In other words, some real news to impart at last. It’s been a while since I had real ‘stuff’ to talk about, rather than just host other writers. Partly that’s been due to my having to deal with illness and death in the family, which cut seriously into my writing time; partly to having had my head down, writing furioso in order to get the third Lancaster’s Luck story finished; and partly, too, to wringing my hands over the Dreamspinner Press issue and worrying about what to do with the first two Lancaster books that DSP had published. On top of all that, I’m producing a ‘boxed set’ of the Taking Shield ebooks.
So yeah. News. Taking those in reverse order…
The Taking Shield boxed set
This is a project that’s been in the works for over a year, waiting on my finishing the final Lancaster’s Luck novel and finding the time to put together the biggest damn document in the universe. I’ve finally got my act together, and on 05 November – Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK – the complete Taking Shield series of five novels will be published in a single volume. It will be available from Amazon and (eventually) other ebook sellers for $9.99. This is a massive $6 saving on buying the books individually. However, I’m promising to make it available only for a limited period of three months, after which I’ll review and decide if it’s worth keeping it up as part of the Taking Shield stable.
It’s appeared on Amazon for preorder with remarkable speed, since I only uploaded it three hours ago! Here’s the link:
Second Edition Lancaster’s Luck novels
I had a very heavy heart when I finally decided to ask for the rights of my books back from Dreamspinner. I’d hung on for weeks, reading their regular reports on what they were doing to try and resolve the cash flow problem, and seeing so many other authors popping up on my facebook feed saying they’d asked for their rights back. It was like a run on the bank. Remember the panicked scenes from A Wonderful Life, where rumours of the bank’s instability had everyone running there desperate to get their money back?
I didn’t have a lot with DSP, just the two Lancaster’s Luck novels and a short story. But let’s be very clear about those books. The Gilded Scarab and The Jackal’s House are as dear to me as they are, as good as I think they are, because of DSP and its wonderful team of editors. I am desperately proud of those two books, and I know what I owe DSP for its faith in me when I submitted them, when they agreed to publish. I won’t ever forget that. I truly, sincerely hope DSP weathers this storm and goes on to more great things.
So, the rights reverted to me two days ago. In readiness for that, I had created a second edition, essentially by turning the texts back into British English spelling and grammar. After all, Rafe Lancaster and I are both as British as they make ’em. The new files are now live in the Kindle store. They’ll go live at other booksellers over the next few weeks, as soon as cover artist Reese Dante has satisfied her inner perfectionist and completed her tweaks to the Scarab cover.
They’re for sale here:
and they are, in fact, a little cheaper than they used to be: $5.99 instead of $6.99
The third Lancaster’s Luck novel, The God’s Eye
I had just submitted this when Dreamspinner’s difficulties became too pressing to ignore, but along with the return of my publishing rights, I withdrew The God’s Eye from consideration. That means I’ll be publishing the last book in the Lancaster’s Luck series myself under the Glass Hat imprint. Work is proceeding apace. I’ve lined up a development editor to help me hone the draft, and a content/line editor to help me convert the draft back into British English, Reese Dante will do the cover for me, and Margaret Warner will (I hope) create the internal artwork. I commissioned both yesterday. No imagery yet, but the god in question is Thoth, the ibis-headed scribe and inventor, and all the action revolves around a secret pyramid hidden deep in the Abyssinian Highlands (modern-day Ethiopian Highlands), near the source of the Blue Nile.
Until I have the edits back, I can’t really commit to a publication date, but I hope it will be in time for Christmas. I’ll let you know! In the meantime, have a teasery little reminder of Rafe Lancaster’s inimitable voice:
And finally, real life.
Not much to say here, really, other than getting old sucks. I was responsible (as in had power of attorney) for three elderly relatives. Now it’s two. I don’t think I ever anticipated how much hard work would be involved in dealing with an estate and it isn’t over yet, but we can see some end to it and earlier today I scattered S’s ashes.
I’m tired, bone tired actually, but less stressed than I was. Life has a way of giving you a casual kick in passing, and then not waiting for you to catch up. You’re forced to get up and run after it. I’m glad to say that I’m just about caught up. Once the work of uploading the revised Lancaster books and the Shield boxed set is done, I can turn back to my current work-in-progress. This isn’t going to be a m/m romance, though it will have LGBT characters – because Life has – and it’s aimed more at the younger reader. Shadow Glass is about a young glass artisan, Midge Gowrie, living on an Earth colony far in our future, a colony where the inhabitants have developed strange gifts. None is stranger then Midge’s.
Here’s a little teaser:
My Gift didn’t appear the first time I had my monthlies, the way it’s supposed to. All the girls in the First Families get their gift then, from the hoity-toity Tech families down to the Artisan ones like mine.
I have no idea who my father is and I never knew my mum. She got some sort of infection not long after I was born and didn’t get through it, Gran said. A surprise, really, in this day and age, especially since I don’t think I was born here on Hekat. Once I overheard Gran say something about Earth, though what an ArtisanMage was doing off-world is one mystery, and her being on Earth is an even greater one. Gran denied it so hard when I asked her about it, I’ve never dared ask again. I thought she would have a heart attack, right in front of me.
Anyhow, what I mean by all that, is my mum isn’t here to worry about me being Giftless. Aunt Yvonna, her sister, though. Wow, does she like it. She purses her lips and frowns a lot whenever she’s sure I can see her, but she isn’t worrying. She’s gloating. Jealous, most likely. But then, I don’t think she can have liked my mum much. Auntie’s supposed to be a woodcarver, but she doesn’t do much of anything now. She married into an EcoMage family, and thinks she’s better than those of us who work with their hands for a living. I don’t see she had anything to boast about. Having a few farmers love you for keeping their crops irrigated isn’t so much. Not stacked against one of my mum’s glass sculptures. They’re the embodiment of light, according to the cards in the main art gallery that explains what mum meant by them. Three of her sculptures are in the gallery for everyone on Hekat to see, visitors from the Company on Earth and from the other colonies as well as those of us stuck here. No one else has that many sculptures on show. So Auntie Yvonna can shove that up her pipe and smoke it.
Gran, my mum’s mum, worries about it some. But she’s a worrier anyway, over everything from why couldn’t I have been an EcoMage ’cos that cloud over there looks like rain and will spoil my garden, and what if the bees swarm tomorrow, Midge, while you’re at work and I can’t skep the queen?, and Holy Hecate, I can’t believe you’re twenty soon and how will I ever afford your Age party?
I don’t worry about it as much as Gran thinks I should. I may not have a Gift, you see, but unlike everyone else on Hekat, I have shadows.