Donation Change details

Having tried to donate my royalties from Contraband Hearts to BlackTrans.org, I could not get their website to allow me to give them money or to contact them to say the donate button didn’t work. And when I emailed them, the email bounced.

That’s not a hopeful sign. There being nothing else I can do to try to give them money, and in honour of Marsha P Johnson and Silvia Rivera, I have instead donated to Trans Women of Color Collective

In the absence of someone coming and telling me there’s something wrong with TWOCC, I will be donating my royalties from Contraband Hearts to them in future.

Contraband Hearts named one of PW’s Best Summer Reads

How awesome is this? Publisher’s Weekly has selected Contraband Hearts as one of its five best Summer Reads of 2018.

Summer Reads list available through Publisher’s Weekly

Best Summer Books, 2018

Well, that’s going on the front of the website 🙂

Contraband Hearts is out now

I should have done this yesterday, but I couldn’t access my website yesterday for some reason, so today it has to be.

After what seems like years and years, Contraband Hearts is out!

I know some of you have been waiting for a long time for me to write another age of sail book. Finally I’ve managed to deliver 🙂
 
His future depends on bringing the smuggler to justice. His heart demands to join him.

Customs officer Peregrine Dean is sent by his patron to investigate rumors of corruption in the Porthkennack customs house. There he is tasked by the local magistrate to bring down the villainous Tomas Quick, a smuggler with fingers in every pie in town. Fired with zeal and ambition, and struck to the core by his first glimpse of Tomas, Perry determines to stop at nothing until he has succeeded.

Tomas Quick is an honest thief—a criminal regarded by the town as their local Robin Hood. He’s also an arrogant man who relishes the challenge posed by someone as determined and intelligent as Perry. Both of them come to enjoy their cat-and-mouse rivalry a little too much.

But the eighteenth century is a perilous time for someone like Perry: a black man in England. Two have already disappeared from the wrecks of ships. Tomas and Perry must forsake their competition and learn to trust each other if they are to rescue them, or Perry may become the third victim.

NOTE: All profits from the sales of this book are donated to Black Trans Advocacy.

 
I’ve written five blog posts for the blog tour, and I don’t know myself which of the numerous websites they’ll be on. In an ironic twist, although my website seems to be okay today, Riptide’s is down for maintenance, so I can’t link you to the list of blog tour locations. And I didn’t make a note of them myself, so I can’t go and visit to reply to comments.

I think I’ve had more organized book releases!

However, if you would like to read the book, you can find it here:

 

“The Arising” free from today until Friday

Remember when I wrote a really long fantasy novel, set in 18th Century Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire, and then it was accepted for publication by Anglerfish Press, and they decided it was uneconomical to produce in one volume because it was over 400 pages long? So they produced it in two volumes – Sons of Devils and Angels of Istanbul. And people liked them very much but consistently said “This would have been better if it had not been cut in two. Cutting it in two messes with the pacing and also I really hate when a book ends in a cliffhanger.”

Well, I recently got the rights back, and I have just re-issued the story in a single volume, now called “The Arising,” available in ebook or in a stonking great paperback the size of a really respectable fantasy novel.

To celebrate, (and I freely admit, in the hopes of garnering a few reviews for the new edition), I’m offering the ebook for free from today (23rd of April) to Friday (27th April).

1742

Ten years ago, the island of Atlantis rose out of the sea, triggering mechanisms all over the world that made magic a genuine force once more. Now paranormal creatures are coming out of hiding and demanding their rights. In every country, scholars and scientists are scrambling to research and understand the occult so they can harness it safely. And all over the world, rulers and warlords are commissioning magical weapons they don’t understand and can’t control.

The Age of Enlightenment has become a race for dominance that human beings are no longer guaranteed to win. This is the perfect time for them to go to war with each other. Obviously.

~

This is a historical fantasy set in the 18th Century. Inspired by the first half of Dracula, in which a hapless young man travels to Romania and meets a fascinating nobleman, this adds magic and the excitement of the age of Enlightenment to the mix.

In order to save his lover from his vampire parents, Radu Vacarescu must let them loose on his country. In order to save his country from them, he must let them glut themselves on the Ottoman Empire. What on earth must he do to save the rest of the world?

