Today marks the launch of a brand new fantasy story, and a new series along with it. Beyond Thundering Waters is a dark fairy tale set in the lush surroundings of the Utladalen Valley in Norway.
Our young heroine, Ida, gets into trouble when she catches the attention of Maja, a huldra who lives in the forest. Maja is drawn by Ida’s grief – she’s still grappling with the death of her Mamma… and it seems Maja is keen to fill the void that was left behind. Will Ida end up with a huldra for a mother? Can she save her Pappa before Maja takes him away forever?
To celebrate, I’m giving away a whole bunch of free copies of this eBook! Today you can grab one of TEN freebies using this special coupon code at Smashwords:
Simply enter the code at checkout to get the book for free. Remember, there are only ten copies available: the first ten people to enter the code, win! The code expires next week on 10th May.
This isn’t the only giveaway. You’ll find another code to use on Google Play via my Facebook page, and yet another code in my Reader Group. Current subscribers to my newsletter will get their own chance to win one of TWENTY free copies tomorrow!
Dark Folklore is a new short story series inspired by myths and monsters from around the world.
I love discovering folklore in all its flavors… from elusive beasties that stalk the aging forests to twisting fates in fairytales told from the shadows of a campfire. The more obscure and sinister the tale, the better.
Dark Folklore is a series to indulge this love. Each installment is inspired by a folk legend from a different country, reimagined in a modern setting with new twists and themes. More than just a retelling: each short story is a new, original tale. Expect some spooky vibes and a few unhappy endings… but also the odd uplifting one as well.
The first installment of Dark Folklore releases on Tuesday 3rd May: a story called Beyond Thundering Waters. With a lush Norwegian setting surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, this story draws on a menacing interpretation of the huldra (one of my favourite folkloric creatures). Ida, a young girl still grieving the loss of her mother, must race against time to save her Pappa from the clutches of her own wild valley and the huldra who would keep them apart.
This story is already live for preorder on all the usual storefronts. Stay tuned for a special Launch Day Giveaway: I’ll be handing out TEN free copies of Beyond Thundering Waters via my blog, and even more copies via social media and my newsletter!
So remember to hit the Follow button on my website, and check out my socials on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Subscribe to my newsletter (and receive another free short story) by clicking here.
Do you like dark vibes, spooky tales and Twilight Zone-esque anthologies? Then I’ve got the podcast – and the story – for you!
The NoSleep Podcast releases weekly episodes with their curated selection of the best short horror stories, brilliantly adapted to audio for your listening pleasure. The first half of each episode is FREE to enjoy on their website. (And unlocking the rest is a paltry $2, or $25 for all 25 episodes in a season.)
I’m beyond proud to tell you that one of my stories, Ecstatic Birth, was featured in Episode 18 (Season 17) of The NoSleep Podcast earlier this month. Even better, my story appears in the free portion of the episode, so you can check it out whenever you feel like it! You can find the intro to the story at roughly 00:19:55 in the recording. [Content warning for underlying themes of traumatic birth and postnatal depression: this is darker than other stuff you may have read from me and I don’t wish you to be caught off-guard.] Click here to go listen to it on the NoSleep website.
The cast did a brilliant job, and I’m especially in awe of Jessica McEvoy’s performance as the lead. Her wonderfully deranged portrayal of Mandy took the story to new heights and conveyed such a sinister aura that it stayed with me for a long time after listening. The NoSleep crew are topnotch at what they do, and I highly recommend following and supporting their work.
If you listened to my story or the rest of the episode, let me know what you thought of it in the comments!
The paperback looks and feels fabulous and I adore the cover illustration by Dominique Lane. In Jack and Ang’s latest misadventures, we get to wrap up the mystery of Ang’s missing coblynau and finally find out what lies behind the ominous names of Baines and Grayle. Quiet Eyes makes another appearance, and the phoenix eggs stolen at the end of the first book have a large part to play as well. Lots of mysteries solved… and a few more to be opened.
