Category Archives: Fair Folk Series

A copy of The Fey Man with a list of alternate titles

Why I Didn’t Change the Title of The Fey Man

Book titles are important. They serve as an introduction, a signpost to the reader and, hopefully, an enticement to open the book and read the first page (or turn it over and read the synopsis). I didn’t appreciate this until I discovered that US publisher Del Rey had changed the title of Michael A Stackpole’s fourth X-Wing novel, before publication, from Rogues Unbound to The Bacta War. One sounded like a bodice-ripping romance novel. One sounded like a sci-fi adventure novel. Realising that was the first time I began to appreciate that book titles are an important marketing tool.

Fast forward to 2014 and I’m publishing my first novel. I agonised over the title. To say I came up with hundreds of possibilities would be hyperbolic, but not by much. But when I landed on The Fey Man, it felt right. It felt like a good fit for the book, a signpost of what to expect, and it sounded good. I felt confident in my new book title.

Of course, good old self-doubt can kill any good feeling, and I began to wonder if I’d picked the right title within days of publication (this wasn’t helped by one reader who told me I’d misspelt the title; they thought I’d meant to call it ‘The Fay Man’). I knew I liked The Fey Man from a creative perspective. But was it the best title from a marketing perspective?

I began to wonder if ‘The Fey Man’ was more ‘Alice’ than ‘Wonderland’.

A book title isn’t just a string of cool words. It’s a name. And, like a name, you build expectations on it. Imagine I tell you I have a friend who calls himself ‘Scott Danger’. You’ve immediately formulated an opinion about him, haven’t you? Now what if I mention a friend called ‘Keith Brown’. You’ve got an opinion about him too, right?

It’s no different with books. A book called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland evokes a different reaction to a book called simply Alice (which was Lewis’ original title). The first title has signposts that alerts the reader as to what to expect from the book, encouraging the right readers and discouraging those who are less likely to enjoy it. And I began to wonder if ‘The Fey Man’ was more ‘Alice’ than ‘Wonderland’.

So I began to brainstorm alternatives. Titles with ‘Faerie’ in it, maybe ‘quest’ or ‘war’, perhaps ‘dragon’ (perhaps excessive, given there was already a dragon on the cover)? In the end, I decided that ‘quest’ was a good one to include as well as ‘Faerie’, as both gave readers a good indication as to what the novel was about. Thus my alternative title was The Quest for Faerie. Now it was time to put to the test. My weapon of choice? A Twitter poll.

Spoiler alert: the alternative title won.

So, if the alternative title won, why didn’t I change the title of my first novel?

Well, there’s a lot of work involved. I would need to commission an alteration to the cover, rework the interior files to match, upload new files, publish a new paperback, unpublish the old one, then ask Amazon to link the new paperback to the ebook, then separately ask Amazon to push the updated ebook to everyone who already held a copy. I’d also need to change any references on my website, and forward the inevitable broken links, and so on, and so forth. And call me lazy if you will (“Hi, Lazy-if-you-will”), but I try to avoid unnecessary work where I can.

Taking huge, irrecoverable action based on a slim majority just seems like madness.

Changing the title of a book that’s already been published also carries the potential for confusion. Existing readers who see me talking about ‘The Quest for Faerie’ might think I have a new book out. None of my previous social media posts about The Fey Man would make sense anymore. Paperback owners would be stuck with the old title, ebook owners would have to decide which title they prefer. Although I can unpublish the old paperback, the Amazon listing doesn’t disappear, leaving two book listings with the same cover but different titles. So, no matter how hard I worked at clarifying things, there’d always be a risk of confusing a reader. And confused readers are not happy readers.

Of course, I knew all this going in. But I was prepared to undertake it all in the face of a clear and resounding call for a new title. But there wasn’t one. Frankly, the numbers just aren’t that impressive. And taking huge, irrecoverable action based on a slim majority just seems like madness. Numbers like that speak more to indecision than anything else.

That left the decision up to me. And I decided to go full Disney, believe in myself, and stick with The Fey Man. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with ‘The Quest for Faerie’. But it’s a title very much created as a marketing tool. Whereas The Fey Man, for me at least, feels a little more creative, a little more mysterious, and feels more in keeping with the series as a whole.

Perhaps I made a mistake. But that’s one of the great things about this journey: any mistakes fall on my shoulders (as well as, fingers crossed, any victories). Of course, I’ll always listen when readers tell me that they want something. But, this time, they left me to call the shots. And I let my creative side take the reins.


Cover of The Fey Man by James T KellyIs ‘The Fey Man’ a good title for my first novel? Pick up a copy and find out for yourself!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

Captain Scarlet is the reason some readers don't like Thomas Rymour of the Fair Folk series.

Why Don’t Readers Like Thomas Rymour?

Some people don’t like Thomas Rymour, the protagonist of the Fair Folk series.

“He’s an utter selfish jerk”

“Thomas Rymour is an asshole.”

“a weak and selfish man” [Spoiler alerts for this particular review!]

Yeah, some people really don’t like Thomas Rymour. And it’s all Captain Scarlet’s fault.

For those of you who don’t know, Captain Scarlet was a British TV series created by Gerry Anderson (of Thunderbirds fame). I won’t go into the details, but the title character was immortal. Each week, Captain Scarlet would find himself in peril, and I was bored because, each week, he would die, only to come back to life moments later.

There was no dramatic tension. No sense of potential failure. Scarlet was always going to win, because he couldn’t lose.

The same principle applies to a person’s character. If someone is presented with a difficult choice, and we know they’ll unfailingly do the right thing, it’s boring. They can’t lose, because they always win.

But people aren’t like that. We try to do what we think is right, but sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’re selfish, or cowardly, or cruel. And sometimes we rationalise our behaviour, sometimes we despise it, sometimes it drives us to do better next time. But there’s always the risk we’ll fail the test again. That, presented with the choice, we’ll choose cruelty over kindness, fear over bravery, or selfishness over selflessness.

That’s why Thomas Rymour isn’t perfect. He tries to do the right thing. But he’s also weak and selfish and, yes, an asshole. When he’s presented with a difficult choice, you won’t always know what he’ll do next. Will he serve his own ends? Or will he rise above his selfish desires and act like a hero? Because, without those questions, his character would be as boring as waiting for Captain Scarlet to snuff it once again.

So if you’re looking for a hero who is stalwart and true, who sees the world in black and white and is unerringly selfless, Tom isn’t going to be your favourite. But if you like a guy who makes a mess of things and isn’t always right, you might like Thomas Rymour. I do.


Cover of The Fey Man by James T KellyFind out if you’d like Thomas Rymour by picking up your copy of The Fey Man today!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

The fay can be tiny shining sprites or enormous, lumbering woodkin.

What makes The Fey Man a Faerie Tale?

So I’ve written a blog post about why The Fey Man is full of elfs and not elves (TL;DR the word ‘elf’ came first and it feels right). But a discerning reader on Twitter made an excellent point: in the very same post, I called the Fair Folk series a ‘Faerie tale’. Why didn’t I call it a fairy tale?

There are two possible explanations. The first is that there are no fairies in the Fair Folk series. They’re called ‘fay’ instead, and that’s because the word ‘fairy’ actually comes from the Latin word ‘fae’, the singular of ‘fata’ which means ‘the Fates’.

(This, by the way, is pretty well known to fantasy writers, so you’ll often see fairies called ‘fae’. However the spelling ‘fay’ comes from Middle English, and was also used as a word for ‘faith’, which I felt was rather fitting for the Fair Folk series.)

Faerie, on the other hand, is the land of the fay. Usually an otherworldly realm, it’s the place where the fay live. Much like England is the place where the English live, the words are similar, but not the same.

So why did I call The Fey Man, and the Fair Folk series as a whole, a Faerie tale? Well, I wanted to evoke fairy tales, largely because some of the inhabitants or stories themselves can be found in the series. It’s also a hint as to the focus of the series; there’s a lot going on in Tir, but some of it is more important than the rest.

And, last but not least, I thought it was cool. And one of the best things about being a writer is being able to write things I think are cool. Like conversations with dragons, a person with visions of the future, and forests haunted by tree spirits.


Cover of The Fey Man by James T KellyIf you like the sound of an epic Faerie fantasy novel, pick up your copy of The Fey Man today!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

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!


Cover of The Fey Man by James T KellyIf you haven’t read the book behind the merchandise, don’t worry; just pick up your copy of The Fey Man today!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

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 of The Fey Man by James T KellyIf you haven’t read the first book in the Fair Folk series, don’t worry; just pick up your copy of The Fey Man today!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

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


Cover of The Fey Man by James T KellyIf you haven’t read the first book in the Fair Folk series, don’t worry; just pick up your copy of The Fey Man today!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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