Rise of the Wolf is OUT NOW!

The brand new book is available NOW on Kindle and paperback! Just click the pictures below for your country. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc and, if you could, use the hashtag #RiseOfTheWolf

If you DO share please let me know, I’ll be picking names from a hat to win prizes!

Thank you all for your support – the wolf WILL rise! 🙂

UK link:

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US link:

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Review of Rise of the Wolf

Stuart S. Laing

Brutal, Bloody, Brilliant

Rise of the Wolf by Steven A. McKay

Reviewed by Stuart S. Laing

The Rise of the Wolf is the third in the marvellous Forest Lord series by Steven A. McKay and delivers, once again, a solid, engrossing read that hits you like a punch in the guts! archerWhen an author takes on such a well-known tale featuring a character such as Robin Hood he is either brave, or foolish. He has to bring something to the tale that breathes fresh life into the story. Something that sets it apart from all the previous tales, or it is simply a pot of reheated left-overs. Thankfully Steven has given a whole new spin on the man with the bow. Those who have read the previous books know to expect to find themselves in Yorkshire, deep in the leafy expanse of Barnsdale Forest rather than the green trees of…

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Need a cover designer? Q&A with More Visual

Today I’m talking to the guys that have created all of my fantastic covers. If you’re an indie author and need a striking image that will attract readers then you should really check this out and get in touch with More Visual Ltd once you’ve read the interview!

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First of all, you’re a two-man team, is that right?

Yes that’s right, we’ve been working together for nearly ten years now so we have a great working dynamic. I think it makes us both stronger to have another set of eyes critiquing our work.

How long have you been designing book covers?

I [Olly] started when we were at our previous company, so about ten years ago. Richie (Cumberlidge)’s been doing them for over 15 years.

Did you study art at school/college? What inspired you to become a designer?

Stunning cover for one of David Pilling's great books

Stunning cover for one of David Pilling’s great books

I did Art and Design at college and also went on to do photography as well. In fact, both of my brothers are graphic designers as well and my dad studied graphic design at college, so I guess I was inspired by my own family in a way, it’s sort of in the blood. I’ve always loved playing around with graphics, manipulating images, drawing and sketching ideas, I feel incredibly lucky to have a creative job, especially one where I work with writers. I find my clients very inspiring too; their excitement about their books and ideas is often the best inspiration for my design work. There is nothing more satisfying than when you create a cover that does justice to an author’s idea and helps with the book’s success.

What’s the cover you worked on that you personally like the best?

That’s impossible to answer; I usually prefer whatever I am working on at the time. Seriously I could not pick out one cover. Some I like because they fulfilled a challenging brief, some I like because they are technically strong, some I like because the book’s premise really caught my imagination and I am pleased with the artistic outcome. I can’t pick a cover I like best, but I can say which genre – personally I prefer working on sci-fi and fantasy the most. It’s a genre where you really have to be innovative and imaginative to make a cover stand out.

The Knight of the Cross cover for the Audible version.

The Knight of the Cross cover for the Audible version.

Have you ever read any of the books you designed a cover for? If so, what did you think of them?

I read a lot, but I am a sucker for older classics like War of the Worlds, Day of the Triffids, I Am Legend and Dracula. But yes, sometimes I will end up reading a book because I have felt very close to the cover design, or because the writer’s idea really intrigued me. But look, you can’t ask me to start reviewing my clients! I think they all deserve their success; it can’t be easy to write a whole book.

How does the process usually work? Obviously, for my last couple of books I emailed you a sketch of what I wanted and you brought it to life, but the cover of my debut novel, Wolf’s Head was just an idea I gave you and you did the rest. How do authors normally work with you?

I do like it when writers send sketches but it can be even more challenging than a blank slate. You have an idea but I have to make it look as good as it does in your head! It’s quite good when someone knows what they want it gives me a good starting point, as long as I can get an insight into what they’re visualising. Other than that, I just work with written descriptions and sketches with a general plot line to the book.

Has anyone been a real pain to work with (no names needed, just the story!)?

Everyone’s different really and everyone has quirks that are challenging and enthusiasm that’s catching. If you’ve been writing a book for some time and you have lived and breathed the characters and architecture of your novel, it’s hard to pick a visual for the front cover which explains your book and which is understandable to someone glancing at it on the shelf. Sometimes I have to point out that my client needs to step back and not try and explain the entirety of the book in the cover, ideally you want something visually appealing that will bring your reader to your book.

Was my sketch for The Wolf and the Raven the worst an author has ever sent you?

To be fair, a lot of the sketches are quite similar to the one you did! It’s fine; it gives me a good idea of what you want, which saves a lot of time. And if you can’t draw, remember that I couldn’t write a book.

My wonderful concept art for The Wolf & The Raven...

My wonderful concept art for The Wolf & The Raven…

How does it feel when you hold a paperback with one of your covers on it? It must be pretty cool to know thousands of people all around the world have your artwork in their houses!

Yeah definitely it’s good to see it printed, although nowadays quite a few are just seen online.

What other services do you offer? You had a vinyl decal made for me using the Wolf’s Head text for my guitar which was great – what other stuff do you do for authors? Posters? Business cards? Flyers? Mugs?

We originally started out doing stationery, point of sale and brochures whilst doing the covers at the same time. Although we try to specialise in the covers, we can provide other services from printed material to even websites.

My "Wolf's Head" Jackson Randy Rhoads guitar with custom decal.

My “Wolf’s Head” Jackson Randy Rhoads guitar with custom decal.

What are some of your own favourite book covers (ones you didn’t design I mean)?

I use to like those point horror book covers when I was about 12. You know the ones I mean, the they looked a bit like those illustrations by Drew Struzan (Star Wars, Indiana Jones poster artist). I really like the front cover to the hard back version of The Martian by Andy Weir, the one where the astronaut is being blown through a sand storm.

the martian

Do you take inspiration from other places, like album covers?

Probably more from film posters I’ve always been intrigued by them; I’m always looking at apple.com/trailers and Imdb at the new film posters. Saying that, I really like the photography and imagery that Storm Thorgerson created for Pink Floyd, Muse, Biffy Clyro and Mars Volta album covers.

Pink_Floyd_-_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon

Storm Thorgerson’s iconic (and wonderfully simple) cover for Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”.

Thanks to Olly for talking to me. I think you’ll agree the covers these guys come up with look fantastic. I’m pretty sure a large part of Wolf’s Head‘s success was down to the great artwork.

If you’d like a quote for your own project, you can find the guys HERE.

This incredible cover was the one that caught my eye when I was looking for designers. Gordon's books are also great reads!

This incredible cover was the one that caught my eye when I was looking for designers. Gordon’s books are also great reads!

Rise of the Wolf by Steven A. McKay – Review

Stunning new review for Rise of the Wolf! “a story that is by far the best I’ve read in a long time.”

David's Book Blurg

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Title – Rise of the Wolf
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publication – Expected 31st July/1st August 2015
My Rating – 5/5

Synopsis

Sir Guy of Gisbourne is back!

Bent on vengeance against Robin Hood and with a turncoat new lieutenant in tow, an unlikely new hero must stand up for herself…

YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND – 1323 AD

The greenwood has been quiet and the outlaws have become complacent, but the harsh reality of life is about to hit the companions with brutal, deadly force thanks to their old foe, Prior John de Monte Martini.

From a meeting with King Edward II himself to the sheriff’s tournament with its glittering prize, the final, fatal, showdown fast approaches for the legendary Wolf’s Head.

New friends, shattered loyalties, and a hate-fuelled hunter that threatens to wipe out not only Robin’s companions but his entire family will all play their part in…

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Another stunning review for Rise of the Wolf

It’s always nerve-wracking when a Robin Hood scholar reads one of my books. They know the legend inside out and have their own ideas of how it should be treated.

So I was very happy to read this quite fantastic review of my new book on Goodreads. Take a look and get ready for publication this Friday!  #RiseOfTheWolf

“McKay’s straight-forward style is consistent and well-suited to his story, but I also observed that there was considerable growth in the scope of his writing with this one.”

Click HERE to read the full review.

