Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Alpha's Concubine - Part Four Published!

Time for the penultimate instalment! Part four is all done and available to purchase on Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play, with other retailers to follow as usual.

Many mysteries await Netya as an apprentice to the seers. The demands of her mentor make her training a rigorous trial to endure, and with the alpha absent, she finds herself growing closer to Caspian as she seeks solace in the company of the understanding male.
Hearts are dangerous things to toy with, however, and as Netya's finally begins to settle on what it truly wants, so too do those of her admirers. Love may be calling her, but it cannot hope to blossom when vengeance and jealousy threaten to destroy everything she has ever cared for.

With the story almost complete, I've also decided to delay the final part just by a single week, pushing the release date back to May 16th, rather than the originally planned 9th of the month. The final segment is still on schedule to be finished up and ready to go in plenty of time, but in the interests of making sure I don't get interrupted by any unforeseen hiccups, I've decided to give myself a bit of extra breathing room to make sure nothing's rushed.
Stay tuned for the final instalment in mid May, to be followed by an announcement on my next upcoming project!

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Alpha's Concubine - Part Three Published!

Amazon took a while longer than usual to get this one through the system, but part three of The Alpha's Concubine is now up and available to purchase on Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play, with other retailers to follow as per usual!

Winter is upon the pack. The rift between the alpha and den mother runs deep, and Netya's voice is a small one between such powerful leaders. With no status of her own, there is little she can do but remain in her place at Khelt's side.
But as a new season dawns, and the great hunt draws near, there may be a chance for Netya to elevate herself in the eyes of the pack. A test of both strength and spirit awaits her, and it is one that Vaya has no intention of allowing the Sun girl to pass through unscathed.
The hunt may be a dangerous place for one of her kind, but the desires of Netya's own heart are equally challenging. Is love something that can be found as the alpha's consort? Or is there another to whom her heart is now being called?

Things are heating up a lot for Netya in this instalment of the series, and between you and me it's one of my favourites. Keep an eye out for part four on April 25th!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Alpha's Concubine - Parts One and Two Published!

It's finally here! After a few months of focused writing, the first two parts of the serialised version of The Alpha's Concubine are now available to purchase on Amazon (+Part Two), Smashwords (+Part Two), and Google Play (+Part Two), with other retailers to follow!

---

Taken from her people. Claimed by an alpha. Forced into a new life.
In a time before tools of metal and houses of wood, tooth and claw rule the wild places of the world.

The Moon People have been enemies to Netya's kind for as long as the stars can remember. They are monsters, demons, men and women who take the shapes of beasts. The murderers of her father.
An outsider taken as a prize by the pack, Netya must overcome suspicion, rivalry, and the division of her own heart, as she grows to realise that monsters wear many different faces.
Among the Moon People, she uncovers the potential of a life she never knew existed. The chance for a woman to become something more than a prize, or a mother, or a concubine. But as the alpha and others vie for her heart, the powerful huntress Vaya seeks to purge Netya from her pack.
Before Netya can decide where she belongs, she must endure the trials of love, hatred, and heartbreak. The girl taken as a trophy must become a woman.

---

With the majority of the novel already written, serial instalments will be coming along at a snappy pace, with one releasing every two weeks until the series is complete, and the standalone novel following some time after. Yet again I've run on waaay longer with this project than I originally intended, and the initial 100k word projection for the final length is now looking to end up closer to 160k. That's almost three times the length of the first novel I published two years ago.
With that said, I can already tell there's a whole lot more I want to do with The Alpha's Concubine beyond this initial story, to the point where notes and plans for the sequel are well under way.

Part Three arrives on April 11th!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Alpha's Concubine - Cover Reveal and Release Dates!

It's almost here! My current romantic/historical werewolf romp is nearing completion, and within just a few days the first two parts of the serialised version will be available to purchase!

Massive thanks to the wonderfully talented Ravven for creating the cover art for this novel. I'm thrilled with how it turned out, and I'll certainly be looking to grab her for future instalments in the series (as and when those happen!).

Taken from her people, claimed by an alpha, forced into a new life.

Netya's kind have been enemies to the Moon People for as long as the stars can remember. They are monsters, demons, men and women who take the shapes of beasts. The murderers of her father.
As an outsider taken as a prize by the pack, Netya must overcome suspicion, rivalry, and the division of her own heart, as she grows to realise that monsters wear many different faces.
Among the Moon People, she uncovers the potential of a life she never knew existed. The chance for a woman to become something more than a prize, or a mother, or a concubine. But as the alpha and others vie for her heart, the powerful huntress Vaya seeks to purge Netya from her pack.
Before Netya can decide where she belongs, she must endure the trials of love, hatred, and heartbreak. The girl taken as a trophy must become a woman.

