Wednesday, 20 December 2017

And so the year comes to an end…

It’s that time of the year again, time for retrospection. It has been a long year in many respects, but I’ve been happy with my year as an author-publisher. There were some highlights, like visiting WorldCon in August, and not so bad lowlights that they would pull the entire year down.

I began the year with a bang by publishing two P.I. Tracy Hayes books that I’d written back to back at the end of the previous year. It was an intensive writing period and after it my brain needed time to recharge. Not that I realised it at first. I tried to write both of my ongoing series, Two-Natured London and the next Tracy Hayes book, but both got stuck after a few chapters.

Instead of pushing doggedly on, I decided to write something completely different. I’ve had this idea of a book brewing at the back of my brain for a long time, and I gave it a try. The project occupied my time suitably for most of the summer, and the writing process was interesting, not least because I aimed at a longer book than what I usually write. I almost finished the book too, reaching the climax of the story before I ran out of words. Basically, something went wrong with the plot somewhere along the way, and until I’ve figured out what it is and fixed it, I can’t finish the book. So far, I haven’t done it.

But the side project worked its magic on my brain and I managed to start writing the next Two-Natured London book again. It was going well too, until I absolutely had to write the fourth Tracy Hayes book – my brain is weird that way. This time the stars aligned and it took less than a month to write it from the first chapter I’d managed in the spring. P.I. with the Eye came out in November and sold nicely enough for as long as the price was only $0.99. Now it’s slowed down a bit. But more important than the sales for me was the knowledge that I’d managed to see through one project this year from start to finish.

After the book was published, I didn’t instantly return to the sixth Two-Natured London book. Instead, I had an idea for a collection of Christmas stories set in the Two-Natured London world, and set out to write them. I’ve never been all that interested in writing short stories, but these I found easy and fun to write. In no time at all I had six stories that make a nice little book. Since I started the project so close to Christmas, it’s been a race with time to get them out before it, but I think I can make it.

The only lowlight of the year has been this blog that I haven’t managed to update with the same regularity than before. Mostly I’ve recapped the books I’ve read. It has been fun, but hasn’t provided enough posts. Still, all in all, the year has been good. Two books written and four published. The next book is well under way and will come out early next year. I can retire for the holidays and rest until the next year. Thank you for following my year and I hope to see you next year too.


How do vampires spend Christmas? My short story collection Moonlight, Magic and Mistletoes, a Two-Natured London Christmas Special has six short stories, all of them sweet, Christmassy and romantic. The opening story, Escape on a Moonless Night, is the longest and is set in in 1660s France. In it, we learn more about the past of the vampire lord Alexander Hamilton, the leader of the warriors of the Crimson Circle. He’s forced to flee after marriage negotiations turn sour, and he’s not fleeing alone. In other stories we meet old and new characters from the Two-Natured London books, and follow how vampires, humans, and shifters find love and Christmas magic in the unique two-natured way. I’ll add a link to the collection here the moment it comes out. Stay tuned. Until then, you can read the opening chapter here.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Reading recap: November

I had a great reading month in November with six books finished, and only one of them from my reading list. Two books by Max Gladstone and two by Gail Carriger, with Nalini Singh and J.D. Robb thrown in the mix.

The Craft Sequence series by Max Gladstone continues strong with Last First Snow that takes place twenty years before the events in Two Serpents Rise. The story is about the last effort of old gods of Dresediel Lex to defend themselves against the new craft rulers, namely the King in Red. The uprise is led by Temoc, the last priest of the old gods, and father of Caleb who was the main character in Two Serpents Rise. Temoc becomes a reluctant leader of an uprising of people of Skittersill that the developers want to claim. Unlike the earlier books, which were crime mysteries, the story reads kind of like an epic fantasy with a build-up to a final battle, only it takes place on one city square and is mostly fought on negotiating tables. We also get Temoc’s side of the story of how he ended up losing his son and why Caleb hates him, which was kind of bittersweet to follow, knowing the outcome. Temoc was already my favourite character in Two Serpents Rise, and he was my favourite here too. We also get to meet a much younger Elayne Kevarian who turns out to be a more interesting character than she appears in the other books. All in all, a great book.

