Johnny Depp portrayed many of the typical writer stereotypes in The Secret Window

Dispelling Writer Sterotypes

Any job/profession/vocation has its own lore and stereotypes attached to it. Artists have paint in their hair, car mechanics are all men, scientists wear glasses, scientists are often mad. Writers are no exception, but I’m afraid I’m hear to dispel some of the most popular writer stereotypes out there.

We Eschew Technology

The first writer stereotype is that we’re antediluvian and eccentric, preferring to write everything with a beautiful fountain pen on scraps of paper that litter our homes and our pockets. But there’s plenty of us who are quite happy with a word processor and a smartphone. Fountain pens leak and scraps of paper go missing. And with writers flocking to networks like Twitter, I sometimes wonder how this stereotype is still alive.

We’re Loveably Untidy and Unkempt

Ah, those scraps of paper again. We leave them everywhere. Along with our socks and keys and other important things. Our minds are so busy, you see, we can’t remember things like our wallets or shaving or combing our hair. But we’re so terribly cute when we do it.

Nonsense. Yes, there’s plenty of us absent-minded writers (I’m one of them), but there’s nothing charming or loveable about it. We’re a complete pain in the rear and our loved ones are forever having to put up with our mess.

We Read Everything

Not necessarily. I know some writers who don’t range much further from their favourite genre or even their favourite authors. Some read nothing but non-fiction, and some barely read at all.

Having said that, I wish this writer stereotype was true. A polymathic reader usually makes a better writer, or I think they do anyway. That’s why I always read the cereal box.

We’ve Read Everything

Ah, the look of confusion and even judgement when a writer hasn’t read that book you’re talking about. And that look goes into overdrive if that book is a “classic”. But hey, there’s only so many hours in the day. We can’t read everything and, to be honest, sometimes we want to do other things. Sleeping, eating, being with our friends and family or, hey, writing our own books!

We Know the Spelling and Definition of Every Word

Some of us are terrible spellers and rely on spellchecks, beta readers and editors. Plenty of us are good with words. But we don’t know them all. So try not to be surprised when we don’t turn out to be walking dictionaries and thesauruses. Thesauri. Whatever.

We’re Always Broke

If I had a penny for every film, book and short story that depicts the penniless writer I could put paid to this writer stereotype all by myself. Most of us have day jobs. We write when we can, between earning a living and paying for things.

Ideas are the Hard Part

Ideas are easy. Sentient chipmunks in space. A man’s ashes are scattered in a park and his consciousness transfers into the plants. A woman gets away with the perfect murder but becomes depressed because she wants recognition for it. See, I just thought of those as I was writing (I think the chipmunks are my favourite).

Everyone’s got ideas. But the writing is the hard part. Turning an idea into a plot, crafting good prose, creating believable characters that the reader will love/hate/worry about/root for/etc. That’s not easy. Not at all. Which leads me to:

We Write in a Bright, Hot Flash of Inspiration

Sure, sometimes we feel like we’re tapping into something beautiful and pure and the words seem to flow from our fingertips like we’re recording dictation from the God of Prose herself. But most of the time? It’s hard work. Every writer you know has been through something like this.

Tom walked into the room

Hmm, I have a sudden and violent dislike of the name ‘Tom’.

Tom Andrew walked into the room

No, wait, it should be a woman

Tom Andrew Andrea walked into the room

Too bland. We need more insight into the character.

Trying her best to hide her nerves, Tom Andrew Andrea walked sauntered into the room

You know, I think I like Tom after all…

Trying her his best to hide her his nerves, Tom Andrew Andrea Tom walked sauntered into the room

I hate it all and I suck as a writer.

Trying her his best to hide her his nerves, Tom Andrew Andrea Tom walked sauntered into the room

And you know what? Writing is more often like this than we care to admit.

There are plenty of other writer stereotypes, but these are my favourites. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!

Amazon Storyteller offers UK writers a £20,000 cash prize

Kindle Storyteller offers cash prize to UK writers

If you’re a UK writer and you’re about to release an ebook, great timing: Amazon’s Storyteller competition could see you win a cash prize of £20,000!

Naturally there are a few requirements:

  • you must publish between 20th February and 19th May 2017;
  • your story should be a minimum of 5,000, but there’s no upper limit (great news for writers of epic fantasy!);
  • your submission can’t have been previously published;
  • you must publish through the KDP Select programme.

This last is probably the entire reason the Storyteller competition exists; Amazon like to push KDP Select because it requires you to publish exclusively with Amazon. No Apple, no Kobo, Nook or anyone else. Your book can only be bought by Amazon customers.

But, on the flip side, there are a few benefits to the KDP Select programme, Kindle Unlimited being one of them. And you’re not tied in forever; once the entry period is over, you can opt out of KDP Select and publish on the other platforms.

And, hey, it’s a small price to pay for the potential of a £20,000 cash prize. So what are you going to submit to Amazon Storyteller?

