Dec 19, 2013

Spending Christmas...

Christmas really is my favourite time of year. I'm lucky that my day job shuts up shop for the whole Christmas period, and combined with clever application of annual leave, tomorrow is my last working day of the year.

I've always felt Christmas, as well as being a time to spend with loved ones, should be a time to reflect on the year gone by, the things you've learned, lost, and gained. And a time to bring yourself back to a peaceful center. A time to do the things you love that help you relax, things you may have deprived yourself of during the rest of the year.

I like to get some video gaming in, as well as boardgaming if enough friends are free. Most ongoing rpg campaigns take a break over Christmas, so we've got to get our gaming fix somehow! I got myself "Fortune and Glory" for Christmas, a 1930s pulp adventure boardgame by Flying Frog. Can't wait to try it out.

This year I'm finally upgrading my pc, so any new video gaming will have to wait until that's all sorted out. Still, I got 6 years out of my current pc with only a minor RAM upgrade and new graphics card along the way, so it's served me well.

Aside from enjoying time with Jen and the girls, and getting ever more ready for the new baby's arrival next month, I'll also be taking some time to work on my Carver and McCain series, which I've decided to pitch as "Lethal Weapon with werewolves." It'll be fun. I think I'm more comfortable writing urban fantasy and investigative characters than just about any other, so as much as I'm looking forward to starting my re-drafting on Lady Raven, I'm really going to enjoy Carver and McCain. I'm also looking forward to starting the edits on Final Hope, but that's probably still a little while away. Plenty of time to get Nathan's last adventure ready!

And, after a long break, I'll be getting back to running tabletop games in the new year. We'll be picking up my Dresden Files campaign, "On The Run," so I'll be spending some of the Christmas break preparing new story arcs and plot hooks well in advance.

I'm definitely looking forward to Christmas this year, and I'm so excited to see the looks on the girls' faces when they see what Santa's bringing them.

How will you be spending Christmas?

Dec 16, 2013

One Year Old

This past Friday was my daughters' birthday. Yep, twins having their first birthday on Friday 13th.

Despite superstition, I've always found Friday 13th to be a really nice, pleasant day. Maybe it's just due to the superstition that I think an otherwise ordinary day is particularly good. This year was no different. I'd booked the day off work and we took the girls out for the day in our new car (a Daihatsu Terios was never going to fit three babies in the back, so we've upgraded to a 7-seater Ford Galaxy).

It's amazing to think that a whole year has gone by already. I've been off my game this year. It's been a lot of work, with plenty of new stress and a few let-downs and added workload, but Erica and Amy have been the best and easiest part of 2013. I don't know if we did anything in particular, if twins keep each other happy and calm, or we just got lucky, but they're so well-behaved and happy all the time.

On Saturday we had a small party for the girls, with some friends and family over. Unfortunately, since the girls decided that their morning nap time was less important than play-time and being adorable, they wound up very tired and cranky, and we had to delay cake, so some people missed that. Still, I have video of the girls blowing out their candles (with some help), and trying cake for the first time.

We also seem to have had a visitor. It appears in both, but the best image is in the second video there. Watch the top of the clip, near Conor's picture on the mantle, at around 14 seconds in.

I think someone stopped by to wish his little sisters a happy birthday.

Dec 13, 2013

Author Interview: Decadent Kane

Today is Erica and Amy's first birthday, so I'm going to be spending the day with all my girls, getting things ready for the party tomorrow. Since I won't be around, here's an interview I did with author Decadent Kane, about her debut erotica novel, Ribbon of Darkness, the first book in her The Trouble With Elves series.


1: Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I'm guessing you like it, too. But Christmas elves and erotica aren't the most obvious partners for a book. What was it that drew you to this?

The idea itself was a dare. And I can't turn down a dare to write a sexy Christmas elf story if my elven ears depended on it.

The rest, well, my characters took over. Ribbon started flaunting half-naked men on the covers of books and well, Draven showed up and the chase was on.

Besides, as you say it's not something people put together which means I can go anywhere I want with it as long as it stays hot and elfalicious.

2: Do you find it's easier to write your heroine or your hero? Who's more fun to write?

I had an easier time writing my hero, Draven aka- Santa's top spy. He was also the one I had more fun writing because his reactions to my leading elfess, Ribbon, were priceless. Giggles.

3: Finally, are you on the nice list, or the naughty list?

I prefer the naughty list this year…especially if Draven's on it…*swoons over own character*

Which list are you on, Paul?

I'm hoping it's the nice list, but I may have to plead the Fifth...
-----------------------------


You can find out more about Decadent and her books by catching up with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or her blog.

You can pick up a copy of Ribbon of Darkness at Breathless Press.



Dec 9, 2013

Winding Down for Christmas

No, this won't be my final blog post of the year, but it is a little note to say I won't really be keeping to my regular schedule. Things are really busy in work and there's a lot to get in order, preparing for Erica and Amy's first birthday as well as Christmas, not to mention my writing. So while you'll still see me on Facebook and Twitter, and I will be posting to my blog, it'll be as I can manage it, and rather more "this is what I'm thinking about" than usual.

Hope everyone's enjoying the run up to Christmas!

Dec 5, 2013

Updates, Plans, and Working Titles

I was supposed to have a post about superhero movies today, but I didn't get it finished in time.

I've decided to stop posting my word count totals for Lady Raven. It becomes disheartening when you're only posting updates of about 1,200 extra words every two days. I'm just going to crack on and get the draft done so I can send it to my beta readers.

After that, I'm going to enjoy writing some urban fantasy again as I start on the first Carver & McCain book. I'm still trying to come up with a working title for that one. Something suitable for a paranormal mystery involving ritual sacrifice and clashing prejudices. Suggestions on a postcard.

This is also the book for which I auctioned off the chance to invent a character. So it'll be fun to see what the winner of that comes up with.

I'm also going to start researching for my next two floating projects. 

The Long Road will be a series about travelling monster hunters. Possibly an e-serial or a series of short, episodic novellas.

The Last Crimefighter will see a young man released from prison after serving a sentence for a crime he didn't commit, and returning to exact revenge. He'll receive help from an aging crimefighter, the last remnant of a time when heroes wore masks and justice was delivered with a gloved fist.

I'm really looking forward to these.

Dec 3, 2013

Cover Reveal: Return to Canterbury

Today I'm delighted to share in the cover reveal for Melissa Ann Goodwin's newest book, Return to Canterbury!


The sequel to her 2011 seasonal adventure, The Christmas Village, Return to Canterbury sees Jamie Reynolds on another time-travelling journey, reuniting with old friends.

Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But, as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.

Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!

Find out more about Melissa on her blog, and check out her books on Goodreads and Amazon.