Rise of the Wolf – The Forest Lord # 3 by Steven A. McKay

First review of Rise of the Wolf!

Historical Fiction reviews

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Just when things are such that Robin can spend time with his family, old and dangerous foes combine forces and the Wolf and his band of outlaws find themselves facing their greatest challenge to survive.  This is the third volume in The Forest Lord series and it is a continuation of the excellence exhibited in the first two.  The author has given us a tale that is hard to put down, filled with riveting action and tense drama.  The characters shine throughout, from the ebullient Tuck, the imposing presence of John Little, the unrelenting stare of Will Scarlett, the love and devotion of Matilda (Robin’s wife)and the coming of age of Marjorie (Robin’s sister).  There are also the dramatic twists of plot and fate of some who live and die in a hard and cruel world.  I will not engage in spoilers so you’ll have to believe me when I…

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Wolf’s Head is FREE on Kindle!

UPDATE – FREE promotion is now finished. It ran for two days and 4,500 people all across the globe downloaded it! Hopefully a few of them enjoy and decide to buy the others.

Yes, FREE! As part of the promotion for Rise of the Wolf coming out this Friday I decided to let as many people as possible start the series so…if you haven’t read any of my stuff yet, what are you waiting for?  Just click the cover image below and it should take you directly to your own country’s Amazon page.

Tell your friends!

And keep and eye out because The Wolf and the Raven will be on sale during this week at a much reduced price so you can get the first two Forest Lord books for next to nothing.

Fill your boots, and your pals boots, and your families boots and any other boots you can find!

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The Wolf will Rise…Friday July 31st 2015!

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Yep, I’ve been waiting on feedback from beta-readers, changing things, tightening this and that and now I can tell you, Rise of the Wolf will be published next Friday, July 31 2015. Assuming I get the files all sorted and uploaded in time of course…

Obviously there won’t be a long pre-order period for it. I’ll hopefully have it listed to go on Amazon on Thursday night (GMT) – my reasons for this will be made clear in a blog post about it very soon. Ultimately, I’d like as many people as possible to buy the book the day it comes out, or as soon as they can, so it gets a good chart placing.

I’ll be offering prizes to everyone on my mailing list that buys Rise on day one – signed copies of each book, including the new one; free downloads of the audio books; Amazon gift cards… If you haven’t signed up for the mailing list yet, CLICK HERE

Please help me promote the launch by: buying your copy as soon as you can; using the Twitter hashtag #RiseOfTheWolf; leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads once you’ve finished it; sharing it all with your friends on Facebook etc… In short, let’s get the word out!

In the meantime, I’ve listed the book on Goodreads and there’s a giveaway to enter. Two copies, signed, up for grabs so check it out:

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

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Knight of the Cross By Steven A. McKay – Review

A fantastic new review of my novella, Knight of the Cross. Dagon is coming!

David's Book Blurg

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Title – Knight of the Cross
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 103 Pages
Publication – 19th September 2014
My Rating – 5/5

Synopsis

The Knights Hospitaller battle ancient evil in medieval Rhodes as mysterious disappearances and insane devil-worshippers threaten to turn the entire island into a bloodbath…

When three Hospitallers go missing from a local village outraged Grand Master Foulques de Villaret sends the English knight Sir Richard-at-Lee and his trusted sergeant-at-arms Jacob to discover their fate. Met with resistance from frightened locals and rumours of a blasphemous sect performing unspeakable rites beneath the village Sir Richard must overcome not only the devil-worshippers but the faceless, unstoppable demon that stalks his dreams.

Fans of the best-selling Forest Lord books “Wolf’s Head” and “The Wolf and the Raven” will enjoy this spin-off novella that sees the much-loved English knight up against a foe that threatens…

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Proofs have arrived!

The first proofs of the Rise of the Wolf paperbacks arrived today. Looking good, I’m very pleased with the whole set!

I still have some changes and revisions to make so haven’t got a firm release date yet. I am hoping to get it out there within the next two or three weeks though, so keep an eye open for it. Sign up for the mailing list (see the button at the top of the page) if you haven’t already, as I’ll be offering signed copies along with other prizes for anyone buying a copy on day one!

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