A New American Faerie Tale Story: Pre-Order

#SFWAPRO

I know it has been especially quiet for the last several months. In honesty, I’ve always struggled with the idea of maintain a blog. I just don’t feel as if my day to day activities are interesting enough to warrant being blogged about. As such, I like to think I post more quality than quantity, though I’m tossing around an idea that might achieve both goals (more to come). I also, of course, post news and information about my writing and the like. As such, I’m delighted to announce a new American Faerie Tale story.

When I was invited to participate in this collection, I knew I wanted to write a Wraith story. It easy in the madness of the holidays to forget a lot of people are struggling, sometimes just to make it another day. I never like to preach, but I think there are stories that need to be told and Wraith makes it easy to share the rougher side of life, a reminder about the forgotten of society. However, when I set out to write this story, I wasn’t sure I could do it. The deadline was tight, as I was just finishing the first draft of my latest novel, and I didn’t want the story to feel forced. To my delight, once I sat down and started writing, the pieces of the story fell into place. This was going to be a story about hope, something that can be hard to hold on to, especially when it seems everything around you is burning. In the end, I think I did right by Wraith in this story, and the AFT universe. I didn’t expect it, but Wraith grew as a character in this story, and that’s all I could’ve hoped for. To make it even better, it’s only nintey-nine cents!

In terms of timeline, Greatest Gift takes place after The Returned.

The Greatest Gift of All: Wraith is a spell slinger, able to manipulate reality itself, but she’s been on the streets since losing her parents and her life has never been easy. Through all the darkness, she’s always tried to help the other children living at the fringes of society; the dejected, the ignored, and the forgotten. Now, the Fae court needs her help in finding a solstice child. If Wraith succeeds, the child will become a beacon of hope. If she fails, the child will become a monster, inspiring anger and rage. Wraith has faced all manner of terrors, both mundane and supernatural, and has never backed down from a fight. Can she save this solstice child and bring hope to the hopeless when she’s never had much of that even for herself?

A Very Faerie Christmas: Six Holiday Inspired Novellas. As the title suggests, it’s a collection of six novellas; all faerie stories, and all inspired by the holidays. It’s a great collection with stories that span the gamut of faerie stories, from the traditional to the modern. I think it will hold something for everyone and a couple of my friends are also in it: Ruth Vincent, and Jack Heckel (officially John Peck and Harry Heckel).

You can also enter to win an Amazon gift card by going here!

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Cover Reveal – The Returned

Are you waiting patiently (or impatiently) for The Returned? Have you thought that if you could just see the cover, or know what it’s about, that your wait would be that much easier? Well, I’m here to help.
Here is the (truly beautiful) cover and copy!
THE RETURNED_Cover

Almost a year after their wedding, and two since their daughter Fiona was rescued from a kidnapping by dark faeries, life has finally settled down for Caitlin and Edward. They maintain a façade of normalcy, but a family being watched over by the fae’s Rogue Court is far from ordinary. Still, it seems the perfect time to go on their long-awaited honeymoon, so they head to New Orleans.

Little do they know, New Orleans is at the center of a territory their Rogue Court guardians hold no sway in, so the Court sends in Wraith, a teenage spell slinger, to watch over them. It’s not long before they discover an otherworldly force is overtaking the city, raising the dead, and they’re drawn into a web of dark magic. At the same time, a secret government agency tasked with protecting the mortal world against the supernatural begins their own investigation of the case. But the culprit may not be the villain everyone expects. Can Wraith, Caitlin, and Edward stop whoever is bringing the vengeful dead back to life before another massacre, and before an innocent is punished for crimes beyond her control?

I’ve been continually impressed with the cover designs Harper has produced for each book in the American Faerie Tale series. I truly feel they nailed it once again.
This was the first book I’ve written where I had an outline and it survived till the end of the book. I have no idea if there is a correlation, but I also think it’s perhaps my best writing to date. Which is good because I always try to improve with each book. New Orleans is a city I really enjoy visiting, even if it gets too hot and humid for me to ever live there, and it was so much fun filling this book with the small details I’ve collected on my visits. Caitlin and Edward return as central characters (yes that is part of the many layered meaning behind the title) and I really enjoyed writing them again, and getting to write them interacting with Wraith! There are also other returning characters who you’ll learn more about, and of course some new faces as well.
The ebook is scheduled for release July 12th, 2015, with the paperback shortly there after. Like the previous books, I was careful to make this installment stand on it’s own, so you don’t need to read the preceding books to enjoy any other. It goes without saying though that you’ll get more out of the books if you do read them in order. So, if you haven’t already, there is time to read The Stolen, The Forgotten, and Three Promises before The Returned arrives. Click any of the links to pick them up from your favorite retailer, or signed/personalized copies from The Fountain Bookstore (who ships worldwide).