If you like the sound of that, hop over to Amazon sometime before Friday this week and get it for free 🙂

Free Giveaway

To celebrate a combined Easter and my relaunch of my Riptide books, I thought I would run a giveaway. If you fancy getting Trowchester Blues for free, it is now available for a bargain price of absolutely zero on Amazon, and will be available for nothing until April the 4th.

GET IT HERE

Michael May is losing it. Long ago, he joined the Metropolitan Police to escape his father’s tyranny and protect people like himself. Now his father is dead, and he’s been fired for punching a suspect. Afraid of his own rage, he returns to Trowchester—and to his childhood home, with all its old fears and memories. When he meets a charming, bohemian bookshop owner who seems to like him, he clings tight.

Fintan Hulme is an honest man now. Five years ago, he retired from his work as a high class London fence and opened a bookshop. Then an old client brings him a stolen book too precious to turn away, and suddenly he’s dealing with arson and kidnapping, to say nothing of all the lies he has to tell his friends. Falling in love with an ex-cop with anger management issues is the last thing he should be doing.

Finn thinks Michael is incredibly sexy. Michael knows Finn is the only thing that still makes him smile. But in a relationship where cops and robbers are natural enemies, that might not be enough to save them.

~

“Finn’s belief that “if the heart is going to err… It’s surely always best to err on the side of love” underlies an entertaining,emotionally satisfying mix of intrigue, mourning, adventure, comedy, and romance.”Publishers Weekly review of Trowchester Blues

Cover Art update

I’ve spent the last week making new covers for most of my Riptide books, and now I want to show them off 🙂

The Trowchester Series now looks like this:

Blessed Isle now looks like this:

Which I’m particularly excited about because Garnet regards the whole story as a message in a bottle cast out onto the seas of time. So, yay for symbolism 😉

Sons of Devils and Angels of Istanbul now look like this

Which I feel makes it clearer that they are primarily historical Fantasy rather than romance. I was sad to part with my illustrated covers for these, but I thought they looked a little Young Adult, and might have been a bit confusing.

However, I have paid for my illustrated covers of Crimson Outlaw and Labyrinth because (a) I love them, and (b) there’s no way that I would find better depictions of 18th Century Romania or Minoan Crete in the desert of modernity that is stock photo sites.

So Crimson Outlaw and Labyrinth still look like this

The Riptide Situation

Uh… I thought I posted this on Monday, and now I find it in my drafts. Well, better late than never:

~

So, you’ve probably all heard about this already, because I waited for a week while I got my thoughts in order and had my rights returned to say anything publically about what’s been going on recently at Riptide.

To make a long story short, one of Riptide’s authors came forward to accuse them of racism and sexual harassment. Here’s the Guardian’s take on it:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/19/romance-so-white-publishers-grapple-with-race-issues

Following that author’s post, lots of other authors came forward to add their own complaints of having been treated badly because they were people of colour.

Riptide immediately made a public apology and a promise to restructure themselves in order to do better in future. As part of that effort, they offered to release rights to authors who wanted to withdraw their novels from the publishing house.

I accepted that offer, and I asked to have all my rights returned to me. The next day I received my rights back for Trowchester Blues, Blue Eyed Stranger, Blue Steel Chain, Blessed Isle, The Crimson Outlaw, Labyrinth, Sons of Devils and Angels of Istanbul.

I have already started the process of reformatting these for self publishing, and they should start being available again within the next couple of weeks.

However the Porthkennack universe is contractually the property of Riptide, and they did not offer me my rights back on the Porthkennack books, Foxglove Copse and Contraband Hearts. These will therefore remain available (or in the case of Contraband Hearts, will be published at the expected time and then remain available) at Riptide.

I am particularly embarrassed by Contraband Hearts. When I was writing it, before all of this came to light, I decided that–in support of diversity–one of my heroes would be a Black British man. I’m not embarrassed about that. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to do the best they can to produce diverse stories. But I do feel very guilty about the fact that while actual people of colour were being treated badly by my publisher, I–a white person–am profiting by releasing a book about a black hero.

Since I could not regain my rights to this book, I’ve decided that the only way I can avoid profiting from it would be to donate my royalties from both Foxglove Copse and Contraband Hearts to charity. So I will be passing on any earnings I get from these two books to charity in future.

Because transgender rights are particularly close to my heart, and because there has been a spate of anti-trans newspaper articles recently, I’ve decided to donate my future Riptide royalties to http://uktrans.info/

If you know of anything suggesting that I shouldn’t choose them, let me know! Galup, Mermaids and GenderedIntelligence are also on my list and I could change to one of them if required 🙂

Pride of Cygnus Five is out today!

This is a big and slightly complicated announcement, which I’ll break down into parts 😉

Firstly, as the title says, Pride of Cygnus Five is out today.

Once a penal colony of the Galaxy’s most hardened criminals, Cygnus 5 is now home to the hopeful, the lost, the rejects and the rebels of a system that have left them to die. In a battle for the colony’s survival, Aurora Campos—its defacto queen—awoke a doomsday machine left behind by the aliens who inhabited the world before her. Now the whole galaxy is at risk.

Aurora and her band of misfits must prevent the entire human race from being turned into dust. She must save her people from starvation, reunite with her kidnapped daughter and argue a planet into submission. The way her life has been going recently, it’s starting to look like a typical Monday.

If you’ve been following the series and you already have Lioness of Cygnus Five and Heart of Cygnus Five, in which our heroes got into this pickle, you can buy the concluding volume of the trilogy for $3.99

Pride of Cygnus Five for $3.99

 

ON THE OTHER HAND

I’ve also made a box set of the three volumes. (No box is actually involved, unfortunately.)

You can buy the box set for $5.99, so if you only have Lioness, or you don’t even have Lioness, but you know you like my writing and you’re willing to take a chance on a rare space opera featuring bisexual, lesbian and homoromantic asexual heroes, you can get all three at a bargain price under their own cover:

All three books for $5.99

 

Contraband Hearts cover art

I’m really happy to show this one off. I feel that I have reached peak Romance with this cover!

This is the cover of Contraband Hearts, my second book set in the shared world of the small town of Porthkennack in Cornwall. (Pronounced ‘porth-ken-nack’, in case you were wondering.)

It’s also a return to the Age of Sail for me. Cover art wise, I’ve got quite used to the difficulty there is with finding pictures of good looking young men in 18th Century costume–especially young black men–and my expectations were not high, but that just meant that I was to be comprehensively proved wrong.

Because I know the difficulty of finding period-appropriate photos, I would have been happy with anything. I would have been delighted with a guy wearing one of those poet-shirts which do for anything from steampunk to vampire to historical. But in fact what I got was Perry in an outfit I had actually described in the book, crimson suit, ruined-wig-replaced-with-a-neckerchief and all.

I should let it speak for itself, shouldn’t I? Here it is:

It’s just perfect 🙂 Doesn’t that say Poldark crossed with Treasure Island to you? (Not that I’ve ever watched Poldark, mind, but it’s what comes to my mind when I think of Cornish romance.)

The Banyan has Landed

In the final exciting installment of the saga, I have finished the banyan, except for the small detail of adding fasteners.

I ended yesterday with the inside assembled and the outside assembled too, but both pieces still separate. So today I laid them front side to front side and sewed them together along the inner edge and around the shoulders and neck.

Then, as threatened, I put it on, and enlisted DH to figure out exactly how much needed to be taken off the bottom before I could hem it. I wanted it long enough to keep my legs warm, but short enough not to get in the way when I walked. So I was going to be happy with anywhere between mid calf and upper ankle length.

If you fancy making one yourself, I am 5’5″. I don’t know what that is in meters, but out of three meters of fabric bought, I only ended up cutting off about three inches.

I then sewed the bottom together, leaving about a meter gap in the middle, which I then reached into and pulled the whole garment through so that it was now right-side out. Then I hand-sewed the gap together.

Now only the sleeves were unfinished. If you remember, I had cut them all the way to the selvage on both lots of material, which meant that the fur sleeves were much longer than the silk. So I turned them back on themselves and made them into fur cuffs.

The pattern suggested adding additional length for the sleeves, but I liked the fact that they ended at my elbow. That’s going to make typing in them a lot easier, not to mention doing the washing up. So I have left them elbow length.

Having tried it on, I don’t think I need to do anything to the collar. I can overlap it and if I buy some frog fasteners, I can fasten it like this.

And in the mean time the louchely draped open look is very authentic. Apologies for my face and slippers:

I ended up not doing the pleat at the back because I like that I can get a big jumper under it and still double it over in the front. If I end up losing a couple of stone on the diet I am currently on, I’ll reconsider the back pleat then, but that will be next year at the earliest.

Now, I have three inches of both kinds of fabric left. This probably means it needs a matching hat.

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