Now you can get a Fair Folk merchandise such as phone cases

You Can Now Get Fair Folk Merchandise

What do you get for the Fair Folk fan who has everything (and by everything I mean both books)? Fair Folk Merchandise, of course!

I’ve been aware of writers creating merchandise for a while now. M. Latimer-Ridley have a Zazzle store, and Joseph Lallo has spoken about 3D printed talismans and tokens on the Marketing SF&F podcast. I thought Fair Folk merchandise might be kind of cool, but that it wasn’t really a priority; writing books was (and still is; don’t worry, I’m working away on book three!)

But I recently needed a case for my phone and stumbled across Redbubble. They had some pretty cool cases, so I got a ‘tough’ one which has now saved my phone from two drops. They also make it really easy to sell your own merchandise, so I’ve uploaded artwork and created some Fair Folk merchandise, which you can buy right now!

Head on over to my store on Redbubble to check out all the products available. I’ll be adding more in the weeks to come, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see!

The cover to the paperback version of The Unquiet Sword

The Unquiet Sword is available in paperback

It took longer than it should have, but I’ve finally tamed the printers and now The Unquiet Sword is available in your favourite dead tree format!

If you’re not tired of being things after the Black Friday madness, you can order your copy of the paperback from Amazon right now: Amazon UK | Amazon US

To everyone who has been waiting for the paperback release, thank you for your patience. I really appreciate it! If you’ve already read the ebook (or when you’ve finished the paperback), please leave a review on the site you bought it and/or on Goodreads. Even if it’s just one line, every review makes a huge difference.

Thank you and take care.

Cover to The Unquiet Sword, book two of the Fair Folk series

The Unquiet Sword is available for download

You’d think writing the second book in a series would be easier than the first. And you’d be right, in a way. After all, you’ve already birthed the characters, built the world, and you know where the story is heading. Sort of. But, of course, a story is a fluid thing; it doesn’t always do what you expect it to. So it changes as you’re writing, and you have better ideas, ideas that stretch and expand and challenge the story you thought you were writing.

I like to think that all makes for a better story. I hope so, anyway, because The Unquiet Sword is out there now. It didn’t take me as long to write as The Fey Man but, in a way, it was just as hard, only in different ways. And I’m sure the next one will be just as hard! But, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy my second novel. You can download it from your favourite ebook retailer now:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Apple iBookstore | Barnes & Noble

A damaged copy of The Unquiet Sword paperback; a dog ate it!

The Unquiet Sword Paperback is Delayed

It’s just a few days until 8th October and until The Unquiet Sword will finally be released! Unfortunately the excitement has been dulled a little; I’m sorry to have to tell you that The Unquiet Sword paperback will be delayed.

At one point the paperback was fine and hunky dory, but Createspace are now claiming that the cover image is physically too large, and their attempts to fix it have kind of broken it instead. Annah Wootten, the excellent artist who creates those beautiful covers, will take a look as soon as she can. However she has other commitments, and Createspace is slow enough that it could mean the paperback will be delayed for a short while. For readers who want to wait for The Unquiet Sword paperback, I’ll be sending updates via my email newsletter; you can sign up using the form at the top of the page.

But the ebook will still be released on time, and that alone is still reason enough to get excited. If you just can’t wait to read The Unquiet Sword, be sure to preorder your copy. It will be just 0.99 until the end of Saturday 8th October, after which it will revert to it’s regular price of $2.99/£1.99, so make sure you get your copy soon!

Preorder the ebook of The Unquiet Sword ebook for just 0.99 from:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Apple iBookstore | Barnes & Noble

Paperback copies of The Fey Man and The Unquiet Sword

The Unquiet Sword Giveaway

There’s still three weeks until The Unquiet Sword goes on sale, but for one lucky person, the wait is over. Createspace sent me two copies of the advance proof, you see, and I can’t send one back or sell it as I needed to make some changes to the manuscript. So what should I do with it? Give it away, of course!

Bear in mind that this is an advance reader copy, or ARC. That means there are spelling mistakes (quite a few, to my embarrassment), and some of the text will be slightly different to the official published version. But if you want to be the first to find out what happens to Tom and the rest, here’s your chance!

And on top of an advance copy of The Unquiet Sword, the winner will also receive a paperback copy of The Fey Man. So you’ve got everything you need to start reading the Fair Folk series, or you can pass the first book to a friend if you’ve already got a copy!

This giveaway runs until 11:59 Monday 19th September GMT, and it’s open to anyone and everyone. If you’ve got any questions, leave a comment or send me a tweet!

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The false city of Tir from The Fey Man

Realms of Tir: Cairnacei

Carnacei is something of a joke, for it is not a city of Tir, but just a field of poppies. The story goes that Sir Cei, having killed King Amyr, lost his life here and his blood soaked the flowers, turning them red.

