Novel and two short stories now live on Amazon

So, Away With The Fae is now live on Amazon.

Long ago in the Ireland of 1882, Zylphia Flowers is on her way home through the forest, brimming with excitement, for on the morrow she is to elope to America with her secret fiance, Jack Lawton.
But unbeknownst to her, the king of the fae court is seeking a mortal maid with whom to seal the Great Compact between their races.
Zylphia is taken to the king’s realm and shown the delights of the royal court, enjoying the favour of Ruada, the king. This dangerous attraction results in Zylphia being ripped away from his royal presence and banished back to the mortal realm, a hundred years from when she was abducted.
Terrified and seemingly abandoned in 1982, Zylphia refuses to accept her fate and fights to return to Jack and the life that was stolen from her by the whims of the fae.

Also live is Wildfell’s Woe

Wildfell lives apart from other fae, far from court, in the untamed forests of his home. His life seems content until a lady of the court, Lalaoise, stumbles over his border seeking solace from her heartbreak.
Despite his suspicious nature, Wildfell quickly falls for her charms and thinks his solitary life is over, but alas, for Lalaoise’s heart is given to another.
This is a short story set in the world of Away With The Fae and contains mature scenes intended for readers of 18 years and over.

And Finvarra’s Fate

All the fae in Ireland know the tragic tale of Finvarra, greatest of all the fae kigs and his love for a mortal maid, Ciara.
His grief when she came to the end of her days drove him mad, sparking a futile war with the mortal world.
Here is the full tale of how the seeds of Finvarra’s fate were sown by pride and powerful magic.
This is a short story set in the same world as Away With The Fae.
Contains scenes of an adult nature suitable for readers over 18.

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Away With The Fae

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Away With The Fae will be published this week all going well.

I’ll be putting it, along with two short stories, Finvarra’s Fate and Wildfell’s Woe, into KU for at least 90 days to start with. After that I’ll probably go wide and see how that goes.

It feels great to have finally finished this project. I first had the idea in May 2015(!) and started writing it as an erotic paranormal series. Alas, but the characters and complexities forced me to expand my ambitions to writing a full length novel.

I can’t wait to get on with the next project which will either be my Roman novel (Rome and the Raven) or turning a short novella I have up on KDP already, Faerie Apocalypse, into a full length novel.

Decisions, decisions…

Full length novel completed yesterday!

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Finally.

I’ve completed a full length novel (approx 78k words in length) as of yesterday.

I knew I wasn’t far off getting it finished, but I was gob-smacked to find that yesterday was actually IT!

I have two other novellas dealing with minor characters in the main work to finish and then I’ll release them all into the wild and see how they do.

It’s up on Wattpad:

http://my.w.tt/UiNb/nrUkoucOLC

Wander over and let me know what you think…

Extract from current WIP

I’ve been working on something for a while now, a full length novel about a young woman who gets abducted by the Faerie Court on the eve of her elopement. First chapter below:

Kilmichael, West Cork, Ireland, June 21st 1882

Zylphia Flowers, the shipping agent’s daughter, was possessed of enough awareness to know the village of Kilmichael regarded her as little more than a guileless, plump flibbertigibbet. Some young ladies of a more sensitive disposition might have taken that as a slight, but never had Zylphia been more grateful for the village’s general indifference. Especially not now, nestled as she was in Jack Lawton’s arms, enjoying a rare, forbidden embrace.
‘Oh Jack,’ Zylphia murmured, ‘we don’t have long, I have to go, Father will be expecting me.’
Jack Lawton kissed her again, his mouth pressing against hers with insistent passion. He cradled her head, burying his fingers in her soft black curls as he embraced her.
‘I’ll let you go if I must for now, but by this time tomorrow,’ he breathed, ‘you’ll be mine, Zylphia Flowers, and I’ll be yours.’
A thrill of passion shot through her body at his words. Jack trailed soft kisses down her neck and Zylphia sighed with happiness, even as a tinge of worry wormed its way through her heart.
‘Tell me one more time, Jack,’ she said, ‘tell me it will all unfold as we’ve planned.’
Jack smiled, exuding confidence as he placed a sheaf of folded papers into Zylphia’s hands. They unfurled to reveal two steerage tickets for the steamship Adriatic, sailing the following morning from Queenstown to New York.
‘I got them this morning,’ said Jack, his eyes dancing with triumph.
The fare was stamped on the ticket, each one cost the princely sum of £4, about half a year’s wages for Jack.
‘The jewellery fetched a good price then?’ Zylphia asked.
‘Yes love,’ he confirmed, ‘more than we need, we’ll have enough for lodgings when we make port. Look, I got you your rail ticket to Queenstown as well. I’ll arrive before you, love, I’ll be there waiting for you on the quayside.’
Zylphia’s hands shook as she read and re-read the tickets in her hands. It was all really happening, she was going to New York with Jack tomorrow. Her heart felt fit to burst with excitement and no small amount of trepidation.
‘And we’ll get married on board, we’ll arrive there as Mr and Mrs Lawton,’ she breathed.
Jack cupped her face in his hands and looked deep into her eyes.
‘We will, love,’ he said, his voice strong and true, ‘we’ll do it all, a stóir, just as we’ve planned. I love you Zylphia, you mean the world to me.’
A soft rap on the door sounded and they broke their embrace with reluctance. Mrs Collins put her head around the door and gave then both a sympathetic smile. Lily, the post office cat, a sleek creature with fur of purest white, took the opportunity to slide into the forbidden sitting room and meowed at Zylphia.
‘It’s getting on,’ said Mary, picking up the errant cat, ‘Zylphia has to be setting off for home soon.’
Jack gave her a grateful smile.
‘Thanks Mary,’ he said, ‘we wouldn’t be where we are without your kindness.’
‘Yes,’ added Zylphia, ‘we cannot thank you enough for offering us the sanctuary of your home.’
Mary Collins smiled in answer and closed the door on them, giving them a last moment of privacy together. They kissed once more and Jack held her tight, crushing her to him. Zylphia’s heart pounded like a drum as she revelled in his embrace.
‘Until tomorrow, love,’ he whispered, releasing her from his arms.
‘Tomorrow,’ Zylphia said, her heart still leaping in her chest, ‘I just wish…’
‘What, love?’
‘I just wish I could let Father know. I wish I could tell him how happy we are together and have his blessing,’ she said, giving voice to her heart’s deepest longings, ‘I wish we could stay here with our friends and not have to run away like criminals. In short, my love, I wish everything could be different.’
Jack gave her a sad smile that mirrored her own.
‘I wish that too, a stóir, God knows I do,’ he said, ‘before I set eyes on you, I’d never have dreamed I‘d be marrying a girl without her father’s permission and taking her so far away from her home. But you saw how he was when he only suspected a connection between us. If he were to discover our plans now…now that we’re so close to freedom…’
Jack’s voice trailed off and he stared helplessly at her. Zylphia could only nod agreement. He was right. Her father’s wrath when he’d caught them speaking outside the church after Mass had been a sight not soon forgotten. Only some very adroit interference by her best friend Bróna had prevented a most unseemly scene. She had stepped in and dropped several heavy hints that it was she in whom Jack was interested, thus allowing Zylphia to escape suspicion.
‘Alright,’ she whispered, ‘I’ll try not to waste any more time on wishing.’
Jack gave her a smile.
‘Despite everything against us, I wouldn’t change loving you, Zylphia,’ he said, ‘I wouldn’t change a single thing.’
The melancholy about her father lifted somewhat as Zylphia thrilled to Jack’s words. He always knew how to soothe her worries.
He handed her the light cotton shawl, helping her wrap it around her shoulders. Then with one lithe, well-practiced move, Jack exited the room via the window. Zylphia watched him as he made his way to the end of Mary’s back garden before hopping over the low stone wall and into the fields. When she was sure he’d made his escape unobserved, Zylphia shut the window and tucked her rail ticket into her bag before entering the narrow hall of the post office, her heart aflutter with excitement.
Mrs Collins and her daughter, Bróna, were awaiting her there and Zylphia’s joy turned to sorrow with rude abruptness.
Mary Collins and her daughter made a pretty picture. Mary was a well preserved woman for her age. Her hair still retained its deep reddish brown hue without a single strand of silver to mar it. Her face was pale and smooth with only a faint tracery of lines around her hazel eyes betraying her age.
Bróna was Zylphia’s age, almost twenty-one, and she was a beauty if ever there was one. Even now, the grief writ clear upon her face served only to emphasise her delicate blonde loveliness. Bróna took after her father, he too had blonde colouring and striking blue eyes. She was like a porcelain doll, so perfect in face and form was she. Her eyes glittered now with unshed tears and she clapped a hand to her mouth in a futile attempt to stifle a sob.
Zylphia bit back a sob of her own and hugged Bróna to her in a tight embrace. As they clung together for comfort, the true implications of what she and Jack were planning dawned on Zylphia. This could very well be the last time she would see her closest friend for many a long year. Then the horrible thought struck her that maybe she and Bróna would never see each other again. Tomorrow, Zylphia and Jack would be gone from the village. They’d have started their lengthy journey to America, a trip that most emigrants did not make twice. Bróna returned her embrace with one just as fervent, tears rolling down her cheeks.
‘Goodbye, Zylphia,’ she said, ‘I’ll miss you, promise me you’ll write to me, once you’re in New York.’
‘I will,’ she replied, ‘I promise.’
‘Come, Zylphia,’ said Mary, ‘we mustn’t delay, the hour grows late.’
‘Oh Mother, please may I go with ye?’ asked Bróna, turning to her mother, ‘please? I’m feeling so much better. Must we part here? ’
A strange look of regret mingled with something else crossed Mary’s face and she shook her head.
‘No love, I’m sorry, you’ve been ill and you need your rest,’ she said, ‘best ye say your goodbyes now.’
Reluctantly Zylphia and Bróna broke apart, tears flowing down their cheeks.
‘I’m so sorry I won’t be your bridesmaid next month,’ said Zylphia, ‘you’ll be a beautiful bride.’
Bróna sighed and wiped her eyes.
‘Just as you will be,’ she said, ‘Jack’s a lucky man, don’t let him forget it.’
‘I won’t,’ said Zylphia.
‘Hmm, well it’s one in the eye for that stuck up Fiona at any rate,’ said Bróna with a mischievous glint in her eyes, ‘she’ll be fair spittin’ that you landed Jack and not her!’
Zylphia tried to smile at her friend’s attempt at banter and turned away, but Bróna caught her arm.
‘Wait,’ she called to them as she ran up the stairs, ‘I’ll be back down before you know it, just wait, I have something for you.’
Mary blew a breath out in an impatient sigh and Zylphia cast her a pleading look.
‘Just a moment, Mary,’ she asked, ‘please.’
Bróna was true to her word and clattered back down the stairs holding an envelope which she thrust into Zylphia’s hands.
‘Open it,’ she said.
Zylphia did as she was bid and was rewarded when the envelope revealed a photograph of her, Bróna and Mary. They’d had the portrait done on a rare shopping trip to Cork a few months ago.
‘I’d forgotten all about this,’ she said, holding it with reverence.
‘Something to remember us by,’ said Bróna, her voice tremulous with feeling, ‘when you’re far away from home in America.’
‘Oh Bróna, I could never forget you, not even if I tried,’ said Zylphia, fighting back a fresh bout of tears, ‘thank you.’
They hugged again, Zylphia feeling the weight of their parting heavy on her heart.
‘We must leave, my dear Zylphia,’ said Mary, ‘we don’t want your father getting suspicious and ruining things, do we?’
Mary held out her hand and Zylphia clasped it just as Lily looked up at her and meowed. Zylphia reached down to give the little cat a final pat on her smooth silky head. As soon as she withdrew her hand, Lily trotted over to Bróna and sat by her feet looking up at her. Taking her cue, Bróna picked the little cat up and held her in her arms, tears dripping down her face and landing in the soft white fur. Zylphia waved at the pair of them and took Mary’s hand again. With a backward glance at Bróna, standing forlorn in the hall, they left the post office.
‘Compose yourself, Zylphia, my dear’ said Mary, pressing her hand in an attempt to comfort her, ‘we must appear as though nothing’s amiss.’
Zylphia brushed her tears away and tried to smile. They walked along the small village street heading for the forest path that led to Zylphia’s father’s house. With Mary’s help, Zylphia chatted and laughed as they left the village of Kilmichael and acted as though she hadn’t a care in the world. Jack would have made his own way home to his father’s farm by now. He and Zylphia would never be seen together in public and no suspicion would fall on his family after the morrow.
They travelled together on the forest way until they reached the crossroads where the path to Zylphia’s house branched off deeper into the oak trees. Here was where Zylphia and Mary Collins had to part for the last time.
‘Dear Mary,’ began Zylphia, ‘I don’t quite know what to say, you’ve been more a mother to me than a mere friend…’
‘Say nothing, my dear,’ said Mary with a shaky voice, ‘just write to me when you can. Let me know how you and Jack are getting on.’
Zylphia nodded.
‘I will Mary, I promise.’
‘Get home before dark, Zylphia, my dear one,’ said Mrs Collins, pressing her hands over Zylphia’s, ‘and remember, if you should see them, do not linger with the faerie folk.’
‘You always say that,’ replied Zylphia, with a light laugh, ‘and I have yet to see one, but I shall heed your advice if I ever do.’
‘Be on your way then, Zylphia,’ said Mary, ‘good luck and safe home!’
‘Good bye to you, Mary, and thank you for being my friend, thank you for everything!’
‘You’ll always have a friend in me, dear girl,’ Mary replied, ‘mind yourself!’

Aurian and Jin: A Love Story book review

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Don’t get me wrong, this is not a book review blog, but I am inspired to write a short review of a book I recently downloaded using my Kindle Unlimited subscription, namely Aurian and Jin: A Love Story by Emily Russell.
I am galloping into the last section of the book and I have been thoroughly entranced from the start. Most high fantasy books are LOTR clones or GoT imitators and can be very tiresome experiences indeed, but this book is a rare exception.
The main characters are introduced in a rather humble setting of a lonesome neglected wayside inn which is quickly enlivened by the arrival of a Bonedancer assassin called Vetiver, looking to put an end to Jin, Aurian’s wife of six months. After that, things get very complicated very fast.
I won’t ruin the voyage of discovery that is so well mapped out and realised by the author, but suffice it to say that neither Aurian or Jin are humdrum everyday people. It’s a literary cliché to say this in book reviews I know, but they are well drawn characters with human faults and who have made mistakes that make them so much more interesting than yet another ‘perfect’ elf or ‘subtle’ wizard.
To summarise, there are no clichés in this story and that’s why it’s so worth reading. Do yourself a favour and get a copy!

Extract from Faerie Apocalypse – Aidan’s Tale

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Newgrange, Co. Meath, Ireland

Close to midnight, December 21st 2012

The white stones of Newgrange glowed in the light of campfires and lanterns. In the starlit darkness, the great Neolithic passage tomb seemed monstrously huge, dwarfing the people that milled about on its surrounding fields. Enya and Clannad were the artists of choice tonight, one swirling mystical track following after another as the party went on.

Aidan O’Neill stood by one of the bigger fires enjoying the surging buzz of the magic mushrooms he’d choked down earlier. Harvested at the autumn equinox and dried by a man who knew what he was doing, they’d been billed as powerful little bombs of feel good fun. Admittedly, they tasted disgusting, but once he was past the initial nausea, they were certainly living up to their sales pitch. A deep sense of togetherness and euphoria was putting a huge grin on his face. Everyone he saw had the same happy golden aura surrounding them, their movements trailing gold sparkles in the air.