Melissa Ann Goodwin grew up in Andover, MA, where she spent a happy childhood living in her imagination and writing stories in her head. It was only a matter of time before those stories spilled out onto the written page. The Christmas Village and its sequel, Return to Canterbury, are the culmination of a lifelong dream to write the sort of books that she loved to read as a child.

Goodwin has been published extensively in children’s and national magazines and won an top award for her poetry in the 2010 Writer's Digest National Poetry Competition. Her first book, The Christmas Village, won the 2013 Book Blogger Fair Award for Action/Adventure.

Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm taking the day off from blogging. Not that we typically celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland (though I have done so, and it's awesome), but I'm completely worn out this week and need to recharge.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Nov 26, 2013

Goals

I've picked up a lot of new followers over the last week or so. Welcome to all of you, and I hope you can tolerate my inane ramblings long enough to pick up a copy of one of my books ;-)

Those of you who've been following for a while will know that I set myself hard goals and do my best to stick to them. Despite my best efforts, my goals for 2014 have had to change. I simply don't believe I'll manage to get three books released next year, as planned.

I've had to re-think my goals, taking into consideration various demands on my time.

In 2014, we will be seeing the end of the Locked Within Trilogy, as the third novel in the series, Final Hope, hits the shelves late next year. This is really going to be the highlight of my year, from a writing point of view. It's the end of years of hard work, and I hope as many of you as possible will join me to see Nathan's story end in style.

I will also be self-publishing the first book in a new series. Lady Raven is a steampunk fantasy novel for teens, featuring my first female protagonist, Cora Ravenell, who decides to oppose an oppressive Empire in order to save her mother. There'll be swashbuckling, sword fights, magic, and flying pirate ships! Much of my writing time at the moment is being spent working on this book, and I'll be hiring a professional editor to help me get the story ready for publication.

But I will still be working with a traditional publisher. With the goal of having it queried in time for a 2015 release, I will be starting a new series of urban fantasy mystery novels about Eddie Carver, an ex-SWAT officer assigned to Boston's paranormal crimes unit, SPIRIT (Special Paranormal Investigation, Research and Intervention Taskforce), and his partner Lorna McCain, a paranormal who has to live with daily prejudice and lifestyle restrictions due to her supernatural nature. Unlike the Locked Within Trilogy, the Carver and McCain books will be more open-ended, with each book being fairly standalone. 

In addition to that, I have a couple of ideas that could work either as e-serials, or as a novel series. One is a futuristic thriller set in a world with a pulp 1920s aesthetic, sort of a Count of Monte Cristo sort of story. The other is going to be quite a dark series about a travelling group of monster hunters, with which I hope to experiment with the boundaries of the kinds of content and stories I usually tell.

I've never been one for resting on my laurels. Seeing my first series come to an end just makes me want to write even more. I'm looking forward to what's to come.

Nov 21, 2013

Christmas Offer

With the Christmas season coming up, it's a great time to buy books as gifts. And I happen to have some copies of Silent Oath left.

So if people would like to order a copy of Silent Oath from me, let me know and I'll sign it to whomever you want. Copies will go for €12, with free shipping within Ireland, and an extra €5 for shipping outside of Ireland.

As a bonus, if someone you know hasn't read any of the series yet, I can take orders for both books together at €20, again with free delivery in Ireland and €5 outside of Ireland.

In order to ensure that books arrive in time for Christmas, I'll need to ship anything going within Ireland by December 20th, within the UK by December 19th, the rest of Europe by December 13th, and the rest of the world by December 6th.

To factor in delivery times needed for orders that include copies of Locked Within, I would need to have the order in 7 days earlier to account for shipping times for stock.

But obviously, this is all at the mercy of the Irish postal service, and there may be delays, so get your orders in early!

Nov 19, 2013

Tomb Raider

This past weekend, I finished the single player campaign of Tomb Raider.



I'll be honest, I first jumped on the bandwagon of people who got riled up at the initial trailer which seemed to focus on sexual assault as a defining moment for Lara's story. This is a case where the marketing department in charge of the trailer clearly missed the point. Lara runs a crucible of horrendous trials, responding to pain and pitfall after pitfall by forcing herself to become stronger with every fresh wound.

I loved the game. The challenges and character-defining moments change and evolve with the story. More than just being a way to justify higher difficulty or new enemies, the challenges feel natural and cinematic. The story and Lara's development take precedent, and I think the game really benefits from that.

My favourite sequence has to be Lara'a run through the burning Solarii tower. The music gets your heart racing, while everything around Lara turns to chaos, forcing her to survive with the only thing she can rely on - herself. It's a thrilling scene which forces the player to instinctively call on all the skills they've learned through the game to that point.

Suffice to say, I was thrilled to hear there's a sequel in the works.

Nov 14, 2013

Productivity

I miss mine.

October did a number of me, really. It kicked my ass like I never thought possible. Before it, I was pumped and full of energy, ready to tackle all the promotion, writing and edits I could think of. I was going to self-publish two books, launch the final book of the Locked Within Trilogy, and be so very awesome.

Now I'm struggling to write even 600 words a day, and I've missed my target for finishing Lady Raven by such an extent that I've resigned myself to only releasing the first book in the series next year. Maybe it's because I'm trying a new genre, or the challenges in writing a teenage girl as my protagonist. Maybe it's fear about self-publishing, and having so much on my head should the book flop. Maybe it's worry about the financial requirements. Whatever it is, I'm finding all I want is to get it over with so I can move on to some nice, familiar urban fantasy.

I'm going to keep going, because I promised myself I would write and release this book. I just hope that I can reclaim my enthusiasm and drive.

It's not a matter of relaxing. I've done plenty of relaxing. It's that there's a certain fulfillment I only get from being productive with my writing. If I don't get that, I feel the absence. I know there's something wrong and the only way to fix it is to get work done on a book.

I'd like to say things will get better once work settles down, but despite coming towards the end of a particularly busy period in my day-job, after that comes Christmas, and after that comes Baby No. 3. The fact is, there is no time when things settle down for you to get your bearings. You have to muddle through as best you can, making do with the time you have.

I just hope I can get that spark back.

Nov 12, 2013

The Ugly Truth of Privilege

Privilege is an ugly word. And it should be. It's the uncomfortable truth that the western world is controlled, by and large, by straight white men. Men like me (but typically with more money) influence every aspect of our lives. Should they? No. But they do, and this is the mess we're left with.

Recently the most volatile articles I've read and shared online have pushed the ugly truth of privilege to the forefront. And they've received some pretty passionate reactions. That's to be expected. If you tell a bunch of straight white guys that they have it easy in life, and that the world is built to service them, no matter how enlightened they like to think themselves, some of those men are going to react badly.

I shy away from many controversial subjects on this blog, but the subject of privilege is not one of them. I do believe that straight white men have an incredible, unfair, advantage, and I agree with assessments that being a straight white man is essentially playing life "on easy mode."

