Glamours & Gunshots Cover Reveal

Here it is, at long (really long) last!

You ready?

You sure?

Ok, here we go

……

The cover for Glamours & Gunshots, Book 2 of the Whitney & Davies series, is here!

…….

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Maia Whitney has held men as they died before, but never in peacetime, and never in her aunt’s front hall. But this death is only the beginning, and soon rumors spread among England’s magicians of a deadly Parasite on the loose. When Maia’s friend and fellow magician Lennox Davies becomes the Parasite’s next victim, Maia knows she cannot sit back and wait for others to bring about justice. Before long, Maia, Len, Becket, and their new friend Helen are embroiled in a case that has its roots buried in the shadows of the past … and could leave one of them magic-less forever. 

As with Magic Most Deadly and From the Shadows, the cover was designed by the brilliant Amanda McCrina, who is also an author and whose novel Blood Oath is coming out in June. Isn’t it stunning?

I don’t have a definite release date yet, but it will be either late summer or early fall. I’ve been working on this story for so long, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Winner!

The giveaway is closed, the entries have been tallied and a winner has been drawn, and it is …

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Congratulations, Hilma! A signed copy of Magic & Mayhem will be coming your way shortly!

For those of you who missed out on a chance to enter or entered and didn’t win, have no fear, I plan to hold more giveaways in the future. Especially with Glamours & Gunshots coming out so soon.

And speaking of Glamours & Gunshots, the cover reveal for that book will be happening right here sometime this week, so stay tuned for that!

My thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway, and for those of you who left reviews without wanting to be added to the contest. I appreciate you all!

Giveaway Time!

Hello friends! It’s been a long time since I’ve done a giveaway, and I think it’s time I changed that.

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The Prize: A signed paperback copy of Magic & Mayhem, my newly-released short story collection (if you already have M&M, contact me and we can work out a substitute of one of my other works).

The Rules: Between now and next Saturday (5/19), leave an honest review on any or all of my books on Amazon and/or Goodreads (links below).

Come back here and leave a comment with a link to your review(s).

Each review is one (1) entry into the giveaway. (Four books, two places to leave reviews, means you could potentially have up to eight entries.)

On 5/20, a winner will be randomly drawn, and on 5/21 they will be contacted about how to claim their prize.

The Reason: Glamours & Gunshots, Book 2 of the Whitney & Davies series, is coming out this year. THIS YEAR. Hopefully even this summer, though let’s not get too carried away.

I would love to stir up a lot of interest for this release, and one way to do that is by having enough reviews on my other books for potential readers to take note of the series and consider purchasing the new book when it comes out. Reviews are an author’s lifeline! Without them, our books tend not to show up in searches, they don’t get featured anywhere, and we lose so many potential readers.

Extra Stuff: If you have already left a review on all of my books but would still like to enter the giveaway, that’s fine, too–send me a link to them and you’ll be entered. Winning does not depend on the quality of the review–even if it’s one-star because you really didn’t like it, BE HONEST. All I’m looking at is that a review has been left, not its content. This contest is open to international participants as well as US!

Easy links for reviewing:

Magic Most DeadlyAmazon and Goodreads

From the ShadowsAmazon and Goodreads

Candles in the DarkAmazon and Goodreads

Magic & MayhemAmazon and Goodreads

To go over the rules one more time:

Between now and 5/19, leave a review on any or all of my books on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Come back here and leave a comment with a link to your review(s).

Each review is one (1) entry into the giveaway.

On 5/20, a winner will be randomly drawn, and on 5/21 they will be contacted about how to claim their prize.

Prize is a signed paperback of Magic & Mayhem. (this is negotiable if you already have a copy and would like one of my other books instead)

Go forth and review, share this post with all your friends-and-relations, and good luck!

Magic & Mayhem, Available Now

Here it is, friends! Free on Kindle for this weekend only, here is Magic & Mayhem, four short stories set in the magical England of this Whitney & Davies series!

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4 exciting new short stories set in the magical England of the Whitney & Davies series!

The Third Thief: Maia Whitney has returned home for her sister’s wedding determined to stay aloof from family dramas. Alas, the disappearance of a valuable and possibly cursed bracelet alters her plans. Can this magician’s apprentice solve the crime and save her sister’s wedding from doom and disaster?