Super Deal on The Stolen (ebook)

THE STOLEN

To celebrate a great time at the New York ComicCon (a summation of which is forthcoming) for a limited time, two weeks to be exact, you can get The Stolen on ebook for only $.99 everywhere that sells ebooks. I’ve included links below so you can get it in your preferred format for your device of choice. Have a copy? Buy one for a friend! Buy one for someone you want to be your friend! Buy it for a stranger and make a new friend! Or just keep a copy handy to read so you can save the signed copy you picked up pristine on your shelf. Don’t have a signed copy? Gibson’s in Concord NH can help with that here! Pick it up now and you’ll be ready for the next book in the series, The Forgotten.

HarperCollins
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
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iTunes
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A Review of Thorn Jack, By Katherine Harbour

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In July, I interviewed Katherine about Thorn Jack and here is my review. It can also be found on GoodReads and Barnes & Noble.
Let me preface by saying I don’t normally read YA, some of the standards in it tend to annoy me. That being said, Katherine Harbour did an excellent job with Thorn Jack. The story and characters were so interesting I was able to completely ignore those aspects that I usually find so bothersome.
The protagonists remind me of people I know, or could’ve known, in college. They’re well rounded, have depth, and are filled with wonderful flaws that make them feel very human and very real. She took a very interesting path with the faeries in the book, urbanizing them, but blending the modernizing with traditional stories. In fact, one of the things I enjoyed was she, subtly, walks you through how the fae (Fata in the book) went from the old stories to the modern. An  especially interesting, and enjoyable aspect of the story is how it walks the line between faerie tale and ghost story. That’s a line I had never even thought about existing, and Ms. Harbour crafts that novel idea (no pun intended) into a really fascinating story.
The characters at times did annoy me at times, but to me that is just further proof of how well developed they were. That being said, I grew to like them all, to care about what happens to them, and I’m eager to see where their story goes from here.
I don’t like to give away details about the story, I know I prefer to experience stories fresh. So while nothing that follows isn’t really a spoiler, it might give away some things you might prefer to find for yourself.
Now that you’ve been warned, I do have to give credit for some very interesting features:
The oracle being autistic was a nice touch, and played very well. The character herself doesn’t appear much, but I found her to be one of the most interesting.
The way the legend of Celtic Hounds was blended into the fae was a nice touch.
Silvie could’ve fallen into the trap of too many stereotypes, but the character is saved by a personality that doesn’t fall into the traditional “goth” stereotype. In fact, I could easily see her out growing the affectations and evolving into a very interesting witch/wizard character as she matures.
I really like the notion of the Jacks and Jills (female version of the Jacks) in the story. A nice touch to bring that old children’s story in.
I love the misdirection associated with the moth key, and the truth behind its origins.
If you like YA, you’ll probably love this book. If you don’t like YA, but you like a good urban fantasy/urban faerie tale, you’ll probably like this book as well. It’s well worth the read.

Something for Nothing, Almost – Updated

One week from today The Stolen will be available in paperback. To mark the occasion, I’m giving away two signed copies, before you can even get it in stores!
But I hear you asking, “Bishop, what do we have to do to receive such a rare and precious gift?” I’m glad you asked. Three simple steps (it is a faerie tale after all):

*Update* I’ve come to see I might’ve asked too much being an unknown to people at this point, so if you complete just one of the following, or fan me on Goodreads, I’ll put you in the running. This is NOT limited to the USA*

  1. Follow me on twitter @BishopMOConnell
  2. Follow this blog (you can do so via email if you don’t have a WordPress account) use the button to the right, under “categories”
  3. Like my Facebook page, here

That’s all you need to do!
Wednesday Thursday afternoon I’ll announce the winners, chosen at random.

If you’ve already done those three things, just send me a tweet saying “I want a book!”

Giveaway

You know you want one…

It’s Official! (Dreams do Come True)

As of today, I’m a published author!

Wow…

It took a long while to get here, but then any dream worth achieving takes time and effort. I’ve been posting about my road to publication, and it could be argued this is the end, but I don’t think so. As cliche as it might be, this is really just the beginning for me (I hope!).

Harper Voyager made a sizeable web preview available here, so feel free to “try before you buy.”

Of course the paperback is still scheduled for release on August 5th, but I know you can’t wait that long. It’s okay, you can get both. I’ll understand.

Stayed tuned here for upcoming events; interviews, guest blog pieces, and even in person signings. Speaking of which, be sure to stop by The Qwillery and check out my first interview (direct link here)! While you’re there, be sure to vote in the 2014 Debut Author Cover Challenge Wars!

I’ll also have a giveaway for a signed copy of The Stolen before anyone can even buy it!

Now, if you’ll excuse, I have a happy dance calling my name.

hobbes

Interview with Katherine Harbour

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It’s my sincere pleasure to have the opportunity to interview Katherine Harbour, author of the novel Thorn Jack. A modern retelling of the Scottish ballad, “Tam-Lin.” It’s always nice to meet a fellow faerie fan, especially one who does such a fine job with it. I don’t normally go for the YA subgenre, but if more books were like this, I’d become a quick convert. It’s a dark and haunting story filled with characters that have depth and genuine voices that make them both believable and relatable. Katherine also has a gift with imagery and I found her prose truly exceptional. Simply put, it’s everything a good book should be; a great story with interesting characters that you genuinely care about.
Katherine was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule promoting the book to join me at the bar for a pint the craic.

Hi, Katherine. First, congratulations on the publication! Welcome to A Quiet Pint, and thanks for taking time from what is no doubt a busy schedule to share a glass and answer some questions.
Thank you!

First question, and possibly the most important: what are you drinking?
Starbucks espresso. I like to be wired when I write.

What about the legend of Tam Lin did you find most appealing? What about the story made you want to do a modern retelling?
I like that the girl rescues the boy, that the faery queen, the antagonist who is going to sacrifice Tam Lin, might actually love him. I wanted to write a modern version because I had the idea of making it more of a ghost story and adding another dimension, such as the heroine’s sister.

As writers, we’re supposed to be like parents and not have a favorite child (character), but we all do. Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite character is Finn. She was fun to write as she began to awaken from her grief and became intrigued by Jack and his very dangerous family—she’s part Alice in Wonderland, part Nancy Drew. As she developed into a young woman whose curiosity led her into situations where she had to use her wits to survive, I became so proud.

What character was the easiest for you to relate to, and which was the most difficult?
Finn was the easiest character to relate to. Jack was one of the most difficult, as he’s someone scarred by his past as a killer and struggling out of a nightmare and into a life he doesn’t think he deserves. Caliban, his savage nemesis, was also a bit hard to connect with.

How much research did you do for this book?
I tried to read or re-read every book on Celtic folklore or faeries I could find. I also bastardized much of the Gaelic and Celtic languages, since most of the Fatas in Fairy Hollow are Irish.

You clearly have a love of faeries, what about them most appeals to you?
My first encounter with a faery was Maleficent in Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty. In the ‘80s, Charles de Lint and Terri Windling wrote faeries and elves into the modern world and it became a popular subgenre. Then I began reading Celtic mythology and found the faery folk to be a little terrifying, especially their associations with the dead, their capricious personalities, and the variety of shapes they took, from beautiful, to puzzling, to grotesque.

Do you believe in faeries?
Hmm. You’re not supposed to talk about them because they might be listening.

Did you know from the start where the story was going to go, or did you get surprised along the way? If so, when and by whom?
I basically knew where the story was headed, but I was surprised by some twists and turns. I was surprised by the introduction of the Black Scissors, (I woke up one morning with the poem describing him in my head), and by his being Reiko’s former true love. Reiko Fata, the ruthless Fata queen, also surprised me by revealing that she’d grown a heart.

