Vestigial Tales: “The Fisherman’s Net” Blurb and Cover!

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“The Fisherman’s Net” is the second story in my Vestigial Tales series. The first one, “The Snake Charm,” went up for Kindle last week (other retailers to follow after the 3 month exclusive with Amazon). Two more novellas will follow later this summer.

This would be a good story to read if you haven’t read Pantomime or Shadowplay. There’s absolutely no overlapping characters and it’s set in one of the other islands of the world. It’s a fable, reworked by a noblewoman for the court in Ellada.

Without further ado…

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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 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…

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The artwork is by the exceptionally talented Dianna Walla of Paper Tiger. I love the tarot card treatment she gives these. A lot of the original Rider Waite cards have yellow backgrounds, and it makes the images pop. She’s also a knitwear designer and graphic artist, so check out her website.

This story will be released in about 3-4 weeks and will likely be 99cents/70p, as it’s about 4k long. And if you missed “The Snake Charm,” please do consider picking it up! As I’m swamped with several deadlines I’ve not been doing too much promo about the stories yet. Once all four are up, I’ll do a blog tour and see how it affects sales. In the meantime, it’s a useful experiment to see how many potential readers I can reach through my various social networks. I’ll be blogging once a month about what I did, how much I sold, and what it’s like to be a hybrid author.

“The Snake Charm” Fan Art by Laya

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I received some lovely fan art from Laya. Laya’s a 17-year-old from New Zealand who has made some art for the Micah Grey series in the past. I think she’s wonderfully talented and every time she sends me something I squee. This is for “The Snake Charm” a short story set before the events of Pantomime and starring Drystan.

Drystan in the cave:

snakecharm1artDrystan looking down at the Lethe:

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Aren’t they wonderful?

And here’s the info about “The Snake Charm” again, just released last Thursday:

Cover artwork is by Dianna Walla / Paper Tiger.

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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-nominated Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre ofShadowplay, 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

 

Musings on Being a Baby Writer

BFSI’m so delighted that I’ve been nominated as Best Newcomer for Pantomime for the British Fantasy Awards. This was decided by a combination of votes and the panel of the society. Thank you to everyone who voted for me – it means so much!

Congratulations to everyone else on the nomination lists as well: look at all this talent.

I was speaking to Kim Curran about this awhile ago (she was nominated for Best Newcomer last year!): we’re NEWCOMERS. We’re still baby authors. We’re in the beginning stages of a whole new career. And if you think of it in terms of a career, we’re still junior authors. Still cutting our teeth and learning the ropes. There’s more promotions to come, new jobs at higher pay that might come along with more experience.

Sometimes it’s easy to be impatient, to wonder why things aren’t working out perfectly, why we’re not able to make a living off our words and jet off to the Caribbean whenever the mood takes us. I’m such a perfectionist that I’m so quick to say I’ve failed at something, when the ending isn’t yet written in stone.

Writing is for the long haul.

I’ve decades left of being a writer. It’s easy to see all the things we don’t have yet, and overlook all the achievements we’ve made. I started writing seriously in 2009-2010, rather than in little fits and spurts. I finished my first book in 2011. In 2012, I had a book deal. In 2013, the first book hit the shelves and it got a bunch of award nominations and one win. 2014, the second book came out, and just a few days ago, my first self-published story. This year I received two invites to anthologies. I’ll be releasing 3 other self-published works. 2015 will see at least my third book out, and maybe another, should the stars align. I’ve done a lot. Some people really enjoy my work. I have 18 single-spaced pages of notes from readers (I put it all together and look at it when I’m sad because I’m a sap–but these notes are PRECIOUS to me). I’ve got a lot going for me. I need to remember that, and not get so bogged down in the negatives, the what-ifs, the what-if-nots.

It’s easy for all of us to be in a hurry. But as long as we’re writing and working towards our goals, we’re not failures. Not by a long shot.

I have no idea what will happen in 2016, or 2010, or 2050, except this: I’ll still be writing.

The First Vestigial Tale: “The Snake Charm” is now Live!

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Wellp, I’m now a hybrid author.

Info about “The Snake Charm”:

This is a prequel story set before the events of Pantomime. It can pretty easily be read without reading the main series – the only thing is you’ll end up knowing a bit more about Drystan’s past than you would coming into Pantomime cold. Drystan is a secondary character throughout the Micah Grey series.

There will be at least 4 stories/novellas in total, and more if these prove reasonably popular.

Cover artwork is by Dianna Walla / Paper Tiger.

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-nominated Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

PURCHASE:

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

The Experience so far:

So far it’s been easier than I thought it’d be. *knock on wood*

It’s up on all of Amazon’s various sites and it took about 12 hours. It’s DRM-free and also available for free to those with Prime accounts through the Kindle Lending Library (and I still get royalties for borrows!). At the moment it’s only available through Kindle, but after three months I might opt out of Kindle Direct Publishing so I can put it up on other outlets.

If you’d like it available on another outlet, feel free to drop me a note via the contact form, Twitter, Tumblr, etc, so I can get an idea of demand for it elsewhere.

It’s currently $3/£1.80, which I realize is a bit expensive for a 40 page story, but if it’s a cent less my royalties drop from 70% to 35%. The novellas will be much longer and I think I’ll keep them around the same price, so it should even out in that regard. It’s still less than a latte!

So far I’ve spent £132 for 10 ISBN numbers.

Any profits on these stories will most likely be going towards helping fund a book I’m self-releasing next year.

Through the generous help of friends and my English teacher mother/mother-in-law, it’s polished, has awesome cover art, and is ready to be read.

Thank you to: Shawn DeMille, Dianna Walla, Kim Curran, Erica Bretall, Amy McCulloch, Leo Cristea, Mike Kalar, Wesley Chu, Craig Lam, Sally Baxter, Sheila Lam, Sam & Charlotte Strong, Corinne Duyvis, Steve Aryan, Ann Smyth, Andrew Reid, K.C. Shaw, Amy Lewis, Lorna McKay, Andrea Stewart, and everyone who helped me in any way with this first story.

Please help:

I’m doing this largely on my own without a publisher backing me and so could greatly use your help in spreading the word. If this seems your thing, please purchase (or borrow if you have Prime). If you read it, please consider rating/reviewing it on Goodreads & Amazon, as reviews are crucial for self-published works. Please consider spreading the word online via social media and offline when you’re being social. I’d love for these stories to make its way to as many interested readers as possible, and there’s only so many times I can shout about them myself before I start getting annoying. :-D

I hope you enjoy Drystan’s adventure in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic before the young runaway Micah Grey joined.

(And here’s the book pages for Pantomime & Shadowplay)

Books Read in May

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Didn’t read that much this month – I had to edit my own work quite a bit and it took up most of my reading energy.

1. Golden Boy – Abigail Tarttelin. A contemporary novel about an intersex teen named Max. Excellently written and tugs at the heart strings. Very recommended (thanks Orion for the copy!)

foolsassassin2. Fool’s Assassin – Robin Hobb. MUAHAHA I GOT TO READ THIS BEFORE IT’S OUT. But now I have to wait until 2015 to find out what happens next. Noooo! This is a continuation of my favourite series by my favourite author. The last new Fitz & Fool book was released in 2003 (and I read it in 2004). It was surreal going back to these characters after so long. The last time I read them for the first time, I was a teenager and I’d just met my now-husband. I lived in California instead of Scotland. Fitz is older, but I’m older, too. I loved this book so much I can’t quite articulate it. I can’t wait to read it again. (thank you to HarperVoyager for the proof).

3. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade – Den Patrick. A member of Team Mushens and an excellent debut, out from Gollancz. It’s an intricate, atmospheric book set in a castle, slightly reminiscent of Gormenghast. There are houses, and the Orfano, people who are all slightly different in some way. It follows the story of Lucien, and time-jumps between his younger and older years. Recommended!

Total: 31 books

Pantomime and the Bisexual Book Award: My Acceptance Speech

Just found out that Pantomime won the Bisexual Book Award for the Speculative Fiction category. The book has been lucky enough to be shortlisted for a few other awards, but this is its first win. It feels wonderful, especially for this award. Below is a transcript of the speech I wrote for it. Still a bit amazed that it was read aloud!

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“It’s quite a strange thing, writing a speech without knowing if you’ve won, but hoping you have. As you’re all hearing this right now, I guess I have! I am amazed and honored to have won the Bisexual Book Award in the Speculative Fiction category. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to say this in person, but as I’m terrified of speaking in front of crowds, it’s probably better it’s read by someone else’s steady voice.

When I first started writing, I kept beginning and abandoning books, not quite falling in love with them enough. I dreamt up Micah Grey while at university and fell in love with him and his story. I began a book with him as an adult, and then decided to write a “short story” about him joining the circus in his teens. That short story is now 100,000 words, so I got a bit carried away. Pantomime was the story I most wanted to tell, about a brave character finding himself and coming of age, but who falls between the lines of gender and sexuality.

When I wrote the book, I worried it wouldn’t find a home. I remember reading Malinda Lo’s number crunching of GLBT characters in YA, and how small a slice of the overall publishing pie GLBT characters had already, and how bisexual and transgender characters were an even smaller percentage of that tiny slice. There were no entries for intersex characters at all. But, wonderfully, the book was picked up. And, wonderfully, I have received messages from all around the world from people who connected with Micah and his story. It has been a privilege to hear from bisexual, genderfluid, and intersex readers who have identified with Micah. It has been a privilege to hear that others have said that they learned a little more about gender diversity and sexuality. Micah Grey has found a home in readers’ hearts and minds, and there’s no place I’d rather him be.

Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way: my early readers, my agent, Juliet Mushens, and my publisher, Strange Chemistry Books. Thank you to the bloggers, booksellers, librarians, teachers and readers who spread the word about my books. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Purchase links if you fancy:

Worldwide: The Robot Reader (E-book)
UK: Amazon – Book Depository – Waterstones – Sainsburys – WHSmith
US: Amazon – Barnes and Noble - Indiebound – Powell’s – Kobo
Canada: Amazon – Chapters

Game of Thrones… for teens

Laura Lam:

Cool list of YA books for fans of Game of Thrones. Features Pantomime! Amy is the author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow & the upcoming The Shadow’s Curse. Awesome, diverse fantasy!

Originally posted on Amy McCulloch:

(This is a repost from my Tumblr)

With all the success of fantasy fiction recently, we’ve all heard the ‘Game of Thrones for teens’ marketing line applied to YA epic fantasy. But which books really stand up to that marker? The truth is, most books can’t match the complete depth and breadth of A Song of Ice and Fire but many do have elements that will appeal to lovers of GRRM. Here’s my take on the best ‘Game of Thrones for teens’ books and who they’d appeal to:

If you love… Tyrion Lannister. A flawed hero who steals every scene he’s in.

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You’ll want to read… HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

If…

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Recent Links and Things: Examiner.com, Glaze Launch, etc.

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I’ve been interviewed for the Bisexual Book column over at Examiner.com!

Jim at YA Yeah Yeah discusses My Indie Bookshelf, and he included Pantomime as one of his recommendations :-) It’s a cool programme because if you buy via these recommendations, then a small percentage goes to the indie bookshop of your choice to help support them.

I was on an SF Signal mind meld about things I’ve learned since being a debut author, along with a lot of other great folks.

This past weekend I was down in London for the launch of my friend Kim Curran’s awesome new book, Glaze! It was at a cool cafe/pub by Waterloo station called Topolski, and it was a great turn out. Kim has been hard at work lately on a blog tour and launching it. Her publication story for this book is interesting – she self-published it, yet ended up partnering with the small press, Jurassic, to provide a (gorgeous) limited edition hard copy.

Here’s some info about Glaze:

GLAZEBuying options

UK ebook

US ebook

PETRI QUINN is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.

Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.

As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.

I blurbed it!

‘In Glaze, Petri is a strong heroine, desperate to be part of the hooked-up society, only to discover that it’s not the paradise promised – quite the opposite, in fact. Glaze is reminiscent of authors like Scott Westerfeld, yet Curran has a voice all her own, and she’s one of the strongest YA writers in science fiction today.’ – Laura Lam, author of Pantomime & Shadowplay

 

Elliot Rodger And Men Who Hate Women

Originally posted on The Belle Jar:

TW for violence against women, misogynistic language, violent language

Last night, a 22 year old man named Elliot Rodger killed six women and injured seven more in what most news outlets are describing as a “shooting rampage.” Rodger died later that night from a gunshot wound to his head, though it’s still unclear as to whether or not it was self-inflicted or from responding deputies shooting back after he opened fire on them.

Almost everything I’ve read about him has referred to him as a “madman” or “mentally ill.”

No. We have no evidence yet that he suffered from any kind of mental illness or was under any sort of treatment. Immediately claiming that with no proof to back that fact up leads to the further stigmatization of the mentally ill, and contributes to the (incorrect) assumption that mental illness equals violence, and vice versa.

We don’t know whether Elliot Rodger was…

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My First Race: The Baker Hughes 10k

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raceI never thought I’d run a race.

My senior year of university, I landed badly while doing a flip for my capoeira class. It twinged and then grew worse and worse, until I’d found out I’d sprained it in 2 places and had tendonitis. I had to be on crutches and then wear a walking cast for about 6 weeks. But that started a bunch of other problems. Because the right ankle was weakened, I kept spraining the left ankle. The ankle wouldn’t have a chance to grow stronger, even with physio, before I’d sprain it again. I spent over 1/3 of my last year of university in a walking cast. At one point I thought I might have to have surgery. I kept spraining them in increasingly lame ways. First it was the flip, then falling down stairs, then walking around, and once SITTING IN CLASS. My friend Collin had to carry me to his car and drive me to the emergency room at 10 at night, and my podiatrist didn’t believe me when I told her I’d done it while fidgeting at the end of class.

It was really annoying. Before I started spraining my ankles I was in really good shape, and then for about a year I couldn’t exercise much except for the exercise bike in my garage.

We finally figured out it was a combination of hypermobile ligaments and the fact that my left leg is slightly shorter than my right, so it put more stress on it. After another round of physio and shoe inserts and better shoes, I stopped tripping over myself and spraining my ankles so much. But I was still afraid to run outside because of the uneven ground, so I ran on treadmills for a long time. This year I started running outside and I’ve been fine (cross fingers). So I signed up for my first race with some work colleagues.

I wasn’t super fast, but I finished and ran pretty much the whole time. I finished in 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 52 seconds. I had fun. Craig took a video of me running past the finish line, raising my hands up high. It was a good feeling. I’m going to do it again.

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