Many Magical Returns: On Susannah’s seventeenth birthday, she learns why her mother has always insisted she never use magic in front of Uncle Ernie. Escaping her uncle’s greed and learning magic on the run are tall orders, but one thing is certain: this is a birthday Susannah will never forget.

Passion & Practicality: Steady, sensible Evelyn has always looked after and protected her flighty, feather-brained older sister Violet. So when Violet accidentally kills a man, of course Evelyn is going to take the blame. But her former fiancé Henry, now working for the magicians’ Domestic Protection Agency, has other plans.

Masks & the Magician: Who is the mysterious woman? Is she the Grand Duchess Anastasia, as she claims, or a fraud? The English magician calling himself Merlin has his own ideas, but untangling truth from lie is a difficult task in this mission. When everyone wears a mask, who can be trusted?

I’m so pleased to finally be able to return to Maia and Len’s world, to revisit old friends in some of the stories and meet new ones in others, and to give glimpses into the wider world of England’s magicians. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Get your copy now!

Magic & Mayhem Release Date

And we have a date!

Magic & Mayhem, the Whitney & Davies short story collection, will be available on April 7! That’s less than two weeks away!

4 exciting new short stories set in the magical England of the Whitney & Davies series! 

The Third Thief: Maia Whitney has returned home for her sister’s wedding determined to stay aloof from family dramas. Alas, the disappearance of a valuable and possibly cursed bracelet alters her plans. Can this magician’s apprentice solve the crime and save her sister’s wedding from doom and disaster?

Many Magical Returns: On Susannah’s seventeenth birthday, she learns why her mother has always insisted she never use magic in front of Uncle Ernie. Escaping her uncle’s greed and learning magic on the run are tall orders, but one thing is certain: this is a birthday Susannah will never forget.

Passion & Practicality: Steady, sensible Evelyn has always looked after and protected her flighty, feather-brained older sister Violet. So when Violet accidentally kills a man, of course Evelyn is going to take the blame. But her former fiancé Henry, now working for the magicians’ Domestic Protection Agency, has other plans.

Masks & the Magician: Who is the mysterious woman? Is she the Grand Duchess Anastasia, as she claims, or a fraud? The English magician calling himself Merlin has his own ideas, but untangling truth from lie is a difficult task in this mission. When everyone wears a mask, who can be trusted?

I had so much fun writing these stories–two featuring our intrepid detectives from Magic Most Deadly, two with brand-new characters. I am also thrilled to be able to include a sneak peek at Glamours & Gunshots, the next novel in the W&D series.

Mark your calendars for April 7th to receive this next installment of the Whitney & Davies series!

(And might I suggest, if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet, now is a good time to start? It’s only $2.99 on Kindle–an astonishingly good deal for an 80,000 word book. You certainly can read and enjoy Magic & Mayhem without having read Magic Most Deadly, but it will be twice as delightful if you have already been introduced to Maia, Len, and their cohorts.)

Magic & Mayhem

A long time ago–in 2013, which is about 200 years in book publishing reckoning–I published Magic Most Deadly, a fantasy-mystery set in England in the 1920s, described by one reader as “Dorothy L Sayers with magic” and another as “Agatha Christie meets Diana Wynne Jones.” It featured a reverse Tommy and Tuppence pair, where the woman was reliable and practical, ruthlessly logical and devastatingly honest, and the man was impulsive and intuitive, a dreamer and an incurable romantic. Together, they used magic and their own wits to solve the mystery, defeat more than one enemy, and forge a firm friendship.

It didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but it did garner a small fandom, and I immediately set about writing the sequel.

And learned the truth of all the statements about second books being so much harder than first books.

It was so hard, in fact, that I finally abandoned it to work on a project-from-my-heart, the recently re-released From the Shadows. With that one finished, I went back to the next Whitney & Davies book.

And promptly hit a wall again. And again.

With the release of yet another non-W&D book this December, the mystery novella Candles in the Dark, my readers might be justified in thinking I had left behind this world, and these characters, for good.

I am here today to tell you that is not the case.

