Book Launch!

It’s official!!! I have a confirmed date for the publication of my novel, In Search of Gods and Heroes.

On the 14th June 2014, at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium 8.30pm, I have secured 30 places for friends and family to come and celebrate with me 🙂 (most of you will have received an invite via Facebook, if not, please drop me a line).
Of course, I shall be taking pre-orders (no money taken upfront!) but I’ve been told that there will be a special additional gift for those ordering the paperback prior to release…

Paperback RRP: £9.99 / $16.99

eBook RRP: £2.99 / $4.99
Publisher: Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books.



General Malo enters the mortal world to abduct Chaeli, a young village girl, breaking the treaty between Eternal Kingdom and Underworld and revealing that she is the daughter of one of the guardian gods. Chaeli embarks on a journey which tests her to the limit, accompanied by a knight who died a thousand years ago in the Dragon Wars, a former assassin for the Underworld and a changeling from the world of Salinthos. With all pretence of peace now shattered, the eternal game for dominance and control of the three worlds flares back to life. The stories of many others, the hideously scarred Anya and her gaoler, the enigmatic Kerne, the dissolute Prince Dal and the damned King Stirm, become entwined, and gods once more walk on Ibea, spreading goodness and disease, greed and charity as they prepare for the final war.

In Search of Gods and Heroes, the first of the Children of Nalowyn series, is a sweeping narrative which becomes progressively darker as the baser side of human nature is explored, the vanities of the gods revealed and lines between sensuality and sadism, love and lust are blurred.


KI logo - small


WFC2013… Quick Round-Up

After three days of drinking, very little sleep, and a lot of travelling. This was the only cure!

After three days of drinking, very little sleep, and a lot of travelling. This was the only cure!

As I sit here cuddled up on the sofa watching Netflix and nursing a slightly sore throat and cold, I both curse and praise WorldFantasyCon.

Last November, Joanne Hall asked me if I was going to go to WFC in Brighton. I’d heard of the convention, didn’t know much about it, but signed up immediately. Around 1500 Writers, publishers, editors, authors, booksellers and fans all under one roof, it sounded pretty damn awesome and worth the £125 ticket price (I paid £125, I know some people paid £75 if they booked super early, and others paid £150).

Me, fangirling with Scott Lynch

Me, fangirling with Scott Lynch

So, fast-forward to Thursday 31st, I trundled down on the train from Banbury to Brighton and met Jo at our hotel (the actual convention was being held at the Brighton Metropole about 200m from our hotel, and rooms there were pretty pricey). After checking in and quickly realising that Brighton has NO MOBILE SIGNAL AT ALL, we made our way to the check-in area where I nearly peed myself in delight. Free books! Awesome!
Loaded down, and thoroughly exhausted – we hit the bar. Ouch. Hilton Hotels know how to screw you – £12 (roughly) for 2 vodka and cokes. My poor wallet suffered all weekend.




Friday and Saturday were full on days. There were panels, talks, readings from some of my favourite people in the industry. Neil Gaiman was awesome (of course) and his stories and anecdotes uplifting and amusing. On Friday, there was the Independent Publisher panel. I took away some ideas and food for thought, and came away generally feeling confident and excited about the future.

‘Broads With Swords’ was excellent. Truly excellent. The panelists were given an original brief that was both condescending towards female writers and derogatory. They flipped it and instead (with audience participation) reeled off a list of strong and wonderful female authors who can write fight scenes, show female strength without resorting to violence all the time, and deliver great villains. I put forward Anne Lyle and Fiona McIntosh, and then cursed myself for not mentioning my all-time favourite writer, Jacqueline Carey.


Gareth Powell reading 'Hive Monkey'

Gareth Powell reading ‘Hive Monkey’

Gareth Powell read from ‘Hive Monkey’. the follow on from ‘Ack Ack Macaque’. It sounded so good that I bought both books immediately afterwards. Yeah. Seriously.

2013-11-01 15.28.01

Pat Rothfuss and me

I fangirled listening to Pat Rothfuss read his short story from the ‘Unfettered’ by GrimOak Press; it was beautiful and the rhythm in his words lulls you. A mix of folklore and fairytale, I loved it. I wasn’t too impressed with the fact that the organisers clashed Pat with John Gwynne . John is definitely an author to watch, and with his amazing book Malice winning the Gemmell Morningstar, I really wanted to hear him read.


Early Saturday morning I heard Susan Batholomew read. Interesting sounding book and definitely one I’ve added to my kindle.

Scott Lynch bounded into the reading room and dazzled me his reading. I do love the way Lynch is able to subtly pull together humour, darkness, sarcasm and beautiful prose. Big thumbs up from me.

Trudi Canavan read from her up-coming book. It has a definite steampunk vibe with two different worlds and points of view. Had me immediately thinking of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series of books by Philip Pullman, but with a heavier fantasy feel. I’m really looking forward to this book.

On Sunday Fox Spirit held the launch of ‘Tales of Eve’ (edited by Mhairi Simpson).  I bought my copy (of course) and I’m glad I got there early as they sold out! Massive congrats, guys. Really well deserved. While there,  the wonderful Juliet E McKenna signed my copy for me.

Juliet McKenna signing 'Tales of Eve' for me

Juliet McKenna signing ‘Tales of Eve’ for me


The parties each night were a definite highlight. Free alcohol (I know, I’m a monster), and free goodie bags. Titan Books nailed their party with fun fair styled games to win books. The crossbow target game was wonderful and, being a bit of an archer, I won four books. I admit, I completely took advantage, but dammit! I wanted ALL THEIR BOOKS! The Gollancz and Jo Fletcher Books were fun, and in a different bar we had the  Tor and Del Ray party with music. Phew. It was a busy few days!

'Tales of Eve' sold out! Congrats!

‘Tales of Eve’ sold out! Congrats!

Saturday morning I rolled into bed around 5am and fell asleep at 6am. You know you’ve had fun when you’re kicked out of the hotel bar so they can clean!

Meeting so many lovely people was overwhelming. Over the weekend I had wonderful fun with Joanne Hall, Adam DaltonK R GreenSorcha O’Dowd, and Stewart Gardiner. There were many many other people, but these guys made my weekend super fun, and I hope to catch up with them again.

So, this is my quick round-up of WFC2013. Sorry it’s not that detailed, or with more pictures, but my mobile battery is rubbish and I was far too busy to snap!

Two Posts In One Day!


Just a short post. I’ve been asked several times who I would like to be cast as Chaeli in ‘In Search of Gods and Heroes’  – my answer?


Jessica Brown Findlay.

About a year ago, a friend at work who read the first draft told me that she pictured Jessica as Chaeli. I had no idea who she was talking about until I researched her and realised she was an actress in Downton Abbey.

Today, I’ve started to watch Downton Abbey and seen the beautiful Jessica on screen. There’s no doubt, she’s perfect.

Lost My Book Mojo

This is serious. I’ve misplaced my magic. Both with reading and writing.

Over the last few months I’ve purchased around twenty books (mixture of self published and traditionally published) and I’ve barely managed to get past the first few chapters. I just can’t seem to strum up the ‘oomf’ needed to push beyond mediocre and cliched beginnings.
I never used to have this problem, but after a year of working with someone who (to put it nicely) is finely tuned into the world of publishing, I now notice average and ‘meh’ work a mile off.
Please don’t for a second think I’m placing myself above many authors, I’m really not. I’m just having a whine.

I’m sure it’s a phase… it will pass… Oh, and I do have some good book reviews planned. For instance, I rather loved The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; and I have been lucky enough to read some promising submissions on behalf of Kristell Ink – so all is not lost.

With writing I’ve been so busy working full-time, DIYing and then working on other business jobs that my projects have been neglected. I have 101 ideas running through my mind and so very little time to get them all down on paper!

There is light at the end of the tunnel though… Mid-March time I hope to be back in the writing chair and working on book 2 of the Children of Nalowyn series: A Time of Faith and Lies.

And then there’s something special planned, a collaboration of sorts, with Ken Dawson


The Next Big Thing

Do you want to play a game? No, this isn’t some weird ‘Saw’ horror malarky, but a game of ‘blog tag’ that’s circulating at the moment. I was tagged by Zoë Harris, who writes in the New Adult genre. Her current project, ‘The Eidolon Cycle’ comprises of three books that can be read in any order but each enriches the overall story and experience. I’m being presumptive here – but I can’t wait to beta read Sweet Alyssum.

The blog tag game involves answering questions about your current work in progress.


What is the working title of your book?

I’m in the middle of several, but I’ll concentrate on the one I’m editing. It’s called Anna.


What genre does your book fall under?

I’ve always found it hard to ‘pigeon hole’ work, but I think that Anna would primarily be classed as speculative fiction, though it would also fall in the literary fiction box as well. It’s a difficult piece of work to define. I don’t say that with any sort of ego or dramatic flair – it’s simply an unusual read that doesn’t fit into many categories.


Give a brief synopsis of your book.

Anna is a speculative literary novel about one woman’s fight for survival in a damaged, socially regressed world where might is right;
a dysfunctional society only a few steps from our own. Stripped of her identity ‘Anna’ is a persona adopted by a woman who has not only lost everything, but who blames herself for each and every loss. A tale about identity, Anna explores issues of subjugation and abuse. The three parts address different aspects of identity in a collapsed society, moving from dystopia, to utopia, to the state of nature.
Part One concentrates on the wild and corrupt lands, now inhabited by those who have cast aside the rules of society, forming new regimes and laws, while abusing and minimising the rights of women in a once equal and diverse country. The development is steady and inexorable, with explict abuse only introduced towards the end. The primary oppression is psychological and moral. Anna escapes, pregnant by her abuser.
Part Two is set in a developing community, where people have tried to preserve and rebuild civilised ways. It appears the beginning of a better world, an aspiring utopia. But in this new world  cracks soon begin to appear beneath the idyllic surface. Neverthless, Anna
survives and begins to rebuild herself.
Part Three shows that regardless of what horrors we inflict on the world, hope springs, and nature rebuilds. Anna at last confronts the
man who owned her, who stole her identity in the most profound way.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Anna actually started as a technical writing exercise. I’m not the best when it comes to grammar and punctuation (though, I’m not terrible!), and I wanted something to work on with my editor, Rob. I would write around 2000 words and send it to him for his review. We soon realised that the story was something quite different and it went from there.


