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. 🥳
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!
We’re back where it all began. Just as The Jack Hansard Series begins in London, in ends there too, in a showdown that very nearly levels the British Museum. Our stop for today is inspired by the book market that Jack and old pal Peggy (who happens to be an independent bookseller herself) visit under Waterloo Bridge – the Southbank Centre Book Market. This large open air market specialises in secondhand and antique books, and in normal circumstances would be open every single day.
To mark this last stop, I went looking for an independent bookshop which was nearby and also situated on the south bank of the Thames. And I soon found: The Riverside Bookshop.
The Riverside Bookshop is located on the street-side of Hay’s Galleria – a beautiful structure in its own right – set under a covered walkway. You might miss it if you aren’t looking, set back from the pavement as it is, but if you did you’d be missing a treat.
This bookshop is larger on the inside than it looks on the outside, and spans more than just one floor. It’s bright and neat, with a plethora of books organised into easily accessible areas, and usually a table set aside with the shop’s own recommendations. In addition to books you’ll find greetings cards, fancy gift wrap and the occasional plushie toy on their shelves as well.
A friendly shop with a broad range of stock!
How can I support The Riverside Bookshop?
Like many independent bookshops during lockdown, The Riverside Bookshop has had to close up shop entirely. They’ve turned to indie newcomer uk.bookshop.org to continue selling online during this period, so I’m pleased to direct you to The Riverside Bookshop’s online shopping page here.
You’ll find some carefully curated selections based on reading age (check out ‘Adventure and Laughs for 9-11 Year Olds’), subjects (such as the ‘Go Wild – Books on Nature’ collection), and even feelings (‘You’ve Got to Laugh’ is definitely a collection for the times) to help you find the perfect book. Every purchase you make on this platform will also contribute towards funding independent bookshops in the UK!
You can also support the shop by following them online. On the social side you will find them on Instagram posting beautiful books and extra photos of events inside the bookshop.
On the shop’s home page you’ll find their blog where they post thoughtful book reviews, their weekly bestsellers list, and news about the shop. If you’re a WordPress user you can also hit the Follow button to see their new blog posts show up on your feed.
And if you’re lucky enough to live locally? Look out for news on the reopening of The Riverside Bookshop next week and look at getting yourself one of these Little Red Cards – their very own loyalty card scheme. I hope you’ll pop along and take a look around!
If you want to get in touch with The Riverside Bookshop, you can send an email to: email@example.com
And this brings us to the end of our Virtual Bookshop Tour! Goodness, it’s been a long week, but I’ve had great fun researching and writing about these great independent bookshops across England. I hope you’ve had fun following along! One day I’d like to re-enact this tour in person.
You can find links to all the bookshops we’ve visited on the tour here. I hope you’ll consider giving them a share and a follow – even if you’ve found nothing for yourself, someone else might just find their perfect bookish purchase.
And remember, as lockdown lifts next week, look out for news of when and how your local independent bookshop is reopening. Show them some love if you can!
I mentioned previously that The Lake District is a recurring setting in The Jack Hansard Series, and today we’ve travelled back here to mark Jack’s ordeal with an aquatic horror at Wastwater. I couldn’t hope to reproduce enough images to do this awe-inspiring location justice, so I recommend you have a look around the photos here for the full picture.
For today’s stop on the tour I had to get a little creative because, as you might imagine, there is no bookshop located at Wastwater. Grasmere is (I think) the location of the closest bookshop as the crow flies, though it may still take you well over an hour to drive through the hills to reach! This is where we find our penultimate bookshop stop: Sam Read Bookseller.
Sam Read’s has been trading since 1887 and is named after the original owner. With its gorgeous stone walls and Victorian windows coupled with the sublime rural setting, Sam Read’s looks like the quintessential traditional English bookshop.
Let’s take a moment to truly appreciate the setting. It’s a select few bookshops that can boast such a dramatic backdrop.
“I would say our biggest claim to fame is our age – 133 years and still going strong – and our location, nestled in the heart of Grasmere village opposite the Village Green (known as Moss Parrock) and with views of the fells from our windows.”
Elaine from Sam Read’s
Inside, the shop is crammed with books but doesn’t feel overcrowded or disorganised. It looks like a bookshop with lots of nooks and crannies to explore.
How can I support Sam Read Bookseller?
Don’t let the historic character mislead you – Sam Read’s is perfectly modern with its swish online shop which you can find easily on their website. I was in a bit of a non-fiction mood when I was browsing, so here are some titles inspired by my hobbies and interests. Click on the covers to find out more!