For Jack Hansard, Purveyor of Occult Goods, things are looking up. With the coblyn Ang as his new business partner, he has a solid friend to back him up in every dangerous situation. Together the pair face shapeshifters, piskies, and ancient magics in their quest to track down Ang’s missing kin. A new lead means the trail is about to get a whole lot hotter.
But when an old enemy presents Jack with an offer he can’t refuse, will he risk Ang’s trust to see it through?
I’m running giveaways all week to celebrate this book release. Join us over on Facebook for a chance to win some Jack Hansard swag, free book codes, and a $10 Amazon gift card! (The gift card giveaway has just opened!)
If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you’ll get an extra chance to win a separate $5 gift card later this week~
I recommend grabbing your copy of Season Two soon as I’ve kept it discounted to $2.99 as a special release offer for this week only. From next week it will go to full price: $4.99
If you’re after the paperback, it’s currently filtering into stores and should be available from a wide range of retailers soon. 😊
Thanks for helping me celebrate my book launch! Maybe I’ll see you at the party later. 🥳
Each year I keep track of my writing submissions with a spreadsheet of all the short stories and poetry I tender for publication, along with the successes and failures for each. I’m feeling really good about this year’s results. Let’s tally up!
Submissions to magazines, anthologies, and competitions
Number of Submissions: 29
Submissions Declined: 24
Submissions Accepted: 4
Still under review: 1
Hurray! That feels like a decent ratio of success.
Of those Accepted submissions, two have been published this year. I wrote a folklore-themed piece called Denizens of the Deep Dark for Copperfield Review Quarterly published in July, and a dystopian-alchemy story for a speculative fiction anthology, Unbreakable Ink, published in September.
Piece number three is a slightly weird horror story-graphic which will appear in a future issue of Sci-Fi Lampoon. The fourth one I’m not allowed to announce – though I desperately want to be able to brag about it – until it has been published.
I’m proud of all of them, but especially this last un-named story simply because I persevered with it all year. It had the most Declines out of all my submissions, but was eventually accepted by one of the more impressive (to me!) publishers on my list. This piece, which is a foray into Weird Horror, also gained some magnificent feedback from those who declined it, which stoked my enthusiasm and led me to go back over and refine the story even more, before it was finally accepted.
My message here is to keep going. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by a few negative responses. Consider criticism carefully and learn to identify which parts make your writing shine. Keep polishing your work and putting it in front of people. Eventually, you’ll find the right people to appreciate it.
My other Big Achievement this year has been to finish writing and editing The Jack Hansard Series: Season Two, ready for release in January 2022. Considering it took me around five years to properly publish Season One, getting a whole book done in one year is a big step forward for me. This time I had a plan, and I managed to stick to it (just). I also have a better idea of how this publishing malarkey works now, and I’m optimistic for the year ahead!
How has your year been?
Have you had any great writing achievements this year? Tell me about it in the comments! It needn’t be an acceptance or publication – maybe you finally finished a story that’s been clawing at your brain, or you’ve just started the journey of a new one. Now’s a great time to reflect on all the progress you’ve made, and recognise even the smallest successes along your path.
I hope you go into the new year with a similar feeling of optimism. Wishing you all the very best, and a very Happy New Year~
It’s finally time to unveil the book cover that we’ve been working on for the past couple of months. The Jack Hansard Series: Season Two releases on 11th January 2022, and it’s about the only thing I’ve had in my head since I started the intense editing process in October. Now we’re finally approaching the finish line – publication! Everything is wrapping up very nicely, and I’m excited to show you the book cover.
Are you ready to see the whole thing?
Let’s go, go, go!
What do you think?
I’m in love with it. The artist, Dominique Lane, has really outdone herself with this epic illustration.
We learned a lot from designing the cover for Season One, and it meant the process went a bit quicker this time around. This cover has a darker feel to it, which is very fitting for the themes of Season Two. (If you’ve read the free beta, remember to keep hush hush on spoilers. 😉)
Season Two is already available for preorder at all major ebook retailers. By preordering now you’ll get the early bird discount: the book will be $2.99 until a week after launch. Then it will go up to full price – $4.99.
The paperback will also become available for preorder just after Christmas. I’ll keep you posted when it goes up!
