I just wanted to announce that my entire back catalogue is now available on Kindle Unlimited. You can find my books at the following links:
Ever since I started imagining Ostenheim, I’ve been scribbling maps on scraps of paper, adding, deleting and altering as the stories developed and the city grew in my mind. I’ve wanted to get a proper map of the city made up for a long time, and now I have. Here it is:
(Click to enlarge)
The map was drawn up by the very talented Robert Altbauer. You can see more of his work at his website. I can’t express how delighted I am with his work – it’s a great experience to finally see the image that’s been in my head for such a long time. We chose a style similar to the Renaissance era city maps from books like Civitates Orbis Terrarum; something that looks like it was created at the time it is set in, rather than a modern map of an old city.
The map will be a great accompaniment to the series of posts about the city that is upcoming, and will make my job of explaining where all the important buildings are a lot easier!
Ok, the Ostenheim blog series is taking a little longer than expected, as I’m juggling a few balls at the moment. For now, another photoshop teaser will have to do –
It will also be delayed a little longer as I’ve something else coming down the pipeline which will be taking pride of place next week, but more of that anon!
I mentioned in my last post that I was putting together a tour guide for Ostenheim. It’s progressing well, but still needs a little more work – I want to finish the whole thing before I start posting it up. I have however done up a cover for it, which I’m posting now. The first part should be online next week (I hope!).
I hope everyone’s well and enjoying the last few days of summer.
After two weeks of nail biting, the first review for The Telastrian Song is out. Waiting for the initial reception for a new book is a pretty miserable experience – like waiting for exam results but worse! Way worse!
The full review can be perused at your leisure over at the Fantasy Review Barn. Many thanks to reviewer Pauline M. Ross for taking the time to read it and write up her thoughts. As per my usual policy, I’ve picked out a couple of snippets that make me look good!
The descriptions of Ostenheim, in fact the whole of this world the author has created, are excellent, just enough to bring the streets and buildings into sharp focus without distracting from the action. It all feels wonderfully real, brought alive by scores of understated little details.
And on the ending:
…a wonderful and very fitting climax to the story. Being the end of the trilogy, I honestly had no idea how it would turn out, and the author had several nice surprises up his sleeve, not least the explanation for the title of this book. A terrific ending to a fine series.
Once again, the full review can be read here. Hope everyone’s enjoying the summer so far!
In the penultimate of my Telastrian Song taster posts, here’s an excerpt from the book.
Although he needed no reminder of the villagers’ frosty welcome, Soren was greeted by it as soon as he walked into the cool shade of the tavern. For once, the coolness was not directed at him. There was someone else there, a stranger leaning against the bar. He was wearing dusty travelling clothes and Soren took him for a traveller passing through, for few came to Sejura with the intention of staying. It was why Soren had chosen the place.
The stranger glanced at Soren when he entered. He looked as though he had been trying to engage the tavern keeper in conversation before Soren’s arrival. Soren knew it was a wasted effort; he had never gotten more than a few words out of the tavern keeper, Suro, despite calling in nearly every week since they had moved to the area. The newcomer didn’t have a chance, if socialising was his intention.
‘Five bottles of lemonade, Suro,’ Soren said.
Suro nodded in acknowledgement and went into a back room. The stranger turned his attention to Soren.
‘Hello there,’ he said.
‘Hello there, yourself,’ Soren said, not meaning to be rude, but in keeping with the local habits.
‘Friendly bunch in this town,’ the man said.
Soren shrugged, still clinging to the disguise of a rural countryman leaning against the bar as he waited for his lemonade. The stranger hadn’t done anything to give Soren concern, but the look of him was unsettling. He carried himself with a bearing that Soren had seen many times in the past: straight, confident, proud. Coupled with his clothes, there could be no doubt that he had done some soldiering, and despite him not carrying a sword at his waist, Soren suspected he was a swordsman—a banneret. They were always easy to spot, and the stranger was a perfect example. Just like Soren. And just like Soren, he was not the type of man one expected to see in an out of the way place like Sejura.