Blurb pending last-minute tweaks!
The current release schedule for the serialised version of the novel is as follows:

March 28th - Parts 1&2

April 11th - Part 3

April 25th - Part 4

May 16th - Part 5

The release date for the complete novel is TBA, but I expect it to happen within a couple of months of the serialised version concluding!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Monthly Update!

Just checking in briefly this month to give a heads up on the new serial!
Writing progress has been excellent so far, and I already have the first two instalments (~55k words in total) finished, edited, and basically ready to go, with the third part half written as well. This means the finished word count is likely to wind up higher than I originally anticipated, but on the plus side the full novel is basically half done as this point.

While I did plan on releasing parts one and two in January, I've decided to hold off on that for the time being while I get a nice slick, professional cover commissioned and make even more headway with the remaining instalments. This means that, when I do begin publishing, each part of the serial will probably be released within a couple of weeks rather than a month plus after the last one.

I'm really enjoying this project so far, and as a writer I strongly feel that it's my best yet (although, that's how you feel about every novel you write!). Focusing on a setting and themes that I'm fiercely passionate about has been fantastic for me, and I'm looking forward to getting the finished story out there for people to enjoy.

In the interim of downtime between releases, I'm also hoping to finally get that pesky backlog finished up and publish complete editions of Wild Instincts and Broken Moon.
It's just hard to tear yourself away from writing new stuff when you're so into it!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Upcoming Novel/Serial: The Alpha's Concubine

It's been a while! But never fear, after getting through some backlog stuff I've been hard at work putting together my latest project, and it's now at a stage where I feel like sharing a few details!

The next serial novel I plan on releasing will be titled The Alpha's Concubine, with part one and two likely arriving at the same time at some point in January. There are a few things I'll be doing to streamline this project and hopefully provide both a smoother release schedule and a more satisfying experience for readers going forward, but for now release details are quite tentative as I work on actually getting the first half of the story written.

As I'm sure is implicit from the title, The Alpha's Concubine will focus on the same paranormal, romantic, and erotic themes as my last couple of serials, but there's going to be a few distinct differences this time around!

While drawing from the same loose werewolf canon I established in Wild Instincts and Broken Moon, this story will not feature any of the same characters, focusing instead on the life of a young woman named Netya, and set roughly at the end of history's neolithic period.
Netya's people have long been enemies to a rival tribe they know only as the Moon People; a mysterious group of shapeshifters said to be half-human half-beast. Captured, taken far from her home, and claimed by the alpha of the werewolf pack as his concubine, Netya undergoes a coming of age as she begins to realise that her place may not lie with her own kind after all.

I shan't spoil too much, but I feel like this kind of story is one that's been a long time in coming for me. Throughout Wild Instincts and Broken Moon I always found myself most engaged with the more tribal elements of the werewolf packs and how they lived. Lots of crackling fires, sleeping rough in the wilderness, hunting, cooking, survival, and, of course, plenty of lusty, primal sex!
These elements draw heavily from some of my personal favourite books as a reader, most notably The Clan of the Cave Bear, which was by far my biggest inspiration for this upcoming novel. By setting Alpha's Concubine in the distant past, it allows me to focus more on the things I'm most passionate about, and also avoid the (rather cumbersome, in my opinion) task of reconciling tribal werewolf packs with the modern world. I also get a bit more creative freedom when it comes to creating social structures and moral values for my characters, particularly in relation to things like gender roles.

Unlike my previous novels this one will be more long-term, likely taking place over several years rather than a few weeks/months. This also leaves plenty of room for a direct sequel, which I'm already giving some consideration to. Given that the protagonist Netya goes through something of a sexual awakening during the story, there will also be a lot more room to explore the erotic elements of the plot than there was in something like Broken Moon -- but without straying into the sex-for-the-sake-of-sex territory that Wild Instincts verged towards many times.
Sex and sexuality will be core themes linked to Netya's development as a character and a young woman, and an important (yet sizzling!) part of the narrative going forward.

The book will likely be released in 4-5 parts, ending at around 100k words in total. The perspective will be third person with Netya as the viewpoint character for the majority of the time, with occasional forays into the thoughts of the supporting cast.

Oh, and despite being the alpha's concubine, he isn't necessarily going to be the one who wins her heart at the end of the day~

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Diversity in Fiction, #Gamergate, and the Problem of Meta-Issues

Diversity in fiction is a topic I find continually fascinating in terms of how we approach it as both artists and consumers, particularly in a world where certain cultures, lifestyles, races, and even genders can be the source of controversy in the arts.
This is something that's been on my mind a lot lately with the emergence of the Gamergate controversy. For those who are unfamiliar with the latest buzz in the video gaming world, Gamergate is essentially a discussion revolving around corruption in gaming media, tying in strongly with concerns about the perception of misogyny and sexism within the industry.
While much of the most vocal Gamergate discussion consists, in my opinion, of very shallow and shortsighted views (on both sides of the debate), it has provided a lens through which to examine exactly why people feel so strongly about the topic of diversity in fiction, and what can or can't be done to address it.

The Gamergate controversy is largely centred around gender diversity within the gaming medium, but I would like to talk more about the broader picture of diversity (by which I mean; anything that differs from what we consider the "default") in the arts in general.

So, why is diversity a thing and why do people debate it? Well, in a very broad nutshell, it comes down to the idea of freedom of expression. I think most people would agree that more diverse casts of characters and broader arrays of topics in fiction are good things -- after all, nobody wants to keep reading the same story over and over again -- but contention arises when we start discussing how to make fiction more diverse than it already is. You may have noticed that I used the word "make" there, and that innocent little bit of phrasing is precisely what many people take issue with. Why should we have to make our work more diverse? Who are these people who want to make us do it, and why do they have the right to say what we should and shouldn't be including in our own stories? What if I have no interest in writing a story that involves gay characters, or a multi-ethnic cast, or with an equal balance of males and females?
Of course, nobody has the right to brow-beat artists into changing the nature of their work. The idea of filling a "diversity checklist" is incredibly offputting to many people, both fans and creators alike, and, when forced, it can often feel artificial and pandering (or even worse, lead to token characters and stereotypes that end up doing more harm than good).

But despite that, diversity is still an enriching part of fiction that should be encouraged and treasured. What hamstrings much of the discussion going on in #gamergate is the polarised opinions that topics of diversity should either be pushed on artists to make them change their storytelling, or that these topics should just go away and stop bothering people, leaving developers to keep on telling the same straight-white-male-centric stories for as long and in as great a volume as they want.

So what is the solution here? How do you appease the people who yearn for more diversity in their fiction without imposing pressure on creators to change their artistic vision?
As you can imagine, it's a moderate middle-ground. The reason a lot of content creators shy away from topics of diversity is quite simply because they lack (or think they lack) the experience to do them justice. They simply don't like to step out of their comfort zone, and focusing on making their work diverse is really not what they want to be pouring their energy into when they'd rather be mapping out a great plot or digging into the richness of a compelling character.
And how do you change that? You encourage the artist to stop feeling uncomfortable with topics of diversity.

I have never had any problem with including male, female, gay, straight, foreign or familiar characters in my work. They occur naturally, when and where I feel they are appropriate. I certainly don't hold myself up as a paragon of diversity in storytelling -- I'm sure just as many of my stories lack it as include it! -- but it's there, and it's not a big deal. I put this down to the simple fact that I've been lucky enough to grow up amongst all kinds of different people living different lifestyles, and I've never seen any of them as weird or different or uncomfortable more than they are familiar and similar to me. Once you start to realise that the person living next door to you has just as much potential to be strange and unfamiliar as someone living on the other side of the world, it becomes very easy to start understanding that cultural, ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity are often no more defining as characteristics than a person's job or the choice of clothing they wear.

You can't force people to make their work more diverse. You should not single out artists and point fingers at them for perpetuating the status quo. The status quo is nothing inherently right or wrong, nor does anyone need to be judged for adhering to it; because it is a meta-problem that exists independent of individual artists. When a thousand innocent attitudes converge to create a medium where women (or any other social group) are under represented, no single person should be blamed or made to feel bad for the nebulous collusion of ideas that have all naturally shifted towards one general focus.

All of us want more diversity. More natural, enriching, interesting diversity in our fiction. So have these discussions. Talk about atypical characters. Let artists get to know the rich collection of people who enjoy their work, and let them start to see how a character being straight, white and male doesn't always need to be the default template they start with. Don't approach them with accusations or ultimatums; just do your little bit to broaden their understanding. Because the only way fiction will become more diverse in a natural, meaningful way is if the artists behind it genuinely understand, appreciate, and, most importantly, want to include that diversity. It will start to happen without many of them even realising it. The unfamiliar will become the familiar, until one day artists across the world will be writing diverse stories without even thinking of them as being diverse.