1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, reading list, stories, writing

Paperback Sale

To my surprise and delight, Amazon has noticed the lowered ebook prices for the Whitney & Davies series and has obligingly dropped prices on the paperbacks as well–which is something I’ve heard about happening to other authors, but have never experienced myself before now. This is entirely Amazon’s doing, and I have no control over how much or how little they lower the price, or for how long it will last, and they don’t actually bother to inform the authors about this to begin with, so when I say, hey, if you want a paperback you should get it now, that’s not just me being all salesperson-y, that’s because I genuinely don’t know how long they’ll keep the prices lowered.

So! Magic Most Deadly, on sale now for $11.51 paperback!

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Glamours and Gunshots, on sale now for $5.19 paperback

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Magic & Mayhem, on sale for $6.99 paperback

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I don’t know about you, but this sure seems to me to be a great time to get in some early Christmas shopping!

(Disclaimer: if you’ve been around this website for a while you know that I prefer to promote sites other than Amazon for buying my books. Alas, only Amazon is providing these prices right now, so I am reluctantly bowing to corporate rule and promoting it. Believe me, if I could offer you these prices through Bookshop.org or your local indie bookstore, I would!)

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, publishing, writing

While Shepherds Watch

“Of all the ghastly holidays, Christmas is the worst!”

When apprentice magician Maia Whitney’s plans for a quiet Christmas with no obligations toward anyone are disrupted by a friend in need, she resigns herself to yet another holiday filled with indigestion and artificial cheer. Things look up when her friend and fellow magician Len Davies joins the adventure, but Maia is still far from feeling merry or bright.

Len would go with Maia to the ends of the earth, but this crumbling manor in the remote Yorkshire countryside tests even his goodwill toward man. He doesn’t object to the ghost supposedly roaming the halls, but he wishes he knew just what has his host’s young sister so scared. To top it all off, he can barely spend any time with Maia, as she is so busy helping her friend.

Will ghosts, curses, cads, and thieves ruin this Christmas for everyone? Not if the intrepid duo of Whitney & Davies has anything to say about it! It will take all their magical abilities and ingenuity, but they are determined to make this a happy Christmas for all.

*****

Today is the day! Christmas comes early for all you lucky readers, because While Shepherds Watch is published today! Click here for links to Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and more.

I honestly had so much fun writing this novella. It reminded me of all the reasons I began writing the Whitney & Davies series in the first place–the sheer delightfulness of these characters, and the enjoyment of adding a magical twist to a traditional British mystery. I wrote it when I ought to have been working on any number of other writing projects–the third Pauline Gray novella (so close to being ready for publication, guys), the next Whitney & Davies novel (set in Cambridge, no less!), the next collection of Whitney & Davies short stories (all plotted out, just not written), the next adventure for Riss & co aboard the Caledonia (my heart’s children!) … but I threw all those out the windows and just wrote for fun, and as a result, I have this lovely Christmas gift for all of you.

And that’s not all! Click on the following titles to take advantage of a Whitney & Davies sale, because every ebook in the series is on sale for $0.99 this week to celebrate the new release.

Magic Most Deadly

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Glamours and Gunshots

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Magic & Mayhem

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How about that for an early Christmas gift?

Happy reading, friends, and be sure to spread the word (and Christmas cheer) about While Shepherds Watch and the Whitney & Davies sale! I can’t wait for you all to share in this new adventure with Maia and Len.

1920s, publishing, writing

While Shepherds Watch Cover Reveal

Today is the day! I am so excited to be able to share the cover for While Shepherds Watch with you all, as well as the story’s description.

I feel as though I should create a huge build-up, but to be honest, I don’t really go in for that sort of thing, so let’s skip right to the reveal, shall we?

Without further ado … While Shepherds Watch

“Of all the ghastly holidays, Christmas is the worst!”

When apprentice magician Maia Whitney’s plans for a quiet Christmas with no obligations toward anyone are disrupted by a friend in need, she resigns herself to yet another holiday filled with indigestion and artificial cheer. Things look up when her friend and fellow magician Len Davies joins the adventure, but Maia is still far from feeling merry or bright.

Len would go with Maia to the ends of the earth, but this crumbling manor in the remote Yorkshire countryside tests even his goodwill toward man. He doesn’t object to the ghost supposedly roaming the halls, but he wishes he knew just what has his host’s young sister so scared. To top it all off, he can barely spend any time with Maia, as she is so busy helping her friend.

Will ghosts, curses, cads, and thieves ruin this Christmas for everyone? Not if the intrepid duo of Whitney & Davies has anything to say about it! It will take all their magical abilities and ingenuity, but they are determined to make this a happy Christmas for all.

❆  ❆  ❆

While Shepherds Watch will be released on November 2 in paperback and ebook format, and the ebook is available for pre-order now. There’s also a Goodreads page for it already, so if you are a Goodreads user and want to add it to your TBR, click here.

I’m so looking forward to sharing this story with you all! Some holiday magic coming your way, November 2!

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, publishing, reading list, stories, writing

New Book!

Friends, I am so excited to be able to share this news with you. Not only is the next Pauline Gray novella being released this autumn/winter, coming on November 2 is a new Whitney & Davies story!

I’ll be releasing more info about it soon, including the cover and back blurb, but for now I can tell you that it is a Christmas story, novella-length (I originally conceived it as a short story, but, well, it grew), featuring Maia and Len, and it is set between Magic Most Deadly and Glamours and Gunshots.

The title is While Shepherds Watch, and here is at least a little teaser of the cover:

So set your calendars for Nov 2!

I hope to be able to set this up for pre-orders this week, so that you can be extra sure to get yours in time for Christmas, and if I am able to do that I will let you know. Stay tuned for paperback info, a full cover reveal, and the back blurb soon!

And be sure to check in later this month for info about the third Pauline Gray novella’s release date! All kinds of exciting stuff happening here at StarDance Press this season.

1920s, fantasy, goals, mystery, publishing, Sci-fi, writing

Organizing Projects

If you’ve spent any time at this blog at all, or even if you wandered here wanting to learn more about my other writings after reading one of my stories, you probably know that I have three “universes” I mainly write in: The Whitney and Davies universe, aka Golden Age Detective Fantasy, aka Whodunnit Fantasy, aka Agatha Christie with magic; what I call the Caledonia universe, or the setting for From the Shadows; and the Pauline Gray historical mysteries, no magic at all.

I currently have projects in mind for all of these universes, and choosing between them for what to work on next can be almost as much of a challenge as the writing itself–or at the very least, a distraction from actually doing the writing. So I thought I might toss the options out there and see if there’s a preference from readers as to what project I turn the majority of my attention to first. So far my plan of “write whichever one strikes my fancy at the moment” has resulted in a pile of unfinished drafts, shockingly enough. (I KNOW. Who would have thought?)

The first question, then, is: which universe are you most eager to read another story in?

  • Whitney & Davies
  • Caledonia
  • Pauline Gray

After that, it gets a little more complex.

For Pauline, the options are fairly straightforward: the next installment of the series. Actually, that’s not “fairly” straightforward, that’s completely straightforward, and it’s not even “options,” it’s one choice: the next novella.

For Caledonia, I think it would look like a long short story that works as an interlude between the events of the first novel and the events of the next, followed by said next novel. It is possible that I might be able to jump right into the next novel without the interlude, but the way things stand for story development right now that would leave a gap between the stories, and so I think we really do need that bridge.

In the W&D universe, the choices are:

  • Another collection of short stories, this time mostly featuring Maia, Len, Gwen, and Becket
  • A one-off novella or long short story set in the same world but featuring entirely different characters
  • The next novel in the series

My instinct here is to get the next novel out there, but I don’t know, are people interested enough in the short stories that they would be a nice filler between novels? Is the novella something only I would be interested in? Would readers like the occasional short story in between novels but not necessarily an entire collection of them?

So these are the questions I am asking you all to answer: what do you want to see next from me–the next Pauline Gray novella; the continuation of Riss’s story; the next W&D novel; a short story or stories around W&D, or a novella set in their world but featuring different characters? Feel free to answer with only one option or with putting your choices in order of what you want most to read down to least.

As I shuffling off the responsibility of organizing my work onto my readers? Yes, I absolutely am. Do I feel guilt over this? Nope, not a bit.

Let me know in the comments, or send me an email if you’d rather keep it private! Also feel free to let me know some of what you hope to see from any or all of these universes by way of long-term storytelling. I know what my ideas are for the futures of these stories, but what are yours? Let’s chat!

1920s, publishing, writing

Rabbit Trails and Sub-Genres

Between the previous post, FB, Twitter, Tumblr, and in-person conversations, the votes for “Golden Age Detective Fantasy” and “Whodunit Fantasy” are split pretty much evenly, with one extra suggestion of “Roaring ’20s Detective Fantasy.” So I still haven’t come to a conclusion as to what name I should coin for this specific sub-genre of “detective fiction in the style of Christie, Sayers, Allingham, etc, with a splash of magic.”