No, this isn’t an announcement of the sequel, although I am in the line-editing stage of that and hope to have it out to the copy-editor soon. What I am announcing is an in-between project, something to both remind readers of this world (and possibly introduce new readers to it), and tide them over until the sequel does come out.

It is …

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Magic & Mayhem, a collection of four short stories set in the Whitney & Davies world (one each featuring our intrepid protagonists, two featuring brand-new characters).

And that’s not all! Magic & Mayhem also includes the first chapter of the sequel to Magic Most Deadly, titled Glamours & Gunshots!

So, my faithful friends who have stuck with this blog and this writing journey of mine for the last five years, your patience will have its reward at last. Four short stories and the sure promise of the next novel in the series.

I don’t have an exact release date for Magic & Mayhem yet, but it will be out soon, and I will update here as soon as I have more solid information.

In the meantime, back to editing I go …

Where Are Your Roots?

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The great lady herself

I follow Susan Cooper’s fan page on FB, and when I saw a couple weeks back that she was going to be doing a book signing/reading/talk in Cambridge, MA, I gasped in delight and immediately told my husband we needed to go. After a bit of comic misunderstanding of him thinking I meant “our” Cambridge, Cambridge, England, and trying gently to remind me we didn’t have money or time for unexpected trips across the channel, and me trying to figure out why he thought we needed to plan so far in advance for a town less than an hour’s drive from us, we got it straightened out and scheduled it in our calendars.

It was rich. It honestly would have been worth flying to Cambridge, England to experience it (plus, you know, Cambridge. You wouldn’t have to twist my arm to get me back there; I’ve missed it every day since we returned from our visit last year). She was so full of warmth and wisdom, joy and humor. I couldn’t even think of any questions to ask during the Q&A session; I just wanted to sit and soak in whatever she had to say, from children’s instinctive aligning with the land and nature versus the adult idea of progress, to her anecdote of CS Lewis and Tolkien teaching them at Oxford to believe in dragons, to her advice for helping reluctant writers.

One thing she said that really struck me was when she spoke of how much her writing is all rooted in a sense of place. The best writing, it’s always seemed to me, does have a rootedness in something beyond the immediate story or theme. For Tolkien, it was language (and myth, and Story, and … look, he had a lot going for him). For Lewis, it was the notion of Truth beyond religious packaging. For someone like Lloyd Alexander, I believe it was joy. Madeleine L’Engle’s work was rooted in the idea of names and naming.

What, I mused on the way home, and that night, and the next day, and on into the next week, is my writing rooted in?

Oh, there’s lots of themes that wind their way through my writing. Joy is a big one (there’s a reason LA is my favorite author of all time). The notion of Story is another, most especially Truth as Story. Finding one’s own place is something else that comes in to most of my stories, whether overtly (as in From the Shadows, where it’s pretty much the whole plot), or more subtly (Magic Most Deadly isn’t quite as blatant, nor is Candles in the Dark, but the idea is there with both of them). Still none of those felt quite like the answer.

The answer in fact came to me just a couple days ago, as we were walking through the nearby bird sanctuary. The setting sun shone a golden, warm light on the fields and trees as we made our way back out of the woods, and I found myself stopping to take pictures, just like I always do, despite the fact that I have dozens if not hundreds of photographs of different qualities of light already.

And that’s when it hit me. Light. That’s what my stories are all rooted in. The idea of light. That’s why I write, to be a light. That’s what I most deeply resonate with. This is what my self is rooted in, so of course it is what my writing springs up out of.

Sometimes it’s a warm light. Sometimes it might be a harsher one, even blinding. Sometimes it’s the sun on the water, sometimes a candle in a window. Whatever the type, that’s where my stories are born.

It seems rather fitting that this revelation should be inspired by the woman who wrote an entire series based around the struggle between the Dark and the Light. Even more fitting that one of the books she signed for me was The Dark is Rising, the first book in that series I ever read.

I am grateful.

(Also on that same day we went to hear Susan Cooper speak I got in the mail the edition of FrostFire Worlds containing my short story “A Spot of Orange”! It is available to purchase at the Alban Lake Shop, if anyone is interested in a copy of their own. fullsizeoutput_3266 It was a really good day.)