With that, I feel, comes a responsibility to effect change. But that responsibility doesn't have to be exercised in the typical "male" way. I believe the most powerful thing a straight white man can do is shut the hell up and let other people talk. We have all of our society geared towards our desires. We can more than afford a platform for others to get their feelings and desires out, and do so without putting people down for disagreeing with us.

I'm trying to tackle privilege in some of my new books. Lady Raven will deal with sexism and patriarchy, as well as challenging some presumptions about sex and relationships in YA fiction.

My new Carver & McCain novels, a police procedural with monsters, will tackle racism in a supernatural context, and examine people having to live with difficult lifestyle restrictions because of who and what they are.

I don't know if I'll succeed in exposing these issues to the light, but I'm willing to try, and open to hearing from people who think I've missed my mark.

In any case, I have a lot of work to do, and a whole lot more to learn.

Nov 7, 2013

Lessons Learned From Launching My Second Book

Yesterday was the anniversary of Locked Within's release. Happy birthday, Locked Within!

So it's fitting that today's post is about the things I learned from the release of my second book, Silent Oath.

2013 has, without a doubt, been the busiest year of my life. I took on so many new responsibilities and challenges, dealt with so many issues, and (much to my wife's annoyance) took little time for myself to relax and recharge.

So what have I learned?

Your second book will be harder to write and edit than your first. 
When you started out, no-one had any expectations and you were still learning everything from scratch. Second time around, people have expectations - your editor, your readers, yourself. You realise just how many mistakes you made on your first book and you're terrified of making them again. Your second book makes you very judgemental of yourself and your writing ability.

You will do even more promotion work.
Because your first book will probably not have sold as well as you'd hoped. We all dream of making it big, but the reality for most authors is that the first book is just the beginning of a long journey. You will want to take advantage of every opportunity to spread the word about the new one, and draw more readers to you. You'll contact the people who reviewed your first book, and maybe look into hiring marketing companies to help. Be careful, do your homework before agreeing to pay any money, and expect that some of the people who agree to spread the word or write a review may let you down.

You will be TIRED!
Every day. No matter how much sleep you get, it won't be enough. You've graduated from "I got a book published!" to "I'm a published author." It's evolved from being a dream come true to a career, and you have to treat it that way. But you have to give yourself time to rest and step away from the work every so often. If you burn out, you're no good to anyone.

You will have fans.
Not just readers, or friends and family who support you. Fans. Maybe not a lot of them, not yet. But you'll notice the difference in how one friend talks about your books compared to how another can't get enough and calls you to complain that they have to wait a whole year for the next one.

You will have critics.
Not everyone will enjoy your books. Some will just shrug and move along. Others, however, may actively criticise you. If you're lucky, it'll be people you asked for feedback. Sometimes it'll come unbidden, and it'll hit you hard. But every reader has the right to their opinion of a book. There will be people who flat-out do not like your books, and never will. And that's okay. Don't try to appease them or explain why you wrote the book a certain way. That just makes you a tool. Instead, see if anything they've said might make future books more accessible to a wider audience, and concentrate on getting better at the things your fans love in your writing.

You will be thankful for Amazon.
Because getting a book by a new author onto bookstore shelves can be a nightmare. If you're lucky, you'll find bookstores that will commit to stocking any and all books you release, and sell them at a reasonable price. Other times, you'll have to convince them to order stock at all, and if they do, they may sell your book at a far higher price than even you think it's worth. And the thing is, you have no control over that. Your publisher has no control over that. It's the way the bookselling industry works. It's difficult for a new author to break into bookstore sales, unless they're with a big publisher like Orbit Books or HarperCollins. Amazon is the great equalizer. Any publisher worth their salt will have your books up there, in print and on Kindle. Save yourself the stress. If a bookstore is resistant, or charges more for your book than people will want to pay, move on and direct people to Amazon, or stores that are more willing to give you a chance. Let reader demand get you on other stores' shelves.

At times, you will be disappointed.
You will work hard to make the launch of your second book even more successful than the first. You will look to people for support and enthusiasm. As much as they want to, not everyone will be able to help. It's important not to let moments like these get you down.

The biggest blow I took this year was my book launch. I had supply issues that caused difficulty securing a venue, and on the night most of the confirmed guests didn't show. But I worked past it.

No matter what happens, never, ever give up. Because...

People will have your back.
Some of those who missed the launch apologised, and put in orders for books. But the launch still left me with a lot of stock to sell, and a bill to pay to my publisher that I didn't have the money to cover.

I've spent the better part of my adult life writing scenarios and running games for games conventions such as Gaelcon. I knew I had to find a way to sell my remaining books, and I'd always figured my reputation as a convention GM would be an advantage one day. So I asked the guys at Gaelcon if I could book in, last-minute, as a trader. I've been a gamer most of my life, and always said many of my best friends are gamers. Boy, did they ever come through for me. I got a table, in a great location, and both staff and attendees turned out in their dozens to buy books and spread the word to anyone they could.

Several friends saw how stressed I was, and made sure to check in on me, assure me everything would be okay, tell potential buyers about my books, and generally made me grateful to have such awesome people in my life. Thank you, guys. You all came through when I needed you.

You may find people like this, too. But you have to pay attention, and you have to allow them to help you. And you have to be ready to take a setback for the challenge it is, and turn it into an opportunity to do better.

You'll take your hits, learn you lessons, and move on.

For example, if you're organising your own launch and don't have a bookseller to provide stock, only order pre-paid copies. ;-)

You will feel kind of like a rock star.
Go to events. If there are fan conventions in your area, go along. Volunteer to speak on panels. Make friends with people in the industry, genuinely, and you'll get more out of it, both personally and professionally, than you ever would with pure networking. You'll have the opportunity to meet awesome people, writers, publishers, editors. And you'll find you have so much to talk to them about. You'll feel like you belong.

And the first time a person you've never met walks up and asks you to sign their copy of your book is something you'll want to remember.

You will want more.
All the knocks you take will mean nothing compared to the elation of one person telling you how much they loved your book. That feeling is addictive. As you have more books, you'll find that more people pay attention. And you'll want to have even more books published, no matter how hard the work. This feeling is good. This feeling is what careers are made of. But take your time. Write and publish however and whenever you want, but take time for yourself, and remember that there tend to be two kinds of successful artists: The flash in the pan, and the slow burn. Decide for yourself which you want to be.

And most of all, keep writing.

Nov 5, 2013

Final Hope - Book 3 of the Locked Within Trilogy

You mean after working so hard all year and pushing myself to exhaustion last month, I still have to keep updating my blog? Am I not rich and famous yet? No? Okay, then...

Oct 31, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Karen Jones Gowen

This is the final day of the Silent Oath Blog Tour. I hope everyone's enjoyed the posts. It's been an incredibly busy month and I'm looking forward to some well-earned R&R.

