a mammoth? That’s what The Snake Charm is; small but packs a punch.” – David on Goodreads

the-fishermans-net-coverUntold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Fisherman’s Net

A humble fisherman in a village of the coast of the island of Linde buys a trinket at the market, which he discovers is Vestige. The poor man soon becomes the best fisherman in the village and marvels at his newfound wealth. One day, he ensnares a most unusual catch: a Chimaera sea maiden that isn’t meant to exist. And he’s not sure if he can let her go.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Add on Goodreads!

PURCHASE:

Smashwords / iTunes / Scribd / Amazon US / Amazon UK Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

“I think The Fisherman’s Net completely succeeds when it comes to expanding the Pantomime universe by giving us a glimpse into its folklore. There’s just something really nice about getting to read a story that little Micah or Drystan probably heard as children. Also, unlike many real-life popular fairy tales, there is nothing weak or foolish about the female characters presented here.” – Nancy on Goodreads

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