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Blimey. I honestly have no idea. I never picture Hollywood actors when I write! I’m open to suggestions … Anna herself is late twenties, dark hair, British and attractive, but with an air of sadness about her. Ideas?
Her antagonist I find easier to picture –  Dougray Scott. I think he could do the role justice!


Let’s go for … Deb E Howell, David Muir, Ross Harrison, Kay Kauffman, Emily McKeon





Two months … FAIL!

Yes, I’ve failed big time. It’s been two months since I last posted on my blog. I’m really sorry …

I’m going to make more of an effort from now on. In my defence – it has been a very busy two months, both personally and professionally.

My paid work (police) has been hectic, and my writing work even more so. I’ve embarked on a new business venture and the last month has involved getting the groundwork for that sorted. More to come on that!!!

In my personal life, I found out that I had cancer. I admit, when I was first told I was so shocked I was numb. I’ve been under a specialist for a while for an intimate problem an so I’m used to bad news … but this time I didn’t even know the big C was on the cards.

However, I’ve been very lucky. It was stage 1 and has been cut away. When they investigated further, due to the depth and size, no radiation therapy was needed – and instead I’ll be having 3-monthly checks for 2 years. It’s made me realise that I was incredibly lucky. You see, they only found the cancer because a biopsy was taken from the wrong place. It failed to diagnose the original condition- and instead they found cancer. Shit.

I haven’t really spoken about it to many people: those that know me know that I always put a smiling face on things and try and brush them under the carpet -when really,I’m terrified. This is no different. I don’t like the false sympathy that comes from some people – nor do I like the ‘I’m so sorry’ comments, they make me uncomfortable and I always think about those who are in worse situations.

So that’s enough on that subject.

Health related, I’m seeing another specialist on Monday. This time, it’s a pre-op with a surgeon. I’ve been told I need something called a ‘vestibulectomy’ and that involves 30 stitches in an intimate area. 30!!! Holy Moly! My eyes are watering just thinking about it. Still, I have no doubt it’ll be worth it in the end!


Writing … well, with everything that’s been going on in the last few months – writing hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve been pootling around with a few ideas.


Monday just gone though … I had a meeting with a literary agent, and …. it went well. VERY WELL. I’m making edits on ‘Anna’ and then the sky is the limit! This agent completely understands my book and the themes/threads I’ve introduced. She spoke of the big publishers such as Virago, HC, Bloomsbury – so here’s hoping!


On that note – I’m signing off. I’ll get more posts on here soon … promise!






I was introduced to to Lovelace back in November 2011 (I think!) by a friend, and immediately fell in love with his poems. This was the one that I first read, so it seems apt it should be here. I also recommend ‘To Lucasta, Going To The Wars’ and ‘Valiant Love’.


Amarantha sweet and faire,
Ah brade no more that shining haire!
As my curious hand or eye,
Hovering round thee, let it flye.

Let it flye as unconfin’d
As it’s calme ravisher, the winde,
Who hath left his darling, th’ East,
To wanton o’re that spicie neast.

Ev’ry tresse must be confest:
But neatly tangled at the best;
Like a clue of golden thread,
Most excellently ravelled.

Doe not then winde up that light
In ribands, and o’er-cloud in night,
Like the sun in’s early ray;
But shake your head, and scatter day.

See, ’tis broke! within this grove,
The bower and the walkes of love,
Weary lye we downe and rest,
And fanne each other’s panting breast.

Heere wee’ll strippe and coole our fire,
In creame below, in milk-baths higher:
And when all wells are drawne dry,
I’ll drink a teare out of thine eye.

Which our very joys shall leave,
That sorrowes thus we can deceive;
Or our very sorrowes weepe,
That joyes so ripe so little keepe.

The Nightingale

I love Nightingales, beautiful and hauntingly sad. I love them so much I’ve based an entire fantasy story and world around them.


O Nightingale! thou surely art
A creature of a “fiery heart”:–
These notes of thine–they pierce and pierce;
Tumultuous harmony and fierce!
Thou sing’st as if the God of wine
Had helped thee to a Valentine;
A song in mockery and despite
Of shades, and dews, and silent night;
And steady bliss, and all the loves
Now sleeping in these peaceful groves.
I heard a Stock-dove sing or say
His homely tale, this very day;
His voice was buried among trees,
Yet to be come at by the breeze:
He did not cease; but cooed–and cooed;
And somewhat pensively he wooed:
He sang of love, with quiet blending,
Slow to begin, and never ending;
Of serious faith, and inward glee;
That was the song — the song for me!

The Raven

The Tell-Tale Heart is actually my favourite Poe short story. It’s eerie and macabre, and practically a poem in itself. But I’ve chosen The Raven for two simple reasons 1) it’s well known 2) I adore the name Lenore (although, it unfortunately reminds me of fabric conditioner)


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`’Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door –
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; –
This it is, and nothing more,’

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door –
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.’

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never-nevermore.”‘

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!