Will we see these characters again in a future novel?
There are two novels—Briar Queen and Nettle King—set to follow Thorn Jack. Briar Queen, #2, is still being revised. I’m just finishing the first draft of Nettle King, #3. Finn’s, Jack’s, Christie’s, and Sylvie’s encounters with the Fatas haven’t ended yet.

In the film version of the book, who do you see as playing the main characters?
I don’t know. I’ve got such a vivid picture in my head of the main characters. I’ve placed some ideas by others on my Thorn Jack Pinterest page, such as Emma Watson for Phouka and Chloe Grace Moretz for Finn.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
All of the fantasy and sci fi authors chosen by Harper Voyager through the open submissions call have intriguing books being released in the next few months. I strongly suggest checking them out!

Thanks again, I wish you great success with Thorn Jack and your writing career, and hopefully you’ll get a chance to stop by again sometime.
Thank you!

You can find Thorn Jack online at the usual providers: Barnes & Noble, direct from Harper Collins, Amazon, iTunes, Google, Indiebound, and Audible. You can find Katherine at her website, here.

An Excerpt from The Stolen

Since I’ve tantalized you with the cover art and jacket copy, here is a sample from the book itself to really tempt you. This is chapter 2, and it’s also the piece that will be available in the free ebook sampler Harper Voyager will release on July 22nd, entitled Voyager. You can find it here, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to several skilled writers.

Enjoy…

 

Caitlin Brady walked out of the Manchester, New Hampshire hospital, her nurse’s scrubs in the bag slung over her shoulder and her daughter Fiona’s small hand in hers. The four-year-old girl was skipping and humming a happy tune. She was always like this after a visit with Eddy. Caitlin completely understood. He’d always made her feel better, too. In fact, without him, she wasn’t sure how she would’ve made it these last few years.

Kris’s car pulled up in front of them, and the willowy young woman got out with a smile.

Fiona struggled with the back door for a moment before Caitlin opened it for her and the little girl climbed up on the seat.

“Thanks again,” Caitlin said to Kris. “I know it’s short notice.”

“No problem,” Kris said, smiling. “You go out and have a good time. You could use it. We’re going to have a night with everyone’s favorite pixie.”

Fiona cheered as she settled into the child seat.

Caitlin leaned in and buckled up Fiona. As she did, it struck her again just how much her daughter took after her. They both had the same curly, fiery red hair, unmanageable, to be honest. The same green eyes, though Fiona didn’t have the matching set of luggage under hers. They were both light skinned and liberally dosed with freckles, though Fiona, like all children, pulled off the look better. Caitlin silently hoped that Fiona wouldn’t also inherent the extra twenty pounds Caitlin carried around, or that she’d at least be tall enough for it not to be as obvious; Caitlin was several inches shorter than every other woman she knew. If she just worked less and slept more, she knew it would make a world of difference, but she had more important things in her life than sleep.

Caitlin ran her hand down Fiona’s cheek and let out a breath. “You behave for Kris, okay, peanut?”

“I will, Mommy.” Fiona’s green eyes lit up. “I love you.”

Caitlin felt a twinge at the words and smiled; even that matched her daughter’s. “I love you, too. Now give me a kiss.” She leaned down, got her kiss, and gave one back before closing the car door with a sigh.

She waved and tried to ignore the pang of guilt as the car pulled away. Eddy was probably right. No, he was always right, and it was annoying as hell.

After a minute or two, she convinced herself it was okay to go to the art show. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the crisp autumn air. When she exhaled, she found the guilt assuaged enough that she could probably do an hour or two with the girls. Baby steps, right?

Emerging from the parking garage stairwell, she pulled her keys from her purse and pointed the fob at her car. A sudden, overwhelming chill of dread and hopelessness washed over her. It stopped her so abruptly that she nearly fell on her face.

Caitlin could sense someone behind her, watching her. She could almost feel cold breath on her neck.

She stood there, frozen in place. The only sound was her shallow breathing. She struggled to move her legs, but fear had them cemented in place.

“Come on, Caitlin,” she whispered. “Just remember the self-defense class.” For the first time she could remember, she was glad Fiona wasn’t with her.

Hands still shaking, she gripped her keys so that they protruded from between her knuckles. Then she sucked in a breath and turned to confront whoever it was, spiked fist at the ready.

An empty lot stared back at her.

Continued here