If you know someone who would rather choose their own books and loves the Lake District, then a Sam Read gift card might be a great present idea. I rather like that you can choose the design on the gift card, as well.
They also stock some lovely Christmas cards with designs based on the local area. Is that Wastwater and Sam Read’s bookshop itself that I spy on some of them?
For the best places to follow Sam Read’s on social media, they post fairly regularly on Instagram, and even more so on Twitter.
They’re a little less active on Facebook, but if that’s your preferred medium you can give them a follow here. Certainly worth a look, just for the beautiful landscape photos of the surrounding area!
We’re nearly at the end of our tour! You can look back on all the places we’ve visited so far here. Tomorrow we travel to our final destination, which also happened to be our first: London.
Bookshop photos reproduced with the kind permission of Sam Read Bookseller.
I’ve only been to Bristol once, and it was to visit the S.S. Great Britain – a brilliantly immersive museum experience onboard a historic steamship. You’ll find the S.S. Great Britain situated within the equally historic Floating Harbour, which is what brings us to Bristol today. Readers of The Jack Hansard Series may be aware of the trans-dimensional properties of the harbour… Don’t fall in, that’s all I’m saying.
About ten minutes away, south of the harbour and across the river, you’ll find our bookshop stop for today: the eloquently named Storysmith.
How beautiful is this shopfront? I love how glossy and elegant it is. Those striking shutters open to reveal a colourful window display underneath as well.
Inside, a small set of stairs divides two floors of books. It’s an open, comfortable space with tall bookshelves and scattered seating so you can browse at a leisurely pace. The books you will find here have all been hand-picked by the Storysmith team; with an eclectic but accessible collection, they believe in presenting people with high quality and beautiful books. It’s this personal flavour and attention to detail which behemoth corporate retailers (like the mighty ’Zon…) cannot possibly replicate. In this, independent bookshops will always be king.
“Because we’re a small shop, we pride ourselves on our careful curation. Hopefully customers will see just enough books they recognise, but plenty more interesting-looking titles that they don’t. Also we have a shop dog named Roy, who is always on hand to give recommendations.”
Dan from Storysmith
And like many independent bookshops, Storysmith keeps a lively roster of sell-out events – take a look at all the authors they’ve previously hosted here. There’s plenty of floor space to comfortably host groups and they run not just one, but four monthly book clubs which they’re currently keeping alive online during lockdown. Not only a bookseller, but a meeting place and community hub, too.
How can I support Storysmith?
Storysmith have their own online shop right on their website. At a glance you can see they’re not kidding about their goal to curate beautiful books. There are some seriously gorgeous titles on display.
Here’s a selection of just a few that caught my eye, and frankly they can all go on my Christmas list. (Friends and family, hope you’re paying attention). Click on the covers to go straight to their Storysmith product page.
Looking for a book gift but not sure what to buy? Maybe try a Storysmith gift voucher instead.
You can also purchase book subscriptions ‘for curious readers’ starting from £45 for three months – each delivery will include extra notes on the month’s book selection, and a bag of indulgent Triple Co Roast coffee. They also offer a wonderful baby book subscription (sans the caffeine) – a lovely idea for a newborn or first Christmas gift.
To see more photos of Roy the dog (and keep up with news about the shop, of course) you can follow Storysmith on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
One final book suggestion above: if you’ve been enjoying our Virtual Bookshop Tour, then Bookshop Tours of Britain by Louise Boland might be right up your street. I came across it while browsing Storysmith’s Twitter!
We’ve reached the end of Day 5 on our Virtual Bookshop Tour! Tomorrow we’ll be heading all the way back to the Lake District to visit the small village of Grasmere.
Photos reproduced with the kind permission of Storymith.
The next step of our journey brings us to the Humber Estuary and Kingston upon Hull, the port city that lies on its north bank. It’s in a riverside warehouse complex that we visit ‘The’ Market in The Jack Hansard Series – that is, the annual gathering of Black Market traders showing off all their mythical and occult wares. I’m happy to say today’s bookshop is based in a rather nicer location. Let’s take a look at: J. E. Books.
Situated under the stunning glass roof of Hepworth’s Arcade, a grand Victorian covered passageway housing a number of quirky small businesses, J. E. Books looks to be at home among friends. This is quite a young bookshop compared to others we’ve visited: J. E. Books opened just two years ago in 2018. But this doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in character or personality. Indeed, the location within the Arcade itself is already an extraordinary introduction to this little bookshop.
The ‘Go away, I’m reading’ tote bags hanging in the window evidence the owner’s sense of humour. As you enter, it looks as though they are doing a lot with a small space, and you might be momentarily fooled into thinking this single room is the whole of the bookshop. But venture up the stairs and you will find plenty more new and second hand books waiting for you to peruse.
J.E. Books certainly makes the most of its location for hosting events, as well. Not troubled by limited space, they have previously run author book signings, poetry readings and storytelling right outside the front of the shop – a real treat for shoppers passing by. Especially the… ‘Poets with Megaphones’ event in 2019? That sounds amazing.
How can I support J. E. Books?
You know the drill by now – start by heading to social media!
Across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram J.E. Books have been creating a Virtual Bookshop Window for you to enjoy nearly every day. Here you’ll find their latest themed recommendations for sale by mail order. And of course, if you want a personalised recommendation, just ask!
“As an independent bookshop owner I can offer a personal and individual service even during lockdown – customers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message @jebookshull on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at anytime and I will get back to you as soon as possible to take orders.”
Julie from J. E. Books
They also have a wonderful range of gifts – I’ve picked out a few for you below.
It’s also worth knowing that J. E. Books is currently offering postage for just £3 or under, and FREE for orders over £40.
To order, send Julie a direct message or email: email@example.com
And finally, for more bookish content check out the bookshop’s blog here – the latest posts are a series of author interviews. Hit follow and give them a like on social media if you can. A small gesture can be a big help to small businesses.
We’re now over halfway through our Virtual Bookshop Tour! Our next stop tomorrow is at another port city: Bristol.
Bookshop photos reproduced with the kind permission of J. E. Books.
Cockermouth is a peaceful market town on the western edge of The Lake District in Cumbria. It marks the point where the Rivers Cocker and Derwent join, and a 13th century stone castle looks over the town from this river junction.
The Lake District is featured several times throughout The Jack Hansard Series. Jack first travels there to meet the Witch of the Lakes and then moves on to spend some time in Cockermouth – where he falls victim to an invisible thief, and meets a morose shellycoat lurking in the river. During his mad dash through the town, it’s quite likely that he would have passed right by the doors of The New Bookshop, our tour stop for today.
“The bookshop has been here for 52 years, endured some hard times but has sat solidly on Main Street as a welcoming, friendly space known and loved by the town.”
Catherine from The New Bookshop
The New Bookshop has a large, attractive blue and white frontage on Cockermouth’s high street. I love their bird logo and style of the shop interior; it projects a smooth and calm character to me.
Inside, it’s a spacious shop with grey tiled floor, with large open bookshelves and table neatly stacked with hand-picked titles. This is a bookshop which gives you space to appreciate the book-browsing experience.
They also have that most coveted of bookshop add-ons: the coffee shop. It boasts homemade cakes with good tea and coffee, alongside a scrumptious Breakfast and Lunch menu if you need a heartier meal.
I love a good bookish coffee shop. Books – whether in shops or in libraries – are often at the heart of communities, and providing an extra meeting space with seating and refreshments just naturally rounds out their underlying purpose as a community hub.
The importance of community can also be felt through The New Bookshop’s events programme. Lockdown and social distancing restrictions have understandably wiped out their 2020 calendar, but as well as the usual author book signing events, they’ve also previously hosted musicians, a regular social book group, and a children’s story time group.
How can I support The New Bookshop?
Like many independent bookshops during lockdown, The New Bookshop has taken to social media to help you find the books you need. Follow them on Instagram for book recommendations, Facebook for more detailed news, and Twitter for the bitesize version.
If you prefer a more traditional online shopping experience, then you can now browse their collections on the new indie bookselling platform uk.bookshop.org. Here The New Bookshop have curated themed selections to help you discover exactly what you’re looking for – and every purchase you make also goes towards funding independent bookshops around the country. (To learn more about bookshop.org you can read my previous post about it here.)
Remember though, it’s often still better to buy direct from independent bookshops if you can, so take a moment to check out their special Christmas stock. They have some cool gift ideas in, like this very cute range of felting kits and their ‘Lucky Dip’ themed book bundles.
And if your bookshelves are currently too full? Well, you can donate a children’s book to a Cumbrian family in need this Christmas. This is an initiative The New Bookshop runs each year. They donate a large collection themselves and take donated books bought by customers to pass on to their local Foodbank. I’ve done this myself and it’s super easy: just pop them an email with a price range and title – or you can ask them to pick out a book for you instead – and they’ll sort everything else.