If you haven't got your copy yet, head over to Amazon or your local bookstore and make sure to check it out. If you're so inclined, leave a review and let others know what you think. :-)

For my last stop, I'm with Karen Jones Gowen, talking about The Darkest Hour.

Oct 29, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Mystery Writing is Murder

The tour is almost over. For the second-last stop, I'm with Elizabeth Craig at her blog, Mystery Writing is Murder, talking about how I've brought new questions and mystery to the series.

Oct 24, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Thomas Manning

Today I'm at Thomas Manning's blog, talking about what readers want.

Oct 23, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Misha Gericke

Today I'm over at Misha Gericke's blog, The Seven-Year Project, talking about how the consequences of Nathan Shepherd's past actions lead to the new challenges he faces in Silent Oath.

Oct 22, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Interview with Melissa Ann Goodwin

Hey guys. On today's blog tour stop, I'm talking to Melissa Ann Goodwin, author of The Christmas Village.

Oct 18, 2013

Release Day Blitz!

Quite a lot of people didn't turn up to the book launch last night, so I have plenty of copies of Silent Oath left, if anyone wants to get one from me. I can take orders by email to pashortt@gmail.com, and I'll issue a PayPal invoice. Cost per book is €12, plus shipping costs if you'd like it delivered, and all copies can include a personalized autograph.

As part of the celebrations for the official launch of Silent Oath, I've arranged for Bewitching Book Tours to set up the following stops on one of their Release Day Blitzes. 


Some of these might not have their posts up yet, due to time zone differences, or the article may be a bit lower on the page, but Bewitching Book Tours did amazing work arranging for so many blogs to get involved. Please check them out:


The Book Setting

Top 10 Songs that would be great soundtrack for Silent Oath

Interview

Vailia's Page Turner
Character Spotlight: Morrigan


Review (of Locked Within as well as Silent Oath)



Darker Passions
Guest Blog




Books & Tales
Spotlight

Interview

Spotlight


Spotlight

When I'm Not Writing

Spotlight

Spotlight




Indy Book Fairy
Spotlight


Author Leah DW
Spotlight

Book Worm & More
Spotlight


Bookish Babbles
Spotlight


And remember, tonight I'm hosting a virtual launch party. You can join me for a live webcam reading of the first chapter, starting at 8pm (UST +1)and use the hashtag #SOVL (Silent Oath Virtual Launch) to take part on Twitter and Facebook.

Oct 17, 2013

Silent Oath Launch

Today is the official launch of Silent Oath, the second part of the Locked Within Trilogy!


I'm spending my day getting ready for the launch party tonight, where I'll be selling copies and signing them. Everyone's welcome to come along, and I'll be giving a reading from the book as well.

For those of you who won't be there, this is the perfect time to order a copy, from your local bookstore or from Amazon.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me along the way. All of you, from my closest friends and crit-partners to people I've never met who took a chance on a new author, have made it possible for me to do this. I hope you enjoy this next chapter in the story of Nathan Shepherd.

Remember, tomorrow is the Release Day Blitz, which will see a range of spotlight posts, reviews, interviews and guest posts focusing on Silent Oath. I'll post a list of all the articles here, so you won't miss a thing!


Oct 16, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Toad & Wizard

Today I'm stopping by the Toad & Wizard blog to talk about how mythology can be interpreted by authors.

Oct 15, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Summer Ross Interviews Roland

Today's blog tour sees author and editor Summer Ross have the dubious honour of interviewing fan favourite Roland, and getting his views on Nathan's adventures.

Oct 14, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Audrey Lockwood

Over the weekend I spoke at several panels at  Octocon, including one on disabilities in media, which I was honoured to share with the incredible, and lovely, Gail Simone. Fantastic weekend which has left me shattered. 

But there's no time to rest. The Silent Oath blog tour continues, and today I'm with Audrey Lockwood, discussing the challenges of writing a series.

Oct 11, 2013

Blog Tour Catch-Up

I forgot to post a link to my blog tour stop on Wednesday, when I was interviewed by Jadie Jones.

Also, today I'm at Sia McKye's blog, discussing the challenges and choices that are part of being both a parent and a writer.

Oct 8, 2013

Release Day!

Wow, so this is it. I officially have two published novels under my belt.

Today is the release day of Silent Oath, a book that has pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits as a writer. The Locked Within Trilogy reaches its mid-point, and by the end of this book, Nathan, too, has been pushed past his limits, and come out the other side forever changed.

The Goodreads Giveaway for a signed copy of Silent Oath has ended, with 817 people having entered. That's close to the amount who entered for Locked Within. I am so staggered by the interest in these books.

Helen Grayson, of Lincolnshire, Great Britain, your copy of Silent Oath will be on its way to you soon.

I wish I could say I was going to go and celebrate, but I still have a lot of work to do to get ready for the book launch, and Octocon this weekend. So, back to work with me!

Oct 7, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: Talli Roland

Today I'm with Talli Roland, talking about the difficulties of rekindling a romance across lifetimes.

Oct 3, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: The Power of Modern Myth

I can't believe it's just two weeks to the official launch of Silent Oath! I am so excited, you guys have no idea!

On today's blog tour stop, I'm with Kerri Cuevas talking about modern myth.

Oct 1, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour: The Return of Nathan Shepherd

With one week to go before the official release of Silent Oath in paperback, I'm kicking off my blog tour with a stop at Ellen Brickley's blog, Pink Tea and Paper!

Sep 27, 2013

Blog Tour Schedule

And we come to the end of this series of Silent Oath blog posts. From next week, I'll be travelling around various blogs, giving interviews and discussing various in-depth topics relating to the Locked Within Trilogy.

I hope everyone has enjoyed these posts so far. I promise you there's even more to come over the next several weeks.

Here's a run-down of where I'll be stopping along my blog tour, and the topics I'll be dealing with in each:


I hope you'll join me as I discuss the challenges and opportunities Silent Oath has offered me, and share in my excitement as we get closer and closer to the continuation of the Locked Within Trilogy.

Sep 25, 2013

Taking Sides Sample

Earlier this month, I announced the release of Taking Sides: Cynthia, a short story set between Locked Within and Silent Oath.

Today I'm posting an excerpt, to give you a taste of what's been happening to Cynthia since her experiences in Locked Within.
----------------------
Cynthia Keller sat in her car, listening to  the rain hammer down on the windscreen. She checked her watch. Five minutes late. Typical.

Give him a break. It had been so hard for him. Not that she’d come through unscathed, but at least she had her job and her home. 

A dull ache had been growing deep inside her leg for the last hour. It had spread from her femur through her knee and shin, up into her hip. Enough was enough. She searched her purse for her pills. Her hand passed over her  revolver and lay on the handle for a moment. The cold  metal was comforting.