The story of Sir Cei differs depending on where the tale is told. On the basics, though, all storytellers can agree. Feeling the long shadow of his father, Amyr had it in mind to marry the daughter of a powerful Westerner, to cement his relationship with the richest realm of Tir. But Amyr was vain and selfish. When he was presented with portraits of the possible candidates, he chose, not the best match, but the most beautiful. He would have Kyru, daughter of one of the smallest lords in the West, or he would have no-one.

Kyru came to Cairnauran with only three attendants; her father could afford no more. She found courtly life lonely, and was not particularly enamoured of her new husband. But there was one Western knight left alive after the battle of Camlann: Sir Tengidar. Tengidar was scarred from the battle but still handsome, and the two grew close. Too close.

One night, they fled together. Amyr was furious, and Sir Cei was amongst those chosen to hunt down the wayward lovers. They hunted high and low, traversing lands even Sir Beduir had not yet seen. But, when they finally found Kyru and Tengidar, Kyru made Cei swear to protect Tengidar’s life. And Cei swore an oath that he would let no harm come to his brother-in-arms.

When they returned to Cairnauran, Cei told King Amyr of the oath he had sworn. Furious that Cei had sworn such an oath, Amyr gave him a simple order: execute Tengidar, or be labelled a traitor.

What happens next varies wildly depending on the teller. None know for certain what became of Kyru, of Tengidar, even of Cei. But King Amyr’s fate is well-known; he was beheaded by Sir Cei, and thus did Emyr’s unified Tir become fractured and broken.

The Unquiet Sword is Available on Amazon

Cover to The Unquiet Sword, book two of the Fair Folk seriesAmazon offer a much shorter preorder period than the other retailers, but with the release date for The Unquiet Sword getting closer and closer, the ebook is finally available for preorder.

Unfortunately, Amazon don’t allow preorders for paperbacks, so be sure to sign up to my email list to find out as soon as they’re available for purchase!

Preorder The Unquiet Sword for just 0.99 today: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Faerie is forgotten. The Western King must be brought to his knees.

Thomas Rymour and his friends are free from the stinking prisons of the Western Kingdom. Their quest is clear: stop the war and free the dragons of Tir. But they have no food, no horses, no maps, and a traitor in their midst. Their hopes of success are small.

But the Western Kingdom is not a kingdom united. The dwarfs strain against their contracted servitude to the elfs. And there are fanatics and terrorists that seek to bring about the end of the world. Scattered malcontents that might be persuaded to rise up and offer their aid.

And they have Caledyr, the ancient sword that can break the Western magics. A sword that whispers to Tom. The more he uses its power, the stronger its hold on him. And now Tom isn’t sure if his journey is one of liberation or vengeance.

Is it the sword that thirsts for violence and blood? Or is there something dark growing inside Tom himself?

The Unquiet Sword is just 0.99 for the peorder period only. Don’t miss out! Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Apple iBookstore | Barnes & Noble

Outcast Journeys is a box set of nine SF&F ebooks featuring The Fey Man

Outcast Journeys fantasy ebook box set

Everyone loves a deal. And an ebook box set is a great deal for everyone. The authors get more exposure, the readers get a bundle of ebooks for a bargain price. So it’s great to be able to tell you about Outcast Journeys, a box set of nine SF&F ebooks for 0.99 which features The Fey Man!

From dragons to space ships, experience the trials and battles of memorable characters as they navigate magical worlds.

The box set offers nine ebooks for just 0.99. That’s a pretty good deal! Get Outcast Journeys today.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Apple iBookstore | Kobo | Smashwords | Nook

The books of Outcast Journeys

Leros of the Underworld: The Tournament by Nathan Anton

Introducing Leros and his sinister alter ego, Demiro. His adventures in Earth Alpha pit him against a tyrannical queen.

Forgotten Relics by Tiffany Cherney

Leader of a crew of thieves on the starship Kathya, Rei’s attempt to strike back against her foes could change her life forever.

The Unfinished Song: Book 1 Initiate by Tara Maya

In a world of pixies, roving cannibals, and hexers, exiled warrior Kavio searches for a new life, while Dindi faces an initiation that no one in her clan has ever survived.

Sky Stone by Scarlett Van Dijk

When a magical journey transfers Skyla to a magical medieval land at war, she steps into a destiny made for her by the gods.

Rys Rising by Tracy Falbe

The magical tabre created the rys, but then reviled them as unworthy failures. The fallout will drag two human civilizations into a war that tests the faith of all involved.

The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

A rogue named Never is on a quest to learn his true name and lift a curse on his blood.

A Forest of Eyes by Ashley Capes (Special bonus sequel to the Amber Isle)

Poisoned and furious, Never must add a desperate quest for a cure to his existing search for truth.

Roc Isle: The Descent by Alex James

Lord Azure of the Azure-Cloud Clan struggles to raise an army against those who assassinated his parents.

The Fey Man by James T Kelly

Thomas Rymour, a prophet who cannot lie, joins the battle to free the dragons, but can he ignore the lure of Faerie?

Nine SF&F ebooks for just 0.99. Get Outcast Journeys today.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Apple iBookstore | Kobo | Smashwords | Nook