Soren tried to maintain his disguise of a farmer and unfriendly local. He feared his own appearance was as much a giveaway as the stranger’s and forced himself to slouch a little more. Mercenaries and sell-swords on the job always had a sharp expression, and this fellow was no different. He was assessing everything that was going on. It was the look of a predator, but conversely it was also a look carried by prey—not a description Soren liked to apply to himself, but it was accurate—as they watched for threats. He tried to adopt the appearance of suspicious disinterest. If the man was hunting someone, possibly Soren himself, he didn’t want to look like a man expecting trouble.
Soren’s was a hard-cultivated fictional persona, but it still didn’t come easily to him. He had been called Ramiro ever since arriving in Sejura. Before Sejura, there had been another town and a different name, and before that another. Each time, both he and Alessandra had sunk a little deeper into their new lives—finally becoming Ramiro and Aldonya, a young couple from the other side of Estranza seeking a new life for themselves beyond the interference of their families. The habits of a lifetime were difficult to discard though. There were still times when it took him a moment to remember that he was Ramiro, the farmer from Estranza, not Soren, Banneret Swordsman who had spent much of his life in danger.
‘Many strangers pass through here?’ the man said.
Soren shrugged. ‘A few.’
Soren shrugged again, but said nothing.
The man sighed. ‘Never mind, then.’ He muttered something under his breath that Soren couldn’t hear, but said nothing else.
Suro reappeared with Soren’s bottles of lemonade. He set them down on the bar one at a time, six in total, while Soren rooted around in his coin purse.
‘Beatriz said there was enough left to fill another bottle. Just pay for five,’ Suro said.
Soren nodded and smiled. It was the first friendly gesture that had been made toward him since he arrived in the region, and he suspected it was due to the stranger. Soren might be new, but he was more welcome than this blow-in. He paid for the bottles and put them in his leather satchel, all under the stranger’s scrutiny.
‘Enjoy your lemonade,’ the stranger said.
Soren gave him a curt nod and left him to Suro’s suspicious stare.
As another taster of what’s to come, here’s the back cover copy for The Telastrian Song.
A remote farm and meagre crops are a far cry from Ostenheim and the life of a banneret, but they are not far enough. For Soren to be free of Amero, there is only one answer.
In Ostenheim, Duke Amero presides over a war-weary population and an empty treasury, but still he hungers for more.
An Intelligencier uncovers the disturbing resurgence of sorcery in the city, while an avaricious colleague sees the chance to prove his worth to the Duke.
Enemies and allies emerge from unexpected places as Soren must face his former patron and idol for a final reckoning.
The Telastrian Song follows The Huntsman’s Amulet and is the concluding part of the Society of the Sword Trilogy.
The final decision has been made after grinding through a great many potentials for the title of the concluding part of the Society of the Sword trilogy.
The Telastrian Song
I hope you like it, and I really hope you will enjoy the book, which is on schedule for a mid-summer release. There will be further little announcements and posts relating to it in the lead up to release, so stay tuned for more over the coming weeks!
Hope you’re all well!
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all had a good holiday.
I had my usual plan of watching my way through a stack of classic movies that I’d bought in the run up to Christmas, but in the end I only managed to watch a couple of them. I spent quite a bit of time working on the book I plan on releasing once the final part of the Society of the Sword trilogy is out (which is being edited as I type). I think I mentioned it about this time last year when I was working on the first draft. It’s allowed me focus on an aspect of the Middle Sea that I didn’t really get the chance to spend much time with in Society of the Sword, and it’s nice to explore something different within that world.
In other news, both The Tattered Banner and The Huntsman’s Amulet are now available on Google Play’s bookstore. I’ve been hearing good things about Google Play lately, so thought it was time to get a presence there!
Otherwise, all the best for 2014!