She grabbed the first bottle she found and grimaced. They weren’t her painkillers, they were the ones that were supposed to help her sleep. The first night she took them she had awful nightmares, but she couldn’t wake up. Her neighbours asked her, the following morning, if she was all right. They’d heard her screaming. She hadn’t taken them since, but liked knowing they were there. The same applied to the anxiety pills. She rarely took them anymore, but it was good having them to hand, just in case. 

The painkillers were long, plastic-coated things in red and white capsules. She took them with some water and closed her eyes while they did their work, diverting her mind from the oncoming pain and providing an added sense of calm.

Her phone vibrated in her bag and she fished it out. Laura’s name appeared on the screen.

“Hey,” Cynthia said, followed by an awkward silence.

Available now for Kindle

Sep 23, 2013

Silent Oath Soundtrack: End Credits

We come to the end of my Silent Oath Soundtrack series. I hope you've enjoyed listening to these tracks as much as I valued the inspiration and motivation they provided.

Before I give you the final piece, I'd like to invite you all to share what songs and instrumental pieces you feel captures Nathan Shepherd, his world, his friends, his enemies, and his story. I love learning how others read into my work, so I'd be delighted to hear from you guys on this.

This final piece is another repeat from last year. At the end of the book, when all has been done, despite his new scars, Nathan still has to get back up and keep fighting. As his dad said to him, "You'll always have New York," and that means New Yorks needs him. Nathan can't let his city down. No matter how hard the struggle, he has to keep going, as the city's protector. Only this time, hopefully, he won't have to do it alone.


Sep 20, 2013

Silent Oath Soundtrack: Heroic Moments

For those of you coming to the Silent Oath Book Launch, there have been some changes to the venue and the format. Check out my updated details here.

The Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy of Silent Oath is picking up steam. You can check it out here.

Nathan Shepherd is a hero. This is because I write books about heroes doing heroic things and defeating evil villains. Every hero needs heroic music to back them up, and Nathan is no exception.

I used two tracks, primarily, to keep myself focused for the action scenes where Nathan needed to be at his best.


Many of you will remember this one. I posted it last year for the Locked Within soundtrack series. This is still Nathan's heroic theme, the track I use to gird myself for his "save the day" moments.


This is such a rousing piece, by the amazing Jeremy Soule. Composed for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, even without the lyric translation, you can feel the building emotion and power behind it. I listened to this piece, obsessively, while fine-tuning the final climactic scene of Silent Oath. It was perfect for the kind of desperate, brutal conflict I was writing.

Sep 18, 2013

Silent Oath Soundtrack: Unbroken

This is a busy week! I have two bits of news.

First, Silent Oath is now available for Kindle! If the wait for the print edition is too long, you can grab it right now at a special low introductory price.

And as if that wasn't enough, I've listed a Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy once the print edition is released. Just click on to enter and be in with a chance.

And now, on with today's soundtrack.

With every book, I pick a single song which becomes my primary motivator, the book's theme song, so to speak. This is the song I listen to at the start of every writing session, in the mornings when I'm off to work, and in the evening to keep my mind focused.



This song, from the Avengers soundtrack, perfectly captured what I wanted for Silent Oath. This book sees Nathan face his most dangerous adversary, and discover threats he never knew existed. The odds stack against him with each turn of the page.

But he's not alone. He has his friends. Cynthia and Cadence return to help. He recruits new allies to join his fight against the Council of Chains. Most importantly, Elena deSantis, the reincarnation of a lost lover, joins him and together they discover new strengths. If they stand together, they can save New York.

Sep 16, 2013

Silent Oath Soundtrack: Santa Fe

I love westerns. I can't get enough of the pseudo-mythological themes to most of the best westerns, the idea of the West as this last bastion of heroes and legend. While not to everyone's tastes, two of my favourites are Young Guns and Young Guns II. The soundtrack album for the second movie was put together by Jon Bon Jovi.


The songs on the Blaze of Glory album where some of the first to tear into my heart as a child. Perhaps because of my love for the movies. Perhaps because of the stunning lyrics. Either way, they have a special place in my heart.

In particular, this song, Santa Fe, tells of a gunslinger looking back at his sins and resigning himself to either damnation, giving one last plea to his maker, not for forgiveness, but to be allowed to live, since he sees his only choices are to go to Hell or live forever.

I'll leave you to discover how this song relates to Nathan, as he deals his nemesis, and remembers the things he has seen and suffered in a newly-remembered lifetime; his most recent life before his current incarnation.

Sep 12, 2013

Silent Oath Soundtrack: If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)

Next up on the Silent Oath Soundtrack, we have the following track from Bonnie Tyler.


More cheese, and a bit tongue in cheek given that this series is about reincarnation and both Nathan and Elena have had at least one lifetime as lovers with opposite genders to their current ones.

But I think this song does express the conflict they feel. They're meeting each other after decades apart, decades in which they've lived their own separate lives. How would you handle that? How would you cope with jealousy over other lovers from before you both found each other again? What about unresolved problems from your previous life? What if your lives have made you so different that you're not sure you can make it work in this lifetime?

Nathan and Elena may have been lovers before, but that doesn't mean the road ahead will be easy, or even all that clear. There are things they have done, and more choices to come, that they'll have to overcome if they stand a chance of being together again.

Sep 10, 2013

Silent Oath Soundtrack: All Coming Back To Me Now

Welcome to the first post in the Silent Oath Soundtrack series. These posts will take us through most of September, letting me share the music that inspired and motivated me to write key scenes and themes for Nathan's latest adventure.



I know it's a bit cheesy, but I love this song. It has obvious parallels to Nathan and his new love interest, Elena. It speaks of memories, allowing two lovers to almost rediscover each other, but with a bitter tone that suggests a painful rift between them. The song asks whether the two can be together, but never provides an answer. The fact that Meat Loaf's cover version features both male and female voices singing to each other seals it in my mind.

This is Nathan and Elena's song for this book, hands down.

Sep 5, 2013

The Book That Wasn't

Without spoiling anything for Silent Oath, the book you will read is not the same as the book I originally wrote.

Anyone who follows me online, or has read my bio, knows that my wife and I lost our first child, Conor, when he was three days old. It was a painful time, and the months leading up to it were stressful because in the back of our minds we knew there was a possibility that he wouldn't survive. Everyone, from our friends to our relatives, coped in their own way. I coped by writing. Losing myself in writing, to be exact.

I worked on two novels around this time. One was a young adult story about a boy cursed to turn into a monster every night. I haven't finished that one yet, and will likely come back to it down the road. The other was the sequel to Locked Within, which went through a number of title changes. Unlike Locked Within, and whether due to never having written a sequel before, or the emotional state I was in, I was never fully clear on what this book was supposed to be about.

