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  • 7. Mistress of Birds,  Mysterious Powers

    Mistress of Birds is out!

    Cover of Mistress of Birds, set on a table surrounded by pinecones and red berries, against a white background. Cover of Mistress of Birds. A man and woman in 1920s clothing silhouetted on a purple and deep blue-grey background. He holds a walking stick as tall as he is and wears a cap, she wears a hat and long sweater. Apples are inset in the top left.

    Mistress of Birds is the final book in the Mysterious Powers series, exploring the impact of the Great War on the people and institutions of Albion.

    Thalia has had a certain small success with her literary writing. But her inspiration is gone, and no one is buying her stories. When her family volunteers her to stay at her great-aunt’s house on the edge of Dartmoor, she figures at least she’ll be fed.

    Adam had a bad War. Ten years after he was invalided out of the Army with shell shock, he still hasn’t recovered. His family have lost patience, and when his uncle breaks his leg badly, they ship him off to lend a hand. Adam isn’t sure he’s able to do anything useful. When his uncle wants a report on the apple orchard, though, Adam realises something isn’t quite right.

    The mysteries of the house and the apple orchard bring Adam and Thalia together, in search for answers. Together, they might just be able to figure out what’s going on, what’s making the eerie noises in the house, and why the apples ripen so late.

    Mistress of Birds is my take on a Gothic romance (spooky house and all). All of my books can be read in any order, but this one stands alone particularly well.

    One particular content note on this one (also on my content notes page). The book does deal with long-standing PTSD (what we’d now call CPTSD). If you’re sensitive to discussions of it, chapter 31 briefly references the barbaric treatment of it in 1917. (One paragraph, strong implications of what happened, few explicit details.)

    Get your copy!

  • Albion

    People together (groups and organisations)

    Welcome to the next stop on the tour of the authorial wiki. Last time we talked about characters, so now it’s time to take a look at groups and organisations.

    Groups

    There are a number of common group connections in Albion – notably related to the Five Schools, but also secret societies and professions. Read more about the professional and social organisations in general over here.

    Copy of Point by Point against a cream brocade wallpaper with a key and aquamarine brooch.
    Point By Point shows what a group can do together.
  • Albion

    Character Connections

    We’ve talked about extras, maps, and timelines in our tour of my authorial wiki. Now it’s time to talk about characters. Every point of view character has a page. (That means everyone who’s been the point of view in a novel, novella, or extra…)

    Cover of Eclipse displayed on a tablet, resting on a pine bough, surrounded by wood five-pointed stars.
    (Eclipse has my largest character list by far…)
  • Albion

    Timelines: Who, what and above all, when!

    Welcome to the next stop on our tour of my authorial wiki (public version). Today, I want to talk about timelines and finding out when particular events happened.

    Cover of Eclipse displayed on a tablet, resting on a pine bough, surrounded by wood five-pointed stars.
    Eclipse is, of course, my book which is particularly anchored to a specific time and region.

    One of the reasons I like WorldAnvil (the software I use for the public wiki) is the chance to create maps and timelines. With books ranging across the 1920s, a few Edwardian titles, and a couple during or just after the Great War, being able to put the books in order is key. I’ve currently got five different ways to get timeline information, read on to learn more about them!

  • Albion,  Writing and publishing

    Extras, get your extras!

    A copy of The Fossil Door with its burgundy and orange cover lies on a brown leather sofa with a matching orange pillow.

    What’s an extra?

    Now and again, I write something extra. It can be a few thousand words, or thirty thousand.

    It can be a bit of backstory I need to write out to keep going in the book. Or something that happens after the book ends that affects future events.

    Sometimes, I just want to spend a little more time with those characters.

    Other times, it’s a chance to get a bit of a story from someone else’s perspective.

    I share these extras with my newsletter subscribers. And now I’ve got an easy way to let you know what extras there are (and what they cover).