As for the book launch on 11th January… Like last time, I’ll be holding a little party with games and giveaways for everyone to join in. The main event will take place over on Facebook (join the party here!) but I’ll also run a few things on my blog and newsletter for those who don’t dwell on the social media monolith.
Let me know how you feel about the new book cover in the comments. Do you think it fits the series? Are you excited for the release? What would you like to see at the launch party?
It’s been a minute since I last wrote something for the blog. Sorry for my absence folks, I’ve had my nose buried deep in edits for The Jack Hansard Series: Season Two. Things are going well: the free beta release on Wattpad has now reached the end of the story; I’m currently working through all the notes from my editor; and the cover art is shaping up fantastically.
If you want to lend a hand in getting the book over the finish line, you can help by spreading the word about Jack Hansard, or by sending over a coffee to fuel the late nights. Ko-fi donations receive an exclusive short story and piece of artwork, and my heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has supported the series in any shape or form so far. You are all amazing. 😊
Advance Review Copies
Season Two will soon be ready to send out to early readers for review!
Would you like to receive a free advance review copy of the book? I’ve got spaces on my ARC team – if you would like to join, just fill in this Google form and I’ll get back to you: https://forms.gle/Aehp4dKfgamdiWA26 (If you’ve never left a review anywhere before, that’s fine. Just list a couple of the places where you would like to leave one for my book. 🙂)
Similarly, are you a blogger interested in reading/reviewing any of my books? Reach out to me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s all for now. I’ll retreat back into the warmth for a little while. My current work setup is with my laptop on the couch, a hot water bottle at my back and coffee by my side… if you don’t see me again for a month, send the search party in with snacks.
A year ago today I hit publish on The Jack Hansard Series: Season One, the genre-bending episodic fantasy I’d first conceptualised five years before. The exploits of this occult salesman and his cantankerous coblyn sidekick have become very close to my heart.
It has taken considerably less time to produce the book’s sequel, bolstered in no small part by the confidence I gained in finally getting the first one ‘out there’. So it’s with a great deal of pleasure that I can announce The Jack Hansard Series: Season Two is now available for pre-order everywhere ebooks are sold!
The paperback version will become available for pre-order some time in December, once the book cover design has been finalised. Follow me on social media or my newsletter to receive updates and sneak previews of the cover art as it develops.
I’m also running a flash sale to celebrate this milestone
For a limited time only you can pick up The Jack Hansard Series: Season One for just 99p. Grab your copy here!
My short story The Hub is also FREE to download from most retailers for a very short time. Find it here.
Thank you for your support over the past twelve months, and here’s to more exciting times ahead!
During our usual short British Summer earlier this year – that very briefly sunny bit – I took a holiday down to Cornwall with my family. I had the pleasure of visiting some locations that feature in The Jack Hansard Series, and in this post I’d like to shine a spotlight on one in particular: Trethevy Quoit.
First, for those who might not know much about Cornwall: this county occupies the most southwestern tip of England and is known particularly for its old tin mining industry, its port towns and beautiful beaches, and the vast number of prehistoric monuments that litter its moorland landscape. And, of course, the traditional Cornish Pasty.
Cornwall is also the home of knockers, a type of mining spirit which will be very familiar to Jack Hansard readers. It’s during an adventure with the knockers in Season Two that Jack and Ang are sent to the myserious portal tomb known as Trethevy Quoit.
Trethevy Quoit can be found in the hamlet of Tremar Coombe on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Situated in a field just behind some houses, it’s a striking mark on the landscape. This type of structure is known as a ‘dolmen’ or portal tomb, where a horizontal capstone is supported by two or more vertical stones. Trethevy Quoit is at least 4500 years old, and may have been built as a grave and/or a place of worship. (The truth is, we don’t actually know for certain what it was built for, but human remains have been found in similar dolmens.)
‘Trethevy’ is apparently Cornish for ‘place of the graves’, while the ‘Quoit’ in the name refers to a traditional throwing game – because local legend says that Trethevy Quoit was made by competing giants who hurled the stones together. This is why some people also call it ‘The Giant’s House’.