Like me, Nathan ended up in a muddled state. He tried to shoulder his burdens alone, pushing away attempts to help, and generally being a bit of a self-righteous jerk :-) This was a story about a man who needed help, but wouldn't take it, even when he was in serious trouble. At face value, not a terrible basis for a novel. That is, if it hadn't been for me validating his decision at every turn by turning Nathan Shepherd from a strong, but vulnerable, man, still human and fallible despite his strengths, into a grim vigilante who was always right and always able to come out on top. The story lacked focus and heart. I set aside the characters who helped bring out Nathan's humanity and decency, replacing them with people for him to beat up.

It was, perhaps, a cathartic exercise. It helped me expunge all these negative feelings. And besides, I figured, it was just the second book out of a 6-book series. I could allow it to be weak and less character-driven, surely?

No, of course I couldn't. A bad second novel could have been the end of my career. Certainly the end of Nathan's story. No reader is going to keep reading a series if they just feel "meh" about the story and the characters.

It was Allie, the submissions editor at WiDo, who was finally able to make me see what needed to be done. Her simple suggestion, to combine this second book with my ideas for the third, got me really thinking, analysing what I'd written for the first time. Faced with this re-write, I realised that what I'd written was far from my best work. It wouldn't cut it. So I sat down and went to work. Again, I dived right in. I worked every spare moment to complete the revised manuscript, all while in the middle of preparing for the release of Locked Within. But this time I made sure to keep my head above water and really think about how the story fit into the grand scheme.

The 6-book series became a trilogy, one where Nathan's arch nemesis and his love interest would both be introduced in the second book, the perfect time to shift focus. I didn't just have a new book, I had a plan. Locked Within introduced the setting, the city in need of a saviour, and Nathan himself as the hero. Silent Oath evolves from that, introducing more allies, more reasons for Nathan to fight, and reveals the true enemy, the one who will test the limits of Nathan's every strength.

To find out more, and see what trials are to come, you'll have to wait a little longer.

Sep 3, 2013

The Road So Far


Supernatural fans will get the reference ;-)

Here we are, just over a month away from the next chapter in Nathan Shepherd's story. Where to begin preparing for this? With Locked Within, I had 20 years of hopes and dreams fulfilled and all that emotion just rushed from me in every post. This time it's different. Not any less exciting, but I'm much more aware of what's to follow once the book is released. There's still a lot of work to do just for Silent Oath, not to mention getting ready to conclude the series with the third book.

So how did I get here?

It's all Nathan's fault. I swear. The moment he went snooping around those murder scenes in a dark alley in Manhattan, he, and I, were doomed. He opened a door into a new world that would change the both of us forever.

You see, like Nathan, I learned something about myself when I discovered the world of writing. Much as Nathan can't stop fighting, no matter what toll it takes on him and the people he cares about, I can't stop, either. Granted, I hope to balance my work and my personal life a little better than Nathan, but then, I don't have to deal with vampires and ancient gods every day.

By the time Silent Oath is out, it will have been about 11 months since the release of Locked Within. By this stage in my preparations last year, I was caught between the thrill of my first release and the stress of trying to get the bookstore to order stock in time for the launch. I was looking forward to my first time at Octocon, Ireland's sci-fi and fantasy convention, at which I met the wonderful Ruth Long, who'll be officially launching Silent Oath for me. I, honestly, had no idea how much more work lay ahead and how my own series would change beyond what I'd imagined.

You see, Silent Oath is not the book I originally planned as the sequel to Locked Within. And it certainly wasn't going to be the mid-point in a trilogy. I'll talk a bit more about that next time, but seeing how I was able to make the book stronger, when faced with the terrifying prospect of a re-write, has made me stronger, both as a writer and as a person.

It's been a hard road. I don't talk about all the low points I've felt on this journey, or the things I look back on with regret. I try to keep my public profile positive, because I believe that brings more positive things into my life. And really, there's enough negativity out in the world. I would rather share my joys than my sorrows.

That said, I've come through many fears and challenges to get to this point. Despite all I've been through, I still get scared. Whereas Locked Within was the realisation of a lifelong dream, Silent Oath is me throwing down the gauntlet. I've made my dream come true, and now I want more. I want this to be my career. I want to get up in the morning and know that my two jobs are to look after my kids and to write great books. I don't want to be a flash in the pan, and fade from peoples' thoughts. I may have to accept a career on a slow burn, but I'll take a slow burn that lasts and lasts over a burst of success, then nothing.

Whatever it takes, I will keep writing, keep telling these stories. Silent Oath is my way of declaring that I'm here to stay, and I hope everyone enjoys what I've got in store.

Aug 31, 2013

Taking Sides: Cynthia - Silent Oath prequel

Out now, as a special ebook exclusive, is Taking Sides: Cynthia. This short story, set between Locked Within and Silent Oath, deals with Cynthia Keller's recovery from her injuries at the hands of Eli, and her decision whether or not to join Nathan in his fight against the Council of Chains.



It's available now from Amazon, for Kindle.


Aug 29, 2013

This Is It!

First up, yesterday we had our 20-week scan and our little Hiccup (current baby nickname) is huge and healthy! Like our other children, this one is being difficult and not letting us see its gender. This becomes harder to determine from this point on, so there's a good chance we won't get to know until it's born.

Second, the Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy of Locked Within is over, and the winner is Christi Johnson, in Wyoming. I'll post your book to you this week. 875 people entered the giveaway over the course of this month, an amazing amount that completely surpasses my expectations. Hopefully those who didn't win will pick up copies of their own.

Now down to business.

This is where it gets serious, folks. We are just over a month away from the release of Silent Oath, the second book of the Locked Within Trilogy. I am so beyond excited, you guys. Starting next week, I will be posting exclusively about the new book, sharing the ups and downs, my inspirations and frustrations, what's changed from what I originally imagined and what's stayed the same, and hinting at where the story may go from here.

I'll also be posting my October blog tour schedule and answering questions from readers, so if there's anything you'd like to ask me about Nathan and his world, or things you'd like to say, opinions you want to share, let me know!

To get us ready, here's a bit of music I think Nathan would appreciate, which happens to be the song I was listening to back when I first got the offer of a contract for Locked Within:


Aug 27, 2013

Final Preparations

We're nearly in September, when I'll be dedicating all of my blog posts to talking about the new Nathan Shepherd book, Silent Oath!

This is the final call for people who want to help out, whether by joining my Conclave street team, posting release-day announcements, or hosting me as part of my October blog tour. If you'd like to help out, you can reach me at pashortt@gmail.com.

I've started sending out e-mails to put together my tour schedule. I'm looking forward to kicking things into high gear!

Also remember, tomorrow is the end of the Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy of Locked Within!

Aug 22, 2013

Friends

I'm lucky to have wonderful friends in my life. It wasn't always that way. I don't do well in large groups, especially if it's a large group of new people. I'm much more comfortable in smaller gatherings. When I was in school, I didn't have many friends. It was only really once I went to college that I came out of my shell, and became the person I am today.

