Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
I'm leading off this post with some lovely news about my epic fantasy/adventure story The Amber Isle - I was thrilled to learn it was a semi-finalist in the opening round of Mark Lawrences' SPFBO (which you can read about here) and while I didn't expect a novella to fare to well against full length novels, I'm still very happy with how it went!
You can also see the great review from Lynn, the blogger assigned to the batch of titles I was up against - among which was the eventual winner, Outpost by F T McKinstry. Good luck to F T McKinstry :)
Two short interviews are also up - one is a quick promotional one which talks a little about the inspiration behind City of Masks and the other is part of Ambrose Hall's Gothic/Horror month, where I talk about A Whisper of Leaves and living next to cemeteries :)
(In fact, A Whisper of Leaves, my ghost story set in Japan, is actually $1 during the lead up to Halloween if you're looking for a suspense read)
Another Review :)
I was pleasantly surprised to find that a new review group Fantasia Reviews, found a copy of City of Masks and did an in depth review that featured pull-quotes, which I thought was ace :) They describe the writing as laconic and effective (which I liked :D) - check it out!
Greatmask is on track for its late November release and I'll soon be sharing a chapter from Seto too. I'm at around 15k for Never #5 and hope to announce a kickstarter for it soon. Next year, after Never #5 is out, I hope to be working on a sequel to A Whisper of Leaves and another dark fantasy/suspense story (Fallow-Man). Otherwise I'm also planning to get a lot more reading done over the ever-nearing Christmas break :)
Today I wanted to talk a bit about the path to publication and even some aims I have for the Never series – especially now that the release date for book two is right around the corner.
Back in December 2014, I sketched an outline for an epic fantasy/adventure story that would follow its main character on a quest to discover his true name.
There was not a lot of detail back then, but what I did know was that I wanted a five part the story and that each part (or release) would feature a distinct setting with a specific goal and resolution, even as the main character’s search remained the unifying theme across the books.
I had a bit of a idea in mind too, that if someone asked me about series I could answer in two ways:
Epic fantasy without the epic length
Imagine Indiana Jones with magic and more sarcasm
In regards to the first statement, to expand a little – I wanted to keep the epic scope and sweep of world changing events common to epic fantasy, but I didn’t want to tell the tale across say, fifteen 700+ page books. (I have nothing against long books by the way, but the story I had in mind didn’t feel like that style).
And so The Book of Never is a five book series and the first three are novella-length, whereas the last two books are going to be closer to full-length novels. I felt this would better suit the adventure-feel to the series too.
For the second statement, I have to jump back to New Year’s Day, 2015 when I started the first draft of book one: The Amber Isle. (Most cunningly, I called that particular Word document ‘Never – Book 1’.)
By now, I had a name for my main character: Never and a central problem to go with it – Never didn't know his true name and before we meet him in the book, a long, futile search has already made him a little bitter, a quality which is shown through his frustration and sarcasm.
By the time I finished that first draft of The Amber Isle I knew both the treasure-hunting and time spent exploring lost ruins and ancient civilisations lent it that Indiana Jones feel. Thus, I had a well-established point of reference for readers. Assuming said readers also liked epic fantasy and magic, it was my hope that people would enjoy the mix of adventure and fantasy in the Never books.
If I jump forward to the 1st of March 2016, it’s the release of The Amber Isle and Never’s quest has started. For those of you reading this post who are unfamiliar with the story, here’s a mini blurb:
Roguish Never is on a quest to lift a curse on his blood and to learn his true name; but upon joining a group of treasure-hunters he soon finds himself unearthing world-altering secrets that have long lain dormant within the mysterious Amber Isle.
The story mostly takes place on and within a series of islands called the Grey Chain, as Never searches for the Amber Isle and the secrets within.
Each subsequent book features a different setting:
A Forest of Eyes sees Never heading into the White Wood, hot on the trail of more clues to the truth and then in River God he spends most of the story navigating rivers and the dangers within. By the forth book (The Peaks of Autumn, due in October) he has climbed into the mountains and finally, when Imperial Towers is released, you’ll see the bulk of the action take place in deadly cities.