The Daoine Sídhe, over a thousand strong, were in a jubilant mood, having eaten and drunk well in celebration of the night that was in it. Many like Aidan had taken a hit of something mood altering. Those who couldn’t take the mushrooms, the authentic choice of their ancient Celtic forebears, had popped a few E’s instead. And everyone had smoked a massive amount of weed, the sweetish herbal smell thickened the air. There was a mood of happy disbelief about them, like they themselves couldn’t quite accept that their time had finally come. No one had overdone anything, nobody wanted to miss what was coming, the big event centuries in the making. Most were congregating in small fluid groups that broke up and reformed as people drifted in and out of conversation. A close knit group, everyone knew each other and all were quietly seething with excitement as the witching hour drew closer. Aidan felt like his insides would burst with joy and a deep sense of pride; to be at Newgrange on this solstice night as part of the Daoine Sídhe.

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Catherine Ryan Howard answers my self publishing questions #selfprintedsplash

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First a bit about the awesome Catherine Ryan Howard:

Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit http://www.catherineryanhoward.com for chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!

And now a bit about the third edition of SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING:
“SELF-PRINTED is my self-publishing bible. It taught me how to format, create and upload my e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. It showed me practical things such as how to build a website/blog and how to promote my books. More importantly, it taught me how to compete with the professionals. Just look at the results – The Estate Series has sold nearly 100,000 copies and following that I got a traditional book deal with Thomas & Mercer too, so I’m now a hybrid author. Jam-packed full of hints and tips all in one place, I’m always referring back to it. In a word, it’s priceless.” – Mel Sherratt, author of The Estate Series and DS Allie Shenton Series

Catherine very generously threw her blog open to self publishing questions, so I asked one:

Q:If you wrote a trilogy, would you release all three on the same day or space their release out to one every month (or other interval)?

And Catherine’s answer:

A: I would space them out at intervals of 6-12 weeks. Releasing them all at the same time wastes opportunities. Whenever you release a new book, you get to feature in ‘New and Future Releases’ on Amazon, and then there’s the KDP Select programme. Although it’s benefits have decreased, it’s still worthwhile if you’ve multiple titles. For instance, I’d release Book 1 and enroll it in KDP Select. Now it has to be exclusive to Amazon for at least 90 days. I might do my five free days to get the ball rolling. At the end of those 90 days (or 12 weeks ish), I’d release Book 2 and have my next set of five free days on Book 1, which I can do now that a new 90 days has started. Release book 3 in 90 days’ time and do the same thing – so for Books 2 and 3, Book 1 is free for five days at release, encouraging people to download and read Book 1 for free and pay for Books 1 and 2. Once you’ve built up a bit of momentum, un-enroll from KDP Select and go for wider distribution with Smashwords, etc.

I blogged about some other reasons why you shouldn’t release multiple titles simultaneously here:

http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/05/07/how-to-sell-self-published-books-one-at-a-time/

Thanks so much Catherine, for taking the time to answer my question. Best of luck with the third edition of SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING.

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I’ve been away

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I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated my blog. Just goes to show how life can run away with you at times.
I’ve been holidaying in the far north west of Ireland in Donegal, what a great place. The pace of life is so much slower there, no one’s in a rush and yet everything gets done. Fabulous food (venison pies, prawn and monkfish Thai skewers, oysters and sea food, yum!) and awesome beer (Kinnegar and Donegal Brewery) made for a lovely time overall.
So now.
I’m back and trying to revive the writing schedule. I have the second instalment of Faerie Apocalypse to get done before too long and I’m looking forward to writing it.
I’ve also arrived back from my holidays with a new idea to write about.
Whilst touring about the area, I happened across the creepiest house I’ve ever seen in Ireland. It was Gothic with steep roofs and decorated eaves, long narrow windows and two huge mouldering chimney stacks. It was utterly ruined of course, which only added to the Gothic air. It turns out to have belonged to the English landlord who lived there through the 19th century, until the Land Act of 1903 saw his holdings significantly reduced, and the place was abandoned.
I’m sure its walls could tell many a tale after having been around so long and seen Ireland go from an English colony to a republic. And so it has fired the imagination somewhat and I’ve been reading about those Castle Rackrent days to get a feel for how my ancestors might have viewed the place a hundred years ago when it was a functional dwelling, fascinating stuff.
And now enough procrastinating and back to Faerie Apocalypse – Aidan’s Tale.