    Check out the Extras page on my authorial wiki for a short summary of each available extra. Click through on the title for each one to learn more about it. Scenes from the extras are also on my books and extras timeline.

    Getting copies for yourself

    If you’re already getting my newsletter, starting on June 3rd, 2022, there’s a link at the top of every newsletter that will let you download whichever extras you like without putting in an email address.

    If you’re not already on my newsletter list, you can get all the extras here. You’ll need to enter your email address for each one (or sign up for one, get the first newsletter email, and then use the link there to get the rest. Up to you!)

    I hope you’ll stay around on my newsletter for news about what’s coming soon, more extras, and a few links and snippets of information from my writing that week. I send an email most Fridays. But if that’s not for you, it’s fine to subscribe and unsubscribe as you see fit.

  • Research adventures

    Adventures in falconry

    Last Saturday, I went on an adventure with Kiya, my long-time friend and editor. We drove out to western Massachusetts (about a two hour drive from where I live) for a session with New England Falconry.

    Why? Writing research, of course!

    A Harris's hawk on a perch, head forward and back arched, seeing something it's not sure about.
    A Harris’s hawk on a perch, seeing something he’s not sure about.

    Falconry, Carillon, and upcoming delights

    Lord Geoffrey Carillon is a great many things, but among them, he is a falconer. As mentioned in On The Bias, he used to fly a Eurasian eagle-owl, named Theodora (who also appears in that book). However, the sniper wound he got during the Great War (in his left shoulder joint) means that he can’t hold that much weight on his extended left hand for very long.

    (Eurasian eagle-owls are about 8 pounds for females. Extremely sizeable birds.)

    Since the early 1920s, he’s instead flown a merlin named Helena. Merlins are a vastly smaller bird – about 8 ounces or half a pound. (They also carry a number of different social implications.)

    Then I wrote the draft of Best Foot Forward (out in November 2022) and – there is more falconry. It’s set in 1935, when Carillon is fully settled into his current life, but collaboration with Alexander Landry brings about a new set of challenges. Alexander also has a certain number of opinions about hawks and falcons, as it turns out, though largely on a more metaphorical level. Or at least less immediately physical. There’s also a scene set in the mews at Ytene.

    And then there’s Ancient Trust, which is about Carillon inheriting the title in 1922 and returning to Albion and figuring out how to rearrange his life. Which of course includes a certain amount of falconry, though mostly off-screen.

    All of that meant more research about falconry was in order as both those titles go into editing. And of course, the one thing that’s hard to get from books or video or other second hand sources is what the experience actually feels like. I especially wanted to get a sense of what it felt like to have a bird on the end of my arm.

    Which is why we went out to western Massachusetts.

    Read on for more, including plenty of great pictures!

  • 6. Point By Point,  Mysterious Powers

    Point By Point is out!

    Cover of Point By Point displayed on an tablet, layered over various printed pages, along with books, a deep red rose, and a magnifying glass.

    Welcome to Point By Point!

    It’s a story of immersive journalism, 1920s style (with more than a bit of magic), old friends and new romances, with horse racing and two secret societies with very different goals in the mix.

    Lydia’s been working as a journalist for years, but it’s past time make her name and get herself more steady assignments.

    Galen – last seen in In The Cards – has been trying to sort his life out. His brother’s doing well and Galen’s been working hard and keeping very busy learning to turn the family import business around. But when Lydia asks for a favour, Galen finds himself saying yes.

    Of course, Galen isn’t on his own. Martin and the other Dwellers at the Forge are intrigued by any project that might take down those reaching for power that isn’t theirs. Since Lydia’s interested in exploring what happened in the aftermath of Magician’s Hoard, they’re entirely eager to help.

    Get your copy of Point By Point for a frolic full of racing, a house party, and more than a bit of ritual magic along with the romance.

    (As with all my books, you can read this one without having read any of the others, though In The Cards introduces Galen, Martin, Julius, and Blythe, and takes place about a year earlier.)