As you know, it was my birthday earlier this week. I count it among the gifts I received that this past weekend I got to spend time with a very old friend from those college days, who before Saturday I hadn't seen (in person, at least) for 13 years. It's strange, I know, that people can drift apart for so long, and still mean so much to each other when they meet again. I thank the modern age. If not for the internet, we wouldn't have gotten back in touch, or shared stories of what happened to us since we used to hang out. We certainly wouldn't have shared our writing hopes and dreams, and for myself, I sincerely doubt I would have finished my first novel without her help.

It's often said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. I believe this. I think there's not enough emphasis on the importance of friendship in our lives. Even in books and movies, you see moral tales of the importance of blood family and romantic relationships far more than stories about friendship.

I think my love of friendship shows in my writing. My characters tend to come from small immediate families, like myself, and so their fellow characters are not usually relatives. They suffer and triumph together, and that builds a bond.

But there are times when we can't be with our friends as often as we'd like. Responsibilities, money, travel, all these things demand time from us and we sometimes struggle to see the people we most want to. A true friend is one who'll be there, even after years apart, and still enjoy reading an e-mail, getting a phone call, or chatting online. Someone you can pick up with, right where you left off, and just fit into a comfortable place where you enjoy each other's company, no matter what you're doing. True friendship survives, and thrives. It changes you, helps you grow. And you know, no matter how hard it is to say goodbye, that you will meet again.

This is for all of my friends, especially those of you I don't get to see as often. If the measure of a man is his friends, I am blessed.


Aug 20, 2013

Accomplishments

It's said, that when Julius Caesar encountered a statue of Alexander the Great in 63 BC, he wept, because at the age of 30, what he had achieved was insignificant next to Alexander's triumphs at the same age.

Well, not to speak ill of Caesar, but I'd rather take another view.

Today I am 33 years old. I haven't conquered nations or redefined history. I've married my college girlfriend. Become father to three children, and in a few months will be father of our fourth. I've written three novels, the second of which will be released very soon, and started on a new series that will take me into whole new adventures in publishing. I've travelled to different countries and made friends from all over the world. I've lost some, held on to others, and regained some, too.

And all I can think of today, is how thankful I am, not just for all I've done, but for how much more I have yet to do. I'm at the start of a new journey. Every day I work towards new goals. They say life begins at 40. Wrong. Life begins right now. Right here. Don't let the hard parts get you down, or look back on your life so far and think you've given all you have to give. There is always more to see and learn, more to explore. From as grand an adventure as travelling to a far off country, or as simple and fulfilling as sharing a drink with a friend you haven't seen in a long time.

It doesn't matter how young or old you are. Or what you've done or failed to do. Who you've hurt, who you've loved, who you've lost. Life is always, not just yesterday. For my birthday this year, I'd ask you all to join me in spirit, and be thankful for all the things we have done.

And all the things yet to do.

Aug 15, 2013

What an Author Promotes

I believe all art is an expression of the artist's belief. What you see on the page, canvas, or screen, or hear from a piece of music, is a piece of the artist's inner self coming through in a form that they have crafted to enlighten, educate, or entertain.

So when I see certain behaviour rewarded in a book, I often wonder if this means the author believes such behaviour should be rewarded in real life. In other words, is there a moral agenda that the author is, intentionally or subconsciously, promoting?

An article posted by the Chicago Tribune the other day confirms that the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey is indeed that of an emotionally-abusive man and his victim. Anastacia Steele conforms to the expected behaviour of a woman who is afraid of her partner, changing her behaviour, lying to him about her whereabouts and who she sees, in order to avoid making him angry at her.

So that makes me wonder, was EL James aware of the behaviour she was depicting? Did she realise that her heroine was displaying signs of an abuse victim, rather than acting like a woman in a passionate romance?

This issue has been on my mind, because in the new series I've begun writing, I am using a female protagonist for the first time, and intentionally dealing with issues such as sexism and patriarchy. Because this is a departure from Nathan Shepherd, who was an easy character to write, I'm conscious of my need to be aware of how I present my heroine. How I challenge her. How I reward her.

Should an author be expected to acknowledge when their characters are rewarded for negative behaviour? Should they condemn their characters for it? Are they responsible, even if unaware of the negative behaviour they're promoting, and should they make an effort to be aware of all the possible interpretations of their work?

Aug 13, 2013

8 Months Old

First order of business, the ARCs for Silent Oath are all spoken for. I'll send them out as soon as they're ready. If anyone is interested in obtaining a review copy after the release date, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

Today Amy and Erica are 8 months old. Hard to believe how small they used to be. Once, I could carry them both in my arms with no trouble. Now, I have to be careful of my back just lifting one of them up.

This last weekend we took them on an adventure to Marlay Park, to find the Fairy Tree. It was a lovely, sunny Sunday, and we set out in the morning. We found the tree, read the notes and wishes left behind by other visitors, mostly young children but some teenagers and adults too, judging by the things being wished for.

We left milk and honey, poured onto a dried leaf and left at the base of the tree.


Aug 8, 2013

Launch Preparations

I have some great news!

The fantastic Ruth Frances Long has agreed to officially launch Silent Oath at the book launch this October.

Ruth and I met at Octocon last year and sat on a number of panels together. She helped me feel right at home among my new peers and we shared some excellent discussions throughout the weekend.

It's wonderful to have an established author launch my new book. I made a big deal of Locked Within coming out last year, and how incredible it felt to have my favourite college lecturer not only launch the book, but also give a mini-lecture about the book's themes and meaning. This year I want to make just as big a deal, if not more so, about Silent Oath. In my opinion it's an improvement on the first, as my own writing has grown stronger and it brings Nathan's story to a higher level of tension and importance.

Remember, there's a Facebook event set up for the book launch. If you'd like to come, stop by and add yourself, it's open to all!

Aug 6, 2013

Silent Oath ARC Giveaway

Who wants a free book?

I should have the advanced retail copies (ARCs) of Silent Oath about a week before the book officially goes on sale. These are so that I can provide early copies to people in exchange for reviews on blogs, Amazon, and Goodreads.


If you'd like to be in with a chance to read the next installment of Nathan Shepherd's story before anyone else, here's what you have to do:

1: E-mail me at pashortt@gmail.com with the subject line "Silent Oath ARC" and ask for a copy.
2: Once you've read it, post a rating and review on your blog, on Amazon, or on Goodreads (or all three!)
or
3: If you're a published author, and you enjoy the book, send me an endorsement blurb I can use for promotional purposes.

The first 10 people* to ask for a copy and promise to post a review will receive their copies as soon as I have them. I'll update here and on Twitter and Facebook when the 10 have been selected.

That's it. All reviews should be completely honest. I'm not asking people to say they loved it if they didn't. Honesty and sincerity all the way, folks.