The points for “Golden Age Detective Fantasy”:

  • Evocative
  • Specific
  • Intriguing even for readers who aren’t familiar with mystery sub-genres
  • Sounds more alluring than Whodunit Fantasy

Points for “Whodunit Fantasy”:

  • Short and snappy
  • Easily understood even if readers aren’t familiar with mystery sub-genres
  • Covers more ground than Golden Age Detective Fantasy
  • Since “Golden Age Detective Fiction” is technically only used for authors who were writing during that between-wars era, Whodunit Fantasy is a more correct name

How’s a poor hapless author to decide? I know it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it would be nice to have a name to put on back copy and on the series page of the website. I’m still mulling it over!

In other writing news, I’ve had a great deal of fun recently concocting a magical wardrobe for Maia created in-story by Helen. There are practical aspects: dresses that fold to no larger than a handkerchief, and when unfolded are wrinkle free! Dresses with pockets that can hold more than a handbag and yet don’t alter the line of the dress! Then there are the decorative aspects: embroidery that literally sparkles; the ability to alter a hemline or neckline or change the sleeves from long to short with simply the correct word to release the spell.

I try not to go too overboard describing clothing in the books, because too many details can take a reader right out of the story, but it is sooo tempting when I have so many wonderful options to use as inspiration!

This is a fantastic demonstration of a dress that a clever magician could create to change from a day dress to a dinner dress with one snap.
I think Maia is definitely the type to wear a cape, don’t you? Even if she secretly feels it is a bit over-the-top, she just can’t resist the swoop and swish of it. And the dress beneath is practical enough even for her.
The green frock here is very close to one I just had Helen create for Maia–except hers has more embroidery, and the floaty bits at shoulders and hip are gold rather than green. I love it, and I wish I could have one myself!

This is just a tiny sampling of the patterns I’ve been drooling over these last couple of weeks. If my next blog post sheepishly admits that I broke down and made myself a 1920s dress, you’ll know why. I can justify it all as research, right?

If you are an author, what sort of fun rabbit trails does your research tend to take you down? If you are a reader, what bits of extra detail are your favorite to read about in a story? And for both parties, if you haven’t already, please weigh in on whether you prefer “Golden Age Detective Fantasy” or “Whodunit Fantasy”!

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, publishing, stories, writing

Categories and Genres

Genre, sub-genre, categories … when trying to find a home for a story on the shelves of a bookstore or library, the options can sometimes seem overwhelming. Is this fantasy or science fiction? Historical mystery, cozy mystery, or some other type of mystery altogether? Thriller or adventure? Memoir or autobiography?

This is made even more difficult when you have an author who likes to cross two or more genres in one book. And yes, I’m talking about myself and the Whitney & Davies series here. Since the beginning, these books have been hard to categorize. Do they go on the fantasy shelf or the mystery shelf? (One local library solved the puzzle by sticking Magic Most Deadly on the “fiction” shelf–going more generic instead of less, I guess!) It wouldn’t matter so much, aside from causing headaches to librarians and bookstore owners, except that muddled categories can make it difficult for readers to understand what sort of book they are looking at, and thus make them less likely to pick it up and read.

The basic premise of the Whitney & Davies series–taking an already-existing genre and adding a magical twist to it–is not unique to me. My first exposure to the concept was with Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s marvelous fantasy of manners Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. Other well-known Regency fantasies are Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories, and of course Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Then there’s the “gaslamp” or “gaslight” fantasies, which take the same idea and place it in a Victorian or Edwardian England setting. Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series would likely fall into this category, as well as Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent.

However, I’ve not yet found anyone besides myself taking Golden Age Detective Fiction and inserting fantasy into that, and I’ve been racking my brains for ages now trying to coin a phrase to neatly sum up this sub-genre to make it clear from one glance what type of a story the reader is getting. “Mystery-fantasy set in 1920s England” is, let’s face it, way too clunky.

I’ve narrowed it down to two options, although I am open to suggestions for something else! I like “Golden Age Detective Fiction” for its descriptiveness, but on the other hand it is still long and a little bit clunky. Then there’s the short and snappy “Whodunit Fantasy,” but the downside to that one is that it doesn’t necessarily convey the sense of time and place–between wars in England–that the other does.

So I am tossing the choices out there for my readers! Which do you prefer? Which one conveys the feel of Whitney & Davies best to you? And if you haven’t read my books yet, you may still feel free to comment–I’d like to know what type of story you think of when you see either of those two categories.

I would also be curious to know if you have any comparison books or series that come to your mind when thinking of W&D–you know, the old, “If you like _____, you will like Whitney & Davies.” The closest I’ve come up with is Martha Wells’ Death of the Necromancer, and I’m not exactly sure that’s the best match. I think that’s the sort of thing that is difficult for an author to judge about his or her own work, especially when one of the main reasons for writing the books is that no one else out there is!