Jul 3, 2015

Interview

Earlier this week, Janet Ní Shuilleabháin had me on her new podcast, Worlds Beyond, to talk about my latest release, Red Skies, as well as my other books, love of storytelling, Octocon, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was my first ever podcast interview and I loved it.

Check it out on Soundcloud.

Jul 1, 2015

Red Skies is out today!


Here we are at last! When I decided to branch into self-publishing, I genuinely had no idea how much work would be involved. I've learned a lot, and at times I'm astounded I managed to get Red Skies out at all.

I'd like to thank everyone who's seen me through this. It's been rough going, and I wouldn't have made it through without all the support I've received from friends and family. And I promise not to put myself under that kind of insane pressure again. Seriously, writing two books in four months is not something I recommend.

I'm keeping both Lady Raven and Red Skies at their discounted Kindle prices for a little while longer, so grab them while you can.

You can find Red Skies on Kindle and in paperback.

Jun 30, 2015

Red Skies is out tomorrow!

























What a year this has been.

Those of you who've been following me for a while will know I've had a demanding couple of years. Those of you close to me will know just how hard those years have been, for various reasons.

We are now halfway through the year. June 30th. I won't say 2015 has been easy. But it has certainly been victorious.

Red Skies is out tomorrow. This is my fifth novel to be released in the space of three years. It hardly seems real, and while I'm still a very new author, hoping every day for the breakout that'll allow me to make a real living from this, I am genuinely proud that I've managed to accomplish all this while working full time and helping my wife raise our three wonderful daughters.

I started the Lady Raven series with the intention of doing my part to bring more female heroes into the world of action and adventure fiction. I wanted someone my daughters could look up to. Someone that anyone, regardless of gender, could look at and say "This girl kicks ass." That girl, that woman, became Cora Ravenell, who takes the mocking title "Lady Raven" and turns it into a weapon against the oppressive Empire that destroys her life.

Over the next several days, you can look forward to some blog posts discussing not only the world Cora inhabits, but also what I feel is important about what a character like Cora says to readers. The decisions I make within every book are carefully considered, and I'd like to share that. Posts will include such topics as "The Importance of Heroines," "Chakras and Channelling", and "Sex and Relationships in Lady Raven."

So heave to and raise the colours. It's time for Lady Raven to fly once again.

Yo ho!

Jun 25, 2015

Pre-order Special Offer for Red Skies

In order to make my latest book available to as many people as possible, I've set the prices for both books in the Lady Raven Series as low as they can go for Kindle.

That means that Lady Raven is currently £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk and $0.99 on Amazon.com.

And if you pre-order Red Skies, you will likewise get it for £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk or $0.99 on Amazon.com. If you pre-ordered before now, Amazon will only charge you the lower price, so you won't have missed out. 

Spread the word, and let's see how high Cora Ravenell can fly up the bestseller list.

Jun 24, 2015

The Legend of Raven and Swan - Lady Raven Excerpt

Today I've got an excerpt from Lady Raven, in which Cora thinks over the legend of Raven and Swan. This myth is a key point for the series, and one of the foundations of the Empire's teachings.

In this scene, Cora, along with her friends Dee and Laden, have snuck into her mother's study during her father's wake. They hope to learn what Cora's mother is planning, but they have been discovered by a young priest, Astor, and Cora needs to distract him while Laden searches her mother's documents...




Jun 23, 2015

Red Skies Promo: Unbreakable

With just over a week to go until Red Skies hits the digital bookshelves of Amazon, I'm feeling very excited. Hard to believe we're nearly at the halfway-point for Cora's story.



Many of you will know that I use music as a major source of inspiration while I write. Usually I'll have a list of a few songs that form the soundtrack for the particular book I'm working on, but with the Lady Raven series, things have been a little different. Perhaps it's because I'm self-publishing, or because I've known for a while know how each book is going to go, but when I listen to music and think of these books, I find myself regarding the whole story, not just the individual books.

So, while the song I'm sharing here definitely portrays Cora's determination and attitude following the events of Lady Raven, it will also have an ongoing influence on how the story continues. Indeed, it's already inspired the tagline for the final book.

For now, though, this song, Fireflight's "Unbreakable", is Cora's theme song, as she comes to terms with the things she's lost and the battle still ahead of her.


Red Skies will be released on July 1st. Pre-order your copy now!

Jun 16, 2015

Red Skies, Two Weeks To Go!

We're two weeks out from the release of my fifth novel, Red Skies. Over the next while, I'll be discussing some of the elements of Cora Ravenell's world, and sending some exclusive content to my mailing list. This will include samples from Lady Raven and Red Skies, as well as details on some of the design processes I went through when building the setting and story. If you'd like to keep up on this, you can sign up to my mailing list here.

I'm also eager to hear what people think of Cora and her adventures so far. If you've read Lady Raven, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (reviews don't seem to carry over from one to the other). If you haven't read it yet, there's still time to grab a copy before Red Skies is released!

Jun 11, 2015

Christopher Lee

Minutes I go I read the news that Christopher Lee had passed away. He lived to be 93, and was one of the most accomplished and celebrated people in the film industry.

He was Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Saruman, Count Dooku (everyone has to make at least one mistake, right?), and the voice of Terry Pratchett's Death.

He also served during World War II, forming part of the Department of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which has to be the best elite unit name in history.

He was an expert fencer, spoke multiple languages, and as if that wasn't enough, he also recorded several heavy metal albums.

If you wrote such a character in a book, no-one would believe it. He was as epic and badass as a person can be. And though he lived a full life, worth celebrating, the world is a less awesome place now that he's gone.

Of course, we all know Dracula is never really dead.

Jun 10, 2015

Tor Books, Inclusiveness Does Not Mean Permitting Prejudice

Yesterday Chuck Wendig blogged about Tor Books' recent apology for the words of their creative director, Irene Gallow.

Have a read through, and especially read the comments. It's a pretty hot mess, but as Chuck says, it comes across that Tor decided their creative director deserved to be publicly shamed for words posted on her private Facebook account.

Words, mind you, that amounted to nothing so much as a criticism of the motives behind the two groups responsible for the slate nominations of this year's Hugo Awards, the Sad Puppies and the Rapid Puppies. These groups believe that science fiction and fantasy have become too political, too caught up in social justice, that the desire to see diverse characters and authors has robbed the genres of simple stories of adventure.

For the purposes of this post, we'll ignore the fact that this assertion is just so much bullcrap. SFF has always pushed social issues to the fore and been a way to challenge prejudice and ignorance. Science fiction itself asserts that by broadening our minds and embracing all people as equals, humanity can evolve to higher, peaceful states of being. But I digress...

There is an erroneous thought drifting in the wind. This thought tells us that, in order to be truly inclusive, we must not only accept that there are people whose opinions are abhorrent to us, not only allow them to have such thoughts, but also grant them a stage for their thoughts, even if we're the ones who own the stage. More so, we're told that it's our responsibility, as fair, inclusive people, to even sit and listen while these attitudes are shoved in our faces. We're told me must defend these people from any critic. Not from people trying to stop them, mind, but from people disagreeing with them.

When you champion those who would close doors and hoard their power, you are not being inclusive. When you defend those who rail and abuse minorities from having their opinions challenged, on the grounds of "free speech", you are not being inclusive. When you shame a woman before the entire world, using your position as a bastion of your industry to reach your audience, just because she had the courage to come out and hold prejudice up for what it is, you are not being inclusive.

Shame on Tom Doherty. He has shown his company as promoting an environment where those who speak up against that which is wrong will be punished.

May 25, 2015

We said Yes! But we're not done yet.

It's not often you get to watch events unfold, knowing that your children and grandchildren will one day be learning about it as a turning point in world history.

On May 22nd, the people of Ireland voted 62.07% in favour of allowing couples to marry, regardless of their gender. Watching the tallies come in was thrilling. We got to see our country make history.

But we all know this isn't the end. There are still other issues to be confronted, more battles to be fought. We need gender recognition. We need women to have control over their own bodies. We need to make sure that no-one can be fired from their job for being an LGBTQ person. We need to stop future campaigns from being fought using lies and scaremongering, as the No Campaign did.

This referendum revealed many things about the Irish. Our belief in equality. Our determination to be heard, even if it mean travelling across the world to vote, like Big Damn Heroes. But we also had some of our old prejudices brought to light. I've lost count of the times I've seen someone say...

"I believe in equality, but..."

"They already have enough..."

"They can't provide a loving home..."

"We're being bullied into silence."

"People will vote no because they don't want to be told to vote yes."

I haven't always held my tongue, and now I no longer have to try.

If you believe somebody should have different rights to you, you do not believe in equality. There is no such thing as "enough" rights. People either have equal rights, or they don't. And if they don't, then we should all fight for those rights.

Acting and speaking in a bigoted manner is being a bigot.

But calling someone a bigot is not bigotry. Standing up to a bully is not bullying. Speaking against those who would silence a minority is not silencing them. Standing up for the oppressed is not oppression. It's just that the people who've been able to get away with their prejudice for so long are no longer being allowed to, and they're scared. Scared of what it means. Scared that maybe, it was wrong of them to treat people who are different as though they were less. And what that says about them, as people.

People wiser than me say that all hate and fear comes from a hatred of something within us. This can build over time, and when someone lashes out against what should be an obvious answer (ie: should we all have the same rights?), it could be that they don't want to believe they've been wrong. No-one wants to be the bad guy. So they fight and rail against the very notion that they could be in the wrong.

These people are our neighbours. Our relatives. Our friends. And one of the challenges now is for each of us to acknowledge those in our lives who voted No. Whether due to being misled by the No Campaign, or because they genuinely hold such prejudicial attitudes, we have to come to terms with it, and decide what to do next.

For some, we'll tolerate them, walk away from them. Leave them to their prejudice, and hope they learn in time that they were wrong, or at least not get in the way of the happiness of others.

Others we'll try and reason with. We'll explain why it's wrong to expect an oppressed group to withhold their anger and fear just because it might make others uncomfortable. We'll explain why the Yes victory is a good thing. And, hopefully, they will decide to change.

Some we will sympathise with. The ones taken in by the No Campaign's tactics, who believed the lies and became scared of what could happen. The ones who we hope will see, as time goes by, that this is not the catastrophe the No Campaign would have them believe.

And then there are those who will never change. The ones so entrenched in their prejudice that they'll use every tool they have to shield themselves from the truth. The ones who will still hold up their now-tattered banner and look for other ways to fight back. These are the ones we have to watch for. The ones we've beaten, for now, but will face again. The ones I will happily call bigot.

The referendum has also illustrated why "treat everyone equally" is not enough to solve society's problems.

The No Campaign was full of people saying they believed in equality, but didn't want same-sex marriage. To them, they did want to treat everyone equally, but they ignored the specific reasons why same-sex marriage was an important cause, one that needed to be won.

I believe wholeheartedly in labelling issues. When we give a name to something, we gain power over it. We will not cure the world of pain and suffering by covering it with a blanket of "be good to each other." We will only do it by getting down into each problem, rooting out the source, and fixing it.

It's a long, hard road, and there are no short-cuts. Whether it's gender-recognition, bodily autonomy, feminism, or any other cause, we have to approach each one in full understanding of its own unique challenges. Only by doing that can we hope to keeping making the world a better place.

We won this battle. But there will be more to come. It starts here. And monsters really can be beaten.