*Loose figure. If like, only 11 people ask, I'm not gonna leave one person without a copy ;-)

Aug 1, 2013

Locked Within Goodreads Giveaway

As part of the build-up to the release of my second novel, Silent Oath, I am holding a Goodreads Giveaway for a signed copy of the first book in the trilogy, Locked Within.


This is the perfect chance to get in on Nathan Shepherd's story from the beginning, and ready yourself for the next installment. Whether you, or a friend, have not yet read it, or you already have and just want a signed copy, head over to Goodreads and enter.

The giveaway will be open until August 28th, and I'll announce the winner here the following day.

Jul 31, 2013

Silent Oath Cover Reveal!

Here's a bonus blog post for you guys, the cover for Silent Oath! I swear, my jaw dropped the moment I first saw it. It's like the designer read my mind. Only a few days before I saw it, I was saying to Jen how it would be awesome if they put Elena on the cover in the same style as Nathan on Locked Within. I love how it establishes a consistent theme for the series. Couldn't be happier with it.


Hope has returned to New York City. Nathan Shepherd leads a small band of dedicated fighters against the Council of Chains and the city's supernatural masters. But it's not enough. Because from the shadows of Nathan's former lives comes an old enemy, one who knows terrible secrets that Nathan has not yet remembered, secrets that could undo everything he has fought for.

Nathan's only chance to uncover the memories of his previous existence, and to conquer these new forces of evil, lies in Elena DeSantis. A woman he has fought beside in past lifetimes. A woman he has loved.

Together, Nathan and Elena are the only future their city has.

Incidentally, Silent Oath is now also up on Goodreads, so you can add it to your shelves, and it should be available for pre-order on Amazon in a couple of days.

Jul 30, 2013

Silent Oath Street Team

I have created a Facebook group for the Silent Oath Street Team, and I'm recruiting. Members will be responsible for sharing my updates about Silent Oath as we draw closer to the release date. So, if you use Twitter, you would have to re-tweet my posts, or tweet links to my blog updates. If you have a blog yourself, you'll need to share cover reveals, countdowns, reviews, etc.

Members will also be responsible for asking local bookstores to stock copies of Locked Within and Silent Oath if they don't already, as well as generally promoting the series whenever you can.

It'll be pretty informal, and I don't expect everyone to be able to help with every kind of update. Though one thing I will ask is that members are completely open about being affiliated with me. Whether you're a regular on a particular forum or dealing with a bookstore, let people know that you're speaking on my behalf, and feel free to direct people here if they want more information or to contact me.

If you'd like to help out, head over to the Facebook group and ask to join. If you're not on Facebook and would like to help anyway, let me know here and I'll be sure to pass on whatever updates I need you to share.

Jul 25, 2013

Silent Oath Blog Tour

For those of you who live in Ireland or may be in the country at the time, I have scheduled the book launch for Silent Oath. It will take place in Dubray Books on Grafton Street, in Dublin, on October 17th, and all are welcome!

Today's post is a call-out for volunteers to host me on the Silent Oath blog tour. The tour will run for the month of October and include multiple stops along the way. Some have volunteered already and I have your details on file. But if you haven't yet, or you have a certain date in mind for when you'll be able to host me, please let me know. In particular, if there are certain things you'd like me to write about, whether your bog has a specific focus, or you do author interviews, let me know and I'll make sure to provide an appropriate post.

My blog tour last year was a lot of fun, and I got to share so much about my writing and Nathan Shepherd's world. In Silent Oath I reveal much more about Nathan and his past lives, and I introduce his most dangerous enemy yet; a man who has hunted him and his lost love throughout their lifetimes.

I'm also looking for people who can post release day announcements on their blogs on October 8th.

If you can help out, I'd love to hear from you!

Jul 23, 2013

Two and a half months

That's how long until Silent Oath is released.

It's getting close to that hectic time when the normal slow pace of bring a writer jumps to warp speed. Things start happening so fast you don't realise how quickly time is moving on until you wake up one morning and realise there's a book out there with your name on the cover, and people are paying to read it!

Soon I'll receive my ARCs and get to see my new cover. I'll have to send in my dedication and acknowledgements. It'll start to feel real.

I was worried I wouldn't be as excited this time. Everyone's nervous and excited the first time they earn an achievement or try something new. All too often, the thrill can be just a novelty that fades a little the next time. But I'm feeling that little knot in the pit of my stomach. My heart beats faster thinking about what I have left to prepare. I wonder what people will think? Will it be successful? Will it encourage new people to read my books, or will it mostly only be read by people who picked up Locked Within last year?

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be planning my promotion for Silent Oath, including getting back to volunteers for street team duties and early reviews. I'll be preparing blog posts discussing the new book, how writing it differed from writing the first one, and how I feel about the way Nathan Shepherd's story has evolved over time.

If there's anything anyone would like to see me discuss in relation to the book, or questions you'd like to ask, now's the time to let me know.

Jul 18, 2013

In Which I Rave About Fate Core

I'm not a massive Kickstarter person. I only back the odd project and typically only ones by companies I've already dealt with somehow.

A while ago I backed Evil Hat's Kickstarter for Fate Core, and my copy arrived the other week.


This book is so pretty, you guys. It's a wonderfully compact size with a gorgeous blue cover with a matte finish. The artwork is all new and the interior layout makes everything so easy to follow and understand.

As a fan of the Fate system, I'm thrilled to see it presented so cleanly. There are lots of subtle changes and clarifications to make the system easier to understand and explain. I think my favourite adjustment is that Evil Hat have provided the single best description of Aspects I've ever seen. They are the reasons we should be interested in your character.

Wow. So simple.

That's something you can apply to so much. Not just any tabletop game, but also to writing. Every character should have several reasons why people would want to see more of their story. Without that, they'll never reach their full potential. It's not what a character can do or what they look like that sets them apart. It's the reasons we find their story compelling.

I like that the book is presented as a toolkit rather than a strict rulebook. You are given the pieces with which to create whatever game you want, leaving the grittier details like magic or superpowers to the players, and advising groups to decide for themselves what rules they want to take as written and what rules they want to tweak. I can imagine that really helping to give a particular game its own idenity, rather than, for example, just another fantasy game, but with the Fate system.

Included in the book is a Veterans' Guide at the back, where players with previous Fate experience can see what's new at a glance. Brilliant idea, and again, such a simple thing that makes things so much easier for players.

As a bonus, there was a high quality bookmark included which features, on one side, a concise, but complete, summary of the base rules of the game.

If you're a Fate fan, buy a copy. It's worth having for the rules clarifications alone, many of which I'm porting over to my Dresden Files campaign.

If you're new to Fate, check it out anyway, or pick up the streamlined Fate Accelerated Edition. If you're into games where the focus is on character development and narrative over XP and loot, you may find what you're looking for here.