Here’s the schedule if you wanted to keep an eye on the stories:
Book of Never 1: The Amber Isle - March 1st 2016
Book of Never 2: A Forest of Eyes - May 1st 2016
Book of Never 3: River God - July 1st 2016
Book of Never 4: The Peaks of Autumn - October 1st 2016
Book of Never 5: Imperial Towers - January 1st 2017
It's my hope that you’ll enjoy the central mystery surrounding Never’s name and heritage, but also the exploration and adventure offered by the world I’m developing :)
As I’ve mentioned earlier, A Forest of Eyes is out on the 1st of May and right now, draft one of The Peaks of Autumn is ‘resting’ while River God is with my editor.
While at present the books are only available as ebooks, July 1st will be a twin release – both the River God ebook AND an omnibus/collected print edition of books 1 – 3 will be available for purchase.
If you happen to check out Never, I’d love to hear what you think of his story :)
Thanks for reading!
Okay, so there's only one convention - but there are two giveaways and you can check them out below :)
But first, I wanted to mention the second Brain to Books Cyber Convention - it's happening on the 8th, 9th & 10th of April over at Goodreads. HEAPS of authors will be opening 'booths' where you can check out their work and get free books and get involved in games.
If you've got an account on GR, hope to see you there :)
Current (& future) Giveaways for The Fairy Wren.
First up is a signed paperback of The Fairy Wren - offered via the awesome Aurelia and her book club - you can enter right here but be quick, it's closing soon! (Stay tuned also for an interview we completed earlier, and a discussion of the story coming up too.)
There's also 3 copies of the ebook and two more print copies up for grabs later in the month (I'll post a reminder) over at The Fussy Librarian if you don't win first time around.
Netgalley Review Copy
AND for Netgalley members out there, if you'd like to check out Never and The Amber Isle for free - just jump to the book's page and download the novella right there. Would love to know what you think!
The Amber Isle (Book of Never #1) is unleashed!
If you're looking for a fun read that's a little bit like having Indiana Jones in an epic fantasy setting (with more sarcasm) then you might enjoy The Amber Isle.
Roguish 'Never' is on a quest to lift a curse on his blood and to learn his true name; but upon joining a group of treasure-hunters he soon finds himself unearthing world-altering secrets that have long lain dormant within the mysterious Amber Isle.
The Amber Isle is the first in a five book series that I'm releasing over the course of 2016. They'll start off as novellas and by book four and five, be closer to novel length. Each adventure has a distinct setting (such as the Amber Isle itself or the birch forests in Book 2) and will be closely linked by the main quest; Never's search for the truth about his name and his past.
I chat a little about the book during an interview with J. Evan Stuart if you'd like to read a little about behind the scenes have a look :)
I'm really happy with my pre-release reviews (thanks to the readers who were generous enough to read the story early!) You can check out one of them below:
Space and Sorcery
And also a few reviews over at Amazon too:
Amazon Customer Review
And for those of you interested in grabbing a copy of the ebook, here are some purchase links. The Amber Isle will be on sale for about $1 for launch week and then go up in price. (An omnibus print edition of books 1-3 will follow post July.)
The third chapter of The Amber Isle (Book of Never #1) has just been uploaded and is also available via the book's page AND it's now just over one week from official release :)
Congratulations to the winners of the ebook giveaway too, hope you enjoy the story :)
I've had a query about the print edition of Never's first adventure and thought I'd better mention that, as novellas of around 130 pages each, I plan to bundle the first three titles into an omnibus print edition then do the same with the final two books toward the end of the year. This means there will be a print version of The Amber Isle, A Forest of Eyes and River God combined sometime after July :)
Hey, just a quick note today - the second chapter of The Amber Isle (Book of Never #1) has just been uploaded to the book's page. (There you can also enter an ebook giveaway too).
Gearing up for the official release on March 1st, I'll also be uploading Chapter 3 next week keep an eye on the blog to read along.
At the book's page you can read Chapter 1 first if you haven't seen it or jump straight to chap 2 here.
Free ebook with every newsletter sign up in 2016
Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline