Inside Vasini – The Winter Fayre killer

As The Theatre of Shadows’s release on 15 July draws closer, I thought it might be worth giving a little more insight into the world of Vasini and what’s been happening since The Silver Mask.

First up, The Winter Fayre killer.

At the end of The Winter Fayre in 195AL, there was the first of a series of murders that would later be attributed to Gareth Miller, labelled by the newssheets due to the location of the first murder, as The Winter Fayre Killer.

Initially thought to be the last of a series of political assassinations that had been sparked by the events in The Silver Mask, it became clear as further, similar murders occurred across that the city that a new, non-politicaly motivated killer, was active in the city.

Below is a report from The Herald, one of Vasini’s daily newssheets, on the first murder.

The Theatre of Shadows – Goodreads giveaway

Hello US people,

I’m running a giveaway of my new flintlock fantasy novel, The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II, over at Goodreads.

You have a chance to win one of 100 copies of the Kindle edition and be amongst the first to read it.

You can enter here.

You have until 1 July to enter.

Good luck.

Coming soon

The Theatre of Shadows – pre-order

The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II is now available for pre-order on Kindle.

It will be out on Kindle and in paperback from 15 July.

You can pre-order for Kindle it here:

UK

US

Canada

Australia

France

Germany

Netherlands

If you’re on Goodreads you can find details and add it to your To Read list here.

If you have yet to step into the world of Vasini there’s plenty of time for you can catch up on things with The Silver Mask: The Vasini Chronicles I and A Divided River: Tales From Vasini I.

The Theatre of Shadows
Book Two of
The Vasini Chronicles

The adventures of Drs. Marcus Fox &
Elizabeth Reid continue…

In the two centuries since the fall of the deities, only a score of city-states have risen from the ashes of their destruction. Foremost amongst them is Vasini — a city divided by politics, class, and philosophies. A city with a threat in every shadow.

Six months have passed since the events of The Silver Mask. Over the winter months, Vasini was plagued by Gareth Miller, the Winter Fayre Killer, who murdered 17 people before he was captured by Lieutenant David Locke. The city now waits for Miller to be hanged. But when Miller escapes gaol, ready to terrorise Vasini’s streets once more, Locke must hunt the murderer again to stop him from claiming more lives.

As Miller flees into Vasini’s streets, Joseph Bastin, ambassador to Vasini for the city-state of Laège, is assassinated in a brothel. With the threat of political repercussions for the death, it is up to Dr. Marcus Fox, newly appointed Commandant of Police, to find the ambassador’s killer.

Fox’s investigation soon leads to a suspect, someone who has been investigating links between the Laège embassy and the worship of the dead deities – his ally, Dr. Elizabeth Reid.

Now, Elizabeth and her friend, Catherine, must act quickly to clear her name before she is found by someone who doesn’t believe her claims of innocence and she’s forced to dance the hangman’s jig.

But these events are only a prelude for what is to come.

The stage is set. The actors are in position. The play can begin.

The Theatre of Shadows is the second part of The Vasini Chronicles, a series of flintlock-and-alchemy fantasy novels set in the city-state of Vasini.

Out now and coming soon(ish – hopefully)

The Cities Beyond the Signal is out now on Apple Books

My portal fantasy novella, The Cities Beyond the Signal, is now available on Apple Books. You can find it here if you’re in the UK or on your local Apple Books store.

Have a read and, maybe, if the urge takes you, leave a review on Apple Books or Goodreads (or both).

And coming soon

…ish – hopefully.

The proofreading of The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II is underway. It will take a little time and, until its complete, I’m not going to risk saying when ToS will actually be out in the world, but we’re in the final stretch. Finally.

And coming later…I finished writing the first draft of the third novella for Tales From Vasini III. There’s a lot of work to do on it, which will have to wait until The Theatre of Shadows is wrapped up and I’ve done some editing on the stories for Tales From Vasini II. Next on the list of things to write is The Vasini Chronicles III. And then, after that, maybe something non-Vasini related.

Theatres, beasts and city treats

Work on The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II is going well. I finished the most recent draft last week, getting it that much closer to being out in the world.

With the latest draft on The Theatre of Shadows done and The Cities Beyond the Signal now out in the world (more on that below), I’ve finally had the chance to start editing Tales From Vasini II, currently with a working title of Beasts of the Wildlands. This is an odd one for the Vasini books as the two novellas that it will contain are completely set outside of the city’s walls, dealing in part (as the name suggests) with the twisted beasts found in the Wildlands between the city-states. This will be their first edit after sitting on my laptop since I completed the first draft nearly two years ago (on 21 December 2018 to be precise). This has mainly been down to me concentrating on editing The Theatre of Shadows,

.

As an aside, I’m currently making good headway on the first draft of the second novella for Tales From Vasini III. Fingers crossed I can keep up this pace.

For those looking for a deal, my novella The Cities Beyond the Signal is currently 99p on Kindle in the UK and $1.99 on Kindle in the US. Both deals end at 12am (GMT/PST) on 30 November, so go get them now before the deals end.

You can find The Cities Beyond the Signal here in the UK and here in the US.

How long has it been?

Hello, all. I hope you’re keeping well.

I started writing a post back in April, but for several reasons never got to post it. I tried again in July, but it still didn’t happen. So now, in September, I’ve salvaged some of what I originally wrote and put together a short update on where I’m at with a couple of things.

When I was writing the original post back in April, it was our seventh(?) week of being housebound. In many ways, not much changed. My day job means that I work from home on a regular basis. Tackling childcare while working proved a challenge, but rather than deal with the stress and put my daughter through the nonsense of her parents working while she wanted our attention, thankfully we were in a position where I could take some parental leave which made things easier.

Of course, tackling all of this, living in a situation so disrupted from the norm did mean that other aspects of life were getting disrupted. There was less time to read. At times, less inclination to write as my mind was full of processing what was (and still is) going on and working out how best to get our next load of shopping. But things moved along, just more slowly. Sometimes very slowly. Yet, with any situation you acclimatise to the new norm. Things started to speed up. I found the gaps in my day that allowed me to read a bit more and, as you’ll see later, I’ve even managed to write and, more importantly, edit.

It’s been great to be able to have my family around me more though. So much time can be lost not just to work, but to getting to and from work. And there are a couple of things that the disruption has let me do thanks to my daughter settling down earlier at night and not having to get everyone up at 5am in the morning so they can get out of the house in time to head to work and nursery. The main one was getting the chance to play Dungeons and Dragons for the first time in a decade.

Yes, I could probably have written more, but, truth be told, my mind, for the first few months, wasn’t in a place where it could concentrate for that long, too many distractions in the real world. One shot D&D games though were just plain fun. Limited thinking required, just focused on enjoying some time with friends and acquaintances with no pressure. To be honest with you, the release from what was going on probably allowed me to go on and do the writing I did do.

The Cities Beyond the Signal

I’m getting close to putting the finishing touches to the novella I’ve been working on under the title of The Signal (now called The Cities Beyond the Signal), the sequel to the novelette The City Between the Books.

That means I should, fingers crossed, have some news soonish about when it will actually appear in the world.

The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II

Although The Cities Beyond the Signal will be released before the next Vasini Chronicles book, much of what time I’ve managed to get to write over the past few months has actually been spent on The Theatre of Shadows. Things are progressing well, there’s still work to be done, but it’s getting closer and closer to being ready.

Tales From Vasini III

I’ve actually managed to finish the first draft of one of the novellas that will make up Tales From Vasini III.

It needs work, and I still have the two other novellas that I need to write to go with it, but it’s a start.

Reading

I’ve already hit my Goodreads goal for the year of reading 48 books. It was mainly thanks to having bought the entire main series of The Walking Dead graphic novels via Humble Bundle. I managed to get through the two-thirds of the series I had yet to read thanks to not being able to concentrate on anything too text heavy.

Blogging

With the release The Cities Beyond the Signal on the horizon, expect me to start blogging a little more frequently over the coming weeks. Whether it will turn into a more frequent think in the longer term remains to be seen.

Anyway, keep safe and well. Wash your hands (do you remember when the advice was just wash your hands properly?), wear a mask, keep two meters apart and stay inside as much as you can.

Book 19 is missing

I did it. Well, all but Book 19.

This time last year I decided to finally sit down and start reading/playing Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf adventure game books after I’d been trying to piece together a complete collection since the late ‘90s. You can read the story behind that here.

A year on, and I’ve come to a (temporary) end of my read/play through.

In the end I managed to get through the first eighteen books in a reasonable time — about one a week for eighteen or so weeks. I managed to pick up Book Seventeen (one of the few missing from my collection when I started the read through) for a not too unreasonable price. However, Book Nineteen remained (and remains) elusive (at least at a price I’m willing to pay). So I broke off from the read through in what must have been August last year.

A week or so ago, I finally gave up on waiting, and read Book 20 — The Curse of Naar — completing, with that one exception, my read through.

Was it worth the effort of collecting and the wait to play it all the way through in (almost) one go?

Probably.

Having grown up on standalone Fighting Fantasy books, it was kinda fun playing through an ongoing story. Certainly the first story arch of five books played well. They’re fast paced, fun reads. After that though the books started to become harder going. Not only did the pace seem to slow and it take longer to get through them, but they felt more and more linear, with the decision points not being about choices over a course of action but about what you had done in previous books or which skills you’d chosen at the start. There was a strong sense that it was almost essential to have read at least the majority of the books in sequence just to make sure that you had all of the prior knowledge and all of the equipment you needed to succeed.

Did I cheat to complete them? A little, although a lot less than I have with certain Fighting Fantasy books.

In other news

I’ve completed another draft of The Theatre of Shadows – The Vasini Chronicles II. I’m actually feeling quite positive about it and it seems that I’m getting that much closer to being in a position to publish it. Fingers crossed I’ll still feel the same when I go back to it in a few weeks time after its obligatory time in the virtual draw.

Until next time, keep safe and wash your hands.

Insert swear words of choice

Given it’s been four months since my last proper post, I would hope I would have some good news to share, but apparently not.

A bit over a year ago, I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t going to get The Theatre of Shadows, the next Vasini Chronicles novel, out by the end of 2018. I desperately hoped that I’d be able to get it out into the world in 2019, and, at that point, it looked possible. Then, at the beginning of this year I hedged my bets with the comment:

This is the top priority for the year. It’s currently sat in a virtual draw while others read it. Maybe around February, I’ll take it out and start work on the next draft. I’ll then push through so it’s in a point to publish in the second half of the year. All being well.

I’m now at stage where I have to admit that it won’t go out into the world this year.
[INSERT YOUR PREFERRED SWEAR WORD HERE]. And a hundred or so more swear words on top.

The good news is that it’s a lot closer to being out in the world, to the point where I’m so tempted to turnaround and say it will definitely be out next year. The problem is that I’ve been burnt by my own expectations twice now, so all I’m going to do is keep it vague and say it’s ‘coming soon’ with no clear definition of what soon really means.

I hate doing it (not being able to get this out into the world as quickly as I want and not being able to say when it will actually appear).

It sucks.

It [INSERT MORE SWEAR WORDS OF CHOICE] sucks.

I’ve prioritised The Theatre of Shadows to the point where I haven’t really worked on any of my other writing. There’s a novella part written, and a novel and three novellas that need editing. All — barring the odd ten minutes here and there — are likely to sit in their virtual draws until The Theatre of Shadows is done.

It sucks. Not because I’m not enjoying working on The Theatre of Shadows — I really like the story, the characters, the setting — but because I want to share it with you and I want to share the other stories as well and that’s not going to happen for some months yet.

[SWEAR WORD OF CHOICE]

Anyway, time to remind myself to take a breath, to have a little patience, that these things take time and, so long as I’m working on it, the end — and its release into the world — is getting closer each day.

A little way in the right direction

We’re now over three months in to 2019, so time to check how far along I am with my To Do List.

Edit and publish The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II.

Back when I made my To Do List, The Theatre of Shadows was sitting in a virtual draw while others took a look at it, with the thought that I might start work on the next draft in February. In actuality I’ve only just started on the latest draft. I’m a little way in, but what I’ve gone through so far is looking better than I thought it would, which is promising. More importantly, I’m enjoying it.

Assuming there aren’t any surprises on the way, The Silver Mask should have it’s sequel out in the world by the end of the year.

Given that I may refer to it a bit, I’m just going to call The Theatre of Shadows ToS for the rest of the post. Hope you don’t mind.

Edit a novella.

I had thought that I’d get round to editing The Signal (working title) at some point before I got to ToS. That didn’t happen. It’ll sit in the virtual draw a little longer — until I’ve finished the next draft of ToS at least — based on feedback I’ve received, hopefully there shouldn’t be too much to get it into shape for publishing.

Edit Tales From Vasini II.

According to my To Do List, I was planning on editing this at the same time as ToS, but that’s been put on hold. I don’t want to distract myself from work on ToS and I know there’ll be a lot of wok to do on the two novellas that make up Tales From Vasini II, so they can wait for a bit.

Write The Vasini Chronicles III.

I’ve outlined the third Vasini Chronicles novel. There’s still some more in-depth outlining (and maybe a bit more research to do). Given that I need to work on ToS and that I need to write Tales From Vasini III first, I won’t be getting to this anytime soon.

Write Tales From Vasini III.

I’ve started writing it. I’m only a few thousands words into the first of the three novellas that will make up the book, but I’m already enjoying being with the main character and writing something new about Vasini, which makes the writing easier. (You could ask why the hell you’d write something you didn’t enjoy writing, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the writing compulsion works at times — there’s a difference between wanting to tell and enjoying a story and the process of actually writing it.)

Edit and try to work out how to publish a long novel.

This was what was delaying work on ToS.

The draft is done. It’ll go to someone to look and sense check some of the changes I made, then it’ll have to wait in line for its next draft.

I’m missing it already.

Read at least 48 books and cut down my backlog of unread books to less than 270.

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 18 out 48 books, which isn’t bad going. Unfortunately my backlog is still at 306 books. It should be down to 296, but between presents and me buying more books, I seem to be maintaining the status quo with the size of my To Be Read pile.

One thing that may help is that I’m planning to read/play my collection of Lone Wolf adventure game books over the next few months (you can read about my attempts to complete the set over the past twenty years here – as an update to that blog, I’ve managed to get my hands on Book Seventeen, so I’ll be reading Books One to Eighteen). That alone will drop my backlog to 289 books.

Blog more.

With this post I’ve managed to exceed the six blog posts I made last year. I had intended to blog at least once a fortnight. Based on that, I’ve missed two posts. But, much like everything else, although I may not be quite as far along as I would hope (we are, as species, always far too optimistic with what we think we can achieve with the time we have, that’s why all those public infrastructure projects run late and go over budget), I am at least going in the right directions. In another few months I’ll be a few more steps along, a few months after that a few more steps, and I’ll keep on going until I get to where I need to be.