Last First Snow by Max Gladstone

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger was a completely different beast. A shorter M/M romance between two of my favourite characters from her Parasol Protectorate series, werewolf alpha Biffy and his newly returned beta Randolph Lyall. The London pack has relocated to Greenwich with curious consequences: babies start showing up on their doorstep. Some hilarity ensures, all too soon sorted out to my tastes. Also the romance itself resolves pretty fast and easily, considering the two of them had been waiting for decades. But it was a wonderfully uplifting book and I enjoyed it greatly.

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

Naked in Death by J. D. Robb, the first book in her In Death series, was a bit of an impulse read after I found it cheap in a second hand bookshop. I’ve heard good things about the series, but I guess I should’ve started reading it back in the 90s when the series began. Now the futuristic world the book is set in feels dated and marred my enjoyment of the crime story. That too fell short. Some of her books written as Nora Roberts from that same time have had much better crime stories that kept me in their grips from start to finish. Also the love story between the main characters felt boring and I have no intention of reading through the twenty odd books the series has to see how it develops.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

The Sumage Solution by G. L. Carriger – i.e. Gail Carriger – starts her new adult urban fantasy series with a lot of sex, mostly of the same sex kind. It’s about a werewolf pack that relocates to San Francisco where they can be what they want, that is, openly gay. Set in present time, it sort of ties in with her Parasolverse world, and the differences are explained in the book. This new world has more mages and the love story is between one with daddy issues and a werewolf with issues with mages. Max was more complex and interesting of the two, though annoying at times, whereas Biff was more one dimensional. And the HEA felt like a happily for now, but since there will be more books in the series, well see how that’ll go. I’ll definitely be reading those too.

The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger

A must read the moment it came out was Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh. I love her two urban fantasy series, and the contemporary romance series of bad-boy rockers was good too, if not as captivating. Cherish Hard is a start of a new Hard Play series that ties with the Rock Kiss series and tells the story of Sailor Bishop, whose brother Gabriel was the main character in Rock Hard. Sailor is a gardener with great plans for the future. He meets Ísa, who has plans too – not to be overlooked by people she loves. It takes a while for them to have their plans align, and all of it is wonderful to read. I’m eagerly waiting for the next book.

Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Four Roads Cross, book 5 in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence series, returns to the place and people of the first book, Three Parts Dead. The city of Alt Coulumb is slowly becoming aware that their moon goddess Seril is still alive and that her gargoyle protectors are back too. Not everyone is happy, and the most upset of all are all the investors whose money depends on Kos Everburning, the main god and spouse of Seril. They force what is basically a huge stress test on the gods: should Kos lend soulstuff to save Seril, it would make him an unreliable investment and void all the millions of investments that rely on him, thus bankrupting Alt Coulumb. A complicated plot is needed to save the city and the gods. All characters from the first book are back, the craftswoman Tara Abernathy who is mostly responsible for saving the day, Abelard the monk-technician, Cat and Riz, and the gargoyles. Even Caleb makes an appearance. It’s a great book, made better now that I was more familiar with the world and the differences in governance and theology between the different parts. Made it easier to follow everything.

Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone

That was my reading in November. One more month to cover, but I can already tell that I didn’t manage to cover my reading list, as I deviated from it a lot. But I got some great books in their stead, so I’m not upset.


In other news, Tracy Hayes, P.I. with the Eye is now available on all platforms and as a paperback too. And since it took forever for it to show up on iBooks and B&N, I’m extending the opening sale with a week, so that those who prefer to shop there can have the book with only $0.99 too. The sale ends on Sunday, December 10. Dont miss.