I owe a great deal of thanks to a local chap called Clifford who happened to be passing while I was examining the tomb. He turned out to be a wealth of information and theories about the dolmen and how it was built.
In the photo above, we’re looking at the entrance. The small hole to my right leads to what is probably a burial chamber – you’d have to crawl inside. The space where I’m standing may have been an antechamber. Clifford was able to show me the grooves in the rock that suggested a massive stone may have once acted as a ‘door’ to this section: regularly pushed aside to allow access for special occasions, perhaps. It’s likely that dolmens could have served a ritual purpose, maybe a focal point bringing the community together over the changing seasons.
And that hole in the capstone, to the top right? Total mystery. No one knows what it was for. You’d assume some kind of astronomical purpose, but Clifford tells me there are no significant constellations visible through it, at any time of the year. But who are we to say what was ‘significant’ to people living thousands of years ago?
It also crossed my mind that the hole may have been placed to frame something which simply isn’t in the sky any more. Stars die. Land shifts. Or perhaps a comet was passing by in their time, and hasn’t returned to the earth since.
At the back, it appears that the rear stone has fallen into the tomb, and this may be why the roof is now so steeply slanted. Clifford’s theory is that the tomb was actually built this way, with the rear sloped stone acting as a second entrance. While I appreciated the logic in his explanation, I’m more inclined to side with the English Heritage interpretation that the stone was originally standing to form a back wall. Vandalism or simple collapse are likely reasons for its current position.
Finally, Clifford drew my attention to the capstone itself. It so happens that a mineral called mica naturally occurs in different concentrations in the granite of the local area. Mica is a reflective material that can give the stone a sparkly appearance. And, to my great fortune, it was a sunny day.
My goodness, how that stone sparkled.
It’s easy to imagine why the builders of Trethevy Quoit chose this specific stone to cap their dolmen. This structure would have dominated its local landscape, provided a shining beacon to those traversing the nearby hills. If you’ve ever been up a hill and caught a sudden sharp glint from a building in the distance – that’s how I imagine Trethevy Quoit would first appear to the ancient traveller.
One detail that throws a question mark over this is whether Trethevy Quoit was completely buried inside a mount or not. A low mound of earth is still evident around the bottom of the structure, and certainly other types of dolmen tombs are thought to have been covered by a mound – the soil has simply eroded away over time, leaving behind the stone bones of the inner structure. But perhaps its feasible that a capstone like this one would have been left visible? As far as I’m aware, we have no real way of knowing for sure how large Trethevy Quoit’s mound would have been.
I’m glad I was able to visit this megalith in person – especially as it gave me a lot of new details to work into the Jack Hansard episode in which it appears. If you’ve read the beta episode over on Wattpad, you’ll know this location acts as the portal to a fairy glen where an ancient entity has been slumbering.
We also managed to fit in a trip to see The Hurlers and the Cheesewring during our trip – for a few more photos and snippets of Cornish folklore, check out the newsletter I wrote about it back in June. I also visited Cornwall’s famous Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, which I imagine will be the subject of a future blog post!
Have you visited any of Cornwall’s ancient monuments? Share your stories about them below!
When an app developer accidentally creates a maliciously benevolent social media network, only her girlfriend can save her from what she’s brought to life…
Happy days! I was incredibly pleased to release my short story The Hub as an ebook last week. This story was first published by the wonderful folks at Thunderbird Studios in their anthology The San Cicaro Experience – a weird and dark anthology exploring the titular urban fantasy location.
The Hub ended up straddling the line between sci-fi and urban fantasy with its technological menace, but ultimately it’s a story about love and compromise.
It’s now available for just $0.99 from all the main retailers: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Apple, etc. Universal shop link below. 😄
In sunny San Cicaro, a new app is dominating the city’s streets – and its people.
Max loves her city, and believes everyone deserves to enjoy its hidden treasures. So when she launches the SC Hub, a new social app to connect people and places, she couldn’t be happier with its blazing overnight success. But her reclusive girlfriend, Ellie, can’t help but worry about the magnetic pull the app is having on its creator, and the strange occurrences in town that seem linked to it.
Are people driving the app… or the other way round?